Friday, June 6, 2008

Investing In The Stock Market

A beginners guide to investing in the stock market.

Before we get started you might like to review one of my earlier posts titled "Stock Market Investing - Is It For You?". In that article I discussed some of the things I think you should consider before diving into direct investment. Don't get me wrong - share market investing can be very profitable, but the market can be volatile and is no place for the faint-hearted. So you'll need to make sure you're well prepared before embarking on this journey.

I'd like to discuss stock selection today, but prior to that I should mention that there are a number of options you can use to gain exposure to equities without needing to choose individual stocks yourself. You could go for a Mutual Fund (either open-ended or closed) or maybe an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF). These types of investment typically hold publicly listed companies as the underlying investment, but by purchasing units or shares in one fund you gain exposure to a broad selection of companies. This negates the need for you to research each of the individual companies yourself. The fund employs a team of stock analysts who do the legwork for you. Mutual Funds and Exchange Traded Funds are quite often constructed around a particular theme (ie. value or growth) or around a particular market sector. These types of investments can be a good way to get your feet wet when you're just starting out or if you need help investing in the stock market.

Once you're ready to jump in and start buying individual companies directly, you'll need to make sure you've got your investment strategy sorted out. How are you going to go about selecting what stocks to buy? How many different stocks are you going to hold? How long are you going to hold a particular stock? Under what circumstances are you going to sell? You'll need to consider each of these questions. By having a plan in place, you'll be able to approach your investment activities in an organized and structured way. You'll be able to keep a cool head while everybody else is panicking. It's at times like these that your best opportunities may arise.

When it comes to investing in the stock market for beginners, my preference for picking stocks is to apply fundamental analysis. This involves rolling up your sleeves and actually learning about the company. A full treatment of fundamental analysis is a textbook in its own right but in short you'll need to delve into a company's return on equity, debt to equity, price to earnings ratio, dividend yield and so on. By understanding a company and its business in great detail you will give yourself every opportunity to make a good return on your investment. One of the best books I've read on this topic is The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham.

Technical Analysis is another way that some people approach mainly short term investing in the stock market. I use the term investing loosely as I'm not a big believer in using technical analysis to make money in the share market over the long term. In a nutshell technical analysis is the use of price and volume data to predict future price movements of individual stocks or of equities markets as a whole. You'll read about terms such as charting, moving averages, resistance levels and RSI (relative strength index) among others. I won't dwell upon it here because in the past I haven't really used much in the way of technical analysis. Having said all that, I have been considering technical analysis as a way of timing the purchase of stocks which I plan to hold over the long term as I believe it may offer some insight into investor psychology.

There are almost as many systems for picking stocks as there are investors in the market, but most of them have their foundations in either fundamental or technical analysis. For example, the Dogs Of The Dow system (in its simplest form) advocates buying the cheapest stocks of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) once per year. And in order to determine what is cheap, the fundamental statistics of each company is used as a yardstick.

I'll discuss more about this in my next post for which I think I'll use the incredibly creative title of Investing In The Stock Market - Part 2.


Unknown said...

You always hear of stock investing, but what exactly goes into investing in stock market trading. Trading in stock investing is basically the same as buying and selling although there is a little more to it. Stock market investing has two main methods of trading, on the exchange floor and electronically. One essential thing that you should bear in mind is that you should learn to invest money the right way before barging in to the midst of stock market without a clue.

mack said...

According to me stock market is the market in which there is continuous ups and down in scripts. There is no certainty in the market. What I will suggest is never invest in higher market, never treat bullish profit as real profit. Always be smarter and wiser enough while investing. For more details refer investing in the stock market


I find so very many investors do not have the ability to control their emotions when it comes to investing decisions.


Ben grahams investment fund had a great record.


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Unknown said...

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