Thursday, February 28, 2008

Risk Reward

Think you know about risk and reward? Most traders use the target price and the stop price as their model of risk and reward, and leave it at that. However, they may be missing an important risk/reward concept. Read on to add a new weapon to your trading arsenal.

The concept of a risk/reward ratio is pretty straight-forward; for any given trade, you're targeting a certain amount of gain, while setting a stop-loss limit if the trade goes the other direction instead. This is a critical concept for any trader to grasp, as the idea is to establish the potential loss to see if it justifies the potential gain. Of course in all cases, you want your reward to be at least a little better than your risk, so you set your targets and stops accordingly. A good rule of thumb is to seek a return of three times as much as the amount risked, making the reward/risk ratio 3 to 1. But it's equally common to see reward/ratios of anywhere between 2 to 1 and 4 to 1. Let's go through a real example.

Say we're buying XYZ shares at $36.00. We think XYZ will move to $46.80 for a 30% gain, and we're willing to risk a 10% loss in the attempt to get that 30% gain. A 10% loss on $36.00 (initial investment) means shares would fall to $32.40 before we threw in the towel and closed out the position. Our potential reward is 30%, but we're risking a 10% loss. What's the reward to risk ratio? Well, 30% divided by 10% equals a 3 to 1 reward/risk ratio.

So as long as your rewards are bigger than your risks, over time (and enough trades) you'll make money, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, too many traders automatically set up a 3 to 1 ratio when setting price targets and stop losses on any of their trades. But they're forgetting something very important. Just because your profit target is three times as big as your risk doesn't mean you'll ever actually hit that target. You also have to factor in the likelihood of a successful trade. Let's take a look at why.

Let's stick with the assumption that our optimal reward/risk ratio is 3 to 1. Let's also assume you've developed a trading system (or you're able to pick stocks) that produces one winning trade in every four trades. So, your win/loss ratio is 1 in 4 (25%), while your reward/risk ratio is 3 to 1. Do you think you'll make money with that system? Nope - for every trade that gains 30%, you have three more trades that lose 10%. The rewards were three times as big as the risk, but it didn't create any real profit! The best you could hope for is to break even.

So how does one measure the real reward-to-risk ratio? You have to factor in the odds of a winning trade into the potential gains or losses. Again, we'll illustrate it with an example. Say you've found a stock you think will move 20% higher, and you're willing to risk 10% to enter that trade. You're target is 20% above your entry price, and your stop loss is 10% under your entry price. With a reward/risk ratio of 2 to 1, this trade doesn't necessarily seem all that great. But, what if the trading system had a success rate of three winners for every four trades? You'd have a 75% chance of making 20%, while only a 25% chance of losing 10%. With that particular trade, your real reward-to-risk ratio would be about 6 to 1.

The point is, don't fall into the trap of setting targets and stops based on a predetermined risk/reward ratio. Big rewards and small losses are pointless if the system is a net loser. Rather, focus on the actual risks and rewards of a total methodology. This will also force you to determine just how successful your trading system or stock picking really is, which is something you should know anyway.

Click here to put reward risk in your favor with these trading software platforms.

Good day and good trading for low risk high reward!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Dr. Van Tharp Trading Workshops

Through his modeling work with top traders, Van Tharp has discovered the blueprint for trading success that will ensure you consistent prosperity as a trader.

Click here for Dr. Van Tharp's Current March Trading Workshops in Singapore and Sydney Australia.

This course is a complete structured program that will launch you to a more advanced skill level in your trading. You’ll learn strategic, focused steps that will serve you throughout your entire trading career whether you are a beginner or have years of trading experience.

During these intensive, hands-on three days, you will learn clear and concise tasks to master that will take your trading from ho-hum to visionary. You will leave with a thorough checklist of action steps to guide you to a higher level of performance.

This workshop illustrates the relationships among the steps so that the process is logical and reasonable. Moreover, Van Tharp will show you how to take each step experientially, so you really get it. Dr. Tharp is an expert in delivering elicitation questions to bring forth each person’s most important issues.

What students listed among the top benefits of attending:

Realizing how much groundwork (planning) there is to do.

Learning to think about ALL possible markets.

Emphasis on links between objectives and position sizing.

A defined and easy to understand approach to trading and analyzing markets.

Process is more important than actual trading.

New insight on evaluations of systems.

Trading is very belief-based.

Having a proven road-map of self-development specific to trading.

Offering key ideas on how to build a robust trading system.

Dr. Tharp has worked closely with traders for over 20 years, which has given him the experience and insights into what works and what doesn’t work in the trading game.

The same questions, fears and lessons continue to rear their heads year in and year out, and this course lets you know that you don’t have to go it alone; many traders have come before you and this is your opportunity to learn their successes and mistakes and what it really takes to be a great trader!

"The course far exceeded my expectations and threw up ideas which had just not existed on the mental horizon. Apart from being a better trader, this course will make me a happier and more complete human being. A stupendous course." — Satyendra Kumar, India

Click Here To Learn More About Dr. Van Tharp's 2008 Trading Workshops.

Van Tharp Current Trading Workshops are Singapore March 1 - 3, 7 - 9, and Sydney Australia March 14 - 16, 28 - 30.

Good day and good trading with the Traders Coach, Dr. Van Tharp!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Stocks Rise on ABK MBIA AAA Rating?

A consortium of banks has largely finalized a deal to re-capitalize troubled bond insurer Ambac Financial Group and is now trying to sell the plan to the rating agencies to save Ambac's triple-A rating.

