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What does correlation mean?

Financial traders use correlation to describe the movement of securities – how and when they move – relative to each other during a given time period. These relationships lend themselves well to pairs trading, where traders have developed an understanding of correlations and their behavior that allow them to confidently exploit slight changes to minimize risk and maximize profitable transactions. Continue reading...

What is the relationship between major currencies in general?

There are six major currencies traded and used as benchmarks on Forex markets: United States Dollars, Euros, Yen, British Pounds, Australian Dollars, Canadian Dollars, and Swiss Francs. There are also relationships between these and others, known as currency correlations. Currency exchange rates can be fixed or floating, and this is determined by policy within the country and how they want to value their money. Continue reading...

What is a currency basket?

Currency baskets are composed of weighted amounts of certain currencies. The most common use of a currency basket is as a benchmark for certain economic analysis, but it can also be used as a unit of account where an international organization has constituents that use various currencies. A basket of currencies is a weighted index of various currencies which serves a specific purpose as a benchmark or as a unit of account. 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 currency symbol?

Currency symbols are characters written or typed in a specific arrangement alongside the numerical values of a currency amount, to denote the kind of currency in which the amount of money is held. An example would be the dollar sign ($), which is placed at the beginning of the numbers which describe the amount of currency in question, despite the fact that in most languages the word “dollars” follows the numbers when spoken. Many currencies have their own symbol but not necessarily all do. Continue reading...

What is beta in investing?

Beta is a volatility indicator that denotes how closely an investment follows movements in the market as a whole; when examining mutual funds, it indicates how similarly the funds move to their relevant indexes. It is often referenced with its counterpart, Alpha; a risk ratio which measures gains or losses relative to a benchmark, indicating whether an investor is being compensated with a return greater than the volatility risk being taken. Continue reading...

What is the currency carry trade?

Assets that are held are sometimes analyzed in terms of the cost of carrying them, called the cost of carry. In certain situations, there may be a potential for profit if an asset that might otherwise have a cost of carry could be traded for an asset that actually generates profit. The arbitrage opportunity that exists in that space, and the market formed by it, is sometimes called the carry trade, or the currency carry trade where it applies to currency. Continue reading...

How do I determine the right mix of assets?

Asset allocation tools and Monte Carlo simulators are available through broker-dealers and online services. You may wish to construct your own asset allocation, but there are asset allocation programs available which can take a lot of the uncertainty out of the process. The most famous method for analyzing and testing an allocation involves the so-called Monte Carlo simulation. This simulator helps you determine what would have happened with your portfolio if you were invested according to a particular mix of assets. Three main parameters you should consider for each asset class are: the asset’s historical performance, its volatility, and its correlation to other asset classes. Continue reading...

Should I invest in gold?

Gold can provide diversification in a simple way, since it has a history of being generally non-correlated with most other asset classes. It is not necessarily a hedge against anything specific, as some claim, since its price movement is too random. Conventional wisdom says that investing in gold might be a good hedge against inflation or market cataclysms. Some of these beliefs are unfounded. The price of gold appears to go up only when it is in high demand (such as when the price has gone up some already), rather than in tandem to any specific market force such as inflation or interest rates. If investors have some idea of when other investors are going to pile in, such as during times of uncertainty, they will likely be able to ride an uptrend in gold prices for a while. Continue reading...

What is R-Squared?

R-squared is a statistical tool called a correlation coefficient. It is a percentage measurement that represents how closely correlated a security’s movement is with the movements of a benchmark index. Values range between 0 and 1 and are often expressed as percentages between 0% and 100%. A higher R-squared (between 85% and 100%) tells investors that a security moves more or less in correlation with the benchmark index. A lower R-squared (70% or less) means that the security in question moves independently from the index. Continue reading...

What is asset allocation?

