Stock Market Indices Review for Week 26 in 2015

Jun 26, 2015 -

Stock Market Highlights - Week 26

- EBay announces date of PayPal spinoff - July 17th.
- WTI closed 6/26 at $59.63 and Crude Oil $63.26.
- Nike soars after crushing earnings forecast at $0.98/share vs $0.83/share
- Personal consumption expenditures rose 0.9% in May.
- Next Tuesday is the deadline for the Greek government to repay the IMF 1.5B euros.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed at 17,946.68 on Friday, June 26th 2015. After failed attempts to break through the 18,300+ barrier via an ascending triangle trading pattern, the DJIA is now in a trade range and continues to bounce between 17,700 and 18,200. Until we can see a clear break either to the upside or the downside, this remains a stock picker's market. 

After retesting 18,200, the stochastic (STO) indicators bounced off STO 80 and it is now working off overbought territory. The STO indicates that there is still some selling off that could occur. We shouldn't be surprised to see a retest of 17,700 in the coming weeks. 

The S&P 500 closed at 2101.49 on Friday, June 26th, 2015. The S&P was posed to break out of its ascending triangle pattern. However, it stopped short around 2,130. From then on beginning in June, it peeled back into a 60 point trading range from 2070 to 2130. This is nearly similar to that of the DJIA chart above.

Just like with the DJIA, it appears that on the SPX, the STO levels have not been completely exhausted and there is still more selling to occur. For the bulls, you'd like to see a break above 2,130. The more times it tries and fails to break through, the more likely it is that the bears will take control. However, right now it looks more or less neutral. 

The Nasdaq (COMPQ) closed at 5080.5 on Friday, May 26th 2015. The strongest of the three indices is the COMPQ. It made a new high this week, however was quickly sold. Though the upward trend remains intact. Until we see a break below the 50 DMA, this is an index that is moving upward. 

As with the SPY and the DJIA, we are seeing the overbought indicators working themselves off of that via a pullback. Friday's volume was significant however it held above the 20 DMA. Look to see it retest the 50 DMA before it bounces again. 

Fitbit, Inc. (FIT) is a company that designs and manufactures health and fitness trackers and provides online dashboard and mobile apps, data analytics, motivational and social tools, personalized insights, and virtual coaching through customized fitness plans and interactive workouts. Just last week, FIT IPOed at a price of $20 per share. IT opened closer to $30 a share. After reaching $40 per share, it cooled down and appears to have pulled back to the magic Fibonacci extension (61.8%). On a pure bounce play, we entered in at $34.61, with a stop just below today's close. The target is a retest of the high. 
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Should You Bail On Gold?

Jun 24, 2015 -

The following is a guest post.
For a long time, gold bullion has been viewed as an investment worth considering for an appropriately diversified portfolio. If you have gold holdings or you're up-to-date on alternative investment strategies, you'll likely be familiar with all the arguments that have favored gold over the years: its price tends to be fairly stable (and rose for a solid decade without interruption), it's relatively low-risk, and it's a nice alternative to currency or stocks in times of economic hardship.

But in the past two years, all of these common arguments have been thrown into question as gold prices have experienced an unprecedented drop-off. A combination of factors perhaps headlined by the steadily improving U.S. economy and strengthening U.S. dollar have led to a far less stable outlook for gold, which in turn has put those managing long-term gold holdings in a tricky position. So, is it time to abandon gold and cut your losses?

I'd always argue that that's a question for each investor to answer individually based on his or her situation. However, some are beginning to say that yes, the time might be ripe to give up on gold for the time being. Just this week, The Wall Street Journal's commodities section took on the topic of investors abandoning "havens" (such as gold and other precious metals) given increasing hope of a deal between Greece and its European creditors. As the article puts it, "some investors buy gold in times of economic or political uncertainty, convinced it will hold its value better than other assets in turbulent periods." This is the long-standing philosophy. And yet, as hopes linger over Greece avoiding a disastrous default and potential exit from the Euro zone, investors are showing less inclination to flee ordinary financial assets in favor of gold. In short, where there's no crisis, there's no appeal.

And unfortunately for those holding gold, the talk of investors abandoning the metal in light of recent news in Europe doesn't seem to be a purely theoretical one. The price of gold fell somewhat dramatically over the course of the day on Monday (the same day of The Wall Street Journal's account). FXCM's gold charts show that while the metal opened at close to $1,200/ounce on Monday morning, it was down around $1,185/ounce by the end of the work day. That's a roughly 1.25 percent drop in a single day, taking gold dangerously close to its dramatic lows from last November. And really, Monday's news and price reaction was just the latest in a series of disappointments in gold that have made long-term investors uneasy.

On the other hand, there are also financial experts who view the current situation—primarily as it concerns the strong U.S. economy and improving dollar—as one that's unsustainable, meaning gold could still be a worthwhile long-term play. Seeking Alpha had an interesting article that fell within this mindset. The argument was made that recent action (or inaction, rather) by the Federal Reserve was a bad sign for gold investors. The basic idea is that the Fed has essentially allowed for the dollar to coast and continue strengthening throughout what looks to be the remainder of 2015, meaning gold could continue to fall if it follows its common trend of moving inversely to the dollar. However, the same article also states that "the dollar is extended, and its unwinding will eventually serve gold, but not quite yet."

So again, whether or not you decide to cut your losses and abandon gold investments is up to you and you alone. Some expect that as various international issues continue to hold gold prices down, we might just be living in a new economic climate in which the precious metal just won't be as valuable as it once was. Others believe that an eventual stalling of the dollar's growth, and inevitable political and economic turmoil abroad, will see the gold prices rebound, eventually.

