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Welcome Cluless1054. I think that is a great first post introduction and question.

Be sure you read through this (13 Steps to Investing Foolishly):

I'd suggest paying particular attention to the concept of 'investing' vs. 'trading' and also 'diversification.'

That you have a 401-k at work helps provide some diversification right there, so that is a good thing.

As to stock price manipulation... Yes, it certainly seems some folks are having a pretty easy time of driving down prices. Some pretty skittish 'investors' out there apparently. :)

I suspect the motivation, however, is to make money shorting stocks though. Once they've proven successful at easily scaring some folks into selling, I can't imagine giving up on that kind of manipulation.

To avoid being one of those skittish investors, start by learning all you can about yourself as it relates to 'risk tolerance.' Search the term and understand it - will be well worth the effort. Understanding your personal risk tolerance, the factors that influence risk, and how to invest in a way that matches your personal risk tolerance will help you sleep at night while still being a successful investor.
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