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Six Things You’re Doing Wrong When Buying Stocks on Your Own

Lena Birse is a stay-at-home mom who loves buying tech stocks during market crashes. Jay Smith is a former pro gamer who switched from cryptocurrencies to blue chips. Heloise Greeff is a data scientist who uses machine learning to analyze trading patterns. And Mik Mullins is a retired hotel executive who’s betting the market is about to…

stocks markets hp
Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

Lena Birse is a stay-at-home mom who loves buying tech stocks during market crashes. Jay Smith is a former pro gamer who switched from cryptocurrencies to blue chips. Heloise Greeff is a data scientist who uses machine learning to analyze trading patterns. And Mik Mullins is a retired hotel executive who’s betting the market is about to plunge.

These four amateur traders use different approaches but have one thing in common: They’re killing it in one of the wildest markets in memory, with returns ranging from 20% to 60% this year.

While many institutional investors bailed out of the market in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, retail investors have piled in and pocketed big gains, especially in surging tech stocks. The U.S. digital brokerage Robinhood signed up 3 million new users in the first five months of the year, giving it 13 million total customers, which is almost as much as at Charles Schwab Corp. Stockpicking, which has long been eclipsed by investing in index-tracking funds, is suddenly back in vogue.

Playing the market is fraught with risks, of course, and stories abound of newcomers making rookie mistakes, never mind professional investors who’ve fallen short during the relentless rally in American stocks. To learn how to avoid pitfalls, Bloomberg News picked the brains of these four top performers on eToro, a digital trading platform with 14 million users that’s regulated by the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority. EToro lets people copy the trades of investors with proven track records, like this quartet.

They all believe newcomers make mistakes by not investing for the long term and for failing to diversify their portfolios with at least 30 well-researched names. Here are the other things they see people doing wrong, based on their experience:

Jumping In Without Testing Out Trading Strategies

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Oxford researcher Heloise Greeff relishes data about trading.
Photographer: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg

When Heloise Greeff decided to plunge into the stock market in 2016, she did what any good scientist does — she experimented. Greeff, a 30-year-old research fellow in machine learning at Oxford University, used a “demo account” on eToro to execute simulated trades with $100,000 of fake money. She discovered straight away that trying to time the market and trade in and out of positions everyday was a bad idea.

“I was impatient, and I didn’t want to wait for things, so I started off looking at commodities, and I was drawn to oil, which was quite volatile,” says Greeff via Zoom from her flat near Oxford’s historic cluster of colleges. “Using the account, I could do that without losing any real money, and I learned some hard lessons before I put real skin in the game.” 

Greeff loves looking for patterns in oceans of market data. When the S&P 500 Index and other benchmarks were hitting all-time highs late last year, the data was sending her a powerful signal: It was time to retreat. “I am a conservative trader so I liquidated 60% of the positions in my portfolio, and while I missed the highs of January, I had peace of mind,” she says. Since then, Greeff has waded back in, and two of the biggest holdings in her 60-stock portfolio are MasterCard and IBM. She’s up around 20% this year. 

Chasing Hyped Stocks Instead of Doing Research

After dropping out of school at age 14, Jay Smith sought glory on the virtual playing fields of eSports as a digital warrior in StarCraft, the fabled sci-fi military game. In time, Smith, who lives in southern England, became smitten with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, as well as solar energy stocks. He would livestream his trades and observations on Twitch for hours. When the digital coin bubble popped in 2018, Smith’s portfolio fell almost 54% and he learned a painful lesson in the dangers of hype. 

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Jay Smith is a longtime bull on solar stocks.
Photographer: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg

These days, the 32-year-old’s bets are a far less racy mix: Chipmaker AMD and Microsoft are longtime favorites, and this year he started buying shares in Home Depot and Lowe’s, the home improvement giants. Still, he doesn’t hesitate to dial up the risk when the need strikes him. Anticipating a crash from the coronavirus, he started converting a big chunk of his portfolio to short positions in February, betting the stocks would fall. It was a good move: He eked out a 0.24% uptick in March, a month when the S&P 500 Index lost a third of its value.

He feels comfortable with such tactics because he does his homework on companies. “In the past I spent too much time communicating about investing,” said Smith, who goes by the handle Jaynemesis on eToro. “Now I spend a large amount of time reading product user manuals and watching launch events on YouTube. A solar company I follow recently held a training day online, so I watched to see how they install their equipment.”

He’s up about 50% this year.

