A Trio of Must-Have Gadgets for Investors

Whether you’re a newbie to the world of investing or have been dabbling in the stock market for some time, you likely find yourself checking your portfolio at least once a day; after all, you want to find out if your Starbucks or Target stock has risen in value or if it’s time to get out of that investment.

While investors have traditionally checked the stock section of a newspaper for this information, many now rely on their smartphones and computers to get updates in real time. Indeed, there are a number of must-have, handy electronic tools that make keeping tabs on your money and portfolio easier than ever. Here are a few prime examples.

An iPhone SE

While all smartphones allow you to make calls, send texts and take selfies, the iPhone SE goes beyond these functions with a user-friendly feature for investors. The smartphone, which comes equipped with the built-in Stocks app, allows you to easily keep track of everything in your portfolio from the palm of your hand.

In addition to keeping apprised on your various investments, the Stocks app also allows you to check the opening and closing numbers on the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500, as well as how well particular stocks have performed over the past two years.

Thanks to the iPhone SE, you don’t have to keep a folded-up newspaper in your purse or briefcase; instead, you can easily check your investments while standing in line for a latte. Now, how cool is that?

A Financial Calculator

When it comes to figuring out your finances, you can’t go wrong with a financial calculator. Sure, your smartphone’s built-in calculator or the one sitting on your desk can handle simple arithmetic, but a financial calculator is better for computing statistics and analyzing your cash flow.

A great and reasonably affordable option is the HP 12C Financial Calculator that’s sold on Amazon.com. At around $50, plus shipping costs, this slim and sturdy financial calculator will allow you to more easily calculate and track annual percentage rates, net present values and more.

A Fast and Reliable Laptop

In addition to owning a state-of-the-art smartphone, a laptop is also a great tool for investors. While smartphones offer more convenience, a laptop’s larger screen size will allow you to more easily read about your stocks, pull up your accounts, and check the markets. Technically, any laptop that connects to the internet will do, but to make your investing life easier and less stressful, you’ll want to find a laptop that’s lightning fast, reliable and that offers an amazing battery life.

After all, the last thing you want is to be in the middle of buying low, only to have your computer crash or the battery shut down. Additionally, because you might have multiple tabs open at once, you’ll need a laptop that can handle the activity, along with trading software apps.

As StockstoTrade.com notes in its reviews of the best laptops for trading, the MacBook Pro is a fast laptop with a battery life that lasts nine hours. Spring for the model that offers more gigabytes. And, since it’s lightweight, you can take it with you on the road. The Dell XPS and Surface Pro are also ideal laptops for investors.

Good Luck, and May Your Portfolio Steadily Grow

To become a prolific investor, you’ll need a number of key tools in your arsenal. By using your smartphone to check your portfolio, buying a financial calculator to handle the often-tricky mathematics of investing, and buying a laptop that will allow you to buy and sell when the iron is hot, you will be well on your way to watching your investments grow into a nice nest egg.

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Stock Trading vs CFD Trading: The Pros and Cons of Having Options

Traders and Investors

Traders and investors have a wide range of options available to them when dabbling in the financial markets today. Conventional investments at bricks and mortar institutions typically require the purchase of underlying financial instruments such as stocks, bonds, indices, commodities, mutual funds, and ETFs. These traditional investment paradigms are understood by traders around the world. Multiple licensed and regulated institutional brokers currently exist, offering access to the global financial markets i.e. bourses.

A wide range of investment options is currently available in this format, such as technology stocks, industrial stocks, blue-chip stocks, and the like. Popular bourses include the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), NYSE (New York Stock Exchange), NASDAQ, S&P 500, FTSE 100, FTSE 250, Nikkei 225, CAC 40, DAX 30, ASX and multiple other indices. These bourses are the de facto exchanges where public companies are listed. When day traders, swing traders, or casual traders are looking to invest their hard-earned funds in markets, they can always go the conventional route by investing in actual stocks.

