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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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Sometimes holding a portfolio of stocks that you buy and sell just isn't enough. Whether you're looking for risk management, higher returns, or just something to add a little excitement to your investment activity, options are a great addition to your investment strategy. By combining your stock portfolio with a few choice option trades, you can greatly reduce the overall risk to your investments or boost returns to a level that would be difficult to achieve with stocks alone. While many investors think of options as being risky profit-enhancing tools, in actuality they often help reduce risk by providing hedges or allowing speculation on a stock without committing a large amount of capital. Getting started with option trading Options come in two forms – calls and puts. A call gives investors the right, but not the obligation, to purchase 100 shares of a stock at a given strike price while a put is an obligation to sell 100 shares of a stock at a given strike price should the put be exercised. To simplify, you buy a call if you're… Read more

Investing isn't for everyone. The lure of making money from the simple act of buying a stock and selling it at a high price is hard to resist though. It doesn't take much time to open up a brokerage account, fund it, and start making moves in the market. But as with most any activity, trying to play something without having any rules is bound to devolve into a nonsensical endeavor that might result in quitting altogether. But following a small handful of rules can reduce your stress and the amount of risk you take on and help you become the best investor you can be. 10 Rules to live by Diversify – It's the most repeated investment phrase for good reason. Diversification means minimizing risk to a single investment and allows for some forgiveness when you make mistakes. Think Long-Term – Investing isn't a race; it's a marathon. Interest works best when it's compounded over time. Short-term fluctuations happen, but having a long-term goal in mind makes it easier to weather the storms. Don't Invest All At Once –… Read more

Value investors pride themselves on being able to identify out-of-favor or misunderstood stocks and take advantage of its price difference relative to its intrinsic value. Oftentimes, this means buying a stock near a 52-week low or after a sustained drop in price. But timing is everything – buy too late and you've missed out on the rebound, buy too soon and you could lose money or be forced to wait longer than anticipated. Value investors can get fooled into buying too early if a stock begins to climb after a recent fall. In an effort to hop on board before the stock completely recovers, value investors may be tempted to buy as soon as a stock shows positive gains again. But all too often these stock recoveries are only temporary and value investors that jump the gun are left with a falling stock price and an unknown recovery time. The market is a trickster The stock market may behave in certain patterns, but it's not always easy to see what those patterns are and what path the market will take… Read more

There's no lack of economic indicators for investors to look at when it comes to gauging the current health of the economy. From unemployment figures to GDP estimates, investors have access to virtually any type of data they could want. But one of the most under-represented indicators is the 10-year treasury yield. The yield on the 10-year treasury is used as the basis for interest rates in the US. Investors can use it to track historical trends and easily determine if rates are rising or falling and how quickly or slowly it's happening. More importantly, though, the yield can be used as a proxy for overall interest rates, mortgage rates, and other important types of interest rates. The 10-year treasury as a fortune teller The 10-year treasury is noted as being the standard for analyzing bonds and bond yields. There is an inverse relationship between yields and bond prices; when yields rise, bond prices fall and vice versa. When investor confidence in the markets is high, bond prices fall and yields rise along with stock values. However, low confidence in… Read more

When considering a stock for investment purposes, there are usually a number of qualities that always need to be addressed – price-to-earnings, sales, profit margins, dividends, EPS growth, debt, and other items. But one of the things that tend to get overlooked far too often is stock buyback programs. Stock buyback (or repurchase) programs are a way the companies have to mitigate price declines and reduce the number of overall shares on the market. Usually a company buying its own stock is seen as a positive thing – after all, if the company believes in their own stock, maybe investors should too. Pros and cons of a stock buyback program It's not too difficult to find a stock that has an active share repurchase program. You can usually find out if a company has an active program through a simple Google query or simply check the company's 10-K statement to find out definitively. Investors normally view stock buyback programs as a positive thing in a potential investment. It means that the underlying company is literally investing in their own brand… Read more