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What does diversification mean?

Diversification is the age-old strategy of owning securities with different risk attributes to mitigate total risk in a portfolio. The opposite of diversification is creating a highly concentrated investment portfolio, where the investor may only own a handful of stocks or just one or two stocks. The potential reward/risk of loss is much higher than a portfolio with securities diversified across a sector, style, and region. Continue reading...

What are some strategies for diversifying a portfolio?

There are many ways to diversify a portfolio, but all of them center around a strategy of owning different types of asset classes. For equity investors, perhaps the best strategy for diversifying a portfolio is to own companies from different sectors in different style categories, maybe even across the globe. The S&P 500 has ten different sectors, and a very broadly diversified portfolio should have exposure to each one in some capacity. Continue reading...

Is my portfolio diversified enough?

Diversification is intended to reduce the volatility of price movements in individual securities, but many people are not sure what proper diversification looks like. It depends. You should definitely have exposure to at least two asset classes: equities and bonds. Within each asset class, diversification is also important. In your equity portfolio, you should have exposure to stocks with various capitalizations (such as Large Cap, Mid Cap, and Small Cap), various geographical areas (such as the Europe), Developing Markets, and Emerging Markets. Continue reading...

What are Other Mutual Fund Classifications?

Let’s look at some of the classifications for mutual funds that are determined using criteria other than market cap and P/E ratios. What is Mutual Fund Classification According to the Price to Earnings Ratio? What is Mutual Fund Classification According to Market Capitalization? Besides the main classifications for equity mutual funds which are derived from market cap and price-to-earnings ratio, many other categories for mutual funds exist. These criteria may be based on how much exposure a fund has to a specific industry, sectors or geographical regions, as well as the types of management strategies that the fund uses and which kinds of assets are held. Continue reading...

What do ETFs Invest In?

ETFs invest in a wide array of securities, and which ones depends on the goal, strategy, or index that the ETF is built around. ETFs hold baskets of individual securities, of which investors can purchase an undivided interest in the form of ETF shares. ETFs can be a good option if you want quick diversification, and there is an increasingly diverse selection of ETFs on the market. Many investment companies have issued new ETFs in the last 10 years. One of the biggest issuers is Barclays - one of the largest investment banks in the world — through their ETF brand iShares. Continue reading...

How can I check if my portfolio is diversified?

There aren’t many easy-to-find tools on the web or elsewhere to help an investor check how well diversified a portfolio is. Tickeron is setting out to change that. With our proprietary Diversification Score® tool, an investor can input each of their portfolio holdings, and our Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) will provide a score indicating how well diversified the portfolio is. An investor generally wants to make sure that they do not have too many assets allocated to one region, style, or sector, and that they have sufficient exposure across asset classes if that is their goal. Continue reading...

What happens if I don’t diversify my portfolio sufficiently?

Not diversifying a portfolio sufficiently can mean putting your assets at greater risk of loss. At the same time, less diversification means more risk but also the possibility of a better return. An investor that put all of their assets into Apple Inc. (APPL) five years ago would certainly be much better off than an investor that owned a broadly diversified portfolio over the same time frame. But over time, a less diversified approach can hurt an investor’s chance of achieving the long-term desired result they want for retirement. Continue reading...

What does covariance mean?

Covariance is a measure of what degree the returns on two assets move in tandem. A positive covariance implies that returns on two assets move together in the same direction, while the opposite is true with negative covariance. In a diversified portfolio, an investor ideally owns securities with negative covariance, so that returns may be smoothed out over time. Continue reading...

What are Industry-Specific Mutual Funds?

Industry-specific funds attempt to capture the movements of a single industry. Industry-specific mutual funds will usually limit themselves to investing in particular industries. There are thousands of such funds. Their focus can be very broad (such as technology - here) or very narrow (such as solar energy - here). Investors who would like to gain exposure to specific industries to round out their portfolios can do so with an industry-specific fund which offers diversification among many different holdings in an industry, as opposed to one or two stocks in an industry. Continue reading...

What are Alternative Funds?

The idea with Alternative fund investing is to gain exposure to assets which are not highly correlated with the rest of your portfolio, and which use non-traditional approaches to fund management. Alternative Funds are mutual funds that invest in non-traditional asset classes such as commodities (gold, silver, oil, etc.), agricultural products (cocoa futures, orange futures, pork-belly futures), non-publicly traded companies and limited partnerships, and so on. Continue reading...

What is a foreign fund?

A foreign fund is a mutual fund that invests solely in companies abroad and does not invest in corporations owned in the US. Owning foreign companies can be a very good diversification strategy and is considered a core holding in the portfolio of most investors. Foreign exposure means that if the US economy hits a rough patch, you may have a hedge in the foreign fund if the companies or markets in other parts of the world are not entirely correlated. Continue reading...

How many investment choices should I have in my portfolio?

You can get substantial diversification through mutual funds and ETFs, but it is good to have increasing amounts of diversification the larger a portfolio is. Here are some general guidelines: If your portfolio is less than $50,000, probably 4-5 Mutual Funds will suffice. If your portfolio is from $50,000-$100,000, you might consider adding a few more exotic Mutual Funds or buying a couple of ETFs. Continue reading...

Real Estate Investment Trust: What is a REIT?

A Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) is a pooled investment with a high dividend yield that invests in real estate. REITs give investors an opportunity for participation and diversification in real estate investments, while also offering much higher degrees of liquidity and lower buy-in amounts than can be found in other real estate investments. A REIT operates much like a mutual fund, and would technically be taxable as a corporation if it weren't for its REIT status. Continue reading...

What is Systematic Risk?

Systematic risk is the broad risk of fluctuations and downturns in the market as a whole, which it is said cannot be eliminated through diversification. Systematic risk is also known as market risk, which is the exposure of all investors to the broad movements and downturns of the market as a whole. Theoretically it cannot be controlled for through simple diversification, since that would only bring a portfolio closer to the broad market performance, with a Beta closer to 1. Continue reading...

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 Mutual Funds?

Mutual funds are managed portfolios of stocks and bonds, where the portfolio manager uses pooled investor funds to manage the portfolio. In the U.S., the first mutual fund was created in 1924 when three investors in Boston pooled their money and formed the Massachusetts Investors’ Trust. The essence behind Mutual Funds today is the same – a pool of money is collected from a number of investors and then professionally managed. Continue reading...

What is Unsystematic Risk?

Unsystematic risk is idiosyncratic or unique risk that does not reflect a direct correlation with the risk present in the market, or systematic risk. Most securities and portfolios experience risk and variations which are not attributable to the market as a whole, and this is known as unsystematic risk. Systematic risk, on the other hand, is the risk borne by all investors in the market, where broad changes in the market cannot be avoided through diversification of a portfolio. Continue reading...

What is the right mix of assets for me?

Arriving at the appropriate asset allocation is not very easy to do by guesswork, so we’re here to help. There is no such thing as a mix of assets that is right for everyone. It depends on your age, employment situation, the size of your investment portfolio, your objectives, time horizon, risk tolerance, income requirement from your investment portfolio, tax bracket, and many other factors. Programs and algorithms can help you significantly when you plug some of these variables in, but it is still wise to apply some scrutiny and a human touch. 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...

What is market risk?

Market risk is the chance that an investment will not maintain its value when it is dependent on the many factors that influence the health of the economy and the stock market. Investors must be aware that investing money in a stock or mutual fund is to tie the fate of that money to the fate of the company or companies that they have invested in. The other side of the coin, of course, is the potential for gains. The potential gains of an investment are the premium that is paid to an investor in exchange for allowing a company or mutual fund to take risks with the investor’s money. Continue reading...