Friday, October 5, 2007

Are You Getting Scared?

Are you getting scared by another potential Chinese stock meltdown? On Tuesday 27th February 2007, Shanghai stock market plunged by 8.8% and it brings the world market with it. Back home, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 400 points while the Nasdaq Composite index weakened by 99 points. It is long overdue. Chinese Exchange Traded Funds such as Xinhua China 25 index (FXI) and Greater China Fund Inc. (GCH) plunged 9.9% and 13.7% respectively. The Chinese market has leaped 130% in 2006 and trading at all time high before the precipitous fall. As an investor, what adjustment should you make in case similar drop occur in the future?

Well, the answer is nothing. If you have been investing in stocks below fair value, the recent drop should make your stock is a more compelling opportunity. Let me revisit what fair value of a common stock is quickly. When interest rate in your local bank is 4% and the 10 year treasury bond yields 5%, your common stock should yield more than that. Some wants 6%, others may want 7% from their common stock yield. In the case of 7% yield from a common stock, the fair value of a common stock under this circumstance is when it reaches a Price Earning ratio of (1/ 7%) = 14.28. This means that for a stock trading at $ 14.28, its profit per share should be at least $ 1.00.

That is fair value in brief. Our job as investors however is to buy stocks that is trading below fair value, not at fair value. Fair value is the point when we sell our investment. Thus, even when other markets are doing bad, your stock is already trading below fair value anyway and other investors may in fact flee to undervalued common stocks when things turn sour.

Therefore, during the market correction, you should watch out for potential investments that you have always want to buy but at a lower price. For example, some potential common stocks for investment that fell include: Novell Inc. (NOVL), Dell Inc. (DELL), Advance Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) or perhaps OmniVision Technologies Inc. (OVTI). You can be sure that stocks with highest Price Earning ratio tends to fall the hardest in a brute sell off.

The moral of the story is don't get scared. You also need to know the fair value of your common stock before pressing that buy button. Once you have done the proper research, you will be less likely to be panic and sell at an unfortunate time. Oh yes, it does take time. There is no free lunch.

Novice Investing is the online investing guide for beginners. You can also submit investing articles here

Daytrading And How To Get Started

One working definition of a Day Trader is, A person whose goal is to make his or her profits from a security in the shortest amount of time [preferably during a single day.] Though this definition is simplified, the day-to-day job of a Day Trader is a far more complex series of events and strategies that must be learned and implemented.

My description of daytrading has largely been based on past experiences with the markets, as well as the changes in the markets and the global economies themselves. Keep in mind; the stock market is not your friend. Much like war, in day trading and/or short-term investing, you are pitting your wits against every other person in the market. Every dollar you make is on the back of someone else's losses. Your goal is to win with your investments and your trading, and that requires someone else to lose. Try to make sure it's not you. Never forget that, and you'll be off to a much better start in the markets.

How risky is daytrading? Well, before you read on any further, imagine taking about $10,000 in crisp, brand new one hundred dollars bills out into the backyard. Put them on the ground and douse them in lighter fluid. Then strike a match. Don't burn your money just yet, but just stand there. That's about how risky daytrading is.

Always remember: at any given time, when you are daytrading for a living, you are risking probably that much money (if not quite a bit more), and your money is in perhaps just as much risk. While we are not suggesting that you actually set fire to your money in the backyard, our analogy is fairly accurate. If that bothers you, then perhaps you might consider another line of work, or a good mutual fund, because I don't know any good day traders that haven't seen at least $10,000 go up in a puff of smoke during market hours. It's simply unrealistic to expect to be able to trade professionally and profitably from day one. Mistakes will be made; lessons will be learned; money will be lost as you learn. It's a never-ending process to a large degree. In fact, the day you feel you have mastered the markets, that's the day you get your head handed to you.

In the years I have traded, I have seen many people come and go. I've seen people make and lose large sums of money very quickly. I have made and lost large sums of money very quickly! I've seen stocks go from pennies to hundreds of dollars and back again, taking traders and investors for a ride in both directions. And yet, still, in all the years I have been in this business, I am sure of only one thing about the stock market--that I have not seen it all yet. If anyone claims to have all the answers about the stock market, or claims to be the only person you should listen to - run, don't walk away from them and/or their services.

