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The Different Types Of Stock Markets

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There are many different stock markets in the US. In most circumstances, the main markets that you will hear of are the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the American Stock Exchange (AMEX) and the NASDAQ.

The markets are basically where people and companies trade securities. The market is the arena in which the players gather to trade.

The New York Stock Exchange has been around since 1792. It is located on Wall Street in New York City. The NYSE is the largest and best-known stock exchange in the country. It also has very stringent requirements for companies to join its listings. A company must be financially strong and show signs of being an industry leader to join the NYSE. Companies strive to belong to this market, and even pay annual fees for membership.

When a brokerage describes itself as a member of the NYSE it means that the firm has bought a seat on the floor of the NYSE. This means that there is actually a employee on the floor of the exchange buying and selling stock. This is an expensive investment for a firm, costing well over a million dollars.

The American Stock Exchange is similar to the NYSE in that it conducts its trading on a trading floor. The floor is filled with traders who buy and sell securities. The AMEX has been located in Manhattan since 1921. It is known as a major exchange for not only stocks, but also options. You will tend to find slightly riskier and smaller stocks listed on the AMEX, which operates under the NASDAQ-AMEX Market Group, a subsidiary of the National Association of Security Dealers.

NASDAQ, or the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations, is the youngest of the three major markets. It may also be the one you have heard the most about through the news. It lists just about every stock in the industry, but it is best known for listing technology companies. In fact, it is where you will find many major technology stocks, including Microsoft and Intel. It was launched in 1971 and was the first over-the-counter stock market. It links buyers and sellers via a computer network.

Brokers and dealers will market the stocks by maintaning an inventory in their own accounts. They will buy or sell when they receive an order from an investor. You will find that start up companies that are issuing stock in an initial public offering will often list on the NASDAQ.

When it comes to buying stock, knowing where to find certain types of stock is important. Each market often specializes in slightly different types of stocks.

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Retail Is For Stockpickers

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Since September 2004, the S&P Retail Index has been caught in a sideways consolidation channel at between 400 and 500, unable to establish a sustainable trend in one direction or the other. During that time, the monthly retail numbers have been largely mixed. But in January, the retail data (excluding auto) was impressive, showing growth of 2.20% versus the estimate of 0.8%. It was the strongest reading in years.

Yet the initial optimism appears to be fading after seeing mixed reports from the nation's retailers on Thursday. The early data suggests that same-store sales growth will be sub par compared to what we saw in January.

The reading in January may have been an aberration because of warmer than expected temperatures. The surfacing of cold weather in February apparently sent a chill through the pocketbooks of consumers. Also, the strong January sales may have taken away from spending in February.

The reality is the absence of a positive trend in retail makes investing in retail stocks more of a risk. You need to pick the right company. Even bellwether stocks such as Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) are struggling as far as its share price in spite of some decent sales results and same-store sales growth. But the current valuation deserves a look.

Youth oriented clothes retailer Gap (GPS) is a company that is clearly struggling at the cash register. Its February same-store sales crashed 11% year-over-year, well above the Street estimate calling for a decline of 6.80%. This followed on the heels of an 11% decline in the company's Q4 earnings along with a FY07 forecast that was short of Wall Street expectations.

GAP expects comparable-store sales to be negative in the first half and turn moderately positive for the remainder of the year. Same-store sales are widely viewed as the best indicator of a retailer's health.

For investors, GAP is clearly a turnaround play that could pay off if it can somehow figure out how to attract shoppers. The fact is the company has great brand awareness and this counts for something in this brand conscious world we live in.

On the upside, you have a company like Best Buy (BBY), a dominant market leader in consumer electronics. The stock is just below its 52-week high, up 69% from its yearly low.

The reality is retail spending may be impacted by the higher financing costs associated with the rising debt loads across America. The personal savings rate is declining and was negative in January. Consumers are eating into their savings and you know this cannot be good for retail.

