Monday, November 22, 2010

Trade Triangle: Frontier Communications (FTR)

A few months ago, I wrote a post about how Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) shareholders received shares in Frontier Communications (NYSE: FTR) as the result of a spinoff from Verizon. My post described how to calculate the cost basis of an investment after a spin-off for tax purposes. Having been "given" this stock from Verizon, I wanted to do an analysis of whether I should continue to hold onto the FTR stock that I now have. I use a website called (pronounced "I know") to do this analysis.

A portion of that website called MarketClub uses something called Trade Triangle analysis, which is a technical analysis tool. I used it to analyze the recent price movements of Frontier Communications (NYSE: FTR). The results of the trade triangle analysis are shown below.

This analysis shows that Frontier is now in a strong uptrend, and that this is an ideal time to buy or hold the stock. MarketClub's Smart Scan analysis calls this situation a "Trade Triangle" with a +100 being the highest possible score. This kind of technical analysis is great for trend traders who like the "red-light, green-light" simplicity of investing. So, based on this information I concluded that I should hold onto my shares of FTR for the time being. It is a fact that Frontier Communications has been in a general uptrend since I received the spinoff shares from Verizon (VZ).

Note that Trade Triangles are strictly a technical analysis tool. I don't use the MarketClub analysis to tell me what to buy. I rely more on fundamental characteristics like Earnings Per Share (EPS) and PE ratios to decide on which stock to buy. But, I use MarketClub to tell me when to buy.

Another comment that I have is that MarketClub does not require you to download and install any software. This is good because you can access your subscription from pretty much any computer. The downside is that your access speed will be limited by your Internet connection. In other words, MarketClub is not the fastest analysis tool that I've ever seen. But, it is pretty good considering that the software runs on their servers and not your computer.

You can subscribe to MarketClub for $150 per quarter or $449 for a year. You will have complete access to many of the investment tools available on There is a 30-day risk-free trial period in which you can try them out. They will ask for a credit card when you sign up, but you have the right to cancel within the first 30 days and get all of your money back. So, what do you have to lose?

Another free tool that I utilize to help me keep on top of my portfolio is called Trend Analysis. Trend Analysis is a daily email analysis tool that gives me insight into exactly what my portfolio is doing. For investors who are following many stock symbols, MarketClub sends a daily Email for every symbol in your portfolio.

The links above takes you to a screen where you can get your first stock (future or option) symbol analyzed at no cost to you. After you sign up, you can easily add more symbols to get a daily update, which I find very helpful.


Disclaimer: This material is for general information only. It is not intended as an offer to sell or buy, or as an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any security or fund.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Guest Post: Asking For A Lower APR Is Worth The Risk, If You Have Decent Credit

As nearly all credit card holders have found out, credit card interest rates have been spiraling upwards over the past few years.

A lower interest rate on a credit card has the potential to save hundreds of dollars a year, depending on the current credit card balance.

With a credit card balance of $10,000, charged 25 percent annually, for example, that balance will cost north of $2,800 in interest annually, due to monthly compounding. If you could get the interest rate lowered from 25 percent to 15 percent, annual savings would be around $1,200.

Is there a risk to asking for a lower rate?
When you call the card company to request lower rates, the call may trigger an account review. If you are getting a better rate than you should, this could end up blowing up in your face. This is why it’s important to understand how your rates compare to national averages.

Who should ask for a lower rate?
If your credit history is in decent shape, and if you are paying over the national average, it is certainly worth a shot.

In 2008, the average percentage rate (APR) was roughly 11.4 percent compared to 14.9 percent this year, according to Today almost 75 percent of all households have a credit card, with close to half, (46.2 percent), carrying a credit balance. If you have good credit and your APR is higher than about 12-13%, your chances are great.

Also, if you are nearing the end of a 0% introductory APR window, we’d note that many of our users have had success extending their 0% introductory period simply by calling and asking.

Step 1: Do your homework
The first step to reducing your credit card rates is to understand how your history and debt look to a creditor, as well as how they perceive competitors’ rates. Write down your current rate, your competitor rate, and how many years you have been with the company. If you have stellar payment history, remember to note that as well.

Also, don’t forget to consider promotional periods as an alternative too. There are now plenty of cards with 0 percent balance transfer offers of up to 21 months. That works out to an effective interest rate of less than about 3% over the first 2 years, even including the balance transfer fee.

Step 2: Point out your great history, point out lower competitive rates, and make threats to leave

The second step is to call the company and tell them you want a lower rate. This step could be done quite easily as it just takes getting the right information in your hands and the right person on the telephone. The key to lowering your rate is to plead your case and your alternatives.

Be persistent and to remember that the credit card business is fiercely competitive. Use an online low apr credit card or balance transfer credit card search tool for a list of hundreds of competitive rates, and use this information as fodder for negotiation.

While your issuer may not match the competitor's rate, it may still agree to significantly lower your rate. Even so, negotiating a lower rate with a credit card company may not prove easy for everyone.

If customer service does not agree to lower your APR, threaten to cancel your card. The threat is worth making, because you don’t have to go through with the cancellation – you can bluff.Then you will be transferred to a customer retention department that has more latitude to give you concessions.

About the Author:
This is a guest post written by Barbara Gengler for the website NerdWallet. If you are interested in writing a guest post, please contact PF Stock at the Email address listed in the sidebar.