Are you ready?
Believe me, no one at the start really is. Some say the stock market is a simple game and playing requires only gut instinct, or no instinct, since the rule is buy low and sell high. Timing is everything and nothing in this game. No one knows when the bottom will come, even when a downward curve is on the horizon.
You can play two ways: online or live. You can see a list of trading participants (brokers, in street parlance) in http://www.pse.com.ph/. Click the link on the left side that says “Trading Participants”.
I play both ways. I have a real, live stockbroker and a BPI Trade Account. But personally, I prefer going through a stockbroker because I do not like the guesswork that goes with online trading. It drives me crazy when I put in an order for a certain stock and I do not get a match. Real live stockbrokers give you actual prices, and the actual volume available, and tips (!) like “wag muna, bababa pa”. Don’t buy yet, the price will still go down. But do set up an online account because you get the closing prices of your favorite stocks at the ringing of “the bell”. Sure beats waiting for tomorrow’s newspaper.
Be warned, though. The stock market is not for the faint of heart. It is a very volatile market. Millions are made and lost in a heartbeat in this game. But you can (kind of) play with stocks via the route of mutual funds, a pool of stocks managed by a fund manager, and a good option for first time investors. But this is long term (read: at least 7 years) so the risk is eased out of the equation. Okay, okay. It is not very exciting.
But if you are not ready to play either stocks or mutual funds, you can assess your stockmarket acumen via the www.pse.com.ph website and practice, practice, practice!
But however you play, you have to read and learn to look at the long term viability of a business and its potential for financial success. Clues may be found in a corporation’s projects, investments and financial statements. Boring stuff, yes, but these are the stuff legendary millions are made of.
Text by Issa. Art by D. Copyright 2009.
email: [email protected]