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What is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was originally created to encourage market competition and to protect consumers by breaking up monopolies and monitoring mergers and acquisition activity. It has now branched out into more areas in the pursuit of consumer protection and fair markets. The FTC is now comprised of three bureaus: Consumer Protection, Competition, and Economics. They protect consumers from fraudulent business activity and monopolistic business practices. Continue reading...

What does 'call option' mean?

What does 'call option' mean?

If you own a Call Option, you have the right (not the obligation) to purchase a security at an agreed-upon price from the seller of the option. Buying a call option means you are bullish on the security. For example, an investor may buy an August 2017 call on stock XYZ for $50/share (strike price). This means that the owner of this call option has the ability to buy XYZ on the expiration date (August) for $50/share. Continue reading...

What is the Investment Advisors Act of 1940?

The IAA sought to regulate an industry that was deemed to be of public concern and within the Federal jurisdiction, though it did define some state-specific jurisdictions. It defines investment advisors and made laws dealing with fraud, advertising, non-public client information, disclosures, handling of client funds, and so forth. The Investment Advisors Act of 1940 established definitions for the capacity in which an investment adviser and investment advice could be defined, and made rules concerning the standards by which advisors should operate. Continue reading...

What is a call option?

What is a call option?

A call option is a type of contract that allows the holder of the contract to purchase an underlying stock at a specific price, even if the market price goes higher. A call option contract gives the owner of the contract the right to purchase a particular asset, which is typically a stock, at a strike price designated in the contract during a certain period of time. For example, if the stock of company ABC is trading at $100/share, you might purchase the right to buy it at $90/share for a $12/share premium. Continue reading...

What is a ratio call spread?

What is a ratio call spread?

Ratio call spreads are options strategies where the investor combines purchased calls and short calls at the same expiration but with different strike prices. A Ratio Call Spread starts off as a delta-neutral strategy, which means that even if you have two long calls and one short call, the sensitivity of your overall position to move in the underlying is equal whether it moves up or down by small amounts. Continue reading...

What is Investment Advice?

What is Investment Advice?

Professional investment advice is highly regulated, and all publications, seminars, correspondence and recommendations between professional advisors and clients must be kept on record and hold up to scrutiny. It is easy to mislead or misinform investors who have not had a chance to educate themselves, and their very livelihoods are at stake if their money is mishandled. Investment advice can be found at the local barber shop, bleachers, and beaches, but those who want to make sure their money is handled correctly will seek professional advice. Continue reading...

What is a Federally Covered Advisor?

The Investment Advisers Supervision Coordination Act of 1996 sought to delegate the responsibility of monitoring investment advisors between the states and the federal government. It amended the Investment Advisors Act of 1940, which required all advisors to register with the SEC. The Dodd-Frank Act further amended the IAA, such that only advisors with assets under management exceeding $100 million had to register with the SEC. The IASC was part of the NSMIA legislation passed in 1996. Up until that point, all advisors were regulated and monitored by the SEC. Continue reading...

What is a bear call spread?

What is a bear call spread?

A bear call spread seeks to make money on the sale of call options but does not believe the underlying security will increase. A Bear Call Spread strategy is utilized when one believes that the price of the underlying stock will go down (but not significantly) in the near future. It entails selling a call short at a lower price than you buy a long call, which is done to realize a net credit at the outset. Continue reading...

What is a bull call spread?

What is a bull call spread?

A bull call spread is a vertical spread that buys and sells calls in a way that benefits from upward price movement but limits the risk of the short position. Using calls options of the same expiration date but different prices, a bull call spread seeks to maximize profits for moderate price movements upward. A long position is taken in a call contract (meaning it is bought and held) that has a strike price near the current market price of the security or is at least lower than the other call contract used in this strategy. Continue reading...

What is a Margin Call?

A margin call is a mandatory request by the custodian/broker for the account holder to add equity to the account, either by depositing cash or selling securities to raise cash. When an investor takes an account on margin, the custodian will require that they keep a certain amount of equity/cash in the account to maintenance the borrowed amount. If the account value drops past a certain level, the custodian may require the investor to add equity to the account to cover the margin balance. Continue reading...

What is an Earnings Call?

An earnings call is when a company opens up a teleconference line or webcast that the public can join to hear the company management talk about how the company performed recently, their plans for the future, and the market forces that exist in the current environment. Most publicly traded companies today have adopted this practice. Earnings calls may take place once a year or during earnings seasons after the quarterly earnings have been announced in a press release. Companies often have one executive whose job is to interface with the shareholders in such settings, but various executives are often given a chance to present some thoughts. Continue reading...

What are the FinCEN Guidelines Surrounding Cryptocurrency?

