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Company spotlight Scottrade One of the most recognized and respected names in stock and commodities trading, Scottrade has been developing industry-standard tools for over three decades. The company offers several trading platforms and research tools, which could help you stay informed and ahead... Read Reviews
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Newly minted investors often turn to mutual funds to meet their financial goals and expectations instead of trading stocks on their own. The idea of taking the fate of your portfolio into your own hands can be intimidating and the availability of investment vehicles that offer diversification and automatic management all-in-one almost makes the decision seem like a no-brainer. But, despite the proliferation of mutual funds in the investment industry, they might not be the bargains they appear to be. There's been a lot pf discussion lately about the importance of mutual funds in a portfolio and whether or not they actually add more value than ETF's, stocks, or index funds. There's also evidence that most mutual funds consistently under-perform benchmark indexes, such as the S&P 500, indicating that the age of the mutual fund as an investment portfolio pillar may soon be coming to an end. The Hidden Disadvantages of Mutual Funds Most mutual funds appear to be complete investment vehicles with built-in diversification and professional management. But when we compare them to other investment vehicles and strategies, mutual funds tend… Read more

The energy industry has been on a bit of a roller coaster ride over the past few years. Oil prices crashed in the summer of 2014 as the threat of new oil production from non-OPEC sources, like U.S. shale oil, triggered a price war. OPEC nations pumped out more oil than global demand called for, creating a huge supply glut. As oil prices plummeted, many energy companies struggled to stay afloat, even as the low cost of oil benefited certain industries like transportation. But just a few years ago, the energy industry was looking at a different revolution in the form of alternative energy. Solar stocks were Wall Street darlings, with technology providing more cost-competitive means of production, that is until oil prices dropped and natural gas came back into focus. But fossil fuels are still a limited resource, while alternative energy continues to clear the path as a long term solution for energy. The State of Green Energy The Trump administration has not pulled any punches when it comes to their energy policies. Coal has been one of Donald Trump's… Read more

The technological revolution arguably began with the proliferation of the personal computer. From there global industries began to change incorporating technology into their everyday operations. Entirely new industries like telecommunications sprung up almost overnight and the world became interconnected in a way that had never before been seen in human history. A new emerging trend in technology known as IoT (Internet of Things) is proving to be just as disruptive. IoT is “smart” technology that interacts with other technology, allowing for things like energy grids to be able to self-repair or vehicles that can identify maintenance issues before they happen. But it's the retail industry that's undergoing a paradigm shift with the changes IoT is creating right now. A Closer Look at the State of Retail Consumer tastes are changing and the retail industry is struggling to keep up. The traditional brick-and-mortar model of customers walking into shops and making purchases is starting to lose its appeal. Now, people all over the globe are shopping online. Companies like Amazon are thriving because they're taking advantage of how consumers want to… Read more

Now that the election is over, investors have begun turning from hopeful optimism to nervous skepticism. The Trump administration was viewed as good for American manufacturing and investors began to buy industrials and materials, while commodity prices in metals like copper enjoyed similar gains. With the actions of the administration early in office, though, investors are beginning to feel a sense of fear. But fear has never resulted in profit. Smart investors know that high volatility just means more trading opportunities. Instead of panicked trading moves, some investors do the opposite and pull their money out of the markets completely. This can lead to missing out on later gains and under-performing the broader indexes. But there are more than just two moves investors can make. There's always a bull market somewhere – not all assets perform equally at the same time. Play the Fear Trade When volatility rises and uncertainty becomes the primary factor when determining investment choices, safe haven assets like gold often perform well. Increasing your holdings in gold can be accomplished either through direct gold commodity purchases… Read more

Wall Street loves volatility – the more chaos, the more opportunities for profit. It's relatively easy to turn a profit when the market is going up and just as easy when the markets are going down. It's when volatility dries up and markets trade in a holding pattern that investors see drops in returns. It can often lead to making high risk moves that result in big losses when volatility returns. But just because the markets aren't moving doesn't mean there aren't moves you can make to keep your portfolio returns up. While high volatility might make it easier to buy and sell stocks, there are other investment strategies you can employ to avoid stagnation. Why let just the bulls and bears make all the money? Dividend Payers One way investors can take advantage of markets that are treading water is to buy dividend paying stocks. Not only will it help mitigate your downside risk, it also boosts returns through quarterly dividend payments. While dividend stocks are primarily thought of as conservative investments, investors can use them to increase their… Read more