Thursday, November 19, 2009

Trade Triangle: Merck (MRK)

A couple months ago, I wrote about making money by using a stock analysis service called MarketClub. This is part of a website called (pronounced "I know") where I can research stocks, futures, or forex products. I recently used their Trade Triangle analysis to help me decide on buying Merck & Co (NYSE: MRK).

Over the past several months, I have been looking for individual stocks that I can get back into. I used MarketClub to get an instant analysis of Merck, and the results are shown below.

This analysis shows that Merck is now in a strong uptrend, and that this is an ideal time to buy 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, I bought some shares of MRK based on this information.

With a very strong gain yesterday, I have already made more money on Merck than what a MarketClub subscription costs for one year. 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. I now have a stop order in place to help protect my gains.

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.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Countrywide SavingsLink Revisited

I first wrote about the Countrywide Bank SavingsLink account in 2007. This account offered interest rates as high as 5.5% at one point. It featured free online transfers between linked external bank accounts. Countrywide was acquired by Bank of America early last year, but the final merging of accounts was not completed until September 2009.

The SavingsLink account is no longer offered by Bank of America, and has been replaced by the "Growth Money Market Savings SL" account. According to my last statement, I am getting an APY of 1.23% in my account, but I think that the rate varies based on account balance. I was not able to find a rate sheet for this particular account on Bank of America's website.

Bank of America's Money Market Savings SL account does not have the same transfer features that the SavingsLink account did. The accounts that I had previously linked to my SavingsLink account were no longer available. When I try to transfer funds to or from Bank of America, it asks me to sign up for SafePass which applies an extra level of security (and complexity) to online transfers. SafePass requires a cell phone, and it will send a 6-digit, one-time passcode as a text message (regular text message fees will apply) to your mobile phone. If you don't have a cell phone, they can set you up with a standalone SafePass card for a one time fee of $19.99.

According to their service agreement, BofA charges a fee of $3 for each outbound transfer. There is no charge for inbound transfers. But there are transfer limits of $3,000 per day or $6,000 per month. I remember transferring as much as $25,000 at one time into my SavingsLink account.  I called Bank of America to ask a customer service representative about the reason for these limits, but I only got a vague explanation to the effect that certain customers may have higher limits depending depending on their relationship with the bank.

One other major change is that unlike Countrywide Bank, Bank of America has branches everywhere. Whereas physical deposits to Countrywide Bank had to be mailed to processing facility in Texas, you can make deposit to Bank of America at nearly any branch. At this point, I figure that if I need to transfer money in or out, it might be easier to just go to the branch.

I am no longer tracking the SavingsLink account in my regular money market rates posts because it is no longer available to new depositors.