Category Archives: Economy

Basics Of The Stock Market

Many new investors jump into the stock market based on hearing the hype of how it?s possible to make great money investing this way. They may have heard of a friend who made a bundle with day trading or a colleague who has a hot stock tip and so they figure they?ll jump into the market too.

Before you begin investing, it?s important that you understand at least the basics of the stock market.

While investing in stocks can help you to build a great investment portfolio, if you?re not careful about your strategies, you could also find it can be a great way to lose a lot of money too.

There are two sections to the stock market. The primary market is where shares are created by companies and generally offered to the public via an IPO (Initial Public Offering). The secondary market is where established stocks are exchanged and traded among investors without the involvement of the company issuing the stocks.

When people think about investing on the stock market, they tend to be talking about the secondary market.

Basics of Stock Market Shares

Shares, or stocks, are individual pieces of ownership of much larger companies. When companies need to raise capital, then sell off little portions of the company so that investors may become partial owners of that company. Each time you buy a stock, it represents a share of ownership in a publicly listed company. You become a shareholder. As you increase the number of stocks you have in one particular company, you increase the percentage of ownership you have.

As a shareholder, you are entitled to your share of the company?s earnings. These are usually paid as dividends, although not all companies offer dividend payments. You?re also entitled to exercise any of the voting rights that might be attached to that stock, however you don?t have a say in the daily operational running of that business.

Basics of Stock Market Pricing

There are several factors that can affect the price of stocks and you might notice that the price of stocks changes every day. While the price can be partially dictated by supply and demand, there are also other factors that can affect the overall price too. Economic changes, unemployment or bad management in the company are all individual factors that can also affect the pricing.

The price you see listed on any particular stock is based on the perceived profitability of the company and not the value of the company. This means the stock can often be priced based on what investors believe the stocks are worth. The value of the company is called the market capitalization.

When you see on the news that the market rose or fell by a number of points, it?s important to understand that not every single stock listed on the exchange followed the same movements. The index you see reported is a representation of a number of stocks and presented as a single figure to give a general idea of the market movements as a whole.

However, there will always be individual companies that move contrarily to the main market sentiment. It?s this contrary movement that day traders watch for, trying to find the next stock pick that will rise in value and gain profits for them.

Basics of Stock Market Investing

There are several types of stock market investment strategies. Day trading is growing in popularity as a way to smaller investors to begin building capital. The basis behind day trading is to buy a stock in the early part of the trading day and hopefully sell it again at a profit before trading closes.

Long term investors tend to purchase many different stocks in a diversified range of companies in various sectors to spread their risk. These investors tend to hold stocks for longer periods of time, allowing the value of their stocks to appreciate. They also receive dividend payments, either in the form of a check or as a dividend reinvestment plan, where the company issues stocks to the value of the dividend payments to the shareholder to add to his portfolio.

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Reflections on the US National Debt. Will we do what it takes to shrink it?

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

So, President Obama’s bipartisan deficit commission headed by former Wyoming Senator Alan K. Simpson (R) and former Clinton Chief of Staff Erskine B. Bowles (D) has issued its preliminary report.

It is a stark, sobering document. It says, in glaringly specific ways, that we as a nation have blithely spent too much too long, unconcerned like Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Newman: “What me worry/”

Well, we have partied and now wake up to a colossal headache of global proportions. Now what?

President Obama, understanding that Congress needs help with this hot potato,early on in his term issued an Executive Order on the matter. Per this order, a panel of 18 members was created; 12 are members of Congress. Six are private citizens of impeccable pedigree. Fourteen of these commissioners must agree before the panel can send any recommendations to Congress, which they must do shortly.

What the commissioners recommend… so far

The commissioners were given a breath taking charge by the president: either recommend $4 trillion dollars in budget cuts and savings and/or raise that sum in tax revenues. Everything was on the table; nothing was sacrosanct and inviolable. In short, “deal with it, boys and girls, for the good of the nation!”

The commissioners, selected for a gravely serious purpose, took the matter seriously, and have produced a serious document… the more so since others both within the Congress and out continue to play “gotcha politics” on the matter. Not so the commissioners. They set about their vital work with a will that promises to be sadly lacking in a Congress which will ultimately decide on what to do. Here is the heart of what they reported.

Item: deep cuts in domestic and military spending

Item: gradual 15-cents-per-gallon increase in the federal gasoline tax

Item: limiting or eliminating popular tax breaks (including the home mortgage deduction) in return for lower rates.

Item: benefit cuts and an increased retirement age for Social Security.

It is all sensible, logical, necessary and desirable. It is also DOA because only the commissioners have the will to make changes… and they don’t have the power to save a penny or increase tax revenues Thus, under the heading “Fools rush in where angels fear to trend”, here are my thoughts and recommendations. Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea, take note.

