–ефераты. Stock market






that these companies achieve, their values should adjust upward over time

in line with inflationЧa general advantage of common stocks that is worth

repeating.

3.2 Cyclical Stocks.

These are stocks of companies that do not show any clear growth trend,

but where the stocks fluctuate in line with the business cycle (prosperity

and recession) or some other recognizable pattern. Obviously, one can make

money if he buys these near the bottom of a price cycle and sells near the

top. But the bottoms and tops can be hard to recognize when they occur; and

sometimes, when you think that a stock is near the bottom of a cycle, it

may instead be in a process of long-term decline.

3.3 Special Situations.

ThereТs a type of investment that professionals usually refer to as

Уspecial situationsФ. These are cases where some particular corporate

developmentЦperhaps a merger, change of control, sale of property, etc.Ц

seems likely to raise the value of a stock. Special situation investments

may be less affected by general stock market movements than the average

stock investment; but if the expected development doesnТt occur, an

investor may suffer a loss, sometimes sizable. Here the investor has to

judge the odds of the expected developmentТs actually coming to pass.

4. PREFERRED STOCKS

A preferred stock is a stock which bears some resemblances to a bond

(see below). A preferred stockholder is entitled to dividends at a

specified rate, and these dividends must be paid before any dividends can

be paid on the company's common stock. In most cases the preferred dividend

is cumulative, which means that if it isn't paid in a given year, it is

owed by the company to the preferred stockholder. If the corporation is

sold or liquidates, the preferred stockholders have a claim on a certain

portion of the assets ahead of the common stockholders. But while a bond is

scheduled to be redeemed by the corporation on a certain "maturity" date, a

preferred stock is ordinarily a permanent part of the corporation's capital

structure. In exchange for receiving an assured dividend, the preferred

stockholder generally does not share in the progress of the company; the

preferred stock is only entitled to the fixed dividend and no more (except

in a small minority of cases where the preferred stock is "participating"

and receives higher dividends on some basis as the company's earnings

grow).

Many preferred stocks are listed for trading on the NYSE and other

exchanges, but they are usually not priced very attractively for individual

buyers. The reason is that for corporations desiring to invest for fixed

income, preferred stocks carry a tax advantage over bonds. As a result,

such corporations generally bid the prices of preferred stocks up above the

price that would have to be paid for a bond providing the same income. For

the individual buyer, a bond may often be a better buy.

4.1 Bonds-Corporate

Unlike a stock, a bond is evidence not of ownership, but of a loan to a

company (or to a government, or to some other organization). It is a debt

obligation. When you buy a corporate bond, you have bought a portion of a

large loan, and your rights are those of a lender. You are entitled to

interest payments at a specified rate, and to repayment of the full "face

amount" of the bond on a specified date. The fixed interest payments are

usually made semiannually. The quality of a corporate bond depends on the

financial strength of the issuing corporation.

Bonds are usually issued in units of $1,000 or $5,000, but bond prices

are quoted on the basis of 100 as "par" value. A bond price of 96 means

that a bond of $1,000 face value is actually selling at $960 And so on.

Many corporate bonds are traded on the NYSE, and newspapers carry a

separate daily table showing bond trading. The major trading in corporate

bonds, however, takes place in large blocks of $100,000 or more traded off

the Exchange by brokers and dealers acting for their own account or for

institutions.

4.2 Bonds-U. S. Government

U.S. Treasury bonds (long-term), notes (intermediate-term) and bills

(short-term), as well as obligations of the various U. S. government

agencies, are traded away from the exchanges in a vast professional market

where the basic unit of trading is often $ 1 million face value in amount.

However, trades are also done in smaller amounts, and you can buy

Treasuries in lots of $5,000 or $10,000 through a regular broker. U. S.

government bonds are regarded as providing investors with the ultimate in

safety.

4.3 Bonds-Municipal

Bonds issued by state and local governments and governmental units are

generally referred to as "municipals" or "tax-exempts", since the income

from these bonds is largely exempt from federal income tax.

Tax-exempt bonds are attractive to individuals in higher tax brackets

and to certain institutions. There are many different issues and the

newspapers generally list only a small number of actively traded

municipals. The trading takes place in a vast, specialized over-the-counter

market. As an offset to the tax advantage, interest rates on these bonds

are generally lower than on U. S. government or corporate bonds. Quality is

usually high, but there are variations according to the financial soundness

of the various states and communities.

4.4 Convertible Securities

A convertible bond (or convertible debenture) is a corporate bond that

can be converted into the company's common stock under certain terms.

