-Mar-
30
Today’s Economic Realities – What Signs Will Tell Us the Economy is Rebounding? (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

We’re all well aware of the current economic situation. These days it seems that you can’t pick up a newspaper, watch the news on television, or even have a conversation with a friend without this topic being brought to your attention.

It seems that the current economic realities are top-of-mind for many of us, and we’re all extra aware of our finances, investments and work situation. History has shown us that the normal economic cycle includes times of recession in between prosperous times. With everyone feeling the pinch of the current economy, it’s only natural to hope for the onset of an economic recovery as soon as possible. But how will we know when it’s on its way?

-Feb-
18
What Are the Keys to Success in 2009? (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

While listening to a celebrity being interviewed on the radio recently, I heard the quote:

The harder I work, the luckier I get.

I’ve heard this quote before, but it caused me to reflect about the true keys to success.

In starting this discussion, it’s important to first acknowledge that we all have different definitions of success. In other words, everything’s relative and one person’s version of success is likely different from the next. For the purpose of this discussion, let’s put that larger issue aside for now and each focus on what we think it will take for us to each attain success, individually, by our own standards in 2009.

-Oct-
31
Halloween is Here! Five Tips to Make Sure You’re Not “Trick-or-Treating” with your Finances (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

With all the news about the current state of the economy, many people are going into “survival mode,” reducing their spending to make their money last longer. It seems that most of us are carefully watching every penny, due to the unpredictability of the current economic situation.

While it’s always important to keep a close watch on your finances, it’s also important to keep morale high by not cutting all the fun out of our budgets. With Halloween upon us, it’s a good time to think about ways we can maintain our traditions, without breaking the bank and blowing all of our hard earned money.

Here are a few tips to enjoy the season on a budget:

-Jun-
06
Rent is Due: How to Pay Your Rent when You Don’t Have the Cash (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Clearly, you know this shouldn’t happen. You should have prepared for the fact that your rent is due on the first of the month, every single month. Unfortunately, sometimes life happens and you can find yourself late in the month not sure where that rent payment is coming from. Unexpected bills, unemployment or even plain old irresponsibility can leave you in this position.

-May-
20
Understanding the US Oil Market and How Pricing Affects Investor Decisions (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

There is no doubt that the US places a heavy emphasis on the oil markets, both domestically and internationally, as both citizens and industry are heavily dependent upon its production and pricing to meet daily consumption needs. With oil prices hitting an all time high in 2008, economic speculation has been generated both supporting the continued price movement and suggesting that there will be a market correction within the year. Both positions are based upon recent current events and traditional investor behavior. To understand the pricing of oil and how it affects investor decisions, there are several important economic events and factors to become familiar with.

-Apr-
07
The True Value of Money – Assessing How Much Money Is Really Worth To You (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Those of us that invest a great deal of time managing our finances may think we know the answer to the question “how much is money worth?” While it’s a complex topic, we think we have a straightforward, quantitative, clear-cut answer which involves exchange rates and currencies and inflation and the passing of time. We pull out our calculators and let the numbers do the talking.

But there’s another way to look at how much money is worth that doesn’t involve numbers or currency conversions. I’m speaking here about the qualitative side of the coin and where finance fits into your value system and life goals.

-Mar-
26
To Owe or Not to Owe? Tax is the Question… (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

As tax season continues, and the deadline for filing taxes approaches, many people are finding out where their finances for last year netted out. While some people are getting the pleasant news that they’re getting a refund back and can plan accordingly, others are coming to the realization that they may owe a (potentially large) sum of money.

If the results revealed by your tax return come as a surprise to you it may put you in an uncomfortable financial situation, particularly if you owe money. We’ve often said on 22Dollars.com that no plan is a plan to fail, and it seems that this saying holds true in this case as well. Rather than scrambling to find a fast financial fix, it’s certainly going to be better for you both in the long and short run to do whatever you can to plan ahead for this type of expense.

-Mar-
17
Sayings Worth Saving - Our Favorite Finance Quotes and Words of Wisdom (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

When it comes to money, everyone has something to say. Each person has an opinion, and these individual opinions can vary widely. From those that believe in high stakes investing to those that do not believe in investing at all, the things people say about finance can be quite different. But the bottom line is that everyone has something to say.

At the same time, finance can be one of the most difficult things to discuss, because it’s a very personal topic that links many of the things that make us who we are: our values, our emotions, our pride, our status, and how we make our living. However, throughout history many people have found a way to capture their sentiments about finance in ways that can help us all express our varied opinions on money, and have helped us learn a thing or two about this complex topic.

-Jan-
09
Gold Prices Levitate to New Highs: Reasons and Implications (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

2007 has probably been one of the greatest years for the commodity market where there has been exuberance across the globe. Gold has been one of the beneficiaries that has witnessed one of the most phenomenal and unprecedented increase in prices. Prices have been up by almost 80% in the last 2 years and approximately 35% during the year 2007.

Gold has generally been a counter-cyclical commodity. This is the reason why a general downturn in the economy is always accompanied by a rise in Gold prices. This time around, the increase was perpetrated by a rise in oil prices, and the weakening dollar. Liquidity also declined later in the year, decreasing investment demand and thereby pushing up prices further. Declining tensions amidst Iran and Syria also fueled the rally.

Other than serving as a perfect hedge against inflation, Gold has been a relatively risk free asset ensuring stable and consistent returns for its investors. Thus, in the wake of instable markets as well, the rise in demand for Gold as an investment tool has been on the rise.

-Jan-
07
Chart Pattern Recognition Series - Ascending Triangles (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Chart pattern trading is something that takes a lot of discipline. By this I mean stock charts cannot look "kinda" like a pattern or have certain elements of a pattern. They need to match the pattern's characteristics by 100% or they will not work. Think of it like you are taking a test and the only way to pass is to get exactly a 100%. Anything less and you could be setting yourself up for danger.

The Ascending Triangle chart pattern is one of the most easily identifiable patterns and also one of my favorites to trade upon a confirmed breakout. Correctly identifying this pattern has made me a lot of money in the past and continues to prove itself as one of most profitable trades. The pattern is a bullish pattern sporting a triangle shape with a horizontal top and upward sloping bottom.

-Dec-
03
Want to Know How to Turn $12,000 into $2 Million? Timothy Sykes Demonstrates (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

If you’re a fan of Wall Street Warriors or stay on top of the financial publishing scene, you’ve probably seen and heard Timothy Sykes’ name pretty frequently these days. Timothy’s recently released book, An American Hedge Fund: How I Made $2 Million as a Stock Operator and Created a Hedge Fund, details the true story of how he turned the $12,415 he received for his Bar Mitzvah into $1.65 million in just three years and all before he turned 26. Timothy sent 22Dollars.com a copy of his book (check out the fourth page to see our review!) and recently provided us with a behind-the-scenes look at the man, the myth and the market. Make sure to check out Timothy’s responses below and grab a copy of his book if you haven’t already!

-Nov-
14
ClickSoftware Technologies (CKSW) - The Technology Gem of Givat Shmuel, Isreal (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

As investors scramble to make sense of the short term terrors that pester the markets (GM’s $39 billion write off, E-Trades bankruptcy scares, Blackstones quartly loss and two major financial houses giving the boot to their CEO’s all in a weeks span), I was busy looking for opportunities with a touch of international flavor.

ClickSoftware Technologies (CKSW:NASDAQ, SECTOR: Technology, INDUSTRY: Software & Programming), based out of Givat Shmuel, Isreal (founded in 1979), describes themselves as a provider of mobile workforce management and service optimization solutions. The company’s products are used by customers in the telecommunications, utilities, financial services, aerospace, defense, semi-conductor, and home service industries. The Company;s Service Optimization suite includes workforce planning, optimized service scheduling, intelligent problem resolution, mobile workforce management, and business analytics, connecting various organizational levels. The Company’s Service Optimization solutions suite includes ClickSchedule, ClickAnalyze, ClickPlan, ClickForecast, ClickFix, ClickMobile and ClickLocate.

It markets and sells its products through direct sales force located in North America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific region, as well as through reseller agreements with partners. With over 50% of CKSW’s business coming from overseas, this was the international exposure I was looking for. Now for a quick technical and fundamental breakdown of the stock and why it goes higher from here.

-Oct-
23
Cleantech Index - Does It Signify Hope for the Environment & Businesses to Co-Exist? (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Cleantech - the new buzz word which is cut across industries and geographies has always had a mystical presence in the minds of a neophyte.

So what is all the euphoria about cleantech?

As the Cleantech Indices simplify cleantech as “Clean is more than green”.

Clean technology, or “cleantech”, should not be confused with the terms environmental technology or green technology popularized in the 1970’s and 80’s.

Cleantech is new technology and related business models offering competitive returns for investors and customers while providing solutions to global challenges.

-Oct-
18
The Sensex at 19000! Where are emerging markets headed? (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Everyone nowadays is gung-ho about emerging markets. And why not? Emerging markets are currently the world's fastest growing economies. Hence, it is of not much surprise that more and more money has been finding its way into these markets. The largest markets for FII inflows are India and China. India for one has been a recipient of huge inflows owing to the fact that the Indian economy is one of the fastest growing economies of the world clocking a 9.3% GDP growth rate in 2006-2007. This growth has been witnessed since 1991, when the Indian Government decided to liberalize the economy.

-Oct-
08
Chart Pattern Recognition Series - Cup and Handle - Short-term Bullish Continuation (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

The Cup and Handle pattern has long been my favorite patterns to trade. This short-term bullish continuation pattern gets its name from looking like a rounded cup with a handle on the right side. The primary reason that I like this pattern so much is the low failure rate it sports compared to other chart patterns. This is especially true when dealing with industry leaders. The average rise for this pattern is an appetizing 34%.

One of biggest mistakes that amateur traders make is being quick to jump to the conclusion that just because a pattern they found is rounded, that it is a cup and handle. The cup and handle pattern has a lot of criteria and should not be confused with several other patterns out there that look similar to it. Lets run through the some very important criteria to make a pattern a true cup and handle. If the pattern fails to meet anyone of these, it should not be considered a cup and handle.

