Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Russia Says NO Sanctions for Iran!

Russia and China are both big suppliers and trading partners with Iran and much of what they trade is advanced weapons systems and military hardware. Things like rocket launchers, long-range missiles, uranium stock for enrichment and guns. Iran has a million-man army and is currently bordered with Iraq. We have seen military hardware from Iran in the hands of the insurgency in Iraq.

Iran wishes to enrich uranium and make nuclear weapons and their president has already promised to; Blow Israel off the Map. Even worse Iran is sponsoring Hezbollah and other international terrorist organizations to the tune of over $100 million per year and you can see how this is escalating.

The first world nations of the Western World wish to place sanctions on Iran and yet Russia says no sanctions for Iran and therefore will continue to sell them weapons to fight in a future war. If other nations stopped trading with Iran and Russia continues to trade with them and Russia also continues to sell jet fighter planes to countries like Venezuela, whose president also met with the Iranian leader then we have a real problem.

As North Korea is testing nuclear weapons and wants to test a nuclear bomb today and then sell these things to Iran and sell them nuclear weapons, we are into dangerous territory. If Iran gives nuclear weapons to international terrorist organizations that they already sponsor then we can expect a nuclear bomb detonation in a major Western World city within the next two years, will it be your city? If we fail at the present time to do anything about this that will be the most likely future. Please consider all this in 2006.

"Lance Winslow" - Online Think Tank forum board. If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/. Lance is a guest writer for Our Spokane Magazine in Spokane, Washington

Estate- How To Lower The Price of Gas

Gas prices seem near all-time highs and the summer driving season hasnt even started yet! A recent email presented a simple solution that will force gas prices back to the $1.25 a gallon range. Read on for details and to learn basic principals that may make investing more profitable.

Have you ever received one of those chain emailsthe kind where you are supposed to forward it to 10 of your friends? My wife received one this morning. The email contained the simple solution to the gas crisis. Supposedly, the solution was created by a high-level executive at a major U.S. corporation and an engineer that worked for an oil services firm. These guys should know their stuff, right? Wrong.

The solution proposed was that we should all decide to stop buying gas from ExxonMobil. If we stopped buying gas from them then they would be forced to lower gasoline prices to tempt us to buy from them again. The email said that we consumers need to teach the Big Boys that we are in charge, not them.

The Laws of Supply and Demand, the basis for capitalism, are taught in Economics 101. The law says that the market price of a good or service will be determined based on how much of it is available and how much buyers are willing to spend for it. This principle is one of the underlying reasons that bond, real estate and stock prices move up and down.

Lets look at salt as an example. In centuries past, salt was hard to come by and many people needed it. At one time it was so valuable, it was worth its weight in gold.

Thats not the case nowadays. Salt is very inexpensive. The container its sold in probably cost more than the salt inside it. Why? Because the supply of salt is high and the demand for it is low. Salt is easily mined in vast quantities. Also, refrigeration and the use of other preservatives drastically cut demand.

This supply and demand law is the reason the simple solution to reducing the price of gasoline cant work. First, gasoline is a commodity product with a limited supply. If you only switch the outlet from which you purchase gasoline, you arent reducing the demand. The same amount of gasoline will be sold, keeping demand, and therefore the market price, level. It may hurt ExxonMobil but will help someone else.

Reducing the price of gasoline by decreasing demand will require that people use less gasoline. That means we need to carpool, ride bicycles, walk or drive more fuel-efficient vehicles. In the last year or so weve seen that demand remains strong even when prices rise by a dollar or more. So demand probably wont change until prices are much higher than they are today.

Second, the simple demand solution doesnt take into account the fact that there is a global market for oil. Gasoline is produced by refining oil. ExxonMobil doesnt set the price of oil, the market does. Even if demand is reduced in America, the demand elsewhere continues to increase. The demand in China and India is growing so rapidly that prices will go up even if we cut back here in America.

