I. Trading as a Hobby
II. Fundamental Analysis
Begin Trading Stocks as a Hobby, the pathway is open for the novice investor.
Getting started as a beginner, or novice, stock trader can be daunting. The beginner has both unreasonable expectations, and fear of losing their hard earned money in the stock market. For the novice fear can be paralyzing, and over confidence can be costly.
I remember when I made my first beginner trades, I thought I just had to buy the stock, and I would instantly, within a day or two, make me a lot of money. It’s news to the novice when their stock does what a lot of stocks do most days . . . Absolutely nothing.
I’ve written a series of articles for the novice or beginning investor who wants to get into the stock market. I’d recommend just using part of the funds you have available, and making your novice mistakes with as just a little on the line. My articles will walk you through both day trading and penny stock trading, and prepare you for the big game if you ever have that kind of money, and the confidence to put it in the market.
If you ever get lost navigating on my pages, just click on “profile”, and scroll down to see a full list. Sometimes I get lazy about adding links, although I’m trying to link it together well enough that you can find whatever you want to know.
My goal is to help the beginner, or novice investor avoid pitfalls, and learn to love trading stocks as much as I do. Penny trading and day trading both have a bad reputation, especially with the big brokers, but with a good cheap online discount broker, and a mind of your own they can be both enjoyable and lucrative. Investing is one of the few things you can do as a hobby online, and suddenly log on one day to find yourself thousands of dollars richer.
Some brokers have minimums to open an account, but if you look around, you can get in the game for as little as $500, and for $2000 you can pick your broker. Who knows, this might be your first step into a game that pays off like who wants to be a millionaire!
Oh, and although I like to help people, and I enjoy teaching things. I didn’t create these pages solely out of the goodness of my heart, there are several ways I can make money here, don’t be offended by them. They can all be useful to you (especially if you heed my advice about penny fundamentals), and if I make anything here it barely pays for the time I have in this project. I make a small commission on some things I am offering you links to, and I get a few cents if you use some of the links on my pages. I wish someone had told me, or helped me learn all the things that are here when I was a beginner. It would have saved me a couple thou on rookie mistakes.
My favorite fundamental indicator is the P/E ratio, but its sometimes hard to get accurately on the web. In my experience yahoo finance is usually right up to a point, but usually has only (ttm) trailing twelve months (last years numbers). If you can get good P/E numbers, the lower the number is the better. Any P/E of under one will definitely get my attention, and under 5 is usually good. Most big companies don’t have what I consider good P/E’s unless they just had a major sell off, but this is one way to look at real world value of the company vs. market value of the stock.
Watch out for earnings inflated by the company selling off it’s assets, usually listed in quarterly reports as income from discontinued operations. This can make the P/E look outstanding right at the moment the company has the least real world money making potential. If you have the per share numbers you can figure the P/E yourself by dividing the stock price by the earnings per share (EPS), but look at those quarterly reports first!Annual and Quarterly reports are the best way to get a picture of the company over time, and an idea of what to expect for the future.
Might as well say it again, because it is hugely important, if basing analysis on P/E’s, look out for those discontinued operations entries. Look for consistent money makers with a price that is below that stock's 52 wk average. There are tons of other fundamental things to look at. Return on equity is similar to a P/E and is a percent, at least 15% is good, below 15% is bad, and over 30% is excellent. Dividends also fall in the area of fundamentals. And usually show a strong company with ethical management. CEO salaries can tell you a lot about management and ethics. If the EPS is minus or non-existent, and the CEO made 1.5 million in salary last year, it’s probably not a company that cares much about rewarding shareholders.
Fundamentals are everything about the real world business numbers. You can get totally anal retentive about it and have ratios it takes ten years to understand, but when it all comes down to it, it is a simple question of is this a good business in real world terms? Not in terms of hype, hope, or speculation, but the BOTTOM LINE. One way to find good opportunities with good fundamentals is to look at the losers and gainers section of a lot of financial web sites. On the losers list, you’ll find stocks that just made a big price drop. Some of these losers are fundamental winners that won’t stay losers for long. Happy Trading.