Sunday, September 23, 2007

Forex Market Heats Up For The Individual Trader

There has been a plethora of new financial instruments coming on stream for individuals in recent years. A few provide more leverage than just buying and selling stocks. Among the most rewarding markets opening up to traders is the FOREX (Foreign Exchange Market).

Why? Money or currency is the ultimate commodity. Every time a company or government buys or sells products and services in a foreign country, they are subject to a foreign currency trade, the exchanging of one currency for another. May individuals and organizations also trade currencies for speculative purposes. In contrast to the worlds stock markets, foreign exchange (Forex) is traded without the constraints of a central physical exchange.

Transactions are instead conducted via telephone or online networks. With this transaction structure in place, the Foreign Exchange market has become by far the largest marketplace in the world. With all these currency transactions going on daily, it is no wonder that the foreign currency exchange market (known as Forex or FX market) is the largest financial market in the world. It is much bigger than all the US Stock markets combined with a daily trading volume larger than that of all the worlds stock markets put together!

In addition, it is the least regulated market providing the greatest liquidity to investors. Trillions of dollars of foreign exchange activity takes place very day. From 1997 to 2000, daily Forex trading volume surged from US$5 billion to US$20Trlllion. The Forex market continues to grow at a phenomenal rate. This high volume is advantageous from trading standpoint because transactions can be executed quickly (with minimal slippage) and with low transaction costs. (Small bid/ask spread).

Before the Internet, only corporations and wealthy individuals could trade currencies in the Forex market through the use of proprietary trading systems of banks, often through private banking.

These systems required about $1Million to open an account. Thanks to the proliferation of the internet, today self directed investors with only a few thousand dollars and smaller financial firms can have access to the forex market 24 hours a day with the same liquidity as larger market participants.

For traders, Forex trading provides an alternative to the stock market trading. Whilst there are thousands of stocks to choose from, there are only a few major currencies to trade (Dollar, Yen, British Pound, Swiss franc and the Euro are the most popular). Forex trading also provides a lot more leverage than stock trading and the minimum investment to get started is a low lower. In addition, you have the ability to choose flexible trading hours (Forex trading goes on 24 hours a day!) and lower margin requirements.

As a result, foreign exchange trading has long been recognized as a staple and superior investment vehicle by central banks, major banks, multinational corporations (MNC), individual investors and speculators, institutional funds and hedge funds.

Trading or speculation makes up 95% of the daily volume. The other 5% of daily volume consists of governments and commercial companies converting one currency into another from buying and selling goods and services. The other 5% of daily volume consists of governments and commercial companies converting one currency into another from buying and selling goods and services.

More individual traders are jumping on this Forex Market bandwagon as it opens up opportunities to trade a global market on a flexible schedule and low barrier of entry.

Alvin has been an active investor in the equity , derivative and forex market. Get more articles and resources he has compiled at

Differences Between Products And Services

What are some of the main differences between products and services? And when are these relevant?

Tangibility versus Intangibility

Products are tangible. You can buy pork as a tangible product. You buy it, you ship it and sell it. In the same way as you buy stamps, cigarettes and cars. Financial service companies however, make it possible to exchange pork bellies Futures, on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME). A future is (not the most simple example of) a service with which you can hedge your risk. In this last case, most of the people trading on the CME will never see or smell the pork bellies.

The ownership between products and services is different. A stock could be called a financial product that you own. You can place a stock order which might result in a transaction later on. You bank services a depot fee for saving you a lot of work. You cannot own a service.

Where the product is much more standardized, the service is tailor-made. Companies differentiate in offering products and services, but the variations between similar products of different producers are less prominent than the variations between services.

You can count products in the same way as you can count your money (or have your service you this information). A service is not countable, but is leveled; better than the best service is not possible. There is a limit in what a service can offer.

A product is produced by a manufacturing process. A service is offered by the utility element of companies; you subscribe to a service in the same way that you subscribe to your gas and electricity supplier.

And this brings us to the essential of these differences; changing from one (product approach) to the other (service offering) is very complex, because of the last mentioned differences. Not only the process is different but the style change you need to support this change Good Luck.

2006 Hans Bool

Hans Bool is the founder of Astor White a traditional management consulting company that offers online management advice. Astor Online solves issues in hours what normally would take days. You can apply for a free demo account

Is the UK Running out of Homes?

