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Your Order Please: A Guide to the Different Ways to Buy and Sell Securities

Once you've made up your mind about a stock, the rest is easy, right? Just call up your broker and say "buy" or "sell."

Unfortunately, it's not always that simple. There are multiple ways to give buy and sell instructions to a broker, and just as many ways to get burned if you mess up.

Here is a rundown of the most common types of orders used by most stock exchanges and brokers. Some brokers, though—especially the on-line variety—may not accept every type of order, so check ahead of making your transaction.

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Don't Fight the Fed: Interest Rates and their Impact on the Stock Market

I have frequently been asked, “What is the one thing an investor should monitor in order to gauge the health of the economy and the direction of the stock market?”

My response is “interest rates.” The mandate of the Federal Reserve is twofold: to promote economic growth and to keep inflation under control.

Think of it this way. If the economy were a car, the Fed’s responsibility...

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