Stock Market Investing For Beginners: Learn How The Stock Market Works



Stock Market Investing For Beginners:


Learn How The Stock Market Works




Andrew P.C.


Copyright © 2017 Andrew P.C.


All Rights Reserved


[] Contents


Contents 2

Introduction 4

About the author 7

What are stocks? 9

Stock exchanges 11

Dow and S&P 500 13

Stock prices 15

Ticker Symbols 17

52 week high and low 19

Share count 20

Earnings-per-share (EPS) 22

Market capitalization 23

Stock sectors 24

Valuation 27

Dividends 28

Volume 29

Portfolio 30

Dollar cost averaging 32

How to make money with stocks 33

Investing styles 34

Quarterly reporting 37

How to actually buy and sell stocks 38

Final Thoughts 43

Financial Statement Analysis Course 44

Dividend Growth Investing Boot Camp Course 46


[] Introduction


Doesn’t it seem like prices are out of control these days? Starbucks charges $5 for a cup of coffee when it used to be $3. McDonald’s took a lot of items off the dollar menu.


…and don’t even get me started on the cost of education! Kids are graduating college with enough debt to pay for a mortgage!


Inflation is the tendency for prices to increase over time. That’s a scary thought right? Prices for stuff we use every day get more expensive by the second!


Inflation is the #1 reason why we must invest in the stock market. We need to outpace inflation otherwise our ability to buy products/services becomes weaker!


[+ Just think about this scary statistic: assuming 3% annual inflation, all of the cash you currently have will be worth half as much 24 years from now! +]


Over the past few decades, corporate America has been cutting pensions! Back in the day, if you worked with a company for many decades you would be able to live off a pension for life.


The thing is, pensions are a big burden for companies! They have an obligation to pay you even after you retire! As a result, many companies don’t offer pension plans anymore


Instead, many companies are pushing employees towards 401(K) plans or not offering retirement plans at all!


As a result, we must take retirement into our own hands.


Without a doubt, the stock market has the BIGGEST creator of wealth in human history.


Take a look at the world’s richest men…


Bill Gates


Warren Buffett


Jeff Bezos


They all got rich through by taking their companies public!


Stocks are a crucial part of every investment portfolio. Stocks are 100% necessary if you want to retire and escape the pain and grind of the 9-5 work culture.


Despite their popularity, some people still don’t fully understand the market. I get it. Investing is difficult and there’s way too much information online.


Some of that information is good and some of it is bad. The truth is, it’s hard to learn about investing online.


I remember when I first got interested about stocks in college. It seemed like I was in another world.


Even though I majored in accounting and finance in college, my classes NEVER taught us about personal finance or how to invest. A lot of it just wasn’t practical for real life investing.


As a result, I know how you feel about approaching the subject. That’s why I’m offering this free book for you all.


Hopefully by the end, you will have a much better understanding of the stock market.


[] About the author


Hi, I’m Andrew.


Ever since college, I became fascinated with investing. I even got my degree in accounting and finance!


There’s just something amazing about having your money work for you! After college, I got my first real job as an equity research analyst (just a fancy term for someone who researches stocks).


Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to be exposed to many different aspects of investing. Most people I come across are scared of investing. But it’s a necessary skill to learn in order to prepare for retirement. That’s why it is my goal to teach more people about the benefits of investing!


Check out my website, www.DividendGrowthMasters.com to get more great (and free) content!


Also, check out the back of this book for some amazing deals on my online investing courses! I will personally teach you how to invest!

[] What are stocks?


Stocks represent ownership in a business. If you think of a company as a pie, each person or shareholder owns stock in the pie.


Each stock represents a claim on the company’s assets, earnings, and cash distributions. In its simplest form, a share represents a unit of ownership in a company.


If you own a share of a company, it means you own a little piece of every asset the Company owns. You own a little piece of all of the office furniture, all of the intellectual property, and even a small portion of its earnings.


Rights of shareholders


Now, being a shareholder in a company grants you several rights. The most important is that you have a claim to the Company’s net assets, earnings, and cash distributions in proportion to your percentage ownership. The more shares you own, the larger percentage of the business you own.


