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Discretionary income and profits #finance

We all have overheads, those essential things we have to buy before we can even begin to think about buying the luxuries. That money left for buying the luxuries and paying for Christmas treats and holidays is referred to as discretionary income. If your boss gives you a Christmas bonus, your discretionary income can soar. Small businesses have overheads. They have to pay rent, business rates and other bills and a small increase in turnover can mean a big increase in their discretionary income. Their discretionary income is the profit they take home to spend on their families.

discretionary income

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Finance in focus #finance #investments

This week interest rates have been in focus with various pundits predicting an interest rate increase next week. There is no forward guidance and so it could go either way. As usual, the government and Bank of England add to uncertainty and the markets don’t like uncertainty but for many investors uncertainty brings opportunities. It is unfortunate that it is mostly parasitic day traders and shorters that get to benefit.

finance in focus

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Looking forward to the future #finance #investments

I had another good week of investing with my stock market assets gaining 2%. Immupharma saw further gains and today they will cost you £1 a share and a bargain at that. The company has huge potential and the fact that they are preparing to gain FDA approval for Lupuzor could mean they are considering manufacturing the drug themselves. The company also has the expertise gained from the development of Lupuzor to develop other drugs for other diseases associated with the immune system. The share price has doubled in the last few months. Looking forward,  if it doubles again before the new year, I wouldn’t be surprised.

looking forward

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Hitting the jackpot #investments

Some companies on the AIM market lose money for years and while they develop a new product or explore for oil. When there is progress the share price can soar but the prudent investor should invest less in this high risk companies and so it doesn’t usually mean fortunes are made. It is still quite exciting when share prices soar on good news, though and it is a little like hitting the jackpot.  That was the case this week when Immupharma soared by 25p following the end of a pivotal trial of its lupus drug.  To add to shareholder confidence, a major investor has decided to continue supporting the company.

Hitting the jackpot

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Opportunities and risk #finance #investments

Personal finance and investing are about opportunities and risk. I look for investment opportunities and try to assess the risk. Life is about looking for opportunities. Different people look for different things but we all look for opportunities. My investments are up about 2% this month and so I’m quite happy with that but the AIM shares can soar upwards at any time.

opportunities

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Cash flow and other metrics #finance

If you have been following my finance posts you’ll know that my investments haven’t been doing so well over the past few months. Last week was much better and this week I’ve made a little progress. My finances as a whole are a fairly stable but I’m still delaying any major purchases until things are looking better. Changing my car this year did put a big hole in my bank balance but I don’t need to change it again for a few years as long as I look after it so I have time to save some money! I just have to keep proper accounts and watch my cash flow.

watching cash flow

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Confidence and the market #finance #investments

It can be difficult having confidence that your investment choices are the right ones when things aren’t going well. These last few months I’ve seen my investments plummet. Carillion suffered a lack of confidence that saw their share price plummet and their shares shorted so much they had to scrap their dividend. The money saved from scrapping their dividend will hopefully be enough to ensure their survival. It will be difficult for them to raise more investment from the market or from the banks. No one wants to lend you money when you’re nearly broke!

 confidence is important

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The long game #investments #finance

When we are investing or planning our financial future we have to look at the long game. We might make short-term losses on investments but if we did our research properly in the long-term we should get a good return. We are fallible and so we make mistakes and we can compensate for our mistakes by diversifying. One mistake I am regretting today is Monitise which went from being a fast growing company to a failing company almost overnight. A takeover bid usually means great returns for investors but in the case of Monitise it means I don’t lose all my investment and I have to accept losses.

