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How Much Money Should I Set Aside for Emergencies?

Research suggests that more than half of adult Americans do not have sufficient savings needed for emergency purposes. Here’s a startling but true piece of information: most surveys conducted in the past few years indicate that more than half of adult Americans do not have any kind of emergency fund at all, and even fewer have enough to cover three months of living expenses in the event of an unexpected event, like job loss or health emergency. Continue reading...

What is a Reverse Stock Split?

A reverse stock split consolidates stocks at a certain ratio and reduces the number of shares outstanding while increasing the value of each share, as opposed to a regular stock split, which divides existing stocks into more shares which are worth less apiece. A normal stock split, which increases the number of shares an investor owns without increasing the total value of his or her interest in the company, has the benefit of increasing liquidity with the shares and possibly narrowing the bid/ask spread. A reverse stock split reduces the number of shares in circulation by effectively combining the existing shares at a certain ratio (such as, 2 shares now equals 1 share). Continue reading...

How large are market fluctuations?

Fluctuations are represented in terms of volatility, and different types of investments experience different levels of volatility. The answer here depends on which market you’re talking about. Generally speaking, the capital markets in fixed instruments, such as government bonds, are the least volatile. Market fluctuations of the price of commodities, small-cap stocks, and emerging markets are the largest, and can be as high as 30-40% per year. Continue reading...

How Should I Invest my First Thousand Dollars Saved?

If you already have an emergency fund, you should put your $1,000 into a brokerage account and buy an ETF. Keep it simple – buy an ETF that corresponds to the S&P 500, and leave your money there for as long as possible. What Should My First Savings Vehicle Be? Should I Trust an Article Such as “Five Best Ways To Invest For Income?” Continue reading...

What is active money management?

Active management is when an investor or money manager attempts to outperform an index or benchmark, using tactical strategies. Many economists and financial professionals believe that the markets are efficient. This means that all available financial information has already been built into the prices of securities, and that you cannot outperform the market by making specific selections of stocks, timing the market, reallocating your assets regularly, following the advice of market pundits, or finding the best portfolio managers. Continue reading...

What are Other Mutual Fund Classifications?

Let’s look at some of the classifications for mutual funds that are determined using criteria other than market cap and P/E ratios. What is Mutual Fund Classification According to the Price to Earnings Ratio? What is Mutual Fund Classification According to Market Capitalization? Besides the main classifications for equity mutual funds which are derived from market cap and price-to-earnings ratio, many other categories for mutual funds exist. These criteria may be based on how much exposure a fund has to a specific industry, sectors or geographical regions, as well as the types of management strategies that the fund uses and which kinds of assets are held. Continue reading...

What is an Investment Bank?

An investment bank is a financial institution that typically specializes in large, complex transactions, such as underwriting an Initial Public Offering (IPO), mergers and acquisitions, direct investment into start-up firms, or advising large institutional clients on investments/transactions. In short, investment banks help create the bridge between large enterprises and the investor. In that sense, IPOs are one way to accomplish this, but they also help businesses secure financing in other ways, such as through bond issues or derivative products. Continue reading...

Stock Portfolio Definition

All of the investments held by an individual or mutual fund or other entity are referred to as that person or entity's portfolio. These investments can range from securities to cash to real assets held for the purpose of preservation, growth, or income; essentially anything that is part of a long-term financial strategy that is held separate from daily operations and cash flow can be considered part of a portfolio. The gains and losses of all the singular investments held are totaled up to find the overall return of the portfolio. Continue reading...

What are Materials Stocks?

Companies in the Materials sector have business interests in raw materials, such as steel, aluminum, and iron ore. The companies are generally involved in the discovery, processing, or sale of these raw materials. Materials companies rely on economic growth and infrastructure build-outs to thrive, so tend to perform better early in economic expansion cycles. Materials companies are categorically ‘cyclical’ stocks. Continue reading...

What are the Basics of Stocks?