Making Big Bets Instead of Starting Small

A few years ago, after Lena Birse and her husband sold their heating business in Bristol, England, they decided to invest the windfall in stocks. Birse balked at paying fees to a money manager. She started small, buying modest stakes in household names, such as the U.K. retailer Tesco. Eventually, she grew confident enough to switch to high-octane tech stocks like Facebook and Netflix.

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Lena Birse takes a relaxed approach to trading.
Photographer: James Beck/Bloomberg

Birse knew concentrating her portfolio in tech was a perilous move, and sure enough she lost 3.8% in 2018 when the Nasdaq index swooned. But she stuck with her strategy. When the industry rebounded in 2019, so did she. The mother of two teenagers splurged on a beachfront dream house on the Mediterranean and a London flat.

Investing Money You Need in Five Years

Mik Mullins says he felt like a blind, drunk monkey stumbling in the dark when he started investing in the early 2000s. Eventually, Mullins, a British expat in Singapore, found his footing by getting in early on companies that were disrupting global industries, like Facebook and Zillow. In 2012, he retired at the age of 42 from his profession as a hotel marketing consultant to tend his portfolio. And he advised friends to follow one primary rule: Never invest money that you’re going to need for big ticket items such as a house or college tuition. 

Like his fellow eToro investors, Mullins is a true believer in investing for the long term. He doesn’t even like to look at his portfolio more than once a week. Yet in May, he wavered. He doubted the rally in the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100 was sustainable as the global economy deteriorated. So he started shorting the indices, as well as soaring stocks like Tesla and Hertz, the car rental giant that’s jumped 84% since June 1 even though it’s going bankrupt.

So far his bearish bets are in the red but he’s still up almost 29% for the year thanks to his long positions. Mullins, a white-haired man with a tropical tan, laughs at his skepticism. “Human nature being what it is, sometimes you don’t stick to your plan, and so far it’s been a wrong move,” he says over Zoom from his garden patio. “But I have to mitigate the risk of catastrophic losses. The sooner the market goes back to being boring the better.” 

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Early retiree Mik Mullins tends his portfolio in Singapore.
Photographer: Wei Leng Tay/Bloomberg

Getting Yourself Into Complex Trades Before You’re Ready

It’s never been easier for retail investors to use leverage, options and short-selling, but amateurs should avoid complicated tactics like these until they understand how they can backfire, say Mullins and Smith.

The rush of newbie traders into flashy equity-trading apps have already led to some grim consequences. In June, Robinhood pledged to change elements of its options trading platform after the suicide of a 20-year-old user who had an account that showed a negative balance of more than $700,000.

The company’s co-founders said they would consider additional eligibility requirements for users who wanted to tap more advanced options strategies.

Obsessively Checking Your Portfolio

It can be tempting to keep looking at the daily swings in your stocks’ prices, but if you do this every day, it spurs panicky trades and losses.

Over time, Birse said she built a tolerance for risk. After the pandemic hit, she resisted the urge to panic. Instead, she bided her time and prepared to add to her positions in longtime “winners” like Shopify, the Canadian ecommerce firm that’s skyrocketed 148% this year. 

“I used to turn off the computer during selloffs,” says Birse, 50, who goes by the handle Onegirl on eToro. “But then I wanted to be more active, more aggressive, so in March I steeled my nerves, waited three weeks, and then it was time to go shopping. It felt like the sale of the century.”

Her portfolio is up 61%.

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    Broker Reviews

    Sollari Review – top 75 Broker ?

    Sollari review

    Sollari Review

    Sollari is a global forex and CFD broker with trading platforms that is suitable and fully functional for all devices.

    This is a good option for all levels of traders, although the product portfolio is average, and there is an inactivity fee to be aware of.

    Initially formulated in 2023 to provide a robust forex trading platform, Sollari offering to include CFDs, indices, shares, commodities, and cryptocurrencies.

    Sollari has several trading tools and features designed to make your trading experience as smooth as possible. The trading platform, has been heralded as a simple and convenient platform without losing the functionality you would find at MetaTrader 4. Some education is also available through the trading platform, and highly responsive customer service is available 24 hours a day.

    Please read my full Sollari review for further details of this forex broker so you can decide whether Sollari can meet your needs.

    Who is Sollari?

    Sollari is a global forex, spread betting, and CFD online broker. Sollari is an online Crypto and Forex Broker providing traders across the globe with cutting-edge technology to trade the world’s markets. In a continuous effort to give their traders a more comfortable and safe trading experience, their experts have been improving their service and solutions ensuring traders have the freedom to trade whenever and wherever they like.