The long game

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Uncertainty, anxiety and investment #finance

Investment not only comes from the rich it comes from pension funds who invest on behalf of the middle classes of the wealthier countries of the world. Our national lottery is run by a private company Camelot, which in turn is owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. That pension fund invests in lotteries which are basically a licence to print money and property which is always in short supply. MPs also invest in property especially in London so there is little chance of property going down in value. Keeping a large section of society poor also promotes desperation and it is the desperate and greedy who play the lottery which raises 30 million a week for good causes like the Olympics. We rarely see lottery money going to food banks or to help the sick and disabled (except Paralympics) whose anxiety seems to be of no concern.

financial anxiety

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Supply and demand #finance

It is important to understand supply and demand; it is a key economic indicator. If demand for something goes up then that is an upward pressure on the price of that commodity. I have known bread shortages and prices increase. Is it profiteering? In a way, yes, but it also has a tendency to ration the available supply. Demand can be boosted by factors that aren’t immediately obvious. If Mr Kipling cakes are promoted on social media then people are likely to buy more. Social media can influence demand. Rumour can also influence supply and demand. Just a rumour of a shortage of bread can have people queuing at the shops and bakeries might increase supply to cope with the increased demand.

supply and demand
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Time for a financial review #finance

Last week I described my investment portfolio as a ‘train wreck’ and it hasn’t improved since then. Things haven’t got much worse though. I have decided it is time for a personal financial review. I have looked back over the past year at the larger bills that I have had to pay and that has given me some idea of the bills I’ll have to pay in the next year. Of course, prices go up and I have noted that insurance premiums have gone up on average of 10%. My car insurance premium is due next month and has increased 25% and so it is time to change my provider.

financial review

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Waiting for the bounce #finance #investments

When share prices fall, there is often a bottom and then a bounce back. The same is often true of the value of the pound or the oil price. The growth of the whole economy can fall and then some action leads to a bounce back upwards. The same can be said of the reverse of these trends, share prices that suddenly soar to new heights will bounce back and go lower the next day as people sell on the high. We can take advantage of the low and if there is sufficient bounce, we can sell for a quick profit. Small traders find this difficult because of dealing fees but fund traders do this all the time.

stock market bounce

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Dopamine and finance #finance #rewards

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centres. So what does this have to do with finance? The fact that people crave pleasure and rewards has everything to do with finance. Take a look at the photos of those celebrities leaving Buckingham Palace right after being rewarded with a medal for services rendered. They are positively beaming. Rewards can come in many ways, a person simply being nice to you can zap those reward centres of your brain with dopamine. That can be the check out girl at Aldi (yes, they are trained to do it) or the assistant in Harrods who treats you like royalty. Besides buying products, you also get an experience.

The dopamine effect

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Ideas for new investors #finance #investments

If you’re new to investing and haven’t yet bought your first shares it might be a good idea to see if your analysis of the stock market is good. Several brokers offer ‘fantasy’ accounts and I have a couple with London South East. One is a copy of my ‘real’ portfolio and one is just to track a few companies. It is a good idea for new investors to open an account and then use their ‘portfolio’ like an investment game.

ideas for new investors

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Waiting for the share price to hit bottom #finance

My portfolio of investments looks like a disaster zone at the moment. Many of the share prices have crashed in recent weeks and this week the share price of Carillion crashed from around 190p to just 55p although it is beginning to rally a little today. The share has been shorted a lot in recent weeks but this crash doesn’t really make sense. Carillion has huge debts but it recently paid a very good dividend. Why if its cash flow was in question did it pay such a large dividend? The CEO has now resigned and they have hired HSBC as a second corporate adviser. It seems likely that their debt will need to be restructured and Jeffries are saying they will need a 500 million rights issue. The rights issue should have come a couple of months ago, along with a suspension of dividends. What was the board thinking? Hopefully, the share price has now hit bottom and the only way is up!

has your share price hit bottom?

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Escaping from slavery #finance #health

I usually write my finance and investment post on a Friday but I had a few other things to do so I’m a day late. Escaping from slavery sounds like a title about the deep south or a post about a third world country but many of us in developing countries are enslaved by addiction or debt. We become slaves to tobacco, alcohol or interest payments. Gambling and even shopping can be addictive and can also enslave us. So we need to throw off our shackles and live free. The prize in many cases is peace of mind, debt can drive people to suicide. In the great depression of the 1930’s financiers were throwing themselves off the skyscrapers of New York, such is the power of money in our lives.

escaping from slavery

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Living in Neverneverland #finance

Yes, Britain is now living on the never-never. Credit and debt appear to be official policy. The government is trapped in debt and so are most its citizens. The government can just print money and cause inflation which will effectively inflate away debts in sterling terms but not in the terms of the reserve currency, the almighty dollar. The thing now is, the almighty dollar is being devalued too, as are most currencies. A global economy based on ever-expanding currencies which of course lead to property bubbles in our capital cities. We are in Neverneverland but we’re not the only ones!

