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Stock Buying Tips

Following the trend is probably the easiest trading strategy for a beginner, based on the premise that the trend is your friend. Contrarian investing refers to going against the market herd. You short a stock when the market is rising or buy it when the market is falling. This may be a difficult trading tactic for a beginner. Scalping and trading the news require a presence of mind and rapid decision-making that, again, may pose difficulties for a beginner.

stock buying tips

Most day traders will end up losing money, at least according to the data. But, with experience, your chances of succeeding can grow. Beginning traders should trade accounts with "paper money," or fake trades, before they invest their own capital in order to learn the ropes, test out strategies, and employ the tips above.

Right off the bat, investors should know that there's no foolproof algorithm or formula that will ensure success. As many stocks as there are, there are thousands more investing philosophies, schemes, strategies and mindsets that investors use to approach the market.

As a newer investor, or even as an experienced market participant reexamining your own approach, it's helpful to understand the following principles. Here are seven things you should know before picking stocks:

By opting to pick individual stocks, you're betting on your ability to beat the market and exceed the return of the stock market at large. This is extremely difficult to do: 84% of professional fund managers, whose entire job is to beat the index, fail to outperform their benchmarks after a five-year period. After a 15-year period, more than 89% of managers fail at that task, according to the SPIVA U.S. Scorecard, a study by S&P Global.

Individual investors face even bigger hurdles to success and not just because they don't have the luxury of dedicating their entire working life to studying investments. Psychological mishaps like buying when stocks are on a run and selling when they're down, as well as overtrading, are largely to blame for the miserable actualized returns of everyday investors.

So, while this principle is arguably the least satisfying of the seven, it's also the most fundamentally important. By choosing to pick stocks and not buying a low-cost index fund like the Vanguard 500 Index Fund (ticker: VOO) that automatically earns you market returns, you're engaging in a bit of hubris and choosing to go against the odds.

Do you have a shorter runway, and simply desire to play it safe and maybe earn a little income while you're at it? You'll likely only want to consider blue-chip companies and dividend stocks; you may find some ideal portfolio pieces among real estate investment trusts or dividend aristocrats.

You won't be doing yourself or your investments any favors by pulling out of the market at the first sign of trouble. That scenario begs mention of another important tenet of investing: "If the stock market goes down, do not panic," Jaffe says. "Stay the course and weather the storm." Historically, the market has always recovered.

A stock is nothing more than an ownership stake in a business. If you were investing in a local small business, would you want to put your money behind it without looking at its books and understanding its revenue, costs, seasonality, opportunities, risks, competition and advantages?

"If you do decide to handpick individual stocks, learn as much as you can about them and have a level of conviction about their story, balance sheet and where they're going," Cronin says. "This will help you stay the course when their share price drops."

If it's too good to be true, it probably is. This ancient aphorism holds true in the stock market, where many deceptive temptations can await investors. One common mistake newer investors can make is to be drawn in by stocks with attractive-seeming valuation metrics, most commonly the price-earnings ratio, or P/E ratio.

Cyclical companies like homebuilders, automakers and banks may on occasion sport P/E ratios much lower than the rest of the market, making them appear cheap. But just because you see companies trading for single-digit P/E ratios doesn't mean these stocks are oversold. In fact, the market may be signaling that the peak of the earnings cycle is in the rearview mirror, and trailing earnings are much higher than one can expect moving forward. These kinds of seemingly cheap stocks are known as "value traps."

Another inclination many investors may face concerns the desire for high dividend yields. While a good blue-chip income stock may pay a 2% to 4% dividend, plenty of names in the market might yield 7% or higher.

Meteoric yields are typically a red flag: Often either the stock itself has fallen dramatically for good reason, or the past dividends are considered unsustainable and a trimming or cessation of the dividend is expected.

Especially if you want a set-it-and-forget-it portfolio, you'll want to pick stocks of companies that have long-term competitive advantages distinguishing them from the broader market. Warren Buffett refers to these perks as "moats" that protect the corporate castle.

