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Eminis, sometimes called emini futures, are smaller units of what some would call older futures contracts. These older futures contracts have been around for some time. The emini contracts are newer. They began being traded about 10 years ago. The “regular” futures contracts have existed for about 20 years. There are a few futures markets that have full and emini contracts.
The best known one is the S&P 500 futures. The S&P 500’s emini contract is called “ES” on the ticker. Two years after the S&P 500 emini contract, the NASDAQ 100 emini was born. Its ticker name is “NQ”. One additional emini contract worth mentioning is Russell 2000. Traders call this one “ER2”.
These three Eminis may have differences, but they have one thing in common: they are traded electronically on Globex while the “adult” version is traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).
The Dow Jones emini is traded on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) and trades electronically. Its ticker name is “YM”. These Eminis are all futures contracts for stock indices. Trading stock indices is less liquid than trading commodities futures like gold, silver or crude oil. Consequently, it is riskier to trade them.
If you are just beginning to trade in the emini market, stick to well established markets that are less risky and can guarantee better volumes and trades because they are more liquid. These stock index Eminis show up more frequently as day trading.
Here you are trying to guess whether their price will move up or down. If you guess that the price will move up and you are right, you can sell these contracts for a profit. Even if you guess the price will move down and you are right,you will make money! Obviously, if your predictions are wrong, you will experience a loss.
Because Eminis are traded in day trading, you have the potential to make profits (or losses) on a daily basis. In order to make a profit, though, day traders use more than one contract in their trading because the commission on each trade is not that large. The number of emini contracts you can trade relates mainly to the emini margin. That in turn varies from one broker to another. It is smart to have at least twice the margin for each contract if you want to feel comfortable trading in the emini day trading arena.
Of course, you will not win all the time. Winning like that is never possible in the stock market, let alone in day trading. If you do lose, you need to keep in mind that some losses will cause draw downs in your equity.
To protect yourself, it is really important to have a cushion to protect yourself when those types of losses occur. A good rule of thumb is to have twice the margin as a minimum cushion to protect yourself should there be a downturn in your equity.
It is even better to have three times the margin for each contract, especially if you are a beginner in the field of emini trading. If you want to keep on trading, your equity can never go below the margin level. How many contracts you can trade depends primarily on the emini margin which in turn varies from one broker to another. Some brokers out there, those who cater specifically to emini traders, set their daytrading margins as low as $500 per contract, and sometimes even lower.
Most, though, require you to have at least $1000-2000 per contract in your account before you can trade. It is, however, highly advisable to have at least twice the margin per contract if you are to feel comfortable trading.
Not all of your trades will be winners; you need to account for losers as well. Since the losers will cause drawdowns in your equity, you need to have some cushion to withstand them. Twice the margin is, in my opinion, the absolute starting minimum, three times is even better, particularly if you are a total beginner.
In order to be allowed to trade, your equity must never fall below the margin level per contract. If this should occur, you will have to lower the number of contracts you are trading. If you can’t do this, then you have to stop trading and raise enough cash again to be allowed to resume trading.
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By Dominic Lau LONDON (Reuters) – Global stocks looked set on Tuesday to achieve their best monthly performance in more than six years in March, while commodity prices also rose and the Japanese yen fell.
The MSCI World index put on 0.7 percent and was on course to record its biggest monthly rise since October 2002. But the global stock index is still down 12 percent this quarter after losing 22.7 percent in the October-December period last year. “The market has snapped back from yesterday. The falls were probably overdone.
Now it is a wait and see approach for investors with important U.S. sentiment data coming out later — the Chicago PMI figures and U.S. consumer confidence,” said Heino Ruland, strategist at Ruland Research in Frankfurt.
Euro zone inflation plunged to an all-time low in March, halving its annual rate from February and strengthening the case for a deep European Central bank interest rate cut just two days before the ECB meets. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European firms rose 2 percent, and UK retailer Marks & Spencer soared more than 10 percent after reporting a smaller-than-feared drop in fourth quarter underlying sales, lifting other embattled retailers.
The pan-European index is up for the month, but still down 13 percent in the first three months of the year. The futures for Dow Jones industrial average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq rose 1 to 1.2 percent, pointing to a higher open on Wall Street. UBS said its equity risk appetite indicator improved to -1.7 from -1.81, moving higher for the third straight week. “The indicator remains above extreme risk averse territory,” it said in a note.
