Archive for Auto

Pick the best travel credit card like a pro

 

Travel rewards have become about much more than just earning airline miles, and if you’ve been carrying the same card for years, you might be missing out on better rewards for the same or lower fee as banks and airlines fight for your business.

If you don’t want to think much, and just want one card with a good offer, a comparison site like MileCards.com will let you enter your spending habits and tell you which cards earn you the most miles, or you can browse a list of the best travel credit cards.

But travel pros who have racked up millions of miles diversify their loyalty to reap the most rewards.

Gary Leff, an air travel expert who writes the View From the Wing blog, suggests three reasons to get a card. The first reason is the sign on bonus, which can offer significant value. The second is to take advantage of perks offered by the card, including free bags and priority boarding. And third, you should use a card that lets you rack up miles most quickly based on your spending pattern.

Very few cards offer do all three of these things well, so experts often hold more than one credit card to get the most out of things.

For example, many of the airline branded cards offer a first free checked bag. If you tend to use the same airline a couple times a year and check a bag, you can save the annual fee in bag fees, plus get perks like priority boarding. But these cards rarely offer you the most miles for every dollar you spend.

Instead, consider putting your spending on a card that earns transferable points, while keeping the airline card for the perks.

Transferable points are a favorite of Brian Kelly, founder of The Points Guy blog. They let you book travel two ways. First, you can transfer them into real airline miles with several airlines. Second, you can choose to use them like cash to book flights on any airline.

That makes them really flexible – you can add to the miles you’ve earned by flying, or you can use them like cash if you don’t want to deal with the rules of airline miles for a trip. Chase, American Express, and Citibank each have cards that offer transferable points. Many offer special bonuses on spending categories like dining and gas, so they can earn points more quickly than a single airline card.

Regardless of what card you choose – get to know the benefits. Many travel credit cards offer coverage that’s similar to the travel insurance airlines and travel agencies will try to sell you. You could be reimbursed if you need to cancel a trip because you get very ill, or get covered for a hotel if your flight gets delayed. There’s no extra charge – just book your flight with the card to activate the coverage. These benefits aren’t …read more

Read more here: Pick the best travel credit card like a pro

Category: bonds, cloud, computers, data, dell, earnings, earnings season, healthcare, nasdaq, nyse, oil prices, stock market, stocks, utilities, wall street, csx, nj, jnj, tast, intc, jpm, fast, gs, bac, ge, lly, wfc, c, unh, emc, tri

7 Investment Accounts All 30-Somethings Should Have

By Tim Lemke …

You’re in your 30s now. If you’re finally looking to get settled in your financial life, you may want to consider ways to build wealth over the long term. But that checking account alone isn’t gonna cut it. It’s time to examine the options out there for someone in their 30s who finally has a little bit of money to invest.

Here are seven essential investment accounts all 30-somethings should have.

1. 401K, If Available to You

If you’re employed full-time, your company may offer a retirement plan that gives you access to a number of mutual funds and other investments, plus the great tax advantages that come with it. Under a 401K, 403B, or similar plan, contributions are deducted from your pre-tax income, and most employers will match a certain percentage of what you put in. Now that fewer employers are offering pensions, the 401K has become the primary vehicle for saving for retirement. Pumping cash into this account while you’re still relatively young gives your investments plenty of time to rise in value and give you a sizable nest egg. Even better, your investment is tax-deferred until you begin making withdrawals.

2. Traditional IRA

You don’t necessarily need a traditional Individual Retirement Account if you have a 401K with an employer match. But if you have 401K from an old employer, it might make sense to roll it into an IRA, because you have a much broader choice of investments to choose from – many with lower fees. With an IRA, you can invest in practically anything, including individual stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and even commodities. Traditional IRAs are also great for people who are self-employed or otherwise don’t have access to a 401K. Like a 401K, your contributions are deducted from your taxable income. You can open an IRA at most discount brokers such as Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, and E*TRADE.

3. Roth IRA

This account is a little bit like a 401K in reverse. The tax advantage is on the back end, when you can withdraw money upon retirement without paying tax on the earnings. That’s because contributions to a Roth IRA come from earnings after tax, unlike 401Ks, which draw on pre-tax income. Under a Roth IRA, you can contribute up to $5,500 annually, and you can withdraw contributions (but not your gains) before retirement age without paying a penalty.

