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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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Before the advent of the day-trader and Regulation Fair Disclosure, investing was simple. You bought a stock and held it until you retired or closed out your account. Large cap, well established companies that payed a dividend were ideal. Stocks like Exxon Mobil, Johnson & Johnson, US Steel and other well known brands were common picks and held in most investment portfolios. But that strategy doesn't seem to followed by anyone on Wall Street these days. How often have you heard someone advocate buying a stock and holding it for a decade or longer? It could be that such advice simply isn't newsworthy and therefore doesn't get as much attention, but there could be a deeper reason why this strategy is no longer followed. Modern Portfolio Theory The standard investment model is Modern Portfolio Theory. It's goal is to maximize returns based on an expected level of market risk. Investments are chosen along the “efficient frontier” – those that fall into the efficient part of the risk/return spectrum. The assumption that investors are risk adverse is the basis for the… Read more

There's one simple rule if you want to be a successful investor – buy low and sell high. It sounds simple enough, but it's a lot harder to implement in practice. Fund managers constantly compete with the market in attempt to generate higher returns than the benchmark on which they are based – usually the S&P 500. But in some circles, trying to beat the market is believed to be a futile exercise. Despite the huge market that exists for fund managers to attempt to beat indexes like the S&P 500, most fall short. In fact, if one were to have invested in the S&P 500 30 years ago and held it to today, they would up more than 844%. With that in mind, one fund manager thought to create an investment that didn't try to beat the market. Instead he designed the index fund – an investment vehicle that mimicked the performance of the S&P 500 following its ups and downs without any attempt at hedging risk. Keeping a long term view John C. Bogle was the founder of… Read more

There's one word you'll hear repeated in the investment world over and over again – diversification. It's the idea that you shouldn't hold all your eggs in one basket – in case it falls, you won't break everything all at once. It's a good idea and one that most investors try to follow. The problem is that a lot of investors don't really know what needs to be diversified. Obviously holding a single stock is more risky than holding a portfolio of ten stocks, but simply adding more to the equation isn't the end of the process. There are several things you'll want to mark off your checklist before you can consider yourself truly diversified. The Diversification Checklist When you're designing your investment portfolio, you'll want to make sure you don't expose yourself to more risk than you need to. In other words, you don't want to double up on a particular risk without being aware that you're doing it. There are four main considerations to keep in mind when you're choosing your investments. The first thing you'll want to… Read more

If you tune into any financial news program, you'll immediately find yourself inundated with complex predictions based on mathematical algorithms, analytical breakdowns and speculation on what the economy will do next. These experts have decades of experience trading stocks, manage billions in assets and hold degrees from prestigious universities like Harvard and Yale. It's all too easy to simply forget trying to mange your own investments and just listen to what everyone else is telling you to do. But watch closely and you'll notice something interesting – they never seem to agree with each other. For all their knowledge and tools at their disposal, no one really knows what's going to happen next in the market. It's like the quote form The Wolf of Wall Street, “Nobody, I don't care if you're Warren Buffet or Jimmy Buffet, nobody knows if the stock market is going to go up, down, sideways, or in circles, least of all stockbrokers..." But don't panic just yet, there's a way to play right alongside the trading elite without drowning in the Wall Street cacophony. Learning… Read more

Regulation Fair Disclosure drastically changed the Wall Street landscape by allowing both individual investors as well as institutional ones access to the same information at the same time. As a result, stock trading companies proliferated to meet the surging demand of investors who wanted to take charge of their own investment portfolios. Now, you can choose from more than a dozen online discount stock brokers that let you trade everything from stocks and bonds to options, futures and currencies. Competition has been good for the online trader reducing prices over the past decade. Stock trades that used to cost upwards of $25 to buy or sell are now commonly priced under $10. But depending on how much you trade and what you're trading, you might not be getting the best deal available. Comparing stock trading services Not all online trading services are the same so you need to know going in exactly what kind of trading you'll be doing the most of. Some sites specialize in stock trades while others focus on options and more may be known for Forex… Read more