Friday, October 12, 2007

Futures Day Trading - Patterns in The S&P 500 and E-mini Futures Contracts- PART 1

Identifying patterns that repeat in the futures market, then jumping on them, is what it's all about. These patterns can be rather complex, requiring an accumulated library of observations. The best way to do it is through your own intuition. There's no better computer trading program than your own trained mind.

When do we start talking about the S&P 500 futures contract patterns that repeat over and over throughout the day? Right now! Theres so many. Just to give you an example of what Im talking about, from June to December 2005, I filled up about 55 typewritten pages with 240 different examples describing the general futures patterns I saw. And Im still adding to them. I then read them into a tape recorder and often listen to the tapes to reinforce these observations.

Its so easy to forget what weve seen. Going through a futures bull market" lasting 5 days can easily erase ideas we learned about the last mini-bear market the week before. The idea is to sit in front of the screen and watch the market unfold. You need to be constantly scanning the various charts, one-minute, five minute, sixty minute and daily bars to look for these patterns and set ups. Your mouse should always be moving and clicking. Take visual snapshots every five minutes. Scan your instruments and environment, just as a pilot does in an airplane .

These futures price patterns can sometimes each take two paragraphs to describe. They can involve COMBINATIONS of price formations, volatility, dullness, spikes, erosion, persistent strength, tick patterns, premium patterns, relationships to other markets, wave structure, volume, time counts and other subtle combinations. They all add up to that magic signal inside your head that the market is about to make a worthwhile turn. One or two indications dont mean much. In addition, they must be in context to the futures market position. Dont get caught swinging from one or two tree branches.

For example, let's say the market goes dull and quiet. This can be very bullish at a bottom. Or it can be very bearish at a top. Or it can mean nothing if the market is in a middle range like when the traders go to lunch between 12-1PM east coast time. Proper context is the key when interpreting these signals into meaningful pattern combinations.

These signals are decoded using "fuzzy logic" - your brain. Digital software can't compete! There's no way to program these complex patterns with a computer or neural net. Ive tried it and have come up with some effective systems, but I've always done better using the human mind for integration.

Part Two of Three Parts - Next!

There is substantial risk of loss trading futures and options and may not be suitable for all types of investors. Only risk capital should be used.

Thomas Cathey directs the managed futures division of Thomas Capital Management, LLC. Get FREE, his complete 44+ lesson, "Thomas Commodity Trading Course" and weekly TimeLine newletter by visiting: The course is brand new and fun reading... a "street-wise" trading e-course. Visit the main Thomas Capital Management trading website at:

Stocks Double All The Time

Did you know that $1000 Invested one time, if it returns 100% a year would be worth over $1,000,000 in 10 years? Here is how it breaks down

Start $1,000

End of Year 1 $2,000

End of Year 2 $4,000

End of Year 3 $8,000

End of Year 4 $16,000

End of Year 5 $32,000

End of Year 6 $64,000

End of Year 7 $128,000

End of Year 8 $256,000

End of Year 9 $512,000

End of Year 10 $1,024,000

That is doubling your money every year.

Of course that scenario doesn't include taxes etc.. However if you had a 401K you wouldn't get taxed on it.

Maybe you have seen that before but that shows that the person with a Long term strategy can make a great deal of money from not a big investment. 100% a year isn't a lot when we are talking about HYIP investments but how many of those are going to last 10 years as well? NONE

Did you know a good percentage of Stocks double each year? I just did some quick research on this with the newspaper. I opened up the Stock Market section for the Nasdaq/AMEX. I decided to check the 52 week high and 52 week low for some stocks. What I was searching for is how many stocks under a certain letter were at least double from its 52 week low. In other words for a stock like "Hansen" (I have NO IDEA WHAT THEY DO OR ANY INFO ON THEM THIS IS JUST AN EXAMPLE) This company (Hansen) had a 52 week HIGH of $44.25 and 52 week Low of $8.51 and was trading above $44. So from the low of $8.51 to the high that is over 5x increase. Point being their are a LOT of stocks that move up 100% in a year, Hansen moved up 400%+!

I did research on a few different letters. (I only looked at letters that had a small # of companies just to show you the research. I didn't want to do like the letter "S" which would have hundreds of companies)

I did the letters "H", "J", "O", and "XYZ". In my paper the letter "H" had 33 companies listed for the Nasdaq/Amex of those 33 companies 16 of them had a 52 week hi/low difference of at least 90%. 17 of the companies did not.

The letter "J" had 9 companies that had a 52 week hi/low of 90% or better, and 5 companies that did not. The letter "O" had 27 companies that had a 52 week hi/low of 90% or better and only 15 companies that didn't. The letters "XYZ" had 17 companies with a 52 week hi/low of better than 90% and 6 that did not.

So of those 6 letters listed above companies under those letters had companies with a 52 week hi/low of 90% or better 69 times and not 43 times.

My point of this is MANY stocks each year double in value no matter what the overall stock market does. All you need is to find 1 a year that can double. That could go from .50 cents to $1. Or $5 to $10 or $20 to $40. You ONLY need 1 stock!

One stock I mentioned on our Alley Cat Trading Newsletter went from .26 cents back in late November to almost $1 in early January. That more than doubled in less than 2 months!The stock was CYGX. I am sure there are many stock trading newsletters online and off. Do some research on them and the companies they recommend. Remember you only need 1 good stock a year. You could very well have a situation like with CYGX where it doubled in a very short time You take your profits and go hunting for the next stock. You don't always have to be in a trade. If that trade took you 2 months you are 10 months ahead of schedule take your time to find the next stock that could turn. Maybe that stock ends up taking 14 months to double.

Copyright 2006 Steve Hoven

Steve Hoven has had years of experience trading. check out his free newsletter at

Surviving A Hard Market

Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines deja vu as - something overly or unpleasantly familiar. Anyone that has been in the staffing business since the late 1980s and early 1990s knows exactly what this means when referencing worker's compensation. Prior to the early 1980s no one concerned themselves with the cost of worker's compensation nor did they talk about the roller coaster effect of premiums.

There were no terms such as soft market or hard market. But in the mid to late 1980s workers compensation insurance costs started spiraling upward. The upward swing saw many companies lose their business and forced others to turn to self-insurance, retention plans or other means of alternative insurance. Everyone knew that the state fund or assigned risk pool was a proverbial kiss of death for a staffing firm. Then in the mid 90s, without much notice, the market began to soften. Companies who had once fled the insurance market for other insuring vehicles found that the cost of workers compensation through conventional means was much more attractive from a cash flow perspective. In fact, staffing firms were being solicited by many carriers and enjoyed the benefit of a small pricing war. Premiums that were far below prior years losses were being quoted to companies. Modifiers were being ignored or negotiated down and premium credits became the norm as opposed to the exception. Little concern was shown for a companys risk management program. It was a real feeding frenzy by carriers.

The reasoning behind this soft market was that companies had identified the problems associated with injuries and resolved them. Losses were trending down nationally and there were those that said that the market would never go hard again. Carriers paid little attention to the insureds attitude toward safety and loss control when considering a quote for insurance. It is true that there are reasons that can explain the soft market, but the ones mentioned here are not the real reasons. In order to survive a hard market one must know why it occurs. By knowing what drives a market soft or hard, a company can position themselves to experience minimal impact and survive.