The only certainty is that managing gold investments in 2015 is very different, and arguably more complex, than ever before.

Jenna Batten is a freelance writer and entrepreneur. She enjoys covering a variety of topics including finance, technology, lifestyle, and travel.
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Stock of the Week: Shake Shack (SHAK)

Jun 21, 2015 -

The Scoop on Shake Shack 

What started as a hot dog stand in New York City's Madison Square Park has quickly turned into a publicly traded company. The original hot dog cart was established in 2001 to help rejuvenate Madison Square Park. The stand was an immediate hit and peopled formed lines daily for three years. Since then, Shake Shack ("the Company") has opened up numerous restaurants and expanded throughout the world.

Shake Shack is a modern day "roadside" burger stand. The Company serves premium burgers, frozen custard hot dogs, crinkle-cut fries, shakes, beer and wine. Per the SEC filings, as of April 1, 2015, there were 66 Shacks in operation, system-wide, of which 34 were domestic company-operated Shacks, five were domestic licensed Shacks and 27 were international licensed Shacks.

Highlight Fundamentals

Financial Highlights for the First Quarter 2015 (per SHAK's press release):

▪ Total revenue increased 56.3% to $37.8 million.
▪ Shack sales increased 59.2% to $36.0 million.
▪ Same-Shack sales increased 11.7%.
▪ Net loss was $(12.7) million, or $(1.06) per diluted share, which included $13.2 million of after-tax expenses incurred in connection with our IPO.

Unlike most other recently IPOed publicly traded restaurants, Shake Shack is profitable and has been for the past three years. Shake Shack recorded profits of $4.1M, $5.4M, and $2.1M for the fiscal year ended 2012, 2013, and 2014 respectively. Most recently in the first quarter of 2015, the Company recorded a loss of $12.7M compared to a profit of $1.1M in the prior comparable period. A closer look at the Q1 2015 10Q reveals that $12.8M of the loss is attributable to a one-time IPO related stock-based compensation expense and $0.6M IPO expense. Adjusted for the aforementioned, Shake Shack would have recorded a $0.7M profit in Q1 2015.  

The adjusted pro forma fully exchanged weighted-average shares of Class A common stock outstanding-diluted shares count as of April 1st, 2015 was 37,049,000. As of 6/19/2015, the price was 69.34 per share, which brings the market capitalization to approximately $2.6B. You don't need to be a math genius to know that currently Shake Shack is trading a very high P/E ratio. Without a doubt, this valuation is predicated on the potential of future earnings. Wendy's Co has an approximate market capitalization of $4.1B as of 6/19/2015, which is about twice that of Shake Shack. However, it did end fiscal year 2015 with net income of $121M. For Shake Shack to be on the same market capitalization to net income ratio, it would have to have a net income of $77M. 

What makes the Company different from say a Habit Burger? It boils down to company culture, branding, supply chain, and their food of course. The restaurant industry is quite simple to understand. The more food you sell, the more revenue you generate. At the same time, you'll want to keep down operating costs. The way to sell more food is to appeal to your target market. The innovation comes from the food itself and branding. Of course, location does matter. But, we've seen people drive great lengths to eat at In-N-Out burger when one was not available outside of California. Restaurants constantly ask themselves how can you generate more same store sales and where should they open up more stores. 

Highlight Technicals

From a technical perspective, SHAK has done incredible considered how highly valued it was coming out of the IPO.

SHAK IPOed at $21 earlier this year. However, by the end of the first day of trading, SHAK reached $45.90.  Over the next few days, it pulled back a little bit towards $37.84, however has since skyrocketed to a high of approximately $97.31. We've overlaid the below chart with the Fibonacci retracement taking the low and the high since it IPOed.

The ideal entry would be at the 61.8% retracement level of $60.58. Though if you look closely you can see that the stochastics suggests that the stock is currently oversold. A bounce is definitely due and would not be unexpected. It is also trading below the 50 DMA. Any close above such level and a close above the high and low bar of the previous day, would suggest a possible entry point. 

Disclaimer: This article is written for informational purposes only and not intended for investment advice. For more similar articles visit
Disclosure: I do not have a position in SHAK.
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Five Tips on How to Most Efficiently and Effectively Use Email

Jun 10, 2015 -

Nowadays, email is the primary form of communication in business. Email has replaced in many respects the use of a phone as it is much easier to send emails than to pick up a phone and call someone. Though these are two different methods of communication, there are some people who expect an immediate response from an email much like a SMS text to a friend or an update to social media. There is certain business etiquette that comes with using email as a form of communication and if you use it wrong it can come off as unprofessional. People spend a fourth of the day reading, writing, and replying to their email box, don't contribute to each other's email clutter.  

Here are a number of email etiquette and guidelines that can go a long way in helping minimize email clutter and actually will help your chances in getting your emails read.

1) Email shall not be used to scold or discipline people

Consider a situation whereby your coworker just dropped the ball on a project and now you are suffering the consequences for something you didn't have full control over. Your first instinct is to rip your coworker a new one. Tell him or her off and then flip the bird perhaps. You decide to draft an email with all your anger directed towards that individual. Wait a second. Before you do that, cool down and step away from your desk. Remember that email will be stored on the company server somewhere. Refrain from sending out that email.

2) Send relevant email content to your recipients

The last thing you would want is to receive an email that has nothing to do with what you are doing or related to you in any way. Make sure if you are sending something to someone, it is relevant to them. Have an objective, actionable point, and make sure to address your recipient personally.

