july04_finance_ashok.jpgMoney earned can either be consumed or saved. When money is saved it can either be hoarded or be invested to enhance its value. An investment project requires information about the various avenues available.

Money is often a scary thing to deal with, especially those who have never worked with it in detail before. Investing for the future can be even scarier. Still, even young men and women as well as those preparing to retire need to know the basics of investing to prepare for the future and insure their financial freedom. An understanding of what assets are, what kinds of assets are out there, and specific tricks of the trade will help beginning investors start on their journey to economic security.

The general term used to refer to the investments made is ‘assets’. Assets reflect one’s investment in cash, bonds, stocks or other sources that generate income. Out of the various assets available for investment, the most common one is Stock. Stock refers to the shares of the companies.

Assets are investments in cash, bonds, stocks and much more. They are basically a combination and melding of everything someone owns or is owed. An asset class is basically a general term referring to the wide variety of investments that can be made by today’s investors. Asset classes include things such as stocks, bonds, and cash equities. Before investing, an understanding of assets classes and the pros and cons of each is a definite must.

Read (more…)

…unless the stocks you own ARE beating the market!

2002-10-09-sydney-bear-bull-stock-markets-like-flock-530.JPGThere is no way on earth you could ever beat the market if the stocks you hold are not keeping up with the market. And hopefully, staying ahead of the market.

But yet, that’s what lots of people try to do. They’d rather keep all the dogs in their account and maybe “take a flyer” on one stock, hoping for a miracle. It’s like trying to win a Derby horse race with your Donkey. It just ain’t gonna happen.

But hey, maybe you don’t want to beat the market overall. Maybe you just want to own the BEST semiconductor stocks, or the best retailers, or the best utilities.

Seriously, how would you even KNOW if your stocks or mutual funds are beating the market, or are the best names to own in their group? Well, I can tell you this…the best indicator I’ve ever seen in twenty-plus years in the business has been relative strength. What is relative strength? It is simply the measure of how your mutual fund or stock is doing, compared to a group of other stocks, funds or indexes…or the market overall.

Perhaps you want to compare Intel with other semiconductor stocks. Maybe you want to compare Microsoft with the S&P 500 Index. Maybe you want to compare your mutual fund against the Dow Jones Industrial Average or the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

This is a very easy calculation. Here is how you do it: Simply divide the price of your stock or mutual fund against whatever yardstick you choose. You’ll get a fractional number as the result. But slide the decimal over so you can work with whole numbers. Then we begin plotting that result daily on a point & figure chart.

Read (more…)

cramer125.jpgHuman’s are rational beings. We have the most developed brain among all species. However, in spite of all this, we are foremost governed by his emotions. It is said, man is ruled more by the heart than his mind. And these emotions, more often than not, play a huge role in man’s investments too. This is the sole reason, say, why the same person at one time might want to invest in the stock market, while at another time might find the same too much of a risk.

Investors may also feel attached towards a specific company and continue owning the stock without regards to its fundamental. For example, you might like Google’s search engine so much that you decide to buy the stock at $ 350 without doing any research. You figure that Google’s search engine is so much better that buying the stock will give you profit, right? Wrong. Now, I am not here to bash Google as an investment, but analyzing an investment goes beyond the products and companies. Most investors can identify good companies and products. It is quite easy. You know that a BMW is a better car than a Ford.

Emotions often also control the company one is investing in. Generally brand loyalties come into the picture here too. Example, if someone prefers purchasing his sportswear from Nike, he may want to invest in its stocks too, although the Reebok stocks may be doing far better. It is always better to conduct a proper research and check the latest trends rather than blindly following your heart. Keep in mind that you are currently dealing with the stock market and not the super market.

Google is a good search engine, probably the best that is ever produced so far. Sure, you probably pay more for Google than other generic search engines. But, please don’t over pay. You invest in Google to profit from it not because you like its products.

So, how do we eliminate emotion from our investing decision? We can’t eliminate it completely but there are certainly tools that might help. One is to calculate the fair value of a common stock that you are investing in. I covered this plenty of times but basically, the fair value of an investment is dependent upon the streams of profit generated by it. In the long run, if company A earns more than company B, then company A will be valued more than company B..

I know I don’t exactly give you the best solution to the problem. Emotion is hard to ignore. I am not immune to that. But following your emotion will cost you a lot of money. Don’t follow the herd and keep your focus on the fair value of your stock and you will do really well.

You need to realize that no matter how hard we try we cannot completely eliminate our emotions from playing a role while investing. But what we can do is apply equal amounts of common sense and logic. Always be aware that it is your finances that are going to be affected in this venture. Calculate the fair value of a common stock that you are investing in. The fair value of an investment is based upon the profit generated by it.

