Why Gas Prices Go Up and Down

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There are five primary factors that effect the price you pay for gas at the pump. Learn the truth about the five main factors that detemine how much your family pays for gas.

increase gas mileage, family finance, budget, save money

There are five primary factors that effect the price you pay for gas at the pump. Prices generally increase when the world crude oil market lowers their inventories. Also, when demand exceeds refinery capacity gas prices increase.

The first factor that makes up the price of gas at your local station is crude oil suppliers. This makes up about 59% of the price you pay for gas and it is determined by the world’s oil-exporting countries, particularly OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. The amount of crude oil that these countries produce determines the price per barrel of oil.

The next factor that effects gas prices is the cost of refining the crude oil. This makes up about 10% of the total price of gas.

The third factor is the cost of transporting the crude oil to a refinery, then the refined gas to a distribution point and finally to your local gas station. If you are buying a brand name of gasoline, the cost that company spends in
marketing the or brand will also be added to the price you pay to buy from that brand. This makes up around 11% of the total price.

The forth factor accounts for about 20% of the total cost of gas, and it includes federal and local taxes. State, local and city taxes vary, accounting for some of the fluctuation you may see in gas prices in different geographical areas.

The fifth factor is the markup at your local gas station. Obviously your local gas station is in business to make money and has employees to pay. So you know that they must make money on every gallon of gas they sell. You may be surprised however to learn that the amount is generally not more than 10 cent and may be as low as a penny per gallon! Some states do have laws governing station markup and require a minimum percentage markup to protect small stations from being put out of business by larger companies
who may want to undercut them.

Profit Every Time You See Signs of Strength and Signs of Weakness in the Markets

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This article explains why you should be alert to signs of strength and signs of weakness in the markets. Putting your faith in hope will not get you profits in the markets. You need to realy understand how the markets work. And being able to identify strength and weakness in the markets is essential.

stock market, stockmarket, day trading, trading,online trading, stocks, shares, forex, currencies, commodities, dow, dow jones, ftse, nasdaq, nikkei,

Copyright 2006 Peter Woodhead

There are two questions that are continually asked:

1. What do I do when I see signs of weakness?
2. What do I do when I see signs of strength?

Before these two critical questions can be answered, ALWAYS remember that true weakness comes in on an UP bar and ?

True strength ALWAYS comes in on DOWN bars.

On true signs of weakness you should:
a) initiate new short position(s)
b) reverse old long positions to short
c) close out any long positions

On signs of strength you should:
a) initiate new long position(s)
b) reverse old short positions to long
c) close out any short positions

Why is your reaction to a strong sign of strength (or weakness) so important?

Because whenever a true sign of strength (or weakness) is seen the market makers and professionals will notice it straight away and act accordingly.

So what is meant by a “true?sign of strength (or weakness)?

You should observe a strong volume bar straight away to support your position.

If no such bar is present, that indicates that the professional money is not interested in the move because they know the market is still weak (or strong) and you can expect a move in the opposite direction to what you may have thought. Probably resulting in another period of accumulation or distribution before the next indicator.

The Golden Rule:

Understand where the professional money is and follow them. If they aren’t interested, neither should you be. If they are interested (shown by buying/selling), then back your judgement.

Most traders don’t have a clue as to what’s going on in the markets. But you will, if you take the time to understand how the professionals operate and what causes the moves in the market. You will get to time your entry and exit points to near perfection.

For example: After a sharp move up you should expect a down move. After a strong bar up, sellers are tempted by the new high prices. This can be seen by any lack of follow through and the appearance of a strong down bar. Those who matter (the professionals) would see this, enter their positions, and force the market down.

Conversely, after a sharp down move, you can expect weakness. Look for a classic “test? Look for the professionals entering the market and go with them.

It is essential that you really understand how the markets work before you start trading. So many people ignore this fact. That’s why they never really “get it.”

The master at how to trade like the professionals is a guy called Tom Williams. His “The Undeclared Secrets That Drive the Stock Market” is a classic. And is required reading.

Want to Trade Stocks? Get Your Free Stock Quote First

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Free stock quotes are valuable for looking at your investments and determining whether or not you want to trade in the stock market. There are several free stock quotes online and one of the most popular is Yahoo Finance.

free stock quote, stock quote, investments, stocks, finance

Free stock quotes are valuable for looking at your investments and determining whether or not you want to trade in the stock market. There are several free stock quotes online and one of the most popular is Yahoo Finance. This site will allow you to search your stocks to see the growth or decline and determine if you want to buy or sell. Free stock quotes are ideal for the novice investor. They can practice their skills without investing any money until they are comfortable enough to actually invest. Once you decide to invest, though, you will need to get with a broker and there are additional fees associated with trading. However, there are many do it yourself places that only require a small fee and will often have valuable articles and free stock quotes so you can watch your portfolio continually to ensure you have made sound investments.

