Bart Ward

Among the many approaches to analyzing the outlook for the stock market are those most popular with “value analysts.” They typically involve a study of various corporate productivity measures such as dividends, earnings and book value. Included among “psychological market indicators” are three of the yardsticks most often used to determine if the market is overvalued, undervalued or fairly valued.

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There are a lot of one-liners and clichés that get tossed around in the stock market. Among the classics, “Don’t fight the tape”, “the trend is your friend,” “Never try and catch a falling knife,” and “Don’t fall in love with a stock” One of my favorites is “don’t confuse brains with a bull market.”

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Many mutual funds have dividend and capital gains reinvestment plans. Under these plans, mutual fund shareholders do not take (or keep) their distributions from the mutual fund in cash but, rather, reinvest all the dividends and capital gains distributions received in new shares of the fund. Mutual funds have found that the various reinvestment plans are popular. In some funds as much as 95 percent of the capital gains and dividend distributions made to shareholders are reinvested by the shareholders in additional shares of the same fund.

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Every country that has a monetary system of its own has some kind of money market (not to be confused with money market fund investments). The term money market refers to the short-term borrowing and lending of money. These financial markets are not necessarily located in any particular place; they are arrangements for the purchase and sale of financial instruments. New York City is still the major financial center of the nation and, accordingly, the great majority of security transactions are ultimately channeled there.

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The great rise in the stock market during the last years of the 1990s led many investors to forget the inevitable link between risk and return. This is because they had the return first and had, until the Dotcom Bubble busted, yet to wake up to the risks. If history was anything to go by, and there was not an alternative guide available, it was likely that the market would fall sufficiently to affect people’s short-term attitude about the market. And that happened.

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Today, more than ever there are more words and acronyms on Wall Street that leaves even the Pentagon in the dust. This is especially true in regard to many of the New York Stock Exchange’s procedures, operational departments and electronic trading vehicles. For your convenience some of these words and acronyms are reviewed below.

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A corporate bond is a debt that a corporation has incurred to the holder of the bond. Bonds are a fixed sum of money and that the corporation promises to repay at a future date. Also, for use of this money, the corporation agrees to pay at specified intervals (usually twice a year) interest at a stated rate.

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Underwriting municipal securities (bonds) issues is not without risk. To spread this potential risk, underwriters (investment bankers that bring new issues to market) form an underwriting syndicate. Underwriting syndicates are typically organized as joint ventures rather than partnerships (which further limits the risk of the participants).

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Until the Tax Reform Act (TRA) of 1986 changed the favorable tax status of Uniform Gift to Minors Act (UGMA) and its successors, the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) adopted by the National Conference of Commissioners of Uniform State Laws in 1983. Many people used these accounts as a means of transferring highly taxable income and capital gains to a child in a lower tax bracket through gifts of money or securities.

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