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What were the Biggest Insider Trading Scandals?

In 2007, Qwest Communications CEO Joseph Nacchio was convicted of making over $50 million dollars through illegal trades. Essentially, Nacchio knew that the company wasn’t doing well, while telling the public that it was on track to pursue highly exaggerated revenue gains. He capitalized on the inflated stock, and was, of course, caught and found guilty. He’s currently serving a six year prison sentence. Continue reading...

What are realistic expectations for my portfolio performance?

What are realistic expectations for my portfolio performance?

Realistically, you should not plan on getting more than about 10% average per year over the long term for a portfolio of diversified equity exposure and you should really plan on getting less than that to be on the safe side. Everybody wants to have a portfolio that outperforms the market when the markets are rising and does not lose money when the markets are falling. We have a secret for you – it’s not possible. Continue reading...

What is Capital Appreciation?

Capital appreciation is an increase in the value of an owned stock. Capital Appreciation occurs when the market price of a stock you own increases. For more information on stock prices, see "Why Does the Price of a Stock Change?" Until you decide to sell the shares, you have what is called Unrealized Gains on Capital Appreciation. Something to be wary of: having unrealized gains can be summed up with the old English proverb, "don't count your chickens before they hatch." Continue reading...

What is a vertical spread?

What is a vertical spread?

A Vertical Spread involves the strategy of buying and selling an equal number of options on the same underlying security with the same expiration date, but different strike prices. Vertical Spreads can be both bullish and bearish, depending on your view of the underlying security. If you use calls, you are constructing a Vertical Bull Spread, and if you’re using puts, you’re constructing a Vertical Bear Spread. Continue reading...

What is a SEP IRA?

A SEP is like a profit-sharing plan that uses some Traditional IRA rules. A SEP IRA is a benefit for employees that uses employer contributions to fund retirement investment accounts for each employee. Contributions are made on a pre-tax basis, the account grows tax-deferred, and the withdrawals are taxed as income. The employer contributions are immediately vested to the employees, who can exercise discretion with investment choices and allocations, among the investment options available in the plan. Continue reading...

What is a Leveraged Buyout?

A leveraged buyout occurs when members of management use outside borrowed capital to buy a controlling share in the company. Often times, the assets of the company being acquired are used as collateral for the borrowed capital. The purpose of leveraged buyouts is to acquire another company without having to commit a lot of working capital up front. In a typical leveraged buyout, you may see a ratio of 90% debt financing to 10% equity used to acquire the company. Continue reading...

What is Intrinsic Value?

Intrinsic Value is the value of a security which is “built into it.” Both options and stocks have it, but it is different for each. Options and stocks have intrinsic value. For options, the intrinsic value is easy to compute, if the option is in-the-money. It is the difference between the strike price of the option and the market price of the underlying security. If an option is out-of-the-money it has no intrinsic value. Continue reading...

What is an Active Index Fund?

Most index funds are known for using a completely passive strategy to track an index, but some take a more active approach. Some mutual funds track an index by passively using algorithms to buy the shares necessary to build a portfolio which closely replicates an index. Such a fund will have low turnover, will only rebalance slightly based on the market cap or other criteria set forth in the prospectus, and will basically ride out all of the ups and downs of the index in a blind faith for the efficient market hypothesis. Continue reading...

What are currency warrants?

What are currency warrants?

Currency warrants are relatively new to the international Forex market. They function like puts or calls, depending on whether it is a purchase warrant or a warrant to sell, but they have longer durations, usually between one and five years until they expire. They can be purchased to take a position on a currency index or on a currency pair. Warrants were originally issued by corporations, giving investors the ability to redeem the warrant like a call option to purchase a stock at a strike price. Continue reading...

What is IRS Publication 530, Tax Information for Homeowners?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here There are many tax questions when it comes to home ownership, mortgages, equity, federal loan programs, selling a home, and so forth. Publication 530 seeks to address all relevant tax information for this large and important financial asset, which is often the largest purchase they will ever make. Homeowners incur expenses for home equity, mortgage interest, private mortgage insurance, improvements and maintenance, and taxes. Much of this can be deducted. Continue reading...