Investing Information

Success Trading: Some Basic Terminology for New Traders

The world of trading can get very complex because the financial markets are complex. There thousands and thousands of successful traders out there today. The amazing thing is that they all have carved their own niches and approach the markets in a unique way. This should be wonderful news for beginning traders because it demonstrates that there are thousands and thousands of different ways to proper in the markets. It's just a matter of discipline and finding the approach that suits your style and personality. With all that being said, new traders must begin somewhere, so let examine some basic terms and approaches to the markets.

Going Long - This means that you're betting on the instrument (stock, future, option, etc) to go up and that you want to buy. You purchase the financial instrument, watch it rise and then sell it for a profit. Profit are realized when you buy low and sell high. It's also known as taking a long position.

Going Short - This means that you're betting on the instrument to go down and that you want to sell or take a "short position". A short position is closed out by buying those shares back or "covering" your position. This concept is very confusing to new traders because you're selling something that you don't even own. The thing is that you're still trying to buy low and sell high, you're just selling high first and buying low later. Think of it this way - you go to a car dealer and order a new car, he charges you $20k and then looks to purchase it for a lower price. That dealer has taken a "short position" on the transaction between you and him. We don't recommend new traders to take short positions until they learn more about the market.

One thing to keep in mind about short and long positions is that they're totally different in nature. There are by far more traders out there taking long positions than those taking short ones. Human nature tells us that we buy with the expectation of rising prices. The concept of wanting prices to drop is against human nature and therefore short positions can be more erratic as a result.

Chuck Cox is a Technical Writer and Industrial Scientist by professional with a background in statistics. He has used mathematical and statistical methods to invest and trade in the stock, futures, and options markets. Chuck has owned various businesses and presently operates several websites. To learn more about trading the markets, visit his website,

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