Your profit potential in stocks is dependent upon asset price appreciation. This means that you will purchase the underlying asset (take ownership of that asset), and wait for it to appreciate over time. This is a slow growth strategy, and a medium to high-risk investment option, depending on market volatility and related concerns. Investors with an eye to owning stocks are typically in it for the long haul. Traders can also benefit from buying physical stocks and then selling them through day trading or swing trading actions. A day trade is opened and closed within the same business day, while swing trading references a trader’s ability to swing into the markets once he/she spots a trend. Swing trades can last as long as 2 weeks.

Stock trading is especially popular now that US markets have been injected with newfound momentum. For example, a trifecta of factors is fuelling explosive growth in the NASDAQ, S&P 500, and Dow Jones. These factors include tax reform going into effect on December 31, 2018, deregulation of the financial sector, and increased monetary tightening with higher interest rates. This is like the perfect storm for explosive stock price appreciation and traders at leading platform such as eToro can now access physical stocks and take advantage of market realities. Investment opportunities are available to traders and investors across multiple markets.

How Do Traditional Stocks Compare to CFD Stocks Trading?

The traditional investments – owning physical stocks – is still preferred by many people, but there are alternatives in the form of CFD trading. A CFD is a contract for difference. It is a derivatives trading instrument where a trader/investor does not buy the actual stock. Rather, the trader/investor buys the option to sell a contract that tracks the price movement of the underlying financial instrument. It is a fundamental difference, and there are many inherent benefits of CFD trading.  However, the benefits of CFD trading should certainly be weighed up against the merits of owning actual stocks which are an actual asset, not a derivatives product.

Here are some factors to consider when trading CFDs

  • CFD trading and tax is an important consideration. In the US, CFDs are considered swap contracts with ordinary capital gains/capital losses being used for the tax realization. In the UK, losses can be offset against profits for tax purposes. Further, there is no stamp duty, and CFDs offer 24-hour dealing.
  • CFD trading includes leverage and margin, meaning that you don’t need to have the full value of the trade amount in your account. A 50% margin only requires 50% of the trade in your account. A 2% margin only requires 2% of the trade value. In other words, the cash requirements for CFD trading are significantly less than they with stock trading.
  • It is important to remember that CFD trading and the leverage/margin elements can result in significant profits, or significant losses, depending on which way trades go.
  • CFDs are considered a hedge against traditional stock trading and investments. In other words, if stock markets are crashing, you can hedge with put options on CFDs to protect your investments.
  • CFD trading is permissible on a wide range of underlying assets such as stocks, bonds, commodities, indices, currency pairs etc.
  • CFD trading can be executed with a professional brokerage with no fees involved. Plus, there are no restrictions vis-à-vis day trading requirements.

Traders and investors have a wide range of financial instruments to choose from vis-à-vis CFDs and traditional stocks trading. CFDs are considered an outlier investment option, and are traditionally used as a hedge against downturns in stocks. Ownership of actual stocks remains the most heavily invested market when it comes to equities. Stocks trading has historically generated significant profits over time, while CFD traders are typically on the losing end of the spectrum. The FCA estimates that some 82% of traders lose money on CFD trading, owing to their lack of understanding of the financial markets, and high leverage. Picking blue-chip stocks is a safer option, albeit with an element of risk. Both of these investment options should be considered, and the merits and pitfalls weighed up against one another.

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Trading Basics- Factors that Influence Share Prices

The marketplace determines share prices. While seller supply and buyer demand meet in the market, there is no perfect equation that lets investors know exactly how share prices will behave. However, there a number of factors that can move stocks up and down.

Demand and Supply

Demand and supply in the market affect the prices of shares. When demand for shares exceeds supply, which means the buyers are more than sellers, the prices increase. When demand is less than supply, meaning that buyers are less than sellers, the prices decrease.

Interest Rates

In case of lower interest rates, demand for funds is higher and the subsequent demand for shares rises. On the other hand, high interest lowers the demand for funds and the demand for shares is lower.

Investors

Market players have an impact on share prices. With more bulls than bears, the prices increase. With more bears than bulls, share prices decline.

Dividends

Dividends indicate the movement of share prices. When companies make dividend announcements, the share prices of such companies are likely to increase. It is important to note that if the dividend rate announced is lower than the investors’ expectations, share prices decline while if they are up to more than expected, share prices increase.