     They are headquartered in Kingstown, St Vincent and the Grenadines. with offices in Milan, Nassau, Sofia, and Luxembourg and are authorized and 

    Sollari product range overview

    The product range at Sollari is average compared to other brokers. They offer a solid selection of currency pairs and CFDs, no futures CFDs, and an average number of commodity and stock index CFDs. additionally they do offer leverage trading on the main cryptocurrencies.

    Sollari Range of Market

    Sollari Range of Market

    Forex trading

    More than 50 Forex pairs are available at Sollari with no commission and some of the tightest spreads in the industry.

    Indices and Financial Trading

    Indices and financial CFDs have flexible margin requirements and low spread , representing some of the industry’s best spreads. There are no overnight or hidden fees of any description to worry about.

    Commodities Trading

    At Sollari, there are several commodity CFDs, including metals and energies.

    Share CFDs Trading

    Trade more than 100 company shares without ever owning the underlying security. At Sollari, you can access global stock exchanges with the option to go long and short and benefit from leverage. For non-leverage trading, there is zero commission.


    Sollari Accounts

    There are five trading account options at Sollari. Of note are the Professional Trading Account and the Islamic Trading Account. There is also a free demo account from where to practice your trading.

    Free Demo Account
    You can select from the free demo account which platform you would like to practice trading on their trading platform. You will immediately receive $100,000 of virtual funds, which can be used to familiarise yourself with the financial markets and forex and CFD trading.

    Islamic Account
    This is a Shariah-compliant Islamic account which includes many features that are in keeping with Sharia law.


    See here the overview of all the accounts.


    MINIMUM DEPOSIT$5,000$10,000$25,000$100,000$250,000+
    ORDER EXECUTIONInstantInstantInstantInstantInstant
    ACCOUNT MANAGERyesyesyesyesyes
    SPREAD, PIPSFixedFixedFixed & Floating, VariableFixed & Floating, VariableFixed & Floating, Variable
    QUOTATION (NUMBER OF MARKS AFTER POINT)5 marks5 marks5 marks5 marks5 marks
    MAX. TRADE SIZE10 lots20 lots40 lots50 lots100 lots
    MARGIN CALL LEVEL40%40%40%40%40%
    STOP OUT LEVEL30%30%30%30%30%
    TRADING PLATFORMall devicesall devicesall devicesall devicesall devices
    CUSTOMER SUPPORT24/5 support24/5 support24/5 support24/5 support24/7 support

    Sollari Trading Platform

    Sollari provides a web, desktop, and mobile trading platform on their trading platform, which is provided by the High-tech software provider “easytech”.

    This trading platform has an excellent reputation among traders. 

    Sollari Trading Platform

    Sollari Trading Platform

    web trading platform

    The web platform allows you to place trades directly from your web browser in an easy-to-use interface that is customisable and available in several languages. The web trading platform falls short because of its lack of social trading; however, it is well-designed with several useful features.

    There is a two-step login for additional security, and you can search for an asset using its name or by category. Order types include:

    I was impressed with both the portfolio and fee reports which were comprehensive and easy to use, with clear information on commission, swap fees, and performance.

    There are also the following useful features available on the trading platform:

    Trailing stop

    Trailing the position of a current price can then trigger a stop order as the price reaches a predetermined distance from a stop order. It works similarly to a stop order but in a more controlled way that aligns with movements in the market.

    Market Sentiment

    This allows you to closely monitor movements in the market using data from other traders concerning a specific instrument.


    This allows you to mitigate risks by investing in the same product in a different direction.


    Real-time charts provide up-to-the-moment information, including historical trends, forecasts, and current trends.

    Sollari mobile trading platform

    The mobile trading platform is in keeping with the web trading platform, with much of the same functionality. 

    The actual design is well laid out and easy to use with customizability. I found the mobile app fast with personalised watch lists and the ability to open positions directly from real-time charts.

    There are price alerts that include statistical alerts, which can be monthly or yearly for currency pairs, indices, etc. Clicking on the alert will automatically open the app on the instrument.

    Sollari desktop trading platform

    Use the desktop platform. This platform is designed with professional traders in mind, leaving the webtrader as an alternative for beginners and intermediate traders.

    There is excellent customizability, some good search functions, and a choice of several languages.

    There are several tools and technical indicators designed to enhance your trading activity.

    Sollari customer service review

    Customer service is excellent at Sollari, with immediate response times across multiple channels.

    There are several channels for contacting customer support, including phone and email. When I tested their service, my query was dealt with immediately without even the intervention of a chatbot. The service provided via email and phone was similar, with fast, relevant responses to my queries. Customer service is provided 24/5, which is above average.