The simple answer could be "yes, unless more properties are built". However looking at research on the historical growth and future projections, there are some very interesting facts to consider. Firstly, with reference to 2006, let us look at the growth over the last 15 years, and the projections for the next 15 years.

Since 1991 there has been an estimated increase of 13% in UK homes from a figure around 22.4 million in 1991, to a projected 25.3 million for 2006. A similar rate of growth is predicated up to 2021 with an estimated 27.9 million homes required. This rate of growth should be sustainable providing that sufficient land and property are made available for development or redevelopment.

However with respect to the rental sector it is interesting to explore the underlying factors behind the projections of growth in homes required, of which there are probably two key factors. Firstly there is a continuing trend of net immigration into the UK. For example in 2004 it was reported that over 140,000 people were granted British citizenship and this number has been increasing each year since 1999. Additionally most new immigrants are of a relatively young age (recent statistics identify around 80% between 15 and 44 years of age). It is likely, although no evidence could be found, that a higher proportion of immigrants will seek rental accommodation.

Secondly there is a reduction in the average number of people living in a household, and this trend is expected to continue over the next 15 years. According to UK research the average size of a household in England (data not found for other countries) has fallen from 2.47 in 1991 to a projected 2.29 in 2006 and 2.15 in 2021. To look at it another way, over the 15 years from 2006, the number of homes required are projected to increase by 10.4%, whilst the population (based on average per household) will increase by only 3.75%.

So what does this really mean for the rental sector? Simply put, if we expect a 10% increase in homes built over the next 15 years, and a reduction in the average persons per household, then there is likely to be a proportional increase in rental properties required with the focus on smaller homes (such as flats or apartments). However for the private rental sector there could be an even greater impact if it is assumed that the government does not invest in expansion of social sector rental properties.

Consider the following argument. In 2005 there was an estimated 6 million rental properties, of which approximately 2.4 million were reported to be in the private rental sector. If we assume that a projected 10.4% increase in households by 2021 applies equally to the rental sector this would indicate a further 620,000 rental properties are required (social plus private). But if the total social housing stock does not increase then this demand will fall onto the private sector with an additional 620,000 homes required, representing a 25% increase on 2005 (when private rental homes were circa 2.4 million), or to put it another way an average of 40,000 new private rental properties to rent will be required each year. Is this an interesting opportunity for the private landlord?

This article is one of many researched and written on the UK property market by, a company that specialises in UK property to rent. is a free service UK property website for the private landlord, letting agents and tenants, to advertise or find properties to rent in London and throughout the UK.

Basics of Forex Trading

Foreign Exchange Trading or simply FX or even forex describes the trading of different currencies of the world. The forex market is the largest in the world with trades amounting to more than USD 1.5trillion every day. Typically, most forex trading is speculative, with only a small part of the market activity representing governments' and companies' basic currency conversion needs.

The main centers for trading are Sydney, Tokyo, London, Frankfurt and New York. By virtues of it being a world market, it is a 24 hour market where online forex trading is conducted across the globe. This is a major advantage as it provides investors with a unique opportunity to react instantly to breaking news that is affecting the world markets. The forex market is known to have superior liquidity and thus there are buyers and sellers present perennially to trade in this market. The liquidity factor ensures price stability and narrow spreads and comes mainly from banks that provide liquidity to investors, companies, institutions and other currency market players.

Unlike the stock market foreign exchange trading is not conducted through a central exchange but something similar to the OTC (over the counter market). It uses sophisticated forex trading software recognized globally. The most commonly traded currencies are the EURUSD, USDJPY, USDCHF and GBPUSD. Trading in the forex market means the simultaneous buying/selling of a currency. The combination of two currencies being traded is called cross. Forex trading is done without commissions and thus proves to be a hugely attractive opportunity for investors dealing on a daily basis. Moreover, the forex market is dynamic, and there exists trading opportunities at all times no matter whether a currency is strengthening or weakening in relations to another currency.

The spot market is the largest forex market as it has the largest volume of foreign exchange currency trading. The market is called the spot market because trades are settled immediately. In practice, however, it takes two banking days. There are virtually no restrictions in the forex trading and the forex market thereby allowing you to enjoy trading opportunities during any market condition. If you are a commercial investor, you may need to swap your trade forward to a later date. This is called forward trading and can be undertaken on a daily basis or for a longer period of time. Although the forward trade is for a future date, the position can be closed at any time and the closing part of the position is then swapped forward to the same future value date.

