Interest Rates

ETF Battles: NOBL vs. VYM – Which Dividend ETF is the Better Choice?

This is an excerpt of ETF Battles between NOBL vs. VYM – it’s a tussle between two dividend focused ETFs.  Who wins the battle? NOBL and VYM go against each other in key areas, including cost, yield and a mystery category Both funds own dividend stocks but with subtle and meaningful differences in strategy Both …

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5 Building Blocks for Your Investment Portfolio

The difference between well-built and poorly designed buildings can be strikingly drastic. Take for example, I.M. Pei, the Chinese-American architect, who is a legend in his profession and has won many prestigious awards, including the Pritzker Prize. Among all the illustrious structures he’s designed, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH is the …

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Utilities, Anyone?

With 2016 officially half over, the celebratory nature of the stock market is being masked by another telling trend: Defensive sectors are outperforming higher risk areas. Formerly hot groups drenched with elevated risk like solar energy (NYSEARCA:TAN) and biotechnology stocks (NasdaqGS:IBB) have fallen out of favor and are down more than 20%, putting them into bear …

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Headache

(Podcast) Deconstructing the “Double Whammy” Effect on Gold Portfolios

How many people sold their stocks at the 2009 bottom, went to cash and then bought gold at its 2011 peak? In my latest Index Investing Show podcast episode, I explain how “double whammy” effect has damaged certain investment portfolios so severely, the losses could be catastrophic. The solution for investors sitting on big losses from precious metals (NYSEARCA:GLTR) is …

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Do Rising Auto Delinquencies Spell Trouble Ahead?

Is consumer credit quality deteriorating? TransUnion reports: “While delinquency levels for subprime borrowers have grown from 4.2% in Q3 2012 to 4.5% in Q3 2013 to 5.3% in Q3 2014, the contribution of this segment to the overall delinquency rate has been muted because their share has remained between 14% and 15% during this timeframe. …

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Industry Sectors

A Boring Sector with Spectacular Results

“If investing is entertaining, if you’re having fun, you’re probably not making any money. Good investing is boring,” observed George Soros. Which sector of the stock market fits that description? “Boring” is the one adjective that aptly describes the ho-hum utilities (NYSEARCA:XLU) sector. This particular segment of the stock market has been long associated with …

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Financial Markets 2.0 Image

How Long Will it Take Before Bond Yields Hit Bottom?

A skilled magician knows the art of distracting the audience is just as important as mastering the trick. And the magicians on Wall Street have once again successfully deflected the investing public’s attention to U.S. stocks near record highs. You see, Wall Street doesn’t want to focus on the reality that long-term U.S. Treasuries have crushed …

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Bubbles Floating

So this is the Bursting of the Bond Market’s Bubble?

Never mind which company Bill Gross is working at this week. The talking heads on Wall Street have been ranting about the bursting of the bond market’s bubble for years and it’s getting old. They did it in 2009. They did it in 2010. They did it in 2011. They did it in 2012. They …

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Warren Buffett is Once Again Doing the Opposite of the Crowd

The disdain for cash is nearly universal. Cash instruments like money market funds are yielding around 0%. And nobody needs or wants cash because stocks are up. The S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:IVV) just rallied 3.8% in August, almost one-third its year-to-date (YTD) gain of 9.73%. AUDIO:  Listen to Ron DeLegge @ The Index Investing Show Performing …

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Ocean Waves

Bull Market in Borrowing: Corporate Debt Skyrockets to $9.6 Trillion

How healthy are corporate balance sheets? It depends who you ask. One news outlet said that U.S. firms are hoarding a record $1.6 trillion in cash led by Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Shockingly, that same report made no mention of corporate debt levels, which are also at all-time records. During the previous 2009 recession high, …

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Boxer Vintage Mecca Card

Don’t Let the ‘Great Yield Slide’ Punch You in the Nose

At the beginning of the year, the yield on 10-Year U.S. Treasuries was just shy of 3% and appeared ready for takeoff into the stratosphere. Alas, the long-awaited period of runaway interest rates had arrived! The something weird happened. U.S. Treasury yields (ChicagoOptions:^TNX)– like a schizophrenic mad scientist straight out of the movies – suddenly …

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Portfolio diversification

Should You Be 100% Invested in Stocks?

Investors should have 100% of their money invested in stocks! That’s what Laurence Fink, the chief executive officer at BlackRock declared in 2012. Since then, the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:IVV) has broken above record levels and is now 43% higher compared to a -1.4% loss for the total U.S. bond market (NYSEARCA:BND). While Fink’s advice looks smart …

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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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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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