First lets look at the actions taken by companies when insurance costs started to spiral. Most companies began looking for ways to lower their premiums and in the early 90s, found that if they would retain a level of their losses, carriers were willing to give better pricing. The more retention taken the better the pricing offered. But this would mean that the insured would need to improve their safety and loss control program to ensure that deductibles they had to pay (retention levels) were kept to a minimum. Much attention was given to the implementation of comprehensive procedures to identify potential employees that might be apt to be injured or to file a fraudulent claim. More safety training was provided to employees. Drug screening became very popular and most companies hired or designated risk managers, qualified or not. A new process of qualifying clients became popular and a team effort for increasing safety and reducing losses was developed between staffing firms and their clients. All of these actions resulted in a significant reduction in loss ratios (losses divided by premium) that opened the eyes of a few carriers. At this time most carriers were reluctant to write workers compensation insurance for staffing firms because they did not believe that the industry could control the worker or the work environment and historical data confirmed this. Remember, this was a period in time that most people thought of staffing firms as secretarial pools or rent a drunk. And with average loss ratios of 150% or greater, payouts for losses were far exceeding premiums collected. So who can blame carriers for not wanting to accept this type of insured? With the advent of all of the intensive risk management being implemented coupled with several months of success resulting in loss ratios of 35% or less, and the retention of some of the losses, the prospect of being profitable by insuring staffing firms surfaced and some carriers decided to take the chance.

But it wasnt just the good risk management procedures that provided the incentive to insure a known high-risk industry. If you look at the graph of the stock market over the past ten years, you will quickly realize that there is a direct correlation between it and the insurance market. Heres why. Insurance companies collect premium from clients but they do not pay claims right away and when they do pay the claims, it is usually over a period of time. This allows them the opportunity to invest the money and earn a return. When the markets are doing well and returns are great, carriers are more interested in the amount of volume they have as opposed to the quality of the insured. An example of this is that in one recent year the insurance industry reported four billion dollars in losses. (This sounds like a lot but is a relatively small amount.) That same year they reported thirty-four billion dollars of investment income. With a thirty billion dollar net, it is easy to see why they would want the premium dollars regardless of the risk. The fact is that the pendulum swung so far in the other direction that in many cases a company could get a guaranteed cost policy for a price less than that of the retention programs. This would prove to be short-lived and the pendulum returned at a very swift rate when the interest rates began to fall and the stock market began its downward trend.

Another factor that must be considered is the number of catastrophes that occur in a given year. Hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, drought, fire and tornados can have an impact on all types of insurance premiums. Few insurance companies limit themselves to one type of coverage such as workers compensation. They usually have a variety of lines of coverage. If carriers are hit hard from the above mentioned catastrophes or if they lose millions in lawsuits from employment related issues such as discrimination, it will impact all premium costs. In the mid-nineties, catastrophic losses were minimal. If a carrier suffers losses to the degree that they are forced to shut down, there will be a rippling effect on all insurers. An example of this is the failure of Universal Re. When they were forced to shut down due to poor underwriting procedures, almost immediately prices increased across the country, from five to twenty percent as other re-insurers scrambled to protect themselves from a similar fate. Many front line carriers either failed or saw a significant decrease in their financial position.

In 1998, some insurance experts began to warn of the upcoming hard market. But the economy was booming, prices were still low and these warnings fell on deaf ears. These experts realized that it was unlikely that investments could sustain their high returns. It was also evident that companies were becoming complacent with their risk management procedures. This coupled with the likelihood of a catastrophic year gave reason to warn companies of the impending hard market. And as these experts predicted, the hard market returned.

For some it is too late to salvage their businesses because the insurance companies had turned their heads to the staffing industry and the high cost of workers compensation in the state fund or assigned risk pool eliminated all profits. Some have just closed their doors while others have surrendered their businesses to larger firms for far less than the actual value. And many more will follow before this hard market is over.

Now that you know some of the reasons behind the fluctuating market, what can you do to survive and avoid becoming another casualty? First and foremost you must develop a mindset of long term planning as opposed to insurance carrier hopping. Insurance carriers are looking for companies that want to establish long-term relationships as opposed to those that jump ship every year. This type of relationship affords the carrier the opportunity to better understand the insureds needs and to benefit from averaging. Every company has the potential to have a bad year. This bad year can be softened if it is averaged in with a few good years. When you develop a relationship with a carrier and stay with them over a period of time, both will benefit. You must remember that price is not important; it is cost that counts. A low upfront premium could ultimately cost you thousands more if the company provides poor service. This could include poor claims handling or inadequate coverage due to hidden exclusions. Regardless of who is to blame, a year of high losses will negatively impact your ability to secure affordable insurance. If this is your current situation then do something about it now!

Second, consider some level of retention when possible. By accepting responsibility for the first level of claims dollar you have an incentive to reduce or eliminate a large portion of these claims. It is also important to remember that for every dollar the carrier pays you pay $1.50 to $2.00. If you pay the first dollar then you can save 50-100% on that portion of the claim. Make sure that your contract does not allow the carrier to up charge you for those deductibles. Retention levels come in a variety of amounts and as they get larger you must be aware that the carrier will require that you post collateral in the form of a letter of credit or cash. This can have a devastating impact on cash flow and growth. The most common retention levels are $10,000, $50,000, $100,000, $250,000 and for the larger companies $500,000 to $1million. Captive and Rent-a-Captive programs can be very favorable because they allow you to have better communication with your servicing providers and usually provide you with a return of a portion of your premiums after a low loss year. Many of these programs will also provide you with investment income dollars that normally go to the carrier. But beware. It is important that you have a thorough understanding of how these programs work before making the move. These types of programs are most assuredly designed for those with long-term plans for their business and a serious attitude toward controlling losses. If the program you are considering does not have this mode of operation, then avoid them. Captive-type programs may require a larger amount of upfront cash, but the long-term gain will greatly reduce the cost of insurance. Because they are less cash flow sensitive on the front end it is important to review your financial position prior to entering this type of program.

When deciding on a program it is sometimes best to secure the services of an impartial third party consultant to review your Insurance Desirability before making your decision. The advantage is that the consultant will not influence your decision based on the amount of commission to be earned as might occur with a broker, agent or other direct writer. One company that recently took this approach paid a small fee to have a consultant review their brokers proposal. After careful analysis, the consultant, working with the broker, was able to identify areas that would better suit the insured. The result of the review was that the company reduced their renewal premium by 48%. The consultants fee was 1%. That is a net savings of 47%. This may not happen in your case but it wouldnt have to be that good to be worth talking about.

Finally and most importantly, step back and take another look at your risk management program. Careful analysis will most likely reveal areas that have fallen off due to lack of attention. Situations change and you may need to add or take away certain parts of your program to make it better serve your companys needs. Sometimes you must weigh the cost of a safety process against the end result. If the cost exceeds the benefit then you may decide you dont want to implement this particular process. Look for opportunities to make risk management easier for your staff to implement and remember that they follow your example. If you dont stand firm with your program you cannot expect your staff to be any different. Provide them with the necessary tools for effective risk management and hold them accountable if they fail to use them. Make sure that if a carrier considering a quote for your company decides to visit your facilities that there is solid proof that you are a good risk. Dont expect them to believe you just because you have a risk management book and a few forms. They have fallen for this in the past but wont fall victim to this action again. Prove it without a doubt by making risk management an everyday part of your operation. The result will be fewer dollars spent on losses and bigger savings on renewing policies.

If you follow these simple instructions and monitor the factors such as the stock market and catastrophic events, you will position yourself to survive in a hard market and thrive in a soft market.

The principals of have a combined 50 plus years of experience in risk management, sales training, insurance, and information technology. Since 1997, JPA dba ArcAetos has been a consulting firm dedicated to educating companies on proper risk management techniques and assisting them in avoiding unjust premium charges by their workers' compensation carriers.

Forex Trading - A Simple 4 Point Way To Making Big Profits

I read a lot about how difficult forex trading is, but making money from Forex trading is essentially simple if you keep in mind the following 4 points.

I have tried to illustrate this live and showed 3 trading opportunities and all made great profits and had low risk.

Lets look at this simple way to make profits more closely:

1. You Are responsible

If you think you can buy an e-book and make yourself rich by paying $100 think again.

Most of the advice sold on the net is not worth the paper its written on. If you want to buy a system keep in mind the following:

1. Make sure the vendor trades it and has made real money and the track record is NOT just a simulation.

2. If you do buy a system make sure you know how and why the logic works:


If you dont know why it works you will not have the discipline to follow it and discipline is essential when trading.

If you dont have discipline to apply it you dont have a method in the first place.

