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What is a bear market?

Bear markets are loosely defined as periods when markets experience declines in magnitude of 20% or more. More specifically, bear markets are a period in which a major index like the S&P 500, for example, declines by 20% or more, with this decline sustained for a period over two months or so. Consequently, many investors become “bearish” – they lose confidence in the market, sell off their securities they do not believe will recover soon, and sit on the sidelines. There have been 25 bear markets since 1929, for an average of one every 3.4 years. Continue reading...

What is “efficient market hypothesis”?

The Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH) states that it is impossible to beat the market consistently over time, since all available information is priced efficiently into stock prices. But what the EMH misses is the impact that sentiment can have on price discrepancies in the short-term. Emotions can lead to gross mis-valuations (as we saw with the tech bubble in 2000), and market corrections can see stocks selling off dramatically for no fundamental reason. Continue reading...

What is Consensus?

Consensus in investing is a measure of how in line investor beliefs are with one another. It describes strong trends in both trading and investor sentiment, often manifesting as bullish or bearish outlooks on a security or market. Bullish or bearish outlooks can be misleading, however. Opinions are not facts, and the noise of opinions from news sources and pundits can make opinions seem more factual than they are. Many investors require time to develop and form opinions, or form opinions for the wrong reasons, and can succumb to a herd mentality Continue reading...

What is a bull market?

Bull markets are defined as periods of sustained investor confidence and market growth, as prices trend higher and indexes rise over time. These stretches are typically tied to economic growth and strength. When investor sentiment is “bullish,” investors are generally willing to take more risk. These extended periods of growth typically last for months but can last for years. There are more technical definitions of a bull market, depending on which index, commodity, and other asset is being considered. As a general rule, however, bull markets tend to see stocks rise by 20% in response to a 20% decline, before eventually declining by 20% again to signal the end of the bull run. The longest bull run in S&P 500 history took place from March 2009 to March 2020, experiencing well over 300% growth over that time. Continue reading...

What is short interest?

Short interest is a term used to describe how many short positions are open for a given security or market at a given time. It is often expressed as a percentage of the total securities outstanding and is used for the short interest ratio. This serves as a gauge of bearish market sentiment, since short-sellers are expecting price action to trend downward. The short interest ratio (SIR) provides a context for the quantity of short interest outstanding by stating this amount in relation to the average daily trading volume. Continue reading...

Is there any merit to the “Elliot market waves theory?”

The Elliot Wave theory essentially uncovers larger trends and investor sentiment by smoothing and “zooming out” from market price action. Elliot Waves zoom out on market price action by using larger-interval moving average and smoothing out price information to reveal larger trends. He was one of the first to attempt such a theory, and his foundations may have contributed to the use of Fourier Analysis and Fibonacci Sequences in market analysis. Continue reading...

What is a Buyback?

When a company decides to use excess cash to purchase its own shares from the market, it is called a buyback or “share repurchase program.” There are only so many things a company can do with earnings in excess of their projections; among these are issuing a dividend, paying off debts, expanding, acquiring another company, or buying back shares of its own stock. Buybacks are also known as Stock Repurchase Agreements. There may be guidelines in state law or the company’s contracts or buy laws that determine what options they have and how many shares can be repurchased. Continue reading...

How to use the On-Balance Volume in trading?

On-Balance Volume (OBV) is a popular leading indicator introduced in the 1960s by Joe Granville. OBV is a line built using differences between daily trading volume – in Granville’s estimation, the major driver of market behavior – adding the difference on days that the market or stock moves up and subtracting the difference on days when the market or stock moves down. It looks for instances of rising volume that should correlate with price movement, but price movement has not occurred; additionally, OBV can be used to confirm lag. Continue reading...

Should I invest in gold?

Gold can provide diversification in a simple way, since it has a history of being generally non-correlated with most other asset classes. It is not necessarily a hedge against anything specific, as some claim, since its price movement is too random. Conventional wisdom says that investing in gold might be a good hedge against inflation or market cataclysms. Some of these beliefs are unfounded. The price of gold appears to go up only when it is in high demand (such as when the price has gone up some already), rather than in tandem to any specific market force such as inflation or interest rates. If investors have some idea of when other investors are going to pile in, such as during times of uncertainty, they will likely be able to ride an uptrend in gold prices for a while. Continue reading...

What are Earnings per Share (EPS)?

