5 Key Benefits of a Robo-Adviser
Robo-adviser is an automated online wealth management service or a class of digital online financial institutions that offer financial advice or investment management tips online with minimal human intervention. The algorithms are executed by software to allocate, manage and optimize clients’ assets. Being online, however, does not make it less effective and ideal financial institution as it has almost all the aspects of the physical human involvement.
6 Key Factors to Consider Before Making a Private Equity Investment
Private equity refers to investments funds structured as limited partnerships that are not listed on a public exchange and its investors include large institutional investors, wealthy individuals, and university endowments.
Top 4 Best Commodities to Invest
Commodity trading involves trading in commodity derivatives and spots. Commodity trading is very volatile and so investors should take relevant precautions before they enter into it. Commodity trading can help an investor to diversify their portfolio. It is an ideal investment that can significantly hedge you against the risk of inflation. Commodities traded mostly include agricultural products, minerals, and fossils.
5 Common Types of Financial Swaps
A swap is an act of exchanging one thing for another. In finance, swaps are derivatives wherein two counterparties exchange financial instruments. The swaps can involve an exchange of a series of cash flows of one party’s financial instrument for those of the other party’s financial instrument over a specific period of time. Swaps are mutual agreements that are easy to design and customize over the counter. They offer great flexibility that leads to many swap variations with each serving a given purpose. Reasons why parties agree to such arrangements: If their investments or repayment objectives change If it is beneficial financially to switch, to a new or alternative stream of cash flows compared to the existing ones To hedge against risks such as mitigation risks associated with a floating rate loan repayment. Here are the 5 common types of financial swaps: 1. Interest Rate Swap This is the most popular type of swaps. An interest rate swap is a contract between two parties to exchange a stream of future interest payments based on the principal amount. The parties exchange floating interest rate for a fixed rate or vice versa to increase or reduce exposure to interest rates volatility to obtain a marginally lower rate than would have been possible without the swap. It can also involve the exchange of one floating rate for another and usually occurs only to change the type or tenor of the floating rate index usually called basis swap. It usually occurs if a company can obtain a loan easily at one type of interest rate but prefers a different type of rates. 2. Currency Swaps Currency swaps involve the exchange of interest and in some cases of full exchange of principal amounts in one currency for the same but in another currency. It is also referred to as cross-currency swap as it involves foreign exchange transaction. It is a very flexible method of foreign exchange as maturities of the currency swaps are negotiable for at least 10 years. The interest rates can be floating or fixed and the exchange can be fixed vs. fixed, floating vs. floating and fixed vs. floating. The swap helps to hedge against interest rates and forex rates fluctuations for long-term investments. 3. Commodity Swaps A commodity swap is a financial derivative agreement where two parties agree to exchange cash flows which are reliant on the underlying commodity price. This swap is most common among people who use raw materials to produce finished products. It is used to hedge against the price of a commodity. It consists of a floating-leg component and a fixed-leg component where the floating-leg component is attached to the market price of the underlying commodity or agreed upon commodity index and the fixed-leg component is specified in the contract. These swaps are settled in cash but the physical delivery is predetermined in the contract. 4. Credit Default Swaps The credit default swap offers insurance in the event that third-party borrower defaults. It helps transfer between two or more parties the credit exposure of fixed income products. The swap buyer makes payment to the swap seller until the date of the maturity of the contract. The seller in return agrees that they will pay the buyer the security premiums in addition to all interest payments that would have been paid between that time and the security maturity date in the event that the debt issuer defaults. 5. Equity Swaps An equity swap is a financial derivative contract where two counterparties agree to exchange a set of future cash flows at set date’s n the future. The two cash flows are known as legs of the swap. The legs of the swap include the floating leg which is pegged to a floating rate such as LIBOR and the other leg component is the equity leg which is based n the performance of either a share of stock or a stock market index. Equity swaps help avoid transaction costs such as tax, limitations on leverage and get around policy governing a particular type of investment that an institution can grasp. Summary Swaps can be designed and structured in different ways to meet the needs of all the parties as they are offered over the counter (OTC). However, they are unregulated and so every investor should fully understand the implications of the swap before they enter into the contract.
