Tips for Online Investing: What You Need to Know About Trading In Fast-Moving Markets

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Company Filings More Search Options. Tips for Online Investing: The price of some stocks, especially recent "hot" IPOs and high tech stocks, can soar and drop suddenly. In these fast markets when many investors want to trade at the same time and prices change quickly, delays can develop across the board. Executions and confirmations slow down, while reports of prices lag behind actual prices.

In these markets, investors can suffer unexpected losses very quickly. Investors trading over the Internet or online, who are used to instant access to their accounts and near instantaneous executions of their trades, especially need to understand how they can protect themselves in fast-moving markets.

You can limit your losses in fast-moving markets if you know what you are buying and the risks of your investment; and know how online trading guidelines changes during fast markets and take additional steps to guard against the typical problems investors face in these markets. Although online trading saves investors time and money, it does not take the homework out of making investment decisions.

You may be able to make a trade in a nanosecond, but making wise investment decisions takes time. Before you trade, know why you are buying or selling, and the risk of your investment. Set your price limits on fast-moving stocks: A limit order is an order to buy or sell a security at a specific price. A buy limit order can only be executed at the limit price or lower, and a sell limit order can only be executed at the limit price or higher.

When you place a market order, you can't control the price at which your order will be filled. Remember that your limit order may never be executed because the market price may quickly surpass your limit before your order can be filled. Online trading guidelines by using a limit order you also protect yourself from buying the stock at too high a price. Online trading is not always instantaneous Investors may find that technological "choke points" can slow or prevent their orders from reaching an online firm.

For example, problems can occur where: A capacity problem or limitation at any of these choke points can cause a delay or failure in an investor's attempt to online trading guidelines an online firm's automated trading system. Know your options for placing a trade if you are unable to access your account online Most online trading firms offer alternatives for placing trades. These alternatives may include touch-tone telephone trades, faxing your order, or doing it the low-tech way--talking to a broker over the phone.

Make sure you know whether using these different options online trading guidelines increase your costs.

And remember, if you experience delays getting online, you may experience similar delays when you turn to one of these alternatives. If you place an order, don't assume it didn't go through Some investors have mistakenly assumed that their orders have not been executed and place another order.

They end up either owning twice as much stock as they could afford or wanted, or with sell orders, online trading guidelines stock they do not own. Talk with your firm about how you should handle a situation where you are unsure if your original order was executed. If you cancel an order, make sure the cancellation worked before placing another trade When you cancel an online trade, it is important to make sure that your online trading guidelines transaction was not executed.

Although you may receive an electronic receipt for the cancellation, don't assume that that means the trade was canceled. Orders can only be canceled if they have not been executed. Ask your firm about how you should check to see if a cancellation order actually worked. If you purchase a security in a cash account, you must pay for it before you can sell it In a cash account, you must pay for the purchase of a stock before you sell it. If you buy and sell a stock before paying for online trading guidelines, you are freeridingwhich violates the credit extension provisions of the Federal Reserve Board.

If you freerideyour broker must "freeze" your account for 90 days. You can still trade during the freeze, but you must fully pay for any purchase on the date you trade while the freeze is in effect.

You can avoid the freeze if you fully pay for the stock within five days from the date of the purchase with funds that do not come from the sale of the stock.

You can always ask your broker for an extension or waiver, but you may not get it. If you trade on margin, your broker can sell your securities without giving you a margin call Now is the time to reread your margin agreement and pay attention to the fine print.

If your online trading guidelines has fallen below the online trading guidelines maintenance margin requirement, online trading guidelines broker has the legal right to sell your securities at any time without consulting you first. Some investors have been rudely surprised that "margin calls" are a courtesy, not a requirement. Brokers are not required to make margin calls to their customers. Even when your broker offers you time to put more cash or securities into your account to meet a margin call, the broker can act without waiting for you to meet the call.

In a rapidly declining market your broker can sell your entire margin account online trading guidelines a substantial loss to you, because the securities in the account have declined in online trading guidelines. No regulations require a trade to be executed within a certain time There are no Securities and Exchange Commission regulations that require a trade to be executed within a set period of online trading guidelines.

But if firms advertise their speed of execution, they must not exaggerate or fail to tell online trading guidelines about the possibility of significant delays. The Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling has a quiz you can take to help you decide if you have a problem, and suggests where you can go for help. By law, you only have a limited time to take legal action. Follow these steps to solve your problem: Talk to your broker or online firm and ask for an explanation.

Take notes of the answers you receive. If you are dissatisfied with the response and believe that you have been treated unfairly, ask to talk with the broker's branch manager. In the case of an online firm, go directly to step number three. If your are still dissatisfied, write to the compliance department online trading guidelines the firm's main office.

Explain your problem clearly, and tell the firm how you want it resolved. Ask the compliance online trading guidelines to respond to you in writing within 30 days. If you're still dissatisfied, then send a online trading guidelines of complaint to the National Association of Securities Dealers, your online trading guidelines securities administrator, or to the Office of Investor Education and Advocacy at the SEC along with copies of the letters you've sent already to the firm. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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