The stock market is a large, sophisticated, free-market institution. Share prices rise and fall in response to numerous economic, financial and political factors. Monitoring the stock market demands a good understanding of the interplay of these factors, which often contradict each other. For example, companies can show strong profits while the country's Gross Domestic Product shrinks. Determining and monitoring what factors have greater impacts on the stock market constitutes a great skill.
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Read books about the stock market, how it operates and what factors make stocks go up or down. Focus on recently published books, preferably written by star traders or investors.
Read real-time financial news. Dow Jones Newswire, Bloomberg, and Thomson-Reuters are the market leaders in providing accurate, real-time business and financial news that may affect share prices. These news agencies provide some of the information for free while the full content is available to subscribers.
Read stock market news reports. The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and other publications that cover stock market developments in great detail, offering in-depth commentary and analysis. Articles from well-known financial newspapers and journals will help you understand what caused the market to sour or plunge in the previous session.
Watch important press conferences and news releases. All major listed companies conduct press conferences to unveil important strategic and operational issues, as well as to make public financial statements and profit forecasts. Pay attention to these conferences, especially those of bellwether firms that are market leaders (e.g. McDonald's in fast-food restaurant chains). These often produce news that can set the trend in the wider stock market.
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