Management

Management profile has a significant effect on company success and stock prices. If management consists of experienced professionals with a proven track record, share prices are likely to be higher. If the management that takes over a company lacks integrity, share prices tend to fall.

Economy

Fluctuations in the economy feature what are commonly referred to as booms and depressions. Under favorable conditions share prices are at their peak and their lowest point is experienced during depressions. Share prices gradually rise during recovery and fall during recessions. Click here for live Lloyds share price.

Political Climate

Political factors that range from relations with other nations to government policies can affect share prices.

Short-Term and Long-Term Investors

Different investors rely on different factors. A short-term trader or investor is likely to prioritize and incorporate technical factors such as inflation, trends and demographics. Long-term investors focus on fundamentals like earning power and acknowledge the crucial role that technical factors play. Investors who prioritize fundamentals can integrate technical factors.

It is widely believed that market sentiment and technical factors are overwhelming on a short-term basis but fundamentals ultimately set share prices in the long run. Since conventional theories are not sufficient for explaining all the things that go on in the market, behavioral finance or market sentiment will always be a keen area of interest.

Considerations

  • Stock prices change for various reasons. While some people believe that it is impossible to predict the changes, others think that observing past price movements and charts can determine when you should buy and sell.
  • Stocks are volatile, which means that prices can rapidly change.
  • Fundamentally, demand and supply in the market influence share price.
  • Comparing the share prices of two different companies is not conclusive when determining the value of a company.
  • Earnings affect how investors value companies but other indicators are used for the purpose of predicting stock prices. Stock prices are affected by investors’ expectations, attitudes and sentiments.

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Social Trading the New Way to Trade Stocks

Worldwide Global Unity Social Gathering Community Concept

Become a follower

If you like how somebody trades and find that helpful, you can choose to follow him or her on social trading platforms. You will be able to see their moves and activities at all times. Hence, you get a chance to learn from experts. You can even ask for guidance if you don’t understand something.

Always follow traders, who are rated positively by the community. This allows you to learn rapidly. However, as these communities have thousands of members, your questions will not be answered all the time. At least they share information, which is more than useful.

Private messaging

You are connected to millions of users, from whom you can learn a lot about trading. If you follow a trader who appears to have an erratic trading behavior, you’re entitled to ask questions. You can employ the same charts they read and predict price movements. Keep track of your progress to see if your judgement is better in comparison to the traders you follow.

Information access

Social trading offers the best environment for traders to get better, especially beginners. It would take a lot of knowledge and experience to acquire the significant and synthesized info and data delivered by these platforms. Due to the constant flow of information, social trading platforms allow traders to start trading and confidently make financial decisions with all the right moves.

Help other traders

Experienced and successful traders can help others in the community. Sharing on social trading platforms means valuable information delivered for the benefit of  interested traders. It’s a way to   give back to your community and help others too.

Social trading for beginners

  • Pick popular investors
  • Follow, learn, and even try their trading methods
  • Monitor the popular investors’ ongoing performance
  • Interact with veteran traders for useful tips and suggestions
  • Control your trading emotions

 

Gaining More Control Over your Investments

Investors can gain recognition as successful traders by joining these social trading sites. You may have felt before that social trading sites can be stiff and boring. Absolutely not, this is not the case here. It is a  very alive community with common goals: helping one another to  trade with excitement and efficiency. It does not matter if you desire to share trading experience or learn trading strategies, this is the place for anyone who likes trading.

 

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The Future of Wall Street is On Line

 

Investment bankers were the lords of Wall Street for a long time. However, things started to change after the 2007 financial crisis. Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy and led to greater scrutiny of the operations of other Wall Street bankers.

It was during at same time when Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs decided to become bank holding companies so that they can gain access to the Federal Reserve’s discount window. By transforming into bank holding companies, the two firms are able to tap into deposits from their retail customers.

      Difference between Investment Bank and Bank Holding Company

An investment banks help governments and companies raise funds by issuing and selling securities. They also provide advice on other financial transactions, such as acquisitions and mergers. Although they are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, they operate with less supervision compared to commercial banks.

