What are the differences between stock, options, futures ...

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Swaps* (*But Were Afraid To Ask)

Hello, dummies
It's your old pal, Fuzzy.
As I'm sure you've all noticed, a lot of the stuff that gets posted here is - to put it delicately - fucking ridiculous. More backwards-ass shit gets posted to wallstreetbets than you'd see on a Westboro Baptist community message board. I mean, I had a look at the daily thread yesterday and..... yeesh. I know, I know. We all make like the divine Laura Dern circa 1992 on the daily and stick our hands deep into this steaming heap of shit to find the nuggets of valuable and/or hilarious information within (thanks for reading, BTW). I agree. I love it just the way it is too. That's what makes WSB great.
What I'm getting at is that a lot of the stuff that gets posted here - notwithstanding it being funny or interesting - is just... wrong. Like, fucking your cousin wrong. And to be clear, I mean the fucking your *first* cousin kinda wrong, before my Southerners in the back get all het up (simmer down, Billy Ray - I know Mabel's twice removed on your grand-sister's side). Truly, I try to let it slide. I do my bit to try and put you on the right path. Most of the time, I sleep easy no matter how badly I've seen someone explain what a bank liquidity crisis is. But out of all of those tens of thousands of misguided, autistic attempts at understanding the world of high finance, one thing gets so consistently - so *emphatically* - fucked up and misunderstood by you retards that last night I felt obligated at the end of a long work day to pull together this edition of Finance with Fuzzy just for you. It's so serious I'm not even going to make a u/pokimane gag. Have you guessed what it is yet? Here's a clue. It's in the title of the post.
That's right, friends. Today in the neighborhood we're going to talk all about hedging in financial markets - spots, swaps, collars, forwards, CDS, synthetic CDOs, all that fun shit. Don't worry; I'm going to explain what all the scary words mean and how they impact your OTM RH positions along the way.
We're going to break it down like this. (1) "What's a hedge, Fuzzy?" (2) Common Hedging Strategies and (3) All About ISDAs and Credit Default Swaps.
Before we begin. For the nerds and JV traders in the back (and anyone else who needs to hear this up front) - I am simplifying these descriptions for the purposes of this post. I am also obviously not going to try and cover every exotic form of hedge under the sun or give a detailed summation of what caused the financial crisis. If you are interested in something specific ask a question, but don't try and impress me with your Investopedia skills or technical points I didn't cover; I will just be forced to flex my years of IRL experience on you in the comments and you'll look like a big dummy.
TL;DR? Fuck you. There is no TL;DR. You've come this far already. What's a few more paragraphs? Put down the Cheetos and try to concentrate for the next 5-7 minutes. You'll learn something, and I promise I'll be gentle.
Ready? Let's get started.
1. The Tao of Risk: Hedging as a Way of Life
The simplest way to characterize what a hedge 'is' is to imagine every action having a binary outcome. One is bad, one is good. Red lines, green lines; uppie, downie. With me so far? Good. A 'hedge' is simply the employment of a strategy to mitigate the effect of your action having the wrong binary outcome. You wanted X, but you got Z! Frowny face. A hedge strategy introduces a third outcome. If you hedged against the possibility of Z happening, then you can wind up with Y instead. Not as good as X, but not as bad as Z. The technical definition I like to give my idiot juniors is as follows:
Utilization of a defensive strategy to mitigate risk, at a fraction of the cost to capital of the risk itself.
Congratulations. You just finished Hedging 101. "But Fuzzy, that's easy! I just sold a naked call against my 95% OTM put! I'm adequately hedged!". Spoiler alert: you're not (although good work on executing a collar, which I describe below). What I'm talking about here is what would be referred to as a 'perfect hedge'; a binary outcome where downside is totally mitigated by a risk management strategy. That's not how it works IRL. Pay attention; this is the tricky part.
You can't take a single position and conclude that you're adequately hedged because risks are fluid, not static. So you need to constantly adjust your position in order to maximize the value of the hedge and insure your position. You also need to consider exposure to more than one category of risk. There are micro (specific exposure) risks, and macro (trend exposure) risks, and both need to factor into the hedge calculus.
That's why, in the real world, the value of hedging depends entirely on the design of the hedging strategy itself. Here, when we say "value" of the hedge, we're not talking about cash money - we're talking about the intrinsic value of the hedge relative to the the risk profile of your underlying exposure. To achieve this, people hedge dynamically. In wallstreetbets terms, this means that as the value of your position changes, you need to change your hedges too. The idea is to efficiently and continuously distribute and rebalance risk across different states and periods, taking value from states in which the marginal cost of the hedge is low and putting it back into states where marginal cost of the hedge is high, until the shadow value of your underlying exposure is equalized across your positions. The punchline, I guess, is that one static position is a hedge in the same way that the finger paintings you make for your wife's boyfriend are art - it's technically correct, but you're only playing yourself by believing it.
Anyway. Obviously doing this as a small potatoes trader is hard but it's worth taking into account. Enough basic shit. So how does this work in markets?
2. A Hedging Taxonomy