-Sep-
25
Top 5 Smart Spending Tips for Students - How to Make Ends Meet in College (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Over summer vacation many students work hard at jobs they may or may not like, earning money to help them get through the school year. This is perhaps especially true for college students who, away from home for the first time, are just getting their feet wet with managing their expenses (of which there are many) on a shoe-string budget.

As college students are settling into the fall semester, many are probably realizing how quickly the money they earned over the summer can go. When you’re a full-time student it can be difficult to find ways to earn enough money to cover your expenses during the school year. As a result, it’s vital that college students are smart about how they spend their money and maintain a strict budget.

-Sep-
19
Eastman Kodak (NYSE:EK) Restructures Core Business Model to Improve Profit Margins (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Back in July we talked about an opportunity in Eastman Kodak (NYSE:EK) and today we are still bullish on the stock. Since our previous post, the stock continues to trade sideways but not with out direction. Some of you may have noticed the resistance around $28.50 - $29.00 but also take the series of higher lows over the past couple weeks. Despite the technical setup here and bullish nature of the stock over the last year, we see reason for concern fundamentally.

-Sep-
10
Credit Rating Agencies Raise Concerns Apropos Their Veracity (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Credit rating agencies assign grades to bonds that signify a mark of financial soundness and regularity in interest and principal payments. The ratings range from AAA for the highest quality bond instruments to BBB for medium quality bond instruments to CCC for low quality bond instruments, and D for instruments in default. They also have various sub ratings within them. These ratings are regularly updated and published in various investment sites and blogs.

An interesting article by Tara Perkins & Boyd Erman titled "Misguided or Misunderstood?" mentions the history of credit rating agencies. They originated in the 1860's when Henry Varnum Poor and his son Henry William Poor published the Manual of Railroads of the United States. Followed by John Moody in 1910, who began analyzing railroads and assigning ratings to them. Soon after, in the 1930's, it was established that ratings must be assigned to bonds and commercial papers.

-Aug-
27
Predatory Lending: Just Because You Can Borrow Big Bucks Doesn’t Mean You Should… (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

We’ve often said on this site that “no one cares more about your money than you.” While this is the truth, it may not exactly be the whole truth. In reality there are a lot of people out there that care a great deal about your money, perhaps just not in quite the same way as you. Although not quite as concise, perhaps we should update this favorite phrase of ours to state “everyone cares about how you spend your money, but no one cares more about keeping it safe than you do…” or something along those lines. At the end of the day, you’ve got to be a self advocate and be responsible for making your own good decisions, regardless how many people out there are trying to take a share of your hard-earned money.

-Aug-
21
The Crisis Repeats... Albeit with Contra Distinct Characteristics (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

A while ago in foretime, our Asian counterparts dealt with a crisis similar to the one US is wrestling to deal with today. The crisis was purported the 'Asian Financial Crisis' that plagued the Asian economies in 1997. The crisis was characteristically similar, yet fundamentally different that the one we are faced with today. Yet laced with innumerable similarities makes it an interesting revelation to note that, "History does repeat itself".

Let us see how. The Asian financial crisis affected South East Asia in particular and was the fallout of a mismanaged debt policy. At that juncture, interest rates were exorbitant, in order to lure foreign investors to invest their surpluses. This influx of cash led to high growth rates which led to a nation wide investment in fixed capital assets without a corresponding growth in factor productivity.

-Aug-
17
Life-Cycle Funds/ Age Based Funds/ Target Date Funds As Components of Individual Portfolios (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

While the myriad mind of us individuals is perpetually engaged in toiling for our livelihood, we would like to invest our prized green bucks in assets that will not only conserve our capital, but will cultivate it to cumulate it into a sizable corpus. Moreover, while most of us know what to do with our money, some of us are inept at financial discernment or just too hard pressed on time to invest on our own. At the same time, we are responsible for our investments that will carry us through our retirement.

Lifecycle funds/ target date mutual funds offer a solution for investors managing their retirement portfolios and are 'buy one' mutual funds that invest in a mass of underlying funds. It is a sort of fund of funds that invests in a combination of debt and equity in a particular way that the allocation turns conservative as soon as one's retirement age approaches.

-Aug-
07
Cramer Explodes : Bernanke Has No Idea How Bad It Is - Fed Leaves Rates Untouched (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Usually CNBC's Jim Cramer, host of the popular "Mad Money" show, is passionate about what he says, whether it be his current stock picks or general market commentary. Today is the 9th consecutive meeting that the Fed has left rates untouched. Jim predicts a rate cut in October. The next Fed meeting is planned for September 18th, 2007.

The video below is of Mr. Cramer at seemingly at his witts ends with respect to Bernanke's "by the books" approach to handling federal monetary policy issues. What is tricky in my opinion is that either way you argue the rate debate there is strong points for both sides. Some would argue higher rates could destroy the housing market and start the economy into a downward spiral. Lower rates could help fuel the inflation concerns. Some, as seen below, feel more strongly than others.

-Jul-
26
Ericsson Telephone (ERIC) Opportunity Revealed as DOW Plunges 400 Points (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Today the markets took a big hit due to credit market concerns. Worries about the subprime mortgage problems and increasingly difficult environment for corporate borrowing has sent the DOW tumbling over 400 points this afternoon. While many of our readers may look at today as a waste, others see it as an opportunity to get back into stocks they missed earlier this year. One such example is Ericsson Telephone Co (NASDAQ: ERIC). ERIC is a member of the Communications Services ($COMSRV) sector that has seen a good steady flow of institutional money over the last several months. Today it hits what we like to call it's "injection point" or level of critical support. A breach of these levels would send the stock tumbling and break and the long term up trend it has endured since the beginning of 2006.

-Jul-
25
Payday Loans: When and How to Use this Financial Resource Responsibly (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Maintaining a budget that is both reasonable and realistic is one of the more difficult things that we face in our daily lives. There is a fine line between what we want and what we really need to get by as bills mount and the misery of getting behind looms in the near distance. Oftentimes, we find ourselves using a payday loan to help us catch up and save ourselves the problems that can arise when bills and other expenses begin to overwhelm us. These payday loans are exceptional at allowing us to keep up and were created as short term loans in times of need. The careful use of these loans is imperative as they can also cause problems and headaches if not used responsibly.

-Jul-
18
Presage Market Trends by Cognizing Futures and Options Market Data (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Futures and Options markets are valuable tool for investors who would like a fair measure of diversification. Derivatives are useful tools used widely for hedging and speculation purposes. With the option of trading these derivatives with significant leverage, many investors have turned to the derivatives markets. The volumes generated in these markets are huge and provide a storehouse of data, which can be used as insightful predictors of the market sentiments.

The futures markets exhibit various cues that can be used as valuable inputs to gauge the direction of the markets and that of individual stocks. Some of these cues are as below-

-Jul-
14
Money and Machinery: How Has Technology Impacted Our Finances? (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

A few weeks ago I went to a museum featuring life and society in the 1800’s. Seeing the stark contrasts between life then and now got me thinking about how the technological developments that have happened in that span of time have impacted the way we handle daily tasks.

Some have said that there have been more technological changes in the last 100 years than in the previous 1,000 years before that. Certainly such changes have impacted every aspect of our lives, from travel to dining to housing to healthcare. Despite the obvious inflation that has occurred since the 1800’s, there have also been developments in how we make, manage and spend our money as a result of technological developments. Here are my thoughts…

-Jul-
07
Eastman Kodak (NYSE:EK) Picture Perfect Opportunity to Start First Quarter 2007 (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Eastman Kodak Company (NYSE:EK) is the world's foremost imaging innovator. With sales of $10.7 billion in 2006, the company now focuses on its digital transition and traditional products and services to take, print and share pictures anytime, anywhere.

The companies first quarter earning were enough to get the stock to break through significant levels of resistance. From here, the stock has pulled back nicely and in doing so has presented us with an opportunity to buy back in on solid support levels. The magic number of Kodak's stock here is $27.09. At this level (which EK is fast approaching), the stock should see strong support. I look for the bounce to occur very close of this number. The graph below illustrates the resistance level and clearly shows the declining volume levels as the stock sells off into our buying range.

-Jul-
05
Investing in Your Education – College Loans Give Graduates One More Test to Pass (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Since finishing school in May and June, many college graduates are realizing that there are many new experiences, challenges and opportunities ahead. Between finding a job, moving away from home, leaving comfortable sets of friends behind and giving up the flexible college schedule for the more rigid 9-5 work week, there are many changes that come with finishing school.

In addition to all these changes, students also begin to work toward achieving financial independence. Throughout college, most people find that there is more money going out than coming in, as they are paying for tuition and living expenses and have little or no time to hold down a paying job. As a result a certain amount of debt accumulates. While there is the plus side that finishing college means graduates will have the chance to put their skills to use in jobs that will earn them money, graduation also marks the point in many peoples’ lives where they take on full responsibility for their finances, without the support of family or college financial aid advisers.

-Jul-
02
Strategies to Maximize Gains and Minimize Risks From Stock Investments (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Investors have been reiteratively forewarned to judiciously single out stocks based on strong fundamentals. The aberration committed by most however is to purchase stocks that are referred to as ‘Hot Picks’ or gainers by word of mouth or information on the internet.

The fact is that the time lag between discovery of these value picks and purchase often factors in whatever arbitrage is available. Consequently, an uninformed investor buys into a stock at its peak and is disappointed on its decline thereafter.

-Jun-
25
Stunned by Your Traditional Bond Fund Delivering Stupendous Returns? Well Don't Be! (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Mutual funds are increasingly making use of Derivatives in its portfolio as a strategy to boost the returns from investment. Peruse your Fund's portfolio in the monthly and quarterly fact sheets to ascertain the exposure that your fund has taken in these Derivatives. Comparing these across periods will reveal the extent of churning that your fund manager dolls out in these funds.

