To make trades, find the trading page for stocks, ETFs, etc. Then enter the company or financial security’s symbol (Apple = AAPL) and choose how many shares you want to purchase.
Next select order type. “Market order” will usually be filled the most quickly. A market order accepts the price (ask price) sellers are offering.
The image below shows the trading page from Charles Schwab.
Limit, stop, and stop limit orders allow you to choose a certain price level you are willing to pay. If the price doesn’t reach your acceptable level during trading hours it will not be completed. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is open 9:30 am – 4:00 pm ET.
Once you have these fields entered in, you are automatically shown the estimated amount. If everything matches up, review and complete the order.
Larger companies tend to have higher trading volumes each day (more shares change hands between buyers and sellers). This allows investors to buy and sell when they need to. They are considered more “liquid” positions. For example, putting in a market order for Microsoft (MSFT) is usually completed and filled within seconds.
Making your first trade is always exciting and a little nerve racking. This is why we recommend starting with blue-chip companies. Blue-chip companies are large financially stable companies such as Microsoft. Their price is usually less volatile and large downside risk is often limited.