IMF Cuts Global Growth Forecast Amid Supply Chain Disruptions, Pandemic Pressures

The IMF, a grouping made up of 190 member states, promotes international financial stability and monetary cooperation. It also acts as a lender of last resort for countries in financial crisis.

In the IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook report released on Tuesday, the group’s economists say the most important policy priority is to vaccinate sufficient numbers of people in every country to prevent dangerous mutations of the virus. He stressed the importance of meeting major economies’ pledges to provide vaccines and financial support for international vaccination efforts before new versions derail. “Policy choices have become more difficult … with limited scope,” IMF economists said in the report.

The IMF in its July report cut its global growth forecast for 2021 from 6% to 5.9%, a result of a reduction in its projection for advanced economies from 5.6% to 5.2%. The shortage mostly reflects problems with the global supply chain that causes a mismatch between supply and demand.

For emerging markets and developing economies, the outlook improved. Growth in these economies is pegged at 6.4% for 2021, higher than the 6.3% estimate in July. The strong performance of some commodity-exporting countries accelerated amid rising energy prices.

The group maintained its view that the global growth rate would be 4.9% in 2022.

In key economics, the growth outlook for the US was lowered by 0.1 percentage point to 6% this year, while the forecast for China was also cut by 0.1 percentage point to 8%. Several other major economies saw their outlook cut, including Germany, whose economy is now projected to grow 3.1% this year, down 0.5 percent from its July forecast. Japan’s outlook was down 0.4 per cent to 2.4%.

While the IMF believes that inflation will return to pre-pandemic levels by the middle of 2022, it also warns that the negative effects of inflation could be exacerbated if the pandemic-related supply-chain disruptions become more damaging and prolonged. become permanent over time. This may result in earlier tightening of monetary policy by central banks, leading to recovery back.

The IMF says that supply constraints, combined with stimulus-based consumer appetite for goods, have caused a sharp rise in consumer prices in the US, Germany and many other countries.

Food-price hikes have placed a particularly severe burden on households in poor countries. The IMF’s Food and Beverage Price Index rose 11.1% between February and August, with meat and coffee prices rising 30% and 29%, respectively.

The IMF now expects consumer-price inflation in advanced economies to reach 2.8% in 2021 and 2.3% in 2022, up from 2.4% and 2.1%, respectively, in its July report. Inflationary pressures are even greater in emerging and developing economies, with consumer prices rising 5.5% this year and 4.9% the following year.

Gita Gopinath, economic advisor and research director at the IMF, wrote, “While monetary policy can generally see through a temporary increase in inflation, central banks should be prepared to act swiftly if the risks to rising inflation expectations are high. become more important in this unchanged recovery.” Report.

While rising commodity prices have fueled some emerging and developing economies, many of the world’s poorest countries have been left behind, as they struggle to gain access to the vaccines needed to open their economies. More than 95% of people in low-income countries have not been vaccinated, in contrast to immunization rates of about 60% in wealthy countries.

IMF economists urged major economies to provide adequate liquidity and debt relief for poor countries with limited policy resources. “The alarming divergence in economic prospects remains a major concern across the country,” said Ms. Gopinath.

By: Yuka Hayashi

Yuka Hayashi covers trade and international economy from The Wall Street Journal’s Washington bureau. Previously, she wrote about financial regulation and elder protection. Before her move to Washington in 2015, she was a Journal correspondent in Japan covering regional security, economy and culture. She has also worked for Dow Jones Newswires and Reuters in New York and Tokyo. Follow her on Twitter @tokyowoods

Source: IMF Cuts Global Growth Forecast Amid Supply-Chain Disruptions, Pandemic Pressures – WSJ

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Visa’s 54 Bitcoin-Linked Cards Pave The Way For Younger Generations To Spend Growing Crypto Wealth

Visa V -0.5% is taking robust steps to connect digital currencies to its global electronic payments network in order to prepare for a financial future where digital assets comprise a meaningful amount of a saver’s wealth.

To date, 54 crypto companies have partnered with Visa to enable crypto spending. Much of this progress comes from the issuance of debit cards using Visa’s FastTrack program, which is targeted towards integrating fintech companies with the Visa network. Over the summer, the firm launched two more products, a crypto rewards credit card in partnership with BlockFi and a debit card with major crypto exchange FTX, which just raised a record $900 million at an $18 billion valuation.

Other crypto-friendly card partners include CoinZoom, Coinbase, Zap, Crypto.com, Bitpanda, Fold, Upgrade, Wirex, and ZenGo.

“We saw this opportunity as these crypto platforms grow, as consumers want to gain access to the liquidity that they have held in these assets, issuing a Visa card could become a bridge that unlocks that value and enables it to be spent at any merchant that accepts Visa,” Head of Crypto at Visa, Cuy Sheffield said.

These projects have gained traction — crypto-linked Visa debit cards facilitated over $1 billion worth of transactions across Visa’s 70 million merchants worldwide in the first half of 2021 alone. $1 billion is only a small fraction of the trillion-dollar payments industry, however retail interest in cryptocurrencies is picking up, suggesting the market has room to grow, especially with younger generations. Sheffield says that no single predominant spending category has emerged in crypto-linked card use.

Survey data suggests that younger generations are increasingly diverting wealth into cryptocurrencies and digital assets. This is especially true for the most affluent members of these generations, which are especially prized by financial institutions and card networks.

A Michelmores survey of 501 ‘affluent Millennials’ in the United Kingdom found that one in five have invested in cryptocurrencies and a CNBC survey of 750 investors conducted in April and May of 2021 reports that nearly half of Millennial millionaires have at least 25% of their wealth in cryptocurrencies. Millennial interest in crypto isn’t limited to the Western world — a recent Mastercard MA -0.1% survey found that Middle Eastern and African Millennials surveyed during February and March of 2021 are especially interested in crypto with 67% agreeing they are more open to using crypto now than they were in 2020.

Meanwhile in Asia, India and China each account for 33% of the $9.4 million worth of weekly peer-to-peer payments volume in the region. In both nations, tech savvy millennials with aspirations of wealth are leading the trade. The Covid-19 pandemic only accelerated this trend by simultaneously spurring savings ambitions and interest in cryptocurrencies.

Approximately 70% of burgeoning retail brokerage platform Robinhood’s $80.9 billion assets under custody came from users aged between 18 and 40. $11.5 billion of those assets under custody are cryptocurrencies, according to the firm’s S-1 filing, and for the three months ended March 31, 2021, 17% of its total revenue was derived from transaction-based revenues earned from cryptocurrency transactions. This number is up from 4% for the last three months of 2020. All of this data suggests high interest among retail traders between 18 and 40 in crypto assets.

As retail brokerage accounts boomed, the crypto market was also hitting new heights, adding to the excitement among younger generations. Bitcoin reached its all-time-high price of $64,654 on April 14, 2021, just after the one year anniversary of the start of the pandemic. The market crashed a month later, bottoming out in July at a $1.2 trillion value for all cryptocurrency in circulation. Since then, the crypto economy has started to recover. The market broke past $2 trillion again on Wednesday, August 11, for the first time in nearly three months.

While investors are still mostly thinking long-term, a time will come when they need to generate liquidity from their holdings. Speaking to that effect, Sheffield argues that even if crypto owners intend to HODL (hold on for dear life, a crypto rallying cry), the day will come when they want to spend.

When that happens, Lisa Ellis, partner and senior equity analyst at research firm MoffettNathanson noted that they won’t want to go through the often arduous process of converting that crypto into fiat because of what Visa is doing.

“Brokerages like Fidelity figured out a long time ago that they should — and Merrill Lynch — figured out that they should issue a card against the balance in your brokerage account because that way you can keep your money in the brokerage account and you’re not constantly moving money,” Ellis said. “It’s basically the same. This is just allowing people to keep funds in what’s essentially a brokerage account and keep it in crypto. And then if they need it for spending fine and people like to do that.”

These developments are unlikely to stop with crypto-fiat payments. In pursuit of creating opportunities for seamless crypto transactions, Visa is finding new ways to appeal to crypto platforms who are looking to expand client offerings. Among these upgrades is the ability for crypto firms to settle payments using a dollar-pegged and quickly-growing stablecoin, USDC. As of writing, USDC’s market cap stands at $27.39 billion.

Typically when transactions are carried out with a crypto-linked debit card offered by a company like Crypto.com, that company converts the crypto to fiat and then sends the funds to Visa, who then sends the funds to the merchant’s bank for the appropriate amount and in the correct currency. Through a partnership with the first federally chartered digital asset bank, Anchorage, Visa will now accept USDC, instead of fiat, from card providers like Crypto.com.