-Jun-
20
Tips for Creating an Airtight Budget - Planning for the Future and Making Dreams a Reality (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Many people think that the only way to reduce financial risks is to make more money. However many forget that it’s just as important, if not moreso, to manage the money you have. A friend once told me, “it’s not how much money you make, it’s what you do with that money that really counts,” and I truly believe that. Proof of this can be seen in the number of celebrities that earn large sums of money then end up declaring bankruptcy within a few years. Hollywood is filled with stories where people lived beyond their means and did not know how to handle all the money they had and as a result ended up in trouble.

-Jun-
12
Bond Basics - Apperceive Your Funds Features and Risks (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Bonds provide an stupendous medium of diversification. They could, on occasion comport as even more lucrative investments than equities provided one has accoutered the know-how of when to invest, i.e. Investing when the interests rates are postulated to fall in the future, and pulling out when the scenario is reversed.

The risks that are confederated with investing in bonds are several, the primary being the interest rate risk. Other risks are the risk from the change in the shape of the yield curve, credit risk, liquidity risk, inflation risks (which tend to diminish the real returns from one's investment), Volatility risks etc.

-Jun-
07
Morgan Stanley's Jim Merkley Welcomes 22Dollars to Oak Hill Country Club (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

This weekend I had the pleasure of meeting and sharing a round of golf with Jim Merkley from Morgan Stanley. Mr. Merkley comes from an impressive background that includes being named one of Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 for 2005! What is even more impressive is the time and effort Jim puts back into the community. Like Jim, the team here at 22Dollars believes in the importance of giving back to help out those in need. It was because of our recent donation to the Arc of Monroe Foundation that we came in contact with Jim and he was kind enough to offer a round of golf at the home of the 85th PGA Championship - Oak Hill Country Club (East course). A course that has been continually recognized as one of America’s top 20 golf courses.

-Jun-
04
Load Vs No-Load Mutal Funds - Cull Out Your Fund Perspicaciously (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Most investors generally obliterate some essential inherent attributes of investing in a mutual fund. One of the primary factors that one should look into while appraising a fund is the expenses of the fund. The load expense is the price that an investor pays towards the sales and distribution commission, custodial fees and managerial fees.

-May-
29
A perusal of Convertible Debt Funds - A Diversification tool for your portfolio. (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

For conservative investors and for investors looking to diversify their portfolios, convertible debt is a luring option to consider for investment into growth-oriented companies. A convertible debt security is a security that can be swapped for a specified amount of stock at the option of the issuer or borrower. They are less volatile instruments that carry features of both stocks and bonds. When the stock price of the company is on a rise, these instruments proffer excellent returns on investments, and when the stock price falls, they provision the security of consistent coupon payment returns.

-May-
21
Art Investments- An Alternative Investment Strategy With a Visual Appeal (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Art - Originally patronized by keen aesthetic connoisseurs as a medium of creative expression, it has increasingly transformed its alluring appeal towards enrapturing the eyes of sharp-eyed curators as an alternative investment. These works of major artists have progressively served as a medium of tangible investment offering excellent diversification benefits as the returns generated by these investments are significantly uncorrelated to traditional stock and bond investments.

While art has its many advantages of being a tangible investment, uncorrelated to financial security investments, the disadvantage is that these investments are illiquid and are susceptible to asset bubbles. Off late, Art prices have been soaring peak to peak. An indicator is the Moses Mei Fine Art index that measures the performance of U.S. postwar and contemporary art, which rose 55% on an annualized basis for 2006.

-May-
17
Investing in Real Estate: Is it Worth the Green it Takes to Go Green? (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Typically the articles on this site address investing through stocks, bonds and mutual funds. However many people have made their fortunes, or at least a comfortable living, by investing in real estate. Whether we turn out to be real estate moguls like Donald Trump, or just need a roof over our heads, we all need to make real estate decisions at some point in our lives.

There are many choices that need to be made when you’re building, buying or remodeling a home. Certainly style is one of them – you want your home to look nice and serve as a representation of your personality. Comfort is another one high on most peoples’ lists – you want your home to be a place you can relax and unwind. Now what about the financially driven decisions you make with respect to your home?

-May-
12
Can’t Afford Subprime Loans? Don't Turn the American Dream into a Credit Nightmare! (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Subprime loans are special types of mortgages made to consumers with less-than-ideal credit. They charge higher interest, but involve less scrutiny of income. Because subprimes make it easier to borrow, many overextended homeowners find themselves in serious financial trouble.

In reaction to unprecedented rates of foreclosures and loan defaults, Congress recently opened hearings into questionable lending practices. Some subprime lenders blamed the problems on their customers: While they agreed that unscrupulous lenders sometimes prey upon consumers, more often than not it’s the borrowers themselves who invite their own financial difficulties by piling on too much debt.

-May-
06
The Rationale For Investing Into an Automatic Investment Plan (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Every individual saves to consummate some financial goal in the future. It could be saving for retirement, purchasing a house property, education, vacations etc. Whilst most of our needs may be current, we do tend to direct a large pie towards saving for our long term goals. While this is an ideal praxis, in the long term, our invested capital faces market risks, credit risks, currency risks, liquidity risks, default risks etc. Most of these center on the kind of asset class and quality of investments we buy into. However, each long-term investment faces risk from inflation, which escalates cost of living on one hand, and shaves off our investment surpluses on the other. In other words, inflation increases the prices of our essential commodities and attenuates the value of our money.

-May-
02
Private Equity Funds - The Coadjutant Capital Rich Investors Shape the Way (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Globally it is becoming increasingly discommodious to raise capital through public fund raising (IPO's). The costs of going public are escalating year on year. Costs relating to meeting SEC requirements and of getting timely and proprietary research coverage is rising. The demand of IPO's has been volatile in 2006, with the backlog of IPO filings rising. High disclosure norms and postulations from public, government, and press is leading to high correlation of company results with markets, companies are impelled to amenably meet or beat quarterly revenue and earnings estimates. Furthermore, increasing scrutiny surrounding public companies and corporate governance is corroborating the cause of companies to stay private.

-Apr-
30
Viscious Cycle: Don’t Make Enough Money to Invest, but Need to Invest to Make More Money (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

How many of you don’t think you have enough money to start investing? Living paycheck to paycheck and keeping track of where every penny goes, you have enough trouble making ends meet from day to day, much less putting money away for a rainy day. Many of us that are just starting out, or perhaps starting over, might read this blog to get investment ideas for the future. Not seeing how investments can fit into our tight budgets in the present, we think all the advice we hear is for someone else, or for us to file away for “someday.”

While those of us that live on a shoestring budget are wise to be cautious, the truth is that we should not allow this caution to stunt our growth. Everyone has the potential to invest in their futures – we just may need to take different approaches.

-Apr-
25
Market Risks & Expiry of Capital Gains Tax Holiday - Return Expectations & Strategies. (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Four months after the 416 point bloodbath in the Dow, caused by a huge sell off in the China market, the market correction seems obliterated with the S&P 500 at its highest level since September 2000. Fueled by the stock market boom, and the reduction in capital gains from 35% to 15% in 2001, companies have been declaring handsome dividends, which swelled to a record $418.5 billion last year, up 57% from $266.5 billion 2005. Markets have discounted another rate cut, which does not seem to be imminent now.

Yet, the volatility continues, due to the absence of a significant driver for the bulls in the light of profit diminution, inflation concerns, and announcement of China's economic growth accelerating to 11.1% in the 1st quarter, leading to fears of an overheating economy.

Such dubiety prompts us to inquire, "What would the ideal strategy be going forward?"

-Apr-
23
Please Welcome the Newest Writer to 22Dollars - Chandni Kripalani - Private Equity Specialist (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

It is our pleasure to introduce all our readers to our newest writer, Chandni Kripalani.

Chandni brings extensive experience in the private equity space. She hails from a background of mutual fund advisory, investment advisory and private equity transaction research. She has worked with asset management companies the likes of DSP Merrill Lynch Fund Managers and as a wealth manager at Citibank where she provided investment advisory to high net worth clients on mutual funds and life insurance.

We are very happy and excited to have her on board and look forward to learning from her expertise and experience in the field.

-Mar-
28
Investing: Safe Path to Security or Dangerous Road to Debt? 6 Tips to Increase Market Odds (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

When you’re first making the decision of whether to invest your money in the stock market, it’s always a good idea to weigh the possible risks and rewards. If you do your homework and are a conscious investor, though, you can tip the scale in your favor.

While you may feel like you’re in over your head if you’re embarking on your first investments, know that you have one major thing in your favor: no one cares more about your money than you do. That alone should serve as motivation for you to take the necessary steps to become an informed, knowledgeable and successful investor.

-Mar-
20
Why Are You Not Rich Yet? The Poor, Middle & Upper Class Definition of the word "Asset" (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

I recently received an email from an individual (who will remain nameless) that wanted to know why it was they felt like they would never get ahead financially. A feeling of being stuck in the rat race of life, struggling to never get ahead in the end. My answer to his question was simple and it paralleled the ideologies expressed by Robert T. Kiyosaki in the book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”. The answer is one that is not readily taught in our school systems. Before I give you the answer to why you aren’t rich yet, let me first ask you a couple questions and see if you can’t figure it out yourself.

-Mar-
12
Class Characteristics – Could You Survive in a Different Economic Class? (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

One of our recent posts discussed a researcher’s view on the differences between economic classes. The researcher stated that the upper, lower and middle classes live their lives based on the past, present and future, respectively. What this researcher was getting at is that there are a number of differences in classes aside from the job titles and bank statements typical of the group’s members.

We typically consider nationality, religious views and geographic location to be the main factors which determine a person’s culture. We consider ourselves to be “Americans” so we celebrate the traditional holidays and eat the customary foods. But what role does economic class play in our culture?

-Mar-
01
Rich Dad, Poor Dad – How Does Our Upbringing Impact Our Financial Choices? (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Several weeks ago we raffled off a copy of Robert T. Kiyosaki’s book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad.” In his book, Kiyosaki discusses how upper class parents raise their children differently from those with low socio-economic status. His topics of discussion range from the development of value systems, to the intricacies of when and how to discuss money, to what kids learn from their parents in terms of investing.