3) Limit the number of emails you send related to a discussion

Sending an email should not result in playing email tag. In a professional setting, emails should not be used to banter back and forth or left to right. Be concise and offer solutions in your email, which will help keep long email chains at bay. If your "discussion" ends up going past three emails, perhaps you should pick up the phone or schedule a conference call.

4) Add the email address last

How many times did you accidentally send an email that was not ready to be sent? Maybe on second thought, you didn't mean to send out that email. Take your time to write the email, proofread it, make any changes and attachments, add the recipients, and then fire it off.

5) Only expect the 'to' recipients to respond

Common practice has been those who are CCed typically will not respond to the email or they may merely skim over the emails. If you want a response from someone, make sure you address them in the 'To' field or direct the email towards them. For example, "Jim, will you please take a look at this? In the meantime, Barbara, if you could help set up a call regarding this with Jim, myself, and you that would be helpful." In this case I would still send the emails 'to' Jim and Barbara rather than 'CC' them.
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10 Days Itinerary For the East Side of Australia

Jun 1, 2015 -

How to Do Ten Days on the East Side of Australia - Itinerary Summary 

Three of my friends and I took ten days to explore the east side of Australia including the world's oldest rainforest, Sydney, Great Barrier Reef, and beautiful beaches. In total, we visited six different cities/areas. Our planned itinerary for Australia was a mix of both outdoorsy and city adventures. Below is a summary of our ten days planned itinerary in Australia.

Day 1 

-Land in Sydney
-Take the train from the Airport into the City
-Walk around Darling Harbour
-Ferry to Circular Quay (Purchase the Opal public transport pass)
-Take a walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens
-Sydney Opera House Tour

Day 2

-Eat Brunch/Breakfast at Social Brew
-Ferry to the Taronga Zoo
-Trek to Chinatown for some great food at Kiroran Silk Road Uighur Restaurant

Day 3 

-Travel to Cairns (About a 3 hour flight from Sydney)
-Walk along side Esplanade street
-Visit the Cairns night market
-Spend some time at Cairns Central Shopping Centre

Day 4 

-Snorkel at Michaelmas reef

Day 5 

-Diving at the Hastings Reef

Day 6 and Day 7

-Tour up and around Daintree Rainforest (2 hr drive north of Cairns)

Day 8 - Day 9

-Spend a night at Palm Cove
-Eat at Vivo Bar and Grill
-Pick up breakfast the next morning at Rising Sun
-Fly back to Sydney
-Train to Newtown and dinner at Thai Pothong

Day 10 

-Breakfast at Cornersmith in Marrickville
-Farmers Market on Addison Rd and Millawara Rd on Sundays
-Train and Bus to Bondi Beach
-Bus to The Rocks
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Stock Market Indices Review for Week 19 in 2015

May 9, 2015 -

Stock Market Highlights - Week 19

- BABA surged 7.5% after company introduced Jonathan Lu as new CEO. 
- WTI closed 5/8 at $59.39 and Crude Oil $65.39 down 1.6% from last week.
- Janet Yellen said that stock values are "quite high". 
- U.S. economy adds 223k April jobs primarily in the business services as wages rise slightly.
- Tesla's Powerwall sold out till mid-2016 - received estimated $800M worth of orders.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 18191.11 on Friday, May 8th 2015, which is up about 167 pts from last Friday, May 1st. The ascending triangle trading pattern remains in tack. After it tried yet again to break below the 17800 level, the Dow Jones pulled an impressive bullish candlestick on Friday. Despite Yellen's comments about how the stock values were "quite high", the bulls continued to show that they were in charge. 

The stochastic indicators are now not in overbought territory and the chart is set up fairly well for a boost to the upside. We will have to see if the market will be able to follow through from Friday's action. If it does, we have a good chance at further upside. The market has been stuck in range mode for about three months now. When will this break?

The S&P 500 closed at 2116.10 on Friday, May 8th, 2015 up about 8 pts from the previous week. The S&P is posed to break out of its ascending triangle pattern. This is nearly an identical chart to that of the Dow Jones. Probabilities suggest that the bulls will make another run at the top. Any sustained break would make this rally worthwhile to watch. So far we have not been able to see the bears take control or show that they can thwart the bulls. On the contrary, we have yet to see the bulls take full control either.

The Nasdaq closed at 5003.55 on Friday, May 8th 2015. This was a decrease of about 2 pts from last Friday the 1st. The Nasdaq was the only index of the three to have closed down from a week ago. Yet, it looks to be the best set up for a pop above. You can see that it formed an evening doji star this past Monday. Typically these happen when the market gaps up, but bulls or the bears are unable to take control from the opening price. This shows indecisiveness in the market and therefore if the market does gap up, typically you'll see a roll over. In this particular case, this rollover however was short lived and immediately, we saw the prices being bought and followed by a nice gap up candle on Friday that closed just above the 20 DMA. It will be important to see if this can be sustained on Monday.  

ProShare Crude Oil (UCO) tracks the price of crude oil. It closed at $9.66 on Friday, May 8th 2015. Typically, you'll see an increase in demand in the summer for oil. As we get closer to that, we'll see prices rise unless supply can match that demand. Technically speaking, we bounced from the 20 DMA, which is positive for the bulls. We'll see some resistance at the $11-$12 price range as those who had positions are looking to exit at break even. Oil is still at historical lows and we are far away from that $100/barrel. There is a lot of room for oil to run; but it won't shoot up as quickly as it shot down. Oil rigs will come into service as certain prices are hit. The higher the price, the more oil rigs will come in and drill, which will keep supply high. Be patient with these positions, it might take a while for them to pay off. 

