SHOULD YOU BUY SNAPCHAT STOCK?

Snapchat IPOMany investors will want to buy Snapchat stock when it has an IPO. This is because the company continues to gain in popularity and add users at an astonishing pace which will mean the stock should be in high demand when it goes public. Until then though, investors will have to wait patiently because it is a private company with no stock symbol (not CHAT or SNAP). The latest information is that Snapchat has already secretly filed for an IPO and hopes to go public sometime in the first quarter of 2017. Additional reports say that Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have been chosen to lead the IPO but no official announcement has been made from Snapchat itself.

Snapchat has stormed out of the pack of social media contenders to become a favorite among the under 35 crowd where it gets more than 85% of its users. Since that group is the one of the most lucrative for advertisers to target, Snapchat’s steady growth and popularity makes it one of the most anticipated IPO’s in late 2016 or 2017.

In September 2016, the company has renamed itself as Snap Inc. and come out with its own brand of sunglasses called Spectacles. But these $130 “Spectacles” aren’t normal sunglasses as they have cameras on each side and are designed to allow users to effortlessly take 10 second videos that will automatically be posted to their Snapchat accounts. The glasses are cool (nothing like the failed Google Glass) and are due to come out by the end of the year 2016.

How To Buy Snapchat Stock – You Will Need A Stock Broker

In today’s Internet world it is easy and free for anyone to sign up to an online discount broker. You will have to open an account and put money into it before you can buy Snapchat’s stock or any other stock on an American market. You have a choice of more than ten brokers to choose from and the list of the most popular ones include OptionsHouse, E*Trade, Merrill Edge, Schwab, TD Ameritrade, TradeKing, Scottrade, and many more.

The main differentiator between those brokers is the fee they charge for each trade which can vary from about $5 to $10 depending on which broker you choose. They all are established brokers with years of service and your money should be safe with any of them. OptionsHouse gets consistent high rankings in Barron’s yearly survey of brokers and since it charges one of the lowest fees ($4.95 per trade), it is a good pick for investors of any experience level.

Once you open an account with a broker, make sure to take the next step which is to fund the account. “Funding” is the word used to mean put money in and you can do it through a variety of methods which will be clearly explained. Only after funding your account will you be able to buy stocks online.

Snapchat Is Getting Closer To An IPO

Before any company can go public, it is in their best interests to be making money and be able to show that revenue growth is on a clear path upwards. Snapchat seems to be going in that direction because in mid 2016 it is being reported that it is turning on the spigot when it comes to monetizing its service. This shows the company might be getting serious about an IPO which in all likelihood would take place in 2017.

Snapchat is clearly trying to be friendly to advertisers by not only opening up a lot of opportunities for them to use the service but also by offering many ways for them to succeed. Ad creation tools, buying flexibility, and a variety of ways to see how ads are performing will all help advertisers make their campaigns profitable. Snapchat seems to be increasingly committed to growing revenue towards the eventual goal of becoming one of the top social media platforms.

Investors who want to buy Snapchat stock should be convinced the company will do better than Twitter which is a stock that has struggled mightily and appears to be a stagnant platform. Snapchat needs to continue to grow in popularity and show that it is more than a fad and that users will stay with the service, something Twitter has been unable to do.

Social media stocks get a lot of attention due to many people using them everyday and that makes investors extremely familiar with the companies. Snapchat is one that has differentiated itself from the rest and appears poised to have a successful IPO whenever it decides the time is right. Whether the stock will ultimately be a good investment though, is something that is impossible to determine at this early stage.

Motif

BUY UBER STOCK AT THE IPO?

UberUber stock can’t be bought yet and there is no stock symbol because the company is still a private company. As of mid 2016, there appears to be no plans for an Uber IPO and that means it will take place in 2017 at the very earliest. Right now Uber is valued at approximately $68 billion dollars after having raised in the neighborhood of $10 billion dollars from private investors and venture capitalists. That appears to be enough for the company to continue operation on its own for a long time without any infusion of cash from Wall Street.

