When we make money from the Forex we are looking for economic data which will influence the price of currencies. But when we are looking for good companies to invest in on the stock market we have been told to "Buy the blue chips." "Blue chips" are the big,reliable companies, and obviously these are listed for the most part on the New York Stock Exchange. The Dow Jones Average is composed of blue chips, and since there are only 30 listed, at the same time that the average has been going up, it might seem a simple matter to toss a coin to see which ones should be bought out of this list of 30. But let us get down to specific cases: Standard Oil Company of New Jersey is one of the largest, best managed and generally soundest corporations in the United States. Its earnings per share in 1958 were $2.72, in 1959 $2.91 and in 1960 $3.18. From 1957 through 1960 its dividends have been $2.25 per share each year. From the middle of 1957 to the end of 1960 the price trend of this stock was down. It declined from almost 70 to a point below 40. Another giant on the list of 30 Dow Jones stocks is the highly successful General Electric. From a high in early 1960 of nearly 100, GE plummeted to a level of close to 60 in the spring of 1961 because of the actions of the United States government in connection with price fixing by the corporation. There is some merit to the classical approach to the valuation of a stock by analyzing the underlying strength and prospects of the company, but this is only * An example of a high yield tax free bond is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel Authority 5ѕ% bond. In 1961 this bond could be bought under 100 to yield almost 6% and this 6% is equal to 12% for a man whose top income is taxed at a rate of 50%. one of the elements to look at. It, of course, should not be overlooked because in the long run, earnings per share will determine the price of a stock. The only question is, "How long?" While you are holding a sound company's stock others may be moving up and you want to move up with them. Determine the earnings trend of the company over the recent four or five years. It should be up in general, but stocks have moved up in price while earnings were declining. Determine the position of the industry through reading the Wall Street Journal, the financial and business section of The New York Times, the Value Line Investment Survey, and the journals published by every industry and available in any library. The reason Standard Oil of New Jersey was not moving up more rapidly is due to the fact that the outlook for the petroleum industry was not as healthy as some of the other industries. The most important piece of advice that can be given the investor in stock is that the price of a stock is the direct result of the forces which make the price of anything (stock, commodity or service) demand and supply. For a long time in the spring of 19611 thought GE was a good buy; that it might go up. I questioned a number of brokers and investment bankers about GE. There was a distinct lack of enthusiasm. Since these are the buyers and these are the people who recommend that customers buy the stock, it was evident to me that the demand was not there. It might change very quickly, but until it did I determined to buy other stocks. It is important to emphasize this point once again: that the price of a stock is the direct result of how much of a stock is offered for sale and what the demand is. We will return later to this point with a striking example. The next most important piece of advice is that you should buy a stock which is moving up, not one which might move up or one which is moving down and looks as though it might be a bargain. You cannot hope to buy at the bottom and sell at the top. If you try to buy at the bottom you have no assurance that the decline has stopped; and if you try to sell at the top you cannot be certain the rise will not continue. Buy just after a stock has demonstrated its willingness to rise for a few weeks, and sell after about two weeks of decline. The most foolish piece of philosophizing that an investor can engage in is to say to himself, "I don't need to worry about the declining trend in the price of my stock. It will come back." Yes, it may, but when? And if you sold and simply held cash, you might for your cash get far more shares with which to ride the market up again. At the beginning of 1960 Shell Oil was well over 40. By the summer it was down close to 30, and by the spring of 1961 it was close to 45. The downtrend was clear and the uptrend was just as clear. A person could have sold early in the decline and bought early in the rise. My wife, being as good an analyst as I, if not a little better through"intuition," hit the low point and advised buying at that point. A profit of 50% could have been realized in one year! Next, follow the market and follow it every few days to determine trend. The closer you are to the market the better you are informed as to what to do. Do not worry about a decline of a few days or a sudden break in the market, no matter how sharp. Worry only about the trend of your stock and the trend of the market. Use the stop loss order to protect yourself against losses and to provide you with peace of mind. When you purchase stock after careful study and consideration, you may not want to put in an immediate stop loss order which is an order to sell if the stock reaches a particular price below the present market. In the past I have placed stop loss orders, when I bought stock, at about two points under my purchase price. If I bought a stock at 501 put in a stop loss order at 48. Very often the stock went down to 48 and I was sold out. I lost both in the price of the stock and in the commission and tax I had to pay when I bought and when I sold. Then I had the unhappy experience of seeing my stock rise above 50 and keep on rising. If an investor followed the rule of placing a stop loss order a few points under the purchase price, he could hardly ever purchase a stock that jumps around like O'okiep Copper. This stock jumps up and down two points during one trading session. If a stock goes up say 10 points, you may place a stop loss order three or four points under the market. This still prevents a loss and you have already made a good profit in the stock. The strict trailing stop loss order may hurt you not only by getting you out of a rising stock on a minor decline, but the use of trailing stop loss orders by the general investing public damages the market. A slight drop in price of a stock can touch off a series of stop loss orders which lower the price of the stock needlessly. The major value of having a stock market is the provision of a place in which to buy and a place in which to sell with little delay and at a price which can to a great extent be known in advance. For this reason stocks listed on the New York Stock Exchange and on the American Stock Exchange offer a great advantage to the investor. He knows where he stands by looking at the daily paper, and he has liquidity. He can get his money out of the stock in a matter of minutes. With the Forex our money is just as liquid and we stand to make more money in a shorter space of time, and we can put a stop loss to protect our position. Good software will help us predict future price movements in currencies and help us time our purchases and sales of currencies for maximum profit.
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