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For the past 2 1/2 years, I have been managing my mother's portfolio. While the generic description of the best strategy is capital preservation, about 25% of her holdings is in stocks that my father bought before he died. I am reluctant to part with them too quickly -- they are in a sector that I favor generally and have continued to perform quite satisfactorily.

What I am considering is using the notion of a stop loss or a stop limit as a mechanism by which she can continue to profit from the growth while, I hope, limiting the downside potential.

Hence, my question. Is a stop loss or a stop limit an appropriate device to use under the circumstances? I have some understanding, but need to know precisely what the difference between the two is. When does one choose one or the other? What risks do I face if I elect to use one or the other? And what is the effect of a stock split -- all of the stocks have split in the past several years (one, on at least two occasions). If the stock is trading at, say 20, and I have a stop loss or stop limit at 15, will a 2-1 split that reduces the price to 10 automatically trigger a sale?

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