The other important right you get as a shareholder is the right to elect the board of directors. The board of directors is a group of people elected as representatives to manage the long-term affairs of the Company.


Every public company is required to have a board. The board has many responsibilities including hiring (or firing) the management team, establishing compensation for executives, and reviewing the Company’s long-term strategy. The board also establishes dividend policies.


The structure of the board and the amount of members is determined by the Company’s bylaws.


[] Stock exchanges


Shares of public companies are traded over stock exchanges. The two biggest ones in the U.S. are the New York stock Exchange (or NYSE for short) and the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations (or NASDAQ).


Think of stock exchanges like a marketplace. They connect buyers and sellers and facilitate the means for people to trade stocks.


In the old days, most stock trading was actually done on actual trading floors.


These days, most trading is done electronically with online brokerage accounts.


Many stocks can trade on a single stock exchange. In fact, the NASDAQ contains over 3,000 stocks with a total value of over $6.8 trillion!


Stock exchanges are only open during certain hours of the day.


In the U.S. stock exchanges are open for trading from 9:30 AM Eastern Standard Time until 4:30 PM.


Stocks of public companies can only trade during those hours (also known as “market hours”).


[] Dow and S&P 500


If you read financial news or watch TV, you’ve undoubtedly heard that the stock market is at all time highs. To measure the performance of the broad economy, we aggregate a bunch of stocks into an index to monitor.


You can utilize an index to monitor anything. You can have an index of oil and gas companies, of technology companies, or even retail companies.


The two most popular indexes in the U.S. are the Dow and the S&P 500.


The Dow Jones Industrial Average (or just “the Dow”) is a price-weighted index of 30 large stocks that trade on the NYSE and the NASDAQ. The index was first invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.


While there is some debate about this, the Dow index is supposed to reflect the underlying growth of the economy. This is because the index stock components represent some of the largest companies in the US.


You can check out the companies included in the Dow here (http://money.cnn.com/data/dow30/)


You probably purchase product or use the services from many of these companies on a daily basis.


Like the Dow, the Standard & Poor’s 500 (or “S&P 500”) is an important market index. It is a market capitalization (i.e. market value) weighted index of 500 large companies that trade on the NYSE/NASDAQ.


The stocks included in the S&P 500 are seen as leading indicators of the US economy.


You can check out the components of the S&P 500 here (http://money.cnn.com/data/markets/sandp/)


So, why are these indexes widely followed? Well it’s because they attempt to capture the health of the US economy. When the US economy is healthy and growing, these indices increase in value. Conversely, in times of recession, they decline in value.


[] Stock prices


Stocks of public companies are quoted every day. As you have probably seen on the news, stock prices change every single day, every single minute, and every single second.


So you’re probably wondering why stock prices changes. Why do they go up? And why do they go down? Who determines the price?


That’s the trillion dollar question! If you know why stock prices move you can make a ton of money!


Sorry to sound mysterious and everything, but the truth is there’s not always a clear reason why a stock price moves.


For the most part, the day to day trading of a stock is just “noise”. What makes a stock increase from $10.50 to $10.51?


Probably nothing to be honest.


However, there are a few obvious things that can impact a company’s stock price in the short term, including:


p<>{color:#000;}. Executive departures (i.e. CEO leaving)

p<>{color:#000;}. An accounting scandal

p<>{color:#000;}. Good quarterly results and/or forward guidance

p<>{color:#000;}. FDA approval of a drug

p<>{color:#000;}. Favorable regulation on the industry

p<>{color:#000;}. Being acquired by another company

p<>{color:#000;}. …and much more!


The point is there are endless reasons a stock changes prices in the short term.


However, what matters is what happens over the long-term. After all, investing is a marathon not a race.


Typically, the most important factors that impact a company are long-term sales and earnings.


What’s important is not focusing on the day to day movements of a company’s stock price. On a daily basis, the stock price change can seem random (and it often is).


What is more important is looking at the stock price over a multi-year period because that’s when true trends emerge.


