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Within the major movements of stock prices, there always are several minor movements, which are caused by various influences. One of the important causes is the technical condition of the market. Another cause might be called a psychological one. When stocks are moving up steadily in a bull market, people closely connected with the market expect a reaction and watch for it. The newspapers predict it. Consequently, there is sufficient let-up in buying to allow the pressure of selling by the bears to bring it about.

Technical conditions refer to the conditions that usually affect the supply and demand, such as short interests, floating supply, and stop loss orders.

It is sometimes said that supply and demand must be equal or else there could not be any sales, but that is not so. There are always some people who are willing to sell at some price above the market who will not sell at the market; and when the demand for stock is greater than the supply, it goes up until it is supplied by some of these people who are holding it at a higher price.

Stock prices are influenced largely by manipulation. Years ago when the volume of trading on the New York Stock Exchange was small compared with what it is today, it was possible to influence the entire market by manipulation, but it would be very difficult to do that today. It is only certain stocks that are manipulated; but if conditions are favorable, many other stocks may be influenced by them.

by J.J. Butler

Most people who trade in stocks buy on margin. The ordinary minimum margin is about 20% of the purchase price, because banks usually lend about 80% of the market value of stocks.

This book is written for the purpose of giving our clients some ideas of the fundamental principles that guide us when we select stocks for them to buy, but these principles are valuable to every person who trades in listed stocks or in any other kind of speculative stocks.

First of all, we want you to get a clear conception of the meaning of the word speculation, which is explained in the next chapter. Our purpose is to protect you against losses as well as to enable you to make profits, and it is very important that you understand how to provide for safety in your speculating.

By short selling, we mean selling a stock that you do not possess, with the intention of buying it later. Short selling in general business is very common, and we think nothing of it. Manufacturers frequently sell goods that are not yet made, to be delivered at some future time. Selling stocks short is a similar transaction, except that in a majority of cases delivery of the stock must be made immediately.

To speculate is to theorize about something that is uncertain. We can speculate about anything that is uncertain, but we use the word "speculation" in this book with particular reference to the buying and selling of stocks and bonds for the purpose of making a profit. When people buy stocks and bonds for the income they get from them and the amount of that income is fixed, they are said to invest and not to speculate. In nearly all investments there is also an element of speculation, because the market price of investments is subject to change.

There has been so much publicity given to bucket shops, nearly everybody is familiar with the term. A broker runs a bucket shop when he sells stock to his clients on margin and either never buys the stock for their accounts, or else sells it immediately after buying it. The bucket shop simply gets your money on the supposition that you are more likely to be wrong than to be right. Of course, if you take the bucket shop's advice you surely are likely to be wrong.

There are certain terms used in connection with stock speculation that are very familiar to those who come in contact with stock brokers, and yet are not always familiar to those who do business by mail. Undoubtedly the majority of our readers are familiar with these terms, but we give these definitions for the benefit of the few who are not familiar with them.

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