The majority of people who ventured into stock investing within the past decade have seen the value of their stock portfolios shrink dramatically. One of the biggest mistakes made by stock investors is to incorrectly assume that investing in stocks will be guaranteed money over the long haul. This is simply not true because the stock market acts irrational on a regular basis. Stock markets, domestic and abroad, share one thing in common: they tend to defy common sense. This article will give you vital information that will hopefully prevent you from becoming a statistic of bad investment decisions.
Since stock markets are created by people, they often exhibit irrational behavior due to the fact that they are simply a reflection of people’s emotions. The up and down oscillations of stock markets mirror the fear and greed present in the investors who make up the market. Because the basic human emotions of fear and greed can cause people to sometimes make irrational decisions, it makes perfect sense that stock markets will also exhibit this same behavior.
Why is it important to understand the role that investor emotions play in stock investing? Because profitable stock investing requires you to have a basic understanding of human psychology in order to help you stay separate from the crowd. When it comes to making money with stocks, the crowd is almost always wrong. In fact, the crowd must be wrong in order for the masses to transfer their wealth to the small minority who do make money.
How do you avoid becoming apart of the incorrect crowd? One way is to try and think contrary to what your initial instincts tell you to do with respect to stock investing. Most investors tend to sell their losing stock positions at a loss during bear markets. This commonly occurs because these investors read the current negative news at the time which ends up scaring them out of their positions. On the contrary, you should be looking to buy more undervalued securities during bear markets. Why? Because the overall U.S. stock market has always bounced back since it’s beginning. The people that make serious money investing in stocks are most concerned with buying stocks at great prices well below their actual value. These situations occur most frequently during bear markets.
Before you invest in any stock, it is important that you get to know the stock and its related industry. Read as much as you can about the stock’s earnings history, past price performance, industry news, and any upcoming product releases. You can find a lot of this information online for free. The more informed you are as an investor, the better investment decisions you will make. The only thing separating successful investors from losing investors is the fact that the former has better information.
Successful investors always manage their expectations in order to avoid making rash and emotional decisions about their stock investments. Avoid setting unrealistic expectations, or you will increase the chance of investing in overly risky companies. Prudent investors acknowledge that although certain companies offer extremely high rewards, the corresponding risks may be too much to stomach. Instead, focus on buying stocks in high quality stable companies that are earnings leaders or rising stars in their respective industries.
Companies that are releasing hot new products in untapped markets are great stock candidates. Wouldn’t you have loved to bought some stock in Apple well before the release of the iPhone? If you can find out this information well beforehand on solid established companies, you can potentially reduce your risk of investing in one hit wonders. A good sign of an established company is one which has been out-performing the overall stock market over recent years while pay a steady dividend.
Last but not least, always diversify your holdings. Have you ever heard the expression, “never put all your eggs in one basket”? This is one of the best pieces of advice when it comes to stock investing. Investing your dollars across several different and unrelated stocks will effectively spread the risk. It is important to invest in several different stocks simultaneously because this prevents you from having all of your investment capital in only one company. Not only should you diversify across stocks, but you should also diversify across industries and investment instruments (ex., treasury bonds). For example, simultaneously investing in energy stocks, retail stocks, health care stocks, and treasury bonds would be an adequate form of diversification.
About the Author
Monti Simmons is a private trader who has been trading since the 90’s. He is also the creator of the popular Carnivore day trading software that makes it easy for individuals to succeed at day trading using fibonacci trading principles.