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Successful investors know that due diligence and strategic planning are necessary to stay ahead of the curve. Over time, you may find that you've developed certain rules that help you invest better and make smarter decisions. If so, you might already know some or all of these three essential rules. If you don't, you should consider adding them to your list. Here are 3 simple rules that every successful investor swears by. Brand Name Matters The first rule is simple – brand name matters. The best-in-breed companies are best for a reason. There's a similar saying in real estate, as well – don't buy the best house if it's in a bad neighborhood. Value investors are often guilty of ignoring this rule because they confuse undervalued companies with second-rate companies. A strong brand name company or stock is a top pick for a number of reasons. They generally have a large market share, sell a product or service that is in demand and are owned by institutional investors. This makes them very competitive relative to their peers and will generally… Read more

Economic sectors might be one of the cornerstones of diversity, but they aren't timeless. In fact, sectors are born and die over time as technology and consumer habits change. Investors need to be aware of industries and emerging trends that could mean the beginning or end of an industry, or else find themselves lagging behind in a dying business. Long gone are the days of the seeing the milkman in your neighborhood making deliveries or talking to the switchboard operator when making a call. Those jobs were replaced by automation and other business innovations decades ago. As an investor, having a long term investment horizon is usually the best advice, but it also means you need to be extra diligent when making your portfolio selections. Unlike stocks that dip down temporarily and eventually go higher, industries that face extinction don't usually recover. You need to be careful and avoid investing in an industry that could be on its way out. Endangered Industries 1. Transportation IoT (Internet of Things) is a game-changing new technology that allows machines and programs to communicate and operate… Read more

The financial markets are fickle things that overreact to virtually any new information. Some movements are relatively easy to predict, such as when GDP data comes in higher or lower than expected. Others are more tricky. The Federal Reserve, an institution designed to maximize employment and control inflation, has become more influential in the markets over the past decade or so, following its quantitative easing program. Investors keep careful watch on what the Fed does and says because it impacts interest rates. And those, in turn, affect almost every corner of the markets, from the value of the United States dollar to stock valuations to bond prices. But it's not as intuitive as one might think. The interest rate effect Interest rates essentially exist for two reasons: the time value of money and inflation. The time value of money says that money now is worth more than money later. If someone loaned out $10,000, they would charge some type of interest rate for it. This makes sense because of the opportunity cost of not applying that money to something that… Read more

Risk is a necessary evil in every portfolio - but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Risk is why stocks can outperform safer, conservative investments like bonds and treasuries. The key is to diversify your holdings so that one single risk doesn't pose too much of a threat to your overall portfolio. Many investors believe that diversification begins and ends with simply buying a number of stocks in a different industry. While that might help protect against several forms of economic and industry risk, it doesn't do much for macroeconomic concerns like geopolitical risk. To defend against this kind of threat, investors will need to have a thorough understanding of what geopolitical risk is and how they can prepare for it. Welcome to the geopolitical arena Globalization is when businesses operate on a global scale and not just within a specific region or country. You might think that the term only applies to large multinational corporations, like Apple or Exxon Mobil, but it affects every business in every industry around the world. For example, imagine a small regional hardware goods… Read more

While some investors love chasing the latest technological trend or favorite consumer product or service, others prefer investing in something more primal. These investors like companies whose business is easily understood - something solid. They want a product that has real value, no matter what. Mining companies harvest metals and minerals essential for every industry, from manufacturing and construction to technology and transportation. They deal with commodities like gold, silver, copper, iron, molybdenum, uranium and more, elements that are largely responsible for our modern world. Mining Stocks 101 The mining industry is somewhat unique in the world of business. Standard ratios like price-to-earnings don't have as much relevancy, meaning that investors need to analyze mining stocks with other forms of data. That's because mining companies carry large amounts of metals on their balance sheets, making assets far more important than earnings. The cost of production is arguably a mining stock's most important statistic. The lower the all-in sustaining cost of production, the lower prices for the mined metal can drop before the company becomes adversely affected. It also means margins are… Read more