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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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Picking the right investment for your portfolio isn't always easy. You want to keep diversification alive by selecting stocks from different economic sectors. And while most investors cycle through various sectors as the economy ebbs and wanes, there's one sector that seems to make it into almost any portfolio – gold. Gold, along with silver and platinum, are popular investment choices for investors. Their use as a safe haven asset means that precious metals stocks can be part of a defensive portfolio while mining companies can often make for solid dividend-paying stocks. Precious metals can play a number of roles in your portfolio. Understanding how they provide value is the key to maintaining healthy profits. Key metrics for precious metals While ratios like price-to-earnings or price-to-sales are important for most stock sectors, they don't mean much when it comes to precious metals. Instead, inflation, interest rates, and the US dollar become the primary considerations. One of the biggest misconceptions about gold is what economic factors actually make it relevant as an inflation hedge. As a safe haven asset, gold is… Read more

The stock market is a dynamic entity. It lives and breathes like an organic being, but instead of oxygen and water, it feeds off of the business cycle. Certain sectors outperform or under-perform depending on where the business cycle is at which gives investors an opportunity to profit by following along. One of the most common investment strategies is known as sector rotation. Stocks are bought and sold as certain sectors move in and out of favor correlating with the business cycle. Regardless of what stage the economy is in, there are always certain sectors that stand out as being clear winners while others typically lag behind and should be avoided. For investors, following the business cycle eliminates some of the guesswork involved in investing and can help mitigate risks in their portfolio. The business cycle and the market The business cycle is what economist call the change the economy goes through over time. It happens in several stages: early cycle, mid-cycle, late cycle, and recession. For each stage, certain sectors of the economy benefit more than others making it… Read more

Designing a portfolio usually involves a mixture of stocks and bonds. While other asset classes can be added to the mix, a typical investment portfolio is broken up by these two main asset types. Stocks offer greater returns but carry a higher degree of risk while bonds have a lower risk profile but come with lower returns. Getting the right mix is where many investors run into trouble. Having a portfolio that's too heavily weighted in stocks can result is greater-than-expected losses and volatility which can quickly derail a retirement plan. On the other hand, loading up on too many bonds means that your portfolio will likely under-perform expectations leading to a lower retirement balance than planned. That can mean having to work for more years to compensate or reducing your retirement plans. In order to figure out the right balance, you'll need to figure out what your goals are, when they need to be realized, and how much risk you can handle. Figuring out your risk tolerance baseline Life is not static – it's a dynamic progression that changes… Read more

When designing an investment portfolio, diversification is a critical component. Holding stocks in various sectors helps mitigate risk without compromising returns. But not all sectors are created equal. Depending on where the business cycle is at, certain sectors may outperform or underperform the broader indexes. Cyclical industries behave in patterns that are relatively easy for investors to predict. Other sectors such as pharmaceuticals and biotechnology aren't correlated with the markets at all and follow their own microeconomic patterns. The best portfolios usually have a representative from most, if not all sectors of the economy but one sector seems to be taking over in terms of importance to other stocks and the market in general. In the past five years, the S&P 500, an index made up of 500 stocks from various economic sectors, has risen about 78%. Over that same time period, the NASDAQ, an index known for its strong grouping of tech stocks, has gained more than 132%. It's clear that the technology sector is becoming more than just another sector of the global economy – it's becoming the… Read more

Volatility is back in the markets and corrections seem to be happening more frequently this year. There's been a flurry of activity early on this year with rising oil prices, a new Fed chairman, tariffs, and a possible trade war. The eight-plus-year long bull run may be facing its last days, or it might just be a temporary correction before heading even higher. Whatever fate lies in store for the markets this year, investors need a plan to avoid making critical mistakes. Panic is the biggest enemy for investors. When stocks are plummeting, the knee-jerk response may be to sell and get out, but keeping calm could be the key to maintaining profits. Portfolio defense 101 Protecting your portfolio against sudden unexpected downturns is a must if you want to maintain healthy long-term returns. Down markets can be scary, but having the right strategy in place can help you weather any storm. Regardless of how the market is performing, investors should focus on fundamentals rather than technical trading patterns. The intrinsic value of a company remains the same whether it's… Read more