How to Pick Stocks 101: A Beginners/New Investors Guide

Jesse Anderson

Picking stocks you’d like to trade requires factoring in several elements, including your experience level,  portfolio size, and preferred trading style. Whether you are stock picking for day trading or long-term holding, your guidelines on how to pick stocks should be compiled into a solid trading plan.

A dynamic trading plan will gradually evolve as you learn how to choose stocks and develop your stock research skills to determine your strengths and weaknesses. Let’s dive into the world of trading and discover how to pick a stock.

At optionDash, we understand stock and options trading, and we aim to provide you with the services of our reliable covered call stock screener. Read our blog to learn more about how to pick stocks efficiently.

How To Know What Stocks To Buy?

Investment Objectives

Before you pick stocks, you should define the scope of your investment portfolio. Every investor shares a common objective to make money, although their goals may be different. Some traders are focused on saving up for their retirement fund, some on wealth preservation, and some are hoping to generate enormous profits through capital appreciation.

Pro Stock Picking Tip: Different investment goals require completely different stock-picking strategies.

Diversified Portfolio

A mixture of the strategies mentioned above will suit any experienced trader. This is why diversifying your investment portfolio is considered the cardinal rule of stock picking. Diverse stock holdings offer you some cover from one-sided losses and allow you to invest strategically towards your mixed objectives.

What To Look For When Buying Stocks?

Earnings Growth Trends

An overall rising earnings growth chart is a pretty excellent stock-picking indicator for any company. Even minor but regular spikes over time are a positive sign, but stock value and profit gains must be balanced for an investment-worthy stock pick. Common ratios to consider in your search include the Price to Earnings ratio and Price to Sales ratio.  These should be compared against the entire market and industry competitors.   Such evaluations can help determine competitive advantages, market opportunities, and cash flow sustainability for further picking stocks.

Competitive Advantage

The high future growth potential of a market industry is a great sign for investments. Still, individual stock picking in a particular industry requires a competitive edge. You should cross-check the company’s sales, earnings, and cash flow statements to ensure tangible cash profits. Reviewing the company data against its peers will make for an even fairer comparison.

Debt-To-Equity Ratio

Even huge global conglomerates carry some debt that can be used as a financial indicator of a company. A high debt-to-equity ratio is a major red flag for picking stock, while any value less than or equal to 0.3 indicates lower risk tolerance. Although industries that rely on debt funding are exceptions, you should always ensure your stock pick follows industry standards.

Price-Earnings Ratio

We often overlook the meaning of purchasing stock.  You become a company owner entitled to a share of the company’s business.  The price of that stock is squarely rooted in its ability to create profits in the future.  The P/E ratio gauges a stock’s market value as a multiple of the company’s earnings. A lower multiple means you are paying less for current and potential future earnings.  It offers valuable insight into a stock’s market value and can be used to evaluate whether your stock pick is over or undervalued. The P/E ratio is the most common valuation metric for comparing businesses in the same industry before picking stocks.

Dividend Payments

Companies that pay out dividends indicate a level of stability, but a company with a consistently improved payout is potentially even better.   You should beware of businesses with sudden high yields as they could be getting desperate or are not investing enough in themself. Assessing long-term growth can you help predict regular dividend payments in the future.

Executive Leadership

Proficient leadership fosters a stable, long-lasting innovative work culture as companies reinvest in themselves for growth and expansion. A thorough company-level analysis reveals that well-run businesses generally result in higher annual returns.  The research will also offer valuable insights into the company’s future prospects and alignment with your objectives.

Long-Term Stability

The stock market is volatile, and every company loses market value at some point.  You must find stocks that you are comfortable owning when things turn difficult. Abandoning a stock at the first sign of losses will result in an endless string of losses.  The best stock picks can be held forever. Upfront due diligence and ongoing reviews of the fundamentals will lead to better chances of investment success. 

How To Find Stocks To Invest In?

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