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What are the basics of technical analysis?

What does it mean to technically analyze a stock or other security? Technical analysis 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...

What is adaptive price zone?

Adaptive Price Zone is a volatility-based trading indicator. Similar to traditional Bollinger Bands, Adaptive Price Zone is a recent development by Lee Leibfarth that overlays two indicator bands around a moving average line. It is more adaptive than many previous band indicators, using several short-term exponential moving averages which are double-smoothed and closely hug changes in volatility and price data. Exponential moving averages give more weight to recent data, which helps the lines hug current data. 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...

What is a strike price?

A strike price names the price of the underlying security in options or derivative contract at which the underlying security will trade at settlement if it is exercised. In a call option, for example, the option would name a strike price, and if the current market price of the underlying security was more than the strike price, an investor who held the call contract would invoke his right to purchase the stock from the issuer/seller of the option at the strike price, which, remember is lower than the prevailing market price in this example, and the investor can turn around and sell it in the market at or near its most recent, and higher, price, for a profit. Continue reading...

What is a Breakeven Price?

There will be a premium paid by investors for the right to establish positions using options. The price of the underlying security must move to a certain point for the options position to become profitable. The strike price of an options contract names the price that an investor can use to buy or sell the underlying security, but the breakeven price will be the strike price plus the amount of the investor’s premium or net debit. Breakeven price can apply to a multi-option strategy such as a spread, or to a single option position. Continue reading...

What are Resistance and Support Levels?

In technical analysis, a level of resistance is an imaginary barrier that keeps the price of a security from rising beyond a certain level. Conversely, a level of support is an imaginary barrier that keeps the price of a security from falling beyond a certain level. A resistance line can be thought of as the theoretical glass ceiling that a security price has difficulty breaking through. Resistance lines (along with moving averages, standard deviation, and similar calculations) are used to put a range of probability on the expected movement of a security price, with the resistance line representing the top of that range. Continue reading...

How are option prices computed?

Option prices are decided by the buyers and sellers in the marketplace, but are tied closely to the amount of risk inherent in the agreed upon expiration date and strike price. Option prices change as the market factors in the relevant information. The main factor is the strike price. The closer an option’s strike price is to the actual market price of a security, the higher it’s price will be. Once it’s in-the-money, it has inherent value that makes it essentially the same price as the market security that underlies it. The expiration date of the contract is also a factor because if the expiration date is closing in, and the strike price is not quite close enough to the market price of the underlying asset, there is little chance that the option will be useful. Continue reading...

What is a price-weighted index?

When creating an index, it must be decided what criteria will affect the value of the index, and in the case of a price-weighted index, the only consideration is the price of shares. A price-weighted index is created by adding up the individual price per share of the companies included in the index and dividing by the number of companies. Essentially what you've done is arrived at the average price per share of the companies included in the index. Continue reading...

What Happens to the Price of a Bond After I Buy It?

Bonds can be traded on exchanges before their maturity date, but the price might fluctuate based on the current interest rate environment. As the buyer of, say, a $1,000 bond, you should be aware that as long as the company does not go bankrupt, you will receive $1,000 back at the date of maturity. During the life of the bond, however, the price at which you can sell that bond might oscillate depending on the interest rate environment and the perceived financial health of the company. Continue reading...

What is the Price to Earnings Ratio (P/E Ratio)?

The Price to Earnings ratio is a company’s stock price relative to its net income per share. A low P/E indicates that a stock is trading at a low premium to earnings, which may indicate that the market thinks low relative growth rates are ahead for the company. A company with a high P/E means investors are willing to pay a premium for growth, perhaps anticipating high future growth rates for the company. The P/E ratio is calculated by dividing the market value per share of a company by its earnings per share. Continue reading...

What is the Price to Cash Flow Ratio (PCFR)?