“The goal is if we can make it easier for crypto platforms to issue Visa cards and interact with Visa we think many more — and we’re already seeing a ton of demand in crypto companies coming to us — will have a path to creating a Visa card,” Sheffield said. “We are committed to Visa being the preferred network for crypto wallets and so we want to meet them where they are.”

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

Source: Visa’s 54 Bitcoin-Linked Cards Pave The Way For Younger Generations To Spend Growing Crypto Wealth

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Wall Street Seeks To Make Up For Long Hours With High Salaries

(Bloomberg) – Rooms at the Fairmont Royal Pavilion, located on Barbados’ platinum beaches, can cost more than $ 1,000 a night. In the morning, you can enjoy the catamaran snorkeling cruise and return ashore in time for afternoon tea.

For some Houlihan Lokey Inc. employees, this offer is now on the table: a five-night stay at this Caribbean haven, with money from the investment bank, as a reward for a year of record earnings. The offer is also a subtle plea to the company’s younger employees: please don’t quit.

That last phrase echoes across Wall Street, where turnover and burnout rates among young workers are accelerating. Banks have tried to turn the tide with raises, bonuses, vacations, and even free sports equipment. For all that, being a young banker in America has never been more lucrative.

However, the problem is that it has also never been more lucrative for aspiring workers to work outside the golden world of finance, as the gap between banks and other employers such as technology companies has narrowed.

“In terms of making money, is this the best time to be a banker? Sure, ”says executive recruiter Dan Miller of True Search. “Now, in terms of lifestyle, is this a terrible time? Absolutely”.

A presentation prepared by 13 first-year analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. earlier this year prompted a reckoning on Wall Street after it highlighted the working conditions of junior bankers – some of them working 100 hours a day. the week while his physical activities and mental health suffered. Goldman responded by cutting weekend hours and promising to increase staff at its busiest businesses.

Earlier this year, a presentation prepared by 13 first-year analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. prompted a reckoning on Wall Street after it highlighted working conditions for junior bankers – some of them working hundreds of hours a day. the week as his physical activities and mental health suffered. Goldman responded by cutting weekend hours and promising to increase staff at its busiest businesses.

However, some industry veterans have made harsh statements against those who complain about the workload. Cantor Fitzgerald’s Howard Lutnick suggested that some of the young workers considering leaving finance may simply not be ready for it. “Those young bankers who decide they are working too hard, choose another way of life,” he told Bloomberg TV earlier this month.

Furthermore, the exhausting workload of bank analysts has continued and, in some cases, worsened. When COVID-19 took over the nation last year, the “work hard, play hard” mantra became “work hard, sit on your couch,” all while the economy accelerated and deals proliferated.

Frustrated and overworked, many of them turned to the anonymous ex-banker behind the popular “Litquidity” financial meme account for support. In an interview, he said he was inundated with messages on Twitter and Instagram from young industry colleagues feeling fed up and weighing whether the work was worth it.

Lit, as he calls himself, was at the time a senior associate in investment banking and knew very well what they were going through. He too felt exhausted and stressed, and at one point he went to see a doctor to have his heart palpitations checked.

“Do you know the feeling when your stomach just sinks in? I felt it in my heart, “he said by phone from New York’s Central Park. The doctor concluded that his symptom was probably related to stress. Last winter, Lit quit her job to focus on growing the Litquidity brand and writing a daily newsletter. He says he is also working to launch a venture capital fund.

It is not only in finance where workers are becoming more demanding, a similar scenario that occurs throughout the country. Companies from McDonald’s Corp. to country clubs in Nashville, Tennessee, have raised wages and offered hiring bonuses to attract new workers. From March to May, the rate of American workers who voluntarily quit their jobs rose to its highest level in at least two decades. In Washington, lawmakers are arguing about raising the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour.

Of course, the isolated world of finance and some other professional services operate on a significantly higher plane in terms of pay. Last month, dozens of the nation’s top law firms raised first-year salaries to $ 202,500, roughly a couple thousand. They also offer multiple annual bonuses and additional time off as they struggle to retain talent and their workers face burnout.

Miller, who co-leads True Search’s financial services practice, says today’s young bankers have far more options than their peers previously had. Banks and consulting firms have long been a source of recruiting for private equity and, more recently, venture capital, technology, and fintech. These days, with many of those industries hiring at a record rate, many young bankers no longer have to hold out for two years. They can leave earlier or skip the stay in finance altogether.

Some bank bosses have promised to ease the pressure. After the junior analysts’ presentation, Goldman CEO David Solomon promised to better enforce the rule that they should have Saturdays off. But the sentiments carved in stone in banking culture for decades do not change easily. Additionally, Lit noted that Goldman’s policy of not working on Saturdays has been in effect since 2013.

“There has to be a way to make it stick,” he said. “What’s the use of earning half a million if you work 20 hours a day?

Source: Wall Street seeks to make up for long hours with high salaries – Explica .co

How to Diversify Your Portfolio: Strategies and Benefits

There’s a reason manufacturers make different product lines, and stores carry a range of goods: It protects their profits. If one item suffers a seasonal decrease in demand or is an outright flop, they may still be ok if the majority of the other items do well.

It’s a business strategy called diversification. And just as diversification is important in industry, it’s important for your investment portfolio as well.

The primary goal of diversification isn’t to maximize returns; it’s to limit risk. When you diversify your portfolio, you reduce your risk of experiencing massive losses when a few of your investments underperform. Read on to learn more about the benefits of diversification and for a step-by-step guide to diversifying your own portfolio.

Understanding risk

At its most basic level, risk refers to the chances that a particular investment or portfolio could suffer financial loss. Beyond this definition, risk can be broken into multiple categories:

  • Company risk: What is the financial strength of the company or government entity that you’re looking to invest in (often through stocks) or loan money to (often through bonds)? Does it have a low, moderate, or high chance of bankruptcy?
  • Volatility risk: On average, how often does the particular asset that you’re looking to invest in have losing years? For example, large-company stocks lose money once every three years on average.
  • Liquidity risk: How easy would it be to get your cash back out of the investment if you needed the money to cover an emergency expense?
  • Interest rate risk: How would your investment be impacted by a rise or fall in interest rates? Bond values, for example, tend to go down as interest rates go up.
  • Inflation risk: Is your portfolio’s rate of return at risk of being outpaced by inflation? This could be a legitimate possibility for portfolios that are invested solely in cash equivalents.

All investments involve some level of risk.

If safety is your ultimate goal, however, look to bank or credit union deposit accounts (savings accounts, CDs, money market accounts, etc.). Since these accounts are insured up to $250,000 by the federal government, they offer the closest thing to an investment “guarantee.”

How diversification benefits you

Diversification involves owning a mix of investments to reduce risk and volatility. Here a few common ways to diversify:

  • Company diversification: Owning shares of multiple companies so that your portfolio won’t be significantly harmed if one stock declines or goes bankrupt.
  • Industry diversification: Owning stocks from a variety of industries (technology, healthcare, energy, consumer staples).
  • Size diversification: Investing in companies of different sizes, or market caps, such as small-cap, mid-cap, and large-cap companies.
  • Global diversification: Investing in a mix of domestic and international stocks
  • Asset class diversification: Moving beyond stocks and bonds, the traditional financial assets, to invest in additional types: real estate, commodities, private equity, and cash.

The more diversified your portfolio becomes, the less of a chance you’ll have of experiencing a huge loss in any given year.

Downside to diversification

Unfortunately, with investments, the chance of big losses usually goes hand-in-hand with the possibility of big wins. Diversification’s benefits often come at a cost: diminished returns.

To illustrate: a recent study, using historical data from 1970-2016, which compared the performance of three hypothetical portfolios:

  • Conservative: 30% stocks, 50% bonds, 20% cash
  • Moderate: 60% stocks, 30% bonds, 10% cash
  • Aggressive: 80% stocks, 15% bonds, 5% cash

If avoiding declines was your only goal, the conservative portfolio would be the clear winner. The maximum one-year loss it suffered was 14%, vs. 32.3% for the moderate, and a whopping 44.4% for the aggressive.

But when it came to annualized returns for each portfolio, the conservative gained 8.1%, the moderate, 9.4%, and the aggressive,10%.

Those slight differences may not seem like a big deal. But over a 40-plus year investment horizon, they add up. For example, if each portfolio had begun with $10,000, their final account tallies would have been:

  • Conservative: $389,519
  • Moderate: $676,126
  • Aggressive: $892,028

Riskier investments tend to offer higher potential returns. So, smoothing out the risks, as diversifying does, means no sickening drops — but no exhilarating lifts, either. Most investors are willing to accept the tradeoff.

