Basic Investment Terminology
When an investor buys more of a stock as the price goes down. This makes it so your average purchase price decreases. You might use this strategy if you believe that the general consensus about a company is wrong, so you expect the stock price to rebound later.
Trading talk for the stock market being in a downward trend, or a period of falling stock prices. This is the opposite of a bull market. If a stock price plummets, it’s very bearish.
Blue Chip Stocks
The stocks behind large, industry-leading companies. They offer a stable record of significant dividend payments and have a reputation of sound fiscal management. The expression is thought to have been derived from blue gambling chips, which is the highest denomination of chips used in casinos.
When the stock market as a whole is in a prolonged period of increasing stock prices. It’s the opposite of a bear market. A single stock can be bullish or bearish too, as can a sector, which I’ll describe later on.
The practice of buying and selling within the same trading day, before the close of the markets on that day, is called day trading. This is my primary trading strategy, although I have a long-term portfolio, as well. Traders who participate in day trading are often called “active traders” or “day traders.”
A portion of a company’s earnings that is paid to shareholders, or people that own that company’s stock, on a quarterly or annual basis. Not all companies pay dividends. For instance, if you trade penny stocks, you’re likely not after dividends.
I’m not a fan of leverage, but it’s good for you to know this stock market term. When you use leverage, you borrow shares in a stock from your broker with the goal of increasing your profit. If you borrow shares and sell them all at a higher price point, you return the shares and keep the difference. It’s a dangerous game that I urge you to avoid playing.
A margin account lets a person borrow money (take out a loan, essentially) from a broker to purchase an investment. The difference between the amount of the loan and the price of the securities is called the margin.
Trading on margin can be dangerous because, if you’re wrong about the direction in which the stock will go, you can lose significant cash. You must often maintain a minimum balance in a margin account.
Pink Sheet Stocks
The term “pink sheets” refers most commonly to penny stocks, which are traded at $5 per share or less. They’re also called over-the-counter stocks because that’s how they are traded. You won’t find them on the Nasdaq or NYSE, or any other major exchange, and they’re often smaller companies.
A stock’s average price-per-share during a specific period of time is called its moving average. Some common time frames to study in terms of a stock’s moving average include 50- and 200-day moving averages.
A rapid increase in the general price level of the market or of the price of a stock is known as a rally. Depending on the overall environment, it might be called a bull rally or a bear rally. In a bear market, upward trends of as little as 10 percent can qualify as a rally.
When you short-sell a stock, you borrow shares from someone else with the promise to return them at a point down the road. You then sell the stock for a profit. It’s a way to take advantage of a stock that you believe will decrease in price. After you sell short, you can buy back the shares at the lower price point and take the difference in price as your profit.
I use short selling on a regular basis. It’s often a smart move in a volatile market if you see patterns that indicate a sharp downward turn for a stock.
This is the difference between the bid and the ask prices of a stock, or the amount for which someone is willing to buy it and the amount for which someone is willing to sell it. For instance, if a trader is willing to trade XYZ stock for $10 and a buyer is willing to pay $9 for it, the spread is $1.
The price movements of a stock or the stock market as a whole. Highly volatile stocks are those with extreme daily up and down movements and wide intraday trading ranges. This is often common with stocks that are thinly traded or have low trading volumes.
I’m a big fan of high-volatility stocks because I can make a big profit off spikes or dips, depending on how I’m trading, in a short period of time. High volatility often makes trading more exciting, but it’s also risky if you’re inexperienced.
The number of shares of stock traded during a particular time period, normally measured in average daily trading volume. Volume can also mean the number of shares you purchase of a given stock. For instance, buying 2,000 shares of a company is a higher-volume purchase than buying 20 shares.