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Apple has long been about simplicity and minimalism. Steve Jobs’ philosophy was effectively that usability trumps choice. Sure, you lose the ability to customize your iPhone or iPad in the way you can an Android device without jailbreaking it, but what you gain in return is a device that is both more reliable and a lot more secure.

Jobs applied that same philosophy to Apple’s product range. When he returned to Apple in 1997, one of the first things he did was to rationalize the company’s product lineup, paring it back to the essentials. In 2008, he proudly told Fortune that “Apple is a $30 billion company, yet we’ve got less than 30 major products.”

Apple has, for the most part, maintained that approach ever since, famously saying ‘no’ to a thousand product ideas for every time it says ‘yes.’ But I still think there’s a little more work to be done in terms of rationalizing the company’s MacBook lineup …

Apple currently offers two MacBooks (both 12-inch, but distinguished by processor and SSD), four MacBook Airs and six MacBook Pros – for a total choice of 12 models. Custom-build options then add further to the options.

(The company also offers eleven different desktop Macs, but I think I’ll leave discussion of those for another day …)

Now, I get that there’s a certain amount of inevitability to this. There are different types of Apple customers, and one size (and spec) doesn’t fit all. But I think the line-up is a little messier than it needs to be – in part due to Apple being a little stingy on specs.

I’ll use the 13-inch MacBook Pro as an example to make my broader point. Apple offers four models there. At the very bottom end, it still offers a single non-Retina model with a spinning metal drive. It’s sufficiently embarrassed about that one that it doesn’t mention it at all on the main MacBook Pro page, and hides it away at the bottom of the ‘buy‘ page – but it’s still there.

Back when the Retina machines were brand new and very expensive, it made sense to hang onto the non-Retina models as a cheaper alternative. Both SSDs and Retina screens were new technologies at the time, and production costs were high. Apple needed to charge a significant premium for them, so kept the ‘classic’ models around for those unable or unwilling to pay the higher price.

But things have changed. I can go on to Amazon right now and pick up a 256GB SSD for around $60. Now sure, Apple is using the very latest (and fastest) PCIe drives, but it is also buying them in the millions. There is no reason these days for Apple to be putting spinning metal drives into any of its machines.

The same applies to Retina screens. Hi-res displays have fallen dramatically in price since then, 4K monitors fast becoming the norm. There’s no reason next time around for Apple to sell any of its Macs with non-Retina displays.

But even if we look at the next 13-inch MBP up – the bottom of the Retina range – that’s a machine which, frankly, shouldn’t exist. Apple is, in 2023, selling a MacBook Pro with 128GB of storage. Sure, I know other manufacturers do that, but Apple is selling at the premium end of the market, and this is a pro model. No amount of talk about this being the age of cloud storage justifies a professional machine with 128GB on board. It’s the equivalent of the 16GB iPad or iPhone.

Remove both the classic and the 128GB model, and you then have just two 13-inch MacBook Pros: a good, and a better. That, in my mind, is how it should be. There should be no ‘barely adequate’ Mac in Apple’s lineup.

I’m fine, by the way, with ‘best’ requiring a custom machine, as it does now. There should always be an option for those who want the no-expense-spared model that would be overkill for most. I’m less ok with the 13-inch ‘better’ model getting a less powerful processor than the 15-inch model. Just because someone wants a more portable machine doesn’t mean they want a less powerful one.

And of course I’d expect better specs next time around. We should see Skylake processors all-round, and I’d like to see the ‘good’ model get 512GB while the ‘better’ gets 1TB – along with 16GB RAM.

Step up to the 15-inch model, and Apple already takes the two-model approach. There’s no classic, and no 128GB model. The only change I’d like to see here, then, is to step up the specs for both.

There is, though, one other thing I’d love to see with all the MacBook range: take the same approach as the 12-inch MacBook and squeeze an extra diagonal inch of screen size into pretty much the same size casing as now. So that would give us 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros. Do that, Apple, and I’ll stop going on about reintroducing the 17-inch model.

