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What was the “Dot Com” Bubble?

The late 1990’s saw a huge uptick in the number of tech startups, as the age of the Internet took hold and new companies scrambled for a share of the action. As more and more people began to access the world (wide web) of information, new technology companies became more and more abundant in an effort to tap the commercial potential of having a global customer base. This led to excessive valuations of companies that didn't even yet have earnings, as investors poured money in hoping for the "next big thing." Continue reading...

What is a call time spread?

What is a call time spread?

A time spread using call options is a strategy that buys and sells the same number of options with the same strike prices, but different expirations. Time spreads are sometimes called calendar spreads or horizontal spreads. They make money based on the time decay of the options being shorted. Two calls are used: one is shorted and one is purchased, and both have the same strike price and same underlying security. Continue reading...

What Should My First Savings Vehicle Be?

Start basic, and just open a savings account at a bank or create a brokerage account at a major custodian (Charles Schwab, Fidelity, for example). As a rule of thumb, you should have six months’ worth of living expenses in this account. Another good rule of thumb is to avoid touching this money at all costs, and never invest this money in risky assets like stocks. It’s better to keep the money as liquid as possible, so even buying Certificates of Deposit (CDs) may not be the best idea. The purpose of this money is not to make you rich – this is your safety net. Continue reading...

What is Book Value?

Book value is based on an accounting method that only considers certain factors, generally the more tangible or easily quantifiable ones, and excludes the more ethereal factors such as ‘goodwill.’ Book value can apply to an individual asset, a security, or a company, and tends to be pretty straightforward. Whatever value an asset is given on a balance sheet is its book value. For a tangible asset, this is calculated as the cost of the asset minus accumulated depreciation. Continue reading...

What is Private Equity?

In the world of finance, private equity is a relatively new industry whereby private companies finance other businesses through direct investment, often in exchange for equity in the company and in some cases, decision-making capabilities. Private equity companies generally use capital of the principals or of high net worth investors to strategically invest in growing companies that need growth capital or seed capital to expand operations. Continue reading...

What is the Debt to Capital Ratio?

The debt-to-capital ratio is a measure of a company’s leverage that looks at total debt compared to total capital (shareholder equity + debt). This measure of leverage is not a globally accepted accounting practice, therefore it is important for analysts to learn exactly what is being included by the company as their debt and equity in calculating the ratio. Generally speaking, a higher debt to capital ratio indicates that the company is financing more of its operations and needs through the debt markets versus with equity. Comparing debt-to-capital ratios amongst companies within the same sector or industry can be a useful exercise. Continue reading...

What is the Interest Coverage Ratio?

Also known as the debt service ratio, The interest coverage ratio is a measure of how many times a company can pay the interest owed on its debt with EBIT. To calculate it, you simply divide EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) by interest expense. A company with a low interest coverage ratio means it has fewer earnings available to make interest payments, which can imply solvency issues and could mean a company would be at risk if interest rates go up. Continue reading...

What is IRS Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here This IRS Publication describes the distinction to be made between taxable income and nontaxable income. Many types of individual income are described and many sources of non-taxable income are illustrated. Gross income is usually reduced by standard or itemized deductions to arrive at a portion of income which is taxable. The amount that was left out of this equation is called nontaxable income. Continue reading...

What is the Symmetrical Triangle Bottom (Bullish) Pattern?

What is the Symmetrical Triangle Bottom (Bullish) Pattern?

The Symmetrical Triangle Bottom pattern forms when the price of a security fails to retest a high or a low and ultimately forms two narrowing trend lines. As the support and resistance levels consolidate, it forms a triangle (1­5). Symmetrical Triangles are characterized by the upper line sloping downward and lower line sloping upward. The price movement inside the triangle should fill the shape with some uniformity, without leaving large blank areas. Continue reading...

What is the Three Falling Peaks (Bearish) Pattern?

What is the Three Falling Peaks (Bearish) Pattern?

The Three Falling Peaks pattern forms when three minor Highs (1, 3, 5) arrange along a downward­-sloping trend line. This pattern often emerges at the end of a rising trend, when a security slowly rolls over. It potentially indicates sellers moving ­in to replace buyers, which pushes the price lower. If the price breaks out from the bottom pattern boundary, day traders and swing traders should trade with the DOWN trend. Consider selling the security short or buying a put option at the downward breakout price level. To identify an exit, compute the target price by subtracting the pattern’s height (maximum price minus minimum price within the pattern) from the breakout level ­ the lowest low. When trading, wait for the confirmation move, which is when the price moves below the breakout level. Continue reading...