How do you know which stocks to watch and trade?
If all you’re looking for is a list of breakout stocks to watch, then these weekly trade ideas are for you!
On the other hand…
If you want to learn how to find out which stocks to watch for yourself, then keep reading.
Because the truth is…
You need to learn to walk before you can run. And if you want to trade stocks successfully, you need to know which stocks to watch (and how to find them!) before you ever place a trade.
Yet with THOUSANDS of publicly traded companies (not to mention ETFs), it can be tough to know where to look for the best potential stock trading ideas.
So whats a new trader to do? Well… first of all…
Because keep in mind…
In today’s day and age, there are many technology-based tools you can use to do the heavy lifting for you, to make it MUCH easier to know which stocks to watch.e
To wit, there are stock screeners, watch lists and more trading websites than you can shake a stick at.
And… IF you use them properly…
You can save yourself tons of time and energy when watching stocks.
You’ll be able to focus on the best trading signal, while tuning out the noise. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
That’s why in this detailed article I’m going to show you the EXACT strategies, tactics and tools I use to decide which stocks to watch.
But there’s one key thing you need to understand before we get into the dirty details of how to efficiently watch the right stocks at the right time.
Do you know what it is?
Choosing What Stocks to Watch: The First Thing You Need to Know
When looking for stocks to watch, there’s something you need to realize…
“You can’t possibly watch ALL of the stocks all the time!”
Because as I mentioned…
There are thousands of tickers jumping around on ANY given day.
So in order to know which stocks to watch, you need to know what an opportunity looks like for you!
Because let’s be honest…
The reason you’re here reading about which stocks to watch, is because you want to know which stocks to trade, right?
At the end of the day…
You want to buy a stock… watch it go up… and cash out for a PROFIT!
… But you know what?
The truth is, there are a lot of different ways to make money in the markets. And what I call an opportunity might not be appealing to you.
So before reading on… you must…
Broadly Define Your Trading Style!
Take action: try to define your preferred trading timeframe and what kind of opportunities you want to trade. Do it now!
This might take some experimentation, (especially if you’re new to the stock market).
But it’s worth it!
For example… maybe…
- You want to trade breakout signals,
- You want to buy dips in uptrends,
- You want to trade ranges in non-trending markets,
- You want to sell options to collect premium,
- You want to own undervalued companies that are hitting new lows…
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
But whatever your trading style… my point is…
Before you know what stocks to watch, you need to have an objective way to define your opportunities!
Think about it, a Major League Baseball player doesn’t swing at every pitch, does he?
“You wait for the ones you have a high probability of hitting!”
The stock market is exactly the same. You NEED to know what your fat pitch looks like.
Otherwise, you’ll simply be overwhelmed by information.
Only once you’ve defined what opportunity looks like to you, can you really start to build your trading watch list and customize real-time stock screening software to give you the outputs that merit watching.
In case that’s not clear though, let me show you how I do it:
Using myself an example… for educational purposes only… I can tell you I like to watch for stocks that are breaking out to new highs in the context of existing uptrends.
And where possible, I also prefer to stick to companies with a fundamental track record.
This crystal clear view helps me eliminate stocks that do not meet my criteria of opportunity. Plus…
It also helps me fine-tune my FinViz stock screen to find the right kind of stock trading opportunities for me!
And you know what?
From there, it’s actually really easy to wait… watch… and POUNCE on the trade when I see it coming into my strike zone!
But just in case you’re curious, here’s another free tip for you…
If you’re still not sure what kind of trading opportunities you want to watch for, go look at your past winning trades.
- What do my winning trades have in common?
- Why did I buy them in the first place?
- How can I replicate these winners with today’s offering of stocks?
This is a technique I first learned from Dr. Brett Steenbarger, and it made a huge difference in my trading.
“So hopefully it can do the same for you!”
Once you define your ideal trading opportunities, you’ll be much closer to watching the right stocks.
But there’s one more preparation step you need to consider to help you watch stocks effectively.
Getting Organized: How to Leverage Routines to Watch Stocks Efficiently
Now that you know what your trading opportunities look like, you’re one BIG step closer to learning what stocks to watch.
So what’s next?
Well, once you know your trading strategy, you can start to create a routine that exposes you to the right ideas at the right time.
That means the next key step is to start thinking about how watching stocks fits into the rest of your life.
I know this might seem like a step backwards. But bear with me.
Every single business day things are changing in the stock market. So watching the right stocks is something you need to do each and every day (if only for a few minutes).
Because even with the right tech tools (yes, we’ll get to that!), you still need to put in a bit of time each trading day.
“Building wealth is a long-term commitment!”
So it makes sense to set yourself up for success from the start, doesn’t it?
