Selling (Going Short) Nickel Futures to Profit from a Fall in Nickel Prices

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Profiting From Falling Stock Prices

When buying stocks, falling market prices are your friend

Falling stock prices cause panic in some investors, but fluctuations in the market represent business as usual. Investors who are comfortable with this reality know how to hold their investments and how to recognize investments that are good purchases when stock prices are dropping.

Some keys to making a profit from an economic downturn are to ignore your panic mode, purchase stocks at reduced prices, or build a diversified portfolio which should include U.S. Treasuries, bonds, U.S. stocks, and foreign stocks (or funds).

Falling Stock Prices and Instincts

Human nature is to follow the crowd, and investors in the stock market are no different. If prices are going up, the kneejerk reaction might be to hurry up and buy before prices get too high. However, this often means that you’re rushing to buy a stock for $50 today that you could have purchased for $45 yesterday. When thinking about it that way, the purchase seems less attractive.

The opposite also is true. If prices are falling, people often rush to get out before prices fall too far. Again, this might mean that you’re selling a stock for $45 that was valued at $50 yesterday. Reacting in this manner does not help an investor make money.

Controlling your ‘flight’ instincts will keep your long-term growth strategy intact.

While specific events or circumstances can cause stocks to spike or plummet and force investors to take quick action, the more common reality is that day-to-day fluctuations—even the ones that seem extreme—are just part of longer trends.

If you’re in the market primarily to build your nest egg (long-term growth), most often the best course of action is to do nothing and let the long-term growth take place. It is possible to make a profit from falling stock prices if you are quick, and purchased a stock for less than the price you can sell it for—but this can be tricky, and is more in line with the unreliable method of market timing (which is more similar to day-trading than investing).

Falling Stock Price Strategy

As you witness a sell-off of stocks because prices are dropping, you could take advantage of this situation by knowing in advance which companies you are going to invest in should prices begin to fall.

When You Should Buy Stocks

The time to look for investments to buy is not when stock prices drop—you should find these when the market is performing well. Look to identify companies that have weathered economic crises before, and purchase those stocks after prices have fallen.

Purchasing stocks when prices are lower generally leads to profits when the prices rise again—they always do. The market, economy, and stock prices all follow a cycle. In general, the market has been in a continuous climb for quite some time.

Over time, the market rebounds and prices rise again after falling. This has happened over and over, generally with an increase above previous prices.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) index has climbed since it’s inception—when you look at the performance chart you can see the companies that make up the index have performed throughout many price avalanches. 

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Other indexes you can look into are the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the NASDAQ, and the New York Stock Exchange Composite—to name a few.

If Your Stock Prices Drop

What if the price of one of your stocks falls from $60 to $40? Although you are sitting on a substantial loss of more than 33% of the value of your holdings, you’ll be better off holding it in the long run for two reasons:

  • If you reinvest your dividends to buy more stock, you increase your ownership in the company. Also, the dividends will purchase more shares at a reduced price. In other words, the further the stock price falls, the more ownership you can acquire through reinvested dividends
  • If you have additional investment funds available, you might do well to buy more stock at lower prices. If you truly are focused on the long-term outlook, the short-term losses of stock price drops are less significant. 

Build A Portfolio For Falling Stock Prices

It has long been passed around the investing community that diversity helps to mitigate risks. Your portfolio should be built from a wide array of investment types. Stocks, mutual funds, index funds, bonds, and Treasuries all perform differently under different economic circumstances.

Fidelity has built a few portfolio models that you can use as a guide for your portfolio. A balanced portfolio should have approximately 40% bonds, 35% U.S. stocks, 15% foreign stocks, and 10% short-term investments. 

This is simply an example. Every investor’s situation is different; each investor’s portfolio should reflect their tolerance for risk, financial abilities, and their investing goals.

Your bond category should be made up of companies that have performed well over long periods of time, and U.S. Treasuries. The same criteria for choosing bonds from performing companies should be used to choose stocks—a good indication is a long run on the S&P 500 or another stock index.

Foreign Stocks and Short-Term Investments

Since many investors are hesitant to venture into foreign markets, there are plenty of foreign stock index funds from well known financial companies such as Vanguard, who offer their FTSE All-World ex-US Index Fund ETF Shares (VEU). Conduct some research and find some that you like for your portfolio.

Your short-term investments can take the form of certificates of deposit, short-term bonds, or money market accounts. Diversifying your portfolio in this manner mitigates risk by using all of the categories of investments to work against the poor performance of one or more of the other categories.

