Have you thought about buying stock in a certain company but just didn’t have the cash to make a trade? Or perhaps you heard news about a company and thought to yourself that the stock price was poised to rise? Or maybe you have always just wanted to know more about picking stocks? Thanks to virtual stock exchange technology, stock market simulators (aka stock market games) that let you pick securities, make trades and track the results — all without risking a penny—are as close as your keyboard or cell phone.
What is a Stock Market Game?
Online stock market games are simple, easy-to-use programs that imitate the real-life workings of the equities markets. Most stock market games give users $100,000 in pretend money to start. From there, players pick to purchase; most of the stocks are those that are available on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Nasdaq and the American Stock Exchange (AMEX).
Most online stock simulators try to match real-life circumstances and actual performance as much as possible. Many even charge broker fees and commissions. These charges can significantly affect an investor’s bottom line, and including these in simulated trading helps users learn to factor these costs in when making purchasing decisions. Along the way, they’ll also learn the basics of finance and learn the basic terminology of investing, such as momentum trading, shorts and P/E ratios.
These useful skills can be applied to an actual trading account. Of course, in the real world, there are numerous factors that affect trading and investment decisions, such as one’s risk tolerance, investment horizon, investment objectives, taxation issues, need for diversification, and so on. It is impossible to take investor psychology into account because actual hard cash is not at risk.
Also, while the Investopedia Stock Simulator comes close to replicating the real-life experience of trading, it does not currently offer a real-time trading environment with live prices. However, for most users, the 15-minute lag in trade execution will not be an impairment to their learning experience.
Investopedia’s Stock Simulator: Play Your Way to Profits
The Investopedia Stock Simulator is well integrated with the site’s familiar educational content. Using real data from the markets, the trading occurs in context of a game, which can involve joining an existing game or the creation of a custom game that allows the user to configure the rules. Options, margin trading, adjustable commission rates and other choices provide a variety of ways to customize the games. From there, an easy-to-navigate menu lets users update their profiles, review holdings, trade and check their rankings, research investments and review their awards (which can be earned for completing various activities).