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What are the Basics of Stocks?

This article and the ones that follow should give you a solid foundation in the knowledge of stocks and their use as financial instruments. We have established the basic structure of a common stock share: a company issues stock to raise capital, the owner of the stock is entitled to participate in the profits of the company, and stocks are traded in the Secondary Market between buyers and sellers who assume the risk and receive any proceeds that arise from price changes. Continue reading...

What are Healthcare Stocks?

Stocks in the Healthcare sector are those related to hospital services, medical products and technologies, equipment providers, and pharmaceuticals. In the long-term there is a reasonable case for favoring healthcare stocks - they have a strong secular view given that the need for healthcare is always rising and as economies develop healthcare availability and access tend to improve. In the short-term, however, healthcare stocks can be vulnerable to legislative changes, success or failure of trial drugs, and so forth. Continue reading...

Keywords: stocks, healthcare,

What are Utilities Stocks?

Utilities stocks are those who deal in services like water, electricity, gas, and other critical infrastructure. Recently, alternative energy has been added as a sub-sector due to its incremental rise in importance. Utilities are categorized as non-cyclical - even if the economy is in a recession, people still need water and electricity. For that reason, they are often treated as defensive stocks, which investors hope will outperform during more difficult economic times. There is little competition in the utilities sector, as the barrier to entry is generally extremely high for a new entrant, given the amount of infrastructure required. Continue reading...

What are Industrials Stocks?

Industrials stocks include companies that are in the business of construction and manufacturing. Companies within the sector are those that play a role in infrastructure buildout and development, such as industrial machinery, tools, heavy equipment, engineering, and even aerospace and defense. Industrials companies are cyclicals, meaning they benefit the most during periods of economic expansion and are hurt during recessions. Continue reading...

What are Financials Stocks?

Financial stocks are those that make up the financial sector, which encompasses banks, lenders, wire houses, and other companies that facilitate the flow of capital and debt. Real estate companies can also fall under this category. Financials tend to do well when yield curves are steep and the regulatory environment favors banks. When credit markets aren’t under strain financials tend to perform well. Continue reading...

What are Telecom Stocks?

Telecom is short for telecommunication, and it includes companies involved in the ever-important business of communication. These companies created the infrastructure that allows data to be sent anywhere in the world, which now includes wireless operators, satellite companies, cable companies and Internet service providers. Companies in the wireless business are perhaps the most relevant and competitive today. Continue reading...

Stock Portfolio Definition

Stock Portfolio Definition

All of the investments held by an individual or mutual fund or other entity are referred to as that person or entity's portfolio. These investments can range from securities to cash to real assets held for the purpose of preservation, growth, or income; essentially anything that is part of a long-term financial strategy that is held separate from daily operations and cash flow can be considered part of a portfolio. The gains and losses of all the singular investments held are totaled up to find the overall return of the portfolio. Continue reading...

What are Materials Stocks?

Companies in the Materials sector have business interests in raw materials, such as steel, aluminum, and iron ore. The companies are generally involved in the discovery, processing, or sale of these raw materials. Materials companies rely on economic growth and infrastructure build-outs to thrive, so tend to perform better early in economic expansion cycles. Materials companies are categorically ‘cyclical’ stocks. Continue reading...

What are Domestic Stock Funds?

Domestic equity funds invest in companies domiciled in the United States. Domestic Equity Funds, as the name suggests, invest primarily in stocks of U.S.-based companies. These come in many varieties: some invest in companies within a certain size range, some focus on specific sectors, some seek value or growth stocks within sectors, and so on. Domestic stocks funds usually represent the majority of the holdings in an average American citizen’s portfolio. Continue reading...

What are the Risks Associated With Stocks?

Stocks are inherently risky, and an investor has risk of capital loss. As with most things in life, no risk yields no return. Theoretically, the greater the risk, the greater the potential return. A new company which has not established itself yet will have a decent chance of crashing and an investor can lose all invested capital. But — what if it takes off? Your potential gains in such a situation are potentially vast. There is a point when the rate of increased return per degree of risk begins to slow down. Continue reading...

What are Energy Sector Stocks?

