Stock market

Why Does the Stock Market Keep Going Up?

Many people were taken by surprise when the stock market reached new highs after the 2016 election, with the Dow Jones industrial average (DJIA) breaking 20,000. But the recent record highs are only the latest in a long trend of stock market growth extending back well over 100 years.

The average rate of return for the DJIA since 1896 is about 7 percent when adjusted for inflation. Looking at a broader representation of the overall stock market, the average rate of return for the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 index since it’s inception in 1928 is about 10 percent per year.

Of course, if you pay attention to the stock market, you know that stocks do not move steadily up all the time. Sometimes there are sudden market declines, such as the crash of 1929 that led to the Great Depression, or the 2008 collapse that led to the Great Recession. Sometimes there are long periods of market stagnation when stock prices do not go up much at all, such as during the 1970s. But over time, the long-term trend has been that stock values keep on pushing up, even after setbacks, and routinely go on to break record highs.

What makes stock values keep going higher and higher?

Investors think stocks will go up

Investors who decide to put money into the stock market select individual stocks and stock funds based on the financial performance of the businesses in the portfolio. Ultimately, investors weigh the potential for a stock to go up versus the risk that it will go down during their investment window.

Sometimes “irrational exuberance” seems to play a big role in driving stock prices. In a hot housing market, investors will pay essentially any price to buy a property if they are confident the price will go up, even if the price is not rational. Investors sometimes buy stock for the same reason — simply because they think someone else will pay more for it when they want to sell and they don’t want to miss an opportunity to make a big gain. In some extreme…

Are We Headed Toward a Bull or Bear Market?

The stock market has been on a roll over the last year. Since the winter of 2016, investors have enjoyed a delightful bull market that has seen the S&P 500 index rise by more than 25 percent.

Whenever there is a lengthy run-up like this, investors always want to know how long it can last. Are we due for a big correction or even a record-breaking crash? Or will we see the markets continue to rise?

Trying to time the market’s movement is a fool’s game, but it’s always smart to look at the various indicators that may foreshadow future performance. With the current market, there is evidence to back up both bullish and bearish predictions.

Indicators of a bull market

The good times won’t end anytime soon.

Most economic indicators are strong

For the most part, the American economy is stable. Unemployment is at its lowest point in a decade. Inflation is not out of hand. Manufacturing output is up, along with consumer confidence. There are some concerns about overall growth and productivity, but nothing that spells immediate doom for American investors at this point. Generally speaking, if the underlying foundations of the economy are sound, a sudden drop in stock prices is unlikely.

Interest rates are still historically low

We’ve seen interest rates creep up a bit, but they are still very low by historical standards. If you’re placing money in a bank account, don’t expect to receive much in the way of income. Bond yields are also very low. Thus, there’s a good chance we’ll see people continue to invest in stocks, as they have recently offered much better returns than most other options. As long as interest rates remain low, demand for stocks will be high.

Technical analysis supports it

Many analysts and financial planners prefer to examine a technical analysis of the stock market’s performance, which looks at long-term trends that have historically repeated themselves. Most observers of these trends believe we are halfway through a growth cycle that began around 2010 and will continue another five to 10 years.

Corporate earnings are…

Passive Income Streams: What They Are and Where to Find Them

Passive income is money received on a regular basis that requires little effort to maintain. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

passive income

Generating passive income is a great financial goal because it’s a smart way to build wealth. One thing to realize is that creating passive income requires an upfront investment — whether it’s money or time. You’ll need to be committed in order to be successful at creating a passive income stream. Here are three passive ideas and how they work:

Idea #1: Investing

Investing is a tried and true way to make passive income. Of all the passive income ideas, investing is probably one of the most passive. The most significant investment you’ll make is your money upfront. There isn’t much upkeep after that.

Whether you’re starting out with $1, 000 or $100, 000, you can make money in the stock market. The important thing to know is that investing doesn’t come without its risks. The value of your stock portfolio will continue to fluctuate as long as you own it. If you’re in it for the long haul, however, you can ride out those fluctuations and see profits over time.

There are many methods for investing your money in the stock market. One way is to invest in dividend-paying stocks. A dividend is a payout some companies provide to shareholders on a regular basis. Dividend yields vary from company to company, so keep that in mind.

It’s important to not merely go after stocks with the highest dividend yield. Instead, focus on companies that have a proven track record of increasing dividend payouts over the years. You can either receive your dividend payouts as cash or choose to reinvest them in the same stock. The latter is known as DRIP, a dividend reinvestment plan.

One way to invest your money that doesn’t involve the stock market is peer-to-peer lending. Peer-to-peer lending involves funding personal loans to borrowers through an intermediary like Prosper or LendingClub. As a lender, you make money through interest payments on the personal loans.

Although peer-to-peer lending doesn’t have the risk of stock market fluctuation, your money isn’t completely secure. Borrowers have the ability to default on loans. To mitigate this risk, you can diversify your portfolio with multiple personal loans. You can also review personal loan requests and decide which ones you’d like to fund. For example, you can review criteria such as credit worthiness and the reason for the loan.

Idea #2: Rental…