Before investing in the stock market, you should be aware of the basics of stock trading. This can be learned by doing some research online or by getting a book at your local library. Once you know the basics, you can start looking for individual investments. It is recommended that the novice investor start off with only the amount of money they can afford to lose. There are no guarantees you will earn money and sometimes you will lose it. So, it is important to carefully watch the stock market by looking at free stock quotes each day. You may want to buy or sell your stocks depending on how well the individual stock is doing and what forecasts are for the stock.

Free stock quotes are also great for classes in finance or the stock market. This is ideal for investor clubs, high school classes or college projects. You can either use mock money to track an investment from start to finish without actually putting in money or you can use pooled money to determine which investment you will watch and what you will do with it. This is a great way to have a bit of fun with a group while learning about investments and possibly making a bit of money.

Why do we need to invest?

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Discusses why the world’s aging population impacts on the need for personal investments.

invest,investing,property investment,investment

It is vitally important in this current day and age for all of us to begin taking control of our financial situation and start planning for our future, and the futures of our children.

We can no longer rely on the government to hand out an aged pension once we retire. We cannot take for granted that at the end of our working life we will be taken care of financially.

The world population is ageing, due to the baby boomer generation, and within 30 years there will be so many retired people, compared to the number of working age people, that it will be economically impossible for the government to afford to provide any reasonable source of monetary assistance for the elderly.

The government has realised this, and that is why they introduced the compulsory employer paid superannuation scheme and are even now beginning to give financial incentives to Self-Funded retirees.

Most of us have never sat down and even considered the ramifications of why the compulsory super was introduced and for many of us it is a matter of too little too late. Even for the young women in our society ?who have a full working life ahead of them, they still cannot rest assured of a comfortable retirement.

Why is this? It is because that unfortunately even with contributions at the current level of less than 10%, someone on an average wage who works continually for 30 years, is still going to find themselves trying to survive on an income equivalent to less than $20,000,00 per annum in today’s dollars.

You will notice that I said continually working for 30 years. This is another reason why women are particularly disadvantaged. Firstly because they often have to take up to ten years leave from the workforce to raise children, secondly because women in general earn less than their male counterparts and thirdly because an enormous proportion of the women in Australia, for example, will never have received any superannuation contributions, prior to the compulsory superannuation being introduced, and will therefore not have had contributions made over their entire working life so far, giving them even less to fall back on by the time they retire.

Many women may previously not have thought of lack of superannuation contributions as being a problem, as their husbands may have been contributing to super since they first began work. Unfortunately though with the high number of divorces in this country, it is unwise to rely on the fact that your partner’s superannuation will be there for you in your retirement years and even if a large proportion is awarded in a settlement ?that it will be sufficient to sustain a comfortable retirement for any length of time.

All of these factors are why women now more than ever, need to begin taking action to build up a source of ongoing income, that will grow to such an extent, as to be able to provide a secure and happy future for themselves and their children.

It needs to be a source of income that is unrelated to physical work…that is an income that is generated from income producing assets ?and not from our personal efforts.
One of the best sources of creating this ongoing income stream is to begin building an investment property portfolio, also aptly paraphrased as bricks and mortar.

We need to start investing in income producing assets now, so that they will have time to grow and develop so that we will be financially independent for our retirement years.

The most important concept to grasp in relation to building wealth for retirement and for creating finances that can be directed toward charities, or helping out your family is that of Compound interest.

In mathematical terms 72 divided by Compound Interest Rate of Return = Years for Money to Double in Value.

Therefore if you have $1,000.00 invested at 10% interest, then the number of years that it will take for your money to double to $2,000.00 is 7.2. It will quadruple in 14.4 years and be worth 8 times as much in just over 21 years.

If your money is invested at 7% interest, then it will take approximately ten years to double in value. If it is invested at 5% it will double in just over fourteen years.

The two most important aspects of compounding are one: rate and two: time. The higher the rate and the longer the time something is left to compound, the greater the final result will be. This is why the sooner we start investing, the better.