4. Taxable Brokerage Account

While your main focus should be investing in tax-advantaged accounts that are designed for retirement, it’s good to have some investments available in this type of account due to the flexibility. You don’t need to wait until retirement age to access funds in this account, for one thing. That means you can use it to boost your income now, through the sale of stock or the gain of dividends. If you hold on to investments in a taxable account for a long time (generally over a year), you’ll pay only the long-term capital gains tax (mostly likely 15%) …read more

Read more here: 7 Investment Accounts All 30-Somethings Should Have

Category: 30s, 401ks, budgeting, economy, investments, IRAs, personal finance, savings

Mortgage Rates Higher After Jobs Report

Mortgage rates moved only moderately higher today after the Employment Situation report came out much stronger than expected. The all-important jobs data showed payroll growth of 242k in February compared to a median forecast of 190k. The unemployment rate held steady at 4.9 percent despite more people joining or re-entering the labor force. Economic data is one of the most important cues for the bond markets that underlie mortgage rates. Stronger data tends to put upward pressure on rates and today’s was no exception. That said, today’s movement wasn’t especially bigger than any other day spent moving higher over the past week. Indeed, rates were likely able to avoid a sharper move for precisely that reason: they’ve been consistently moving higher. The most prevalent conventional 30yr fixed …read more

Read more here: Mortgage Rates Higher After Jobs Report

Category: currency, dollar, economy, federal reserve, gas prices, inflation, interest rates, janet yellen, job market, jobs, monetary policy, oil prices

3 Specialty Retailers in New Uptrends (ANF, KORS)

By Alan Farley
These retailers have risen to the top of the heap, assuming leadership roles in a challenging environment.

Let’s look at three top-performing specialty retailers that should add to recent gains in coming months. It’s best to focus on the strongest plays when buying this group, given volatile crosswinds impacting industry sentiment and sales growth. Many of these storefronts have failed in their efforts to expand brick and mortar operations into e-commerce and digital sales, giving up market share to more tech-savvy rivals. Those declines are likely to accelerate in coming years, given the millennial generation’s adaptation to all things Internet.

However, these adults and their adolescent siblings have fickle tastes as well, supporting one clothing and accessory style for years and then abandoning it for another style. Fortunately, the sector’s leadership reflects these transitions as well, allowing market players to identify the most profitable opportunities without understanding the aesthetics of modern fashion trends.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF) entered a steep downtrend in 2011 after failing to break out above the 2007 all-time high in the lower 80s. The decline unfolded in multiple trend waves over a four-year period, dropping the stock to a six-year low at 16.36 in August 2015. A strong bounce off that level has gained momentum in the last few months, lifting price above the 50- and 200-day EMAs in a new uptrend.

 

…read more

Read more here: 3 Specialty Retailers in New Uptrends (ANF, KORS)

Category: ANF, KORS, PLCE

Boeing May Have Entered a Bear Market (BA)

Boeing price action since 2014 raises odds the multi-year uptrend has come to an end.

Boeing Co. (BA) is currently the third-weakest component in the Dow Jones Industrial Average after a severe decline dropped the aerospace manufacturer nearly 50% in less than three months. Worries about lower demand for new aircraft drove the majority of the decline, while pricing pressures and a slowing rate of older aircraft retirement added to the downside.

Can Seattle’s biggest employer shake off months of selling pressure and resume its upward trajectory or has the long uptrend finally ended, raising the odds for significantly lower prices in coming years? For bulls, what price levels will sound the “all-clear” for long positions and, for bears, where are the most profitable short sale entry points?

The long-term pattern shows a four-year advance that peaked at 108 in July 2007, giving way to a steep decline that bottomed out in the upper 20s in March 2009. The subsequent uptrend carved two multi-year rally waves, with the first buying impulse ending in 2010 in the mid-70s. It then entered a trading range with support in the upper 50s, remaining within those narrow boundaries into a powerful 2013 breakout.

The stock returned to the 2007 high in July 2013 and broke out two months later, lifting quickly to 145, where it dropped into another trading range. This consolidation lasted until February 2015, giving way to a final buying spike above 150 that may have ended the multiyear uptrend. It’s taken two steps down since that time, in vertical impulses that have broken intermediate support levels…read more

Read more here: Boeing May Have Entered a Bear Market (BA)

Category: BA

Just how overpriced are budget-airline refreshments?

By The Economist online
LAST week Kayak, a search engine for travel, caused a minor kerfuffle when it released the results of a survey examining the price of in-flight refreshments offered by budget British airlines. The survey found price hikes that ran to hundreds or even thousands of percent. Perhaps the most staggering mark-up was that of the humble instant-soup sachet: available on a supermarket shelf for about £0.13 ($0.17), on a Flybe flight you’ll pay £2.50 ($3.60)—a hike of over 1,800%. Ryanair, often the pantomime budget-airline baddie in these kinds of discussions, was a key offender. They demanded the highest prices for three of the items surveyed; their mark-up on water, for example, was more than 1,300%.

Scandalous mark-ups of in-flight snacks are nothing new—Kayak’s findings replicate those of

…read more

Read more here: Just how overpriced are budget-airline refreshments?

Category: Business and finance, Gulliver

The markets after Brexit

By The Economist online..
OUR third look at the impact of the Brexit referendum* concerns the effect on the financial markets. Market movements can affect the economy (higher gilt yields, for example, would make it harder for the government to finance its deficit; lower equity prices could dent confidence) but they also act as a signal. Other things being equal, a decline in the pound, a rise in gilt yields or a fall in equities indicate that investors are finding British assets less attractive, and points to their assessment of the economic impact of the vote. As in the other blogs, I will be drawing on the views of investors, economists and thinktanks for evidence.