MBIA, the world's largest bond insurer fighting to hang on to its top-notch rating, said Monday it is eliminating its quarterly dividend in a move expected to save the company $174 million a year.

Monday Headline: "Stocks Rise" on the Worst Housing Market "Since the Great Depression"?

By Robert Folsom of Elliottwave

The major stock indexes closed higher on Monday (Feb. 25).

Please humor me and read the bulleted list below -- it's about the latest housing data. My reason for including the figures will be obvious shortly.

* Existing home sales in January fell to the lowest number since recordkeeping began (1999)

* Sales of condos and co-ops declined 6.5%

* Since the June 2006 peak, existing home sales have declined 34%

* The inventory of unsold homes increased 5.5%, to a 10.3-month supply

* The U.S. median home price in January was $201,100, down 4.6% from a year ago

* The January price slide was the sixth in the past seven months

* Since the June 2006 peak, existing home prices have fallen 13%

* Reuters reported that the U.S. housing market "is in the worst downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s."

Now, all this data sums up a clear-enough picture of the housing trend. It's uniformly bad. If your home's value stands anywhere near today's median price, you are approximately $30,000 poorer than you were 20 months ago.

So why spell all this out? Heck, everyone knows the housing situation is ugly, with or without reading the particulars.

My reason for putting the facts before you begins with this quote, which was typical of what stock market stories were saying around 11:00am this morning:

"Stocks held onto a small gain Monday amid better than expected housing data."

Never mind that by mid-afternoon the S&P 500 had slipped into negative territory. It's the "better than expected" idea which makes this notion a pile of rubbish.

The "better" was 4.89 million home sales in January, vs. the "expected" 4.81 million consensus estimate of economists.

In other words, we're supposed to believe that investors ignored the facts about the housing market and instead decided to buy stocks because home sales declined 0.08 less than the big educated guess offered by economists.

Click here to receive Free for a Limited Time, the "Elliottwave Theorist".

Monday, February 25, 2008

Weekly Stock Short Pick

Two weeks ago I said I might select a short stock pick for my weekly stock picks. Well, this is the week, and I just might be picking more shorts from now on too. I do want to look for long picks but after some review and analysis, I’m thinking it might start getting harder and harder to do that going forward for awhile. Simply said, I’m becoming bearish much more now.

Here’s my analysis as to why I’m picking the short side a bit more now. I looked at the market this weekend from the very long term point of view. It’s possibly looking like the 1966 – 1973 time period possibly. I’m comparing this to the recent 2000 to 2007 move in the markets. Possibly the decline in real value of stocks started in 1999, and not last year at the recent market top. The expected crash in real estate now a reality, an unprecedented debt bubble is now imploding, the delayed response by the fed when the markets get into trouble, the record duration and extent of optimism in the market, and the continuation of high stock valuations.

This week’s short stock pick of mine is Tredegar, Ticker TG. It’s based simply on my explanation above, the fundamental information below, and running scans on my trading software looking for low risk high reward long and short trade setups.

Trade Setup on TG: Sell Short

Sell Stop at $15.30
Stop-Loss at $16.02
Take Profit Regions: $13.86 - $13.14, $12.63 to $12.19, and $11.35 to $11.76.

Fundamentally, earnings from continuing operations fell to $7 million, or 19 cents per share, from $9.8 million, or 25 cents per share, for the same quarter in 2006, and Sales fell 8.1 percent to $208.5 million from $227 million in the year-ago period company officials said that demand for extruded aluminum shapes was down significantly in most U.S. market segments. Sales from continuing operations in aluminum extrusions fell 21 percent to $73.5 million, while volume from continuing operations dropped 21 percent to 32.2 million pounds. Sales of film products rose 1.6 percent to $130.6 million, while volume fell to 6.5 percent to 58.6 million pounds, Tredegar said. For the full year 2007, the company earned $15.2 million, or 39 cents per share, compared with $38.2 million, or 98 cents per share, in 2006.

Tredegar Corporation (Tredegar) is engaged, through its subsidiaries, in the manufacture of plastic films and aluminum extrusions. Tredegar Film Products Corporation and its subsidiaries (together, Film Products) manufacture plastic films, elastics and laminate materials primarily for personal and household care products and packaging and surface protection applications. Film Products is a supplier of apertured, breathable, elastic and embossed films, and laminate materials for personal care markets, including apertured film and non-woven materials for use as topsheet in feminine hygiene products, baby diapers and adult incontinent products (including materials sold under the ComfortQuilt and ComfortAire brand names); breathable, embossed and elastic materials for use as components for baby diapers, adult incontinent products and feminine hygiene products, and absorbent transfer layers for baby diapers and adult incontinent products sold under the AquiDry and AquiSoft brand names.

Click here to review and Trial For Free the trading software we used in determining our long and short stock picks.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Why Would Anyone Give Workshops if They Can Trade Well?

By Traders Coach Van K. Tharp Ph.D.

Click Here For Van Tharp's 2008 Trading Workshop Schedule

Click Here For Van Tharp's Singapore Trading Workshop March 1-3

In a recent article entitled, "Some Will Love You and Some Will Hate You, So What!" I talked about someone on an internet forum asking if he should attend a Van Tharp workshop. People, who had obviously not attended a workshop or were not students of any of my work, were quick to respond with very negative comments. That article was my response to those comments, and it prompted a wealth of positive and supportive feedback from so many of you, which my entire staff and I appreciated so much. However, there was one last comment on the forum I mentioned that I wanted to address separately. The comment was "Why would anyone give workshops if they can trade well?" To me that addresses what my life is all about and I wanted to devote a separate article to it.