Living in Neverneverland

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Watching for patterns and trends

It can be lucrative if you can spot  patterns or trends. If you can be one of the first to sell the fidget spinner before they get discounted or recognise the latest fashion that is about to take off  you can make a fortune. The same is true of any market and the stock market is no exception. Patterns and trends are computer analysed and traders talk about the ‘candles’ on their charts. I don’t often use charts but they can be useful sometimes. Alliance Pharma seems to be fairly static for long periods and then it’s share price will suddenly jump either downwards or upwards for example. That is a useful trend to know about.

patterns and trends

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The big move to safety #investments

I’ve noticed a lot of movement this year from the FTSE 250 to the FTSE 100 where it appears to be safer. Yesterday there was a big move to safety as investors dumped mid-caps in favour of safer companies. Retailers, in particular, were hit as retail sales figures worried investors. The Bank of England MPC was split and doesn’t seem to know what it’s doing with interest rates. Obviously, mortgage rates need to go up to take the heat out of the housing market but short term borrowing probably keeps retail sales going. It seems likely the government will now abandon its austerity drive and try to stimulate the economy with infrastructure projects. I hope these new projects will be hospitals and road improvements and not vanity projects like HS2. The proposed Severn barrage project makes more sense than HS2.

move to safety

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Perceptions of political risk #finance

The election result has given us a result that appears to be perceived as increasing the political risk for investors. The stance towards negotiations with Europe was to go into it with a tough approach. The approach now could be softer and more conciliatory which might actually be beneficial. The risk for investors hasn’t really increased it has probably decreased but investors traditionally lean towards the Conservatives. We small investors are more inclined towards a liberal view and small investors are often ethical investors. While small investors wouldn’t welcome Labour raising corporation tax they don’t want austerity either. The political risk for investors may be perceived as being higher but over the summer we could see the actual risk changing in favour of small investors. We might even see a small increase in interest rates.

political risk

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More ideas for small investors #finance

Life isn’t easy for small investors and the biggest problem is dealing fees. The Halifax does have a discount once a month for just two hours on its dealing service and today it has a ‘birthday discount’ all day but although that helps, dealing fees still take a big chunk out of investment returns. It is not surprising that few people invest on the stock market. If Jeremy Corbyn put the stock market on his list of things to nationalise, I for one would cheer. The LSE is a monopoly that is undemocratic.

ideas for small investors

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Inflation and investments #finance

Inflation is on the rise once again and stands at around 2.5% which means my return on my investment in Zopa has been cut substantially by the effect of inflation. The return has increased, it dropped to under 4% and is about 4.5% now. Even so, the return in real terms is now only about 2% but still better than a bank account! My point is that we should consider investments in the light of rising inflation and look at what returns are in real terms.

inflation eating away at savings and investments?

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The ups and downs of #investing #ideas #investor

There are ups and downs for the small investor. We make paper profits and losses all the time. The real profits and losses come when we actually sell investments. The paper losses are important, though, they reduce our financial security. I have known the value of my portfolio drop by nearly 10% in one day and that is a big drop. I stay calm and hope it will recover. My losses over the past two weeks are a little worrying. After a surge by Solo Oil, there have been a number of avoidable drops in the share price.

investor

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Feelin the Brexit blues #finance

The stock market continued to drift and there was little enthusiasm as the uncertainty brought about by Brexit and a general election continued. We appear to be back to a two-party system with the Lib Dem all but wiped out and UKIP a shadow of its former self. The Labour manifesto seems to be a watered down version of what the leader would actually like. They are beginning to actually look electable. The Conservatives look strong on leadership but weak on actual policy. The result of the general election is impossible to predict and so yes, we have the Brexit blues. We like uncertainty, it provides opportunity but only if we can make reasonably accurate predictions of which way the market will move.

Brexit blues

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