One of the most frequently asked questions is, How much capital do I need? It is a somewhat difficult question to answer. How much do you really need in order to start day trading? How big a "stake" (a term used to refer to your starting capital) is required to get going? The only answer is that it's different for each person, and it's something you must consider for yourself before you start. However, I personally feel, in general, you should have enough trading capital to purchase between 500 to 1000 shares of any given stock. Ideally, this would be without having to use margin.

If you are in the habit of trading $40 to $80 stocks, this could mean you need as much as $40,000 to start. At the same time, one can trade with as little as $10,000 and get their feet wet. It also doesn't hurt to have enough capital to diversify into several different positions (two to five generally) at one time - each with say 300 to 500 shares. Just remember, if you are starting small, keep your expectations realistic. Certainly, someone trading with $10,000 to $20,000 is going to have a much more difficult time generating $1,000 per day than someone using $100,000 or more. As long as you keep this in perspective, it will help keep you grounded as you begin learning.

When you get into the bigger leagues of day trading, then it's nice to be able to "step on" (i.e. purchase or short) a "block" or two of stock. This would be generally defined as 10,000 shares of stock. This typically is going to require $500,000 or more of trading capital, plus some use of margin in limited situations and for a limited time. When you reach this level, it's easy to see how daytrading can become quite profitable (and quite risky!). A few points (or even a few fractions) across 10,000 shares can return quite a bit of money quite rapidly. Just remember it goes both ways; you can quickly lose quite a bit as well.

As you can see there's no right or wrong answer with regard to how much you need to start. Simply keep your objectives in perspective and reasonable. This will go a long way to giving you a good start in the markets. Also understand that if you are starting small, factoring in things such as equipment fees and transaction costs may become much more important.

Good luck in the markets!

No permission is needed to reproduce an unedited copy of this article as long the About The Author tag is left in tact and hot links included.

Ray Johns is the founder and Senior Market Editor of, Proudly serving day traders & short-term investors since 1996, at is the publishers of the award winning Morning Stock Market Report and the home of the Internets finest real time trading desk. Ray has been on the forefront of trading and investing in the markets and has appeared as a guest on a number of radio and television shows including CNBCs Market Talk. If you would like a free trail of the newsletter and the live trading desk log on to Comments and questions can be sent to

Ways To Invest Money-How To Make A Fortune No Matter Which Investment You Choose

Many people today want to know the best ways to invest money today to help them get rich overnight. Unfortunately, rarely is there such a thing. You can certainly can make a lot of money with your investments, but they will often take some time.

Unfortunately, most investors arent willing to wait to make their money. They want it all now. Thats why we see so many investors losing a fortune on the stock market today.

When they invest, they arent doing so for the long term. They just want a quick buck and then get out.

In contrast, the worlds top investors view all their investments (whether it be in real estate the stock market) as a long term cash flow stream. Instead of looking for ways to invest money where they can get in and make a $100,000 overnight, they are only interested if it will provide long term residual income.

The vast majority of investors dont think this way. For instance, in the market, a typical investor might look at a stock and see that its been going up for the past week.

They wont check out the companies financial records or what kind of future potential it has. All they will look at is the stock price. If this is going up, they invest.

The worlds top investors do not do this. They will generally only invest in a company if it has exhibited a long profitable history and its future outlook looks promising. Only then will they put down their money.

This same mentality applies with real estate. Most people think that real estate investors make their money buy buying for a certain price and turning around and immediately selling it for $100,000 more.

While some do partake in this activity, the vast majority will only invest if the long term profits look good. They will usually invest in order to rent it to a tenant and obtain a long term passive income stream.

Therefore, no matter what field you are looking to start investing in, whether it be real estate or the stock market, always remember this: dont get lured in by fast profits. Yes, such events do occur, but more often than not it is simply catching lighting in a bottle. Very often, the investors who you hear about who make a killing overnight just about always lose it all in another investment shortly after.

The real wealthy investors are always looking for long term income in their investments. If it isnt there, they will simply wait and go on to the next. The best ways to invest money is always looking for long term profits, not a quick buck.