Third, the supply of oil must be factored into the equation. There hasnt been a discovery of a major oil-field in decades. The amount of oil pumped from an oil-field doesnt stay the same. It will naturally decrease over time. There have been improvements made in getting the oil out of the ground, but overall, the number of barrels a day pumped is declining. For instance, did you know that the production of OPEC is lower today than it was in 2005?

So this simple solution obviously wont work. I believe that there is little we can do in the United States to significantly lower the price of oil. There simply isnt enough oil to meet the needs of the world economy. Understanding that affects how I manage my clients portfolios.

As an investor, understanding the Laws of Supply and Demand will help you select where you should invest. Avoiding industries where supply is increasing faster than demand will reduce your losses. Investing in industries where demand is growing faster than supply can increase your profits.

Nationally-syndicated financial columnist and Certified Financial Planner Jeffrey Voudrie provides personal, in-depth money management services and advice to select private clients throughout the USA. Hell answer your financial question FREE at http://www.guardingyourwealth.com

2 Simple Tips to Profitably Trading

Placing a trade is relatively easy; all you need to do is specify how many shares you want and puff all is done. But getting out could be a tricky task and this often time separate profitable trades from the non-profitable ones. So lets examine some simple tips for getting out.

Tip # 1

Stop Losses as the name implies is meant to reduce you losses so simply let them do the job. If you have placed your trade correctly with the proper risk-reward calculation you need not worry about what is happening, you won't be right all the time but if you cut you losses rightly you live to trade (your account in this sense) another day. The market never follows a straight line, most time there will be a test of previous highs or lows. Place you stoploss below the low or above the high allowing some wiggle room to avoid getting stopped out prematurely when those test occur.

Using this principle to set your stoploss will keep the emotion out of your trade and make you more profitable. Also you should not be risking more than 2% (at most) of you trading account on a trade (some will argue about 5% but I dont find that comfortable so I dont advice anyone to do it). Find a percentage that is comfortable and suitable to keep you in the game for long. Stick with it, this will help you psychologically to withstand whatever the market throws at you.

Tip # 2

As you are considering entering a position you should also consider target when to fold em . These targets should be logically placed, not based on wishful thinking remember market will do what it wants not what you want. Some ideal points to take profit include:

Previous Resistance or Supports

Pivot points (Resistance or Supports)

Trend lines

Moving Averages

Strategy-specific targets

Yeah, I know you should let your profit run. But the key to profitable trading is to take a part of the profit off the table at your initial target, after which you can consider other target levels. This could be done manually or by using automatic trailing.

The key points here are:

1. Stoploss orders are suppose to reduce you loss so let them do the job.

2. Place them properly and they will keep you out of trouble and make you profitable

3. Place your stoploss at logical point with some wiggle room

4. Take some profits off the table then trail you remaining position

Did you find those tips on stoplosses useful? Join the league of successful traders find out more here

I'm Lanre a Private Investor/Trader, Salsa Music fan/dancer, E-marketer, Info-System and Data Mining Researcher


Price to Earnings Ratio - P/E

After finding the price of a particular stock, usually the next number everyone looks at is the P/E ratio.

P/E is the ratio of a company's share price to its per-share earnings.

A P/E ratio of 10 means that the company has 1 of annual, per-share earnings for every 10 in share price. (Earnings by definition are after all taxes etc.)

A company's P/E ratio is computed by dividing the current market price of one share of a company's stock by that company's per-share earnings. A company's per-share earnings are simply the company's after-tax profit divided by number of outstanding shares. A company that earned 5M last year, with a million shares outstanding, had earnings per share of 5. If that company's stock currently sells for 50/share, it has a P/E of 10. At this price, investors are willing to pay 10 for every 1 of last year's earnings.

P/Es are traditionally computed with trailing earnings (earnings from the past 12 months, called a trailing P/E) but are sometimes computed with leading earnings (earnings projected for the upcoming 12-month period, called a leading P/E).