Asset allocation is theoretically the best way to control the return you experience, through diversification and rebalancing. Asset allocation theories provide you with mechanisms to diversify your money among various asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities, precious metals, etc. The benefit of asset allocation is twofold: first, nobody knows which asset class will perform better at any given time, and second, various asset classes are not entirely correlated or have a negative correlation, which provides a hedge. If one asset class appreciates significantly, the other might not, but, if the allocation is done correctly, this may be exactly what the investor was looking for. Continue reading...

What is currency depreciation?

The value of a currency can depreciate in relation to the value of other currencies or to another benchmark. Currencies can have their value determined by the cost of a basket of consumer goods from one period to another, but this is really just a measure of inflation. Inflation (or “deflation”) is a subset of the appreciation/depreciation metric, but changes in the exchange rates between currencies are typically seen as the most relevant measure of a currency’s value. Continue reading...

What is a currency peg?

The currency pairs you are most familiar with, such as EUR/USD or USD/JPY, are floating currencies, meaning that their value changes freely with market forces. Some countries have chosen to peg their currency to another currency, most commonly the USD. The exchange rate between their currency and the peg currency never changes, unless policy makers tweak things slightly. Currencies can also be pegged to commodities or baskets of other currencies. Pegged currencies are not discussed often in the Forex market because their value is tied directly to the value of another, more liquid floating currency, or to a basket of currencies, or to a commodity. Continue reading...

Is there such a thing as a “presidential election cycle” impact on stocks?

Some analysts have popularized the notion that the 4-year presidential election cycle holds secrets to bear and bull markets. Found in publications such as the Stock Traders Almanac, The Presidential Election Cycle is the theory that different phases of the presidential term are correlated to broad market conditions. As will many such theories, it may not hold up under a lot of scrutiny, but there are some correlations to be found. Continue reading...

What is currency in circulation?

Currency in circulation tends to be defined as the currency held by commercial banks, and currency with the public, without including long-term deposits or investments. As much as 2/3rd of Currency in Circulation is held outside of the borders of the US, and is estimated to be around $1.5 trillion as of 2016. Currency in Circulation is one part of what’s known as the money supply. Money supply is divided into four levels: M0, M1, M2, and M3. Some might define currency in circulation as the larger part of M0, which is the money base, constituted by the currency held in commercial banking institutions and excluding central bank reserves / Federal funds. This definition disregards the Currency with Public, which is included in other definitions and is part of M1. Continue reading...

What is a currency swap?

In a currency swap, institutions will enter into an arrangement lasting anywhere from 1 to 30 years, in which they loan each other an equal principal amount at the current exchange rate, lending out their currency and taking a loan in a foreign currency, and paying an interest rate in foreign currency to their lending counter-party. Institutions that engage in a currency swap (also called a cross-currency swap) seek to increase their exposure or liquidity in a foreign currency, and in some cases seek to take advantage of favorable interest rates in the arrangement. In fact, a currency swap can be considered a variation on an interest rate swap, except that in this case, a notional principal is exchanged at the onset. Continue reading...

What is a currency pair?

Currency exchange rates are discussed in terms of currency pairs, where you say how much of a given currency it would take to equal one unit of another currency. The single-unit currency is the “base” currency in the pair, and it appears as the second currency or denominator in the comparison. The base currency is always implied to be 1 unit, so only the value of the other currency in the pair is stated in the exchange rate quote. 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 is currency substitution?

Currency Substitution can be an official or ad hoc occurrence in a country whose commerce is partially, or fully, conducted using the currency of another country. Some currencies which are pegged to another currency at a fixed rate (especially at whole integers) are domestically exchanged in the same manner that the local currency is. Many countries have completely adopted the currency of another country, and do not have a central bank of their own. Continue reading...

What is a Satoshi Cycle?

This term was coined quite recently, describing the relationship between bitcoin prices and Google searches for bitcoin. Chris Burniske, a writer focused on bitcoin since his time as an analyst at ARK Invest, coined the term Satoshi Cycle in August of 2017 to describe the strong correlation between Google searches for “Bitcoin” and a subsequent price jump for the coin. The cycle he refers to is one of consumer curiosity, interest, and acceptance which drives the price up more and more. Continue reading...