Know your stocks. If you're hanging on to various companies without really understanding them or knowing what they're up to, you leave yourself extra vulnerable to nasty surprises. The more you know, the better able you'll be to decide whether to hang on or move your money into something more promising. (And believe me, there are lots of promising companies out there!)
Today, let's take a look at E*TRADE Financial
Stats on E*TRADE
|Year-to-Date Stock Return||(50.5%)|
|Market Cap||$2.26 billion|
|Revenue, Trailing 12 Months||$1.39 billion|
|1-Year Revenue Growth||(15.4%)|
|CAPS Rating (out of 5)||****|
Source: Motley Fool CAPS, Morningstar, Yahoo! Finance.
What happened to E*TRADE this year?
Like other brokerages, E*TRADE has been whacked by the sluggish stock market of the past few years, which has left many investors not so eager to be buying and selling stocks. Still, sluggishness usually doesn't last forever, and there were signs of a recovery early this year, when E*TRADE and peers such as Charles Schwab
One area in which E*TRADE has lagged until recently has been in having an ETF (exchange-traded fund) strategy. My colleague Dan Caplinger pointed this out throughout the year, and just this month, news broke that the company would offer commission-free ETFs for its customers. The strong line-up includes broad funds such as the WisdomTree LargeCap Dividend ETF
A nagging problem for the company has been problem mortgage and home equity loans it wrote back in the housing boom. It has been working on improving that, recently agreeing in principle to settle class action lawsuits against the broker that alleged E*TRADE violated its duty to shareholders.
If you're thinking of buying E*TRADE or you already own it, learn more about it and be sure you're confident in its potential. If you've decided it's not one of your best ideas, then look elsewhere, such as in our free report detailing The Motley Fool's pick for the top stock for 2012. It's free only for a limited time, so check it out today.
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Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see her holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Interactive Brokers Group. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Charles Schwab and Interactive Brokers Group. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.