Different Types of Stocks
- Common Stock
Investing in stocks usually refers to investment in common stocks. These are the basic stocks that are publicly traded on the stock market. When you own common stock, it gives you the right to vote on board members and other corporate issues at a company’s annual meeting. Some common stocks also pay regular dividends, but payouts are never guaranteed. One downside of common stock is that its shareholders are last in line to be repaid if the company goes bankrupt.
- Preferred Stock
Some companies issue shares that are called preferred stock. Preferred stock pays its holders guaranteed dividends. Preferred stock shareholders are also more likely to receive some kind of compensation if the company becomes insolvent.
- Class A Stock and Class B Stock
Some companies choose to issue multiple classes of stock. These stock classes are indicated by letters, such as class A stock and class B stock. The most common reason for a company to issue separate classes of stock is to grant key investors more control over the company’s affairs.
Here’s how it works in practice. One type of shares—class A stock, for instance—would only be issued to company founders or key executives. Another type of stock—class B stock—would be available to the general public. Class A stock might have 10 times the voting power as class B stock, giving insiders tight control over the company’s business.
Stocks may be categorized by market capitalization or market cap
- Large-Cap Stocks
Public companies. with a market capitalization of $10 billion or more are categorized as large-cap stocks. Their huge size and considerable influence over markets offer investors greater stability and less risk since such large-cap companies often can weather market disruptions and volatility better than smaller companies.
One downside of large-cap stocks is that companies of this size grow much more slowly than newer, smaller companies. That means investors shouldn’t expect outsized returns from investing in large-cap stocks.
- Mid-Cap Stocks
Companies with a market capitalization between $2 billion and $10 billion are called mid-cap stocks. They can be tomorrow’s large-cap companies or the fallen large-caps of yesterday. Mid-cap companies combine the stability of established businesses with more of the growth potential of smaller companies.
Mid-cap stocks can offer the potential for growth as they expand their share of the markets where they do business. Plus, they’re often the target of mergers or acquisitions by large-cap companies.
- Small-Cap Stocks
Small-cap stocks are U.S. companies with a market capitalization of $300 million to $2 billion. There are many times more small-cap companies than the number of large-cap and mid-cap stocks combined.
Small-cap stocks offer investors huge opportunities for growth, and the small-cap market is made up of a lot of future mid-cap and large-cap companies. At the same time, these stocks are among the riskiest investment options since small-cap stocks experience heightened market volatility.
Additionally, small-caps can also include companies facing bankruptcy and companies that are ripe for acquisition. Investing in small-caps pairs the possibility of impressive gains with the potential for major losses.
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- Growth Stocks
Growth stocks are companies that are reinvesting their profits and focusing on increasing their sales, profits, share prices, or cash flows at a greater rate than the market at large. Growth stocks are potentially more volatile as their focus is to earn higher than the market growth rate. And this comes with its own risks. Growth companies reinvest their earnings and might not pay dividends.
- Value Stocks
Value stocks are strong companies that are being underpriced by the stock market. Value investors try to uncover companies in the value stock category, buy their shares, and wait for the rest of the market to wake up to their true value. In layman’s terms, value stocks are the shares of companies that are on sale.
The characteristics of a value stock are a low price-to-book ratio or low P/E ratio along with some other factors.
- International Stocks
International stocks are shares of companies from outside of your home country. Investing in international stocks provides extra diversification because they are impacted by different market forces. Buying international stocks may give investors access to faster-growing economies as well as different risk and return patterns.
Dividend stocks can provide a steady stream of income in addition to price appreciation. That’s why dividend investors buy the shares of public companies that return some of their profits to shareholders as dividends.
- IPO Stocks
Private companies that want to get access to public stock markets often make an initial public offering (IPO). Many investors like to chase IPO stocks but it has its risks. These new, unproven public companies aren’t always a good investment. If you’re interested in IPO stock investing, make sure you do not invest more than a small portion of your portfolio. Consider sticking to companies or industries you are familiar with.
- Cyclical Stocks and Defensive Stocks
Cyclical stocks are companies whose sales—and their share prices—tend to surge when the economy is growing out of an economic slowdown and into a boom. Conversely, shares tend to fall, and sales contract when the economy is slowing down.
Defensive stocks, meanwhile, are shares of companies whose businesses are less impacted by the ups and downs of the business cycle. Utility stocks, healthcare stocks, and consumer staples stocks are all considered defensive investments. That’s because their revenue—and potentially their stock prices—remain steady in boom and bust economies.
- Blue Chip Stocks
Investors who want steady returns and reliable dividends should check out blue chip stocks. They’re large-cap companies with name recognition, decades-long histories of reliable performance, a track record of steady earnings, and consistent dividend payouts.
However, since these companies are well-established, expect the cost-per-share to be higher. And keep in mind that blue chip stocks aren’t likely to experience meteoric growth.