On sterling, the view is pretty universal; a Brexit vote would cause the pound to fall. A Bloomberg poll of economists found that 29 of 34 saw a decline below $1.35 and only one saw the pound above $1.40 (at the time of writing, the pound is around $1.42). Among investors, Blackrock, the biggest fund manager in the world, says that

Sterling is most vulnerable…

…read more

Read more here: The markets after Brexit

Category: Business and finance, Buttonwood’s notebook

ChartAdvisor for March 4, 2016 (SPY, DIA)

By Justin Kuepper..

A weekly technical summary of the major U.S. indexes.

The U.S. markets moved higher over the past week, as of Thursday’s close, led by small-cap stocks in the Russell 2000. While consumer spending rose and labor markets improved, the manufacturing and energy sectors continued to show weakness. Wage growth also varied considerably throughout the nation and consumer prices remained stubbornly flat. That said, some experts believe that a rate hike or two may be back on the table for 2016.

International markets also moved mostly higher over the past week, as of Thursday’s U.S. close. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 4.02%; Germany’s DAX 30 rose 2.51%; and, Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.37%. In Europe, a series of economic reports suggested that growth was continuing to slow ahead of the ECB’s rate decision next week. In Asia, China’s President Xi Jinping announced a series of economic measures that sounded a lot closer to Reagan than Mao.

The S&P 500 SPDR (ARCA: SPY) rose 2.39% over the past week, as of Thursday’s close. After breaking through its 50-day moving average at 193.78, the index reached its R1 resistance at 199.80. Traders should watch for a breakout toward its 200-day moving average at 201.01 or a move lower to its 50-day moving average. Looking at technical indicators, the RSI appears a bit lofty at 62.90, while the MACD remains in a bullish uptrend since its crossover back in mid-February.

spychart03032016

The Dow Jones Industrial Average SPDR (ARCA: DIA) rose 1.85% over the past week, as of Thursday’s close. After breaking out from its 50-day moving average at 169.35, the index reached its 200-day moving average at 170.00. Traders should watch for a breakout to R2 resistance at 175.80 or a move lower to its 50-day moving average. Looking at technical indicators, the RSI appears a bit lofty at 61.60, while the MACD remains in a bullish uptrend.

 

…read more

Read more here: ChartAdvisor for March 4, 2016 (SPY, DIA)

Category: SPY, DIA, IWM, QQQ

Mortgage Rates at Crossroads Ahead of Jobs Report

Mortgage rates began the day slightly higher, on average, but managed to make it back in line with yesterday’s levels by the afternoon. Some lenders are in slightly better shape. Some are worse. In either case, the differences between today and yesterday would be minimal–only affecting the closing cost/credit side of the rate equation (as opposed to changes in the rate itself. Most lenders continue quoting conventional 30yr fixed rates in a range of 3.625% to 3.75% with the latter gaining significant traction over the past few days. Tomorrow brings the most important economic report of any given month: The Employment Situation (aka “nonfarm payrolls” or simply, the “jobs report”). As always, the jobs report carries significant market moving potential , for better or worse. At the moment, we …read more

Read more here: Mortgage Rates at Crossroads Ahead of Jobs Report

Category: currency, dollar, economy, federal reserve, gas prices, inflation, interest rates, janet yellen, job market, jobs, monetary policy, oil prices

Agricultural Stocks May Head Even Lower (POT, MON)

Agricultural chemical companies may resume major downtrends after working off oversold technical conditions.

Agricultural chemical companies have underperformed in this bull market cycle and could head substantially lower in 2016, offering profitable short sales. However, the sector is working off an extremely oversold technical condition, and the best short entries should come at higher price levels, after testing at long-term moving averages.

These stocks got hurt badly during the 2007-2009 bear market because the agricultural industry’s performance is levered to emerging market economies that contracted through that period. Conditions improved into 2011 and 2012 but have deteriorated since that time, primarily due to stalling growth in China and deep recessions in Russia and Brazil.

The recovery effort also ran into a brick wall when potash prices collapsed four years ago, following the breakup of a Russian-Belarusian marketing cartel that had limited the nutrient’s supply. That commodity’s decline continues to escalate while the sector faces additional headwinds from the broader raw material downtrend that’s infected world markets since 2014.

Potash prices have failed to bounce so far in 2016, continuing to hover near eight-year lows despite healthy upticks in other beaten down commodities, including metals and energy. This lagging behavior waves a red flag that reinforces the bearish outlook for sector operations this year and beyond. It also tells us that current recovery efforts should eventually fail.

Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc. (POT) sold off from 81 to 16 during the bear market and bounced up to 60 in 2011. It then traded sideways for more than two years before breaking support in the upper 30s in 2013. The stock tested new resistance into early 2015 and rolled over in a steep decline that reached the 2008 low in January. It built a small base at that level and headed higher this week. …read more

Read more here: Agricultural Stocks May Head Even Lower (POT, MON)

Category: POT, MON, AGU

%d bloggers like this: