How To Undertake Free Stock Research

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Stocks are not constant. They increase, decrease and disappear. In fact, investing in the stock market is a risky endeavor not to be taken lightly. You name it– you may start out happy with the high standing of your stocks and after an hour or two turn sad because your stocks have somehow lowered down below their original value. They may actually plunge, slamming down to the lowest values fathomable. You may emerge feeling depressed that you’ve lost an investment that you’ve…

Stocks are not constant. They increase, decrease and disappear. In fact, investing in the stock market is a risky endeavor not to be taken lightly. You name it– you may start out happy with the high standing of your stocks and after an hour or two turn sad because your stocks have somehow lowered down below their original value. They may actually plunge, slamming down to the lowest values fathomable. You may emerge feeling depressed that you’ve lost an investment that you’ve worked hard for and had much hope in. For this reason, investing in stocks can be both exhilarating and disconcerting.

To avoid such unsightly scenario, it would be best to do some research before investing all your hard earned savings on stocks. Stock investment is not for the faint hearted; it is for those smart individuals who knew how to manipulate the stock market for their advantage. These people know the importance of stock research and have spent a great deal of effort, time and even money just to come up with the best tactics that can help them in their quest for enormous stock returns.

The internet is a good venue for conducting research on stocks since you are able to access various online sources pertaining to stocks. The best thing about these sources is the fact that they are free. You might ask yourself why conducting stock research is critical. The answer is clear.

A stock research is conducted in order to know what stocks are favorable for investment and which stocks are to be avoided. It is also conducted to know the fluctuations in the stock market, this way businesses as well as private individuals are guided when to sell or when to buy additional stocks.

In addition, there are some free stock research providers online that offer their expertise by helping people reclaim their money from old bonds and stock certificates. Most of their clients are comprised of banks, estate and stock brokers, lawyers, and private individuals. Their services also include research on a company’s history and old stock shares dating centuries back.

There are also other free stock research providers that offer consultation services and at the same time assist members in choosing the stocks to invest on. These providers are stock investors themselves, what they actually do is to make the initial investment in a certain stock which they assess is profitable and then they let their members to also invest in the same stocks. If they gain their members will also gain. They religiously conduct stock researches in order to update their members when to sell, or when to buy additional stocks.

They also keep track of whatever changes in the stock market since they know that even a slight fluctuation in the stocks have significant effect on their investments as well as on the investments of their members—and the best thing about all of these services is that they are for free. If it’s your first time to invest in stocks it would be best to join such free stock research provider online. Keep in mind, time is critical since they accept only a limited amount of members.

A Disciplined and Organized Approach to Trading in the Stock Market

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90% of traders in the stock market lose money most of the time. Find out what consistent winners have in common.

trading software, day trading, swing trading, stock trading, online trading, trading systems, trading logs, trading software, stock market, day trading courses

A Winning Approach to Trading in the Stock Market

Many traders lose simply out of ignorance. They base their trades on hunches, news, or tips from friends, and do not define specific risk and profit objectives before placing trades.

Others have the merit of educating themselves but fall victims of their emotions. They hold on to losing positions hoping they will turn into winners and sell winners by fear of losing a small gain. They overtrade to fulfill a need for action or by fear of missing out.

The consistent winners follow a winning approach:

  • They have a strategy to enter and exit trades
  • They use good money management
  • They take consistent actions, they follow a trading plan
  • They keep good records so they can review their actions
  • They avoid overtrading
  • They have a winning attitude

A strategy to enter and exit trades

You need to a strategy to put the odds in your favor for each trade you take. Your strategy should be as objective as possible and include the following elements:


  • Entry: conditions required before you can enter a trade – may include technical analysis, fundamental analysis, or both.



  • Initial stop loss: price at which you will close the entire position if it does not go in your favor. The risk per share is the difference between the entry price and the initial stop.



  • Initial price objective: price at which you will take some or all profits if the trade goes in your favor.



  • Trade management: set of rules that dictates your actions while a trade is opened. It may include trailing stops, closing position, etc…


For every action you take, the reason should be clearly described in your strategy.

Money management rules to keep losses small

The goal of money management is to ensure your survival by avoiding risks that could take you out of business. Your money management rules should include the following:

  • Maximum amount at risk for each trade. The different between your entry price and your initial stop loss is your risk per share. Your maximum amount at risk for each trade determines the share size.



  • Maximum amount at risk for all your opened positions.