For the most part, a high P/E means high projected earnings in the future. But actually the P/E ratio doesn't tell a whole lot, but it's useful to compare the P/E ratios of other companies in the same industry, or to the market in general, or against the company's own historical P/E ratios.

Some analysts will exclude one-time gains or losses from a quarterly earnings report when computing this figure, others will include it. Adding to the confusion is the possibility of a late earnings report from a company; computation of a trailing P/E based on incomplete data is rather tricky. (It's misleading, but that doesn't stop the brokerage houses from reporting something.) Even worse, some methods use so-called negative earnings (i.e., losses) to compute a negative P/E, while other methods define the P/E of a loss-making company to be zero. Worst of all, it's usually next to impossible to discover the method used to generate a particular P/E figure, chart, or report.

Like other indicators, P/E is best viewed over time, looking for a trend. A company with a steadily increasing P/E is being viewed by the investors as becoming more speculative. And of course a company's P/E ratio changes every day as the stock price fluctuates.

The P/E ratio is commonly used as a tool for determining the value of a stock. A lot can be said about this little number, but in short, companies expected to grow and have higher earnings in the future should have a higher P/E than companies in decline.

For example, if a company has a lot of products in the pipeline, I wouldn't mind paying a large multiple of its current earnings to buy the stock. It will have a large P/E. I am expecting it to grow quickly. A rule of thumb is that a company's P/E ratio should be approximately equal to that company's growth rate.

PE is a much better comparison of the value of a stock than the price. A 10 stock with a PE of 40 is much more "expensive" than a 100 stock with a PE of 6. You are paying more for the 10 stock's future earnings stream. The 10 stock is probably a small company with an exciting product with few competitors. The 100 stock is probably pretty staid - maybe a buggy whip manufacturer.

It's difficult to say whether a particular P/E is high or low, but there are a number of factors you should consider!

First: It's useful to look at the forward and historical earnings growth rate. (If a company has been growing at 10% per year over the past five years but has a P/E ratio of 75, then conventional wisdom would say that the shares are expensive.)

Second: It's important to consider the P/E ratio for the industry sector. (Food products companies will probably have very different P/E ratios than high-tech ones.)

Finally: A stock could have a high trailing-year P/E ratio, but if the earnings rise, at the end of the year it will have a low P/E after the new earnings report is released.

Thus a stock with a low P/E ratio can accurately be said to be cheap only if the future-earnings P/E is low.

If the trailing P/E is low, investors may be running from the stock and driving its price down, which only makes the stock look cheap.

Ioannis - Evangelos C. Haramis was born in Greece in 1951 and he studied in Greece, USA and in Belgium. He has been active in the stock markets since 1972. Since 2002 he is New Business Development Managing Director at an Investment Bank and the publisher of http://www.greekshares.com/

Copyright 2005 I.E.C. Haramis


Annuity Lead Generation

If you want to generate more annuity leads from your marketing efforts, here are five annuity lead generation tips you should consider:

Your Audience: Whether you are marketing on the Internet, using direct-mail, or creating display ads, marketing to the right audience is crucial. Even the best marketing piece or sales presentation is worthless if it's presented to people who are not interested!

Do your research. Who is your target audience? What do they read? What are their fears? What are their desires? These are just some of the questions you should ask, and once you have the answer you are on your way to uncovering a hungry market.

Benefits: Although it's important to know your products thoroughly, it's equally as important to know the benefits of each feature. Agents are so focused on how an annuity works that they often lose sight of the benefits. It's what drives your prospect to respond to your offer or sign the application.

A good exercise is to squeeze out as many benefits you can for each feature of your annuity, and write them down. This will not only help you in your annuity lead generation efforts, but it will help you sell more annuities as well.

Do you really want to market a product?: One thing is for certain, if you're marketing a financial product like an annuity, you can expect small response rates. The reason for this is that your potential prospects have been hit with advertisement after advertisement on the advantages of owning products like annuities. As a result, your prospect is more likely to throw your marketing in the trash, or simply click delete.

