Sunday, December 27, 2009

Trading in the European/London session

About midway through the Asian trading day, European financial centers begin to open up and the market gets into its full swing. European financial centers and London account for over 50 percent of total daily global trading volume, with London alone accounting for about one-third of total daily global volume, according to the 2004 survey.


The European session overlaps with half of the Asian trading day and half of the North American trading session, which means that market interest and liquidity is at its absolute peak during this session.


News and data events from the Euro zone (and individual countries like Germany and France), Switzerland, and the United Kingdom are typically released in the early-morning hours of the European session. As a result, some of the biggest moves and most active trading takes place in the European currencies (EUR, GBP, and CHF) and the euro cross currency pairs (EUR/CHF and EUR/GBP).


Asian trading centers begin to wind down in the late-morning hours of the European session, and North American financial centers come in a few hours later, around 7 a.m. ET.

Trading in the Asia-Pacific session

Currency trading volumes in the Asia-Pacific session account for about 21 percent of total daily global volume, according to a 2004 survey. The principal financial trading centers are Wellington, New Zealand; Sydney, Australia; Tokyo, Japan; Hong Kong; and Singapore. In terms of the most actively traded currency pairs, that means news and data reports from New Zealand, Australia, and Japan are going to be hitting the market during this session.


Because of the size of the Japanese market and the importance of Japanese data to the market, much of the action during the Asia-Pacific session is focused on the Japanese yen currency pairs (explained more in Chapter 2), such as USD/JPY – forex speak for the U.S. dollar/Japanese yen -- and the JPY crosses, like  UR/JPY and AUD/JPY. Of course, Japanese financial institutions are also most active during this session, so you can frequently get a sense of what the Japanese market is doing based on price movements.


For individual traders, overall liquidity in the major currency pairs is more than sufficient, with generally orderly price movements. In some less liquid, non-regional currencies, like GBP/USD or USD/CAD, price movements may be more erratic or nonexistent, depending on the environment.

Opening of the Trading Week

There is no officially designated starting time to the trading day or week, but for all intents the market action kicks off when Wellington, New Zealand, the first financial center west of the international dateline, opens on Monday morning local time. Depending on whether daylight saving time is in effect in your own time zone, it roughly corresponds to early Sunday afternoon in North America, Sunday evening in Europe, and very early Monday morning in Asia.


The Sunday open represents the starting point where currency markets resume trading after the Friday close of trading in North America (5 p.m. Eastern time). This is the first chance for the forex market to react to news and events that may have happened over the weekend. Prices may have closed New York trading at one level, but depending on the circumstances, they may start trading at different levels at the Sunday open.

Trading Day Around The World

The forex market is open and active 24 hours a day from the start of business hours on Monday morning in the Asia-Pacific time zone straight through to the Friday close of business hours in New York. At any given moment, depending on the time zone, dozens of global financial centers — such as Sydney, Tokyo, or London — are open, and currency trading desks in those financial centers are active in the market.


Currency trading doesn’t even stop for holidays when other financial markets, like stocks or futures exchanges, may be closed. Even though it’s a holiday in Japan, for example, Sydney, Singapore, and Hong Kong may still be open. It might be the Fourth of July in the United States, but if it’s a business day, Tokyo, London, Toronto, and other financial centers will still be trading currencies. About the only holiday in common around the world is New Year’s Day, and even that depends on what day of the week it falls on.

Getting Liquid Without Getting Soaks

Liquidity refers to the level of market interest — the level of buying and selling volume — available at any given moment for a particular asset or security. The higher the liquidity, or the deeper the market, the faster and easier it is to buy or sell a security.


From a trading perspective, liquidity is a critical consideration because it determines how quickly prices move between trades and over time. A highly liquid market like forex can see large trading volumes transacted with relatively minor price changes. An illiquid, or thin, market tends to see prices move more rapidly on relatively lower trading volumes. A market that only trades during certain hours (futures contracts, for example) also represents a less liquid, thinner market.

Currency Market Spaculating

Commercial and financial transactions in the currency markets represent huge nominal sums, they still pale in comparison to amounts based on speculation. By far the vast majority of currency trading volume is based on speculation — traders buying and selling for short-term gains based on minute-to- minute, hour-to-hour, and day-to-day price fluctuations.


The estimates are that upwards of 90 percent of daily trading volume is derived from speculation (meaning, commercial or investment-based FX trades account for less than 10 percent of daily global volume). The depth and breadth of the speculative market means that the liquidity of the overall forex market is unparalleled among global financial markets.


Bulk of spot currency trading, about 75 percent by volume, takes place in the so-called “major currencies,” which represent the world’s largest and most developed economies. Additionally, activity in the forex market frequently functions on a regional “currency bloc” basis, where the bulk of trading takes place between the USD bloc, JPY bloc, and EUR bloc, representing the three largest global economic regions.