2. A simple method

If you follow a system or build your own keep it simple.

Simple systems work best and are far better than complicated ones.


Because they are less likely to break in the face of ever changing brutal market conditions.

How simple?

We use support resistance and just 3 indicators:

Stochastics, Bollinger bands and RSI.

The best methodology to use is to utilize breakouts and sing trade within the trend.

Note: Never day trade this is a great way to lose your money quickly as you have no valid data to work with.

Finally, if you use a system like the above - always trade on confirmation from your charts to get into your position so price momentum is on your side:

Dont guess or try and predict!

This is a mistake made by many novice traders.

3. Money management

Trading using critical support and resistance means that stops are easy to place and risk can be kept low. 4. Targets

Trade with a target where you want to take profit.

Resist the temptation to trail stops to quickly that will simply see you knocked out the trade by volatility.

Once you have reached you target you can liquidate, or trail your stop then but not before.

Dont make money management complicated or try and lock in profits to quickly or have stops to close this is a major reason traders lose.

This sounds to simple!

Yes it is simple - but it works.

Many traders think the more effort they put in the more they will get out of trading, but there is no correlation between the effort you make and profits you achieve.

Work smart not hard.

Trading is essentially simple and relies on a logical robust method you understand.

You will then have the confidence to apply it with discipline.

Many people try and beat the market or think they can win all the time and buy bottoms and sell tops You cant!

The aim of forex trading is simply to make above average profits and if you keep it simple you will.

If you try and be to clever, or get to complicated in your approach you will lose.


On all aspects of becoming a profitable trader including features, downloads and some great FREE Trading PDF's visit our website at

How To Become A Stock Broker

Stockbrokers can aim to trade on the New York Stock Exchange, which is the largest stock exchange in the world, the American Stock Exchange, which specializes in exchange-traded funds, along with small to mid-size stocks, or the NASDAQ, which is the "over the counter" stock exchange.

The average stock broker salary may be in excess of $175,000 for retail stock brokers and about double that figure for institutional stock brokers, while the average investment banker may take home about $850,000 in pay and bonuses.

Traits of successful stock brokers

To convince clients to trust you with their investment, you need self confidence, selling skills and the capacity to take repeated rejection. Stock brokers must have integrity, together with competence and professionalism, in order to excel.

Employers prefer to hire mature people with good interpersonal skills, who have the capacity to work independently. Successful people from other professions, who wish to make a career change, are also welcomed by employers. Employers may like to do a credit check to ensure that applicants have a clean record and a good credit history.

Essential qualifications and licenses

There is no stock broker requirement for any specialized qualification, though many stock brokers have a college degree. A college degree in business, economics or finance can be useful, and it may be necessary to have one, if you are interested in joining one of the larger brokerage firms.

Usually, people dont become stock brokers immediately after they graduate. To become a stock broker, you need to get on the job career training with a stock broker firm and obtain a license, after passing the General Securities Registered Representative Examination. Before you can sit for this examination you have to undergo on-the-job stock broker training with a brokerage for at least four months.

After completing the General Securities Registered Representative Examination, you may also be required to take the Uniform Securities Agents State Law Examination in many states.

Unlike other careers, online career training or free career training for stock brokers cannot replace this mandatory period of working with a brokerage house and grants for career are not available for this practical training.

The Series 7 Stock Broker exam, which is administrated by the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), provides individuals with the qualifications needed to trade in various types of corporate securities, with the exception of commodities and futures.

Posting their profile on a stock broker listing on the Internet can help brokers to gain visibility through search engines such as Google and Yahoo and you will get more business. These listings can help clients to make a stock broker comparison, before they decide to give their business to a particular broker.

Stock broking is an amazing profession and those who persist in their efforts to succeed, can look forward to success beyond their wildest imagination.

Ayna Miah knows the stock brokerage industry secrets both inside and out. Now he wants to share his profitable knowledge with you.Discover the insider tips, techniques and secrets that will turn you into a Successful Stock Broker and even if you have no experience whatsoever.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Avoid Forex Currency Trading Scams

Forex Currency trading swindlers often attract customers through advertisements in local newspapers, radio promotions or attractive Internet sites. These particular advertisements may flaunt low-risk high-return investment opportunities in foreign currency trading. They may even offer high paid currency-trading employment opportunities. Be very skeptical when promoters of foreign currency trading claim that their services or account management will earn high profits with minimal risks. Be wary if they claim that employment as a Forex currency trader will make you wealthy quickly.

Avoid opportunities that sound too good to be true. Forex currency trading that involves get rich quick schemes are generally swindles. Retired folks with access to their retirement funds are attractive targets for fraudsters. Once your money is gone, it is almost impossible to get it back. Be very careful of companies that will guarantee you a profit. Be careful as well, if they flaunt extremely high performance. These types of statements are generally false.

If the company tells you that written risk, disclosure statements are routine formalities imposed by the government, stay away from that company! Forex trading is very volatile and can be a huge risk for the uneducated and uninformed. If you cannot afford to lose money then do not get into the Forex currency trading market. Do not use your retirement funds for Forex currency trading; that would be extremely foolish.

Be very wary of online trading, it can be impossible to get a refund but it is very easy to transfer your funds. The internet is an easy way for fraudsters to reach potentially millions of people. The internet also can hide where a Forex trading company resides. If you transfer your money to a foreign location, it may be impossible to get it back.

You must get the background of the company you are dealing with. You should ask for all information in written form. Check with the Better Business Bureau as well. Do not rely strictly on information you here verbally. If you are not completely satisfied or comfortable with the information you find out then just do not deal with that company.

You may here the term interbank, it refers to a loose network of Forex currency transactions that are negotiated between financial institutions and other large companies. These are usually the only ones investing in the interbank market. So, be careful of a company that indicates that you should trade Forex in the interbank market. This can be a sign of an unscrupulous trading company.

Another term you may here is Margin trading. Margin trading can make you responsible for losses that are greater than the dollar amount you deposited. Many Forex currency traders will ask customers to give them funds, which they sometimes refer to as "margin." These sums can be in the range of $1,000 to $5,000. Those dollar amounts actually control a far larger dollar amount of trading and customers are not aware of this sometimes. So, in essence do not trade on margin unless you fully understand what it means and what you are doing. You must be prepared to accept losses that can exceed the margin amounts you have paid.

Thomas D. Houser

Why We Need A Business Time Management Guidelines

To a businessman, the important answer to make business success is to have an effective business time management plan. Busy people can find their day all in a mess. Busy people cannot seem to accomplish much is due to the reason that they like to spend too much time staying frenzy.

For many businessmen and entrepreneurs out there, they have to realize and aware that they do not just need good management skills, but also effective business time management techniques to help them.

Many businessmen who run their own enterprises often find themselves handling different job scope during the single course of the day. In fact, these time management techniques will aid you to increase the productivity. Some great tips to start with to keep your head cool.

Can businessmen keep track of their business activities

Many business people have to realize that no matter how much they have organized the day, there is always going to be 24 hours a day. Time answers to no one. There is only 1 single thing that we can manage is ourselves and our time. Many of us will find we are wasting time when we could be utilizing our time much more wisely.

Make sure you make a list and figure out where you are wasting your time at. This list can show us how we can be more productive throughout our business day. You got to know what is actually interferring you is very crucial throughout our day. Tracking activities is not just business time management; it is good business sense as well.

Changing your behavior with the way you work is the one of the best way to manage business time management. In fact, you are not really changing the time. The first thing you do is eliminate those areas where you found time being wasted. Set goals that you will not do that waste time on your activities for the entire week. With that in mind, you have to set specific goals on how you could wish to replace those time wasting activities.

You can simple make decide the best plan to set up for your day once you have establish your goals. You have to be very discipline and work through the plan. This will definitely help you you with your business time management. It will free up those wasted moments and give you time to work hard on tasks in need of completion.

