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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Basics of Stock Market

Financial markets provide their participants with the most favorable conditions for purchase/sale of financial instruments they have inside. Their major functions are: guaranteeing liquidity, forming assets prices within establishing proposition and demand and decreasing of operational expenses, incurred by the participants of the market.

Financial market comprises variety of instruments, hence its functioning totally depends on instruments held. Usually it can be classified according to the type of financial instruments and according to the terms of instruments’ paying-off.

>From the point of different types of instruments held the market can be divided into the one of promissory notes and the one of securities (stock market). The first one contains promissory instruments with the right for its owners to get some fixed amount of money in future and is called the market of promissory notes, while the latter binds the issuer to pay a certain amount of money according to the return received after paying-off all the promissory notes and is called stock market. There are also types of securities referring to both categories as, e.g., preference shares and converted bonds. They are also called the instruments with fixed return.

Another classification is due to paying-off terms of instruments. These are: market of assets with high liquidity (money market) and market of capital. The first one refers to the market of short-term promissory notes with assets age up to 12 months. The second one refers to the market of long-term promissory notes with instruments age surpasses 12 months. This classification can be referred to the bond market only as its instruments have fixed expiry date, while the stock market’s not.

Now we are turning to the stock market.

As it was mentioned before, ordinary shares’ purchasers typically invest their funds into the company-issuer and become its owners. Their weight in the process of making decisions in the company depends on the number of shares he/she possesses. Due to the financial experience of the company, its part in the market and future potential shares can be divided into several groups.

1. Blue Chips

Shares of large companies with a long record of profit growth, annual return over $4 billion, large capitalization and constancy in paying-off dividends are referred to as blue chips.

2. Growth Stocks

Shares of such company grow faster; its managers typically pursue the policy of reinvestment of revenue into further development and modernization of the company. These companies rarely pay dividends and in case they do the dividends are minimal as compared with other companies.

3. Income Stocks

Income stocks are the stocks of companies with high and stable earnings that pay high dividends to the shareholders. The shares of such companies usually use mutual funds in the plans for middle-aged and elderly people.

4. Defensive Stocks

These are the stocks whose prices stay stable when the market declines, do well during recessions and are able to minimize risks. They perform perfect when the market turns sour and are in requisition during economic boom.

These categories are widely spread in mutual funds, thus for better understanding investment process it is useful to keep in mind this division.

Shares can be issued both within the country and abroad. In case a company wants to issue its shares abroad it can use American Depositary Receipts (ADRs). ADRs are usually issued by the American banks and point at shareholders’ right to possess the shares of a foreign company under the asset management of a bank. Each ADR signals of one or more shares possession.

When operating with shares, aside of purchase/sale ratio profits, you can also quarterly receive dividends. They depend on: type of share, financial state of the company, shares category etc.

Ordinary shares do not guarantee paying-off dividends. Dividends of a company depend on its profitability and spare cash. Dividends differ from each other as they are to be paid in a different period of time, with the possibility of being higher as well as lower. There are periods when companies do not pay dividends at all, mostly when a company is in a financial distress or in case executives decide to reinvest income into the development of the business. While calculating acceptable share price, dividends are the key factor.

Price of ordinary share is determined by three main factors: annual dividends rate, dividends growth rate and discount rate. The latter is also called a required income rate. The company with the high risks level is expected to have high required income rate. The higher cash flow the higher share prices and versus. This interdependence determines assets value. Below we will touch upon the division of share prices estimating in three possible cases with regard to dividends.

While purchasing shares, aside of risks and dividends analysis, it is absolutely important to examine company carefully as for its profit/loss accounting, balance, cash flows, distribution of profits between its shareholders, managers’ and executives’ wages etc. Only when you are sure of all the ins and outs of a company, you can easily buy or sell shares. If you are not confident of the information, it is more advisable not to hold shares for a long time (especially before financial accounting published).



By : Dr. John Goldfinger
Dr. John Goldfinger - www.financegaes.com
FinanceGates: (http://www.financegates.com) free financial advice. Educational articles, financial news and reviews on investing, personal finance, stocks, funds.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Great Stock Market Secret

When the stock market is going up and all your stocks and mutual funds are making money you feel like a genius. It is too bad that some folks don’t remember what happened in 2000. Of course, right now we are in one of those genius phases. Your broker and financial planner are encouraging you to buy, buy, buy. And I can’t fault that at this time. You remember back in 2000 how many times they told you to buy, buy, buy while the market was going down, down, down. Are we in another of those periods now that are leading up to a humongous crash? Hey, I don’t predict, but I do listen to the voice of the market.

The great Wall Street mantra is “buy a good stock and put it away”. Did you keep WorldCom and Global Crossing? Even if these were exceptions because of fraud a smart investor would not have lost any money. In fact he could have made a nice profit.But Al, they went under! Yes, I know, but the smart money still made out because they sold near the top.

As a former exchange member and floor trader I was not right every time I bought something and I especially did not like giving back nice profits that had accumulated. You don’t have to be psychic to know when to sell and don’t think you are going to be able to pick the top. A really smart trader waits for a stock or fund to start up and then jumps on it with both feet. When it starts down he jumps off looking for another equity that is going up. The wise trader knows he can’t buy the bottom and sell the top. What he wants is a big bite out of the middle.

When you make a sandwich most of the meat is in the center and a professional trader does the same with his trading. He wants to take a bite out of the middle of the move. You can do this too by looking for stocks, mutual funds or Exchange Traded Funds that have a nice upward pattern. As I said before buying is not the secret. Then what is?

You must learn to sell - for two reasons. First to protect your equity after your initial purchase and second to keep from giving back profits you have made as the equity advances. The great Wall Street secret is an exit strategy: knowing when to sell. Unless you learn to sell you will not be successful in the market. Brokerage companies do not want you to sell and rarely issue sell signals. You must decide how much you are willing to risk before you buy.

The simplest way is with a percentage stop loss order of 5%, 7%, 10%, 12%, whatever you can live with. Instruct your broker to place a trialing stop or you can change it yourself every week. Do not lower a stop.

Selling is the great secret you will never hear from your broker.



By: Al Thomas
F*R*E*E investment letter www.mutualfundmagic.com
Author of best seller "IF IT DOESN'T GO UP, DON'T BUY IT!" Never lose money in the market. Copyright 2004 Albert W. Thomas All rights reserved.Former 17-year exchange member, floor trader and brokerage company owner. al@mutualfundmagic.com

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