So, you’ve made a few credits, and you want to start doing some BIG trading, with thousands or millions of credits hanging on every trade. You want to start investing in the companies and commodities that are traded in your local or foreign Stock Exchange.
What I recommend you have before you start trading:
- At least a few hundred thousand credits. If you play it right, you can put all of those in, only have a maximum loss of maybe twenty thousand credits for Teladi brokerage expenses, with the oppurtunity to fairly certainly triple that money. You could put 300k in and get 1000k out, and I have done this many times, although I’ve been building up a list of stocks that allow you to do this.
- A Trading System Extension. This will allow you to trade from space in the Exchange’s sector, or, if you use the next item on this list, it will allow you to trade from anywhere. You don’t want to miss a gain, especially if you made a risky trade.
- A Navigation Relay Satellite or Advanced Satellite. I Personally use the latter, as it’s easier for me to acquire, as I’m normally in Argon space, and anyways it has the largest scanning range of anything in the game. Either of these satellites, when placed in a sector that an exchange is is, will allow you to trade from anywhere. This also means you can trade at multiple Exchanges at simultaneously and from anywhere. If you started as Humble Merchant, your Discoverer will be fantastic for deploying these, as it’s extremely fast and manueverable, which can be very useful if your trying to deploy a satellite in an asteroid field. Just slap an Explorer Command Software on the ship of your choice, give it a satellite, and send it off to Jupiter (don’t do the last part unless you’re Terran). The command for deploying a satellite is in Property>YourShip>Command Console(Keyboard Shortcut: C)>Navigation(1)>Deploy Satellite, and then you select the sector and exact location to deploy it. I recommend putting slightly above the center of the sector. You can switch map axis by clicking the + on the top of the map or by pressing INSERT on your keyboard. Use the Num-Keys to move it around, or if you don’t have a Num-Pad, Function+[Number] and it should work.
- Optionally, a pen and paper, your phone’s memo or text editor, or just your PCs Notepad (WARNING: be careful when TAB+ALTing. If you are going to, make sure you set “Run In Background Mode” to “Yes” in the GamePlay options before you TAB+ALT, and turn it back off once you come back in the game, as it does seem to have a slight impact on performance) may be handy for writing down your favorite commodities and their behavior. You could also use the EgoSoft forums if you wanted to share your profit secrets (which would no longer be technically “secret”) with other X players while you write them down. They’re likely to give you some tips in return, as the X community is intelligent, and very nice.
So, you have credits, your T.S.E., and maybe a satellite or twenty. You connect to one of the Stock Exchanges:
and your mind implodes.
Now, look at the columns. It’s actually very simple, and it’s also a great tool for knowing what factories would be ideal to build in your Exchange’s area of influence.
You have, in order:
- Shares just tells you what each stock is.
- Supply tells you how much of that commodity is currently in your Exchange’s space. Certain commodities, such as shields and missiles (at least in Argon space), have only 20 or so units of the actual product, are usually relatively expensive for each share (400k to a million credits), have only maybe a 30% maximum possible profit, and usually move very slowly.The Company Stock Exchange does not have the Supply or Demand variables.
- Demand is the counterpart to Supply. It tells you how many units of that commodity are wanted/needed by factories and ships. I believe capital military ships are included in this, as without it I don’t see where some of these products would have demand. If a developer or knowledgeable person could confirm or deny this, please leave it in the comments below.
- Min Cr is the lowest possible price that the stock can go to. The stock will be minimum priced at an Index of around 100, although it could be priced at minimum with a lower Index, depending on the stock. This makes the stock market much less stressful than in real life. Remember, though, there are brokerage fees, so you could lose money on a stock if it never goes higher, such as in the situations listed under Index.
- Max Cr is the highest possible price that a given stock can go to. This would happen at around an Index of 0.
- The Index tells you a rating of the Supply vs the Demand. When there’s no Supply but a lot of Demand, the Index will be at 0. If the Supply equals or exceeds the Demand, then the Index will be at 100 or higher. Basically, a lower Index means higher in price, and a higher Index means cheaper in price. You want to use this to find the stocks you want to trade, but don’t use this alone, as there are some tricky little tricks in the system which will trick you. For instance, if there’s no Demand, then any amount of Supply is going to equal or exceed it, meaning the Index will say 100. This means a stock could look cheap, but it may never fluctuate higher (in price) so you may never be able to make a profit on it, especially with brokerage fees. The reverse is true; if there’s no Supply and tons of Demand, this commodity will be priced at an Index of 0, meaning it will be maximum price.
