Whether you are investing in shares or Forex your main gains will be capital appreciation: The investor in this category is not interested in dividends but in seeing the market price of his stock increase or one currency improving against another.
There are three advantages to this kind of operation. First, if your judgment has been good, you make more money faster than by relying on dividends. For example, the man who buys 100 shares at $30 and sells even at a 10-point profit has $1,000 (less commissions) to show for his year's work. This represents nearly seven years' worth of dividends from the $30 stock yielding a conventional 5 per cent.
Secondly, if you hold your investment for more than six months, your profit is considered a long-term capital gain, taxable at a maximum 25 per cent rate for many people, a saving over straight-income rates.
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Finally, if your stock doesn't go up as anticipated, there is always the chance that it will at least be a decent income-producer.
This is something of a rationalization, of course. There is no use pretending to be in the capital-appreciation business if a little mess of dividends is all you have to show for your efforts. The more consistent course is to drop the non-producing stock (losses, if any, are tax deductible) and shop around for a winner. This, to be sure, takes guts. There's nothing like a couple of growth stocks that don't grow to take the steam out of a capital-appreciation man
On the other hand, the gloriously rising market since World War II has simplified the task of discovering and getting aboard a company with promising prospects. And, as noted, an investor could wait five years for his 10-point gain and still be ahead of the plugger piling up dividends.
Capital appreciation, it should be noted, is an omnibus term covering any change or advance in a company's position which might be reflected in the market price. It may mean the emergence of a new company in a new industry, the coming of age of a speculative youngster of a decade or two ago, or even new evidence of vitality in an
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Recently for instance, the stock of Ampex, Inc., a bright little California company manufacturing top notch equipment for the booming tape-recorder industry, has more than doubled in value.
Dozens of small companies dealing in electronics, precision equipment, and other fruits of current scientific research (Tracerlab, National Research, Beckman Instruments, etc.) are similarly attracting attention and consequent jumps in price.
Somewhat more established and riding crests of speculative interest are such stocks as General Dynamics, builder of atomic submarines and Convair airplanes; Owens-Corning Fiberglas, manufacturer of insulation, filters and textiles, and glass fiber boats, and Bendix Aviation, no infant, but investing heavily in diversification and new-product development. Dow and Minnesota Mining might also be grouped here, although possibly by now they should be included among the older companies Corning Glass, Goodrich, Union Carbide, Westinghouse, National Lead, Minneapolis Honeywell, Eastman Kodak—whose youthful spirit and astonishing technological resources have kept them in the forefront of American industry for years.
All of these examples would qualify as growth stocks, as the kind of investment that would tempt the investor seeking capital appreciation.
But appreciation can also follow from subtle and complicated changes in a company's structure. In these cases, appreciation may have nothing to do with a new product or even with the company's prospects within its industry. Rather it is the anticipated result of a merger, a spin-off (distribution of assets), a reorganization, or any one of a number of procedures available to the complex institution known as a corporation.
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Talk of a merger between Bethlehem Steel and Youngstown Sheet & Tube made both stocks interesting possibilities. U.S. Foil "B" (American Stock Exchange), representing about 48 per cent control of Reynolds Aluminum; duPont, which is having to divest itself of 63 million shares of General Motors stock; Northern Pacific Railway, which has important oil interests in the booming Williston Basin of North Dakota; El Paso Natural Gas, which has formed a subsidiary, Rare Metals Corp., for uranium exploration and processing; and many others are examples of stocks with potential capital-gains features.
It is not possible to say exactly how or if the gains will be realized. Mergers require an adjustment of the stock prices of the participants which may benefit one or the other; or public interest in the prospects of the combined company may cause the stock to spurt.
An as yet undeveloped asset, such as Northern Pacific's oil, or Inland Steel's Steep Rock iron interest in Ontario, might mean an eventual bonanza which would be reflected in stock prices or a capital distribution of cash or stock. Several years back, Andes Copper, an Anaconda subsidiary operating in Chile, made a capital distribution of $6 per share at a time when the stock's market price was hovering between $12 and $15.
Most gains on Forex are capital gains, where the currency trader is hoping for an increase in the value of one currency against another. Profits can be spectacular, but it is worth
having good Forex software to prevent large losses.