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What is Volatility?

Volatility is a measure of the variance, deviation, or movement of a stock. Volatility is all the extra movement of a stock or other security over and above (and below) a line of averages. Put another way, it is a measure of how many changes in price, and by how much, a security experiences over an amount of time. Computations of Standard Deviation and Variance are measures of the degree of volatility which exists in the movement of a stock. Volatility will also be measured relative to a benchmark index, and the degree to which a security adheres or deviates from the benchmark is called Beta. People will also trade on derivatives of the VIX, which is the volatility index of the S&P 500. Continue reading...

What is a Treasury Note?

Treasury notes are government-issued coupon bonds with maturities between 1 and 10 years. A large secondary market exists for Treasury Notes, and they can be acquired at issue in a competitive bid or a noncompetitive bid auction. They are extremely popular for their marketability and six-month interest payment schedule. They do have interest rate risk, since treasuries issued with higher interest rates will make the ones already issued with lower rates less valuable. Continue reading...

What are Utilities Stocks?

Utilities stocks are those who deal in services like water, electricity, gas, and other critical infrastructure. Recently, alternative energy has been added as a sub-sector due to its incremental rise in importance. Utilities are categorized as non-cyclical - even if the economy is in a recession, people still need water and electricity. For that reason, they are often treated as defensive stocks, which investors hope will outperform during more difficult economic times. There is little competition in the utilities sector, as the barrier to entry is generally extremely high for a new entrant, given the amount of infrastructure required. Continue reading...

What is an Asset-Backed Security?

Asset-backed securities are bonds or notes that come in several forms, but they typically use the cash flows from debt repayment as the asset that backs them. The assets that back the bonds called asset-backed securities (ABS) can be basically anything with a fairly predictable cash flow, but debt repayment cash flows tend to be used the most. These include credit card debt, home equity loans, auto loans, student loans, and so forth. Continue reading...

What is accommodation trading?

What is accommodation trading?

Accommodation Trading is when two traders enter into a non-competitive trade agreement which disregards the current market price for the securities being traded. The primary reason to engage in accommodation trading is for an investor to avoid taxes by harvesting more losses than actually occurred. One investor will buy shares from another investor for a price significantly below the market value so that the selling investor can report more losses. The partners will typically agree to allow the selling party to buy the shares back later at the same price. Continue reading...

What are Adjusted Earnings?

Adjusted Earnings are also known as pro forma, non-GAAP earnings, and are usually met with some cynicism. Non-GAAP methods of accounting for earnings are something that is not allowed to be used to mislead investors, according to SEC rules. GAAP stands for Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, and they represent the standards and SEC rulebook for a publicly-traded company’s accounting. There are times when it makes sense to use adjusted earnings instead of GAAP earnings because adjusted earnings will ignore non-recurring one-time expenses so that analysts can compare company performance in other areas without being distracted by a large one-time expense. Continue reading...

BB+/Ba1 — credit rating

BB+/Ba1 — credit rating

BB+ — S&P / Fitch Ba1 — Moody’s This rating is the highest non-investment grade category that the ratings agencies will give to a bond. When rating bond issues based on their risk of default, investment grade bonds will range from AAA/Aaa to BBB-/Baa3, in the parlance of Fitch, Moody’s and S&P. Below this level, starting with the BB+/Ba1 rating, are High Yield Bonds, also known as Junk Bonds. If an investor chooses wisely, high yield bonds can be some of the best investments in his or her portfolio. The further down the ratings scale a bond appears, the higher the yield; but there is also a higher risk of default. The higher yield paid out on higher-risk bonds is known as the “risk premium,” which is a concept present throughout the investment world. Continue reading...

What is an Account Balance?

An account balance is the amount either credited to or owed on a ledger assigned to a particular entity or line-item. The balance of an account is the net debit or credit assigned to it after all transactions have been documented for a current period. Transactions might be deposits, withdrawals, interest credited, fees, or other activity. The account in question could be a personal savings or checking account, or a ledger account at a business or institution, or another form of account, such as the macroeconomic concept of current national account. Accounts are said to be “in the red” when there is a net debit (negative) amount, and “in the black” when there is a net positive balance (net credit). Continue reading...

What is IRS Publication 527, Residential Rental Property (Including Rental of Vacation Homes)?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here Owning multiple properties and receiving rent or lease income from those which are not personally used is a common way to increase wealth. Some individuals also own a vacation home which they use some of the time and rent out the rest of the year. Both of these sources of income addressed in Publication 527. Publication 527 describes how to report income from residential property, as well as how to depreciate it, what forms are needed for different situations, and categorizes different types of arrangements where individuals might own or rent only part of a property or only for certain times of the year, as well as not-for-profit rental. Continue reading...

What are ICOs?

What are ICOs?

ICO is an acronym for Initial Coin Offering, and it is the primary way that new companies can use blockchains to raise capital. Many entrepreneurs have gotten their start in the last decade through crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter, where anyone can contribute funds to help an idea get off the ground. Obviously, such funding methods were bound to reach new heights when peer-to-peer blockchains came onto the scene. Blockchains allow transfers of value anywhere in the world without regulatory... Continue reading...