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What does “Buy the Dips” Mean?

“Buying the dips” is a bullish description of investing in stocks whose prices have gone down. We say this is a bullish sentiment because a bearish investor would be more likely to interpret the downturn as a sign of impending doom, or might prefer to play it safe. A “dip” can be loosely defined as a downtrend without much momentum or evidence to support a bearish outlook. Another way of interpreting a dip would be as an oversold condition, where investor sentiment has caused the price of a quality stock to fall. Bullish investors could maximize their gains in such a scenario by buying low and selling when the stock has recovered and pushed on to new highs. Technical analysis indicators such as Bollinger Bands can be used to identify favorable buying conditions. Continue reading...

What is Dividend Arbitrage?

Arbitrage opportunities can be found in a few different places in the market, when risk-free profit can be made. If a stock is purchased before the ex-dividend date, and a put is exercised when the share price falls after the dividend is distributed, it is known as dividend arbitrage. Arbitrage is when an investor finds a situation where one thing can be exchanged for another, such as the same thing on two different exchanges or similar fixed instruments which can be swapped, when no risk is taken and a profit is gained. Continue reading...

What is an Accelerated Share Repurchase?

An Accelerated Share Repurchase (ASR) is a method by which companies can buy back a significant amount of their outstanding shares with the help of an investment bank. By enlisting the help of an investment bank to accelerate a buy-back, a company can cleanly retire a large bulk of shares at once. These agreements have come into use in the last 10 years, and there is of course some variation in their composition. They fall under a category of buybacks known as structured buybacks. Continue reading...

What is buying power?

With regards to Margin Trading, ‘Buying Power’ is a term used to describe how much additional leverage you have given the excess equity in your account. When your broker or custodian authorizes buying on margin, the purchasing power of your assets can become substantial. Instead of just owning $10,000 worth of stock, you might be able to leverage that to buy $10,000 more, therefore having $20,000 of long exposure even though you only have $10,000. Continue reading...

Is there such a thing as the “pre-holiday effect?”

Pre-Holiday price fluctuations have been observed in many instances, but there a difference of opinion as to whether the markets are higher or lower just before holiday. Pre-Holiday Seasonality is the idea that prices will rise or fall before a holiday weekend in which the market will be closed for a day. When researching this phenomenon you may find colloquial wisdom stating that prices always rise before a holiday, but in actuality most of the evidence points the opposite direction: prices are most likely to close lower the day or two before a holiday weekend, and may remain low the day after the holiday, but this provides a possible opportunity to ride the upswing. Continue reading...

What does “Buy-Side” Mean?

The “buy side” refers to businesses in the financial services industry such as pensions, mutual funds, and asset managers that manage money. Since firms on this “side” of Wall Street tend to be the ones buying and selling securities for their portfolios, when a person works for one of these funds or companies they are said to be on the “buy side.” Research analysts that provide analysis and data to fund managers solely for the purpose of making investment decisions within the portfolio are “buy side analysts.” That research is typically not published for public use. Continue reading...

What does “Buy to Close” Mean?

When an investor takes a short position on an option contract by selling (“writing”) a call or put option, he or she is opening a position, which creates more open interest in an underlying security which will be handled by the brokerage house, and this is called “selling to open.” If the price changes in the underlying security in an unfavorable way, the investor will seek to get out of the short position he holds on the options contract before the option’s expiration date. To do so, the investor must buy back the option (or, really, cancel out the position by buying the same kind of contract that he or she previously sold short). Continue reading...

What does “Buy to Open” Mean?

When trading options, the language is slightly different than other transactions. You might be “opening” or “closing” a position with each trade. If you buy a put or call option, your ticket with say “buy to open” since you are opening a position and increasing the open interest on the underlying. Open interest is similar to trade volume in the stock markets, but it only increases with the number of outstanding positions interested in the outcome of the movements of the underlying security, and does not increase with each trade like trading volume. Continue reading...

What is Form 1099-DIV?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here Form 1099-DIV is used to report dividend income and distributions from investments, and is usually filed by the company making the distribution. The taxpayer will only use the form as a reference for reporting on other forms, such as the Schedule B if the distributions are over $1,500. Mutual funds are a common source of the 1099-DIV, since they have to distribute their gains to shareholders every year. Continue reading...

What does “Buying on Weakness” Mean?

