What to Look for When Buying a Stock

Buying stocks at right levels and at the right time is a must to earn good profits from them. In this article, we shall try to understand what to look for when buying a stock.
Almost all investors interested in the stock market must be wondering what they should look for when buying a stock. This is because no one wants to lose money here making any mistakes. A detailed study of the market is very useful in picking the right or quality stocks. Though there are experts to give suggestions, you have to take the final decision on your own and hence, gaining maximum knowledge of stock investments is always useful. Here are the vital things to consider before you actually put your hard-earned money into stocks.
Company Management and Performance
The company's management and performance are actually inter-related. Most of the time, it has been observed that stable and good management helps companies achieve their financial goals quite convincingly. So, before you invest in any company's stock, you should study the past performance and track record of the management. If you are convinced that the management is dedicated to the interest of the shareholders, only then you should put in your money.
The dividend paying history is one of the aspects to look for when buying a stock. Dividends are paid to shareholders by the company from the net profits after having made provisions for depreciation and depositing money in reserves. Dividends are given on a per share basis which means that more the number of shares you own, more will be the total dividend payout you will get. Generally, top firms with billions in profits give handsome dividends, and hence you should look for such stocks to get something more than just stock price appreciation.
Price to Earnings Ratio
Price to earnings ratio is the ratio of the current market price of the stock to its profit. If the current market price is less as compared to the earnings as compared to other listed peers, then the market cap of the company will be low and it can be a great investment bet.
Earnings per Share Ratio
This is the ratio of the total net profit generated in a quarter/financial year to the number of outstanding shares of the company. More the earnings generated on every equity share, better will be the performance of the company's stock.
Gross Profit Ratio
Gross profit ratio is an important valuation ratio which needs to be considered for stock analysis. This is the ratio of the total gross profit to the total sales generated by the company. More the gross profit as compared to other firms, more will be the ability of the stock to perform.
Net Profit Ratio
Net profit ratio is widely used for knowing the profitability of a firm. It is the ratio of the net profit to the total sales generated in a particular period. More the net profit percentage, better is the company for long-term investment purpose.
Debt to Equity Ratio
Almost all businesses need loans to finance their projects. However, if the debt levels are very high, then the firm loses a lot of money every quarter in the form of interest payments. So, it is essential to know the debt to equity ratio of a firm. This is the ratio of the total outstanding debt to the shareholders equity. You should prefer companies with a low debt to equity ratio.
Effective Use of Cash
There are some companies which have huge cash reserves but are not able to use them properly to increase shareholder returns. As an investor, you should stay away from such companies as the chances of stock appreciation are low in such cases.
Institutional and Retail Interest
Before you become a shareholder of a company, you should know if big investors, retail investors as well as institutional investors are interested in the particular stock, a stock can go up substantially only if it is bought on a large-scale and hence, checking these statistics are necessary.
Expansion Policies
The chances of stock price appreciation are high in case of companies which are rapidly expanding. So, look out for companies that are opting for mergers and acquisitions for ensuring fast growth in the future.
So, by now, you must have clearly understood what to look for when buying a stock. When buying stocks for the first time, you should also consider your risk taking ability and investment time horizon to get good returns in desired time duration.