A Few Persistent Risks

While most long-term stockholders don’t need to fear sudden dips, there are a few risks that can cause serious issues.

It’s possible that if the company becomes undervalued, a buyer might make a bid for the company and attempt to take it over, sometimes at a price lower than your original purchase price per share. This is known as a hostile takeover, where the majority of shares are purchased and a person or party becomes the majority owner. This has a number of implications for investors, as sudden changes in management can affect market performance.

There are always risks when investing. Use diversification and monitor the companies you have invested in to ensure you mitigate the amount of risk you take on.

You might not have the liquidity through your investment during a decline in stock prices. If you don’t have the cash to cover immediate expenses, you might have to sell shares at a significant loss. A good rule of thumb for avoiding this is to invest no more than 10% of your income or assets at any one time.

People tend to overestimate their skills and ability to estimate investment opportunities. The company you picked to invest in, or that was recommended to you might not be as good a performer as you thought. Accounting skills, industry knowledge, and insights from friends—while great to have—are no match for investor sentiments, fear of loss, and panic.

Final Thoughts

As you navigate the roller coaster ride of investing, remember that a strategy (and sticking to it), a thorough analysis of prospective investments, and patience will help you make a profit from falling stock prices, and from the market in the long run.

Gold Market takes profit with price correction, Nickel prices decline as well

The big movers of the market have been the precious metals and nickel as both are correcting lower as profit-taking and, or short-selling. Donald Trump, the President of the United States, has to address the Economic Club of New York at 5 pm London Time.

The entire investment and trading world is glued to their televisions and laptops as they wait for Donald Trump’s speech and get information about the China-United States trade situation. The markets have started reviewing and adjusting their positions in the market.

The big movers of the market have been the precious metals and nickel as both are correcting lower as profit-taking and, or short-selling. Donald Trump, the President of the United States, has to address the Economic Club of New York at 5 pm London Time. The effect of this speech on the market will depend on the thoughts he has for the various topics.

Base Metals and their prices

The base metal prices on the London Metal Exchange been correcting upwards except nickel, which declined by 0.3% at $15,530 per tonne. The complex was up by an average of 0.3%, whereas gains in copper and lead increased by 0.4%. In China, most-traded base metals on the Shanghai Futures Exchange were mixed. Nickel in February went down by 2.7%, whereas aluminum in December and tin in January were weaker by 0.8% and 0.7%, respectively. Lead and Zinc were up by 0.5% and 0.8%, respectively.

Precious Metals: Apmex Gold Price

Spot gold and silver saw a decline of 0.4% and 0.3%, respectively, while gold quoted at $1,455.80 per oz according to Apmex Gold Prices and charts. Silver witnessed a price of $16.79 per oz. Platinum and palladium, on the other hand, have increased by 0.7% and 0.2%, respectively.

After-effects of Trump Speech Today

Donald Trump is expected to address the Economic Club of New York, and it is a well-known fact by the market that a single tweet from Trump is enough to change the way market trades are taking place. A speech can have a bigger impact on the market as he might mention the U.S.-China trade war. Any positive signs will help the prices and the market to increase, whereas a negative speech will lead to a set-back in the market.

14k Gold Price and 24k Gold Price for today

Currently, 14k gold is available at $848.90 per oz in the market. 24k gold is available at $1455.80 per oz. 14k gold is widely preferred as compared to 24k gold since its more durable and available at a lower price as compared to 24k pure gold.

Shareholders

Stock markets are measured by stock indexes (or indices), such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) in New York, and the FTSE 100 index (often called the Footsie) in London. These indexes show changes in the average prices of a selected group of important stocks. There have been several stock market crashes when these indexes have fallen considerably on a single day (e.g. ‘Black Monday 5 , 19 October 1987, when the DJIA lost 22.6%).

Financial journalists use some animal names to describe investors:

■ bulls are investors who expect prices to rise

■ bears are investors who expect them to fall

■ stags are investors who buy new share issues hoping that they will be over-subscribed. This means they hope there will be more demand than available stocks, so the successful buyers can immediately sell their stocks at a profit.

A period when most of the stocks on a market rise is called a bull market. A period when most of them fall in value is a bear market.

Dividends and capital gains

Companies that make a profit either pay a dividend to their stockholders, or retain their earnings by keeping the profits in the company, which causes the value of the stocks to rise. Stockholders can then make a capital gain – increase the amount of money they have – by selling their stocks at a higher price than they paid for them. Some stockholders prefer not to receive dividends, because the tax they pay on capital gains is lower than the income tax they pay on dividends. When an investor buys shares on the secondary market they are either cum div, meaning the investor will receive the next dividend the company pays, or ex div, meaning they will not. Cum div share prices are higher, as they include the estimated value of the coming dividend.

