Different Ways of Buying Stocks
Let's say you are interested in this one company. You read its annual report, like what you see and your calculation indicates that the stock is trading way below its fair value. You are excited. It is time to buy! Hang on for a second. There are several techniques of buying stocks out there. Some are better than the other. Let me explore several useful ones.
Buy all at limit price. Assume that we have done our research and we want to invest $ 2000 to buy stock XYZ at $ 12/share. We can do this by setting a limit order of $ 12/share to buy 166 shares of XYZ. The advantage for this method is that we will not pay more than $ 12 for our XYZ share. If you use market order, instead of limit order, XYZ might run up to $ 13/share and execute your order at $ 12.50. Fifty cents may not sound a lot, but in this case, you just saves $ 83 for using limit order. Any better methods? Check out this next one.
Buying half at $12. Buying half when it drops. Stock market is volatile. It goes up and down due to various reasons. In this case, we set a limit order to buy $ 1000 worth of XYZ at $ 12/share. When XYZ drops lower, and if you think that the reason that you initially bought it is still valid, then you can buy more XYZ at a lower price. If XYZ drops by $ 1, you already save $ 83 off the bag. What else is there?
Dollar Cost Averaging (DCA). With DCA, investors normally buy a specified dollar of stock at regular intervals. In this case, you can decide to invest $ 500 monthly in XYZ stock. If the XYZ stock falls, you can buy more shares next month. If XYZ stock rises, you would buy less. But it is ok. You already made money on XYZ stocks that you bought at a lower price.
Which method is the best? There is no clear cut answer on this. Personally, I will never use market order when buying a stock. Commission for buying a limit order is not as expensive as it used to be. My favorite methods is by buying half position initially and then add half more when the share price drops. If you have done your research and you feel that $ 12 per share is a good buy, then why won't you buy some more if it goes down to $ 10? Just make sure that the fundamental remains the same when the stock drops.
While knowing how to initiate your position is important, I am more inclined in focusing on how to calculate fair value of a stock. This is where the bulk of your investment return comes from.
Hari wrote regular commentary about stock investing. He is always on the lookout for stocks that match his buying criteria. You can share your ideas or questions in our discussion board. He would be more than willing to assist.