Friday, November 2, 2007

E-commerce - Advanced Tips for E-commerce

Internet has made it relatively easy for everybody to do transactions online. No need to leave your house and drive at least an hour to get to the mall to shop just to find out that what you came for is out of stock. With more and more people turning to the Internet to buy their needs, E-commerce becomes the new it business that offers huge profits and convenience. I am sure you are now eager to learn more about E-commerce, read on!

1.To make it to E-commerce, you must have an interesting, attractive web site. You must present all the products and services in a way that will entice online users to click the buy now button. In addition, you must stand out by offering products and services not commonly found in the Internet.

2.Your web site must be equipped to accept several kinds of payment method especially credit cards.

3.Market research also plays an important role in E-commerce. You must study the buying patterns of online users and what exactly they are looking for. Offer products that have high demands but has low supply.

4.Come up with killer product descriptions. Include the benefits of the products and its value. Convince your customers that what you are offering is the best in the business today.

5.Throw in some freebies. This is especially effective for start-up business. Free items will surely attract attention that can lead to business relations in the long run.

Keep in mind, you may need to think outside the box to excel in ecommerce.

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Stock Research - Hedge Funds - If Bear Stearns Doesn't Know - Who Knows?

As the hedge fund world becomes bigger and bigger as more and more hot money seeks the elusive alpha of maximum performance, it is becoming apparent that more and more newspaper space will be devoted to hedge funds, and private equity. Recent news has taken us into the inner sanctum of Bear Stearns, truly a dominant investment firm in the world today. It might be argued that Bear Stearns is the best managed Wall Street firm in existence. Some might say Goldman Sachs. In any event Bear Stearns would have to be on the short list.

Investment firms for almost a decade sat by and watched hedge funds form, and amass vast investment capital pools while successfully charging 2% management fees, and 20% of the profits. Some of these hedge funds in a few years, have grown to possess capital bases equal to that of investment banking firms that have been around for generations. Taking some of the risks that were involved to achieve this performance is now coming home to roost.

Bear Stearns is the latest firm to stub its toe in the hedge fund industry. The firm is FAMOUS for quantifying and judging RISK before making its bets. This time however it seems that Bear Stearns threw its usual caution to the wind in embracing the formation of two hedge funds over the last year or so.

The second hedge fund was considered a more highly-leveraged version of Bears High Grade structured Credit Strategies fund which was formed last year. Both funds were managed by Ralph Cioffi, who up until recent events took hold, had the reputation of being a MASTER at this game, and the game is the subprime mortgage bond business.

Most people are not aware of it but Bear Stearns is the finest fixed income trading firm on the planet bar none, and this has been true for several generations. This makes recent events even more perplexing to understand.

Jimmy Cayne who is Bears CEO is embarrassed at the very least, and certainly upset enough that there will be major changes in the leadership of the units responsible for the pain being inflected on the firms reputation. This should not have happened at Bear Stearns, thats the point.

Actions Taken and Implications

Mr. Cayne has made the decision to inject $3.2 billion of Bear Stearns capital into a bail-out of the older fund. Bear is also negotiating with the banks that put up the credit facility for the other fund, the highly leveraged High-Grade Enhanced Leveraged fund. What Bear is trying to prevent is the forced sale of the debt obligations underlying the funds investments. These issues trade by appointment as they say, which means they rarely trade at all. Bear knows the Street smells blood, and will take advantage of any weakness that Bear shows.

So what are the implications of this latest hedge fund debacle? It clearly shows that the most sophisticated investors on the planet who put their money into hedge funds may in fact have NO IDEA what they are investing in. Instead, they are betting on the institutional reputation of the firms standing in back of the hedge funds. In this case nobody knew more about this market segment than Bear Stearns, yet they caught in a terrible position.