Often in the news, Uber gets a tremendous amount of publicity as it is the largest ride sharing company in the world. But it faces fierce competition from competitors such as Didi Chuxing in China (which got a $1 billion backing from Apple)  and Lyft as well as a myriad of legal challenges from various states and local governments. The taxi cab industry is also in battle mode almost everywhere trying to make it hard for Uber and any other ride sharing service to legally operate.

In mid August 2016, Uber announced it would start a roll out of some semi-autonomous cars in Pittsburgh PA. What this means is that customers in that city would be randomly chosen to be picked up in one of Uber’s new fleet of Volvo SUV’s that will be manned by a real driver as well as an observer in the passenger side of the car. The ride will be free for customers and it is the first real attempt by Uber to push the self driving autonomous technology that it hopes to one day be the norm for the industry.

How To Buy Uber Stock

In order to buy Uber stock when it eventually goes public, you will need to have money deposited in an online broker account. You should do this well in advance of the IPO and once you do that you can buy stock of any publicly listed company. Buying stocks and growing your portfolio is something you should become familiar with doing as investing in the market is the best long term way to grow your money for retirement.

There are many online discount brokers to choose from such as E*Trade, Merrill Edge, Scottrade, TD Ameritrade, TradeKing, Optioinshouse and others. They are all equally safe to use, are well established, and their trading fees range from about $5 per trade up to $10 per trade. Opening an account online is simple and is the first step needed for any investor who wishes to buy stock on the US markets. Once an account is opened with any of these brokers, you need to fund the account by transferring money into it via wire or check. Once the money is deposited, buying stocks (including Uber stock once the company goes public) becomes a simple process that anyone can learn.

Will Uber Stock Be A Good Investment?

Should Uber be worth more than Ford? How about General Motors or Honda? At its current $68+ billion estimated valuation, Uber is indeed worth more than any of those car companies and that has to make potential investors extremely cautious. While Uber is certainly a force in the ride sharing industry, it is hard to imagine this company with an App and millions of drivers really being valued that highly in what is still a largely unproven business model.

When the Uber IPO takes place in 2017 or later, there is sure to be a tremendous amount of media attention. I predict the hype will surpass that of both Facebook and Alibaba or at least be near the levels those companies experienced. That means the IPO stock price on day one will probably be even more inflated from its already extremely high valuation price. In other words, no matter when Uber goes public, the stock price will be very expensive on a price to earnings basis.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has said as recently as March 2016 that Uber will not pursue an IPO anytime soon. While vague on the reasons, they probably include all the uncertainty surrounding the company due to legal challenges, the desire to become profitable in as many global regions as possible before an IPO, and the luxury of not needing more money from the public markets due to so much private investor money.

But there is another reason that might be worrying the CEO and that is the realization that Uber’s high valuation now may hurt the stock when the company does eventually decide to go public. Uber’s insanely high value in 2016 may not translate into investors on Wall Street gobbling up such an expensive stock. There is a risk for Uber if investors ultimately decide that the company is overvalued and the IPO price doesn’t hold up. So, should you buy Uber stock when it eventually goes public? That is clearly a wait and see question right now but it is doubtful I will be buying.

HOW TO BUY TANIUM STOCK

Tanium stockIf you think cybersecurity is a good industry to invest in you might want to buy Tanium stock. It is a company valued at more than $3.5 billion that most people have never heard of, perhaps because it is still private. But a Tanium IPO is in the works and probably will happen sometime in 2016 or 2017.

Tanium is headed by the father and son team of David and Orion Hindawi and has some very big clients including Amazon, Target, and Verizon. The son (Orion) took over the top spot earlier this year but the duo will still work much the same as before along with their more than 340 employees. Having raised about $262 million in actual funding, it can be understood why its investors are hoping the company goes public soon and takes advantage of the fact that cybersecurity is in the spotlight almost daily.

