3 Steps To Profitable Stock Picking
Stock picking is a very complicated process and investors have different approaches. However, it is wise to follow general steps to minimize the risk of the investments. This article will outline these basic steps for picking high performance stocks.
Step 1. Decide on the time frame and the general strategy of the investment. This step is very important because it will dictate the type of stocks you buy.
Suppose you decide to be a long term investor, you would want to find stocks that have sustainable competitive advantages along with stable growth. The key for finding these stocks is by looking at the historical performance of each stock over the past decades and do a simple business S.W.O.T. (Strength-weakness-opportunity-threat) analysis on the company.
Short Term Investor
If you decide to be a short term investor, you would like to adhere to one of the following strategies:
a. Momentum Trading. This strategy is to look for stocks that increase in both price and volume over the recent past. Most technical analyses support this trading strategy. My advice on this strategy is to look for stocks that have demonstrated stable and smooth rises in their prices. The idea is that when the stocks are not volatile, you can simply ride the up-trend until the trend breaks.
b. Contrarian Strategy. This strategy is to look for over-reactions in the stock market. Researches show that stock market is not always efficient, which means prices do not always accurately represent the values of the stocks. When a company announces a bad news, people panic and price often drops below the stock's fair value. To decide whether a stock over-reacted to a news, you should look at the possibility of recovery from the impact of the bad news. For example, if the stock drops 20% after the company loses a legal case that has no permanent damage to the business's brand and product, you can be confident that the market over-reacted. My advice on this strategy is to find a list of stocks that have recent drops in prices, analyze the potential for a reversal (through candlestick analysis). If the stocks demonstrate candlestick reversal patterns, I will go through the recent news to analyze the causes of the recent price drops to determine the existence of over-sold opportunities.
Step 2. Conduct researches that give you a selection of stocks that is consistent to your investment time frame and strategy. There are numerous stock screeners on the web that can help you find stocks according to your needs.
Step 3. Once you have a list of stocks to buy, you would need to diversify them in a way that gives the greatest reward/risk ratio. One way to do this is conduct a Markowitz analysis for your portfolio. The analysis will give you the proportions of money you should allocate to each stock. This step is crucial because diversification is one of the free-lunches in the investment world.
These three steps should get you started in your quest to consistently make money in the stock market. They will deepen your knowledge about the financial markets, and would provide a sense of confidence that helps you to make better trading decisions.
5 Steps To Researching a Stock Trade Before Investing
Once you determine which business cycle the economy is currently in you can start researching for a trade. It is best to have some sort of a system in place that will be used before EACH trade. Here is a simple 5 Step formula to help get you started.
1. Find a stock
This is the most obvious and most difficult step in stock trading. With well over 10,000 stocks to trade a good rule of thumb to consider is time of the year. For example, as I write this, it is the beginning of spring. It would make sense to consider stocks that traditionally make runs, or slide if you are bearish, during this time of year.
2. Fundamental Analysis
Many short term traders may disagree with the need to do ANY Fundamental Analysis, however knowing the chart patterns from the past and the news regarding the stock is relevant. An example would be earnings season. If you are planning on playing a stock to the upside that has missed its earnings target the last 3 quarters, caution could be in order.
3. Technical Analysis
This is the part where indicators come in. Stochastics, the MACD, volume, moving averages, RSI, CCI, support levels, resistance levels and all the rest. The batch of indicators you choose, whether lagging or leading, may depend on where you get your education.
Keep it simple when first starting out, using too many indicators in the beginning is a ticket to the land of big losses. Get very comfortable using one or two indicators first. Learn their intricacies and you'll be sure to make better trades.
4. Follow your picks
Once you have placed a few stock trades you should be managing them properly. If the trade is meant to be a short term trade watch it closely for your exit signal. If it's a swing trade, watch for the indicators that tell you the trend is shifting. If it's a long term trade remember to set weekly or monthly checkups on the stock.
Use this time to keep abreast of the news, determine your price targets, set stop losses, and keep an eye on other stocks that you may want to own as well.
5. The big picture
As the saying goes, all ships rise and fall with the tide. Knowing which sectors are heating up stacks the chips in your favor.
For example, if you are long (expecting price to go up) on an oil stock and most of the oil sector is rising then more likely than not you are on the right side of the trade. Several trading platforms will give you access to sector-wide information so that you can get the education you need.