  • Maximum daily and weekly amount lost before you stop trading – avoid trying to trade your way out of a hole after a loosing streaks.


During your learning phase, your goal should be to survive, not to make money. Start with low limits and raise them as you become a consistent winner otherwise you will simply go broke faster.


Good record keeping

Although the process of gaining experience cannot be rushed, it can be made much more efficient by keeping good records of your actions. Good records will allow you to:

  • Review your actions at the end of each day to make sure you followed you strategy, not your emotions.



  • Learn from your losses – they cost you money, make sure you get the education in return.


You should also keep a journal of your observations.


A trading plan to keep emotions out of your decisions

During trading hours, emotions will turn smart people into idiots. Therefore you have to avoid having to make decisions during those hours. This requires a detailed trading plan that includes your strategy and your money management rules.


For every action you take during trading hours, the reason should not be greed or fear. The reason should be because it is in the plan. With a good plan, your task becomes one of patience and discipline.


You have to follow the plan without exception. Any valid reason for an exception – for example, correcting an oversight – should become part of the plan.

Overtrading

Sometimes the best thing to do is to do nothing. Not trading on those bad days is key to becoming a consistent winner – in some situations it is very tempting to overtrade:

  • If you trade to fulfill a need for action, to relieve boredom
  • If you can’t find the proper setup but can’t wait
  • If you fear you are missing out on a great trade or on a great market
  • If you want to make up for losses (revenge)
  • If you trade to feel like you are working instead of sitting around. Trading involves a lot of work other than the actual buying and selling.

You should not trade under the following conditions  

  • You are not following my trading plan
  • You have reached your daily or weekly maximum loss
  • You are sick or very tired
  • You are very emotional (upset, pressured to make money, self-esteem destroyed)
  • You are using new tools you are not completely familiar with
  • You need time to work on your trading plan

A winning attitude

Losing traders look for a “sure thing”, hang on hope, and avoid accepting small losses. Their trading is based on emotions. You must treat trading as a probability game in which you don’t need to know what is going to happen next in order to make money. All you need to know is that the odds are in your favor before you put a trade.

If you believe in your edge, which is you believe that the odds in your favor for each trade you enter, then you should have no expectation other than something will happen.

Your attitude will have a direct influence on your trading results:

  • Take responsibility for all your actions – don’t blame the market or world events.

  • Trade to trade well and for the love of trading, not to trade often and not for the money. The money will come as a result of trading well.

  • Don’t be influenced by the opinions of others. Reach your own decisions and follow them.

  • Never think that taking money from the market is easy and never assume that you know enough.

  • Have no particular expectation when you place a trade because you know that anything can happen.

  • Don’t try to guess the future – trading is a game of probabilities.

  • Use your head and stay calm – don’t get excited or depressed.

  • Handle trading as a serious intellectual pursuit.

  • Don’t count how much money you have made or lost while you are in a trade – focus on trading well.
  • Trading Framework was designed to help you build those crucial elements into your trading.

    www.tradingframework.com

How to make money in the stock market

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The very basic option trading strategy

options, stocks, shares, call, put, earning, strategies, investment, low risk,naked options spread, bullish, bearish

There are abundant of money in the stock market. However, not everybody can get the money out from there. Some people can gain a lot from the stock market but some has lost a lot of money there. It is very indecisive. Sometime at that moment, you loss money but after a few days, you may earn a profit and sometime is reverse. So, how should we do to get the money out from the stock market? Usually, there are two ways to get the money out from the stock market; that are investing and trading. The difference between trading and investing is trading involves buying and selling share, future or option within a short period of time; whereas investing is buying share, future or option and hold it for quite a long time, usually one year or more before selling it.

What is the difference between share, future and option? What we know is that option is much cheaper than the share and future, usually is tenfold lesser than the share price. So, if you have an amount of money that enough for you to buy 100 units share, you can use that amount of money to buy 1000 units option. And the return of investment is almost the same between share and option. Therefore, you will earn around tenfold if you buy option rather than share or future. However, the disadvantage is that if you lose on that trade, you will lose almost tenfold also. When we trade option, the amount of money that we can profit and lose is almost same as if we trade share. However, we need a lot of money to buy share compared to buy option. This causes the percentage of the profit and loss for buying option is much higher than share. The example is like when you buy $10 for one unit of share and $1 for one unit of option. When the share price drops for $0.10, the percent drop for buying share is 1% but for buying option, the percent loss is 10%. That’s why the percentage of the profit and loss for buying option is huge compared to buying share even though the share price fluctuates in a small amount.