The Price to Cash Flow Ratio (PCFR) is a valuation measure that looks at a company’s stock price relative to its cash flow per share. Generally speaking, the lower the ratio, the better chance the company is undervalued - it basically means the company produces a lot of cash flow relative to how much it costs to acquire a share on the open market. A very high PCFR indicates that a company is trading at a high price relative to the amount of cash flow it produces. Start-up technology companies, for instance, would generally have high PCFRs because they may not produce high levels of cash flow in early stages, but investors may bid up the price in anticipation of future growth. Continue reading...

How Do You Read Bitcoin Price Charts?

Bitcoin price charts may appear different on different sites, but they are generally not much different from technical charts used in other markets. Charts are tools used to reduce vast amounts of data into characteristic parts, in an attempt to illustrate the trajectory, velocity, or potential future of an asset’s price. A single chart may show you 20 different kinds of descriptive data in one picture, by overlaying certain measurements, rates of change, or comparative data directly on top of a chart or in a windowed fashion around it.  Many online charts will give you the ability to pick and choose what kinds of data you see and how it is displayed. Once you have played around with it for a few minutes and looked up some information about the different tools available for analysis, you may be able to understand some things about bitcoin that may help you get closer to making trading decisions. That’s the beauty of charts, really, in that, they are intended to be somewhat intuitive. Continue reading...

Can You Sell a Bond for Less Than the Price You Paid For It?

Yes, if you sell the bond before its maturity, it’s possible that you would have to sell it at a discount. If you bought a $1,000  bond with a 5% coupon, and a year later, the  company issued new $1,000 bonds with a 6% coupon, you would not be able to sell your bond to someone else for $1,000 (obviously, because they would rather purchase the new bonds for $1,000 which pay more annual interest than your old one). Continue reading...

What is the Consumer Price Index (CPI)?

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average change, over time, in the prices paid by urban consumers for a market basket of consumer goods and services. The CPI is an important economic indicator, as it’s changes influence the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decisions and it gives an indication if an economy is experiencing adequate inflation. The most common reading on the CPI is % change from a previous period, with most developed economies generally striving for 2% annualized inflation. Continue reading...

What is the Prime Rate

The prime rate is the lowest interest rate that banks will charge on loans at a given time, based on the Federal Funds Rate. Individual banks set their own prime rate, which they may also call their "Reference Rate" or "Base Lending Rate." It is the least they will charge for a loan at a given time, based on the creditworthiness of the customer, and the only clients whose risk of default is low enough to approach the prime rate are very large commercial clients. Continue reading...

What is the Price to Sales Ratio (P/S Ratio)?

The Price to Sales Ratio, also known as the PSR, is a valuation metric that looks at a stock’s market price versus its per share revenue. Alternatively, you can calculate it by dividing a company’s total market capitalization by its total revenue in the most recent fiscal year. The ratio indicates how much value (how much investors are willing to pay) is placed on each dollar of revenue generated by the company. 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 Volume Weighted Average Price (VWAP)?

The Volume Weighted Average Price (VWAP) helps traders consider the influence of volume on prices. VWAP is calculated by taking the average of prices from a time period and dividing it by the trading volume for the current day. Traders use VWAP to confirm trends and decide whether to take long or short positions, while large institutions are likely to use VWAP to avoid disrupting market prices, finding the liquid and illiquid price points and trading so as not to move prices away from the averages. Continue reading...

What is market equilibrium?

Market Equilibrium occurs when fluctuations between supply and demand balance out, keeping prices relatively stable. This trend appears relatively horizontal or sideways when charted. Both price equilibrium and quantity equilibrium should meet at the same point where the supply and demand curves meet on a chart. According to the Law of Supply, with all factors being equal, if the price of a good or service increases, the supply of that good or service will increase. If demand doesn't meet it, the price of that good or service must come down; this increases demand but might cause a shortage in supply, which might drive prices back up, and so on. Continue reading...

What Is Range-Bound Trading?

Range-bound trading is a strategic approach employed by traders seeking to profit from securities trading within specific price channels. This method involves identifying crucial support and resistance levels and connecting them using horizontal trendlines. Traders capitalize on this strategy by buying securities at the lower support trendline and selling them at the upper resistance trendline, within the established channel. Continue reading...