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How To Start A Successful Investment Portfolio

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For someone outside the world of finance and investment, it is likely that the players on the money markets will come across like liquid cash giants. 

Understanding and getting started in market investing, and building up a viable portfolio is reasonably accessible for the average person.

Whenever considering investing a portion of savings or excess cash into the stock market, it is important to establish some ground rules first. 

The most important of these is that it costs more to borrow money than to save it. 

So clear the decks on all outstanding debts

It cannot genuinely be called a profit if there are still any lingering debts that will be expecting an inflated payback.

  • Having emphasized the need for any first and small time investor to be in the black, it is necessary to calculate how much of one’s salary should be freed up for market speculation. There are two types of thought on this from the experts in the field.
  • Take the first step, even if it is a small one, to investing in the markets as soon as one can. The reason being that the faster one dips one’s feet in the waters of the financial world, the sooner one will become accustomed.
  • Never invest in the markets, no matter how tempting the environment might be, until one is in the position to safely lose the amount invested without undue strain and stress if such an occasion arrived.

Finding the right investment strategy for your portfolio formation is a personal choice.

There are several ways for the average investor to take the first steps into the market.

The route which they take will usually be defined by the amount of money they have available for investment purposes.

Some basic understanding of the market is vital to the beginner. 

Once a degree of expertise is reached and the amount to invest chosen, there are different investment portfolio options to review. 

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Here is an overview of some of the basics:

  • ETFs – As seen in the graph below, an Exchange-Traded Fund tracks a commodity bond, grouped asset, or index, as a marketable security. These are a slightly higher risk but desirable when you want to reduce high fees or frequent taxable events.
  • Another small fee choice is a DRIP or Dividend Reinvestment Plan. This is when one can invest in shares of a company’s stocks, and the dividends are reinvested to reduce fees.
  • Index funds are a form of a mutual fund but broaden the performance and exposure without culminating in more fees. Unlike a DRIP service, the profits made are freed up as cash.
  • If the goal is something more flexible, one can tie up profit in a Certificate of Deposit to ultimately expose one’s portfolio. This is smaller in growth but less risky in the long term.
  • Treasury bills can also suit this investment method.
  • Non-professional investors can form a crowd funding concern or club. The borrowed amount is loaned from non-accredited investors and the profits in interest are shared.  5% to 8% is the average annual return but can increase if borrowers are more high-risk and pay more interest.

Although most private investor amounts are not enough to buy an investment property, if the amount is around the $5000 mark, it can be added to a real estate holding’s company in two ways:

  • The REIT or Real Estate Investment Trust. This allows the small investor to benefit from the performance of the property in the form of annual dividend payouts.  There are higher fees paid when the REIT is non-traded.
  • Another investment option is crowdfunding in the real estate sector. After much deliberation from the SEC on the JOBS Act regarding Title III, this platform is now able to use both non-accredited investors and accredited investors.  An entry level amount is set at US$5000.

Taking these first steps is the easiest way to understand the investment market to ensure a successful portfolio when you decide to enter the market.

Too much caution is not always necessary. 

Taking into consideration fees and returns are important when gauging the profitability of the outlay.

The market is for anyone who wants to optimize excess cash after learning basic investment practices. 

 

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Business

Stocks Close In the Red After Massive 900-Point Rally Falls Apart

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Stocks Close In the Red After Massive 900-Point Rally Falls Apart

In what could be an ominous sign of things to come, the stock market couldn’t hold on to a massive rally yesterday. Stocks closed the day in the red.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed as much as 937 points intraday. This was before it gave back all the gains and closed the day down 26 points.

It could turn out to be a turning point that many experienced investors have been predicting.

Their belief is that the rapid 20% rebound in stock prices couldn’t last. They also believe that we may eventually re-test the March 23 lows.

900-Point Rally Fails

Jim Cramer, host of ‘Mad Money’ on CNBC seems to be slowly coming around to the idea.

“Just think about the last 500 Dow points [Monday]. I don’t know. They were done in, what, about 30 minutes. That’s not sustainable. There are people who are just anxious about taking something off the table because they’ve just seen a remarkable two-day bull market, and now they’re ready to find out about … the various stages that we need to get out.”

David Kostin, the chief U.S. equity strategist at Goldman Sachs, believes that stocks are poised to fall again. He mentioned that it’s likely, if you compare it to how the market behaved during the 2008 financial crisis.

“The way I think about this is [there’s an asymmetry] in terms of downside risk towards a level in the S&P 500 of around 2,000, which is about 25%, and an upside of around 10% to a target at the end of the year of around 3,000. [That’s not symmetrical] in terms of timing. I think the risk is a lot further towards the downside,” Kostin said. He then added: “I would just remind you that in [Q4 2008], there were many different rallies, they’re called bear market rallies, some of which were almost 20% a couple of times, but the market did not bottom until March of 2009.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we hit 2,000 on the S&P 500 ”said Alex Chalekian, the CEO of Lake Avenue Financial.

He added “We’re going to see opportunities and we’re going to take advantage of them,” he said. “But in the meantime, there’s no rush to jump back into the market right now.”

Economic Strategists React

Peter van der Welle, a multi-asset strategist at Robeco says “From a sentiment angle, recent exceptional bounces suggest that investor sentiment is still in the denial phase, rather than in the phase of capitulation that paves the way for a new bull market.”.

In addition, Albert Edwards, a global strategist at Société Générale, said that investors hoping that monetary and fiscal stimulus can save the market through this rally have made a mistake. “This optimism is the legacy of a long bull market. Investors can’t conceive that the Fed will ‘allow’ the stock market to collapse. Think again. That was the view in 2007 too,” he said.

