In September, IM Academy, an online educational platform specializing in financial education resources, announced the launch of its newest academy. The academy, called SFX, focuses on the stocks and futures markets and features a curriculum and lessons designed by Carolyn Boroden, an experienced analyst known as the “Fibonacci Queen” for her approach to utilizing Fibonacci ratios to analyze market charts. She’s a favorite of CNBC star Jim Cramer who often turns to her interpretation of market charts for stock insights.
IM Academy’s decision to focus new educational content on stocks and futures comes at a crucial time for those interested in engaging in these markets. Stocks and futures are experiencing significant volatility in response to inflation and rising interest rates. According to a CNBC report, the S&P 500 stock index recorded a closing low for 2022 in September, while the Dow index dropped to 20.4% below its January 2022 high point. The report noted that the CBOE Volatility Index, known as the VIX, hit its highest level since mid-June, rising three points to reach 32.70 at the end of September.
In such periods of market volatility, it’s crucial that market participants engage with a broader understanding of how factors such as interest rates, inflation, and speculation influence the market, and how strategies can be adapted to short-term and long-term swings.
SFX Academy was created to provide this sort of education, offering IM Academy students resources to study how various factors impact the stocks and futures markets, as well as tools to analyze market movement and implement engagement strategies at a variety of timescales.
About the Stocks and Futures Markets
The stock market enables participants to engage in exchanging shares of public companies. The share price for a company can be affected by anything ranging from earnings reports to mergers and acquisitions, new product launches, and broader industry trends. Stocks are also often affected by monetary policy decisions, such as those implemented by the U.S. Federal Reserve, as well as international policies affecting currency prices and broader trends in the global economy. As such, the stock market is complex, requiring nuanced study of the interrelation of several factors for strategic engagement.
Futures are financial contracts that dictate that the holders of the contract exchange assets or securities at a predetermined price at a set date in the future. These contracts are exchanged in the futures market, with participants speculating on whether the predetermined future price of the contract is set too high or too low. Participants also use futures contracts as a means of hedging positions for risk management purposes.
At IM Academy, students study how these markets work in detail, with an emphasis on the importance of time-based considerations, as well as on the importance of gaining a foundational understanding of how and why markets move.
How Do Interest Rates Affect the Markets?
Because of the complexity of the markets, there is no one definitive way in which rising interest rates impact all stocks and futures. However, in general, when interest rates rise, as we have seen in 2022, stock prices tend to decline over longer time frames, with a ripple effect in the futures market.
This is because higher interest rates discourage companies from borrowing, meaning that they will devote less capital to growing their assets and will display a slower rate of growth in earnings. In other words, future earnings are valued less as interest rates increase.
However, not all stocks are affected in this way, and within a longer time frame of decline, a stock may experience several ups and downs that intraday market participants try to identify.
IM Academy students studying the current market at the SFX Academy learn to read market charts to analyze these potential high and low points and adjust engagement strategy accordingly. IM Academy teaches its students that the key to market engagement is studying a variety of factors when analyzing points of entry and exit from market positions.
Studying Stocks and Futures at IM Academy
The SFX Academy teaches IM Academy students through both asynchronous learning materials and live mentorship opportunities. It provides readings and recorded lectures, as well as GoLive sessions, in which students can engage with IM Academy educators and solidify their understanding of topics covered in their individual studies.
The academy progresses through three levels, with several 100-level, 200-level, and 300-level courses. At the 100 level, IM Academy students learn the basics of stocks and futures, with lessons on what these assets are, how they are exchanged, and who participates in the market. The 200-level courses discuss more advanced topics in market engagement strategy and risk management, while the 300-level courses move on to a more nuanced discussion of strategies such as Fibonacci retracement, which utilizes pattern-derived ratios to analyze high and low points in market activity.
In addition, IM Academy students who sign up for the SFX Academy have access to IMPulse, a proprietary scanner that analyzes dozens of market variables and distills this information to indicate trends in market activity and momentum via simple graphics. Using IMPulse, IM Academy students can study both how stocks and futures prices are behaving and the rate of market participation over a variety of time frames, from intraday to more long-term scales.
IM Academy’s goal in providing these educational resources and analytical tools is to give students an opportunity to study stocks and futures markets on their own terms and determine what approach to market engagement works best for them. Given the current market climate for stocks and futures, thorough study of the complexity of these markets has never been more important. With SFX Academy, IM Academy is aiming to provide students with the tools to engage in this sort of thorough market study.
Note: IM Academy is an educational forum for analyzing, learning, and discussing general and generic information related to markets and strategies. IM Academy does not provide personalized recommendations or views as to whether a market approach is suited to the financial needs of a specific individual. Before deciding to participate in the forex or other markets, you should carefully consider your objectives, level of experience, and risk. Most importantly, do not risk money you cannot afford to lose. You should take independent financial advice from a professional in connection with, or independent of, research — and verify any information you find on the IM Academy website.