This tag is to be used for any questions related to Stocks. Ideally they should be accompanied by a country tag if relevant. It is discouraged to ask question about a specific stock. However an example can be used to illustrate a point.

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81
votes
12answers
12k views

Why would a company care about the price of its own shares in the stock market?

After a company has issues shares, why should it care if the value of the shares go up and down? Since the shares are now being traded among the public, if the value goes up or down, that is strictly ...
65
votes
12answers
19k views

In the stock market, why is the “open” price value never the same as previous day's “close”?

This is something that is mind-boggling to me, and it is particularly obvious in candlestick graphs: Why is the open value never the same as the previous day's close value? This is something I just ...
43
votes
6answers
15k views

Why is the stock market closed on the weekend?

It's all digital and done with computers these days, so why bother? Doesn't that just make the system less liquid, which is the opposite to one aim of having the stock market? Plus can't you just ...
40
votes
8answers
4k views

Why does a company pay dividends at all?

If a company can lower the dividends and even stop paying them at all during hard times, why would they re-install them at all? If I understand correctly a company pays dividends so that investors ...
33
votes
15answers
10k views

I carelessly invested in a stock on a spike near the peak price. How can I salvage my investment?

I carelessly invested on stock on a spike (I have been persuaded by a family member) and now my investment value is really low, as you can see below. Is there anyway to salvage my investment for ...
29
votes
10answers
20k views

Options for dummies. Can you explain how puts & calls work, simply?

I never understood Puts or Calls. Could anybody explain it like I were a child?
25
votes
3answers
61k views

Can someone explain a stock's “bid” vs. “ask” price relative to “current” price?

In my online brokerage account, I want to buy a particular stock and I see : Bid: 13.20 x200 Ask: 13.27 x1,000 the current stock price is : 13.22 Can someone explain what the bid and ask ...
23
votes
7answers
1k views

Shares; are they really only for the rich/investors?

I've always been under the impression, that if you want to be a player in the "shares game" you either have to be an full time investor, or someone who has a lot of money to play with. Is this true? ...
23
votes
3answers
497 views

What are “preferred” stocks? How are they different from normal (common) stocks?

What are "preferred" stocks? How are they different from normal (common) stocks that you can buy on a stock exchange?
21
votes
7answers
884 views

Why is the dominant investing advice for individuals to use mutual funds, exchanged traded funds (ETFs), etc

The dominant advice on this site (including that which I give to novices) regarding investing is to only invest in fund vehicles (mutual funds, ETFs, etc), rather than in individual stocks. Why is ...
19
votes
8answers
1k views

Why is Insider Trading Illegal?

I feel I must first make the confession that I know very little about stocks and trading them. But when I heard the news of Raj Rajaratnam convicted and what he was convicted of (insider trading), it ...
19
votes
4answers
1k views

How do I invest and buy/sell stocks? What does “use a broker” mean?

This is an embarrassingly basic question. I'm a college student and know very, very little about the world of investing and purchasing stocks. I realize that some Googling could find me the answer ...
18
votes
7answers
3k views

How risky is it to keep my emergency fund in stocks?

Everybody says you should keep an emergency fund of 3–6 months of expenses in cash or near-cash (CDs, treasuries, etc.). I know this is heresy but if you have funds for significantly more than 6 ...
18
votes
6answers
6k views

Do stock prices drop due to dividends?

From Personal Finance for Dummies, page 209: Dividends Dividends are income paid by investments. Both bond funds and stocks can pay dividends. Bond fund dividends (the interest paid by the ...
18
votes
2answers
11k views

Difference between GOOGL and GOOG

why are there two ticker symbols for google ( GOOGL and GOOG ), they seem to be mostly identical but when I look at their market values they result in different values currently: 551.64 for GOOGL ...
17
votes
3answers
440 views

How to invest in stocks without using an intermediary like a broker? Can shares be bought direct?

I am looking to buy stocks but I would like to do so without a broker. From what I can tell, the exchanges are good ole boys clubs that require you know (or pay) someone in order to participate. Am I ...
16
votes
6answers
1k views

How do I get into investing in stocks?

How do I get into investing in stocks?
16
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the meaning of “short selling” or “going short” a stock?

Can someone please explain the meaning of 'shorting' a stock with an example?
16
votes
5answers
5k views

What is a good asset allocation for a 25 year old?

I have a mid-sized portfolio (under $100K). And am currently in 100% stocks. I have seen some advice being given that states 80/20 bonds will yield similar returns as 100% stocks with less volatility. ...
15
votes
5answers
4k views

Why do people buy stocks that pay no dividend?

Before recently, Apple Inc. did not give dividend to shareholders. This makes me curious why people buy Apple Inc. stocks; while it might be due to the expectation of selling stocks at a higher ...
14
votes
7answers
3k views

Is it wise to invest money in the stock market?

My uncle wants me to invest money in buying shares. I would like to ask these questions to my fellow users: Is it wise to invest money in the stock market? Is there any age limit to start into stock ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it true that 90% of investors lose their money?

Many investment gurus state that majority of investors fail and then offer a proven "[insert fancy name] investment strategy" that will make you successful. The number usually starts at 90% and often ...
14
votes
4answers
770 views

May 6, 2010 stock market decline/plunge: Why did it drop 9% in a few minutes?

Today (5/6/2010) the market dropped almost 900 points in less than an hour. I don't see any news story that explains the drop. Am I missing something obvious?
14
votes
4answers
1k views

Who owned my shares before me?

I understand that this would not be public info but is is possible for a company/the market to know the full history of individual share ownership? i.e. if I just bought some shares of a company, ...
14
votes
3answers
332 views

What is the p/e ratio?

What is the p/e ratio and how do I find it for a company?
13
votes
4answers
2k views

How does one value Facebook stock as a potential investment?