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Penny Stocks Beyond The Pump And Dump

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Penny Stocks can be a great investment, but you have to know what to look for, or sometimes more accurately, what to look out for. Buying Penny Stocks based on a recent email you received, or what you heard from someone you barely know, is not usually a good idea. Penny Stocks have historically been a source of wealth for many investors, but conversely have been the source of countless lost small fortunes. Determining what is good advice, mixed with all the hype, can sometimes be a very difficult process. You don't have to be a stock market guru or brilliant investor to make a killing with Penny Stocks, but you do have to be willing to do your homework, and use a great deal of common sense to stay alive when you are swimming with the sharks in what can be dangerous waters.

There are many great small companies in existence today, struggling to stay afloat, that are tomorrow's rising stars. Without the capital to grow and expand very few of our current generation of conglomerates would be more than a forgotten flash in the pan. Selling shares of a company can inject the needed capital into a niche business that may take it into the next level. However not all, if not most, of these tiny corporations will be around for very long. This creates an interesting situation for us, the investor or speculator. While the company in question may not be worth much today, what might that company be worth tomorrow? Hence the term speculation, which is the lifeblood of any Penny Stock trader.

Unfortunately, within this world there are a few unseemly characters, who seek to part you from your hard earned dollars. And, they will go to nearly whatever means is necessary to achieve their goal. PR firms, or Investor Awareness firms, are sometime hired to promote a small corporation's stock in hopes of raising the share price. This in itself is not necessarily a sign of ill intent. Many times a small company may be very good at what it does, but for whatever reason finds itself unable to generate enough press interest in their successes to generate buying activity of their stock shares. However, this is occasionally done with the sole purpose of raising prices rapidly in an attempt to make quick profits on a very hollow company, one that has no real market or solid foundation. Hence the phrase, pump and dump. Pump and dump in a nutshell means, exaggeratedly "pumping" up the company in question with the primary intent of "dumping" their shares once the share prices begin to rise.

What can you do to protect yourself from being caught up in a pump and dump scenario? Most importantly you must use your own due diligence to wade through the hype. Ask yourself a few basic questions about the company in question. Are they making money? Are they creating new products? Are these new products going to be valuable in the future? The rules for trading Penny Stocks aren't much different from those of trading large cap stocks. However, the risks can be much larger, but the rewards can be as well.

If you aren't willing to do at least a bit of homework, investing in any stock is not a good idea. Never rely entirely on anyone's advice, especially when dealing with Penny Stocks. But, if you take the time to research your investments, investing in Penny Stocks can be a very financially rewarding experience.

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Foreign Demand May Jeopardize Uranium Supply For U S Utilities

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We discussed with the Ux Consulting president from which countries future uranium supplies may come, and who is going after those supplies more aggressively. He warns about the risks and rewards of Kazakhstan and Mongolia, looks to Africa for supplies, and talks about Russia's expansion.

StockInterview: How do domestic uranium prospects rate in the eyes of U.S. and foreign utilities?

Jeff Combs: I don't think that utilities expect the U.S. to be a major supplier of uranium. What you're seeing with China and other countries, where nuclear power is growing, is that they're definitely looking to secure supplies. The Chinese are going to Kazakhstan and also Australia, where there are a lot of uranium reserves, a lot of potential for growth. I think there's some potential for growth in the U.S. But if you had a fast growing nuclear power program, I don't think the U.S. is the first place I'd look. I believe that you can look for some opportunities in the U.S. But in general, the U.S. utilities are basically in competition with some of these newer entrants into the market for available supplies. Those are primarily outside of the U.S., as U.S. utilities also depend on imports for most of their supplies.

StockInterview: It appears many countries are racing to secure uranium supplies outside their borders.

Jeff Combs: Even Russia, which was a major exporter of uranium in the 1990s, is looking to secure additional supply sources, first to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, former republics of the of Soviet Union, but also to Africa. Russia has an extremely ambitious reactor expansion program, as well as a desire to greatly increase its exports of reactors to countries like China and India. As it stands now, most of the growth in nuclear power is expected to take place in China, India, Russia, as well as Korea and Japan to a certain extent. All these countries are really looking outside their borders for uranium supplies that are going to sustain them for quite a long period in the future. None of them are blessed with very rich and extensive uranium deposits.

StockInterview: Is Russian President Vladimir Putin trying to create something on the order of a Wal-Mart Super Center for the nuclear fuel cycle?

