Tag Archive | "Market"

Top Affiliate Marketing Tips For Today’s Market

Top Affiliate Marketing Tips For Today’s Market

Affiliate marketing can be a very important business move to everyone. It involves particular needs of an individual’s business, along with personal networking and marketing strategies. It can seem a bit confusing as to where you need to begin. These tips can help you make sense of the confusion to start marketing like a professional.

Realize that you are never done in improving your marketing methods. In the world of affiliate marketing, there is ALWAYS something new coming along that can increase your click throughs, drive more visitors to your site or improve your analytics. Keep your eyes and ears open for these new ideas and see if they have value for you.

In affiliate marketing, it’s essential to be dynamic in your product choices and the way in which you present them. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new products, new graphics, new types of reviews, or any other ways you can think of to shake things up. Try new things until you find something that really works.

Trying different affiliate programs to find which one works best for you is okay. You have to find one that meets your needs with a payment plan that works best for you. You should also check other affiliate vendors to see if there are others that meet your needs more.

Affiliate marketing from your website can be a great way to generate funds, but your ability to cash in on the opportunities depends solely on the quality of your website content. Innovative content that is updated frequently is the key to driving readers to your website or blog. Keep your affiliations on the site directly tied to the content you provide, and your loyal readers will understand that using your referral links will support your valued services.

Are you wanting to get a start in affiliate marketing? One simple strategy to remember is to not put all of your eggs in one basket. It is best to promote products from more than one merchant. This way, if one merchant is slow in paying you your “piece of the pie”, the effect on your business will be minimal. It is prudent to protect yourself and diversify with promoting niche merchandise from different merchants.

Try out a new product every week on your website and then post a review linking to it on your affiliate. You can even do it more often, but remember the potential cost. Ask your affiliate if you can buy and return product just for reviewing purposes, or even get them free and then give them away on your site.

If you are bringing in a decent amount of money with affiliate marketing, consider asking the program that you joined for more money. If you are being profitable to the program, they will want to keep you around and will give you a raise. Make sure that you have been consistently producing a good amount of money. You should also have good marketing techniques.

While affiliate marketing is an important business move for many businesses, it does share the main goal of promoting your business to a wider audience. As you have seen in these tips, there are various approaches, but they are all created around the idea of helping you bring in more attention, customers and sales.

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Considering The Commercial Real Estate Market? Follow These Tips!

Considering The Commercial Real Estate Market? Follow These Tips!

If you are looking for a location for you business, be sure to choose carefully. Location is one of the biggest factors related to the success or failure of a business. Listed below are some other ideas that will help you as you venture into the world of commercial real estate.

When you are purchasing commercial real estate, make sure that you use a broker who has a lot of experience in the field. You will want someone who knows what they are doing to maximize your potential of getting the best deal. This will save money and elevate the value of your purchase.

When buying a commercial property it is important to consider the income that it generates. If the commercial property in is a bad part of town it may be difficult for the property to generate any income. A real estate agent will be able to do a property valuation on the property so that you can see the potential income it could generate.

It is never a good idea to share an agent between the buyer and seller. Although you may initially save some money on fees, you will lose it in the deal. No matter how friendly the sale is working out, you must think of the other party as, not quite an enemy, but certainly a rival.

You can use the cash-on-cash formula to determine the amount needed for the initial investment. This approach is most commonly used by investors who are dependent upon financing activities to raise the cash needed to purchase the property; use it to compare the Year One performance of competitive properties.

If you are offered a team of brokers from a firm, take the time to learn about what the individual responsibilities are going to be of all of the team members. You may find that you are paying for a team effort in your investment but that you are actually getting the help from only one broker.

Don’t rely on the bank appraiser to appraise your commercial property. Make sure you hire your own appraiser to do the work. Your own appraiser will be an independent voice and give an impartial opinion of value. More appraisals will result in a fair price for everyone who is involved in any sale.

During the process of looking for a commercial real estate property, it is important to ask your broker any questions you may have. If you don’t, you could end up agreeing to something that you are not pleased with or losing out on something that you were really looking for.

Short sale auctions may seem to be quite alluring, but prepare yourself to lose out on the house by being over bid at the last minute. There are many people who have lost out on a home at the very last minute for slightly more money than what they had bid.