This is not Caynes fault, but as CEO, it is always his responsibility. I believe him to be the finest Wall Street executive of his generation. Nevertheless, his underlings certainly let him down, and they are among the highest paid people in the world today. Some of these industry veterans are drawing $10 million dollar annual incomes. Let the investor beware is the rule of the day, especially when it comes to hedge funds.

Richard Stoyecks background includes being a limited partner at Bear Stearns, Senior VP at Lehman Brothers, Kuhn Loeb, Arthur Andersen, and KPMG. Educated at Pace University, NYU, and Harvard University, today he runs Rockefeller Capital Partners and for a fuller version of this article please visit our website.

Power Lift Your Trading

Successful trading requires having a firm understanding of the risk and reward picture before taking a trade. It requires having a good idea as to the trend direction of the market within a time frame that is higher than the one used to trade from.

For instance, if a trader usually takes trades that do not last more than one day, then it is likely that intraday charts are used in making trading decisions. These may be charts ranging in time-frames of 1 minute up to a few hours. For this type of trader, it is beneficial to know the daily trend, which is the next higher time-frame from intra day charting.

The trader who places trades based on a daily chart would be wise to determine what the weekly trend happens to be, the next time frame above daily. And for those who trade long-term and base trades from weekly charts, knowing the monthly trend would be expected.

As simple as this happens to be, it is quite common for traders to excuse this important step in the analysis. However, for the trader who seeks to have the power of the markets behind the move, the higher time frame should be consulted to determine whether to be a seller or buyer.

Take for example the trader who prefers to place trades based off a daily chart. Such a trader is likely interested in staying in the trade for at least a day or two, even longer. In such a case, the trader should consult the weekly chart, which is the next higher time frame, and note the likely trend.

So with the weekly chart, suppose the pattern is one of higher weekly swing bottoms and higher weekly swing tops. This is a typical pattern for a bull trend.

Acknowledging that the weekly trend is bullish, the daily time frame trader would then only consider taking trades that are designed for bullish markets. This may be long positions in the futures, buying Calls or selling Puts in options, or perhaps a spread strategy that favors the bull move.

Once the direction of the trade has been decided based on the higher time frame trend, it is important to know 'when' such trades are best taken.

For example, just because the weekly trend is bullish does not necessary mean a long position off the daily time frame will meet with favorable results. For even when a trend is bullish, it will have bearish corrections along the way. Therefore, to get the power lift from the higher time frame, it is best to get on board when those trend corrections at the higher time frame had ended.

In the case of our weekly bull trend example, the best time to buy off the daily chart is when the weekly chart is putting in a higher weekly swing bottom. These higher weekly swing bottoms occur usually at the end of a bull trend correction. Just like the best place to enter a daily chart is off a daily trend correction that is ending, the best time to do this is when the higher time frame is also ending a trend correction.

Once the trader becomes wise to this simple but important fact, all that is left is to learn the simple techniques that help determine what the trend happens to be on any given time frame. Simple methods include looking for the obvious higher swing tops/bottoms for a bull or lower swing tops/bottoms for a bear trend, noting correction ratios such as 50% pullbacks or the commonly used Fibonacci and Gann ratios, and whether a correction appears oversold or overbought based on indicators designed for this purpose (Stochastic, MACD, COT, etc.).

As a market cycle analyst, my preference to determining when trend corrections are likely ending is by calculating whether a market turn is highly probable due to dynamic cycles, such as is forecasted using my FDate algorithm Along with this, I will also employ a powerful technique for figuring out trend overbought/oversold parameters to further support my findings.

However you decide to calculate the likely end of a trend correction, remember to use the trend of the higher time frame, and wait for the end of a correction to that trend, to assist your timing and trade direction on the lower time frame. By doing this, you will allow the market to 'power lift' many of your trades.