You Need An Online Broker To Buy Stocks

Before you can buy Tanium stock when it has an IPO, you need to open a discount broker account online. There are many to choose from and all are reliable and industry regulated. Some of the more popular ones are E*Trade ($9.99 per trade), TD Ameritrade ($9.99 per trade), Scottrade ($7.00 per trade), Merrill Edge ($6.95 per trade) and TradeKing ($4.95 per trade).

You will essentially get the same services from each of these brokers and all of them have been highly rated in online customer service surveys at one time or another. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes to open up an account after which you will need to put money in your new account. That can be done by check, wire, or electronic transfer but it is the most important part that needs to be done before you can buy stocks in any company. Once that is all completed, you will then be able to purchase Tanium stock the first day it becomes available on one of the US stock exchanges.

Can You Buy Tanium Stock Before It Has An IPO?

For most investors the answer to this question is: No. You can’t get shares in advance of the IPO date because those are only offered to people who have connections to Tanium or have connections and influence with the underwriters of the IPO. Getting in on the ground floor of any initial public offering just isn’t something that everyday investors ever have the ability to do.

The day of the IPO is when Tanium stock will open on either the NYSE or the NASDAQ and at that time, anyone can buy stock in the company. You can purchase as little as one share through your online account or as many shares as you have the funds to buy. Unfortunately, the opening share price is always considerably higher than the insiders were able to secure weeks or months earlier.

Will Tanium Be A Good Investment?

One thing is for sure in 2016 and beyond: security is needed for every facet of our everyday lives that we live online. It is truly astounding how much of our data and information is online and it is extremely worrisome to all of us that we have become so vulnerable to hackers and terrorists.

Tanium is in a sweet spot industry wise and all they have to do is produce and become a leader in their field. It is reported that the company is cashflow positive and that 2015 saw a sales increase of more than 200% from the year before. Its ability to let clients scan all their company computers at the same time and in real time is a strong weapon against the all too common data breaches we often hear about today. While other companies are able to do something similar to this, Tanium’s technology is simpler and faster which also means cheaper.

Before  you buy Tanium stock you should do as much research on the company and fully understand what you are buying. IPO prices often get pumped up the first couple of trading days on hype before investors come back to reality and decide that perhaps the company isn’t really that valuable. Anyone who buys the stock should also know whether they are buying it for the long term or as a short term play.

Why A Great Fitbit Christmas Is Good News For The Apple Watch

Fitbit to Apple WatchI have owned a Fitbit Charge HR for almost a 9 months now. It was my first wearable and I bought it as a result of all the Apple Watch hype a year ago. I wanted to see what a wearable was like and I wanted to find out at a price that was less than half of what the cheapest Apple Watch would sell for.

I’ve like the activity tracker/watch and other than its problem counting stairs (it thinks I climb 20 to 40 flights of stairs every day when I don’t climb any) it has performed reasonably well. But what I have discovered is that it doesn’t do enough for me and I want something that does more.

Something like the 2nd generation Apple watch maybe? I think so.

So, what my Fitbit has done for me is to wet my appetite for something nicer, with better and more sensors, that has more functionality. The Apple Watch will be my next wearable purchase whenever the next model is released. Am I alone in this thinking? I believe not.

By all accounts Fitbit had a great Christmas. It showed that there is indeed a lot of interest in wearables. But I believe that what we will see happen is that many of Fitbit’s new customers are using their new activity trackers as training wheels for the eventual purchase of an Apple Watch.

I know that Fitbit is coming out with the Blaze which is another step up and it is its attempt to keep people like me in the fold. But the thing looks like an ugly version of the Apple Watch and why buy it when you can get the real thing? Investors have sold off the stock ever since the Blaze was announced so they obviously feel the same way.