This book reminded me of a seminar I attended a few years back which focussed on how wealth and economic status impact how we live our lives. Part of the presentation focused on the common characteristics associated with each economic class. While much of the researcher’s data could be considered stereotypical assumptions, the conclusions presented provide an interesting look at the mindset of a cross-section of our society.

-Feb-
20
Mouth Watering Opportunity to Profit from Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (NYSE: KKD) Technical Trade (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Incase you haven’t had the pleasure of ever tasting one of those melt-in-you-mouth doughnuts, allow me to introduce the Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based Krispy Kreme (KKD). Krispy Kreme is a retailer and wholesaler of doughnuts. There are currently approximately 300 Krispy Kreme factory stores and 95 satellites operating system wide in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Mexico, the Philippines, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

While the fundamentals of the company still look undesirable at best, things do seem to be improving. I point out this opportunity not as a fundamental play or investment, but strictly on a technical basis and trading opportunity. Here is a good short term entry point for those looking to make a quick buck and limit their risk. We are sitting on support right here and volume is increasing. I don’t need to draw the support line on the chart because the 50-Day SMA makes it very self evident.

-Jan-
28
SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) Tests Penny Pilot Program (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Some recent news on Scottrade is the announcement of penny pilot options program. Thirteen option classes will be participating in an options Penny Pilot Program to determine if it is feasible to trade options in penny increments. During this pilot program, these options will trade in the new minimum pricing increments for a period of six months. At the end of the pilot, the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) will analyze the success of the program and make a determination as to its future. See the rest of this article for the 13 option classes that will be participating in the Penny Pilot.

-Jan-
24
Simple Tips for Saving Money - The Little Things You Do Can Really Add Up! (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Have you ever encountered a problem or challenge that seemed so great you didn’t even know where to begin? You found yourself frozen - so intimidated that you didn’t take any action at all, avoiding or denying the problem. When a problem seems unsurmountable, we’re more likely to feel overwhelmed and less likely to take steps toward a solution.

For many of us, our finances present one of these “insurmountable problems.” Whether we’re facing college debt, major credit card bills or the daunting task of planning for retirement, we may feel like we’re in over our heads. We feel that since there is no solution in sight and anything we do will not make much of an impact. We then decide that we might as well have some fun with our money rather than worry or embark on a futile effort.

-Jan-
06
Real Estate Operations ($REOPER) Caution - Alexandria Real Estate Equities (NYSE: ARE) (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

The Real Estate Operations ($REOPER) sector looks to be reaching a tipping point. A steady flow of institutional money continues to leave the sector as it has for the past couple weeks now. After the sector has seen a strong run, the time to take profits is now should you be holding stocks within this sector. Even companies with terrible fundamentals such as National Retail Properties (NYSE: NNN), EastGroup Properties (NYSE: EGP), and Equity Residential (NYSE: EQR) have seen tremendous run ups over the last couple months. It is now only a matter of time before these stocks and the real estate market in general correct itself. I believe that when a correction in the overall markets takes place, Real Estate Operations will be the sector that leads the markets lower.

-Dec-
30
New Year's Resolutions - The Rest of Your Financial Life Starts Now (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

�Tis the Season for making New Year�s resolutions! As we approach 2007, it is likely that many people are making lists and checking them twice, preparing for a fresh start in the new year and setting goals for the things they�d like to accomplish.

Typically it seems that the most common resolutions include pledges to work out more often, watch what we eat, get involved in volunteer work, take up a new hobby and spend more time with our families. Also high on many peoples� lists are financial goals for the coming year. After the extra spending of the holiday season, many of us may be looking for ways to make better decisions regarding our money.

-Dec-
17
The Rich Dad, Poor Dad Year End Christmas Holiday Giveway. Thank You 22Readers! (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

As 2006 comes to a close, we here at 22Dollars.com want to take this opportunity to thank all our readers for making the site what it is today. We have received countless emails from readers scattered near and far expressing their kind words with respect to the site. We hope you enjoy the site and continue to read and find different ways to save and make money in 2007.

As a token of our appreciation, we wanted to give something back to our readers. What we settled on this year for the 22Dollars Holiday Bonus gift was one of the most inspiring and influential books I have ever read on the differences in the way each social-economic class approaches business, money and life. The book is titled Rich Dad, Poor Dad written by Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter. A book about what the rich teach their kids about money that the poor and middle class do not. A BRAND NEW copy of Rich Dad, Poor Dad will be given away to one lucky reader of 22Dollars to be drawn at random this coming Friday (Dec. 22nd).

-Dec-
10
Get Your Holiday Shopping Done Early to Avoid Overspending this Christmas Season (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Believe it or not, Christmas is only two weeks away. This leaves only 14 more shopping days until the big day, and the stress level of the general public (aka those of us that don’t have our Christmas shopping done yet) is reaching its annual high. With stores offering sales shoppers “can’t” refuse, malls being overcrowded this time of year, and individuals rushing to finish their shopping on time, it is certain that many people will fall victim to compulsive shopping.

-Dec-
06
The Cost of Christmas Goes Up - Investors Understand Finances on their Own Terms (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

I saw an interesting article last week relating to the costs associated with the holiday season. We all know the traditional twelve days of Christmas song. Well each year, economists calculate just how much all the items discussed in that song would cost if you were to buy them, to serve as a sort of measuring stick to compare one year to another.

And just how much would the twelve days of Christmas cost this year? Economists calculated that all the items would cost $18,920.59, up 3.1% from 2005. Here is the full list of results from the last two years:

-Nov-
30
Don't Forget These 25 Things to Keep in Mind About Your Finances Come December! (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

1. For return on investment, the best home renovation is to upgrade an old bathroom. Kitchens come in second.

2. It's worth refinancing your mortgage when you can cut your interest rate by at least one point.

3. Spend no more than 2 1/2 times your income on a home. For a down payment, it's best to come up with at least 20%.

4. Your total housing payments should not exceed 28% of your gross income. Total debt payments should come in under 36%.

5. Never hire a roofer, driveway paver or chimney sweep who is going door to door.

-Nov-
14
INVESTools Inc. (OTCBB:INVS): Stock Market Education Leader Upgrades Investor Toolbox (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

INVESTools Inc. (OTCBB:INVS), my tool of choice for stock research and analysis, recently announced the relaunch of its Investor Toolbox Web site. As a long-time user of Investools, it was nice to see that they finally decided to redesign the Investor Toolbox from top to bottom. The new toolbox is supposed to be much more powerful, convenient and customizable. The transition will take approximately 45 days for all users to experience the new area.

-Nov-
06
What Everybody Ought to Know About the True Benefits of a College Degree (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

The benefits of a college degree today mean much more than some spare change in your pocket when you do finally land a job. According to a recent article over at Yahoo, this little piece of paper equates to extra spending power to the tune of $23,000/year.

How much is a bachelor's degree worth? About $23,000 a year, the government said in a report released Thursday.

That is the average gap in earnings between adults with bachelor's degrees and those with high school diplomas, according to data from the Census Bureau.

College graduates made an average of $51,554 in 2004, the most recent figures available, compared with $28,645 for adults with a high school diploma. High school dropouts earned an average of $19,169 and those with advanced college degrees made an average of $78,093.

I would agree these numbers are probably fairly accurate, but do not demonstrate the fact that the true value of a college degree spans much farther than $23,000/year. Here is what I think.

-Nov-
01
Welcome Friends to the New 22Dollars.com - Your Feedback is Encouraged. (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Welcome friends to the new 22. I just wanted to thank you for your patience while we have been very busy upgrading the entire site (as you can clearly see). As you will notice at the top, there are now tabs to provide easy navigation to the three new areas of the site. The new areas of the site include the credo, Club22 and the contact page.

CREDO: Our mission statement. Created because of the enormous feedback I received asking and I quote "What is 22Dollars and how do I join". I wanted it to be more than just a simple "about us" page - I wanted to capture why this site was created and why it is a great resource for our visitors to use daily now. It also serves as a reminder to our commitment to always be improving on the site and providing our readers with the best possible experience.

-Oct-
18
22Changes to Serve Growing Reader Base of Savvy Investors - The New 22 is Coming! (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Over the past couple days the team at 22Dollars.com has been very busy working and we apologize for the lack of recent posts. What have we been working on you ask? Well not financial analysis, but rather a total site-wide face-lift. Here are just some of the changes you can look forward to:

1.) Total site optimization with respect to coding, images, scripts and all other files to improve download times by over 400%!

2.) Transfer of the site over to the secure and extra speedy hosting of Media Temple's new (gs) Grid-Server platform.

3.) New tabbed browsing for navigation.

4.) Cleaner fonts for easier reading onscreen (I was a usability/human-computer interaction major in college so this kind of stuff is important to me!)

5.) The addition of 3 new pages: Contact, Credo and Club22...

6.) A new design that reflects the color you might think of when talking about making money... care to take a guess?

All in all, we are extremely excited and pleased with the how the transition is going thus far. We hope to launch the new site within the next month depending on several factors still up in the air. We hope that everyone will enjoy the new site and we look forward to hearing your feedback on it pending the official launch. Take care.

-Oct-
10
Tenaris (NYSE: TS) Descending Triangle Inside a Symmetrical Triangle. What does this mean? (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Tenaris S.A. (NYSE:TS) is a leading global manufacturer and supplier of tubular products and services used in the drilling, completion and production of oil and gas and a leading supplier of tubular products and services used in process and power plants and in specialized industrial and automotive applications.

Tenaris, scheduled to report its third quarter results early next month, announced solid second-quarter numbers in August. Earnings per ADS reached 80 cents, beating the consensus by about 2.6%. Net sales advanced by 12% to $1.96 billion. In addition, Tenaris announced in June a plan to acquire Maverick Tube Corporation in a deal valued at $3.19 billion. Due to this upward momentum from analysts, Tenaris is a Zacks #1 (Strong Buy) Rank stock.

So why am I so cautious about this stock?

