Category: Stock Market

The U.S. stock market may resemble a roller coaster ride with its ups and downs and fast-paced changes, but because of the potential returns many investors are still drawn to the market and pin their financial hopes on publicly traded companies that just might let them hit the big payday later on. With the stock market also recovering from the slowdown of the last few years, first-timers are being urged to throw their hat in the ring and invest right away.

For the newcomers, and even for some of the more experienced, the question of whether to get stocks or mutual funds always comes up. You are bound to get either slightly different explanations or completely opposite viewpoints on which type to invest your hard-earned money in. Truth is, both individual stocks and mutual funds have their pros and cons, and both can also be ideal financial investments for anyone who understands their differences and maximizes them to his or her advantage. In fact, you can also build a portfolio with a mix of stocks and mutual funds for more diversity.

Individual stocks require hands-on management

When you opt for individual company stocks, you have the freedom to buy how much you want, at what prices, and how to diversify your portfolio. With the liberties of stock purchases come responsibilities as well, which means monitoring the movements and coming up with solutions for minimizing risks, balancing your portfolio, or watching current financial trends in order to make the right decisions regarding your investment.

If you invest in individual stocks, you do have to have a working knowledge of the financial terminologies and trends and understand fully the procedures. You will also need to look at the company’s records, particularly earnings reports, interest rates, commodity prices, etc. Individual stock purchases and investments are ideal for those who already have some experience with the ins and outs of the stock market, and those who have the time and resources necessary to properly manage the investment.

Mutual funds are managed for you

In mutual funds, different stocks are combined into one portfolio, in smaller units and with generally smaller returns or dividends compared to the more high-risk game of individual stocks. A professional fund manager usually handles the mutual fund for the investor, and the manager is in charge of the decision-making, including which stocks or equities to invest in. The investor does not need to worry about record-keeping, corresponding tax forms, or monitoring the fund constantly. The mutual fund and the assigned professional manager takes care of it for the investor.

Mutual funds are great options if you are just getting your feet wet in the water of the stock market, and are not familiar yet with the terminologies and the intricacies of investing in the stock market. The downside is that mutual funds also have smaller return percentages, although because of the smaller risk involved in a portfolio of small equities and diversified industries or markets, mutual funds are also more resilient to market upheavals.

 

It used to be easy to know the amount of money circulating in the US economy: look into the US money supply. Today, it’s not that straightforward anymore. It is also difficult to measure the effects of the Federal Reserve monetary policies as well as those of the other central banks as well. In the 1980s, it was easy to understand the explanations of Milton Friedman on how inflation and economic fluctuations are affected by money supply. But it’s different today.

The reason why it’s too difficult to learn about the effects of money supply is that banks altered their way of doing business. It became difficult to monitor the movements of money. In the 1960s, bank deposits like savings, time, and checking make up 95% of the credit market of credit unions, savings and loan associations, and commercial banks. In the 1990s, such deposits only make up 72% of the said credit market. In 2007, the percentage dwindled to 55%. When the financial crisis began in 2008, there was a significant rise in the percentage primarily because people no longer want to risk their hard-earned cash.

It is also interesting to note that there are non-banking institutions which have started lending and borrowing which were once the domains of banks. According to Deloitte, the estimated amount of this shadow-banking system is about $10 trillion while the Financial Stability Board estimated it to be about $24 trillion in 2010. The measurement is only available after 3 months of each quarter. With the latest move by the Federal Reserve to buy bonds plus the financial-stress index which includes bank stock market prices, options prices, and credit spreads, the US economy may be seeing a better tomorrow for the next months.

Along with the moves to control the monetary policy, the stock market has also reached a new high in about 5 years. However, investors are not really jumping into the bandwagon. The primary reason is that they are afraid that they won’t generate profit from the attempt. Some investors would want to wait until next year or when the presidential election is over. Some investors may also be waiting for some bills to be passed by Congress. However, according to Nicole Seghetti of The Motley Fool, there are only 2 reasons why people shouldn’t try investing in the stock market. One, they have no money. Two, they can’t leave the money for a long time in the stock market.

So, how do you know if you have the money for the stock market? Normally, you must have saved many months of living expenses in a savings account. You must also have saved for any short term financial goal or for emergencies. If you’ve saved for both living expenses and emergencies and you still have excess money then it’s time to invest the excess in the stock market. If you have any midterm or long-term financial goals, you must invest in the stock market because no other investment schemes will be able to outpace inflation in a period of time.

