If you don't have an account with a brokerage house and you want to buy stocks,
the first thing you need to do is decide if you want an account
with a full service brokerage firm, a discount brokerage firm, or both.
The choice depends on the individual.
Are you the type of person who wants research reports and advice?
Are you the type of person who knows what to buy
and just needs the broker to take the order and get it filled?
Or do you want to place a few trades through each
and have access to research reports from the full service broker?
The choice is yours!
Remember that a full service broker is going to charge you more than a discount broker.
Setting up the account is relatively easy.
Once it is done, you can call up and buy and/or sell stock.
Types Of Orders You Can Place:
The "Market Order" is probably
the most common.
When you place an order at the market, you are telling the broker to buy or
sell the stock at the best possible price at that time.
A market order will always be filled.
The catch is that it may not be filled at the price you expected or wanted.
For instance, you want to buy shares of the XYZ company.
You call your broker and he tells you that is currently trading at 95 bid 96 ask.
The bid is the price the buyers are willing to buy the stock at.
The ask is the price the sellers are is willing to sell the stock at.
You tell him to buy 100 shares of XYZ at the market.
When the broker gets back to you,
he tells you that he bought 100 share of XYZ at 97
Between the time you gave the broker the order
and the order was filled up, the price went up.
Keep in mind, that the price of XYZ could have easily been filled at 94
had more people been selling rather than buying at that time.
A "Limit Order" is
an instruction by you to your broker
to buy or sell a specific amount of stock at a specific price or better.
If the price you specify is not within the current market quote,
it is said to be 'away from the market' and will be entered beneath any other orders.
What this means is that there are shares ahead of you.
Orders get filled in the order that they were received.
This happens quite frequently.
There is no guarantee that a limit order will ever be filled.
When deciding whether
to place a limit order or a market order,
the trader needs to evaluate the tradeoff between a guaranteed fill
which might be different than what you expect,
and getting the price you want but perhaps not getting filled.
It all depends on your analysis and your needs.
How Are Stock Prices Set?
The market value of any stock
which is the price people are willing to buy and sell it for,
is strictly a function of the marketplace.
Stocks are just like any other commodity.
Buyers and sellers come together in a competitive marketplace
and transact business at mutually agreeable prices.
Supply and Demand rule the stock market, as all other free markets.
At times investor demand drives prices beyond reasonable valuations,
while at other times investor disinterest pushes stock prices lower and lower.
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