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Your Ultimate Guide to Trading Stocks Read Article
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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Once you're confident trading stocks, you may want branch out into options trading. Adding options to your investment strategy can add depth to your portfolio, boost gains and reduce risk. You may already know how puts and calls work. Now you need to figure out how to use them effectively to take advantage of all the benefits option trading possesses. Covered Calls A covered call is bullish option strategy that helps reduce downside risk. It works in conjunction with owning the underlying stock but limits overall upside. Let's use a hypothetical stock as an example: Let's say you own 100 shares of XYZ stock trading at $25 and you think the stock is going to go up in the next few months but you want to protect yourself if the stock drops as well. You sell a call for $50 a few months out at $30 per share and pocket the $50 gain. If the stock closes higher than $25 but less than $30, the call will expire worthless and you'll keep the $50 profit plus you'll still own 100… Read more

As a beginning investor you might already have some familiarity with mutual funds, stocks, ETF's and even options. Most online brokers have services that allow you to trade a combination of those assets and you understand how to put basic combinations together as part of your investment strategy. But trying your hand in the commodities market is a different story. Commodities trade on the futures market – a market that obeys rules that are very different from the one's you might be used to with stocks and options. You'll also need to find a broker that allows futures trading. Because of the complexities involved, many online brokers won't deal with futures contracts so doing your homework before opening an account is critical. Playing the futures market A basic futures contract is simply an agreement to buy or sell an asset on a future date for a predetermined price. Let's use a hypothetical situation as an example of how this works: XYZ Copper Mining is a company that wants to make sure the price of copper doesn't go down in the… Read more

If you're like most investors, you probably have at least some kind of experience with mutual funds. A 401k or 403b company sponsored retirement plan uses mutual funds almost exclusively as an investment vehicle while most people use mutual funds for their IRA or Roth IRA. Beginning investors tend to start out with mutual funds as a way of gaining experience in the stock market and build up starting capital before opening up a brokerage account to trade stocks as well. But mutual funds haven't delivered the kind of performance that investors have been seeking over the past decade or so. Management fees and sub-par portfolio gains have led to a massive exodus away from mutual funds into exchange-traded funds (ETF's) where investors have more direct control over their portfolio's and pay fewer fees along with it. In 2015, Wall Street saw $150 billion leave the mutual fund industry while ETF's saw inflows of $150.6 billion. Investors are viewing ETF's as better alternatives to mutual funds despite the fact that the mutual fund industry is by far larger with $11.5… Read more

The globalization of financial markets has made it possible for investors to be a part of nearly any type of publicly traded company in the world. If you have a brokerage account where you can buy or sell stocks, you may already be trading ADR's without even realizing it. While similar to stocks, there are some differences you'll want to keep in mind to be a successful investor. ADR stands for American depository receipt, a financial instrument that allows foreign companies' stock to be traded in US markets. They can be traded like stocks through buying and selling and some even have options contracts available on them. One key difference is the fact that an ADR is a certificate that represents a specified number of shares in the foreign company. This was done as a way of circumventing the complexities of dealing with foreign exchange costs that can fluctuate independently of stock prices. Because ADR's can represent differing amounts of stock depending on the underlying issuer, investors should look up what the value of an ADR is before buying it.… Read more

If you're like most Americans, you're probably wondering if you're contributing enough for retirement. After you build up an emergency savings account and start investing in your company's 401k or 403b plan, you might be considering opening up an IRA or Roth IRA account. Both will help you stash away funds for retirement, but each has a different approach for taxing contributions and withdraws that can make picking the right plan a difficult decision. Both types of IRA plans are designed to be individual retirement accounts that can be used in addition to other types of accounts such as company sponsored retirement plans. Both have specialized tax treatment as well but work with different rules. The best way to figure out which type of IRA is best for you depends greatly upon your current income and your expected income once you finally retire. The Traditional IRA Most Americans are at least somewhat familiar with the traditional IRA plan. It works a lot like your company's retirement plan except only you make contributions into the account. Contributions made into an IRA… Read more