- Penny Stocks
Penny stocks are very risky, speculative investments that have very low valuations. Penny stocks were, as their name implies, priced in pennies, coming in at less than $1 per share, though now penny stocks may run as high as $5 per share
Penny stocks are not listed on major stock exchanges. They’re traded over the counter (OTC) and have vanishingly small trading volumes, making them highly illiquid investments.
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- ESG Stocks
Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) is an approach to investing where people only buy the stock of companies that exhibit responsible corporate behavior. ESG stocks are judged by third-party rating systems to determine which conducts their business in environmentally sustainable and socially responsible ways while also maintaining good corporate governance that encourages diversity and pay equity within the company.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Investing in Stocks
Many beginner investors enter the stock market without any financial education/knowledge and/or prior research. These traders expect to make huge profits in a short period. But very quickly they face the reality that it’s not as easy as they thought. In fact, there are several problems that can occur while trading.
Here are the most common investing mistakes traders make:
Constantly watching the markets
It is okay to keep an eye on what’s happening in the overall economy and where your investment stands. But it is highly inadvisable to be constantly checking and updating yourself with the market. The economy and the market are constantly changing and it is very easy to get carried away with the excitement or the downfall of the market.
It’s best for investors to avoid tracking their performance (both good and bad) too frequently. While it’s easier than ever to get instant information on your portfolio’s progress, it doesn’t mean it’s necessary.
Chasing the trends
Many investors blindly follow the trend in the fear of missing out. This is one of the biggest mistakes traders can make. Always do your due diligence before putting your money in the market. Or traders can adopt a more passive approach by investing in index funds that do not require active involvement and avoid the impulse decision of blindly following the ongoing market trends.
Following bad advice from social media
Social Media is not a reliable source of gathering information about the stock market and/or the industries you have invested in. There is a lot of misinformation spreading on social media because there is no control and check on this platform. Also, never take investment advice from those who have no credibility or who have no knowledge about your finances.
Not giving your investments time to grow
Time is one of the most important things you need to give your investments in order to grow. You cannot expect your portfolio to give you huge returns overnight. A big mistake investor makes is bailing out on an investment because they did not double their money in a certain period of time, which is usually days or weeks.
Quick growth comes with a lot of risk and not every investor can take up big risks.
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Investing Money you’ll soon need
One rule of investing is to first build a solid financial base before planning to invest a portion of your money in the stock market. Prior to investing, you should feel in control of how you spend your money. A big part of that is building a cash reserve so you don’t need to rely on your investments when you run into an emergency or want to make a certain purchase. Money needed within a relatively short time period, such as within three years, should not be invested in stocks.
Having unclear investing goals
Having a clear investment goal is one of the most important factors in a successful trading journey. Which includes what is your purpose of investing, how long you can invest before you need the money, and setting measurable targets to reach your goal.
You don’t have to chase high returns that also correlate with higher risk if you can adequately meet your goals with less risky investments. Your investment goals may evolve to reflect your changing priorities and circumstances.
Not investing altogether
Keeping cash instead of investing is a very poor financial decision. Keeping all your cash in a bank account means that money loses its purchasing power due to the rising rate of inflation. While investing the risk of losing your money is there but keeping cash also leads to money losing its purchasing power.
Not educating yourself before investing
A common blunder is that only a few investors do their due diligence before moving into the market. One shouldn’t underestimate the time, education, commitment, and dedication that goes into being a stock trader, let alone being a successful one.
Financial education and knowing the basic accounting processes can help get a well-rounded picture of investing and trading.
Over expecting returns
New traders often dream of quick gains and high profits. However, the reality is that it takes time and effort to build wealth through stock trading. Always set reasonable expectations as there are no guarantees in the stock market. It is a volatile market with a huge capacity for unexpected behavior.
Emotional decision making
It is very easy to get carried away with emotions while trading. They often make rash decisions based on their gut feeling and buy into something that isn’t as good as it sounds and worse on paper.
Both beginners and experienced investors can make the mistake of purchasing stocks based on emotion. For example, traders often buy overvalued stock expecting high rewards. Also, losses are more significant when things go wrong with overvalued stocks than undervalued ones.
Not knowing the basic fundamental factors
Another common mistake is not knowing the fundamental factors and what makes the market go up and down. The basic knowledge of bull and bear that is if the demand goes up in a bull market, the supply goes down, which raises the prices. Similarly, during economic downturns or bear markets, the demand goes down, putting too much supply in circulation, thus bringing down prices.
Impatient attitude toward investing
A common mistake is making irrational decisions based on impatience, leading to premature selling. Investing is a long-term game, and a slower approach to portfolio growth can generate better returns in the long run, so investors should remain patient in situations where the overall market drops or individual stocks go up and down in value.
It is common for investors to lose patience and keep selling during market volatility. However, sometimes looking beyond short-term price fluctuations can be the winner. Be prepared to take some losses over an extended period without selling. Moreover, setting realistic goals regarding profit growth can help to remain patient – the market will be volatile and unpredictable no matter what.