An alternative to marketing annuities on the front end is to create what is called a lead generator. A lead generator comes in many forms, but the most common is an information product. In this case it would be a booklet, report, or something similar. Do not mistake this for a brochure. A lead generator, written properly, works more like a sophisticated sales letter.

Instead of advertising an annuity, you would advertise your lead generator. The key is to use the lead generator as a tool to capture your prospects contact information, and as a result, you build an extremely valuable list that most agents and financial advisors would crawl over broken glass to own.

Systemize: Whether you decide to market an annuity on the front end or use a lead generator, it's important to systematize your marketing system. Studies show that it can take up to 17 contacts to make a sale. In other words, for every lead you generate, you should have a sequence of follow-ups ready to go.

Test: Another important area you should consider is testing small. Once you decide upon your market and how you want to generate leads, test a small ad or test a small number of names on a well selected list. If your response rates do not provide you with a decent return on investment, you haven't wasted a lot of money.

Secondly, you can find out where you went wrong in your marketing system and fix it. Once you have a profitable annuity lead generation system put together, you can roll it out on a bigger scale.

A successful annuity lead generation program has the best chance of success when you target the right audience, uncover the benefits of your product, choose the right approach, follow-up regularly, and test small (to get the kinks out).

Copyright 2006 Brian Maroevich

Brian Maroevich is webmaster for http://www.insurance-leads-advisor.com/annuity-leads.html Brian is Direct Marketing entrepreneur and has written courses on lead generation and marketing for insurance agents, financial planners, and small businesses.

Investing for Your Self

The title says it all investing is not about following what others say, but instead about understanding what type of financial outcomes you want and how best to achieve them. This calls for independent (but informed) thinking that is aligned to your specific needs.

As a result of the internet there is a phenomenal amount of information available to investors today. Companies financial statements are readily available, as are analysts reports and financial news sites that provide summary information on both the market and individual investments. One of the dangers is that investors may take such sources of information as unbiased and objective. Instead each should be viewed as just what it is a source of information presented for a specific purpose, with the information being shaped to that purpose.

This is not to say that investors should ignore such information, but instead that they should use their own judgment in sifting through it and making decisions about what investments are best for them. And in many ways the particular investments made are less critical than two other factors that will impact the long term value of ones portfolio.

How soon you get started Many have written about the power of compounding, but it definitely bears repeating. Regardless of how much one invests, the sooner it is begun the longer one will have for the gains to compound, creating an exponential growth that will result in a much larger portfolio than if one had started later in life and made larger investments.

Dont loose big It takes a 100% gain to make up for a 50% loss, so it is important to avoid a significant loss of capital by either investing in things that cant or are unlikely to go down, or to take a limited loss if they do. Of course everyones risk tolerance is different, but one of the more consistent practices of the wealthy is that they tend to invest conservatively.

Investing for your self then means being aware of what you want, and making sure that your investment decisions are in line with your values and priorities. Although others (websites, newsletters, paid advisors) can provide you with interesting and useful insights, their interests will never be as closely aligned to your interests as your attention can and should be focused on self.

2006 Duke Okes

Duke Okes helps individuals and organizations perform more productivity and professionally. He can be reached at http://www.aplomet.com

Juggling Economic Balls

Lisa and I walked 5 miles around Boston to celebrate our wedding anniversary. The Swan boats, Italian food in the Northend, a new "doo" for Lisa on Newbury Street, and new summer sweaters for me("About time you got some sweaters with bright colors!", Lisa said).

At Fanueil Hall Marketplace we watched "Formerly known as 'Jim the Juggler,' now known simply as "Jim, from The Jim Show." Jim does daffy juggling as children giggle and parents laughed (we laughed and giggled). Jim balanced on a large beach ball while juggling. I cannot stand on a beach ball nor can I juggle. Yet every morning my brain attempts the economic juggle, a dance registered investment advisors do in their office (privately). No need to mention the balls required, but here is an outline of what each ball lofted represents.