    Sollari is opening an account.

    The account opening process is straightforward, fully digital and quick. You will need your ID.

    To open your account, you should first decide on the account type you wish to open

    Then you can follow these quick and easy steps:

    • Select your country of residence
    • Add personal information, including name and email address
    • Choose a password
    • Enter your home address and tax residency
    • Complete some simple questions relating to your trading experience
    • Fill in information pertaining to your personal finances, such as income and savings and employment status
    • Select your base currency
    • Upload your ID documentation and proof of address, such as a utility bill or bank statement.

    Sollari Deposit and Withdrawal

    Deposits and withdrawals and essentially free, and the minimum deposit is high compared to what you would find at other brokers.

    Before making your first deposit, you will need to choose between the following base currencies:


    Deposit options include:

    1. Bank transfer
    2. Credit and debit card
    3. Cryptocurrency

    The minimum deposit is $5000, which is high compared to other brokers. There are no fees should you choose to deposit via bank transfer from your bank account.

    Bank transfers take several business days.

    Withdrawals can be made using the same methods accepted for deposits, and there are no withdrawal fees for electronic wallets and credit/debit cards. 

    Sollari safety

    Sollari is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) but is performing full due diligence to comply with AML regulations.

    In addition, all client funds are held in segregated bank accounts to protect those funds should Sollari go bust.

    The Sollari negative balance protection protects client funds should their balance go negative.

    Sollari fees

    Sollari has low CFD and forex fees and average non-trading fees.

    Fees can be separated into two main categories for a CFD and forex broker: trading and non-trading fees.

    Trading fees

    The trading fees will vary depending on the financial instruments you are trading within each asset class. Trading fees can be charged as a spread, a commission, or a financing rate.

    Spreads differ between the bid and ask price for a foreign currency price. Here’s how Sollari spreads compare against some other forex brokers:

    Non-trading fees

    Sollari has low non-trading fees as they do not charge deposit and withdrawal fees, and there is no account fee.

    Inactivity fees are charged. There are inactivity fees to be aware of. However, these will only kick in once your account has been inactive for several months and you have a positive balance.

    Who is Sollari suitable for?

    Sollari is suitable for all levels of traders looking for a solid trading platform and very competitive spreads.

    The selection of account types is aimed at both retail and professional investors.

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    Demo Trading

    The Advantages and Negatives of Forex Demo Trading

    trading on the demo account

    Intro to Fx Demo Trading

    Despite the placement as the planets greatest monetary market, the forex marketplace only became easily available to retail traders in latest years because of the introduction of sites based trading via on-line forex brokers.

    Aspiring forex investors can right now make use of digital trading systems – like the extremely well-known MetaTrader software program
    (offered as a free of charge download by MetaQuotes Software program Company ) to access the large forex market thou they might trade only in very small amounts themselves

    The majority of on the web brokers will support MetaTrader and could also provide their own proprietary platforms or web-centred dealing interfaces.

    These types of systems typically enable traders to do a quick overview of the currency marketplace and maybe carry out some specialized evaluation, in addition to permitting them to gain access to trading necessities like purchase access and deal delivery for a wide selection of foreign currency pairs.

    free of charge fx practice account

    Like a common way of motivating forex investors to use their offer setup solutions and first deposit funds with them to make use of as trading accounts perimeter, many online forex brokers will offer a free of charge fx practice account to potential or existing clients.

    Referred to as a forex demonstration accounts, such unsecured debts enable a trader to encounter a hands-on demo of what seems prefer to trade currency pairs in the forex market with this broker without placing any actual money at risk.

    Although using a FX trading demo account has several benefits for traders, some tricks are well worth talking about because the technicians of getting into a demonstration operate and the producing emotional responses an investor can possess while controlling it can differ significantly from the encounter of live forex trading utilizing their personal hard-attained money.

    Additional common demonstration accounts circumstances which make them vary considerably from an actual cash financed account include broker-imposed period limitations and set debris of virtual foreign currency.

    The subsequent areas of this content will talk about starting up an on the web trading demo accounts, in addition to probably the most significant benefits and negatives of using a demonstration forex account in comparison to utilizing a live fx accounts for trading foreign currencies.

    Starting Up a Free of charge Forex Demonstration Account
    Simply about any trustworthy fx broker will allow potential and current customers to open up up a demo account with them free of charge to enable investors to practice currency trading using digital money.