Overinvesting in Penny stocks
Penny stocks generally carry high risk, are often unprofitable, volatile, and not from established businesses as they are easily manipulated by scammers who target them with so-called “pump-and-dump” schemes. It means buying shares of a stock and promoting it to drive up the price, making it seem like an excellent investment but leaving investors with significant losses.
Penny stocks trade for less than $5, often even less than $1, which makes them very appealing. But the fact that investors could afford to buy thousands of these stocks doesn’t necessarily mean they will generate any profits, quite the opposite.
Not diversifying your portfolio
Diversification is the key to success in the stock market. While it seems very easy to invest in a few stocks with high growth potential, it is not a healthy approach. Because if any of the stocks fall, it takes the whole portfolio down with it. Whereas, in the case of a diversified portfolio, the whole portfolio does not suffer.
Investing in industries you have zero knowledge about
One way to diversify your portfolio is to invest in companies across several industries. Still, it is necessary to note that it is best to do so in sectors you understand. If you are familiar with a specific sector, it is easier to know what gives that business a competitive advantage, when they thrive, and why they are likely to keep growing. if you have no idea about the industry, it might be harder to anticipate what affects the growth of finance companies.
Not considering the fees of transactions
New traders often ignore the fee of every transaction and tend to aggressively buy and sell in order to maximize their profits. But it hits them hard when they realize that the transaction costs are eroding away a huge chunk of their profits.
Even though short-term active trading can generate good profits, it requires more time, education, and risk than buy-and-hold strategies. Sometimes, you need to give time for investments to grow.
Expecting good-performing stocks to continue their performance
Many investors completely rely on the past performance of a stock and expect the good performance to continue in the coming years. And while doing this they fail to keep a check on their investments. Historical performance is one of the metrics to evaluate a stock but complete reliance on this factor alone is very risky. One should consider other metrics along with it. A fast-growing company might be performing well today and has several years of profitability and good stock performance in a row. However, the market dynamics can change with a new competitive, and unique product. And if the company fails to innovate and bring new products to the market, its future performance is at risk.
Not evaluating your portfolio’s performance
While it seems like a basic rule to regularly evaluate your portfolio’s performance, many investors fail to do so. Regularly evaluating helps investors refine and adjust their investing strategy and track what generates the most value to get better over time.
Not incorporating Index funds in your portfolio
Index funds require less knowledge, skill, and time than investing in individual stocks, so they make an excellent choice for beginner investors. They are passively managed and come with lower fees than actively traded funds.
The majority of investors completely ignore the index funds at the start of their trading journey. Whereas, index funds provide safe and secure investment to traders which is an excellent option at the start of the trading journey.
Attempting to time the market
Another common investing mistake in trading is getting out and buying back investments at the right time. Investors keep their stocks when the market is rising and sell to invest in safer options like saving accounts and cash equivalents during bear markets.
However, this kind of strategy requires tracking the market and knowing exactly when to sell and when to repurchase the stocks, which is extremely difficult. So, as a beginner investor, it can be even better to stay invested even during the market ups and downs rather than try to time the market, as overall, it can generate the same returns.
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Investing without a strategy
The golden rule in stock trading: Plan your trade and trade your plan. Stock market is constantly changing and it is impossible to control what is happening in the market. As an investor having a trade plan can help you overcome the effects of the volatile behavior of the market.
Working with the wrong advisor
Take your time finding the right financial manager and advisor. Because your money is at stake and every decision can lead to profit or loss. Therefore, take your time finding the right advisor. Vet your advisor carefully to ensure your goals are aligned.
Forgetting about inflation
Most investors focus on nominal returns instead of real returns. This focus means looking at and comparing performance after fees and inflation. Even if the economy is not in a massive inflationary period, some costs will still rise! It is important to remember that what you can buy with the assets you have is in many ways more important than their value in dollar terms. Develop a discipline of focusing on what is really important: your returns after adjusting for rising costs.
How to Avoid These Mistakes
Building a solid portfolio often involves assessing the following factors:
- Financial goals
- Current income
- Spending habits
- Market environment
- Expected returns
Also, be mindful of the following factors:
- Do thorough research on the company and its financial performance before investing.
- Develop a long-term strategy and stick to it, rather than chasing short-term gains or losses.
- Diversify your portfolio across different sectors, industries, and asset classes to reduce risk.
- Focus on the value of the company, not just the price of the stock, and look for undervalued opportunities.
- Practice risk management by setting a stop-loss order, limiting your position size, and reviewing your performance regularly.
With these factors in mind, investors can avoid focusing on short-term market swings, and control what they can. Making small investments over the long run can have powerful effects, with the potential to accumulate significant wealth simply by investing consistently over time.
It is important to carefully monitor your investments regularly as market conditions change, factoring in fees and inflation. This will let you know if your investments are on track, or if you need to adjust based on changing personal circumstances or other factors.
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