I've already responded to this statement to some extent in the last article. I love helping people and that's my calling. And I have great coaching skills. However, there is also an underlying presupposition behind the statement (and understanding presuppositions is a major part of understanding NLP). That presupposition is that money (or trading) is the most important thing in the world and why would anyone do anything else.

We've actually found that good traders do not value money that highly, or at least, it is not one of the major reasons that they trade. They trade because they want to be the best or because they love it. Those who trade for the money usually have a very difficult time. And if you'd like to understand that better, then I strongly recommend that you work on my Peak Performance Course.

I actually started this business because I wanted to help people transform. I found that the best traders tend to live very balanced and happy lives. Furthermore, you had to deal with psychological issues right up front if you ever wanted to be an effective trader. Otherwise those issues would constantly find a way to bite you. And as I started coaching people, I watched their lives change for the better and that's what drove me.

So I could actually change that statement around. To me it makes sense to ask, "If you can transform people's lives and help them become the creators of what they want, why would you want to trade?" But that really illustrates one of the key points that we teach. You really need to find your purpose in life and if you want to be successful as a trader, then trading has to be part of that purpose.

At one point in my life, I regarded a hedge fund manager, who I had been coaching for nearly 10 years, as our model trader. I'd worked with him and his family and his employees during that time. Everyone seemed to love him. And when I told him about my mission of helping people change, he said to me, "Van, I transform lives too, by making people a lot of money." And based upon what I was seeing, I believed him and that got me off track. I started to think, "How can I help people make a lot of money – including those who don't seem to follow my advice?" When you get off track from your purpose, the universe has a way of correcting things. It turned out that this client was a fraud, running a ponzi scheme, which appeared on the cover of Barrons Weekly magazine in early 2000. Even being a psychologist with prior training working with sociopaths, I didn't see this one coming at all. My mistake cost me a lot of money and a lot of heartache. But I also realized that I'd gotten off my purpose, which is to help people transform their lives through a financial metaphor. I think we've now gotten back on track and great results are starting to pour in.

What we really do is work with those people who are receptive to doing the necessary work and who believe in what we do. Those are the people who love us and our goal is to help them transform their lives. And we have a lot of them.

When I realized that I was going to write this article, I asked some of my Super Traders (especially those who were nearly finished or had finished) to write a paragraph about their experiences in the program and, most importantly, what they thought Van Tharp's purpose was in teaching them. Here are the responses I got.

Rick Freeman was the first person to enter into the new Super Trader program. He has completed the program plus a one year extension and this is his comment.

I am currently finishing up my Super Trader program with Van Tharp and IITM that has spanned the last three years. I felt it was worthwhile and useful to point out what I think Van Tharp and IITM are all about as I reflect on the completion of my program. While IITM holds itself out as a source for high quality trading education, which it clearly provides in my opinion, I believe Van's primary mission is to help individuals achieve personal transformation and he teaches it through the financial metaphor of trading. I am living proof that Van is not only fulfilling that mission, but he is also helping others achieve success in their lives that they may have only dreamed about in the past. Not only have I gone from being an unprofitable trader to a consistently profitable trader, which is largely credited toward the education and insight I have gained from Van and IITM, I have also created a completely new life over the last two years as a result of the personal work I did in the program. I went from being the typical corporate employee, burnt out on the job and miserable in general, to now being infinitely wealthy and owning my own company as I pursue my dream career as a professional trader and real estate investor. My family and I couldn't be happier and it was all made possible by the work I did with the help of Van and IITM, once I committed to do so. I think it's important to point out, though, that while Van and IITM can put an immense amount of resources at your disposal and help you learn how you can change your trading results and your life, it is still up to the individual to commit to the change and the work required putting those efforts to gainful use. For those that are up to the challenge and truly committed to producing enormous results in their lives, I couldn't speak more highly of IITM's offerings as a means to doing so. I am eternally grateful, not only for how they have helped me in my trading, but more importantly…how they have helped me truly create and live my dream life.—Rick Freeman, Palm Harbor, FL

Ed Pomicter is a physician who is just about to complete the program. Here is Ed's comment on the topic at hand.

I first attended a Van Tharp/IITM workshop with the goal of improving my trading and investing. What I found, after that one workshop, was that Van could help me have a happier and more fulfilling life. The change in me, as a person, was something that my wife noticed immediately. I eventually joined the Super Trader Program, now with the goal of learning the skills to take myself to higher and higher levels of happiness and achievement. Trading is certainly a part of this, and the freedom that trading affords me to create the life that I want is tremendous. My training with IITM has made me a much better trader in terms of profitability, consistency, and the ability to continually improve my skills. The real benefits of working with Van and the whole IITM staff are much greater than my trading. The personal growth, the change in how I view the world and my part in it, the happiness in my heart, the fearlessness with which I approach each day, the generosity that I share with others, the patience with which I parent, and the honesty with which I relate to myself and my wife have all grown tremendously. And I was a pretty together, successful and fun person to begin with!

My view is that if someone is looking for a "trading guru" who is going to tell them how to trade, look somewhere else. If you are looking for somebody to help you really understand trading, understand your role in your trading, improve your ability to perform as a trader, and who can teach you the skills to take yourself up a level or two or more in every area of your life, I would say that IITM is the place to go. In all of my education, from elementary school through medical school and residency, I learned more truly important, useful, and powerful information and skills through my work with IITM than anywhere else. —Edward Pomicter, MD , IITM Super Trader, PLC Owner, Count de Monet, LLC

This statement is from a Super Trader who also is about to finish his program. I have not given his name because of the steps he is about to take.