Each subject has current relevance, especially when the market movers sell more stock than they buy. I will define and explain the relevance in my opinion.

  • Interest Rates
  • Bond Rates
  • Inflation

Other influences driving the stock market have aggregate affect, but individually lack market-moving clout. So, let's look at what each subject means to the market.

Interest Rates: Lisa's grandmother laments about the Bush administration while she longs for Jimmy Carter. "Those were the good ole days when the banks paid you for investing!" She remembers a call from a Florida stock broker offering her a 15% return on her $25,000 deposit. Of course, she and "Pa" never calculated their real rate of return (The inflation rate from June 1986 to June 1989 was 13.33% leaving 2.67% pre-tax real-rate of return)

Interest rates and inflation are the horse and cart of the economy. High Interest rates do not guarantee low inflation, nor that Lisa's grandmother gets a "good-return" on her money. However, higher interest rates manage economies by affecting borrowing, corporate expansion, merger/acquisition activity (notice it slowed down on June 5, 2007), and currency values (U.S. dollar versus the Yen, as an example). Finally, the stock market dislikes high interest rates because there is less risk when buying bonds. You still with me?

News Flash! "Tracy Withers reports that "New Zealand's central bank unexpectedly raised its benchmark interest rate to a record 8 percent, saying housing demand and consumer spending are fanning inflation. The currency rose to a 22-year high"

"Skellerup Holdings Ltd., which exports rubber goods used in medicine and irrigation, this week said full-year profit will fall by 34 percent because of the currency's gain. The company is planning to stop some local production and fire workers because it is cheaper to make goods overseas, it said."

Interest rate increases control inflation and can instigate sector recessions.

2. OK. On to Bond values. The bond market is all about the "cost of money". Cheap money means mortgages, corporate buyouts, and stock market opportunity.

How come the bond market does not control interest rates? Perhaps because there is no immediate consensus, and bond traders might not consider inflation's nasty economic slaps the way Federal Reserve Bankers do. Federal Reserve Bankers line their jackets and underwear with fabric imprints reading "Inflation". Nothing matters more. At the Federal Reserve Bank water cooler, it's all about inflation.

Bond traders are not numb to economic indicators. Sell-off's in bonds push interest rates up and bond values/prices down. Bond traders don't take risks with an greater courage than you or I. No one wants to lose money.

Joseph Keating, Chief Investment Officer for First American Asset Management thinks bond yields are now giving "competition" to stocks. Investors are observing bond yields, and consider bonds the "safer bet". Stock buyers need a "premium" when buying stocks due to stock risk. This is known as "stock risk-premium". When risk premiums are high, bonds fly.

Supply and demand drives pricing. So when bond buyers are attracted to higher yields, pricing gets tighter (bond prices go up and bond yields go down). This bond buying brings lower yields or lower interest rates in the bond market. Lower interest rates in the bond market decreases the risk premium making stocks attractive. When risk premiums are low, stocks grow. Fascinating, don't you think?

Bond traders tend, in my opinion, to give weight to economic growth rather than to the value of the dollar. Dollar values may tell us more about inflation than any other indicator. Every commodity in America (and the dollar is no longer a commodity) is dollar-priced. If the dollar is down in value against other currencies, does it suggest that prices are inflated? Does this mean that someday, holders of the dollar will want more for what they can get with their lower-valued dollars? It seems so.

Inflation: No wonder the "Fed" worries about inflation. The insidious affect gets little attention from the public, but the result devastates buying power.

Tracking inflation started in 1914. Not much relevance tracking inflation from 1914 to now. However, we could try it from January 1997 to January 2007. From then to now, the inflation rate is 27.14%. Now, let's calculate what that means to your spending power. We can calculate the affect of inflation: $1+($1 x .2714)= $1.2714 or $1.27. This means your investment account per thousand must earn at least $270 more per thousand just to keep up with inflation. The current Inflation Rate is 2.57%.