Due to the high profit and loss when buying option, trading or investing option is just like gambling. It is quite normal that the return of investment is more than 100%. But it is also quite normal that you could lose all your money in the investment or trading. In order that you can earn more than lose, you need to know some basic option trading strategy and technical analysis. Option is different from the share. Option has time value; whereas, share does not have time value. The value of one share will not depreciate due to the passage of the time. It is only affected by the supply and demand and also the company performance. However, option value will depreciate when the time has passed. When the time reaches to the option expiration date, there is no more time value for that option. That’s why, you need to use strategy to trade option, in order that you can minimize the loss and maximize the profit.

The very basic two option trading strategies are bullish call spread and bearish put spread. Bullish call spread is used when the stock price is anticipated to rise in the coming months; while, bearish put spread is used when the stock price is anticipated to drop in the coming months. Steps that are involved in this strategy are buying in the money option and selling out of the money option. In the money option is the option that has time value and intrinsic value; whereas, out of the money option only has time value. When the stock price moves to the positive side (generated money side), in the money option will generate profit and the out of the money option will cause loss. However, the minus of the profit and the loss is the net profit that has generated from this strategy. When the stock price moves over the out of the money strike price, the profit will become maximized. Continuously moving of the stock price to the positive side will not generate any profit. In this situation, we will close both positions to take the profit out from the market.

If the stock price moves to negative side (opposite side that cause loss), in the money option’s value will depreciate and the out of the money option will generate profit. However, the profit, which is generated from the out of the money, is limited to the price that you have sold. The subtraction between out of the money’s profit and in the money’s loss is a negative value. This is because the profit that is generated from the out of the money option is less than the loss that is caused by in the money option. Out of the money option’s profit is limited in this strategy and in the money option’s loss is unlimited. If the stock price continuously moves to the negative side, you may lose all of your capital. So, what is the difference from buying naked option and buying option using spread strategy? The difference is that you may lose more money if you buy naked option and lose less money if you buy spread. This is because you do not generate any profit when you just buy naked option; whereas, profit is generated from the out of the money option if the stock price moves to the negative side. The disadvantage of the spread is that the commission, which is charged by the broker firm, is double compared to the naked option. This is because, naked option only involves one position; whereas, spread involves two positions. Each position will be charged with commission separately.

Besides, the purpose of selling out of the money option in the spread strategy is to minimize the loss of the time value of the in the money option. Actually, both in and out the money option’s time value would depreciate when the time has passed. Because we do not own the out of the money option; therefore, we can keep the money that we have received from selling that option. When the time value of this out of the money option has depreciated, we used lower price to buy back the option. So, we sell at high price and buy back at low price; therefore, we earn money. The money that we have earned usually is enough to cover the loss of the time value from the in the money option. However, you still lose the intrinsic value of option if the stock price moves to the negative direction.

So, bullish call and bearish put spreads are two of the very basic option trading strategies. However, it is not guaranteed 100 % win from the stock market. You still need to learn to predict the stock price direction accurately using technical, fundamental and news analysis.

Alexander Chong

Author of “Workable Option Trading Strategies?
http://www.makemoneystocks.com/

Exposed: The World’s Best Kept Uranium Secret

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The Republic of Niger is the world’s fourth largest uranium producer, nearly monopolized by Cogema. Two newcomers recently obtain concessions to explore for uranium in properties adjacent to Cogema. Will they become a serious uranium producer in Niger?

investing, stocks, uranium, mining, Africa, Niger, utilities, nuclear energy, commodities, bull market, labor shortage, drill rigs, exploration, copper

Perhaps the White House flap as to whether or not Saddam Hussein’s government tried to buy uranium ore from the country of Niger was the best publicity Niger has had about its uranium production for more than two decades. How many geologists know that the Republic of Niger ranks fourth, behind Canada, Australia and Kazakhstan, in terms of the quantity of uranium annually produced worldwide?

Named after the river which runs through it, Niger produces nearly four times the uranium currently mined in the United States. More uranium is mined in Niger than in Russia, South Africa, India, China, Brazil, Ukraine Namibia or Uzbekistan. In fact, if you added up the total amount of uranium mined in South Africa, China, India, Brazil, Czech Republic and the Ukraine for 2004, Niger would trump the combined production of those six countries. Until Dr. Jon North came along, uranium mining was pretty much monopolized by Cogema and a consortium that includes Spanish and Japanese interests.