Jeff Combs: Well, you see them doing a joint venture in Kazakhstan. They're trying to do something with Kyrgyzstan. They're definitely looking at how they can shore up their supply through imports, in addition to investing a billion dollars in their own internal production. In this respect, they are trying to draw from their old supply chain arrangements. This is to meet their internal needs, as well as the needs of countries to which they have traditionally supplied reactors and the fuel to run these reactors. As Russia looks to expand its reactor sales to countries that don't have established fuel cycles, they want to be able to supply them with fuel - possibly even lease them the fuel. This means that they have to be prepared to take back the spent fuel. This is due at least in some measure to nonproliferation concerns, in that you don't want these new entrants building enrichment or reprocessing plants. While Russia has enrichment capacity and the ability to expand this capacity, they also need uranium to be able to supply these countries with enriched uranium. This is why they're currently focusing on the uranium side of the equation.

StockInterview: Let's talk about some of the target countries, where those with the more ambitious nuclear energy programs will want to secure uranium.

Jeff Combs: We have recently done a series of reports, looking at countries where major production is taking place, or could take place. Of course we've done them on Canada, Australia, Namibia, South Africa, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. I think the next country might be Mongolia because of the exploration and development activity that is taking place there. Mongolia's mining laws are very favorable to foreign companies. Mongolia is also located in that part of the world where the bulk of nuclear power expansion is taking place. The problem in Mongolia now is the lack of infrastructure - the location of the exploration sites relative to roads and rail lines, and the ability to connect to the electricity grid and water lines.

StockInterview: There has been so much press and chatter about Kazakhstan. Is there substance in these commentaries, or is it mainly hype?

Jeff Combs: They've got a lot of uranium resources and reserves. They've also got a commitment to expanding production there and a pretty big customer in China. The hype might be related more as to whether they can do it as quickly as they say, as opposed to whether they can eventually get to the levels they're talking about. One of the things that will slow them down is the infrastructure, including the skilled work force, needed to expand at that rate. They have increased production. They definitely will continue to increase production, but perhaps not at the rates they are advertising. They've produced a lot in the past, in the old Soviet Union days. I think they can get back up to those production levels, but it's going to take some time.

StockInterview: What will be required to get things going in Kazakhstan?

Jeff Combs: It appears they've been able to attract capital. A large part of it is just the time is takes to build the infrastructure, including training workers. You can have all of the investment in the world, but it still takes time to get things done, especially if the infrastructure isn't well developed in the first place. If you look at Kazakhstan on the map, it is very close or adjacent to Russia, China, and India, where the major part of nuclear growth is occurring. I don't think there will be any shortage of demand for their output.

StockInterview: Where does Japan fit into the current uranium bull market?

Jeff Combs: Japan is definitely a factor in the market. Their growth might not be as rapid as it once was, or once was expected to be. With Japan you have a country that does not really have any indigenous uranium resources to speak of. They really need to import uranium. To facilitate this and to secure future supplies, Japan has historically developed different supply relationships around the world, both by taking positions in uranium mines and by nurturing long-term relationships with producers. I think that it's likely the case that this recent price rise caught them somewhat off guard, but recently Japanese utilities have put more effort into shoring up their supply options.

StockInterview: There are countries, which get little media coverage, such as Namibia. How does this country rate?

Jeff Combs: I think Namibia will definitely have an important role in supplying uranium. I don't think it's going to have the expansion potential of Canada, Australia, or Kazakhstan, but I think South Africa, Niger and Namibia are going to be an important component for uranium supply in the future.

StockInterview: You mentioned Niger, which was the world's third largest uranium producer, and has now fallen to number four, behind Kazakhstan.

Jeff Combs: The funny thing about Niger is that in a way it's sort of fallen off the radar screen. It produces, but it just doesn't get the press as other places. If the price increases, it really changes how people look at all these different projects going forward and a lot of things, which might not have been looked at 20 years ago or so, are being reinvestigated. Obviously, there is uranium in Niger. It's quite important to the economy there. As I said, they haven't really been on the radar screen as much as a lot of other regions in the world. Perhaps this is because production there has been controlled by the French for a long time. There are some Canadian companies exploring in Niger now. Since this activity is fairly recent, it won't likely bear any fruit for five to ten years down the road.