``Inflation causes reduced consumer spending, it squeezes profit margins,'' said John Kornitzer, who manages $6 billion at Kornitzer Capital Management in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. (Bloomberg.com, U.S. Stocks Retreat on Inflation Concern..., Michael Patterson)

What do you prefer? High interest rates or low inflation? Juggle them if you can; for me, logic recommends asset allocation.

As a registered investment advisor, Ray Randall provides clients with tools to manage risk control as clients work toward investment goals. You may read more about him at Ethos Advisory.com Ray also manages the article bank and resource directory found at Echievements.com. Would you like to know how much risk your temperament permits? Fill out a request for a no-cost report on the Ethos Advisory Services contact page.

Futures Contracts - Profitable Investment Alternatives?

With the growing popularity of futures trading, more and more people are jumping into this interesting form of investing. People quickly find out that futures contracts are vastly different than agreements to purchase common stocks; with futures contracts, you are not actually buying a particular commodity, you are obtaining the right to purchase the underlying asset during a particular time period.

Pork Bellies?

Another difference between investing in the stock market and investing in futures contracts is the asset itself. Of course stocks are the assets involved in the stock market, while the commodity assets in futures contracts include:

Currencies The currency market is one of the best known commodities, trading the likes of the British pound and the American dollar.

Interest Rate Futures T-Bonds represent long-term interest rates and Eurodollars are for short-term interest rates.

Energy Futures Natural gas, heating oil and crude oil futures are the most widely known in this sector.

Food Sector Coffee, orange juice and sugar are well known commodities in this sector.

Metals Gold, silver and copper are traditionally strong commodities.

Agricultural Wheat, coffee, cotton, soybeans, pork bellies and corn futures are among those that are best known.

With so many futures contracts available, it can be difficult to decide which commodities interest you, especially if you are new to commodities trading. Sometimes it can be helpful when you start trading to begin with more popular commodities.

Below are five of the most popularly traded futures contracts:

1.S&P 500 E-mini This is extremely popular for those investing in the futures markets. The E-mini can be traded electronically 24 hours a day, five days a week. In addition, the E-mini has most of the same advantages of the regular S&P 500 commodity but the cost of investment is much less.

2.E-mini NASDAQ 100 The E-mini NASDAQ 100 follows the movement of the NASDAQ 100. Like the S&P 500 E-mini, this futures contract can be electronically traded and the contract and the amount of margin you have to set aside to trade the contract are smaller than a standard contract. Since most individuals don't have large enough accounts to trade regular contracts for the NASDAQ 100, the E-mini works out great.

3.Light Sweet Crude Oil Probably the most famous commodity traded is oil futures. When you see the price of oil discussed on the evening news or in an investment newsletter, this is exactly what they are discussing.

4.Gold If oil isnt the most famous futures contract, then gold surely is. A gold contract tracks the price variations of one ounce of gold. Gold became an important part of the US economy when the United States went to the Gold Standard in the 1970s. Since then, the price of gold changes dramatically, almost always in the opposite direction of the US dollar. Gold investments are frequently used as hedge funds because of the relationship with the US dollar.

5.E-mini Euro FX - The E-mini Euro FX contract tracks the movement of the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the Euro. The "E-mini" means that the contract and the amount of margin you have to set aside to trade these futures contracts are smaller than regular contracts. Most individuals don't have large enough accounts to trade a regular contract for the Euro, so E-minis are excellent investment strategies.


Futures contracts provide interesting and potentially profitable investment alternatives to many investors. Understanding the investment basics of futures contracts and commodities such as these will help you to be a more successful trader when it comes to futures contracts.

http://www.candlestickforum.com/PPF/Parameters/1_21_/candlestick.asp A site dedicated to stock market investing using Japanese Candlesticks