therebalacingact-624.jpgIt’s a dangerous time for investors when any and every investment makes money. I do realize that I must be sounding like a lunatic when I say that. How can things be dangerous when money is flowing into investors’ account statements as if it grew on trees? And for mutual fund investors, it does appear to be growing on trees. Of course investors in the best funds made an absolutely humongous amount of money.

Something similar has been happening for stock investors as well. Even though there were some stocks that lost money, an overwhelming number of them went up by huge margins. There isn’t really any stock or mutual fund investor out there who didn’t make a great deal of money. Therefore, what we have here is like an examination which everyone clears because the passing marks have been reduced to zero.

These are abnormal times which are very dangerous precisely because it’s impossible to make mistakes. You can invest in bad companies and bad funds and still make money. And that means that when the going gets even slightly tougher, a lot of people will find that they actually did invest in bad companies and in bad funds.

It’s an old saying that more investment mistakes are made in good times than in bad times and since the times are so good right now, the potential for making mistakes is that much higher. Investment markets change direction very quickly. Nothing prevents what look like good investments today from turning out to be bad ones.

READ (more…)

veterans_suicideAs the growing number of foreclosures and the value of stock portfolios hit bottom, news reports from the US of the financial fallout are growing increasingly dire.

Layoffs, foreclosures, cutbacks – there are plenty of grim economic stats out there this holiday season. Here’s perhaps the grimmest one of all: Calls to National Suicide Prevention Lifeline hotline have soared by as much as 60 per cent over the past year.

Mental health experts say the sour economy has turned what usually manifests as seasonal blues into a full-blown crisis. The fear of losing one’s job and pressures caused by a downturn in business, demotion or pension plan cutbacks can be bad for mental health and therefore increase suicide risk.

“Fear is the No. 1 emotion we’re hearing. People are feeling hopeless and helpless because of the economic crisis, and many feel that things aren’t going to get better. Now many of the calls are from people who have lost their home, or their job, or who still have a job but can’t meet the cost of living.”

A 90-year-old woman in Ohio shot herself while being served an eviction notice. A 45-year-old businessman in Los Angeles murdered five members of his family before turning the gun on himself, saying in a suicide note that he had done so because of his troubling financial situation.

While these stories put a human face on the toll the financial crisis has taken, the Director General of the World Health Organization this may only be the tip of the iceberg. As people struggle to cope with losing their homes or livelihoods, she said, “It should not come as a surprise if we continue to see more stresses, more suicides and more mental disorders.”
Read (more…)

U.S. stocks will continue to fall next week, in continuation of a sell-off that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average experience its worst week in over four years, due to nervousness that the easy-money binge of the last few years has come to an end. No fireworks in earnings so far.

It will be tough for Wall Street to shake off the bear market blues next week if the price of oil keeps rising and the earnings season kick-off from Alcoa and General Electric disappoints investors. Stocks will remain vulnerable to any new signs of distress from hedge funds hit by their exposure to bad U.S. home loans, as well as from credit markets, where Wall Street firms and corporations are finding it harder and harder to obtain financing.

Oil has become the biggest wild card for growth and corporate profits. It jumped to a record above $145 a barrel on Thursday, driven by tensions between Israel and Iran, before the long holiday weekend to mark US Independence Day.

The price of crude is up 50 percent so far this year.

On Friday, US markets are closed on July 4th for the Independence Day holiday.

Financial results from Alcoa and GE will kick off the second-quarter earnings season next week. Aluminum company Alcoa, the first Dow component to report results, will release its quarterly numbers on Tuesday. GE, another Dow industrial and a bellwether for the US economy, will report earnings on Friday. Aside from second-quarter results, investors are anxious to see the companies’ forecasts for world economic growth and their own corporate sales prospects.

Read (more…)

wallstreetdrop.jpgNo matter how much you’ve read about trading, or how much experience you have as a trader, it is difficult to trade profitably in a volatile market environment like the one we are in now. A rising market is often perceived to reflect optimism and investor faith. Enthusiasm and rejuvenated interest in the markets rides high. Many investors have multiplied their money manifolds.

Now, is it time to quit? Will the bubble burst? The investor has many questions and very few options before him. Strategies for a rising market are crucial and much depends on the risk appetite of the investor.

Don’t sell into the panic. Don’t buy the greed. This is of course obvious to say, but harder to execute when it is actually happening. When you have extreme market conditions, the individual stock movements can be big and rapid, and they are not necessarily, and in fact, usually not at all, related to fundamentals or economics.

Will the upswing continue? This is a difficult question and much depends on the factors that contribute to the bull run. Many perceive the market to be over-heated and fear to set foot in it. Others view corrections as an opportunity to make quick money. But this calls for quick decision-making and considerable tolerance to risk.

The unfailing strategy is to buy great companies with long track records of rising stock prices and dividends. Pick them low and hold on. Over a long haul, such companies with good fundamentals will not fail you. It is not unusual to find some stocks faring poorly in a bull market and some doing exceptionally well in a bear market. A bull run implies a booming economy, low unemployment rate, high production of goods and low inflation.

Read (more…)

030707_fear_greed.PNGGreed and fear are the major players in the stock market. These two emotions are the driving force behind almost all market participants – Institutional mangers, stockbrokers, Investors, traders and yourself.

You might be saying to yourself that greed and fear will never get in the way of my trading, but believe it or not they will be. It is not something to be ashamed of. It is something you have to admit to, come face to face with, If you are to become a successful stock trader or investor.