“This is the fourth largest uranium producer in the world,?raved an excited Dr. North into his cell phone during our taped interview. “Niger has never had an entrepreneurial and nimble junior mining company ever explore for uranium. And this is the first one.?North was talking about Northwestern Mineral Ventures (TSX: NWT; OTC BB: NWTMF). “Imagine if Australia, Canada and Kazakhstan having never had a junior company looking for uranium. It’s absolutely absurd to even consider the concept.?
The Republic of Niger supplies about 9 percent of the world’s annual production to meet the growing need for uranium to fuel the world’s nuclear reactors. According to the IAEA-NEA Red Book of 2003, the sub-Saharan Niger ranked #4 behind Australia, Kazakhstan and Canada for total uranium reserves. In the 2005 update, it fell to seventh place. It may be that this country is under-explored. In 1981, Niger produced a peak of 4366 tonnes of uranium. As with others, mining production plummeted with the spot price of uranium during the 1980s and 1990s. The slump hit the country hard because Niger depends upon uranium for more than 30 percent of its exports, more than $100 million. Five percent of the country’s tax revenues come from uranium mining.

Dr. North discussed how he came to obtain concessions for both his company, North Atlantic Resources (TSX: NAC) and Northwestern Mineral Ventures, in which he serves as a director and helps guide geological colleague and president Marek Kreczmer. “I traveled around the Sahara Desert twice on field trips with a local Niger geologist before I decided to apply for permits. When I did this in 2004 with the minister of mines, he said to me, ‘You know, you’re the first person to ever do this, and the only people who have done this are energy companies or governments.?So, I told him I would like to apply for two permits.?North obtained two for Northwestern Mineral Ventures and another for North Atlantic Resources.

Salt Tectonics the Key to Uranium in Niger

North explained, “We selected the projects based on the geologic ingredients that we felt were important in the control and distribution in the uranium, such as, but not limited to, northwest trending fault corridors, northeast trending fault corridors, and inliers of stratigraphy that are popping up through younger parts of the stratigraphy.?According to North, the salt structures are the key to finding uranium in the Republic of Niger. “The northeast and northwest faults, and the inlier there, are all salt-related structures,?North remarked. An inlier is an area or formation of older rocks completely surrounded by younger layers. “For decades, the oilfield people have understood, emphasized and completed research on salt, the deposition and then the movement of salt through stratigraphic sequences,?North pointed out.

Salt is very common but it doesn’t last very long in stratigraphy and it escapes, North explained. “When it escapes, it forms walls and diapirs (an anticlinal fold where the salt has pierced through the more brittle overlying rock).?Oil exploration geologists pay attention to these because they tend to form permeability barriers to oil and gas deposits. North is interested in them for a different reason, “We noticed that the salt diapirs, where they escaped through the sequence in Niger, coincided with the distribution of uranium deposits.?
Uranium in the Republic of Niger is mined by open pit because of the sandstones. “These are redox deposits,?North noted. “They tend to be associated with reduced layers and structures, such as the former salt diapirs and faults in the stratigraphy. At the time, we didn’t really understand why we were doing that. We just knew there was an association with uranium deposits and these structures in Niger.?
That appears to have made Dr. North’s job a walk in the park, or in this case, a walk in the desert. How do you inexpensively explore concessions of 2,000 square kilometers each? That’s about 24 miles and 30 miles each, both in the desert. “If you do the target selection carefully, and you stick to the salt diapirs, those really narrow down the search,?North revealed. “When we do our first multi sensor mag and radiometric survey, which will happen in the next couple of months, we will map out those structures and features, and look for radiometric anomalies associated with them. When we have that data, we’ll have at least 50 drill targets on those projects.?There appear to be no scarcity of drill targets on the concessions.

Without that data, North believed he could have picked out ten high quality drill targets, just from the geology map. “They show up as circular bull’s eyes on geology maps,?North noted excitedly. “In the desert they show up as low hills. They’re topographic anomalies where you have about maybe 50 meters of relief. It’s just a low rise because the desert is flat as piss on a plate.?North explained that you can drive anywhere by pointing your vehicle and stepping on the gas. “The only things in your way are these very low hills, and those hills are related to either faults or inliers (exposed older rocks surrounded by younger rocks).?Initial targeting comes straight from a topography map.