Now that you have the information you need to succeed, you can work to find the perfect spot for your business and negotiate a great deal. Based on your specific type of business, just keep in mind the potential pit falls and do what you can to avoid them.

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Fuel Economy: What You Should Know if You’re in the Market for a New Vehicle

Fuel Economy: What You Should Know if You’re in the Market for a New Vehicle

If you’ve been kicking around the idea of buying or leasing a new SUV and upgrading to a more fuel-efficient model, it’s important to know that you may not be comparing apples and apples. This year marked a change in how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determines how the fuel economy of brand new 2008 cars, pick uppickup trucks, and SUVs is calculated.

Prior to 2008, the EPA, along with automobile manufacturers, used a method of testing a vehicle’s ratings that let’s just say, didn’t adequately recreate real-world conditions. The vehicle was placed on a set of rollers called a ‘dynamometer’ that allowed the car to sit in place while turning the wheels of the vehicle. Although the drag on the rollers was adjusted to better simulate various driving conditions, the vehicles were never tested in environments where wind resistance could influence the amount of fuel being burned, and the accessories were never running. Hence, the test created a level playing field for all vehicles of the same class to be compared, but the results never depicted the fuel economy you could expect in the real world. In addition, the simulated speeds prior to 2008 were considerably slower than what the average driver actually drives – only 48 miles per hour for highway tests and 20 miles per hour for tests in the city.

Starting this year, the EPA has begun to use an adjusted system of testing requirements to account for all the things that affect fuel economy: faster acceleration, higher speeds in both the city and on the highway, colder external temperatures, and vehicles are now tested with accessories (like the air conditioning) on.
The result? While the new method of testing gives potential buyers a better idea of what they can expect when the vehicle is driven off the lot, overall mileage projections have been reduced. While most people would probably prefer a more accurate method of testing, and therefore more accurate results, the problems arise when we throw another ingredient into the mix. Many automobile manufacturers have upgraded their 2008 lines to be more fuel-efficient as a response to increased gas prices over the past two years. Unfortunately, on paper, these vehicles now appear to be less fuel fuel-efficient than their predecessors. Without an understanding of the new testing system, comparing one’s older model to a new 2008 could suggest you’re better off keeping the car or pick uppickup truck you have. Chances are, you’re not. Even the “non-green” models (models that still operate solely on unleaded gasoline without the assistance of an electrical power source) are becoming increasingly economical.

For example, the popular 2008 Isuzu Ascender advertises a fuel economy of 14 miles per hour gallon in the city and 20 on the highway. At first glance, that might seem lower than the ratings you’re used to seeing. In reality, it’s right in line with other 2008 midsize SUVs in the Ascender’s class; the Ford Explorer, Mercury Mountaineer, GMC Envoy, and Chevy Trailblazer all share the same rating. The 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Hummer H3 both rate slightly lower than the Ascender under the new, more accurate tests. Although the numbers will say that this year’s Ascender get fewer miles per gallon than last year’s, that’s not true. The 2008 4.2-liter, six-cylinder engine has actually been recalibrated for efficiency and according to Consumer Guide, accelerated to 60 mph in 8.8 seconds.
The moral of the story? Comparing ’08 models to previous years won’t tell you much in terms of fuel economy, so stick to comparisons between the newest models to gauge if the SUV or car you’ve got your eye on stands up to others in its class.

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Ways To Use Pinterest For Market Research