-Oct-
08
RealNetwork Inc. (RNWK) – Technical Upgrades vs. Institutional Downgrades – Winner Takes All (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

So what happens when you get a big conflict of interest between a large financial institution like DA Davidson and a clear technical breakout from an ascending triangle? This was exactly the issue that I ran into on Friday with RealNetwork Inc. (RNWK). RNWK was downgraded by DA Davidson from Buy to Neutral at the same time that it tried to breakout from a nice 7-month ascending triangle base. The result was huge volume and an intra-day struggle between DA Davidson followers and technical traders.

-Oct-
05
DOW (Index of 30 Blue Chip Stocks) Sets Record High for 2nd Consecutive Day. Bulls in Control. (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Congratulations to all the bulls out there as the market barreled forward to another record high. For the second day in a row the DOW (index of 30 blue chip stocks) closed in the green and for the second day in a row the DOW set a new a record high that has stood since January 14, 2004. The DOW soared 123 points to 11,851 while the NASDAQ ended up 47. The two big catalysts for the current market momentum is the ever-shrinking cost of oil (and thus greater potential for big business to post satisfactory earnings numbers) and optimism that the Federal Reserve will lower interest rates in the coming months/years. This all in spite of many feeling that the economy is cooling down.

On the flip side, today's investors are smarter. Let me re-phrase that, today's investors are more cautious than they were nearly 7 years ago. Gone are the days where you could blindly throw your money into any .com or high-tech company and watch your money double and triple in a matter of weeks. The change in investor attitude is the reason why it has taken the Dow so long to come back and I feel that a steady, cautious growth like we have experienced is much more healthy to the economy and I look forward to what 2008 will bring. Congrats to the bulls again.

-Sep-
30
Trading Tactic - How to Enter a Position with Momentum on Your Side (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

You have been watching this stock for weeks. It is setting up exactly as expected and you check it every day with eager anticipation of the stock finally falling into your strike zone. Finally that day comes and you decide that now is a good time to enter the position but how do you actually go about pulling the trigger? Is it just a roll of the dice in terms of timing and price?

Entering a position with market orders is a mistake that amateur investors make all to often. This is a mistake that I learned to avoid after watching it cost me money time and time again. Because of the fact that I am a technical trader, I expect stocks to bounce off (or at least hold) certain resistance levels. This was the case with FIZ as I mentioned in my last post. What I want to address now is how I went about entering that position and how this simple technique can save you time and time again.

-Sep-
24
National Beverage Corp (AMEX: FIZ) - Grip It, Rip It and Add it to Your Portfolio. (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

This weekend I went searching for an opportunity in the NonCyclical/Beverages Non Alcoholic (.CBN) sector as it has seen plenty of institutional attention this year. Out of the 28 stocks in the sector, only one set up both technically and fundamentally for me. That company is National Beverage Corp and right now it provides a low risk entry point with a risk reward ration of almost 4 to 1.

National Beverage Corp (AMEX: FIZ) describes itself as a unique beverage company that produces energy drinks and powders, soft drinks, bottled waters, juices and juice products. FIZ highly recognized for a line of popular brands including Shasta, Faygo, Ritz, Everfresh, Mr. Pure, LaCroix, Rip It and PowerBlast™.

-Sep-
21
16 Must-Read Financial Blog Sites by Kiplinger’s Magazine & 22Dollars Top 10 Financial Blogs (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Today I returned home from a much needed vacation. I was lucky enough to get away to a place called "The Homestead". Founded in 1766 (10-years before our country was even founded and slightly before my time), the Homestead sits deep in the mountains of Hot Springs, Virginia. It is a breath-taking 5 star estate that offers an amazing array of activities, food and history. The trip was just fabulous and I got a chance to play the 48th ranked golf course in the world called "The Cascades", which is owned by the Homestead. It was just under $250/person to step out onto the course and an extra $40 for the caddie but worth every penny. Anyways, it was a great time and I am glad to be back. Now that I am back, I wanted to write a post about other financial webstops that both Kiplinger's magazine and myself find very helpful.

-Sep-
06
Tata Motors (TTM: NYSE) Driving Success in India and Your Portfolio (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Tata Motors (TTM: NYSE) describes itself as India's largest automobile company, with revenues of Rs. 24,000 crores (USD 5.5 billion) in 2005-06. It is the leader by far in commercial vehicles in each segment, and the second largest in the passenger vehicles market with winning products in the compact, midsize car and utility vehicle segments. The company is the world's fifth largest medium and heavy commercial vehicle manufacturer. What can all this mean to your portfolio? Let me show you.

-Aug-
30
Hurricane Katrina - Knowledge is Power, but is that Enough? (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

When Chad asked me to write a post for his blog, I wasn’t sure that I would have much to say that might interest his target audience. Not being a frequent (or at all knowledgeable) investor, I was not sure how I could shed some light on the topic of finance for a group of people that already knows more than I. That is, not until I looked at the bigger picture. We are at the one year anniversary of when Hurricane Katrina struck our country. The impact of this event is so significant that it has touched us all in some way shape or form, and unfortunately much of the context in which this event occurred revolves around simple dollars and cents – the very topic of this blog.

I say that Katrina struck our country instead of New Orleans specifically, because in truth while the hurricane’s initial geographic location was NOLA, its effects have reached every state, city and person in the nation. From the impact on friends and family to the new neighbors that may have fled to your town to the money that has been (and still needs to be) spent on rebuilding, each person is aware of the situation and has been impacted – even if they weren’t residents of the “Big Easy” a year ago.

-Aug-
24
Buyer Beware: Unsolicited E-mails Sent Out by Spammers Pump Penny Stocks to Record Profits (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

I personally prefer not to trade penny stocks for a couple reasons. First, my stomach does not handle that type of volatility very well. Second, these stocks are much easier to manipulate maliciously than higher priced stocks. Here is the most recent example of my point in an article written by Tyler Hamilton titled "Spammers Make a Sound Investment in Stocks - Unsolicited e-mail that touts penny stocks is on the rise and getting results".

A new study reveals that spam messages promoting stocks can make you money -- if you're the spammer.

"Hot Energy! Oil Stock!" shouts the typical message. "Ready To Run!! Big Winner!!! Huge Advertising Campaign This Week!" Such come-on messages often refer to a company with a listing on the Pink Sheets, an over-the-counter stock quotation system. They're designed to entice novice traders to buy stocks that are normally overlooked.

-Aug-
23
Chart Pattern Recognition Series - Double Top : Adam & Adam - Short-term Bearish Reversal (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Let me introduce you to the classic Adam & Adam Double Top (AADT). The hardest part of this pattern is finding and correctly identifying them. Amateurs too often confused (mis-read) this pattern because they do not pay enough attention to the identification guidelines. Amateurs often times will mistake the top of an ascending triangle as a double top and its not until the stock breaks upward (and they lose money) that the truth is revealed to them.

They primary key to this pattern is the twin Adam peaks must look similar to each other. Two well-defined peaks that are narrow and pointed (Adam peaks) whose price are very close to one another. This should not be confused with two peaks where one is rounded or wider in any way thus forming an Eve peak and should be traded differently. This downward breaking pattern requires two price spikes touching near the same price and sporting heavy volume near the two peaks. The volume pattern should form a U-shape between the peaks, with volume usually being heavier on the left peak.

-Aug-
14
j2 Global Communication (JCOM) – Communications Giant Testing Resistance Level After Pullback (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

j2 Global Communications provides a variety of business-critical communications and messaging services through its global communications/telephony/messaging network. This sector (Services/Communications Services: SCS) has seen a steady flow of institutional money and this has been reflected in the nice run up in the JCOM stock that began in the beginning of July 2005. Solid company fundaments and a sector leader also prove to be attractive here.

This morning JCOM opened nearly 1.5% lower to 23.14. This is just above the support level outlined below and what I like to refer to as an "injection point". The injection point is the point where the stock price touches a critical support level. A stop loss is placed immediately and directly under this injection point because of the enormous selling pressure it would be needed to move the stock another percent or two lower. This of course creates a low risk (high reward) entry point, aka an injection point.

-Aug-
09
Portfolio Strategy - Does Improving Your Risk/Reward Ratio Really Increase Your Chances For Profit? (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

I recently read an article by Mr. Phillip Wood discussing Risk/Reward Ratio's and how trading this strategy can help increase your profits. Mr. Woods states:

If you are risking more in a trade than you stand to make in profits, you are setting yourself up for failure. Imagine you are interested in buying a lottery ticket for a jackpot worth $1 million. So you drive over to the convenience store to buy a ticket, but the price of one ticket is $2 million. You can’t believe your eyes. Who in their right mind would pay $2 million for the chance to win $1 million? In disgust, you turn around and promptly storm out of the convenience store. Unfortunately, however, there are a lot of traders who buy the $2 million ticket on a regular basis. They do so by risking more in a trade than they stand to make in profits. They risk $2 to make $1.

While I agree with most of the article and practice this strategy, there is one major difference between Mr. Wood and myself when it comes to determining an appropriate Risk/Reward ratio. That difference is that my reward is constantly changing, either for the good or bad, based on what the stock and all the other technical indicators are telling me. My pre-defined target price can change at any time.

-Aug-
05
Chart Pattern Recognition Series - Pennants - Short Term Bullish / Bearish Continuation (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

The pennant pattern is fun to trade, easy to identify and one that I often look for to make quick money. Pennant trades are for short-term (swing) traders, not for buy-and-hold investors. There are four main identification guidelines when it comes to pennants. Here they are:

1.) Price is bounded by an upper and lower trend line. The price here usually goes against the trend: The price will rise in a downtrend and fall in an uptrend.

2.) Three-week Maximum. Pennants are short term patterns and thus should not last more than 3 weeks. Even three weeks is really pushing it. I prefer pennants to last only seven to eleven days. Longer than 3 weeks and the pattern turns into a symmetrical triangle or wedge.

3.) Steep, quick price trend. Pennants should have a very steep price move (up or down) leading into the pattern.

4.) Downward volume trend. Volume will usually trend downward until the break out move occurs.

