These 2 brothers just declared a mortgage price war

Sweden’s mortgage industry is today worth around 3 trillion krona ($370 bn), according to Statistics Sweden, and most of the interest on these loans end up in the pockets of big banks.

A new fintech venture called enkla.com has today launched a potentially game-changing service. The Swedish online lender offers consumers a 0.95% fixed mortgage rate for three years, which is considerably less than the 1,6% average for similar loans among Sweden’s major banks, according to Di Digital.

Enkla.com doesn’t issue any new mortgages, but only targets borrowers who are willing to transfer their existing loans onto its platform. Anyone with a Swedish bank-issued mortgage of up to 5 million krona ($610 k) and a maximum loan-to-value ratio of 85% is eligible for the service.

‘’Ten years ago, someone would fill out an application at home and post it the next day. Now it’s click, click, move,’’ said Alexander Widegren, CEO of enkla.com. ‘’We have digitized and streamlined the application process and made it easier than ever for customers to take control over their mortgages.’’

Enkla’s self-stated goal is to borrow 100 billion SEK ($12,2 billion) worth of mortgages in the next 18 months by issuing mortgage bonds on the international markets, Di Digital writes. If the target is met, Enkla.com would be looking at a 3 percent share of the Swedish mortgage market.

The service is an instant hit among Swedish homeowners, according to Alexander Widegren: “We are receiving one billion krona worth of applications per hour,” he says to tech publication Breakit.

The service enters a market where Sweden’s household debt has exploded from 66 percent to 87 percent of GDP in the past decade, driven by soaring housing prices. Consumers are evidently hungry for a cheaper deal than what banks can offer. Currently, Sweden’s four biggest banks – Swedbank, Nordea, Handelsbanken and SEB – have 75 percent of the country’s mortgage market, Breakit reports.

Enkla.com takes a 0,35% cut on the mortgages. The modest fee is enabled through an automated service that screens applicants hundreds of times faster than a bank clerk would, the company says. Seeing that the borrower will already have passed a credit assessment with a bank, the burden on Enkla’s due diligence is smaller.

Alexander Widegren, a software engineer, started the service together with his brother Marcus Widegren, an ex-Lehman trader and banking industry veteran. The two are hoping to grow their service by tapping into the 20,000 homeowners who currently use Lånbyte.se, a loan restructuring service they ran prior to founding Enkla.com.

Both Lånbyte and Enkla are part of Simplex, which was founded in 2012 by Alexander Widegren and counts Collector Ventures and NFT Partners – both fintech industry specialists – as investors.

Enkla.com’s launch comes as the Swedish mortgage market is getting disrupted by new online players that undercut bank rates. Two other companies – Stabelo, backed by online broker Avanza, and Hypoteket, owned by publishing house Schibsted – have recently launched their online lending platforms, which are financed by pension- and insurance giants instead of banks.

10 cities with the best credit scores in the US

When it comes to having good credit, some cities outshine others, according to financial website WalletHub, which compared the median credit scores of residents in 2,572 U.S. cities of all sizes to determine where residents have the best — and the worst — credit ratings.

An “excellent” credit score ranges from 750 to 850, according to the two major scoring systems FICO and VantageScore, which rate credit on a scale of 300 to 850. A score from 700 to 749 is considered “good”; a score from 650 to 700 is “fair”; and a score from 300 to 649 is “bad.”

The average U.S. adult has a “fair” score of 675, according to Experian’s 2017 State of Credit report. But WalletHub, which pulled data from TransUnion, found that residents of the following 10 cities enjoyed a median score in the 99th percentile:

The Villages, Florida
Median credit score: 807

Sun City Center, Florida
Median credit score: 789

Sun City West, Arizona
Median credit score: 787

Green Valley, Arizona
Median credit score: 781

Saratoga, California
Median credit score: 780

Los Altos, California
Median credit score: 779

Lexington, Massachusetts
Median credit score: 778

Estero, Florida
Median credit score: 778

Laguna Woods, California
Median credit score: 777

Pittsford, New York
Median credit score: 773

These are primarily smaller, affluent cities, but some big cities perform well, too, WalletHub reports, including San Francisco (98th percentile), Seattle (97th percentile), Honolulu (95th percentile), San Jose (94th percentile) and Boston (92nd percentile).