1) We live in supremely selfish times where no one is willing to give up anything. “Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what your country can do for you.”

I start from the proposition that making the necessary changes to the budget will arouse the wrath of Americans nationwide, whatever Tea Party budget- balancing tenets they espouse. Everyone entering into this necessary budget shrinking debate should expect two certain things: up front high-blown patriotic rhetoric about sacrifices willingly made ; behind the scenes bare knuckle fighting of the crudest variety to protect the haves… no matter how grossly illogical and piggish their benefits.

2) Tackle Social Security first. It is the easiest to rehabilitate.

It is time someone told the American people, who treat tampering with Social Security as the third rail in politics (touch it and die), the truth. The entitled, immovable age of 65 is the cynical legacy of Europe’s most successful politician, Prince Otto von Bismarck. He’s the man who engineered the unification of Germany. Looking for a way to undermine the burgeoning late 19th century Socialist movement (very strong in Germany) he asked actuaries to find a number where most men would be dead and only voteless women left. Pensions would begin then. Otto and his conservatives get the credit… but have to pay little! Actuaries said age 65 would do the trick… and so it has remained.

Since Bismarck’s day, however, there have been huge improvements in health and longevity, thereby making the number 65 less an “entitlement” than a fantastic gift from the government for many years, to the detriment of succeeding (and rightly concerned) generations who foot the bill.

Note: Congress should bite this bullet early and deep. Whereas the president’s commissioners want to raise the age by gradual stages to year 69, instead make the magic number go to 71 for those in reasonable health who can work. It’s the right thing.

3) Make each member of the Congress take a pledge to eschew “gotcha politics” on this matter. In our brutally tit for blood-letting tat Congress to say A (like “you voted to slash military spending”) immediately fuels the opposition to return (B) a blow of equal or greater intensity (like “you voted to gut all domestic spending programs”). This gets us no where and fuels national rage about “do nothing” congresses.

Members of Congress raise money to clobber each other. That’s what they do. They’ve been doing it since Minute 1 of the new republic. Now some aspiring statesman should, in the name of getting to yes with this budget imbroglio, say “basta!” and ask all members, on both sides of the aisle, to join him and appreciably move towards the solution we must have. Make working together politically attractive and a “must”; do this and the politically pusillanimous who constitute the core of the Congress will rush to embrace it.

4) Urge the president to spend his (admittedly diminished) political capital to solve this problem — even at the risk of losing a second term.

Americans love big men who focus on big things which benefit the nation in big ways. Let our now wounded president do this and secure a truly significant and majestic legacy.

President Obama could rise to the occasion and say, “The issue of securing a balanced, lean, fair budget and with it the sound future of the nation is so important, I intend to make it my Number 1 priority. It is crucial that America get this benefit, and if it costs me my second term, so be it. It is the right thing to do.” (P.S. Not only would this be statesmanship in the grand manner, but this wounded man would sail to a second term and a legacy of substance and real worth.)

5) Explain to America what is at stake. Then sell it to the nation.

John F. Kennedy’s father, Joseph Kennedy, was a marketing man. He stayed behind the scenes, raised money and gave sharp, sensible advice. Before the crucial Wisconsin primary in 1960, he told his son Jack that they would sell him “like soap flakes.” They did… he romped in the primary…. and got a crucial boost on the road to the presidency.

President Obama et al need to do the same thing now. Hire the best marketing brains on earth… brainstorm every benefit. Then go out and sell it to the nation. This matter of the budget is not the most difficult problem this country has ever faced; it’s entirely solvable. What is necessary is to enlighten Americans, enlist their support and show them what to do. Then lock the Congress in a room and tell them to cut deals until the deed is done. And because cutting deals is what they do best, in due course the thing will be done. Then spread the credit, take the White House photographs… and start the next spending spree. For that is the American way

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Attend Dr. Lant’s live webcast TODAY and receive 50,000 free guaranteed visitors to the website of your choice! Republished with author’s permission by Daniel Fischer Check out Siphon Traffic Listbuilder ->

Betty Windsor Cancels Staff Christmas Party. Royal Scrooge Reigns. What she should have done instead.

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant


What can she be thinking of?

It has been announced from Buckingham Palace (by the Lord Chamberlain Earl Peel) that Her Majesty the Queen (known to favored intimates as “Betty Windsor”) has cancelled this year’s staff Christmas party. Thus are the 600 people who serve her in myriad capacities deprived of the joy of making merrie from her privy purse (meaning she pays for the dainties herself).

Why did she do it?