[] Ticker Symbols


Before you buy your first stock, let’s go over a few financial terms. Many first time investors are intimidated by “Wall Street” terminology. After all, it literally sounds like another language!


However, it’s really easy to get the hang of. All you need is some proper experience and practice. Let’s get started.


The first thing to know is a stock’s ticker symbol.


In the stock market, companies are represented by ticker symbols, which are used to buy and sell shares. A ticker symbol is typically three or four letters long. Ticker symbols represent the “code” you type to tell your broker which company to buy or sell.


Every company has a unique ticker symbol.


Don’t worry, many companies have very easy to remember ticket symbols. For example, Apple’s ticker symbol is AAPL, Costco’s ticker symbol is COST, and Microsoft’s ticker symbol is MSFT.


To look up a ticker symbol, just run a simple Google search. You can also search for ticker symbols on most financial websites like Google Finance, Yahoo Finance, or CNBC.


[] 52 week high and low


The 52 week high and low represents the highest and the lowest price a stock traded at over the previous 52 weeks. In essence, it tells investors the range the stock has traded at over the past year.


[] Share count


Shares represent units of ownership in a business that typically provide for an equal distribution of profits or dividends.


All pubic companies have freely tradeable shares. This means that they are traded on stock exchanges as opposed to private companies whose shares are privately traded.


There are two main definitions of share count. Let’s start with our basic share count. Basic shares outstanding represent a company’s total number of shares outstanding.


However, shares are not the only way for stockholders to hold ownership interests in a company. Companies frequently issue stock options, restricted stock, or other equity awards to compensate or incentivize employees.


These awards represent the right to receive shares and can represent share dilution to current stockholders.


Diluted share count is a more conservative approach to calculating a company’s number of shares outstanding. Diluted shares outstanding represent basic shares outstanding plus any other potential claims on common shares.


Let’s say a company has 200 shares outstanding from raising capital to start operations. At the end of the year, the company decides to compensate the CEO with 10 stock options, with each option allowing the CEO to acquire one share.


In this example, basic shares outstanding would be 200 shares and the diluted share count would be 200 + 10 or 210 shares.


[] Earnings-per-share (EPS)


The most common way to utilize share count in financial analysis is to express a company’s earnings on a per-share basis. This is referred to earnings-per-share or EPS.


EPS measures the amount of profit the company generates for every share outstanding. That means if the company has an EPS of $2.00, the Company generates two dollars for every share outstanding.


There are two ways to express EPS based on the amount of shares outstanding: basic and diluted EPS.


Basic EPS simply represents net income divided by basic shares outstanding.


Diluted EPS represents net income divided by diluted shares outstanding.


Diluted EPS is the more commonly used metric because it provides a more conservative figure than basic EPS.


[] Market capitalization


A company’s market capitalization also known as “market cap” is just a fancy term to describe the value that a public company is currently worth in the open market.


Market cap is the current market value of a company’s shares. For instance, if company ABC has 100 shares outstanding and each share is currently trading for $10 on the NYSE, ABC has a market cap of $1,000 (100 shares x $10).


Now, the US public market is home to many different companies of all sizes. We have large companies like Apple or Microsoft with a market cap of over $400 billion and we have much smaller companies with a market cap of less than $100 million.


[] Stock sectors


The U.S. stock market is broken down into different “sectors” or industries. There are 11 main “market sectors” in the U.S. as shown below:


Consumer staples: This sector includes companies that make beverages, food & staples retailing, food products, household products, personal products, and tobacco. These are products are “staples” of everyday life—products that consumers will use on a daily basis.


Examples of consumer staples companies include Procter & Gamble and General Mills.


Consumer discretionary: These are industries that tend to be the most sensitive to economic cycles. It includes automotive companies, household durable goods, textiles and apparel, leisure equipment, hotels, restaurants, media production, and consumer retailers.


Examples include Ford, Abercrombie, and Chipotle Mexican Grill.


Energy: This includes energy equipment and services and oil and gas/consumable fuels. These companies produce the energy components that drive the economy.


Examples include Exxon Mobil and Chevron.


Financials: This includes banks, consumer finance, diversified financial services, insurance, mortgage REITS, and other financial entities.