Ways To Use Pinterest For Market Research

Do really you know your customers? Marketing research is one way of learning what your customers really want. Marketers are also using social listening to know how the customers interests changes. Now here comes a social media site that’s gaining strong ground for businesses. It’s called Pinterest and it has been proven as a useful tool to listen to what your customers want. It is a valuable tool for product research and even content inspiration and even give you insights on how improve the usability of your website.
A quick overview of Pinterest is a virtual corkboard where you can get images from all over the Internet. To use Pinterest for market research it is important to know how it works. This will give you enough leverage to make Pinterest work for your own interests. Pinterest basically puts your pins into categories. The categories may range from architecture to weddings. The categories can be directly used for social media listening. They are a quick and easy way to see what among the content are trending. The most popular category is available for users where one can see the most popular pin.
For example a furniture designer can see what the most popular design ideas among furniture lovers are. Are there new designs that are getting popular? You can learn about the trends in the furniture industry if you know where to listen. The Popular section on the site will have pins that would help you tell perfect products that are perfect to sell on your site.
What is interesting with Pinterest is that you can have a virtual storefront. You can use the Gifts section for showing the whole world what you are selling. You can take a peek at what your competitors are up to by looking at their storefront. You can use it as part of your product research and tell what the things that your customers like are.
Whenever you click on a pin, Pinterest displays other information such as likes, comments and related images from other boards. The information that you get is very important to know what people are talking about your web site. You can have an insight on your brand when you use Pinterest. It is said that it is your customers tell what your brand is all about. If you look at certain boards you will see how the pinners pin certain brands. If pinners care to pin a handful from your site is an indication that customers care less about your brand. The number of pins may mean how popular or unpopular your brand is.
Descriptions are another way to learn what people are saying about your domain name. The descriptions will tell you how people are describing your products and how they share the images from your website to their followers. This information is useful for marketing teams to find their muse and get inspired on how to improve the products that you are selling.
Also taking a look at the descriptions will give you insights on how you can make your products better. Some users that pin your images may have something useful to say in the comments section. They may talk about what are the things that go well with your product. Use that information to make your offerings to your customers better.
Pinterest has become an excellent platform that you can use to know more about your customers and even competitors. Use it to the hilt and become a better business. Listening to your customers and learning from your competitors are just parts of one big puzzle. Use it wisely – and always have fun at it!

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Warming Up Your Cold Market — Six Network Marketing Strategies For Success

Warming Up Your Cold Market — Six Network Marketing Strategies For Success

Are you finding that prospecting and working your “cold market” is getting chillier these days? I’ve noticed this, especially in the last year. When I contact people who had responded to an advertisement that my company ran, it is much more difficult to establish rapport than it used to be!

I’ve been quite surprised to see how much more closed and suspicious people have been compared to when I made phone calls just a year ago. Perhaps the challenges in today’s world have made their impact on people. They are more fearful, less likely to trust someone they don’t know.

How do you build rapport and build your network marketing business in times like this? You will need a little more patience, but if you persevere and follow these five basic network marketing strategies, you can warm up even the chilliest of cold markets!

First, I’d like to review the basic network marketing strategies that create successful organizations. It’s important to understand that the people who excel in network marketing have a large circle of influence. A circle of influence means that there are a lot of people that know you, like you and trust you. If you don’t already have a large circle of influence, and you want to succeed in network marketing, you’re going to need to build one!

How do you build a circle of influence? One person at a time! It is always best to start with people that you know. Contact them and ask them know for referrals. Participate in your community, attend Chamber of Commerce events, and hold local meetings. You develop yourself into a leader both personally and professionally, to attract other like minded professionals.

Online, you do the same in the internet community. You build a presence on the internet with a newsletter list or blog (or both) or website, so that you can build a relationship with people. You provide a way that they can get to know you… like an online photo album, and a personal “Get to Know Me” page.

These are the basics of good network marketing. Once you’ve contacted the people that you know, you will want to expand your circle of influence even further and get to know some new people! You can do this through advertising or through hiring a network marketing ad agency to advertise for you. Now, how do you handle today’s increasingly chilly cold market? Well, you need to take more time to WARM IT UP!!! Here are six network marketing strategies for warming up your cold market.

1. Whenever possible, use offline advertising sources such as postcards, newspapers, radio or TV. These prospects see your ad several times before responding, and are usually MUCH more highly qualified. If your ad is credible, people will trust you more easily.

2. If you must use internet advertising, be sure to use an established and proven leads source which includes the use of an e-mail autoresponder. This will allow you to contact people via e-mail legitimately, without spam complaints. If you are very serious about generating leads online, I recommend you create or purchase your own lead generating website. This takes time but is a lifelong investment if done correctly.

3. When you reach a person by phone, don’t rush the relationship building process. Find out what they are looking for, ask good questions, and really listen. Don’t be pushy, focus on their needs. If you’re new at working your cold market, team up with a successful leader in your upline who is experienced.

4. Offer something of value that is free like a report, eBook or consultation, that will both qualify and educate your prospect and that will also introduce you as part of the process. For example, on your free report include a link to your online photo album and your biography or “Get to Know Me” page.

5. Follow up several times to build familiarity and credibility with your prospect. Use an autoresponder to help you in this, but don’t depend on it. There is nothing like a good, old fashioned conversation to build trust. Sending a postcard in the mail also helps a lot!