The last thing to know about how to pick stocks is that your portfolio will frequently rise and fall for reasons unrelated to the specific stocks you own. Last year provided a great example of systematic risk in action, as all three major U.S. stock market indexes entered bear markets as inflation, war and soaring interest rates shellacked equities.

These external factors, which no single company or board of directors can control or avoid, can drag down even well-chosen, long-term stock picks. Eradication of this broader market risk is impossible, but investors can mitigate company-specific risks through diversification.

While systematic risk is a part of life, investors can confront it by buying stocks with lower correlation to the market, known as low-beta stocks, or embrace it by selecting high-beta stocks. Beta measures the volatility of the wider stock market, which is always 1.

While beta isn't a perfect metric, generally speaking, stocks with betas below 1 will move in a less pronounced way when markets rise or fall, while the opposite is true for high-beta stocks. In theory, this makes low-beta stocks more preferable in bear markets and high-beta stocks better picks for bull markets.

NEW YORK, Dec. 20, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- It's the week before Christmas and you find yourself scratching your head in a packed shopping center trying to find the perfect present. We've all been there, trying to get an amazing present for that one person that is so hard to buy for. Sometimes you end up panic buying something that you later regret, knowing that it won't be quite right. So how do you buy the perfect present for the impossible person? Prezzee's executive gifting expert has you covered with some top tips:

Many large companies offer Employee Stock Purchase Plans (ESPP) that let you buy your employer's stock at a discount. These plans are often offered as an employment incentive, giving you an opportunity to share in the growth potential of your company's stock (and by implication, work hard to keep the stock price moving ahead).

Usually, you make contributions to a stock purchase fund for a certain period of time through payroll deductions. At designated points in the year, your employer then uses the accumulated money in the fund to purchase stock for you.

In many plans, the price that you pay for the stock is the stock price at the time you started contributing to the fund, or the stock price at the time your employer purchases the shares on your behalf, whichever is lower, with a discount of up to 15%.

You also show the sale of the stock on your 2022 Schedule D, Part I for short-term sales because one year or less had lapsed between the date you acquired the stock (June 30, 2021) and the date you sold it (January 20, 2022).

You show the sale of the stock on your 2022 Schedule D. It's considered long-term because more than one year passed from the date acquired (January 2, 2021) to the date of sale (January 20, 2022). That is good, because long-term capital gains are taxed at a rate that is lower than your regular tax rate.

You also report the sale of your stock on Schedule D, Part II as a long-term sale. It's long term because there is over one year between the date acquired (6/30/2018) and the date of sale (1/20/2022).

Your employer is not required to withhold Social Security (FICA) taxes when you exercise the option to purchase the stock. Also, your employer is not required to withhold income tax when you dispose of the stock. But you still owe some income tax on any gain resulting from the sale of the stock.

Use trading ranges to view your decision-making so that you will not be bothered by small changes in stock prices (i.e., you will not be able to sell at the highest or buy at the lowest). You should feel comfortable that the market price is within +3% of your buying or selling prices. Also, get rid of stocks with uncertain futures, like traditional retail stocks.

One big mistake many investors make is trying to time the markets, meaning buy when stocks are on the way up and sell when they are on the way down. While this is a great idea in theory, it is almost impossible to get right. If you sell when stocks go down, you could miss the upswing when they recover. Over a long period of time, the S&P 500, an index that tracks 500 of the biggest US stocks, has returned about 10% on average. If you buy and sell regularly, you will likely get lower results than the market.

3. Go small: Small banks have strong business relationships with their customers, says Tim Melvin, of the Bank Takeover Letter which tracks activist buying at banks to try to identify takeover targets. They also lack exposure to venture capital-backed startups and crypto companies, which got SVB Financial and Signature Bank in trouble.

Michael Brush is a columnist for MarketWatch. At the time of publication, he had no positions in any stocks mentioned in this column. Brush has suggested JPM, C, and FITB in his stock newsletter, Brush Up on Stocks. Follow him on Twitter @mbrushstocks 041b061a72

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