Your Questions About Paper Trading Futures

Sharon asks…

What are some examples of unfair trade practices or advertising that crosses the line?

I’m typing a paper for my college writing class and need at least 2 examples of unfair trade practices, this can be racial or sexist or anything that is morally wrong when it comes to advertising. anything you can give me would be much appreciated.

John answers:

Unfair and deceptive trade practices include any “trademark infringement”, such as selling “Rollex” watches that are designed and marked to look like the more expensive “Rolex” brand.

Another common advertising scheme is “bait and switch” where a merchant advertises product or service X, but it is somehow “unavailable” when customers request it, but the customer is offered goods or services Y at a higher price.

Use of the word “free” or “free sample” or “free offer” is also abused by many, where the “Free” aspect means you have to first sign up for a subscription you don’t want, or otherwise make promises of future payments for things you don’t want. Those obligations are NOT considered “free” and can be illegal if not properly limited by the “fine print” you often see in “disclaimers” (e.g., “void where prohibited, merchant reserves the right to cancel, customer agrees to terms a,b,c, and to return the sample if not satisfied”, etc).

One esoteric unfair trade practice is attempting to enforce something that a customer was unaware of or that violates local laws. For example, Massachusetts has laws requiring a certain amount of warranty on any “household products”, meaning that anyone purchasing such goods automatically has that warranty (i.e., that it is what it says and that it will actually work as advertised). Some merchants may try to bully a disappointed customer who is returning a defective product by saying things like, “you had to return it within 14 days”, or “you didn’t buy the extended warranty”, both of which are illegal, assuming the product is actually defective as delivered (i.e., it doesn’t work the way it says it will).

The racist angle is obvious, where someone advertises things like, “Darkie Toothpaste”, which I actually saw in Singapore, using actors in black-face and zoot-suits. The brand is owned by Colgate-Palmolive, which “changed” it to “Darlie” (which in Chinese still means “black person”).

Lizzie asks…

How much $ should i have to start investing safely, and Stocks or Bonds?

I am a university student. I want to start investing and i have researched about it recently. There are some companies i want to buy stocks from.

How much money should i have to invest without risking my future?

and as a first time investor should i choose Bonds or stocks?
BCNDQ, thanks ive never heard of Scalping, its interesting and ill look into it

John answers:

First of all, scalping (buying and selling short term) is a idiotic and dangerous idea for novices. Of the few who try it, probably only 20% of *experienced* investors consistently make money at it.

Save your money and buy bank CDs ($1000). If you have less than that, then you should leave it in a bank for emergencies (car repairs, hospital bills, etc.).

This is not a good time to buy stocks. Some people will tell you that if you try to time the market, you’ll miss the big up days where most of the profit is made. Of course, they forget that if you saty in cash, you miss the big down days as well.

Spend about a year “paper trading.” Start a spreadsheet and list the quatity and starting price of the stock you want, e.g. 5 shares of Exxon at $69.17 and 5 shares of JNJ at $50.66. Then follow these stock and keep track of the price to see how you would have done.

Donald asks…

What’s the best software to buy for trading stocks & shares?

Hey. I am learning to trade stocks and shares and would appreciate any advice on what software to use when trading? Also, can anyone tell me the difference between spreadbetting and futures? Any other tips or advice for a beginner trader is much appreciated!!

John answers:

Put some time and money into a few books instead of software or advice. All the software you need is provided by a decent broker. Also try your trades using a paper account before using real money.

Spreads are mostly on options and limit both risk and reward. There are also options on futures, or you can create spreads in futures by buying one month or strike while selling another. Futures move very fast and are not for beginners. You can lose hundreds literally in 2 minutes. Reading is a whole lot less expensive.

William asks…

How can stocks fall but net income rise?

An article in my local newspaper comments that “third quater earnings are up $21.8 billion” but the stock prices are totally volatile and falling with the rest of the market, how can this happen? I know about buying and selling stocks ( and the whole market is ‘wonky’ right now ) and futures/speculation but this doesn’t make sense.

John answers:

You have to remember that shares of stock have nothing “directly” to do with the company. After the initial public offering (IPO) pieces of paper are just traded between speculators. These investors buy and sell shares for many different reasons other than how well the company is doing financially. The way things are financially right now, it doesn’t seem to matter how well a company is doing, investors are pulling their money out.

John asks…

What can you tell me about the Holy Roman and Byzantine Empires?

Basically, I want to know what their goals were as empires and what crises or problems they faced.

I’m a college student writing a paper. I’m kind of desperate. Any and all information will be help.

John answers:

Byzantine Empire was a descendant of the Eastern Roman Empire and attempted to play a role that Rome had in the imperial period. However, it was regional power with limited influence and its cultural, political, and economic reach never achieved parity of the Roman Empire. After unsuccessful conquest under Justinian, which bankrupted the Eastern Roman Empire and speed up the transformation from late antiquity to feudal state, Byzantine Empire >>never<>protective<< role, Roman Church grew into supranational force much independent of the European royalty in medieval times. Since Holy Roman Empire was fragmented, there was not centralized seat, as many cities and imperial courts played various role which continued shifting. If it was not Aachen, it was some other German falz seat, or Prague, Vienna. Each court was rather different based on the local custom and the nature of the empire evolved. Also economy was more entrepreneurial, dominated by various market fair cities like Nuremberg, Vienna, Frankfurt. This stimulated economy and made empire wealthier in medieval times than was Byzantine Empire.
One major difference between Byzantine Empire and Holy Roman Empire was the aggressive nature of the second. Holy Roman Empire engaged in numerous wars in the name of Christianity, from attacking Baltic Slavs and nations, to Crusades, invasions of Poland, Hungary, France, Italy, and also launched wars against own subjects if they were not obedient.
Byzantine Empire was destroyed by foreigner invasions and after sacking its capital in 1204 by IV Crusade, it had never recovered. Holy Roman Empire was disunited, which caused many crisis within the electoral system. Once the religion element kicked in at Reformation, the power of the empire was decreasing, and Hapsburg who possessed the crown rather tear it apart than compromise. The 30Y war devastated Central Europe into such degree that it had never recovered to achieve parity with the Western Atlantic states like England. Hapsburg decided to build empire in the southeast of Vienna as they could not control the Protestant north, and empire was eliminated during Napoleonic war. But it was rather formal, as the power for the emperors was gone since 1648.

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