    Demo accounts traders frequently also get access to at least a few of the broker’s customer providers and consumer support personnel to ensure that they can obtain a much better feeling for what coping with the broker will end up being like when they determine to finance a trading account with genuine cash.

    Investors desperate to open up a demonstration trading accounts can typically get around to the site of one or even more forex demonstration brokers and adhere to guidelines shown there for opening up a demo or practise account with the brokers they select.

    Selecting the greatest fx demo accounts for your requirements might require critiquing those provided by a number of online brokers with different features in order to make an knowledgeable decision which broker is the best partner for your start.

    When starting a demonstration account, you may even require to choose a quantity of virtual money to fund the demonstration accounts with and get into some personal data to determine yourself with.

    In case you feel worried about offering your true personal data to a broker you are will to try not really you have more freedom as no documentation is required for this in general, the moment you open a real account your KYC documentation will be needed for compliance and this protects the broker as well as the traders from money laundering and fraud. 

    You can also open up a new e-mail account to get communications about the demo forex account if you are concerned about getting your personal email address offered to third celebrations like digital email entrepreneurs.The Advantages and Negatives of Forex Demo Trading


    Pros of Forex Demonstration Trading Demo_trading_advantages

    The two beginner and experienced forex investors regularly make use of demo accounts to rehearse trading currencies and check out a fresh broker or trading strategy.

    Some of the more common advantages of interesting in forex demo trading consist of the following:

    Observe if You Like Trading Foreign currencies

    Those fresh to trading foreign currencies or trading generally can use an fx demo accounts to find if they are psychologically and psychologically appropriate to the bustle of trading forex. Everyone is usually different, and some people might actually appreciate trading currencies, as the activity might not match others’ preferences, personas or lifestyles at all.

    Operate Forex without Risk Whilst Learning or teaching how to trade

    – Beginners who are still learning how to operate foreign currencies frequently experience substantially even more assured putting their real cash in danger in the marketplace if they have an opportunity to try points away from 1st. A demo account allows them to place their training into practice in a near to actual existence environment without placing their genuine money at risk. This enables those to make common beginner’s mistakes while they find out without needing to spend for the effects out with their very own bank.

    Practice Great Cash Administration Methods –

    One of the secrets to taking pleasure in long-term success when trading forex requires learning to apply well-established cash administration concepts. A demonstration accounts allows a brand-new or skilled trader to practice such methods completely on true exchange rate actions and see on their own how the common benefits accumulate to their demo account in digital money earnings.

    Find out to Control Your Feelings When Trading –

    Probably the most difficult elements of trading for many people consists of learning how to control their psychological reactions to earning and shedding deals in such a method that it stimulates overall success. Dealing properly with normally regular mental replies to producing and losing cash – such as dread, avarice and wish – can often differentiate the effective fx investor from the loss.

    Check a fresh Trading Technique Without Jeopardizing Actual Money –

    Smart experienced traders and beginners as well will generally wish to check the achievement of any new trading technique they arrive plan before applying it in a live trading environment. This kind of enables them to accustom themselves to pursuing the program and also to function out any insects in it that may become obvious while using it as real exchange price movements happen.

    Try Out a New Broker’s Trading System –

    Unless you are utilizing the Mt4 system that a great deal of on-line forex brokers support, you will most likely want to make use of a demonstration accounts to observe whether a fresh fx broker’s private internet or client structured trading platform is usually ideal for your trading requirements.

    Examine if a Fresh Broker Offers Useful Features and Solutions –

    Fx Brokers keen to possess you open up a live trading account with them will frequently provide demonstration investors gain access to their unique customer features, educational and information services, and customer support departments. This can be a great method to examine your quality of the broker’s general solutions before carrying out any actual trading money to ensure they are the type of trading partner you will need keeping your accounts.

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    Broker news

    Donald Trump blasts ‘fools’ who oppose good Russian ties

    US President-elect Donald Trump has posted a progression of tweets censuring the individuals who contradict great relations with Russia as “‘dumb’ individuals, or nitwits”.

    Mr Trump promised to work with Russia “to comprehend a portion of the numerous… squeezing issues and issues of the WORLD!”

    His remarks came after an insight report said Russia’s leader had attempted to help a Trump race triumph.

    Mr Trump said Democrats were to be faulted for “gross carelessness” in permitting their servers to be hacked.

    In a progression of tweets on Saturday, Mr Trump said that having a decent association with Russia was “no terrible thing” and that “lone “idiotic” individuals, or simpletons, would believe that it is awful!”

    He included that Russia would regard the US increasingly when he was president

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