There will likely not be a week 20 or week 21 post as I will be traveling to Australia. Jet lag permitting, I'll do my best to put up a week 21 post. 
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Stock Market Indices Review for Week 18 in 2015

May 2, 2015 -

Stock Market Highlights - Week 18

- LNKD and TWTR's post-earnings tumble down 21% and 23% thru Thurs., respectively.
- WTI closed 5/2 at $59.15 up 3.5% and Crude Oil $66.46 up 1.8% from last week.
- US Fed Reserve keeps rates low as US economic growth slowed to an annual rate of 0.2%.
- Berkshire Hathaway's first-quarter profit up 10% fueled by railroad, utilities, and energy.
- Tesla introduces Powerwall, a 10kWh home battery charged through solar panels.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 18024.06 on Friday, May 1st 2015, which is down 56.08 pts from last Friday, April 24th. The triangle trading pattern remains in tack, after it tried to break down, the bulls came back Friday. Will this break upward or break down?

The stochastic indicators at the bottom of the chart continued to work off that overbought territory. We will need to see it break 18100 and sustain that level to know if the bulls are back. Otherwise closes below 17800 and sustained follow through suggest sell in May is a strategy to follow.

The S&P 500 closed at 2108.29 on Friday, May 1st, 2015 down 9.4 pts from the previous week. The S&P broke out of its triangle pattern, but failed to see sustained follow through. Instead it was a bull trap. The false breakout was quickly sold and now it's back into the triangle pattern. When this happens, typically you'll see that the bottom range is tested. I wouldn't be surprised if it did as such here before another run at the high or break below to fulfill the sell in May and go away theory. 

The Nasdaq closed at 5005.39 on Friday, May 1st 2015. This was a decrease of 1.76% from last Friday the 24th. The Nasdaq has broken out to new all-time highs the week before, but has been unable to sustain those high prices. While the 20 DMA is still being held, it has now fallen back into the trading range. We are now in May and without a doubt as we get closer to summer, the volume will drop. Any break below 4825 will cause problems for the bulls. 

Twitter (TWTR), a social media site focusing on advertising as a revenue source, closed at $37.84 on Friday, May 1st 2015. When it did not meet analysts expectations it tanked and filled the gap up from early February rather easily. Now it is in the same trading range as it was in December. There will be heavy resistance at $40 and expect buyers to come in at $36 to retest the support levels from end of December 2014 through February of 2015. As with the indices, watch for a break out in either direction. 

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Book Review - Getting There: A Book Of Mentors

Apr 29, 2015 -

About Gillian Zoe Segal, Author of Getting There: A Book Of Mentors

Gillian Zoe Segal is the author of New York Characters, a tribute to New Yorkers, and Getting There: A Book of Mentors. Her work has received numerous mentions by publications such as Forbes, CNBC, MSNBC, and Business Insider. Gillian is also a freelance photographer specializing in portraits. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts and received a law degree from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University.

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between successful and unsuccessful people? While Gillian has been successful in life thus far, her search to inspire and provide guidance to her daughter and others led her to share Getting There: A Book of Mentors. Smooth waters never made a skilled sailor. At some point in life, everyone will encounter rough waters. Gillian sat down with each of these thirty mentors to understand their highs and lows. She got as personal as she they would let her get. It's never too late to improve, try something new, find a great role model, and discover something about yourself!

"The road to get there is almost guaranteed to be arduous, but if you love what you do, you'll thrive on the inevitable challenges and have stamina to achieve your potential." 

What is great about the book?
Despite having a background in law and photography, Gillian's Getting There: A Book of Mentors has gathered not only the experiences of a successful lawyer, but experiences of people from various backgrounds. Of which include investor Warren Buffet, Spanx inventor Sara Blakely, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, and even Mad Men Creator Matthew Weiner.

While it is great reading about the stories of successful people and immersing ourselves in their journey from the beginning, most readers want to know how they can benefit from such experiences. Gillian does a great job pointing out key turning points in each mentor's story. For example, Warren Buffet had a fear of public speaking in college. What he did to overcome this fear was he signed up for the Dale Carnegie public-speaking course. Here Warren identified a fear of his and understood that he couldn't go through life not knowing how to speak in front of people. What can we as readers take from this? If there is a weakness within ourselves that is holding us back, we can look to see what can be done to turn that weakness into a strength. Whether that be finding a course to take or seeking advice from those who have gone through a similar desired transformation.

At the end of each mentor's section, the author highlights key "pearls" or takeaways from the stories. For example, with Warren, he emphasized the importance of reputation and also experiences that may seem to be disastrous at first actually work out for the best. A good example of this was his rejection from Harvard, which eventually lead him to Benjamin Graham in Columbia whereby he learned the fundamentals of investing. For Anderson Cooper, the famous journalist, the way to find your bliss is a three step process. First you figure out gets your adrenalin pumping, next figure out a way to make it a career, and third outwork everyone around you.

"When you're much more interested in what you're doing than going out for a drink with friends, you've found your bliss." - Anderson Cooper

Each of these successful individuals have something you can incorporate in your life or change for the better. If anything, they would reiterate what you might already be doing. One of the most important things, I've gathered from these stories is to keep an open mind so you will be able to take opportunities when they arise and to really follow what you are passionate about. That of course is much easier said than done. Where in society we are pressured to meet other people's expectations, we lose sight of what is truly important in our lives.

Here is a key excerpt from Tom Scott's (Nantucket Nectars Co-Founder) section:

"Over the next two years, six of my friends joined in, and we dramatically expanded the scope of the business. Our slogan was “Ain’t nothing these boys won’t do.” One friend, Tom First, and I shared the same playful personality. One night he blended up a peach juice based on his memory of something he’d tasted in Spain. Within about seventeen seconds, we thought, This is what we have to sell off the boat! It happened that fast. We came up with the name Nantucket Nectars and spent the entire winter testing all sorts of fruity concoctions. We were obsessed."

