Your Questions About How To Invest In Stocks

Donald asks…

I want to invest in stocks at certain companies. How can I?

I would like to start investing in stocks. And although I have read about how it should be diversified, I would really like to invest only in certain companies, like apple for example, how do I just buy apple stock or any other stock for that matter?
P.S. Thanks for your time.

John answers:

You set up a brokerage account.

William asks…

How to invest in stocks, and what stocks do I invest in?

I am new to the stock market. I was wondering if anyone would be able to explain how to invest in stocks, what to look for when buying stocks, and what short term stocks to start with that will make me money. And good advice to be a successful investor.

John answers:

Hi,

If I were young, I would be investing in small cap growth mutual funds or stocks. Go here for excellent low cost advice (http://www.aaii.com/aaiiportfolios/commentaries/stockportfolio/200701comment.cfm).

Don’t be alarmed at the low cost – it has some of the best financial advice on the Web.

You have lots of time before retirement which means the magic of compound interest will just keep building and building. It really works and if you keep investing every year, in 10 or 15 years you will be surprised at how it mounts up. In 30 years you could be a millionaire which probably won’t amount to much in 30 year owing the the ravages of inflation.

By that time you will need a money manager like Fisher Investments to manage your money – probably before when you reach the $500,000 mark.

And that’s the primary reason to keep investing in small cap growth stocks – they will flog inflation to death.

When investing in mutual funds, select the no-load funds only. Do not invest in mutual funds with a “load”, an up front commission that you have to pay before when they sell you the mutual fund. Some charge as much as 10% which is a rrip-off. Many studies have shown that the no-load funds do as well as the load funds and sometimes a lot better.

Look at the AAI Shadow Stock Portfolio. I would try and emulate that portfolio if you want to invest in stocks. It was up 25% as of November 2006. The Vanguard Index fund is only up 14%.

AAII has some of the best financial advisers and the cost is very low. They have excellent guides and advice.

You may need a broker so go to e-Trade or Scottsdale who have low commission rates.

Do your own due diligence. Your own ideas are the best. Do not depend on someone else to select investments for you. Learn about investing so you don’t have to ask what stocks to invest in.

Be self reliant.

Remember what Emerson said: A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.

Find stocks that have steadily rising net profits (earnings), low debt, and good P/Es, lots of cash, companies buying back their stock..

What interests you? Find stocks that pique your interest and passion.

You need fast growing good stocks with good earnings and in good sectors. You need to learn more about the stock market before you even think about investing in it.

The stocks world is divided into 12 sectors such as energy which chevron belongs to. It is next to last in the sectors list today.

Technology is numero uno, but things can change in a new york minute, but within the sector, the fastest growing are computer services, not Microsoft. Then, Electronic Instruments and controls. Next is computer storage devices.

The next hot sector is Healthcare, but heed the warning below. Go here for sectors: (http://clearstation.etrade.com/cgi-bin/Itechnicals?Event=srp&Section=redge&Refer=/redge.html)

The best software is Vector Vest if you can afford it. It has sector investing.

Here is a free Web site for charting stocks: (http://www.incrediblecharts.com/).

First of all, stay away from “professional brokers” and tips coming to you via e-mail or friends and acquaintances. And tips at Yahoo! Answers. And e-mail tips. Do your own due diligence – don’t rely on someone else. Read Emerson’s essay “Self Reliance.

Hey! They will say anything to get you to buy their junk. If it’s too good to be true, it is.

Remember this, they are just sales people trying to sell you what their firm is pushing. They are not security analysts or financial planners, not even financial advisers. Trust me, I know from experience that they cannot be trusted especially with a million dollars. You risk losing it all. A million dollar account is known as a “whale” and they would love to get their greedy little paws on it and suck it dry. They just want to make commissions on what they buy and sell for the suckers, err…clients..

Get this book: The Market Gurus: Stock Investing Strategies You Can Use from Wall Street’s Best (Paperback)
by John P. Reese (Author), Todd O. Glassman

Risk avoidance is the name of the game.

Remember, the harder I work, the luckier I get.

Penny stocks are highly speculative. I would avoid the ones under a dollar a share. For example, Best Buy started at less than $5. So there are some good companies, but it takes a lot of digging to find the good ones. You are looking for companies with good earnings, little debt, low capitalization, and good P/Es. For stocks under $5, very few will meet these requirements.

Stay away from the pharms unless they have patented drugs – do not invest in generic pharms, no growth there.

Check out which business sectors are the most popular and invest in the companies in those sectors. The number one, two and three are: technology, health care, and cyclicals (retail). These change periodically so keep current.

Go here for a list of growth stocks: http://www.thestreet.com/_googlen/newsanalysis/ratings/10345212.html?cm_ven=GOOGLEN&cm_cat=FREE&cm_ite=NA

There are these lists all over the Web – you pays your money and takes your chances.

Watch CNBC, but don’t pay too much attention to the talking heads, except for Jim Cramer, the wild man – but he tries to teach you how to invest and has some great advice.