How to diversify your investment portfolio

Ready to start building a diversified portfolio? Here are four diversification tips to guide you along the way.

1. Determine your risk tolerance

Your risk tolerance is how much money you are willing to lose in the short-term in exchange for the potential for higher long-term growth. There are various factors that can affect your risk level. These include your:

  • Time horizon: How soon will you need to take your money out of your investments? Someone who won’t be retiring for another 30-40 years may be willing to take on more risk than someone with a retirement window of 5-10 years from now.
  • Income needs: If you’re still working, you may decide to invest in higher-risk, growth-oriented investments. But if you’ve already reached retirement, you may prefer to focus on lower-risk investments that can provide a stable income, such as bonds, dividend stocks, and CDs.
  • Portfolio size: As your portfolio grows, you may choose to raise your risk tolerance since you’ll have more capital available to sustain short-term losses.

The investments you select should be guided by your risk tolerance. Those with a high tolerance for risk may invest a large percentage of their portfolios in equities. Conversely, the percentage of bond and cash holdings will typically be higher for investors with lower risk tolerance levels.

How can you determine your risk tolerance? Many investing brokers and robo-advisor websites offer free risk- level questionnaires. Some will even offer asset allocation recommendations based on your answers. You can also work with a financial advisor or money manager to build a portfolio that’s customized to your individual risk level.

2. Take advantage of mutual funds and ETFs

Once you’ve determined your risk tolerance, it’s time to begin buying the investments that will comprise your portfolio. And it’s at this stage of the game that baskets of securities such as mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) can really come in handy.

Let’s say, for sake of illustration, that you want an asset allocation of 70% stocks, 25% bonds, and 5% cash. To truly build a diversified portfolio with that asset allocation, you’d need to buy dozens (at the very least) of stocks and bonds. And for the stock portion of your portfolio, you’d also want to make sure that you were investing in companies of different sizes, industries, and geography.

Even if you had enough capital at your disposal to invest in such a diverse set of stocks of bonds, how would you go about choosing your individual investments? Most non-professional investors simply don’t have the time that this kind of market research would require.

But by investing in mutual funds and ETFs, you can eliminate these problems. Funds make it easy to invest in hundreds or thousands of stocks, bonds, or alternative investments at once, even with limited capital (getting the variety of assets diversification requires can be expensive). And some mutual funds even offer a predetermined mix of stocks and bonds to serve as a “one-stop-shop” for all your asset allocation needs.

3. Consider moving beyond stocks and bonds

When financial professionals talk about asset allocation, they’re often referring to your ratio of stocks to bonds. But it’s worth noting that with both of these assets, your money is heavily invested in companies.

To increase your diversification, you may want to consider investing a portion of your portfolio in additional asset classes as well. For example, you may want to consider investing in raw materials by buying shares of a commodity mutual fund.

If you want to gain more exposure to real estate, you could invest in a real estate investment trust (REIT). Other alternative asset classes worth considering include private equity, collectibles (like stamps, art, or antiques), cryptocurrency, and hedge funds.

4. Regularly reevaluate your asset allocation

How do you know when you’re properly diversified? The reality is that diversification is an ever-evolving process that will change as your time horizon shrinks.

To estimate your ideal asset allocation for your age, some experts recommend subtracting your age from 110 to 120. The result is the percentage of your portfolio that should be in stocks.

Using this rule of thumb, a 30-year-old would look to invest 80% to 90% of his or her portfolio in stocks, with the rest invested in bonds and/or cash equivalents. But an 80-year old would reduce his or her stock holdings to 50% to 60%.

The estimates above are just that…estimates. To determine your own ideal ratio, you’ll need to take your specific financial situation and investment needs into consideration.

Even if your portfolio’s asset allocation is perfectly matched to your age and needs, it can become out of alignment as certain assets outperform others. That’s why it’s important to monitor your portfolio and rebalance your original asset mix when necessary.

The financial takeaway

Investing is a game of risk and returns. Take on too much risk and you could lose big, especially in the short-term. Take on too little risk (like, say, by only investing in cash equivalents) and you could really hurt your long-term returns.

Diversification is the best way for investors to find their own personal balance of risk and reward. To build a diversified portfolio that works for you, consider your risk tolerance, time horizon, and investing goals.

Related Coverage in Investing:

What is an index fund? A low-cost, low-risk way to invest in the stock market

ETFs and mutual funds can instantly diversify your portfolio, but they differ in how they’re traded, managed, and taxed. Here’s what you should know.

How to invest in mutual funds and grow your money for retirement, a bucket-list trip, or any other long-term goal

Investing for income: 7 money-generating assets for your portfolio and how to get started

The Rule of 72 is a quick, simple way to figure how long it’ll take for your savings and investments to double in value

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Source: How to Diversify Your Portfolio: Strategies and Benefits

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We’ll cover the concept of what is portfolio diversification and should you diversify your investment. First, I want to explain to you what is the concept. Secondly, I want to show you what the smartest approach is. #tradingportfolio #diversification #investmentdiversification #portfoliotrading #investing Posted at: https://tradersfly.com/blog/portfolio… 🔥 GET MY FREEBIES https://tradersfly.com/go/freebies/ 🎤 SUBMIT A VOICE QUESTION https://tradersfly.com/go/ask 👀 START HERE: FOR NEW TRADERS https://tradersfly.com/go/start/ 🎉 START HERE: OPTION TRADERS https://tradersfly.com/go/start-options/ 📈 MY CHARTING TOOLS + BROKERS https://tradersfly.com/go/tools/ 💻 MY COMPUTER EQUIPMENT https://backstageincome.com/go/comput… 💌 GET THE NEWSLETTER https://tradersfly.com/go/tube/ 🔒 SEE OUR MEMBERSHIP PLANS https://tradersfly.com/go/members/ 📺 STOCK TRADING COURSES https://tradersfly.com/go/courses/ 📚 STOCK TRADING BOOKS: https://tradersfly.com/go/books/ ⚽ GET PRIVATE COACHING https://tradersfly.com/go/coaching/ 🌐 WEBSITES: https://tradersfly.com https://rise2learn.com https://backstageincome.com https://mylittlenestegg.com https://sashaevdakov.com 💌 SOCIAL MEDIA: https://tradersfly.com/go/twitter/ https://tradersfly.com/go/facebook/ ⚡ SUBSCRIBE TO OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL https://tradersfly.com/go/sub/ 💖 MY YOUTUBE CHANNELS: TradersFly: https://backstageincome.com/go/youtub… BackstageIncome: https://backstageincome.com/go/youtub… 📑 ABOUT TRADERSFLY TradersFly is a place where I enjoy sharing my knowledge and experience about the stock market, trading, and investing. Stock trading can be a brutal industry, especially if you are new. Watch my free educational training videos to avoid making big mistakes and just to continue to get better. Stock trading and investing is a long journey – it doesn’t happen overnight. If you are interested to share some insight or contribute to the community we’d love to have you subscribe and join us!

Forex vs Stocks: Which Should You Trade?

Forex and stocks are two of the most popular global markets. Before you start trading either, it’s vital to know which is best suited for your trading strategy and risk appetite. Look at our comparison and learn the differences.

The largest difference between forex and the stock market is, of course, what you are trading. Forex, or foreign exchange, is a marketplace for the buying and selling of currencies, while the stock market deals in shares – the units of ownership in a company. Primarily, your decision about whether to trade currencies or stocks should be based on which asset you are interested in trading, but there are some other factors you need to consider.

Market trading hours

The opening hours of a market can have a significant influence over your trading, impacting the time you will need to spend monitoring the markets.

As forex is a completely global market, you can trade 24 hours a day, five days a week. This provides you with ample opportunities for trading, but also creates the risk of the market moving while you aren’t around to monitor it. If you decide to trade forex, it is important to create a risk management strategy with appropriate stops and limits to protect your trades from unnecessary losses.

The best time of day to trade forex is when the market is the most active, which is usually when two sessions overlap, as there will be a higher number of buyers and sellers. For example, if you were interested in GBP/USD, London and New York trading hours overlap between 12pm to 4pm (London time). The increased liquidity will speed up transactions and even lower the cost of spreads.

Share trading is slightly different, as it is often limited to the opening hours of whichever exchange the shares are listed on. Increasingly extended hours are being offered to traders, which means you can act quickly on breaking news, even when the market is closed.

Find out more about trading stocks

Market influences

Another factor to consider before trading forex or shares is what moves market prices. Primarily, both markets are influenced by supply and demand, but there are a host of other factors that can move prices.

When share trading, you will need to focus on a few factors that directly impact your chosen company – including the company’s debt levels, cash flows and earnings – as well as economic data, news reports and sector health.

