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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

When you give something away, people are likely to consume far too much of it. That's true of food, it's true of drink, and it's true of options trades.

Why it matters: The best thing that an investor can do is nothing. People who actively trade the market are effectively trying to time it — to buy low and sell high. Voluminous literature has shown that it just doesn't work, and that doing nothing is superior to doing something a significant majority of the time.

What's happening: Most online brokerages now charge $0 for stock trades. Even Vanguard charges $0 to trade in and out of stocks, ETFs, and, yes, options. In turn, hundreds of thousands of investors flocking to places like r/wallstreetbets are sending trading volumes through the roof.

Be smart: No good can come of this. The one silver lining to high stock-trading commissions was that they discouraged trading. And the one advantage that retail investors have over the pros is that they have the ability to buy and hold for the long term, without trying to outperform on a quarterly basis.

  • If the market turmoil is tempting you to buy or sell, you may want to think again.

Go deeper

Scammers seize on COVID confusion

Data: FTC; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Scamming has skyrocketed in the past year, and much of the increase is attributed to COVID-related scams, more recently around vaccines.

Why it matters: The pandemic has created a prime opportunity for scammers to target people who are already confused about the chaotic rollouts of things like stimulus payments, loans, contact tracing and vaccines. Data shows that older people who aren't digitally literate are the most vulnerable.

12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to Iranian-backed militia groups was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

13 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.