A credit score is an important measure of your financial health: It signifies your trustworthiness to financial institutions. The better your score, the more likely you are to get a good deal on a home or a car, or to be able to rent an apartment. So it’s important to take steps to improve your credit where you can. Here are four things to prioritize if you’re shooting for a better score.

Home prices jump in January

home mortgage

Home prices increased in January, moving even faster than the levels of increase seen at the end of 2017, according to the latest House Price Index from the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Home prices increased by 0.8% from December to January, the index showed. And December’s increase of 0.3% was upwardly revised to 0.4%.

The chart below showed January’s increase in home prices was the highest monthly increase since February 2017, when home prices also rose 0.8%. August came close with an monthly increase of 0.7%.

Home prices saw the most monthly increases on the coasts, both the East and West Coast.

Across the U.S., changes in home prices from December to January ranged from a decrease of 0.7% in the West South Central division to an increase of 1.2% in the New England and Pacific divisions.

Annually, all home price changes were positive, ranging from an increase of 5.1% in the West South Central division to an increase in the double digits of 10% in the Mountain division.

West South Central: Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana

New England: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut

Pacific: Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California

Mountain: Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico

Mortgage rates forecast for April 2018

Just months into the year, mortgage rates have already met 2018 predictions.

In late 2017, when thirty-year fixed rates were still in the high-3s, economists put rates in the mid-4s this year.

It didn’t take long.

Rates approached 4.4% by mid-February and shot past 4-year highs.

Fortunately, rates are still low by historical standards, and today’s rateshave not deterred home buyers. Home sales are up 1.1 percent from a year ago according to the National Association of Realtors.

Still, it’s no time to sit by and hope for a massive rate drop, the chances of which are slim to none. Rates available now are likely the best we’ll see in 2018, despite the recent push upward.

Freddie Mac: Mortgage rates at highest levels in more than 4 years

Mortgage rates just broke a barrier not surpassed in 220 weeks.

Since January 2014, rates had remained below 4.45%, that is, until the late stages of March, according to mortgage agency Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed rate average is up 67 basis points, or 0.67%, compared to lows reached in September.

What does that mean for the home buyer or refinancing homeowner? A lot.

Home buyers will pay over $100 more per month for a $350,000 home with 10% down

A homeowner looking to refinance may discover that the new loan may not yield any savings at all.

10 Forex trading tips

As a beginning forex trader, you can easily get lost, confused or overwhelmed with all the information you are bombarded with on the internet about trading. The best thing to do is to just take it slow, learn how to trade properly from an experienced professional and don’t rush it.

The following 10 forex trading tips are things that I wish someone had told me when I first began trading. So, with that in mind, I am giving you ten of the most important trading tips for a beginning (or any) trader to absorb before getting started in the market.

1. Choose Your Broker Wisely

Choosing the right broker is half the battle. Take your time to check reviews and recommendations. Make sure the broker you choose is trustworthy and suits your trading personality.

Remember, there are lots of fake brokers out there who will only stand in your way. Go for an authorised broker with a licence.

If you want a reliable and trustworthy broker, look no further than Admiral Markets!

trade forex and cfd

2. Create Your Own Strategy

No list of currency trading tips is complete if it doesn’t mention strategies. One of the most common mistakes beginner traders make is not creating an action plan.

Figure out what you want to get out of trading. Having a clear end goal in mind will help with your trading discipline.

3. Learn Step-by-Step

As with every new practical learning activity, trading requires you to start with the basics and move slowly until you understand the playing field. Start by investing small sums of money and keep in mind that slow but steady wins the race.

4. Take Control of Your Emotions

Don’t let your emotions carry you away.

It can be very difficult at times, especially after you’ve experienced a losing streak. But keeping a level head will help you stay rational so you can make competent choices.