In case this all seems a bit abstract, let me show you part of my research routine to find the right stocks to watch…
Watching Stocks: How I Get Maximum Value in Minimum Time
Since I know exactly what trading opportunities I’m looking for, it’s easy to adapt my daily routine to finding these stock trade ideas.
Specifically: I’m a longer-term swing/position trader using a mix of fundamentals and technicals.
And that means:
- I don’t worry too much about intraday price action; instead, I focus on closing prices.
- I do most of my research and order entry after market hours.
- I use mechanical rules rather than discretion to tell me when to sell my stocks so I don’t have to watch the market all day.
Now how do these preferences help shape my routine for watching stocks?
Well… basically…here’s how it works:
- Each day at the stock market closing bell I check my open trading positions to see if any stops were triggered (and thus if I have new cash to put to work),
- If I have cash lying around I will fire up some of my favourite FinViz stock screens to look for opportunities,
- Then I follow a few specific steps to eliminate, prioritize, and rank the ideas from my stock screens so I can decide what I want to buy,
- Next I enter my orders after hours and wait until the next day do to see where they get filled,
- This whole process usually only takes 15-45 minutes/day!
So, do you see why this is valuable?
I hope so.
Because if you’re like me, you often feel that there aren’t enough hours in the day!
By being crystal clear about how you want to trade, you can develop a routine that fits into your life.
And whether you work late, need to pick up the kids from sports practice or after school activities, or just have a demanding full-time job, giving some thought to your routine allows you to watch the right stocks effectively.
And once you commit to watching for stock trading opportunities every single day… even for just a few minutes at a time… you’ll start to see how this kind of planning can really pay off.
By the way: the routine above is just a part of the workflows I use to give you an idea.
And one of the reasons people have been so happy with my Breakout Stock Blueprint is because it contains the EXACT step-by-step routine I use to watch, find and trade breakout stock ideas (from start to finish).
Finally, I know all this routine stuff might feel a little bit dry. But…
To paraphrase Charlie Munger, you need mental models to put data into context, so you can interpret and act on it.
And that’s what we’re doing by (1) defining what kind of trader you want to be, and (2) thinking about when you can find time to consistently watch for stock market opportunities. Make sense?
Now… moving on…
I know you’re probably itching to get some specific (and free!) online tools to help you watch stocks.
So let me show you where to get started:
Find Stocks to Watch With Free Online Trading Tools:
Okay, if you’re wondering what stocks to watch and how to do it, this is the section you’ve been waiting for!
And now that you’ve laid the groundwork… by clarifying what style of trades you’re looking for, as well as how you’ll fit them into your daily routines… it becomes VERY easy to start using some stock screeners and watch lists to keep your finger on the pulse of the market.
So let’s get down to brass tacks!
Keep reading to see my favourite free tools for watching stocks…
The Best Free Online Tools to Watch Stocks:
In my experience, stock screeners are the absolute best way to stay on top of your stocks. That’s because…
They can help you remove all the distractions and focus on the kind of trades that are appealing to you.
Personally, I love to use FinViz to screener and watch out for breakout stock picks. This is the general approach I use.
And each evening, I use FinViz to isolate the kind of ideas I want.
So rather than watching stocks all day, I can simply open my bookmarked FinViz scan, and see the different opportunities.
From there, acting on this short-list of ideas is quick and easy!
And while FinViz is my favourite stock screener, there are some other great free online screeners you can use to help you watch the best stocks:
Stockchart.com’s list of predefined technical scans is another wonderful way to know which stocks to watch.
While I like to watch their list of bullish 52-week highs, there are a ton of other great scans you can use depending on what kind of trades you want to watch out for.
<52 week high image>
So if you think this might be the right free trading tool for you, check out my article about screening for breakouts with StockCharts.com.
Investing.com is another great free online tool to help you keep an eye on stocks that fit your opportunity set.
In particular, if you’re looking to watch Canadian stocks, I think this is one of the best free screeners available. Learn to watch for Canadian breakout stocks with Investing.com.
Now one word of warning is that these tools, while free, work with delayed data.
This is fine, because as you know from reading about my routine, I make trades based on end of day signals.
On the other hand…
If you’re an active trader getting market data from your broker, then you might also be able to use their stock screening tools and watch lists to help you spot intraday opportunities.
Okay, so we’ve covered why stock screeners are a great way to find stocks to watch.
What if you already have a list of stocks and just want to stay on top of them?
Well my friend, lucky for you that’s no problem at all. Just keep reading!
Using Watch Lists to Monitor Your Stock Picks:
While I think stock screeners are the best way to watch an entire universe ornstofks for the best trading ideas, there’s also another approach you can take.
Maybe you already own some stocks, or perhaps there are companies you’re interested in. But what’s the best way to watch these stocks?
Well… if you ask me… watch lists are the PERFECT way to keep up to date with your favourite stock picks.
