What Kinds of ETFs Exist?

There are many ETFs on the market and more popping up all the time. Currently, there are over 900 ETFs available on the market, covering basically every market sector, industry, commodity, asset class, country, style of investing on the stock market. The amount of money invested in ETFs has increased exponentially over the last decade and is likely to continue in that direction. Many more ETFs are introduced to the market every year, many with different and creative strategies that have never been available in a single investment product before. These might use Forex, rate swaps, CMOs, futures, options, short-selling, and other advanced or institutional trading strategies, to create a new kind of position in a sector, industry, or geography to which the investor wants to gain exposure. Continue reading...

Why Should I be Extremely Careful with Commodities ETFs?

There are some things to keep in mind when investing in commodities and their ETFs. Most commodities trading revolves around who owns a hard asset and when. ETFs occupy a space in the commodities world that is somewhat unique. An ETF such as the Crude Oil Index does not physically buy millions of barrels of oil and store them. It buys financial instruments which theoretically should reflect the price of oil. Continue reading...

What is an Annuity?

What is an Annuity?

Annuities are financial products developed and sold generally by insurance companies, and they are designed to protect an investor’s principle against the risks of market fluctuations and longevity (life expectancy). Annuities get their names from a series of payments which are based on an annualized payout rate. Annuities formerly just offered fixed payments for life, like a pension, and they were developed by life insurance companies who would use their mortality tables to determine the payout rates. Continue reading...

Which is Better for Me – a Roth or Regular 401(k)?

Some 401(k)s give participants the ability to make after-tax contributions, which raises the question of which fits better into a person’s retirement plan. One advantage to Roth 401(k)s is that they do not have income limits which may have barred certain high earners from contributing to a Roth IRA in the past. Down the road in retirement, it may be advantageous for someone with significant savings to be able to take some withdrawals that do not increase his or her income tax bracket. Continue reading...

What is the Descending Triangle (Bullish) Pattern?

What is the Descending Triangle (Bullish) Pattern?

The Descending Triangle pattern is formed when the price of a security establishes a support level (1, 3, 5) and bounces off that level to a declining resistance level, creating a down-­sloping top line (2, 4). The breakout can either be up or down, depending if the resistance or highest support level is broken first. This pattern is commonly associated with directionless markets since the contraction (narrowing) of the market range signals that neither bulls nor bears are in control. Continue reading...

What is Freddie Mac?

What is Freddie Mac?

Freddie Mac is a government-sponsored company which purchases mortgages from banks and securitizes them for sales to investment banks or individuals. Freddie Mac is not a government organization, but was established by a congressional mandate in the 1970’s. It’s proper name is the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC). The company’s purpose is to make mortgage debts into marketable securities by purchasing the mortgage risk and cash flow from banks and dividing into tranches which are sold to or through investment banking institutions. The securitized mortgages are known as Collateralized Mortgage Obligations, or CMO’s. Continue reading...

What is Future Value?

Future Value is the hypothetical value of an investment at a specific date in the future. The future value (FV) of an investment or business is a calculation used in several types of planning and accounting. In a Time Value of Money (TVM) calculation, the Future Value is often the starting point, and the interest rate that will be earned in the meantime is called Discount Rate, and is discounted by the number of years of periods back to the present time. This allows investors to see the Present Value (PV), which is a lesser, discounted amount from the future value, and gives us the premise for the Time Value of Money, which is that “a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow.” Continue reading...

What is Abatement Cost?

Environmental regulations or lawsuits occasionally force companies to comply by taking measures or acquiring technologies to abate their environmental impact, and the overhead of such projects is called Abatement Cost. Increasingly over the last 20 years or so more countries and states have begun imposing laws on companies to reduce their carbon emissions, noise pollution, and various other environmental impacts. The costs of enacting measures or technologies to help them comply with such regulations is known as abatement cost. Continue reading...

Who are Chartists?

Who are Chartists?

Chartists are technical traders, theorists, and experts in charting, with the goal of better representing data and using charts to the greatest effect in trading. They attempt to find parameters and algorithms that can offer efficient trading signals and profits, using only the information present on charts – a type of technical analysis. Technical analysis is a discipline that involves identifying price ranges, trend momentum, and points of possible reversals via graphical representations of the math behind price movements, examining information to the second or third derivative, and using trial-and-error with formulas. Geometry, calculus, physics, and finance all play a part in this methodology. Continue reading...

How do Market “Bubbles” Burst?

Bubbles, while both intriguing and puzzling occurrences, have always been a part of market and economic cycles. In short, a bubble forms when investors start bidding up the price of an asset well beyond its intrinsic value, based on speculation and euphoria surrounding potential gains. Eventually demand will dry up when valuations are too high, as investors start shunning the risk premium associated with investing. Investors will then race to be the first out of the position, and it ultimately brings all the sellers to the table at once. The bubble then pops. Continue reading...