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What is the MSCI World?

The MSCI World is perhaps the most well regarded index for global stocks. The MSCI World Index is a global cap-weighted index that serves as a good barometer for stock and economic performance of the world as a whole. If you are a global investor, the MSCI World makes for a very useful benchmark for performance. The index is maintained by Morgan Stanley, and has over 1,600 stocks listed in it from all developed markets in the world. It does not include emerging markets or China. Continue reading...

What is an Investment Bank?

An investment bank is a financial institution that typically specializes in large, complex transactions, such as underwriting an Initial Public Offering (IPO), mergers and acquisitions, direct investment into start-up firms, or advising large institutional clients on investments/transactions. In short, investment banks help create the bridge between large enterprises and the investor. In that sense, IPOs are one way to accomplish this, but they also help businesses secure financing in other ways, such as through bond issues or derivative products. Continue reading...

Wall Street's Top Investment Firms

Wall Street, an iconic symbol of financial prowess and economic influence, is home to some of the most powerful investment entities in the world. This article delves deep into the heart of Wall Street's elite group of investment banks, hedge funds, private equity firms, and broker-dealers, offering a comprehensive analysis of notable companies that shape global finance. From giants like JPMorgan Chase & Co and Goldman Sachs Group to less-known yet significant players like AMTD IDEA Group, we explore their market positions, financial health, and future prospects. Continue reading...

Top Brokerage Stocks

In the dynamic world of finance, brokerage firms stand as pivotal entities, guiding both institutional and individual investors through the intricacies of investment. This article delves into the brokerage group, highlighting their economic significance and evaluating the top players in this sector, with a special focus on Morgan Stanley (MS) and Charles Schwab Corp (The) (SCHW) - two of the most notable companies in this arena. Continue reading...

What Are the Different Types of Investment Banks?

Investment banks are crucial players in the world of finance, specializing in facilitating complex financial transactions that drive economic growth and development. These institutions are often categorized into three primary types: boutique banks, middle-market banks, and bulge bracket banks, each with distinct characteristics and roles in the financial landscape. In this article, we will explore the differences between these investment bank categories, delving into regional boutiques, elite boutiques, middle-market banks, and bulge bracket banks. Continue reading...

Top Stocks for Wealth Management Success

In the ever-evolving world of finance, wealth management stands as a cornerstone, encompassing a wide array of financial products and services aimed at assisting individuals and institutions in managing their assets. This sector, known for its resilience and dynamic growth, offers investors myriad opportunities to engage with companies that are shaping the future of financial management. This article delves into the notable companies within this domain, focusing on juggernauts such as JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM), Bank of America Corp (BAC), Morgan Stanley (MS), Goldman Sachs Group (GS), and Barclays PLC (BCS), alongside a broader look at the theme of wealth management and its market implications. Continue reading...

What is Margin?

The act of “going on margin” means borrowing money from the custodian of your account, in order to purchase additional securities. Another way of saying this is that you are “leveraging” your account. Investors who go on margin are trying to pump up gains in their account, but doing so means taking the risk of outsized losses if you are wrong. To take an account on margin is not free - the custodian will charge interest for the loan, and will essentially use the assets in your account as collateral. Continue reading...

What is 'buying on margin' and margin trading?

A margin trade is one where the trader uses other securities or cash as collateral, for a transaction in which he or she has not purchased the security outright. The broker acts as a lender. If your broker approves you for a margin account, you have the ability to purchase new securities “on margin” by using your current holdings as collateral, or by depositing 50% (or more depending on the broker) of the market price of the security into the margin account. Continue reading...

What is Investment Interest Expense?

IIE is deductible from taxes, and is usually used to deduct the interest paid on a margin loan used to buy taxable securities, when there is a gain to offset. Investment interest expense is the term for interest which has been paid in order to hold an investment position. It comes into play when filing taxes. An individual can list interest expenses on a Form 1040. The most common place to incur an interest expense when investing is through the use of margin in an investment account. Continue reading...

How did the better-than-expected bank earnings affect the stocks in the Dow Jones today?

