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Increasing Your Portfolio Across Borders

Unless you live in a cave, globalization hasn’t escaped your notice. While international trade has flourished, so has international investing. In the old days, international investing was a realm for wealthy and professional investors. It was risky and expensive. Besides, the U.S. was by far the world’s biggest economy, and investing here was better.

In 2017, investors who said that had to eat their hats. Using the S&P 500 as the domestic benchmark, U.S. equities rose by 21.83 percent. That’s not bad, but consider this: The MSCI ACWI EX US, a measure of the world’s stock market performance excluding the U.S., saw a gain of 27.9 percent. Europe, Asia, and the Far East recorded gains of 25.03 percent. Emerging markets enjoyed a stunning 37.28 percent rise.

For international stocks, the party is far from over, according to Nicole Coombes and Paul Fortin, due diligence analysts with Boston Private. “We are particularly bullish on international equities right now. They had a strong year in 2017, and we think that’s going to continue,” explains Coombes. If that prediction holds true, investors have a lot to look forward to in the international sector. Coombes recommends always having a piece of the international market. Here’s why:

1.Diversification

A well-diversified portfolio in today’s era needs to include more than U.S. investments. Investors need to hedge all sorts of risks, including to the U.S. economy and the U.S. dollar.

2.New opportunities

International markets, especially emerging markets, are full of fresh investment opportunities. Gains from fast growing economies, privatization, and loosening trade barriers are projected to continue far into the future.

3.Attractive valuations

No matter how good a company or its products, its stock has to be valued right to be a good investment. The international markets provide much larger opportunities for value investing.

Avoid country bias

American investors have 75 percent of their equities in American companies, even though they own 53 percent of the world’s stocks. This shows a definite bias towards U.S. stocks. Why?

Americans are familiar with American companies. They know Amazon, Microsoft, and the other S&P 500 components. Overseas companies are unknown, but they are where opportunity lies.

Equity prices in the U.S. stock market are looking expensive. Even with some recent pullbacks, the P/E ratio of big U.S. companies, and the valuation of the market itself, are far above the international average. With these high valuations comes the specter of a bubble not seen in international stocks.

Another reason U.S. investors shy away from international equities is a false sense that international investing is too complicated. The real problem may be more in line with international markets being unfamiliar. Though investing in unfamiliar territory causes some justifiable reticence, a ready solution is close at hand.

International stock funds take all the guesswork out of investing overseas. Professional money managers pick the best values, after countless hours of research, so you don’t have to. This takes away the problem of having to worry about investing in something you don’t understand.

The fund managers understand these markets. With the incredible performance of many international markets and their values still remaining low, international funds stand to outpace their U.S. counterparts for years to come.

Increase your profits with options

Options are a great tool to increase returns in flat markets. With the U.S. market seeming to slow down, it’s a good idea to branch out into other investment vehicles. One way to use options to capitalize on placid market waters is through a bull call spread strategy.

This spread involves purchasing a call option and put option on the same stock with the same expiration date, as Investopedia explains. Because volatility is expected to remain low until the expiration date, there is a high chance that the stock price will fall between the strike prices of the call and put. In that case, the investor profits from both positions.

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How to Build Wealth on a Firm Foundation

There are many ways to increase your investment portfolio, but there are two rules you must follow when you set out on your mission to make more money. First, you must determined to have a balanced portfolio to ward off any dips. Second, you must not ever, ever panic.

 

Most experts say people make terrible mistakes when they panic during a drop. They sell assets low only to give themselves a facepalm when their former stocks dramatically rise later. Building a portfolio takes time, most of it waiting, and you need to be prepared to let your assets simmer over a decade or two to truly build wealth.

 

Conservative Choices for Older Investors

Beyond that, there are some things you can do to increase your wealth and protect your assets. Most experts state you can take on more risk with aggressive stocks when you are younger. The older you are the more you should look to conservative investments like bonds or treasury notes. They offer less in return, but are safe.

 

There is a lot of talk about gold, silver and other precious metals. A diversification into precious metals could be helpful to offset any loss in stocks over the years. Gold goes the opposite direction of stocks because of its inverted relationship with inflation. If stocks are down, gold prices surge. Be aware that gold will more than double, possibly even triple, but it takes 20 years to get the most value out of it.

 

Blue chip stocks, those companies that have been around and are sure winners, are always good to include in your portfolio. They usually have strong growth and carry little risk.

