Loading the player...

For investors, finding a stock to buy can be some of the most fun and rewarding activities. It can also be quite lucrative, provided he or she ends up buying a stock that increases in price. Below are five tips to help you identify stocks that have a good chance at making you money.

SEE: Tips For When To Buy, Sell Or Hold

When a Stock Goes on Sale
When it comes to shopping, consumers are always on the lookout for a deal. The popularity of Black Friday and the Christmas season are prime examples of low prices spurring voracious demand for products, be they apparel, electronics or footwear. However, for some reason, investors don't get nearly as excited when stocks go on sale. In the stock market, a herd mentality takes over and investors tend to avoid stocks when prices are low.

The end of 2008 and early 2009 were periods of excessive pessimism, but in hindsight, were times of great opportunity for investors, who could have picked up many stocks at beaten-down prices. Last fall was arguably another good buying point and many deals still exist in the market today.

When It Hits Your Buy Price
In investing, it is important to estimate what a stock is worth. Then, investors will know whether it is on sale and likely to rise up to this estimated value. Coming to a single stock price target is not important. Instead, establishing a range at which you would purchase a stock is more reasonable. Analyst reports are good starting points, as are consensus price targets, which are averages of all analyst opinions. Most financial websites publish these figures. Without a price target range, investors would have trouble determining when to buy a stock.

When It Is Undervalued
There is a lot of information needed for establishing a price target range, such as if a stock is being undervalued. One of the best ways to determine the level of overvaluation or undervaluation is by estimating a company's future prospects. A key valuation technique is a discounted cash flow analysis, which takes a company's future projected cash flows and discounts them back to the present. The sum of these values is the theoretical price target. Logically, if the current stock price is below this value, then it is likely to be a good buy.

Other valuation techniques include comparing a stock's price to earnings multiple to competitors. Other metrics, including price to sales and price to cash flow, can help an investor determine whether a stock looks cheap compared to its key rivals.

When You Can Patiently Hold It
Assuming you've properly identified a stock's price target and estimated if it is undervalued, don't plan on seeing the stock rise in value anytime soon. It can take time for a stock to trade up to its true value. Analysts who project prices over the next month, or even next quarter, are simply guessing that the stock will rise in value quickly. It can take a couple of years for a stock to appreciate closer to a price target range. It would be even better to consider holding a stock for three to five years, especially if you are confident in its ability to grow.

When You Have Done Your Own Homework
Relying on analyst price targets or the advice of newsletters is a good starting point, but great investors do their own homework on a stock. This can stem from reading a company's annual report, reading its most recent news releases and going online to check out some of its recent presentations to investors or at industry trade shows. All of this data can be easily located at a company's corporate website under its investor relations page.

The Bottom Line
Legendary stock-picker Peter Lynch recommends that investors buy what they know, such as their favorite retailer at their local shopping mall. Others can get to know a company by reading up on it online or talking to other investors. Combined with the above tips, a common sense strategy to buying a stock can also be the most profitable.

Related Articles
  1. Investing Basics

    5 Tips On When To Buy Your Stock

    Buying stocks that make you money can be a satisfying experience for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the impact it has on your bottom line.
  2. Fundamental Analysis

    3 Misconceptions About Warren Buffett

    Learn why Warren Buffett is the man behind the curtain and how he is misunderstood regarding the ways he has adapted and changed his investing approach over the years.
  3. Stock Analysis

    Top 5 Stocks Listed on the Australian Securities Exchange for 2016 (RIO)

    Uncover five of the stocks listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) that offer investors the highest potential for above-average profits in 2016.
  4. Investing

    3 Healthy Financial Habits for 2016

    ”Winning” investors don't just set it and forget it. They consistently take steps to adapt their investment plan in the face of changing markets.
  5. Investing

    How to Ballast a Portfolio with Bonds

    If January and early February performance is any guide, there’s a new normal in financial markets today: Heightened volatility.
  6. Retirement

    Smart Ways to Tap Your Retirement Portfolio

    A rundown of strategies, from what to liquidate first to how much to withdraw, along with their tax consquences.
  7. Stock Analysis

    The Top Rated Dividend Paying Stocks for 2016 (ABBV, BA)

    Discover five of the top-rated stocks that pay investors solid dividends that you may want to consider adding to your investment portfolio in 2016.
  8. Stock Analysis

    Will Virtusa Corporation's Stock Keep Chugging in 2016? (VRTU)

    Read a thorough review and analysis of Virtusa Corporation's stock looking to project how well the stock is likely to perform for investors in 2016.
  9. Investing Basics

    Inside IPO Roadshows

    Understand more about IPO road shows. Learn the reasons why an IPO road show is important for the success of a company's public offering.
  10. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    The ABCs of Mutual Fund Classes

    There are three main mutual fund classes, and each charges fees in a different way.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is Fibonacci retracement, and where do the ratios that are used come from?

    Fibonacci retracement is a very popular tool among technical traders and is based on the key numbers identified by mathematician ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Does mutual fund manager tenure matter?

    Mutual fund investors have numerous items to consider when selecting a fund, including investment style, sector focus, operating ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Why do financial advisors dislike target-date funds?

    Financial advisors dislike target-date funds because these funds tend to charge high fees and have limited histories. It ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Can working capital be too high?

    A company's working capital ratio can be too high in the sense that an excessively high ratio is generally considered an ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What licenses does a hedge fund manager need to have?

    A hedge fund manager does not necessarily need any specific license to operate a fund, but depending on the type of investments ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Can mutual funds invest in hedge funds?

    Mutual funds are legally allowed to invest in hedge funds. However, hedge funds and mutual funds have striking differences ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Harry Potter Stock Index

    A collection of stocks from companies related to the "Harry Potter" series franchise. Created by StockPickr, this index seeks ...
  2. Liquidation Margin

    Liquidation margin refers to the value of all of the equity positions in a margin account. If an investor or trader holds ...
  3. Black Swan

    An event or occurrence that deviates beyond what is normally expected of a situation and that would be extremely difficult ...
  4. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  5. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
Trading Center