-Aug-
01
Who Else Wants to Take Advantage of This Bearish Market? Lam Research Corp (LRCX) Setting Up Nice (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Recently, my friends over at Wall Street Warrior brought an interesting trade to my attention. The company is Lam Research Corporation (LRCX), founded in 1980. Lam is a major supplier of wafer fabrication equipment and services to the world's semiconductor industry. This industry has not seen a tremendous amount of institutional cash flow recently. Couple that with a bearish market and a double whammy technical setup and you could find yourself in the middle of a good shorting opportunity.

The two bearish technical patterns here include a head-and-shoulders and bearish flag. The recent breach of the critical 200Day SMA support confirms the bearish reversal taking place here. A recent pullback on very weak and declining volume sets up a low risk entry point for a short trade here.

-Jul-
26
Technical vs. Fundamental Analysis and the Perfect Combination of Both to Maximize Your Profits (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

You are up all night doing your fundamental research on a stock. You love the company, you love their products and they are fundamentally sound from top to bottom. Thus you decide to pull the trigger and purchase their stock. 6 months later, the stock has tumbled and you are left scratching your head as to why people are selling such a sound company.

The truth is, had you looked at the chart, the answer was right there all along. All you had to do was recognize and read the signals the chart was giving you. The price pierced the 200Day SMA on high volume, the relative strength index signaled an overbought situation, a head-and-shoulders top formed. In short, there were numerous technical indicators screaming that a buy now would cost you that summer vacation or maybe force you to make a car payment with your savings money. All because you never saw the signs staring you right in the face.

-Jul-
23
Newell Rubbermaid (NYSE: NWL) - Same Company Founded in 1902 Manufacturing Curtain Rods (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Newell Rubbermaid (NYSE: NWL) is now the company that is found in almost every home and office around America. This manufacturer of home organization products, such as plastic outdoor storage sheds, kitchen, hardware, seasonal, cleaning products (brooms, dustpans, and refuse containers), and commercial items. In 1994, Rubbermaid was voted America's most admired company. Newell, a major competitor, bought Rubbermaid for $5.8 billion in 1999. They have come a long way since the 1902 curtain manufacturer to say the least.

Technically speaking the stock looks to have set up nicely here. Fundamentally speaking I would have liked to see Newell Rubbermaid a bit stronger. It is not weak in all fundamental categories however, and one of the most important categories is group rank, or how a company compares to their competitors. Is it a group leader or not? In this case yes, NWL scores 74.5% on the group rank scale.

-Jul-
19
Chart Pattern Recognition Series - Head and Shoulders Tops - Short Term Bearish Reversal (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

The head and shoulders top is a short-term bearish reversal pattern that gives way to short opportunities. The price enters the pattern from the bottom and breaks out to the bottom thus reversing the prevailing price trend.

This pattern is among the most popular patterns to trade in the market for reasons that stem from the patterns reliability, performance and easy identification. It is a fairly simply pattern to recognize in that there will be three spikes with the center spike being the highest. More often then not the left shoulder will carry the highest volume as well.

A trend line drawn along the bottoms of the two troughs and between the three peaks is known as the neckline. The neckline is nothing more than an indicator used to predict how severe the price decline is going to be. This line slopes up half the time and down half the time. An upward sloping trend line would could suggest the stock might have a slight pullback before continuing its decline. These trend lines will serve as a new resistance point. The neckline also serves as a confirmation point. Should the price decline pierce the neckline, assuming no pullback, prices will continue to move downward to the next resistance level.

-Jul-
13
Warning: Sears Holdings (SHLD) Breaking Down as Vice Chairman Alan Lacy Leaves with $50 Million (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Sears Holding has long been a stock that Jim Cramer from TheStreet.com has recommended. Over the past couple months it had done very well despite the overall market weakness. Like I have mentioned many times before in the past, knowing when to buy is only half the battle. Knowing when to sell is the other half. Well today is that day for Sears Holding. All signs point to sell here, including the volume increase indicating strong selling pressure here - enough to move it through two levels of support. There is a big gap that needs to be filled and I believe the stock will fill that gap no problem over the next week or two here. I hope the stock can then hold the 200 DMA or we could see even lower lows.

Additional selling pressure seems to be coming from the announcement that vice chairman Alan Lacy will end his tenure at the company. This will be his last month with Sears Corp and will take a nice exit package reportedly valued at more than $50 million.

Sears Holdings Corp. said late Tuesday that Lacy, the vice chairman of the company, will leave the retail conglomerate on July 29. He also will give up his seats on the boards of both Sears Holdings and Sears Canada.

-Jun-
22
How Low is Low? Investing Based on Emotion is a Great Way to Get Sucker-Punched by the Market! (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

That markets have shown some wide ranges in volatility lately. This type of volatility suggests tremendous confusion amoung investors. Remember that one or two up days does not make a bottom, or a new trend, so be patient before you throw your money back into something. It is nice to the see the Dow closed up 105 point at 11,079 while the NASDAQ closed higher by 34 to finish the day at 2,141. Advancers beat out decliners by almost 3:1 on both the NYSE and NASDAQ. Again, this not something to get excited about and throw your money at.

Investing based on emotion is a huge mistake that many amateurs often times make. Before you get all excited and think that you are going to "miss" the bottom, take a moment to really look at the charts and see if this is indeed the bottom. If the market and other worldly fundamentals still are not in place, then be wary. A good friend of mine, David Gordon, once quoted "how low is low?". The point David was trying to make was to not let the markets sucker you in when the market leaders are really taking a hit. In this case oil, metals and cyclicals have really been hammered lately. Patience my friends - don't get sucker punched trying to guess "how low is low".

-Jun-
16
Google (Goog) Continues to Launch New Services as the Stock Looks Set to Search for Higher Prices (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

I have recently taken a position in Google (Goog) because of the leader's recent pullback, followed by the firming of the stock price demonstrated by the pattern of higher lows over the last couple weeks. This potential triangle pattern could resolve into a bullish signal should the stock price break out to the upside in coming weeks. There has been plenty of talk about the next big service/product the company will release. Two recent Google service/product announcements included the testing of their Web buying system that they claim to be unlike PayPal's and the new government search site. Anyone who follows Google knows that they announce new and exciting services/products on a regular basis making it very tough for Microsoft and Yahoo to keep up and grow at such an astounding rate.

On top of this, the Technology/Computer Services sector is starting to see a steady flow of institutional money begin to pour back into it. Despite already having taken a position in Google, I would suggest waiting to see how the triangle pattern resolves before pulling the trigger.

-Jun-
02
Bring on the Rain - Today Marks the Offical Start of Hurrican Season! (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

The last I posted, I talked about my new favorite pick - Sunoco (SUN). Since then the company has started to bounce nicely and I still believe it has another 5 - 10 points left to go. I wanted to mention some other reasons why I like this position right now. First is that gasoline inventories were just announced yesterday. Estimates were looking for an increase of 1.4 million barrels but fell short of that number receiving only 800,000 barrels.

On top of this, hurricane season started yesterday. Most of the production lines in the gulf are very vulnerable still and still trying to make a recovery from the Katrina & Rita tag-team devastations. What is also interesting is that for a hurricane to disrupt supply, it does not need to be a category 3, 4 or 5. The government mandates all employees and personal working on the gulf oil rigs evacuate from the gulf until the storm passes. This is usually enough to disrupt supply for 3 days assuming no damage is actually done to the rig by the hurricane itself. The hurricane center's forecast is for 13-16 named storms this season, June 1 through Nov. 30. Eight to 10 are expected to become hurricanes, with winds of 74 mph or more. Of those, four to six could be major — Category 3 or higher, with winds of 111 mph or more. Hurricane Katrina, which caused $80 billion in damage and more than 1,570 deaths, was a Category 3 storm.

Oh and did I mention that our problems with Iran are not getting any better and I will be surprised to see this issue solved diplomatically. A strong EPS, PE Ratio and Price Pattern are three more reasons I like Sunoco here. The MAC and Full Stoch. have also turned north nicely and suggest the stock will continue to move higher.

Shares of pipelines (WMB, EP, KMI), services (HAL, BHI), refiners (VLO, SUN), ethanol producers (ADM, PEIX, MGPI, ANDE), E&P (APC, APA, CHK, DVN) have all traded higher lately and I believe this run will continue as institutional money starts making its way back into these sectors for a play on the hurricane season and other reasons mentioned above. As much as I hate to say it - I think gas is going to record highs this year. Hopefully the money I make off Sunoco will be enough to offset these costs.

-May-
26
My Next Pick: The Time is Right for Sunoco Inc (SUN) (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

I apologize for the abbreviated post, but I will be headed out of town shortly until Monday. I did however just want to post quick about my next pick, that being Sunoco Inc (SUN). Last Friday SUN dipped as low as $63.62 before finishing back up to $66.57. This then happened again and once more after that. A possible indication that SUN has found a bottom.

The price of oil appears to have stabilized and SUN looks ready to make a major bounce.

SUN was as high as $88 during the past month. I wouldn't be surprised to see it rebound to at least $78 during the next month. News came out recently forecasting between 13-16 named storms this year including 8-10 hurricanes and 4-6 major hurricanes. We could see oil prices reach record highs very soon.

Look for an updated post and more on Sunoco soon!

-May-
21
Market Jitters Provide Opportunity for Comedic Relief - Humorous Signs (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Market jitters? Let me try and clear up some of the confusion in the market right now for you incase this past week is making you feel a little bit uncomfortable on the inside. This week has not been very pretty but don't despair my friends. Generally after a couple of larger point losses in the market, as we have seen this past week, you start to see the institutional buyers jumping back into some of the better stocks. It is a bit of a snap back approach but it gives investors a chance to profit when these stocks rejuvenate their previous trends. Unless a stocks trend was broken to the downside, buying back into a stock on a pullback is considered a tested approach for investors. I do not see this as a correction (10% decline, we are only at ~4% right now) but merely as a pullback that will continue its bullish run soon.

