T Nation

INVESTING

 I have a couple hundred bucks that Im looking to invest. No big ammount of money by any means.
 I am new to investing. im educating myself, and I have a few questions I was hoping a few t-maggers would be able to help me out with.
 What would be my best shot : options, which im considering, bonds, or something else?
 Please post your tips and tricks on investing, no matter how little or small. 

to desial23: good for you. Look into a good IRA… I would strongly suggest a Roth IRA… Your local bank can give information on this… Hope this helps

Investing rule #1: DON’T LISTEN TO ANYBODY!!!

Hey check out fool.com. It has alot of good stuff for newbies.

I second the fool.com suggestion, GREAT site about investing. Is this a short term or long term investment? Don’t need to touch for 5 years? 10? 50? Depending on these answers, you could get a lil more help on where to put it.

I don’t know of any broker that will let you invest with less than $2000. May some mutual fund for a grand, but you need more cash to invest.

Pat is right on that… Most IRA’s start at $2000 on up… But its worth looking into.

 Thanx for the replies!
 I will look at fool.com.
 After spending last week learning everything i can from options, to stock investing, technical analysis, fibs numbers, graphs, and some bond and mutual fund stuff, I decided that, since mutual funds are much slower  and less profitable, albeit much more secure, than stocks, I decided to invest in stocks.
  I learned a lot, and even my parents who made 5000 bucks from scratch with stocks didnt know about technical analysis, and I was surprised they didnt keep up with the trends in the market. Their lesson? Their 5000 doallars are now worth just about 50 dollars- their shares crumbled down from a healthy 100 bucks to 1 buck a piece, without their even knowing it. I already got my own stock ticker on my computer which rolling around as we speak with the stocks im interested in.
  I will invest no more than a couple hundred bucks at the most , meaning ill lose close to nothing should it happen. Sharebuilder.com charges a monthly fee of 12 dollars, and you can buy from as little as one share - they require no minimum deposit. Or you can just buy whatever shares you want and pay them 4 dollars.
   In my investing naivety, I'm considering buying 100 shares of united airlines - worth 1 dollar each right now. they filed for bankrupcy protection - and they're way down from their healthy 100 dollars a share 2 yars ago. Just 1 year ago they were at 18 dollars a piece. I think this will be temporary, as united announced thery're secure, and i dont think the largest airline in the u.s. is going anywhere. If they as little as rebound to 5 dollars a share, which is very very feasible, ill get 500 bucks out of 100. If in a few years they manage to become as profitable as they were 2 years ago, I will have 10 grand out of 100 dollars, which I'd have spent elsewhere anyway. I figure i got nothin to lose. 
 Any comments out there? Thanx!

TD Waterhouse.com use to give you free trades if you are thinking about purchasing stocks. Check them out on line… I think they still give a couple of free trades… And I believe there is no monthly fee…

I’ve really been disillusioned by the stock market. I was making a decent amount (considering what I could put in as a poor college kid) my freshman year, and have watched all the money I could’ve spent on supplements or books just whittle away to nothing. I do think that, long term, an S&P500 or total stock fund is the way to go (since they’re still low right now anyway). On the other hand, the only thing that has made money for me (other than my cheesecake factory stock) is my IRA.

Fitone thanx for the tip!
Nephone, did you use technical analysis, and fibs numbers? These give you a good idea of the current and future trends. Most people who invest never use TA and wonder where their money went. Fibs numbers give you a good idea of the probability that the previous trend will continue or change -thereby reducing the chance you’ll lose money.
Journals like wall street journal and a few good technical analysis websites give you very good insight to a company’s current state, and what the expectations are for the stock - by no means an absolute, but it gives you a good idea of wether it’s wise to invest in a company or not.
Quarterly profit reports probably have the greatest impact on a stock value. If a company reports reduced profits, or even negative profits, as united airlines did, the stock price will crumble down. Why is it crumbling down? things like relocation expenses, recently acquired equipment will negatively impact a company’s profitability, but it’s usually short or maybe moderate term. US Airways is a good example of this - they bought 20 brand new airbus aircraft which in the long term will offer the airline a good edge. However, this had a negative impact on the company’s profits for that year, bringing the stock value down. Add 9/11 to this and you have a bankrupt airline. However, without 9/11, the airline would creep out of the harder financial situation with time, and turn in a good profit, which might have made it wise to buy the cheap shares when the company didnt make money. If, however, a company reports a negative profit report because of a loss of demand for their product or increased competition, and they have no tricks up their sleeve in sight, then it’s probably a good idea to sell the stock. For example intel has been coming down, but with news of their new cell-phone chip which is expected to turn in a huge profit and a lot of demand from cell phone companies, their stock is now starting to creep up.
This is from all i’ve learned.
I dont know much about stocks, and have no experience. The only reason im buying united airlines, which most would laugh at, is, aside from being a pilot myself, that united airlines is likely going nowhere but up- they were regarded as the microsoft of airlines, and a merger with usair was denied solely on the basis that United would have unrivaled edge over competition and most of the monopoly in the u.s. Even though their laughable profit reports are at an extreme -53 dollars per share, and even though they filed for bankrupcy, I believe they will rebound, and 100 shares at 1 buck will in a matter of years turn into 10 grand.
The next thing to impact a stock value is the mood of the investing community. If you look at the graphs for the month of january, righ about mid-jan, the market came creeping down with fear of a very near impending war, and things like enforced air defense around the nation’s capital and news on how to prepare for biochemical and dirty bomb attacks - which made a fear of an attack much more real.
This is, in all honesty, just my stupid humble opinion, not to mention very partial to the airlines, and extremely unexperienced. These factors do, however, have a huge impact on the trends of a stock value, and unless you keep a close eye on it, the chances you’ll lose money are much greater. Afterall, it’s all about knowing when to buy and knowing when to sell, and knowing when to stay the course, right?
Sorry for this huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge post (if you read this far)! Promise I wont do it again.