The best place to start here is a practical question. What does a business need to hedge against? Think about the specific risk that an individual business faces. These are legion, so I'm just going to list a few of the key ones that apply to most corporates. (1) You have commodity risk for the shit you buy or the shit you use. (2) You have currency risk for the money you borrow. (3) You have rate risk on the debt you carry. (4) You have offtake risk for the shit you sell. Complicated, right? To help address the many and varied ways that shit can go wrong in a sophisticated market, smart operators like yours truly have devised a whole bundle of different instruments which can help you manage the risk. I might write about some of the more complicated ones in a later post if people are interested (CDO/CLOs, strip/stack hedges and bond swaps with option toggles come to mind) but let's stick to the basics for now.
(i) Swaps
A swap is one of the most common forms of hedge instrument, and they're used by pretty much everyone that can afford them. The language is complicated but the concept isn't, so pay attention and you'll be fine. This is the most important part of this section so it'll be the longest one.
Swaps are derivative contracts with two counterparties (before you ask, you can't trade 'em on an exchange - they're OTC instruments only). They're used to exchange one cash flow for another cash flow of equal expected value; doing this allows you to take speculative positions on certain financial prices or to alter the cash flows of existing assets or liabilities within a business. "Wait, Fuzz; slow down! What do you mean sets of cash flows?". Fear not, little autist. Ol' Fuzz has you covered.
The cash flows I'm talking about are referred to in swap-land as 'legs'. One leg is fixed - a set payment that's the same every time it gets paid - and the other is variable - it fluctuates (typically indexed off the price of the underlying risk that you are speculating on / protecting against). You set it up at the start so that they're notionally equal and the two legs net off; so at open, the swap is a zero NPV instrument. Here's where the fun starts. If the price that you based the variable leg of the swap on changes, the value of the swap will shift; the party on the wrong side of the move ponies up via the variable payment. It's a zero sum game.
I'll give you an example using the most vanilla swap around; an interest rate trade. Here's how it works. You borrow money from a bank, and they charge you a rate of interest. You lock the rate up front, because you're smart like that. But then - quelle surprise! - the rate gets better after you borrow. Now you're bagholding to the tune of, I don't know, 5 bps. Doesn't sound like much but on a billion dollar loan that's a lot of money (a classic example of the kind of 'small, deep hole' that's terrible for profits). Now, if you had a swap contract on the rate before you entered the trade, you're set; if the rate goes down, you get a payment under the swap. If it goes up, whatever payment you're making to the bank is netted off by the fact that you're borrowing at a sub-market rate. Win-win! Or, at least, Lose Less / Lose Less. That's the name of the game in hedging.
There are many different kinds of swaps, some of which are pretty exotic; but they're all different variations on the same theme. If your business has exposure to something which fluctuates in price, you trade swaps to hedge against the fluctuation. The valuation of swaps is also super interesting but I guarantee you that 99% of you won't understand it so I'm not going to try and explain it here although I encourage you to google it if you're interested.
Because they're OTC, none of them are filed publicly. Someeeeeetimes you see an ISDA (dsicussed below) but the confirms themselves (the individual swaps) are not filed. You can usually read about the hedging strategy in a 10-K, though. For what it's worth, most modern credit agreements ban speculative hedging. Top tip: This is occasionally something worth checking in credit agreements when you invest in businesses that are debt issuers - being able to do this increases the risk profile significantly and is particularly important in times of economic volatility (ctrl+f "non-speculative" in the credit agreement to be sure).
(ii) Forwards
A forward is a contract made today for the future delivery of an asset at a pre-agreed price. That's it. "But Fuzzy! That sounds just like a futures contract!". I know. Confusing, right? Just like a futures trade, forwards are generally used in commodity or forex land to protect against price fluctuations. The differences between forwards and futures are small but significant. I'm not going to go into super boring detail because I don't think many of you are commodities traders but it is still an important thing to understand even if you're just an RH jockey, so stick with me.
Just like swaps, forwards are OTC contracts - they're not publicly traded. This is distinct from futures, which are traded on exchanges (see The Ballad Of Big Dick Vick for some more color on this). In a forward, no money changes hands until the maturity date of the contract when delivery and receipt are carried out; price and quantity are locked in from day 1. As you now know having read about BDV, futures are marked to market daily, and normally people close them out with synthetic settlement using an inverse position. They're also liquid, and that makes them easier to unwind or close out in case shit goes sideways.
People use forwards when they absolutely have to get rid of the thing they made (or take delivery of the thing they need). If you're a miner, or a farmer, you use this shit to make sure that at the end of the production cycle, you can get rid of the shit you made (and you won't get fucked by someone taking cash settlement over delivery). If you're a buyer, you use them to guarantee that you'll get whatever the shit is that you'll need at a price agreed in advance. Because they're OTC, you can also exactly tailor them to the requirements of your particular circumstances.
These contracts are incredibly byzantine (and there are even crazier synthetic forwards you can see in money markets for the true degenerate fund managers). In my experience, only Texan oilfield magnates, commodities traders, and the weirdo forex crowd fuck with them. I (i) do not own a 10 gallon hat or a novelty size belt buckle (ii) do not wake up in the middle of the night freaking out about the price of pork fat and (iii) love greenbacks too much to care about other countries' monopoly money, so I don't fuck with them.
(iii) Collars
No, not the kind your wife is encouraging you to wear try out to 'spice things up' in the bedroom during quarantine. Collars are actually the hedging strategy most applicable to WSB. Collars deal with options! Hooray!