StockInterview: Do you foresee realistic nuclear energy expansion in other parts of the world, such as the Middle East?

Jeff Combs: Frankly, I haven't focused on that very much. I know that Turkey is looking to do something. At some point, I think you would see more nuclear power in the Middle East just because the oil supplies aren't going to last indefinitely. We do a headline news service, and it's packed full of stories on different countries that are looking at nuclear power. It seems like there is a new country added to the list every day. I know, for instance, that Vietnam is looking pretty seriously at nuclear power. It would not be surprising there would be interest in the Middle East. There is a lot of focus on the problems associated with Iran. Overall, I'm a believer that if you have more nuclear power, then you're going to have fewer problems with energy and more economic development, higher standards of living, and that's going to be a big positive that will outweigh the negatives in situations like Iran.

StockInterview: Speaking of Iran, what is Washington's sentiment toward nuclear energy, aside from the Bush Administration's endorsement?

Jeff Combs: I think there is a growing recognition, even among Democrats, that you need nuclear power as part of the energy mix. You're not going to get there just by renewable energy sources. With the environmental and overall energy challenges we're facing now, with higher and higher natural gas and oil prices. From the U.S. standpoint the vulnerability with respect to secure energy supplies, I think there is a growing recognition that nuclear power is part of the solution, and this thinking extends outside of the Bush administration. I've talked to people, and they believe that even if a Democratic administration came in that you really wouldn't necessarily put a damper on nuclear power.

StockInterview: What about the Hillary Clinton Factor, if she becomes the next U.S. President?

Jeff Combs: I haven't really asked her for her views on nuclear power recently. I think the story for nuclear power is not so much what happens in the United States, which certainly could add more reactors. The rest of the world probably looks to what the U.S. does to a certain extent. I think the real growth in nuclear power, and what's likely to drive the market in the future, is on the part of the developing countries in the eastern part of the world. These would be China, India, Korea and Russia, where economies are growing a lot more quickly, not the really mature economies like in the U.S. and Europe. Although I would expect to see some growth there as well. In this respect, having a Democratic president would not derail what's happening in nuclear power or the uranium market. As mentioned earlier, I think that you see a more general acceptance of nuclear power across party lines, in Europe as well as the U.S., although there are still some factions that are virulently anti-nuclear.

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On Volatility And Risk

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Volatility is considered the most accurate measure of risk and, by extension, of return, its flip side. The higher the volatility, the higher the risk - and the reward. That volatility increases in the transition from bull to bear markets seems to support this pet theory. But how to account for surging volatility in plummeting bourses? At the depths of the bear phase, volatility and risk increase while returns evaporate - even taking short-selling into account.

"The Economist" has recently proposed yet another dimension of risk:

"The Chicago Board Options Exchange's VIX index, a measure of traders' expectations of share price gyrations, in July reached levels not seen since the 1987 crash, and shot up again (two weeks ago)... Over the past five years, volatility spikes have become ever more frequent, from the Asian crisis in 1997 right up to the World Trade Centre attacks. Moreover, it is not just price gyrations that have increased, but the volatility of volatility itself. The markets, it seems, now have an added dimension of risk."

Call-writing has soared as punters, fund managers, and institutional investors try to eke an extra return out of the wild ride and to protect their dwindling equity portfolios. Naked strategies - selling options contracts or buying them in the absence of an investment portfolio of underlying assets - translate into the trading of volatility itself and, hence, of risk. Short-selling and spread-betting funds join single stock futures in profiting from the downside.

Market - also known as beta or systematic - risk and volatility reflect underlying problems with the economy as a whole and with corporate governance: lack of transparency, bad loans, default rates, uncertainty, illiquidity, external shocks, and other negative externalities. The behavior of a specific security reveals additional, idiosyncratic, risks, known as alpha.

Quantifying volatility has yielded an equal number of Nobel prizes and controversies. The vacillation of security prices is often measured by a coefficient of variation within the Black-Scholes formula published in 1973. Volatility is implicitly defined as the standard deviation of the yield of an asset. The value of an option increases with volatility. The higher the volatility the greater the option's chance during its life to be "in the money" - convertible to the underlying asset at a handsome profit.