Instead of waiting for confirmation of reversal, “buying on weakness” means to go ahead and buy a long position (or cover a short position) while a stock is in the middle of a downtrend, in the hopes that it will reverse soon and the preemptive move will allow you to capture the entire upside. Upswings can happen very quickly, and failure to prepare for them can cost investors a lot of money. Buying on weakness is intended to put the investor in a position for maximum gains, as well as preventing losses on a short position. This is one part of the “buy on weakness / sell on strength” mantra, which is essentially the same thing as “buy low / sell high”. Continue reading...

What should I look for in a good “Lease or Buy a Car” calculator?

Calculators are available to help you decide whether to lease or buy a car. Despite the advice of our older family members, many financial decisions will benefit from the use of math and technology, instead of just “rules of thumb,” and they will depend on the circumstances present at the time of the decision. Despite the fact that you may have purchased a vehicle or two in the past, you might benefit from using an online calculator that can help you compare whether it might be in your best interest to lease the vehicle this time or buy it. Continue reading...

What is Real Rate of Return?

Real rate of return is a notion that takes factors such as inflation and taxation into account before reporting a realized rate of interest on an investment. Economic theorist Irving Fisher first popularized the idea that there is a difference between a nominal interest rate and a real interest rate. Consider a bond that pays a steady coupon rate of 2% for the next 10 years. If inflation is more than 2%, the real rate of return on that investment is negative. If the investor got taxed on the nominal gains, the real rate of return is pushed further into negative territory. Continue reading...

What is IRS Publication 1244, Employee’s Daily Record of Tips and Report to Employer?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here This publication contains both Form 4070A – Employee’s Daily Record of Tips, and Form 4070 – Employee’s report of Tips to Employer. It also gives detailed instructions for how to report tips, which generally includes any cash or credit card tips over $20 in a month. Publication 531 gives additional details about reporting tip income. Employees who earn tips over $20 a month must report them on Form 4070. At the end of the year, all tips, even those not reported due to being under $20, are to be reported on the individual’s 1040 for income tax. Continue reading...

What is a Preferred Stock?

Preferred stock are dividend-paying equity shares issued by corporations, which pays a dividend with a higher priority than common stock, but lacks the voting rights that come with common stock. Preferred stock is very similar to a bond, because it will often be issued to raise capital for projects, and dividends (or interest) are expected to be paid regularly by the issuing company, but it still experiences the appreciation (and depreciation) of equity shares. Continue reading...

What is Dividend Drag?

When an ETF is not able to offer a quick, automatic dividend reinvestment option to clients, it can sometimes take a week or more to get the dividends back into the market. In a rising market, this lag can cause the reinvested amounts to purchase higher-priced shares than they would have been otherwise. This drags the performance of the fund down, compared to an index or more efficient fund. The structure of ETFs prevents them from immediately reinvesting dividends, and they often do not offer what is known as a DRIP, or dividend reinvestment plan, which is built into many pooled investments like mutual funds (and other ETFs). Continue reading...

What is a Dividend Rollover Plan?

Dividend rollover plan is another, rarely used way to refer to a Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRIP). Unfortunately just reinvesting dividends in a systematic way will not get you out of any tax implication associated with the dividends attributed to your account. An automatic dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP) is an option in some investment accounts and financial products. Any dividends paid out will be reinvested in the same mutual fund, ETF, or stock at the earliest possible opportunity. Continue reading...

What is a Bear Squeeze?

Investors who were bearish on a stock may have chosen to short-sell shares in the hopes that they could cover at a lower price. Short selling is when a broker facilitates the actions of an investor who wishes to take on the risk of replacing sold shares of a particular stock because he or she believes the price will be lower when he or she replaces the inventory. The broker passes the proceeds of the sale (minus a fee) along to the investor who is taking the risk of replacing the shares, and charges the investor interest or fees as long as the shares are outstanding. Investors need to cover the short before prices go up and it results in a loss for them. Continue reading...

What is a Stop Order?

A stop order is like putting a lure out on a pond but having a robot there to cut the line or reel in the lure if the conditions are not met, such as a fish too small to bother with, to stick with the metaphor, so that the fisher-person (investor) can take a nap or attend to the many other lines he may have in the water. A stop order names a price which serves as a trigger point, and once the security price has crossed this trigger point, a market order is entered to buy or sell at the next available price. It might be called a buy-stop or sell-stop depending on which action it pertains to. Continue reading...

What is a Dividend Reinvestment Plan?

A Dividend Reinvestment Plan, referred to as DRIP, is a plan offered by corporations that allows investors to reinvest their dividends in full or partial shares of additional stock, on the dividend payment date. Accessing a DRIP is typically a good long-term investment play - it allows for the investor to repurchase shares at a discount to the share price, and by accumulating additional shares over time increases equity ownership in the company. 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...