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Should I Listen to Commentators on Financial News Programs?

Should I Listen to Commentators on Financial News Programs?

It’s easy to become drawn in by the financial media, but it’s important not to let them do your thinking for you. Commentators on the most reputable financial channels will always be sharp-looking, smooth-talking, and quoting a barrage of statistics that makes it seem like you didn’t know anything before you tuned in. Is this an indication of being camera-friendly? Without a doubt. Is it an indication of sound financial advice? Absolutely not. Continue reading...

Who Administers a 401(k)?

A 401(k) plan Administrator will usually be an officer of the Employer sponsoring the plan. A 401(k) plan document will specify who is the Administrator of the plan, but it is generally an executive or officer of the company sponsoring the plan. 401(k)s can be sold in packages that are essentially the same from employer to employer. When the design is well-established, and there are systems in place to enroll employees and maintain the plan, such as an employee website, a company’s CFO or human resources department chair may wear the Administrator hat. Some plans require a special administrator, and this may be a requirement of the broker-dealer acting as Custodian, especially if the plan has been designed from an open architecture, and there are many moving parts. Continue reading...

When are My IRA Withdrawals Penalty Free?

The surest way to make tax-free withdrawals is to wait until you are older than 59½, but there are a few other ways. If you are 59½ or older, you can make penalty-free withdrawals. Of course, you will need to pay income taxes on the amount you withdraw from your Traditional IRA. There is a 10% penalty assessed by the IRS on early withdrawals (withdrawals made before age 59½) and these are generally not a good idea. Continue reading...

What are the Withdrawal Rules From My Self-Employed 401(k)?

Individual 401(k)s will have the same withdrawal rules as regular 401(k)s. The withdrawal rules for a Self-Employed 401(k) are identical to the rules for a traditional 401(k). If you want to avoid a 10% early withdrawal penalty, you’ll need to keep the money in your account until you reach age 59½, but if you separate from service after 55 you may be able to make withdrawals penalty-free. If you really need the money early, certain exceptions for disability, medical expenses, 72(t) annuitized distributions, and plan loans can allow you to sidestep the penalty. Withdrawals for any other reason, including hardships, are still subject to the penalty. Continue reading...

What is a Charitable Remainder Unitrust (CRUT)?

What is a Charitable Remainder Unitrust (CRUT)?

A Charitable Remainder Unitrust (CRUT) is an irrevocable trust created for the purpose of donating a fixed percentage of a trust to a charitable organization each year. The fixed percentage must be at least 5% per year but no more than 50%, under current law. At a specified time (usually at the death of the person that established the trust), the remaining assets are distributed to charity. A Charitable Remainder Unitrust is a mechanism that allows you to create tax-advantaged income in your lifetime with the ultimate end of donating a large portion of the principle to charity. Continue reading...

What is the October Effect?

What is the October Effect?

The October Effect, also known as the Mark Twain Effect, is an anecdotally-founded fear that markets are vulnerable to catastrophe in the month of October. Several Octobers have appeared to be the origin of problems in the market: in 1929 at the onset of the Great Depression, the 1987 crash, and in 2008 at the start of the Great Recession. Perhaps superstitiously, many people expect October to be the worse month of the year for the market, supposing that if something bad were going to happen, it would happen in October. Statistically, there isn't much support for this idea. Continue reading...

What is Form 8282: Donee Information Return?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here Non-cash contributions to a charity which are valued at over $5,000 must be reported on a Form 8282 by the organization receiving the donation. The organization does not have to include publicly traded securities on this form, or items used in the course of the organization’s mission, such as medical supplies. Non-profit organizations must report non-cash contributions that they receive from donors if the value of the item is over $5,000. These items will also need to be reported by the donor or form 8283, Section B. Continue reading...

What is Publication 15-b on Fringe Benefits?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here IRS Publication 15-b outlines the different types of fringe benefits available to employees and describes which ones are taxable to the employee and which ones are not. Fringe benefits might include anything from the use of a company car to an employee life insurance policy paid for by the employer. Fringe benefits may be provided to regular employees or independent contractors (1099 employees). Some examples of fringe benefits include tuition reduction, group disability and cafeteria plans, and childcare benefits. Continue reading...

What is the Three Rising Valleys (Bullish) Pattern?

What is the Three Rising Valleys (Bullish) Pattern?

The Three Rising Valleys pattern forms when three minor Lows (1, 3, 5) arranged along an upward sloping trend line. It often appears at the end of a declining trend – an indication that buyers are overtaking sellers, which ultimately pushes the price higher. This type of formation happens when investors shift into buying mode following a consolidation period. Once the price breaks out from the top pattern boundary, day traders and swing traders should trade with an UP trend. Consider buying a security or a call option at the breakout price level. To identify an exit, compute the target price level by adding the pattern’s height (highest price minus the lowest price within the pattern) to the breakout level (the highest high). When trading, wait for the confirmation move, which is when the price rises above the breakout level. Continue reading...

What is Blockchain Technology?

What is Blockchain Technology?

Blockchain technology is a decentralized network structure used to obtain consensus on changes to a ledger shared and distributed throughout a system. Blockchain technology allows for peer-to-peer trust-less validation and record-keeping that is superior to centralized database systems in many situations, in terms of security, reliability, and efficiency. Blockchains tend to be integrated with smart contract technology that serves as the mechanical-legal framework for interactions between the co... Continue reading...