A Vote of Confidence on Current Progress

But what about the availability of drill rigs for this project? North conceded there is a global shortage. But he shot back, “There’s a drilling company in West Africa called West African Drilling services ?and surprise! surprise! ?I’ve been working with them for the past four years.?North has already discussed moving a rig in with them. “Quite honestly, it’s not a big issue,?he said. Neither is labor or the cost of drilling. “We pay an all-inclusive cost of approximately US$150/meter,?North told us. “Labor costs are very low, about one-third the cost of North America. We use all local people because that’s what we do in Mali. There are lots of highly trained, skilled geologists in Niger.?
Clearly, Northwest Mineral Ventures is excited. “We are very pleased to be one of the first North American companies to acquire exploration permits in Niger ?a country that has not been explored using modern techniques and has, until now, been one of the world’s best-kept uranium secrets,?Northwestern’s Chairman and CEO Kabir Ahmed told Reuters in wire service story published in March.

Northwestern Mineral President Marek Krezcmer, who has been a geologist for more than thirty years, seventeen of which were spent exploring in Africa, was also enthused about the company’s prospects in Niger, “We know there is uranium mineralization on the surface, based on the work which was done by Jon North. I think we can succeed. We’re going to find uranium.?Kreczmer is familiar with geology in Africa and doing business on this continent. “I’ve worked in Tanzania, Zambia, Swaziland, Ethiopia and Eritrea,?said Kreczmer. He was optimistic about developing Northwestern Mineral Venture’s uranium concessions, “Our business plan there is to discover mineralization, and (have) probably someone like Cogema become a partner of choice.?
At Cogema’s seven open pit uranium mines which feed the Arlitt mill, the grades have run 0.3 percent with 2003 production at 1126 tonnes. At the two open pit uranium mines which feed the Akouta mill, grades have run at between 0.4 and 0.5 percent with 2003 production at 2017 tonnes. Krezcmer explained that Northwestern’s exploration licenses are valid for a period of nine years, three-year licenses which are renewable three times. The country’s mining act, according to Krezcmer allows Northwestern to apply for a mining license, which can be granted for between 25 and 70 years.

We were concerned with any political situations, but both North and Kreczmer assured us the country is stable. “When I first went to Niger in November 2004, and that was during the last election, it honestly looked like a lot of fun. Everybody had a little piece of rag tied around their wrist or tied to the antenna of their car to represent their political affiliation.? Kreczmer added, “My experience working in Africa is that because this country relies so heavily on foreign aid, the World Bank has great influence.?

The Republic of Niger has North’s vote on confidence. He has worked for the past few years as Chief Executive of North Atlantic Resources, which hopes to develop its Kantela gold property in Mali. Niger and Mali and demographically and geographical identical, he told us. North feels Niger is going to become more aggressive in developing its uranium properties. He talked about how the President of Niger told his minister of mines, “Get out there and advertise Niger as being open for business. We want people to come in here and invest. We want to give them mineral rights, and we want them to do what Mali is doing.?From the looks of it, the first to jump on the Niger bandwagon were Northwestern Minerals and North Atlantic Resources, but they won’t be the last.

“My experience with Niger is that it’s a peaceful, democratic country with no civil unrest. Let’s put it this way. They have less civil unrest than France.?Ironically, French is one of the country’s official languages. “You gotta be fair, right??asked North. “The French recently stormed the Bastille in France, and they didn’t do anything like that in Niger.?
Just how exhilarated is Dr. Jon North? “The excitement in the market is we do the airborne survey,?he enthused. “We find some radiometric anomalies that correlated within inliers. We show the model. If that doesn’t excite people, then I don’t think their hearts are beating.?

How to Use Annual Report

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There are many steps in calculating the fair value of a company. However, before we even do that, it is imperative to know how a company earns its profit. Does it do that by selling to consumers? licensing its technology to other companies? or extracting natural resources from the ground?

Finance Stock Annual Report Free Web Directory Article Submission

There are many steps in calculating the fair value of a company. However, before we even do that, it is imperative to know how a company earns its profit. Does it do that by selling to consumers? licensing its technology to other companies? or extracting natural resources from the ground?

The sensible way to do it is by reading the company’s annual report. What is an annual report? Annual report is yearly publication by public companies to better inform investor about the company’s line of business. Annual report gives investors a glance of the company’s line of business, financial health as well as management’s strategies for doing business.

