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Is there any merit to fundamental analysis of the markets?

Is there any merit to fundamental analysis of the markets?

Fundamental analysis has been around for a long time, and will probably always remain relevant. Fundamental Analysis is the oldest and most well-established market theory. Fundamental analysis is to take all the real-world information about a company into account when evaluating securities and to acknowledge that the shares are what they are: partial ownership in a company. It follows that someone should know about the company and its earnings potential. Continue reading...

Will My Cash-Balance Payments Affect My Social Security payments?

Social security can become taxable if a person has a certain level of income in retirement. Retirement income from pensions or 401(k)s and other taxable sources will contribute to the AGI of a person in retirement, but it will not ever disqualify a person from receiving their social security check in retirement if it is owed to them. Instead, social security benefits become taxable as income if a person has enough income in retirement to trigger the social security taxes. The level is actually quite low, and has not been adjusted for inflation recently. Continue reading...

What does Ask Mean?

In the financial markets, “Ask” is the price that a seller is willing to accept for a security. It is also known as the offer price. Given the market is constantly changing, Ask prices are rarely set in stone for long. What’s more, the Ask price on a security may not necessarily be the best going price available for it. It merely represents what that particular seller is willing to accept for it. What is a “Spread”? What is a Market-Maker Spread? Continue reading...

What is a Security?

What is a Security?

A security is a marketable ownership contract which entitles the owner to the right to use the contract as a type of currency backed by a specific asset, which could be partial ownership in a company, a debt (bond), or a derivative interest. Securities are broadly categorized into debt securities (e.g., bonds), equity securities (e.g., stock), and derivatives (e.g., futures, options, etc.). They will generally be issued by a company or government entity and will entitle the owner of the contract the right to trade the ownership interest for value in the open market. 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 Operating Margin?

Operating margin is a ratio (expressed as a percentage) that indicates how much a company makes for each dollar of sales. It can be calculated by dividing a company’s operating income by net sales, and generally a company that has a high and consistently improving operating margin is thought to be healthy. Operating margin can be looked at in terms of the overall company, or in a more focused vacuum - such as analyzing the operating margin of a new clothing line or an experimental sales project. Continue reading...

What is Burn Rate?

What is Burn Rate?

Burn rate is a term for negative cash flow, or the rate at which a company burns through capital, especially a startup company. Burn rate is used frequently in the world of startups and venture capital. Using a burn rate, investors can see how much longer operations can be sustained with the capital at hand, and this length of time is called a runway. Startups will normally need at least a few months before they start generating enough revenue to have a positive cash flow. Burn rate is normally expressed as the monthly negative cash flow. Continue reading...

AAA/Aaa — credit rating

AAA/Aaa — credit rating

AAA — S&P / Fitch Aaa — Moody’s AAA/Aaa rated bond issues have an almost nonexistent chance of defaulting, according to the major ratings institutions that issue the ratings. AAA/Aaa is the highest rating a bond issue or company can get. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and recession, many companies, and the US Government itself, were downgraded from AAA to AA+. Only two companies in the US still retain the AAA rating: Johnson & Johnson and Microsoft. Continue reading...

What are Federal Agencies?

What are Federal Agencies?

Agencies are entities which are created by the federal government to fulfill an obligation or role that is deemed to be in the best interest of the country. Agencies might also also be known as Commissions, and they can be formed by legislative action, or through the direction of a specific Department or Branch of the government. Some federal agencies are known as Commissions, Task Forces, or Administrations, but all are generally tasked with a specific responsibility or focus. Continue reading...

What is an FHA Loan?

The Federal Housing Act of 1934 sought to make it easier for Americans to buy homes. It was believed and still is today to an extent that homeownership is a positive foundation for a healthy economy because it provides stability to communities, facilitating healthy family life, community involvement, and the development of businesses in an area where a community will support the business. The Federal Housing Administration runs the FHA loan program with the help of certified lending institutions. FHA loans are a way for lower income earners to be able to purchase a home. Continue reading...