6. Be a real person. Tell, don’t sell! Avoid sales pitches, instead, share your own story. Network marketing is about being your authentic best self. Let your heart and your integrity shine, and people will remember you and trust you. When they are ready to try your product or join your team, they will call you!

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Market Your Business Online With These Quick Tips

Market Your Business Online With These Quick Tips

Internet marketing can be a personal business strategy for your business. It involves particular needs of your business, along with online promotion. This vast world has so many strategies, tools, and techniques, that it can seem a bit confusing as to where you need to begin. These tips can help you make sense of the confusion.

Offer your customers the option of purchasing items that are related to the product they originally bought. For example, you might be able advertise an upgrade on one of your items. If a customer is pleased with their first purchase, they will probably be interested in this option as well.

Make sure you include your website address, email and other company information on all your business paperwork from business cards to letterheads. You want to be sure your customers can find you on the internet. If they don’t know your site or email they won’t know you have it available.

After the home page of your web site, the most important page is the ‘About’ page. Visitors will want to know something about the owner of a site. The more personal information you provide, the more confident they feel in what you have to offer. Make your email address easy to find so they know they can contact you.

Testimonials should always be a part of your advertising. A part big of advertising success is having believable and down to earth reviews of your products and services by people just like your customers. You should also make sure it is easy for customers to leave you feedback once they receive their items.

Do not over load your site with banners. If everyone who posted banners everywhere made money, there would be a lot more wealthy people. Overloading your site with banners and advertisements makes your site look clumsy and ugly. Keep your adds tasteful so you do not send your visitors away.

People attempting to market on the net should quickly realize that there is no measure for success beyond your current success. If one of your ideas or products does well, that does not make you a guru, all of a sudden. You’re only as good as your last win, so you must attempt to make every campaign, a successful campaign.

To make sure visitors click your banners, don’t use them in excess. A site filled with banners will have a high bounce rate, and visitors who do stay will be reluctant to click. Choose only a few banners and spread them out throughout your site so that they’re not overwhelming. This will give your site a professional look and increase your clickthrough rate.

Share your news, knowledge and information through online press releases. This can be a great way to get your name out there and draw people to your site. It also gives you the appearance of being an expert in your chosen area. Incorporate a few hyperlinks or keywords and you might also see an increase in search engine visibility.

While internet marketing can be a personal business strategy, it does have the main goal of successfully marketing your business products and services. As you have seen in these tips, there are various approaches, but they are all created around the idea of making your business much more successful online.

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How To Trade Successfully In The Forex Market

How To Trade Successfully In The Forex Market

To trade successfully in the Foreign Currency Exchange (Forex) Market, there are certain principles that must be adhered to at all times. There are a lot of investors who have made some really questionable trades when everything looked so good. The investors and speculators I’m referring to have sunk good money into investments and lost it within days, weeks or months. Some have done their homework and still received the short end of the stick, but the vast majority who turn what looks like a good investment into something that a savvy investor can smell a mile away, more times than not haven’t done their homework. This article talks about the Forex (Foreign Currency Exchange) Market and lists key elements needed to make money effectively.

Liquidity is Key:

Believe me; I know from personal experience how to lose good money after bad…as do many in my family. I keep telling myself it must be genetic. One way to really get yourself in deep is to play the pink sheets, also known as penny stocks. These are the stocks which typically have very low trading volume each day and if you have enough shares it is nearly impossible to trade them without severely affecting the price of the stock. And the more volume you trade the more you begin to affect your own price whether you are buying or selling. Needless to say, I have crossed those investments off my list as of a few years ago. They just don’t have the liquidity you need to give yourself an advantage. Sure, you can find a needle in the haystack, that one in a million stock, but for every successful penny stock, thousands go under or don’t return much if any on your investment.

This brings us to the Forex Market. What better market to get the best liquidity possible. With my days of trading penny stocks, complete with their thin trading volumes, over, I am naturally attracted to trading which takes place in an arena where the definition is liquidity. When a trading arena is liquid, you can always trade your investment without affecting other positions you want to buy or sell. You don’t have the problem like you would trading penny stocks where a small move here or there dramatically affects the price of the stock you are trading. The Forex Market is too big and too many governments, organizations, funds and individuals participate.

