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Investment Terminology and InstrumentsBasicsInvestment TerminologyTrading 1 on 1BondsMutual FundsExchange Traded Funds (ETF)StocksAnnuities
Technical Analysis and TradingAnalysis BasicsTechnical IndicatorsTrading ModelsPatternsTrading OptionsTrading ForexTrading CommoditiesSpeculative Investments
Cryptocurrencies and BlockchainBlockchainBitcoinEthereumLitecoinRippleTaxes and Regulation
RetirementSocial Security BenefitsLong-Term Care InsuranceGeneral Retirement InfoHealth InsuranceMedicare and MedicaidLife InsuranceWills and Trusts
Retirement Accounts401(k) and 403(b) PlansIndividual Retirement Accounts (IRA)SEP and SIMPLE IRAsKeogh PlansMoney Purchase/Profit Sharing PlansSelf-Employed 401(k)s and 457sPension Plan RulesCash-Balance PlansThrift Savings Plans and 529 Plans and ESA
Personal FinancePersonal BankingPersonal DebtHome RelatedTax FormsSmall BusinessIncomeInvestmentsIRS Rules and PublicationsPersonal LifeMortgage
Corporate BasicsBasicsCorporate StructureCorporate FundamentalsCorporate DebtRisksEconomicsCorporate AccountingDividendsEarnings

What is an Abandonment Clause?

An Abandonment Clause primarily refers to maritime insurance contracts in which a lost vessel can be replaced without the expectation of recovery or salvage, or the terms by which a construction contract or lease agreement can be dissolved. This is not to be confused with an Abandonment Option contract between a financial advisor and his or her client. It can also refer to a frequently used clause in construction law, in which the contractors define an abandoned project and give their counter-parties the right to move on and find another contractor to finish the job. Continue reading...

What are forward contracts?

Forward contracts are agreements to exchange specific assets on a specific date, at a price determined at the outset. Forward contracts are similar to futures contracts, but they are over-the-counter private contracts drafted for specific purposes, quantities, and dates that satisfy the specific needs of the counter-parties. These contracts are mostly entered into by institutional investors seeking a hedge against risks such as interest rates and exchange rates. Continue reading...

What is Bankruptcy Court?

Bankruptcy court is a special judicial proceeding which determines how a debtor can settle accounts and move on. Bankruptcy courts are always federal, and not state, courts. They were established in the Constitution and given structure by the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978. They give debtors a means of moving beyond debts that cannot be fully repaid. There are several kinds of bankruptcy filings (found here — ‘chapter 7-15’, some for individuals, some for businesses, some involving foreign entities or persons operating in the US. Some are for absolution and the dissolution of a business entity, and other filings are requests for partial debt forgiveness and reorganization of the entity. Continue reading...

What are Technical Indicators?

Technical Indicators are charting tools that appear as lines on charts, or as other kinds of graphical information, which serve as guidelines for buying and selling opportunities. They are based on mathematical formulas, and may be called oscillators, trading bands, and signal lines, among other things. Technical analysts use information about price, volume, standard deviation, and other metrics to construct systems for trading using mathematical formulas which can be translated into useful charting tools. The systems can bring discipline to a trader’s strategy by providing clearly defined circumstances in which a trader has reason to buy, sell, hold, and so on. Continue reading...

What is Chapter 9?

Chapter 9 is a form of bankruptcy filing that is reserved for municipalities which have defaulted on their debt obligations. This could include a school district or other entities which have a municipal affiliation and the ability to generate revenue from local taxes. They cannot be made to liquidate anything. In fact, it forces the lender to accept a refinancing of the debt obligation. Because municipalities fall under state jurisdiction, the federal government, which governs bankruptcy court, does not have the ability to force liquidation of a municipal entity’s assets. Instead, this provision of bankruptcy law governs refinancing arrangements to facilitate the repayment of debts owed. 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 is Ethereum?

Ethereum is an open-source, public, blockchain-based distributed computing platform. Ethereum provides a cryptocurrency known as ether. Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs what are known as “smart contracts.” Smart contracts are applications that run on custom built blockchain, which functions on its own accord through rules programmed into the protocol, and which also makes decisions and keeps records based on consensus throughout a peer-to-peer network. A blockchain oversees its own activities without requiring any trust in a central authority or the other parties involved. Continue reading...

What is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was originally created to encourage market competition and to protect consumers by breaking up monopolies and monitoring mergers and acquisition activity. It has now branched out into more areas in the pursuit of consumer protection and fair markets. The FTC is now comprised of three bureaus: Consumer Protection, Competition, and Economics. They protect consumers from fraudulent business activity and monopolistic business practices. Continue reading...

What is the High-Low Index?

Often referred to in the media as “New Highs and New Lows,” the High-Low Index is an observation of the number of stocks which hit 52-week highs or lows in the current day. The High-Low Index is usually expressed as a simple moving average (10-day or longer) of the Record High Percent. A Simple Moving Average (SMA) is a technical indicator that can help traders determine whether a bull or bear trend will continue or reverse course. It typically adds up closing prices for a given time period, then divides that figure by the number of time periods used for the average. Simple moving averages are effective in their simplicity, but their efficacy is most closely tied to how they are used. By giving equal weight to each data point, SMAs can limit bias towards any specific point in a specific time period. Continue reading...

