Asset Allocation

The First Inning of China’s Bear Market

Never mind China’s reputation for cooking the books; its raw uncooked economic data is sagging. China’s unexpected drop of 18.1% for February exports was the biggest decline in Chinese exports in almost five years and its biggest trade deficit ($23 billion) in two years. (Analysts, that over-optimistic bunch, had forecasted a 7.5% rise.) In January, …

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Stock Market Fear is Tapering, Greed is Back

The stock market’s wild mood swings from fear to greed and back are in full swing again. And this time around, the investing public’s fear of missing out on potential stock gains is greater than its fear of losing money. The latest Fear and Greed Index shows that stock market greed is now at extreme …

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$17.41 Trillion in U.S. Debt, like Stocks, at Record Levels

The Russell 2000 small cap index (NYSEARCA:IWM) just made a new all-time high, but stocks aren’t the only thing topping. U.S. public debt is at record levels too and heading higher. Total outstanding public debt is now at $17.41 trillion, according to the U.S. Treasury Department’s latest daily statement. That’s almost $1 trillion over last …

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Russia Isn’t Only Trouble Spot for Emerging Markets

As if war between Russia and Ukraine wasn’t bad enough, emerging market stocks (NYSEARCA:BKF) are still dealing with two other major problems: China’s unfolding credit crisis and Latin America’s currency and political turmoil. Russia’s president Vladimir Putin said that Russian troops have the right to invade Ukraine, setting up the possibility for combat between the …

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Will Dividend Yields Test ’99 Lows?

The past six years have been brutal for dividend and income investors. Zero percent interest rates have depressed bond yields (NYSEARCA:BOND) and with major stock indexes (^DJI) now trading at all-time highs, dividend yields relative to prices have fallen too. Last year, the number of S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) stocks paying a dividend touched a 17-year …

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Valuation Models Say Stock Market Losses Ahead

Overpaying for anything is a bad idea. But it’s an especially bad thing when it comes to investing in the stock market. James Montier at GMO correctly observes: “Over the years I’ve witnessed many attempts by the practitioners of this most dark art to justify why tried and tested measures of valuation are no longer …

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Is this the Weakest Bull Market in History?

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one,” said Charles MacKay in his classic book the Madness of Crowds. A closer examination of the U.S. stock market’s (NasdaqGM:QQQ) action shows how the herd is …

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Portfolio diversification

Are Covered Call Funds a Smart Income Play?

What’s better? A covered call options strategy executed by the individual investor or a covered call ETF or fund that proposes to do the heavy lifting? Selling covered calls is a popular investment technique used by investors with high income or cash flow as their primary goal. The investor is “covered” because they own the …

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MyRA is Dead on Arrival

During his State of the Union address, President Obama unveiled his new plan to increase retirement savings. The plan is dubbed “MyRA” and is geared for people without a company sponsored retirement plan. Sadly, MyRA is more than a futile attempt at preventing people from retiring without money. It’s another shining example of grandstanding and …

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Is Stock Market Sentiment Too Complacent?

Here’s your “lost decade” update: The S&P 500 (ChicagoOptions:^GSPC) has risen nine out of the past 10 years and in 2013 just posted its best yearly performance in a decade. Have stock market investors become spoiled and overconfident? Measuring the stock market’s mood or “sentiment” through news headlines, surveys, and data give us clues about …

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This Seasonal Trend has been a Slam Dunk

In the winter it snows and in the spring flowers bloom.  It’s one of those things you can always count on. And like nature, the stock market, has its own set of yearly trends. One of the market’s strongest seasonal forces that has been a slam dunk this year is something called the “January Effect.” …

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