Without delving too deeply into the model, this mathematical expression works well during trends and fails miserably when the markets change sign. There is disagreement among scholars and traders whether one should better use historical data or current market prices - which include expectations - to estimate volatility and to price options correctly.

From "The Econometrics of Financial Markets" by John Campbell, Andrew Lo, and Craig MacKinlay, Princeton University Press, 1997:

"Consider the argument that implied volatilities are better forecasts of future volatility because changing market conditions cause volatilities (to) vary through time stochastically, and historical volatilities cannot adjust to changing market conditions as rapidly. The folly of this argument lies in the fact that stochastic volatility contradicts the assumption required by the B-S model - if volatilities do change stochastically through time, the Black-Scholes formula is no longer the correct pricing formula and an implied volatility derived from the Black-Scholes formula provides no new information."

Black-Scholes is thought deficient on other issues as well. The implied volatilities of different options on the same stock tend to vary, defying the formula's postulate that a single stock can be associated with only one value of implied volatility. The model assumes a certain - geometric Brownian - distribution of stock prices that has been shown to not apply to US markets, among others.

Studies have exposed serious departures from the price process fundamental to Black-Scholes: skewness, excess kurtosis (i.e., concentration of prices around the mean), serial correlation, and time varying volatilities. Black-Scholes tackles stochastic volatility poorly. The formula also unrealistically assumes that the market dickers continuously, ignoring transaction costs and institutional constraints. No wonder that traders use Black-Scholes as a heuristic rather than a price-setting formula.

Volatility also decreases in administered markets and over different spans of time. As opposed to the received wisdom of the random walk model, most investment vehicles sport different volatilities over different time horizons. Volatility is especially high when both supply and demand are inelastic and liable to large, random shocks. This is why the prices of industrial goods are less volatile than the prices of shares, or commodities.

But why are stocks and exchange rates volatile to start with? Why don't they follow a smooth evolutionary path in line, say, with inflation, or interest rates, or productivity, or net earnings?

To start with, because economic fundamentals fluctuate - sometimes as wildly as shares. The Fed has cut interest rates 11 times in the past 12 months down to 1.75 percent - the lowest level in 40 years. Inflation gyrated from double digits to a single digit in the space of two decades. This uncertainty is, inevitably, incorporated in the price signal.

Moreover, because of time lags in the dissemination of data and its assimilation in the prevailing operational model of the economy - prices tend to overshoot both ways. The economist Rudiger Dornbusch, who died last month, studied in his seminal paper, "Expectations and Exchange Rate Dynamics", published in 1975, the apparently irrational ebb and flow of floating currencies.

His conclusion was that markets overshoot in response to surprising changes in economic variables. A sudden increase in the money supply, for instance, axes interest rates and causes the currency to depreciate. The rational outcome should have been a panic sale of obligations denominated in the collapsing currency. But the devaluation is so excessive that people reasonably expect a rebound - i.e., an appreciation of the currency - and purchase bonds rather than dispose of them.

Yet, even Dornbusch ignored the fact that some price twirls have nothing to do with economic policies or realities, or with the emergence of new information - and a lot to do with mass psychology. How else can we account for the crash of October 1987? This goes to the heart of the undecided debate between technical and fundamental analysts.

As Robert Shiller has demonstrated in his tomes "Market Volatility" and "Irrational Exuberance", the volatility of stock prices exceeds the predictions yielded by any efficient market hypothesis, or by discounted streams of future dividends, or earnings. Yet, this finding is hotly disputed.

Some scholarly studies of researchers such as Stephen LeRoy and Richard Porter offer support - other, no less weighty, scholarship by the likes of Eugene Fama, Kenneth French, James Poterba, Allan Kleidon, and William Schwert negate it - mainly by attacking Shiller's underlying assumptions and simplifications. Everyone - opponents and proponents alike - admit that stock returns do change with time, though for different reasons.

Volatility is a form of market inefficiency. It is a reaction to incomplete information (i.e., uncertainty). Excessive volatility is irrational. The confluence of mass greed, mass fears, and mass disagreement as to the preferred mode of reaction to public and private information - yields price fluctuations.