- Trading At tells you the current price of the stock. Pretty self-explanatory. Remember to check this to see if the stock actually is at minimum price if you’re buying it.
- Bought At tells you the average price you bought them at. If you buy more, it’s averaged, so when it refreshes, it will recalculate to tell you the right data.
- Owned Shares tells you how many shares you currently own. This will be blank if you don’t own any of that stock, of course.
- Avail Shares tells you how many shares are available. In other words, it tells you how many shares you don’t own. The total shares (including the shares you own) are determined by the Supply. The total shares is twice the number that is in the Supply variable. If you own all shares of a stock, and the Supply goes down, you won’t lose any shares. Instead, the Available Shares will go into a negative number. This is supposed to represent that other traders have “pre-ordered” the stock.
- Net Profit is the final column. If you own stocks in that commodity/company/corporation then it will display your current net profit or loss. A green number means you would make the indicated profit if you sold it now. Red means you’re losing money, and it includes the Teladi brokerage fees.
After you’ve read and understand the above, you should know generally what to do. You should study some stocks, and if you’re in Argon space, I’ll help you, by telling you one my favorite commodity for making me money: Spacefuel.
I buy all shares of Spacefuel starting at Index 100, (you can buy all of them for about 300k at this point) and then keep buying more as the supply goes up. Remember, the total shares is twice the amount of the number under Supply. The Spacefuel usually goes up to an Index of around 120, where I proceed to hog all of the shares (oink oink). The Spacefuel will also be cheap for merchants who are trading the actual Spacefuel, so they buy lots of it up, and go sell it at factories. The Index will jump down to about 60, and I triple the money I put in.This means you can put up to 400k in, depending on the amount of shares you piggy up, and then you can turn that into over one-million credits.
Another big tip for you: you don’t have to buy everything at once. Actually, if you’re buying something that’s below an Index of 95, (I’ve never seen too much of a need for doing this, as I can double or triple my money anyways without risking more than a few dozen thousand) I recommend you always buy in parts.
NOTE: Remember, the universe is pretty dynamic, so how you and NPCs have affected things in the universe will detirmine if this works the same way, or works at all. If you’re character is fairly new, the conditions should be similar.
Trading companies and corporations is similar, but somewhat simpler. The price of a company is detirmined by the assets that the company owns. It can be slower, but there are usually more shares outstanding, and it’s generally safer. You still trade by Index and min/max price, though.
Buy anything that’s at minimum price, and after a little time (sometimes even just a few seconds) it will go up in price, and down in Index. You can then sell it then, unless you think that company is going to make millions on their new Crystal Fab M. Or, maybe you think they’re going to get attacked by pirates, Xenon, Kha’ak, or you, and you sell them right there, maybe to buy them again later.
I haven’t personally had much luck with corporations (I’ve had good luck with companies). Corporations include TerraCorp, Jonferco, and those other corporations I can’t remember.
Probably why I haven’t had too much luck, is I haven’t traded them that much, and there’s not many options until you encounter them all. I imagine that they are for bigger investors, who have dozens or even hundreds of millions of credits to invest. They seem to be more expensive per share than companies, and I’m not sure but I think they also have more shares than companies.
DOG’S FAVORITE COMMODITIES
I’ve been exploring many sectors in my Discoverer while my many freighters keep my small industrial empire running. Of course, I brought some satellites along so I could put them near Stock Exchanges. You can read about my adventures in my weekly episodic playthrough here.
More exchanges also means more commodities to love. So here is my list of cuddly, lovable profit-making commodities. These are sorted by how profitable they can be, most yummy at the top. The words in parentheses are the Exchange(s) I know of that you should trade them at. Trade them at other places at your own risk. You’ve been equipped with the knowledge of how finding good stocks works, so if you do it right, you’ll have almost no risk, and maximum upside. If you do it right. I will also update this list as I find more goods and Exchanges to put on it, so be sure to check back sometime soon. By version 2, which I may have as an entirely new edition of the article, I should include Terran Exchanges. I would be very appreciative if you would help me with creating the list of exchanges and the commodities for Terran Exchanges. I will credit you with the info, unless requested otherwise. NOTE: I USUALLY STATE THE OPTIMAL BUYING TIME USING THE INDEX NUMBER, UNLESS STATED OTHERWISE.