-May-
10
Energy Conversion Devices Ovonics, Inc. (ENER) - Alternative Energy Play Includes Solar and Hydrogen (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

The newest stock in my portfolio is Energy Conversion Devices (ENER) aka ECD Ovonics. ENER describes itself as the leader in the synthesis of new materials and the development of advanced production technology and innovative products. It has invented, pioneered and developed its proprietary, enabling technologies in the fields of energy and information leading to new products and production processes based on amorphous, disordered and related materials.

"The new reality of higher oil prices continues to bring increased attention and a sense of urgency to the alternative energy sector where ECD Ovonics has been a major international player. This has translated into record sales at United Solar Ovonic and the award of a contract to Cobasys by General Motors' Saturn VUE for Cobasys' advanced Ovonic NiMH battery solutions." Stanford R. Ovshinsky; President, Chief Scientist and Technologist of ECD Ovonics.

The Company's portfolio of alternative energy solutions includes Ovonic thin-film amorphous solar cells, modules, panels and systems for generating solar electric power; Ovonic NiMH batteries; Ovonic hydride storage materials capable of storing hydrogen in the solid state for use as a feedstock for fuel cells or internal combustion engines or as an enhancement or replacement for any type of hydrocarbon fuel; and Ovonic fuel cell technology. ECD Ovonics' proprietary advanced information technologies include Ovonic phase-change electrical memory, Ovonic phase-change optical memory and the Ovonic Threshold Switch. ECD Ovonics designs and builds manufacturing machinery that incorporates its proprietary production processes, maintains ongoing research and development programs to continually improve its products and develops new applications for its technologies.

-May-
07
Chart Pattern Recognition Series - Price Channel (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

The price channel pattern is one of the simplest, easy to recognize chart patterns I use. This continuation pattern slopes up (bullish) or down (bearish) while bouncing off the upper and lower trend lines. The upper trend line marks resistance and the lower trend line marks support. What I really like about this pattern is that it can be traded a variety of different ways. You could trade it short term, buying on the bottom trend line support and selling at resistance or you could also "buy and hold" the pattern. Regardless of which you choose, a key point you want to remember is to buy on specific injection points, or points where the price touches the bounding support and resistance levels. Price channels will not last forever, but the underlying trend remains in place until proved otherwise.

-May-
02
Florida Rock Industries Inc. (FRK) Shows Promise Fundamentally and Technically (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Last week I wrote an article about recognizing the ascending triangle chart pattern. A good example of this pattern could be found in Florida Rock Industries (FRK). FRK is composed of three main business segments, all of which are doing well. These three segments include construction aggregates, concrete products and cement and calcium products. I had a chance to listen in on their most recent conference call and was very impressed as they posted record earnings and revenue in many different areas of the business and continue to hold a very bright future outlook.

On top of this the stock is in the Capital Goods/Construction - Raw Materials sector (.CRM) that has held and continues to hold strong institutional interest. If you didn't happen to catch the chart pattern (ascending triangle) before the run up to earnings day then you had another good chance to get in on the recent throwback that confirmed support between 59-60. FRK also shows great fundamentals and is an industry leader. A solid group, price and EPS rank make the stock that much more attractive to me and I look forward to watching this one continue its uptrend in the coming months.

-Apr-
27
BankRate Financial Test For High School Students Might Surprise You (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Our friends over at theBeanCounter Blog recently commented on a financial test that was given to over five thousand students located around the country. This same test can be found at one of the most trusted bank sites the Internet has to offer in Bankrate.com. The test is short and sweet, consisting of only twelve multiple-choice questions. If you would like to see how you fair on this high school financial test then you can visit BankRate and give it your best shot!

BankRate High School Quiz

On a side note, I strongly support MORE stress on financial responsibility in our high schools (and earlier). Too many people these days often times find themselves in such a financial mess that it messes up their life (and sometimes other people’s lives) for a long period of time. I can personally only remember one class in high school that was even remotely close to teaching me how to handle my money responsibly. I am glad to see tests like this and would love to see finance hold a more predominant presence in our school systems. Stop letting people learn how to handle their money the hard way.

Good luck with the quiz and let me know how you do.

-Apr-
04
Technical Analysis - Chart Pattern Recognition Series (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

I have had many requests from virtually all my colleagues to further explain what I look for in a stock in terms of technical fundamentals and chart patterns. I am far from an expert in this subject but I do not like seeing many of my friends fail to maximize profits (or worse, lose money) because they don't recognize proper stock injection points, the only time I will buy a stock.

I have thus decided to start a stock chart pattern recognition series. In this series I will show you basic stock patterns and how they certain patterns tend to resolve bullish while other patterns will resolve bearishly. Recognizing these before they happen can make you a considerable amount of money.

I will talk about chart patterns such as Double Top/Bottom, Head and Shoulders, Falling/Rising Wedge Triple Top/Bottom, Flag Pennant, Symmetrical, Ascending & Descending Triangles and Price Channels. Oh and did I mention my personal favorite - The Cup and Handle.

-Mar-
27
Sex and Investing : The Difference Between Male and Female Investment Strategies (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Does the sex of someone really play that crucial of a role in the way they invest? A recent study conducted by Merrill Lynch polled over 1,000 U.S. investors (500 men and 500 women) get a better understanding of their investment thought process, including their mistakes, attitudes, beliefs and knowledge levels. Is sex something you should really take into consideration before choosing a financial advisor?

The results of the study might surprise you. It turns out there is a significant difference in each of the categories listed above when it came to how women investors thought about the problem as compared to how male investors thought about the problem.

-Mar-
21
Google Finance Launches - Hopes to Compete with Yahoo Fiance, MSN Money, AOL Money, Finance & TheStreet.com (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

In typical Google fashion, today the Internet giant launched its beta version of Google Finance. Google Finance primarily provides financial news, stock quotes, charts and data. In its trial form, the site is far less comprehensive than established financial sites such as Yahoo Finance, MSN Money Central, America Online's Money and TheStreet.com. It differs from the above competition in that it will not be creating any of its own news and/or stock information, including charts. It will use the popular AJAX technology to power many different aspects of the beta site.

My personal take on the new site is positive. I believe there is a lot of room for improvement on the homepage (speaking from a usability perspective). The individual stock information page has some very nice AJAX features and a very clean layout. My favorite feature being the ability to scroll back in time and check the news for that day on a specific stock. Overall I like the beta look and feel despite the limited functionality compared to the other well established finance sites such as Yahoo and TheStreet.com. For the record, my favorite and the one that is set as my homepage is Yahoo! Finance.

-Mar-
17
Market Got You Sick? Take a Dose of Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA) and Call Me Back in a Few Weeks When You're Feeling Better! (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

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I have so many great stock picks right now that it was hard to choose which one to post this week. After a long period of debating with myself, I decided to choose one that I thought was setting up nicely for a breakout come mid-April/early-May. That one stock was Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA).

Teva Pharmaceutical describes themselves as a global pharmaceutical company specializing in the development, production and marketing of generic and proprietary branded pharmaceuticals as well as active pharmaceutical ingredients. Teva is among the top 20 pharmaceutical companies and among the largest generic pharmaceutical companies in the world.

Teva's recent pullback has setup a great buying opportunity here.

-Mar-
13
Financial/Consumer Financial Services (.FCF) Sector to Continue Growth - Asta Funding (ASFI) to Follow (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

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The newest stock to capture my attention emerged due of the increasing institutional cash flow into the sector and how the market is positioned. Often times when the market becomes very choppy like this, institutions look to move their money into the Financial/Consumer Financial Services (.FCF) sector. There are a number of stocks within the group that are benefiting from this and have been benefiting since mid November. The one that has caught my attention is Asta Funding Inc (ASFI). With strong earnings, positive upward trend, and industry momentum, Asta Funding is positioned well for future growth. A recent pull back has setup a good entry point as the MACD and FULL STO start to turn bullish again.

-Mar-
08
Shaky Market Ahead - Protect Your Nest Egg and Remember These Two Rules! (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

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With all the hype of interest rates possibly tightening a few more times, the market has been treading on very shaky grounds lately. With the number of stocks declining far outweighing the advances this week, I think it is time to reiterate some of the most important investment rules. Here are two friendly reminders that will save you money in shaky times.

Rule 1: You can not control the market.
Thus you should not try. Instead focus your attention on going with the market flow. Take what the market is giving you, instead of trying to give a stock to the market. Do not be stubborn, especially in a market like this. Trying to force a loser stock to go back up by continuing holding it will get you in more trouble here.

Rule 2: Investing is more than just making money. Investing also includes not losing money.
You have to know when to take your profits. Nothing hurts more then watching your portfolio get crushed by a single stock that you still believe in and are trying to force the market to like. Take your profits and cut your loses when the economic indicators tell you too!

Remember, investing is half making money and half not losing it!

-Mar-
05
The Importance of Institutional Cash Flow and Industry Momentum (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

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Many of those who know my investing style already know I am not a big fan of "buy and hold". What I do support is the concept of "buy and be patient". Wait for the economic indicators to help determine the most appropriate time to exit a stock. One primary reasons for this is the fast cycle in which the market moves. Institutional money is constantly rotating from sector to sector and thus beating the institutes to the punch can be very profitable. Your money is much better suited in a mediocre stock in a strong sector, then a good stock in a weak sector.

With all this said, you can imagine how much importance I put on sector analysis and the flow of institutional money. Institutional money makes up over 70% of the market and is almost always the force needed to push stocks through resistance levels. So where is the institutional money headed now? What sectors are heating up and where should your money be?

-Mar-
02
The Eye In The Sky Is Your Path To Cash - NovAtel (NGPS) and Garmin (GRMN) (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

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Are you lost in the market? Need some more good investing ideas but can't seem to find them? What you really need is a GPS Satellite system to help you navigate your way to the best opportunities. Ok, so maybe they don't make a GPS navigation system for the market, but they GPS satellite market is booming and setting up to grow even more.

The two stocks that are on my radar screen in this sector (Electronics/electronic equipment Widx .EEE) are NovAtel (NGPS) and Garmin (GRMN). Both of these companies are leaders in their sector and both of these companies have set up very well for another strong breakout.