Institutional investors generally keep stocks for a long period, but there are also speculators – people who buy and sell shares rapidly, hoping to make a profit. These include day traders – people who buy stocks and sell them again before the settlement day. This is the day on which they have to pay for the stocks they have purchased, usually three business days after the trade was made. If day traders sell at a profit before settlement day, they never have to pay for their shares. Day traders usually work with online brokers on the internet, who charge low commissions – fees for buying or selling stocks for customers. Speculators who expect a price to fall can take a short position, which means agreeing to sell stocks in the future at their current price, before they actually own them. They then wait for the price to fall before buying and selling the stocks. The opposite – a long position – means actually owning a security or other asset: that is buying it and having it recorded in one’s account.

June 1: Sell 1,000 Microsoft stocks, to be delivered June 4, at current market price: $26.20 June 3: Stock falls to $25.90. Buy 1,000

June 4: Settlement day. Pay for 1,000 stocks @ $25.90, receive 1,000 x $26.20. Profit $300

A short position

31.1 Label the graph with words from the box. Look at A opposite to help you.

bull market crash

1984 1985 1986 1987 1988

31.2 Answer the questions. Look at A, B and C opposite to help you.

1 How do stags make a profit?

2 Why do some investors prefer not to receive dividends?

3 How do you make a profit from a short position?

31.3 Make word combinations using a word or phrase from each box. Some words can be used twice. Then use the correct forms of the word combinations to complete the sentences below. Look at B and C opposite to help you.

make a capital gain
own a dividend
pay earnings
receive a position
retain a profit
take securities
tax

1 I. less. on capital gains

than on income. So as a shareholder, I prefer

not to. a. If the

company. its. , I can

selling my shares at a profit instead.

2 Day trading is exciting because if a share price

falls, you can. a. by

. a short. But it’s risky

Would you like to be

selling. that you don’t even

The sculpture of a bull near the New York Stock Exchange

a day trader? Or would you be frightened of taking such risks?

Influences on share prices

Share prices depend on a number of factors:

■ the financial situation of the company

■ the situation of the industry in which the company operates

■ the state of the economy in general

■ the beliefs of investors – whether they believe the share price will rise or fall, and whether they believe other investors will think this.

Prices can go up or down and the question for investors – and speculators – is: can these price changes be predicted, or seen in advance? When price-sensitive information – news that affects a company’s value – arrives, a share price will change. But no one knows when or what that information will be. So information about past prices will not tell you what tomorrow’s price will be.

There are different theories about whether share price changes can be predicted.

■ The random walk hypothesis. Prices move along a ‘random walk’ – this means day-to­day changes arc completely random or unpredictable.

■ The efficient market hypothesis. Share prices always accurately or exactly reflect all relevant information. It is therefore a waste of time to attempt to discover patterns or trends – general changes in behaviour – in price movements.

Head and shoulders pattern

■ Technical analysis. Technical analysts are people who believe that studying past share prices does allow them to forecast future price changes. They believe that market prices result from the psychology of investors rather than from real economic values, so they look for trends in buying and selling behaviour, such as the c head and shoulders’ pattern.

■ Fundamental analysis. This is the opposite of technical analysis: it ignores the behaviour of investors and assumes that a share has a true or correct value, which might be different from its stock market value. This means that markets are not efficient. The true value reflects the present value of the future income from dividends.

Analysts distinguish between systematic risk and unsystematic risk. Unsystematic risks are things that affect individual companies, such as production problems or a sudden fall in sales. Investors can reduce these by having a diversified portfolio: buying lots of different types of securities. Systematic risks, however, cannot be eliminated in this way. For example market risk cannot be avoided by diversification: if a stock market falls, all the shares listed on it will fall to some extent.

32.1 Match the two parts of the sentences. Look at A and B opposite to help you.

1 The random walk theory states that

2 The efficient market hypothesis is that

3 Technical analysts believe that

4 Fundamental analysts believe that

a studying charts of past stock prices allows you to predict future changes,

b stocks are correctly priced so it is impossible to make a profit by finding undervalued ones,

c you can calculate a stock’s true value, which might not be the same as its market price,

d it is impossible to predict future changes in stock prices.

32.2 Are the following statements true or false? Find reasons for your answers in B and C opposite.

1 Fundamental analysts think that stock prices depend on psychological factors – what people think and feci – rather than pure economic data.

2 Fundamental analysts say that the true value of a stock is all the income it will bring an investor in the future, measured at today’s money values.

