How to Invest in the Stock Market

Welcome to FinalStopInvestor! This beginner's guide was created to help you learn about how to invest in Stocks and Options. This guide is based on the U.S. stock market .We have tried to put together most of the relevant information, all in one place, to help you get started in the right direction. Explore and Learn!

U.S. Stock Market Trading Hours - Eastern Time(ET)

Regular:  9:30am-4:00pm
Pre-Market:  7:00am-9:30am
After-Market:  4:00pm-8:00pm

Most brokerage/Trading firms offer stock/options trading during Regular hours. Pre-market and After-market trading is only offered by some firms.

Stock Quotes Websites

Stock real-time quotes

After-hours Stock quotes

Investor Knowledge Material


  • Jim Cramers Mad Money- Daily TV Shows: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100036780 (Advice on Individual stock picks!)
  • Wall Street Journal/The New York Times/USA Today Newspaper


  • 10K(Annual)/10Q(Quaterly). Enter stock symbol on Fast Search
  • 10K/10Q reports are first hand insight to the company business and are filed with SEC(Securities and Exchange Commission)

SEC's Guide to Investing

Brokerage/Trading Accounts

Brokerage firms for stock trading(some also offer Options trading, ETF trading or buying stocks on margin as well):
  • Scottrade, Sharebuilder, Charles Schwab, OptionsHouse, OptionsXpress, TradeKing, Ameritrade, E-trade, Fidelity among others
  • A good strategy before selecting a trading account includes researching stock trading fees, availability of margin account(to buy stocks on credit), availability to trade options, availability to trade in regular, pre-market, after-market hours etc among others. An individual investor can open brokerage accounts with different brokerage firms at the same time as well
Brokerage account(Includes Regular Account, Options trading and buying stocks/options on margin among others)
  • Normally you open a regular account to trade stocks. To additionally trade options or to buy stocks/options on margin you might have to submit seperate applications. Please research the brokerage firm website for more details

Note: It's not a good idea to put all eggs in one basket. Have at least two Brokerage accounts.

US and Foreign Market Indices


Market indices provide a rough view of the economic health of the segment they target. For instance, Nasdaq index informs us how the technology sector is doing overall. Major country indices(such as Dow Jones Index, S&P500 Index and the Nasdaq Index) when viewed side by side provide an overall picture of the economy in general.

US Indices Breakup

Dow:  Comprised of 30 largest US companies
S&P 500:  Comprised of 500 large US companies in different sectors
Nasdaq:  Comprised of around 3000 companies mostly technology/Internet related

US Indices Real-Time Quotes and Weightage

Real time Stock Quotes of Companies within Dow, Nasdaq100 and S&P 500 index

Note* Nasdaq Index has around 3000 companies. Nasdaq100, on the other hand, comprises of only 100 major companies from the Nasdaq Index.

Weightage of Companies within Dow

Foreign Indices

China:  Shanghai - SSE Composite Index
Japan:  Nikkei 225
Australia:  S&P/ASX 200
To view the above indices, please visit http://www.google.com/finance

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