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How Do I Measure My Risk Tolerance?

Your risk tolerance should be a measure of how willing you are to absorb losses in your portfolio. Studies in behavioral science show that investors loathe losses about two and a half times more then they enjoy gains. Everyone can likely relate to this stat. But, to be a successful investor that achieves long-term equity like returns, one has accept some level of risk inherent in the stock market. Continue reading...

What is absolute frequency?

In statistics, the number of times that a specific value shows up in a data set is the absolute frequency of that value. The absolute frequency can then be used to find the relative frequency, which is the probability that the specific value is observed in a given number of trials. The relative frequency (empirical probability) takes the absolute frequency and divides it by the total number of trials (cumulative frequency), and can be expressed as a ratio or percentage. Continue reading...

Who are Some of the More Well-Known Investment Managers?

There have been many notable investors who have withstood the test of time. Of those that are still living, Warren Buffett definitely stands out of the crowd. If you had invested $1,000 with him in 1965, the investment would be worth over $6 million today. Some of those who could be considered in the realm of "founding fathers" of sound investment strategy would include J.P. Morgan, Benjamin Graham (author of the famous "The Intelligent Investor"), and John Templeton. Continue reading...

How Many Dollars do We Have in Circulation?

According to the Federal Reserve, there are over 1.7 trillion U.S. Dollars in circulation. This number has been drastically increasing throughout the last few years, mostly due to programs such as Quantitative Easing. As of 2016, QE programs have ended and the Fed's balance sheet is shrinking, but M2 money supply still remains at elevated levels. What is the Size of our National Debt? What is Currency in Circulation? 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...

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 was the Best Day for the Markets?

The best day for the markets, in terms of the largest single-day point gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, was October 13th, 2008. It happened when the Dow closed up 936 points in response to seemingly positive news about the handling of the ongoing financial crisis. The market would fall much further however before the next uptrend began, on March 9, 2009. In percentage terms, the biggest gain for the Dow came on March 15, 1933, when the index shot up over 15% (8.26 points) in response to Franklin D. Roosevelt's (FDR) Emergency Banking Act. Continue reading...

What was the Worst Day for the Markets?

The worst day for the markets, in terms of the largest single-day point loss by the Dow Jones Industrial Average, was September 29th, 2008. It happened when the Dow lost 777.68 points in response to the House’s rejection of the proposed bank bailout plan. On October 19th, 1987, however, the Dow dropped 22.61% (508 points) in response to a global domino effect of crashing markets. This is the largest single-day percentage drop to date. Continue reading...

What is the Best Performing Stock Ever?

Based purely on statistics, the “best” performing stock ever between 1957 and 2007 was Phillip Morris (cigarette maker). If you had invested $1,000 into the company in 1957, your investment would be worth a little under $6 million today. Of course, during those 50 years, you would have had to survive the sudden dips and jumps involved without making any rash decisions, something very few investors have the stomach for. Continue reading...

What were the Biggest Single Day Market Moves?

Since the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s creation in 1896, there have been several crashes and several days of huge gains. The biggest moves can be defined in two ways: either by percentage change or by change in points. In terms of gains, the largest single-day point gain occurred on October 13, 2008, when the Dow rose 936 points (11%) – the sudden leap occurred during a time of wild upside and downside volatility, and was in response to unexpected positive global economic news. Continue reading...

What are some Key Numbers Related to the World Capital Markets?

As of 2014, global GDP was $77 trillion. The total market capitalization of all world stock markets is approximately $70 trillion, and about a fourth of that amount is the U.S. market. The U.S. economy is the largest by GDP, which for 'fiscal year' (FY) 2016 was approximately $19 trillion. The total value of notional derivatives fell to $18.1 trillion. How Many Dollars do We Have in Circulation? What is Currency in Circulation? 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...

How large are market fluctuations?

Fluctuations are represented in terms of volatility, and different types of investments experience different levels of volatility. The answer here depends on which market you’re talking about. Generally speaking, the capital markets in fixed instruments, such as government bonds, are the least volatile. Market fluctuations of the price of commodities, small-cap stocks, and emerging markets are the largest, and can be as high as 30-40% per year. 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...

How is the Consumer Price Index (CPI) Calculated?

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is calculated using prices of sample goods from predetermined urban areas. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the CPI is a product of a series of interrelated samples. First, using data from the 1990 Census of Population, BLS selected the urban areas from which data on prices were collected and chose the housing units within each area that were eligible for use in the shelter component of the CPI. The Census of Population also provided data on the number of consumers represented by each area selected as a CPI price collection area. 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 the Unemployment Rate?

There are a few ways to measure unemployment, but it is normally interpreted as a percentage of the working-age population that does not have a job. The statistics that are used to determine unemployment rate typically use the number of unemployed people who are actively searching for a job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics conducts a monthly poll called the Current Population Survey which goes out to about 50,000 households, and this is a significant source of unemployment data. Continue reading...

Is there any merit to some other portfolio theories?

Plenty of theories are known because they are useful, and it is up to you to discern which ones may be worth your time and fit your situation and investment or analysis style. There’s always merit to any theory which has been put through rigorous statistical tests. However, keep in mind that as with any other statistical inferences, an event with probability zero sometimes happens (Black Swans), and an event with probability one sometimes doesn’t. 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...