Perfect Your Strategy:

Some of the most successful Forex Trading occurs when a person perfects their strategy and executes it to perfection each and every time based on the core belief that their strategy is the best for them. It takes practice to perfect a strategy, but most successful Forex Traders have one. They don’t simply jump on every new “potential strategy” or “tip” that comes along. From time to time it is good to try new aspects of other strategies to see if you can improve on a good thing, but to know your strategy inside and out and be able to duplicate it makes all the difference. A good rule of thumb to use is when you aren’t sure of a trade, do nothing. Don’t trade if you are not positive it fits your strategy. It also helps if you concentrate on one market at a time. Like the old adage, you literally don’t want to be a “Jack of all trades and a Master of None”

Go Long:

Trading successfully in the Forex is about longevity. The longer you can keep trading the Forex, the longer you have to perfect your strategy and the longer you can stay in the game. It reminds me of craps when I occasionally have time to play. I have friends that can blow through ,000 in an hour or two and then they have to take the rest of the day off so they can have enough funds left to try it again another day. I take a different approach. I can survive all day long on 0 and most of the time I can double or triple that amount and be able to stay at the table all day if I want. It is both entertainment and profit that I am after. If I stay entertained longer, I have the chance to make more money.

The reason I can last longer is because I have perfected “My” strategy and I don’t try every new one that comes along in the multitudes of craps books that my friends read. The point I am making is this: Staying power is key with any investment. The longer you can “hang in there” to increase your education and perfect your strategy, the more you will enjoy the Forex Market and the more you will profit from it. And speaking of profit, you will want to remember to keep your profitable positions for a longer time than you keep your losing positions. Let your profits ride and you will be more successful. Fight the urge to get out of a position when it makes you a quick profit. Getting out of a losing position takes brute courage, but you will thank yourself for getting out quick if the position is not going the way you would like. You should always check your pride at the door when trading any market. Many of us don’t want to admit defeat, but it is necessary to be successful. It can really get in the way of successful trading.

Foreign Currency Trading (Forex) Trading is exciting. With the tips and thoughts above, hopefully you will feel right at home trading the currencies of the most powerful nations in the world. As long as you stick to your strategy and make sure you let your profits ride and cut your losses, you will become successful in Forex Trading.

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Find The Profits On The Forex Market With These Tips

Find The Profits On The Forex Market With These Tips

Forex is simply the foreign exchange market in which one type of currency is traded for another type. Some of the users of this marketplace are businesses looking to exchange their currency for foreign currency such as when multinational businesses have to use a currency which is different than the one that is native to the country that they are in. This article can help to simplify that concept and help you to understand who uses this market.

Work on a solid, growing plan and stick with it. Test the method before hand and then begin applying it to real currencies. You cannot just jump in and begin buying everything that you think will pop. That is how you bust and lose money quickly. Take your time and apply what you have learned through experience.

If you have a background in stock market trading, you have to understand that leverage works very differently with forex. On the stock exchange market, the leverage is related to how many shares someone has, or how much money they have invested. With forex, everyone can have access to a wide range of leverage ratios.

Choose a broker that fits you when you enter the forex market. Your personal style of trading may not be a good match for every forex broker offering their services. The software that brokers offer, the detail with which they present information, and the level of user feedback they give you, are all important factors to consider before settling on a forex broker.

Whatever you do, go with the flow of the market. New traders want to believe that there is a secret trick to making tons of money in the market but it is really as simple as following the path being set for you. When the market shifts one way, shift with it.

Do not take the financial media too seriously. Conventional wisdom and media are not always on the side of the trader. Many media outlets simply want a big story, so they will blow small losses way out of proportion. Do not let them make you feel as though you are in a negative market when you see a positive one.

Try to analyze every single trade that you make to the best of your ability. This will provide you with all of the information that you need and will reduce the luck percentage in your transaction. One of the main things that you want to avoid is gambling with your money.

Make sure that the money you invest is money that you can afford to lose. Forex trading is risky business and everyone takes a loss at some point in time. Determine what you can afford to invest as your capital and leave the rest alone. When you are hot in a market, it’s tempting to start bringing over more money but things can change quickly in currency leaving you with nothing. Stick to your original amount and build it up from there.

As explained in the article above, Forex is simply a foreign currency exchange market. A company may be based in one country, but have to pay workers in another country, and Forex helps them to achieve that. This article can help you to better understand how this works and see why it is so vital in this global economy.

