Unlike markets where actual goods are bought and sold, the stock market is where investors trade shares of companies that have “gone public” to finance their business through an initial public offering (IPO). The prices of these shares, or stocks, reflect what traders believe these companies will be worth in the future.
“Betting” on individual stocks to rise in value is risky, but, in aggregate, the stock market reflects investor sentiment about the future of the entire economy. Learning about the stock market is important because it helps you to build a diversified portfolio that profits from the growth of businesses economy-wide. Historically, this strategy earns more over the long term than putting money in a savings account or investments in government bonds.
Thus, everyone can benefit from an understanding of the stock market, whether to help guide their personal financial management strategies or to pursue a career in this field.
While a background in stock market is important for anyone that wants to understand the economy, deeper expertise in this area can lead to a variety of specialized - and, typically, lucrative - careers.
Stock traders are a familiar archetype of stock market job from movies and TV, but they need to learn a lot more than “buy low, sell high.” While the fundamentals of trading strategies are largely unchanged, today most trading occurs on electronic exchanges, and professionals in this field increasingly need to be familiar with algorithmic trading and other high-speed, automated techniques.
Familiarity with the stock market is also essential for a career in investment and portfolio management. Professionals in this field help individuals and institutional investors with portfolio construction and portfolio optimization across a variety of financial markets, including the stock market, bond markets, and investments in emerging markets.
Yes! As with many other areas of business and finance, Coursera offers a wide range of online courses on topics related to the stock market, including trading basics, financial markets and investment strategy, financial management, and more. These courses are offered through top-ranked institutions from around the world, including Yale University, Rice University, and the Indian School of Business, so you don’t have to sacrifice the quality of your education to learn online.
Best of all, taking classes remotely lets you learn on a flexible schedule that can fit into your existing work or family life. And, although online courses and Specializations through Coursera offer the same materials and credits as on-campus alternatives, they are available at a significantly lower tuition cost.
The skills and experience that may help you work in the stock market include a mix of research skills, analytical skills, financial acumen, patience and discipline, and an ability to maintain charts. If you already have a background in financial management or stock trading, you're likely already using these strengths. Traders who become successful in the stock market are often diligent researchers, seeking to find information that could tip them off to an undervalued stock. More traders are using online forums to share stock insights and tips to help one another to make money in stock trading. If you want to work in the stock market, your research efforts should be to identify stocks that may have strong underlying value and room to grow, and then optimize that data to create profit in your stock market trades.
Patient and disciplined people are often well-suited for being stock market traders. These types of people know that markets tend to fluctuate, sometimes wildly, and having a sense of stability and balance is important to making good financial decisions. Disciplined traders may have a good inner sense that a down market one day may rebound the next. They know that their patience will likely be rewarded, as long as the research and analysis they have done is sound. Overly emotional types of people may be prone to quick decisions that are based on emotions rather than data, and they may not make for effective stock traders.
If you've always wanted to learn about the stock market, it’s a good time to jump right in and learn. Participating in the stock market involves a willingness to take some level of financial risk. You can set up stock trading accounts on mobile apps to get started. Fund these apps with some of your money, and then start to research the stock market. You can trade as an individual trader, or you can join stock-trading groups that make group buying trades. Take the time to learn about the stock market, and then work the principles you’ve learned to make money.
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