The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a lot of uncertainty in the stock market. Stock market predictions have become harder and the market is in a downtrend. Investing in a bear market is a challenge in itself. With the added pressure from the pandemic, many stocks are taking steep dives. In such times, regular stock market tips wont work anymore. Here are some of the common investing mistakes to avoid during the COVID-19 pandemic :

1. Buying before a base completes

During the recent market correction, many stocks pulled down to their respective 200-DMA and only some found support. To some traders, long-term support was a buying opportunity. The key to making money in the market is waiting until a base completes before buying. In most cases, stocks that come down to their 200-day lines do so amid signs of institutional selling. Wait the stock to prove itself more, and look for signs of institutional buying as the stock builds the right side of the base. Then you have a legitimate base.

2. Buying every possible breakout

Bullish stock charts tempt investors all the time during down markets. Some growth names will hang in there with compelling charts. A breakout may work for a while, but it will likely be short-lived. While stocks that hold up the best during down markets can go on to be the next leaders, they still should not be bought during a downtrend.

3. Keep holding a stock or even averaging down

A stock trades at Rs 100 a share. Your cost basis is Rs 100. The stock heads lower, and you buy an equal amount of shares at Rs 80, lowering your cost basis to Rs 90. Then you add further at Rs 75 after it breaches its 50-and 200-DMA. The problem is that you’re averaging down in a former leader that’s under tremendous institutional selling pressure. You will be doing some serious damage to your portfolio. It rarely makes sense to buy a stock that has the potential to spiral lower before finally hitting a bottom.

4. Buying low P/E stocks

Price-to-earnings ratio is a common valuation tool. But buying/selling decision based on P/E is not a prudent move. Expensive stocks can become cheap, but cheap stocks become cheaper in a down market. Trying to catch a stock “on sale” is fraught with risk. In many cases, stocks with low P/E ratios are suffering from weak fundamentals, where shrinking market share results in lower earnings growth. That’s not something you want to see in a stock. Remember, some of the best merchandise in the stock market often sells at a pricey valuation due to strong fundamentals and bullish growth prospects.

5. Stop paying attention

It is easy to lose interest when stocks are selling off, but market downtrends let high-quality names take a breather and eventually build new bases. When a new uptrend is confirmed, breakouts deliver the biggest gains. During a market pullback, try hard to make a list of stocks that held up the best. A few will show limited signs of distribution (heavy-volume selling) on the way down and accumulation (high-volume buying) on the way up. Focus on the most resilient names with the least amount of technical damage. They will generally be your best prospects.

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Author's Bio: 

For more than 50 years, our founder William J. O'Neil has been educating U.S. investors on the proven investing method he created. His investing classic "How to Make Money in Stocks" has sold more than 2 million copies worldwide. Now, for the first time, we're expanding to India to offer a tool focused on Indian stocks. Our goal, however, remains the same: To provide individual investors with the knowledge and information they need to achieve success in their investments and in their financial lives.