Forex

What Is The Forex Market?
Forex Market: The foreign exchange market — most often called the forex market, or simply the FX market — is the most traded financial market in the world. We like to think of the forex market as the “Big Kahuna” of financial markets. The forex market is the crossroads for international capital, the intersection through which global commercial and investment flows have to move. International trade flows, such as when a Swiss electronics company purchases Japanese-made components, were the original basis for the development of the forex markets.


However, today global financial and investment flows dominate trade as the primary non-speculative source of forex market volume. Whether it’s an Australian pension fund investing in U.S. Treasury bonds, or a British insurer allocating assets to the Japanese equity market, or a German conglomerate purchasing a Canadian manufacturing facility, each cross-border transaction passes through the forex market at some stage.


The forex market is a trader’s market. It’s a market that’s open around the clock six days a week, enabling traders to act on news and events as they happen. It’s a market where half-billion-dollar trades can be executed in a matter of seconds and may not even move prices noticeably. Try buying or selling a half billion of anything in another market and see how prices react.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Foreign Exchange Market

The foreign exchange market (currency, forex, or FX) trades currencies. It lets banks and other institutions easily buy and sell currencies.



The purpose of the foreign exchange market is to help international trade and investment. A foreign exchange market helps businesses convert one currency to another. For example, it permits a U.S. business to import European goods and pay Euros, even though the business's income is in U.S. dollars.



In a typical foreign exchange transaction a party purchases a quantity of one currency by paying a quantity of another currency. The modern foreign exchange market started forming during the 1970s when countries gradually switched to floating exchange rates from the previous exchange rate regime, which remained fixes as per the Bretton Woods system.



The foreign exchange market is unique because of

  • its trading volumes,
  • the extreme liquidity of the market,
  • its geographical dispersion,
  • its long trading hours: 24 hours a day except on weekends (from 20:15 UTC on Sunday until 22:00 UTC Friday),
  • the variety of factors that affect exchange rates.
  • the low margins of profit compared with other markets of fixed income (but profits can be high due to very large trading volumes)
  • the use of leverage

As such, it has been referred to as the market closest to the ideal perfect competition, notwithstanding market manipulation by central banks. According to the Bank for International Settlements, average daily turnover in global foreign exchange markets is estimated at $3.98 trillion. Trading in the world's main financial markets accounted for $3.21 trillion of this. This approximately $3.21 trillion in main foreign exchange market turnover was broken down as follows:

  • $1.005 trillion in spot transactions
  • $362 billion in outright forwards
  • $1.714 trillion in foreign exchange swaps
  • $129 billion estimated gaps in reporting

Personal Financial Planning

A key component of personal finance is financial planning, a dynamic process that requires regular monitoring and reevaluation. In general, it has five steps:
  1. Assessment: One's personal financial situation can be assessed by compiling simplified versions of financial balance sheets and income statements. A personal balance sheet lists the values of personal assets (e.g., car, house, clothes, stocks, bank account), along with personal liabilities (e.g., credit card debt, bank loan, mortgage). A personal income statement lists personal income and expenses.
  2. Setting goals: Two examples are "retire at age 65 with a personal net worth of $1,000,000" and "buy a house in 3 years paying a monthly mortgage servicing cost that is no more than 25% of my gross income". It is not uncommon to have several goals, some short term and some long term. Setting financial goals helps direct financial planning.
  3. Creating a plan: The financial plan details how to accomplish your goals. It could include, for example, reducing unnecessary expenses, increasing one's employment income, or investing in the stock market.
  4. Execution: Execution of one's personal financial plan often requires discipline and perseverance. Many people obtain assistance from professionals such as accountants, financial planners, investment advisers, and lawyers.
  5. Monitoring and reassessment: As time passes, one's personal financial plan must be monitored for possible adjustments or reassessments.
Typical goals most adults have are paying off credit card and or student loan debt, retirement, college costs for children, medical expenses, and estate planning.

The six key areas of personal financial planning, as suggested by the Financial Planning Standards Board, are:

1 - Financial Position: this area is concerned with understanding the personal resources available by examining net worth and household cash flow. Net worth is a person's balance sheet, calculated by adding up all assets under that person's control, minus all liabilities of the household, at one point in time. Household cash flow totals up all the expected sources of income within a year, minus all expected expenses within the same year. From this analysis, the financial planner can determine to what degree and in what time the personal goals can be accomplished.