📈 Major banks deliver a surprise! Better-than-expected Q2 earnings propel Dow Jones to a fresh 52-week high despite mixed retail data. From Bank of America's loan gains to Morgan Stanley's stellar performance, discover how banking triumphs impacted Wall Street today. 🔍🏦 #BankEarningsBoost Continue reading...

What is a Mortgage?

When a mortgage loan is made to a consumer, the bank or loan institution is the mortgagee, while the consumer is the mortgagor. Mortgages are long term loans secured by the real property of the individual borrowing the money, and they are generally used for homes, called home mortgages. The lending institution, which might be a bank or a mortgage company, is the mortgagee, lending money to the homebuyer, who is the mortgagor. Continue reading...

What is a Mortgage Forbearance Agreement?

In the event that a borrower is having issues making mortgage payments on time, they may try to seek a mortgage forbearance agreement to delay the foreclosure process. The mortgage forbearance agreement would specify the plan for resuming mortgage payments on time, and is designed to be a temporary solution to an unforeseen issue with the borrower (unemployment, health issues). Continue reading...

What are 'non-marginable' securities?

Some securities, such as penny stocks and IPOs, are prohibited from being purchased on margin or for serving as margin for other purchases. Stocks and other securities that are too volatile to serve as margin collateral - or to be purchased on margin - are called Non-marginable Securities. The Federal Reserve Board has defined certain criteria for determining which securities are non-marginable, and brokers often have their own house rules for traders. Continue reading...

What is Mortgage Life Insurance?

Mortgage life insurance is any life insurance policy which covers the life of the borrower in a mortgage loan and assigns the mortgage lender as a creditor-beneficiary entitled to recoup their losses from the life insurance policy. The bank or lender will be designated as the assignee for the collateral of the life policy. Historically speaking, mortgage life insurance was a term policy with a decreasing death benefit, also called a face amount, that equaled the remaining amount due on the mortgage loan. As the home was paid off, the amount of life insurance required would decrease, and, in most cases, the premium with it. Continue reading...

What is a Margin Account?

A margin account is one in which an investor uses borrowed money to purchase additional securities. An investor is almost always required to use the securities in the account as collateral for the borrowed money. The objective of a margin account is for the investor to magnify gains, but the opposite can also be true, and losses may lead the investor to have to sell securities in the account to cover the loan balance. There’s more upside in a margin account, but there’s more downside too. Continue reading...

What is a Margin Call?

A margin call is a mandatory request by the custodian/broker for the account holder to add equity to the account, either by depositing cash or selling securities to raise cash. When an investor takes an account on margin, the custodian will require that they keep a certain amount of equity/cash in the account to maintenance the borrowed amount. If the account value drops past a certain level, the custodian may require the investor to add equity to the account to cover the margin balance. Continue reading...

What is Minimum Margin?

Minimum margin is the minimum amount needed to open a margin account. The custodian or broker typically sets the minimum margin, but it cannot be for any less than the $2,000 required by the NYSE and NASD. What is 'Buying on Margin' and Margin Trading? What is a Margin Account? Continue reading...

What is Profit Margin?

Profit margin is a profitability ratio that measures, as a percentage, how much a company keeps per sale. Profit margin can be calculated by dividing net income by sales. A higher profit margin means a company keeps high percentage of each dollar sold as profit. For example, a 50% profit margin means that for every dollar earned, a company retains $0.50. It is often helpful for an analyst to look at how a company’s profit margins have changed over time, to measure whether it is becoming more efficient in the sales of goods. Continue reading...

What is Contribution Margin?

Contribution margin measures how efficiently a company can produce a good relative to its variable cost. Goods with high contribution margins are the most profitable. The contribution margin can be helpful in deciding what goods can go on sale and for how much, and it allows management to decipher how to improve efficiency in production while keeping variable costs low. Additionally, if there is a bottleneck in the supply chain for an input that is used to produce two different products, management could use contribution margin to decide which product takes takes priority. Continue reading...

What is a Mortgage Broker?

Mortgage brokers act as agents for consumers looking for the best deal possible on a home mortgage loan. Lenders at banks may not be able to find the most competitive interest rates out there. Mortgage brokers can help consumers become more educated about the various kinds of loans out there, some of which are subsidized by the government. Mortgage brokers find and place mortgage loans with consumers who need it to buy a house. Continue reading...