Changes in volatility - as manifested in options and futures premiums - are good predictors of shifts in sentiment and the inception of new trends. Some traders are contrarians. When the VIX or the NASDAQ Volatility indices are high - signifying an oversold market - they buy and when the indices are low, they sell.

Chaikin's Volatility Indicator, a popular timing tool, seems to couple market tops with increased indecisiveness and nervousness, i.e., with enhanced volatility. Market bottoms - boring, cyclical, affairs - usually suppress volatility. Interestingly, Chaikin himself disputes this interpretation. He believes that volatility increases near the bottom, reflecting panic selling - and decreases near the top, when investors are in full accord as to market direction.

But most market players follow the trend. They sell when the VIX is high and, thus, portends a declining market. A bullish consensus is indicated by low volatility. Thus, low VIX readings signal the time to buy. Whether this is more than superstition or a mere gut reaction remains to be seen.

It is the work of theoreticians of finance. Alas, they are consumed by mutual rubbishing and dogmatic thinking. The few that wander out of the ivory tower and actually bother to ask economic players what they think and do - and why - are much derided. It is a dismal scene, devoid of volatile creativity.

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9 Survival Tips For The Market Shakeout Blues

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Investors who bought during the top of the frothy commodities rally are now panicking or kicking themselves. Neither activity helps an investor or trader think straight. Below are a few tips in dealing with the current market shakeout.

1.If you believe you invested in the right stock(s), then turn off your computer and do something enjoyable. Exercise is a great stress reliever. The market has already begun its shakeout. If you didn't get stopped out, or failed to place earlier stops, your best opportunity lays ahead in picking up additional shares at a much lower price. Most of the experts we've interviewed tell us the next rally should start sometime between late July and Labor Day. In an attempt to interview the uranium guru James Dines in late May, we were told, "Call back in a couple of months." That was a helpful clue that the markets were less than exciting. Mr. Dines is often eager to be interviewed, but recently he was not.

2.Do you believe the fundamentals which engendered the commodities boom have changed? If they haven't, then the bullishness is only taking a breather. We don't see any fundamental change in the markets. Russia still wants nuclear power, and its oil production may be peaking. China hasn't announced the end of its nuclear expansion program. India wants to spend $40 billion on new nuclear reactors. If you are invested in uranium stocks, spot uranium jumped another dollar to $45/pound this past week. Hardly the end of the bull market.

3.If you worry about your investment in one stock or another, then stop watching the ticker and focus on the company fundamentals. Is the story still true or has it changed? See #7 A, B and C below.

4.There's an old clich

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Chasing Value Versus Growth

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A lot of opinions had been thrown regarding the benefit of value investing versus growth investing. The proponents of each styles of investing insists that their method is superior over the other.

I believe that each has its own merit. Being a proponent of value investing, let me state the case for value investing. First, value investors buy companies in a mature industry. That said, it is easier to predict earning of such company. This is why I lean towards value investing. I am in favor of reducing risk instead of chasing return. Anybody can make an estimate that a small biotech company A will rake in X amount of profit after several years. But, if your prediction is not accurate, then how do you determine the fair value of the common stock? Your valuation will be out of whack. Disease comes and go. Technology fames and fades. It might defy common sense to some but I prefer a low or no growth industry.

Another benefit of investing in value stocks is that you might get decent dividend yield from the companies. They are growing less and management feel that they do not need all that profits to fund expansion. As a result, they propose dividend payments to shareholders. This helps reduce risk.

Having said that, I believe that the return of growth stocks will be higher than value stocks. No, I don't mean you can profit handsomely buying overpriced stock. You should of course buy it at a reasonable price. You should not overpay for any stocks, including growth stocks. Growth stock is companies that are growing or expected to grow rapidly in future. Is advertising a growing industry? Yes, but it is not growing big. How about pay per search or pay per call advertising? Oh, yes. If you invest in these types of companies, you are investing in growth stocks. These new forms of advertising is less than 5 % share of total advertising budget. Can their share grow? You bet. Just like television gets some share of advertising pie, pay per click advertising will get more of its share if it is cost effective for advertisers to do so.