To learn to invest money and for other investing advice, try checking out This is a popular investment site that gives money investment advice to help you achieve financial freedom.

A Butterfly Flaps Its Wings, Chaos Theory And The Financial Markets

According to Chaos Theory, a seemingly irrelevant action can precipitate, and contribute to, a major event. The right set of factors comes together and a major event takes place.

It's easy to imagine a fanciful chain of events that would initiate a market move.

A housewife attends to her crying child who has tripped over the newspaper, and in doing so, leaves the refrigerator open during an unseasonably warm day. It breaks down, and the family needs a new one.

To get funds for a new refrigerator and some added home repairs, she sells off a large chunk of IBM stock that her parents gave her as a wedding present.

By pure chance, at the moment that she sells the stock, a specialist monitoring the action gets it in his head that the sale of a large chunk of stock means something, so he sells off his positions in the tech sector.

Next, a financial reporter sees the sale and tries to interpret it. He reports that it reflects a shortage of silicon and suggests investors unload their tech stocks immediately.

Many people follow his advice and a massive sell off takes place.
Perhaps it seems a little unlikely that all of this can happen, but you get the idea.

Just like how scientists claim, according to Chaos Theory, that a butterfly can start a hurricane, you can imagine that a few key seemingly minor events can start a major market move

Is It Economic Factors? Or Fear And Greed?
Many investors view the markets from a traditional long-term buy-and-hold strategy. They look at the markets in terms of fundamental variables, such as consumer confidence, demand, and general economic factors that impact a stock price.

If a company makes profits that are in high demand, the price goes up.

Market timers though, realize that many market moves are the result of psychological factors, such as opinions or emotions of fear and greed. In the short-term, anything can happen, and it is vital to keep this in mind.

Nothing is certain in the markets, but is this something to worry about?

Not if you take precautions. By precautions, we mean "following a strategy that uses the ups and downs (trends) of the market itself to generate buy and sell signals."

This way you are always in the current trend, never miss a trend, and are never trading against the market's trend.

Worry Can Be The Doom Of Market Timers
Indeed, a potential chaotic event can be a good thing.

The initial event that set off a market move isn't important. Who cares why the masses buy or sell, for example, as long as you take advantage of the move?

Market timers must learn to view such moves as opportunities to profit.
If you have a timing signal that is ruined by an unexpected adverse event...the chaotic nature of the markets coming to the forefront... there is no reason to worry.

In fact, it is absolutely "going to happen." Signals will go against you. Accept this and you will profit. Worry so much that you jump out of a tried and true strategy because of a losing trade or two, and you will eventually fail at timing the markets.

If you are following a trend, and it unexpectantly reverses, the (trend following) strategy will quickly reverse and place you right back on the right path.

It is necessary to accept that trading can be chaotic. Anything can happen, but it doesn't need to be a source of worry. As long as losses are kept small, and profits are allowed to run, you will beat the markets.

Worry can be the doom of market timers and traders, but if you accept the fact that uncertainty and chaos are part of the inherent nature of the markets, you will accept it when it occurs and recognize that this same chaos is what will make you profitable in the end.

A losing trade here. A losing trade there. All meaningless in the big picture. By following trends, which is FibTimer's market timing specialty, you are always profitable over time.

You profit in "all" of the big trends. By following trends with FibTimer's timing strategies, you are always with the big market moves when they occur...and there is always a big move (trend) just around the corner.

Surety Bonds Roles and Responsibility

Surety bond plays a major role in the development of the economy. In every business environment surety bonds are the most needed requirement to fulfill their aspects in a correct form. Nowadays, trends have been changed and people want to compile their requirements legally. So, every obligee requires their business to be done legally. Surety bond explains the essential factors and their requirements in the economy. The main purpose of issuing surety bonds is to give a guaranteed performance of contract. Generally, most of contractors enters in to a contract and do not complete the contract as per the terms and conditions of contract. Each party involved in the process has a defined responsibility and role with one another.

In case of breach of contract by the obligator, this surety bonds will be more helpful for the obligee to sue both principal and surety in the court of law. Surety bonds are issued in different types and at different premiums as per the requirements of the obligee. Nowadays, surety bonds are needed in all business environments. A surety bond determines the responsibility and roles of different people who are engaged in the contract. When the person engaged in the business, he is obliged to obtain a license from the department. To obtain this license, the applicant is required to procure surety bonds of many kinds as per their business. Without license, no person can engage in the business, also without surety bonds no person can obtain license from the prescribed department.