A bank holding company is an umbrella corporation that operates commercial banks that include accepting deposits from their customers. They are supervised by the Federal Reserve, as well as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

After the two firms became bank holding companies, there are no independent investment banks operating in Wall Street. Citigroup remained the largest holding company in the United States, followed by JP Morgan.

                             What’s Next for Wall Street Banking

Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are still able to engage in their investment banking activities even after they became bank holding companies. However, their operations will be under the supervision of the Fed.

Going to the Cloud

Financial services are now moving to the cloud. Trading firms and asset managers are in the process of moving all their data to the cloud. As the technology advanced, cloud servers have become more safe and secure. Plus, they offer flexibility and agility to their customers.

Cloud computing has become more important in the past couple of years, that there are talks of the death of traditional brokerage firms. It will not be long when companies don’t need Wall Street bankers. Instead, they can do their business in the cloud, just like in the real estate and travel industries.

wall street cloud text on blue sky, business concept

One of the main roles of an investment bank is to serve as the third party between corporations and investors through initial public offerings. Investment banks offer underwriting services for new stock issues once the company goes public and looks for equity funding.

In the future, FinTech companies are able to offer the same services through cloud computing. Such company can partner with several banks to reduce exposure of a single bank. Everything will be transparent to ensure all transactions comply with existing rules and regulations.

The 2007 financial crisis has exposed the weaknesses of Wall Street banks. It is time to be gone with the old ways of doing things on Wall Street, and adopt new methods and technologies to make things more secure, safe and convenient for all stakeholders. And the key to all this is cloud computing.

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How to Succeed in Online Trading

Online trading is widely seen as an appealing way for anyone to make money, by applying simple financial acumen and a basic knowledge of global economics and politics to the movements of international markets. With a computer and a reliable internet connection, you can trade from almost anywhere, whenever the markets are open. Some online platforms, such as UFX.com, even offer the opportunity to trade when they are closed through After-Hours Trading, or AHT. This creates the potential for larger profits, since there are fewer traders operating, meaning that prices can be far more ‘volatile,’ swinging more rapidly and by larger amounts.

Making significant profits from trading over the long-term does, however, demand a fair amount of effort, a cool head and the ability to learn quickly from your mistakes. There are a few basic rules that you need to follow in order to have a better chance of success, irrespective of your objectives, trading strategy and time frame.

The first rule is to consider the kind of trading style you want to adopt. Are you ready to spend a lot of time in front of your computer? Are you able to stay focused for long periods? Do you cope well with stress?

If your answer to each of these questions is ‘yes’, then scalping or day trading might be the trading style for you. Scalping involves making many trades, each within the space of a minute or so, with the aim of taking advantage of small movements in the markets. It’s particularly effective when an asset isn’t showing a significant medium-term trend in either direction, and is trading within a relatively narrow range.

If you don’t plan on spending hours monitoring the markets, then you may be better off adopting a swing trading strategy, where positions are often held for periods lasting between one day and several weeks. Traders with solid knowledge of specific assets and the factors which can affect their value – what’s known as “fundamental analysis” – often prefer this approach.

 

ufx-app-icon

Long-Term Position Traders

 

A “position trader,” on the other hand, makes long-term trades, lasting for months or even years. An understanding of macroeconomics, global politics and the dynamics of emerging industries can make this a winning strategy for traders with a great deal of patience. The main advantage is that the rewards can be immense, if, for example, you predict a surge in demand for a certain commodity that will become a key component of a new product with worldwide appeal.  

Once you’ve thought about the trading style you plan to adopt and have studied how the markets work, it’s important to apply sound money management principles to minimise any losses. One way to do this is to apply ‘stop losses’ to your trades, meaning that a position is automatically closed if its price moves beyond a pre-set limit. You can also use personal rules, such as never risking more than 2% of your total capital on a single position.

With the right plan of attack, online trading can be both highly profitable and enjoyable. Make sure you’re fully prepared for the experience and you’ll soon see why more and more people are turning their focus towards this additional income stream.