With the encouraging development in the monetary policy, investors shouldn’t be afraid investing in the stock market. Outside forces may be able to pull down the stock market temporarily but it will eventually right itself. What matters most is that investors have the money which they can leave in the stock market for a long time.

Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE) has considered its T-Mobile USA division to merge with Metro PCS (PCS) Communications Inc. This action will leave Sprint Nextel Corp (S) trailing behind them. Once this negotiation pushes through, Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE) will gain a dominant share of 74%. Though there was a takeover plan made by Sprint, the tie-up between T-Mobile USA and Metro PCS will make them reconsider these plans.

Though Sprint was able to get a stock gain of109%in the stock market and has topped the MSCI World Telecommunication Services Index. It is still trading with 58% discount to its sales. But the only way it can compete with those larger companies is to buy Leap Wireless (LEAP) International Inc. or merge with T-Mobile or buy some shares with T-Mobile USA.

The board of both companies has approved the transaction with Metro PCS gaining scale of$1.5 billion in cash while the combined entity will remain under the T-Mobile name. T-Mobile USA being the 4th among the largest U.S. carrier seeks to stem losses and gain in order to compete in a market presently dominated by Verizon Wireless and AT&T. These wireless giants each have over 105 million subscribers as taken from June 30 results which is 3 times that of T-Mobile USA’s 33 million. Joining with Metro PCS will add 9 million prepaid customers to T-Mobile USA making them closer to Sprint’s No. 3 slot which has 56 million subscribers

Shares of Metro PCS rushed higher with 18% after 14 months the highest after Bloomberg increasing market value to around $5M. Sprint’s was affected slumping at its steepest level in a year.

The deal Metro PCS is having will cause Sprint to play on the defensive side forcing them to seek one deal with Leap to guard its spot in the telecommunications industry.

There is a rise in the shares of Leap at 17% being the biggest improvement in 4 years, but it only finished at 8.4%. Leap has 5.9Mprepaid subscribers as recorded in the end of the second the quarter and is the logical choice for Sprint.

Purchase of Spectrum

There is another alternative for Sprint and that is in place of buying it could acquire radio waves like the spectrum from entities like Dish and Verizon Wireless in order to widen its network of coverage which is an open to all process giving any prospective buyers the chance to participate.

Though the merger of T-Mobile USA and Sprint is not a distant possibility and even though T-Mobile USA continues with the deal with Metro PCS. Sprint cannot take the chance of having T-Mobile off the table for negotiations, what it does is only increases the pricing if they were to acquisition is to be pursued.

Complications on the Deals

A deal as complicated as this can go more complex if Sprint attempts to purchase the combined entity. It will take a year for the team up of Sprint to T-Mobile even with T-Mobile getting interest in such deal because T-Mobile is now a bigger entity to take for Sprint. Another alternative is or Sprint to make a rival proposal with Metro PCS. Sprint can wave the deal and improve its operation instead through a roll out of its present network and focus on getting a return in profit which could make the company increase its chance in competing. The investors of Sprint may as well continue running the business as successfully as they are doing and it is believed that Sprint considers this as their top priority move.

Failed Deals

There are many telecommunications deals that failed to reach completion. Take for example Sprint’s deal with Metro PCS this year which was rejected by the board. Cost of such move would have been in the level of $8 billion to include debts. There was also the discussion with Deutsche Telekom on the purchase of T-Mobile USA before March of 2011 announcement of AT&T offering to acquire the company for $39 billion. At a certain point due to the U.S. regulatory scrutiny which has forced AT&T to abandon its December offer for T-Mobile USA. Such deals with Metro PCS or Leap are not sufficient in making either T-Mobile USA or Sprint a threat on its rival which are already larger.

T-Mobile and Sprint are not as big as AT&T and Verizon so it is harder to compete. For them to increase their size by as much as 25% but if the rival is twice your size even an acquisition of 25% cannot close the gap to make it at par, rather it only reduces the gap.

 

The release of iPhone 5 last month had already surpassed web traffic volume of Samsung Galaxy S III. This is primarily because in such a very short time Apple had sold millions of iPhone 5. Add to that the fact that iPhone 5 is equipped with 4G browsing speeds thus escalating data usage to greater heights. In a 7-day Chikita Insights analysis between October 3 and October 5, there were 56% Apple iPhone 5 impressions as compared to 44% Samsung Galaxy S III impressions. According to Chitika, the reason behind it is that iPhone users are more active internet users.