“Twelve month equity returns when the index is between -3 and -1.5 have tended to be low and even negative historically.” Japanese unemployment rose to a three-year high in February as a deepening recession put more people out of work, and Prime Minister Taro Aso said he planned to submit an extra budget to fund a new stimulus package but was mum on how much the government would spend to shore the recession-hit economy.
The announcement came two days before world leaders gather in London to discuss ways out of the global crisis. Tokyo’s Nikkei average ended down 1.5 percent. Japanese blue chips managed to gain more than 7 percent this month as the country’s financial year draws to a close, but were down 8.5 percent in the first quarter.
The yen also fell broadly, while the euro rose 0.95 percent to $1.3327. “A lot of today’s trading is all about quarter-end flows and the end of the Japanese fiscal year, with dollar/eyn gaining as the new fiscal year gets underway,” State Street foreign exchange strategist Lee Ferridge said. World Bank President Robert Zoellick said the dollar would remain the world’s dominant reserve currency and a strong U.S. currency is critical to pull the world out of crisis. STRONG DOLLAR NEEDED Base metal prices rose, and crude rose above $49 a barrel, recouping some of the previous session’s 7 percent loss as stock markets edged up. Leaders from the Group of 20 rich and big developing economies will address a crisis that has felled major banks and cost millions of jobs as the world faces its biggest recession since the 1930s.
Officials have already acknowledged the G20 summit would fall short of an overhaul of the world economy. U.S. and European leaders have also differed over whether more spending or more regulatory reform would be a better response to the crisis. Government bonds were mixed. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield rose by 2 basis points but the euro zone benchmark 10-year bund fell by 4 basis point.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is speaking this morning at the Council Foreign Relations. Carlyle CEO, David Rubinstein, asked Mr. Bernanke what were two things he learned from his study of The Great Depression.
Ben Bernanke outlined two lessons below:
Monetary policy needs to be supportive and not have a contracting policy, which could cause massive deflation as it did in the 1930s. The fed is supporting this expansion theme by cutting rates to essentially 0 and implementing other creative strategies.
The second lesson Bernanke mentioned is you need to have a stable financial system. During the Great Depression, the government did not intervene to assist the banks. It is vital to have a commitment to stabilize the financial system. He did note it is not ideal to be put in a situation to have firms to big too fail.
Some other interesting items Bernanke mentioned include:
He noted anyone who subscribed to the belief that letting banks fail, should now abandon that theory at this point.
Ben Bernanke also said he does not support suspending mark-to-market.
Finally, Bernanke said “we will definitely recover”, but it is just a question of timing, and he says the main determinant of that is how quickly we stabilize the financial system.
Hopefully, Bernanke is right, but I still think housing will continue to undermine the system.
2.30am 06 Mar 2009 – Live Results
Thursday evening, I hadn’t really planned on trading tonight. My plans were to spend the night internet marketing, doing a blog entries, updating websites, social booking and submitting a few articles. I love internet marketing and I also love trading. So the two compliment each other beautifully. If I am in a trade, particularly during the premarket – as this is a little slower, volume wise, I switch to my internet businesses. But during the cash market, its different story as I am glued to the trade and inevitably addicted to the new few trading hours.
AS I was saying, I wasn’t going to to trade this night, but the reason I changed my mind was because I wanted to write a post about my own successful trade.
I open the charts soon after the market opens. Rich Malcolm, one of the Pro Traders, was calling the charts. I love listening to Rich as he has a lot of knowledge and was once an actual Pit trader. Is explanations are very detailed and thorough. I had CNBC on Foxtel, sitting in my office, glass a red and I was enjoying my evening. the kids were alseep and i had hours of uninterrupted time to myself.
The markets were trending down most the night, I had made a few points of profit going off Rich’s calls. There was flutter on the TV regarding the AIG bailout by the US gov’t and then the market turned based off the AIG news announcement. And I jumped in with a strong SELL signal.
I set a profit target of 3pts and a stop loss of 2 points. My entry was 702, at the close of the red candle.
Once it reached 2 pts in profit, I dragged down my stop. The market continued down past my profit. I then removed my profit ttarget and let it ride. Eachtime dragging down my stop. Eventually I passed ‘breakeven’ point and started getting anxious nd excited. This is the reason I love trading Eminis – its an emotional thrill ride.
Remember my entry was 702 and I took this image at 696.That is 6 pts in 12mins, you can see the time at the bottom of the chart. I went on to make 40% profit in 13 mins. Now thats not bad way to make a living. Trading Eminis is great. Its is fast money in a short period of time. This means you can speand your days doing the things the are passionate about.