 

Aggressive Investment Choices

Cryptocurrency is the center of a lot of talk because of Bitcoin’s sudden value rise and drop over the past year, but most experts remain wary of investing in the online currency. There are at least 20 different cryptocurrencies to choose from and all have their different advantages. Bitcoin is the most well known, but some of the lesser known currencies like Ethereum and Litecoin deserve some notice. Around 43 percent of those who are into cryptocurrency say the future is in Ripple.

 

Some of the largest growth is coming in new technology like artificial intelligence, according to stock experts. A fund including new tech like blockchains or a GPU database could net big money as the technology grows. Blockchains, which are the tech behind cryptocurrency, are considered by some to be a smarter choice than cryptocurrency itself. GPU databases are showing they offer more functionality than in gaming and should see expansion into other sectors, like the financial or industries wanting to effectively supercharge their databases.

 

Those watching the stock market advice real, serious money will be made by investing in the back-end tech behind new inventions like self-driving cars, virtual medical exams, and water filtration systems. These are all smaller, unknown companies at the moment, but are the ones that make new inventions function.

 

The Past is Made New Again

There could also be significant growth in sectors that were once U.S. industry leaders, but died off in the global market. President Donald Trump’s deregulation efforts, tariffs and one-on-one agreements will have a significant impact on industries like steel, automotive, and coal. Coal companies are reopening in the Blue Ridge Mountains and steel companies are seeing profit sharing stocks rise. One company saw a 13 percent profit sharing increase since Nov. 8, when Trump was elected. Part of confidence stems out of the promise of protective tariffs and part from dramatic infrastructure improvements.

 

Investing is a smart decision as long as you make it an informed decision. Brokerages have investment funds of solid choices which do the research for you and that is helpful to new investors. In the end, you will find having any kind of investment portfolio is better than not having one at all.

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What to Expect In the Insurance Market In 2018

Insurance happens to be one of the costs of the most significant project in the running of any business enterprise. When you total up life insurance, benefits for employees, worker’s compensation, premiums for commercial auto insurance, general liability and property insurance you will realize that it roughly 5% of the total revenue generated in a particular financial year or more. All these insurance incentives are just the direct costs involved. If you consider indirect costs, you will notice that this number may inflate by more than 100%. It is critical for any business owner or manager to know how to manage these costs proactively due to their magnitude and also project on the costs as we get into the first fiscal quarter of 2018.

The only way to minimize the seriousness of claims and expenses involved in risks for long-term is to ensure that you have detailed documentation of the insurance policies that your business cannot run without by law or otherwise. However, in the immediate and near future, small and medium-sized business enterprises will also be affected by the insurance market as premiums continue to hike. In this article, we are going to offer some insight into the current situation of our insurance industry and how the current underwriting objectives and finances will affect your company in 2018.

The current trends in the insurance sector

The return on the industry’s net worth was considerably reduced in the worst financial crisis that has been experienced in the 21st century in the years between 2008 and 2012. This was as a result of the combination the reduced level of returns on investment and a combined ratio that was somehow lousy. This was as a result of the fact that most of the insurance firm’s portfolio is invested in debts as companies can only invest about a fifth of their revenue in equities.

For the insurance industry to continue to grow, it will need to attract surplus capital in the coming fiscal year. The industry needs to earn about 10% returns or more for it to achieve surplus capital. Underwriters will always push an effort to push for increased rates regarding insurance policies whenever the returns on investment deteriorate as we experienced in the financial crisis of 2008.

The insurance sector performed well in the years between 2013 and 2015 but not to the expectations of many. Insurance companies generated modest profits, but the overall returns on investment were decent. In this period, the cost of insurance premiums stagnated but after some time started to have a downward trend.

Allied lines

The term allied lines include such things as an umbrella, auto insurance, general liability and property insurance. The premiums charged for the policies of these lines should remain relatively flat except auto insurance premiums. However, this will not mean that insurance companies will not charge a modest increase in the allied lines premiums. The rise in rates can in most cases be negotiated by the policyholders and the insurance company.

In recent years, we have seen the deterioration of the auto experience, and there are estimations that State Farm in their 2016 auto book lost over $7 billion. The results are deteriorating majorly due to the increased severity of claims and an increase the cases of distracted driving. For instance, the cost of repairing a camera-laden bumper or a sensor has increased significantly as compared to what insurance companies used to pay ten years ago.

Executive risk

The things that are involved in operational risk include Fiduciary Liability, employment practices liability and directors and officers (D&O) liability. The last financial crisis signaled a warning to the insurance industry that the coverage of these obligations is quite expensive. For instance, every form has taken a different approach, and there have emerged some players who may be out of the playing field in the next five years just like in professional liability. However, it is expected in 2018 that the renewal terms will on average be flat with some rate relief opportunities.