Let’s look at CNET Networks Inc. The company trades in the NASDAQ market with symbol: CNET. What does CNET do? I know CNET owns cnet.com. But do you know that it also owns download.com, MP3.com, ZDnet.com and News.com ? How do I know that? Yep, you guess it. CNET’s Annual Report will gives you all that.

From CNET’s annual report, we can do a little digging for CNET’s internet traffic. As of August 27th 2005, these websites of CNET attracts 3 % of all internet traffic. Pretty impressive, considering that Google holds 23% of all internet traffic. On April 2005, Google had 78.6 million unique visitors. By comparing this metric, we might have an idea CNET’s revenue potential for the month of August. I will not go into that but this shows how useful reading CNET’s annual report is. Reading an annual report serves as the first step towards investing in a particular company.

How do we obtain annual report? There are several sources for this. First is the companies own website. You are interested in knowing more about CNET Networks? You can get the annual report by going to http://www.cnet.com and go to its shareholder relation. After several clicks, you can then download the annual report.

Or … you can go to some websites that offer complete annual report for a number of different companies in alphabetical order. Our website is one of them. Admittedly, while having hundreds of annual reports in one place is convenient, it is not as thorough as what the company’s own website has to say.

Do Any Companies Offer Free Online Stock Trading?

333

Companies that offer “free online stock trading” are generally offering free access to a members-only online stock trading site,

free online invest

While some companies offer what they claim is “free online stock trading,” no company can ever realistically offer a product for free, unless they are a non-profit organization with a stated goal to help bad stock traders learn how to trade better. And because no such organizations exist, you will have to trade with a company that charges you fees, whether it is explicitly or implicitly.

Companies that offer “free online stock trading” are generally offering free access to a members-only online stock trading site, which will allow you to use a range of stock trading analysis tools; it will also usually give you access to dozens of free stock tips from different sources, often including relevant newspaper clippings about publicly-owned companies.

If you opt for a “free online stock trading” company that gives you a free membership, that site will likely generate revenue by selling ad space or by charging commissions on trades. This means that your stock trading experience may be significantly inhibited by pop-ups, flashy ads, and biased information; or it may mean that you will have to pay excessive fees every time you make a trade.

On the other hand, some “free online stock trading” companies charge membership fees, but do not charge for trades. If you plan to make a lot of small stock trades each month, then you should consider opting for one of these companies, which will charge you each month, but wont require you to pay fees when you trade. However, on the other hand, if you plan to make few large trades, then you should consider selecting one of the online stock trading companies that will charge you per trade, rather than per month.

Keep in mind that there is no best solution to this problem for every person. The best solution for one trader may be completely different for you. This is why is it is crucial to inspect each deal in terms of what it will offer you personally as a trader.

Are Stock Market Prices an Accurate Reflection of the Value of Your Stock Portfolio?

642

In order to trade and make money in the markets – either stock or commodities one should have a basic idea of determinants of share valuation prices.
Actual logistics , standard procedures and rules as well as human nature and greed all play major roles.
Consider this as part of the mix when evaluating purchases and sales of your securities.
Timing , perceptions and even sometimes luck play major roles in your quest for your eventual fortune awaiting you.

investment, investments , securities , stocks, bonds, fortune , money , wealth , market

The usual description of any market assumes that every trader wishes to purchase or sell a known quantity at each possible price. All the traders come together, and in one way or another price is found that clears the market ?that is, makes the quantity demanded as close as possible to the quantity supplied.

After all it has been said by the authoritative stock trader W. Haddad of B.K. Labovitch that ultimately economics is supply and demand.

This may or may not be an adequate description of the markets for consumer goods, but it is clearly inadequate when describing security markets. The value of any capital asset depends on its future prospects, which are almost always uncertain. Any information that bears on such prospects may lead to a, which s we know are always uncertain. Any information that depends on its future prospects may lead to a revised estimate of value. The fact that a knowledgeable trader is willing to buy or sell some quantity of a security or commodity at a particular price is bound to be information just of that sort. Offers to trade May this affect other offers. Prices may, therefore, both clear markets and covey information.

The dual role of prices has a number of implications. For example, it behooves the liquidity motivated trader to publicize his or her motives and thereby avoid an adverse effect on the market. Thus, an institution purchasing securities for a pension fund that intends, simply to hold a representative cross section of securities should make it clear that it does not consider the financial interments under priced. On the other hand, any firm trying to buy or sell al large number of shares that it considers wrongly underpriced should try to conceal its motives, its identity or both (and may try). Such attempts may be ineffective, however, as those asked to take the other side of such trades try very hard as you know to find out exactly what is going on and many do well succeed in these days of rapid communications and access to many sources of information succeed.