But with forex, the focus tends to be far wider, as a more complex range of factors can impact market pricing. You generally need to take the macroeconomics of the country into consideration – for example, unemployment, inflation and gross domestic product (GDP), as well as news and political events. And because you are buying one currency while selling another, you need to be aware of the performance of not just one economy, but two.

Why trade forex?

Liquidity

Liquidity is the ease at which an asset can be bought or sold in a market. It is an important consideration because the higher the volume of traders, the more money there is flowing through the market at any time – making it easier for you to find someone to take the other side of your position.

Forex is the largest and most popular financial market in the world, which means it is extremely liquid and frequently sees a daily turnover of trillions of dollars.

Market liquidity can fluctuate throughout the day as different sessions open and close around the world, but it also varies greatly depending on which FX pair you choose to trade. Just eight currency pairs account for the majority of trading volume – for example, the dollar is involved in almost 75% of all forex trades according to the Bank of International Settlements (2016).

The stock market sees comparatively fewer trades per day, but shares are still easy to access and trade. Large, popular stocks – such as Apple, Microsoft or Facebook – are the most liquid as there are usually willing buyers and sellers, but once you move away from blue chips there is often significantly less liquidity.

Volatility

Volatility is a measure of how likely it is that a market’s price will make major, unforeseen price fluctuations. A market with high volatility will see its prices change quickly, whereas markets with low volatility tend to have more gradual price changes.

The ease at which forex can be traded makes it extremely volatile. Though the market will usually trade within a small range, the vast number of trades taking place on the forex market can cause prices to change extremely quickly. When trading forex it is important to keep up to date with political, economic and social events, as the market is prone to sudden and drastic movements in response to these announcements.

The stock market tends to have more stable price patterns that you can track over time. But, like forex, it can see periods of volatility and is especially sensitive to domestic politics. For example, the Dow Jones fell sharply in March 2018 as American companies suffered from US President Donald Trump’s trade tensions with China.

Trading volatility can potentially provide a lot of opportunities for traders to profit, but it also comes with increased risk, making it important to take steps to prevent unnecessary loss.

Leverage

Trading on leverage enables you to gain exposure to markets with just a fraction of the capital normally required. Leveraged products, such as CFDs, can be used to trade on margin across a range of markets.

Though it can be an advantage of both share trading and forex trading alike, it is more commonly cited as a feature of currency trading. Forex trades usually have a much larger leverage ratio, in some countries as much as 200:1. But leverage is a double-edged sword: though it can magnify returns, it can also magnify losses.

Whichever market you choose, it is important to be aware of the size of your exposure, and understand the risks involved.

Read more about the impact of leverage on your trading

Going long or short

When deciding between forex and the stock market, it is important to identify all the opportunities available to you – notably, can you short sell? The ability to short a market opens you up to a whole new dimension of market movements, enabling you to speculate on both rising and falling markets.

As forex trading involves buying one currency and selling another, traders have always been able to access falling markets.

When investing in shares, you could traditionally only take a long position, as you’d be looking to profit from any future increase in the value of a company’s stock. But thanks to derivative products, such as CFDs, you can go long and short on company shares – giving you equal access to trading opportunities whatever the future direction of the market.

Find out how to short sell

Should you trade forex or stocks?

When it comes to deciding whether you should trade forex or stocks, there is no definitive answer because there are benefits and drawbacks to each market. Ultimately, your decision will come down to your personal preferences and attitude toward risk.

When making your decision, you need take into consideration your trading style and financial goals. If you are interested in a fast-paced environment, forex provides ample opportunities for short-term traders – such as day traders, scalp traders or swing traders. If you’re looking to take advantage of short to mid-term trends, or less volatility, the stock market could be for you.

By: Becca Cattlin | Financial writer, London

Source: Forex vs Stocks: Which Should You Trade? | IG EN

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How GameStop And An Army Of Reddit Traders Exposed The Riskiest Market In Decades

On Thursday evening Thomas Peterffy, the billionaire founder of Interactive Brokers, took stock of a day unlike any in his over fifty-year trading career. An army of novice traders had united on social media site Reddit and relentlessly bought stock and options in ailing video game retailer GameStop on trading applications such as Robinhood, driving its stock from $20 at the start of the year to nearly $500 that afternoon.

The surge cost Wall Street investors almost $20 billion in mark-to-market losses, and Peterffy’s brokerage spent the day issuing thousands of margin calls on its customers’ bearish GameStop bets, forcing them to realize losses. During the trading day, Interactive Brokers, Robinhood and other online brokerages also restricted some trading in GameStop, movie theater chain AMC Entertainment, BlackBerry and other stocks that were part of the pump. The move, they later said, was to conserve cash as their clearinghouses demanded money to cover potential customer losses amid the fervent speculation. 

At Interactive Brokers, Peterffy estimated that had the firm not closed out trades, its customers were sitting on $500 million in losses. Cash got tight at Robinhood, the Silicon Valley unicorn that had raised billions in venture capital and unleashed the speculative frenzy, introducing millions of young traders to frictionless stock and options trading. It drew down hundreds of millions in its credit lines and raised $1 billion in new emergency cash as its clearinghouse reserves rose tenfold.

Peterffy went to bed that night worried of a market collapse. “If the broker has to pay more money to the clearinghouse for customer losses than he has, then the broker is bankrupt. And when one broker goes bankrupt, usually a few others do too,” he told Forbes late on Thursday evening. “So, I’m worried about a systemic failure.”

IKBR
Thomas Peterffy, founder of Interactive Brokers PHOTO BY MATTHEW FURMAN/THE FORBES COLLECTION

The episode of millennial and zoomer-aged Reddit traders taking on Wall Street’s wealthiest and winning has turned into the David versus Goliath tale of the age of inequality. There are some big winners from GameStop, young investors who’ve already taken massive profits that can be used to pay off student debt, or build savings. For many onlookers, the humiliation of Wall Street is icing on the cake.

Despite the wry cheers, GameStop’s surge is surfacing a market fraught with leverage, unprecedented speculation and superficial analysis at almost every corner, exposing enormous risks. The pain started with the hedge funds that lost big, but as risk bubbles over, it will have reverberations in the broader market (see story).

“What’s been happening really is a reflection of the quality of analysis, the quality of work, the quality of input that is coming to Wall Street,” says billionaire investing legend Michael Steinhardt. “And it’s a sorry tale, that something like this can happen and it’s obviously something that will have a bad ending for people who are in a position to afford it least.”

Long-short equity hedge funds generated big gains in 2020 as they bet on the digital companies that thrived during the Coronavirus pandemic, and hedged their rising portfolios by crowding into bets against troubled retailers like GameStop. But they entered the new year complacent.

“When I looked at these shorts, I thought who the heck would be short movie theaters, bricks and mortar retailers and airlines when we’re just beginning to clear bottlenecks in vaccine distribution,” says Barry Knapp, managing partner of Ironsides Macroeconomics. GameStop entered 2021 as one of the most shorted stocks in the world, though positive changes were afoot inside the company as online sales surged and customers lined up outside its stores to buy new PlayStation consoles. Moreover, the Federal Reserve has been flooding the market with liquidity and a second round of stimulus checks hit bank accounts at the end of the year, a risk hedge funds should have sidestepped. The complacency was exploited by the Reddit army, to devastating effect.

A hedge fund named Melvin Capital, backed by Billionaire Steven A. Cohen of Point72, was the biggest victim, dropping 53% in January according to the Wall Street Journal, in part due to its GameStop short. One of Melvin’s mistakes was disclosing a put position against GameStop (a bet shares would fall) on its public filings, which gave the Redditors a target to rally around. It could have done the trades over-the-counter, remaining discreet, or closed them. Last week, Melvin required a $2.75 billion infusion from Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management and Citadel, owned by billionaire Ken Griffin, due to its losses.

Other big funds were hit hard. “People are telling me that the pain is anywhere from down 10% on the low end, which is Steve Cohen, to down 30% on the high-end,” says hedge fund insider Anthony Scaramucci of Skybridge. Large funds swept up in the losses include Cohen’s Point72 and highly-regarded funds like D1 Capital, Holocene Capital, Viking Global and Ken Griffin’s Citadel.

These funds may have mistakenly taken a piping hot stock market as a sign of genius, pressing their trade too far. “Tech stocks today are historically overvalued. On many metrics, they’re higher than they were at the peak of the dot-com bubble,” says Kevin Smith, chief investment officer of $200 million in assets Crescat Capital. 

Fueling soaring valuations is perhaps the biggest speculative frenzy witnessed in a century, thanks to frictionless and zero-cost stock and options trading by Robinhood. Single stock call option trading has hit new records. Junky GameStop, not Apple or Microsoft, was by far the most traded company in America at times last week. Daily option premiums traded in the video game retailer surged to nearly $10 billion, more than the entire S&P 500 Index. 

