Feb 072012
 

Investing comes in many flavors, and we try to cover quite many of the different methods and instruments for investors here at PFJournal.com. One of the more intriguing, yet often intimidating areas, of investing is penny stocks.

Of course, there are numerous sites alleging to provide advice and seemingly random “hot picks”, but it’s hard to discern where this advice is coming from, let alone if it’s truly unbiased or well researched.

A good place to start researching this field is on BuyPennyStocks.com. You can learn about various companies that are now available to buy as penny stocks to get an idea of what the site offers. There are a number of penny stocks to watch on the site’s blog as well as a number of resources to help research possible selections for investment.

The site is currently offering the chance to sign up for their newsletter to receive penny stock alerts.

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Nov 242011
 

Stock Trading ChartTrading in the stock market has changed in more than a few ways over the last couple of decades, and the move to online trading and online brokers has clearly opened up trading stocks to more investors and traders.

The advantages that have come about by trading online clearly outweigh the problems, but there are still questions that should be addressed and due diligence that must be performed by the investor looking to get into the markets.

There is a mistaken notion that since it is now easier to actually perform stock trades that making money trading stocks is easy. This is definitely not the case. The uninformed, lazy trader who hopes to repeatedly buy low and sell high by simply following the TV talking heads or leads in a newsletter are merely gambling. To be successful in the markets requires a lot of patience, loads of practice and continual education and learning.

Fortunately, the resources available online are sufficient and plentiful to provide more than enough information to get you started so that you won’t be trading blindly. A great place to get started with tons of resources, both basic and more advanced, can be found at Investor.gov. Once you’ve made sure you’re comfortable with the basics of investing and you’re ready to start trading stocks, you need to find an online broker you can trust and who offers affordable prices and a good trading platform.

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Oct 062011
 

A discount broker is your way into the world of stock trading. A discount broker can not only execute stock trades, but is usually able to perform call and put options on your behalf at the lowest possible cost, thus saving you money which would have otherwise gone into commission had you used a full service account. Thus choosing a discount broker is a very important task and you need to be sure that you are well informed before you choose a broker for yourself. This article is aimed at comparing discount brokers and listing parameters which ought to be considered while making such a comparison.
Affordability
The first the foremost thing that needs to be considered is what is the cost of executing a trade with the broker that you have chosen. The lower the cost, the higher is the profit. At TradeKing and Zecco, the lowest transaction fee that you need to pay is $4.95 whereas at Scottrade the lowest transaction fee is $7. This means that there are chances that TradeKing and Zecco are cheaper compared to Scottrade.
Minimum Balance
The amount of minimum balance that is required in your trading account is another criterion that has a profound effect on the choice of a stock broker. For people who do not have a lot of money to invest, a broker that has a lower minimum balance condition would be much better. Comparing minimum balance requirements at TradeKing, Zecco and Scottrade it has been found that while TradeKing and Zecco have no minimum balance requirements, Scottrade has a minimum balance requirement of $500.
Value Added Services
Value added services include services such mobile trading, direct withdrawal at custodian, knowledge sharing, direct registration system services, real time streaming quotes, real time news, annual account maintenance, etc. Most of these services are offered by TradeKing, Zecco and Scottrade. Zecco offers services such as free streaming quotes, advanced research, screening services, option research, trade anywhere to its clients. TradeKing on the other hand provides services such as list of actively traded stocks and options, insights from fellow traders, instant broker access, etc. Scottrade also offers various services such as streaming quotes, account maintenance, real time news, etc.
Broker Assistance
Discount brokers generally do not offer any kind of broker assistance with your trading account. But if you are interested in having a broker help you out on a trade or give you investment advice, then you need to pay a small fee. This fee is called broker assisted fee. Only TradeKing and Scottrade give option to their clients to have broker assisted trades in the market. For this service TradeKing charges $4.95 to its clients whereas Scottrade charges $27.
Customer Service
Customer Service is a very important factor that comes into play while selecting a discount online broker. This is due to the fact that no one wants to be left to fend for themselves whenever there is a problem, especially if that problem leads to you losing money. When it comes to comparing the kind of customer service response of the three brokers: TradeKing, Zecco and Scottrade, there is only one winner and that winner is TradeKing. TradeKing is known for its fast and courteous customer service that it well above the industry standard.
Trading Tools
Trading tools play an important role especially if you have to analyze the market. These days almost all brokers offer a full suite of trading tools, from streaming quotes to screeners to their clients so that their clients can research and perform profitable trades on their own. Several different types of trading tools are also offered by TradeKing, Zecco and Scottrade to their clients. These enable clients to study the market in a better manner and execute informed trades.
Research
According to a survey 16% of the investors say that the most valuable part of being a customer of an online brokerage is the access to research. Thus, most of the brokers out there offer a robust suite of news, data and education to help their clients. TradeKing has a special “Education” section to help clients understand the ins and outs of the market. Zecco on the other hand has a “Quotes and Research” center that focuses on news, commodities, currencies, US and global markets, etc. Scottrade is also known for its good quality research. They have a “Knowledge Center” that can help traders understand the market and take advice on what to invest in and what not to invest in.
These are some of the parameters that can be used for comparing discount brokers and the kind of services offered by them. Comparison is important so as to understand what is being offered by whom and who would be the best suited to your needs.
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Aug 252011
 

