Frequently Asked Questions


How much does Magic™ cost?

The Magic™ range includes an online service (included with the subscription) and, at the other extreme, a corporate version that starts at R30 900. Magic™ GOLD, the most popular option amongst private investors, costs R7 290 and R280 per month. This covers installation, the full securities database, program upgrades, data downloads, intra-day data updates, and unlimited product support.

Like all companies, we run promotional specials from time to time. To find out the best prices currently on offer, please contact Johan van der Walt, Peter Temple or Lionell Wobben on +27 11 728-5510.

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Is Magic™ aimed at experts?

No, Magic™ is designed to meet the needs of a broad range of investors and traders, from novices to seasoned professionals.

The state-of-the-art Magic™ interface makes the program easy to use, and ShareMagic's quick-start wizards enable novices to navigate the program without difficulty.

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Do you offer user support?

The Magic™ service includes unlimited product support.

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Do you offer stock market courses?

ProfileData, the company that creates Magic™ and the program data, is a market information company and not a training college. There are, however, many ways to learn about the stock market. Click on the links below to find out more about self-study material that we recommend.

Tip: Before signing up for expensive courses, see how far you can get with online material. Many of the courses on the market are very expensive in relation to what they offer.

Free online learning material
Recommended books on investment

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I'm a novice – what's the best way to learn the ropes?

The three pillars of stock market proficiency are:

  • Knowledge
  • Practice, and
  • Experience

There is no substitute for experience in the stock market. Whilst you obviously need knowledge, the application of your knowledge can only be perfected by investing for real. Even market simulations are not that effective – many people confirm that you make different decisions (and experience different emotions) when you have actual money in the market as opposed to a simulation account. But let's look at the three pillars in order:

Knowledge is obtained by reading, watching and listening. There are many great books on investment – these are a good place to start. See our recommendations below. There are also lots of online resources as well.

YouTube is a good place to watch and listen – there are dozens of good clips covering various topics and approaches. See below for some suggestions.

We strongly recommend books and online material before you do anything else. If you simply can't make sense of the market with the help of a few good books and the web, consider buying a course. Be warned, however – most of these offer very broad information and are not the secret key to investing success they claim to be. Most private courses are, in our opinion, over-priced – we think you'll learn a lot more by taking the R5 000 or R10 000 you might spend on a course and put it in a stockbroking account. Even if you lose the lot you'll have learned important lessons that you'll never forget.

If you are a complete novice, running a simulated portfolio is the logical place to apply your knowledge initially. Some stockbroking firms allow you to run simulated portfolios within their systems – this is a great way to go as it gives you the full experience of placing bids and making trades. However, when it comes to testing stock-picking skills, you need go no further than Magic™. The Portfolio Management tool in Magic™ is a simple and effective way to run a simulation. There's even space to record your reasoning for buying (or selling) each share.

To get experience, you have to be in the market with real money. Start with a small amount that you can afford to lose and put it in a stockbroking account. Keep an investing journal – notes on why you bought (or sold) each share when you did. Accept from the outset that you will make mistakes, no matter how careful you are. Treat your mistakes as school fees – if you learn lessons from them you will soon become an astute investor.

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What books do you recommend?

Why Are We So Clueless about the Stock Market?
Learn how to invest your money, how to pick stocks, and how to make money in the stock market
– Mariusz Skonieczny 

The Five Rules for Successful Stock Investing
– Pat Dorsey

The Little Book That Still Beats the Market
– Joel Greenblatt

The Intelligent Investor
Described by Warren Buffett as the best book ever written on investment
– Benjamin Graham


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What online learning material do you recommend?

Online reading:
• Investopedia – a range of interesting articles for both beginners and experienced investors
• The Open University also has many thought-provoking articles that are worth reading
• The Motley Fool covers everything from the magic of compounding to avoiding investment mistakes ; although US-focused, the underlying principles are spot on

Online videos :
• An audio book version on YouTube of The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham (the link is to the first of 24 parts)
• Valuation and Investing by Salman Khan is an excellent series of online videos covering earnings, P/E ratios and EBITDA.
• For more advanced investors, the free lecture series by Yale's Robert Shiller , is worth watching, particularly Investing for the Long Term (David Swensen)
• Warren Buffet on how to buy stocks (and why he bought and sold Petrochina)
• Louis Rukeyser's interviews with Peter Lynch and Philip Carret

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What is the difference between stocks and shares?

The short answer is that they mean more-or-less the same thing.

A long time ago 'stocks' generally referred to bonds (fixed interest investments), as in the phrase 'government stocks'; today, stocks and shares are virtually synonyms and both mean ownership of equity in a business (typically one listed on a stock exchange).

In modern usage, 'stock' acts as a collective noun for shares. If you own stock in a listed company you are one of the shareholders, your 'stock' being the sum of all the shares you own in the company.

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What is a ten-bagger?

A ten-bagger is a stock that increases tenfold in value (ie, goes from R100 per share to R1 000). You might think such stocks are like hen's teeth, but in fact, over any three year period, there are usually dozens of ten-baggers. Ten-baggers are important because portfolio outperformance often depends on one or two shares in a five or 10 share portfolio. If you own five stocks and four perform roughly at the market average, the fifth – the ten-bagger – is the one that puts you way ahead of the unit trusts and retirement funds. Generally even a single five-bagger or three-bagger will make your portfolio outperform – the trick is to stock-pick so that there is a fighting chance that one or two of the stocks you hold will produce extraordinary returns. See this article for more information.

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