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How to Use Others’ Choices for Your Stock Investment Decisions

You can invest in a great company and still see its stock go nowhere. Why? Because what makes the stock go up is demand — having more buyers than sellers of the stock. If you pick a stock for all the right reasons and the market notices the stock as well, that attention causes the stock price to climb. The things to watch for include the following:

  • Institutional buying: Are mutual funds and pension plans buying up the stock you’re looking at? If so, this type of buying power can exert tremendous upward pressure on the stock’s price. Some resources and publications track institutional buying and how that affects any particular stock.

    Frequently, when a mutual fund buys a stock, others soon follow. In spite of all the talk about independent research, a herd mentality still exists.

  • Analysts’ attention: Are analysts talking about the stock on the financial shows? As much as you should be skeptical about an analyst’s recommendation (given the stock market debacle of 2000–2002 and the market problems in 2008), it offers some positive reinforcement for your stock.

    Don’t ever buy a stock solely on the basis of an analyst’s recommendation. Just know that if you buy a stock based on your own research, and analysts subsequently rave about it, your stock price is likely to go up. A single recommendation by an influential analyst can be enough to send a stock skyward.

  • Newsletter recommendations: Independent researchers usually publish newsletters. If influential newsletters are touting your choice, that praise is also good for your stock.

    Although some great newsletters are out there and they offer information that’s as good as or better than that of some brokerage firms’ research departments, don’t base your investment decision on a single tip. However, seeing newsletters tout a stock that you’ve already chosen should make you feel good.

  • Consumer publications: No, you won’t find investment advice here. This one seems to come out of left field, but it’s a source that you should notice.

    Publications such as Consumer Reports regularly look at products and services and rate them for consumer satisfaction. If a company’s offerings are well received by consumers, that’s a strong positive for the company. This kind of attention ultimately has a positive effect on that company’s stock.

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