Stock trading is an excellent way to make the absolute most of your money, but it is imperative that you know what you are doing. After all, it is your money at stake and there is no surefire bet in the world of investments - the value of your funds can just as easily go down as up. Before signing up to the best online stock trading platforms, remember that making good investment choices will always require extensive market research and investment education. This means time and effort spent looking at websites and reading reports, so that you're always aware of the latest market trends and stock exchange and company news.
If you need help knowing where to get started, here's ten of the best websites that online stock traders - both new and more experienced - should take the time to visit.
Investopedia is a great place to start if you're unsure of certain terms or want to better understand the complexities of the financial world. Alongside all of the news, guides and tutorials, there's even a stock trading simulator allowing you a practice run before you hit the markets for real.
The Motley Fool
The Motley Fool is a great site for beginner and intermediate investors who want to learn. Here you can find stock picks, advice, and news, as well as podcasts and discussion boards. If you're willing to dip your hand into your pocket, there's also some "Premium Advice" on offer, which it is claimed has delivered market-beating returns since 2003.
If you want all the very latest stock prices, the official website of the New York Stock Exchange is the place to go. There's real-time data, historical data, and a data library, making it a comprehensive resource for investors and issuers looking for stock specific news and information.
The official site for the formally named National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations offers insight into all the latest market activity and news, alongside real time updates to the indices to which it lends its name. Among the advice on offer, there's a weekly previewing trailing the "Stocks to Watch" and numerous articles recommending the best funds for different types of investor.
Unsurprisingly for a website named MarketWatch offers colorful market data, live charts, and all the latest stock news you could wish for. There's also in-depth news on the world's economies, but where it really excels is with the option to customize the homepage with watchlists for stocks that interest you. You can also search the tickers and have them set for your home page as well.
Bloomberg is the popular website that delivers business and markets news, data, analysis, and video to the world. As well as the iconic running ticker tape of latest news stories, there's charts galore tracking the progress of specific stocks and more. As the site is divided into markets, it's easy to find the exactly what you're looking for too, whether it be futures or movements in the Asian exchanges.
The money section on MSN.com is a great one-stop shop for all the latest market data and more. The latest moves on all the major global stock markets are front and center, while the price of oil, gold and the Dollar against the Euro are there too. Besides the easy-to-see data, there's a whole host of market news drawing from various websites that relate to almost everything you might need to know.
Forbes goes heavy on the news and is lighter on the data. Wider economic news is supplemented by in-depth articles about business and various sectors that you might be interested in investing in. There are regular updates on market movements too, but it is the guides to different funds and musings on why one stock is better than another that are really useful.
As its name suggests, StockCharts.com has all the charts, analysis tools and expert commentary you should need to make it as a successful investor. Its Scan Engine instantly provides the market’s best investment opportunities, and the Chart School is full of educational articles. Though some of the features are only accessible with a paid subscription, there is plenty else to make it a valuable source of information if you don’t want to pay.
Dedicated almost exclusively to news about the financial world, the FT handily splits its reporting into articles that focus on companies and markets. There's all the usual market charts and graphics too, most of which are highly interactive.
Making your stock moves
Once you know where to keep tabs on all the latest business news and have absorbed the stock trading advice that such websites bestow, you'll be in a much better position to start stock trading for real.
If the vast range of stock options available still seems bewildering, considering using a stock screener to help narrow your choice down. Once you've identified the stocks that you wish to play, the best online stock trading platforms are your next port of call. Keeping track of how your investments are performing is also crucial, with the best personal finance software the best way to keep an eye on your finances in their entirety.