Learn more on how to increase your profit potential with other free articles found at our Precision Timing of the Futures, Commodity and Forex Markets website.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Surviving The Commodity Markets, PART 4 - Trading Guidelines For Different Account Sizes

Of all the important skills in trading, survival is number one. For unless we make it through the inevitable bad times, we won't be around to capitalize on the good. I've laid out some trading account guidelines that specify the account size required to conduct various commodity futures and option trading activities. Stick within these guidelines and you will have an edge on most of the commodity trading public.

$10,000 ACCOUNT:

Risk no more than 7.5% maximum a trade ($750)

A $10,000 account is probably the minimum commodity amount to begin trading with. Remember that a bigger account is NOT for buying more futures contracts or commodity options, but being able to easily split it into fifteen to twenty different parts. We want to have enough money to support each new position, for many tries, until we hit the great trades that make up for all the losses, expenses and turn a profit.

Probability allows us to have times when we do everything right and have a good run of winners. But the outcome of INDIVIDUAL trades is impossible to predict. Only by doing things right over the long run will probability favor us over the commodity trader who is reckless and random.

The reckless trader will have times when he does very well. But in the end the odds will take him out and give his money to the ones who maintain control. We dont have to trade perfectly - just better than most.


With a $10,000 account you can now buy a better quality commodity option that has lots of time and is closer to the money. This may not be possible if the cat is out of the bag. This is a market that is already running strong and the option premium is inflated.

You want to purchase commodity options before the crowd starts chasing the futures market. We use our Timeline program for timing as well as commercial option analysis software to signal high probability trades that have undervalued options and room for the premiums to expand. The bottom line is you can risk $500 (5%) or perhaps even $750 (7.5%). But for a $10,000 account, a $1,000 option is high risk and done only if the trade looks exceptional and it permits you to purchase a great option value. In this case you would look to salvage some premium if wrong, rather than let it expire worthless.


A $10,000 commodity account gives you more margin money, thus the ability to hold two to three different positions at one time. Remember that we dont know which "high probability" trade will work out, if any, so this is one place where diversification may help.

Ive seen many times in the past where an account was too small to safely take advantage of four good trade opportunities at once. As sometimes happens, the trades that were picked did not work out, while the ones let go were stellar performers. Remember to risk no more than $750 per trade to stay within the risk parameters of 7.5%.


With a $10,000 commodity account, we are just beginning to get a small amount of flexibility. Very often when the TimeLine or Option Writing program signals an option CALL write, it may later signal a PUT write before the initial call is covered. We will then have two positions. This requires two margins instead of one.

We may even get the opportunity to average in a second lot if the options are far out-of-the-money. And we also have the money to do an adjustment. This is taking a small loss and then immediately selling a new option farther away to possibly recoup the loss and make a profit.

As you can see, the advantage of a larger account is survivability - that is, being able to risk a smaller percentage of the total account. In addition, it permits more flexible strategies that involve multiple option writes and more complex positions. A larger account ($10,000) is NOT for taking on larger quantities of the same position. In other words, don't treat it like two $5,000 accounts.

Part Five of Six Parts- Next!

There is substantial risk of loss trading futures and options and may not be suitable for all types of investors. Only risk capital should be used.

Thomas Cathey - 27-year trading veteran heads the managed futures division of Thomas Capital Management, LLC. View his TimeLine Trading market predictions and get his complete, free 44+ lesson, "Thomas Commodity Trading Course".

Main site:

Do You Know the IRA Eligibility Rules?

An additional income tax deduction may be available by contributing to an IRA. However, many people may not realize they qualify to have an IRA. So lets take a look at the contribution rules.

One of the things that makes IRAs so complicated is trying to understand the eligibility, maximum contribution limits, contribution phaseouts, etc. of all the types of IRAs at one time. Technically, there are five types of IRAs: Traditional, Roth, SEPs, SAR-SEPs and SIMPLE. So we are going to limit the discussion here to the traditional IRA.

In this article, all of the rules pertain to 2007. Some of the numbers used in the calculation of how much you can contribute to an IRA are subject to indexing. So you need to obtain the proper figures for any year in question.

