Online trading hints and tips

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There’s no shortage of research and information available about individual stocks – after all, stocks in companies are the basic “currency” of the stock exchange.

That’s why it’s not surprising that there’s plenty of information out there about them.

But what about broader tips on how to get the best out of your online trading experience?

Fortunately, there’s lots of information online, both from online trading providers themselves, and other advice sites, that will give you very useful hints and tips to really maximise the performance of your online trading account.

Here are a few tips to get you started;

Use the research tools

Most online trading providers offer access to in-house and other research analysts. These reports typically discuss a company’s prospects, and often take a broader industry view to help you think about deeper trends that might influence a stock. You can never rely entirely on external research – you ultimately have to make your own decisions on trading – but read everything you can, especially when it’s part of the fees you’re already paying!

Get real-time alerts

The stock exchange moves at a very rapid pace. The value per share of individual stocks can move widely during a trading day – it’s not unusual for the stocks of very large, ASX-100 companies to move by a dollar or more every day. So finding out news about company announcements, or key industry or economic developments, often can’t wait until tomorrow. Many providers now offer instant alerts, delivered by SMS or email. While these generally cost a bit more, for an active trader, they can help you get the information you need much closer to real-time.

Use tools to limit your risk

Most online providers will allow you to specify conditions under which you want to buy and sell – for example, a common tool is a basic “conditional order”, meaning that once a stock has hit a price you nominate, and your specified volume has been traded, the order is automatically placed. This can help take some of the emotion out of trading.

All of the major online trading providers offer good website and phone-based support. You should take the time to review these before you choose a provider – the nature and usefulness of their support services is a good indicator as to how good a partner they will be for your trading experience. For example, Etrade offers a very user-friendly website that will give you a step-by-step summary of the online trading process.

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Laine Gordon is the Head of Public Relations at RateCity. With a background in journalism, Laine brings over a decade of experience in personal finance to the team. She is passionate about helping people get out of debt, save money, and make better decisions about their own finances.

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