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Both investing and trading are means for attempting to profit in the financial markets.

The goal of investing is to gradually grow fortune over an extended period of time through the buying and holding of a portfolio of stocks, baskets of stocks, mutual funds, bonds and other investment instruments.

Investors often enhance their profits through compounding, or reinvesting any profits and dividends into additional shares of stock. Investments are often held for a period of years, or even decades, taking advantage of perks like interest, dividends and stock splits along the way. While markets inevitably fluctuate, investors will "ride out" the downtrends with the expectation that prices will rebound and any losses will eventually be recovered.

Market fundamentals, such as price/earnings ratios and management forecasts, typically concern investors most of all.