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    bad investing habits

    Over the past 20 years, individual investors averaged a measly 2.53% a year, versus the S&P 500, which chalked up 9.02%.

    This is because every investor is hardwired to do three things that kill returns. If you understand what these bad investing habits are, recognize them in yourself, and learn how to eliminate them, then you can build wealth much more quickly.

    So let's get cracking...

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Let the "Big Boys" Do the Legwork and Take Bigger Gains for Yourself

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Regardless of what the loudmouthed know-it-all in the locker room thinks, retail investors (that's code for you and me) don't have much of an impact on stock prices.

It might be fun to think that buying 100 shares of Apple Inc. is somehow part of some larger force of collective wisdom pushing stock prices higher - but with average liquidity of nearly $5 billion (in AAPL shares) the only players with enough might to make the stock move are the big boys - institutional buyers.

When I say institutional buyers, I'm referring to mutual funds, hedge funds, pension funds, and insurance companies.

It's nearly impossible for a stock to deliver a huge upside run without the deep-pocketed firepower of institutional buying - and that's why it's so important to look for clues indicating they're building positions and scooping shares.

After all, wouldn't you rather go sailing with the wind doing the work rather than paddling back to shore?

I know I sure would. And here's how we can...

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Take Bigger Gains with a Simple "Cowboy Split"

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.

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Act on This Massive Profit "Spark" Ahead of the Big Boys

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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 Story

Stop This Threat to Your Income in Its Tracks

income

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 Story

Why Trailing Stops Are One of the Most Important Investment Tools Ever

investment tools

Today I want to offer a deeper explanation of one of the very best investment tools: trailing stops.
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.

Here’s exactly how this investment tool works – and the best strategy for putting them to work in your portfolio today.

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

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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

basic-blocks

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...

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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.

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

Small Cap Penny Stocks to Buy

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

best investments in tech

"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...

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