-Mar-
01
Home From Cancun, Mexcio to Nice Upside Surprise - Western Silver (WTZ) and Glamis Gold Ltd. (GLG) (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

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I returned home from a much-needed vacation to Cancun, Mexico late last night and to my joy found my portfolio up very handsomely. The big winner was Western Silver Corp (WTZ), a mining company that I recommended but 3-days before the big news. Western Silver Corp. shares skyrocketed 27.21% that day to finish at $21.60 per share, with above average volume trading.

On Friday, Western Silver and Glamis Gold Ltd. (GLG) announced an agreement whereby Glamis will acquire, through an agreed plan of arrangement, all outstanding shares of Western Silver for a total consideration of approximately $1.0 billion (USD). Under the plan of arrangement, each Western Silver shareholder will receive 0.688 of a Glamis common share and one share in a new exploration and development company ("ExploreCo") for each issued Western Silver share.

Congratulations to all my readers who cashed in on these huge gains.

-Feb-
23
Checking Out the Brazilian Markets First Hand in Cancun, Mexico (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Cancun Mexico - 22Dollars Style

By the time you read this message I will have already left for my nice weeklong getaway to Cancun, Mexico. A great opportunity for me to relax and reflect on what is really important things in life - spending quality time with those you care most about. One of my favorite sayings comes from a professional investor and friend of mine, David. He quotes:

I discovered (finally!) that, despite the ephemeral fame and fortune success can usher in, making money is not the eschaton I had believed it to be. Life is about more than the amount of money we can amass; it is rather the quality and quantity of our relationships we share.

These words very much ring true to me and I believe this very strongly, but nonetheless I am going to be just north of one of the hottest markets in the world, Brazil. My favorite stock from this market comes in the form of the countries largest bank.

-Feb-
18
Digging for Olympic Size Gold and Silver Opportunities (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

22Dollars GoldSilver.png

This week the markets held their gains as we descend into the extended weekend (markets closed Monday). Oil and energy stocks rebounded after sliding a bit in previous weeks. Oil now sits at $60 per barrel. This was not however the sector that I went digging for opportunities in. Who wants to dig for oil, when you can dig for gold and silver?

For a while now the Gold and Silver markets have been hot and after a recent pull back, I think that these two markets could be set for another nice up-tick and I am going to share with you my two favorite stocks of this industry.

-Feb-
15
Restaurant Industry Seeing Strong Earnings - Growth Potential - PF Chang (PFCB), Wendy's (WEN) (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Many restaurant chains are scheduled to report earnings this week and the ones that have reported already have been promising. I particularly think that P.F. Changs (PFCB) and Wendy's (WEN) have set up well here.

pfchang_feb15_06.jpg

P.F. Changs, for those of you have never been or heard of, owns and operates two restaurant concepts in the Asian niche. P.F. Chang's China Bistro features a blend of high-quality, traditional Chinese cuisine and American hospitality in a sophisticated, contemporary bistro setting. Pei Wei Asian Diner offers a modest menu of freshly prepared Asian cuisine in a relaxed, warm environment offering attentive counter service and take-out flexibility. The company currently owns and operates 131 P.F. Chang's and 77 Pei Wei Asian Diner restaurants.

-Feb-
12
Corning, Inc. (GLW) Pullback Sets Opportunity For Future Breakout (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

I wrote an article a while back about Corning Glassworks (GLW). At the time the stock had set up nicely to make a good breakout from $19.50 to $25 and change. The stock has since pulled back nicely. I have not yet decided to jump back into this one but I do have it on my watch list again.

As LCD TV's continue to post strong sales in record numbers, Corning is well positioned to take advantage of this market. As one of the leading providers and developers of the glass used for the screens of these LCD TV's, the growth opportunity here is very strong and the stock is setting up again for a nice up tick.

-Feb-
04
Sensible Investment Strategies: Age and Life Cycle (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

We all have our own personal investing strategy. One's investing strategy is usually reflection of their comfort level with the market and a reflection on their experience level. Professional investors may feel more comfortable trading different naked put and call options than those first entering the market. On the flip side, many basic investors like to fall back and rely on the "buy and hold" strategy. Experience aside, the question here is should age hold any bearing on investment strategy?

22Dollars Investing Timeline

A while back, I got the wonderful opportunity to talk live on the air with the hosts of the E*Trade Radio station about this very issue. After a very detailed and interesting talk about the life cycle of investing, we all agreed that age should play a roll in one's investment strategy inorder to attain higher total returns early in life and conserve your accumulated assets late in life. Before I go any further, I want to also point out that we all also agreed that no matter what the age, making wise investment decisions was far more important. The key idea here is that age-based portfolios adjust the relative risk of the investments to the beneficiary’s time horizon, giving the investor a better idea of how to adjust his positions based on his or her current position in life.

-Jan-
24
International Diversification – Protecting Your Nest Egg Using International Leverage. (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

How do you define diversification? Many investors would argue that in order to be considered diversified, you need to hold a minimum of five different stocks or two mutual funds in separate market sectors. Some would also argue that you need even more five stocks or funds to be truly diversified. About.com defines diversification as:

Diversification is the calculated spreading of your investments over a number of different asset classes. This cushions your portfolio if one part is down, since different asset classes (stocks, bonds, cash, etc.) seldom move in the same direction. In mutual funds, you achieve diversification by the fund owning 50 stocks, instead of a few.

I agree with everything here but feel that many investors commonly overlook one very important point when it comes to diversification. A point that could be providing them with a false sense of security and cost them a lot of money.

-Jan-
15
Nobody Cares About Your Money... More Than You! (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Who should be running your 401K? If nobody cares about your money more than you, then why are people so quick to hand it off to someone else to manage? I personally think that a lot of it has to do with our school systems and the lack of financial education offered. Of course I was taught how to knit a scarf, cut open a frog and memorize many obscure poems to be recited to the class, but only a nickel's worth of education when it came to portfolio and financial management. In fact, unless you were a finance major in college or come from a family with experience in finances then you may find yourself in a similar position as myself, having to take the time to teach yourself this essential information. So is it even worth it or should you just hand it off to a professional?

-Jan-
12
Johnson & Johnson, Guidant and Boston Scientific Bid It Out - But JNJ Can't Lose. (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

As a former employee of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) for nearly seven years, I have seen the company go through numerous acquisitions. This is common with a business of Johnson & Johnson's size as it servers as the quickest way for them to continue expanding. Currently Johnson & Johnson is in a bidding war with Boston Scientific (BSX) over the highly sought after, cardiovascular device business of Guidant (GDT) - but is this a war that Johnson & Johnson can't lose?

-Jan-
09
Seeing Through Corning Glass Works (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Corning Glass Works (GLW):

Corning Incorporated is a diversified technology company with a proud history of developing breakthrough technologies that significantly improve people’s lives. We have been changing the world through innovation for more than 150 years, integrating scientific discovery with market need. We focus on high-impact growth opportunities in the telecommunications, flat panel display, environmental, life sciences and semiconductor industries.

Corning Glass Works 1 Year Chart


Today was very important to GLW and it could make you a lot of money.

Update: Look for GLW to continue its run early into this week. You may see some resistance around the 26 dollar mark. Pay close attentiont to the Full STO % and the MACD for the optimal time to take your nice gains here.

-Jan-
06
How Much Is A Stock Really Worth? (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

I talk virtually every day to many different novice investors and one of the biggest misconceptions that I hear day in and day out is that a stock is priced too high to buy. These investors seem to be more concerned with how many shares they can pick up, rather then focusing their attention on what really matters - a stocks price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio. People often forget that a stocks price is not "real"; a stock's price is simply a ratio created by the companies through stock splits and share adjustments. Don't let the stock price fool you!

-Jan-
03
Google vs. Yahoo - Who Will Dominate Online Advertising? (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

I recently picked up a bunch of Yahoo (YHOO) shares to get some exposure to the very hyped tech sector. A sector that is currently being dominated by the Google (GOOG) machine. Now either one of these stocks I would recommend right here as Google just got a new record high price target. Piper Jaffray analyst Safa Rashtchy lifted the firm's price target for 2006 to $600 from $445. So why did I decide to go with Yahoo?

UPDATE: A rumor has surfaced on the street suggesting that Microsoft (MSFT) might make a bid for Yahoo (YHOO). Yahoo was also upgraded by Goldman Sachs (GS) and this has sent the stock up nicely this morning. Please keep in mind that the MSFT/YHOO takeover is just a rumor and I will keep you posted as I learn more.

-Dec-
26
Another Mistake for New York State (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Starting Jan 1st the great state of New York is going to raise its minimum wage. The wage hike is part of a three year increase finally settling at $7.15 an hour. Starting January first the new law will hike the rate up to $6.75 per hour as compared to the federal minimum wage law of $5.15 per hour. Now you may think this hike would be great for our economy and great for its workers, but it has a very negative effect on both.

-Dec-
25
Financial Humor for the Holidays (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season. Here are some financial definitions for you to refresh up on for before the new year starts. Enjoy!

-Dec-
24
Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

From all of us here at the Lapa family - we wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday season. Now is a good time to trade out those losers and under-performers of the year (like General Motors (GM) if you own it) and get ready for the New Year. A new year that will consist of a new economic chairman, Ben Bernake, to replace the legendary Greenspan. Bernake is well-qualified candidate with a more flexible attitude when it comes to controlling inflation rates. I would expect the markets to grow at a quicker pace for the duration of his term in office as oppose to the Greenspan era.

-Dec-
21
NYC Transit Strike and the Economic Impact (Technorati) Technorati | (Del.icio.us) Del.icio.us | (Digg) Digg | (Blinklist) Blinklist | (Comment) Comment

For the second day in a row now the NYC Transit Union has left millions of angry New Yorkers without an effective way to commute about the city. The worlds largest transit system, carrying an estimated 7 million passengers (round trip ticket sales) per day, has shut it doors for measly 6% increase in pay request. Of course the 1 million dollar a day fine is quickly wiping out this 6% increase fine for going on strike. What really worries me here is the ever-looming possibility of a terrorist attack. Should these transit systems need to be up and read to go incase of an emergency - they of course will not be ready.

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