Which brings us to the MacBook/MacBook Air. I lump these together because, as I’ve argued before, I’m certain the three-pronged MacBook line-up is a temporary affair, and we’ll soon end up with just the MacBook and MacBook Pro.

Right now, Apple can sell that ultra-portable 12-inch MacBook as a premium device, but as production costs fall, that form-factor will replace the MacBook Air. Once that happens, I’d again like to see that ‘good’ and ‘better’ two-model approach, but here I see a bigger gap between the two.

I think Apple could quite happily lose the 11/12/13-inch choice. The 12-inch MacBook is a good compromise between the two, offering even more compact dimensions than the 11-inch MBA despite the larger screen size.

The full range, then, would look like this:

Entry-level 12-inch MacBook

Exec-spec 12-inch MacBook

‘Good’ 14-inch MacBook Pro

‘Better’ 14-inch MacBook Pro (same spec as 16-inch model)

‘Good’ 16-inch MacBook Pro

‘Better’ 16-inch MacBook Pro

This would halve the range from 12 models to 6, losing the embarrassing models Apple shouldn’t be offering today – and still offering custom-builds for those who want ‘best’ rather than ‘better.’

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Are You A Data Breach Victim? Here’s What To Do

The tips in this story are intended to be general and are not specific to this particular hack, so they’re good to keep in mind in case of any data breach.

1. Change Your Passwords.

This should be the first thing you do: Change your password for your account on the impacted site. If you used the same login information for any other sites, you should change your password on those sites too. And this may be a good time to change your approach to passwords–check out Alex Wawro’s story on how to build better passwords without losing your mind.

2. Watch for Phishing Attempts, Malicious E-mail

3. The Same Goes for Snail Mail

If street addresses were compromised in a hack, it’s possible that cybercriminals may send you scam mail via the postal service. Keep your guard up. Be suspicious of anything that asks for money or personal information.

4. Keep an Eye on Your Financial Statements

Even if your information wasn’t compromised in a major data breach, criminals can still get at your credit card and bank account information; it could get taken via malware on your PC, a tampered ATM or credit card payment terminal, lost or improperly disposed documents containing sensitive information, or even an unscrupulous employee at that place you ate lunch at last week.

Given that, you should always keep a close watch on your bank balance and credit card statements. Question any suspicious charges. See if your bank or financial institution provides e-mail alerts that notify you whenever someone uses your credit card. You may even want to close your existing accounts and open new ones if you believe your account information may have been stolen–contact your bank or financial institution for the best course of action.

5. Put a Fraud Alert on Your Credit Report

Putting a fraud alert on your credit report is a must if you’re a data breach victim: This tells the major credit agencies that your identity may have been stolen, and that they should be on the lookout for anything suspicious, such as new credit card or bank accounts opened under your name. A fraud alert lasts 90 days; after that, you can extend it by contacting the credit agencies. The FTC has more information on how to do this.

6. Check Your Credit Report Each Year

If you’re a United States Citizen, you’re entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Visit chúng tôi to get started. And add a reminder on your calendar for a year later to check it again.

What About ID Theft Protection Services?

Last year, we looked at some of the identity theft protection services offered from companies like LifeLock. These services usually offer some useful services, but most of them aren’t things you can’t do by yourself. That said, cleaning up after identity theft can be a messy, time-consuming process, so these services can be helpful in that regard. See our full story for more details.

You may not be able to stop data breaches, but you can do something about it to protect yourself. Be vigilant, be on the lookout for anything suspicious at all times, and don’t let your guard down.

Review: Apple’s $149 Leather Sleeve For 12″ Macbook

Launched under the radar during the iPhone X pre-order spree, the leather sleeve for MacBook is the first case Apple has released for one of its portable computers.

Available in Saddle Brown or Midnight Blue, this genuine leather sleeve will easily protect your 12″ MacBook on the go. Apple has been on a roll this year with their releases of new leather goods.

They have the new leather folio for the iPhone X, a leather sleeve for the Apple Pencil, and even one for the iPad Pros.

The latest leather product is this sleeve for the 12″ MacBook. It uses the same leather we’ve seen in their other products, and looks just as good.