Therefore surety bonds describe the responsibility and role played in the economy. Surety bond classifies the main aspects needed for the business and provides a better solution to solve the problem. It offers responsibility to the people engaged as per their functionality and requirements. The roles and responsibility of surety bonds offers a better solution and benefit for the persons engaged. The roles and responsibility of surety bond determines the functionality and consideration of various activities involved in the process. The process will be made essential when it is organized by the contractor properly. It is the responsibility of the obligator to complete the contract within the time and contract price mentioned in the terms and condition of the contract.

The surety bond explains the roles and responsibility of the person involved in the contract, namely the principal, the owner, the surety. The obligator is a person who performs the contract as per the terms and conditions of the contract and gives a guaranteed performance to the owner. The obligee is an owner who has to make payment appropriately to the contractor within the contract time. Surety is a third party involved in the roles of surety bonds. A surety is a person who guarantees the obligee that the principal will perform the contract as per the terms and conditions of the contract. The surety explains the responsibility of the contractor to the obligee with a guaranteed compliance. When the principal fails to perform his obligation, the surety can be asked to complete the contract or pay any compensation for the loss incurred. Therefore surety bond will perform the roles and responsibility for the economy in the prescribed form.

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Forex Is The Best and More Lucrative Home Based Business?

The first reason why you should trade the forex market is because it is the most lucrative home based business. Although It is not a new market, it is still unknown by non traders. It is more amazing when you know that most of the traders are not aware of the huge opportunity of the forex. The Forex or Foreign Exchange Currency Market is open to the public since 1998. With the economic situation today and the fear of most of the people worldwide to wake up a morning and be jobless, without resources to feed their family, there is an increasing need in lucrative home based business.

On another hand, it is really difficult to find a real opportunity which will allow you to make a living from your home computer. You got to put hours of recherches and invest some hard earned money, with the fear of being involved in a scam company. Let' s say you found a good opportunity, and honestly, there is a lot of legitimate business you can make a lot of money if you are serious. But, is that what you really want? Most of the opportunities on the web today, even if you make big profits, are held by someone else. That mean that when you participate in those turnkey businesses, you do not have any control.

It is really amazing to see all these people who want freedom, more time with their family and friends, more time for their favorite hobbies... and the most important, fire their boss, going the same way. To understand, they want to be free, they found that on the web you can make money and be free, all that they need, but if you look at the situation, 80% of these people fired their boss, to meet another boss on the Internet! A virtual boss, who is making them work, but they don't feel it, because they have the impression to be free, they work wherever and whenever they want, and better than all that, they have never seen their boss. People make money in these programs, they may win $5000 a month or more but actually, the owner of the program is making tons of money.

There is a way to make much more money on the web that you think now, and Internet seekers and people in general should discover trading, specially the forex market. While the word market could intimidate some people, believe it, no one must be afraid about that, and think about the difficult stock market, or commodities, futures... The forex market which is also called FX is not really as difficult as it seems. There is not that much technical vocabulary to learn, and the risk is considerably low, if you compare to the other markets like the stock for instance.

The fact that home businesses seekers should really consider is that you can choose at which time to trade, and where you want to trade; you need only an Internet connection, and that's it, you are ready to tape in the biggest market of the world with $1,5 trillion activity everyday in the same way banks and large corporation do it and it is not difficult at all. Rather it is simple, and the methods already tested by serious traders will help you in your adventure.

To trade forex, you don' t need to have a lot of money to start( just $300 will be a good start), you can trade at any time, from anywhere, with a Internet connection, you will not have an order pending because of lack of liquidity, you will not have to work all during the day.

The forex market has many advantages over the other traditional investments, and for sure, it will give you more freedom, and more money.

Get Forex Freedom. Discover a simple and powerful technique which turn $300 into $30,000 in as little as 6 Months. Master The Forex Market With The Forex Mentor

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Economic Data and Its Influence on the Financial Markets

The things which contribute to price levels and action in the financial markets are numerous and diverse, and their influences can vary through time, and across different markets. This article identifies the different types of Economic Data influences and the role they play.