You will see your productivity levels increasing and can have good working habits. With good business time management, your boss or your trading dealings will see a huge enhancement in your work as well, which could get you up the ladder of success.

As explained above are the very basic business time management techniques used in business today. You can find other tips that are equally as useful to you as well. The main steps are explained as followed, first, you must find at where your time is being lost. Then you need to eliminate the waste. Once this is established, you can set specific goals to remain as it is for yourself. This course will absolutely increase your efficiency and help you establish your goals.

The business time management has to be appreciated in order to see results in your business.

Eddy K Elgin is the webmaster of the Good Reference To Effective Time Management Tactics. Drop by at Who Else Needs To Know How To Implement a Sound Business Time Management Plan for more details.

Stock Brokers -- Just The Facts

Most of the buying and selling on the stock market is handled by stock brokers on behalf of their clients, who are the investors. Many different types of brokerage services are available.

Full-Service Brokers

"Full-service brokers" offer a variety of ways to help clients meet their investment goals. These brokers can give advice about which stocks to buy and sell, and often have large research departments that analyze market trends and predict stock movements, for their clients.

Such services are not free, of course. Full-service brokers charge the highest commission rates in the industry. Your decision whether to use a full-service broker will depend on your level of self-confidence, your knowledge of the stock market, and the number of trades you make regularly.

Discount Brokers

Investors who wish to save on commission fees generally use discount brokers. Brokers in this category charge much lower commissions, but they don't offer advice or analysis. Investors who prefer to make their own trading decisions, and those who trade often rely on discount brokers for their transactions.

Online Brokers

Taking the discount concept 1 step further, online brokers are the least expensive way to trade stocks. Both full-service and discount brokers usually offer discounts for orders placed online. Some brokers operate exclusively online, and they offer the best rates of all.

Account Requirements

Whichever type of broker you choose, your first order of business will be to open an account. Minimum balance requirements vary among brokers, but it is usually between $500 and $1000. If you're shopping for a broker, read the fine print about all the fees involved. You'll find that some brokers charge an annual maintenance fee while others charge fees whenever your account balance falls below a minimum.

Cash Or Margin?

Brokerage accounts come in 2 basic types. The "cash account" offers no credit; when you buy, you pay the full stock price. With a "margin account," on the other hand, you can buy stock on margin, meaning the brokerage will carry some of the cost. The amount of margin varies from broker to broker, but the margin must be covered by the value of the client's portfolio.

Any time a portfolio falls below a specified value, the investor will have to add funds or sell some stock. A greater opportunity exists for realizing gains (and losses) with margin accounts, because they allow investors to buy more stock with less cash. Involving greater risk than cash accounts, as they do, margin accounts are not recommended for inexperienced traders.

Selecting The Right Broker For You

You should carefully consider your needs as an investor before making the choice of a broker. Do you wish to receive advice about which stocks to buy? Are you uncomfortable making trades on the Internet? If so, you will be best served by a full-service broker. If you are comfortable buying on the Internet, and you have the knowledge and confidence to make your own trading decisions, then you will be better off with an online discount broker.

After deciding which type of broker you want, do some comparison-shopping between competitors. Significant cost differences can show up when you factor in all the annual fees and brokerage rates. Estimate how many trades you expect to make in a year, how much cash you can deposit into your account, whether you want to use margin accounts, and which services you need. Armed with this information, you'll be prepared to compare your actual costs for various brokers, and to make an educated choice.

Visit Stock Trade to learn more. Ron King is a full-time researcher, writer, and web developer. Copyright 2005 Ron King. This article may be reprinted if the resource box is left intact.

How To Become A Stock Broker

If you are interested in the stock market, you may be thinking to yourself, How can I become a stockbroker?

There is no educational background needed to get in this industry. The basic qualification you need is an interest in the market. But if the reason for your interest is to simply gain more money, you may end up frustrated. The stock market is a fast-paced, tedious industry, where you have to invest hours and hours to get yourself ahead and to understand the market. You must invest your time to collect a firm set of clientele. But even after having a good understanding of the market and having a set of loyal clients, there can still be curve balls you need to prepare yourself for. This preparation can only be acquired through time and experience. That is what youll have to face when you get into the industry.

Before you actually get in the industry, you have to understand that normally, stockbrokers do not become stockbrokers right after graduation. To start off in the industry, you need to prepare yourself to acquire a license. To acquire your license, you have to find a brokerage firm. You need to be with this firm for at least four months to take the General Securities Registered Representative Examination. After passing that test, many states require you to also take the Uniform Securities Agents State Law Examination.

When you acquire your license, the conservative advice is for you to concentrate first on the industry that you are familiar with. If your background is in the computer industry, it is better if you start analyzing stocks from that industry. This will help you get a quick understanding on the behavior of the market.

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Online Trading Tips

Online trading is a service offered on the Internet for purchasing and selling equities, derivatives and commodities. It is not some sort of get rich quick scheme, and as such, is really no different than offline trading because the same amount of risk and skill are required. But, trading online is a lot more simple and strikingly more powerful.

For example, online trading is simple because it lets a trader buy one currency and simultaneously sell it to someone else - a quick and simple way to unload a losing currency and minimize loss. Strikingly powerful because while trading currencies in pairs like this, the trader can capitalize on the difference in the spread on the conversion rate. By learning how to skillfully do this, online currency speculators make money over the long run and are able to build true wealth over time.

However, any skilled trader will tell you that to be truly successful you must adhere to a system. Why? Because having a system can be very rewarding. In fact, for those investors who do not use a system, it is only a matter of time before they loss their money.

An integral part of any system you adopt should be to systematically invest in fundamentally strong companies because the risk involved can be greatly reduced by doing so. And, as with anything that you do in life, you should first carry out some research into the various systems available before you make your final decision on which system is right for you.

So, in conclusion consider this...

The majority of experts agree on the notion that online trading is here to stay and will eventually change the financial brokerage industry. In fact, Forrester Research Inc. says online trading is expected to increase by a whopping 48% over the next five years. Furthermore, an interesting advantage to online trading is that there are no bulls or bears, and to set up shop all you really need is a broadband or high-speed connection.

However, even though online trading is a thing of beauty its not necessarily for everyone. In fact, some seem to feel like, of all the possible choices for a home based business, online trading is considered to be the most dangerous.

There is a system that can literally be put into action within minutes of reading about it. This is truly a system that may sound too good to be true, but it is not. To read more about it click here and I promise you won't be disappointed.

Secrets About Setting Up Effective Stops

Any trader on line needs to set stops. But there are no hard and fast rules to follow. You,need to develop a system that fits your trading style. This means you need to follow your trading plan. However, there are a few tips I can share with you about stops that you might already know. Keep these in mind as you practice and cultivate the skill of setting stops.

First, find out if your broker has rules about where and how stops are set. For example, some brokers have a rule that protective stops must be set at a minimum amount below the current bid when you`re long, a stop sell, or above the current ask when you`re short, a stop buy to cover. The rule may be that a stop sell order must be at least .25 below the current bid.

This trade isn`t usually a problem with a high priced position. But, with a very cheap position, you, the trader on line, might not be able to set a tight stop unless you wait for the bid to move up. In addition, if the price of a position is dropping quickly, the bid may come too close to the stop you`re trying to place before you`re able to place it. This can cause your order to be rejected. Another rule some brokers have is that stops can`t be set more than a certain percentage lower than the current bid or, on a short, higher than the current ask. They may specify that a stop be set no more than 30 percent lower or higher. I have no idea why you, the trader online, would ever want to lose 30 percent of the value of your trade before stopping out, and I would never recommend setting a stop that low.

My second tip is to always review orders carefully before placing them. You`d think it would be impossible to place a limit order when you, the trader on line, mean to place a stop, but it`s easy to do when you`re in a hurry. You need to make sure you, the trader on line, don`t enter a limit order out of habit when you mean to place a stop loss. If you place a limit sell order at a price below the current bid, at the place where you meant to place your stop, it will execute right away and you`ll be out of the trade. Since a successful trader on line generally uses limit orders to enter a position; it`s not surprising that many traders have been known to place two limit orders in a row.