The financial markets have infatuated me from the first time I bought a bond as a young boy. Ever since then, I have played in various markets though I shied away from a financial career because I wanted a fuller life than primarily pursuing mammon. Then I read The Market Wizards where Dr. Van K. Tharp said top traders didn't view money as important. Really! Then what was it about for top traders? Studying Van's material over these last few years has led me to understand how responsibility, psychology, and beliefs underpin my trading results. Now I also appreciate that emotions such as gratitude, love, and forgiveness affect how well I trade. Van and his staff have helped me transform not only my trading but my life. Most significantly, I am about to leave a desirable position at a highly regarded company and trade independently for a living. Such a move would have been unthinkable before Van's work helped me comprehend my nature, my place in the universe, and the practice of excellence in trading. For this, I am deeply grateful.

Here's some final input from Robert Morton, who joined the Super Trader program last year. I think his input is important because it really emphasizes what I think IITM's mission is.

It is certainly true that IITM is an educational company that provides very powerful information on the keys to trading success. Examples of which are position sizing, business planning, system design, etc. However to view it wholly as an information imparter, like many educational pursuits, I believe is missing the point. Throughout every element of IITM's courses & materials there is a culture of asking the participant much broader questions. Questions that view trading from a more holistic perspective, inseparable from other aspects of ones life such as health, relationships, spiritual development, etc. This is often weighty stuff but the results of being confronted by these broader topics can be the catalyst for powerful paradigm shifts.

Personally speaking, this process has already had a significant and positive impact on my life, and I am far from completing my two year program. An example of the shifts would be in relation to my goals. When I started with the objective of becoming a successful self-employed trader my goals were all monetary, literally percent signs and dollar signs. Now, through exposure to these broader questions, I am aware of my life purpose. A natural consequence of that realization is that my trading life is much more congruent with my overall mission and surprise, surprise, the profits are there, too!

IITM does not affect change to my circumstances, nor does it even affect change to me directly; however, what it does provide in a structured and supportive environment are the tools for me to affect change to myself as I choose. To sum up I would say that IITM provides no answers but asks exactly the right questions. For that I am eternally grateful and look forward to continually redefining myself in how I choose to answer those questions.

Quite frequently we get statements from those of you who have taken our material to heart, telling us about the profound changes that you've made in your lives and thanking us. I'm sure it's part of what motivates my staff to do what they do and it's the juice that keeps me going. I can't ever imagine retiring because I just love doing this. And your personal transformations are what it's all about for me. Here's the link to some of the comments we received in the last two weeks, click here to read comments.

Editors Note: I can speak to Van's comments regarding client feedback and the motivation that it injects into the Van Tharp Institute. I've worked with Van for over ten years now…going on twelve years actually. I produce this newsletter among many other duties here. During all these years I bet there has not been a week that has gone by that I didn't have the privilege of hearing something along the lines of "Van's work changed my life." And I don't even answer the phone very often or get the primary customer service emails! I never get tired of hearing it and knowing that there is space in this crowded industry (finance, trading, etc) for people like you to connect with someone like Van and experience powerful positive changes. This motivates me and the rest of the staff in ways that can't be counted. So I'd just like to add that we appreciate you and value your generous feedback! – Cathy Hasty

About Van Tharp: Trading coach, and author, Dr. Van K. Tharp is widely recognized for his best-selling book Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom and his outstanding Peak Performance Home Study program - a highly regarded classic that is suitable for all levels of traders and investors. You can learn more about Van Tharp at by clicking here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Options Trading Mastery Home Study Course

If your new or old to options trading, continuing trading education is a must to stay fresh in the ever changing market conditions, especially these days in these liquidity crisis market conditions.

Different markets offer different amounts of risk and reward, and staying on top of current market conditions and applying the right trading strategy for the current market condition is a must to keeping risk low and profiting in the short intermediate, and long term.

Learning what it takes to grasp the most profitable options trading secrets, tactics, and little known strategies in the business and be profitable with your options trading is an ongoing process to hone and refine your trading skills to be profitable and sleep soundly at night.

Click Here To Learn Insider Options Trading Secrets Some Lucky "Test Subjects" Did Through This Options Trading Mastery Home Study Course.

It's super advanced option trading tactics, broken down to the simplest form that can generate amazing profits and true hedging even in a liquidity crisis market. And it will come to you faster than you ever dreamed possible . . .

If you've ever craved to learn how world-class options floor traders generated massive profits for their clients and companies, then you're in for the ride of your life.

This is huge! In fact so big, there are major companies, investors traders scouting this out as their "go to options tactics" because what is revealed are true options trading strategies. Not some hashed up recipe that worked once, and is canned and sold as the "new solution".

Most of what you see these days is concocted by some wannabe, that's never even seen the inside of any of the 5 major trading floors.

Here's the story: A little over two years ago, two floor option traders launched the most in depth options trading training on the market. In fact it was so good, they sold out in just a few months.

But the funny thing was, the option traders wanted more. They jammed packed these home study courses with the most elementary to advanced options trading elements that are so simple even a 6th grader could grasp.

Option Traders wanted more of the simple yet effective techniques these floor option traders would use on the trading floors.

And that's exactly what they gave them. They delivered the 'first-ever-of-it's-kind' live web-classes over the internet. Teaching the very same strategies that allowed them to dominate on the option trading floors. Over 12 weeks of them spilling their guts.

