There are many ways that you can divide the stock market. The most common ways are by sector, types of growth patterns, and company size via their market capitalization. You may also see other investors talking about other aspects like small-cap vs. large-cap stocks, technology vs. energy stocks, etc.
Sometimes, listening to financial news or reading it in the newspaper is not always wise. Just like with other news stories, the media tends to be over-exaggerate; what is happening, both positive and negative. Instead of listening to what the media reports, find out what is really going on via the stock market.
When trying to decide which company to buy stock in, it is important that you follow past trends. Most of the time, if a particular stock has done well in the past, it will probably do well in the future. By picking this kind of stock, you will make the most money in the long run.
Try reading investment books. There is a ton of literature about investing out there. You can try reading papers like the Wall Street Journal, or even heavy textbooks on the subject. You can obtain a list of useful reads from a broker that can be found at the local library, or a bookstore that can better your investing. Save money by trading online. Search online for firms that offer cheap stock trading. Quite often, their fees are much lower than traditional brokerage firms. A regular broker will usually charge a high commission, just to make a simple stock trade on your behalf. If possible, try to pay between $7 and $10 per trade.
When you are investing in the stock market, you need to trade defensively to protect yourself from losses. By using stop losses, you can put in an order to automatically sell a stock when its price drops below a certain point. This will protect you against big losses in a downturn.