Last, don`t leave stops in place overnight. Many markets are volatile at opening. Most mornings, for instance, NASDAQ stocks either gap up or gap down from their prices at the previous day`s close, and then they swing wildly as overnight market orders are filled. For example, a stock could close at 33, open the next day at 32.80, drop to 31.94, and then bounce back up to 33.15 before stabilizing and finding its direction. It could also close at 33 after a good day, open the next day at 33.75, spike up to 34.50, and then drop back to 33.60. The possibilities are endless.

If you, the trader on line, have an overnight stop in place on a long position, it`s likely to be triggered by the morning`s volatility. This normally will stop you out at the low end just before the stock bounces back up. Remove your stops after the market closes, and reset them after the opening changes the next morning so they will protect you, the trader on line, from a real downside rather than routine volatility.

You might consider doing what one trader on line does, particularly when the market has no consistent direction. Avoid holding many positions overnight. Once you, the trader on line, gets better at expecting what will probably happen the next day, realizing there can always be overnight surprises, you`ll feel more comfortable making judgment calls. As always, if you, the trader on line, don`t have a good idea what will happen, it`s best to avoid the situation, and stay out of the position. In addition, if you`ll be unable to trade for several days, consider whether it makes more sense to set stops or to exit your positions altogether. Unless you`re in a great long term trend trade and the market has a definite direction, it may be better to exit all positions and start fresh when you return to trading. Your capital and profits will be safe, and new trading opportunities will be waiting for you.

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Argentina's Economy in a Nutshell

Contrary to conventional economic wisdom, rich countries tend to stay rich and poor countries tend to stay poor. The exceptions tend to be those "economic miracles", like Japan, that have lifted themselves from the ranks of the poor into the ranks of the economic elite.

Argentine economic history stands in stark contrast to that pattern. In the early 20th century, Argentina was one of the world's richest countries, with a higher per capita income than that of France or Germany. And while Argentina still enjoys many of the fruits of wealth, like a highly educated population and a modern infrastructure, income per head had fallen to a meager 43% of the rich-world average by 1987. In the wake of the economic collapse of 2001-2002, over half of the population fell under the poverty line, and over a quarter were classified as indigent.

Roots of Wealth

From 1880 to 1914, Argentina experienced a massive population boom as European immigrants came in search of land to settle and make productive. Many ended up in the fertile pampas region around Buenos Aires, and with the help of British-built rail links, an export economy was soon in full swing. On top of an already vibrant wool and hide industry, Argentines were soon exporting corn, wheat, and flour to hungrily industrializing European cities. But the real money was in meat exports, made possible by the invention of the refrigerator ship in 1876; Argentina has been famous for beef ever since.

The Long Decline

While Argentina became rich, Buenos Aires made the transition from sleepy backwater to thoroughly modern city"The Paris of the South"boldly leading Latin America into the new century. Unfortunately, the 20th century failed to meet the high hopes of any Latin American nation, least of all Argentina's.

The trouble started with the great depression of the 1930s, which kicked off a downward spiral into economic and political instability which lasted for the next sixty years. A military coup in 1930 was the first of many, and the civilian governments that occasionally emerged were scarcely more competent than the military juntas.

The government of Juan Domingo Peron (1946-1955) left an indelible mark on the Argentine economy, making it less open to foreign trade, nationalizing key industries, and greatly expanding the benefits of workers. While Peron was somewhat able to redress the gross inequalities permeating the country, he also left a legacy of state control of the economy, stifling private entrepreneurship and creating an environment ripe for corruption.

In the post-Peron years, governments increasingly relied on deficit spending to smooth out social problems. To cover the difference between spending and tax revenue, they simply printed more money, creating inflation. By the 1980s, inflation was out of control; in 1989 the inflation rate was over 5,000 percent.

The 90s Boom

Enter Domingo Cavallo, who stepped in as Carlos Menem's economy minister in 1991. The keystone in Cavallo's economic recovery plan was to curb inflation with something called convertibility, a legal guarantee that Argentine pesos could be exchanged for US dollars at a ratio of 1 to 1. Inflation was tamed, and investor confidence soared as Cavallo steadily opened up the economy to foreign trade and capital. In tune with the free market fervor of the 1990s, the more inefficient state-controlled enterprises were soldsometimes to Menem's friends at bargain prices.

Still, Argentina was clearly getting richer. The gross domestic product grew briskly from 1991 to 1998, with the exception of 1995, when Mexico's financial crisis shook Latin America. Much of the new wealth was accruing to the country's elites, but the poor and the middle class were also becoming better off. The Argentine debacle was starting to look like the Argentine miracle; Carlos Menem became an international celebrity and Argentina a poster child for liberal economics.

The Crisis of 2001-2002

Ironically, Argentina's blatant disregard for a fundamental tenet of "neoliberal" economics proved to be a decisive factor in its demise. As the 90s boom roared on and the government's tax take soared, fiscal discipline would suggest setting aside a "rainy day" fund for the event of a recessionbecause recessions are inevitable in any economy. Instead, the money was spent and new debt was piled up even in the good years. When the economy hit a rough patch in 1999, the government found itself in an extremely difficult situation; it needed money fast and was already significantly indebted.

Luckily for Menem, his term was up and the new President, Fernando de la Ra, was left to pick up the pieces in 2000. He could try to balance the budget by cutting spending or raising taxes, but this would exacerbate the recession and further reduce tax revenues. Faced with this catch-22, de la Ra opted to borrow his way out, in the hope that the recession would quickly and quietly fade away. Unfortunately, this approach often leads to a downward spiral of its own, known as "explosive debt dynamics", in which investors begin to fear a default on the debt, driving interest rates up and deepening the recession, thus increasing the debt even more. This is exactly what ended up happening in Argentina's case.

As a last ditch effort, de la Ra appointed as his economy minister Domingo Cavallo, now a national legend, in a move that electrified the country. But neither Cavallo's mystique or the IMF's haphazard intervention could stave off the coming default. As dollars started to flee Argentina, the government enacted restrictions on bank withdrawals that became known as the corralito, or little fence. In the public eye, this was the final straw, and massive street protests rocked Buenos Aires and other big cities, forcing de la Ra and Cavallo to resign in shame in late December , 2001. The government had collapsed; Argentina defaulted on its debt a few days later.

One of the first acts of Eduardo Duhalde, the new president elected by congress at the start of 2002, was to discontinue the convertibility system by which the peso was linked to the US dollar. With the shortage of dollars in the country, the system couldn't be maintained; there simply weren't enough dollars to trade for pesos. Set free, the peso fell to about 4 to the dollar over the next six months, spelling ruin for those who had taken out loans denominated in dollars. Banks ceased to function as individual debtors defaulted and now-cynical savers refused to deposit money. The poverty rate soared while incomes plummeted. The Argentine financial crisis has been compared in scope to America's great crash of 1929.

After the Crisis

The very dark cloud of Argentina's collapse did have a silver lining. The peso recovered slightly and has held steady at about 3 to the US dollar, a level that makes Argentina's products (and Argentina as a travel destination) much more attractive to the rest of the world. In fact, some have argued that one cause of the crisis was the overvalued exchange rate, which made Argentine exports less competitive. The economy was growing again in 2003, and has since, fueled in part by high worldwide commodity prices. In 2005, GDP roared past its previous peak (in 1998), and many economists believe Argentina is on firmer ground than it was in the 90s owing to the fiscal responsibility of Nestor Kirchner, the current president.

Looking to the future, rising inequality is one concern deeply felt by many Argentines. The recovery has put more wealth in the hands of the wealthy, like the soy farmers leading the new export boom or those who were lucky enough to get their money out before the devaluation. On the upside, employment is up, and a fiscally solvent state will be in a much better position to help those on the bottom rungs of society climb higher.

Visit Argentina Cafe Travel Guide - History of Argentina to learn more about Argentina's history.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What Will 2006 Bring?