Stock Trading ChartThe Stock Market is one of the few places where you have the option of investing a small amount of money and earning large returns. But to invest in the stock market, you obviously need to have a representative who can buy and sell stock for you or broker your deals on the stock exchange.
There are basically two different kinds of brokerage services available out there. One is the full service broker and the other is discount online broker. Both these kinds of brokers have their pros and cons and the kind of service that you select would ultimately be dependent upon your needs and your budget. This article is dedicated to finding out the differences in the kind of service that is provided by these two kinds of brokers. Continue reading »
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Aug 162011
 


Investing in Options BrokersFinding options brokers to work with and do your online trading can be a rather daunting task. The choices now available are quite varied and doing a simple search to find a company to work with is no longer sufficient.

Low commission rates are important, of course, but you also want a company you can rely on, an execution platform that is easy to use and practical and a useful array of tools with access to lots of data.

Mytrack.com is an online brokerage firm that offers all of the services you need in an options broker plus affordable commission rates and a convenient platform. In addition to their normal trading platform, they also offer a nice mobile version so you can not only monitor your existing trades, but you can execute new trades while you’re on the go.

Mytrack is quite reliable and has been in business for over 25 years. This is the kind of experience in the trading world that you can rely on so you can focus your attention to your trades and not have to worry about your broker closing up shop and skipping town. Opening an account is easy and there is only a $500 minimum initial deposit for cash accounts.

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Aug 142011
 

MarketridersInvesting online has really opened up a lot of opportunities for smaller investors. Whereas in years past when investing in the stock market was the exclusive domain of the well-heeled the ability to buy stocks has been opened up to those with more modest means. However, even with the relatively lower fees that brokerage companies now charge to trade or the lower charges found in mutual funds, these costs can really eat into your profits quickly. This is where an Online Portfolio Manager can really help you enter the market intelligently and affordably.

MarketRiders.com has really opened up the market for smaller investors or just those folks that like to avoid the unnecessary costs found with even the more reasonable online brokerage firms. The company provides a very easy to use, intuitive Do It Yourself portfolio management system wherein you can create a balanced portfolio with using asset allocation to determine how aggressively you want to tackle the markets.

The real trick to MarketRiders system, and the way it ultimately helps you save money, is building a portfolio using Exchange Traded Funds or ETFs. These funds are managed automatically by computer but are essentially a collection of individual securities focusing on different sectors. The fees to run such funds are much lower than similar instruments like mutual funds and these savings are passed on to the investor.

The portfolio that MarketRiders can build for you relies on choosing ETFs that are appropriate to your investment goals, and using their Portfolio rebalancing software your portfolio can be adjusted as needed to meet your specific asset allocation.  The company offers a free trial and a low monthly fee thereafter.  It’s definitely worth taking a spin for a month to see what you think, and if nothing else, you’ll learn quite a bit about the different options that are becoming available with ETFs and online portfolio management systems.

