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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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Volatility has returned to the markets and a bearish mentality has begun to creep into many investors minds. Over the past week, the S&P 500 has dropped more than 3.5% while the NASDAQ has fallen over 4% in the same time period. While it's too far early to call the movement a bearish reversal, it does appear to be a correction. Corrections are a normal part of market dynamics. They typically result in a downturn of about 10%, helping to alleviate some of the overvaluations and allowing the market to cool down before resuming its upward trend. Tracking the performance of the broader averages over the past two months reveals a drop of about 10% for the S&P 500. The next few weeks should tell the story as to whether the dip is just a correction, or the start of a larger negative trend. Portfolio protection doesn't mean hiding your money away Fear can be a powerful motivator, but often leads to rash decisions. In the stock market, this kind of panicked action can mean selling holdings for a loss… Read more

  It's been a while since investors have seen the kind of volatility the markets having been showing over the past couple of months. The broader averages have toppled from earlier highs reached back in September, but then bounced back somewhat in the past few weeks. As with most market corrections, earnings results have been one of the largest sources for the uncertainty. Earnings from big tech names like Apple, Facebook, and others surprised investors in a bad way last month. Lowered guidance and poor earnings results shook markets instigating a steep sell-off across all economic sectors. As a cyclical sector, the unexpected drop has many investors nervous about where the market may be headed. The power of corporate earnings Stocks are valued based on the expected future earnings stream of a company. That means that analyst's reports and company guidance play an important role in determining what price a stock should be trading at. It also means that corporate earnings drive the stock market – positive earnings mean stock prices move higher while lowered expectations will drive them down.… Read more

If you've ever talked about investing in a foreign currency, odds are you'll have heard about the Iraqi Dinar. There's a commonly held belief that the Dinar will be revalued and that anyone who holds Dinar will suddenly see their amount changed overnight into a large sum of money. Unfortunately, the odds of this happening in exactly this manner are infinitesimally small. That doesn't mean that investing in foreign currencies are a wild goose chase however. There is a way investors can gain exposure to this asset class other than simply going to an exchange counter and turning your money into an equal amount of another nation's currency. Through the Forex, investors gain global access and can freely engage in any type of currency trade, from simple spot transactions to futures contracts. Getting to know the Forex The Forex (FX) is the premier market for foreign currency trading, open 24 hours a day, 5 days a week, discounting holidays. It's the largest, most liquid exchange in the world with all known currencies listed and available for trade. Once the realm… Read more

The stock market has been showing signs of trouble for several months now, with earlier gains erased by a series of corrections and then boosted again following a series of significant up days. Year-to-date, the S&P 500 is up around 2.7% while the NASDAQ has gained around 7.3%. However, both are off earlier highs which peaked around September. As we head into the final month of 2018, all eyes have turned towards next year and what investors might expect to see. Inflation has been steadily rising, and with volatility returning to the markets, large swings up and down should be the norm for investors. With uncertainty spiking, investors need to have an idea of what next year might bring so that they aren't caught unawares. Looking ahead to next year One of the big concerns for 2019 is where interest rates are headed. The Fed appears ready to raise rates at least three more times, with interest rates following suit. In 2018, the yield on the 10-year treasury jumped nearly 33% from 2.4% to an inter-annual high of 3.20% in… Read more

The Federal Reserve is one of the most misunderstood institutions in the US right now. Investors and everyday Americans have begun to resent and distrust the Fed while political parties vilify them as an enemy to economic growth. But the Fed is an independent entity beholden to no political party that serves an important role in the economy. Operating as an economic regulatory agency, the Fed has several missions that it is charged with. To execute its role, it also has three tools at its disposal to keep the economy on track – not too much growth that inflation becomes a runaway effect, but not so low that stagflation occurs. The role of the Federal Reserve The stated purpose of the Federal Reserve is four-fold: to manage inflation, supervise the financial system, regulate the money supply to maintain financial stability, and act as a lender of the last resort to banking institutions. It has three methods at its disposal to perform this function as the economic referee by way of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). The most common method… Read more