About a dozen years ago, I found myself having a stimulating conversation one sunny day in San Francisco with the great economist Milton Friedman.
It's a conversation I'll always remember.
I studied economics in college - in fact, I'm the recipient of an honors degree in that subject - and the tireless free-market advocate was and remains one of my big heroes.
We were standing on the balcony of his spacious Nob Hill condo taking in the sweeping Bay views and talking about economics and Washington politics - as I eyed the huge portrait of him standing in a corner that Friedman's wife hated and wouldn't let him hang.
Then he looked me in the eyes and said, "You know, Michael, I'd like to see the Federal Reserve replaced by a computer."
As the 1976 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences explained it, he felt the Fed had become too obsessed with micromanaging the nation's economy. Remember, this was a dozen years ago, before the Fed started quantitative easing and heavily manipulating interest rates.
Of course, I'm not suggesting we replace the Fed chair with a robot.
But I always recall Friedman's thought experiment whenever the markets get choppy, as they have in the past few weeks. And when I see the markets become volatile because of the Fed and the news, I know it's time for defense.
Act on This Massive Profit "Spark" Ahead of the Big Boys
It's easy to see why investors pile into a company's stock on the heels of highly successful products, technologies, or services.
Investors rewarded Apple shares after their steady flow of innovative product launches, while Google shares have been on an almost uninterrupted rise since its 2004 IPO.
Even Facebook has recovered nicely after its initial IPO debacle.
In each of those examples it's tempting to focus on the products the company offers, to draw a direct line to their success. iPhones and the introduction of stylish touchscreen interfaces in the case of Apple, the aggregation and accessibility of all things data-related in the case of Google, or just mere self-indulgence in the case of Facebook.
What's important to notice, though, is that in each case we likely wouldn't be talking about them had it not been for shrewd leadership at the top.
For small caps, finding the right leader can prove a more critical "spark" to major profits... Full StoryRead More...
Stop This Threat to Your Income in Its Tracks
I really do hate to say this, but the government threat to your assets is growing... again.
We've seen it happen in Cyprus, where bank accounts were "raided" to bail-in the country.
We've seen it in Argentina, Poland, Hungary, and other nations where private pensions were nationalized to help the countries' ballooning debts and deteriorating sovereign credit ratings.
I even warned you that the new MyRA accounts could be a shrewd way to get at your savings, and that the IMF was floating the idea of a "capital levy - a one-off tax on private wealth..."
Well, now a French "economist" is using his best seller as a platform to advance a tax "plan" centered on your wallet... Full StoryRead More...
Why Trailing Stops Are One of the Most Important Investment Tools Ever
Today I want to offer a deeper explanation of one of the very best investment tools: trailing stops.Here’s exactly how this investment tool works – and the best strategy for putting them to work in your portfolio today.
Every single one of Money Morning's experts advocates using them, and for good reason. A "trailing stop" serves a dual role: It allows investors to capture profits and protect capital from catastrophic loss.
How to Invest in an Aging Bull Market
With the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor's 500 index both routinely making record highs, figuring out how to invest in this aging bull market has gotten increasingly challenging.
But not impossible.
"There's still plenty of upside if you know where to look," said Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald. "The game has become more one of choosing the right stocks than it is worrying about what the broader index is doing."Fitz-Gerald says investors need to focus on three specific things...
This Tech Investing Strategy Offers Five Pathways to Wealth
In my last column, I told you about Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) - the big-cap firm that helped pioneer wireless communications and is perfectly poised to benefit from continued smartphone adoption around the world.
Now I want to run Qualcomm through the five "filters" of my tech investing strategy and see how QCOM stacks up.The results spell big gains ahead for QCOM stock. Here’s why…
Put Money in Your Pocket… And Send Wall Street on the Run
It was Sir Francis Bacon who gave us the truism that "knowledge is power."
And the 17th century English philosopher and statesman did so centuries before Wall Street was even conceived.
But the brokers, fund managers, and other pros who dreamed up the investment markets knew a good thing when they saw it. They embraced Bacon's maxim, launched the first U.S. stock exchange in 1790, and spent the next two centuries transforming this country's individual investors into scared vassals of the Wall Street elite.
And the big banks, brokerages, and other investment pros did this by never forgetting the simple precept that "knowledge is power."
I see this play out on an almost-daily basis thanks to the endless streams of impenetrable reports that come from the bankers in New York or our elected leaders in Washington.
