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Should I buy physical gold instead of gold ETFs?

Should I buy physical gold instead of gold ETFs?

There are probably more important things you can do with your time than find a place to store your suitcase full of gold and hover over it like a mother hen. But it may be worth it to you, since owning shares of a gold ETF is not the same as owning actual gold. Gold ETFs work by holding some amount of gold in trust and then selling shares of the fund that owns it. There is a significant discrepancy between the dollar value of the gold which is held and the total value of the shares which are sold, however, and if there were ever a “run” on the fund, no one would be able to actually get gold bricks out of fund managers. Continue reading...

What are REITs?

What are REITs?

REITs are pooled investments similar to mutual funds, but, like mutual funds, they can take many shapes. They invest in different kinds of real estate and real estate-oriented assets, depending on the REIT, and sell ownership shares to investors. REIT is an acronym for Real Estate Investment Trust. REITs are similar to mutual funds, except that they only invest in real estate properties and related companies and assets such as mortgages. REITs will define the scope of their investments and strategies in their prospectus, which may read something like “We invest only in commercial Real Estate” or “Only in residential houses in Las Vegas” while other REITs are very general. Continue reading...

What is the Dow Jones Industrial Average?

What is the Dow Jones Industrial Average?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is an index comprised of 30 'significant' U.S. stocks, typically the biggest and most frequently traded. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was created in 1896 by Charles Dow, as a way to track the general trend of U.S. stocks. The index is price-weighted versus cap-weighted, meaning that if a company splits 2 for 1 it's contribution to the index will drop by half (even though the value of the company did not change). Continue reading...

What is the EURO STOXX 50?

What is the EURO STOXX 50?

The EURO STOXX 50 is an index designed to give a broad representation of stock performance across the euro zone. The EURO STOXX 50 is an index comprised of the 50 largest and most liquid stocks in the euro zone, and is designed to “provide a blue-chip representation of Super-sector leaders in the Eurozone.” The performance of the EURO STOXX 50 is generally a good indicator for how Europe’s economy is doing. Continue reading...

What is “efficient market hypothesis”?

What is “efficient market hypothesis”?

The Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH) states that it is impossible to beat the market consistently over time, since all available information is priced efficiently into stock prices. But what the EMH misses is the impact that sentiment can have on price discrepancies in the short-term. Emotions can lead to gross mis-valuations (as we saw with the tech bubble in 2000), and market corrections can see stocks selling off dramatically for no fundamental reason. Continue reading...

What is a Bond Ladder?

A bond ladder is a portfolio of bonds that have different maturities, that may range from months to years in difference. A bond ladder is designed to reduce interest rate risk and create predictable income streams. An investor will build a bond ladder often in an effort to reduce interest rate risk and also to create predictable income streams, where coupon payments happen at different times and principal is also returned in various intervals. Continue reading...

What does it mean to 'exercise an option?'

What does it mean to 'exercise an option?'

An options contract does not affect the underlying securities until the option is exercised, meaning that the option or buy or sell the security is utilized. Many options trades do not directly touch the underlying securities – investors worldwide make plenty of money buying and selling the options contracts themselves. Options have time-value inherent in them based on how the underlying securities are priced and when the options expire, and traders will speculate on when and if someone might actually “exercise the option,” and thereby use the rights of the contract holder to buy or sell the underlying securities. The contract names the strike price at which the holder of a call option can buy a security; or, for a put option, the price at which the holder can sell the security. Continue reading...

What is the security market line?

What is the security market line?

The Security Market Line (SML) is a visualization of the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) and shows the theoretical relationship between risk and return between securities and the entire market. The SML is plotted on a graph bound by an x-axis, which represents Beta (volatility above or below the market average), and a y-axis, which represents the rate of return. Beta is a volatility indicator that measures how many changes in price, and by how much, a security experiences over an amount of time. It describes whether the risk associated with a particular security is above or below the average of the market (or a more specific index), where 1 is a correlation with the market, and numbers above or below describe increased or decreased volatility, respectively. Continue reading...

What is Effective Annual Interest Rate?

Also known as the annual equivalent rate (AER), the effective annual interest rate is the actual annual interest rate on a bond or loan when it compounds more than once a year. The effects of compounding will make the AER higher than the annual interest rate if the security compounds greater than annually. Continue reading...

What is the Ascending Triangle (Bearish) Pattern?

The Ascending Triangle pattern has a horizontal top line (1, 3, 5) representing a resistance level, and an upward­-sloping bottom line (2, 4). The Breakout can either be up or down, and the direction of the Breakout will determine whether the Target Price is higher or lower. This pattern is commonly associated with directionless markets, since the contraction (narrowing) of the market range signals that neither bulls nor bears are in control. When the price of a pair consolidates around highs it might indicate that a significant downtrend is ahead. Continue reading...