Added to My Portfolio: Growth, Value and Oil

My Portfolio Grows

My portfolio page was a bit out of date. I’ve added some new gems to my portfolio of stocks and investments.

I wanted to buy something long term (1+ years) and exchange traded funds (ETF) were the perfect fit for me. All three ETFs I bought are PowerShares exchange traded funds. My three ETFs cover different goals: Growth, Value and Oil


For growth I purchased PWB. PWB is the PowerShares Large Cap Growth ETF. My goal with PWB is to capitalize on the gains of future stock trading. PWB ETF invests in companies that are poised for growth. Growth is one element my investing strategy.


Value is very important to me and is my most useful investment strategy. PWV is my value choice. PWV is the PowerShares Large Cap Value ETF. Large cap value finds stocks that are at a comparitively lower valuation than other stocks in their sector. The thinking is that buying stocks at a low valuation will hopefully blossom in to a very fruitful tree in the future.


I am betting on oil prices going up in the US to the $4+ per gallon range. In order to take advantage of higher oil prices and gas prices, I bought PXJ. PXJ is the PowerShares Oil & Gas Services ETF. As oil and gas prices rice, so too will the price of PXJ.

Investing Strategy: Creating a Stock Market Investing Plan – Introduction

Introduction: Creating a Stock Market Investing Plan

We all need a plan for investing our money. Ask yourself: Do you want to work for money? Or, do you want money to work for you? I know I want my money to work for me. If we’re going to be successful at trading and investing, we need to come up with a plan.

Our investing plan likely includes many different types of investments and strategies for maximizing our gains and profits. This article is an introduction to building our investing plan and will be followed by more in-depth discussion on creating a solid plan.

What can we invest in?

We can invest our money many different ways. Here are some of the more popular investments:

  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Real Estate
  • Mutual Funds
  • IRA
  • Trust Funds
  • Money Market accounts

Investing Strategies

Just as we have numerous avenues of investing, we also have many different strategies of utilizing these avenues to increase our investing potential.

The more popular investing strategies are:

  • Growth Investing
  • Value Investing
  • International Investing
  • Real Assets (real estate, gold, silver, other precious metals, diamonds, etc)

Find the Right Balance

A good investing strategy uses combinations of investing avenues and investing strategies.

We want to formulate an investing strategy which includes long term investments that are likely to grow over time (growth investments), and also stocks or mutual funds that are very good value investments – where we are buying in a good price.

Our strategy should also include investments which pay us money on a regular basis, such as dividend paying stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, bonds, and even real estate. With real estate, you may own an apartment building where tenants pay on a monthly basis. We can use these payments and dividends from our investments to pay our bills or to reinvest and grow our total investments even more.

Thinking Long Term

When you make investments you must be prepared to hold on your investment for a long time. The greatest rewards from investing come as you hold on to your investments over a long time period. Your investment may initially go down and you will be tempted to sell it. Many successful investors would hold on to this knowing that the market always goes up in the long run. It may go down for a year or even two years, but history shows the market steadily rises. And as the market rises, so too do investors’ portfolios.

Trading Strategy: Creating a Stock Trading Plan

What is a Stock Trading Plan?

Key to Success A stock trading plan is a strict set of rules and actions which formulate your stock trading strategy. A stock trading plan defines when to buy and sell stocks and at what prices. Every trade you make should be governed by your trading plan.

A stock trading plan is very similar to a company Business Plan. A Business Plan is a device for the owner which sets out how the company intends to operate the business. A business plan is also a road map to tell investors and others how you expect to get there. A business plan covers all aspects of the company, from overall strategy and marketing to finances and the company’s goals. In the same fashion, a trading plan lays out how the trader will make trades – the time, price, volume, and news are all essential components of the trade. While your trading plan may not necessarily be for others, it is still your own road map to tell yourself, and reaffirm to yourself, how you expect to get there. Include goals in your business plan: 3 month, 6 month, 1 year, 2 year, 5 year, 10 year, and even 20+ year goals you would like to reach through your trades and investments.

Trading Criteria to Consider

There are many things you need to consider and think about when creating your trading plan. Here are a short few your trading plan should cover. Any additional criteria you can think of should be included.

  • When to enter a trade (buy a stock) – timing.
  • Price when buying a stock.
  • Current news about the stock.
  • Liquidity of the stock. Liquidity is the ability to buy and sell stocks at the volume you want, when you want, at the price you would like.
  • How long to hold the stock.
  • When to sell if the stock price goes up.
  • When to sell if the stock price goes down.
  • What to do if the price does not move. Hold the stock longer? Sell the stock?