To execute a basic collar (also called a wrapper by tea-drinking Brits and people from the Antipodes), you buy an out of the money put while simultaneously writing a covered call on the same equity. The put protects your position against price drops and writing the call produces income that offsets the put premium. Doing this limits your tendies (you can only profit up to the strike price of the call) but also writes down your risk. If you screen large volume trades with a VOL/OI of more than 3 or 4x (and they're not bullshit biotech stocks), you can sometimes see these being constructed in real time as hedge funds protect themselves on their shorts.
(3) All About ISDAs, CDS and Synthetic CDOs
You may have heard about the mythical ISDA. Much like an indenture (discussed in my post on $F), it's a magic legal machine that lets you build swaps via trade confirms with a willing counterparty. They are very complicated legal documents and you need to be a true expert to fuck with them. Fortunately, I am, so I do. They're made of two parts; a Master (which is a form agreement that's always the same) and a Schedule (which amends the Master to include your specific terms). They are also the engine behind just about every major credit crunch of the last 10+ years.
First - a brief explainer. An ISDA is a not in and of itself a hedge - it's an umbrella contract that governs the terms of your swaps, which you use to construct your hedge position. You can trade commodities, forex, rates, whatever, all under the same ISDA.
Let me explain. Remember when we talked about swaps? Right. So. You can trade swaps on just about anything. In the late 90s and early 2000s, people had the smart idea of using other people's debt and or credit ratings as the variable leg of swap documentation. These are called credit default swaps. I was actually starting out at a bank during this time and, I gotta tell you, the only thing I can compare people's enthusiasm for this shit to was that moment in your early teens when you discover jerking off. Except, unlike your bathroom bound shame sessions to Mom's Sears catalogue, every single person you know felt that way too; and they're all doing it at once. It was a fiscal circlejerk of epic proportions, and the financial crisis was the inevitable bukkake finish. WSB autism is absolutely no comparison for the enthusiasm people had during this time for lighting each other's money on fire.
Here's how it works. You pick a company. Any company. Maybe even your own! And then you write a swap. In the swap, you define "Credit Event" with respect to that company's debt as the variable leg . And you write in... whatever you want. A ratings downgrade, default under the docs, failure to meet a leverage ratio or FCCR for a certain testing period... whatever. Now, this started out as a hedge position, just like we discussed above. The purest of intentions, of course. But then people realized - if bad shit happens, you make money. And banks... don't like calling in loans or forcing bankruptcies. Can you smell what the moral hazard is cooking?
Enter synthetic CDOs. CDOs are basically pools of asset backed securities that invest in debt (loans or bonds). They've been around for a minute but they got famous in the 2000s because a shitload of them containing subprime mortgage debt went belly up in 2008. This got a lot of publicity because a lot of sad looking rednecks got foreclosed on and were interviewed on CNBC. "OH!", the people cried. "Look at those big bad bankers buying up subprime loans! They caused this!". Wrong answer, America. The debt wasn't the problem. What a lot of people don't realize is that the real meat of the problem was not in regular way CDOs investing in bundles of shit mortgage debts in synthetic CDOs investing in CDS predicated on that debt. They're synthetic because they don't have a stake in the actual underlying debt; just the instruments riding on the coattails. The reason these are so popular (and remain so) is that smart structured attorneys and bankers like your faithful correspondent realized that an even more profitable and efficient way of building high yield products with limited downside was investing in instruments that profit from failure of debt and in instruments that rely on that debt and then hedging that exposure with other CDS instruments in paired trades, and on and on up the chain. The problem with doing this was that everyone wound up exposed to everybody else's books as a result, and when one went tits up, everybody did. Hence, recession, Basel III, etc. Thanks, Obama.
Heavy investment in CDS can also have a warping effect on the price of debt (something else that happened during the pre-financial crisis years and is starting to happen again now). This happens in three different ways. (1) Investors who previously were long on the debt hedge their position by selling CDS protection on the underlying, putting downward pressure on the debt price. (2) Investors who previously shorted the debt switch to buying CDS protection because the relatively illiquid debt (partic. when its a bond) trades at a discount below par compared to the CDS. The resulting reduction in short selling puts upward pressure on the bond price. (3) The delta in price and actual value of the debt tempts some investors to become NBTs (neg basis traders) who long the debt and purchase CDS protection. If traders can't take leverage, nothing happens to the price of the debt. If basis traders can take leverage (which is nearly always the case because they're holding a hedged position), they can push up or depress the debt price, goosing swap premiums etc. Anyway. Enough technical details.
I could keep going. This is a fascinating topic that is very poorly understood and explained, mainly because the people that caused it all still work on the street and use the same tactics today (it's also terribly taught at business schools because none of the teachers were actually around to see how this played out live). But it relates to the topic of today's lesson, so I thought I'd include it here.
Work depending, I'll be back next week with a covenant breakdown. Most upvoted ticker gets the post.
*EDIT 1\* In a total blowout, $PLAY won. So it's D&B time next week. Post will drop Monday at market open.
submitted by fuzzyblankeet to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

