Category: Investing

3 Reasons Microsoft Is a Great Company

Microsoft (MSFT) is one of the leading companies in the technology sector. The media and the President may obsess over Amazon (AMZN), investors may follow Warren Buffett into Apple (AAPL), and the average Joe may spend half his day on Google (GOOG/GOOGL), Netflix (NFLX), and Facebook (FB), but Microsoft has been quietly expanding its empire far beyond its traditional PC business. It has everything from a popular video game system to a 500 million-member social network to commercial software and cloud services. Those products are generating growth and income for the company’s shareholders. Here are three reasons they are doing this so well. Continue reading “3 Reasons Microsoft Is a Great Company”

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Why Facebook Will Face A Lawsuit Before This Is Over

Summary:

  • Facebook violated its own terms of service by not protecting customer data from developers.
  • This scandal will drag out through government investigations, regulatory moves, lawsuits, and the exposure of further details about Facebook’s failure to protect user data.
  • The outlook is not entirely negative. FB still has long-term earnings potential, and there may be opportunities to buy it cheaper.

In his questioning of Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Senator John Kennedy said that “there are some impurities in the Facebook punchbowl.” More bluntly, he continued, “your user agreement sucks.” Kennedy’s questioning deteriorated from there, as he did not get specific enough about the user agreement and showed a lack of understanding about how Facebook and its 3rd party apps work. However, he was absolutely correct in his starting point about Facebook’s user agreement. It sucks. Continue reading at Seeking Alpha

The Time Is Right To Buy This International Dividend ETF

Summary:

  • SDEM invests in dividend-paying companies in emerging markets.
  • The stocks in this fund have been hit hard by political instability.
  • A technical pattern presents an opportunity to start a long position.

Value investing and technical trading are very different philosophies, but the two can work together sometimes. I primarily screen for value but will occasionally take advantage of technical trading strategies to time a purchase…

Continue reading at Seeking Alpha.

What Is a Stop Loss Order? Why Use It? And Why Not?

pexels-photo-159888.jpegYou may have noticed that your online broker offers a few order options when purchasing a stock or other security. I wrote in my review of the Robinhood app that many reviewers on the App Store blamed Robinhood for paying too much for a trade when the real problem was that they did not understand and properly utilize Robinhood’s limit order option.

If you simply post the default market order, your order will go through at whatever price your broker and another trader agree upon a few seconds or minutes later, which might not be the same market price you see on your screen. That could be frustrating if the price goes up in that short period of time, which is not unusual.

A limit order makes sure that your trade won’t go through any higher than a certain price. If the price of the security goes up between the click of the order button and when the trade actually happens, the broker won’t buy it for more than the customer wants to pay for it. It will wait for a cheaper trade to be available or the order to expire.

There are tons of order types being used in today’s technology-driven trading environment, most of which the average investor does not even know about. Commercial investment brokers like the popular online ones usually only offer a few order types, and it is probably for the best, as we are about to see how complicated they can be.

A novice might notice that his broker offers the option for a stop loss order and wonder what that means. He could hit the ‘help’ button or Google the term to see what it is, and at first glance it may look like an interesting idea. Let’s dig deeper into what it is and what the broader implications of it are before we use it to make a major financial decision. Continue reading “What Is a Stop Loss Order? Why Use It? And Why Not?”

Is GameStop The Next Blockbuster?

In my latest article for Seeking Alpha, I look at how two companies handled industry disruption between 2000-2010 and analyze whether GameStop (GME) meets the profile of a survivor. This was a fun article to research, as Blockbuster was a comically mismanaged company, and one of its competitors, Family Video, remains a model for resilience to both disruption and recession.

Book Review: Security Analysis

security analysisDavid Abrams sums up Security Analysis the best in his introduction to Part VII of the 6th edition, where he calls it “the value investors’ equivalent to Deuteronomy” . SA is an extremely thorough explanation of how to evaluate stocks and bonds, primarily focusing on a company’s income statement and balance sheet. It is not an ideal starting point for young investors, but it is essential reading for any serious investor.

Graham and Dodd discuss the philosophy of value investing eloquently. They provide detailed analysis of dozens of companies’ finance statements to support their arguments about how investors should analyze securities. It is an excellent reality check for anyone who thinks he knows a thing or two about investing.

The examples given by Graham and Dodd are a bit dated (1930s), but most of the principles are still relevant today. The organization of the book is a bit awkward, but I don’t presume that I could organize such a massive quantity and variety of material any better.

It took me a long time to get through this, and I will probably explore many parts of it again over the next few years. It is a valuable addition to any business library and a resource that you can use for a lifetime of investing.