Bonds

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Treasury Bonds Sizzle, High Tech Fizzles

What do you get when you add up Twitter, Yelp, and Weibo? Answer: Deflation. That’s the latest joke as former high-flying tech stocks fizzle, while Treasury bonds sizzle. Over the past several weeks we’ve seen a major shift in the market’s psychology away from risky equity bets. And as these high risk/high beta equity segments …

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Should Your Portfolio Own Commodities?

Should your investment portfolio have exposure to commodities? The problem with commodities (NYSEARCA:DBC) is that most of us don’t have storage space in the garage for a herd of cattle or pork bellies. And even if we did, it still wouldn’t give us diversified exposure to other important commodity sectors like agriculture, energy, and metals (NYSEARCA:GLTR). …

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Portfolio diversification

3 Steps to Beating the Retirement Income Shortage

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. This is an apt description of retirement income investors who definitely want and need more dividends, but are going about it in the wrong way. For bond investors (NYSEARCA:BOND), yields on 10-Year U.S. Treasuries (ChicagoOptions:^TNX) have slid almost …

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A Portfolio Strategy Warren Buffett Would Approve

What are the attributes of a world-class investment portfolio that even Warren Buffett would bless? Buffett’s 2013 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders gives us a clue: “The ‘know-nothing’ investor who both diversifies and keeps his costs minimal is virtually certain to get satisfactory results. Indeed, the unsophisticated investor who is realistic about his shortcomings is …

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Beating the Dividend Income Drought

Will dividend yields test 1999 lows? That was the title of my post from a few weeks ago in which I explained to readers how the dividend income drought facing investors continues into 2014. Interestingly, the Federal Reserve’s initiation of ZIRP (zero interest rate policy) on Dec. 16, 2008 wasn’t the beginning of the bear …

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3 Big Shortcomings of Target Date Funds

Around 41% of all 401(k) savers have are using target-date mutual funds (TDFs) and the numbers keep rising. Experts in the financial services industry applaud this trend, but are target-date funds really the panacea to a secure retirement income? TDFs attempt to match a person’s age and risk tolerance with a projected retirement date. For …

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How Much Money is Enough for a Comfortable Retirement?

In 2011, the oldest members of the Baby Boom generation reached retirement age and over the next 15 years, around 8,000 Boomers per day will turn 65. And as more Americans contemplate life in retirement and preparing for it, they need to have a clearer picture of what their income (NYSEARCA:AGG) needs will be after …

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2 Easy Ways to Add Commodities to Your Portfolio

Commodities have outperformed stocks since the start of the year, but many investors have not benefited. Why? Because if there’s one category where most investment portfolios are lacking market exposure, it’s probably commodities.  Unless you live on a farm, most of us don’t have enough storage space for 150 barrels of crude oil (NYSEARCA:USO) or …

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Government Overspending is Fueling Debt Boom

Each month, our Mega Investment Theme Report organizes the order of major events by their impact and importance. And swelling sovereign debt (NYSEARCA:BWX) continues to be a stubborn trend that has made every single report. In Ernest Hemingway’s classic novel, “The Sun Also Rises” someone asks the character Mike Campbell how he went bankrupt. He quips: “Gradually, then …

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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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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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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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Let the Spending Spree Begin!

Debt ceilings have done little to curb the U.S. government’s escalating debt load and if you thought overspending was a serious problem before, welcome to the next cycle. That’s because U.S. politicians just approved a bill that suspends the government’s borrowing limit until March 16, 2015. That means no more last minute showdowns about a …

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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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