Most securities are sold in very standard ways which requires payment and electronic notification of delivery within the standard settlement period (standard is three Business as opposed to calendar days). On rare occasions, a sale may be made as a cash transaction requiring payment immediately on receipt. Sometimes as a reward or as in effect a marketing or sales promotion payment may be extended over a longer time period ?usually 15, 30 or 60 days.

Sometimes in the case of new issues a payment extension period is also granted for the same reasons as above.

It would be extremely insufficient if every securities transaction had to end with a physical delivery of transfer of actual share certificates from seller to buyer. A brokerage firms might well sell 1000 shares of ABC Co. for one client. , Mr. Stevens to another client and later that day buy 1000 shares for Mr. Felon obtained by accepting delivery from her seller. Mr. Stevens’s shares could be delivered to his buyer, and Mr. Felon’s shares could be obtained by accepting delivery from her seller.

However, it would be much easier to transfer Mr. Steven’s shares to Mr. Felon and instruct Felon’s seller to deliver the 1000 shares directly to Mr. Steven’s buyer.

This would be especially helpful if the brokerage firm’s clients Mr. Felon and

In Value Stock Investing, Quality is Job One

1063

How do we create a confidence building Stock Selection Universe? Simply operating on blind faith with one of the common definitions may be too simplistic, particularly since many of the numbers originate from the subject companies.

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How much financial bloodshed is necessary before we realize that there is no safe and easy shortcut to investment success? When do we learn that most of our mistakes involve greed, fear, or unrealistic expectations about what we own? Eventually, successful investors begin to allocate assets in a goal directed manner by adopting a realistic Investment Strategy… an ongoing security selection and monitoring process that is guided by realistic expectations, selection rules, and management guidelines. If you are thinking of trying a strategy for a year to see if it works, you’re due for another smack up alongside the head! Viable Investment Strategies transcend cycles, not years, and viable Equity Investment Strategies consider three disciplined activities, the first of which is Selection. Most familiar strategies ignore one of the others.

How should an investor determine what stocks to buy, and when to buy them? Will Rogers summed it up: “Only buy stocks that go up. If they aren’t going to go up, don’t buy them.” Many have misread this tongue-in-cheek observation and joined the “Buy (anything) High” club. I’ve found that the “Buy Value Stocks Low (er)” approach works better. A Google search produces a variety of criteria that help to identify Value Stocks, the standards being low Price to Book Value, low P/E ratios, and other “fundamentals”. But you would be surprised how the definitions can vary, and how few include the word “Quality”. In the late 90’s, it was rumored that a well-known Value Fund Manager was asked why he wasn’t buying dot-coms, IPOs, etc. When he said that they didn’t qualify as Value Stocks, he was told to change his definition… or else.

How do we create a confidence building Stock Selection Universe? Simply operating on blind faith with one of the common definitions may be too simplistic, particularly since many of the numbers originate from the subject companies. Also, some of the figures may be difficult to obtain quickly, and it is essential not to get bogged down in endless research. Here are five filters you can use to come up with a selection universe of higher quality companies, and you can obtain all of the data inexpensively from the same source:

1. An S & P Rating of B+ or Better. Standard & Poor’s is a major financial data provider to the investment community, and its “Earnings and Dividend Rankings for Common Stocks” combine many fundamental and qualitative factors into a letter ranking that speaks only to the financial viability of the rated companies. Potential market performance (a guessing game anyway) is not a consideration. B+ and above ratings are considered Investment Grade. Anything rated lower adds an element of unnecessary speculation to your portfolio. A staff of thousands does your research for you.

2. A History of Profitability. Although it should seem obvious, buying stock in a company that has a history of profitable operations is less risky than acquiring shares in an unproven, or start-up entity. Profitable operations adapt more readily to changes in markets, economies, and business growth opportunities. They are more likely to produce profit opportunities for you quickly.

3. A History of Regular Dividend Payments. The payment of regular dividends, and periodic increases in rate paid, are sure signs of economic viability. Companies will go to great lengths, and endure great hardships, before electing either to cut or to omit a dividend. There is no need to focus on the size of the dividend itself; Equities should not be purchased as income producers. A further benefit of using dividend payment as one of your selection criteria is the clear indication of financial stress that a cut communicates.