Per usual, here is my video where I check out the form factor, build quality, and use of Apple’s newest accessory.

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So how does Apple’s take on the sleeve compare to the others we’ve looked at?

Lets find out.

Build quality

As usual with Apple’s products, the build quality is exceptional. It has a very precise stitch around the exterior, with reinforced edges.

The leather is very soft, but does not have the appearance of other leathers that are soft, yet scuff at every touch.

There is also a soft, microfiber lining that helps to protect your laptop while it is in the sleeve.

The bottom of the sleeve has four dimples that are precisely the same size, shape, and location as the feet on the MacBook. They help the sleeve fit more snuggly without the feet pushing it away.

In use

There are two types of use for a sleeve like this. There is the protective aspect, such as when you are carrying your laptop around. Then there is desktop use, where you can use the laptop while it is still in its sleeve.

The primary purpose of a sleeve is protection, and with three of the four sides protected, it is sufficient. I don’t see the uppermost opening as an issue. If it is in a bag, it should already be somewhat protected, If you are carrying it in your hand, the exposed side will more than likely be facing up, and would. be unlikely to hit the ground in a fall.

The opening on the top offers another purpose too, the ability to use the laptop while in clamshell mode inside the case. I’ve seen one other case that did something similar, which is the Active sleeve from Picaso Lab.

The idea is you can leave your laptop in place, and connect a USB-C monitor. The monitor can provide power to your laptop, as well as act as a display.

The slits on the top of the sleeve is cut down just enough to provide access to the USB-C port, as well as folding back to make it easy to grip and remove your laptop.

Wrapping it up

Apple’s accessories are never cheap. Let alone their leather products. The MacBook sleeve is no different. Made from genuine, high quality, European tanned leather, the sleeve goes good ways towards justifying its price.

My biggest problem with it, is it is only for the 12″ MacBook. I’m rocking a 15″ Pro, and I’m only left with third-party options. To be fair, there are some great third party options. My personal preference has been the Action Sleeve from Picaso Lab as it looks great, and offers similar functionality.

Apple says the reason they don’t offer sleeves for the Pros is the fact that they can’t work inside a sleeve while closed. The ventilation intake ports are along the side, and that makes it difficult to use in clamshell mode inside a sleeve.

If you do happen to have a 12-inch MacBook and can overlook the price tag, the leather sleeve from Apple is definitely worth checking out. You can get it exclusively through Apple for $149.

Local Competitors Violating Gbp Guidelines? Here’s What You Can Do

It happens all the time — a company’s GBP listing gets pummeled in the local rankings because the top-ranking competitors aren’t playing by the rules.

They could be keyword stuffing their business name, or displaying a residential address in their business profile.

Maybe they’re using an address that doesn’t even qualify for a GBP listing, such as a P.O. Box or UPS Box address.

Or it could be that the higher-ranking listings are getting reviews unethically to build up their 5-star review stockpile.

Meanwhile, the original company’s GBP listing is following Google Business Profile’s guidelines to the letter but their rankings are suffering because they are a good, guideline-abiding GBP citizen ranking far behind the rule-breakers.

So… what can rule-abiding GBP businesses do to level the playing field against competitors who are cheating to overpower them in the rankings?

Actually, they can do quite a bit (and don’t even need superhero powers to do it!).

Let’s talk about some ways your business can fight back against companies that are cheating on GBP.

Leveling the GBP Playing Field

First, it’s important to keep in mind that Google actually wants user feedback.

Google Business Profile has been a crowd-sourced platform since almost the beginning. For instance, anyone can upload photos or videos to a GBP profile.

Customers can leave reviews on business profiles, even if they had a negative experience with a company.

Anybody can ask and answer questions on GBP’s Q&A feature. There’s even a “Know This Place?” link on Knowledge Panels where Google wants users to share the latest information about a business.

This gives Google more context and details about the business; perhaps more authentic information than what a business owner would provide.

Some of the information from these questions can potentially even help Google determine what keywords are appropriate for a business.