Fitbit does indeed have a lot more going for it that GoPro does and those two stocks get compared a lot lately. Both have seen their share prices plummet as the market aggressively cuts the prices of all companies that have any questionable futures. But Fitbit does have a nice line of products that will probably endure due to their substantially lower price points than the higher end wearables. My Fitbit Charge HR is still going strong so that is a good sign of its durability and for someone who just wants an activity tracker, Fitbit offers a nice selection.

However, in the end, I feel a sizable chunk of those who purchased a Fitbit this holiday season will be tempted to step up to the new 2nd generation Apple Watch in 2016. They will want to put something a little nicer on their wrists that does a whole lot more.

Will Stock Averages End Up For 2015?

It looks like it is going to go down to the wire this year before we find out whether 2015 will be an overall positive year for stocks. No matter what happens, its safe to say that it has been a struggle for all major averages (except maybe the Nasdaq) and that the year will probably show small losses or gains when the clock ticks 2016. Here is where three of the most watched averages started on January 1, 2015:

The Dow opened 2015 at 17,823
Nasdaq opened 2015 at 4,760
The S&P 500 opened 2015 at 2059

It does look like the Nasdaq will finish higher for the year as technology has led the way for quite some time. Everything else though, has struggled and may end up in negative territory. Overall 2015 has been a disappointing year for investors, especially as it started out quite strong for the first half and then deteriorated badly.

What will 2016 bring? Many are predicting it will be much the same or worse than this year. Interest rates look to go higher and that is never good for the consumer as their borrowing costs go up. The world is in turmoil due to terrorism and it is a scary thought that things could get worse on that front. 2016 will also bring nonstop coverage of the Presidential campaigns in the United States which may or may not influence certain segments of the market. Just one Tweet from Hillary did a lot of damage to the biotech stocks in 2015.

It could be a good time to take some profits and move more of your money into cash as there are few other alternatives.

Remember though, to NEVER take any action after reading this website without first consulting your financial advisor. Theinvestmenttracker.com is just my personal ramblings and are for entertainment purposes only. You must always do your own stock research and come to your own conclusions. Thanks for reading in 2015!

That “Correction” Was Almost Like A Fire Drill

For the last 6 years investors and pundits have been on the lookout for the next correction. We finally got it and August 24th and 25th were the low points with a brief retest of those lows on September 28th and 29th. In the end we had about a month and a half of panic, hand wringing, selling, and high volatility before things turned around and headed up.

2015 stock correction

All in all, while the panic was very real (as seen on August 24th with a 1000 point drop at the market’s open), it seemed to me to be over awfully quickly. October saw the market gain back almost all that it lost in what was one of the best performances ever for that month!

So here were are, about even for 2015 and it almost feels like that 10%+ correction was sort of a drill. It showed new investors who had never seen a serious downturn what one felt like but that was about it. Any investor who was able to hold on to their stocks was able to get most everything back in very short order as though nothing ever happened. To me, that correction felt too short to really do any good.

One thing a correction does (beyond bringing stocks back to more realistic levels), is to teach lessons:

1) It shows investors that they should not always expect positive returns and it makes them slow down in their enthusiastic buying, hopefully transforming them into more cautious stewards of their money.

2) It helps investors identify their risk tolerance and for anyone who is new to investing, figuring that out is extremely important. I suspect there were a lot of younger investors out there who had yet to have their risk tolerance truly tested because they had yet to experience any significant drop.

3) Finally, it also flushes out weak investors which is needed to get rid of the excess froth many stocks take on during boom times. Most experts agree that corrections are healthy for a market as they help to reset things when the buying gets out of hand.

But unfortunately, I submit that the stock correction of 2015 (if it is really over) was no more than a pretend fire drill and it accomplished very little. Its short duration probably didn’t do enough to convince investors that the market is too high and that caution should be used when allocating money to high flying stocks. It was a warning sign but not a big enough one to seriously get people’s attentions and make them worry.