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Crush the Stock Market Without Trading Stocks

Crush the Stock Market Without Trading Stocks

Do you look at the stock market and wish you’d bought some Google stock back when it was first offered for 4? You’d have gained nearly 300% on that investment in the first year – that’s roughly 9.2% each month! That’s a Wall Street level of success!

Imagine if I could show you an investment opportunity that could easily give you over 14% monthly? What if 21.5% per month was within reach? These yearly returns of anywhere from 500% to 1000% are possible for anyone who has the initiative to go out and get them. That’s 2-4X MORE than GOOGLE, one of the fastest growing stocks IN HISTORY! We’re talking about an investment opportunity where your returns will crush even the top gainers of the stock market. Are you starting to get curious about how these numbers are attainable?

You can beat the stock game by playing a different game, the Foreign Exchange trading game. Also referred to as Forex, the Foreign Exchange market is where one country’s currency is traded for another’s. You can buy €1100 Euros for 00 US Dollars while the exchange rate is at 1.1 Euros/Dollar. Then you can sell the Euros back to dollars for 00 (and a nice 0 profit) if the exchange rate moves to 1 Euro/Dollar.

0 may be nice, but that 1% return on the 00 doesn’t sound like the path to your 500% returns, does it? Here’s how that 1% gets its power: Leverage. With Forex, if you have 0 in your account, you can control a ,000 trade. That makes your money a lot more powerful than the – control you get in the stock market! If you’re thinking that you can lose more money this way too, just read on, you’ll learn why that won’t happen.

Consider this: The Foreign Exchange market has a DAILY trading volume of around .5 trillion dollars. That’s 30 times larger than the combined volume of all U.S. equity markets (that includes the NASDAQ and NYSE). This is an untapped resource, and you’re about to learn five simple steps towards taking your share out of that market and into your pocket.

1. Get Educated!
As with all things, the more you know about trading, the more likely you are to success. A little effort spent learning up front can save you hundreds and thousands of dollars of mistakes later.

2. Have a Strategy!
A simple repeatable system can turn trading into a low-risk mechanical system. Know when you should trade, how often you should trade, how much money to spend per trade, when to cut your losses, and when to take your profits. Push the right buttons at the right times, and you’ll make money.

3. Practice Makes Perfect!
Most Forex brokers will allow you to sign up for a practice account, where you can trade imaginary money until you’ve solidified your winning strategy. Don’t risk your hard-earned cash until you’ve proven that you’ll succeed

4. Scrape Together 0
That’s 2 months of brown-bagging lunch instead of buying it; or a few months of cutting down on the daily coffee-shop visits. If you start now, by the time you’ve learned a strategy and perfected it on your practice account, you’ll be ready with your 0 to start earning real money. More money is always better, but 0 is the minimum you’ll need to get started.

5. Go Out and Succeed!
By the time you get to Step 5, you KNOW you will succeed, and you’ll spring out of bed every day ready to make your profit. Some days you’ll lose a little money, but you won’t worry. Your strategy allows you to lose a little money from time to time; you proved that losing money periodically wasn’t the end of the world when you practiced; you’ll get up tomorrow and make it back by following your proven strategy.

Starting with your 0, if you made “Google Gains”, you’d have 2 in a year. That’s not bad. With Forex gains, though, you could easily turn your 0 into 00-00 in a year! Who need the stock market?!?

Saving the best for last, here’s the shocking truth: The 500-1000% yearly returns are possible, but with a smarter strategy you could turn your 0 into over ,000 in less than a year without increasing your risks! Best of all, you can do all of this over the Internet without leaving home. That’s 3000% while wearing pajamas. With these kinds of returns, you could realistically quit your job and trade full-time!

If you could use more money if your life (and lets face it, we all can), you owe it to yourself to learn more about Foreign Exchange trading.

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Stock Market Window Dressing: The Art of Looking Smart!

Stock Market Window Dressing: The Art of Looking Smart!

As investors, and we all are investors these days, it is important that we understand the idiosyncrasies of the Stock Market pricing data we use to help us in our decision making efforts. On Wall Street, investing can be a minefield for those who don’t take the time to appreciate why securities prices are at the levels that appear on quarterly account statements. At least four times per year, security prices are more a function of institutional marketing practices than they are a reflection of the economic forces that we would like to think are their primary determining factors. Not even close… Around the end of every calendar quarter, we hear the financial media matter-of-factly report that Institutional Window Dressing Activities” are in full swing. But that is as far, and as deep, as it ever goes. What are they talking about, and just what does it mean to you as an investor?