What techniques would you use to valuate Facebook to determine whether its current stock price is inflated, or whether it represents a good investment?
13
votes
5answers
1k views

How to evaluate stocks? e.g. Whether some stock is cheap or expensive?

What kind of information do you obtain before buying (or selling) a stock? I know the PE ratio is very important, but not the only thing. Are there any rules of thumb to determine whether some stock ...
13
votes
5answers
930 views

Confused about employee stock options: How do I afford these?

I'm confused about stock options. The numbers in the following story are fictional because I'm keeping the actual offer confidential. This is an American private company with a promising future: ...
13
votes
1answer
350 views

What is a stock split (reverse split)?

In the picture below, Citigroup's stock split 1 to 10. My guess is this means that everyone who had 1 share now has 10 shares? This can't be right though, because the value of the stock after the ...
13
votes
1answer
402 views

Indicators a stock is part of a pump and dump scheme?

What are the indicators that a stock is currently being pumped for a later dump? If one were watching the market what would they need to look for in order to identify a stock as a victim of pump and ...
13
votes
1answer
768 views

What's the differences between a discount broker and a regular broker?

What are the differences between a discount broker and a regular broker? "Discount" implies a price difference... but why can they be cheaper than regular brokers??
12
votes
8answers
5k views

Can I buy only 4 shares of a company?

I haven't traded yet online but I wanted to try, just to see. I'm in Europe and I'd like to buy 4 shares of Apple (it's about $344 as I write this, so I would invest about $1376). Can I just open ...
12
votes
3answers
721 views

Why is short-selling considered more “advanced” than a simple buy?

Considering the downward spiral in the market (which many are predicted will continue), I was thinking perhaps selling short would be the right strategy. But from what I can tell on my brokerage ...
12
votes
7answers
6k views

How much percent of my salary should I use to invest in company stock?

My company allows me to purchase stock at 90% of the closing fair market value. My salary is in the 90k-100k range. I am allowed to put in anywhere from 1-15% of my paycheck in company stock up to a ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Why does demand for stock rise when a company appears to have high future value?

So a company decides to raise money by selling shares of its stock. The stock is offered at an initial price of their determination. The stock is then traded in a market where forces of supply and ...
12
votes
5answers
331 views

Why would a company with a bad balance sheet be paying dividends?

As an example, Ford Motors recently reinstated its dividend. It still has a lot of debt and a high debt-equity ratio. Its bonds are still rated as junk. Why would a company like this spend its cash ...
12
votes
2answers
914 views

How can put options be used to buy shares at a lower price?

How to use puts, if you are a net buyer of stocks? I read an article about Warren Buffet buying Burlington Northern stocks and how he used puts to lower the buying price of the shares. Please, ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

What are the tax implications of exercising options early?

Say you have the following situation: You have pre-IPO stock options Half of the options have vested, the other half will vest over the next 2 years Your strike price is S The fair market value of ...
11
votes
7answers
4k views

Why does the share price tend to fall if a company's profits decrease, yet remain positive?

I often see news reports along the lines of "Company X has posted a profit of $100 million, 20% lower than the previous year." This kind of news frequently causes the company's share price to fall. ...
11
votes
6answers
3k views

Should I sell my stocks to reduce my debt?

The question is obvious. I have debt, not in excess, but I have. And I have some stocks in the market. Should I use the stock money to pay my debt, and be debt free. The debt is not high interest. ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the difference between a stock and a bond?

I am just learning about finances (only 14 years old) and have heard about Stocks and Bonds and I would like to know the difference between these two things and wonder why would I invest in one or the ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

How can I determine if my rate of return is “good” for the market I am in?

I am considering a small investment to get started with. What percent rate of return is considered to be good return on investments made in a stock market? I read somewhere that 25-30% is considered ...
11
votes
4answers
3k views

Does Joel Greenblatt's “Magic Formula Investing” really beat the market?

Background Joel Greenblatt's book "The little blue book that beats the market" is based on the premise that he has developed a magic formula. I am heavily skeptical of anyone who claims that they ...
11
votes
4answers
762 views

Does doing your “research”/“homework” on stocks make any sense?

One thing about investing has always bothered me. You constantly hear people saying you need to "do your research" or "do your homework" on a company before buying their stock. I rarely watch Mad ...
11
votes
5answers
5k views

Where should I invest to hedge against the stock market going down?

Let's say that the stock market falls in value for whatever reason. Maybe a bank or two goes out of business, for example, and stocks fall 20-30%. What would you invest in if you were sure this was ...
11
votes
4answers
317 views

Covered Call Writing - What affects the price of the options?

A little while ago, I bought $800 worth of stocks and sold about $200 worth in call options against the stock. I think it was 200 shares and 2 contracts (so my options weren't naked). That takes the ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Why can't I short a stock that sells for less than $5? Is there another way to “go short” on them?

I don't like satellite radio as a business and I want to short Sirius (SIRI). The stock sells for less than $5, so my broker won't let me short it. Is this a limitation of my broker? Or some SEC ...
11
votes
5answers
10k views

Please explain the relationship between dividend amount, stock price, and option value?

I consider myself a reasonably knowledgeable investor, but today was blown away by the fact that I didn't know that a stock's price is decreased by the amount of its dividend. To use a concrete ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Book or web site resources for an absolute beginner to learn about stocks and investing?

I'm completely new to the world of investing and stocks. Knowing that I shouldn't invest or buy stocks until I know it well enough, I was wondering which cheap or affordable resources would be the ...
11
votes
3answers
182 views

Is it better for a public company to increase its dividends, or institute a share buyback?

When a company is profitable and generating substantial positive cash flow, is it better from the company's perspective to have a dividend increase, or institute a share repurchasing program? From an ...