Whenever you let your emotions get the better of you, you expose yourself to unnecessary risks.

5. Stress Less

This is one of the Forex tips that sounds really obvious – because it really is.

But guess what? Trading under stress generally leads to irrational decisions and in live trading that will cost you money.

Therefore, identify the source of your stress and try to eliminate it or at least limit its influence on you. Take a deep breath and focus on something else.

Every person has their own way of overcoming stress – some listen to classical music, while others exercise. Listen to your mental health and learn what works best for you.

6. Practice Makes Perfect

Of all the Forex tricks and tips for beginners, this is the most important. You will never succeed at anything on your first try. Only constant trading practice can yield consistently top results.

But you probably don’t want to lose money while learning the basics, right?

Luckily for you, trading on a demo account costs nothing to set-up and not a cent more to use, for as long as desired.

7. Learn one trading strategy, stick with it.

One of the biggest mistakes I see beginning traders make again and again, is changing trading methods too often. If you are using a logical, common sense trading method like my price action method, you need to really learn it and master it before you do anything else. If you jump from method to method because you think you’ll find some “Holy Grail” trading strategy, you are simply operating on false hope and being illogical, and you will lose money.

Also, don’t switch methods just because you had a few losing trades. Any method will have a certain amount of losers over a sample size of trades, this is normal and part of trading. You cannot let losing trades affect you too much; you really do need ice cold discipline to excel at trading.

8. Don’t get overwhelmed

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with information and trading strategies as a beginning trader, it happens to all of us in the beginning. The best way to limit this or avoid it altogether, is to find a mentor, someone to learn from, and piggy back off their success. I have laid out all my trading strategies for you to learn in my price action trading course and in my opinion, the best thing you can do is block everything else out, forget everything you’ve learned, and start over with my teachings from a clean slate and focus only on that until you really know what you’re doing.

9. Don’t freak out when a trade moves against you

This one is big, because most traders, especially beginners, freak out or over-react at the first sign of a trade moving against them. This is much more of a problem in live trading than demo trading, due to the differences in emotion between them, but it is a problem and it needs to be addressed.

A trade moving against you is NORMAL. I’ve had trades move to within 5 pips of my stop loss and go on to be HUGE winners after that. If I had freaked out and closed them out before they hit my stop loss, I would have not only lost money, but I would have lost a lot of profit too. This is the main reason why you need to let your trades play out and not close them out early ONLY because they’ve moved against you.

It’s really pretty simple: Set your stop loss in a logical / safe place (more on this later), manage your position size so that your dollar risk is at a level you’re OK with losing, and LET THE TRADE GO. Don’t micro-manage your trades, just let the market do the work and you go play a round of golf, go to the gym or go to sleep…then check on the trade the next day. Doing nothing with your live trade is usually the best (and most lucrative) move, meaning set and forget it.

10. Learn the basics first

Many beginning traders try jumping right into the market with no real background knowledge on the markets they are trading. To build a solid trading foundation, you need to take the time to learn about how the Forex market works (or any market you’re trading) and really get a solid understanding of all the jargon, etc. before you actually dive in and start learning a trading strategy.

5 Tips for Investing in Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies

Learn to buy and properly store major coins before trading.
If you listen to The Three Donkeys podcast, you hear Peter Jennings, Adam Levitan, and I tell stories about trading ridiculous cryptocurrencies like Titcoin, or the time I owned a huge percentage of Vegas’s strip club currency (not to brag).

And so my initial piece of advice here might surprise you: don’t get into crypto so you can buy up coins whose primary purpose is to make it easier to get a lap dance. “Now wait, I’m supposed to swipe this where?!”

