Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Beginners Guide to Investing in Stock

Today, most Americans invest in the stock market as way to grow and increase their savings and retirement. More than 50% of all Americans have money invested in stocks, bonds, or mutual funds. Over the last few years, the stock market has outperformed all other investment opportunities. The beginners guide to investing in stock outlines the basic principles of investment.

• A stock is a share in the ownership of the company and represents the investors claim on potential earnings and assets. As investors purchase more stock, their stake in the company, and the potential for higher earnings, grow.
• Profits are often paid out as dividends, and the more stock owned, the more dividends reaped.
• Many investors purchase stock as part of a long-term wealth management strategy. Other investors are focused on short term gains.
• Beginning stock investors know to "buy low" and "sell high", but more sophisticated investors have a strategy that will help them ride out the market volatility for long term wealth.
• Stock prices fluctuate throughout the day. This is a result of supply and demand as practiced by the free market economy. Share prices changes because both the demand and supply of those shares change. If more people want to buy a company's stock, the price goes up. If more people are selling the stock, the stock price falls. The price of a stock is reflective of what the market feels the company is worth. Investors and analysts watch the stock's movement and try to predict the best times to buy and sell the shares.

Beginning investors should study a company's earnings before investing. The earnings are the profit a company makes. Companies traded on Wall Street (via a stock exchange) are required to report their earnings quarterly to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). If a company is making more money than expected, you can count on the stock price to increase. Subsequently, if the company made less money than projected, the stock price will drop.

Many investors buy stock using a brokerage firm. Full service brokerage firms offer advice and manage investor's portfolio. They charge higher fees than discount and online brokerage firms. Discount firms do not provide advice, research or personalized customer service. Online brokerage sites allow anyone with a bank account and some money to invest in the stock market. There are a number of reputable on-line sites that can help investors research the earnings history and potential of any company The financial media, whether online or on television can also provide expert advice and analysis about the stock market.

The main points of this beginning guide to investing in stocks are simple. Buy stocks when the prices are low. Determine if your investment strategy is designed for long-term growth or short-term capital gains. Identify when you feel you should cut your losses and when you feel you can ride the volatility of the market. Stay informed about your portfolio and make decisions accordingly. Beginning stock investors should stay calm and continue to invest where they feel comfortable.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What Are Shares? A Beginner's Guide To Company Shares On The Stock Market

Most people know that shares are something that you can buy and trade on a stock market without really knowing what shares are.

This article provides a beginner's guide to company shares on the stock market, explains what shares are and where shares come from.

Owning A Business

There are many business owners in the world today.

You may even be one of them yourself, especially if you have a small business?

Maybe you own a retail shop, a freelance consultancy company, or an e-bay company for example?

You may even be a successful entrepreneur owning a large business worth millions?

Okay, possible but unlikely.

The point is that although companies exist in many shapes and sizes, they are usually sizable financial assets worth thousands or hundreds of thousands, if not millions or billions, even.

Hence, the chance of owning one yourself is beyond the reach of most people.

Smaller Pieces

But let's just hypothesize for a moment.

What if you are a successful entrepreneur and have built a large business worth millions, what do you do when you want to release some of the funds from your business without selling the entire business?

Or, how do you allow an investor to add more funds to your business in return for a percentage of the ownership? One of the most common ways of doing this is to create shares.

A share is a piece of a financial asset, in this case, a piece of a company. When creating the company shares, it is possible to create as many shares as you wish.

Raising Funds With Shares

So if you are an entrepreneur with a company worth £1 million, you could decide to sell only 10% of your company by creating 100,000 shares valued at £1 each (making up £100,000 or 10% of £1 million).

The shares don't have to be valued at £1 each of course. They could be anything as long as the number of shares multiplied by their value equals the £100,000. So 50,000 shares of £2 each or 200,000 shares of £0.50 each are equally valid.

In our example, having created our 100,000 shares of £1 each, they could all be sold to a single investor or shared between a number of investors.

In this way, the entrepreneur attracts new funds into their business and/or sells off part of their ownership.