Google wants to make sure the information in Google Business Profile profiles is as accurate as possible for searchers. It also regularly scours online resources to double-check against your company’s GBP profile and make sure information is correct and updated.

If Google finds data issues, they will make changes to your GBP listing.

Google also relies on users to update misinformation on GBP profiles, too.

For example, many business owners simply don’t keep up their GBP listings. If a customer drives to a business on Sunday and it’s closed at 12:00 p.m. but their GBP profile says the business is open until 1:00 p.m., that person can suggest changes.

They would go to the company’s GBP listing, Suggest An Edit, and change that company’s Sunday hours to show that they close at 12:00 p.m. on Sundays.

Google will then review the change and either accept or reject it.

That means that virtually anyone can change almost any section of your GBP profile.

A user can even suggest that Google get rid of your listing because it “doesn’t exist.” (Are you a little nervous yet?)

“What’s up with that?” you might ask. “Don’t I, as the business owner, own my GBP profile?”

Or you might be frustrated and think, “Don’t I have the right to stop people – and Google — from changing my information?”

Nope. Sorry, you don’t.

I always tell owners who get frustrated with Google Business Profile – for any reason – the same thing: Google Business Profile is a free listing service. You don’t have to have a GBP listing if you don’t want one, or if you don’t want to follow Google’s rules. No one is making you have a GBP profile.

This is Google’s product. You must follow Google’s rules.

You can always use other marketing strategies if you don’t want to use Google Business Profile.

How to Suggest a Change if Your Competitors are Breaking the Rules

So what do you do if a competitor isn’t following Google’s guidelines and they are jumping ahead of you in the rankings?

Well, Google doesn’t want rule breakers. No one likes spam, and Google doesn’t either. And just as in a boxing match, everyone should fight fair.

Here are some common GBP issues you might encounter and what you can do if your competitors aren’t following the rules.

1. My Competitors are Keyword-Stuffing Their Business Name

If you see a business keyword stuffing their business name, first make sure that the words in their name are not part of their official name.

Check their permanent signage if they are a storefront business. Look at their Secretary of State listing and see how their business is listed.

Did they add a city name, keyword descriptors, or a landmark location descriptor? If so, chances are they are keyword stuffing their business name which violates GBP’s guidelines.

You can go ahead and first try the Suggest an Edit feature.

Google Maps will send you an email letting you know whether the change you suggested is in review or published:

2. Competitors are Displaying a Service Area Business Address on GBP

Service Area Businesses are not allowed to display their address in their Google Business Profile profiles.

Sometimes it’s easy to tell that a competitor is running their business from their home just by looking at their GBP Knowledge Panel and searching for the address on Google Maps:

If you know a Service Area Business (SAB) competitor is showing their physical address in their GBP listing, you can suggest an edit and select Close or remove:

And then choose Not open to the public. Because they run their business out of their home, they are not open to the public:

You can upload photos – say, a picture of their mailbox with their address number in front of their house – as evidence that the business is not open to the public. However, be aware that the photos will appear publicly with your profile and name.

(The workaround would be to set up a different Gmail email address that you would use specifically for reporting purposes only.)

Again, you will receive an email from Google Maps letting you know whether they will make the change to the listing.

3. A Competitor is Using a Fake Address, P.O. Box, or UPS Box Address

There are certain addresses you cannot use to set up a GBP listing, including a P.O. Box or UPS box address.

Businesses with those types of addresses are simply not allowed to have Google Business Profile profiles.

You can find out if a competitor is using one of these addresses by searching for the business and address on Google Maps.

As you can see from the image below, the business is located right inside the Post Office – which isn’t allowed, according to Google Business Profile rules.

Pro Tip: If you want to get an even closer view of a competitor, to see if they have a legitimate address, or to check out whether they have permanent signage (which is a requirement to show an address on your GBP profile), you can use the Google Maps Street View Feature.

Take screenshots if the competitor is violating any GBP rules.

If one of your competitors has a GBP profile at an address that violates GBP guidelines, you can make a suggested edit to their listing and mark that the listing as Doesn’t exist here:

Again, you can upload photos to prove your case, but your profile name and picture will appear.

