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Intro to Stock Trading

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The 12 Types of Trades You Can Place with a Broker
Magnifying glass on top of newspaper stock reports

There are about a dozen types of stock trades you can place with your broker once you've opened an account. It's important for new investors to understand the benefits and dangers of each of these trades before you buy your first stock, bond, or fund.

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After you've chosen a stock broker, you are going to want to begin buying investments such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or exchange traded funds. Before you can do that, however, you're going to need to learn the twelve types of trades you can place and what they mean so you don't make a big (and potentially expensive) mistake.

Terms like "market order", "limit order", "trailing stop loss", and "bracket order" may sound complicated but in reality, they are simple concepts that you can understand with just a little bit of work. It's best to think of them as tools in your stock trading arsenal. For instance, if you want to put in an order that will keep following a stock price as it rises so you don't lose any upside, but sells your stake if the market starts to crash, you can do that. If you want to buy shares and put in an order at a predetermined amount below a specific price so you limit your losses, you can do that, too.

In this beginner’s stock trading step-by-step tutorial, part of our guide to trading stocks, you’ll be empowered with the knowledge necessary to call your broker and understand the lingo coming from the other side of the phone or, if you trade stocks online, through the computer monitor. (Please note that these trades are meant to be used in the context of a disciplined, long-term investment strategy, not for the purposes of short-term or day trading. You shouldn't engage in any stock trading unless you understand what you are doing and you've sought the counsel of a professional, well-respected financial planner.)

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