Get Jim Cramer’s Real Money: Sane Investing in an Insane World by James J. Cramer

Listen to Jim Cramer on CNBC.com

Go to Clearstation for quotes and tutorials on investing at (http://clearstation.etrade.com/). Sign up is free. Look up a few stocks. Do their tutorials. Check out the sectors.

Get this book: Value Investing: From Graham to Buffett and Beyond (Wiley Finance) by Bruce C. N. Greenwald, Judd Kahn, Paul D. Sonkin, and Michael van Biema.

Another good book: The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens: 8 Steps to Having More Money Than Your Parents Ever Dreamed Of (Motley Fool) by David Gardner, Tom Gardner, and Selena Maranjian

Jim Cramer’s Mad Money: Watch TV, Get Rich by James J. Cramer and Cliff Mason

I Want to Make Money in the Stock Market: Learn to Begin Investing Without Losing Your Life Savings! By Chris M. Hart

Sensible Stock Investing: How to Pick, Value, and Manage Stocks by David P. Van Knapp

Stock Investing For Dummies (For Dummies (Business & Personal Finance)) by Paul Mladjenovic

All About Stock Market Strategies : The Easy Way To Get Started by David Brown and Kassandra Bentley

The Motley Fool Investment Guide and their Web site (http://www.fool.com/).

The Little Black Book of Microcap Investing: Beat the Market with NASDAQ/AMEX Microcap Stocks, OTCBB Penny Stocks, and Pink Sheet Stocks by Dan Holtzclaw

How To Make Money In Stocks: A Winning System in Good Times or Bad, 3rd Edition by William J. O’Neil

Trading for a Living: Psychology, Trading Tactics, Money Management by Alexander Elder

Big Trends in Trading: Strategies to Master Major Market Moves (A Marketplace Book) by Price Headley

Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds (Paperback)
by Charles Mackay (Author), Andrew Tobias (Foreword) This book talks about the Tulip craze in Holland where people would mortgage their homes to buy Tulip bulbs. Same thing happened in 2001 – 2002 with the Internet bubble that brought the stock market to its knees. The dot com companies were the Tulip bulbs.

Buy Investors Business Daily. It has lots of tutorials and I like it better than the stodgy Wall St Journal.

Money Game by Adam Smith

Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings (Wiley Investment Classics) (Hardcover)
by Philip A. Fisher. Recommended by Warren Buffet who took $100,000 and grew it to $34 billion!

Value Investing with the Masters by Kirk Kazanjian

Valuegrowth Investing by Glen Arnold

The 5 Keys to Value Investing by J. Dennis Jean-Jacques

The Intelligent Investor Rev Ed. (Collins Business Essentials) by Benjamin Graham. Warren Buffet was his student at Columbia.

The Money Masters by John Train

The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing by Taylor Larimore

Common Sense on Mutual Funds: New Imperatives for the Intelligent Investor by John C. Bogle

Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes And How To Correct Them: Lessons From The New Science Of Behavioral Economics by Gary Belsky

Rule #1: The Simple Strategy for Successful Investing in Only 15 Minutes a Week! By Phil Town . See his Web site at (http://www.ruleoneinvestor.com/). Free sign-up. I got the book at the library.

Listen. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on these books – most can be found at your library and those that your library doesn’t have they can usually get from other libraries in your state.

Most of these books talk about stock and mutual fund investing, but for a good introduction to other forms of investing Gerald Appel has a great book called Opportunity Investing – How to Profit When Stock Advance, Stocks decline, Inflation Run Rampant, Prices fall, Oil Prices Hit the Roof and Every Time In Between.

First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman Not a book on investing, but it’s a nice segue into the next book.

Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton

Go Put Your Strengths to Work: 6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance by Marcus Buckingham

Finding your strengths is important when investing. These books teach you to build on your strengths, what you a good at. Everyone is good or passionate about something. Why not get better at what you are good at?

Another good book is: Opportunity Investing: How To Profit When Stocks Advance, Stocks Decline, Inflation Runs Rampant, Prices Fall, Oil Prices Hit the Roof, … And Every Time in Between (Hardcover)
by Gerald Appel

Most mutual funds do not even keep up the the return on the S&P. That’s like 99% of them.

Vanguard Index funds are a no brainer.

A CD is better than a savings account. They range from six months to several years. You cannot touch your money tho until the time limit is up.

Check out this Web site on Direct Investment Plans where you can buy shares directly from companies: (http://www.fool.com/School/DRIPs.htm). Usually no fees and you can buy one share at a time.

Bonds are probably the safest. But they are not for the young. You might try a bond fund. They might return 5 or 6 percent. At 5% a million would return $50,000 a year – not a bad income. Remember, you have to pay taxes on the $50,000.

There are also municipal bonds and the income from them is taxfree especially if you buy them in a state that offers them, but they only pay about 3%, but it’s mostly taxfree.