Why Stock Market Timing

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Stock market timing can reduce your risk and amplify your gains by avoiding bear market losses.

stock market timing, timing the stock market, market timing

Copyright 2006 Equitrend, Inc.

It’s important that you understand the impact that a bear market has on your capital. The give and take of your investment capital is not equal. If you placed $100 into an investment and it declined 50% to $50, what is the rate of return you would need to earn back your original investment of $100?

Once you lose money, it takes a much greater return on the funds you have left to recapture your original investment. In this case, you would need a 100% gain on the remaining $50 to recapture your original $100 investment.

Looking at historical bear markets in the United States, we can conclude that the time to recovery from a bear market can take between six months and twenty five years! Declines in portfolio value have ranged from 20% to 86.7%! Not a good scenario for buy and hold investors. This is why you would be better off financially to never lose money in any one year and to only achieve half of the market’s returns in the positive years. Let us explain how this is possible. If you never lost money in the down market years, you would only need to capture 38.33% of the gains in the positive market years to equal a buy-and-hold position in the Nasdaq 100 index. More realistically, if your losses in the down market years were half the Nasdaq’s losses, you would only need to capture 63.37% of the Nasdaq’s gains in the positive market years to equal a buy-and-hold position.

The point we are making is that you don’t need to equal or outperform the performance of the market in the positive market years if you protect your capital in the down market years. Protecting your capital in the down market years has an exponential effect on growing your capital over time.

The objective of any stock market timing strategy should be to reduce risk and maximize returns – with risk reduction being the most important factor. All other things being equal, you want to invest in the least volatile, highest reward, lowest risk strategy possible.

You may be reading this today because you are tired of giving all of your own assets, or your client’s assets, away to a bear market. You may even be in the position where your retirement has been diminished to the point of having to change your retirement plans.

Whatever the reason, there are better ways to grow and protect your assets than the buy and hold (buy and hope) myth promoted by Wall Street.

Investors and Financial Execs Agree: Dividends Are On the Rise

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In a recent study released by Boston-based investment manager, Eaton Vance, senior finance executives at dividend-paying American corporations agreed that stocks that pay dividends are growing in appearl.

Investors and Financial Execs Agree: Dividends Are On the Rise

In a recent study released by Boston-based investment manager, Eaton Vance, senior finance executives at dividend-paying American corporations agreed that stocks that pay dividends are growing in appeal. The nationwide survey of executives from all major corporate sectors also projected long-term dividend growth.

The survey, conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, Inc., revealed that 47 percent of finance executives anticipate dividend growth to continue to outpace earnings growth in 2006. These projections dovetail with research by Standard & Poor’s, which found that dividends rose faster than corporate earnings over the past year. Duncan Richardson, executive vice president and chief equity investment officer of Eaton Vance remarked, “With strong balance sheets and cash flows, American companies have the means and motivation to continue to increase dividends.”

How long is this trend likely to continue? Of executives who believe dividends will continue to outpace earnings, a majority (60 percent) expect the trend to last for one to two years. An additional 25 percent anticipate the trend will last up to five years. However, the duration of this trend may depend on whether Congress extends the current reduced tax rate on dividends. According to Mr. Richardson, “Businesses may not continue increasing their dividends if the tax cut extensions fail to go through and dividends once again are taxed at a higher rate.”

Regardless of the possible extension to current tax act provisions, “the important takeaway is companies are increasingly returning more to investors in the form of dividends,” said Mr. Richardson. As many dividend-paying companies use excess cash to increase dividends, six out of seven finance executives polled said they consider a company’s track record of increasing annual dividends as a way of displaying shareholder friendly behavior. Furthermore, four out of five believe a firm’s dividend growth rate can give investors confidence in the company’s projected long-term growth potential.

Investors who were polled last year in Eaton Vance’s sixth annual investor survey agreed with these sentiments. A majority of investors polled held a very positive view of companies that pay dividends (78 percent), seeing them as predictable cash generators and viewing dividends as a sign of financial strength.

“There has been a significant shift in investor preference from an emphasis on growth investing towards a more value-oriented conservative investment style,” said Mr. Richardson. “In the 1990s, investors preferred companies that offered buybacks-which increase reported earnings per share-over dividends.” As the results of the Eaton Vance study reveal, a majority of polled individual investors (57 percent) now say they prefer regular quarterly dividends over stock buybacks (23 percent) or special dividends (8 percent).

According to Mr. Richardson, “Dividends have returned to popularity, and value investing has emerged from the doghouse.”