The Energy Sector contains companies that are in the business of discovering, processing, or selling (or all 3) natural resources like oil, natural gas, coal, solar and wind. Oil companies dominate the sector and are the largest players. Energy stocks are also cyclical, meaning that they tend to perform better when demand for energy is high (economic expansions). Companies in the Energy sector are also very sensitive to changes in the price of the underlying natural resource, like oil. For example, as the price of oil rapidly declined in 2015, falling by 50+%, the earnings for virtually every energy company collapsed. Continue reading...

What are Consumer Staples Stocks?

Consumer Staples are generally defined as companies that sell goods with inelastic demand, meaning that economic conditions generally don’t impact a consumer’s need for the product. They are also referred to as ‘non-cyclical,’ meaning that demand should not significantly waver even if the economy enters a recession. Because the earnings of consumer staples stocks is generally less volatile, they have historically outperformed other stocks during prolonged market downturns. Continue reading...

What are Consumer Discretionary Stocks?

Consumer Discretionary companies are those that sell ‘non-essential’ items, such as clothing retailers, media and entertainment, luxury goods, auto makers, and so on. Consumer discretionary companies tend to sell goods with elastic demand, meaning that demand goes up as economic conditions are good and falls when conditions are slowing or recessionary. Consumer discretionary companies are also categorically referred to as ‘cyclicals.’ Consumer discretionary stocks can also include companies in the service industry, like hotels and restaurants. Continue reading...

What is a Blue-Chip Stock?

What is a Blue-Chip Stock?

A blue-chip stock generally refers to a publicly traded company that is very well-established and is in the top tier of market capitalization, usually in the tens of billions. There is no formal definition for what makes a company a blue-chip stock, but the general category includes some of the biggest and most household names available to trade. Companies like Johnson & Johnson, Walmart, Visa, Dow Chemical, and so on, that have been around for decades and have market capitalizations in the tens of billions. (click on the link for each company to see their current stock price) Continue reading...

How Can You Buy a Stock?

There are many services online and custodians that that can facilitate stock trades. Anybody can buy shares of a publicly traded company, but it must be done through a brokerage firm or a custodian. Brokers and brokerage firms act as middle men between the buyer and the seller. Some brokerage houses such as E-Trade, Ameritrade, or Charles Schwab offer low-cost services online to anyone with a checking account, and offer no personal advice. Other brokerage firms focus on the human element, offering investment advice and making additional money through long-term client relationships and the commissions and fees that result from portfolio management. Continue reading...

Why Does the Price of a Stock Change?

Stock prices change based on the law of supply and demand. Ultimately, as with the price of any good or service, the outstanding supply and consumer demand will define its value in the marketplace. Indeed, the efficient market hypothesis states that the price of a LINK will already reflect all known information about it and what investors are willing to pay for it at the time, based on that information. Continue reading...

What are Common Questions about Stocks?

People tend to focus on the mystery of the ‘get-rich-quick’ stock market when they start asking questions about stocks, but there are also good questions among them. The question most people have is, “Can I get rich just buying low and selling high?” And the answer, of course, is “Yes, absolutely!” The caveat, however, is knowing when the stock price is low and when it will peak. In stock investing it is often said that hindsight is 20/20, so it is infinitely easier in retrospect to identify times when someone should have bought or sold shares and reaped the maximum possible gains from their investment. Continue reading...

What is the difference between Common Stock and Preferred Stock?

A preferred stock is higher up the equity chain than a common stock - preferred stockholders receive dividends first and will be paid out first in the event of liquidation. The primary difference between a preferred stock and a common stock is that preferred stockholders have a greater claim to assets of the company. This can come in two forms: preferred shareholders being paid dividends first, and also having a higher claim to being paid out in the event a company goes bankrupt or liquidate assets. Continue reading...

What is the Difference Between a Growth and Value Stock?

Growth stocks tend to be younger companies focused on using capital to fuel more growth, whereas Value stocks have perceived safety through consistent earnings, cash on balance sheets, and dividends. Neither growth nor value stocks are the best performers for all time, and the reality is that over long stretches of time, performance tends to revert to the mean. Categorically, growth stocks tend to be younger companies that focus capital on investing in expanding operations - hiring new personnel, hiring more employees, entering new markets. Continue reading...

What is Common Stock?

A common stock is the one you’re most familiar with - having a share of ownership in a company. Owning common stock in a company is a vote of confidence that an investor thinks the company will perform well, and grow. Owning common stock also entitles an investor to equity ownership in a corporation, voting rights, and shared participation in a company’s success through dividends and/or capital appreciation. Continue reading...