You’ll see a notification letting you know Google received your suggestion.

You can also flag a business that:

Is temporarily closed.

Is permanently closed.

Has moved to a new location.

Does not exist (a place that either no longer exists or has never existed).

Is spam, fake, or offensive (a fake business or a place with offensive content that shouldn’t be displayed).

Moved to another location.

Is a duplicate (a place that’s a copy of another Google Maps place).

Or for “other” reasons.


You can only suggest an edit in some countries and regions.

If you think something should be removed for legal reasons, submit a legal request.

4. My Competitors are Bribing People for Reviews!

Online reviews – especially Google Business Profile Reviews – are a known local ranking factor, which makes getting 5-star GBP reviews from happy customers an important SEO strategy.

Google wants you to ethically ask your customers or clients for reviews. However, it violates GBP guidelines to bribe, incentivize, or pay for GBP reviews.

If you have proof that your competitors are violating GBPs review guidelines, you can do something about it.

First, get a picture or screenshot showing the way that your competitor is bribing, incentivizing, or paying for reviews.

Next, contact GBP support and provide them with your competitor’s business name, address, phone number, website URL, Google Maps URL, and a photo or screenshot that shows the bribe or incentivization of reviews.

Explain how this violates GBPs review guidelines and ask what can be done.

GBP Support will reply back with a Case ID number. Keep that number handy.

If GBP Support isn’t able to remove any reviews or assist, then make a post on the Google Business Profile Help Forum and explain the situation by providing the same information you gave to GBP Support (along with the Case ID number).

See if any of the Product Experts volunteering on the GBP Help Forum can assist you.

How Long Until Suggested GBP Edits Publish?

Sometimes suggested edits are made within a few minutes or hours. However, sometimes Google denies the change is needed at all.

This can be a real bummer if you know your competitors are violating the rules.

Either way, you will get emails from Google Maps letting you know the status of suggested edits.

Suggested Edits Not Applied? Use the GBP Redressal Form

If your suggested edit wasn’t made and you know your competitor is violating GBP rules, that can be a big disappointment.

Never fear! There’s another route you can take to report your rule-breaking competitor – the Business Redressal Form.

The Redressal Form is a more formal complaint for Google to review. Once you submit the complaint, you will get a Case ID number.

Be sure to keep that Case ID number in case you need it for future reference.

Filling out the Business Redressal Complaint Form is pretty straightforward.

Google does ask for the “name of the entity or organization that is getting impacted” – so if that’s your business, you can go ahead and put your company’s name in that field.

Or, you might enter the name of another business that is getting equally messed over by the competitor’s shenanigans.

You do need to tell Google exactly what the fraudulent information is, whether it is:

Title (i.e., business name).

Address (like using a residential address and showing that address in their GBP profile or using a P.O. Box address).

Phone Number.

Website (if they are displaying a redirect URL, a social media URL, or if they are an online-only business, for example).

Google will also ask for the Public URL for the location.

What Google is really looking for here is the Google Maps URL for that business.

So go to Google Maps, do a search for the business, and then copy the URL from Google Maps into this field.

You will want to submit files to prove that the business is violating GBP’s rules. Here, you can upload:

Any photos.

Information from the business’s Secretary of State documents that show the discrepancy in the business name and/or address (or lack thereof).

Pictures of the home/residence.

Video of you walking into the building and showing that it’s a virtual or co-working office with no signage.


You must build your case. The more proof you can provide Google, the better!

When you explain why the business is violating Google’s guidelines, be specific and unemotional.

Simply provide the business’s name, address, phone number, and website URL. Explain which rule or rules they are violating, and explain how you know they are breaking those rules.

Be ready to back up your claims.

You will receive an email from Google letting you know they received the redressal form, and it will have a Case ID number.

However, you won’t hear back from them with regards to whether or not they took any action or not. You will just have to keep checking the listing.

Nobody Likes Spam — Including Google

No one likes spam, fake listings, or rulebreakers – and Google doesn’t like these things either. If your competitors are violating Google’s guidelines, it’s okay to let Google know about it so they can clean up their listings.

