Your Questions About Paper Trading Stocks

James asks…

How can I enter the stock market without breaking my wallet?

I’m a college student whose 18th birthday was last week. I got some money for it, but couldn’t think of anything to do with it until I realized that I might be able to buy stocks with it. If I invest just a little bit of money in the stock market, I think it’d be fun to keep track of it and see how well I can do.

However, I quickly became discouraged after reading about brokerages and commission rates. I only wanted to trade $40-50 in stock, mostly for kicks, to learn more about the market and see if I could break even on my investment. I’ve heard about paper trading, where you pretend to buy stocks, write down how much you bought of which stock, and then keep track of your pretend investments for a period of time to see how you fair. This seems like a good idea for practice, but being able to put even just a small amount of actual money would make it much more enjoyable for me.

Is there any hope for me? Or will any profit I could hope to make with this small capital be eaten up by commissions?

John answers:

Well your kind of like me, I’m 19, I don’t have a lot of money to invest but everyone keeps telling me now, for a year, is the best time to invest when everything is at its lows. Since your so young, I reccommend investing that money in some penny type stocks, or stocks under 10 dollars. Don’t look at it for like a year, I mean you can but don’t expect a miracle to happen because of the state of economy, but if you get a job, and just steadily add money into your brokerage account, btw seems to me a good fit, they have a unlimited trades for 14.99/month, or 2 trades a month for 6.99. If you just find a few stocks you think that are going to blow up in a couple years, than youll be sitting pretty. With low amount of money you gotta think long term, and just keep adding to your account, in 20 years, who knows, you can have a big chunk of change on your hands if you invest in the right stocks.

Me, I opened a buyandhold account, but I’m thinkin about opening a broker with low real time trade fees. Theres some stocks that go up and down like crazy through out the day, that if you buy at the right time and sell at the right time you can mk some money. When I go to basic training and tech school, I’ma come back with some investing money and I’m thinkin long term and when the economy kicks back, 12-18 months from now, than you’ll begin to see you make money, you just gotta be patient.

Joseph asks…

which of the following can you NOT find on paper stock quotes?

1: the lowest price for the last 52 weeks
2: the highest price for the previous day
3: the close price of the previous day
4: the number of shares of stock traded that previous day
5: the net change of stock price from the previous day
which one is it

John answers:

All of the above CAN be found in a paper stock quote, see example listed in link below. Of course, with the abbreviated quotes these days, little information is usually given.

It’s unfortunate, but the newspaper stock tables are going away and moving to the Internet.

Mandy asks…

Which of the following can you not always find in the paper stock quotes?

a) the highest price the previous day
b) the net change of the stock price from the previous day
c) the number of shares of stock traded the previous day
d) the lowest price for the last 52 weeks
e) the close price of the previous day

John answers:

A, c, d and e

Thomas asks…

i need info on trading stocks?

im a begginer at this i do not know anything about it really. i have a few questions…

1. is there any web recources i can use to learn this stuff.

2.can a man of my age (25) with a limited budget (about a grand) make money on the market… is it worth the risk?

what are the best options for me? i know its a risk starting out and not knowing anything about trading… i dont know the lingo, i dont know what companies are worth buying, and i dont even know what i am looking at when i see the numbers that they put up on the television on the market shown or in the papers. i just need to learn can someone help me understand this stuff please?

John answers:

1 – here are some website for you
Get into the habit of making daily visits to some websites like MSN Money and Yahoo Finance. ( )
While at MSN following the strategy lab analysts to get a feel for what the pros are doing and why. This site has some basic information for beginners. If any site offers free information, take it.
Other website that can provide instructions and help with procedures and terminology are
Investopedia – Stock Charts –,
Visit some of the more professional websites like Zacks –
Smart Money – Schaeffer’s –
Some of these web sites will have advertisers who are worth looking into also. And remember, if they offer free information, get it.

2-Yes someone at your age can make money in the market and yes it is worth the risk but investing/trading is not only about making money, it also important that you protect what you have.

Before you enter into any transaction, you should know what you are doing, why you are doing it and how to do it. Before you invest in any security, the first investment you should make is in yourself, and the best investment you can make is by educating yourself.
Start your education by learning why you should invest and the importance of being able to make your own decisions or how the pro’s make theirs.

Here is some reading material that can get you started in the right direction,
What Works on Wall Street by James O’Shaunessey
Beating the Street by Peter Lynch
One Up on Wall Street by Peter Lynch
The Warren Buffett Way by Robert Hagstrom
How to Make Money in Stocks” by William O’Neil
24 Essential Lessons for Investment Success by William O’Neil

You at least have made the right decision to start investing, this is the first big step and it won’t be your last. Keep taking those steps forward and along the way never take the advice from people that are not in the market or try to tell you not to invest.

Good luck on your journey

Maria asks…

Online stock brokers – TradeStation or thinkorswim?

Which would you say is better for a beginner trading stocks? (I’ll be paper trading first)
Also, I’m young (18) and don’t have very much money so I’ll only be starting out with about $2000 in my account

John answers:

ThinkOrSwim is the better of the two. However…. These trading platforms are not made for a novice. These are considered semi-professional platforms for the trader with experiance. Generally their customers are from other type software based platforms or people “graduating” from places like Schwab, Fidelity, Scottrade & TDAmeritrade.

I think it’s great that you want to do this…… But a least you should know what you’re getting into. BTW: TradeStation has a $100 a month charge for their platform… ThinkOrSwim has a minimum starting amount…. I believe around $2500 – $3000.

Also… If you’re thinking of “day trading” the US Gov’t (SEC) has specific rules that require an account over $25,000 no matter what broker you’re with.

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