Because it cam and went so quickly, new investors still don’t have a clue about what it feels like to invest in a market that goes down for a prolonged period of time. That week after week, month after month feeling of helplessness that truly teaches what the risks are in stocks never happened and everyone got their money back way too fast!

We Finally Got A 10% Stock Market Correction – Now What?

The pundits have been predicting a stock correction or crash for many years. Now, after going about 6 years with no meaningful downturn in the market, we finally got one starting in the middle of August. September 2015 was ugly and you can see the big drop(s) the market has gone through and all major indexes were hit. If you own stocks, chances are high that you lost money last month.

10% stock correction

For some investors who have been in the market for only a handful of years, this is a new experience. For more experienced investors this may be the second or third time they have been through this white knuckle period of high uncertainty and doubt. That means there are many folks out there that are scared and in panic mode (or near it) who have no idea what to do.

Doubt and uncertainty will send any stock market down every time. Investors the world over and throughout time hate uncertainty and use it as a reason to sell stocks. It is one thing you can count on with the same conviction that you can count on being taxed by your government. The markets WILL go lower when investors don’t feel confident about the events happening around them.

Many newbie investors will undoubtedly get flushed out of the market. They will take their losses, complain that it is all rigged, and many may never get back in. That is the unfortunate part of such sell offs but it is a result of so many investors never really doing their homework and not understanding the real risks of short term investing. Additionally, many rookie investors have had no way to test their risk tolerance until now as the market had only gone up during their investing life. Losing sleep over their investments is something that is completely new to many and now they are finding out that they can’t take the heat.

What am I doing? I’m just standing pat and taking the hits. I’ve sold a couple of stocks with high P/E’s that I thought might be more at risk than the others but I’m holding on to most everything else. I’ve still got a 20 year investing time horizon in front of me (God willing) and I’m playing the odds that at some point the market will rebound.

I’m also starting to buy a few stocks that have gone down that I would like to own, knowing full well that the market may still have further to fall. But this is one reason why you should never be 100% invested when the market keeps hitting new highs. You’ve got to have some cash on the side you can use to get in at lower levels if that situation arrives. At some point you’ve got to step in be willing to buy when the market is dropping. You have to be able to take advantage of lower prices and while we may still be a ways from the bottom, prices are getting better almost every day.

Black Monday 2015 Is Why You Should Never Buy Stocks With Short Term Money

It was a wild ride like nothing most investors have ever seen. What started out as a bad day for stocks as shown by the futures being significantly down before the market opened, suddenly became a bloodbath of declines that took the most experience investors by surprise. As the market opened, within minutes the Dow was down slightly more than 1000 points which was a breathtaking sight.

The prices coming across the ticker were incredible and it made one wonder whether World War III had just broken out. Apple at $95? Costco at $126? Under Armor at $80? You could pick a stock, any stock, and the price you saw was incredible. These prices were too low, way too low, and sure enough they didn’t last long. For the next several hours the market fought its way back and these bargain prices were erased, at least partially. And then the market went down again but those outrageous lows were never seen again.

August 24th, was a full out panic which caught many people with limits on their stocks off guard. Many investors came home that night to realize their stocks with low limits had been sold at those low prices. Additionally, that crazy several hours of trading followed by Tuesday’s big reversal down at the end made many people sick in their stomachs, enough to just want to get out of the market and sell everything.

But that is/was the exact wrong thing to do and why you need to only buy stocks with money you don’t need for a long time. Any panic drop like we saw last week shakes out many a weak investor and many short term investors. They lose money, probably to never return and then complain how it is all somehow rigged. But for investors with a long time horizon and with money on the sidelines, any big market downturn will be used to buy. Buy for the long term as that is your best chance to beat stocks.

The stock market isn’t for placing bets like you do at a racetrack. The race isn’t over in a day, week, or month. Short term thinkers in the market take on the added risk that their timing is right and that is a long shot for most, whether they are experienced or not. But patience is often rewarded when you have time on your side and have the strong stomach to sit on the sidelines and not sell during those gut wrenching down days.