Convertible preferred stock carries a similar "conversion privilege". These

securities are intended to combine the reduced risk of a bond or preferred

stock with the advantage of conversion to common stock if the company is

successful. The market price of a convertible security generally represents

a combination of a pure bond price (or a pure preferred stock price) plus a

premium for the conversion privilege. Many convertible issues are listed on

the NYSE and other exchanges, and many others are traded over-the-counter

4.5 Options

An option is a piece of paper that gives you the right to buy or sell a

given security at a specified price for a specified period of time. A

"call" is an option to buy, a "put" is an option to sell. In simplest form,

these have become an extremely popular way to speculate on the expectation

that the price of a stock will go up or down. In recent years a new type of

option has become extremely popular: options related to the various stock

market averages, which let you speculate on the direction of the whole

market rather than on individual stocks. Many trading techniques used by

expert investors are built around options; some of these techniques are

intended to reduce risks rather than for speculation.

4.6 Rights

When a corporation wants to sell new securities to raise additional

capital, it often gives its stockholders rights to buy the new securities

(most often additional shares of stock) at an attractive price. The right

is in the nature of an option to buy, with a very short life. The holder

can use ("exercise") the right or can sell it to someone else. When rights

are issued, they are usually traded (for the short period until they

expire) on the same exchange as the stock or other security to which they

apply.

4.7 Warrants

A warrant resembles a right in that it is issued by a company and gives

the holder the option of buying the stock (or other security) of the

company from the company itself for a specified price. But a warrant has a

longer lifeЧoften several years, sometimes without limit As with rights,

warrants are negotiable (meaning that they can be sold by the owner to

someone else), and several warrants are traded on the major exchanges.

4.8 Commodities and Financial Futures

The commodity markets, where foodstuffs and industrial commodities are

traded in vast quantities, are outside the scope of this text. But because

the commodity markets deal in "futures"Чthat is, contracts for delivery of

a certain good at a specified future dateЧ they have also become the center

of trading for "financial futures", which, by any logical definition, are

not commodities at all.

Financial futures are relatively new, but they have rapidly zoomed in

importance and in trading activity. Like options, the futures can be used

for protective purposes as well as for speculation. Making the most

headlines have been stock index futures, which permit investors to

speculate on the future direction of the stock market averages. Two other

types of financial futures are also of great importance: interest rate

futures, which are based primarily on the prices of U.S. Treasury bonds,

notes, and bills, and which fluctuate according to the level of interest

rates; and foreign currency futures, which are based on the exchange rates

between foreign currencies and the U.S. dollar. Although, futures can be

used for protective purposes, they are generally a highly speculative area

intended for professionals and other expert investors.

5. STOCK MARKET AVERAGES READING THE NEWSPAPER QUOTATIONS

The financial pages of the newspaper are mystery to many people. But

dramatic movements in the stock market often make the front page. In

newspaper headlines, TV news summaries, and elsewhere, almost everyone has

been exposed to the stock market averages.

In a brokerage firm office, itТs common to hear the question УHowТs the

market?Ф and answer, УUp five dollarsФ, or УDown a dollarФ. With 1500

common stocks listed on the NYSE, there has to be some easy way to express

the price trend of the day. Market averages are a way of summarizing that

information.

Despite all competition, the popularity crown still does to an average

that has some of the qualities of an antiqueЦthe Dow Jones Industrial

Average, an average of 30 prominent stocks dating back to the 1890s. This

average is named for Charles DowЦone of the earliest stock market

theorists, and a founder of Dow Jones & Company, a leading financial news

service and publisher of the Wall Street Journal.

In the days before computers, an average of 30 stocks was perhaps as

much as anyone could calculate on a practical basis at intervals throughout

the day. Now, the Standard & PoorТs 500 Stock Index (500 leading stocks)

and the New York Stock Exchange Composite Index (all stocks on the NYSE)

provide a much more accurate picture of the total market. The professionals

are likely to focus their attention on these УbroadФ market indexes. But

old habits die slowly, and someone calls out, УHowТs the market?Ф and

someone else answers, УUp five dollars,Ф or УUp fiveФЦitТs still the Dow

Jones Industrial Average (the УDowФ for short) that theyТre talking about.

The importance of daily changes in the averages will be clear if you

view them in percentage terms. When the market is not changing rapidly, the

normal daily change is less than љ of 1%. A change of љ% is still moderate;

1% is large but not extraordinary; 2% is dramatic. From the market

averages, itТs a short step to the thousands of detailed listings of stock

prices and related data that youТll find in the daily newspaper financial

tables. These tables include complete reports on the previous dayТs trading

on the NYSE and other leading exchanges. They can also give you a

surprising amount of extra information.