As the year comes to an end, you will see plenty of websites offering stock guidance for 2006 and what you should expect for years to come. This guide can be had for free if you buy this or subscribe on that or sign up for newsletters. This is just marketing gimmick. Sure, they have their use. But they want to get you back by offering you a set of stock guide every year. You only need one stock guide for your entire lifetime and I will give it to you for free. Well, your time is not free so that is what you need to read this guide.

2006 will be similar to any other years. In fact, it doesn't matter what year you are in. You can be in 1921, or 2105 and it will bring the same thing to investor. Therefore, stop reading 'Stock Guide from 2007' one year from now. You just have to read this once.

2006 will bring out the best to undervalued investment and companies having stellar balance sheet. It doesn't matter what economic condition we are in, these stocks will give you outstanding return. Now, these stocks will not give you the best return ala Taser ( up 2040 % in 2003) or Travelzoo ( up 1070% in 2004), but it also will not give you Taser-like loss ( down 80.6 % in 2005) or Travelzoo ( down 75.3 % in 2005)

After all, Warren Buffet becomes rich by getting a return in excess of 20 % annually for a long time. His stock holding does not move up 1000% in one year and move down 80 % in another. Yet, he is doing fine, more than fine. Slow and steady wins the race and apparently it has been time-tested by some of the best investors in the world.

Yep, so your 2006 guide is to find undervalued investments and invest in them. You think oil price will go up in 2006? Then, whip out your calculator, determine the fair value of any Chevrons or Exxons of the world and compare it with the current stock price. Be sure to look at the balance sheet too. Having a positive net cash will ensure that the company you picked will survive one year from now at the very least.

How do you determine the fair value of a stock? Quite simply, you compare it with the prevailing interest rate and add a risk premium to arrive at fair value. For example, if current interest rate is yielding 4.5 %, the fair value of a common stock is when it yields around 7.5 %. This implies a Price Earning Ratio of 13.3

Anything else you need to know? Nope. Your only guide for year 2006 and beyond is to find undervalued investment. It has stood the test of time.

Get Your free investing idea by visiting our commentary section at

Forex Trading - The Basics Should Not Be Ignored

Why is it that only five percent of all forex traders are successful? Do they know something that you don't? The answer to the last question is no and yes. Is there some super secret formula that guarantees forex trading success that only a handful of elites have knowledge of? No. Is there certain keys to forex trading that separates the haves from the have-nots? Yes. Allow me to blow the lid off the three keys to becoming a successful forex trader. The first and most obvious key, find a "Reliable Forex Trading System". The second key, "Discipline". Always stick rigidly to your proven forex trading system. Don't let fear and greed cause you to deviate from your trading system. The third key, "Money Management". Money management is arguably the most important of the three keys, but sadly it is the most likely key to be ignored entirely. But let us define forex trading basics first.

Do you know what Forex trading is. Forex trading is an alternative to the unpredictable nature and whims of the other markets. Forex trading is based on the movements of a set of currencies that are sold in currency pairs, where one currency is the base and one is the counter or quote currency. Forex trading is a very interesting method of trading simply because it allows people from all over the world the chance to trade and strike it rich in a market that has untold liquidity. Forex trading is best market for any lover of finance and for any person that prefers his money working for him.

Forex means the foreign currency exchange, and that today alone nearly $2 Trillion will be traded by banks, governments, corporations, trading partners and private and corporate speculators. Forex traders around the world are competing against other forex traders, banks, and institutional traders who are seeking the same potential rewards from their own trading activities. Forex traders frequently jump in and out of the market and closely monitor their positions throughout the day. Forex trading strategies are the key to successful online currency trading but how do you know which strategies to use and when to use them.

Comprehending technical analysis and, in particular, being able to interpret price charts is essential for any forex trader. Technical analysis is a method of forecasting price movements by looking at purely market-generated data. Technical analysis does not guarantee success, but a methodical application of its principles may improve your performance as a trader. The goal of technical analysis is to uncover the patterns given off in a current market by examining past market patterns, often designated as signals.

Once you engage in live trading, you must take care to instill strict discipline when it comes to money management. Your overall personal forex trading strategy should include three vital ingredients; the currency pair you decide to trade, what technical indicators you use for entry/exit plans and sound money management. Forex trading is a speculative endeavor that requires proper training, education, discipline, confidence, risk management and money management skills.

Learning is the key to any field and the field of forex trading is no different. The truth about forex trading is that, many people are earning small profits from trading while only few are successful with it. One of the most basic things that you have to understand about forex trading is that there will always be losing streaks along with the winning ones. The best way to handle forex trading is to have a reliable trading system coupled with a rigid money management system.

And there you have it. A reliable currency trading system, discipline, and an effective money management system are the Holy Grail for becoming a profitable forex trader. These three things will insure that you are a part of the 5% of forex traders who actually make a consistent income from forex trading. Master these three areas and financial freedoms is yours for the taking.

Have you ever desired the income and freedom of being a home based forex trader? Visit the author's (Kenneth Aikens) website for more powerful forex trading information: forex training - forex article directory.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Broker Fees - What Are You Really Paying For?

There are many ways to approach investing, but all of them involve a broker of some sort or another whether on-line or in a brick and mortar building. How you choose your broker and the services a broker provides vary greatly. The terms full service broker, discount broker, and flat-fee broker may or may not be familiar to you, so I will go into further detail here.

If you have no desire to research your investment picks and have a substantial amount of money to invest, a full service broker is probably what you are looking for. A full service broker will take your money and invest it for you. You can tell the broker that you are most interested in certain stocks, bonds or other vehicles, or you can let the choices totally up to the broker. Because the broker is doing all the work, the commission fees are higher. This is acceptable to most people, as they also are only peripherally involved in their account, and feel the hands-off approach works the best for them. As long as the account is giving you the gains you feel are decent, the fees are worthwhile.

Another route to go with a full service broker would be to get a flat-fee account. This would eliminate commissions and trading fees while still getting the advice and guidance you want. I am not going to throw out any numbers here because the fees vary from region to region and are often negotiable depending on the amount you are investing. You can also find discount flat-fee brokers, meaning you would pay a monthly fee and the number of trades you make would not be burdened by a per-trade charge. Remember that without the flat-fee, you are getting a trade charge every time you buy and sell.

Many people are now using discount brokers, not getting the advice and guidance a full service broker offers. This is more prevalent now than ever before because of the information available on the internet. It is relatively easy to research a company using the internet. Using tools provided free by USA Today, Google, Yahoo and other free services makes due diligence much easier than in the old days of trying to find annual reports and paper records. Most companies now have this information on their own websites available for free downloading in PDF format. Cool.

Getting back to the discount brokers, there are many different on-line and brick and mortar brokers. The best thing to do is compare fees and see what works for you. Some brokers will not offer stocks not carried on the major platforms (Dow-Jones or Nasdaq) so if you are looking to invest in small companies or foreign stocks be sure to make sure they are available. I made this mistake opening an account with ShareBuilder. They are a great broker, but only offer a limited selection of stocks. The trade costs are relatively low, and the stocks they offer are carried by the main exchanges, but some stock picks I have made are not available through them. Not picking on ShareBuilder, just making a point. Be sure to know what you are getting into.

Hopefully this has given you some information you can either use or think about.

Thank you and solid investing to all


Robert Britt is married and a father of four. He is a published author and has a degree in Psychology from Albright College . Robert is a recognized expert in the field of personal finance, self-esteem and confidence building. He is a full time professional writer and speaker. Robert spent 13 years in the military and 14 years in manufacturing prior to self-employment. Please contact Rob at or visit

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5 Greate Tips On Successful Affiliate Marketing

One of the easiest way to make money on the internet is most probably affiliate marketing.The amazing thing about internet affiliate marketing is that anyone, in as little as 2 or 3 weeks can make nice profits,but a little effort is required for that.

Most of the successful affiliate marketers have the ability to Earn money anytime they want to. Simply put, these marketers have what it takes to think up cash and make them into solid checks.

