How We Compare Stocks Brokers
With a few exceptions, we were provided test accounts from each of the brokers we reviewed. While we couldn’t place actual trades, this gave us the opportunity to see what kinds of tools each trading platform has. We looked at the mobile trading apps, educational offerings and platform training.
Pricing was another factor we looked at, though in the last year, all the brokers we reviewed have reduced their commissions to between $4.95 and $6.95. Most of these brokers don’t require any minimum deposit to get started. Some do, and that amount ranges from $100 to $2,500. High-balance or high-frequency traders can become eligible for pricing discounts.
When evaluating how easy a platform is to use, we considered several questions. How easy is it to make watchlists? Could we set up alerts and customize them? What kinds of screening tools are available to help find potential investments? How well do the charting tools work and what technical indicators can you use?
We prefer platforms that are intuitive, with a customizable layout that lets you control which tools are front and center each time you open the program. One of the most vital things is a quick, easily accessible order process. Markets change quickly, and being able to get an order as soon as you can is an important part of maximizing your investments.
Stock brokers that received high grades filled all those criteria, often including third-party tools like Recognia that help you screen for stocks and ETFs to invest in, and Morningstar which offers news updates and investment recommendations. We gave low grades to stock brokers that were difficult to use, had weak tools and in some cases had more steps to fund your account.
We checked out the mobile apps for each broker. The best apps are very close to the desktop versions, giving you the same tools to monitor securities and place trades.
When to Buy and Sell Stocks
In addition to having big earnings and accelerating sales, your stock should be in a proper buying range.
Lean and check what technical signs you should look for when buying a company with strong fundamentals easy tools Once you buy a stock, when should you sell? Many investors simply don’t have an exit strategy — and their returns suffer accordingly. But you can use time-proven sell rules to make a huge difference in your portfolio.
1. Limit Your Losses to 6%-9%
Even the best stocks will sometimes break out, and then drop to slightly below their ideal buy point. If your stock declines more than 8% it usually means something is wrong with your chosen entry point, the company, its industry, the general market, or all the above.
2. Take Profits
One of the greatest feelings is seeing your stock’s price go up. But how long should you let it ride before taking cash off the table? During a healthy market uptrend it’s smart to take most profits at 15%-30%
3. The 10 Week Hold Rule
If a stock has the power to jump over 20% very quickly out of a proper base, it could have what it takes to become a huge market winner. The 8-week hold rule helps you identify such stocks. When your stock reaches a 20% gain in less than three weeks, hold for at least eight weeks