A History of the United States in Five Crashes describes the 1907, 1929, 1987, 2008, and 2010 stock market crashes. Scott Nations’ thesis is that crashes tend to follow a pattern where some new financial construct causes investors to let their guard down. The false sense of security allows for a rapid market run, then some event triggers it to come crashing back down. The introduction of algorithms and computer-directed trading has also sped up this process and created new vulnerabilities in the market. Continue reading “Book Review: A History of the US in 5 Crashes”
- Investors feeling safer than they should is the primary cause of market crashes.
- Consumer debt is at unhealthy levels, but it is not reflected in consumers’ credit scores.
- Bonds in every sector have the potential to be much riskier than their credit ratings indicate.
- It may be a good time to avoid long-term bonds and securitized debt and to look for investments less exposed to high levels of debt.
Stock market crashes, like those that hit the U.S. markets in 1929, 1987, and 2008, tend to follow the same formula. This makes people wonder why they keep happening and we cannot prevent or even predict them. In fact, the act of thinking that we can prevent or predict them can at least partially be credited with causing them.
The formula is essentially as follows…
You may have noticed that your online broker offers a few order options when purchasing a stock or other security. I wrote in my review of the Robinhood app that many reviewers on the App Store blamed Robinhood for paying too much for a trade when the real problem was that they did not understand and properly utilize Robinhood’s limit order option.
If you simply post the default market order, your order will go through at whatever price your broker and another trader agree upon a few seconds or minutes later, which might not be the same market price you see on your screen. That could be frustrating if the price goes up in that short period of time, which is not unusual.
A limit order makes sure that your trade won’t go through any higher than a certain price. If the price of the security goes up between the click of the order button and when the trade actually happens, the broker won’t buy it for more than the customer wants to pay for it. It will wait for a cheaper trade to be available or the order to expire.
There are tons of order types being used in today’s technology-driven trading environment, most of which the average investor does not even know about. Commercial investment brokers like the popular online ones usually only offer a few order types, and it is probably for the best, as we are about to see how complicated they can be.
A novice might notice that his broker offers the option for a stop loss order and wonder what that means. He could hit the ‘help’ button or Google the term to see what it is, and at first glance it may look like an interesting idea. Let’s dig deeper into what it is and what the broader implications of it are before we use it to make a major financial decision. Continue reading “What Is a Stop Loss Order? Why Use It? And Why Not?”