What do greed and fear look like in the stock market trading arena? “We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.” Warren Buffet

Fear doesn’t form in a vacuum. It is a learned response to a particular event or probability. In the case of trading, when you have a trade that goes bad, the regret and frustration can carry over into the NEXT trade. Or worse, the fear is so consuming, that you don’t enter your next trade. This particular problem is fueled by the expectation that every trade you enter should be profitable. If you truly believe that, then here is an important piece of information for you – not every trade will be profitable!

Greed creates the opposite problem. With a couple of consecutive winning trades, the ego can enlarge and feeling invincible overcomes being logical. This will ultimately lead you to trades that you normally would not have entered.

Read (more…)

Market corrections are inevitable and healthy. Stock market corrections can be excellent opportunities to purchase common stocks at bargain levels. Veteran stock investors are not seeing anything in this turbulent market that is particularly unusual.

The fact that this market roller coaster is being pushed by a credit crunch instead of surging inflation or some other economic disaster doesn’t change the need to take a deep breath and sit tight.

Corrections, pullbacks, or whatever you want to call them are a natural part of the market cycle.

If you take a look at the past, there has never been a correction that has not proven to be a good buying opportunity. It has taken an average of less than three months for the market to make up those corrections, which is why most veterans plan to ride out the bumps.

When the market begins its return to normalcy, you don’t want to be on the sidelines. The secret to wealth has always been to “buy when there’s blood running in the street and sell when everyone is pounding at your door, clawing to own your equities.” You must have enough faith in yourself to buy when the rest of the market is selling.

Read (more…)

image003.jpg“People who read Cosmopolitan magazine are very different from those who do not.” so said Donald Berry in ‘Statistics’.

Now you will just not have any idea of how apt that statement is unless you’ve actually read Cosmopolitan (really read it, not just look at the pictures) but I like to believe that fund investors who read Mutual Fund Insight are very different from those who don’t. I have believed so far that there are two kinds of fund investors-thinking ones and non-thinking ones. And those who invest their time and money in reading this magazine must be the thinking ones.

What distinguishes the two? The non-thinking ones are the ones who just follow whatever seems to be the flavor of the day. The thinking ones are those who carefully weigh their options, consider the facts and then take rational decisions. However, in recent months I have seen that sometimes, the final step is the same.

The non-thinking ones unthinkingly follow the flavor of the day. The thinking ones think carefully, then just ignore the conclusions and follow the flavor of the day. They look at returns, ratings, portfolio statistics and whatnot, but then turn around and invest purely driven by the fear of getting left behind by everyone else.

Read (more…)

22762432.jpgI am a bit of a gambler but am not the normal type of punter who you may see in the bookmakers on a Saturday afternoon. I am the kind of gambler who only likes to bet on what you might call a racing certainty. I love the thrill of all things to do with gambling but in my opinion there is nothing better than riding the stock market wave. What I mean by this is attempting to make money from investing in stocks and shares, trying to predict when to buy and sell etc. In this article I will write about the reasons why I believe more people should invest on the stock market.

Some people avoid the stock market because “it’s too risky.” But it can be riskier to not invest. If you put all your savings under your mattress, it probably won’t be enough to sustain you in retirement. If it’s all in a bank account earning 3% per year, on average, then that will barely keep up with inflation, at most. You can do better than that.

Many reasons for many people to do investments, one that can be very common to most of us is to make money. There are also personal reasons that you’ll want to start or join an investment club. You’ll finally have the opportunity to play the stock market in a safe environment that may be low risk and lets you learn more about a subject that greatly interests you.
Read (more…)

exchange_hand_signal.jpgInvesting is so fascinating because it’s just as much about people and their emotions as it is about the raw numbers. Sure over the shorter period – and especially over the past 4 years – everyone’s an expert. It’s critical that ALL investors have a sound investment process.

It’s good to be confident, or so all of us were told when we were young. Confidence will make whatever you want achievable. So it must be very good that I’ve been meeting a lot of very confident investors these days. I met a man who started investing in stocks only three months ago and whose investments have returned more than 25 per cent during this period. That’s an annualized return of more than a 100 per cent a year, as he proudly-and accurately-informed me. Someone else I ran into started investing in February 2004 and have more than doubled his money. He has made a very confident projection that showed how fabulously rich he was likely to be in about five years’ time.

Of course, this is not just amateur hour-professional investors too are sounding like the gentlemen above. I met the marketing chief of a mutual fund company who had many megabytes of marvelously entertaining PowerPoint slides about how his fund managers had generated great returns over the last three years. I did ask him about what their returns had been like before that but the response I got made me feel that I had said something very rude.

Welcome to the land of investing geniuses, no one in this world has made any mistake on the stock market for as long as they can remember.

READ (more…)

backpain.jpgThe pain of investors is enormous. People have lost a lot of money and not only are the losses continuing, but it’s clear to me that they are going to continue. What is worse is that the boom and the hype around it evolved in such a way that the worst pain is faced by those who are least prepared for it.

The worst real losses are those of investors who got attracted to the stock markets around the time when the markets were booming. Typically, these people have made a series of bad choices. Instead of investing steadily, they have put in large chunks of money at one go. Their mutual fund investments are in untested new funds and their stock investments are in rumor-of-the-day type of stocks that were being pushed by brokers. The more recklessly adventurous have already lost large chunks of their investments to repeated margin calls from brokers and lenders.

Of course, the question that everyone is asking is when will the markets turn upwards and resume what we’ve come to believe is their normal course. After all, as the logic goes, there is nothing wrong with fundamentals. Firstly, the fundamentals corporate’ financial future are somewhat less rosy than the general hype would have us believe. The rising cost of money and distortions produced by the huge liquidity glut are a serious issue.

READ (more…)

Next Page »