The reason these watch lists work so well is because they update in real time. So just by logging into a single app or web page, you can get all the data you need in one quick glance.
Put another way…
“Watch lists give you stock market information at your fingertips!”
And in our time-starved world, this kind of technology can really help you manage your portfolio more efficiently. So…
Where Can You Find Free Trading Watch Lists?
The good news is, these stock trading watch lists are everywhere.
And chances are, your broker also offers a watch list feature!
But just to get your started, here are some of the best online stock watch lists:
- Google Finance has a portfolio feature that allows you to track stocks you’re interested in. I like Google Finance because they have good coverage of lots of other markets.
- SeekingAlpha has a great watch list feature too – I like how they provide a variety of fundamental data as well. This can give you important context on how price is changing, if you’re at all fundamentally inclined.
- Each week in my breakout stock picks I share my current portfolio as a FinViz watchlist. Just go to the screener and type in your tickets of interest (then you can bookmark that page and check back/edit any time). The great thing about FinViz is you can display the results in chart formats to quickly put the day’s price action into context.
- CNBC’s mobile app has a great watch list feature – this app is also an easy way to watch global stocks, currencies and commodities too. This is one of my favourite free stock market apps.
- StockTwits is another great website and app that allows you to create watch lists. If you want to watch what other people are saying about your stocks, StockTwits is the perfect place to go!
- TechnicianApp is an easy-to-use mobile charting app that also has an intuitive watch list feature so you can quickly watch the charts of your favourite stocks (even if you’re on the go!)
And while that may seems like a lot… as I mentioned before… these websites and apps are just some of the places watch list options are available.
The fact is:
Watch lists have become such a popular way to watch your stocks that most market research sites now offer it as an easy way to stay up to date with the daily price changes and news updates. Convenient, right?
Well, not so fast…
One Big Warning to Remember When Setting Up Your Watch List:
On one hand, it’s great that there are so many online tools you can use to watch your best stock picks. But…
It can also be overwhelming (and take a TON of time) to configure and manage watch lists across multiple apps or trading websites.
This is especially true because the market is always changing. So naturally, your watch list will evolve over time as well.
The trouble is…
Since your watchlist is always changing, if you try to maintain 5 different watch lists across a bunch of different websites, you’re going to have trouble keeping them up to date.
You’re going to end up spending way too many hours adding and deleting ticker symbols from all the different sites.
I know this might not sound like a big deal…
But, if you’re not careful, updating watch lists can quickly become a huge distraction!
That’s why I recommend you pick one (or two at most) watch lists to maintain. And then stick to that one source.
In my case, I like to use the CNBC app because the data is good and I almost always have my phone with me.
Then in my brokerage and StockTwits accounts‘ I just have very simple watch lists to keep an eye on the major indices and market sectors.
But… the key is…
“I only track individual stocks in one watch list!”
This saves me a ton of time, and simplifies my daily routines so that even when I’m in a hurry or stressed for time, I can still quickly check in to see how my stocks are doing, make sense?
Now I know….
It’s not that glamorous to talk about personal organization. But your trading is a business.
Ypou need to get the basic blocking and tackling of time management and efficiency down pat.
I belabour this point only because it’s made such a big difference for me.
Okay… so we’ve covered a LOT of ground today. But…
There’s one more important piece of info I want to leave with you for consideration.
Why Watching the Right Stocks is NOT Enough for Trading Success:
This might be tough to hear… BUT… if you want to be a successful trader then simply watching the right stocks is NOT enough.
Yup… that’s right…
While watching the stock market regularly is a great way to get familiar with price action and start to formulate your trading strategy, you (eventually) need to go a step further.
So what does that mean in practice?
Well… to put it simply… IF you want to make money trading stocks, then you need to trade!
Not only do you need to find stocks to watch with stock screeners and watch lists… but… you also need a way to rank those ideas, a trading strategy for when to buy, and a plan for when to sell.
If you’re curious to learn more about this, then you may want to sign up for the free trading mini-course below.
I’ll also send you my own trading ideas each weekend so you can see what stocks I’m watching right now!
Why not give it a try?
Conclusion: Summarizing How to Know Which Stocks to Watch
I hope you found this post about watching the right stocks to be helpful. Because the truth is…
While it’s easy to open a watch list or throw up a stock screen, you need to do it in a way that jives with your trading style, and with the rest of your life. Make sense?
Because when you get that right, not only will you know which stocks to watch. But you’ll also feel more confident and consistent trading them as well.
As we discussed, the steps in this process are:
- Broadly define your trading style
- Decide when you can consistently make time to watch your stocks
- Use a Stock Screener to narrow down
- Build and manage a watch list of your prospective trade ideas
For a free 12-page PDF on my personal trading style and the tools I use to watch for market opportunities, just drop your email in the form below! With any luck, you’ll be watching (and trading!) stocks in no time.