Investing In Shares

If you are an investor, rather than the entrepreneur, then you can invest in a number of businesses by buying shares in them. If you own one or more of the shares of a company, you own a piece or several pieces of the company. Buying shares of a company therefore makes you a partial owner of the company!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Massive Cash Inflows Since March 2000

The S&P500 and the Dow, following the path already forged by it's smaller counterparts managed to breakout and close a significant amount above its September intra-day highs. The small and mid caps, though are pushing further into uncharted territory closing, once again, at another all-time (not 5-year) high. Money has been flowing into equity funds at a pace not seen since March 2000. That is an ominous date for those who were involved with the stocks at the beginning of this secular bear market we have been susceptible to for better or for worse. March 2000 was the all-time high for the Nasdaq, the tech index that everybody who was anybody was in. People from taxi cab drivers to barbers were giving their customers the next hot tip on that new internet IPO poised to double overnight. When investment advisors were asking their clients what type of returns they were seeking, 14% was mentioned. Fourteen percent a year? No silly, 14% per month was the common response. We can be sure that these conversations are no longer ocurring thanks to a technology crash and twelve years of humility subsequently following, but are we finally getting over this thirteen year hangover for the general marketplace? Well we do not know, but we can say that the Nasdaq is still 2,000 points from its all-time high, a long ways to go even though the large caps are pressing towards that new all-time high.

Sentiment is getting quite bullish, as they put their money where their mouth is. It is starting to feel downright euphoric, but we are only on track for a 4% gain in the S&P500 for this month. If we are to finish the month with this strength, we will be sure to close with a 7-8% return, not quite the monthly return that investors were looking for 13 years ago, but still a very positive move that could have been brought about by some of the clouds lifting from the negativity seen at the results of the election and the fiscal cliff negotiations. We can also say that as long as the small and mid caps are making the path to higher prices, this market melt-up will continue.

We can never say with certainty which way the markets are going to go, but we can say that those who got out before March 2000 may have been kicking themselves for most of the entire month, and may even have reallocated at higher prices for fear of being wrong. March 2000 was a blow-off top for the marketplace, which we would have to see gains close to three times where we are this month. If you are missing this market, don't jump in with both feet. Your chance will come again. Nothing goes up forever. If you are in it and loving it like we are, it is time to pick some price points where we take profits, and reduce our position size. I'm not triskaidekaphobic, but I'm not a gambler either.

Berton Brown is an investment advisor and money manager for Primoris Capital. He is also a writer for Get a 2-week free trial. Contact Mr. Brown at 561-296-5725 to discuss your investments. Mr. Brown is also a writer for the 21st Century Research Market Letter. Email Mr. Brown at to inquire about subscribing to this letter.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

How to Invest Like Peter Lynch: Part One

What advice would Peter Lynch give an investor learning how to invest? He would tell you to make your own investment decisions.

Peter Lynch is well known for saying, "You should be able to explain your investment decisions and provide good reasoning."

This means don't buy a stock because you see someone on CNBC or your local news network recommending the stock. This also means don't buy a stock because you have a friend who keeps talking about what a good stock he thinks it is.

Too often investors get burned by taking investment advice from other people. When you make an investment decision, write down the good reasons why you're making that decision.

For example, you read a company's annual report and there has been consistent growth in earning and profits for the last 5 years.

Or you notice a real popular product that everyone wants to buy. You check the company's financial statements and they happened to be making a good profit as well.

For example, in 2008 I kept hearing my friends and family talking about the I-pod. I didn't care much for it and I still don't. I look at it as an overpriced Mp3 player. But when the new I-pods kept coming out I noticed that people thought they had to have it. People would wait in lines for hours to get one. There was such a strong demand for the products. I finally thought to myself that the manufacture Apple had to be a good stock even though I've never liked technology companies. I bought the stock for around $100 and at its high the stock was at $700 a share.

Or you might notice a real popular restaurant growing in your area. I remember noticing the real popular Chipotle Mexican Grill chain of restaurants back in 2007. The stock was selling for around $60 and it's now worth around $300 a share.

So make sure you come up with your own investment decisions. I've seen over and over again CEO's going on CNBC and making a sale pitch trying to convince investors to go buy their stock. They can be very manipulative.

Financial adviser's love to recommend mutual funds to investors just because there making a commission off it, not because it's the best investment for the person.

Investors like Peter Lynch and Warren Buffett wouldn't take investment advice from someone else, even if it was insider's information, and you shouldn't take anyone's advice either. Learn how to invest on your own and make your own decisions.