WikiFX: the murky business and the murkier methods

WikiFX: the murky business and the murkier methods
https://preview.redd.it/1rf74ljv34l51.png?width=960&format=png&auto=webp&s=566235871ce22dd3078f0532dfb672bff6eb0707
The irony of financial markets is that this business that officially has got as much regulation as arms trafficking, has also got the same problem –- numerous illegal entities that evolve around the niche.
Scam brokers, funds recovery services that rob the robbed traders, HYIPs, “learn how to make millions overnight” trading courses and a number of other schemes all tend to exploit the weak point of human nature – the belief that there is the magic device with the “MORE MONEY” button out there, that someone can sell you.

A thief shouting “Thief!”

Considering the above there is a high demand in society for truthful and unbiased information about the market players. WikiFX claims to be the provider of such honest information about brokers but in fact, makes money by blackmailing brokers and promoting any company that offers to pay enough in their rankings.
WikiFX is a classic illustration of a thief shouting “Get the thief!” louder than anybody else in the crowd. The strategy works unfortunately and traders tend to trust WikiFx broker’s ratings without questioning what these ratings are based on and who sponsors this global brokers’ database.

Paving the road with some good intentions

Even the most horrible crimes against humanity were done under the cover of best intentions. Starting with the first crusades and ending with the holocaust. There are always some sound arguments, protected people and reliable methods.
Ask any trader whether each forex broker must be regulated by a third party? The answer will be “yes” with a near 100% probability and this answer is totally correct. Know-your-customer procedures and some unbiased third-party control are essential for maintaining the overall transparency of any business in a sphere of finance. This is the argument that WikiFX starts with when promoting its service and there is absolutely no point to argue. Starting with an indisputable truth is a good strategy to win the debate.
“The long-term presence on the market adds credibility”, – says WikiFX, and hears “yes” again.
“Don’t you agree that the longer the company is in the business, the better?”. “Sure”, – the trader agrees one more time.
The mission is completed. This is when the broker ranker can add any other criteria to their appraisal methods. Traders will tend to trust the service because they’ve agreed upon the most important criteria. The rest are minor details.
But what if the rest of the appraisal methods are not just minor issues? What if these details can be the means to manipulate the facts as much as they want to?

Can WikiFX appraisal criteria be trusted?

If we take a look at any broker’s WikiFX rating, we can see that the criteria of appraisal are the following:
  • The year of registration
  • Regulations
  • Market Making license
  • Software license
For example, this is what the top-rated broker’s summary looks like at WikiFX:
WikiFX Forex com example
https://preview.redd.it/t4ugtbt344l51.png?width=625&format=png&auto=webp&s=95fddf8434faf8938d1a3f18bbd5f1da2ceb47e4
Looks good. Really. Regardless of the attitude to this particular brokerage, the work seems to be done fine. All the regulators are listed below, the information on the used software, licensing, and years of operation is included.
But what if we take some other random brokerage with one of the lowest rankings at WikiFX?
NinjaTraderBrokerage WIkiFX Ranking
https://preview.redd.it/pgyqp0u644l51.png?width=631&format=png&auto=webp&s=eb268faac83608a494c31a39eb1621f7132e3520
This is where the truth reveals itself. Once again, regardless of the attitude to this particular brokerage this is really easy to find out what they do, what licenses they’ve got and what kind of software they use.
Suspicious clone? Seriously? If WikiFX staff cared enough to do any investigation prior to stamping that “Suspicious” mark on the brokerage, they would have seen that both domains, nijatrader com and ninjatraderbrokerage com belong to the same entity.
NinyaTrader whois data
https://preview.redd.it/2097lkw944l51.png?width=563&format=png&auto=webp&s=079cc4248b825a3cd941c6b691a67bb9769f4f7f
If they cared enough to collect information on the brokerage from at least one reliable source, like Investopedia or any other similarly known database, they would also have found out that the company not only provides the brokerage service, but also is known for its trading platform with advanced technical analysis tools. But the only trading software that WikiFX considers reliable seems to be MT4/MT5. They simply ignore the fact that trading does not evolve around MetaTrader products, no matter how good and popular they are. WikiFX lowers the score of any brokerage with custom-developed software. We can clearly see this with the above example.
Other criteria that WikiFX is proud to use for the broker’s appraisal are regulations. Using the same example let’s see how well they do the appraisal in this field. As you can see above, WikiFX used the “Suspicious Regulatory License” stamp for NinjaTrader Brokerage.
And here is what The National Futures Association, that NinjaTrader is registered with as a futures broker has on its record:
NFA regulation of NTB proof that WikiFX did not consider to be trustworthy

https://preview.redd.it/di8fwkdd44l51.png?width=629&format=png&auto=webp&s=2de618d5df26bd8fcca99c51a6030f4bdfa7f776
We can’t expect every trader to know that any futures broker that wants to operate on the US market must be a member of NFA. This is the requirement of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission regarding the futures broker’s operations. But this is totally unacceptable for a broker ranking website, which WikiFX claims to be, to mark NFA-registered futures brokerage as non-reliable.
By the way, did you notice on the above screenshot that NTB has obtained the NFA license in 2004? Yet, this does not prevent WikiFX from claiming that the brokerage has only been providing its services for 1-2 years only, instead of the factual 16 years of operations.
We can long discuss the reasons that lie behind such selectivity of WikiFX but this random example clearly shows that any brokerage that provides access to non-forex derivatives trading or dares to suggest custom-developed software to its traders is in danger of receiving a negative review at WikiFX regardless of the factual reliability and regulations.

What lies beneath WikiFX selectivity?

WikiFX claims to have a team of professionals that are all involved in objective appraisal of broker’s services, licenses and used software. The methods used by these professionals remain unrevealed and as we see from the above comparison two similarly reliable brokerages can get any score from 1.0 and up to 10.0 at WikiFX, no matter what regulations they’ve got, for how long they’ve been in the business and what kind of software they use.
This is difficult to say what lies behind such selectivity with 100% confidence. The first thing that comes to mind is that WikiFX might be affiliated with some brokers. The hypothesis gets even more realistic if we try to understand who sponsors WikiFX.
There are no transparent built-in ads neither on the web-version of the website nor in its applications. There are no paid subscriptions for access to the database. This means that users sponsor the service with neither their attention to ads nor directly. Being the non-charity and non-governmental organization WikiFX can’t be sponsored with donations or a government. The only option that we have left is that brokers sponsor this ranking system directly, which automatically makes the whole system non-reliable and highly biased.
The only transparent method that we know WikiFX uses to collect money is sponsorship fees they collect from their offline events participants. Let’s have a look at the exhibitors of the recent WikiFX Expo in Thailand.
WikiFX Expo Exhibitors

  • TLC is a non-regulated investment platform that was founded in 2019
  • Samtrade FX is not regulated by any of the agencies that WikiFX itself lists as reliable
  • Forex4you is not regulated by any of the agencies that WikiFX itself lists as reliable
  • B2 Broker is a non-regulated broker
  • XDL FX is a non-regulated broker
  • VAT FX is a non-regulated broker
    Six out of sixteen WikiFX recent expo exhibitors do not have proper legal status according to the “standards” of WikiFX itself. This fact does not prevent them from promoting the services of these companies at their offline events. This conspicuous fact tells a lot about the attitude of WikiFX to common traders looking for reliable partners. Reputation is nothing but a sale item for this brokers’ ranking system.