This post isn’t meant to walk you through how to buy and store crypto or go into depth about the various exchanges and wallets because there’s a mountain of content out there already, but I’ll give you a few reputable sites/tools to help you out. There’s a lot of good stuff out there, so this is just a shortlist to get you started…

Coinbase

Simple to use
Beginner-friendly place to start buying BTC, ETH, BCH, or LTC
Kucoin.com

Ability to trade cryptocurrency
Beginner-friendly
Lots of bonuses and giveaways
Changelly

Must already own cryptocurrency to use
Allows trading of currency pairs you cannot trade elsewhere
Easy-to-use exchange that searches for best rates at other sites for you
Trezor

High-security hard wallet on which you can and should store coins you plan to hold
Safer than keeping coins on an exchange
There are a variety of other sites and exchanges out there, but there’s really no reason to be trading Einsteinium on an advanced exchange until you learn how to purchase currencies and store them on a hard wallet.

I’d start by learning how to purchase Bitcoin on CEX.IO or a comparable site and send anything you don’t plan to trade to a Trezor or another hard wallet (Ledger is another good one).

A couple tips: use a bank transfer to purchase crypto (lower fees than a credit card) and make sure you enable two-factor authentication on any site you use.

If you want to learn more about crypto basics, check out this collection of resources.

Don’t diversify for the sake of it.
This is going to be pretty unpopular advice. All over the internet, you’ll find people telling you to not put all of your eggs in one basket. This is true for pretty much every type of investment. It’s certainly true in sports speculation; DFS players are told to diversify their player exposure and sports bettors to hedge their bets.

I don’t believe this is smart. The only reason you should diversify is to be able to invest more money, overcoming a lower ROI with more volume to see greater long-term gains.

I’ll use DFS as an example since that’s my expertise. If you think Michael Thomas is the top wide receiver play this week, you should have as much money on Thomas as you’re willing to stomach. It’s high-variance to not diversify, which is why people avoid it—it feels shitty to have large swings—but it will lead to the greatest ROI over the long run (if you’re right).

So why not put Thomas in every lineup? Well, you’re always trying to balance the highest possible ROI—which zero diversification allows for—with the greatest overall profit and the lowest possible risk of ruin (going busto). If you were to seek the highest ROI and greatest profit, you’d not diversify at all and play 100% of your bankroll, which would of course be idiotic since your long-term risk of ruin would be 100%.

As it relates to crypto, I’m of the opinion that you should identify what you believe is the best value, then invest as much money as you’re willing to lose in that single asset. Then, knowing that adding another coin—diversifying—can slightly reduce your risk of ruin, put as much money as you can stomach into that (which should be a lower amount).

In this way, you’re diversifying solely to be able to invest more money, increasing your profit and reducing your risk of ruin.

Okay, now two caveats. The first is that the swings in crypto are bananas. If you haven’t woken up to 35% of your investment just—poof—gone, you haven’t lived my friend. And so with that greater volatility comes more of a reason to hedge.

The second caveat is that it’s more difficult to know what’s “optimal” in cryptocurrency than in other alternative investments. Although I might be off a bit here and there, I pretty much know the top values—or a small pool of players who could be considered the top values—in DFS. It’s somewhat obvious. That’s probably not true in crypto—certainly not to the same extent and especially not for someone like me who doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing.

If you believe in the overarching concept and believe the entire cryptocurrency market cap will rise, there’s an incentive to just stay in the game, meaning it’s probably wise to diversify more here than in more “solved” games like DFS.

Nonetheless, I think something like a 60/25/10/5 type of split is better than putting 5% of your cash into 20 different coins.

Market cap matters more than coin price.
A friend of mine saw that I had some early trading success—mostly just the result of a bull market for altcoins and a few lucky moves—and asked if he could give me some money to invest. I agreed, and so he’s become interested in the space and has his own suggestions of trades to make. In the beginning, those were often, “We should get XYZ because it’s under $1.”

This is the most common mistake I see made by those new to crypto. The price of coins is relevant only after accounting for the circulating supply. The number of coins multiplied by the price of those coins is the total market cap for the token, and that’s what really matters. When you buy any coin, what you should really be focused on isn’t the price of the coin, but what percentage of that total market cap you’re purchasing.

