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Are the markets efficient?

The concept of an efficient market is more applicable today than it was when it was conceived, a truly efficient market is nearly impossible. The Efficient Market Hypothesis states that random new information will affect the value of securities, and that new information disseminates so quickly among rational investors that it is futile to try to beat the “market portfolio.” Thirty years ago, this was more of a theory than an observable phenomenon, and plenty of inefficiencies in the dissemination of information and the pricing of securities could be pointed out. Continue reading...

What is the “efficient frontier”?

The “Efficient Frontier” is a modern portfolio theory tool, which demonstrates to investors the best possible returns they can expect from their portfolios, relative to the amount of risk they’re willing to accept. For investors that find themselves below the “Efficient Frontier,” it means their strategy is not providing enough return for the level of risk assumed. The opposite is true as well. What the theory means to communicate is that investors would be wise to include some higher growth, higher risk securities in their portfolios, but combine them in a strategic way so as to gain risk/reward value that comes with diversification. Continue reading...

What does the Efficiency Ratio Mean?

The efficiency ratio is a metric that measures how effectively a company uses its assets and liabilities to run the business smoothly. There are several types of efficiency ratios that can give an analyst insight into a company: accounts receivable turnover, fixed asset turnover, sales to inventory, and and stock turnover ratio. Continue reading...

What is market efficiency?

Market efficiency describes the degree to which relevant information is integrated into the price of a security. With the prevalence of information technology today, markets are considered highly efficient; most investors have access to the same information with prices and industry news, updated instantaneously. The Efficient Market Hypothesis stems from this idea. Efficient markets are said to have all relevant information priced-in to the securities almost immediately. High trading volume also makes a market more efficient, as there is a high degree of liquidity for buyers and sellers, and the spread between bid and ask prices narrows. 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 Income Tax?

Income tax is paid to the government based on the amount of income earned. There are federal income taxes, and some states have their own income taxes, too. As an employee for a company, income taxes will be withheld from paychecks using the company’s best estimation of your annual earnings. At the end of the year it may turn out that they withheld too much, and the government may give you a tax refund for what was overpaid. Continue reading...

What is an ETF? Definition

ETFs are very popular and useful investment vehicles that offer affordable diversification and professional portfolio management. An ETF is a basket of securities that is designed to ‘mimic’ the performance of an index, sector, or category of securities. For example, the ETF with ticker SPY is designed to track the performance of the S&P 500, and the company that creates the ETF (in this case Barclays iShares) builds the ETF simply by purchasing the 500 stocks in the S&P 500. Investors can purchase shares of the ETF as a means of gaining instant access to all 500 stocks in the S&P 500, thus tracking its performance. Continue reading...

What is IRS Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here This IRS guide gives taxpayers and businesses an idea of how to calculate the appropriate amount of withholding to do and how to continually estimate tax rate on an ongoing basis for an entire year. It is about 60 pages long and touches on many issues related to tax withholding. Tax withholding applies to payroll needs, self-employed reporting, as well as some retirement planning applications, among other things. Continue reading...

What is Income Tax Payable?

Income Tax Payable is an account on a company’s ledger where they reserve amounts that will be used to pay the tax liability in the current quarter or year. This account tends to be separate from payroll taxes and sales taxes. This account will typically be empty at the end of the fiscal year. Corporations must pay income taxes based on their gross income, and the funds to pay them are held in the Income Tax Payable account on their company ledger. Continue reading...

What is Form 706: Estate Tax and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here The Form 706 is required not only if there is a tax implication for an estate, but also to claim exclusions. Each person has an exclusion of 5.49 Million as of 2017. For married couples, that goes double, such that heirs to an estate under $11 million probably will not owe any estate taxes. A surviving spouse should still report the inherited portion of the deceased spouse’s estate up to the exclusion amount, otherwise the exclusion will be lost. There are also lines for the lifetime gift exclusion amount and the generation skipping transfer tax. Continue reading...

What is a Consolidated Tax Return?