Murky & Murkier

So far we’ve only discussed the facts that anyone can check himself using free tools and sources.
It was not that difficult to discover that WikiFX uses non-transparent standards for brokers’ appraisal. It ignores the specifics of some brokerages lowering their scores due to non-standard derivatives they offer to trade or custom trading software. It also promotes non-regulated and non-licensed brokerages, which is 100% against the declared WikiFX values and mission.
The rumors are that this company was also noticed blackmailing brokers with the purpose of making them pay for better reviews at WikiFX. There are also some signs that indicate suspicious promotion of WikiFX platform through social media and Quora. Some of the WikiFX positive reviews also look highly suspicious. All of the above is a matter of further investigation.
Nevertheless, thousands of users keep relying on the information provided by this scam ranking system. It may even look like all these users are satisfied. WikiFX has got 4.5 starts at Google Play, which sounds good enough. However, positive WikiFX reviews use similar semantics and are also highly suspicious. Despite the high average grade, Google Play finds the following messages to be most relevant and brings them to the top of WikiFX reviews:
Google Play most relevant WikiFX reviews

https://preview.redd.it/kftutvcl44l51.png?width=532&format=png&auto=webp&s=1ccb74ee156388285a2fab711dd604945c04377c

You’ve got the facts now and it’s time to make your own conclusions.

submitted by WorriedXVanilla to u/WorriedXVanilla [link] [comments]