Most Main Street investors lack the knowledge to "decode" these reports, so they also lack the power to respond in a constructive manner.Instead most of us just react - panic, really. Here's a better idea that will lead to profits...
These Basics Will Make You Big Money in the Markets
I'm always getting emails from folks telling me how badly they want to make money in the markets.
The problem is that a good many of these readers confess that they are literally just getting started.
So right now, I'm going to begin at the beginning - and show you how to make money in the markets from square one.
Today is all about stocks.
In future columns, I'm going to talk about bonds. After that I'll get into options, futures, and other derivatives (they're easy).
And finally I'll show you how they all - stocks, bonds, options, futures, and derivatives - come together every day.
When it's all said and done, I promise you will understand everything about investing and marvel at how simple it all is.
You'll know more than your friends - even more than most brokers. And you'll start "seeing" the money in the markets.
So, let's get started.
Here are the absolute basics, the things you need to know about stocks...Full Story
A Map to Turn Fear into Profit
Last Monday, I shared a chart with Money Map Report subscribers and suggested they may want to batten down the hatches because I saw a 30- to 40-point drop happening by the end of the week.
Now I want to share that same chart with you plus a new one - and encourage you to do the same thing.
The shellacking the markets took last Thursday is the most powerful warning sign we've seen yet that things are not what they seem in the financial markets. For lack of a better term, it's a bearish omen, despite Monday's recovery.
Today I want to talk about what that means for your money and what you can do about it in the name of protecting your money and, more importantly, the pursuit of profits.
Contrary to what you might believe, not all bears are bad news.Let's start with the chart....
Seize Massive Wins (Without Losing Sleep)
History is literally chock-full of compelling examples of small-cap stocks delivering 1,000% returns to shrewd investors who got in early.
With those kinds of returns possible, it's no wonder investors are so excited by small-cap stocks.
Unfortunately, though, in many cases that same excitement leads less disciplined investors to throw away all sense of risk management and proper portfolio structure in the pursuit of outsized gains - and that's a big mistake.
For every story of a $5.00 stock exploding and becoming a $50.00 stock, there are countless examples of companies flaming out, leaving investors with worthless shares.
That's why it's so important to have a risk-management strategy in place - and one that's tailored for small-cap stocks.
That way you can seize the great opportunities for massive wins... and still sleep easily Full Story.
Triple-Digit Gains… With Easy "Insurance" Against Risk
How do single-day stock gains of 40%, 50%, 75%, even a 100% or more sound? If you're anything like me they sound pretty darn great.
Those kinds of gains happen almost every day, but the mainstream financial media would much rather focus on recent stories such as: FB jumps 14% on increased mobile revenue, GOOG rockets ahead 13% on higher top line, or TSLA up 8% on higher than expected sales of the Model S.
Small-cap biotech stocks can deliver triple-digit gains – or they can crash if clinical trial results disappoint.Here's how to limit your losses...
My "Sominex Strategy" for Big Profit in This Rocky Market
"Look at market fluctuations as your friend rather than your enemy; profit from folly rather than participate in it." -Warren Buffett
It's tough to argue with the "Oracle of Omaha." And Buffett is right: Investor "folly" creates some of the biggest moneymaking opportunities you'll find in stocks.Just look at the whipsaw-trading we've been seeing in recent weeks...
Cadence Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: CADX) Stock Climbs 26% in Latest Biotech Deal
What a year so far for biotech stock profits...
Another consolidation in the active biotech sector came Tuesday when Cadence Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: CADX) agreed to be acquired by Mallinckrodt plc (NYSE: MNK) in a $1.3 billion deal. The move sent CADX up 26%.
Under terms of the deal, Dublin, Ireland-based Mallinckrodt will pay $14 in cash for each share of San Diego, Calif.-headquartered Cadence. That's a 26% premium to Monday's closing price and a 32% premium to the stock's average 30-day trading price.To continue reading, please click here...
Best Stocks to Buy Now: A Money Morning Weekly Recap
Best stocks to buy for the week ending Feb. 7, 2010: A robust two-day rally late last week helped the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 Index post their best week of the year, with gains of 0.6% and 0.8% respectively.
Despite the solid showing, the 30-stock index remains down 4.72% year to date. The S&P 500 is off 2.78% since the start of the year. And the Nasdaq, which rose 0.54% last week, is lower by 1.21% so far in 2014.
Indeed, this year has been marked by volatility, with the Dow swinging up or down at least 100 points in intraday trading on 25 out of 26 days since the start of the year.To continue reading, please click here...