It’s all thanks to online brokerage Robinhood, which introduced millions of young traders to these dangerous derivative financial products and adeptly built a platform that encourages video game-like speculation. While Robinhood purports to democratize investing, behind the scenes it makes money feeding customers order to Wall Street’s savviest traders (see story). Giant market making firms like Citadel Securities and Virtu Financial have been more than happy to pay for the flow of orders coming from Robinhood, earning record revenues executing the trades in 2020. Time and again, however, the construct has proven unable to handle the rampant speculation it encourages. 

For the past year, Robinhood has crashed at the apex of market activity and a new problem emerged Thursday. Because Robinhood onboards clients with margin accounts so they can begin trading instantaneously, it’s required to post collateral for its traders’ activity. On Thursday, the activity was so large, concentrated and speculative, Robinhood’s clearinghouses demanded extra collateral, creating a cash crunch that led to the trading freeze. Robinhood then went running to its venture capital backers for a $1 billion cash infusion. 

Lawmakers and celebrities came to the Redditors defense. When trading was restricted in GameStop, just as they could smell hedge fund blood in the water, both New York Congressman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Texas Senator Ted Cruz demanded investigations. Comedian Jon Stewart lamented, “this is bull**it. The Redditors aren’t cheating, they’re joining a party Wall Street insiders have been enjoying for years…maybe sue them for copyright infringement instead!!”

GameStop’s rise began with reasonable analysis, but morphed into an arbitrage that exploits free options trading. Ultimately, it has revealed a new force in financial markets that’s crashing Wall Street’s clubby party, with hard to predict consequences. “Frictionless and highly gamified environments ignite the basest instincts of human nature,” says Paul Rowady of Alphacution Research. “Lubricating people to forego whatever discipline and self-control that they might otherwise have is the intended goal of these environments. And, with sustained exposure comes indelible impacts.”

GameStop
GameStop’s Short Squeeze Courtesy of YCharts

GameStop’s ascent started in the summer of 2019 when Michael Burry, the hedge fund manager lionized for spotting the housing bubble in “The Big Short,” uncovered his next great trade in GameStop. Burry bought two million shares and recommended an obvious arbitrage. “GameStop could pull off perhaps the most consequential and shareholder-friendly buyback in stock market history with elegance and stealth,” Burry told the company after disclosing his position. “Mr. Market is putting this one right in your hands,” said Burry. Within months GameStop spent $200 million to retire 38% of its heavily shorted stock. 

It seeped into social media. In September 2019, Keith Gill, a 34-year financial advisor in Massachusetts, got into the GameStop trade, paying $53,566.04 to buy 1,000 call options on the company and posting his position to Reddit on Sept. 8, 2019 under the pseudonym u/DeepF__ingValue, which eventually became a sensation with millions of followers. By July 2020, he was publishing videos to YouTube under the pseudonym Roaring Kitty, presenting in kitten-themed tee shirts his detailed analysis on why GameStop could gain big if the market grew more optimistic on its sales as a new PlayStation console was released. Others jumped in. Ryan Cohen, the billionaire founder of online pet food seller Chewy, bought 10% of GameStop, and joined its board in the fall, hoping to bolster its digital platform.

With positive change afoot, Reddit posters uncovered the potential for a squeeze due to GameStop’s heavy short interest and the interplay of options trades on platforms like Robinhood and their execution by market makers like Citadel Securities. Because call options are the right to buy 100 shares of stock at a specified price for a specified period of time, the market maker executing the trade (Citadel Securities, for example) hedges itself by buying actual shares.

If enough buying activity could be organized, the Redditors realized, demand for GameStop shares would far exceed available supply, pushing prices far higher. Eventually, hedge funds short GameStop would be forced to close or cover their positions and buy GameStop shares at higher prices, adding even more upward pressure to the stock. It would be similar to the organized run on shares of United Copper, which caused the Panic of 1907, only in a digital world.

The dynamics pushed GameStop up almost 2,000% in 2020, to a $22 billion market value. Had GameStop trading not been halted, it might have ripped far higher, and it may yet.

“It’s not like everyone is an idiot just playing with their money,” says Taylor Hamilton, 23, an IT worker who has made well over $100,000 in profits and paid his off student loans since starting to trade options on online brokerages like Robinhood in March 2020. “We understood what was going on and we understood how to take advantage of the moment.”

The key for the Reddit army is to get out before the music inevitably stops. “We’re in a naturally occuring Ponzi,” says Ben Inker, head of asset allocation at GMO, “The market needs to draw in more and more money to keep this afloat. Eventually you don’t have enough and it collapses.”

For some, the squeeze is the outcome of a decade of encouragement of risk taking. Signs of excess are everywhere, from record Spac issuance to red hot initial public offerings that double or triple in a matter of days. “Policymakers are essentially telling us as investors that the prudent and responsible thing to do in this cycle is to be irresponsible and imprudent. These guys on Reddit figured it out,” says Marko Papic, chief strategist at Clocktower Group.

Things may yet get crazier, and the possibility of a debacle that hits the portfolios of index fund investors seems inevitable. As GameStop and other “meme” stocks squeezed higher, hedge funds liquidated their portfolios en masse, causing a sharp weekly drop in the S&P 500 Index. With hedge funds squeezed to the hilt, brokerages low on cash, and millions of investors maintaining enormously speculative positions, risks of bad surprises abound.

“Where there’s leverage, there’s susceptibility to squeezes and tails,” says Mark Spitznagel, the head of Universa Investments. “The entire marketplace is leveraged in an unprecedented way right now.”

The biggest immediate issue is that the squeeze is far from over. “I keep hearing that most of the GameStop shorts have been covered. Totally untrue,” says Ihor Dusaniwsky, of market data firm S3 Partners. “Brokers have been telling me as soon as some shorts are covering there is a line of new short sellers looking to short GameStop at these high stock price levels in anticipation of a pullback.”

Short interest in GameStop is now $11.20 billion with 57.83 million shares shorted, or 113% of its tradable shares, near record highs, according to Dusaniwsky. Shares shorted have declined by just 8%, despite the billions already lost. 

“These stocks could be pushed further,” worries Peterffy of Interactive Brokers, “It is a very dangerous, but very attractive game for both sides and the positions may increase accordingly… SCARY.”

—With reporting from Eliza Haverstock, Halah Touryalai, Christopher Helman, Sergei Klebnikov, Matt Schifrin and Jon Ponciano

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Send me a secure tip

Antoine Gara

Antoine Gara

I’m a staff writer and associate editor at Forbes, where I cover finance and investing. My beat includes hedge funds, private equity, fintech, mutual funds, mergers, and banks. I’m a graduate of Middlebury College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and I’ve worked at TheStreet and Businessweek. Before becoming a financial scribe, I was a member of the fateful 2008 analyst class at Lehman Brothers. Email thoughts and tips to agara@forbes.com. Follow me on Twitter at @antoinegara

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CNBC

GameStop has captivated Wall Street’s attention. The stock’s rise has been otherworldly. But the obsession isn’t just with the rally, it’s with who’s making money off of it. Legions of individual investors — regular, everyday people — gathered on social platforms like Reddit and decided to send GameStop stock, as they would say, to the moon. This week, GameStop shares soared 400%, a hedge fund had to get bailed out, and online trading platforms had to restricting trading on GameStop and other hot stocks. Here’s how the GameStop saga played out, and what’s next as lawmakers turn their sights on the story that took over Wall Street this week. »

Subscribe to CNBC: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBC » Subscribe to CNBC TV: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCtelevision » Subscribe to CNBC Classic: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCclassic About CNBC: From ‘Wall Street’ to ‘Main Street’ to award winning original documentaries and Reality TV series, CNBC has you covered. Experience special sneak peeks of your favorite shows, exclusive video and more. Connect with CNBC News Online Get the latest news: https://www.cnbc.com/ Follow CNBC on LinkedIn: https://cnb.cx/LinkedInCNBC Follow CNBC News on Facebook: https://cnb.cx/LikeCNBC Follow CNBC News on Twitter: https://cnb.cx/FollowCNBC Follow CNBC News on Instagram: https://cnb.cx/InstagramCNBC Subscribe to CNBC PRO: https://cnb.cx/2NLi9AN#CNBC GameStop Mania: How Reddit Traders Took On Wall Street

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America’s Best And Worst Banks 2021

For America’s biggest banks, the past twelve months have been one of the biggest tests of their resilience in history. The Coronavirus pandemic all but shuttered the U.S. economy for months, spurring enormous shifts in business and consumer habits. Lenders big and small, from America’s four megabanks to small regional firms, have passed their test with flying colors.