3 Investors can protect themselves against unknown, unsystematic risks by having a broad collection of different investments.

4 Unsystematic risks can affect an investor’s entire portfolio.

32.3 Match the theories (1-3) to the statements (a-c). Look at B opposite to help you.

1 fundamental analysis

2 technical analysis

3 efficient market hypothesis

Share prices are correct at any given time. When new information appears,

they change to a new correct price.

By analysing a company, you can determine its real value. This sometimes allows you to make a profit by buying underpriced shares.

It’s not only the facts about a company that matter: the stock price also depends on what investors think or feel about the company’s future.

Do you believe that it is possible to find undervalued stocks, predict future price and regularly get returns that are higher than the stock market average?

Government and corporate bonds

Bonds are loans to local and national governments and to large companies. The holders of bonds generally receive fixed interest payments, once or twice a year, and get their money – known as the principal – back on a given maturity date. This is the date when the loan ends.

Governments issue bonds to raise money and they are considered to be a risk-free investment. In Britain government bonds are known as gilt-edged stock or just gilts. In the US they are called Treasury notes, which have a maturity of 2-10 years, and Treasury bonds, which have a maturity of 10-30 years. (There are also short-term Treasury bills which have a different function: see Units 25 and 27.)

Companies issue bonds, called corporate bonds, because they can usually pay less interest to bondholders than they would have to pay if they raised the same money by a bank loan. These bonds are generally safer than shares, because if a company cannot repay its debts it can be declared bankrupt. If this happens, the creditors can force the company to stop doing business, and sell its assets to repay them. In this way, bondholders will probably get some of their money back.

Borrowers – the companies issuing bonds – are given credit ratings by credit agencies such as Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s. This means that they are graded, or rated, according to their ability to repay the loan to the bondholders. The highest grade (AAA or Aaa) means that there is almost no risk that the borrower will default – fail to pay interest or to repay the principal. Lower grades (e.g. Baa, BBB, C, etc.) mean an increasing risk of the borrower becoming insolvent – unable to pay interest or repay the capital.

Prices and yields

Bonds are traded by banks which act as market makers for their customers, quoting bid and offer prices with a very small spread or difference between them. (See Unit 30) The price of bonds varies inversely with interest rates. This means that if interest rates rise, so that new borrowers have to pay a higher rate, existing bonds lose value. If interest rates fall, existing bonds paying a higher interest rate than the market rate increase in value. Consequently the yield of a bond – how much income it gives – depends on its purchase price as well as its coupon or interest rate. There are also floating-rate notes – bonds whose interest rate varies with market interest rates.

Other types of bonds

When interest rates are high, some companies issue convertible shares or convertibles, which are bonds that the owner can later change into shares. Convertibles pay lower interest rates than ordinary bonds, because the buyer gets the chance of making a profit with the convertible option.

There are also zero coupon bonds that pay no interest but are sold at a big discount on their par value, which is 100%, and repaid at 100% at maturity. Because they pay no interest, their owners don’t receive money every year (and so don’t have to decide how to reinvest it); instead they make a capital gain at maturity.

Bonds with a low credit rating (and a high chance of default), but paying a high interest rate, are called junk bonds. Some of these are known as fallen angels – bonds of companies that were previously in a good financial situation, while others are issued to finance leveraged buyouts. (See Unit 40)

BrE: convertible share; AmE: convertible bond

33.1 Match the words in the box with the definitions below. Look at A and B opposite to help you.

coupon maturity date
credit rating principal
gilt-edged stock Treasury bonds
default Treasury notes
insolvent yield

1 the amount of capital making up a loan

2 an estimation of a borrower’s solvency or ability to pay debts

3 bonds issued by the British government

4 non-payment of interest or a loan at the scheduled time

5 the day when a bond has to be repaid

6 long-term bonds issued by the American government

7 the amount of interest that a bond pays

8 medium-term (2-10 year) bonds issued by the American government

9 the rate of income an investor receives from a security 10 unable to pay debts

33.2 Are the following statements true or false? Find reasons for your answers in A, B and C opposite.

1 Bonds are repaid at 100% when they mature, unless the borrower is insolvent.

2 Bondholders are guaranteed to get all their money back if a company goes bankrupt.

3 AAA bonds are a very safe investment.

4 A bond paying 5% interest would gain in value if interest rates rose to 6%.

5 The price of floating-rate notes doesn’t vary very much, because they always pay market interest rates.

6 The owners of convertibles have to change them into shares.

7 Some bonds do not pay interest, but are repaid at above their selling price.

8 Junk bonds have a high credit rating, and a relatively low chance of default.

33.3 Answer the questions. Look at A, B and C opposite to help you.

1 Which is the safest for an investor?

A a corporate bond B a junk bond C a government bond

2 Which is the cheapest way for a company to raise money?

A a bank loan B an ordinary bond C a convertible

3 Which gives the highest potential return to an investor?

A a corporate bond B a junk bond C a government bond

4 Which is the most profitable for an investor if interest rates rise?

A a Treasury bond B a floating-rate note C a Treasury note

Is this a good time to buy bonds? Why/why not?