There are two ways economic information can influence prices. The first is in the macro sense. Macroeconomic inputs include:

  • Interest Rates
  • Economic Growth (GDP)
  • Government Budget Surpluses/Deficits
  • Trade Balances
  • Commodity Prices
  • Relative Currency Exchanges Rates
  • Inflation
  • Corporate Earnings (both for individual companies and the broad collection)

These elements will generally all have long-term inputs in to the pricing of any given market. They do not tend to move in sharp, dramatic fashion, so their influences also tend to be seen over longer periods of time.

That said, the release of economic data related to the above can be seen to have serious impact in the short-term activity in the markets. This comes primarily in the form of data releases. Some of the most important are:

  • Employment Data
  • Trade Data
  • GDP growth figures
  • Consumer & Producer Inflation rates
  • Retail and Wholesale Sales
  • Confidence & Sentiment Readings (U. Michigan survey, etc.)
  • Income & Spending
  • Production
  • Interest Rate policy decisions
  • Earnings releases

The markets can react in very, very dramatic fashion to these releases when they are out of line with expectations. The foreign exchange market, namely the EUR/USD exchange rate, provides a striking example.

On one Friday morning at 8:30 Eastern the monthly Non-Farm Payrolls report hit the wires. This report (released on the first Friday of each month) probably provides the most short-term volatility across all market sectors of any regular economic release. When the data comes in well off of market expectations, fireworks can ensue, as was the case in the example. Over the course of about 2-3 minutes EUR/USD fell more than 20 pips, turned around and rose about 60 pips, then fell back down to near where it had been before the data was announced (a pip being 1/10,000 of a Dollar). It then proceeded to run nearly 100 pips higher in fairly steady fashion over the course of the next hour.

Here is another example, this time of T-Bond futures.

When those payroll figures were released at 8:30 the market dropped more than two full points. One point on the T-Bond futures contract is worth $1000, so each contract fell more than $2000 in about two minutes. Consider that the margin on a contract at the time was probably around $2500. That means a trader could have lost more than 80% on the trade in the blink of an eye.

It is also important to understand that in the futures pits such data events often result in fast market conditions. This means that the action is so hectic that there may literally be trading going on at several different prices in different parts of the pit. This is a risk of having open positions at the time of a major news release. The market may snap back fairly quickly, as in the chart above, but in the meantime the traders positions may have been liquidated on a stop order at a substantial loss.

Fortunately, all major economic releases are well documented. They are done on a pre-announced calendar which is readily available on any number of web sites, and of course in the business news media. In the vast majority of cases, one can also find out ahead of time from any number of sources what the expectations are for the release.

Foreknowledge of pending data events may not prevent losses which may result from unexpected figures. It will, however, allow the trader to recognize and understand when risks are increased. Make sure, especially if you are a short-term trader, to know what data is coming out. It can make a difference in your performance.

John Forman is author of The Essentials of Trading (Wiley - April 2006), and a near 20 year veteran of trading and analyzing the markets. Visit Anduril Analytics to learn more about his trading, market analysis, and research activities and to find out how you can get a copy of Anduril's free report on what every trader and investor needs to succeed.

Taking Penny Stock Risks

The term penny stocks generally refers to any stocks that trade outside the major stock exchanges and is taken as 'deprecatory'. The major stock exchanges would include: NASDAQ, AMEX, or NYSE. The term Penny stock is also often used interchangeably with small caps and nano caps. The title of penny stock however should be determined by the share price rather than the listing service or market capitalization.

Penny stocks often have market caps lower than $500 million. This makes it highly speculative for those who trade low volumes 'over the counter'. Some believe that penny stocks are difficult to sell once purchased because of the difficulty in locating quotes on particular penny stocks. Investors in these stocks are expected to understand that the loss of their entire investment is a viable risk.

Despite the risks involved, penny stocks are attractive to new investors because of the low initial price and the possibility of quick payouts of up to 100 percent in some circumstances. Just as there is the potential of high profits, that potential comes with the risk of substantial losses.