The training was tough, but well worth it. They took a group of 23 raw rookies and transformed them into options veterans in a little over 12 weeks. And the success stories have been phenomenal.

But traders wanted more and so they gave it to them again. And they held nothing back. They Expanded their live classes to 12 grueling weeks, and added tons of new content. All straight from their "My Trader Trainee Courses", that they used to teach floor trading.

They've revealed all their professional-level power strategies and techniques to these 'students', the same ones that helped them produce monster profits on the options floor for over 15 years.

It was the exact same information they taught when they were summoned to "teach" a class to a bunch of rookie traders. It was their job to prepare them for doing battle in the pits, against veteran market makers on their very first day. But these traders did great, and people started to take notice.

Pretty soon, they were getting approached by competing firms to train their new traders on the floor, so they wouldn't get their clocks cleaned by their new 'rookies'.

How'd they get started? One day they made a comment to a manager telling him that they thought the class taught on options was a joke. He told me, "If you think you can do better, do it!" Well, they did it, and they did it big.

They went home and quickly jotted down all of the strategies they used when money was on the line. They had to know their stuff in and out, because if they didn't, they wouldn't eat.

Click here to get these best options trading tactics ever known that were learned in the real world of floor trading.

After teaching their first few students, their name traveled, and it traveled fast. Again, other companies were calling them to waltz through their back door and teach their traders (rookies and veterans alike) their intensive options class.

Major companies would often approach them 'quietly' to train their traders behind the scenes. That's because, these techniques are the exact same ones they used when they were "The Specialist" or lead market maker in Dell Computer options, one of the busiest books in history!

Yes, they are blowing their own horn, but they have to. They've got to let you know who they are and what they've done because those charlatans out here touting their "canned strategies" are making me sick!

There are guys out here know nothing about the real world of options trading. They never spent any time in the pit. And now they come out after making a winning trade and declare on the mountain top, that they're the greatest, Horse-Hoooey!

Click here to review these options floor traders, Options Trading Mastery Home Study Course, and You Decide!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Trade Like A Bull In A Bear Market

Worried about a bear market? Well, you shouldn't be . . .


I'll give you a hint: "If it bleeds, it leads"

Keep reading and click here for a 4+ minute video with surprising proof about a bear market profit strategy.

Ignore The Media

Here's a trading lesson I learned long ago - ignore the media.
They love a good "bloodbath" and do a great job scaring you
during bear markets.

And while Joe Investor is shaking with fear wondering how he's going to survive in the doomsday picture painted by the media . . .

-select groups of traders are quietly pulling in profit after profit with a proven trading strategy that gives them a step-by-step blueprint to use even when the market is tanking.

New-Video: PSUN

Do yourself a favor . . .

Take 4 minutes and watch this short, brand new video. It shows a great recent trade of PSUN, and also demonstrates 3 critical trading concepts:

* How the right search criteria can be a life-saver...

* What happens when you DON'T manage risk properly...

* The infamous 'f.ree trade exit strategy' that lets you lock in trade profit early on while giving your trade room to 'breathe'

Click here for this fresh video from the 'trading oven', so watch it NOW, while the data is still pertinent.

No name or email needed . . . just give that page a few seconds to load.

Enjoy! I know you'll enjoy this video!

Good day and good trading like a bull in a bear market!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Buffett and Paulson Ride to the Rescue?

Yesterday was a white-knight-to-the-rescue kind of day: Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha, offered to reinsure part of the shaky bond insurance business, a move that looked like it was meant to calm the credit markets. Meanwhile, U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson proposed a 30-day moratorium on foreclosures, a move that looked like it would throw a lifeline to faltering mortgage-payers.

Sound like heroes coming to the rescue of the U.S. economy? Think again. Buffett is actually being an opportunistic capitalist, which is exactly how he's made his billions over the years. He saw Ambac and MBIA hurting and offered to buy their municipal bond insurance business. Analysts quickly pointed out, though, that this is the one part of the bond insurers' businesses that is actually profitable. It seems that Buffett isn't interested in buying any of their subprime mortgage insurance business. That's their problem.

Similarly, Paulson and the six banks, including Citigroup and Bank of America, who announced the Project Lifeline program today sound like they are doing a favor for those who are about to lose their homes to foreclosure. However, as the New York Times points out: "During the 30-day window, participating lenders would try to work out a more affordable mortgage for the delinquent borrowers, although there is no actual requirement for them to do so." No wonder a California state legislator said that the new program has no teeth.

One interesting history lesson that Elliott Wave International have tried to pass onto their subscribers is that government intervention tends to wane in bull markets and grow in bear markets. So, what do we make of the U.S. government's effort to try to save defaulting homeowners from foreclosure, along with the $150 billion stimulus plan? It could be taken as a contrarian signal for a topping market. Here's a more detailed explanation from the latest Elliott Wave Financial Forecast:

"Government involvement in markets is a great signal at tops, because it takes a very strong consensus opinion to cause a lumbering bureaucracy to take action. In recent months, the edicts and initiatives of various government entities places them squarely on board the bullish bandwagon."

Bullish our government leaders may be as they try to ride to the rescue of the U.S. economy, but they simply may not be aware of the bearish implications of their efforts.

Click here for a 30 day free trial of the Elliottwave Financial Forecast Service.

Includes Financial Forecast Short Term Update, Elliott Wave Financial Forecast & Elliott Wave Theorist. Plus, a free copy of: Conquer the Crash: You Can Survive and Prosper in a Deflationary Depression & Elliott Wave Principle -- Key to Market Behavior.