Trading Plan Essentials

There are many essentials you should include in your business plan. These essentials lay the foundation of your plan and will help you reach your goals. Here are some essentials you should include. Again, if you have other essentials please leave a comment so others can build on your information or contact me so I can include them in future versions of this article.

  • Statement of Purpose

    • Why do you want to trade and invest in the stock market?
    • What do you hope to gain from trading?
    • What are your trading goals?
    • How do you plan on becoming a better trader?
    • How are you going to use your trading plan?
    • Clearly define your purpose for trading and investing.
    • State your goals and what you hope to gain and achieve through trading.
  • Strategy for Buying

    • How are you going to find stocks to trade? Examples: screener, news, research, technical analysis, fundamental analysis, etc.
    • How will you refine your “buy list” (stocks on your radar you are considering buying)? Examples: valuation, screening further, great news, great earnings, strongest technicals, strongest fundamentals etc.
    • What price are you willing to pay? Sometimes the current price may not be the best price for buying. Will you wait for a better price? Move to the next stock in your list?
    • Does the stock have good volume? Very low volume history means you may not be able to sell the stock at the price or time you want. Keep this in mind. High volume means high liquidity and are generally easier to sell and more actively traded.
    • Using Technical Analysis: make sure you absolutely understand how the technical analysis indicators you use work. Your favorite indicator may not be useful in many situations. You must know when to use technicals and when not to use them.
    • Using Fundamental Analysis: again, make absolutely certain you understand how fundamentals work. This means reading through past earnings reports and the company’s balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement. Sometimes a stock will have great fundamentals but will not move in the direction you expect due to other factors, such as news, or future outlook.
  • Strategy for Selling

    • Set a desired minimum goal for each trade. You may be happy making $50 per trade. Or $500 per trade. Set a price goal you are happy with making from selling the stock. Don’t be angry if the price goes up after you sell. You can’t see the future and mentally it can be unhealthy for you to second-guess yourself. Set a minimum desired goal and stick to it.
    • Use Stop-Loss Orders to reduce risk by automatically selling at a pre-determined lowest price. Read more about stop loss orders: Using Stop Loss Orders to Reduce Risk
    • After you buy the stock, what is the lowest price you are willing to sell at?
    • How much are you willing to lose if this trade goes bad?
    • Most traders are willing to risk or lose 1% – 2% of their entire portfolio value per trade. Example: Your entire portfolio value is $10,000. On this trade you use $1,000 to buy. At 2% risk, you are willing to lose $200 of your $1,000. The stock price can fall 20% before this 2% loss dictates selling.
    • Will you sell the stock immediately, before your stop-loss price is met, if other factors arise? Such factors may include poor earnings, weak or declining market, market corrections, poor news, lost contracts, etc.
    • When will you sell the stock if the price rises and continues to rise?
    • Some traders set a specific goal, perhaps 10% gain or 25% gain, and then they will automatically sell.
    • Some traders continually raise their stop-loss prices as the stock price climbs. This is called trailing stops or raising stops and can be a very useful tool for locking in gains and reducing risk. I use trailing stops.
  • Strategy for Holding

    • What will you do if the stock price does not move at all after you buy? Sell it and move on, or hold it and wait for action?
    • Some traders will hold on to the stock until more activity and volume pick up. They are comfortable waiting it out. This action may require more capital in your trading account, as you may have to hold on to more than one non-moving stock.
    • Some traders will sell a stock that does not move after a very short time period – perhaps minutes, hours, or a couple days. These traders like to move their money to move active or lucrative stocks on their list. They may not feel comfortable holding this stock for a length of days, weeks, or months.
  • Money and Risk Management

    • How will you keep your risks to a minimum?
    • How will your keep your total account value at a maximum and grow it?
    • Research money management techniques – there are many. This can include how much money or what percent of your entire portfolio value to use in each trade.
    • Research trading risk management techniques – again there are many. This can include how much money or the percent of your entire portfolio you are willing to lose, and may lose, in each trade.
    • Keep extra cash available in your account. You will see many opportunities but you must be prepared to take advantage of them. If you have little or no available cash, you will not be able to execute this trade. You may want to have 10% – 20% of your entire account value available.
    • Margin: margin can be a very useful tool for many traders, but can be scary and risky if not used properly. You can get a margin call from your stock broker at any time, which means they want to collect their money now. Margin gives you extra buying power. Margin also gives you additional risk. Use margin cautiously and wisely. Some traders do not use margin at all.

Inspiration For Your Stock Trading Plan

Luck is When Preparation Meets Opportunity

This is one of my favorite quotes which is very inspirational to me, not only in my trading and investing, but also in my everyday life. This is also one of Oprah’s favorite quotes. Look how successful she has been!

