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Should I Listen to Commentators on Financial News Programs?

It’s easy to become drawn in by the financial media, but it’s important not to let them do your thinking for you. Commentators on the most reputable financial channels will always be sharp-looking, smooth-talking, and quoting a barrage of statistics that makes it seem like you didn’t know anything before you tuned in. Is this an indication of being camera-friendly? Without a doubt. Is it an indication of sound financial advice? Absolutely not. Continue reading...

What are the Best Financial Programs to Use?

There are many apps and online programs that investors can use, often for free, to help keep an eye on their holdings and to track their investment portfolio. In addition to the software accessible through your custodian, you might want to look at the programs available through Morningstar, Microsoft Money, and others. Apps on your phone (CNBC, TheStreet, Barron’s, MarketWatch, etc.) can keep you updated on market news related to your stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs. You can also subscribe to market commentaries delivered via email. Continue reading...

What are Breakouts?

Breakouts are events where a stock or index suddenly changes the magnitude and direction of its trading range and a new level of support and resistance is defined. A stock or index might bump up against the same support or resistance level for some time, or experience a time of consolidation and horizontal movement before the price breaks the upper limit of resistance and a new high is attained. Sometimes prices consolidate or hit resistance levels as the markets and investors wait to see what some news will be about the condition of the economy and so forth. Once there is good news, investors might take it as the “go-ahead” sign, and the price will breakout from the previous range. Continue reading...

Should I Rely on Analyst Upgrades or Downgrades of the Positions in my Investment Portfolio?

Upgrades and downgrades can be useful but they may not be the most current form of trading information. The problem with upgrades or downgrades is that they rely on the events which already happened; in most cases, the information is already built into the price of the stock. Very often, after a company reports bad results, analysts will downgrade that company — how smart they are! Of course, we all wish that they would do it before the results had been reported. Still, if a majority of analysts downgrade the stock, it might be prudent to seriously consider selling it. Continue reading...

Should I Buy the Same Companies Warren Buffett is Buying?

Absolutely yes. It would be a lot better if we knew about it at the time he was buying them, though. The only problem is, we only know which companies Warren Buffett bought after the fact, and this news has already been incorporated into the price by the time it becomes known to you (and everybody else). If you want to buy shares of companies that Warren Buffett is buying, purchase shares of Berkshire Hathaway – his investment vehicle. It can also still work to purchase shares of the same companies he does. Continue reading...

What are the Best Internet Sources for Financial Information?

The internet is overflowing with the advice, analysis, and chest-pounding of millions of self-purported gurus and market commentary services. There are plenty of well-informed and trustworthy sources out there, too. There are literally millions of websites providing you with various kinds of financial information, advice, recommendations, opinions, rumors, get-rich-quick schemes, and “facts.” There is a short list of companies that are well-established with a reputation worthy of trust: Morningstar, Moody’s, Fidelity, Schwab, Goldman Sachs, etc. Continue reading...

What is a Value Stock?

Value Stock is a stock whose price has been deemed a value buy because of underlying fundamentals, book value, and projected earnings. Prices for stocks can temporarily be pushed around by sentiment, index tracking fund purchases, news and political effects, et cetera, and often the prices on very good and well positioned companies become undervalued as part of larger movements that overlook their inherent value. Continue reading...

What is a Market Maker?

A market maker is a broker-dealer firm or a registered individual that will hold a certain number of shares of a security in order to facilitate trading. There could be as many as 50 market makers for one particular security, and they compete for customer order flows by displaying buy and sell quotations for a guaranteed number of shares. The market maker spread refers to the difference between the amount a market maker is willing to pay for a security and the amount that the other party is willing to sell it. Continue reading...

Should I Trust an Article Such as “What Are The Best 10 Stocks For The Next 10 Years?”

It can be useful to at least give some deep thought to the picks that appear in such articles. There is some investment wisdom in reading and taking action on the advice of such articles, since they point you in the direction of the industries which are poised to grow in the foreseeable future. Unlike short-term stock picks, these articles are concerned with growth that will go beyond the short term uptrend that will undoubtedly follow the appearance of a ticker symbol in such a list. Continue reading...

Should I Trust the Opinions Expressed by Various Financial Analysts?