This article and the ones that follow should give you a solid foundation in the knowledge of stocks and their use as financial instruments. We have established the basic structure of a common stock share: a company issues stock to raise capital, the owner of the stock is entitled to participate in the profits of the company, and stocks are traded in the Secondary Market between buyers and sellers who assume the risk and receive any proceeds that arise from price changes. Continue reading...

What are Healthcare Stocks?

Stocks in the Healthcare sector are those related to hospital services, medical products and technologies, equipment providers, and pharmaceuticals. In the long-term there is a reasonable case for favoring healthcare stocks - they have a strong secular view given that the need for healthcare is always rising and as economies develop healthcare availability and access tend to improve. In the short-term, however, healthcare stocks can be vulnerable to legislative changes, success or failure of trial drugs, and so forth. Continue reading...

Keywords: stocks, healthcare,

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 are Industrials Stocks?

Industrials stocks include companies that are in the business of construction and manufacturing. Companies within the sector are those that play a role in infrastructure buildout and development, such as industrial machinery, tools, heavy equipment, engineering, and even aerospace and defense. Industrials companies are cyclicals, meaning they benefit the most during periods of economic expansion and are hurt during recessions. Continue reading...

What are Financials Stocks?

Financial stocks are those that make up the financial sector, which encompasses banks, lenders, wire houses, and other companies that facilitate the flow of capital and debt. Real estate companies can also fall under this category. Financials tend to do well when yield curves are steep and the regulatory environment favors banks. When credit markets aren’t under strain financials tend to perform well. Continue reading...

What are Telecom Stocks?

Telecom is short for telecommunication, and it includes companies involved in the ever-important business of communication. These companies created the infrastructure that allows data to be sent anywhere in the world, which now includes wireless operators, satellite companies, cable companies and Internet service providers. Companies in the wireless business are perhaps the most relevant and competitive today. Continue reading...

What are some strategies for diversifying a portfolio?

There are many ways to diversify a portfolio, but all of them center around a strategy of owning different types of asset classes. For equity investors, perhaps the best strategy for diversifying a portfolio is to own companies from different sectors in different style categories, maybe even across the globe. The S&P 500 has ten different sectors, and a very broadly diversified portfolio should have exposure to each one in some capacity. Continue reading...

Is my portfolio diversified enough?

Diversification is intended to reduce the volatility of price movements in individual securities, but many people are not sure what proper diversification looks like. It depends. You should definitely have exposure to at least two asset classes: equities and bonds. Within each asset class, diversification is also important. In your equity portfolio, you should have exposure to stocks with various capitalizations (such as Large Cap, Mid Cap, and Small Cap), various geographical areas (such as the Europe), Developing Markets, and Emerging Markets. Continue reading...

What are Consumer Staples Stocks?

Consumer Staples are generally defined as companies that sell goods with inelastic demand, meaning that economic conditions generally don’t impact a consumer’s need for the product. They are also referred to as ‘non-cyclical,’ meaning that demand should not significantly waver even if the economy enters a recession. Because the earnings of consumer staples stocks is generally less volatile, they have historically outperformed other stocks during prolonged market downturns. Continue reading...

What are Consumer Discretionary Stocks?

Consumer Discretionary companies are those that sell ‘non-essential’ items, such as clothing retailers, media and entertainment, luxury goods, auto makers, and so on. Consumer discretionary companies tend to sell goods with elastic demand, meaning that demand goes up as economic conditions are good and falls when conditions are slowing or recessionary. Consumer discretionary companies are also categorically referred to as ‘cyclicals.’ Consumer discretionary stocks can also include companies in the service industry, like hotels and restaurants. Continue reading...

What is a Blue-Chip Stock?

A blue-chip stock generally refers to a publicly traded company that is very well-established and is in the top tier of market capitalization, usually in the tens of billions. There is no formal definition for what makes a company a blue-chip stock, but the general category includes some of the biggest and most household names available to trade. Companies like Johnson & Johnson, Walmart, Visa, Dow Chemical, and so on, that have been around for decades and have market capitalizations in the tens of billions. (click on the link for each company to see their current stock price) Continue reading...