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The Fed “Unwind” May be a Tailspin

31 Jul

Leading up to 2007 – before the Federal Reserve’s Quantitative Easing program and Zero Interest Rate Policy, the Fed held about $800 billion in its portfolio, or “balance sheet.” Today, the Fed has about $4.5 trillion on the balance sheet, much of which is government debt and mortgage-backed securities purchased years ago to save us [...]

Indexing Error?

17 Jul

Picking stocks is an art form that is dying a passive death. I say “passive” because the influx of passive investing into the market has taken a lot of business from investment advisors. But investments that track the market, or segments of it, are a house of cards in themselves. Sure, the upside is promising. [...]

Sentiment vs. Technicals

10 Apr

We’re not supposed to discuss politics at parties. Well, we may want to exclude politics from our investments too. The fact is, markets have performed much better under Democratic presidents than Republican ones. That seems to defy conventional thinking because Republicans are often thought of as pro-business, while Democrats are seen as proponents of labor [...]

Leaving the Stock Market Party? No Need to Rush

3 Apr

The stock market continues to rise. We’re hitting records regularly in this long-running bull market. But at some point, the party will end. And when it does, many portfolios could tumble. It begs the question – when is it time to get out? It’s similar to when you’re at a great New Year’s Eve party. [...]

Bonds Sales Increase Yield, Feed Equities Buys

9 Jan

Amidst all the hoopla from the presidential election, something has been spiraling in the bond market – the amount of investment! The bond market overall has seen its worst sell off in 13 years, marked by a 5 percent drop between Nov. 1-15, 2016 – that’s one week before and one week after the election. [...]

So-So Asset Returns a Sign of the Future?

22 Aug

If the below GMO forecast is correct, investment returns over the next seven years will be dismal across nearly all asset classes, as none of them are expected to be near their historical rates of return.   These indications point to a heavy overvaluing of markets, and scarcity in terms of which asset classes have [...]

Slumping Sales, Job Losses Stain Early 2016

15 Feb

Early 2016 lacks promise to say the least. In many respects, stocks are tanking. And retail sales are slumping, highlighted (or lowlighted) by Wal-Mart closing 154 stores in the U.S. Think about that. Wal-Mart is one of the largest employers in the country. That’s a huge hit. But if we’re being honest, the dark clouds [...]

Investing Misconceptions Demystified

18 Jan

A November 2015 survey on investment performance and risk revealed that many of us hold misguided or even wholly incorrect views on investing. TIAA-CREF’s survey included 1,000 investors and highlighted three glaring misconceptions: Focus on the short-term When choosing investments, 47 percent of respondents said the one-year return was their key decision criterion. Even more [...]

Save (a lot) More, or Roll the Dice

11 Jan

The long-practiced strategy of generating retirement income from U.S. Treasury investments (i.e., bonds) is in danger of being reduced to irrelevance because of the Fed’s low rate policies. A recent study shows that retirees now need more than $1 million in retirement savings to get half their income from low-risk Treasury investments. Back in the [...]

Are Budgets and Gold Values Linked?

24 Aug

While it was all the rage a few years ago, where is gold now? Nobody mentions it because it’s way down in value. Why? Well, people want to own gold when they think the government stops caring about the purchasing power of currency. When budget deficits get big, people worry about failed bond auctions, and the [...]