Finally, Goldman Sachs conducted a poll with more than 1,800 of its institutional clients as respondents. It found out that 50% believe the lows have not yet been set. The survey also revealed that 75% believe equities remain in a bear market.

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Economy

Stocks Plunge Again, Jobless Claims Surge to New Record

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Stocks Plunge Again, Jobless Claims Surge to New Record

The stock market started the second quarter the same way the first quarter ended, with significant losses across the board.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all slid 4.4% yesterday as investors braced for more bad news about the spread of the coronavirus and historical jobless claims due to the outbreak.

President Donald Trump warned that a “very, very painful” two weeks lie ahead for the country as it faces a rapidly spreading COVID-19 outbreak that is approaching 200,000 cases here in the US.

With uncertainty over how long the country will be shut down in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus, it’s becoming virtually impossible to predict how the market will perform going forward.

“Everything hinges on how long we are in this shutdown,” said Anwiti Bahuguna, head of multi-asset strategy at Columbia Threadneedle Investments, in an interview. “We don’t know how long the shutdown may last, so it’s hard to predict what U.S. growth will look like.”

Adding to the misery on Wall Street, this morning’s initial jobless claims report showed that a record 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance last week.

That dwarfs the then-record 3.3 million new filings reported two weeks ago, and brings the total claims to nearly 10 million in the last two weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak.

For comparison, today’s numbers were almost 10 times higher than any previous report prior to the coronavirus outbreak.

Excluding the last two weekly reports, the highest week for claims was 695,000 in 1982. And as miserable as the job market was during the Great Recession, the highest number of jobless claims during that period was 665,000 in March 2009.

“We’ve lived through the recession and 9/11. What we’re seeing with this decline is actually worse than both of those events,” said Irina Novoselsky, CEO of online jobs marketplace CareerBuilder.

The lone bright spot in the markets is oil, as the price surged 10% after President Trump mentioned the possibility of a truce in the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures jumped $2.11/barrel to $22.42 on the seemingly good news.

“Worldwide, the oil industry has been ravaged,” Trump said during a media conference on Wednesday. “It’s very bad for Russia, it’s very bad for Saudi Arabia. I mean, it’s very bad for both. I think they’re going to make a deal.”

Trump added he expects both countries to end their price war within a “few days” meaning they will slow production and bring prices back up.

The president also invited the heads of US oil companies like Exxon Mobil and Chevron to meet with him at the White House to potentially discuss how Washington can help the companies get through the current crisis as they face bankruptcies and massive layoffs.

“I’m going to meet with the oil producers on Friday. I’m going to meet with independent oil producers also on Friday or Saturday. Maybe Sunday. We’re going to have a lot of meetings on it,” he added.

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Economy

Next Wave of Stimulus Could Be $2 Trillion Infrastructure Bill

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Next Wave of Stimulus Could Be $2 Trillion Infrastructure Bill

“Phase 4” of the government’s economic stimulus plan could include spending up to $2 trillion on improving America’s infrastructure.

The bill already has bipartisan support, and could be voted on as soon as April 20th when representatives of both the House and Senate return to Washington, D.C.

During his 2016 campaign, President Trump said he would make improving America’s roads, bridges and airports a top priority during his time in office.

“The only one to fix the infrastructure of our country is me – roads, airports, bridges,” Trump tweeted on May 12, 2015. “I know how to build, [politicians] only know how to talk!”

While previous attempts to pass a major infrastructure bill have failed, both sides seem willing to try again in an effort to help America’s economy rebound from the coronavirus outbreak.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is often at odds with the President, said she is “pleased the president has returned to his interest” in the issue. She called an infrastructure proposal “essential because of the historic nature of the health and economic emergency that we are confronting.”

She added “I think we come back April 20, God willing and coronavirus willing, but shortly thereafter we should be able to move forward.”

The Democrat’s proposal is part of a five-year, $760 billion package that includes money for community health centers, improvements to drinking water systems, expanded access to broadband and upgrades to roads, bridges, railroads and public transit agencies.

The plan designated $329 billion for modernizing highways and improving road safety, including fixing 47,000 “structurally deficient” bridges and reducing carbon pollution. It also aimed to set aside $105 billion for transit agencies, $55 billion for rail investments such as Amtrak, $30 billion for airport improvements and $86 billion for expanding broadband access.

“I could provide the legislative language in very, very short order for this package. It’s the funding that’s been holding us up, and if the president insists on funding, then I believe that Senator McConnell and Leader McCarthy will move on this issue,” said Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

During an appearance on CNBC yesterday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he is talking with Congress about a potential infrastructure bill.

“As you know, the president has been very interested in infrastructure. This goes back to the campaign: The president very much wants to rebuild the country. And with interest rates low, that’s something that’s very important to him.”

He added “We’ve been discussing this for the last year with the Democrats and the Republicans. And we’ll continue to have those conversations.”

Earlier this week President Donald Trump said he wants to spend $2 trillion on a massive infrastructure package.

He tweeted that “With interest rates for the United States being at ZERO,this is the time to do our decades long awaited Infrastructure Bill. It should be VERY BIG & BOLD, Two Trillion Dollars, and be focused solely on jobs and rebuilding the once great infrastructure of our Country! Phase 4.”

“The president very much wants to rebuild the country, and with interest rates low, that’s something that’s very important to him,” Treasury Secretary Mnuchin added.

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