A consolidated tax return is a single filing that covers several subsidiary companies and their parent company. One of the advantages of doing so is that the capital gains of one can be offset by the capital losses of another. It can also allow a profit sharing plan for the parent corporation to use profits from the subsidiaries. Corporations with subsidiaries can file a consolidated tax return that covers all of the affiliated companies. Continue reading...

What are Federal Tax Brackets?

Income taxation in the United States is done by assigning different tax rates to each specific range of income. Generally the lower income amounts will correspond to lower percentage toward federal income tax than higher income amounts. This is called a progressive tax and is frequently misunderstood. Many people mistakenly think that if they “fall into” a specific tax bracket based on their income that they will owe that higher tax rate that corresponds to the bracket on all of their income. Continue reading...

What is a foreign tax deduction?

Workers who earn income in foreign countries will frequently pay taxes on the income in the country in which the wages were earned. In such cases the worker may be eligible to take deductions for the amount of taxes paid so that their entire income is not subject to taxes again in their country of citizenship. Ex-patriot workers who earn income overseas are generally eligible for tax deductions, credits, or exclusions to account for the taxes that they have already paid on their income in the foreign country. Continue reading...

What is Effective Annual Interest Rate?

Also known as the annual equivalent rate (AER), the effective annual interest rate is the actual annual interest rate on a bond or loan when it compounds more than once a year. The effects of compounding will make the AER higher than the annual interest rate if the security compounds greater than annually. Continue reading...

What is a Dividend Tax Credit?

In Canada, the dividend tax credit eliminates tax liability for eligible dividends. Eligible dividends can come from public companies, foreign-owned companies operating in Canada, and many privately owned companies. It allows Canadian citizens to avoid having their dividends double-taxed. Canada offers a dividend tax credit that allows investors to eliminate their taxes on dividends paid from eligible companies. Continue reading...

What is Federal Income Tax?

The Federal Government has established several ways to generate the revenue needed to pay for the operations of government agencies and capital improvements benefiting society. The primary source of these funds is through income taxes, which are assessed based on the earnings of an individual. Federal income taxes are paid by individuals in proportion to their earnings, after reducing the considered earnings by the allowable tax deductions. Continue reading...

What is a Cash Conversion Cycle?

A business with a fast ‘cash conversion cycle’ can efficiently use funds and resources to fulfill the different needs of the business and to generate more business. In the simplest terms, the ‘cash conversion cycle’ is an accounting and efficiency model which measures how fast a retailer can disburse cash to suppliers and then receive cash from customers. To be more descriptive, the business would use cash from Receivables, to get Inventory (and cover Payables), sell that Inventory, and Receive cash again. Continue reading...

What is Asset Turnover?

Asset Turnover is a metric that investors and companies can use to determine how efficiently a business uses its assets to create revenue. Asset Turnover is a ratio of the value of a company’s sales or revenues relative to the value of its assets. It can be calculated simply by dividing sales or revenue by total assets. The higher an asset turnover ratio for a company, the better that company is performing - since it implies that the company is generating a high level of sales and revenue per unit of assets. Continue reading...

What is market equilibrium?

Market Equilibrium occurs when fluctuations between supply and demand balance out, keeping prices relatively stable. This trend appears relatively horizontal or sideways when charted. Both price equilibrium and quantity equilibrium should meet at the same point where the supply and demand curves meet on a chart. According to the Law of Supply, with all factors being equal, if the price of a good or service increases, the supply of that good or service will increase. If demand doesn't meet it, the price of that good or service must come down; this increases demand but might cause a shortage in supply, which might drive prices back up, and so on. Continue reading...

What is a foreign tax credit?

A foreign tax credit (or deduction) allows a citizen who earned income in another country to reduce the amount of domestic income taxes owed if the foreign government has already taxed the income abroad. Workers who earn income in a foreign country may be entitled to a credit or deduction on their domestic income taxes if they show that this income was already taxed by the foreign government where the income was earned. In the US, there are at least three types of foreign income tax exemptions, with a foreign tax credit being one of them. Continue reading...