4. A Reasonable Price Range. You will find that most Investment Grade stocks are priced above $10 per share and that only a few trade at levels above $100. If you have a seven-figure portfolio, price may not matter from a diversification standpoint, but in smaller portfolios, a round lot of a $50 stock may be too much to risk in one position. An unusually high price may be caused by an unusually high degree of sector or company specific speculation while an inordinately low price may be a good warning signal. With no real structural size limitations, I feel comfortable with a range between $10 and $90 per share… but I would avoid most issues at the higher level.

5. A NYSE Listed Security. I’m not sure that the listing requirements for the NYSE are still more restrictive than elsewhere, but it is helpful to be able to focus on just one set of statistics since most of the information you need regularly is reported by Exchange (Market Stats, Issue Breadth, and New Highs vs. New Lows).

Your Selection Universe will become the backbone of your Equity Investment Program, so there is no room for creative adjustments to the rules and guidelines you’ve established… no matter how strongly you feel about recent news or rumor. Now you can focus on operating procedures that will help you diversify properly by position size, industry, etc., and on guidelines that will help you identify which stocks should be watched closely for purchase when the price is right. Keeping in mind that you want to sell each Equity Position at a target profit ASAP, you’ll want to establish appropriate buying (and selling) rules. For example, I never consider buying a stock until it has fallen at least 20% from its highest level of the past 52 weeks, so I include those that are close or at this price level on a “Daily Watch List”. Then, I select those that I would be willing to add to equity portfolios if they fall a bit more during the trading day. Your actual “Buy List” changes every day in both symbol and limit price.

You will need to apply consistent and disciplined judgment to your final selection process, but you can be confidant that you are choosing from a select group of higher quality, well-established companies, with a proven track record of profitability and owner awareness. Additionally, as these companies gyrate above and below your purchase price (as they absolutely will), you can be more confident that it is merely the nature of the stock market and not an imminent financial disaster… and that should help you sleep nights.

By the way, never say no to a profit when the upward movement equals 10%, and you’ll be able to do it again, and again, and again.

Blockbuster Miscalculated

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Blockbuster (BBI) is a perfect example of what can go wrong when you misread the industry trends and then realizing it, try desperately to catch up.

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Blockbuster (BBI) is a perfect example of what can go wrong when you misread the industry trends and then realizing it, try desperately to catch up. In the period from late 2001 to 2002, Blockbuster was the leader in the video rental business. Its shares were trading at nearly $30 a share and its market-cap was at around $5.75 billion.

But there was a trend developing towards movie rentals via the Internet. Blockbuster failed to recognize the growing significance of Internet video rentals, a very poor miscalculation on its part. The shares have steadily declined to the current $3.80 to $4.20 channel. Once a large-cap, Blockbuster is now a small-cap and struggling to regain any sense of direction. The company has entered into the Internet DVD rental business but it has a lot of catching up to do.

Fundamentally, Blockbuster has lost money in the last three straight quarters and struggling to grow its revenues, which are forecasted to increase a mere 1.1% in fiscal 2006. Its estimated five-year earnings growth rate is a mere 2.5% per annum, which is pitiful.

Blockbuster also has to deal with its massive debt load of $1.27 billion or a debt-to-equity of 2.73:1, which suggests a weak balance sheet. Couple this with poor working capital and you understand the high financial risk. Faced with stagnant revenue growth and losses, Blockbuster faces a difficult upside battle to regain its lost glory. The odds are stacked against it.

In the face of Blockbuster is online DVD rental company Netflix (NFLX), which debuted in May 200, trading at close to $40 in 2004 before sinking to the $10 level in 2005 before the rally.

Netflix saw the future for DVD rentals and it was online and not via the “brick and mortal?route that Blockbuster decided to maintain. In direct opposite to Blockbuster, Netflix is profitable and has been for the last three straight quarters. It has 4.2 million subscribers and growing. Its revenues are growing and expected to surge 32.5% in fiscal 2007 whereas Blockbuster is seeing non-existent revenue growth.

Blockbuster has entered into the online DVD rental arena but it is well behind Netflix. Moreover, Netflix also operates the online DVD rental business for Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), after the retail giant decided to shut down its own online DVD rental unit and instead let Netflix run it.

Trading at 36.73x its estimated FY06 EPS, Netflix is not cheap. But if it can continue its strong growth and earn the estimated $1.11 per share for the FY07, the valuation becomes more reasonable. The pressure is clearly on Netflix to deliver but it is on the correct path.

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