Examples include Bank of America and Wells Fargo.


Healthcare: This sector includes biotechnology companies, healthcare equipment and supplies, healthcare providers and services, healthcare technology, life sciences tools and services, and pharmaceuticals.


Examples include Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.


Industrials: Companies in aerospace and defense, air freight and logistics, airlines, building products, commercial services and supplies, construction and engineering, electrical equipment, industrial conglomerates, machinery, road and rail, and transportation infrastructure businesses.


Examples include Boeing and General Electric.


Information technology: These are your tech companies: communications equipment, electronic equipment/instruments/components, IT services, internet software and services, semiconductors and semiconductor equipment, software, and technology hardware/storage/peripherals.


Examples include Apple, Microsoft, and Intel.


Materials: Companies that create chemicals, construction materials, containers and packaging, metals and minerals, and paper and forest products.


Examples include Dow Chemical and U.S. Steel.


Real estate: This includes equity real estate investment trusts (REITs) and real estate management and development.


An example would be Realty Income.


Telecommunication services: Diversified telecom services and wireless telecom service providers. Examples of companies in this sector include AT&T and Verizon.


Utilities: These companies provide electric utilities, gas utilities, independent power and renewable electricity, multi-utilities, and water utilities.


Examples include Duke Energy and NextEra Energy.


[] Valuation


Let’s discuss valuation briefly. Valuation just refers to how cheap or expensive a stock is. The most common valuation metric used is the Price-to-earnings ratio (P/E ratio)


Price-earnings ratio = Stock price / Earnings-per-share


Remember, earnings per share simply represents net income divided by shares outstanding.


P/E measures is how much we are paying for a business relative to its profits.


For example, a P/E ratio of 15 means that investors are willing to pay $15 to purchase the Company’s stock for every dollar of profit it generates.


As a general rule of thumb, higher quality companies trade for higher P/E multiples and lower quality companies trade at lower multiples.


[] Dividends


A dividend is a distribution of a portion of a company’s earnings (typically paid in cash) back to shareholders. The dividend distribution is typically set by the board of directors. Dividends are most commonly issued in cash, but can also be issued with stock.


Dividends are most often paid quarterly, but can be paid monthly, semi annually, or annually as well. Most companies in the REIT industry pay dividends on either a quarterly or monthly basis because they attract dividend growth investors.


A common term quoted in the financial media is dividend yield. This is simply the annual dividend payment divided by the stock price. For example, if the Company pays an annual dividend of $1 and its stock price is $100, the dividend yield is 1 / 100 = 1.0%


[] Volume


Volume is the number of shares the stock traded over a certain period of time. This can be measured on a daily basis, over 30 days, over a year, or any time period. Volume is typically used in technical analysis, but it is an important indicator to see how much interest is in a stock.


Volume can be measured in terms of share count or in terms of dollars. Typically, larger market cap companies will have larger volume than smaller companies.


[] Portfolio


A portfolio is just a fancy term for a collection of stocks, bonds, real estate and other investments.


When creating an investment or retirement portfolio, the key is diversification. You’ll want exposure to many different asset classes such as cash, stocks (equities), bonds, commodities, real estate, and others.


Now there are no fast and hard rules for creating a portfolio. Everyone has different financial needs and obligations.


You should custom build your own portfolio to match your investing needs, risk appetite, liquidity and other factors.


Now, a key part of monitoring your portfolio is rebalancing. Over time, your asset allocations will begin to fluctuate (change) for better or worse due to the nature of the market. For instance, if stocks rally for the year, your equity allocation may now be 50% of your net worth instead of your target of 40%.


As a result, rebalancing your investment portfolio is important to make sure your target asset allocations are in place. I would suggest either balancing on a quarterly, semi-annual, or annual basis to make sure everything is in order.


[] Dollar cost averaging


Dollar cost averaging is a strategy that has become more popular in recent years. It involves buying a fixed dollar amount of a particular stock (particularly an index) on a regular schedule regardless of the price.


So, if you buy an index in a rising stock market environment, you’ll buy fewer shares. Conversely, in a falling market environment, you’ll buy more shares. As a result, dollar cost averaging ensures that you will earn the average market return.


