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Company spotlight Scottrade One of the most recognized and respected names in stock and commodities trading, Scottrade has been developing industry-standard tools for over three decades. The company offers several trading platforms and research tools, which could help you stay informed and ahead... Read Reviews
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If you've been on social media or watched the news at any point in the past couple of weeks, you're probably already aware of the United passenger scandal. Regardless of where you stand on the issue – support of the passenger, or support of the airline – the real world implications are more far-reaching than you might think. Just after a video of the incident went viral, United's stock fell several points from just north of $70 per share to a low of $67.75 in one week. The company's mismanagement of the issue prompted a flurry of negative press with some even suggesting that the CEO should resign or be dismissed. The whole airline industry's practice of overbooking flights came under fire and many investors began to speculate as to what the fallout for other airline companies might be. A Closer Look at the Airline Industry At first, it seemed like United might be in trouble with a drop in the stock value leaving room for other airlines to step in, but the stock has quickly corrected back to the… Read more

It's been quite a while since investors had to worry about inflation, but since the election of Donald Trump, inflation is back on the radar. Less than a year ago in July, inflation stood at a mild 0.8 percent and the Fed's yearly rate hike still seemed almost too fast. As of March though, inflation has been at 2.4 percent and the Fed has shifted gears with two more more rates hikes and more planned before the end of the year. But rate hikes aren't the only problem coming from rising rates. Inflation creates a number of issues that investors will need to navigate to stay profitable. Inflation and the Markets The sudden emergence of inflation means that investors will need a new strategy. Historically, the effect of high inflation over the long term is still somewhat fuzzy – stocks seem to be able to eventually absorb the impact of higher rates and adjust to the new business environment. But the short term impact to the market is more obvious. In general, rising rates means trouble for stock values. This happens… Read more

Oil hasn't been popular with investors for quite a while. Since oil collapsed following an OPEC-led attack to bankrupt foreign oil producers and take back market share from new oil sources like U.S. shale, oil stocks have been looked at warily. But even though oil has been the most recent asset class to fall on hard times, it's still fared better than the most distrusted asset right now – real estate. Since the sub-prime mortgage crisis in 2008 that struck down financial markets across the globe, real estate has been one of the most quiet asset classes with very little coverage and seemingly little attention from investors. But it's been nine years since then - real estate might be getting an unfair deal right now. Unpopular Doesn’t Mean Worthless Following the disastrous 2008 financial crisis, investors stayed as far away from real estate investments as they possibly could. Words like “collateralize mortgage obligation” sent shivers down the spines of whoever heard them and the real estate market was virtually left abandoned. Fast forward nine years and investors still aren't talking about… Read more

The markets have officially come off the post-election high and are now looking uncertain in the face of a far more aggressive rate hike from the Fed. Investors might be looking for some kind of safe haven asset class in order to weather a possible upcoming storm and classic defensive sectors like utilities, healthcare and consumer staples are the first places to find shelter. But with markets overheated, true defensive value could lie elsewhere. Dividend yields might be attractive for investors who are looking for downside protection, but it's hardly a secret. That means that dividend payers are in high demand, driving up valuation multiples and essentially robbing them of their defensive powers. When everyone is after the same thing, the price goes up and value goes down. Looking for Value in All the Wrong Places One of the most common mistakes beginning investors make is assuming that defensive stocks automatically mean less risk and greater wealth preservation. But true value lies in a stocks price to earnings multiple. This is how much of a premium investors place on a… Read more

The Fed raised the Fed Funds by 25 basis points in March, just three months after a rate hike in December. The last previous raise was in December the year before. And now the markets expect to see at least two more hikes before the end of 2017. Originally, the rate hike discussion kept getting delayed because the economy wasn't producing the kind of data the Fed was looking for, so this sudden shift in gears should have a big impact on the economy. With multiple hikes on the table for this year alone, investors need to be prepared for a more volatile market. The Effect of Interest Rates on Stocks Over a long period of time, it's hard to say what the full impact of higher interest rates has on the stock market. Interest rate hikes won't prevent stocks from going up, but that effect happens over a period of years. In the short term though, rate increases tend to have a detrimental impact on stocks. As rates climb, interest on debt also goes up, making it more expensive… Read more