For the last 1 year, Apple posted a $40.13 billion net income and $148.81 billion revenue. It had posted a net profit margin of +26.97% and operating margin of +35.62%. There was also a 41.16% sales growth during the recent 5 years. Apple was +74.55% ahead of its 52-week low while trailing -10.44% behind its 52-week high price. However, its 1.2% share price volatility had remained stable.

With more than 5 million iPhone 5 units sold when Apple started selling in September, iPhone 5 is now regarded as the quickest selling cell phone of all time. But analysts projected the sales to be from 7 to 10 million units on its 1st weekend. This also caused the stock market price of Apple to dip by 10% which is translated to some $60 billion market capitalization. The culprit is iPhone 5’s anodized aluminum chassis which is reported to be easily scratched. However, the decline in number of units is reported to be due to Apple’s inability to keep up with the demand. Bloomberg said that the supply issue is caused by Foxconn’s quality control crackdown to minimize the scratches issue. Foxconn is Apple’s chassis maker and assembler in China.

When asked about the issue, Apple was reported to be saying that the scuffs and scratches are normal. Without publicly admitting iPhone 5’s flaw, it has however asked Foxconn to guarantee that all the units are shipped in perfect condition. Nevertheless, ensuring top-of-the-line quality control is just a temporary solution because the units may be shipped in perfect condition but may still be easily scratched because of daily use.

Foxconn is now instituting tighter quality control. Because of this, there’s a shortage in aluminum chassis for all production lines of Foxconn to produce output. According to Bloomberg, Foxconn had even stopped its operation in some factories but the company was quick to deny it. Eventually, Apple and Foxconn will be able to resolve the anodized aluminum chassis issue but analysts still predict that Apple won’t be able to deliver a lot of units from September up to December.

iPhone 5 is believed to pressure Apple’s competitors. Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu is quoted into saying that demands for Apple phone can easily go up to 45 million before the year is over. Mark Moskowitz, a JP Morgan analyst, assumed that iPhone 5 will be able to drive an upgrade cycle for the next 18 months.

The Stock Market Rallies and we go over 12k

First off, I apologize for disappearing for a few weeks. I have been extremely busy and haven’t had much time to follow the stock market, let alone write an article about it. But now that I am back and I am happy to announce that yesterday, the Dow Jones finally went over the 12,000 mark like I had originally predicted several months ago. The picture above is what was shown yesterday. The Dow Jones is thankfully doing a lot better today. Although it didn’t rally today, it added onto the huge 3% rally from yesterday.

The Dow Jones currently sits at 12,231. It’s up almost 600 points since I last reported on October 14th. This is great news because it is a sign that the economy is doing better. We haven’t seen the 12,000 figure for months. The last time it was doing well, we were heading towards the 13,000 mark and currently that’s our goal. Our current objective is to stay over the 12,000 mark as we head to 13k.

The NASDAQ is also doing better than when I last reported. Although it dropped just under 1.5 points, it is still doing great. Currently the NASDAQ is at 2,737.  The S&P is also up, currently at 1,285, heading towards the 1,300 mark itself. And finally, the NYSE is at 7,803, almost a 500 point increase from October 14th.

The past two weeks have been great for the stock market. I do regret missing out on most of it but what can you do, life happens.

Before my small break, I was keeping an eye on Netflix. Two days ago, Netflix (NFLX) stocks dropped over 35% after they reported losing over 800,000 subscribers due to their company changes. That’s a huge drop. It hit a new low that day of $74.25 per share. Over the past two days, it has been recovering, but very slowly. Currently Netflix stocks cost $84.14 a share. It’s very surprising to see what was once a $300 stock to lose this much in this little time. Netflix has no one else to blame but itself for this.

So what’s happened to gold over the past 2 weeks?

It seems that Gold has been prospering too. I thought the price of gold would keep going down as the economy improved and the stock market went up, but it seems that gold has been riding along. Gold now costs $1,743 an ounce, compared to $1,680. It’s not a huge increase but an increase nonetheless.

Quite a bit has happened in my absence, I have tried to follow as much as I could but my schedule made it difficult. I am sorry for not bringing you more updates sooner. I will try to bring you as many updates as possible in the near future. Today is the end of the week and next week, the market will open into Halloween. Lets hope the issues in Europe continue to get better and the stock market’s momentum from this week moves over to the next. We could definitely use a big break as we head towards the Holidays.

So how was your two weeks? Are you happy with how the stock market has turned out in its rallies? Where do you think we will go from here?