First of all, the image of a thousand stock brokers on Wall Street yelling and screaming on the trading floor is far from what a novice investor will experience. Most people who choose stock market investments do it from the comfort of their own home, on their home computer. It may take a little practice, research and often experience but you can learn how to play the stock market successfully to make money.
There are a few different trading strategies you can take to starting to play the stock market and learning how to invest. Mostly it depends on the amount of time you have available to put into playing the stock market, and how much effort and research you are willing to do.
Day traders (the yelling and screaming brokers you associate with Wall Street) need to be on the go constantly while the stock market is trading. They are continuously buying and selling stock to maintain their position within largely fluctuating prices. They spend hours and hours each day watching the cost of stock in companies and industries change. This type of trading really is a full time job if you want to be successful. The more experience you have the better you will be at it, starting out with mentor of some kind is almost essential. There is little emotional attachment to any investing as the trades happen too quickly. There is often no preference to the company or industry either so a very vast knowledge base of price trends is in particularly important.
Swing stock trading is another option of how to play the stock market. This is a step back from the fast paced environment of day trading. This can be a lucrative second job as it won’t necessarily require your full time attention. Generally swing trading involves buying and selling stock within one particular industry or company. This means that the level of research required to stay on top of trading patterns etc is much less. The trader need online be up to date with the news in the one particular industry they are interested in. Although a broader knowledge can be helpful, as the decline of one company or industry can mean the popularity of their competition will rise, and vice versa.
Lastly for those who want to simply dabble in the stock market can look into position trading. Often investors can be waiting months for a change in stock prices so there is not the immediate need to buy and sell stock so often. Again it is best to keep this investing to an industry such as a biotech ETF industry or company that you are very knowledgeable about. It is important to know their long term history to be able to accurate predict their potential future success.
Ultimately as you continue to play the stock market you will continue to get better at it. Continued research into your chosen industry and/or company is essential to make educated predictions. Be willing to listen to other people’s advice on how to play the stock market but remember that certain methods will be particularly successful when investing in one industry or company, but not necessarily in another.