Because there are so many stocks that are NOT paying dividends and also going down people are looking for a safe investment that will pay a decent return and also won't lose money. Slowly folks are beginning to think about bonds of which there are all kinds.
Cities and counties have been issuing bonds. There are the school bonds for building new school buildings and the local district issues these. How about building a new sewage plant? Yes, a special bond could be used. If you live in a big city there could be bonds for that new stadium or maybe an aquarium or a huge theme park. Toll roads are a big money maker, aren't they?
The businessmen who want to build these attractions get the permission of the local government to issue them and they have the blessing of the city council or whoever and then go out and collect your money. These are not what are called investment grade bonds. They rank below the A classification and as a result you, the bond buyer, get a much higher rate of return. Remember this - the higher the rate of interest the riskier is the bond. Of course, if your municipality says this has their blessing than it should be O.K. Right?
The citizens of Denver popped for a new aquarium to the tune of 1.2 million. It was supposed to bring in more tourists and pay for itself with tickets. A fraction of those visitors showed up and now it looks like the project might default. They do not have enough money coming in to pay for the fish food and service the debt. And many toll roads are not getting enough traffic.
The spending spree of local governments has sponsored (not guaranteed) bonds equal to more than $320 billion this year. There are $1.6 trillion in municipal bonds. When the projects don't pay out the local governments can raise taxes to pay the shortfall, can't they? Sometimes they can, but many times they won't. The present default rate is running 10 times its historic norm.
Bonds can be as risky as stocks. You must be careful where you invest your hard-earned cash. If you buy any bond other than a U.S. treasury you insist a reputable insurance company insure the bond. Just because the mayor says it is good doesn't mean anything.
One of the safest ways to buy bonds in a no-load bond mutual fund and there are hundreds of them. You can buy as little as $1,000 increments. Your broker will not tell you about them.
If you insist on buying individual bonds you want to know the true net yield, is it investment grade and is it insured. Bonds can be as dangerous as stocks. That is why a mutual fund manager is important, but you still must be in an investment grade fund.
Al Thomas' best selling book, "If It Doesn'tGo Up, Don't Buy It!" has helped thousandsof people make money and keep their profits withhis simple 2-step method. Read the first chapterto receive his market letter for 3 months atwww.mutualfundmagic.com to discover why he'sthe man that Wall Street does not want you toknow.
Trading vs Investing
I often hear from people, "I don't trade. I invest. I buy a mutual fund and I hold it". Mr. Investor, did you know you are trading on a regular basis? Are you aware that mutual fund managers are changing their positions by selling certain stocks and buying others?
Boiler Room 7/17/00
On Friday or Saturday evening my wife gets a movie from Block Buster and after dinner we sit, hold hands and watch. This week she brought back one that I think every investor or anyone contemplating investing in the market should see. It is called "Boiler Room".
The Holy Grail (of Investment)
Every year I go to the Money Show in Orlando, Florida. Thousands attend. It is mostly an older crowd with the youngsters about 40 years of age. I have been saying for years that until you have lost enough money trying to make a fortune you will not become serious about investing. The under 40's are shooting for the moon and it has finally dawned on the over 40's (maybe it's the over 50's) that they must find a better way to get rich.
Every day I hear from the "experts" on CNBC-TV and the radio gurus that the way to buy stocks is find value. One man's Rembrandt is another man's connect-the-dots and fill in the spaces. Valuation is like beauty. It is in the mind of the beholder.
Investment Attorneys and Garbage Stocks
How is it possible that trash Companies are posting less than expected results? Trash Companies are thought of by prudish investors as some of the safest stocks to own. Ask Warren in his Buffet of Essays on Corporate America. Companies which service the needs of the people tend to stay afloat longer and respond very little to economic down turn. Most investment advisors and attorneys would agree. And anyone who has ever stopped to ponder the idea of recession proof businesses would inevitably put Trash and Refuse companies at the top of the list. What other companies? Environmental Companies, Security Companies, Cigarette makers, vice industries (gambling, drinking, risqué type businesses).
To become a successful trader you must have some kind of method or system to follow that will keep you on track. You may be buying and selling on tips, the weather or phases of the moon (there is a system like that).
If you have a pension plan at work you will want to read this and if you don't you will still want to because it affects your retirement account.
How Much Information Do You Need?
You have decided to buy some stock or mutual funds, but wonder which one to buy. You need more information so you call your broker for advice. A so-called "full service" broker will bury you with all kinds of reports, analysis sheets and other pretty pieces of paper, but will probably try to sell you something that makes him the most commission.
Zero Sum Game
Most people think the stock market is a zero sum game because there is a buyer for each seller and seller for each buyer so each cancels the other and everything is equal. Not quite.
Successful Trading ? Establish Your Risk Level
Before you embark upon a journey of trading stocks or futures, and before you make any trades, you MUST determine and establish your risk level. Traders that fail to do this are usually doomed from the start. The fact is that most trading accounts that go bust are because of the failure to determine at what point the trader will cut their losses and move on to the next trade. Rookie traders are particularly prone to do this. They hang on to losing positions hoping that they will turn around ? only to watch the price drop even further. Too much thought and effort are expended on the buying decision instead of the selling decision. The sad truth is that it's the selling decision that will determine your fate as a successful trader. And successful trading is dependent on how long and how well you can protect your account against loss until the big profit comes your way. Setting a risk level for your account and for your trades will provide such protection.
In November of 2000 when the NASDAQ was trading at 3000 I wrote in this column that the NASDAQ Index would fall to 1500 and I got lots of heat for saying it. Microsoft had fallen from $129 to $60 per share. You know where they are today.
What the Hell is a Stock option?
A 'stock option' is a contract between two parties giving the buyer (also known as the 'taker') the right, but not the obligation, to either buy or sell a specific quantity of shares at a pre-agreed price (known as the 'strike price' or 'exercise price') by a certain future 'expiry' date. There are two different types of options that can be traded, known as 'call options' and 'put options'.
Choosing a Stock Broker
If you were to find that you had some severe illness that required surgery, would you attempt to perform that surgery upon yourself? What if your car broke down and needed a valve job? Would you get out the Craftsman tool set you got for Christmas three years ago and start tinkering under the hood even though you know absolutely nothing about engines? Of course you wouldn't do either of these things because there are times in life when we know we must seek the assistance of a professional. So why is it that so many people try to make their own investment decisions without consulting a professional stock broker?
Is Your Garage Full Of Junk?
I have a 2-car garage. There are nice shelves on one side and a good practical workbench with a vice on the other side. Plenty of room for 2 cars yet I have to be careful when I pull in so I won't run over stuff stacked on each side. Sound familiar?
Finding A Good Stock
One of the things people are always asking me is how can I find a good stock. The answer I give does not please them. I say, "You are not qualified to pick stock. You don't know how so don't try. Put your money in a no-load mutual fund that is going up".
Analysts - Do They Really Know The Stock Market?
When you become interested in a stockor mutual fund you can call your broker and hewill send you reports on how the company is doing,what their management is like and what might bethe projected earnings for the company and how theindustry is doing. Great information.
Staying Sane While Wall Street Crashes
Everybody is riding the Wall Street Roller coaster. Even if you are not invested, the headlines scream out one word: PANIC!
Managing Investing and Stock Market Risks
Reduce your investing and stock market risks by:
An insane person cannot evaluate an insane evaluation system.
Yesterday I received my monthly issue of MONEY magazine. This issue has the special feature called "The Ultimate Investment Club" that highlights their picks for the top mutual fund managers. Let's see how their members made money for their shareholders.
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