8 Best Stock Investment Apps for Beginners
Investing is a daunting task and sometimes could be confusing especially for a beginner. In the past, an investment process began by making a call to a brokerage firm to obtain an advisor who would advise the investor throughout the process. However, the technological advancement has made it easier for beginners who want to start trading. Now, they can just download an app on their PC or Smartphone and use it to trade securities. Different apps offer automation, low cost and high-security measures to make investing easy and exciting for all.
6 Key Benefits of Investing in Dividend Paying Stocks
Dividend-paying companies distribute a portion of the net income to the stockholders each year and reinvest the remaining profits back into the business. The payments are usually quarterly though there are companies that pay monthly.
3 Types of Profit Margins to Determine Before Investing in a Stock
To decide whether or not a particular company’s stock is worth including in a portfolio is a daunting task. An investor must analyze various company aspects before they invest their dollars. One key aspect to consider is the financial position of the company and more particularly the profit margin. A profit margin is the amount by which revenue from sales exceeds costs in a business and is usually expressed as a percentage.
5 Ideal Reasons for Investing in Utility Stocks
Utility stocks are stocks of companies that deliver essential services such as water, gas, and electricity among others. Utility stock is an ideal conservative option for investors looking for steady higher dividends. You can invest in utility stocks companies through a brokerage firm by buying individual utility stocks, mutual funds that are specialized in the utilities sector or as ETFs that include the select sector SPDR-utilities. Utility companies provide the basic necessities to facilitate the running of the modern day life. The sector has well-built government oversight of the business practices because the companies provide the public services to the citizens. Utility services are always in demand in any economy. The sector tends to be more stable in terms of its day to day performance. The utility stocks are less risky than most stocks in the market but a bit riskier than the bonds. Usually, the utilities pay above the market dividends. Here are 5 reasons why you should buy utility stocks: 1. Most are monopolies and don’t have competition Companies that provide the electricity and sewer systems require huge capital investments which could either be unpractical or undesirable to build multiple systems overlapping each other. It creates a huge barrier to new entries. There are thus only a few companies that enter into the business. This makes the business to have less competition and thus a perfect investment to power your portfolio. 2. The government set the rates and ensures a reasonable profit The sector is highly regulated to ensure a balanced interest of shareholders and consumer needs. The customers’ needs are to have the utilities affordable to them but the business must make profits to remain afloat. To achieve this balance, the government sets the best rate that will help produce the desired revenues for the company or rather achieve reasonable profits for the company and provide the best rate of return for the investors. 3. They rarely go out of business The clientele of the utilities is large as nearly all citizens and businesses use the utility companies’ services. Customers must pay their utility bills to continue using the services and to avoid cut-offs of the services. This means that the companies have consistent revenues and cash flows from the bill payments. The utility company is always guaranteed to remain in business unless they take on extremely risky ventures. 4. They get predictable cash flows that they rarely reduce their dividends The utility companies’ profits and cash flows are large enough to allow the companies to increase their dividends on a constant basis. While investing in utility stocks, look for the dividend growth that increase consistently and that keep pace with the inflation rates. Invest in companies that have consistently increased their dividends in the last 4-5 years. 5. They pay steady dividends from their earnings Since the companies expenses are well factored into the formula of determining the utility’s profits, the utility companies rarely reinvest their profits into the business. They use their entire earnings to pay out dividends to their investors. They pay up to 60-80% of their annual earnings to shareholders and the typical return on the shareholders' equity is 10-12%. Bottom Line Utility stocks are some of the highest yielding stocks in the stock market and every investor should consider incorporating them into their portfolio.
Become a Successful Forex Trader in 4 Simple Steps
To become a successful Forex trader, you need to learn, practice and set a clear plan for the trade. Getting into the Forex business is easy and you can follow a few simple steps. You need to learn how to mitigate losses while maximizing profits which you can achieve by identifying good trade setups that have a positive risk and reward set up.
