YOUR MONEY-Budding bulls and Buffetts: These teens dive into stocks

Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:58pm EDT
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By Chris Taylor

NEW YORK Aug 27 (Reuters) - As any exasperated parent will tell you, most teenagers are obsessed with highly superficial fare: TV, clothing, trips to the mall or the latest smartphone app.

Rachel Fox isn't most teenagers.

The 17-year-old actress made 338 stock trades last year, earning 30.4 percent gains and clobbering the S&P 500. She peppers her conversation with phrases like "covered calls," "shorts" and "double tops."

What really gets her blood running is technical analysis. "When all the indicators line up, it's the best feeling," says Fox, who has starred in TV's "Desperate Housewives" and "Melissa & Joey."

Fox is not alone. After one of the strongest bull runs in the history of the stock market - the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index is up roughly 140 percent since its lows of March 2009 - some young folks have become intrigued by the idea of making money with the click of a few buttons, instead of handling the deep fryer at the local fast-food joint.

"I would say that all the new highs of the stock market, and the growing optimism about the economy, are getting them interested in trading," says Timothy Olsen, author of "The Teenage Investor," who bought his first shares (PepsiCo) at the grizzled age of 8. (He is now 24.)

Don't worry, parents: It takes more than a few clicks to get started. Teens can't open brokerage accounts of their own until they reach 18 or 21, depending on state law. Before that, as with Rachel Fox, it has to be a custodial or joint account with their parents or guardians.

A growing number of young adults seem to have caught the investing bug. Investors between ages 18 and 24 now hold 11 percent of all accounts at the online brokerage Scottrade , up 10 percent since 2012.   Continued...