Despite some of the sharpest drops in gross domestic product and employment ever witnessed, banks were able to serve their customers and remain profitable. In 2020, there were just four bank failures in the U.S., despite the extraordinary economic circumstances. Only about 5% of banks nationwide were unprofitable, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and about 53% of banks reported annual increases in profits in 2020. 

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Corporations used low rates to issue and refinance debt at record rates in 2020, creating a cash cushion. Homeowners did the same, taking advantage of near-record-low interest rates to purchase homes or cut their interest costs. Technology also played a big role as the banking industry undergoes a digital transformation. Consumers could handle their finances on mobile apps during quarantine, instead of at temporarily closed bank branches, and digital change is helping to bolster profitability.

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Click here to see the full list of America’s Best Banks.

There are more than 5,000 banks and savings institutions in the U.S., but assets are increasingly concentrated at the top. The 100 largest have $16.4 trillion in assets, representing over 80% of total U.S. bank assets. Asset quality and profitability vary wildly among those institutions. With that in mind, Forbes examined the financial data to gauge America’s Best and Worst Banks.

Born out of the financial crisis of the late 2000s, this is the twelfth year Forbes enlisted S&P Global Market Intelligence for data regarding the growth, credit quality and profitability of the 100 largest publicly-traded banks and thrifts by assets. The ten metrics used in the rankings are based on regulatory filings through September 30. The data is courtesy of S&P, but the rankings are done solely by Forbes.

Metrics include return on average tangible common equity, return on average assets, net interest margin, efficiency ratio and net charge-offs as a percentage of total loans. Forbes also factored in nonperforming assets as a percentage of assets, CET1 ratio, risk-based capital ratio and reserves as a percentage of nonperforming assets. The final component is operating revenue growth. We excluded banks where the top-level parent is based outside the U.S.

CVB Financial, the parent company of Citizens Business Bank, was the top-rated bank in America for a second consecutive year, The Ontario, California-based small business lender was in the top-20 across every metric Forbes tracked, and it shone brightest in its efficiency ratio (39.%), operating revenue growth (41.5%) and posted a negative net charge off ratio. The median bank on Forbes’ list, by contrast, had a 57% efficiency ratio, posted operating growth of just 5.4%, and experienced a charge off rate of 0.17% of average loans. CVB, founded in 1974 and with over $13 billion in assets and over 50 branches across the state of California, has been profitable for 174 consecutive quarters, though a long streak of rising profitability was temporarily broken.

Smaller banks, and those focused on commercial lending, continued to dominate the top levels of the Forbes Best Banks list. Just one bank inside the top-20 had more than $100 billion in assets.

Houston-based Prosperity Bancshares ranked at #2, rising six spots from our 2020 list, thanks to its surging growth. Operating revenue rose 54% in 2020, and the lender performed well in efficiency and capitalization. Rounding out the top-5 were Kalispell, Montana-based Glacier Bancorp, Colorado Springs-based Central Bancorp and Conway, Arkansas-based Home BancShares. Average assets in our Top-5 was just $20 billion.

In the top-10 were McKinney, Tx-based Independent Bank Group, #6, DeWitt, NY-based Community Bank System, #7, Bank of New York Mellon, #8, Santa Clara, CA-based SVB Financial Group, #9, and Wilmington, DE-based WSFS Financial. Bank of New York Mellon was one of our biggest risers, gaining 44 spots, and outperforming on loan quality.

For the first time ever, the Big Four of U.S. banking—JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo—saw their combined assets exceed $10 trillion, or more than half the U.S. total. None of these banks finished in our Top-50, generally falling due to below-average growth as they set aside massive provisions to deal with the pandemic and were hit by plunging interest rates. JPMorgan Chase ranked highest at #51, dropping eight spots. Citigroup gained 10 spots to place at #65. Bank of America and Wells Fargo both slid, placing at #74 and #98, respectively.

JPMorgan, led by CEO Jamie Dimon, ended 2020 on a high note, reporting a record $12 billion profit as it released reserves built up to handle Covid-19 related economic stress. Despite the extraordinary circumstances, the lender saw average loans and its capital position rise to end the year, and it reported a surge in bank deposits. During 2020, the bank raised over $2 trillion of credit and capital for its clients, spanning ordinary U.S. households to the biggest corporations on the planet.

“In general, the banks have so much capital, so much liquidity and so much capability,” Dimon recently told investors in a December conference, weeks before the bank reported record annual revenues. While Dimon remains concerned about the pandemic as vaccines are distributed, and sees a varied recovery for consumers and businesses, he added of the banking industry, “I think we’re coming out of this looking great.”

Wells Fargo continued to fall in Forbes’ rankings in the wake of a 2016 fake accounts scandal that has cost the bank billions of dollars and led to dramatic change atop the lender. Wells dropped twelve spots in 2019, placing #98, due to a pronounced slump in revenues as the Federal Reserve limits its asset growth.

Over the past 12-months, JPMorgan’s stock has fallen 0.4%, making it the best performer among big banks, which all saw their stocks drop and underperform the S&P 500 Index. Citigroup shares have shed 19%, while Banks of America dropped 7%. Once more, Wells Fargo was the big laggard, falling by a third in value over the past year.

Rounding out the top-100 was Texas Capital Bancshares, #99, and CIT Group, #100.

New York-based business lender CIT Group is in the process of acquiring family-controlled First Citizens Bancshares, which ranked #62. The merger that will create a new diversified consumer and business lender with over $100 billion in combined assets, and a large presence in booming Sun Belt markets like Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. The merger comes a year after the combination of SunTrust and BB&T, which created $499 billion in assets Truist Financial, #48, which created a dominant lender in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Send me a secure tip

Antoine Gara

Antoine Gara

I’m a staff writer and associate editor at Forbes, where I cover finance and investing. My beat includes hedge funds, private equity, fintech, mutual funds, mergers, and banks. I’m a graduate of Middlebury College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and I’ve worked at TheStreet and Businessweek. Before becoming a financial scribe, I was a member of the fateful 2008 analyst class at Lehman Brothers. Email thoughts and tips to agara@forbes.com. Follow me on Twitter at @antoinegara

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Clark Howard: Save More, Spend Less

Some of the biggest banks in the country were also ranked with some of the worst customer service in a recent survey. Clark tells you who ranks the worst, and which banks are the best.

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What Is Liquidity and How To Find a Liquid Exchange

Liquidity is a topic that always pops up now and then in both the crypto community and beyond. We are sure that there is no crypto enthusiast who hasn’t heard about Bitcoin liquidity. The question is how to calculate liquidity and how to find the most liquid exchange? Let’s dig out the truth, but first things first.

Some Terminology

Liquidity is a key parameter of a certain market, which reflects the “saleability” of a certain asset. Making it simple – liquidity reflects the price change, which will be caused by filling the Market order of a certain size. In a perfectly liquid market, one would be able to sell any amount of an asset at the same price without moving it.

Thus, liquidity is an opportunity to sell assets on the market without influencing their price. Liquidity could be measured not only for certain assets but also for the whole market in general. Let’s dig deeper and determine how liquidity affects crypto trading with and what you should know about it.

The liquidity of a cryptocurrency is determined by a number of factors – from its popularity to real-world use cases of the traded asset. To better understand the concept of liquidity, it’s crucial to introduce the Order Book of a certain market. The name says it all – order book is a list of other people’s confirmed desire to purchase a traded asset at a certain limit price. When someone needs to buy or sell the crypto-asset immediately, they will have to place Market orders, which will execute against the available orders in the order book.


How To Detect Liquid Exchange?

For example, someone plans to Buy or Sell 1 BTC having an appropriate amount of USDT and BTC on balance. Let’s review some of the options to do this (it’s worth mentioning that at the time of writing, BTC is worth something around $9,200).

First, let’s look at BTC/USDT pair on the Binance exchange.

In the right section of the trading interface, you can see the above-mentioned order book and the last price at which BTC was bought or sold. From the order book, we can see that the lowest price at which someone is ready to Sell BTC is 9,189.04 and there is 4.026387 BTC available at this price.

If the user will submit a Market Buy order at the moment of the screenshot, her order will be matched against that offer and the last price of BTC/USDT would become $9,189.84, the amount of BTC available at this price will decrease and become 3.206387 BTC. In this case, liquidity on a Binance BTC/USDT pair on the Buy-side was good enough for a 1 BTC order size allowing the trader to Buy the BTC at the best available price.

