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HI, dcooler.

A 'full position' has different meanings for different investors. It basically relates to how diversified or non-diversified the investor prefers to be, and in general how much risk the investor is willing to accept via 'concentrating' his or her invesment dollars -- as opposed to the specific risks of the particular stock(s) you own.

In general, you want to be neither too diversified (i.e., owning too many stocks) for a whole variety of reasons, or too concentrated (owning too few stocks) since a major 'hit' to one of your positions can submarine your entire portfolio. But within that broad range are numerous variations, depending on how YOU feel about it... and it really all comes down to just that. And you may in fact decide you'd like to own one or two more speculative stocks in a smaller amount, in addition to your 'core' positions.

Once you decide how many stocks you want to own (or feel comfortable owning), just divide your total portfolio dollars by that number to get your full position. I.e., if you're working with a total amount of, let's say, $10,000, and you feel comfortable owning 10-12 stocks, your typical full position would be between $833 (OK, round it up to $850 for simplicity sake) and $1,000.

If you're comfortable with only 5 or 6 stocks and feel that gives you enough diversification, your typical full position would be (rounded) $1,700 - $2,000. Then, of course, a one-half or one-third position is defined one-half or one-third of that.

One constraint for a new investor, or someone starting out with limited funds, is the commission expense. If you have at least $5,000, you can open a Freetrade account and get X number of free trades. I'm not sure exactly what the terms are, but you can find it on these boards -- probably under 'choose a broker'. In that case, commissions are not an issue, as long as you don't exceed the number of free trades permitted in any one period.

But if commission expense will be involved, the advice typically given on these boards is to keep it at 1% or less of the trade value, lest too much of your money be eaten up by commissions. So, if you are using a Scottrade account ($7.00 minimum stock commission), each of your stock transactions should be at least $700. If you're using Ameritrade ($11 minimum stock commission) each transaction should be at least $1,100. These, of course, are just rules of thumb: 'guidelines'.

Hope this is of some help.

Best wishes and good luck!
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