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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 technological revolution arguably began with the proliferation of the personal computer. From there global industries began to change incorporating technology into their everyday operations. Entirely new industries like telecommunications sprung up almost overnight and the world became interconnected in a way that had never before been seen in human history. A new emerging trend in technology known as IoT (Internet of Things) is proving to be just as disruptive. IoT is “smart” technology that interacts with other technology, allowing for things like energy grids to be able to self-repair or vehicles that can identify maintenance issues before they happen. But it's the retail industry that's undergoing a paradigm shift with the changes IoT is creating right now. A Closer Look at the State of Retail Consumer tastes are changing and the retail industry is struggling to keep up. The traditional brick-and-mortar model of customers walking into shops and making purchases is starting to lose its appeal. Now, people all over the globe are shopping online. Companies like Amazon are thriving because they're taking advantage of how consumers want to… Read more

Now that the election is over, investors have begun turning from hopeful optimism to nervous skepticism. The Trump administration was viewed as good for American manufacturing and investors began to buy industrials and materials, while commodity prices in metals like copper enjoyed similar gains. With the actions of the administration early in office, though, investors are beginning to feel a sense of fear. But fear has never resulted in profit. Smart investors know that high volatility just means more trading opportunities. Instead of panicked trading moves, some investors do the opposite and pull their money out of the markets completely. This can lead to missing out on later gains and under-performing the broader indexes. But there are more than just two moves investors can make. There's always a bull market somewhere – not all assets perform equally at the same time. Play the Fear Trade When volatility rises and uncertainty becomes the primary factor when determining investment choices, safe haven assets like gold often perform well. Increasing your holdings in gold can be accomplished either through direct gold commodity purchases… Read more

Wall Street loves volatility – the more chaos, the more opportunities for profit. It's relatively easy to turn a profit when the market is going up and just as easy when the markets are going down. It's when volatility dries up and markets trade in a holding pattern that investors see drops in returns. It can often lead to making high risk moves that result in big losses when volatility returns. But just because the markets aren't moving doesn't mean there aren't moves you can make to keep your portfolio returns up. While high volatility might make it easier to buy and sell stocks, there are other investment strategies you can employ to avoid stagnation. Why let just the bulls and bears make all the money? Dividend Payers One way investors can take advantage of markets that are treading water is to buy dividend paying stocks. Not only will it help mitigate your downside risk, it also boosts returns through quarterly dividend payments. While dividend stocks are primarily thought of as conservative investments, investors can use them to increase their… Read more

Oil has been a sore spot for investors over the past couple of years. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided to maximize oil production regardless of global demand, driving prices down in an attempt to bankrupt foreign competitors, like U.S. shale oil, and keep control over the oil market. In the summer of 2014, oil took a hit and fell precipitously to the upper $30's back in early 2016. For years, oil struggled to break out of the $40 price range, leaving energy investors on the sidelines wondering when the crisis would end. Protracted low oil had a detrimental effect on companies that needed oil at a higher price to justify their cost of operations. But OPEC's war had the unintended side effect of streamlining the companies that were able to weather the storm, making them leaner and more efficient. The Winds are Changing Non-OPEC oil producers met OPEC's challenge head-on. The companies that were able to adapt only became more competitive, to the point that even OPEC-producing countries like Saudi Arabia could no longer sustain oil at such low values.… Read more

Stock indexes are near all-time highs with the average price-to-earnings ratio of the S&P 500 over 25 times earnings. Even traditionally conservative sectors like consumer staples are getting overpriced, making it difficult to find good deals and value buys in this market. But despite the highs the domestic markets are hitting, that doesn't mean value can't be found. Globalization has changed the way investors make trades and diversification means expanding your portfolio to include overseas markets. Going overseas to find new investment opportunities can be a good strategy, but with so many possibilities, it might be difficult to find real value. Emerging markets offer the most returns to investors and recent developments have churned up value opportunities that Wall Street hasn't quite caught on to yet. The New BRIC The BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – have been the leading emerging markets for investors to put their money for the past decade and more. But deep recessions in Russia and Brazil have made investments there unwise and unprofitable. Emerging market BRIC funds have been experiencing huge outflows… Read more