How to Track Hypothetical Stock Portfolios

by Jennifer Williams
Tracking a hypothetical stock portfolio is a no-risk way to learn the markets.

There is no better way to learn than by doing, and that's what tracking hypothetical stock portfolios allows you to do. Learn, without risk. Tracking hypothetical portfolios teaches you how the stock market works, how to choose stocks and follow their progress and how to reevaluate your investment choices, all without risking a single real dollar. Once you put your hypothetical portfolio together, tracking it requires organization and a commit of time in order to accurately simulate the experience of a real investor.

Select a stock screening and tracking service. These online services are hosted by the financial components of online entities such as MSN, Yahoo and Google, and online brokerage services. Study the news presented on various stocks and read the analysis presented by financial professionals. Use the service to research the performance of individual stocks over time. Usually you can create charts and graphs of a stock's performance over the past few weeks, months or even years. Create an account with the service and set up a watch list. The watch list allows you to add individual stocks, watch their current prices and track the daily price highs and lows.

Choose stocks for your portfolio. As you become familiar with stock market analysis and the various stocks features in the comments of various analysts, certain stocks will begin to catch your attention. Enter into your watch list any stock you think has potential as a performer, or the strongest performing stocks in a specific industry of interest to you. If you identify specific criteria you would like your stocks to meet, search for that criteria by entering it into the stock screening application of your tracking service. For example, you might choose to search for stocks that have recently hit a new price high, or stocks that are traded in the greatest volume in a particular industry. You might also decide to limit your search to stocks in a particular industry that are trading at or around a particular price point.

Sort the stocks in your portfolio according to trading volume. Set your watch list to present your stocks in order from the most heavily traded to the least heavily traded. Each day your list will adjust to present at the top the stocks with the highest trading volume.

Note which stocks make the top of your watch list most often, and those that usually appear at the bottom. Delete stocks that show a pattern of poor performance, and substitute them with new stocks. Continue this process until your portfolio consists only of top performers, and the overall value of your portfolio is consistently increasing.

About the Author

An attorney for more than 18 years, Jennifer Williams has served the Florida Judiciary as supervising attorney for research and drafting, and as appointed special master. Williams has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Jacksonville University, law degree from NSU's Shepard-Broad Law Center and certificates in environmental law and Native American rights from Tulsa University Law.

Photo Credits

  • John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images