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Company spotlight Ally Invest Built for investors who want to manage their own portfolios, Ally’s self-directed trading gives you all the tools you need to buy and trade stocks, optimize your portfolio and stay on top of the market, all without the need for... Read Reviews
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Investing comes with risk. That shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, but many investors think that simply diversifying a portfolio eliminates the majority of risk they're taking on. Unfortunately, risk comes in many different shades and flavors. Experienced investors know all-too well the many different types of risk that comes with investing in the stock market. There's foreign exchange risk, geopolitical risk, industry risk, technology risk and much more to contend with. While diversification can help mitigate some of these risks, there's one that's hard to defend against – systemic risk. The Unknown Unknowns Systemic risk is a type of risk that affects entire markets, making diversification nearly useless as a risk avoidance tool. General market corrections are a common type of systemic risk that come naturally in the cycle of the stock market, but the most dangerous is called a black swan. Black swans are unpredictable events that have a major impact on the markets and/or the economy as a whole. The idea was developed by Nassim Taleb, who researched past black swan events, such as the advent of… Read more

There's only one goal when investing in stocks – to make money. With that goal firmly in mind, investors have developed numerous methods and strategies intended to filter out winning stocks and execute trades in a timely fashion in order to maximize rises and minimizes falls in value. But even the most successful investors don't break more than 12% annually on a regular basis without using leverage. Leverage in a portfolio can boost returns significantly, but can make losses much larger, as well, making it a tool only for sophisticated investors. By borrowing money at a specified interest rate, investors can use the extra money in the hopes of earning a return greater than that of the interest rate on the loan. For example, if you take out a loan for 5%, but earn 10% on returns, you just profited 5% overall. But it also makes losses harder to handle since you lose not just the money on the investment, but the interest debt on the loan. Kick your portfolio into overdrive In order to begin using leverage in your… Read more

When the green movement started, people assumed it would be a passing fad. But it's obvious now that alternative energy and environmentally-friendly materials are the future of this planet, especially after the sudden leak of an important environment report presented to the White House that shows just how urgent the effects of climate change are. And as the green initiative continues to gain strength, investors are looking to the industry for new profit-making opportunities. Considering that environmentally-friendly business practices aren't always the most profitable, many investors are wondering if its actually a good move to buy stock in these types of companies. But as we've seen with the coal industry, other fossil fuel and polluting energy industries are beginning to fade away. Regardless of the current state of the industry, going green is the future. Transforming Going Green into Making Green When alternative energy industries began hitting the markets, the only appeal was technological. The cost of generating power with photovoltaics compared to traditional fossil fuels was so high, even government subsidies couldn't effectively make up the difference. In solar, for example, the… Read more

Investors analyze many different aspects of a stock before deciding whether or not it's a worthwhile investment. Ratios such as price-to-earnings, price-to-sales and debt-to-equity are poured over while financial statements are reviewed from past quarters to determine trends. But one important thing that seems to go unnoticed often is the company's market capitalization. Market capitalization is the value of a company that's traded on the stock market, which is determined by multiplying the total number of shares by the current stock price. So a company with one hundred million shares trading at $20 per share would have a market cap of $2 billion. It might seem superfluous to know what the market cap of a stock is, but it can actually reveal more about the company than you realize. Market Capitalization as a Metric Far from being insignificant, understanding market cap is essential in building an investment portfolio. Diversification doesn't just mean investing in stocks in different industries, it also means investing in companies of varying size. Small cap, mid cap and large cap stocks all need to be present in… Read more

Public companies sell shares of stock to investors, giving them partial ownership in exchange for money used for capital investment purposes. These stocks trade on an exchange where investors can freely buy and sell shares. While most investors are familiar with the NYSE and NASDAQ exchanges, there's another type of exchange that doesn't receive the same amount of Wall Street coverage – the Pink Sheets. In order for a company to list stock on an exchange like the NYSE or NASDAQ, the company must comply with extensive financial reporting requirements intended to make information as transparent as possible for investors to reduce fraudulent activity. These requirements come with other restrictions, such as a minimum market capitalization and minimum stock price. The pink sheets, or over-the-counter exchanges on the other hand, don't have the same amount of regulations in place, allowing companies to list stock without complying with financial reporting requirements. The lack of coverage means investors can buy stocks at just pennies per share, giving stocks that trade on the pink sheets the nickname “penny stocks.” Because these companies don't… Read more