Buffett’s worst year Berkshire Hathaway reports a rough, down 2008, cheered up by preferred-stock investments Buffett likes. By Carol Loomis, senior editor at large Last Updated: February 28, 2009: 4:49 PM ET
Buffett: ‘Worst year
Berkshire Hathaway reported today that its net worth fell in 2008 by $11.5 billion, a decline reducing its per-share book value by 9.6%. That was Berkshire’s worst result in the 44 years that Chairman Warren Buffett has run the company and, in fact, only the second decline in that period.
The other drop was 6.2% in 2001, a year hurt by 9/11 and other problems in Berkshire’s insurance operations. Per-share book value changes are the customary way that Buffett reports the company’s results because this method incorporates all of Berkshire’s capital gains and losses whether they are realized or not.
A large decline in the value of Berkshire’s stock holdings was indeed the central reason that Berkshire reported a down year. Under the more commonly used yardstick, earnings (which do not reflect unrealized gains or losses), Berkshire reported profits of $3,224 per share for 2008 against $8,548 in 2007.
Berkshire’s profits stemmed mainly from interest and dividends on its investments and the earnings of its 70 operating subsidiaries. Berkshire has extensive holdings in two industries, insurance and utilities, whose earnings are not closely correlated with those of the general economy.
Even so, the total pretax earnings of all Berkshire’s operating businesses (not including insurance for this calculation) fell by a bit, from just over $4,000 per share to just under that figure. The decline reflected the sagging results of the many Berkshire operations that are being hurt by a sour economy, among them those in housing-related businesses (Johns Manville, Shaw Industries) and retail (including furniture, jewelry, and candy companies).
Berkshire’s (BRKA, Fortune 500) shares have taken a beating. The A stock dropped from $142,000 at yearend 2007 to $96,600 a year later, and in 2009 it has fallen further, closing at $78,600 yesterday. From its top of $151,000, hit in late 2007, the stock is down 48%. In his chairman’s letter, Buffett states that 2008 had good points mixed in with the bad. But in an unusual admission for the opening pages of the letter (a point easily recognizable by this writer because she has edited Buffett’s letter for 32 years) he says bluntly, “During 2008 I did some dumb things in investments.”
The dumbest, he said, was buying a large amount of ConocoPhillips stock when oil prices were near their peak and in no way anticipating the dramatic drop in prices that subsequently occurred. Buffett said he still thinks the odds are good that oil will sell in the future at much higher prices than the $40 to $50 per barrel now prevailing. But even if prices should rise, he said, “the terrible timing” of the Conoco purchase has cost Berkshire several billion dollars.
Berkshire data show that the company entered 2008 with 17.5 million Conoco (COP, Fortune 500) shares and ended with nearly five times that many, 84.9 million shares. At yearend, when Conoco stock was about $52, Berkshire’s unrealized loss on all its shares (both those bought in 2008 and earlier) was $2.6 billion. But the stock closed yesterday at $37.40. If Berkshire still owns all its Conoco shares, the unrealized loss has grown to $3.8 billion.
That hammering may psychically bother Buffett the most — he detests making faulty judgments about stock prices — but Berkshire’s biggest financial blows in 2008 came from two of the company’s long-time holdings: The market value of Berkshire’s American Express (AXP, Fortune 500) shares fell by $5 billion, and its Coca-Cola (KO, Fortune 500) stake sank by $3 billion.
Berkshire’s huge position in Wells Fargo (WFC, Fortune 500) suffered very little in 2008, but has been hammered this year. The 304 million Wells shares that Berkshire owned at yearend 2008 have lost well over half their market value, falling from $9 billion to $3.65 billion. Berkshire’s stake in U.S. Bancorp (USB, Fortune 500) is down by around $800 million.
The good points about 2008 for Berkshire? Well, Buffett had been long looking for places to invest the company’s bulging granary of cash, and the tumbling prices in 2008 provided him opportunities (a word obviously not fitting the Conoco purchase).
In the fall, inking a deal announced earlier in the year, he put $6.5 billion into Wm. Wrigley Co., by means of 11.45% subordinated notes (that was $4.4 billion of the investment) and preferred stock that pays a 5% dividend ($2.1 billion) and carries upside possibilities that have not been disclosed. The investments helped finance Mars Inc.’s purchase of Wrigley.
The preferred stock opportunities expanded after the financial world fell apart in September. On October 1, Berkshire bought $5 billion of Goldman Sachs preferred paying a 10% dividend and acquired warrants — exercisable for five years — to purchase 43.5 million common shares for $5 billion, a price per share of $115. Goldman has been well under that price most of the time since and closed yesterday at $91.