Don’t gamble with money you can’t afford to lose. And don’t buy stocks with money you can’t afford to lose either. It is a basic principle that so many investors never are able to grasp and that leaves them selling at the worst time possible and taking losses they probably shouldn’t be taking. When you sell at the low on days like Monday, what does it take for you to get back into the market? In most cases if do sell at the lows you end up buying back in when things are more “stable” which means prices are much higher. THAT is why so many people lose money with short term thinking.

How Do We Get Millennials Interested In Stocks?

Its not hard to find an article about how the younger generations don’t trust the stock market and have little interest in it. The thinking goes that they saw their parents get burned in stocks in 2002 and again in 2008 which has made many of them steer clear of Wall Street altogether. It doesn’t help that we have had a faltering economy for years and most of the new job creation is low paying jobs. So, millennials don’t have the money to invest in stocks even if they did trust the market.

 stocks and millennials

Millennials, without the funds prior generations had, are embracing the culture of sharing. The Internet has allowed them to share cars and rides (Uber, Lyft, Zipcar, etc.), rooms in houses (Airbnb), as well as a lot of subscriptions services like Netflix. They are happy renting rather than buying and that goes for cars and houses. Public transportation is more meaningful to this age group than any other group before it. This younger generation is less apt to own things or care about owning things because they just don’t have the money and they feel they might never have the money.

The stock market is for people with cash savings and there is no way around that. Plain and simple, in this culture of debt and low pay I don’t see millennials getting interested in stocks until they have money in their pockets. And that could be for a very long time and maybe never. The questions are how do we stop shipping jobs overseas, how do we stop illegal immigrants from taking our jobs, how do we start to create higher paying jobs, and how do we start to turn this economy around? How do we get the younger generation into a position financially that their parents and grandparents were in when they grew up?

Obviously, no one knows the answer to these problems or something would have been done about it already. The politicians in Washington are clueless and forever more concerned about their image and job than actually helping the country. Its sad but true.

So, it is my belief that millennials will continue to avoid and show disinterest to the stock market until a good number of them are somehow able to save enough money that they become interested in learning how to grow it. Until that happens, stocks will have no meaning to them and why should they? They’ve got bigger problems like trying to find a job and saving enough money just to pay their rents or move out of their parents’ basements.

Analyst Downgrades Are Sometimes Silly (and very late)

Chesapeake Energy (CHK) stock has been going for almost a year now. Yes, there were some quick upturns but each one was met with a bigger sell off. See the stock chart below as well as my mark where the stock was finally downgraded by an analyst at Oppenheimer.
CHK downgradeSo it took one year of losses which saw the stock price go down about 55% before the analysts at Oppenheimer finally saw fit to downgrade the stock? Are you kidding me? That is just downright ridiculous and shows why I have less and less respect for analysts every day I am alive on this earth.

Then we have the story of why it is so hard for many brokerages to come out with honest downgrades and say bad things about some of the bigger and more popular public companies. Its all a game where no one wants to offend because if they do, they might lose future business with IPO’s and other business dealings within this incestuous industry. With all the different downgrade and upgrade terminology these brokerages use, it is very difficult to accurately understand what they are really saying much of the time.

Unfortunately many stocks make significant moves higher and lower on the backs of analysts changing their price targets or recommendations. People seem to give these analysts their blind trust even though they have probably never heard of them before. In the end, much of it is just a game designed make you feel that you need someones advice and to get you to trade often and be actively involved with your portfolio.

There are so many stocks, so many mutual funds, so many ETF’s, so many financial advisors, so many brokerages, and so many analysts that it can all be extremely confusing to any investor. You don’t have to be a beginner to start to wonder why there are so many talking mouths spouting out opinions everywhere you look. Its gotten tough to block out all the noise that bombards investors on a daily basis. Its gotten even harder to be able to sift through it all and figure out what is fluff and what it the good information that you should be paying attention to.