Good day, good investing and trading!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Free Options Trading Webinar Feb 13

Click here to attend this free option trading webinar February 13th 9PM Eastern Time, and learn how some people almost always win at trading options, and you can too.

Many of you have been begging me for months to either come up with an options trading course or series of classes – or to find one offered by a third party that I would feel confident to recommend.

Until recently, I've drawn a blank. I simply have not found the time to develop the quality of class on my own that I would feel comfortable offering.

Sure, I found several options trading training companies and investigated their offerings, but found them to be lacking. I felt that they were pushing their own "agenda", were leaving vital information out, or otherwise just didn't cut the mustard.

But then I found Options University

I got in touch with Brett Fogle, who is the President and CEO of Options University. After just a brief discussion with Brett, I realized OU is the "real deal."

I found out that OU has a completely different philosophy in teaching options. And I then realized why I just "didn't feel right" about all those other options trading education companies.

You see, anyone can teach you "how" to trade options. The terms you need to know, the mechanics, the different strategies, etc. But that's just a small subset of the Big Picture you need to know in order to trade options successfully. And it's also where
all the other options training courses have it backwards.

What's the missing piece of the puzzle that Options University supplies?

It's this . . .

First, find the trading OPPORTUNITIES that the current market provides, and ONLY THEN apply the APPROPRIATE STRATEGIES.

All the other training companies I looked at took just the opposite approach – they teach the STRATEGIES only, and then leave it to you to try to apply the strategies to whatever is going on in the market.

That's a recipe for disaster, and a good reason why so many people are afraid of trading options.

Anyway, once I was totally sold on Options University as the best options training company, I looked at their assortment of class offerings to find the best one for my students and clients.

Since most of you are in the beginning to intermediate stages of trading, I wanted something fairly basic to start out with, but then advancing at a leisurely pace to more advanced concepts. I also wanted a class to cover all the bases, and not just a few key concepts. Finally, I wanted the information to be "real world" and not just theoretical nonsense.

After discussing what I wanted with Brett, he told me about Options University's Options Strategies Spotlight series of classes, along with their Options 101 classes. And I think these are the perfect classes for options trading beginners.

First of all, the Options 101 classes cover all the basics – everything you need to know to get started trading options - from what a "put" and a "call" is, all the way through the effective options trading strategies.

But the Options Strategies Spotlight (OSS) series of classes is truly unique. These classes cover the course of an entire year.

This service is designed to teach you a new options strategy each month. Each month, you'll learn everything there is to know about a single options trading strategy. You'll learn it from A to Z, and discover the inside secrets of every strategy that 99% of other traders will never know... Including professional traders!

Once a month, OU's panel of options experts will introduce a new strategy and cover it in-depth for two full hours in OU's live, interactive web-conferencing platform.

Here's a sample of the strategies you'll be able to master over one year:

– The Covered Call (Buy-Write) Strategy
– The Stock Replacement Strategy
– The Stock Replacement Covered Call Strategy
– The Covered Put (Sell-Write) Strategy
– The Protective Put Strategy
– The Synthetic Put Strategy
– Bull Spreads & Bear Spreads
– Time Spreads
– Long Straddles & Short Straddles
– Long Strangles & Short Strangles
– The Butterfly Strategy
– The Condor Strategy

Bottom line, I think the Options Strategies Spotlight and Options 101 series of classes is just what many of you have been looking for.

To help you decide, Options University will present a webinar to preview the classes and to show you what they are all about.

Click here to attend this free online option trading webinar being held on Wednesday, February 13, 2008.

I think you'll be just as impressed as I am with the high quality of education provided by Options University. I highly recommend you to attend that webinar if you truly want to master options trading!

P.S. I think I've found the perfect options trading training for you. To find out how some people almost always succeed with options trading, and how you can too, I highly recommend you register immediately for Options University's preview webinar of their upcoming Options Strategy Spotlight series of classes.

Click here for that registration and information page again.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Weekly Stock Pick

First, I have to say its hard to find good long stock picks in this current market environment but I will continue to do so as many beaten up companies are at good values right now, and showing good chart pattern trade setups for long term investing, and even short term trades in my opinion. I do have short picks, and maybe next week, I'll list a short pick. With my short picks, these are short term as I would rather focus on long picks that can benefit investors as well as traders.

My long stock pick this week is a company that was created more than 100 years ago. US Steel Ticker X. The materials that this company produces and supplies are what built, and continue to build economies around the world. They also have diversified business in relation with their core steel business, making them an attractive and safe investment currently we believe.

With steel imports from China down, and all their steel being consumed there, US manufacturers will have to buy from US makers. If this remains to be the case, stocks like X should do well in the next 6 months.

The US Steel chart is showing intermediate and minor Elliottwave trade setups right now, providing what we consider a low risk high reward trade setup in this current liquidity crisis market environment.

US Steel Key Data

Market Cap: 11.68B. P/E: 13.37. Dividend: 0.25. Forward P/E: 13.31. Yield: 1.01. Beta: 3.84. EPS: 7.39. Institutionally Owned: 88%.

US Steel Board of Directors declared a dividend of 25 cents per share on U. S. Steel Common Stock, an increase of 5 cents per share. The dividend is payable March 10, 2008, to stockholders of record at the close of business February 13, 2008.