What is the not so great about it?

Usually, with most books, we can find a couple things that aren't so great about it. In Gillian's Getting There: A Book of Mentors, the only thing I can find that isn't great about it is that the stories were not long enough! As I was just starting to immerse myself in one of the mentor's stories, I found myself towards the end of it! While this is most probably done by design to keep the reader engaged, for those who can really relate to one mentor or another, it would be best to seek out a biography afterwards.

Sometimes, it can become difficult to relate to those outside of our industries, regardless in this increasingly globalized world we live in today, learning about other people's specializations does open your eyes to new and varied experiences. Gillian does a great job showing that there are different ways to be successful and success comes from those with different personalities as well.

What is your final recommendation?
For those young professionals or those who have been working in their industries for many years, day in and day out all we see are those in our particular fields. As we get older, your circle of friends becomes smaller. While we do build strong bonds with our existing friends, we lose sight of what else is out there. Our imagination diminishes and we get sucked into our own little worlds. Gillian's book Getting There: A Book of Mentors is a great read and really lets you into the minds of successful people in various industries. As I was reading the book, it felt as if I was right there next to that person listening to their story. How rare is it that you are able to find a surfer, lawyer, investor, fitness instructor, journalist, all in one room? This is essentially it! All the stories from various background all in one book! You never have to leave the comforts of your own home, Gillian brought all of them to you.

Conclusion: Getting There: A Book of Mentors is a recommended read for those who seek to the wisdom of successful individuals. After all, all of us can use another mentor to help guide us in the right direction in life. 
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Stock Market Indices Review for Week 17 in 2015

Apr 24, 2015 -

Stock Market Highlights - Week 17

- Nasdaq composite index beat its record of 5,048.62 set on March 10, 2000
- WTI closed 4/24 at $57.15 up 2.5% and Crude Oil $65.28 up 2.9% from the last week.
- AMZN & MSFT shares rose to $445.10 & $47.87, respectively due to cloud business profits 
- Greece and EU ministers fail to reach deal in unlocking 7.2B euros to pay off IMF debt.
- Brazil's Ibovespa stock benchmark extends a rally from a Jan. 30 market low to 21%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 18080.14 on Friday, April 24th 2015, which is up 1.42% from last Friday the 17th. The triangle trading pattern has not yet been broke, however is itching to break upwards. Volume has essentially been a non-factor in our analysis. 

Price action continues to make higher lows at the end of March, beginning of April, and once again tested the 17800 level last Friday. This was followed up with a bullish engulfing candle on the 20th. While there is still risk to the downside, the probabilities suggest there will be further upside. You'll see this when we look at the NASDAQ and SPX charts later. 

The stochastic indicators at the bottom of the chart actually worked off some of that overbought territory. There is still room for the stochastic indicators to run above 80, which means we should be looking at breaking out of the channel. Again if it breaks below and fails, we have numerous support levels to watch for including the 17800 level and then the 17700-17600 levels. 

The S&P 500 closed at 2117.69 on Friday, April 24th, 2015. The S&P continues to show relative strength compared to the DJIA with an increase of 1.75% compared to the prior week. The triangle pattern we saw forming in the past two months has now been broken. A break from the triangle and continued upward price action would suggest higher prices to come. 

The 50 day moving averages has held relatively well and continue to be support for this index. Watch next week for a break above the green line we've drawn below. Evidently more sideways action would be good for the overbought indicators, however don't be surprised if we trade above overbought conditions as the market takes off again. 

The Nasdaq closed at 5092.08 on Friday, April 24th 2015. This was an increase of 1.92% from last Friday the 17th. The Nasdaq has broken out to new all-time highs; busting through the high established in 2000 during the dot-com boom. We would like to see continued upward action and this is likely to happen as nobody is trading a loss now. Still as always, we watch to see if the price falls back into the trading range. Should it do so, we can almost certainly expect a retest of the bottom range. 

Box, Inc. (BOX), a provider of cloud-based computing, closed at $17.75 on Friday, April 24th 2015. It recently IPOed in late January. Since its descent from a high of over $24 on opening day, it has since traded anywhere from $21 to as low as $17 per share. If you are bullish you'd want to enter in when the price sustains above the 50 day moving average. For bears, you are looking at any break below $17 and sustained follow through to be an indicator of lower prices. 

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Stock Market Indices Review for Week 16 in 2015

Apr 18, 2015 -

Stock Market Highlights - Week 16

- Etsy's IPO opened at $31 per share, hit a high of $35.73 before closing at $30 even.
- WTI closed on 4/17 at $55.74 up 8% and Crude Oil $63.45 up 9% from the week before.
- Coca-Cola Co to buy China Culiangwang Beverages (multigrain drinks) for $400.5 million.
- U.S. consumer price rose for the 2nd month in a row (strong sign of inflation).
- Antitrust lawyers said leaning against Comcast's bid to buy Time Warner Cable Inc.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 17826.30 on Friday, April 17th 2015, which is down 1.28% from last Friday the 10th. The triangle trading pattern continues to be prevalent and the focus of our analysis. With Friday's activity more or less wiping out the entire week's gain on high volume, we should be cautious and watch for follow through downside action. A retest of the 17600 level could be eminent. The stochastic indicators at the bottom of the chart continue to suggest that we are in overbought territory. This past week did not work off much of that STO indicator; in fact it just pushed it more into being more overbought. A pullback is likely to continue or some sideways action would be good for bulls. Again we are watching for a breakout above 18100 or breakdown towards 17700.

