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What are REITs?

What are REITs?

REITs are pooled investments similar to mutual funds, but, like mutual funds, they can take many shapes. They invest in different kinds of real estate and real estate-oriented assets, depending on the REIT, and sell ownership shares to investors. REIT is an acronym for Real Estate Investment Trust. REITs are similar to mutual funds, except that they only invest in real estate properties and related companies and assets such as mortgages. REITs will define the scope of their investments and strategies in their prospectus, which may read something like “We invest only in commercial Real Estate” or “Only in residential houses in Las Vegas” while other REITs are very general. Continue reading...

What is Variable Universal Life Insurance?

What is Variable Universal Life Insurance?

Variable Life Insurance is a permanent universal life policy that has a death benefit as long as the cash value and premiums are sufficient to pay the increasing cost per-thousand, while the premiums and cash value have the option of being invested in separate accounts which behave much like mutual funds. Often the policy-owner has a choice of many investment options, and can construct an entire portfolio within the policy. Continue reading...

What is an Electronic Communication Network (ECN)?

An ECN is an alternative platform to an index for making trades. An Electronic Communication Network is a type of alternative trading system that allows for trading listed stocks and other exchange-traded products. Trading on an ECN is typically limited to institutions and broker-dealers, and trades are facilitated when the price on a buy order intersects with a price on a sell order. ECN’s must register with the SEC, and you must be a subscriber to trade on one. Continue reading...

What does hypothesis testing mean?

What does hypothesis testing mean?

A theory about what will happen and why is a hypothesis, and to prove the hypothesis has some relevancy it will have to be compared to the probability of getting those results by pure chance. A hypothesis is a testable prediction of results that should be observed due to the effects of an independent variable. Such predictions must be tested against the probability of the resulting observations happening due to complete chance instead of the influence of the independent variable. Continue reading...

What is Depreciation?

Depreciation is the accounting practice of recording the decreasing value of a fixed asset, such as a building or piece of equipment, over time, or, effectively, spreading the tax deduction for the cost of the asset over time. The IRS has created set schedules which describe the number of years over which a business can amortize the cost of a business asset for the purpose of tax deductions. The number of years is different for each type of asset or equipment. Continue reading...

What is an Operating Profit?

Operating profit is a company’s profit from its business operations, and can be calculated by taking gross profits minus operating expenses. Operating profit is synonymous to operating income, and represents a company’s profitability from its core operations, which excludes earnings from other investments or interests and also does not factor the impact of taxes or interest. Continue reading...

What is Profit Margin?

Profit margin is a profitability ratio that measures, as a percentage, how much a company keeps per sale. Profit margin can be calculated by dividing net income by sales. A higher profit margin means a company keeps high percentage of each dollar sold as profit. For example, a 50% profit margin means that for every dollar earned, a company retains $0.50. It is often helpful for an analyst to look at how a company’s profit margins have changed over time, to measure whether it is becoming more efficient in the sales of goods. Continue reading...

What is After-Hours Trading?

After-Hours Trading on the Nasdaq can take place after market close from 4-8pm EST or in the pre-market hours from 4-9:30am EST. Pre- and Post-market trading used to be reserved for large institutional investors or high net worth individuals, but is now made possible through the improvements to electronic trading networks and the demand from individuals trading from their computers at home. Interestingly, institutional investors can trade anonymously on the after-hours Nasdaq market, such that virtually no one knows what positions they take during that time. This is called trading in “dark pools of liquidity.” Traders on the after-hours Nasdaq cannot make certain kinds of trades or use certain instruments. Continue reading...

What Qualifies You as a "Trader," and How Do You Report Income and Expenses?

What Qualifies You as a "Trader," and How Do You Report Income and Expenses?

If you buy and sell securities, you may qualify for tax status as a ‘trader,’ which importantly may qualify you for certain business tax breaks. The rules governing this status can be confusing, however, making it difficult to determine whether you qualify as a trader, investor, or dealer. Let’s take a closer look at the qualifications for traders as defined by the IRS, as well as how to report income and expenses if qualified. Continue reading...

What do ETFs Invest In?

ETFs invest in a wide array of securities, and which ones depends on the goal, strategy, or index that the ETF is built around. ETFs hold baskets of individual securities, of which investors can purchase an undivided interest in the form of ETF shares. ETFs can be a good option if you want quick diversification, and there is an increasingly diverse selection of ETFs on the market. Many investment companies have issued new ETFs in the last 10 years. One of the biggest issuers is Barclays - one of the largest investment banks in the world — through their ETF brand iShares. Continue reading...