As an example of the difference, take a look at the top six coins in terms of market cap (specifically Ripple), via CoinMarketCap.com:

At the time of writing this, Ripple costs 23 cents—nearly 300 times less than Litecoin and 1,800 times less than Dash. Nonetheless, because of the way in which Ripple operates, there’s a much larger circulating supply, and thus the market cap of Ripple is over twice as large as Litecoin and Dash.

On the flip side, I can’t tell you how many people I know have said, “I’m not buying Bitcoin right now. If I invest $5,000, I can’t even get a whole token.”

But who cares? If the market cap of Bitcoin increases by 20%, someone investing $5,000 will have made $1,000 in the same way that they’d make $1,000 if Ripple increases 20%. Yes, it could be easier for certain coins to see massive swings in value, but that would be due to their market cap and not the coin price. It’s more difficult for Ripple (nearly $9b market cap) to go from 23 cents to 46 cents than for a coin with a $100 million market cap to double in price (regardless of the cost of one token).

The point is that the price is effectively arbitrary based on the circulating supply of tokens. If there were theoretically just one circulating Bitcoin that cost $130b+, it wouldn’t change the merits of your $5,000 investment in it.

Don’t get hung up on the absolute price.

Don’t take profits unless there’s a change in circumstances.
I got a hotel in NYC a couple weeks ago and planned to go up for the day. When that day came, I just didn’t feel like going anymore, so I didn’t. The fact I paid for the hotel meant nothing—it was a sunk cost and that money was gone—and so the only relevant factor was really whether or not I felt like going to NYC that day.

Don’t let past decisions affect future ones if they have no bearing on your happiness (or, in investing, your expected value). With any investment, it’s irrelevant whether or not you’re up or down or you’ve removed your initial investment or you’ve run it up 10x or whatever. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been talking with my mom about crypto and she has said, “You should take out some of the money you’ve made.”

There are really only a couple reasons you should be taking profits, all of which are the result of something changing. One would be that your net worth has shifted and you’re over-exposed to crypto. As an example, let’s say you bought Bitcoin at $1k with $50k in the bank, and you think it’s smart to have 20% of your money in BTC (so you bought $10k of it). If the price of BTC is now $8k and you didn’t sell, your BTC would be worth $80k. Assuming your net worth otherwise didn’t grow, you’d have $80k in BTC and $40k in cash. Even if holding is +EV, it might be too much risk for you to stomach, in which case you’d be justified in taking money out.

Of course, if you think the future of crypto has changed for the worse—or that your money could be better invested elsewhere—then you’d also be justified in changing your allocation.

Finally, although it’s admittedly irrational, I think you could make an argument for removing your initial investment solely for peace of mind. If you invested $1k in crypto and have run it up to $10k, removing the initial $1k isn’t the worst idea if you think it will help you psychologically. A lot of people think and act differently when they’re on a freeroll; just look at how people act in casinos when they’re “playing with house money.” If it is comforting to you think “the worst that can happen is I’m back to even,” then removing a small portion of your crypto funds so you’re on a freeroll is probably fine. It’s not mathematically the right decision, but you can potentially make up for the loss in EV from just having peace of mind that you’ll never be down from your investment.

Dow Jones plunges 724 points

Wall Street has plunged over fears of a US-China trade war, after the Trump administration moved to impose tariffs on up to $US60 billion ($77 billion) worth of Chinese imports.

Markets at 7:05am (AEDT):

ASX SPI 200 futures -1.5pc, ASX 200 (Thursday’s close) -0.2pc at 5,937
AUD: 77.06 US cents, 54.6 British pence, 62.6 Euro cents, 81.2 Japanese yen, $NZ1.07
US: Dow Jones -2.9pc at 23,958, S&P 500 -2.5pc at 2,644, Nasdaq -2.4pc at 7,167
Europe: FTSE -1.2pc at 6,943, DAX -1.7pc at 12,100, Euro Stoxx 50 -1.7pc at 3,342
Commodities: Brent crude -0.8pc at $US68.90/barrel, spot gold -0.2pc at $US1,328.81/ounce
Mr Trump signed a presidential memorandum that will target the Chinese imports but only after a consultation period.