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Aug 072011
 


Online Discount BrokersBefore online discount brokerage firms like ScottTrade, Zecco, TradeKing and others, trading in the stock exchange was reserved for those who had the resources to pay the large fees that stock brokers charge their clients. This barrier for the smaller trader was overcome with the emergence of a brand new concept; the advent of a discount online broker. A discount online broker provides brokerage service at a much lower cost than a traditional full-service brokerage. This is due to the fact that a discount brokerage provides you with the most basic of services and unlike a full-service broker does not provide personalized advice.

These days there are several different discount brokers which have entered the market, and due to this it has become very difficult to find out which broker is good and which is not worthy of your business. This article should give you a starting point for what you need to look for in a discount broker and help you decide which online broker is the best for you.

  • The first and foremost thing that you need to know before selecting a discount broker is the kind of instrument that you are interested in investing. There are several different types of brokers: discount stock brokers, discount commodity brokers, and discount real estate brokers and your choice is surely going to be affected by the type of instrument that you are planning to invest in.
  • The next thing that you need to determine is how much commission is being charged. In terms of commission, there are two types of discount brokers: standard discounters and deep discounters. Standard discounters have fees which are generally 50% less than full-service brokers and deep discounters have fees which are between 60 to 90% lower than full-service brokers.
  • Another important thing that you need to take care of is whether there are any hidden fees associated with trading through a particular broker. There are brokers which have several hidden fees and you need to be wary of those brokers. Make sure there are not penalties for a certain size of trade or limitations placed on the types of stocks you want to buy.
  • Another important aspect that you need to keep in consideration is whether the customer service of the brokerage firm is at par with the industry standard. You would not want to invest with someone who does not even answer your queries. You can test this level of customer service before hand by calling their sales team before hand, but understand that a sales call will likely be more friendly and helpful than a technical one.
  • The kind of value added services offered by the broker is another aspect that needs to be taken care of. Most of the discount brokers out there offer to their clients’ services such as telephone stock quotes, free check writing privileges and dividend reinvestment service. Think about the kind of things that might be important to you in your broker and identify those particular services.

These are some of the things that need to be look for in a discount online broker like TradeKing, ScottTrade, Zecco or others before investing your money with their firm.  Ultimately, an online discount broker is a great way of investing in the stock market at a very low cost, but you want to be careful and do you homework before you open an account and attempt trading online.

 

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Aug 032011
 


Option trading is something that is gaining popularity these days as investors are looking for novel ways to trade and make money. This is due to the fact that even though the amount of risk involved is very high, there is an increased potential for higher profits. The advantage of investing in options is that you can very easily maximize your money when there is rise in value of stocks. In order to generate huge profits you have to be confident in how the market is going to move in the future.

So what really is option trading? To put it simply, when you buy an option you have the right to later buy or sell a given stock for a particular price in the future. This means that you can either buy or sell a share in the future based on a price that is determined when you are buying the option. In every option transaction, there are two kinds of options, called the “call” and the “put”. The call option is used to lock in the price for a stock in the future, whereas the put option gives you the ability to sell your stock at the locked in price.

Option trading is a risky proposition because you need to have through understanding of the market to accurately predict the future prices of a share. This means that before investing in options you need to be well informed about the market and you need to understand what drives the market and by how much.

One of the most important aspect that you need to take into consideration while investing in options is the amount of risk you are willing to take. This involves determining the amount of money you are willing to risk and the kind of options you are going to invest in. Option trading requires that you have a secure financial position, so that any losses can be dealt with without any kind of problems.

One of the pre-requisites of trading in options is that you should be able to understand the market in and out. If you do not have the knowledge and you are not willing to learn, then you would only lose by investing in options. For most of the investors, it is the risk associated with options which attracts their attention. People who are risk averse in nature generally trade in options.

These are some of the things which need to be incorporated in oneself if he or she wishes to trade in option. The most important thing that needs to be understood and remembered about option trading is that it is a rewarding platform but those rewards come with a price, i.e. the risk involved. Thus effort needs to be put on developing skills which balance these risks and rewards.