Eaton Vance Corp. is a Boston-based investment management firm whose stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol EV. Eaton Vance and its affiliates managed over $113.3 billion in assets as of January 31, 2006, for more than 100 investment companies, as well as individual and institutional accounts, including those of corporations, hospitals, retirement plans, universities, foundations and trusts.

Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, Inc. is a Washington, D.C.-based full-service strategic polling and market research firm.

Before investing in any Eaton Vance Fund, prospective investors should consider carefully the Fund’s investment objectives, risks, and charges and expenses. The Fund’s current prospectus contains this and other information about the Fund and is available through your financial advisor. Read the prospectus carefully before you invest or send money.

Stock Breakouts And Resistance

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Breakouts through resistance are the most desirable of all trade opportunities. (This discussion will be the buy opportunity discussion of breakouts. (An equal sell opportunity exists on breakdowns through support). A breakout is a penetration of resistance based on a pricing established over time with price reversals taken place at approximately the same price point in previous time periods.

Sounds easy. Well it sure sounded easy when that guy in the $1000 seminar told me…

trading,stock,investing,options,stocks,trade,daytrade,invest,daytrader,option,daytrading,profits

Breakouts through resistance are the most desirable of all trade opportunities. (This discussion will be the buy opportunity discussion of breakouts. (An equal sell opportunity exists on breakdowns through support). A breakout is a penetration of resistance based on a pricing established over time with price reversals taken place at approximately the same price point in previous time periods.

Sounds easy. Well it sure sounded easy when that guy in the $1000 seminar told me about it. I also read how easy it was in the $90 book on trading that said would make me a wealthy independent trader.

Breakouts are wonderful if they continue. If they fail you can expect the pricing not to trend but to return to a range bound probably touching the lower pricing before it rises again. That price movement is probably beyond your stop loss and you will not be pleased.

This occurs more often than you want to believe. Since so many other people see the breakout they are as nervous about it as you are and you have a larger number of quick exits with the slightest wiggle. This is referred to as “buyers remorse?or a “bull trap? What this really represents is a serious hit against your P&L.

Remember, breakouts are a product of an established range bound market. The continuation of the sideways market is the rule with a move away from support or resistance back into the trading range. That means a failed breakout is the rule. The breakout is the exception. Some traders believe the reverse is true. That can cost you a bundle of cash in trading losses.

In addition, MACD Plays: When you are considering any stock you need to know if that stock is exhibiting a tendency to trend. If you wish to be more successful in your trades, then you should be able to identify those stocks with this tendency. Logic dictates that you will make more profits in trending stocks rather than in those issues that fluctuate up and down.

Lucent Needs Some Loving

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Article discusses the problem with Lucent Technologies. This former Wall Street darling has been discarded by the herd and is now looking for some love on the Street

tocks,investing,trading,options,technical analysis,george leong,money,finance,small cap stocks

Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE/LU) is a stock that needs some major loving. This former Wall Street darling has been discarded by the herd and is now looking for some love on the Street. Trading at nearly $80 in late 1999, the stock like many others in the communications sector has been under severe pressure in recent years, facing lackluster revenue growth and anemic profits.

Lucent has also gone through its share of lawsuits. Despite some recovery in the communications sector, the area remains a difficult place to operate. The competition is fierce, pricing pressures are growing, and margins are low.

That is the reality for the communications sector, an area that remains in limbo given the current climate. So what is Lucent suppose to do? Shareholders have lost patience in the ability of chairman and CEO Patricia F. Russo in turning around the company and making it a star again.

Down 96% from its late 1999 high, the reality is investors who bought at that level or even lower will probably never recover their losses. Lucent will never be more than a capital loss for those that purchased at the higher and inflated prices.

The company is making money and its forward price-earnings multiple is reasonable, but given the slow expected growth the stock’s upside may be limited.

Given the mixed outlook for the communications sector, Lucent is trying to get a major hug from rival and also troubled France-based Alcatel SA (NYSE/ALA).

Lucent after being rejected already by Alcatel in 2001 is hoping this second attempt is met with hugs and kisses, something they love to do in France.

Alcatel is reviewing the potential merger with Lucent, but it is in the driver’s seat as its position is much better than that of Lucent. In other words, Lucent needs Alcatel more.

But for Alcatel, a merger with Lucent could give the company more exposure and an established network in the United States.

The deal if consummated could be the first of many more to come as struggling telecom companies look for ways to cut cost and compete more effectively.