Lord Peel in his email notification says it’s because of England’s punk economic condition. Cynical royal watchers opine that it’s because the Queen wants to make a point about the hardships of royal living in advance of Parliament’s consideration of her civil list, namely what she gets from the nation for doing her job. In other words, she’s negotiating with the government and figures that taking bon bons from the staff will help achieve her goal of more money faster.

The reason doesn’t much matter, however. The plain fact (whatever the reason) is that Her Royal Majesty is (dare we say it)…. just plain cheap.

This Christmas season we need MORE parties… not fewer for the very reason that so many are suffering and need a good day out. The Queen should be doing her bit, not showing the Sugar Plum fairy the door.

Let’s contrast the Queen’s behavior with that of Mame Dennis in the smash Broadway musical (and film), “Mame.” In the depth of the depression, Mame, her family and staff are glum, decidedly in the dumps. Instead of canceling Christmas (like you-know-who) Mame sings “We need a little Christmas now”… and belts out a festive song while (at least momentarily) lightening that load for the people she loves, the people who know and serve her. In short, challenged though she is, she does what she can.

It’s a far better thing she does than the tight-lipped and tighter-fisted Betty Windsor, for the royal decision (calculated though it may be) brings no joy to anyone… but her, the very antithesis of the purpose of Christmas.

We can help in at least two ways

First, contact Buckingham Palace at once, protesting this silly decision. We KNOW she has the money…. and if she wants to negotiate with Prime Minister Cameron for more funds for palace upkeep and maintenance, fair enough. But let’s not take it out on the staff… who have to feel hurt and disappointed at this niggardly decision, stiffer upper lip or not.

Indeed, let’s go farther. Let’s all chip in and turn a bad decision into a terrific pot-luck. Let’s all offer to supply a favorite Christmas goodie to her larder, tagged exclusively for the benefit of her staff. My grandmother’s Christmas sugar cookies were always a hit back in Illinois and were shipped to grateful (and expectant) friends and relatives worldwide; even the crumbs were treasured. I offer a dozen of these… not least because my grandmother (born in 1901) was named after…. you guessed it: Queen Victoria! It seems right and proper that her cookies go towards helping Betty out with her difficulties!

Make sure YOU have your own Christmas party… or invite a few more people to the one you’ve already scheduled.

Her Majesty’s cancelled Christmas party was budgeted at 50,000 pounds sterling, about $80,000 USD. That’s grand indeed. But, remember this about Christmas: it’s the thought that counts. Rather than cancel the party and the joy therefrom, Her Majesty should have held it, doing the best she could with less… just the way the rest of the world is doing. Just because you can’t have a party with the grand and imperial flourishes you’d prefer is no reason to (petulantly) cancel the whole shebang. A party is about the people… not about whether the champagne is vintage.

Make this Christmas season the one where you discover the real meaning of the season. It is about sharing… the good times and the bad… together. It is about offering the best you can (and can afford) while reaching out to old friends and new, grateful to see and welcome them, not to impress, but to re-connect and make it clear that you care.

Here is where Her Gilded Majesty went right off the rails… and shows me she needs to have a Tiny Tim remind her of wherein the true joy and meaning of the season resides: it is about the sincerity and affection of the gift, not its lavishness or cost. We need gifts that show what is in our heart… not our bank account.

Let’s say that the Queen really couldn’t afford the cost of her party (she’s worth a billion or more, but let’s not be petty). Who can doubt that if she had done anything… but done it with real affection and gratitude.. that the event would still have been the highlight of the year: a gesture of profound sincerity and consideration. Yes, it would have been touching and forever remembered. Even with day old doughnuts.

Thus, our first suggestion (given with the utmost humility) is this: :Queen of England and dominions over the seas, reinstate your devoted staff’s Christmas party and resolve that you will do more with less; above all that you will use the event to radiate more joy and more happy memories, rather than do away with them altogether. Use your royal powers for good, to live the true sentiments of the season.

And as for the rest of us: let us learn from this imperial error and use it to enhance our own Christmas, to make this, because of the misery around us and an economy doing no better than mediocre, the best Christmas ever… with the one and only focus being on how to bring joy to the most, even if that joy is simply the warmest and most heartfelt of embraces and the sharing of yourself. For if you do these things, the true embodiment of Christmas, you will do more than a queen…. be she ever so rich and empowered.

About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online through automation. Attend Dr. Lant’s live webcast TODAY and receive 50,000 free guaranteed visitors to the website of your choice! Dr. Lant is the author of 18 books, a speaker, consultant and well known marketer. He is also the author of “Insubstantial Pageant: Ceremony and Confusion at Queen Victoria’s Court.”

Republished with author’s permission by Daniel Fischer Check out Lead Rocket ->