There are at least three forms of Window Dressing, none of which should make you particularly happy and all of which should make you question the integrity of organizations that either authorize, implement, or condone their use. The better-known variety involves the culling from portfolios of stocks with significant losses and replacing them with shares of companies whose shares have been the most popular during recent months. Not only does this practice make the managers look smarter on reports sent to major clients, it also makes Mutual Fund performance numbers appear significantly more attractive to prospective “fund switchers”. On the sell side of the ledger, prices of the weakest performing stocks are pushed down even further. Obviously, all fund managements will take part in the ritual if they choose to survive. This form of window dressing is, by most definitions, neither investing nor speculating. But no one seems to care about the ethics, the legality, or the fact that this “Buy High, Sell Low” pictu

A more subtle form of Window Dressing takes place throughout the calendar quarter, but is “unwound” before the portfolio’s Quarterly Reports reach the glossies. In this less prevalent (but even more fraudulent) variety, the managers invest in securities that are clearly out of sync with the fund’s published investment policy during a period when their particular specialty has fallen from grace with the gurus. For example, adding commodity ETFs, or popular emerging country issues to a Large Cap Value Fund, etc. Profits are taken before the Quarter Ends so that the fund’s holdings report remains uncompromised, but with enhanced quarterly results. A third form of Window Dressing is referred to as “survivorship”, but it impacts Mutual Fund investors alone while the others undermine the information used by (and the market performance of) individual security investors. You may want to research it.

I cannot understand why the media reports so superficially on these “business as usual” practices. Perhaps ninety percent of the price movement in the equity markets is the result of institutional trading, and institutional money managers seem to be more concerned with politics and marketing than they are with investing. They are trying to impress their major clients with their brilliance by reporting ownership of all the hot tickets and none of the major losers. At the same time, they are manipulating the performance statistics contained in their promotional materials. They have made “Buy High, Sell Low” the accepted investment strategy of the Mutual Fund industry. Meanwhile, individual security investors receive inaccurate signals and incur collateral losses by moving in the wrong direction.

From an analytical point of view, this quarterly market value reality (artificially created demand for some stocks and unwarranted weakness in others) throws almost any individual security or market sector statistic totally out of wack with the underlying company fundamentals. But it gets even more fuzzy, and not in the lovable sense. Just for the fun of it, think about the “demand pull” impact of an ever-growing list of ETFs. I don’t think that I’m alone in thinking that the real meaning of security prices has less and less to do with corporate economics than it does with the morning betting line on ETF ponies… the dot-coms of the new millennium. [Do you remember the "Circle of Gold" from the seventies? Isn't GLD, or IAU, about the same thing?]

As if all of these institutional forces weren’t enough, you need also consider the impact of tax code motivated transactions during the always-entertaining final quarter of the year. One would never suspect (after watching millions of CPA directed taxpayers gleefully lose billions of dollars) that the purpose of investing is to make money! The net impact of these (euphemistically labeled) “year end tax saving strategies” is pretty much the same as that of the Type One Window Dressing described above. But here’s an off-quarter buying opportunity that you really shouldn’t pass up. Simply put, get out there and buy the November 52-week lows, wait for the periodic and mysterious “January Effect” to be reported by the media with eyes wide shut amazement, and pocket some easy profits.

There just may not be a method to actually decipher the true value of a share of common stock. Is market price a function of company fundamentals, artificial demand for “derivative” securities, or various forms of Institutional Window Dressing? But this is a condition that can be used to great financial advantage. With security prices less closely related to those old fashioned fundamental issues such as dividends, projected profits, and unfunded pension liabilities and perhaps more closely related to artificial demand factors, the only operational alternative appears to be trading! Buy the downtrodden (but still fundamentally investment grade) issues and take your profits on those that have risen to inappropriately high levels based on basic measures of quality… and try to get it done before the big players do. To over simplify, a recipe for success would involve shopping for investment grade stocks at bargain prices, allowing them to simmer until a reasonable, pre-defined, profit target is reached, and se

Yeah, I do miss the days when there were just stocks and bonds, but maybe I’m just a bit too old fashioned. Interesting place Wall Street…

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