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Jul 062011
 


If you aren’t trading online already, you’ve probably at least done a little research on finding a good online broker for stock trading, options, ETFs, IRA accounts, mutual funds or some other investment vehicle. The choices are quite vast and can be a bit confusing at best. Everyone seems to offer a great deal with unbeatable services and prices. You have to be careful, however, that you aren’t simply choosing a broker with the best advertising budget.

Online trading is serious business and there’s a lot of money to be made from the firms offering these services. Many companies will do a lot to attract customers but might not always be prepared to follow through with the quality of service you should expect.

FirstTrade.com is an online brokerage firm that provides the opportunity to trade online with competitive costs and with 25 years of service to back up their business.  They have a great website with a lot of information to research the best types of trading to fit your particular investment strategy and if you choose to open an account you can expect to get good service and a fair price, what they call “Low Cost, High Standards.” The also have the ability for you to do mobile trading with a cross platform interface as well as an Iphone app for trading.

Check their website for current promotion deals as well.  They often offer deals such as 250 free trades, refer a friend for $50, and free account transfers.  See their promo page for the most current offers.

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Nov 272008
 


The economic crisis has certainly given everyone a lot to think about these last few months, and I’m sure things aren’t going to stop being interesting anytime soon.

And, although it’s hardly any consolation at this point, at least for those folks realy suffering right now, we can take some time to appreciate the fact that we’re living during a very historical moment that will likely be studied by future generations for some time to come.  Of course, we won’t know the exact interpretations since we can’t yet see all the ramifications of our situation, nor do we know for sure what the future will hold.

Be that as it may, it’s worth the effort to read as much as possible now to try to understand how we got here and where we’re going–even if we can’t be sure.

If you haven’t had a chance, I seriously recommend reading Michael Lewis’ fantastic article in Portfolio.com, entitled The End of Wall Street’s Boom.  An excellent perspective from the author of Liar’s Poker, that great chronicle of the late 1980s Wall Street life where, perhaps, the seeds of this current mess were sown.  This current article provides a pretty detailed account of what has lead us to the point in our economy with specific regard to the sub-prime implosion.

Well, we’ll see if this in fact the end of Wall Street as we know it or just another hiccup on the way to future glorious successess and failures.

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Jan 082008
 


A common problem for the small investor is building up enough capital to make investments in a particular stock that might be appealing. So what exactly can you do if you only have enough money to buy a dozen shares or so of a stock?

Money Magazine has a short article on this issue, concluding in the end that it’s better just to stick to a mutual fund rather than shoot for a few shares in an individual stock.

We’ve talked a bit about buying index funds, and this might be just the option for a small investor looking to get his or her feet wet.

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Dec 072007
 

You can’t turn around these days without reading another article about green products and green living. This constant barrage of information regarding global warming and the state of our environment has made innovative technologies targeting the green market a hot commodity. New startups in greentech or cleantech are hitting the street much like we saw internet startups towards the end of the 1990s.

The question is, are there some good investment opportunities in this emerging market? A recent article in Forbes suggested it was too soon for solar stocks. This might just be the case for other greentech startups as well.

This is certainly a market worth looking into and following as leaders begin to emerge. You can stay informed at sites such as cleantech.com, greentechmedia.com, and prognog.com.

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Sep 162005
 


The stock market crash of 1929 occured on “Black Thursday” (October 24th 1929) and “Black Tuesday” (October 29th 1929). The 1929 stock market crash (also known as the Wall Street Crash) followed after the bull markets of the 1920’s and caused the Great Depression in the early 1930’s. Continue reading »

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Sep 152005
 


Are you tired of the same old day trading tips? Like, “cut your losses and let your profits run.” “Never let a gain turn into a loss.”, or the most repeated tip, “Buy low, sell high.” So how about something new? Let me give you some specific day trading tips that will turn your trading around. A good defense beats a good offense over the long haul. If you want to stay in the Trading “game”, then developing a good defense is a must. Continue reading »

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Aug 282005
 


I remember the first time I started to trade online. It was just before the tech bubble of the late 1990s and the internet was still something new for most people. Purchasing the now forgotten company was easy, and I made a few dollars on that trade. It was so excitingly simple. Continue reading »

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