China will have space to respond, reducing the risk of immediate retaliation from Beijing.

Mr Trump said the move was intended to punish China for alleged intellectual property theft.

Worst day in six weeks

The Dow Jones index has tumbled by 724 points, or 2.9 per cent, to 23,960.

This was its biggest fall since the February 8 sell-off, during which it shed 1,175 points.

As for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, they also fell by a hefty 2.5 and 2.4 per cent respectively.

European stock markets also suffered massive losses in reaction to the tariff announcement — with steep falls for London (-1.2pc), Frankfurt (-1.7pc) and Paris (-1.4pc).

Industrial stocks were among the weakest performers, with Boeing and Caterpillar sliding by 5.2 and 5.7 per cent respectively.

Technology stocks also fared poorly, with Facebook shares dropping by another 2.7 per cent overnight.

The S&P technology sector was dragged down as well over fears there might be tighter regulation on how these companies use people’s data.

“There’s too much negative sentiment right now,” John Carey, portfolio manager at Amundi Pioneer Asset Management in Boston, said.

“I don’t see anything on the horizon that will reassure people that things are just great.”

Australian market to sink

Following the negative lead from global markets, the Australian share market is likely to fall sharply at the open.

In currencies, the Australian dollar has fallen sharply to 77.06 US cents, 54.6 British pence, 62.6 Euro cents, and 81.2 Japanese yen.

As for how the ASX would fare if a trade war erupted, CMC Markets’ Michael McCarthy told the ABC: “Australia’s resource-heavy share market is likely to suffer more than most other share markets.”

“Industrials and commodities are likely to slump if this continues, so the materials and energy sectors will be hit hard.”

How Fed rate hike will affect your finances

Credit cards

Most credit cards have a variable rate, which means there’s a direct connection to the Fed’s benchmark rate and card holders will feel an immediate pinch.

“Variable rate debt is where you are most susceptible as interest rates rise,” McBride said.

The average American has a credit card balance of $6,375, up nearly 3 percent from last year, according to Experian’s annual study on the state of credit and debt in America. Total credit card debt has reached its highest point ever, surpassing $1 trillion in 2017, according to a separate report by the Federal Reserve.

Tacking on a 25-basis-point increase will cost credit card users roughly $1.6 billion in extra finance charges in 2018, according to a WalletHub analysis. Factoring in the five previous rate hikes, credit card users will pay about $8.4 billion more in 2018 than they would have otherwise, WalletHub said.

However, for those with good credit, there are still opportunities to find a better rate or snag a zero-interest balance transfer offer to insulate yourself for a time from further rate hikes and “give yourself a tail wind toward debt repayment,” McBride said.

Mortgages

The economy, the Fed and inflation all have some influence over long-term fixed mortgage rates, which generally are pegged to yields on U.S. Treasury notes, so there’s already been a spike since the start of the year.

The average 30-year fixed-rate is now about 4.54 percent — up from 4.15 percent on Jan. 1 and significantly higher than the record low of 3.5 percent in December 2012.

With interest rates rising, adjustable-rate mortgages will certainly be heading higher, too, and those with some types of ARM loans “are sitting ducks for getting another increase,” McBride said.

Many homeowners with adjustable-rate home equity lines of credit, which are pegged to the prime rate, also will be affected. But unlike an adjustable-rate mortgage, these loans reset immediately rather than once a year.

For example, a rate increase of 25 basis points would cause borrowers with a $50,000 home equity line of credit to see a $10 to $11 increase in their next monthly payment, according to Mike Kinane, senior vice president of consumer lending at TD Bank.

Stocks and the dollar fall after Fed rate move

“President Trump’s trade barriers are causing concerns for the Fed, where policymakers believe [such measures] will put a break on growth and the market seems to agree,” says Paul Flood, portfolio manager of the Newton Multi-Asset Income Fund.

Hot topic

The dollar is slipping, stock markets are under pressure and there is sustained demand for US government debt after the Federal Reserve stuck by forecasts that it will lift interest rates by a total of three times in 2018.