United States Steel Corporation headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa., manufactures a wide variety of steel sheet, tubular and tin products; coke, and taconite pellets; and has a worldwide annual raw steel capability of 26.8 million net tons. U. S. Steel's domestic primary steel operations are: Gary Works in Gary, Ind.; Great Lakes Works in Ecorse and River Rouge, Mich.; Mon Valley Works, which includes the Edgar Thomson and Irvin plants, near Pittsburgh and Fairless Works near Philadelphia, Pa.; Granite City Works in Granite City, Ill.; Fairfield Works near Birmingham, Ala.; Midwest Plant in Portage, Ind.; and East Chicago Tin in East Chicago, Ind. The company also operates two seamless tubular mills, Lorain Tubular Operations in Lorain, Ohio; and Fairfield Tubular Operations near Birmingham, Ala.

U. S. Steel produces coke at Clairton Works near Pittsburgh, at Gary Works and Granite City Works. On Northern Minnesota's Mesabi Iron Range, U. S. Steel's iron ore mining and taconite pellet operations, Minnesota Taconite (Minntac) and Keewatin Taconite (Keetac), support the steelmaking effort, and its subsidiary ProCoil Company provides steel distribution and processing services.

U. S. Steel has steelmaking subsidiaries in Kosice, Slovakia, Sabac and Smederevo, Serbia.

Internationally, In addition to primary steel operations, U. S. Steel participates in several joint ventures: USS-POSCO Industries, Pittsburg, Ca.; PRO-TEC Coating Company, Leipsic, Ohio; Worthington Specialty Processing, Jackson, Mich.; Double Eagle Steel Coating Company, Dearborn, Mich.; Double G Coating Company, Jackson, Miss.; and Acero Prime, San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

U. S. Steel is also involved in a number of other businesses, among them transportation Transtan Inc, real estate development, and leasing and financial services.

Click here to review and trial for free, the trading software we used in determining this week's long stock pick.

Good day, good investing and trading!

Friday, February 08, 2008

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Market Update for January 2008

1-2-3 Model Is in Red Light Mode

By Van K. Tharp Ph.D. of International Institute of Trading Mastery

Click here for Dr. Van Tharp's 2008 Trading Workshop Schedule

Look for these monthly updates in the first issue of each month. This allows us to get the closing month’s data. In these updates, we’ll be covering each of the major models mentioned in the Safe Strategies book: 1) the 1-2-3 stock market model, 2) the five week status on each of the major stock U.S. stock market indices, 3) our four star inflation-deflation model, and we’ll be 4) tracking the dollar, and 5) the five strongest and weakest areas of the overall market.

Part I: Market Commentary

The high in the market was on October 9, 2007, and at one point we had a 16% down movement, which is nearly a bear market. And we’ve had two events -- the subprime crisis and the largest loss ever by a Rogue trader – which could have led to this decline. Many banks have had to virtually write off all of their assets involving subprime mortgages and for many banks that amounts to losses that are several times their book value.

At the same time, we’ve had the Federal Reserve lowering interested rates a full 1.25 basis points. This is a huge stimulation for the market and it’s put a temporary stop to the decline. But is it enough or will the market resume its downtrend this month?

While I don’t know the answer, I’d like to remind everyone that we are in a secular bear market in which PE ratios go down and will continue to do so for some time. If you haven’t read my article, Lies, Damned Lies, and Government Statistics, then I suggest that you do so. Basically, the government has made major adjustments to the CPI . For example, based upon how the CPI was calculated for many, many years, inflation last year was over 10%. Furthermore, since the GDP has to grow more than the CPI , if you look at the real CPI figures, we’ve been in a recession since 2000 with the exception of one quarter in 2003.

Last month, I showed that with real inflation and the decrease in the value of the dollar, you needed to make 20% on your investments just to break even. Gold did this, and countries stock markets like China , India , and Brazil did much better. However, even they are affected by the subprime crisis because when a lot of assets are suddenly worthless, other assets need to be sold to maintain some liquidity and, in my opinion, this is what the markets are facing right now.

Part II: The 1-2-3 Stock Market Model Is in RED LIGHT MODE and That’s Bad for Stocks

The 1-2-3 Model is in a clear red light mode and that’s not good for the stock market. The Fed is not in the way and has actually started to lower interest rates. That’s positive. The market is acting poorly and the PE ratio of the S&P 500 is above 17, both of which are negative. Thus, we are in red light mode.

Click here to look at table data of what the market has done over the last five weeks and compare that with where the averages were December 31st last year.

The market has returned to more normal volatility and that only the Fed intervention saved the last week from a major downturn.

When we look at the strongest and weakest areas of the markets, it seems to be mostly commodities, with even the strongest country ETFs taking big hits. As of January 30, the date of my last reliable internet connection while traveling, these are the figures for the five strongest and the five weakest components in the market. These can change daily, but the information will be accurate as of the publication of this update. The relative strength of each component is given in parenthesis.

Five strongest components:
1) Gold (97)
2) Commodities (75)
3) Oil (63)
4) Corporate Bonds (61)
5) Mexico (60)

Five weakest components:
1) China (16) -- hopefully you’ve sold your Chinese stocks.
2) South Korea (21)
3) NASDAQ (29)
4) India (29)
5) Singapore (31)

Remember when the Chinese stock market led the list a few months ago? Also notice that while Gold is very strong, gold stocks are not. But I think this is due to the liquidity problem produced by the subprime crisis.

Incidentally, the Wall Street Journal reported that Standard and Poors has downgraded (or threatened to downgrade) more than 8,000 mortgage investments. As a result, they are projecting mortgage securities losses totaling more than $265 billion. The market has been shell shocked by $100 billion in losses as big financial firms go through mortgage downgrades. So imagine the impact of another $100 billion. In my opinion, make sure you have some short positions.