The S&P 500 closed at 2081.18 on Friday, April 17th, 2015. The S&P was able to hold itself up much better than the DJIA with only a 0.09% decrease compared to the prior week. However, the triangle pattern is beginning to form similar to that of the DJIA. Friday's volume was the highest of the month and particularly on a Friday. Although we are still trading at about the 50 and 20 day moving averages, bulls should tread carefully. Like the DJIA, sideways action would be good for the bulls, otherwise the overbought indicators suggest further pullback is likely to occur in the following week. 

The Nasdaq closed at 4995.98 on Friday, April 17th 2015. This was a decrease of 1.28% from last Friday the 10th. The Nasdaq appears to be the strongest of the three indices at the moment. It is currently above the 50DMA and is still trading within its range.This is a positive sign for bulls. However like the S&P and DJIA, the stochastic indicators suggest we are in overbought territory. However, any break below the 50DMA would suggest a retest of the bottom of the trading range. 

Shake Shack (SHAK), a New York-style hamburgers restaurant business, closed at $61.67 on Friday, April 17th 2015. It recently IPOed on January 30th, 2015. Since its descent from a high of 52.50 on opening day, it has since rebounded to an all-time high last Thursday of $62.75. There were two entry points for trading SHAK in the past three months. The first coming toward mid-February whereby a reversal candle indicated a shift in the price trend. The second trading opportunity came when it broke out of its recent trading range on the 14th of April. As always you'd have to control the downside risk and put your stops accordingly. For example, a stop just below the previous day close on the 1st trading opportunity would have been sufficient. Then you would raise your stop as the trend continued upward.

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Stock Market Indices Review for Week 15 in 2015

Apr 10, 2015 -

Stock Market Highlights - Week 15

- GE to sell bulk of finance unit and return up to $90B to investors.
- WTI and Brent Crude Oil closed on Friday at $51.64 and $57.87 per barrel, respectively.
- Spotify valued at 8.4B and is looking to raise $400M.
- Etsy to sell 16.7M shares between $14-$16 in IPO later this month.
- U.S. dollar finishes 2.6% higher against the euro Friday. 
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 18057.65 on Friday, April 10th 2015. The last three months of activity has created a descending triangle trading pattern. Typically these will fail and then we would be looking at a target of 17000 for another retest of that support. However, Friday's activity on strong volume suggests a breakout to the upside out of the descending triangle pattern. The stochastic indicators at the bottom of the chart suggests that we are at overbought territory. Therefore, a pullback is likely though not certain. If the market continue to rally, we would like to see it first break through the 18200 level. There is still not enough positive action to suggest the market will be able to break out of its current trading range of around 18200 to 17000.

The S&P 500 closed at 2102.06 on Friday, April 10th, 2015. While this is still a ways from its high in early March of approximately 2115, it is well on its way of retesting that level. Different from the Dow Jones Average, the S&P formed a symmetric triangle in which it appears to be breaking to the upside. Volume in the past two months has been relatively flat, which does not help us in determining the strength of this potential break out. We are still trading above both the 50 and 20 day moving averages. As long as we continue to trade above both the red and blue lines we can expect higher prices to continue. Still if we break below 2050, the chart will be susceptible to further technical damage.

The Nasdaq closed at 4995.98 on Friday, April 10th 2015. Typically, all three indices, Nasdaq, S&P, and the DJIA trade similarly. However, this is the first time in a while that I've seen different chart patterns in the same period for the three indices. The Nasdaq is fighting a trading range between the below two blue lines. Price action has successfully retested the 50 DMA three times in the last two months. This is a positive sign for bulls. However like the S&P and DJIA, the stochastic indicators suggest we are in overbought territory. Therefore, either sideways action or a pullback might be in store. Evidently sideways action would be beneficial for the bulls. Though a pullback would not be a determinate either. If we see the price action below 4800, we should start to question if the bulls are still in control.

Wells Fargo, a Berkshire Hathaway holding, closed at 54.32 on Friday, April 10th 2015. In recently years, the financial industry has usually been a leading indicator as to where the stock market is headed. This weak action from the strongest U.S. bank is not a good sign for the markets in the interim. We would like to see the price action for the stock to be above both the 50 DMA and 20 DMA. Though if it falls near the $50 per share level, you'll be sure to find buyers. This sideways action mimics that of the indices and I would not be surprised to see this continue.

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What the Body Says that the Mind Can Not - Key to Solving Anxiety

Apr 8, 2015 -

Picture yourself running the last mile of a half-marathon. Your feet feel as if they have had cement rocks chained to them, your arms feel as if you've been carrying twenty pound weights for hours on end, and any minute now your heart is about to burst. But, your brain tells you to push on. You only have a mile left. You tell yourself that you can do it. When the brain overrides the body, we call this sheer will power.

While marathon runners, triathletes, and professional athletes have excelled at their respective fields through sheer will power, their bodies are typically pushed to extreme limits. As a result, the body sends out warning signals to tell the brain to slow down. We often associate will power with being mentally strong. Will power is generally view in a positive light. However, not only are there physical repercussions to this, but there are also mental ones.

"The brain works on pursing happiness and is much more concerned about the future than the present, which results in us feeling anxious all the time.

In modern society, we largely ignore the wisdom of the body in favor of the brain. In general, we as humans rely more so on our brain than basic instincts. This is not a bad thing as it has gotten us to where we are now. Animals eat with their stomachs, we eat with your brains. When an animal's stomach is full, they stop eating. If snacks are lying around, do you just grab it and munch on them even if you don't feel hungry?