Getting rid of spam helps Google’s customers – the searchers. After all, Google doesn’t want someone driving to a home business only to find out they can’t go into that business because it’s someone’s house or a post office!

Nobody likes a cheater. You do have the power to level the Google ranking playing field.

Get started!

More Resources:

Search Advertising Costs Are Increasing: Here’s What To Do About It Now

This year, inflation and rising interest rates have increased prices across the board: Housing, gas, groceries…the list goes on.

In this post, we’re sharing:

A few reasons costs have increased

How to adjust your marketing so you can continue getting results through the holidays and into 2023

Let’s get started.

As mentioned, our data shows an increase in CPC and CPL across almost every industry. These increases are even more pronounced than we’ve seen in previous quarters or years.

Let’s take a look at a few increases in CPC year over year:

10% increase for physicians and surgeons

Nearly 8% increase for furniture

Nearly 6% increase for real estate

Additionally, 91% of industries saw increased CPL in 2023. Some standouts: The arts and entertainment industry saw a 134% increase in CPL, and the travel industry saw CPL increase by about 69% year over year.

While inflation is certainly to blame for some of these cost increases, there are other factors at play, such as more competition within Google Ads and the removal of broad modified match types, which has led to less relevant matching.

“In 2023, for the same campaigns running during the holidays, the median CPC is 7% more expensive and the median CPL is 22% more expensive,” said Yi.

This increase means that running search campaigns with your 2023 budget will likely bring in fewer results.

Factor increasing costs into your 2023 budget

Because costs have increased (and will likely continue to increase through 2023), it’s important to factor these trends into your 2023 marketing budget.

“We anticipate that costs will continue to increase, at least slightly, through 2023,” said Yi. “So it’s crucial that businesses pay attention to their core audiences, focus on their best-converting keywords, and plan for these rising costs so they can remain competitive and see continued success.”

Multiplying that by the average CPL for your industry

(If you want to take it a step further) Dividing that by 12 to get a rough monthly estimate

While this number likely won’t be spot on, it could give you an idea of how much you should spend to reach your overall marketing goals.

Yi said that industries that have seen pronounced increases in CPLs and CPCs, such as real estate, restaurants, and physical therapists, should pay close attention to these trends to help inform their 2023 marketing budget.

Advertise across search engines

“Conversion-based optimization, like from LocaliQ, takes a data-driven, omnichannel approach to allocating spend. Being able to be present on search, social, and display helps keep your brand top of mind at every stage of the purchase journey,” said Yi.

Invest in a cross-channel strategy

One of the best ways to continue seeing results while combating rising costs is to invest in a cross-channel marketing strategy.

By allocating your budget across channels, you can reach a wider audience and maximize your spend.

“Driving awareness and engagement up-funnel with a unified message could help create synergies,” said Yi.

Improve lead capture and conversion strategies

Most customers will choose to work with the business that follows up with them first—which is why an established timeframe for lead follow-up is so important.

Make small adjustments now for big results later Stephanie Heitman

Stephanie is the Associate Director of Content for LocaliQ and WordStream. She has over 10 years of experience in content and social media marketing and loves writing about all things digital marketing. When she’s not researching the latest and greatest marketing news and updates, she’s probably watching reality TV with her husband, reading, or playing with her two pups.

Other posts by Stephanie Heitman

What Do Equity Traders Do?

Equity Trader

Buyers and sellers of company shares on the capital markets

Written by

Andrew Loo

Published August 29, 2023

Updated July 7, 2023

What is an Equity Trader?

An equity trader is someone who participates in the buying and selling of company shares on the equity market. Similar to someone who invests in the debt capital markets, an equity trader invests in the equity capital markets and exchanges their money for company stocks instead of bonds.

Fundamental Analysis

Before jumping straight into buying company shares, you need to evaluate the financial position of the company and determine whether or not it is a worthwhile investment. Fundamental analysis consists of analyzing financial statements such as a balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement, or even a statement of retained earnings. An equity trader looks at financial metrics such as profit margin, quick ratio, and receivables. Anything that can give an equity trader insight into whether or not a company is performing well is looked into and analyzed thoroughly prior to making an investment decision.