Meanwhile, worries about the impact of a potential trade war on global growth is deepening a sense of unease, knocking stocks and adding to the appeal of safer assets.

As expected, the US central bank lifted the target range for the federal funds rate by a quarter point to 1.75 per cent. Policymakers’ projections pointed to an extra rate increase in 2019 and further tightening in 2020, and said inflation would accelerate. Nonetheless, talk that they would signal a total of four rises for this year proved wrong.

That left the dollar looking exposed, and the index tracking it fell to a 10-session low on Thursday to 89.524, taking it down 1 per cent over the last two sessions and leaving its fall over the week at 0.8 per cent.

The yield on the 10-year US Treasury is falling as investors buy into the debt. It is down 4.6 basis points at 2.861 per cent. That on 2-year Treasuries is down 1.7bp at 2.299 per cent.

Equities

European stocks are falling, with selling gathering pace after mixed showing in Asia.

Frankfurt’s Xetra Dax 30 is down 1 per cent, with London’s FTSE 100 0.6 per cent weaker. The Europe-wide Stoxx 600 is down 0.8 per cent.

Japan’s Topix swung between gains and losses to rise 0.7 per cent overall.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 1.1 per cent. The CSI 300 index of Shenzhen and Shanghai stocks fell 1.1 per cent as the latest threats of trade curbs from the Trump administration were said to be designed to stop China from stealing the intellectual property of American business, and after the Chinese central bank raised short-term rates.

US stocks are expected to fall further after weakening over a choppy session on Wednesday. Futures trade is pointing to losses of 0.7 per cent for the S&P 500 after a 0.2 per cent slip.

Forex

The pound is up 0.2 per cent at $1.4170 ahead of a rate call from the Bank of England, at which it is expected to leave interest rates on hold, with analysts thinking the next increase will come in May.

The euro is up 0.4 per cent at $1.2384, while the yen is 0.3 per cent stronger at 105.68.

Despite cryptocurrency mania, just 8 percent of Americans are invested in them

Cryptocurrencies are in the headlines every day and some say are powerful enough to take down the stock market as well as threaten the role of century-old banks and governments.

Turns out, demand for the digital coins is still pretty low though.

Less than 8 percent of Americans own cryptocurrencies, according to a new study by personal finance website Finder.com.

The site surveyed 2,000 adults in the United States in February.

The results show the hype around cryptocurrencies is not yet mirrored by reality, said Aswath Damodaran, who teaches finance and valuation at the New York University Stern School of Business.

“Bitcoin has taken over the public imagination,” Damodaran said. “But it’s a very small phenomenon.”

He pointed out that the market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies (below $400 billion) is less than half the market cap of one company: Apple, which has a market capitalization of more than $900 billion.

The most popular cryptocurrency is bitcoin, with an estimated 5 percent of Americans owning some.

The share of Americans who own several other well-known digital coins underscores how far these currencies have to go: Less than 2 percent of Americans own Ethereum and less than 1 percent own Ripple, the survey found.

More than 40 percent of Americans who hadn’t purchased cryptocurrencies said their reason was disinterest or believing there is no need to do so. Another 35 percent said the risk is too high, according to the survey

To that point, 27 percent of people said it’s too difficult to understand and another 18 percent said they believe it’s a scam.

“We’re spending so much time on [cryptocurrencies] as if half of Americans have their wealth in bitcoin,” Damodaran said

10 Tips for Successful Long-Term Investing

There are essentially two strategies for boosting savings and investments: Increase your income and cut your spending.

Whether you’re a young adult ready to start saving for retirement, a 50-something ready to pay off your mortgage or a senior citizen living on a fixed income, these tips can help you build savings, reduce debt, boost income and invest smartly.

1. Review your needs and goals

It’s well worth taking the time to think about what you really want from your investments.

Knowing yourself, your needs and goals and Your appetite for risk is a good start, so start by filling in a Money fact find.

2. Consider how long you can invest

Think about how soon you need to get your money back.

