Check the finance news for stock market investments

After the turmoil of the crashes, slumps, recoveries and uncertainty in everything to do with finance, stock market investments may seem a risky undertaking, but they may also represent an opportunity.

Recent rallies on Wall Street and on the FTSE suggest that confidence may be returning to stocks and shares, and it might be the right time to invest while stocks are still trading at depressed levels.

Any investment in the stock market represents a gamble, which is why they always make you read that small print about the value of your investment going up or down. It's a risk, but if you study the right financial advice, it can at least be an informed risk.

Make a habit of checking the blogs and opinions at websites like www.thisismoney.co.uk or www.investorschronicle.co.uk to see where the smart money is going. Recently Wall Street rallies were helped by the news that major bank executives were buying stocks again. The finance world is an inexact science, and reports like that can fuel major market moves.

Stock markets are likely to remain volatile for a few months yet, and there could be another lurch downwards. Long-term patterns though tend to be reassuringly familiar. The FTSE graph shows that each plummet is followed by a steady climb. The decision you have to make is whether now is the time to catch a ride on the rising tide.

As a back up you should be aware of the cash dividends paid by some stocks. These won't make a fortune but they can serve as useful hedges against the falling value of shares. In the world of finance, stock market fluctuations are unpredictable, but cash is cash.

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