EPS is derived by taking the net income of a company and dividing it by the share price. That gives an individual investor an idea of how much growth was captured by their shares. Earnings per share is one of the main articles that is announced by the quarterly reports given by companies to their investors. Earnings per share does not mean that each share has appreciated a certain amount, but if the quarterly reports in earnings seasons stir up demand for the shares based on solid fundamentals at a company, it can result in a higher price per share. Continue reading...

What is a Value Stock?

Value Stock is a stock whose price has been deemed a value buy because of underlying fundamentals, book value, and projected earnings. Prices for stocks can temporarily be pushed around by sentiment, index tracking fund purchases, news and political effects, et cetera, and often the prices on very good and well positioned companies become undervalued as part of larger movements that overlook their inherent value. Continue reading...

Why Do You Want to Own the Shares of a Publicly Traded Corporation?

The idea is that a shareholder’s interest in a growing publicly traded company will become more valuable over time. The simplest answer is: to make money! Owning shares of a company’s stock is known as taking a long position, and this is done in the belief that the company is going to increase its earnings and profit margin into the future, or will at least remain steady. There are three ways to make money on stocks: Continue reading...

What are trading models?

Trading models are emotionless systems for decision-making in trading that can be automated or just used for reference. They tend to have logical parameters, such as “if x, then y” which can use popular trading indicators to implement a strategy that might only be used in certain conditions. Trading models are strategies employed with a specific design. Different trading models will use different technical indicators or types of charts to define and search for certain conditions in which a strategy can be used. Once the conditions are met, the model provides the decision-making logic that is intended to carry out a profitable trade without guesswork or emotion. Continue reading...

What is defined as a market correction?

Sometimes a stock or index will reflect prices that have become inflated or overvalued in the short-term as a result of bullish conditions. In some cases, due to shift in sentiment or a negative news story in the headlines, stocks may retreat suddenly and without notice. A market correction is a sharp, sudden decline in stock prices, where they fall in value by around 10% - 20% over a short period, usually no longer than 6 months. Corrections are frequent occurrences (typically an average of once a year) and are a normal and healthy part of equity investing. Continue reading...

What does overbought mean?

Overbought is a term used when analysis indicates demand seems to have been escalated by investor emotion or media hype, beyond the point where it can be sustained or supported by fundamentals. The increased demand drives the price of the security up for a short time, before the overbought security likely experiences an eventual sell-off and price decline. It is hard to determine when a security is overbought, but the Relative Strength Index (RSI), an momentum oscillator developed by Welles Wilder, is one tool that can help make a determination. In the RSI, the average gains and average losses over a specific time period (such as 14 days) are divided to calculate the Relative Strength, then normalized into the Relative Strength Index (RSI), which is range bound between 0 and 100. The RSI typically fluctuates between values of 70 and 30, with higher numbers indicating more momentum. According to this indicator, a security with an RSI over 70 (out of 100) can be considered overbought. Continue reading...

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 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 the Investors Intelligence Sentiment Index and How Does it Operate?

The Investors Intelligence Index is a widely accepted and valuable tool for investors seeking to gauge the sentiment in the stock market. Established in the 1950s and refined in the 1960s, this index plays a pivotal role in helping traders understand the prevailing balance of power between the bulls and bears in the market. It serves as a critical contrarian indicator, offering insights into potential market reversals. Continue reading...

What Does the Volatility Index Tell Us About Market Sentiment?

In the dynamic world of finance, understanding market sentiment is a critical skill for investors. A valuable tool for gauging this sentiment is the Volatility Index (VIX), created and tracked by the Chicago Board of Options Exchange (CBOE). The VIX, often referred to as the "fear gauge," measures the implied volatility of S&P 500 Index options. In this article, we will delve into how the VIX serves as a contrary market indicator, how it reflects institutional sentiment, and why comprehending the VIX can help investors make informed decisions, particularly when it comes to long and short puts. Continue reading...

Can Put/Call Ratios Predict Market Direction?

Options trading isn't merely about leveraging positions or navigating flexibility; it's also a treasure trove of predictive tools that can offer insights into market sentiment. One such powerful tool is the put/call options volume ratio, renowned for its predictive capacity in understanding the future market direction. This contrarian-sentiment measure has long been an essential instrument for analysts to decipher the emotional landscape of traders and anticipate market movements. Continue reading...

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