The traditional view of investing in the stock market typically had to do with long-term financial stability. Millions of people put at least a portion of their discretionary income into a portfolio of stocks, bonds and other things like precious metals, rare art, collectible cars and more. However, with the advent of the internet, many investors are using low-cost, online brokers and going in alone. Gone are the days, for some people, of asking an “expert” for advice about how to build a portfolio the right way, which stocks to buy and when to buy them. 

These new investors often set out to create a collection of stock investments that have something other than profit as a goal. For a few, the long-term aim is social responsibility. For others, it’s protection of the environment. Most just want to test the waters and take a non-traditional approach to investing. Here are some of the most popular ways that independent investors are getting into the market:

Social Responsibility and Green Investing

The trend of investing for social good began long ago but gained huge momentum in the late 1960s. Now, brokerage firms are well-acquainted with “SR” investors and cater to their needs by highlighting companies that do work to help communities, sponsor charitable causes, and otherwise try to improve the human condition. A newer wrinkle in this concept is the “green” investor, often called “the greens” by brokers.

Greens are only interested in purchasing shares of companies that adhere to strict standards of protecting the environment. Companies that recycle, don’t use harmful pesticides, work to support energy independence and sustainability are usually among the key players in the niche. Green investing is quite popular among younger investors in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere. 

Penny Stock Speculators

Penny stock enthusiasts have been around for decades and are still adding to their ranks. As general price inflation continues, the new definition of penny stock is any share that costs less than $5. A decade or so ago, the definition only included shares priced under $1. But times, and numbers, change and penny investors are changing as well. Many now specialize in companies less than one year old, or companies in a specific sector, like energy or mining. The penny stock world is, and always has been, composed mostly of very young and very old investors. 

Pre- and After-market Traders

Day and swing traders often spend time buying and selling at times outside regular market hours. Sometimes, depending on the particular stock and the situation, this can be the best time to get into or out of an investment. Some stocks make huge moves either right before the market opens or immediately after it closes. Each day, most of the financial news reports carry information about premarket gainers and losers. Some investors specialize in watching a particular stock and using company news announcements to make predictions about prices. Those price changes can take place when the news is announced, which often happens to be before the market opens.

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