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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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The second longest bull run in history has continued to march forward this year with almost no indications of trouble. Even the single largest single-day drop of the year had little lasting effect, with the markets bouncing right back to positive territory the next day. The seemingly endless bull market has some investors nervous about when it will finally end. The longest bull market on record lasted nearly 13 years from 1987 to 2000, so the current market still has quite a ways to go to match that since it began in early 2009. With the markets trading at all-time highs, it's hard to say when the top has officially been reached, but there are some clues we can uncover to help predict how healthy the bull is right now. Pricing Out the Top One of the best ways to determine where the market is is to look at the average price-to-earnings multiple of an index like the S&P 500. The historic average P/E is around 15 times earnings – right now it stands at just shy of 25 times… Read more

As much progress as technology can enable, there's often a social downside that might not be so evident at first. The dawn of the industrial age brought automation to the workforce and allowed businesses and the economy to grow to sizes no one ever imagined possible. But the efficiency came with a radical shift in employment as less and less workers were needed. Employees had to adapt their skills in order to adapt to the new paradigm. There's a similar change on the horizon today. Technologies like IoT have already begun showing us what the future could look like with smart grids, self-driving cars and a slew of other advances. While these technologies promise to advance economic growth, it's very likely there will be consequences. Already, there is a concern that self-driving cars could spell the end of the trucking industry, meaning that thousands of truck drivers could be out of a job within the next decade. But none of that compares to the impact artificial intelligence could bring. The Economic Impact of A.I. It might sound like something out of… Read more

Whether you're a new investor just dipping your feet into the stock market or an experienced trader, having the right strategy is essential in keeping your profits up and avoiding unnecessary losses. You might think that just setting up a brokerage account and buying a few stocks is all it take to be successful. You may even watch financial shows and read investment blogs carefully following along the recommendations you hear or read. But without context, you could be making a big mistake. Investing in the stock market blindly is the fastest way to lose your money. Even following the experts opinions can backfire. For one thing, they're often wrong. But more importantly, not all stocks are right for all investors. Before you dive in, you need a strategy that compliments your investment goals and caters to your risk tolerance. Finding the Right Strategy There are a number of popular investment strategies that you can emulate. But before you decide on one, you'll want to honestly address what your personal risk tolerance is. While a professional financial adviser can best… Read more

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

Becoming an experienced investor usually follows a certain path. You might have started by investing in mutual funds and progressed into opening up a brokerage account that lets you trade individual stocks. You've learned the basics of stock diversification and have no hesitation when it comes to placing stop and limit orders on stocks you're trading. Now, you're ready to take the next step. Adding options trading to your investment strategy can help you boost returns, mitigate risk and hedge your positions. A stock option lets you leverage your money by controlling 100 shares of stock per contract. That means your potential gains or losses can be much higher than just trading stocks; you'll need to be aware of the potentially increased volatility in your account. Unlike stocks, options have an expiration date, so timing your strategies well is extremely important. Used correctly, options can help you round out a portfolio and even reduce your exposure to risk. Buying and Selling Call Options A call option gives you the right, but not the obligation, to buy a stock at a… Read more