Buy Low - Sell High
Now where have I heard that before? I know. It was my broker.
So I took his advice and bought some of the stocks he recommended. I am still waiting for the 'sell high' part of the equation. Everything he touted went up for a while and now it is lower than when I bought it. It is so low I can't bring myself to sell it. My capital has shrunk about 60% from where I started. That's a lot of money to me because it took a long time to save it. What happened?
The brokerage company that your broker works for puts out recommendations almost very week for various companies listed on the major stock exchanges. They have simple things like Buy or Strong Buy. Then they have a complex group of words used when they downgrade a stock. It never goes from Buy to Sell. No, it becomes Accumulate, Underperform, Attractive, Market Perform, Neutral or some other meaningless term. If any stock is ever downgraded even one notch sell it immediately. Finally after a stock has lost 50% or more of its value it becomes a 'Hold". And you know where you are holding it.
Last year the brokerage companies gave over 33,000 stock recommendations to their customers. Of those only 125 were Sell. On the NASDAQ exchange alone there were over 1,000 stocks that lost more than 90% of their value. The "experts", known as analysts, were all telling you to buy. Your kid could have thrown a dart at the Wall Street Journal in 1999 and done as good a job as almost any analyst. What I want to know (and I think you do too) is if they were smart enough to tell you to buy then why weren't they able to tell you to sell?
I'll tell you why. Brokerage companies never give sell signals because they don't want to offend a company that might come out with a public offering on which they will make a killing. It is better to kill a few customers than miss out on several million dollars. You pay commission and ask for honest advice, but you are being fed disinformation.
Is there any way you can protect yourself from this nonsense? Yes! It is called a stop-loss order. Brokers don't like them because then they have to watch your account. He will tell you you don't need it as he will watch your account. And pigs can fly. The average broker has 300 accounts and unless you have a large 6-figure account you will be on the bottom of the pile.
Anyone can place a protective open stop-loss order for stocks. Most are about 8% to 15% below the highest closing price. I recommend that each Saturday morning you look in the paper for the Friday closing price of your stock and place your open stop each Monday morning with the broker. As your stock moves up keep raising the stop and you will sell near the high. Never lower it. This will lock in your profit or take you out of a losing position. I can assure you your broker will never call you to sell. Brokers are not taught to protect your capital.
This is the only way to buy low, sell high, protect your capital and lock in your profits.