Part III: Our Four Star Inflation-Deflation Model

As I’ve stated many times in these monthly updates, we are in an inflationary bear market. The bear market is not necessarily reflected in prices, but in PE ratios. PE ratios will continue in a downtrend even when the Dow makes new highs. And the inflation is obvious, but simply masked by government statistics. Okay, so now let’s look at the results for the last six months. And remember that the Fed has now chosen to produce inflation and a strong dollar devaluation over the pain of the subprime crisis.

Click here to look at the table data two-month and six-month changes during the last six months to see what our readings have been.

The results of this model are much more sensitive (I believe) than the model I presented in Safe Strategies for Financial Freedom. The model once again shows that inflation is winning slightly. Click here for more information on the model.

As of this writing, Gold is well over $900 per ounce and has hit all time highs. However, these are not inflation adjusted all time highs. The Gold market has a long way to go to reach that number, especially if you look at real inflation and not the fake government CPI statistics. By the real inflation numbers, Gold would have to climb above $6250 per ounce to reach a new high.

Similarly, the CRB has really shot up. As a result, this is a time to be in commodities, and real assets such as precious metals, and top quality collectables such as rare stamps, which we’ve talked about previously in this newsletter. There are also starting to be real estate bargains out there if you know where to look.

Part IV: Tracking the Dollar

With the Federal Reserve lowering interest rates, I expect the dollar to really be weak now. Who wants to buy treasury bills as the interest rate gets lower and lower? So expect currency traders to start selling the dollar and moving to currencies that pay a better interest rate. Click here to look at the data because it really says it all.

My current trip in Brazil gives me a good example of how weak the dollar is. The dollar is now worth about 1.75 Brazilian Real. It used to be way over 3 Real to the dollar. Until next month’s update, this is Van Tharp.

About Van Tharp: Trading coach, and author, Dr. Van K. Tharp is widely recognized for his best-selling book Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom and his outstanding Peak Performance Home Study program - a highly regarded classic that is suitable for all levels of traders and investors.

Click here to learn more about Van Tharp at the International Institute of Trading Mastery.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Trading In A Liquidity Crisis Video

One of the reasons the market's been getting "trounced" lately has to do with the "liquidity crisis" which, in part, is due to the multi-billion dollar losses of the financial insurance companies.

Whenever the market takes a dive, many beginner traders, and many "buy and holders" get scared. Some "lock up" and stop trading altogether, while others act foolishly and make trading decisions based on "emotional estimation".

Well, if there's one thing I've learned trading the markets, it's that smart traders NEVER trade on "emotional estimation", but make data-driven trading decisions, every single time!

Click here to check out this 9 minute, 17 second "Profit Report" video.

It's called "How to Survive & Trade With 100% Confidence During the 'Liquidity Crisis'"

You'll see how, if you know what to do, you can in fact THRIVE during a market like this. This is a very important lesson. Don't miss it.

Good day, and good trading!

P.S. This video should remain online for at least 72 hours, but it may get pulled early if the demand for it exceeds the server's ability to deliver it.

Click here to view it.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Weekly Stock Pick

My stock pick this week comes from the oil patch services and equipment sector. Natco Group Ticker NTG. This is a good hedge against high energy prices. Although the price of oil has come down a bit in the short term, longer term I see oil going up, and past $100.00 a barrel, its recent new high.

NATCO, through its subsidiaries, designs, manufactures and markets oil and gas production equipment and systems. The Company operates in three segments: Oil & Water Technologies, which includes its branch distribution network located primarily in North America, including its standard and traditional oil and gas separation and dehydration equipment sales and related services and its worldwide engineered systems group; Gas Technologies, which includes its carbon dioxide (CO2) membrane business, the assets and operating arrangements related to certain CO2 gas processing facilities in West Texas and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) removal technologies, including Shell Paques, and Automation & Controls, which focuses on sales and fabrication of control panels and systems that monitor and control oil and gas production, as well as field service activities, including repair, maintenance, testing and inspection services for existing systems worldwide.

NTG Current Quarters EPS Estimate: 0.69. Current Year's EPS Estimate: 2.39. Last Quarter's Earnings: 0.63. PE on CY Estimate: 19.05. Year Ago Earnings: 2.03. Next Fiscal Year Estimate: 2.92. PE on Next FY Estimate: 15.59. Market Cap 839M. PE 20.

In the last 6 months sales at NTG have risen from 8.2% year over year to 9.8% year over year, its share price has increased 12.3%. As oil prices remain high the demand for equipment to get more of the black gold out remains high. So companies like NATCO that give oil companies the tools they need to prosper are enjoying the fruits as well. Nor does demand appear to be decreasing, particularly in China.

Oil and gas are critical issues globally. Until solar energy and other energy sources can overcome price and availability of fossil fuels, this area of energy production will continue to soar in my opinion. China and other emerging markets are energy hungry, and the law of supply and demand is going to drive profits of efficient companies.

Recent News: Natco Group To Buy Linco-Electronic For $23M Cash

NTG said it agreed to acquire Linco-Electromatic Inc., a manufacturer of equipment used to measure oil and natural gas, for about $23 million in cash. NATCO, a Houston energy company, said the acquisition further leverages its North America branch network and automation and control businesses. The company said the deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2008 and will add immediately to 2008 earnings.

Click here to review and trial for free, the trading software we used in determining this week's long stock pick.

Good day, good investing and trading!

Friday, February 01, 2008

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