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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 is “adding to a loser”?

“Adding to a loser” describes continuing investment in a stock or fund that has continued to decline. Continuing to invest when it is going down in value can be a solid play up to a point. If you remain bullish on the company or fund, you may be getting a great deal on the shares that you purchase. When the price rebounds, you will have full participation in the upside with more shares than you would have otherwise. Continue reading...

What is an Uptrend?

An uptrend is a continuous upward movement in a stock's price. An uptrend is an upward movement over a few increments of time (whatever time increment being used), where the successive numbers being compared continue to increase. The parameters being compared might be just peaks, just troughs, closing prices, or averages, but formally it is defined as increased in successive peaks and troughs both. Continue reading...

What is a stock downtrend?

A downtrend occurs when the successive peaks of a security's price trend downward without recovering from the troughs, with successively lower market peaks each time. Downtrends may happen in a span of minutes or months, depending on the security being discussed. In a downtrend, it may not be advisable to purchase (or “go long” on) a security, since the duration of the trend is unknown. Many traders, however, see it as an opportunity for short selling. 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...

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 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 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...

Top Stock Chart Patterns

Chart patterns are shapes that sometimes appear in the charts of securities prices. Some of them may prove useful to you. Some frequently discussed chart patterns include Head and Shoulders, Double/Triple Bottom/Top, Cups and Saucers, Flags and Pennants, and others. Generally, it can be useful to compare and connect the troughs to each other and the peaks to each other to see if there is a trend confirmation if the breadth is narrowing, or if a reversal might be imminent. Continue reading...

What are Fibonacci Fans?

Fibonacci Fans are a charting technique that combines traditional Fibonacci lines and Fibonacci channels. They use the Fibonacci levels in a radial way, drawing trendlines from a point of primary importance, such as a low or peak, to identify future points of retracement or extension. Some investors believe that, like many naturally occurring systems in nature, market behavior will exhibit some fractal-like forms that can be measured with Fibonacci sequence numbers and the Golden Ratio. Modern computing power has uncovered plentiful examples of the Golden Ratio in nature, from Nautilus shells to musical harmonics, as well as mathematical fractal patterns. Fibonacci numbers are related to the study of chaos theory, which seeks to find order in complex systems. Since the markets have so many variables, but no lack of data, they are an excellent place to search for Fibonacci patterns. Continue reading...

What are Fibonacci Channels?

Price movement often occurs in a range-bound way, even when an uptrend or downtrend is in effect. Fibonacci channels estimate support and resistance numbers using Fibonacci numbers, which are found throughout the natural world, in order to define possible places where reversals will occur. Fibonacci numbers are related to the study of chaos theory, which seeks to find order in complex systems. Since the markets have so many variables, but no lack of data, they are an excellent place to search for Fibonacci patterns. Continue reading...

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...

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...

Is there any merit to the “dow theory?”

The Dow Theory may not always be accurate, but it has been part of the foundation of modern market analysis. The Dow Theory was formulated by the famous economist Charles Dow. What is important is that the Dow Theory concerns itself with the movements of very broad markets, rather than individual stocks. In particular, the Dow Theory, which was named post-mortem and summarized the editorials Dow wrote during his life, focuses on the movement of the Industrials (DJIA) relative to the Transportation index (DJTA) and theorizes that if one moves the other should follow, and if there is discord a reversal is probably coming. Continue reading...

What is an Accounting Period?

An accounting period is a specific time frame from which documents and records have been used by accountants to arrive at reported balances and statements. An accounting period can be a fiscal year, quarter, or month, or any other time frame for which reporting is being done. At any given time, there may be different accounting periods running. Books are kept and reports are made for different tiers of accounting periods. Continue reading...

What is divergence analysis?

The analysis of convergence and divergence between indexes and other data seeks to find leading indicators where there is confirmation or non-confirmation of trends. Dow Theory was one of the first examples of such thinking. Charles Dow would watch the movements of Industrials and the Rail and compare the uptrend or downtrend of each. Where trends do not line up (e.g., one is trending downward with lower troughs and the other has “higher lows”) there is “divergence”, and non-confirmation of what was thought to be a trend in one index. 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 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 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...