What are the FinCEN Guidelines Surrounding Cryptocurrency?

FinCEN is an agency of the Treasury Department responsible for preventing financial crimes, and they have taken a few steps toward creative effective regulations for cryptocurrency transactions. FinCEN is the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, an office of the Treasury Department, primarily concerned with money laundering and other forms of financial fraud domestically and internationally. It is because of FinCEN’s far=reaching authority that major cryptocurrency exchanges who do business with US citizens will generally require identity and bank account verification, and will impose limits on transaction amounts. In 2013, FinCEN issued guidance that anyone engaged in the transmission or exchange of cryptocurrencies may fall under their jurisdiction to regulate Money Service Businesses (MSBs), meaning you may potentially have to register as a Money Transmitter on the Federal and state level if you frequently engage in cryptocurrency transactions. Continue reading...

Who is a commodity trading advisor (CTA)?

Who is a commodity trading advisor (CTA)?

A Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA) is registered with the National Futures Association (NFA) to manage client funds in a managed futures account (MFA) or other pooled investment such as a hedge fund or commodity pool in which the primary instruments being used are commodity futures, swaps, and other commodities derivatives. CTAs are a particular type of money manager specializing in commodities. Commodities Trading Advisors (CTAs) are licensed to manage commodity pools, managed futures accounts, and commodity-based hedge funds on behalf of clients. Continue reading...

What is the Rectangle Bottom (Bullish) Pattern?

What is the Rectangle Bottom (Bullish) Pattern?

The Rectangle Bottom pattern forms when the price of a security is stuck in a range bound motion. Two horizontal lines (1, 3, 5) and (2, 4) form the pattern as the security bounces up and down between support and resistance levels. Depending on who gives up first ­ buyers or sellers ­ the price can breakout in either direction. This pattern is commonly associated with directionless markets. Usually, the pattern performs better when there is a strong downtrend leading into the formation. Continue reading...

What is the Rectangle Top (Bullish) Pattern?

What is the Rectangle Top (Bullish) Pattern?

The Rectangle Top pattern forms when the price of a security is stuck in a range bound motion. Two horizontal lines (top: 1, 3, 5) and (bottom: 2, 4) form the pattern as the security bounces up and down between support and resistance levels. Depending on who gives up first ­ buyers or sellers ­ the price can breakout in either direction. This pattern is commonly associated with directionless markets. Usually the pattern performs better when there is a strong uptrend leading into the formation. Continue reading...

What is a naked call?

What is a naked call?

A naked call is a type of option contract where the seller of a call does not own the underlying security, thereby exposing them to unlimited risk. Investors have the ability to “write” or sell options contracts as well as to buy them. The seller of a call option has opened a position in which the buyer is given the right to buy 100 shares of a stock at the strike price named in the contract. The seller – along with all other sellers of calls for that security – are the ones who must cover and close the open positions if the call owners exercise their options. Continue reading...

What is the Falling Wedge (Bullish) Pattern?

What is the Falling Wedge (Bullish) Pattern?

The Falling Wedge pattern forms when the price of a security appears to be spiraling downward, and two down-­sloping lines are created with the price hitting lower lows (1, 3, 5) and lower highs (2, 4). The two pattern lines intersect to form a narrow triangle. Unlike Descending Triangle patterns, however, both lines need to have a distinct downward slope, with the top line having a steeper decline. Continue reading...

How to use the Broadening Wedge Descending (Bullish) Pattern in trading

How to use the Broadening Wedge Descending (Bullish) Pattern in trading

Once the price breaks out from the top pattern boundary, day traders and swing traders should trade with an UP trend. Consider buying a security or a call option at the upward breakout price level. To identify an exit, compute the target price for by adding the height of the pattern to the upward Breakout level. Pattern height is the difference between the highest high and the lowest low. The upward Breakout level is the highest high. Continue reading...

What is a Secondary Offering?

A secondary offering is the sale of a large block of previously-issued, privately-held stock, which actually requires registration with the SEC, but does not raise capital for the company which issued the shares originally. A secondary offering is a non-dilutive sale of existing shares which were previously held by one, or a few, investors. The proceeds of the sale go to the sellers of the shares and not to the company which issued the shares. Continue reading...

How to use the Cup-and-Handle (Bullish) Pattern in trading

How to use the Cup-and-Handle (Bullish) Pattern in trading

Once the price breaks out from the top pattern boundary, day traders and swing traders should trade with an UP trend. Consider buying a security or a call option at the upward breakout price/entry point. To identify an exit, compute the target price for the Cup­-and-­Handle pattern by adding the pattern’s height (the difference between the highest high and the bottom of the cup) to the price at the right cup lip. The confirmation move is when the security moves past the breakout price above the right cup lip. Continue reading...