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Individual Stock Basics

When you own an individual stock, you own a piece of one company. It's up to you to decide which companies you want to invest in, and you're the one who determines when's the right time to buy, sell or hold. If you have a keen investment sense, and do your homework, you might be a successful stock picker. Some stock investors get a rush from picking a good stock, the way a gambler does when he hits a jackpot. If this describes you, then you probably want to pick at least a few individual stocks, and see how it goes.

ETF Basics

ETFs are investments comprised of a basket of stocks that trade like regular shares. The original ETFs mirrored one of the stock exchanges, like the NASDAQ or the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Nowadays there are ETFs that invest in a wide variety of market sectors, in addition to those that are linked to an exchange. They're similar to mutual funds, in that their shareholders have a fractional ownership in a set of stocks. Mutual funds, however, are valued just once a day, at the market close. ETFs actively trade throughout the day, and can be bought on margin or sold short, just like individual stocks. There are also ETFs that invest in bonds and commodities.

Pros and Cons of Individual Stocks

Since individual stocks are self-managed, you incur no management fees, but they are subject to brokerage fees when you buy or sell. It's possible to lower fees by purchasing stock directly from the company, in cases where direct investment plans are available. Even direct investment plans charge for transactions. An individual stock winner can yield great rewards, but it's difficult for small, individual investors to have a diversified investment portfolio made up solely of individual stocks. Your fortunes ride on a small number of companies, and if they fail, so do you. To be a successful individual stock investor, you need to keep well informed and monitor your choices closely. However, you may find that you don't want to spend that kind of time managing your money.

Pros and Cons of ETFs

ETFs charge commissions and brokerage fees, but generally they have low management costs and expense ratios. Many funds have low turnover, and are structured in a way that makes them tax-efficient. They're popular with investors looking to minimize their exposure to capital gains distributions. Like individual stocks, you pay capital gains when you sell your shares. This fact makes ETFs appropriate for investors who like the concept of mutual funds, but who want to avoid the taxes associated with distributions that mutual funds have each year. Like mutual funds, ETFs offer diversification because they invest in a large number of different companies. Even if a few companies fail, there are probably others in the portfolio that perform better, and can ease the pain.

 

ETF英语Exchange Traded Funds),是一種在證券交易所交易,提供投資人參與指數表現的指數基金,中文一般翻譯為指數股票型基金(臺灣)、交易所交易基金(中國大陸)、交易所買賣基金(香港)。ETF將指數證券化,投資人不以傳統方式直接進行一籃子股票之投資,而是透過持有表彰指數標的股票權益的受益憑證來間接投資。ETF基金以持有與指數相同之股票為主,分割成眾多單價較低之投資單位,發行受益憑證[1]。ETF商品將指數的價值由傳統的證券市場漲跌指標,轉變成具有流動性的資本證券,指數成分股票的管理由專業機構來進行,指數變動的損益直接反映在憑證價值的漲跌中。因此,只會因為連動指數成分股內容及權重改變而調整投資組合之內容或比重以符合「被動式管理」之目的[2]

投資者可以通過兩種方式購買ETF:可以在證券市場收盤之後,按照當天的基金净值向基金發行商購買(同開放式共同基金);也可以在證券市場上直接從其他投資者那裡購買(同封閉式共同基金),購買的價格由買賣雙方共同决定。透過實物申購與買回機制,ETF市價可以貼近淨值。

ETF同时具備開放式基金的能够申購和贖回的特性和封閉式基金的交易特性,被認為是过去十幾年中最偉大的金融創新之一。到目前為止,幾乎所有指數都有ETF基金。最早的ETF是1993年發行的標準普爾500指数ETF,此後,針對道瓊那斯達克羅素威爾夏等指數的ETF紛紛問世。近年來又誕生了針對特定行業、國家、地區及原物料的特殊ETF。

絕大多數ETF的指數成分是股票,但基於固定收益證券、債券、商品和貨幣的ETF也在發展中。對於投資者來說,ETF的交易費用和管理費用都很低廉,持股組合比較穩定,風險往往比較分散,而且流動性很高,單筆投資便可獲得多元化投資效果,節省大量之時間及金錢。

ETF的收益來源為:指數成分股的現金股利率、開放借券的獲利金額、指數成分股及權重調整時,在被動式基金交易中的買賣價差金額、指數成分債券之利息

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