The determination of your eligibility for a traditional IRA, and the ability to calculate how much you could contribute, are dependent on several things:

1. Your age

If you are under 50, you can contribute a maximum of $4,000 to a traditional IRA. If you turn 50 during the year or are over 50, you can add another $1,000 which is called a catch-up contribution. If you turn 70 during the year, you can't make any contribution.

2. Were you an active participant in an employer sponsored plan during the year?

If so, you still may be able to contribute to an IRA. The amount depends on how much money you made and your tax filing status (single, joint or separate).

Having modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) of certain levels requires applying a formula which calculates a gradually decreasing permissible deductible contribution. If your MAGI exceeds certain thresholds, you can't contribute anything. These thresholds depend on how you file your taxes. Here they are:

Married filing jointly: Up to $83,000 of MAGI allows for a full contribution. Then a phrase out begins as income increases. For MAGI of $103,000 or above, no deductible contribution is allowed.

Single or Head of Household: If your MAGI is $62,000 or above, no deductible contribution is possible. The phase out starts at $52,000, so anything lower allows for a full contribution.

Married filing separately: For a MAGI of $10,000 or more, no contribution is permitted and the phase out starts at $0.

3. Do you live with your spouse or file a joint return and your spouse is a participant in a qualified plan, but you are not?

In this instance, your ability to make a contribution is reduced to zero if you have a MAGI over $166,000. Up to a MAGI of $156,000, you can take a full deductible contribution.

4. Did you receive compensation during the year?

Contributions must be made from compensation received. Sorry, if you were unemployed all year, sheltering that big day at the track is not permitted.

5. Do you have cash?

Contributions must be made in cash. You can't contribute stock or any other type of asset.

6. Do you file a joint tax return and make less than your spouse?

If so, you may be eligible to make a contribution. This rule was originally intended for a spouse who did not work; however, it may apply to a spouse who works as well.

You will need to apply the rules and work through the math. You may find a spouse has no compensation for the year can make the maximum (i.e. under age 50: $4,000) contribution.

7. Did your employer go bankrupt?

The rules here are pretty narrow, but if you qualify you could be in for a nice surprise. You would have to have been a participant in a 401(k) plan with specific attributes and your employer filed Chapter 11.

If you qualify, you would be eligible for catch-up contributions of $3,000 for years 2007-2009. And these catch-up provisions apply to all ages-you don't have to be 50 or older.

Armed with this information, you should be in a position to determine if an additional deduction is available to you by contributing to an IRA.

Robert D. Cavanaugh, CLU is a 36-year financial and estate planning veteran and author of the free newsletter, The Estate Preservation Advisor. To subscribe and get the free video, How to Sell Your Life Insurance Policy for More Than the Cash Value, go to

Moving Averages - The Forex Trading Power Indicator

Every forex currency trader must know how to accurately interpret technical indicators in order to be a successful trader. Being able to consistently interpret currency trading technical indicators is the difference between forex trading success and failure. Moving averages are one of the technical indicators frequently used by forex trading pros. Let's discover what moving averages are and how they are useful for forex traders.

Moving averages are one of the most popular and easy to use tools available to the forex trader. While technical analysis is largely subjective, moving averages are mathematically precise and objective. One of the reasons moving averages are so popular is that they embody some of the most common stipulations of successful forex trading. Moving averages are extremely important for not only isolating trends, momentum, and support/resistance, but more importantly, for highlighting the underlying bias of the dominant trading cycles. Because the forex market is a spot market, moving averages are used to calculate the current average of prices, and can help traders make investment decisions on the spot.

