Markets

Know When to Fold

A new Web site will e-mail alerts when your stock hits bear country.

There's no shortage of advice on when to buy stocks, but there's precious little on when to sell. A new Web site, SmartStops.net, wants you to consider your exit strategy.

Each trading day, the site calculates suggested selling prices for more than 4,000 stocks and exchange-traded funds -- one price for investors looking ahead six months or less and another for longer-term holders. The formula adjusts for volatility; SmartStops is supposed to capture the start of a significant downward trend.

Ten years of back-tested data shows you'd have saved money bailing out of stocks when SmartStops said to. But, of course, only a track record in the real world can prove whether the timing will be spot-on.

Still, you can key in up to five stocks a day for free. If you register, you can track three stocks and get e-mail alerts if they hit the sell mark (the fee jumps to $9.95 a month and up for larger portfolios). TD Ameritrade customers get the service free and can order their holdings sold automatically if they reach the SmartStop. Partnerships with other online brokers are on the way, says SmartStops.

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