- Decided to invest in Google?
- Learn how to compare broker offerings.
- See how to build a trading strategy.
Alphabet is the parent company of Google, the world’s largest search engine. However, Google is more than a search engine, offering cloud services, mobile operating systems, and even video streaming.
If you’re a newcomer to trading and want to buy Alphabet stock (NASDAQ: GOOGL), this guide gives you everything you need to know to process your first trade.
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Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Alphabet back in October 2015 after restructuring their Google business. The company currently has two ticker listings; Alphabet Inc. trades under GOOGL, offering investors Class A shares while the GOOG ticker symbol is for Alphabet’s Class C shares. The difference between the two is that the Class A shares come with voting rights while Class C do not―but that’s not something you need to concern yourself with as a day trader.
Alphabet continues to dominate search and online video streaming via its 2006 acquisition of YouTube. Given its long-time market dominance and foray into other technologies, Alphabet Inc will continue to provide many trading opportunities in the future.
Where to buy Alphabet stock
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Step 1: Pick your trading platform
If you want to buy Alphabet stock, you’ll need to set up a trading account with a brokerage firm. Your broker acts as a conduit between you and the market, giving you the tools and platform you need to start trading. However, each broker provides a different offering. When picking your broker, we recommend you look for the following features.
With the launch of the Robinhood trading app in April 2013, new traders started gravitating to the platform due to its strategy of offering commission-free trades.
Five years later, the entire retail trading industry followed suit, with Charles Schwab being the first large brokerage to offer commission-free trading in 2019. Today, there are a bevy of options for commission-free trading including Webull and Stash.
Fractional share trading
Purchasing a single share of Alphabet stock will cost you well over $2,000, and that’s after the company split the stock several times (adding more shares to the float). Therefore, to make stock trading affordable and within reach of the novice trader, many brokers offer fractional share trading.
With this strategy, you can take a fractional position in a single share of Alphabet stock. This approach lets you get exposure to the price action in GOOGL without buying a full share. Fractional shares allow you to mitigate your risk by giving you the flexibility to invest in multiple stocks in small amounts.
Straightforward trading platform
Your broker will offer you access to its proprietary trading platform to buy and sell stocks. Some brokers allow you to plug in other trading platforms like DAS Trader and Sterling Pro. Whatever trading platform you choose, it should be intuitive and offer you simple navigation.
Real-time charts and data
Most brokers offer you charts with your trading platform. However, the data on the charts is often delayed by up to 15 minutes. To get access to live market data on GOOGL, you’ll need to purchase a data package.
Brokers are constantly competing for your business. As a result, they try to one-up each other to grab your attention and win your account. Before you sign up with a broker, compare the fee schedule for their account offering. Look for inactivity fees, transaction fees, and commissions, and compare other providers before settling on your broker.
Most brokers provide access to margin and cash accounts. With a cash account, you can only spend the account balance available in your trading account. However, with a margin account, you can leverage your account balance.
It’s a great way for new traders to build an account fast, but it comes with additional risk. Losses on margin accounts can exceed your initial account balance if the trade turns against you, forcing you to deposit more money into your account.
Step 2: Fund your trading account
After choosing your broker, it’s time to fund your account. Most brokers allow you to fund your account with a bank wire transfer. Some allow for deposits using debit cards or Apple Pay as well. Typically, the larger brokerages will not let you use a credit card to fund your account.
Step 3: Decide how much you want to invest
When you’re funding your account, use money that you can afford to lose. Trading is risky, and there’s a chance that you could blow up your account in the first trade. Therefore, putting everything you have saved or money you need for day-to-day expenses into a trading account is a bad idea. Most brokerages allow you to start with amounts as small as $300.
Step 4: Choose between a share of stock or ETF
After funding your account, it’s time to decide if you want to buy GOOGL stock using fractional shares or through an exchange-traded fund (ETF). An ETF contains shares of several companies in a given sector, such as tech. Therefore, you diversify your risk, reducing market volatility.
Cathie Wood’s ARK Industrial Innovation ETF (ARKQ) is a good example of an ETF where GOOGL is part of a portfolio of assets. Other ETFs with exposure to Alphabet include SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY), Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ), and iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV).
Step 5: Set up your order
After selecting fractional shares or an ETF containing GOOGL shares, you can purchase your shares or ETF using one of the following order types.
This order gets you into the GOOGL stock at the next available quote and will generally execute at or near the current bid or ask price. However, you might enter your order for $100 and find it fills at $110 or more. This additional price movement in the transaction is called “slippage.”
Professional day traders use limit orders to avoid slippage. You set your price at $100, and the order only fills when the price reaches this level.
The stop limit order lets you sell automatically when the stock or ETF reaches a certain price. For instance, you set it up to sell at $100, and when the price reaches this target, your platform automatically triggers the sell order.
This order lets you limit your risk. If you purchase GOOGL at $100 but can’t afford for the stock value to drop below $90, you set up the stop loss to sell at $90 to mitigate your risk. This will limit your account from incurring an outsized loss.
Step 6: Place the order
Now that you know how to buy Alphabet stock, it’s time to place your order. Your trading platform will have a simple order form allowing you to enter the ticker, the number of shares you want to buy and, if it’s a limit order, the price. Set up your order and wait to press the buy button to invest.
Step 7: Monitor GOOGL's performance
Several factors influence the price of stocks. Like other publicly traded companies, Alphabet's stock price fluctuates and is affected by product releases, earnings results, and other economic data. Alphabet's revenues are primarily derived from advertising, which experiences seasonality. You can track tech companies like Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) to compare alongside Alphabet.
Decide on a trading strategy before you place your first order, know your entries and exits, and keep risk at a level you can manage.