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Archive for October, 2009

Paper Trading

October 29th, 2009 No comments

A few weeks back, I was doing a mental experiment on different methods to trade stocks.  It got a little too complicated and I wondered if there was an easy way to test the theories I was thinking about.

Many times, I’ve heard of people “paper trading” to test their skills in the stock market without actually putting any skin in the game, so I decided to look around to see if a site would allow me to do just that.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find one that seemed too appealing.  Either the site was very unimpressive, or it seemed like they just wanted to get my information so they could bombard me with ads.

I gave up on the idea.

A few days later, I noticed an interesting article about a new startup investing website, kaChing.  This site allows you to set up a a virtual portfolio of $10 million and buy and sell stocks.  It includes a hint of social networking, since you can see other people’s portfolios and can share information.  While this pretty cool in and of itself, the real kicker is how the site actually makes money.

If you stick with the site and trade, they assign you an investor IQ, which is basically a automated rating of how good a trader you are.   If you meet some other restrictions, you can then become a “Genius” and people can choose to invest like you.  The customer then sends kaChing money to invest, and whenever you buy or sell in your virtual portfolio, kaChing does the same moves with the customer’s money.

As a Genius, you set your rate for managing money (say a %1 fee for people investing like you) and kaChing takes a cut.  The more money you “manage” the more you and kaChing can make.

Am I the only one who thinks this is really cool?  While I doubt I’ll ever become a Genius, the site is awesome for paper trading.  If you want to follow me, my investor ID is 76659.

Right now, kaChing has around $3 million in actual invested money.  If this idea takes off, those guys are going to make a killing.

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Stock Futures

October 26th, 2009 1 comment

What are stock futures and why should you care?

The other morning the wife asked me what stock futures were. That got me so pumped up just thinking about derivatives, I probably didn’t need a cup of coffee. I can be such a nerd :)

Anyways, I figured this would be a great topic to get back into the flow of blogging on FrugalJim, so let’s get going.

The reason this topic was brought up in the first place was because the talking heads on TV and/or the web articles written in the morning like to give a shout out to the stock futures.  They do this to try and give an indication for how the market is going to act once they open up for the day.

Digressing a little, stock futures are derivatives.  These aren’t actually a stock you can buy or sell, but are “derived” from actual stocks.  Just like stock options, they allow you to speculate whether a stock will go up or down at some point in the future.  Not only can you do this with less money than you would need if you wanted to buy the stocks outright, but you can do it outside the normal stock market hours.

The talking heads simply look at the futures to get an estimate of which way the market is moving and act like they know how the market will behave.  The ironic thing is they never go back and see if they were right or wrong.  Just because the market starts off strong, doesn’t mean it won’t tank in the afternoon.

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Where is Frugal Jim?

October 19th, 2009 No comments

This year has definitely been interesting. As you can tell by my lack of posts, it’s been a little busy. I’ve actually been thinking about getting back into the blogging mode, so we’ll see what happens.

Hopefully I’ll have my next post up by this weekend. See you then!

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