At the same time, we can see from the other side of the order book that the highest price at which someone is willing to Buy BTC is 9,189.83, but they are willing to buy only 0.693640 BTC at this price. Consequently, if the user submits a Market Sell order for 1 BTC, he will ‘eat’ through 3 levels of the order book. Such an order will consume entire Buy offers at 9,189.83 and 9,189.71 levels and most of the 9,189.47 price level, moving BTC/USDT price to $9,189.47. At the same time, the All Buy orders sitting in the Order Book with the prices of $9,189.83 and $9,189.71 would be 100% filled, while the Buy orders with the price of $9,189.47 would be partially filled for the size of 0.30136 BTC. The average execution price of the 1 BTC Market Sell would be:

0.69364*9,189.83 + 0.005*9,189.71 + 0.30136*9,189.47 = $9,189.72. The difference of $0.11 between the observed best Buy offer in the Order Book at 9,189.83 and effectively achieved the average execution price of 9,189.72is called price slippage. Price slippage represents a loss for the trader due to insufficient liquidity on the Buy side of the Binance order book. Were the trader to send a Market Sell order for the amount greater than 1 BTC, the price slippage incurred would increase substantially.

Besides the direct price slippage implications of exchange order book liquidity, one could also try to derive various trading signals from it.  In the example above, since the liquidity of BTC/USDT pair on Binance appears to be better on the Sell-side of the order book, a simple conclusion could be drawn that the Selling pressure is high and that high Level 1 Sell liquidity represents market makers’ opinion that the short-term market price movement will be downwards. However, since this prediction is quite obvious, it might not come to fruition.

Binance, though, isn’t the only exchange on the market. Let’s check what would happen if the same user would try to complete the same orders on let-it-be BitRabbit exchange. Frankly speaking, we’ve never heard of this exchange and strongly don’t recommend using it for trading. One of the reasons, apart from the funny name and doubtful security of the exchange, would be presented below.

On a screenshot, you can see the same market (BTC/USDT) on the BitRabbit exchange. The first notable difference is that the price of BitRabbit is around $30 lower than on Binance. Though, it’s not the biggest problem with this screenshot.

If the user will (for any reason) deposit the necessary funds to purchase and sell 1 BTC worth of assets – the situation will be different compared to Binance.

If she will try to submit a Market Buy of 1 BTC for USDT the order will be executed at the price that is nowhere near the Last Price of  $9,163.98. The thing is that all the Sell orders sitting in the whole visible part of the order book aren’t enough to fill the order of 1 BTC. Even more, they won’t even fill a third of it, which means that the average price of 1 BTC purchased on this exchange at Market would be over $9,182, representing a price slippage of almost $20. Remember, that on Binance the price slippage incurred by the same 1 BTC order was just $0.11.

In the case of Market Sell Order of 1 BTC on BitRabbit, the slippage would not be so bad, though the order will ‘eat’ through the first three levels of the order books and fill at fourth – the price will slip less than a dollar.

This simple comparison gives you a basic idea of why liquidity is such an important characteristic of an exchange. If an order of 1 BTC can create a slippage of 20+ dollars, imagine what would happen next time BTC rallies some $500+ in 15 minutes and you are trying to exit or enter a large position on an exchange like BitRabbit.

What Influences Liquidity?

Exchange listings.

The asset’s presence on several trading platforms increases its liquidity in most cases. The more exchanges have listed an asset, the more opportunities for traders to trade it. So, the trade volume is increasing. 

Though, often, listings don’t provide liquidity. It is a typical situation when one of the assets in TOP 50-150 of CoinMarketCap is listed on 10 exchanges, while it has more than $100,000 daily volume only on 1-2 of them.

Though, in general, new cryptocurrencies are characterized by low liquidity due to their absence from major exchanges.

Use cases outside the crypto industry.

A holy grail of every crypto project is wide user adoption though, real adoption was achieved only by a few of the coins on the market. Apart from the obvious BTC use case as a “digital gold” and store of value, Ethereum managed to get some real usage back in 2017, when a boom of Smart Contracts and ICOs occurred. It now seems to gain traction with DeFi.The most recent example of wide enough adoption is Binance Coin, which became a lottery ticket to the IEO hype of 2019. Though, both of these cases still weren’t a “wide adoption outside of the crypto industry” – more like wide adoption inside of it.

Popularization. 

The stronger the crypto community scales, the more liquid in general the crypto assets are. This fact is undeniable and the proof is the performance of Bitcoin in 2017, when this coin rapidly gained at price, volume, social media mentions, and Google trends.

However, if the cryptocurrency is new and a sufficient number of crypto enthusiasts haven’t heard about it, then, most certainly, it lacks trust from the crypto community. The asset would be considered of low liquidity or, in the worst case, manipulated by bot trading and fake market making. At the same time, the asset has every chance to change its position, drawing attention to it with marketing activities, constant development, and a solid project team behind the project.

Cryptocurrency Liquidity as an Indicator of Confidence

The liquidity of cryptocurrencies is undoubtedly an important parameter that you should pay attention to when devising your trading strategy.

Think about buying a $10,000 worth of some TOP-500 altcoin, while it’s daily trading volume is $20,000. In the best case, if you don’t want to push the price up to and incur huge slippage, you’d have to accumulate your position over a week or even a few weeks. Illiquid assets often become subjects of speculations, and pump and dump schemes. It is easier for pumpers to influence the price of an illiquid asset by buying or selling a large chunk of the daily volume of this asset. In case, if the asset has low liquidity, this “large chunk” of daily volume would cost the pumpers less money. 

Sadly, Pump and Dump schemes are still a thing in the crypto market. As a result, the vast majority of the new crypto traders fall victims to at least one of those schemes. Mainly, if a new crypto enthusiast goes through an experience like this, basically a new crypto market hater would go to social media and spread the word that the whole industry is a fraud.

Current Market Liquidity

One notable thing about crypto markets and industry, in general, is that despite the speculative spikes, one could see a slow but steady adoption. It is reflected not only in the real-world use cases, a growing number of wallets, and on-chain transactions but also in the growing liquidity of the crypto market in general. It can be seen when looking at the crypto trading volume on major exchanges 2020 volumes are much higher than in 2017 or 2018 when BTC was all over the news with an all-time high price of $18,000-$20,000.

Though undeniably growing in general, crypto liquidity is shifting. Some of these shifts represent secular trends such as growing liquidity of derivative and margin exchanges vs the spot exchanges, and some are cyclical, such as periodic shifts from BTC to altcoins (altseason) and back, or the evergreen ‘flippening’ of BTC and ETH. 

Source: https://goodcrypto.app

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Liquidity definition including break down of areas in the definition. Analyzing the definition of key term often provides more insight about concepts. Liquidity can be defined as: Availability of resources to meet short-term cash requirements. Liquidity has to do with our ability to pay for short term obligations, whether they be short term debt or operational needs.

Liquidity ratios include the current ration and the quick ration or assed test ration, ratios that measure liquidity by comparing liquid assets to current liabilities. Why Learn Accounting – Financial Accounting / Managerial Accounting https://youtu.be/uaWDB1YdA1k?list=PL6… 101 Double Entry Accounting System Explained – Accounting Equation https://youtu.be/66e9QbrkE4g?list=PL6… 101 Cash vs Accrual – Cash Method / Accrual method differenc https://youtu.be/i2O0cexCrqc?list=PL6… 101 Revenue Recognition Principle https://youtu.be/M_pauBGz5Jc?list=PL6… Double Entry Accounting System Explained – Balance Sheet https://youtu.be/kOItl8E3fNA?list=PL6… 101 Income Statement Introduction https://youtu.be/1k11H8icQxc?list=PL6… 101 Accounting Objectives – Relevance Reliability Comparability https://youtu.be/mO8tPzFmN8o?list=PL6… 101 Transaction Rules – Accounting Equation https://youtu.be/0vy6W_WTO2I?list=PL6… 101 Transaction Throught Process / Steps – Accounting Equation https://youtu.be/SlTo3EXDuqU?list=PL6… 101 Owner Deposits Cash Transaction Accounting Equation https://youtu.be/lPZoImc88eU?list=PL6… 101 Work Completed for Cash Transaction Accounting Equation https://youtu.be/ll5xIHVdrVs?list=PL6… 100.110 Pay Employee with Cash Transaction Accounting Equati https://youtu.be/bSa3NuVpkwc?list=PL6… 200 Debits & Credits Normal Balance – Double Entry Accounting Sy https://youtu.be/alSWKuWPlxU?list=PL6… 200 Debits & Credits – One Rule to Rule Them All https://youtu.be/RL3BFjL1eyE?list=PL6…

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The Market Crashed & You Lost a Lot of Money Here’s What To Do Next

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The coronavirus crisis has left millions unemployed, sick and under financial strain. The last thing many of us want to do right now is look at our investments.

