Online Investing Tips: Trading Bonds Online

Tips and suggestions on finding and trading stocks and bonds on the Internet.

The stock market can be confusing. Not only do you have to find a place to invest your money, you have to find which stocks and bonds you wish to invest in. Either that, or find a broker that you trust and have them help you find the right ones. Of course, there is another option...

With the advent of the Internet, it is now possible to invest with online brokerages, do stock and bond research in your free time, and monitor your money with usually only a slight quote delay (which is usually between 10 and 20 minutes.) With all of this technology available to you, why not take advantage of it? Well, perhaps you don't know how.

Using the Internet to find and invest in stocks and bonds is easier than you might think. Most major online companies (such as Netscape, MSN, and Yahoo!) offer both stock market quotes as well as extensive research into company histories at the click of a button. Often, you need simply to go to the "Finance" section of the website, type the name of the company you're wanting to learn about into a box, and they will give you their most recent quote, stock symbols, and often a variety of graphs showing how the stock has performed that day, that week, that month, or even that year. From there, you can also often access news reports that directly deal with that company, as well as a variety of other options that may vary from site to site.



Should you decide to also invest online, there are even more options available to you. Online brokerages such as Schwab.com, HarrisDirect.com, and ShareBuilder.com will not only let you research stocks and invest in them, but they will help you to invest and diversify even when you're away from your computer. You can often set limits for the stocks that you own so that you will automatically buy or sell when the stocks or bonds reach a certain price, setup automatic deposits from your bank account to be invested into stocks, bonds, and indexes of your choice, and have the website suggest several different ways that you can invest your money for a diverse portfolio and a maximized investment.

Perhaps the best incentive for online research and investment is the fact that you have pretty much 24/7 access to the entire investment process. If you're watching the news at 11 o'clock at night and hear about a company that you might want to invest in, you can hop in your computer chair and call up a profile of the company to see how they've been doing in recent months. If you like them, you can then set up a trade for the start of business the next day. Conversely, if you happen to hear something that you don't like about a company that you're already invested in, you can find more information about it online and then either set a limit in case it starts to fall, or go ahead and set up a trade to sell part or all of your stock in the company. It's really up to you.

Of course, as a downside, the websites of your choice don't have years of market experience with which they can guide you. They don't have their opinion of your latest investment, and they don't usually recommend little-heard-of companies that a live broker might. After all, the axe can swing both ways...

In the end, you may find online research and investment useful in your financial plans. Or you may prefer to have a banker or investment broker to personally help you. Hopefully, you'll choose somewhat of a happy medium; using the internet to educate yourself further and to help you to invest, while relying upon the opinions and experiences of others to help you to make your decisions. Regardless of what you choose, however, I hope that you have the best of luck.

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