Penny stocks are considered high-risk investments. As a result investors should be aware that these stocks have a limited amount of liquidity and fraud in addition to a lack of financial reporting.

Penny stocks have fewer shareholders. This makes them less liquid than stocks of larger companies. It also means that it will buy and sell less shares. The fact that less shares are traded generally results in unpredictable stock prices. This can either make the prices rise sharply or suddenly decline. The lack of liquidity within this market leaves it wide open to exploitations by market makers, management, and other parties.

These stocks can also be difficult to sell quickly as some days there simply are no buyers.

Another reason for this lack of liquidity is the minimal listing requirements for smaller market listings as compared to NASDAQ or NYSE. Companies that have fallen below requirements for the larger exchanges have the opportunity to get listed on the OTCBB or Pink Sheets.

If you are comparing Pink Sheets to the major exchanges you might want to take note of the fact that Pink Sheets have very few regulatory requirements for those being listed. In other words, there is little protection in place for shareholders by way of accounting standards, notifications of ownerships of shares, etc.

These things combined make penny stocks very attractive tools for fraud. This does not at all mean that all stocks listed on the OTCBB are untrustworthy, it simply means that you should keep your eyes open when making deals on this market

Become a better investor with info on penny stocks funds, tips on stock market basics and help with penny stocks listing nasdaq at 1source4stocks.

Learn This Before You Trade Futures

This is REQUIRED knowledge for anyone who is thinking about or actively involved in trading futures. Not another trade should ever be placed unless you have a complete understanding of how to use options to create synthetic futures.

What is a Synthetic Future position?

It is the strategy of buying and selling options that allow you to emulate outright futures contracts.

Why would I want to emulate a futures contract using options?

For some serious account protection in the event that you caught in a market that is making limit moves against your position, and there is no trading allowing you to get out.

If you have been trading futures for any real length of time, it is likely that you have at one time or another been in a trade at the time the market goes limit up or down. Perhaps you were fortunate to be on the correct side of the move, or perhaps you had the unfortunate experience of being on the wrong side.

Being on the wrong side of a limit move can really do some serious damage to your mental well-being. The feeling of being 'trapped' comes to mind. However, this feeling need not ever happen to you as long as you understand how options can help you turn off the mounting of additional losses.

Back in 1993, the lumber market found itself trading limit up for several days. Traders that were short lumber futures at that time were unable to buy back their contracts in order to exit the market. Those that were not familiar with using options to create synthetic futures positions suffered devastating losses. Each contract accumulated losses totaling nearly $9000 until some very limited trading occurred. If the short trader was unable to offset his position at that time, the trader was then stuck for more limit up moves that eventually totaled about $25,000 per contract!

However, those traders that understood how to use options as synthetic futures positions were able to stop the bleeding the very first limit up day. By using options to create a synthetic long futures position, this offset the short position effectively removing the trader from any additional losses.

How do you create a Synthetic futures position?

If you want to create a synthetic long position, you would Buy an ATM (at-the-money) CALL and Sell an ATM PUT at the same strike price. If you want to create a synthetic short position, you would Buy an ATM PUT and Sell an ATM CALL at the same strike.

Why not just purchase the option rather than selling one also?

This question has been asked of me in the past. If the market was limit up and you were short, why not just buy a CALL option in the event prices continued limit up the next day or so? The answer is simple: A larger than necessary loss.

With the example just outlined, while buying the CALL would protect you against additional losses if the market were to continue limit up, it would be very expensive and the cost would be added to what you have already lost due to the limit move. By selling a PUT at the same strike, the premium you collect will offset the premium you paid for the CALL. There may be a slight difference in price between the two options due to the increased volatility, but if you create the synthetic at the time of the first limit move, it will be much more manageable than if you wait and suffer additional limit moves against you. The spread in premium between the two options will of course be added to your overall losses, but you will then have effectively offset your position from any further losses.

How does it work?

So say you are short futures and the market goes limit up. The price is currently 350 in Soybeans. You Buy a 350 CALL @ $900 and Sell a 350 PUT @ $825. The cost of the synthetic to you is $75 in this case. Your short futures is now offset by the synthetic long option position. If price continued higher, the CALL would cover it. If prices stopped moving limit up and actually moved down, the short futures would cover the short PUT option. Therefore, you have effectively offset your position at 351.50 (the additional 1.50 covers the $75 cost of the option spread).