If you haven’t yet, try not to. Through March, the S&P 500 had the worst quarter since 2008 while the Dow Jones hadn’t seen a drop this bad since 1987. And in May, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warned of a “prolonged recession,” leaving many wondering if the worst is yet to come.

Chances are you’ve already looked at your portfolio and you’re anxious about the cash you’ve lost. That feeling is normal and you’re not alone. But if you’re wondering what to do with such a tumultuous market, there’s an easy answer: nothing.

Before you make drastic moves with your investments, see which ones are best for your finances right now.

1. Assess the damage

You’re probably panicking. Watching your investments wash away in a matter of hours, days or weeks isn’t exactly a fun time. But instead of freaking out, use this time to see which investments are worth keeping and which ones to drop.

Use this time to evaluate long-term goals. Are you OK with losing more money — even in the short term? There’s a chance your earnings will continue to drop and if you need your money within the next few months to a year, you might need to move it to a more stable account, like a high-yield savings account.

It might be time to cut your losses for some securities and use that money elsewhere. If you need the cash, use it. Otherwise reinvest in the market, whether in stocks you can buy cheap or dividend-paying stocks, where you’ll get a cash-out every month or quarter.

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Read more: Five investment accounts everyone should have

2. Evaluate your portfolio

The stock market continues to rapidly rise and drop every few days. And if you judged the US economy based on the stock market alone, it looks like we’re in a strong recovery (we’re not).

If you have extra cash on hand, invest in the stocks that were once too expensive for you. The strongest companies will most likely be here when the crisis is behind us. Look at the costs and see which ones you want to add to your investments.

You may also want to check in on companies and sectors you haven’t invested in. For instance, health care and industrials might be something to explore.

3. Dial back stock-only investments

While your portfolio should already be diversified, now might be the time to consider a conservative move. If you’re closer to retirement, look at more conservative investments. Some securities invest in stocks, bonds, CDs, real estate and other types. Consider diversifying in:

  • Exchange-traded funds
  • Index funds
  • Mutual funds
  • Annuities

Lower-risk investments are a safer bet, even if they are still risky.

Read more: Investing and saving during coronavirus: Here’s what to prioritize

4. Stick it out

It’s easy to balk when you see investments plummet. But the younger you are, the more likely you are to enjoy a stock market rebound. The 2008 recession lasted a year and a half but most recessions last less than a year. (The other exception is the Great Depression, which lasted nine years.)

Because most recessions are short-lived, take a moment to remember that the stock market plunge is short-lived, too. Once you’re on the other side of this, you’ll see your investments thriving — maybe even better than they were before.

5. Liquidate if you have to

While younger folks might have the luxury of riding it out, not everyone can afford it. For one thing, you might be closer to retirement. This means you can’t afford to take bigger risks — including waiting for a rebound that you aren’t sure will come before you stop working.

If you’ve lost your job or you’re facing significantly reduced hours (and a lower paycheck), you might not feel comfortable keeping your money in the stock market any longer than you need to. Taking your money out isn’t a bad thing if it’s a need. It’s better to cover your costs instead of going into debt just so your investments can earn a little more later on. If you need it now, use it now.

By: Dori Zinn

Source:https://www.cnet.com

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BitMax.io Pioneering Innovation with Novel Staking Product

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BitMax.io (BTMX.com), a Singapore-registered digital asset trading platform, is pioneering innovation in the industry with a novel staking product that addresses the liquidity challenges associated with traditional staking mechanisms.

BitMax.io was founded in 2018 by a group of Wall Street quantitative trading veterans and has been consistently executing on its strategic roadmap to provide its global userbase with a comprehensive set of trading products. The platform has already introduced various innovations to the cryptocurrency industry, including the industry’s first “cross-asset collateral” margin trading product and a volatility-linked derivative product called Volatility Cards. BitMax.io has recently garnered attention within the industry by announcing the launch of its new staking product that allows users to receive attractive staking returns without sacrificing liquidity. In this article, we will introduce three products offered by BitMax.io, and showcase the competitive advantages of the BitMax.io platform from a product innovation perspective.

BitMax.io Staking allows users to receive more attractive staking returns without sacrificing liquidity; therefore, encouraging higher and more resilient stake ratios for blockchain networks.

The impetus for BitMax.io’s staking product is the so-called “Liquidity Dilemma” that a token holder of a proof-of-stake (“PoS”) blockchain encounters:

  • On one hand, a token holder can stake and earn block rewards; however, in doing so, the holder agrees to “lock” their assets for a period of time, therefore sacrificing the ability to trade or manage the tokens at their own discretion.
  • On the other hand, a token holder can refrain from staking and maintain discretion over asset management; however, in doing so, the token holder sacrifices the opportunity to generate returns through block rewards.

The Liquidity Dilemma presents a number of problems for PoS blockchain projects, specifically: a low network stake ratio, extreme network inflation driven by large staking rewards, and network instability.

BitMax.io’s novel approach to staking solves the Liquidity Dilemma by providing token holders the flexibility to trade and transfer at their will and maximized staking rewards. Key features of BitMax.io Staking are as follows:

  1. Immediate Access to Staked Assets: BitMax.io maintains a pool of assets that allow for immediate access to an asset after it’s unstaked. This allows users to managed staked assets at their discretion even when delegating to a network with a lengthy unbonding period.
  2. Margin Trading for Staked Assets: To promote market efficiency, BitMax.io has created a synthetic version of each staked asset to be used as margin collateral, thus allowing users to hedge exposure while continuing to earn staking rewards.

iii. Maximize Staking Earnings: BitMax.io automatically redelegates staking rewards to staking pools, thus allowing users to further enhance the yields from their token holdings.

While other platforms, such as Binance and Kucoin, have adopted a “soft staking” method to solve the liquidity dilemma, their solution has a number of shortcomings compared to BitMax.io’s product. These platforms essentially stake a portion of their users’ funds without active acknowledgment from the token holders and distribute the rewards back to users.

While this “soft staking” approach also allows users to opt-out any time without delay by simply selling the assets, either to take profit following price appreciation or stop losses following price depreciation, users are most likely to lose some of the rewards as they are distributed based on a snapshot of holdings. At BitMax.io, users can enjoy the benefit to hedge their exposure freely as well, without giving up any rewards since users need not unstake nor sell their staked assets to do so.

 2. BitMax.io’s Cross-Asset Collateral Margin Trading

Since its first launch in early 2019, BitMax.io’s margin trading platform allows users to trade with up to 10x leverage supported by its distinctive cross-asset collateral margin system across over 40 markets. Under the cross-asset margin trading mechanism, users can post collateral in a variety of assets to then borrow against in order to increase trading power. This funding flexibility ultimately promotes greater trading efficiency amongst BitMax.io’s userbase and makes margin trading more accessible to the less-experienced traders.

In the crowded digital asset trading industry, distinct features successfully set BitMax.io’s margin trading apart from similar products of competing platforms. For example, BitMax.io offers 0% interest for margin borrow when repaid with 8-hour settlement cycles (0:00 UTC, 8:00 UTC, 16:00 UTC). Another feature of auto leverage promotes seamless usage by granting users maximum trading power based on their “Margin Asset” balance. Lastly, BitMax.io minimizes price deviation due to unexpected marketplace volatility via a composite reference price from multiple trading platforms. This mitigates risk associated with a single point of vulnerability, such as an illiquid market or system performance disruption

3. Volatility Cards – BitMax.io’s Simple Yet Efficient Solution to Trade on Price Movements

Cryptocurrencies are well-known for their volatility. While some see that as a turn-off, traders see opportunities in gaining exposure to it for both trading and risk management. To meet this demand, BitMax.io introduced an innovative product called Volatility Cards.

Volatility Cards are a short-term volatility-linked derivative with quasi-option structure designed by the co-founder and CEO of BitMax.io, Dr. George Cao. By purchasing those cards,  users can trade based on their anticipation of an asset’s price-movement within certain magnitudes.

The cards are named after Aesop’s Fable – the Tortoise and the Hare – and have a simplified layout that suits both retail and institutional investors. Those who correctly predict the range of the asset’s price movement receive a payout equivalent to the notional value of the card.

For example, a user would purchase a “Turtle Card” if they anticipated a small BTC price movement within the next one hour (i.e., < 0.30%), or a “Bunny Card” if they anticipated a large BTC price movement within the next one hour (i.e., > 1.00%).

Source: Bitmax.io

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In this video I review BitMax and give you a first look at their Beta. BitMax is creating an innovative new kind of digital asset exchange and their goal is to build a decentralized community-based autonomous economy. Their plan is to boost the liquidity of the overall market. Website: https://bitmax.io
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