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What was the "Flash Crash"?

On May 6, 2010, investors around the world were shocked when the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 1,000 points in a matter of minutes. The market recovered just as quickly, finishing the day down a much lesser 348 points. The so-termed "flash crash" was caused by a trader's technical errors in entering order amounts, which caused a few stocks to post erroneous numbers (notably Procter & Gamble, which showed a 37% loss, before recovering to a 2% loss on the day). Continue reading...

How do I get IPO shares?

How do I get IPO shares?

Participating in an IPO is generally limited to institutional investors. However, if you are a high net worth client at a brokerage firm that has access to the IPO, you may be able to purchase some shares. First, you need to know that investing in IPOs is considered speculative and only suitable for experienced investors will substantial assets. If you meet the criteria that your brokerage has for allowing IPO trading, which may include a minimum account balance of $250,000 or so, you may be allowed to submit an Indication of Interest (IOI), which is a document used to request shares in the IPO. Continue reading...

What is the SEC?

What is the SEC?

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is a governmental regulatory agency established by Congress which polices the practices of the securities industry. Since 1934, the SEC's mission has been to protect investors and the market from malfeasance. FINRA (the 2007 successor to the NASD which was formed in 1939) is a self-regulatory organization in the industry which seeks to keep member firms more than compliant with SEC regulations. Continue reading...

What is Net Present Value?

Net Present Value (NPV) is the difference between present value of net inflows versus the present value of outflows (expenses). The net present value is a good analyst tool for measuring the profitability of a company’s project or new undertaking, like expansion into a new market. It measures the anticipated cash inflows (revenues) from the undertaking versus the anticipated costs of the new project (also in present value terms). Continue reading...

What is Deflation?

Deflation is an economic term used to describe a trend of broad-based price declines for goods and services. Deflation is generally considered a big negative in the realm of economics. If a country is experiencing deflation, it is usually because demand for goods has fallen substantially, pushing prices down. It can also be tied to falling investment and government spending, both factors that signal weak demand in an economy. Continue reading...

What is Inflation?

Inflation is the increase in the cost of goods and the decrease in the buying power of a denomination of currency. Inflation is measured in a few ways, and one is by the cost of a broad basket of consumer goods. Increases year to year are reflected as the rate of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), but be mindful that there are other indexes. Inflation is not only the effect of the cost of goods rising, but of the actual buying power of a currency decreasing. Continue reading...

What is a Rate Swap?

A rate swap is the exchange of cash flows on underlying principals which are not exchanged. It is an over-the-counter contract between two institutions to trade the cash flows on two comparable principal amounts, but not to exchange the actual principal amounts. Institutions might prefer this arrangement because they only have access to floating interest rates or are overweight in them and would prefer to have some fixed rate interest cash flow, or vice versa. These swaps might occur between banks on opposite sides of the world to take advantage of rates elsewhere or to simply diversify their risks. Continue reading...

What is a Takeover?

A takeover is an acquisition done through the procurement of enough equity interest to govern a company from the board of directors. Takeovers can be hostile or friendly, and may involve a tender offer from the acquiring company who seeks to buy a large block of shares. Takeover carries a negative connotation, since in peaceful circumstances this is usually called an acquisition. An acquiring corporation will offer to buy enough shares to have a controlling interest in the company in what is called a tender offer. Shareholders of the target company will have a set amount of time to decide whether they would like to take the offer, which is normally to buy the shares at a premium over the market price. Continue reading...

Who is a commodity trader?

Who is a commodity trader?

Commodity traders must at least pass the FINRA Series 3 exam, which focuses on the commodities market exclusively. The term “trader” is often used in reference to the people at an investment firm who work on the actual trading desk, sometimes executing trade orders from the front office but also trading for the account of the firm and sometimes giving investment advice. Traders often have a role to seek out and engage in trades that will improve the portfolio of the firm at which they are employed and benefit the clients of the firm. Commodity traders could work for a commodity pool or they could be a commodity specialist at a firm focused on a wider variety of investing. Continue reading...

What is the Dead Cat Bounce (Bearish) Pattern?

The Dead Cat Bounce pattern appears when a pair’s price falls quickly but has a temporary “v­-shaped” recovery before resuming its downward trend. The temporary bounce (from point 2 to point 3) may be explained by shorters covering their positions, or buying by investors who think the price has already reached a low point. It is important to wait for the confirmation move, which is when the price breaks below the low where the dead cat bounce occurred (point 2). Continue reading...