Forget the Darknet

The markets can provide the excitement active investors want—without risk of prison time Ah, the so-called darknet. The Wild West of the internet. Where anonymity—or as close as anyone outside DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is going to get—provides a warm blanket while users surf unhindered by the blue-nosed algorithms of Google, Facebook, Apple, … Continued

Day Trading in China

Even in a communist country, people like to make money The Chinese began gambling at least 4,000 years ago, and they’ve made it a tradition ever since. It’s the reason that Macau has some of the busiest casinos in the world. Some might find a penchant for games of chance incongruous with a planned economy … Continued

Options Trading: An Antidote for Division

Smart options traders know that life—and markets—aren’t zero-sum games Trading can bring the country back together. That’s right. Trading. Anyone can see all the anger out there. Over politics, culture, religion. Most “leaders” seem powerless to overcome it, and some even seem to revel in it. But to understand how trading can ease this nation’s—and … Continued

The Future of Futures

As futures trading evolves, contracts are shrinking; now, a new exchange promises to get even smaller Becoming a modern investor requires buying shares of stock as the first, fundamental step. That could mean buying 100 shares of Apple (AAPL) or investing $1,000 in a mutual fund. But that simplicity belies the enormous legal and regulatory … Continued

Volatility: Trading’s Best Crystal Ball

Volatility provides a clue about what the future may hold for a stock Long-term stock trader?  Short-term options trader? Medium-term money machine? No matter how an investor plans to extract profits from the markets, it pays to know how high or low a stock, index or exchange-traded fund (ETF) might go in the future. Heck, … Continued

Auto Industry Autopsy

If the average age of a car on the road increases 15% every 10 years, half a century from now the average car would be 23 years old and might have more than 300,000 miles on the odometer—if any cars are still left. In the ’60s and ’70s, motorists could only dream of a car … Continued

The Weather Trade

Unlike the weather, probability-based investment strategies prove surprisingly predictable. Not everyone wakes up thinking about proactive investing—but most contemplate the weather almost every day. In fact, the Weather Channel is piped into something like 79 million American homes. That’s about 61% of all the households in the United States. And that’s not counting all the … Continued

The Changing Tickers of Volatility

The late, lamented VXX—a volatility product that provided exposure to changes in the Cboe VIX Index through near-term VIX futures contracts—was one of the most actively traded exchange-traded notes (ETNs). Investors who thought market volatility might go up or down could buy or short shares of VXX—VXX RIP. It was supposed to be simple. But … Continued

Sports Wagering on the Money Line

Exploring the probability of just about anything Exchange-traded option markets enable investors to play the role of a casino, taking the high-probability-of-winning side of a bet instead of playing a consistently losing game. But that doesn’t mean investors can’t learn something from Las Vegas. The money line bet may be the clearest, most-direct analogy to … Continued

Volatility & Viagra

In 1998, Pfizer (PFE) introduced Viagra, the little blue pill that has “reinvigorated” relationships the world over. And another “V” word has a similar transformational impact on option prices and can give a portfolio’s performance a jolt if an investor knows how to take advantage of it. Volatility, a misunderstood and maligned concept in the … Continued