Stock Market Checklist - Basic

Basic Stock Market Checklist

Use this checklist each and every time before making a stock trade or investment.

ActionDescriptionPersonal Notes
EarningsCheck if earnings are coming up within the next 30 days. Stock prices can be highly volatile around earnings. If it's a long-term investment you may not be overly concerned with a purchase before earnings.

Market SentimentUnderstand the general market direction. Are all stocks going down, even quality companies? If so, maybe you want to wait to buy in - if, you're already invested, maybe you want to dollar cost average down.

Recent NewsAlways check the latest news to see if anything positive or negative just came out about the company. Is a senior executive leaving? Was a stock split announced? Is there a major product recall? If you can afford a paid subscription look at something like Benzinga Pro. If you want free timely news, we find the news feed within TD Ameritrade's Think or Swim app to be good. It's free, just open a brokerage account with them and download the desktop app.

DividendsSome stocks will dip right after the Ex-Dividend date because anyone buying the stock will not get the next dividend. Check for dates related to dividends if you are buying one that pays them.

52-wk (Hi or Lo)Is the stock about to hit a new 52-week low or high in price? Do you have confidence it will continue (or reverse) in the direction you want?

Moving Average(s)Is the stock trading near a popular moving average like the 10, 50, 72, 100, or 200? This may signal resistance or support. If you're buying and it's at support, what's the next level of support if you're wrong and the stock continues downward?