With the number of fly-by-night trading platforms - with their promises of overnight riches - on the rise, it's important that you are cautious if you intend to trade stocks and shares. This means familiarising yourself with the language of the stock market, the psychology of trading and how to manage risk. There are basic elements of trading you'll need to wrap your head around before you put your money to work. Most people's introduction to trading is through dealing in shares. When you buy a stake in a publicly listed company, you buy shares in - or part of - that company. Listed companies are those whose shares are available on a regulated stock exchange. For South Africans, that means the JSE. Although the JSE is responsible for listing companies and distributing shares between sellers and buyers, would-be investors can't go directly to the owner of certain stocks with an offer to purchase: various financial institutions and individuals, known as brokers, act as intermediaries....

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