We can say that value investing takes less return for engaging in little risk. Growth stock, on the other hand, takes in more risk in order to garner greater return. That is fine. There are, however, other kind of investing that will burn your pocket. A lot of investors engage in an investing style that get little reward while taking a big risk! Buying a stock at any price is one example. Do not misunderstand growth stocks with buying at any price. It is just plain silly. There are calculations and predictions involved in buying a common stock. Determine its fair value and decide whether you want to invest on a stock based on the risk/reward that it offers.

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Penny Stock Strategies

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Why should the rich guys have all the fun? The small investor can seek out huge returns too...if they know how.

Technical analysis that uses statistics for forecasting price fluctuations is one approach. However, because it is difficult to track changes in fractions of a penny, there simply isn't enough data to be able to analyze. Therefore, you have to keep an ear to the ground when you trade penny stocks.

One of the biggest forces that drive penny stock prices is hype. Whether it's online in discussion forums or chats, or offline with publicity and press, hype can cause swings in penny stock prices.

Are you looking to trade penny stocks to earn a good return on your money? Penny stocks can be profitable for some, but it can also be a money-losing experience.

What should you watch for when you trade penny stocks?

What are some strategies that professionals and amateurs use when dabbling in the penny stock trade?

One technique that some experts who trade penny stocks implement is to focus on a particular stock. Get to know the stock inside and out; that is, get to know the company behind the stock, any news about that company, and anything else that might affect the stock price. Target one stock, listen to the buzz, and see how the stock responds. The louder the buzz gets, the larger the potential for a big price swing.

Many people who trade penny stocks are small-time investors who don't have more than $1,000 of investment capital. These people trade penny stocks because it gives them more shares for the money.

Where they might be able to buy dozens of shares in a major exchange such as the New York Stock Exchange, they can buy hundreds when they trade penny stocks. The potential for loss is big, however. It's almost closer to gambling than investing. The money used is strictly risk capital. Once the money is gone, it's gone.

Another subset of people that trade penny stocks are amateur investors who use the buy and hold strategy. They purchase a stock and retain it for long periods of time, hoping that the stock skyrockets at some point in the future.

Unfortunately, this strategy hardly ever pays off in the way that the investor had hoped. In the long-term, the stock could end up being completely worthless.

Trading penny stocks can be a profitable, and even fun way to invest. It certainly isn't a traditional method of investing, and is unlike old standbys such as bonds and mutual funds. However, trading penny stocks isn't for all people.

You should have a high tolerance for risk, a willingness to analyze every minutiae of your penny stock, and some intestinal fortitude. Have fun with penny stock trading, but don't expect to stumble into the next WalMart for pennies on the dollar.

And remember, as with anything else in life with high potential for gain there is also high potential for loss. Do your homework, follow your rules, and plan to prosper.

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Want To Trade Stocks Get Your Free Stock Quote First

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Free stock quotes are valuable for looking at your investments and determining whether or not you want to trade in the stock market. There are several free stock quotes online and one of the most popular is Yahoo Finance. This site will allow you to search your stocks to see the growth or decline and determine if you want to buy or sell. Free stock quotes are ideal for the novice investor. They can practice their skills without investing any money until they are comfortable enough to actually invest. Once you decide to invest, though, you will need to get with a broker and there are additional fees associated with trading. However, there are many do it yourself places that only require a small fee and will often have valuable articles and free stock quotes so you can watch your portfolio continually to ensure you have made sound investments.

Before investing in the stock market, you should be aware of the basics of stock trading. This can be learned by doing some research online or by getting a book at your local library. Once you know the basics, you can start looking for individual investments. It is recommended that the novice investor start off with only the amount of money they can afford to lose. There are no guarantees you will earn money and sometimes you will lose it. So, it is important to carefully watch the stock market by looking at free stock quotes each day. You may want to buy or sell your stocks depending on how well the individual stock is doing and what forecasts are for the stock.

Free stock quotes are also great for classes in finance or the stock market. This is ideal for investor clubs, high school classes or college projects. You can either use mock money to track an investment from start to finish without actually putting in money or you can use pooled money to determine which investment you will watch and what you will do with it. This is a great way to have a bit of fun with a group while learning about investments and possibly making a bit of money.

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