2 - Adequate Protection: the analysis of how to protect a household from unforeseen risks. These risks can be divided into liability, property, death, disability, health and long term care. Some of these risks may be self-insurable, while most will require the purchase of an insurance contract. Determining how much insurance to get, at the most cost effective terms requires knowledge of the market for personal insurance. Business owners, professionals, athletes and entertainers require specialized insurance professionals to adequately protect themselves. Since insurance also enjoys some tax benefits, utilizing insurance investment products may be a critical piece of the overall investment planning.

3 - Tax Planning: typically the income tax is the single largest expense in a household. Managing taxes is not a question of if you will pay taxes, but when and how much. Government gives many incentives in the form of tax deductions and credits, which can be used to reduce the lifetime tax burden. Most modern governments use a progressive tax. Typically, as your income grows, you pay a higher marginal rate of tax. Understanding how to take advantage of the myriad tax breaks when planning your personal finances can make a significant impact upon your success.

4 - Investment and Accumulation Goals: planning how to accumulate enough money to acquire items with a high price is what most people consider to be financial planning. The major reasons to accumulate assets is for the following: a - purchasing a house b - purchasing a car c - starting a business d - paying for education expenses e - accumulating money for retirement, to generate a stream of income to cover lifestyle expenses.

Achieving these goals requires projecting what they will cost, and when you need to withdraw funds. A major risk to the household in achieving their accumulation goal is the rate of price increases over time, or inflation. Using net present value calculators, the financial planner will suggest a combination of asset earmarking and regular savings to be invested in a variety of investments. In order to overcome the rate of inflation, the investment portfolio has to get a higher rate of return, which typically will subject the portfolio to a number of risks. Managing these portfolio risks is most often accomplished using asset allocation, which seeks to diversify investment risk and opportunity. This asset allocation will prescribe a percentage allocation to be invested in stocks, bonds, cash and alternative investments. The allocation should also take into consideration the personal risk profile of every investor, since risk attitudes vary from person to person.

5 - Retirement Planning: retirement planning is the process of understanding how much it costs to live at retirement, and coming up with a plan to distribute assets to meet any income shortfall.

6 - Estate Planning: involves planning for the disposition of your asset when you die. Typically, there is a tax due to the state or federal government at your death. Avoiding these taxes means that more of your assets will be distributed to your heirs. You can leave your assets to family, friends or charitable groups.

Personal Finance

Personal finance is the application of the principles of finance to the monetary decisions of an individual or family unit. It addresses the ways in which individuals or families obtain, budget, save, and spend monetary resources over time, taking into account various financial risks and future life events. Components of personal finance might include checking and savings accounts, credit cards and consumer loans, investments in the stock market, retirement plants, social security benefits, insurance policies, and income tax management.

Corporate Finance

Corporate finance is an area of finance dealing with financial decisions business enterprises make and the tools and analysis used to make these decisions. The primary goal of corporate finance is to maximize corporate value while managing the firm's financial risks. Although it is in principle different from managerial finance which studies the financial decisions of all firms, rather than corporations alone, the main concepts in the study of corporate finance are applicable to the financial problems of all kinds of firms.

The discipline can be divided into long-term and short-term decisions and techniques. Capital investment decisions are long-term choices about which projects receive investment, whether to finance that investment with equity or debt, and when or whether to pay dividends to shareholders. On the other hand, the short term decisions can be grouped under the heading " Working capital management". This subject deals with the short-term balance of current assests and current liabilities; the focus here is on managing cash, inventories, and short-term borrowing and lending (such as the terms on credit extended to customers).

The terms corporate finance and corporate financier are also associated with investment banking. The typical role of an investment bank is to evaluate company's financial needs and raise the appropriate type of capital that best fits those needs.

Behavioral Finance

  • Behavioral economics and behavioral finance are closely related fields that have evolved to be a separate branch of economics and finance.
  • A field of finance that proposed psychology-based theories to explain stock market anomalies. With in behavioral finance it is assumed that the....
  • The newest branch of Finance, Behavioral Finance represents the integration of psychology and finance to better understand how people actually...
  • Field of study that attempts to identify market inefficiencies arising out of investor psychology

Finance Definition

Finance is;
  • The branch of economics that studies the management of money and other assets
  • The commercial activity of providing funds and capital
  • Obtain or provide money for. "Can we finance the addition to our home?"
  • Sell or provide on credit
  • Finance is a boad game originally released in 1932 by knap Electric and later reissued by Parker Brothers. The game is similar to monopoly in the movement of pieces around the board, the use of "Chance" card, properties that can be purchased, and houses that can be erected on them.
  • Changes in spending , as well as taxes and duties.
  • The concept of time, money and risk, and how they are interrelated. Banks are the main facilitators of dunding.
  • Finances-Funds: assets in the form of money
  • A transaction that provide funds for a business
  • Funds or other financial resources
  • The money needed by an individual or a company to pay for something, for example, a project or stocks
  • Finance deals with matters related to money and the markets.
 
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