What is a credit rating?

A credit rating is given to a company or debt issue after a disinterested third party evaluates the strength of the business or cash flow and rates its ability to pay all of its liabilities. Third-party institutions such as Standard & Poor’s (S&P), Moody’s, and Fitch will conduct research in order to give investors an idea of how likely a business, bond issue, or insurance company can pay all of its obligations. Continue reading...

What is currency risk?

Countries, investors, and international businesses have to frequently assess currency risk, which is the chance that exchange rates will change unfavorably at inopportune times. An investment in a foreign security or company, or income payments coming from foreign sources, can be at risk for exchange rate changes. If an investor or company has financial interests which are based in another currency, or if the investor engages in Forex trading, currency risk looms over the future value of the holdings, on top of any typical market risk. Continue reading...

What are market indicators?

Market indicators are quantitative tools for the analysis of market information, which may hint or confirm that a trend or reversal is about to happen (leading indicator) or has begun (lagging indicator). Indicators are technical analysis algorithms which give investors signals that may be used as the guidelines for trading. Indicators might be called oscillators or have various other proper names, since some of them are quite well-known, but there are general conventions or instructions for how to use an indicator, how it can be tweaked to suit the scope of your analysis, and what is considered a trade signal. Continue reading...

Do I Need Life Insurance for My Spouse?

The spousal relationship is usually intended to be a permanent one, and with it comes a high degree of financial co-dependence. Today, many working couples will mutually own life insurance for the sake of the other, so that long term financial plans do not have to change drastically if one of them dies. Even in the case of a non-working spouse, they are probably doing something that brings economic value to the household, a contribution which can be insured with life insurance. Life insurance on your spouse may protect you the same way that life insurance on your life can protect your spouse. Continue reading...

What is Diminishing Marginal Utility?

The decrease in the usefulness or demand for something as more and more of it is introduced or produced. The easiest way to conceptualize diminishing marginal utility is by thinking of a factory into which you must put workers who will produce goods. The first group of workers you hire increases the productivity immensely compared to what was being produced before they were hired. The second group of workers helps a lot also, but not quite as much as the first. Some of the workers have downtime now for a few minutes a day when no work is being done. You hire a third bunch of workers to increase production to get closer to your competitors, and it works, but now some of the workers are supervisors and the new hires don’t have the same drive and sense of ownership in the company. Continue reading...

What is a Buying Hedge?

Hedging against future price risk was the main reason Futures contracts came into being. If an investor or a business knows that they need to acquire an asset or security at a future date, they might go ahead and agree to a price and have it in writing on a Futures contract. A futures contract means that an item has been sold at a stated price, and only awaits settlement at a future date. This will protect them from the risk that the price will move unfavorably in the future, and it will allow them to balance books and plan a budget with more certainty. Futures contracts are standardized and traded on exchanges. Continue reading...

What is commodity pice risk?

Agricultural and mining businesses are exposed to commodity price risk, which is the possibility that the price of the commodity will change unfavorably by the time the commodity is ready to be delivered. They avoid unnecessary risk by using futures contracts, forward contracts, and possibly other derivative instruments. Commodity price risk means that an agricultural or mining business might not be able to predict the revenue that they can generate from the production or extraction of commodities. Continue reading...

What are currency futures?

Currency futures are derivative contracts that trade on regulated exchanges around the world. Like forward contracts, they name a specific amount of one currency which is to be exchanged for a specific amount of another currency at a future date. Futures name a specific amount of one currency which will be exchanged for a specific amount of another currency at a future date. Like other derivative contracts that trade on exchanges (e.g., options), futures are transferable and are traded as the market calls for up until their expiration. Investors can short them (sell to open) and hold them long (buy to open), and can close their positions as they see fit without riding out the contract to the expiration date. Continue reading...

What is a foreign currency swap?

These are generally referred to as currency swaps or cross-currency swaps , since “foreign” is a little redundant (currencies are from different countries anyway). Central banks and large institutions sometimes swap principal amounts and loan interest in their domestic currency in exchange for a foreign currency, to provide liquidity and a hedge. Currency swaps are where banking institutions, particularly central banks, exchange a loan in one currency for a loan in another currency. Continue reading...

What are Accelerated Benefits?

Some life insurance policies allow for death benefits to be accelerated as living benefits under certain conditions. Accelerated benefits are often included in life insurance contracts, but it is possible that they can also be added as Riders for an additional fee. Riders are addendum to a contract that contain additional contractual provisions. What an accelerated benefits rider stipulates is that if certain conditions are met, a portion of the death benefits on a life insurance policy can be paid to the insured person during their lifetime. These conditions may be that the insured person has been diagnosed with less than 12 months to live, or that they have another serious health condition which is covered. Sometimes this includes the payment of monthly benefits if a person requires long-term care. Continue reading...

What is a Stop Limit Order?

A Stop-Limit Order basically automates the preferences of an investor or trader, to reduce exposure to price uncertainty even after a trade ticket is entered, by stipulating a price at which the search for a bid/ask price is to begin, but limiting the range of prices at which an order can actually be entered or executed. A Stop-Limit Order has two parts: the Stop Price and the Limit Price. The stop price is like an amendment or contract rider on a security that is held which stipulates that if the price of the security crosses the Stop price, the search for an agreeable price begins. Continue reading...