Studies suggest that it is not wise to put too much faith in any market analyst or commentator – but it may be wise to listen to as many of them as possible. There have been many studies surrounding the predictions of financial analysts who seek to foretell the direction of the economy, particular sectors, or even individual stocks. The studies reveal that it isn’t wise to rely on the forecasts of any one commentator or analyst. Continue reading...

What are some Good Books on Investment?

The investing section in your bookstore has shelves packed with titles hoping to earn a five-star rating from you, but not all of these are going to be worth your time. There are thousands and thousands of books written about investments, stocks, Mutual Funds, retirement portfolios, and so on. By the time most of them hit the market, the information in these books has long become irrelevant. The classic treatise on investments is Ben Graham’s “The Intelligent Investor.” Try to avoid books with titles like “12 Steps to Financial Prosperity,” and “How to become a Zillionaire.” Continue reading...

What is market breadth?

Market Breadth is a descriptor that is used in several market indicators such as the daily breadth, the A/D Line, the McClellan Oscillator, and Arms Index. Breadth is the relative difference in the amount of advancing stocks and declining stocks. Daily breadth is simply computed by subtracting one from the other, or creating a ratio in which one is divided by the other. Daily breadth is closely related, even interchangeable, with the Advance/Decline ratio. It can also refer to the difference between New Highs and New Lows, or Net New Highs. Continue reading...

What is a market-maker spread?

The difference between the Bid and Ask prices on a stock or other security are known as the Spread. Designated market makers are traders whose job it is to make a market for securities, by offering to buy or sell shares, and thus creating liquidity, often at the same time. Their money is made on the spread. In highly liquid markets, the spread will shrink. So if everyone is buying and selling the same stock one day, there may be virtually no spread between the Bid and the Ask price, and this is seen as efficient. Continue reading...

What Does Mark to Market (MTM) Mean?

Mark to Market (MTM) is an accounting method meant to price an asset by its most recent market price. An example would be mutual funds, whose “NAV” price is a mark to market price of how much the mutual fund closed for at the end of a trading session. The mark to market accounting method has some pros and cons. On the pro side, if an asset is very liquid, then MTM will provide an accurate reflection of its current value. Continue reading...

What is market research?

Market research is the process of evaluating a possible opportunity for entering into a market with a new product or company, or for evaluating the effectiveness of a product or company in a market that they are already invested in. Market research can also be important for decisions regarding mergers and acquisitions. It may involve surveys and market study groups. Sometimes a company will conduct its own market research, but often third-party companies are hired for the task. These companies may specialize in sampling and surveying methods for consumer groups, and/or statistical analysis of a business model or product’s chance of success in a given market. Companies may look to such analysts if they are considering a merger or acquisition, or of launching a new product. Continue reading...

What is Net Income?

Net income is the amount of earnings left over once expenses have been deducted from sales. In short, it is the net amount of profit or loss. It is calculated by taking total earnings in a period (such as a quarter), and deducting all elements of the cost of doing business (labor, depreciation, fixed expenses, overhead, etc…) Net income is ultimately a measure of a company’s profitability, and its calculation should be scrutinized closely to ensure all expenses are being accounted for accurately. Continue reading...

What is market efficiency?

Market efficiency describes the degree to which relevant information is integrated into the price of a security. With the prevalence of information technology today, markets are considered highly efficient; most investors have access to the same information with prices and industry news, updated instantaneously. The Efficient Market Hypothesis stems from this idea. Efficient markets are said to have all relevant information priced-in to the securities almost immediately. High trading volume also makes a market more efficient, as there is a high degree of liquidity for buyers and sellers, and the spread between bid and ask prices narrows. Continue reading...

What is a market-on-open order?

Traders can enter time-specific trade orders in the form of opening or closing orders, which are only to be executed as close to the opening or closing price as possible. Market-on-open orders are looking to buy or sell immediately after the market opens, at the opening price. Market-on-open orders are instructions for a broker or floor trader (even though we don’t see those much anymore these days) to buy or sell shares at opening price of the stock being traded. Continue reading...

What is market saturation?

Market Saturation is the point at which there are few consumers that are still interested in buying a product because those who were ever likely to already have done so. Saturation can be said to exist for all similar products in a market. This may call for different strategies which could keep a company going. One is that products can be made to wear out after a certain amount of time and need replacement. Another is that the business can shift its focus to subscription or service-based income. 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...

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