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How Technology Will Continue Changing the Stock Market of Healthcare

Ever since the discovery of fire by ancient humans, technology has been continually evolving. That evolution continues to this day. However, while the technological developments of hundreds of years ago were a much more gradual process of continual progress, today the progress is occurring in leaps and bounds that are certain to transform society much faster than the discoveries of the past.

Of these new technological developments, perhaps the most important regards healthcare technology. With new and improved healthcare tech, the lives of patients are sure to improve and lengthen greatly. With that benefit for patients, the stock market is also certain to see transformations as new technologies raise the profile of new companies and public offerings. With that in mind, below are some of the ways healthcare tech will bring about this profound change.

 

Robotic Surgeons

One of the sources for some of the biggest innovations in healthcare that will soon be upon us will be the wider application of robots. Robots are poised to transform a number of different industries in which human beings will be replaced by automated machines that can perform the same kind of work. While we usually associate automation with things like manufacturing and shipping, automation will soon impact the healthcare industry as well.

Surgery requires the steady hand of surgeons with years of training to pull off successfully. Despite the skill of surgeons, human error is still a possibility. When the stakes are high, those errors can result in death.

However, in the near future, many routine as well as highly complex surgeries may be completed by robots. In fact, this transition is already taking place. A robot manufactured by Intuitive Surgical was able to perform a soft tissue surgery with more precision than a human being could.

 

Nanobots

While you are probably very familiar with the term robot, you may not be as familiar with the nanobot. A nanobot is a robot or other autonomous machine that is built on a very miniature scale. In specific, nanobots are usually thought of as being less than 10 micrometers in size. How big is a micrometer? A micrometer is one thousand times smaller than one millimeter. This is a size smaller than what can be seen with the human eye.

As technology moves towards the creation of more advanced nanobots and nanomachines, the benefit for patients is clear. In fact Bar-Ilan University in Israel has already begun trial tests for using nanobots as a strategy for fighting cancer. These nanobots are built to detect cancer cells in the human body and apply treatment directly to them. It is hoped this means of treating cancer will be more successful and result in far less debilitating side effects than chemotherapy.

 

Picture Archiving and Communication Systems

Another significant development has been the introduction of new and improved PACS. PACS is an acronym that stands for Picture Archive and Communication System. A PACS system is what a healthcare enterprise like a hospital uses to create and manage medical imagery. This includes things like X-Rays, MRIs, CAT scans, ultrasounds and more.

In the past, such medical images existed as physical film. They had to be stored in huge bulky filing cabinets. Simply retrieving them for use by medical professionals was a chore in itself. Transferring them to doctors in other locations was even more difficult and required fax machines or the US Postal Service. Today, PACS is much more high tech and creates medical images as extremely high resolution image files. These files can be distributed almost immediately through the use of cloud networks. This makes such medical images more readily available to medical professionals when they need them.

Technology is evolving at a pace unseen before. As medical technology improves, so will the lives of patients all over the world. The healthcare industry is changing, and companies and the stock market will have to adjust accordingly.

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How Blockchain Technology Will Revolutionize the Stock Market

The stock market in the current economy is a monolith with a history that dates back hundreds of years. Although entities such as banks and transfer agents have used modern technology to increase the efficiency of investing and trading, it still works in much the same way it always has. There is a centralized record that keeps track of ownership, stocks and trades. Every single transaction that occurs has to go through one of these central record holders before it can be completed. In recent years, however, a new technology called blockchain has emerged that could change the very fabric of how the stock market works.

 

The Blockchain

The blockchain is a peer-to-peer network of computers, called nodes, that keep track of a series of transactions, the chain. Each node holds the entire chain of transactions and they work together to verify any new transactions that are added. Such a system could cut out the middlemen and create a distributed network in the stock market. This could allow investors to transfer shares directly, with the network itself doing the work of storing the information and ensuring data is correct. The implications of such virtual bookkeeping services based on blockchain technology are far reaching.

 

Speed

One clear way in which blockchain would change the stock market is its instantaneous nature. Every action could be completed almost immediately, making shares a much more liquid asset than they are right now and encouraging more investment into any stock exchange which uses blockchain. In finance, speed is vital.

 

Security

Imagine having an army of computers at your fingertips who’s only job is to record your shares and make sure everything is in order. If you want to make a transaction, the network makes sure that both parties have what they agree upon before finalizing the deal. With this dlp system in place fraud, tampering and simple human error would become much more difficult to accomplish. As shares are bought and sold, and investments are made, the information is recorded and verified with every node in the network. Any mistake or malicious action would be caught quickly.