While there is generally no major issue with using our brain before acting, modern society has pushed it to certain extremes. The brain works on pursing happiness and is much more concerned about the future than the present, which results in us feeling anxious all the time. We are always working on anticipating what is coming next. Since the future has not arrived yet, we use a series of assumptions and leverage past experiences to attempt to predict the future. This is purely abstract and evidently there is always a level of uncertainly in what the future brings. Yet we chose to purse the future. Sometimes it even feels like the more we chase it the further away it runs. At the end of the day, we fail to enjoy the present and constantly think about the unpredictable and largely uncontrollable future.

Our concern for how the future will leads us to our obsession for external stimulants that eventually drives this endless cycle of craving for more lavish things. There no shame in striving for the better job, the bigger car, or the mansion house. However, when begin to believe that having those things will make us happy, nothing will ever be enough.

This week, take sometime to listen to your body. If it tells you it is tired, go to sleep. If you are feeling anxious, sit down, relax, and enjoy where you are right now for ten or twenty minutes. The present is only here for a limited of time. Why not try and enjoy it. After all, what is the point of always planning for the future if you never enjoy it when it comes.
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How to Bulk Change Dates, Numbers, and Figures in a Word Doc

Apr 1, 2015 -

In finance and accounting, we are generally period oriented. This means we view time in terms of months, quarters, and years. Every month, we close the month's books. Every quarter, we prepare quarterly reports such as the 10-Q or private financials for the last three months compared to the prior similar period. On an annual basis, we submit the 10-K or annual report to the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).

Of course you don't believe that each time we prepare a report, we start from a blank document. That would be extremely time consuming and evidently not the most efficient way to go about updating a document. Typically we will use the prior year's same period report and then layer on changes. For example, if we were updating the yearly annual report, we would take prior year's annual report and change all the numbers to be relevant to this year's report.

One way to do this is to change the 2014 into 2015 manually. Now we can do this with a simple "Find and Replace" technique. However, what if we wanted to highlight any changes we made just to track it? What about if we want to find all numbers in the document? 

Hit Ctrl + H and this will open up the 'Find and Replace' Box. Then click 'More'. 

Find all numbers from 0-9 using '[0-9]' and make sure you check the use wildcards for that to work. Then if you want to change the format if what is replaced or what you search for, you'll want to click the 'Format' button at the bottom of the pop up screen. 
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How Much Should You Keep in Your Emergency Fund?

Mar 24, 2015 -

An emergency fund is an allotted amount of money that you've saved for a rainy day. This means if you lose your job or incur a significant one-time expense, you'll be able to weather the storm and survive financially.

You might think the more you have saved for your emergency fund the better it is. Well there lies the dilemma. Too much saved and you are foregoing the investments you could have made with that money. Not enough money in your emergency fund and you run the risk of running out of money when an emergency arises. 

"The general rule for an emergency fund is to save anywhere from three to six months of living expenses." 

Saving your money in an emergency fund is similar to that of paying car insurance. The best way is to take a portion of your paycheck and set that amount aside for the emergency fund. But, where do you cap out? How much is too much?

While how much you decide to ultimately save in your emergency fund is a function of your risk toleration and income to expense ratios, the general rule is to save anywhere from three to six months of living expenses. If you have a family to support or people who depend on you financially, you might lean towards the six months versus the three. 

The best way to determine how much you should save in your emergency fund is by asking yourself if you lost your job, how long would you be without one. In some industries, it may take a couple weeks to find another job. In others, it can take up to a year. That would be your basis from where you would determine how many months you need to save up for. If you have multiple streams of income, the likelihood of all of them failing to produce is lower than just any one stream coming to a halt. Therefore, you might have a higher tolerance for a lower emergency fund. 

Ultimately, how much you decide to put in your emergency fund is how comfortable you are with the worst case scenario occurring (losing all revenue streams) and the probability of that happening. If you have a high risk tolerance and believe there is a low probability of you losing your income streams, then you can have a lower emergency fund. On the contrary, if you are the opposite, then you should have more money in your emergency fund.
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Three Questions to Help You Get to Really Know Someone Better

Mar 17, 2015 -

In How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie recounts a story involving Abraham Lincoln and his old neighbor. Lincoln had some problems that he wanted to discuss with his old neighbor. For hours, Lincoln talked about his own opinion on the issue and arguments for an against issuing a proclamation freeing slaves. At the end of it all, Lincoln shook his neighbor's hand and then without even asking for his opinion on the issue, sent his neighbor back to Illinois. Lincoln wanted what most of us want when we are in unfavorable situations. He wanted to vent to someone who would be friendly and sympathetic. Lincoln didn't want advice at all.

In order to be a great conversationalist, be an active listener. Ask them questions and encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments. At the end of the day, people are more interested in talking about themselves or their own interests than yours.

Here are three questions that can help you get to know someone better.

1) For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

If you are grateful for something in your life you are appreciative. Whether it is a person, place, or experience, the thing you are most grateful for at some point made or continues to make an impact on your life. Being grateful for something also helps you understand what you value most in life. Is it fame and fortune you are seeking? Or do you value the simple life?

2) If you could change anything about the way you are, what would it be?

Accepting who you are is a big part of becoming a more resilient person. With societal pressures looming in every corner, being comfortable in your own skin can sometimes be a challenge. Ultimately we are who we are because of our experiences including how we were raised. One reason why you would want to change the prior experiences is because it is still affecting your present or will have an effect your future. Just understand that there is always a trade-off. You can't be a party-animal free spirit and also be a quantum physicist.

You can make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.

3) What does friendship mean to you?