https://www.m1finance.com/articles-2/best-financial-websites/

What are the best financial websites?
The best financial sites offer a wealth of resources to people ranging from beginning investors to seasoned professionals. Some of these websites come from recognized leading financial media sources while others offer personal and investment financial advice from bloggers who have been successful. We have compiled a list of the best financial sites and finance blogs that you should include in your list of reading.
Why should I read the top financial websites?
In the past, people had to rely on financial advisors to gain information and education about finance. That notion has changed with the availability of the internet. There is a variety of top financial websites with more coming online each day. Since not everyone has a background in finance, reading some of the best websites is a great way for you to become more educated and confident about finance.
When did financial advice websites begin?
Financial websites started in the late 1990s with many more coming online in the 2000s. Some, such as Bankrate, started out in print decades ago before transforming into one of the best financial websites. Financial planning websites can help you to learn how to manage your money and to build wealth in a more effective way.
Learn about the best financial websites and financial blogs from M1 Finance Users of the best financial websites today
According to data from Statista, the top three leading finance websites by visitors include Yahoo! Finance with 70 million visitors per month, MSN Money Central with 65 million monthly visitors, and CNN Money with 50 million monthly visitors. The need for financial education and literacy is clear. According to the Financial Educators Council, the average test result for financial literacy across all age groups was a low 63%.
According to the Next Web, more than one million new users of the internet are coming online every day. There are reportedly over 4.3 billion internet users who are now online around the world. The global reach of the internet makes it an ideal vehicle for helping people around the world to become financially literate.
What are some of the best general financial websites?
These best financial websites are leaders in the provision of general financial information. Investors of all levels can benefit by making it a habit to read these top financial websites on a regular basis.
Yahoo!Finance
Yahoo! Finance aggregates finance news from around the internet. It also allows you to purchase company reports. You can find charts, price quotes, information about competitor companies, earnings reports and key ratios for free.
CNBC Markets
CNBC Markets provides up-to-date news about the global markets. In the news section, you can find listings of developments in the U.S. stock markets as well as for developments across Europe and Asia.
Forbes Money
Forbes Money is a leader in the finance and business world. Readers who are invested in topics such as investing, business and leadership can all find something that appeals to them in Forbes. In addition to finance topics, Forbes also covers related financial areas.
Investing.com
Investing.com is one of the best financial sites for people who are interested in active trading. On the home page, you can view forex prices, ETFs, commodities prices and futures contracts. The news section offers in-depth articles. Investors check this site daily to see current quotes for a variety of different investments.
Bloomberg
Bloomberg is one of the best financial websites for market data. On its news section, you can choose from different categories by region, general financial information, industry and asset class. You can see the historical information for a queried stock, which is helpful in identifying how different types of news reports impact the performance of the stock.
Reuters
Reuters is another website for obtaining market data. It offers broad coverage of stock news, sector news and market news. You can also find historical information, as well as an auto-complete stock name feature that is helpful search tool.
GoogleFinance
GoogleFinance is one of the best financial sites because of its search functionality. You can find an abundance of information about price quotes, news, competitor companies, earnings reports and key ratios. Keep in mind that some news items are not in real-time.
Read about the best financial websites and financial blogs from M1 Finance The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal has been released in print format since 1989. Online, it is reviewed as one of the top financial websites around the world. Readers from across the globe subscribe to the Wall Street Journal for its business news. The WSJ also offers its readers email alerts about news and stock information.
Investopedia
Investopedia is one of the best financial websites because of its emphasis on financial education. You are able to start a watchlist to track your stocks and can take courses on investing through its Investopedia Academy. The many articles offered by Investopedia is a rich resource for people who want to learn more about the stock market and financial principles.
Financial Times
The Financial Times is another leading publication that is read around the world. It offers comprehensive international coverage of financial news. However, you are only able to read the headlines for free. With a paid subscription, you can read the detailed news reports and gain access to diversified content.
NerdWallet
NerdWallet is one of the best financial websites for comparisons. The site allows you to compare investment accounts, high-yield savings accounts, CDs, debit cards, mortgages and credit cards. The site releases a best list for every category annually.
The Economist
The Economist is another go-to source for the latest in international news. It is authoritative and offers in-depth coverage of politics, finance, business, technology and science.
BankRate
BankRate was launched in 1976 as a newsletter and is highly respected. It has become one of the best financial websites available on the internet. You can find a wealth of data on mortgages, bank rates and credit cards. It also offers online financial advice about financial planning, investing and saving for retirement.
Barron’s
Barron’s is a weekly newspaper that has been published since 1921. On its website, it provides news about market developments in the U.S., financial information and related statistics. The website contains interest sections with in-depth coverage contained within each. Latest financial news can be found on its home page, while interest sections include technology, retirement, options and funds.
SEC
The SEC offers primary source material such as the quarterly and annual financial reports that have been filed with the SEC. These include publicly-traded companies’ filings. All of this data can be accessed through EDGAR on the SEC’s website by searching for a stock ticker symbol or the name of a company.
Kiplinger
Kiplinger ranks as one of the top financial advice websites. It is a sound resource for financial advice with coverage on how to save money and avoid fees. Kiplinger has a section that covers the basics of personal finance and has quizzes on a variety of finance topics.
Motley Fool
The Motley Fool offers investors in-depth analysis on general financial information. It also has stock market analyses and insights. While the name might be odd, the financial services company encourages its readers to become financially independent through information and research. Access to advice from experts is offered for an additional charge.
Money Morning
Money Morning boasts a free daily newsletter on information that can help you to become financially independent. The site’s layout is divided into major categories as well as hot topics sections. You can find advice on different stocks with in-depth analyses.