 

Transparency

With the complete history of the stock market available on the chain, there would be total transparency. Transactions and more would be available for anyone to see, including data mining and analytics tools. Economic crisis similar to that in 2008 could be avoided by finding trends and anomalies in the market before it is too late.

 

Cost

Lastly, the sheer cost of doing business in the stock market would go down. Central entities would no longer need to record and verify transactions themselves, which is an astounding amount of data and operating costs. This would be done automatically by the blockchain as the technology behind the stock market.

 

Already in Use

The benefits promised by blockchain are not only theoretical. There are already experiments in its use in the market today, all around the world. VC investors have given millions of dollars to revolving around using blockchain in the stock market. Funderbeam, a startup creating a blockchain stock market, has raised $2.6 million dollars and exists now as an example of what the future could hold.

In addition, the Santiago Exchange in Chile has teamed with IBM to implement blockchain into parts of its financial systems. This Exchange is in the company of such entities as the London Stock Exchange, the Australian Securities Exchange and Nasdaq, all of whom are also looking to use this technology to their advantage. There is no doubt that it will change the future of the stock market.

The financial world clearly sees advantages to this emerging technology. The speed, security, transparency and cost of basing transactions on a distributed network means that the market could soon be a much different playing field than it is today. Shares could be bought and sold quickly without fear of error or fraud, at a cheaper price overall.

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5 Rising Technologies That Are Impacting the Stock Market

Trading stocks involves finding good corporations with solid management teams, products and a strategy to make ample profits. The entire process of analyzing how these businesses fit into the global economy is being revolutionized with a number of powerful technologies. These 5 technologies change how the world is viewed, how the companies are valued and how the stocks are traded.

Faster, Smarter & Anywhere Money Making

Successful stock traders have key advantages over others. Although technology can’t predict the future, the huge technological advancements of the 21st Century with its digital currency revolution has allowed regular people to have a much better chance of predicting financial outcomes.

Technical traders want to be able to respond faster than others and have a variety of technologies to make this a reality (smart phone apps and HFT). These technologies allow people to succeed anywhere they are, just like the vape box mod. You don’t need to have a large vaping set up at home. You can accomplish your goals on-the-go. Together, these are five of the technologies, impacting the stock market.

1. Smartphone Apps

Smartphone apps allow you to trade stocks, bonds or Forex on a remote Caribbean beach while enjoy Piña Coladas. The best financial apps allow you to receive alerts, view charts and execute trades remotely.

2. High-Frequency Trading (HFT)

The top global banks have been continuously profitable for many, many quarters. Their secret? High-Frequency Trading (HFT) algorithms. The top traders can execute their trades in microseconds with HFT. Investopedia has reported that between “2009 and 2010, anywhere from 60% to 70% of U.S. trading was attributed to HFT.” HFT has become the norm.

3. Siri Trades

Did you know that Siri (the Apple artificial intelligence) can make restaurant and airline reservations? It is becoming downright scary. Of course, Siri might be used for trading stocks, sometime soon.

As cute as it is to ask Siri questions, some might also ask her for stock advice. Her picks would probably be better than throwing at a dart board.

4. Is BitCoin Bad?

What used to have a bad reputation has suddenly become an important commodity. Have you figured it out? Many top investors have decided to take this route within the market. Nothing has really changed with digital blockchain currencies, like BitCoin, except now this elite 1% own shares. You might want to get on board the BitCoin train before it leaves the station.

5. Web Bot is Good

Much of Western society is about psychology. The most successful stock traders understand the “herd mentality.” The Web Bot is an accumulation of analytics tracking keywords on the World Wide Web. It actually makes predictions, using the results of psycho history.

The concept is similar to Google Analytics. You can look up how often certain keywords are used online. When you do an overall analysis, you might be able to find hidden trends.

This is also how marketing works. Corporations already have a lot of information, accumulated from cookies placed on your home computer. This geo-location information allows them to recommend videos on YouTube, restaurants in your town or car insurance for your new SUV.

Some have argued that the WebBot (created by Clif High) has actually made a couple of successful predictions already. How similar will 2018 be like 2008? What does the WebBot say?

Combined Technology Provides Advantage

By combining all of these technologies, stock traders can gain a distinct advantage over the competition. The billionaires are already using these technologies to increase their speed, knowledge and ubiquitous stock trading acumen. The astute will invest in these technologies to level the playing field.

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