Adding a friend on Facebook is as easy as clicking a button. We so often casually refer to people we know as friends even if we've only met that person once! However there are differing degrees of friendship. Those that you recognize and will say hi to on the street, but wouldn't reach out to on a daily or weekly basis. Then there are others who you spend more time with and see more often. When they've hit a rough patch in their life, you are there to comfort them and console them. Who are your closest friends?
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Book Review : How to Invest Your Time Like Money

Mar 11, 2015 -

About Elizabeth Saunders, Author of How to Invest Your Time Like Money

Elizabeth Saunders is the founder and CEO of Real Life E, a time coaching and training company, that helps individuals achieve more with less stress. She has trained and coached clients on six continents and contributed to numerous publications include Time and Forbes, Inc. She has also appeared on television networks such as ABC, CBS, and NBC.

Many of us struggle with managing our time. We've tried a number of things to become more organized such as to-do-lists, planners, and even allocating a 80/20 approach where by we spend 80% of our time on the most important things and 20% on more tedious mundane tasks. The bottom line is, we are still stressed. How can we invest your time like money?

"You don't understand. I'm an entrepreneur. I have deadlines I need to meet, and I can't just check in and check out." 

What is great about it?
The first thing Saunders talks about is getting your mind in the right mindset. In essence, empowering yourself to take responsibility for your time investment choices instead of blaming others. What she means by this is managing your own workload. If it means lettings others know that you don't have the capacity to work on their projects or instead of doing their work for them you show them how to fish.

How to Invest your Time like Money is a guide to allocating your time so that the most important things get the most attention instead of getting pushed aside for other competing priorities. Sanders does a great job of providing real examples of how to accomplish this.

One of the major reasons why we feel we need to do so much is because we don't want to let other people down. Or we fear how people might respond if you actually did start to have our time investment under control. Being comfortable with having others forgive you for past mistakes and freeing yourself from guilt is the goal.

The author does a fantastic job providing a number of "harmful" and "helpful" key mental shifts in a tabular format. For example, a harmful mental thought would be if you felt like you needed to take advantage of every opportunity for fear that you would miss out on something important. That can be extremely stressful given that it is nearly impossible to do. On the contrary, a "helpful" mental shift would be one of investing in the best opportunities to be successful. 

Saunders goes through a checklist of actionable items that help in determining your time budget, calculating expectations time cost, identify your time debt, and make cuts. She guides you through figuring out what are your crucial time commitments in a day such as sleep, work, commute, side projects, etc and assigning an allotted time for each. If all of that exceeds 24 hours, you'll need to pare down that list. You do that through determining your priorities. If you value relationships more than business, then you might have to take time away from the business area and allocate to relationships. Focus on big ticket items that will save you hours versus saving minutes here and there.

One of the most interesting concepts Saunders brings up is the idea of "layering". Similar to chunking and multi-tasking, layering is the idea of doing task that require different channels of mental functioning at the same time such as tidying up and then listening to an audio book.

Here is a key excerpt from Chapter 3: Create a Base Schedule:

"Strategic time allocation takes intention, practice and discipline, but the results can feel like a dream come true. In this chapter, we'll go step-by-step through how to create an ideal "base schedule." A base schedule includes all the essential elements in your typical week, such as sleep, recurring tasks, and exercise, but its purpose is threefold: First it helps you see how what's most important to you fits into your weekly schedule. Second, it allows you to clarify how much discretionary time you have to allocate to non-recurring meetings, activities, or projects. Third, it makes planning much easier because most of your schedule is set and you only need to do additional planning for day-to-day or weekly variations (both of which we'll cover in the next chapter."

What is the not so great about it?

Like with most books, the value is in taking what we read and putting in it into action. Otherwise it is just another idea or concept we understand. Saunders does a great job of providing actionable steps to managing your schedule and truly taking control of your time allocation. In fact, just reading it made me feel more at ease. After reading the book, you definitely feel as if you now have a legitimate plan of action to tackle all of your tasks.

On top of working a full time job, I run two side businesses, this blog and contribute to the community through a volunteer organization. Like you, my time is crunched and I'm constantly worrying about this thing or the other. I digress, but the point is all of this information is great, but unless you take the time to implement it, that all that it is - information.

One of the biggest gripes I have with books that say that they can help you manage time is that my argument is that rather than managing time, we are really managing our energy. There is enough time for most things we want to do in the day, but we might not have the energy to do so. When you come back from a nine to five job, you just want to relax. The last thing you want to do is work on more work even if it is a side business. How do we manage our energy?

What is your final recommendation?
Get this book. I said it before and I'll say it again. After I read this book, I felt like I could take hold of my time and allocate it appropriately. The author does a great job of guiding you through what is needed to create a base schedule and then helping you prioritize. Now, it may not be all handed to you on a silver platter and you may need to do some work yourself, but the guidance is there.

To all the workaholics, I'll leave you with another quote from the book.

"As I sat in the first session, I listened to individuals who had worked at their organizations for 10, 20, or even 30 plus years, explain their situation. I will never forget the dejected looks on their faces and the enormous, heavy sense of betrayal and regret. These individuals had sacrificed their health, their friendships, their families for the sake of their work. Then when they had no longer had a place on the org-chart, they were dropped.

What I took away from my experience and theirs was the importance of remembering who really loves you. Unless you work in a family business, the people you work with don't love you. Yes, they may care about you. But in the end, their primary interest is in getting a certain job done. They'll be sad to see you go if you move on, but soon another person will take your place."

Conclusion: How to Invest your Time like Money is a recommended read for those who seek to better invest their time like money. After all, your time is your life. Use it wisely. 
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