Time frames vary for different goals and will affect the type of risks you can take on. For example:

  • If you’re saving for a house deposit and hoping to buy in a couple of years, investments such as shares or funds will not be suitable because their value goes up or down. Stick to cash savings accounts like Cash ISAs.
  • If you’re saving for your pension in 25 years’ time, you can ignore short-term falls in the value of your investments and focus on the long term. Over the long term, investments other than cash savings accounts tend to give you a better chance of beating inflation and reaching your pension goal.

3. Make an investment plan

Protect yourself

Once you’re clear on your needs and goals – and have assessed how much risk you can take – draw up an investment plan.

This will help you identify the types of product that could be suitable for you.

A good rule of thumb is to start with low risk investments such as Cash ISAs.

Then, add medium-risk investments like unit trusts if you’re happy to accept higher volatility.

Only consider higher risk investments once you’ve built up low and medium-risk investments.

Even then, only do so if you are willing to accept the risk of losing the money you put into them.

4. Diversify!

It’s a basic rule of investing that to improve your chance of a better return you have to accept more risk.

But you can manage and improve the balance between risk and return by spreading your money across different investment types and sectors whose prices don’t necessarily move in the same direction – this is called diversifying.

It can help you smooth out the returns while still achieving growth, and reduce the overall risk in your portfolio.

5. Decide how hands-on to be

Investing can take up as much or as little of your time as you’d like:

  • If you want to be hands-on and enjoy making investment decisions, you might want to consider buying individual shares – but make sure you understand the risks.
  • If you don’t have the time or inclination to be hands-on – or if you only have a small amount of money to invest – then a popular choice is investment funds, such as unit trusts and Open Ended Investment Companies (OEICs). With these, your money is pooled with that of lots of other investors and used to buy a wide spread of investments.
  • If you’re unsure about the types of investment you need, or which investment funds to choose, get financial advice.
Read our independent guide on Popular investments at a glance

6. Check the charges

If you buy investments, like individual shares, direct, you will need to use a stockbroking service and pay dealing charges.

If you decide on investment funds, there are charges, for example to pay the fund manager.

And, if you get financial advice, you will pay the adviser for this.

Whether you’re looking at stockbrokers, investment funds or advisers, the charges vary from one firm to another.

Ask any firm to explain all their charges so you know what you will pay, before committing your money.

While higher charges can sometimes mean better quality, always ask yourself if what you’re being charged is reasonable and if you can get similar quality and pay less elsewhere.

7. Investments to avoid

Avoid high-risk products unless you fully understand their specific risks and are happy to take them on.

Only consider higher risk products once you’ve built up money in low and medium-risk investments.

And some investments are Usually best avoided altogether.

8. Review periodically – but don’t ‘stock-watch’

Regular reviews – say, once a year – will ensure that you keep track of how your investments are performing and adjust your savings as necessary to reach your goal.

You will get regular statements to help you do this. Find out more below.

However, don’t be tempted to act every time prices move in an unexpected direction.

Markets rise and fall all the time and, if you’re a long-term investor, you can just ride out these fluctuations.

9. Be Open-Minded

Many great companies are household names, but many good investments are not household names. Thousands of smaller companies have the potential to turn into the large blue chips of tomorrow. In fact, historically, small-caps have had greater returns than large-caps. From 1926 to 2001, small-cap stocks in the U.S. returned an average of 12.27% while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500) returned 10.53%.

This is not to suggest that you should devote your entire portfolio to small-cap stocks. Rather, understand that there are many great companies beyond those in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), and that by neglecting all these lesser-known companies, you could also be neglecting some of the biggest gains.

10. Be Concerned About Taxes, but Don’t Worry

Putting taxes above all else is a dangerous strategy, as it can often cause investors to make poor, misguided decisions. Yes, tax implications are important, but they are a secondary concern. The primary goals in investing are to grow and secure your money. You should always attempt to minimize the amount of tax you pay and maximize your after-tax return, but the situations are rare where you’ll want to put tax considerations above all else when making an investment decision