Helpful Tools for Earnings Season (and the thinkorswim Challenge!)

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The third annual thinkorswim Challenge virtual trading competition kicks off on Monday, October 10 which is also the beginning of the Fall Earnings Season—coincidence? Of course not. In 2014, the inaugural #TOSChallenge, college students across the country took an especially volatile market in stride, navigating choppy waters in real-time as the market reacted to conflict unfolding in Europe, and an unexpected spread of the Ebola virus. The 2015 thinkorswim Challenge saw seasoned students take on a wave of newcomers as they battled for paper trading supremacy, and real-world prizes like iPads (and funds deposited into TD Ameritrade accounts!). With the competition getting tougher each year, students across the leaderboard will be hungry for as much information as they can get. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the top tools that students were leveraging throughout earnings season last year, as the thinkorswim Challenge gears up for the Fall Earnings Season.

Where to start… The Calendar.

The Calendar feature is located in the MarketWatch Tab. Here is where you will find a plethora of information about upcoming market events, pay close attention to the Earnings & Conference Call information. In addition to the Earnings date, one will want to be aware if a company will be sharing their earnings PRE or POST market. After publishing the information, most companies will host a Conference Call, where their leadership team will talk more in depth provide commentary on the current state of their business and industry, while also addressing the immediate and near future plans for the business. Attentive traders usually anticipate, speculate, and then absorb every single word of these conference calls. Traders can treat these earnings calls as a live-look into the current health of the company. They could be among the first people to hear any new information that may impact the company’s stock price. In full disclosure, listening to an earnings conference call can at times be… tedious? Dull? Boring? But you know what is NOT? A chance at winning up to $30,000 for your University and up to $3,000.00 deposited in a live trading account.

#PROTIP:

You can directly upload the thinkorswim Challenge watchlist into the Calendar so you can filter to just the symbols you can trade for the Challenge. For illustrative purposes only.

Want more information? Check out the Company Profile.

The Company Profile tool is not available for every company in the #TOSChallenge but it does cover the majority. What is it? Well, I am glad you asked. On the Trade ‘All Products’ page, you will find a link to the Company Profile page provides fundamental securities information. The interface displays data, commentary and forecasts which provides an in-depth view of a company’s financial state. It details what products and services are currently driving a company's cash flow, the aggregate valuation of those categories against the current market price, and its net cash reserves or debt obligations. Not only can you view different divisions and sub-divisions of a company's revenue, but you can also view and edit a variety of different forecasts for each division. The edited forecasts then flow back to the overall computation to give you a view of how changing a projected revenue stream will affect the overall valuation of the company.

MORE TOOLS

The Company Profile tool is not available for every company in the #TOSChallenge but it does cover the majority. For illustrative purposes only.

More?! Fundamentals it is.

The Fundamentals tab located under the Analyze tab allows one to dive even deeper into a company’s underlying business state. A tear sheet with a company’s core fundamentals is available in both annual and quarterly views. In the ‘By The Numbers’ section, key fundamental indicators like per-share earnings and dividends, return on equity or assets, tax rates, profit margins, and asset turnover will be found. Last but certainly not least, there are downloadable Research Reports from the Industry’s to Analysts for your reading pleasure.

FUNDAMENTALS

The fundamentals tab allows one to dive even deeper into a company’s underlying business state. For illustrative purposes only.

Still want more? Check out the thinkorswim Learning Center

Registration for the thinkorswim Challenge is open through Wednesday, September 28th – and can be found at www.thinkorswimchallenge.com.

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thinkorswim Challenge subject to full Official Rules available at thinkorswimchallenge.com.

Company Profile: Information/estimates provided by Insight Guru, a separate and unaffiliated firm. Stock prices are impacted by numerous factors and estimates of prices in the future are not guaranteed.

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The information is not intended to be investment advice or construed as a recommendation or endorsement of any particular investment or investment strategy, and is for illustrative purposes only. Be sure to understand all risks involved with each strategy, including commission costs, before attempting to place any trade. Clients must consider all relevant risk factors, including their own personal financial situations, before trading.

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