5 Significant Reasons to Trade Forex
Forex or the foreign exchange market is a decentralized or over-the-counter (OTC) market whereby currencies are traded at current or determined prices. This market brings together central banks, investment banks, commercial banks, hedge funds retail traders among other professions. According to the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) last triennial survey, the size of the forex market turnover was $5.2 trillion as of 2016. The forex market is thus the biggest financial market in the world.
6 Major Types of Strategies Traders can Opt for in Forex Trading
Trading Forex (FX) involves trading of currencies where you can buy one currency while selling another for speculation purposes. Forex trading just like any other investment involves taking calculated risks. When trading forex, you can make profits or losses. You need to master the best forex strategies that can work for you to benefit from forex trading. Currencies tend to fluctuate due to various factors like geopolitical, economical and more. The aim of trading in currencies is to make profits from the changes in prices.
Top 5 Forex Risks Traders Should Consider Before they Invest
Forex exchange market is a global decentralized or over the counter market that facilitates the trading of currencies. Just like in a stock exchange, the traders’ goal is to make a profit by buying low and selling high. Forex markets are highly liquid assets due to the high trading volumes. Some of the most common forex exchange trades include spot transactions, currency swaps, and options, forwards, and foreign exchange swaps. Forex trades face plenty of risks that can result in substantial losses. Here are the top 5 forex risks that every trader should consider before they dive into forex trading: 1. Leverage Risks In forex trading, traders require a small initial investment called a margin which is used as leverage in forex trading to gain access to substantial trades. Price volatility can result in margin calls where the investor is required to commit an additional margin. In highly volatile market conditions, aggressive use of leverage by traders can result in massive losses over initial investments made. 2. Interest Rate Risks Interest rate affects countries exchange rates. If a country’s interest rates rise, the currency strengthens. Investors flood the country as they invest in the country’s assets. In essence, a stronger currency means better returns. On the other hand, if a country interest rates fall, the currency weakens as investors begin to withdraw their investments. Interest rate changes can thus have a dramatic effect on forex prices. 3. Transaction Risks The difference or gap between when a contract is initiated and when it settles poses a transaction risk which is an exchange rate risk. Forex trading usually takes 24 hours, and exchange rates can drastically change any time before a trade settle. Currencies also trade at different prices at different times during the trading process. The greater the gap, the higher the transaction risk. The exchange risk that traders face during the trading hours increase the transaction costs. 4. Counterparty Risk The company that provides the asset to an investor in a financial transaction is called the counterparty. There is a risk of default from the dealer or broker in any particular transaction which refers to the counterparty risk. Spot and forward contracts on currencies do not get a guarantee by an exchange or a clearing house and thus pose a counterparty risk to an investor. The counterparty risk can occur in spot currency trading in the event the market maker end up insolvency. The counterparty can refuse or can be unable to oblige to contracts in highly volatile market conditions. 5. Country Risk An investor must assess the structure and the stability of the issuing country before they invest in currencies. In a majority of developing countries, the exchange rates are pegged to a particular world leader currency such as the US dollar. Central Banks in those countries must sustain sufficient reserves to help maintain good exchange rates. A balance of payments deficit can lead to devaluation of the currency and result in a currency crisis. It can consequently have massive effects on forex prices and trading. Investors can also begin to withdraw their assets if they suspect the currency is likely to decrease in value. It results in further devaluing of the currency. Currency crisis aggravates liquidity and credit risks as the currency devalues the assets become illiquid. The Bottom Line An investor should consider the various risks and losses associated with foreign exchange trading before they invest. While forex assets have the highest trading volume, the risks can lead to massive losses.
New NAFSA Data: Despite Stagnant Enrollment, International Students Contribute Nearly $41 Billion to the U.S. Economy
M&T Bank Invests $5 Million in Blue Highway Growth Capital Fund to Accelerate Revitalization in Rural Communities