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Read some good books on trading. Study CANSLIM, and read William O'Neil's book. Read stuff by Alexander Elder, such as "Trading for a Living". Look at Achelis on Technical Analysis. Go to a free INVESTools seminar - they sell the best trading software I have ever found ( Listen to Cramer on CNBC at 6:00 ET (or later for a rerun).

Develop a trading discipline so that you can make money in the market trading stocks or ETFs.

Understand that there are times to be in the market and times to be out of it, or to be short. Look at to see examples, if you want to trade ETF indices.

Ignore the ignorant people on this board that just want you to buy index funds. I have never seen so many people who know so little say so much. Mediocracy finds comfort in things like the Efficient Market Theory, but anybody who is reasonably energetic can certainly beat an index like the S&P.
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