Before you trade futures, or continue to do so, be sure you understand how synthetic future positions are created using options. Also, if you find yourself on the wrong side of a limit move, do not hesitate to put on the position. The longer you wait, you more you may end up paying for the premium spread.

Learn more on how to lower your risk and increase your profit potential with other free articles found at our Precision Timing of the Futures Commodity and Forex Markets site.

Forex - Trading With The Stop Loss And Trailing Stop

There are various risk management tools available to the trader in the foreign exchange (FOREX) market. Two of the most common ones are the stop loss and the trailing stop. What are they and what are they used for? Are they necessary for successful trading? This article will help you to understand these concepts and provide answers to these questions.

Stop Loss
The platforms provided by many online FOREX brokers contain built-in features such as the stop loss and the trailing stop to help manage certain risks inherent in trading. A stop loss is a feature which allows the trader to pre-determine the price level at which the position will be automatically closed should the market move unfavorably against the open position. The primary benefit of the stop loss is to put a cap on the amount of loss a trader is willing to suffer. A well-placed stop loss is an essential component of an effective trading strategy. There are, however, traders who trade without a stop loss or trade with the stop loss set improperly. Both of these approaches are courting disaster.

Day traders will typically have a different approach to setting a stop loss than those who take long-term positions. Because they are more interested in making quick profits resulting from small market movements, the day traders will typically utilize a smaller stop loss. In contrast, the wider stop is favored by long-term traders who are less concerned with the smaller moves of currency prices, including the temporary reversals present in the trend. Such price reversals would normally trigger the smaller stop loss of the short-term or day trader. Positions taken by long-term traders may be open for several days or longer, experiencing a fair number of reversals on the way to the take-profit target. Consequently, the wider stops would be preferable to this breed.

Trailing Stop
A trailing stop is often utilized in connection with the stop loss. Indeed, it would be futile to attempt the trailing stop without first setting the stop loss. That is because the main purpose of the trailing stop is to move the stop loss incrementally in the direction of the profit target as the currency price moves way. Such has the effect of incrementally bagging profits while the position remains open. The original stop loss level cannot be reached by the price reversal without the traders position having first been closed automatically at the new stop loss level made possible by the trailing stop.

In a news trading situationgenerally characterized by rapid price movementa trader would ideally utilize the smallest incremental trailing stop allowed. The smaller the trailing stop, the more possibility there is for making and keeping pips without being subjected to the vagaries of whipsaws or other rapid reversals in currency price. As in the case of the stop loss itself, a smaller trailing stop would be favored by the short-term trader. For example, instead of waiting for the price to move 20 pips before the stop loss is moved and the 20-pip profit realized, the trader can realize profits earlier by setting the trailing stop at 10 pips, with the expectation of bagging 10 pips with each 10-pip move in the currency price. Although it would be a traders dream to have a trailing stop as low as 1 or 5, the lowest to be found on any brokers platform is probably 10. Still, by utilizing a well-place stop loss with the appropriate trailing stop, a trader can invest profitably and minimize the inevitable risks while preserving precious trading capital.

If you are ready to change your future by stepping into the exciting world of trading FOREX, go to for more information. Author Sandy Robinson, J.D. is part of the Winning Traders Association, an educational organization founded by John Beiler, President. The organization consists of a network of committed trainers and motivated traders willing to provide support to those interested in trading foreign exchange. Many of the members work from home.

Sandy Robinson, J.D.
Copyright 2007

Exchange Traded Funds

As the name put forward, Exchange Traded Funds are a blend of a stock and a mutual fund, in the logic that:

Similar to 'mutual funds' they contain a set of particular stocks - e.g. an index like Nifty, or a commodity - e.g. gold; and

Similar to equity shares they are 'traded' on the stock exchange on real-time basis. How it works?

In usual mutual funds, one buy/sell units directly from/to the primary market. First the money is collected from the investors to form the corpus. The fund managers then use this corpus to put together and manage the appropriate portfolio/ asset allocation based on the risk profile chosen.

