Learn Stock Trading
Let's Start By Placing A Trade

When you are beginning to learn stock trading, you must become familiar with the steps necessary to place a trade and how to use a basic order entry screen, or ticket.

Here is an example of a basic order entry screen. Keep in mind while you learn stock trading that all order entry screens will not be the same and some may have different options.

basic order entry screen


Here are the steps to go through and information that you will need to enter when using a basic order entry screen, or ticket:

  • Select the proper account if you have more than one account.
  • Make sure you have the correct amount of cash available to place this trade.
  • Enter the stock symbol (sometimes called a ticker. You can look up the stock symbol by clicking on the "stock symbol" link in your program, or websites such as YAHOO FINANCE or GOOGLE FINANCE.
  • Select the "Action"= i.e. "Buy" or "Sell"
  • Enter the number of shares you would like to purchase.
  • Select the order "Type": With a basic order entry, this is where you will either enter "Market Order" which means that you are agreeing to trade shares at the next best price available once you place the trade; or "Limit Order", which means that you agree to trade shares up to the price you specify in the "Limit" amount entry box.
  • If you selected "Limit Order" you will enter the "Limit Price" also, which is the "most you are willing to pay or accept" for a share of this particular stock, depending on whether you are buying or selling.
  • You will also have to select the "Time in Force" that you would like your order to remain in effect.
  • There may also be a box to select "Conditions". This will usually be "none" or "All or None".

You can see on the basic order entry screen which I've shown, that there are dropdown arrows for some of the items. The items with dropdown arrows are: "Action"; "Order Type"; "Time in Force"; and "Conditions".

Some of these items are only available on advanced order entry screens, but as you continue to learn stock trading, you will run across these options as well. I will briefly go over some of the options for each one below:

Action:

  • Buy= An action to buy a stock.
  • Sell= An action to sell a stock.

Order Type:

  • Market Order= Trade at the next best available price.
  • Limit Order= Buy up to the price you specify at the highest; or Sell down to the price you specify at the lowest.
  • Stop Loss= An order that will become a Market order once the price you specify gets met.
  • Stop Limit= An order that will become a Limit order once the price you specify gets met.
  • Trailing Stop Loss in Dollars= An order that will become a Market order once a specific dollar amount gets met.
  • Trailing Stop Loss in Percent= An order that will become a Market order once a specific percentage amount gets met.
  • Trailing Stop Limit in Dollars= An order that will become a Limit order once a specific dollar amount gets met.
  • Trailing Stop Limit in Percent= An order that will become a Limit order once a specific percentage amount gets met.

Time in Force:

  • Day= An order will be cancelled if not filled by the end of the day.
  • GTC= This order will not be cancelled unless you cancel it. They usually have a maximum time limit such as 120 days. It will keep rolling over to the next day if it is not filled.
  • Fill or Kill= This means that the complete order should be filled immediately otherwise cancelled.
  • Immediate or Cancel= This means that the order should be filled either completely or partially immediately, otherwise cancelled.
  • On the Open= An order to be placed at the opening of the market regular trading hours.
  • On the Close= An order to be placed either within the last minute of the trading day, or as close to it as possible.

Conditions:

  • None= An order can be filled in whole or in part.
  • All or None= An order can only be filled in whole.

Once you have entered your order, you should then "preview" the order before making it a live order. Don't make the same mistake I did when I was beginning to learn stock trading. I didn't preview my order entry only to find out that I entered in the wrong number of shares.

Just imagine placing an order to buy 100 shares; and finding out that you bought 1000 shares; only after you sold the 100 shares that you thought you had purchased, and being puzzled as to why you still own 900 shares!

As I said above, some of these items are only available on advanced order entry screens, but you should be aware of them. In order to learn stock trading and be successful, you should know how each option that is available to you works.

Understanding about each of these will help you develop a better overall trading plan and give you additional knowledge while you learn stock trading.




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