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Cash Is King

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Cash Is King is the basic principle of using cash instead of debit/credit cards whenever possible

Budgets,cash,personal budgets,personal finances

If you understand and follow the basic principle of “Cash is King?you can change your life forever. Your life will be less stressful financially and you will be taking your first major step toward “financial peace of mind?

“Cash is King?is an easy principle to understand; however it may be difficult to follow. This principle is the key to less stress within your financial life. Many things tell us how to manage our finances and it seems that none of them address the “root cause?of our financial problems.

The biggest problem is that we live in a world of plastic and for all practical purposes we do not respect or understand the value of cash.

If you follow this simple but different principle of “Cash is King?you will start on the road to “financial peace of mind? Here are two basic suggestions on how to follow the principle of “Cash is King?

When you are paid make sure you allocate enough money to pay your rent/mortgage, utilities and any other fixed expenses you may have. Any amount of cash that is left should be withdrawn from your checking account to be used for food, clothing, gifts, entertainment, gas, etc. The best way for you to control this cash would be for you to divide and allocate certain amounts of cash for each variable expense and store this cash in labeled envelopes, like the envelopes found in the BUDGETkeeper SYSTEM.
Now remember that this cash is the only way you can spend. Once you have used all your cash there will be no spending until your next paycheck. This is tough! No credit/debit cards? You must be kidding! How will I ever get through to my next payday without using my credit/debit cards? They say smoking is hard to give up, I think sticking to the principle of “Cash is King?may even be harder!

Stick with “Cash is King?and manage your money. You will start by finding the cheapest places to buy gas, run your errands more logically and take your morning coffee from home instead of buying that latte every day. You will have to find many new ways to manage your cash and the first few weeks will be the toughest. You may even run out of cash before your next payday, however, you will stick to the principle “Cash is King?and eventually find “financial peace of mind?

After several weeks it will get easier to manage your cash and you will be surprised to find extra cash available before your next paycheck. What will you do with that extra cash? Many say put the extra cash into a savings account or pay a little extra towards one of your debts. I say put it in a coffee can and let it accumulate then take yourself out and have one great party!

If you can follow this principle, you will be on your way to establishing a personal/family budget. Let the BUDGETkeeper SYSTEM show you the way to “financial peace of mind?

Successful Investors Have Learned to Talk Their Walk!

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If you learn to develop you financial vocabulary a world of investing success will open up to you!

Stock Market, Stock Investing, Stock Investor

Today, English is the most widely spoken and written language on the planet. English was first spoken in Britain by Germanic tribes in the Fifth Century AD. At that time it was known as the Old English (Anglo-Saxon) period. During the Middle English period (1150-1500 AD), many Old English word endings were replaced by prepositions like by, with, and from. We are currently in the Modern English period which started in the Sixteenth Century.

The number of words in English has grown from 50,000 to 60,000 words in Old English to about a million today; the largest of all languages by far. An average educated person knows about 20,000 words and uses only about 2,000 words in a week. Despite its widespread use, there are only about 350 million people who use it as their mother tongue.

It is the official language of the Olympics. More than half of the world’s technical and scientific periodicals as well three quarters of the world’s mail, and its telexes and cables are in English. About 80% of the information stored in the world’s computers (like this text) are also in English. English is transmitted to more than 100 million people everyday by 5 of the largest broadcasting companies (CBS, NBC, ABC, BBC, CBC). It seems like English will remain the most widely used language for some time.

The field of finance was pioneered by the United States of America as an extension of mercantilism. This was at a time when study of anything but economics was considered unworthy as compared to hard sciences like math, chemistry and physic and kissing up in the king’s court was highly regarded. The first business schools were established in the United States for this reason and still maintain their dominance. Finance has many words such as “put?and “call?for which there are no translations in other languages.

It is critical that you develop your financial vocabulary. My understanding of the financial vocabulary is vast compared to the average person because of my Ph.D. that I hold in the field as well as my investing experience as a futures and options trader and long term stock investor.

Many years of study at the doctoral level combined with direct practice in investments has allowed me to develop a vast financial vocabulary. This allows me to capture the essence of investment readings and conversations that the average person does not understand. Many investors fail not for lack of intelligence (I am of average intelligence) but lack of comprehension of what makes the stock market tick. This is due, in great part, to a lack of vocabulary that the common man on the street has not developed. Take the time to develop your financial vocabulary and you will excel over time as an investor!