Whenever you would like to redeem your units, a part of the portfolio is sold and you get paid for your units. The units in conventional mutual funds are, consequently, called 'in-cash' units. But in Exchange Traded Funds, we have somewhat called the 'authorized participants' .They will first deposit all the shares that comprise the index with the AMC and receive what is called the 'creation units' from the AMC. While these units are formed by depositing underlying shares, they are called 'in-kind' units.

Payback of investing in Exchange Traded Funds
Handy to trade as it can be bought/sold on the stock exchange at any time of the day when the market is open.
You can short-sell and ETFs or buy on margin or even purchase one unit, which is not possible with mutual funds.
Exchange Traded Funds are without interest managed, have low sharing costs and negligible managerial charges. For this reason most Exchange Traded Funds have lesser expense ratios than usual mutual funds.
Exchange traded funds are not something which is directly managed by the fund managers. Therefore, does not depend on the fund managers.

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Portfolio Diversification - Are All Your Eggs in One Basket?

Diversification is a way of looking at your investments and not putting all your eggs into one basket. This is generally done to balance your portfolio, so that when one section is not doing particularly well, your overall balance is maintained by other sections bolstering it. This can further be broken down into the sections of your portfolio, meaning that your stocks are not all in one sector, and bonds are not all a certain grade or from the same industry.

Two points of view on diversification of your portfolio. One is that you should diversify to minimize losses at any given time. This is the better safe than sorry or dont put all your eggs in one basket strategy. Many people are totally sold on this perspective, and I dont think that there is anything wrong with it. A rule of thumb is that the younger you are the higher percentage of your portfolio should be in stocks with a minimum 30% in bonds. This should gradually shift until by retirement you have 30% in stocks.This is to give you peace of mind in retirement, shifting to less risky investments with stable returns in a period of your life when you dont have time to recover from a swing in the market.

The other point of view is to put all your eggs in one basket and keep a very close eye on that basket. This means that if you have extreme confidence in a limited number of investments put most or all of your money in them and keep close track of how they are doing. Fortunes have been made and lost using this method.

I think there are merits to each point of view, and how you invest is a reflection of your personal outlook and where you are at in your life. Are you a risk taker? Are you close to retirement? Are you looking to make great gains, and can afford to take great losses? Risk and return. For the investor, new to the market, diversification makes sense, especially if you are handling your own finances and making your own decisions.

To get to basics diversity means having a variety in your portfolio, not only a mix of stocks and bonds, but also where the companies are located and what they do services, products, commodities, etc.

The question was raised whether having stocks in various companies was enough to protect you from a downturn in the economy, and truthfully there arent a lot of stocks that are going to do that, if you have all your money tied to US companies. So, to start out, you should have some diversification in location. Im not saying buy stock in Arctic and Antarctic companies. However, having some investments in Europe and Asia that compliment your US or North American holdings is a good idea.

A second factor to diversification is to make sure that your investments are also in different industries. For instance, if you invest in a hotel chain, you are putting money into the travel and tourism industry, but the stock price also reflects real estate holdings of the company. That means prices in the real estate market can affect the price of the stock. Also if tourism is down (maybe due to airline issues) the bottom line gets impacted. Those factors aside, you might also want to invest in a manufacturing stock and a mining company. This way your portfolio is multi-dimensional.

So, to take that one step further, if the hotel stock is strictly a US based company, perhaps you might want to look at a steel mill in Europe, and a mining company in Asia. (This is all just for illustration purposes.) These would all be complimented by a few selections of bonds to make up a percentage of your portfolio.

The point being made is having a bunch of different stocks, all in the electronic industry in the United States, is not diversification. Those are all tied together. (in a sense) If you have good timing having a group of stocks in one industry might serve you well. One example would be the dot com craze a few years back. That same example a short while later shows how diversity would have saved you some terrific losses.

I hope this information helped to educate, at least a bit, on the benefits of a mixed portfolio.

Robert Britt is married and a father of four. He is a published author and has a degree in Psychology from Albright College. Robert is a recognized expert in the field of personal finance, self-esteem and confidence building. He is a full time professional writer and speaker. Robert spent 13 years in the military and 14 years in manufacturing prior to self-employment. Please contact Rob at or visit