The dollar cost averaging strategy is highly popular because:


1. It does not require market timing. Just buy the same fixed dollar amount of an index every period (i.e. every month, every quarter, etc).


2. It is easy to implement and you’ll get the market return over the long-term.


3. Requires very little monitoring and maintenance on your part.


[] How to make money with stocks


There are many different investing strategies to make money. However, there are only two basic ways to make money with stocks: capital gains and dividends.


Capital gains just means you are selling a stock for a higher price than what you paid (essentially “buy low and sell high”).


The other way is through dividends. Dividends are distributions of a Company’s profits back to owners (i.e. the shareholders).


That’s it!


[] Investing styles


There are a few general “investing” styles (or strategies) that most people follow.


The first is value investing, which has been highly popularized by billionaire Warren Buffett.


Value investing can best be described as “buy low, sell high.”


The strategy involves buying stocks that are trading below their “intrinsic value” (fair value). As a result, value investors typically like to buy stocks that are trading at low valuation multiples.


The philosophy is that the low multiple provides a “margin of safety” because it is already trading at a depressed valuation.


Another popular investing style is growth investing. Growth investing was pioneered by Phil Fisher, one of the greatest investors of all time.


Growth investing is all about capital appreciation because “growth stocks” rarely pay dividends.


The entire growth investing philosophy focuses on stocks with above average sales (and earnings) growth. Most growth investors only target stocks that are growing sales by 15%+ a year.


Given that these stocks are growing sales very rapidly, they typically trade at very high valuations. For example, it’s very common for a growth stock to trade at a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 40x or higher.


The final popular investing strategy is called Dividend Growth Investing or “DGI”.


In fact, DGI is a very popular retirement strategy.


Dividend Growth Investing focuses on companies that have the ability to pay and increase dividends over multiple decades.


Dividends are distributions of profits back to shareholders. They are great because companies pay them out on a regular basis (typically every 3 months).


This makes dividends an awesome source of passive income. Imagine just getting paid to hold a company’s stock!


Great “dividend aristocrats” also INCREASE their dividends over time. This means your source of passive income will INCREASE too!


Once your portfolio gets big enough you can actually live solely off the dividend payments and not have to sell stock to fund your lifestyle!


Not only that, but dividends receive preferential tax treatment in the U.S. So you could be paying a tax rate as low as 0% on your dividend income!


If you want to learn more about Dividend Growth Investing and how you can retire early, check out the back of my book. I have a great deal for loyal readers for my Dividend Growth Investing Boot Camp Course!


[] Quarterly reporting


Alright, let’s talk about reporting. All public companies will announce important information through their website and also by filing documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).


Companies in the US are required to file quarterly and annual reports with the SEC.


These filings just detail the financial results of the business. It includes information such as how much sales they generated. How much profit they made. How much cash it generated. And it also includes things like how much debt they owe to the bank and much more!


[] How to actually buy and sell stocks


So, how do you actually buy or sell a stock? I wondered about that in college. No, I’m not talking about how to research which stock to buy…


I’m talking about how to actually purchase a stock with a brokerage account!


Again, this is never taught in colleges. It’s something you have to learn for yourself.


To buy or sell a stock online, you need to have a brokerage account. These days, there are dozens and dozens of online brokerage firms fighting for your business. That’s good because it drives down the cost of buying and selling stocks.


Now, many brokerages will often push clients to consult with a “financial expert”. In reality, these “financial experts” are not very knowledgeable about the markets.


These experts typically call clients over the phone and recommend stocks to buy or sell. Do not fall for this tactic! These trades typically cost over 10 times what you can do yourself with an online trade. It is simply not worth it!


Most online brokerages these days only charge a fee to buy or sell a stock. That fee ranges from $4 to $10 depending on the firm.


Trading terms


If you want to buy or sell shares there are a few terms you need to know first.


Before buying or selling a stock, be sure to check out what price it is trading for. There are two things you’ll want to look for: the bid and the ask price.