In a similar deal, carried out on October 16, Berkshire purchased $3 billion of General Electric 10% preferred and acquired warrants — again, good for five years — to buy 134.8 million common shares of GE for $3 billion, a price per share of $22.25. GE’s stock, weighed down by GE Capital (which, in loans, is effectively the fifth-largest bank in the nation), has been a general disaster since and closed yesterday at around $8.50. To finance all those purchases, store up for a $5 billion acquisition of utility Constellation Energy that fell through, and keep Berkshire’s operations well supplied with cash, Buffett felt obliged, he said in his letter, to sell some portions of holdings that he would have preferred to keep.
Principally, he said, the stocks sold were Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, and Conoco. Berkshire’s positions in all three were established in the last few years, though the P & G holding materialized when that company merged in 2005 with Gillette, whose stock Berkshire had owned since the early 1990s. The paradox of Buffett’s investment year will be evident: To put Berkshire’s pile of cash to work at prices he considered attractive — “I like those preferreds,” he said recently — he had to endure a terrible stock market that savaged many of the stocks the company already held. He has always declared, though, that he is perfectly content to see Berkshire’s stocks fall in price, because that allows him to buy more of them cheaply.
*** CHANGES IN THE ANNUAL MEETING: Buffett also announced in his letter that new procedures will be used in the question periods at Berkshire’s annual meeting on May 3, in Omaha.
Three journalists will collect questions e-mailed to them by shareholders; choose the most interesting and important; and ask them of Buffett and Berkshire vice chairman Charles Munger, neither of whom will have been told what the questions will be. The questions the journalists select will be alternated with others asked directly by shareholders chosen by a drawing held the morning of the meeting.
Previously, all questions were asked by sleep-deprived shareholders who lined up at the meeting arena until the doors were opened and then raced to microphones to establish a priority position. Buffett said in his letter that he had concluded “sprinting ability” was not a good determinant for who should get to ask questions. The three journalists are the writer of this article, Carol Loomis of FORTUNE (who, as previously noted, has long edited Buffett’s annual report letter — without pay, by the way); Becky Quick of CNBC; and Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times. Buffett said in his letter that the new system will ensure that at least half of the questions — those selected by the journalists — will be Berkshire-related, which too many have not been in the past.
First Published: February 28, 2009: 8:06 AM ET
Trading Women – Are We Better Traders?
When the question of whether men or women are better when it comes to trading is raised, there are often a slew of dissenting opinions. One pertinent point that is often made is that when you think of the stock exchanges, the majority of the traders there are men. What this fact does not take into mind, though, is that when it comes to trading, the people who are on the floors in these highly public arenas of finance are only a small tip of the iceberg.
The truth of the matter is that there are many men and women trading from home, over computer and phone, and their success rate is far above what you might suspect. Moreover, as more women get into what has traditionally been a male-dominated field, we are slowly realizing that women have a edge!
Why Get Involved?
If you are a woman who has been interested in getting involved with trading, but you have been in a place where you are simply uncertain about how to proceed, it is important that you hear about some of the benefits. For instance, when you look into trading E-minis, which are essentially small shares of futures, you will find that the rewards can be impressive. There is a lot of information out there on them, and the truth is that it takes a lot less capital to get started than you think to get started.
Remember that when you are thinking about getting involved that you are looking at limited investment for a high pay off! Looking At it From a Gendered Perspective interestingly enough, there may very well be a biological reason that women are better traders than men.
The traits that you need to make it big on trading involve a thorough grasp of the situation and the willingness to go out on a limb and take risks. While these are traits commonly associated with men, the truth is that women have them in spades!
In primitive cultures, the role of males was fairly conservative; they needed to hunt and to defend territory, while women were gatherers. Because their role changed depending on where they were, women grew to be more innovative and more inclined to experiment then men; this can make for a better trader as well as a better gatherer!
What’s Standing In Your Way?
When you want to get involved in trading, you will find that you might still have a lot of doubt going on. You might feel that finance is too difficult to get involved in without an education securing it, or you may feel that you have too much to lose. The fact of the matter is that trading is something that can go a long way towards giving you the financial independence that you have always wanted, and that by being aware of the risks, you can get involved in ways that keep you feeling comfortable.
Once you get started, the mystique of trading can quickly become something that is easy to see through! If you are interested in becoming a trader, there is nothing to stop you. To get a good idea of what is going on, check out http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=Op8migP7JYw, a video that will get you started, and make sure that you look at http://www.EminisGlobalTrader.com for a great free DVD and Ebook on How to trade Eminis.