If, for a considerable period, organization A does far better than organization B, A will surely be far more valued than B. While investing, avoid the herd mentality, stay calm and always go in for the firm with the better fair value. This will ensure that you are a happy investor, earning high profits on your investments.

Penny Stocks are usually priced below a dollar and trading with them is fickle and risky game. While Penny stocks look like they follow the “more bang for your buck” principle, having a lot of penny stocks is very risky. Penny stocks are also referred to as small caps and micro caps. As with all trading, penny stock trading has its ups and downs. Penny stocks can give your large profits over a short time; they can also give you huge losses in the same short time.

pennies2.jpgBecause of the high risks and alluring prices of penny stocks traders should be mindful of a few things. If you see that there are stocks for less than a cent, you shouldn’t invest. In the penny stock market, any thing less than a penny isn’t worth investing. You will never gain anything from a stock under a penny. In fact, it is just like the regular stock market except you buy stocks for much less, that’s why you should treat the penny stock market like any other investment.

You need to know every thing and I repeat EVERYTHING about the company and the stock that you are purchasing. With proper investing, you should be able to benefit from quick gains from the penny stock market. So be careful when buying stocks that have uneven ownership distribution.

The only way to be successful with the penny stock market is to know what companies to invest in through research.
Read (more…)

si_smart_inves_simple.gifVery few investors make money in the stock market.

Look at where your account is today compared with what you had at the beginning. Don’t count what you have added during that time or interest income. Most folks are still running a loss.

Your broker, if you are unlucky enough to have one, will assure you that the market always comes back and you are in for the long haul. So don’t worry, be happy.

If you were one of the few (about 1%) who had a broker or financial planner that actually knew how to protect your money you would not have lost a huge portion of your portfolio from 2000 to 2003.

So, you have to learn to protect yourself! It is a lot easier than you think and most brokers are not even aware of it.

It was time to buy. Divide the portfolio into 10 equal parts. Select 10 mutual funds that have quit going down and are now going up and buy these. This doesn’t have to be done all in one day. Spread it out over the next 2 or 3 months as good equities present themselves.

Here is the key. Don’t lose money. Laugh out loud, thats what you do. Place a 10% stop loss order on each fund that was purchased and as each fund advances raise the stop every month. The investor has 10 separate positions with a 10% risk on each one. If the selection of the fund was poor and it goes down instead of up the loss is one percent (1%) of the total portfolio.

The investor has been smart enough to diversify into several sectors so the chance of losing in all 10 positions is very small. Do not buy individual stocks. Few investors are capable of choosing company stocks. Let the mutual fund manager do that. As stops are hit, find other good equities that are going up. When the market turns down you will be in cash as you will have been stopped out of all positions with nice profits.

Brokers don’t know much more that you do (and I’m not kidding). This simple strategy will spread risk, prevent large initial losses and prevent giving back profits as they are made.

stock_rally1.PNGIf you’ve never invested in stocks before and are about to buy some for the first time, you should understand what to look for and what factors to consider when selecting a stockbroker. It can be a good idea to use a stockbroker for an active management of your stocks or mutual fund portfolio. Most investors will use a stockbroker at one time or another.

First of all, what is a stockbroker? Well, I’m not really sure… 😉 …just kidding. A stockbroker is an intermediary between you and the stock market, which is an exchange where shares of stock in public companies are openly traded. When you buy or sell a stock, also known as a “security,” you must place the order through a broker, who then transacts your business by placing the order on the market.

I personally use a discount broker only to carry out my order, I am willing to listen to a full-service broker’s story but in the end invariably the decision is mine. If you have done your homework, trust me a broker doesn’t know much more than you.

A discount broker is someone who gives you zero advice, and just executes your market orders for you, but does nothing else. Therefore, a discount broker usually doesn’t collect commissions. Instead, they usually charge a flat annual fee and are paid a salary. Internet brokers such as Etrade or Ameritrade are discount brokers that work on commission. They allow you to place your market orders online, and the website itself is the broker. Internet brokers usually charge a much smaller commission than anyone else.

If you use the services of your bank there are some facts to consider. When you talk about the options you have to invest your money, they will certainly recommend the funds they control themselves. Do they recommend other banks portfolios? I don’t think so. If you go to a car dealer that sell Ford, do they recommend you to buy a Lexus?

Read (more…)

Fear is a huge issue with a lot of traders. And interestingly, not just fear of failure but also fear of success.