Sounds good? That's what affiliate marketing can do.

This basically means that you can start from nothing or few bucks and make easy money, without having to create your own products, website, or write a single ad copy.But Of course, you need a certain amount of knowledge in order to make large commission checks.

This is why internet affiliate marketing is a good starting point for newbies. It gives them the opportunity to work on their own hours, using other peoples efforts and resources, to gain profits while educating themselves in the same process.

Affiliate marketing is a learning process. This is where most of the people get the knowledge to make it big on other forms of business in the future. This is their starting point.Having said that, means you can do that too.

While engaging in internet affiliate marketing there are certain factors you need to understand before getting into one. Not considering these things can result to wasted time, resources and profits.

1. Find the target market.

To be successful in affiliate marketing, you must first identify and target your audience. This simply means offering people what they want and need. Many affiliates make the mistake of giving out these things to the wrong persons.

so can you guess the result in that case? No buyer and no sales for you. Why would people buy something they not need at all? Do you think people will be interested in you offering them affiliate marketing when they are into stock trading? Not many will be.

It is best to find your audience first to be able to maximize your resources and commissions.

2. The quality of your Affiliate product or service.
BE sure to promote quality products or services.don't just make the mistake of promoting a product or service, which does not deliver what it promises.Promoting a less quality product can bring you some sales,but it is not profitable in the long run. It is always wise to examine the product first before recommending it to others. Not only will this increase your credibility and sales, it will also help you promote better because you can give them personal feedback about the products.

3. The sales letter should be effective.

You must see the affiliate owner's website and sales copy before you send any traffic over to them. Look for important things like conversion rates and visitor values. This will prove critical once you get people to their site.

Put yourself in the customer's shoe.Think like a customer, Will you be willing to buy the product or getting their services? If you answer positive to this question then many people will be too.

It will be waste of resources and time if you discover later on that it has a poor sales copy and that it does not sell. Consider this first.

4. See if promotional methods and materials are available.

Most of the affiliate programs today provide their affiliates with ready made tools to be used in marketing. the more the tools given, the chances are for you to make sales.But it is also wise to make your own material.Why dont be unique in your marketing efforts.Let me tell you,the guru's make their own graphics,ads,articles etc, to promote someone's product or service.But if you are new to affiliate marketing,its ok to use the promotional methods

Since the materials are already made for you, you can focus more on the marketing. Having more tools also result to more opportunities to get the sales message through your customers effectively.

5. Know if your promotion has profitability.

The last thing you must consider is how much you will be paid, in relation to your promotional efforts. A higher commission percentage can be a huge motivation to place higher focus on a particular product.

Try to seek out products with a higher end pricing or those that present residual income. You would also want to profit based on the efforts you have put up to.

The tips above are just some of the important factors you must consider in internet affiliate marketing in order to become successful. If you would like to learn more about affiliate marketing, then I highly recommend that you download my FREE ebook.

Waqas Ali is the author of famous ebook entitled"affiliate marketer's handbook" which is full of informative content.You can download a FREE copy by visiting

Home Business Tax Breaks

Home businesses can be great tax shelters. Millions of Americans have some sort of office in their homes. If you are one of these lucky people and meet the IRS requirements found in IRS publication 587, you can take deductions for expenses related to the business use of part of your home.

If you want to know if you qualify the IRS requirements to claim expenses, you need to meet the following three tests:
Exclusively and regularly as your principal place of business.
Exclusively and regularly as a place where you meet or deal with customers
In connection with a trade or business.

If you qualify to claim expenses you may deduct a portion of the following:

Real estate taxes
Deductible mortgage interest
Security system
Utilities and services

Now why a portion? Well, you dont exactly use the whole house for a business so you need to determine how much of your house is actually used for your business. For example, say you have a regular 9 to 5 day job and decide to start an internet business. You do all your work for this internet business in your home office. As a basic example, lets say you have a house that is 1000 sq feet and your home office is 100 sq feet. Thats 10% of the total area of the house (100 sq feet / 1000 sq feet). Thus, you can deduct 10% of all valid expenses on your tax return. So, if your end of year utilities cost was $1200, you would be able to deduct $120 ($1200 yearly utility cost * 10% business percentage use of your house).

Be sure to keep accurate records of all your expenses. You must keep records that provide the information needed to figure your deductions for the business use of your home. You should keep receipts, bills, cancelled checks, credit card statements, and other evidence of expenses you paid. The IRS requires you to keep these records as long as they are important for any tax law; usually 3 years from the date your taxes are filed.

A home business can generate substantial tax benefits. If you do decide to start a business be sure to discuss your with your accountant. To learn more about the tax benefits of a home business, visit the Real Estate Owner websites section,, which breaks down the tax breaks available to you.

Chris is a software engineer who has extensively researched real estaet related topics and maintains which provides free real estate tax related information.

Investing in Penny Stocks

People are generally interested in low price stocks because they can buy more shares for less money. Penny stocks are a low priced stock that generally sells for less than a dollar per share, however, a few types of penny stocks actually sell for less than five dollars per share. Penny stocks can also generally be categorized as small cap stocks. What this means is that the company that is offering the stock to the public has a market capitalization of less than $1 billion.

Buying penny stocks is just like buying any other type of stock. First you will need to research your options. Next you will need to set up an investment account with a stock broker or with an online stock trading service. Then you will need to fund your account. And finally you will need to enter your purchase request for the type of penny stock you want to invest in, as well as how many shares you want to buy.

Day trading is one way investors can maximize their gains by trading their stocks, whether they are penny stocks or regular stocks, on a daily basis. This form of short-term investing takes a lot of guts as short term performance of any particular stock can either swing up or down. People who day trade will buy a stock one day and then sell it when it gains as little as an eighth of a point. By doing this the investor makes a large return on their short term investment quickly. If you are interested in this type of investment activity it is a good idea to learn about the tax drawbacks of this form of income before you start buying and selling shares.

For expert web design and marketing options for your business visit the internet business promotion experts at Archetype Development. Visit the mobile office blog to see our story. For more financial information and resources visit the business directory

Wall Street to Main Street: News, Views and Commentary: May 11, 2006

Its Thursday May 11, 2006, and as the street anticipated the Fed has raised the benchmark interest rate to 5% but the question that looms is what is going to happen in June. Though the Fed has hinted at a slow down aka a pause in interest rate hikes, we will not get a better idea until June. Chances are that the Fed has flipped the autopilot button off and will take that pause for a spell. But now that the Fed Factor is out of the way its time for companies to trade on their own merits.

Metals Mania is on fire, Gold is in the $700 range and continues to touch new highs on its way to $800, but as we have stated and continue to state on Wall Street to Main Street, do not forget about the other metals like Silver which is on its way to $20, Copper making new highs, Platinum, Palladium, Aluminum, Titanium which Airbus is stocking up on for production of their new aircrafts to satisfy the China contract that they have in place and other contracts that may come out of China and India, Aluminum and Zinc. I would put the periodic table of elements here but that would take all day.

Now Oil is not lacking in the upward movement as the tension in Iran is placing Crude Oil on a roller coast ride as it bumps up to over $72 a barrel on its way to $80.

Now on the topic of oil and natural gas, word is floating around that China is in a race to secure oil and natural gas for their country and may be looking at Florida for drilling opportunities. The area in question is the Gulf of Mexico south of Pensacola, Florida. This is also an area that Cuba is interested in, Cuba is limited with technology but have some cash in the till, they have aligned with companies in China, Spain and Canada. The world is just getting smaller and the U.S. should not underestimate any nation.

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Political Front

Israel said that it is willing to release part of the $50 million that it collects each month in Palestinian customs fees and taxes to help fund humanitarian relief programs for the region.

According to reports Russian President Vladimir Putin has pledged cash bonuses to Russian women who give birth to two or more children, this is an effort to reverse what he says is the gravest problem facing contemporary Russia: a declining population. While China some years back had to stop the growth of the population, Russia is looking to beef it up. I wonder if well se a surge in Viagra sales in 2006.