Forward and futures contracts are agreements to sell an asset at a fixed price on a fixed date in the future. Futures are traded on a wide range of agricultural products (including wheat, maize, soybeans, pork, beef, sugar, tea, coffee, cocoa and orange juice), industrial metals (aluminium, copper, lead, nickel and zinc), precious metals (gold, silver, platinum and palladium) and oil. These products are known as commodities. Futures were invented to enable regular buyers and sellers of commodities to protect themselves against losses or to hedge against future changes in the price. If they both agree to hedge, the seller (e.g. an orange grower) is protected from a fall in price and the buyer (e.g. an orange juice manufacturer) is protected from a rise in price.

Futures are standardized contracts – contracts which are for fixed quantities (such as one ton of copper or 100 ounces of gold) and fixed time periods (normally three, six or nine months) – that are traded on a special exchange. Forwards are individual, non- standardized contracts between two parties, traded over-the-counter – directly, between two companies or financial institutions, rather than through an exchange. The futures price for a commodity is normally higher than its spot price – the price that would be paid for immediate delivery. Sometimes, however, short-term demand pushes the spot price above the future price. This is called backwardation.

Futures and forwards are also used by speculators – people who hope to profit from price changes.

More recently, financial futures have been developed. These are standardized contracts, traded on exchanges, to buy and sell financial assets. Financial assets such as currencies, interest rates, stocks and stock market indexes fluctuate – continuously vary – so financial futures are used to fix a value for a specified future date (e.g. sell euros for dollars at a rate of € 1 for $1.20 on June 30).

■ Currency futures and forwards are contracts that specify the price at which a certain currency will be bought or sold on a specified date.

■ Interest rate futures are agreements between banks and investors and companies to issue fixed income securities (bonds, certificates of deposit, money market deposits, etc.) at a future date.

■ Stock futures fix a price for a stock and stock index futures fix a value for an index (e.g. the Dow Jones or the FTSE) on a certain date. They are alternatives to buying the stocks or shares themselves.

Like futures for physical commodities, financial futures can be used both to hedge and to speculate. Obviously the buyer and seller of a financial future have different opinions about what will happen to exchange rates, interest rates and stock prices. They are both taking an unlimited risk, because there could be huge changes in rates and prices during the period of the contract. Futures trading is a zero-sum game, because the amount of money gained by one party will be the same as the sum lost by the other.

34.1 Match the words in the box with the definitions below. Look at A opposite to help you

backwardation commodities forwards futures
to hedge over-the-counter spot price

1 the price for the immediate purchase and delivery of a commodity

2 the situation when the current price is higher than the future price

3 adjective describing a contract made between two businesses, not using an exchange

4 contracts for non-standardized quantities or time periods

5 physical substances, such as food, fuel and metals, that can be bought or sold with futures contracts

6 to protect yourself against loss

7 contracts to buy or sell standardized quantities

34.2 Complete the sentences using a word or phrase from each box. Look at A and B opposite to help you.

u banks v companies w farmers

A Commodity futures allow B Interest rate futures allow C Currency futures allow

x food manufacturers y importers z investors

1 to charge a consistent price for their products.

2 to be sure of the rate they will get on bonds which could be

issued at a different rate in the future.

3 to know at what price they can borrow money to finance

4 to make plans knowing what price they will get for their crops.

5 to offer fixed lending rates.

6 . to remove exchange rate risks from future international

34.3 Are the following statements true or false? Find reasons for your answers in B opposite.

1 Financial futures were created because exchange rates, interest rates and stock prices all regularly change.

2 Interest rate futures are related to stocks and shares.

3 Financial futures contracts allow companies to protect themselves against short-term changes in exchange rates.

4 You can only hedge if someone who expects a price to move in the opposite direction is willing to buy or sell a contract.

5 Both parties can make money out of the same futures contract.

Look at some commodity prices, and decide if you think they will rise or fall over the next three months. Check in three months 1 time to see if you would have made or lost money by buying or selling futures.

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