For a trader, the preparation means making your plan, developing your strategies, testing your techniques, and continually refining it all. The opportunities are there for us to take advantage of. We will only find success when our preparation intersects with our opportunities.

Your Trading Plan Means Success

A well thought out and detailed Stock Trading Plan is the solid foundation for building your wealth, keeping your wealth, and successfully growing it. You must be dedicated to your plan. Following your plan part-time will give you part-time success. Don’t second guess your plan, but make changes as necessary. A trading plan is one key that can unlock your trading potential and help you make more money while losing less money. Every Trading Winner must have a Stock Trading Plan.

Choosing An Online Stock Broker


Choosing an online stock broker can be difficult and overwhelming at times. People new to stock trading and investing have many choices and options to consider. Finding the right online broker to meet your needs or requirements can be very rewarding and beneficial, for your portfolio and your peace of mind.

Here are some basic things you will need to consider when you look at difference online brokers. If you are not sure what these options and features are, you can speak to a representative of an online broker firm, or you can leave a comment and we’ll do our best to answer your questions.


All brokers charge commissions fees. Commissions fees are the cost to buy and sell stocks. You are charged a commission fee twice: once when you buy a stock, and again when you sell that stock.

I believe all brokers charge higher commissions when you phone in orders and speak to a human being. Keep this in mind as these commissions are for orders placed online only.

  • Scottrade: $7 per trade
  • TD Ameritrade: $9.99 per trade
  • Interactive Brokers: varies, minimum $2
  • E*Trade: $19.99 per trade

Minimum Initial Deposit

The minimum initial deposit for online stock brokers ranges from $500 to over $10,000. For those with less initial trading capital, lower minimum deposits are generally the deciding factor.

If your account balance is less than this minimum, your broker may charge you a fee every month or every quarter. These fees usuall range between $10 to $20 per month or per quarter, but can be higher. Read the fine print if you plan on depositing the absolute minimum capital in to your account.

  • Scottrade: $500 minimum deposit
  • TD Ameritrade: $2000 minimum deposit
  • Interactive Brokers: $2000 minimum deposit
  • E*Trade: $1000 minimum deposit


All online brokers have a set of features and tools included with your online trading account. The default set of tools include streaming charts and streaming data, which is usually in the form of an application called a streamer. Your streamer allows you to see the latest real time prices of stocks in your watch list or portfolio. Some streamers simplify the process to buy and sell stocks so you will not have to load up a separate web page to place your orders.

Most brokers also have additional features which are not included in the basic trading account. These additional features have additional costs. Level 2 data and real time streaming news generally fall in to this category and have additional monthly fees.

Popular features offered by online brokers include:

  • Streaming Charts
  • Streaming Data
  • Analysis Tools
  • Streaming Real Time News (may cost additional fee)
  • Level 2 Data (may cost additional fee)

Local Offices

Some online brokers have local branch offices some U.S. cities. Some traders and investors may want to sit down and talk to their local broker representatives. In this case, choosing an online broker with a branch office close to your home may be the deciding factor for you.

Scottrade has very many branch offices all across the US. TD Ameritrade also has branch offices in some cities and the number appears to be growing. I do not believe E*Trade has any branch offices.

My broker, TD Ameritrade, has an office in my city, but I have never visited them. A local branch office was not a deciding factor in my choice of an online broker.

Popular Online Stock Brokers

Here are the most popular and respected online stock brokers. This list may be incomplete or your favorite broker may not be included. These are the brokers I am either personally familiar with or have heard good things about from my trading and investing friends.

Rate Your Stock Broker

You can now rate your stock broker at the Trading Winner Stock Brokers page. Rate your broker and tell us what you think about them.

Gold Biggest Single Day Decline in 15 Years

Gold fell 7.3% to 563.40 in Tuesday’s trading. This is the greatest decline in a single day in the last 15 years of gold trading. There are numerous reasons for this large decline.

  • U.S. fears of increasing Fed rates
  • Decreased liquidity in U.S. commodities markets
  • Decreased liquidity in global reserve banks for commodities
  • Corrections in U.S. and global stock and commodities
  • U.S. baby boomers liquidating or selling their investments (I find this semi-questionable)

I feel the next few weeks of equities and commodities trading will be crucial for the overall global markets. The next few weeks will determine if we will be heading continually lower, or if the correction will be coming to an end, signalling a new rise in prices.

We have already experienced a correction in the U.S., which is “defined” as a 10% drop in overall market prices. I see gold continually decreasing as this great fall in global markets has shaken and scared many investors and traders.

Are any readers buying gold? Any selling? What are your opinions?