Technical Analysis

The second type of analysis that an equity trader uses is technical analysis. This type of analysis involves statistics, averages, past data, volumes, and much more. Some common tools that investors use with technical analysis are correlation, regressions, and inter-market and intra-market prices. A variety of technical analysis tools are used to help an investor in predicting what a stock might do given historic data and activities.

Difference Between Equity and Debt Securities

A lot of people are familiar with equity securities but not as many are familiar with debt securities. People who do not know the difference between the two securities might sometimes classify debt securities as equity security unknowingly, and this is where confusion can occur.

Debt securities

Debt securities, traded on the debt capital markets, include bonds, treasuries, money market instruments, and more. They are usually issued with a fixed interest rate which is determined by the ability of the issuer to repay the debt. Issuers that are rated as possibly defaulting on their interest payments to investors are forced to offer higher rates of interest in order to attract buyers willing to accept a higher level of risk. Another important note on debt securities is that they offer a wide range of maturities, from short-term securities that mature in a matter of months, all the way to 30-year Treasury bonds.

Equity securities

The most well-known type of equity securities are common stocks of publicly-traded companies. These are issued by companies to shareholders and confer an ownership (equity) interest in the company. Many stocks pay quarterly dividends to shareholders, although neither specific dividend amounts nor any dividend at all is guaranteed.

Equity securities offer potentially higher returns on investment (ROI) than debt securities, but the potentially higher return is accompanied by inherently greater risk. The equity market is also much more volatile than the debt securities market.

The added risk associated with equity trading is why an equity trader does constant research and market analysis in order to make the best possible investment decisions.

Risks for an Equity Trader

There are multiple types of risks that are involved with equity trading. There is systematic risk — the risk that is inherent in the equity markets and therefore common to all stocks, and unsystematic risk — the risk that is specific to an individual stock or company. Three broad categories of risks that affect the equity markets are political, interest rate, and regulatory risk.

Regulatory risk

Regulatory risk stems from the in-depth relationship between government and businesses. Governments constantly pass laws and institute regulations that can significantly impact individual companies or the equity markets as a whole. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, government regulation of investing and the financial services industry expanded substantially and has affected all of the financial markets. It’s estimated that merely the costs of compliance with the comprehensive Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 have decreased return on assets (ROA) for small, community banks by as much as 14 basis points.

Regulatory risk is, in short, the risk that one or more government regulations may negatively impact a company’s profitability.

Interest rate risk

Interest rate risk refers to the risk posed to businesses by the possibility of rising interest rates. Because many companies carry millions of dollars in debt, even a small change in interest rates can have a significant impact on a company’s cash flow and ability to repay its outstanding debt. Due to the fact that nearly all businesses rely to some extent on debt financing, interest rate risk is a nearly universal concern for businesses.

In addition to the risk posed regarding a company’s ability to manage its own debt, rising interest rates can negatively affect businesses through the impact of higher interest rates on consumers. Consumers faced with coping with higher interest rates in relation to their personal debt may cut back on discretionary spending – i.e., stop buying as many consumer goods. This can have a depressive effect on the whole economy, presenting further dangers for companies in terms of remaining profitable or even just financially solvent.

Political risk

Political risk can be defined as any risk that corporations or investors face due to political decisions, events, or conditions. Any changes in government, legislative bodies, trade policy, or foreign policy by one or more countries can be factors of political risk. The current situation regarding import tariffs charged by various countries is an instance of political risk. High import tariffs put in place by the government of country “A” may make it difficult for a company in country “B”, one that relies heavily on export sales to individuals or businesses in country “A”, to continue operating profitably.

A well-known historical instance of political risk was when Saudi Arabia nationalized the oil industry within its borders during the 1970s. This led to the world’s major oil companies losing nearly 50% of their share of the global oil market, and a major increase in oil and gas prices.

Additional Resources

Earnings per Share

Fiscal Year


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