Trading on margin means that you can buy and sell assets that represent more value than the capital in your account. Forex trading is usually conducted with relatively small margin deposits. Leveraging allows you to hold a position worth up to 100 times more than your margin. This is useful since it permits investors to exploit currency exchange rate fluctuations. However, without appropriate risk management high leverage can lead to both large losses and gains.

Spreads and Pips - The spread is the difference between the price that you can sell currency at and the price you can buy currency at. A pip is the smallest unit by which a cross price quote changes. This is shown when you compare the bid and the ask price, for example EURUSD is quoted at a bid price of 0.9876 and an ask price of 0.9879. The difference is USD 0.0003, which is equal to 3 pips.

Up until recently, the forex market, given its large minimum transaction sizes and-stringent financial requirements, was dominated by big professional players like banks, hedge funds, major currency dealers and the occasional high net-worth individuals. However, now several global companies are now offering small companies, traders and investors small transaction trades with the same price movements and rates.

William Brister - An answer to your financial questions.

The Role Of Brokers In Online Stock Trade

The online stock brokers play a significant role in online stock trade for those who want to invest but do not possess a good amount of amount to play. They are different from the traditional stock brokers in terms of investing and managing money.

Significant Role Of Online Stock Brokers

In the world of financial ups and downs, it has become a difficult task to know the best method of investing your money. Stock exchange has always acted as a platform between the stock traders and the companies in the form of buyers and sellers respectively. The invested money of the investors is always utilized by the company in further expansion of the business to increase profits.

In the traditional method of stock trade, the investors were assisted by the stock brokers in the process of buying and selling of stock and in building the financial portfolio of the investors. But since the discovery of internet, a new easy method of stock trade has come up which is known as online stock trade and it only requires the turning ON of your computer. The online stock brokers play a significant role in the market of finance by helping the online traders to hit their financial goals.

There are numerous online stock brokers in the stock market but the most commonly used ones are Ameritrade, ETrade Financial, Fidelity, and Schwab. These stock brokers work in a very systematic way as they estimate the financial condition of the investor, they execute the financial plan, and assist the investors in investing in the stocks.

Online brokers keep on updating the investors with the updated and latest news and information in terms of stock quotes, performances of each stock, and companys financial status via online accounts created through online brokers. This information really helps the investors in investing and coming out with the profitable results.

How To Select Online Stock Brokers

The online stock trade has proved to be very much beneficial with the assistance of online stock brokers. But it is in your hands to choose the best stock broker in order to be on the bright side in the world of finances. Therefore, you should consider the following points while choosing your online stock broker.

1 - It is always recommended to begin with a full service broker for the beginners in order to become confident and knowledgeable in the market of finance therefore you should not consider discount as the standard requirement if you are a beginner.

2 - You should keep on checking the website performance especially during the peaks hours so that you should be very much familiar with the site in order to clear the confusions else it may lead to mistakes.

3 - You should always opt for the broker who can be accessed by some different modes other than internet. For e.g. via telephone, fax, etc.

4 - It is always suggested to have a proper survey of the finance market in order to get an apt stock broker.

5 - It is recommended to go for the brokerage firms that require a minimum deposit for opening an account. There are many firms that do not possess any minimum deposit at all therefore you can enjoy the liberty of depositing and withdrawing amount according to your wish but the account will remain open.

6 - You should prefer to open an account with the broker offering lowest commission cost.

7 - You can opt for the broker who not only deals in stock market rather offer other financial services like CDs, municipal bonds, mutual funds, gold or silver certificates, etc so that you can withdraw profits from these financial services also.

8 - You should confirm beforehand that the brokerage firm in with which you are going to deal with should possess 24 x 7 hours customer care service in order to assist you every time whenever required by you.

Therefore, anyone can enjoy the thrill of online stock trade but should always begin this business of finance with the assistance of a good brokerage firm in order to be on the profitable side of the stock market.

For more online stocks information please visit - a popular online stocks website that provides tips and online stock resources. Don't forget to check out our page on online stock brokers.