What are some of the best financial websites for stocks and trading?
If you are wanting to focus on the best financial websites for stocks, you can cut down your search time by including in your reading these best financial sites that we have listed for you. Each of these sites allows you to get the information that you need about different stocks and companies so that you can make informed investment decisions.
Investigate the best financial websites and financial blogs from M1 Finance CNN Markets
CNN is among the top news networks in the world. It has a markets section that simplifies browsing of economic news. The markets section contains current financial news, commodities changes, trending stocks and much more. Each of these topics has its own dedicated page for more in-depth information. If you want a fast update about the market news, CNN is a great source.
MarketWatch
MarketWatch has a news viewer section that gives you access to stories that have timestamps. News items are automatically updated, and its coverage includes global stock markets, forex, commodities and other classes of assets. It also offers data about macroeconomics and fundamental analysis information.
Seeking Alpha
Seeking Alpha aggregates data from other financial sites. You can find trending finance articles from across the internet together with the top-performing stocks and recent news. Seeking Alpha articles range from types of investment to investment strategies.
NASDAQ
NASDAQ offers the latest analysis and stock market news. You can find information on companies and their competitors, the latest news and see how the markets are performing. The site also provides quote updates and financial tools to aid in your investing endeavors.
Morningstar
Morningstar allows you to view annual returns of ETFs and mutual funds for the past 10 years. Quarterly and monthly returns for the past five years are also available on this site. You can review the after-tax returns of different funds so that you can gain a better idea of investor earnings.
The Street
The Street is one of the best financial sites for news about investing. When you read The Street, you can find opinions, recommendations, current events and how to get started in the market. There are also paid services that are available to investors, including market analyses and advanced strategies.
Zacks Investment Research
Zacks Investment Research requires you to sign up for a free membership to gain access to its data on funds and stocks. You are able to use this site to conduct comprehensive research. Zacks gives you access to independent reports that can help you when you are trying to build a well-diversified portfolio.
Review the best financial websites and financial blogs from M1 Finance NYSE
If you are invested in the stock market, the NYSE should be included on your list of best financial sites to read. The NYSE access includes listings information, markets, historical and real-time market data. All investors should make a habit of checking the NYSE’s site on a regular basis to stay informed.
What are some of the best financial blog sites?
Our list of best financial websites contains multiple finance blogs. These blogs offer online financial advice and financial planning tools while also providing answers to common investing questions. A list of the best financial sites would not be complete without including these top financial websites.
The Balance
The Balance offers articles that are divided into categories such as retirement, investing, debt management and banking. The articles give advice about many areas of finance and aim to increase your financial literacy.
Wise Bread
Wise Bread is a community of personal finance bloggers and finance experts. The goal is to help people to live well financially and to derive more enjoyment out of life. It includes multiple sections, including personal finance, frugal living, life hacks, credit cards and career advice.
Financial Post
The Financial Post offers a mix of financial news and analysis together with personal finance advice. The site targets a range of people from young investors to high net worth investors.
Money Crashers
Money Crashers is a comprehensive site that covers nearly all things related to finance. You can find information about debt, credit, investments, living frugally, small business and family. The goal is to educate those who are looking to make sound financial decisions.
The Simple Dollar
The Simple Dollar, written by the author of “365 Ways to Live Cheap!”, provides numerous tips for frugal living. It is one of the best financial planning websites for people who are wanting to gain control of their finances. Reading this blog can give you answers to your financial questions about how to reduce your expenses so that you can live within your means.
Good Financial Cents
Good Financial Cents is one of the best financial sites for people who want to learn about personal finance. It is written by Jeff Rose, who also has a YouTube Channel featuring many of his blog topics. The focus of this certified financial advisor’s blog is to educate people on how to become financially independent.
Financial Samurai
The Financial Samurai was established in 2009 by Sam Dogen. He was able to leave his job in corporate America after 13 years by saving at least 50% of his after-tax income from the time that he began his professional job. He invested his savings in real estate, bonds, stocks and CDs in order to have enough passive income to be able to quit his job and focus on his blog. He offers information about wealth management, financial products, real estate and more.
Dave Ramsey
Dave Ramsey is a well-known expert in the finance field who offers financial planning tools and personal finance education. His blog is recognized as one of the top financial planning websites and is used by millions of people to learn how to build wealth, reduce debt and increase their savings.
Mint Life
Mint Life is among the best financial sites for people who are looking for a broad personal finance resource. The blog contains a large list of money management categories with a range of articles available in each. The categories include everything from student finances, housing finances, food budgets, to much more.
Mr. Money Mustache
Mr. Money Mustache is a credible finance site with a quirky name. The author, who was able to retire at age 30, started his blog in 2005 when he was 36 years old. The blog’s mission is to allow you to learn how to live below your means and to build your savings quickly so that you can retire early, too.
Incorporating some of the best financial websites into your daily life can help you to learn more about how you can attain financial freedom by budgeting, living frugally and making saving a habit. You can take the information that you learn from these sites and apply it when you invest with M1 Finance.
Learn how M1 can empower you to manage your money and earn more
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M1 Finance is an online brokerage firm that blends key financial principles with digital technology to provide investors with a straightforward and seamless investing experience. M1 Finance helps you to manage your money in a more effective way so that you can earn more. The platform uses automated reinvestments and dynamic portfolio rebalancing to save you time. These features help to keep your portfolio in line to meet your financial goals.
When you choose M1 Finance, you are able to invest for free. M1 does not charge management fees or commissions, and you will be able to access the powerful automation from anywhere with its mobile investing capabilities. Get started today by signing up online or call us to learn more about investing at 312-600-2883. DISCLAIMER: Please consult your finance and tax professionals to learn more about investing and taxes.
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What I learned: Introduction to investing

