Online Brokerage Firms

Written by Michael Federico
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Over the past several years, online brokerage firms have begun to offer their clients many of the same services that are offered by traditional firms. People can now trade stocks, bonds, futures, and options online. They can trade on the NYSE, NASDAQ, AMEX, and a number of global markets. Some online brokers even allow the trading of pink slip or penny stocks.

A person can now develop and manage a stock portfolio online. Internet brokers did not make this very easy in the past. A person had no real way of monitoring several stocks at once, and information on those stocks and the market as whole was often outdated. Now, however, sites allow a person to track his portfolio's history and forecast its possible future. A trader can look at each individual stock's performance and at the performance of the entire portfolio. He can also pinpoint which stocks are currently "hot" and which ones have not been trading well.

Assisted Online Trades

Regardless of how well a person has done trading online, it is very likely that at some point he will need the assistance of a broker. When trading futures and options, it is often difficult for a person to fully understand all of his options. Also, if a site allows a person to margin trade, he should definitely speak to a broker if he is not aware of all of the risks involved.

Sites will usually charge more for assisted trades. However, the cost will still most likely be far less than the cost at a traditional firm. There are sites that allow members to seek advice from brokers for free. They will set up group chats or individual consultations. The broker will not make any trades, but he can help point a person in the right direction.


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