Moving averages are a useful technical tool in a trending market. The reason for this is simple; they are considered by most analysts the most basic and core trend identifying indicators. It is designed to smooth out temporary price fluctuations and reveal the true path of the underlying trend. Moving averages may also act as support and resistance levels in a trending market. Some investors prefer simple moving averages over long time periods to identify long-term trend changes. When two moving averages are used together, the longer term moving average is used to help identify the trend, and the shorter one for timing purposes. When there is no trend, the moving averages are flat and are not of much use. Fortunately for forex traders the forex market is a trending market - a perfect market for utilizing moving averages.

There are five popular types of moving averages: simple, exponential, triangular, variable, and weighted. The two major types of moving averages are "simple" and "exponential". Simple moving averages are widely used, predominately because of its ease of computation. Simple moving averages apply equal weight to the prices. A simple moving average (SMA) is formed by finding the average price of a currency or commodity over a set number of periods of time.

Exponential moving averages (EMA) are by and large preferred when charting prices on the currency markets. Exponential moving averages reduce the lag by applying more weight to recent prices relative to older prices. The method for calculating the exponential moving average is fairly complicated. The important thing to remember is that the exponential moving average puts more weight on recent prices.

History has shown that when prices begin trading above the moving average line the market is becoming bullish and traders should be looking for buy entry points. When prices begin trading below the moving average line the market is becoming bearish and traders should look for an opportunity to sell. Investors typically buy when the price of currency pair rises above its moving average and sell when the it falls below its moving average.

Before ending this article let's review. Moving Averages are one of the most popular technical indicators used by traders charting the forex market. Moving averages are extremely important for not only isolating trends, support & resistance and momentum but more importantly, for highlighting the underlying bias of the dominant trading cycles. Master interpreting moving averages and other popular forex trading technical indicators and you will become a successful and wealthy forex trader.

Have you ever desired the income and freedom of being a home based forex trader? Visit the author's (Kenneth Aikens) website for more powerful forex trading information: forex training - forex article directory.

Factors Influencing a Currency Pair Exchange Rate


The exchange rate refers to the value of the US dollar against the values of currencies of other countries. Such a rate helps determine how much we pay for imported goods and services and how much we receive for what we export, among other things. When the value of the US dollar drops, imports become more expensive, and we tend to reduce the volume of our imports. Simultaneously, other countries will pay LESS for some of our products and that will tend to boost export sales. If imports and exports are a substantial part of a country's economy, as is the case with Canada, the exchange rate plays a particularly important role in our economy. The exchange rate between two countries' currencies is particularly important if the two countries are heavily involved in trade.

What factors affect an exchange rate?

A country's exchange rate is typically affected by the supply and demand for that country's currency in international exchange markets. This is typically known as a floating exchange rate. If demand, for say dollars, exceeds supply, then the value of the dollar will go up. If however, the supply of dollars exceeds demand, then its value will go down. A huge amount of money is bought and sold on international exchange markets for many different currencies.

Several factors influence the supply of, and demand for, a given country's currency.

If INTEREST rates are HIGHER in, say, the US than in other countries, then investors WILL choose to invest in the US, increasing demand for the dollar, provided that the expected rate of inflation is not higher in the US than among our trading partners. If INTEREST rates are LOWER in the US than in other countries, investors will choose NOT to invest in the US, decreasing demand for the dollar.

If the US INFLATION rate is HIGHER, investors are LESS likely to prefer the US -even with higher interest rates- because of the expectation that the value of the dollar will be ERODED by inflation. If our INFLATION rate is LOWER, investors are MORE likely to prefer the US, because there will be NO expectation that the value of the dollar will erode.

Trade balance also has an effect on a country's currency. If world prices for what a country exports rise in comparison with the cost of that country's imports, that country will be earning more for its exports than it pays for its imports. The more demand there will be for that country's currency, the better the deal becomes. If investors are confident that the US economy will be strong, they will be MORE likely to buy American assets, pushing UP the dollar's value. If investors are not so confident that the economy will be strong, they will be LESS likely to buy the country's assets, pushing the dollar's value DOWN.

Joshua Kunken is Chief Currency Analyst for