The U.S. Treasury Department has once again rejected claims by US manufacturers yesterday and concluded that China is not manipulating the value of its currency to gain an unfair trade advantage. China is still looking to boost their Gold bullion reserves, which makes this very interesting.

Movers and Shakers

Some major movers in yesterdays trading session included Barret Bill Corp (NYSE: BBG) which traded up $5.74 to close at $36.60, Maidenform Brands (NYSE: MFB) which traded up $1.29 to close at $12.70, Navistar International (NYSE: NAV) which traded up $2.68 to close at $27.99, RTI International Metals (NYS: RTI) which traded up $7.23 to close at $77.65, Sunrise Senior Living (NYSE: SRZ) which traded up $3.06 to close at $35.41, Hansen Natural (NASDAQ: HANS) which surged again trading up $24.82 to close at $201.06, keep a close eye on National Beverage (AMEX: FIZ) as we see this as the next Hansen situation, (NASDAQ: BIDU) which traded up $$22.60 to close at $83.97 on its way to $100 so look for more upward movement this week, Iris International (NASDAQ: IRIS) which traded up $2.49 to close at $13.43 and (NASDAQ: ECLG) which traded up $2.62 to close at $25.22, this is a booming business which we will touch on next week.

Analyst Upgrades/Downgrades

Recent Analyst upgrades include Broadcom Corp (NASDAQ: BRCM) which was upgraded to an Above Average from a Average by Carris & Co, Parlux Fragrances (NASDAQ: PARL) which was upgraded to a Strong Buy from a Buy by Wedbush Morgan, The Cheesecake Factory (NASDAQ: CAKE) which was upgraded to a Buy from a Hold by AG Edwards and Symantec Corp (NASDAQ: SYMC) which was upgraded to an Outperfrom by Cowen & Co.

Recent Analyst downgrades include Daktronics (NASDAQ: DAKT) which was downgraded to a Hold from a Buy by Needham & Co, Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI) which was downgraded to an Underperform from a Hold by Jefferies & Co, and Rae Systems (AMEX: RAE) was downgraded to a Market Perform from a Market Outperform by JMP Securities.

Analyst Coverage Initiations include Akami Technologies (NASDAQ: AKAM) was initiated with a Peer Perform rating by Thomas Weisel Partners, Cobiz (NASDAQ: COBZ) was initiated with a Strong Buy rating by Raymond James and a $24 price target, Zions Bancorporation (NASDAQ: ZION) was initiated with a Market Perfrom rating by Raymond James and Ventiv Health (NASDAQ: VTIV) was initiated with a Buy rating and a $37 price target by Banc of America Securities.

Tid Bits

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) is looking to keep Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) from gaining ground as the company puts more focus on their core strength, Search. They are enhancing the searching capability of Google, which should thwart any rally from Yahoo and MSN as Google continues to take more search market share.

McDonalds (NYSE: MCD) to looking to get Hip as they are going to overhaul over 30,000 of their locations around the world. Discarding the hard plastic seating and replacing it with premium coffee, comfy seats and Wi-Fi Access. So if you havent figured it out yet they are going after the Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) market and offering all the pizzazz to go along with it. The only question that does come out is will this change have an impact on their current customer base. Only time will tell.

Archer Daniels (NYSE: ADM) is planning to meet the demand of the Ethanol boom as they are looking to build a new dry-mill ethanol plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, that will allow the company to produce an additional 275 million gallons of the corn-based fuel each year. The professional car racing industry is taking notice as for the first time Ethanol fuel is being used in an Indy 500 car. The Indy Racing Leagues IndyCar Series has partnered with the ethanol industry to become the fuel supplier beginning with the 2006 season, including the Indianapolis 500. The Ethanol industry will sponsor the racing team that will feature Rookie Paul Dana as the driver, the car will be fielded by 1996 Indy 500 Champion Hemelgarn Racing.

Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ: URBN) reported earnings yesterday and their Net income declined to $20.3 million, or 12 cents per share, from $27.4 million, or 16 cents per share, for the same period a year ago. Revenue grew 17 percent to $270 million from $231.3 million last year. The average analyst estimate was 15 cents a share. This was not one of our Furious Five companies that were featured on Wall Street to Main Street. We see American Eagle Outfitters (NASDAQ: AEOS) as being a better play in this sector, above Pacific Sunwear of California aka Pac Sun (NASDAQ: PSUN) and The Gap (NYSE: GPS). Pac Sun is scheduled to report earnings today but even if they beat the estimate, which may not happen, American Eagle is a better play. In certain strip malls that we visited the Pac Sun store was replaced with an American Eagle Outfitter store, as we mentioned on WSMS. Other companies that should be looked at include True Religion Apparel (NASDAQ: TRLG), G-III Apparel (NASDAQ: GIII), Under Armour Apparel (NASDAQ: UARM) and Crocs, Inc (NASDAQ: CROX), all featured on Wall Street to Main Streets Furious Five..

In the Spotlight

In a special Investors Corner Segment late yesterday we featured a company that we see being the next Hansen Natural Corp (NASDAQ: HANS). If you have followed Hansen you would know that in a 12 month time frame the stock went from the $30 range to where it closed yesterday at $201.06 and moving, now that is a Monster jump. Now for those that missed our views and outlook on National Beverage Corp (AMEX: FIZ) here it is once again.

For our outlook, and other vital information on the companies that we feature on "In The Spotlight" on Wall Street to Main Street just subscribe for FREE at


This is the Fourth of our Furious Five companies that we see excelling in their industry in 2006. The fourth addition to this weeks Furious Five is Intervest Bancshares Corp (NASDAQ: IBCA) it trades on the Nasdaq under the symbol IBCA.

For our outlook, and other vital information on the companies that we feature as the "FURIOUS FIVE" on Wall Street to Main Street just subscribe for FREE at

We cannot stress enough that investors need to do their due diligence, call the companies, get the information, consult with your investment advisor and if you do not have one consider getting one. Put the same time into investigating these companies as you do when you go to purchase a new television, its only for your protection. When it comes to thinly traded securities stagger your orders or put a limit order in to avoid a run up.

NAMC Newswire Note

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Louis Victor NAMC Newswire 888-463-9237

Disclaimer: None of the information contained on the NAMC Newswire constitutes a recommendation by the NAMC Newswire, its journalist, nor its parent company that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction, or investment strategy is suitable for any specific investors or person. Each individual investor must make their own independent decisions regarding any security, portfolio of securities, transaction, or investment strategy featured on the NAMC Newswire or NAMC Radio Any past results are not necessarily indicative of future performance. The NAMC Newswire, its journalist nor its parent company does not guarantee any specific outcome or profit, and all investors should be aware of the real risk of loss in following any strategy or investments featured on the NAMC Newswire or the NAMC Radio. The strategy or investments discussed may fluctuate in price or value and investors may get back less than you invested. Before acting on any information featured on the NAMC Newswire website or the NAMC Radio segment, investors should consider whether it is suitable for their particular circumstances and strongly consider seeking advice from their own financial or investment adviser. Investors are also urged to do their own due diligence before investing in any security.

All opinions featured on the NAMC Newswire or NAMC Radio are based upon information that is considered to be reliable, but neither the NAMC Newswire, its journalist, its parent company, affiliates nor assigns warrant its completeness or accuracy, and it should not be relied upon as such. The statements and opinions featured on the NAMC Newswire by its journalist are based on their outlook at the time of the statement or opinion, and are subject to change without notice. NAMC may at times hold a position in the companies that it features, in these cases appropriate disclosure is made.

Louis Victor is the host of the syndicated radio show and financial newsletter "Wall Street to Main Street" which is featured on the NAMC Newswire Radio. He has been involved in the financial industry for over two decades, on the retail and investment banking ends. He is also well versed in the advertising and marketing industries, which has given him insight into market trends and unqiue companies that may be under the radar.