I think there are two keys to taming fear, you can never eliminate it so don’t even try. The first and most critical is the one noted above – action. Action can tame fear in an instant. But it needs to be the right sort of action.

robin_bungee41.jpg____I personally have a fear of heights; so going bungee jumping may not have been the best way to address it! But that’s exactly what I did. There I was on a platform 250 feet above water, cursing why I got into this, but the only way to conquer fear was to jump and that I did. Do what you fear and the death of fear is certain.

In the same way, if you have a fear of losing your trading account, trying to face it down by putting it all on the line in one trade is not the best sort of action. But taking considered, appropriate action, like the strict use of stop losses is a way of taming fear and getting past the paralysis stage that fear can create.

The second key is focus. By this I mean keeping in the moment and concentrating on the immediate action that is required to move you forward.

If your focus is too broad you can become overwhelmed by the possibilities. Or you might start to worry about things that are beyond your control or simply don’t matter – like whether interest rates are going up or not.

But when you narrow your focus and remain “in the moment” in regard your trading, fear will be sidelined. The simple reason for this is that you can’t concentrate on two things at once!

And again, this will help overcome the paralysis that can be created by fear. So if you suffer from fear in your trading – action and focus are the only keys!

There is an old saying on Wall Street that the market is driven by just two emotions: fear and greed. Although this is an over implication, it can often be true. Succumbing to these emotions can have a profound and detrimental effect on investors’ portfolios and the stock market.


Hold on a second Read (more…)

pokerchips.jpgInvesting in conservative blue chip stocks may not have the allure of a hot high-tech investment, but it can be highly rewarding nonetheless, as good quality stocks have outperformed other investment classes over the long term.

Historically, investing in stocks has generated a return, over time, of between 10 and 15 percent annually depending how aggressive you are. Stocks outperform other investments since they incur more risk. Stock investors are at the bottom of the corporate “food chain.” First, companies have to pay their employees and suppliers. Then they pay their shareholders. After this come the preferred shareholders. Companies have an obligation to pay all these stakeholders first, and if there is money leftover it is paid to the stockholders through dividends or retained earnings. Sometimes there is a lot of money left over for stockholders, and in other cases there isn’t. Thus, investing in stocks is risky because investors never know exactly what they are going to receive for their investment.

What are the attractions of blue chip stocks?

Good long-term rates of return. Unlike mutual funds, another relatively safe, long term investment category, there are no ongoing fees. You become a part owner of a company. Very actively traded so, easy liquidity.

So much for the benefits – what about the risks? Some investors can’t tolerate both the risk associated with investing in the stock market and the risk associated with investing in one company. Not all blue chips are created equal.

If you don’t have the time and skill to identify a good quality company at a fair price don’t invest directly. Rather, you should consider a good mutual fund.

Selecting a blue chip company is only part of the battle – determining the appropriate price is the other. Theoretically, the value of a stock is the present value of all future cash flows discounted at the appropriate discount rate. In reality supply and demand for a stock sets the stock’s daily price, and demand for a stock will increase or decrease depending of the outlook for a company. Thus, stock prices are driven by investor expectations for a company, the more favorable the expectations the better the stock price. In short, the stock market is a voting machine and much of the time it is voting based on investors’ fear or greed, not on their rational assessments of value. Stock prices can swing widely in the short-term but they eventually converge to their intrinsic value over the long-term.

131_0.jpgThe term “risk” describes the probability of an undesirable event happening as a result of a present decision or of some future event. In life, we face multitudes of these risks. Financial risk is something you can never eliminate, you can however minimize risk, diversification is one way.

The worlds of business and finance are not much different from our lives when it comes to risk-taking. In any business venture, owners or shareholders are bound to face risks. Like the risks we face in everyday life, some of these business risks can be easily handled and some cannot, and the process of deciding which is which belongs to the practice of risk management.

Risk management refers to the entire process of identifying, analyzing, evaluating, and treating risks. But since businesses are faced with many different types of risks, risk management specializations have also been created to deal with them.

And then there’s financial risk management, which is very similar to general risk management with a specialization in a business’s finances. Financial risk management also follows the processes of risk identification, analysis, evaluation, and treatment. Financial risk management, however, is more focused on finances and makes use of financial instruments to manage a business’s exposure to risks.

Instead of leaving businessmen with a variety of choices for risk treatment, financial risk marketing is focused primarily on hedging, which is the use of two counter-balancing investment strategies to offset the negative effects of price fluctuations. Aside from these differences, everything else is essentially the same.

Business men don’t have much choice but to face risks.It is for this reason that knowledge about financial risk management is very important in the business world. The practice won’t help businessmen avoid risks, but it gives them a chance to counterbalance the negative effects of risks whenever they have to take one.

« Previous Page