Look into Fidelity sector funds. Buy the top three, then in six months look how they are doing and if not so hot, select the next three that are best. Do this for a few years and you will make lots of money.

Kindest Personal Regards,

Walt Brown
Site Build It Certified Webmaster
capecod1@capecod-beaches.com

P.S. This is a life-long learning process. Reading these books and applying the rules to analyzing stocks that may be good It takes time. Be patient and keep reading and listening. Don’t be a sucker and follow someone elses advice. Be your own man or woman. Depend on no one except yourself. You can only get smarter and stronger that way.

P.P.S. Internet has lots of good stuff, for example (http://stockcharts.com/school/doku.php?id=chart_school:technical_indicators:moving_average_conve
Stockcharts.com is very good and their discussion of MACD is one of the best, barring its originator, Gerald Apple, but now we are getting into Technical Analysis and that is not for beginners. But it is an important factor in finding good stocks that are going up and growing. Remember, tiny acorns grow into mighty oaks.

Nancy asks…

How long would I need to invest in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds before I see any earnings?

I just started getting interested in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc… and I want to know how long before I will see any earnings off my investments? I want to invest at least $2000 and would like to gain enough to open up a business. Would I have to wait a month? 6 months? 1 year? 5 years? Exactly how long? Thanks.
I need maybe 20-25 thousand to open the business.

John answers:

You can see profits or losses immediately but a good decent amount of gains will need about a year to happen.

Lizzie asks…

Where can I find instruction on how to invest in stocks on my own and what the minimum investments are?

I’d like to see if I can invest in some stocks on my own.

John answers:

Step 1.
First decide what kind of brokerage you want to work with. You can open a brokerage account in your bank,
with a large full service brokerage or an internet brokerage. I find when I get help, most people want to sell me
things that are better for them then they are for me…. So I use http://www.scottrade.com because it’s cheap and
easy with low frills. I like their streaming quotes and I do my own research and make my own investments. But
any low cost internet brokerage service is fine.

Step 2. Get a subscription to Barrons or Investors Business Daily… Don’t worry about the cost, and don’t skip
this step. Do this for at least 6 months or a year. At first, It seems a bit mysterious, but pretty soon you start to
understand the terms and things that investors are looking for and what they are afraid of.

Step 3. If you have some money to invest, put it in 3 month CD’s right now. First the market is unstable and
second you have some homework in Step 4 to do before you do any investing.

Step 4. Go out to the internet and search on the following subjects. Become very familiar with the concepts.
Asset allocation
Long term investing
asset correlation
dollar cost averaging
inflation
Roth ira vs ira
Large med small cap stocks
Value vs growth stocks
Indexed funds
No load mutual funds
ETF (also ETN and CEF all similar but with special differences)
Sector funds
Bonds, CD, preferred stock
dividends
International funds
emerging markets
commodities
Market cycles
volatility
Fundamental analysis
Technical analysis
Life insurance term vs whole
In most cases, I think it is wise to use indexed mutual funds and ETF to build the base of your portfolio.

Step 5 go to http://clearstation.etrade.com/ and sign up for a free account. Play around there by looking at
graphs and fundamentals. If you click on the graph names, you will get clear information about what the graph
is based on and how to interpret it. I think it’s also a good idea to pretend you have $10,000 and start buying
and selling on paper. Keep track of where you are each day for a month… It’s a lot easier to lose play money
then real money….
WARNING: don’t rely on technical analysis alone. These graphs are good at telling you WHEN to buy and sell,
but now WHAT to buy.

Step 6. It’s always a good Idea to see a CFP (certified financial planner) especially if you have a family. But be
sure to go to one who charges a fee, rather then one who gets paid a commission on your investments. Their job
is to work for your benefit, not to sell you investments. They can cover subjects like employee benefits,
insurance, budgeting, living trusts, 401k, taxes and real estate as well as investment types and investment types
to keep away from.
But you can buy the CFP study guide at any book store and learn a lot about those topics yourself.

Always strive to do your own research… you’ll find everyone sounds like an expert so take everything people
tell you with a grain of salt. It’s not easy in the beginning but soon you will be the expert.

Don’t get involved with futures, currency, options (unless you get stock options at work), commodities,
annuities or other derivative type investments at this time.

Good Luck

Linda asks…

How much money do you need to invest in stocks for the first time?

I am a first time investor interested in investing in stocks and I was wondering what the minimum amount one would need to start investing and where do I get solid info on what stocks to invest in? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated! 🙂

John answers:

My advice is to get a qualified broker. Find a broker that makes their money by making you money. (Say 1.5% of the profit you make) Large brokerage firms have analysts that study stocks and trends. Then invest a consistent amount over time. Eg. Even $50 a month over time will build you a nice portfolio. What is the most important is to be consistent with your deposits.

Think of it the same a fixing the motor on your car. Sure, you can buy a book, and do the work yourself. But chances are that the work will be much better quality with a trained professional looking after it.

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