Valuable information for new investors
Warning. Looooong post. TL:DR in the bottom.
Recently I have been chatting a ton with people who are very new to investing. I don’t claim to have mastered anything, however I have been able to help a lot of people through chats and messages. I’ve given advice and answered questions, and through that I found out a lot of problems new people run into, and decided to compile some of the points I found important. I will start this with the primary compiled information I usually give people when prompted, and then move on to specific questions I found important. A final note is that this is my own opinion and views, so feel free to disagree! I’d love input, even if I feel confident about this advice.
First off I’d recommend searching for posts about starting out & learning the basics, both here and on other investing/trading subreddits. The question has been asked hundreds of times, and you’ll find some amazing answers if you look.
The first thing you need to understand is that finance is all about information. If you want to learn, you need to take in information. All of the information. Books, news, financial statements, press releases and earning calls. Read everything. You will find hundreds of words you don’t understand, so look them up (investopedia have a majority of them). In the beginning you will struggle, however, as time goes by, you will start to understand. If you do not like reading, learn to like it. There is no way around this. If you find yourself investing without reading tons, you are going to lose.
Books to recommend: Anything written by Warren Buffet, A random walk down wall street by Burton Malkiel (how I started), Stress test by Timothy Geithner & The intelligent investor (“thick” but all important).
Pick out your favorite company in the world, and check if they are public. If they are, head over to their investor relations page and read the transcript to their latest earnings call. Read their financial statement (10-Q). If you don’t understand a word, look it up. This is frustrating but required. This method of reading, finding things you do not understand and looking it up (and learning it), will be the absolute unavoidable key to improvement.
There are 3 things you should consider buying as your first investment:
Large cap companies. These are the most risky you should consider buying. These large companies (Apple, Banks, Microsoft, 3M, JnJ, Walmart and the like) are stable, but can for sure give you a great return.
Specific ETFs. An ETF is a basket of stocks, often with some sort of focus. It gives you instant diversification. The specific ETFs are less risky than the single stocks, but hold risk nonetheless. Specific ETFs are baskets of stocks of varying number, letting you buy one security, and get a tiny portion of many companies. This lets you bet on a sector. Say you think that robotics and automation is the future, you can bet on that by investing in $ROBO. Other examples of these are $KWEB, chinese e-com, $FNG, media and tech, $ITA, aerospace and defence and $SOXX, semiconductors. These let you invest in a promising industry, without having the risk of a single company failing.
Lastly, and by far the best choice, is indexing. These are ETFS like $VOO, $VTI, $VWO and $VOOG, and is a way to take on the least amount of risk while still gaining along with the market. You get a wide basket of stocks, focusing on things like the S&P500 ($VOO), which is an index of large (minimum 6.1 billion USD) US companies. Historically , you can expect 7% annual gain here. That’s realistic. Anything offering much more than that without risk has tons of risk without disclosing it, per definition. $VOOG indexes growth companies, focusing less on the giants and more on the up and coming. $VWO focuses on emerging markets, getting places like brazil, russia and all over asia. Indexing is by far the best choice, and will very often gain you a steady growth. The final and great choice is $VTI, which is the global basket which contains the market as a whole.
Remember, if you have to ask simple questions, you should be indexing. Asking questions is very important and a great way to learn, however, you should not make specific investments unless you can make the call 100% yourself with confidence. If you are not sure, you are making a mistake in purchasing.
Lastly, and honestly most importantly, here is a list of things you should ALWAYS be able to answer before buying a security, equity or derivative:
  • Why am I getting this instead of an index? Where is the upside?
  • If the stock goes up, what action do I take? When do I sell? At what price or % gain.
  • If the stock goes down, when do I sell? At what % loss or a price.
  • What risks are there? How does the worst case realistic scenario look like?
  • Why am I making this investment right now? Is there a better time?
  • What exactly am I buying?*
And finally, always, without exception, perform your own Due Diligence. Don’t take advice from other people without understanding the situation yourself. If you have to ask questions, you should not own the equity. Ask about what you do not own. If you have to ask questions about an equity you already own, you have messed up, and should rethink your strategy.
A last but VITAL note is to keep a journal. You should note down every stock purchase you make or decided to not make, noting down the stock, price, date and answers to the 6 questions. This will help massively over time, where you can look back how you felt before and why you made decisions. It helps to keep temporary emotion out, as well as self reflecting which is the most vital learning method of any craft.
Q&A
Should I buy cheap stocks like $XXX for 4 dollars per share, or expensive stocks like $YYY for 500 dollars per share? IT DOES NOT MATTER. The price of the individual share have no effect whatsoever on the price of the company, how much you will gain or how much risk there is. If you buy 10 A-stocks for 1 dollashare, and if you buy 1 B-stock for 10 dollars/share, both these purchases are EXACTLY the same, in practice. If stock A gains 10% you earn $1.00, if stock B gains 10% you earn $1.00. Then the stocks are valued at $1.1 and $11 respectively. But there is no different. Don’t let the price of the share fool you. The only thing that matters is the market cap, which is the (number of shares*price of 1 share). The market cap is the cost of ALL the shares in the entire company. Some stocks like being expensive to seem exclusive and expensive, but it’s really the company's choice.
What numbers matter the most for the companies so I can compare? Well, that's complicated. DIfferent investors value different things. Some value P/E (price per earnings) and some value margin changes. You have to decide for yourself what matters, which leads to tons and tons of reading. Really, if you don't like reading and analyzing, this isn't something for you. Look at ETFs then. As a rule of thumb, 1 or 2 numbers is not enough to gauge the HUGE and COMPLEX being that is a corporation, so don’t get caught on something like P/E. Compare everything.
Will I be able to profit? Probably. As a new investor, especially a young one, will see both success and failure over time. This is natural. I recommend investing a smaller amount of money. Either you will gain a few % and be excited to learn and continue, or you will lose a few % and you find the ultimate opportunity to analyze what your mistake was.
Is $XXX enough money? Probably. It depends on your broker and fees. Any amount invested into the market is great, and a 10% increase is a 10% increase no matter how much you invest. Depending on your broker though, it might be easier or harder. With high commission, a smaller amount will be eaten by fees. With smaller amount, some expensive stocks (see $BRK.A) might be out of your reach. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem though.
What broker should I use? The best one for you! Hard question. It is country dependent. Look around. You want low commission and any perks you require. To start out, depending on how much money you have to invest, look for low-commission brokers. $0 - $3 is a good range per stock purchase. If you pay more than 2% on your investment, you lose 2% to buy in. This would generally cause stock to not be worth to buy. So do some thinking on your own, to invest you will have to get used to it. Some brokers let you buy partial shares as well, which might be a plus if your capital is low to buy the more expensive stocks.
What should I invest in? There are so many things! Like said above, cheap funds and common stock are good places to start. They are the core of investing, and should be your start. After that, move on and understand bonds. It will be all important during your career in investing. On top of that there are warrants, options, forex, commodities, and all kinds of additional derivatives. Stay clear of those completely until you can confidently make the call to try it out.
My stock increased/decreased in value. Should I sell?
Asking this question means that you weren’t thorough enough when you made the purchase. You should always have it written down on a paper. When do you get out? A valid answer is never. If you believe in the business and they prove themself strong, why ever sell? Some people like selling if they gain 30% or lose 30%. Some do the same on 15% respective 10%. It comes down to how much long term faith you have in the company, when you’ll need the money and what your risk tolerance is. Personally, when I buy a company, I will ignore it until something changes in the core business. I re-analyze each company each earning. It takes a lot of time, but its my method. If I buy something more high risk, I will sell at a set loss-% (20-40% loss) and the same on gain.
How does taxes work and how should I plan for taxes? Taxes are hard and complicated, but it is something you must understand how it works. Capital gains taxes are vital to understand. Sadly, they work differently in each country, so there is no easy answer except for you to look up it yourself. But know it, it is vital.
To end, these are the most important 4 rules of learning how to do all this:
  • Read. Everything.
  • Keep a journal and record the answers to all 6 questions each time you make a purchase, or decided in the end to not.
  • Each time in your reading if you come over a concept, word or idea that you do not understand, get used to looking it up and learning what it is. It’s key.
  • When you succeed, analyze if you got lucky or if your actual reasoning was the correct call. When you fail, analyze what your mistake was and write it down in your journal. Both are vital.
TL:DR: Investing is about reading. You should probably start by reading this now or give up. If you read it all, success! Keep going!
Disclaimer: Don't invest money that you can't afford to lose. You might lose all your funds. Probably don't.
lykosen11
submitted by lykosen11 to StockMarket [link] [comments]

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Optionen - Teil 1: Termingeschäft

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