Top Charting Web Sites

Posted on July 2, 2012 | Investing

The FreeStockCharts site (formerly BestFreeCharts) is a relative newcomer to the online charting arena, but has already made quite an impression on us. From Worden Brothers, the maker of the popular TC2007 charting software, the site offers charting, scanning, and portfolio tracking on a free and fee-based basis. The site is unique in that it offers free streaming “real-time” charts of stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), indexes, and forex (foreign exchange) without exchange fees. It does this by providing real-time data from the BATS (better alternative trading system) exchange.

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Making Sense of Profits Using Profitability Ratios

Posted on June 11, 2012 | Investing

Long-term investors buy shares of a company with the expectation that the company will produce a growing future stream of cash or earnings.

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The Basics: What Is the Over-the-Counter Market?

Posted on May 31, 2012 | Investing

“Over-the-counter,” or OTC, is a term loosely applied to securities that aren’t listed on an organized exchange—such as the New York, American, Midwest, Boston, Pacific or Philadelphia exchange. OTC securities are traded through at least two, but often numerous “market makers” who maintain bids and offers for the securities they trade. Securities that trade on a listed exchange are quoted by a solo “specialist” who is charged with maintaining orderly trading in a security.

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Extreme Anxiety: Evaluating Current Market Levels

Posted on May 24, 2012 | Investing

Keeping an eye on the market over the last year may have given you a bad case of emotional whiplash, with its apparent moves from one extreme to the other. It is easy to get swept up in the euphoria of a bull market as market levels rise, and then succumb to the deep pessimism of a bear market as the bottom apparently drops out of the market. However, markets rarely stay at historical extremes; eventually, they move back toward “normal” levels, although the speed of this adjustment is far from certain. The big question is: What is a “normal” level?

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Shareholder Letter Revelations: Can You Trust the Leadership?

Posted on May 22, 2012 | Investing

Judging a firm’s leaders is an important step in analyzing a stock for investment. But it’s a murky area that offers no solid statistics to review. And most investors don’t get the chance to actually meet a company’s CEO and other officers in order to get a feel for how the firm is run.

The one window into a CEO’s perspective and goals is the shareholder letter contained in the annual report. But upon reading one, you might find that you can’t understand what the CEO is trying to say. Often, shareholder letters are riddled with jargon and glossy prose that convey no information. Six of the most popular CEO letter clichés…

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Is R-I-S-K Really a Four-Letter Word?

Posted on May 11, 2012 | Investing

It is to some—and it is certainly something that most people try to avoid. But in the investment world, risk is impossible to avoid. In fact, risk and long-term rewards are generally related.

Low-risk investments—high-quality bond funds and other fixed-income alternatives—produce more annual income and are more stable, but have no real growth potential.

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Earnings Estimates and Their Impact on Stock Prices

Posted on May 10, 2012 | Investing

How often have you seen a stock’s price fall after the company announced increased earnings?

In these instances, actual earnings did not turn out as the market expected.

In fact, expectations play a key role in determining if a stock’s price “gains” or “loses” when actual earnings are reported.

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REITs–Real Estate Investment Trusts

Posted on May 9, 2012 | Investing

A real estate investment trust (REIT) is a corporation or trust that purchases and manages income property and/or mortgage loans. REITs were created by the U.S. Congress in 1960, with the intention of making large-scale, income-producing real estate accessible to small investors.

REITs are similar to traditional stocks in that the securities are traded on major exchanges. However, unlike a company that manufactures, markets or distributes goods or services to customers, a REIT owns and operates income-producing real estate, such as apartments, shopping centers, offices, hotels and warehouses.

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401(k) Plan Pluses and Minuses: How Does It Add Up?

Posted on May 8, 2012 | Investing

Retirement is a long way down the road for many employees-an event that is barely visible on the distant financial horizon. For these individuals, retirement plans may not seem particularly important.

However, the decision over whether you should contribute to a 401(k) plan can have a big impact on your long-term financial future.

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Getting Started: Developing an Investing Plan From Ground Level

Posted on April 29, 2012 | Investing

“Start investing early” is perhaps the most common advice given to the younger generation. The benefits of starting a plan at an early age, allowing time to help savings and investment results accumulate, are fairly obvious.

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