Some newspapers provide more extensive tables, some less. Since the

Wall Street Journal is available world wide, weТll use it as a source of

convenient examples. YouТll find a prominent page headed УNew York Stock

Exchange Composite TransactionsФ. This table covers the dayТs trading for

all stocks listed on the NYSE. УCompositeФ means that it also includes

trades in those same stocks on certain other exchanges (Pacific, Midwest,

etc.) where the stocks are Уdually listedФ. Here are some sample entries:

|52 Weeks | | |Yld |P-E |Sales | | | |Net |

|High |Low |Stock |Div |% |Ratio|100s |High |Low |Close |Chg. |

|52 |37 5/8|Cons Ed |2.68 |5.4 |12 |909 |49 |48 7/8|49 1/4|+1/4 |

|7/8 | | | | | | |3/8 | | | |

|91 |66 1/2|Gen El |2.52 |2.8 |17 |11924 |91 |89 5/8|90 |-1 |

|1/8 | | | | | | |3/8 | | | |

|41 |26 1/4|Mobil |2.20 |5.4 |10 |15713 |41 |40 1/2|40 7/8|+5/8 |

|3/8 | | | | | | | | | | |

Some of the abbreviated company names in the listings can be a

considerable puzzle, but you will get used to them.

While some of the columns contain longer-term information about the

stocks and the companies, we'll look first at the columns that actually

report on the day's trading. Near the center of the table you will see a

column headed "Sales 100s". Stock trading generally takes place in units of

100 shares and is tabulated that way; the figures mean, for example, that

90,900 shares of Consolidated Edison, 1,192,400 shares of General Electric,

and 1,571,300 shares of Mobil traded on January 8. (Mobil actually was the

12th "most active" stock on the NYSE that day, meaning that it ranked 12th

in number of shares traded.)

The next three columns show the highest price for the day, the lowest,

and the last or "closing" price. The "Net Chg." (net change) column to the

far right shows how the closing price differed from the previous day's

closeЧin this case, January 7.

Prices are traditionally calibrated in eighths of a dollar. In case you

aren't familiar with the equivalents, they are:

1/8 =$.125

1/4=$.25

3/8 =$.375

1/2 =$.50

5/8 =$.625

3/4=$.75

7/8 =$.875

Con Edison traded on January 8 at a high of $49.375 per share and a low

of $48 875, it closed at $49.25, which was a gain of $0.25 from the day

before. General Electric closed down $1.00 per share at $90 00, but it

earned a "u" notation by trading during the day at $91 375, which was a new

high price for the stock during the most recent 52 weeks (a new low price

would have been denoted by a "d").

The two columns to the far left show the high and low prices recorded

in the latest 52 weeks, not including the latest day. (Note that the high

for General Electric is shown as 91 1/8, not 91 3/8.) You will note that

while neither Con Edison nor Mobil reached a new high on January 8, each

was near the top of its "price range" for the latest 52 weeks. (Individual

stock price charts, which are published by several financial services,

would show the price history of each stock in detail.)

The other three columns in the table give you information of use in

making judgments about stocks as investments. Just to the right of the

name, the "Div." (dividend) column shows the current annual dividend rate

on the stock Ч or, if there's no clear regular rate, then the actual

dividend total for the latest 12 months. The dividend rates shown here are

$2.68 annually for Con Edison, $2.52 for GE, and $2.20 for Mobil. (Most

companies that pay regular dividends pay them quarterly: it's actually

$0.67 quarterly for Con Edison, etc.) The "Yid." (Yield) column relates tie

annual dividend to the latest stock price. In the case of Con Edison, for

example, $2.68 (annual dividend)/$49.25 (stock price) ==5.4%, which

represents the current yield on the stock.

5.1 The Price-Earnings Ratio

Finally, we have the "P-E ratio", or price-earnings ratio, which

represents a key figure in judging the value of a stock. The price-earnings

ratioЧalso referred to as the "price-earnings multiple", or sometimes

simply as the "multiple"Чis the ratio of the price of a stock to the

earnings per share behind the stock.

This concept is important. In simplest terms (and without taking

possible complicating factors into account), "earnings per share" of a

company are calculated by taking the company's net profits for the year,

and dividing by the number of shares outstanding. The result is, in a very

real sense, what each share earned in the business for the year Ч not to be

confused with the dividends that the company may or may not have paid out.

The board of directors of the company may decide to plow the earnings back

into the business, or to pay them out to shareholders as dividends, or

(more likely) a combination of both; but in any case, it is the earnings

that are usually considered as the key measure of the company's success and

the value of the stock.

The price-earnings ratio tells you a great deal about how investors

view a stock. Investors will bid a stock price up to a higher multiple if a

company's earnings are expected to grow rapidly in the future. The multiple

may look too high in relation to current earnings, but not in relation to

expected future earnings. On the other hand, if a company's future looks

uninteresting, and earnings are not expected to grow substantially, the

market price will decline to a point where the multiple is low.

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