- Biological Micro-Organisms (Seizewell, Argon Prime) Start buying these as soon as their index hits the mid seventies. Buy about 30% of the total you plan on investing in these at around index 85, and then buy more as it goes up in index (and down in price). Once they hit 100, buy anything that’s left. As they go past 100 into the red, keep buying more as more shares are put out. Wait for the drop, and if you’re patient, you’ll be able to sell in the 50-60 range. Otherwise, you’ll still make some good money if you sell in the Seventies. If it seems wobbly going down, sell only part of it. As far as profit goes, I put one-million in, (which buys me all shares) and get two-million out (one-million-credit profit). You can do better, or worse, of course, as it fluctuates, and sometimes it can go down to an index of 30. Argon Prime is a little harder, so I recommend you be more picky when buying, and only buy when it hits red, or at least 90.
- Terran High-Tech Goods (Seizewell, Argon Prime) I recommend you pick up some of these sweet little goodies whenever they ding above 75, as these can also make you a ton of money. Really, in profit and behavior, this commodity acts very similar to Biological Micro-Organisms (see above), and are usually at around the same index at the same time. You basically get trade these two commodities as a pair. Profit wise, it’s very identical to organisms, if played right; put 1m in, get 2m out.
- Construction Equipment (Seizewell, Argon Prime) This one trades similar to the above goodies, but note quite the same. It many times is comes down in price (up in index) at the same time as the above “Natural”-category commodities. Buy these no lower than Index 85. For me, it seems the optimal buying point is reached much more often in Seizewell than in Argon Prime, but remember, my game may be different from yours.
- Weapon Interface Chips (Seizewell) Pretty much acts the same as Construction Equipment (see above).
- Low-Yield Sidearms (Argon Prime) This one is fairly rare, and doesn’t have the highest maximum profit, but you can get a lot of it, and after trading some of the above, you’ll have so much money you’ll be looking for more things you can stick your money in. Buy these in the red, where it’s as cheap as is possible and there’s more stock than if it’s in the green or yellows. You will have to be patient for this one, but I don’t think you’ll mind the extra money, and once you’re trading a few stocks at the same time, even without SETA you’ll be glad that some stocks move slowly. You can trade this in Seizewell, but it’s extremely rare to be able to get a good deal there.
- Spacefuel (Argon Prime) Oh, you oh so naughty profit making machine. It’s illegal to trade the actual spacefuel, but this isn’t the actual spacefuel, so you can actually make lots of money here. Buy it at index 100, and piggy it up as it goes past. You’ve probably read my paragraph on it earlier in the post. Profit-wise, it can be more profitable per credit than the above stocks, (triple your credits) but you can only put a maximum of 400k in under the conditions of a near-start universe.
- Ore (Ministry of Finance) Overall, the Ministy of Finance Exchange is nowhere near as profitable as the stock exchanges above, at least under start-universe conditions. Buy this at index 99 or if you’re lucky buy it anywhere above there. It doesn’t move a lot, and usually likes to hang at 99 for a good chunk of the time, but you can still make a profit when it dips in index.
- Silicon (Ministry of Finance) Trades like MoF Ore. (See above)
WARNING: Because of the dynamic nature of the X3 universe means that the above commodities may not work the same way. This list has been created from info based on my Humble Merchant character, which has around 150 in-game hours played on it as of time of writing. (I have not played 150 hours, but because of SETA, the in-game universe has advanced 150 hours since beginning of my playthrough)
I hope you found my guide helpful! If you this guide contained awesomeness, and some good info, please consider giving be a “like”, and follow my blog (or subscribe via email) for more. If you have some commodities to recommend or some advice, please leave it in the comments below! I will test out the advice, of course, and put it in this article (or a second edition of this article) and I will credit you for the information. Thanks for reading!