The bid price is the maximum price buyers are willing to pay for a stock. Conversely, the ask price is the minimum price sellers are willing to sell their shares for.


The open (or opening) price refers to the first price a stock traded for on a particular day. Conversely, the close (or closing) price is the price the stock last traded at the end of the trading day.


The intraday price just refers to the stock price during trading hours on a particular day.


After selecting the amount of shares you want to buy (or sell), you may notice there is a whole list of various order types you can choose from.


This is where some people get confused (including me when I first started). Don’t worry, the terminology will be very easy to understand with some practice.


Unless you’re going to be a day trader (which I do not recommend), you’ll only need to understand a few basic order types.


A market order means you are telling your broker to buy (or sell) shares in a company at the best current available price (in other words the current “market price”). When you place a market order, your trade will typically be filled (completed) very quickly.


Only use market orders for securities that are highly liquid. And by liquid, I mean that they trade a lot. If a stock only trades a few thousand shares a day, it would likely be a wiser choice to use a limit order (discussed next).


A limit order is a specific trade where you instruct your broker to only buy or sell shares at a certain specified price.


Limit orders are great because you know exactly what price you’ll pay for the stock (or what price you’ll sell for).


Limit orders are typically used for less liquid stocks (companies that trade on very low volume). That way you ensure you get a good deal on the trade.


Keep in mind that limit orders do not guarantee that you will get all the shares you specified in the order. This can occur if the brokerage cannot find shares at the price you specified in the trade.


When you select a limit order, there are a few more options you can select from. First, is the time period where the trade will be active.


If you place a limit order to buy a stock that is below the current stock price, the order will not fill until the stock declines to that level. As a result, some people like to keep the trade active by setting an expiration for the order.


The other thing you need to consider is if you want an “all or nothing” restriction on your limit order. As I noted before, sometimes you might not get all of the shares in your order because there may be no interest at your limit price.


This is where an “all or nothing” restriction may be useful. This instructs your broker to ONLY fill the trade if they can get you all the shares you specified.


A stop loss order is typically used to limit the losses of a particular investment. Under a stop loss order, your broker will sell (or buy) the stock after a specific price level has been reached.


Say for example Apple is trading for $120 a share right now and you want to limit your losses on the investment. You could set a stop loss order at $105.


So if Apple’s stock declines to the stop price level, your broker will then automatically sell the shares at the prevailing market price.


Like the limit order, you can set a stop loss order to be ‘active’ over a period of time.


[] Final Thoughts


Having a basic understanding of the stock market is important to save for retirement and reach financial freedom.


Thank you for reading. Hopefully this book helped your financial journey!


If you enjoyed this book please consider leaving a review! I take all feedback seriously and it helps me to continue producing great content for everyone.


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Dividend Growth Investing is all about investing in stocks that can pay and increase dividends over multiple decades.


Dividends are distributions of profits back to shareholders. They are great because companies pay them out on a regular basis (typically every 3 months).


This makes dividends an awesome source of passive income. Imagine just getting paid to hold a company’s stock!


Great “dividend aristocrats” also INCREASE their dividends over time. This means your source of passive income will INCREASE too!


Once your portfolio gets big enough you can actually live solely off the dividend payments and not have to sell stock to fund your lifestyle!


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Stock Market Investing For Beginners: Learn How The Stock Market Works

The stock market has been the greatest creator of wealth in human history. If you want to get ahead financially, you need to understand how the stock market works. If you want to reach retirement, you need to invest in stocks. There’s no other way. For most, investing is a very scary activity. That’s why this book is written specifically for beginners to learn the ropes of investing. In this book you will learn: *The basic mechanics of the stock market *How to read stock quotes and trade stocks *Important Wall Street terms defined *Why stock prices change *What a portfolio is and how to dollar cost average *Different investing styles (value investing, growth investing, dividend investing) Don’t let fear hold you back! Learn how the stock market works so you can reach financial independence!

  • Author: Andrew P.C.
  • Published: 2017-08-18 02:32:26
  • Words: 5489
Stock Market Investing For Beginners: Learn How The Stock Market Works Stock Market Investing For Beginners: Learn How The Stock Market Works