U.S. Economy

ETF Battles: REZ vs. XHB (Homebuilders vs. REITs) – Who Wins?

This is an excerpt from ETF Battles on ETFguide TV with REZ vs. XHB – two U.S. real estate focused ETFs.  Who wins the battle? REZ and XHB go against each other in key categories, including cost, performance and a mystery battle category Both ETFs cover the U.S. real estate market, but with a radically …

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Factors that Should Influence Your Investments

If you asked a thousand different people about the key factors that should drive their investment choices, you’re bound to get a thousand different answers. Some, for example, might be inclined to argue that U.S. stocks (NYSEARCA:SCHB) have increased for eight consecutive years and there’s no reason to make any portfolio changes because stock prices …

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Will Stocks End the Year on a High Note?

Heading into the final trading month of the year, the U.S. stock market has history riding on its side. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA), the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY), and the Nasdaq Composite (NasdaqGM:ONEQ) have all posted average of gains between +2.3% to 5.1% during the fourth quarter of pre-election years in the past 66 years. And …

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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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Industry Sectors

3 Industry Sectors Vital to the Stock Market’s Health

Performance divergences, especially in key industry sectors, are either supportive or non-supportive of the broader stock market’s move. Although the S&P 500 (SNP:^GSPC) and Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) have notched new highs this year, small cap stock ETFs linked to the Russell 2000 (NYSEARCA:IWM) and S&P SmallCap 600 (NYSEARCA:IJR) continue to lag. The fact …

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Corporate America’s Late Cycle Behavior

The pace of U.S. merger and acquisition (M&A) activity has erupted. Bankers and lawyers love it because it gives them work. And investors of the targeted companies love it so long as the buyout premium hovers between juicy and ridiculous. What does the velocity of M&A deals tell us about the state of the stock market? During the …

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Have Precious Metals Seen Their 2014 Peak?

After posting its first monthly decline of 2014, gold now trades near 7-week lows and the charts are looking ugly. As readers familiar with our research know, last year we were consistently bearish on gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) and precious metals (NYSEARCA:SLV) along with mining stocks (NYSEARCA:GDX). Last year, our largest ETF gainer was the Feb. 2013 …

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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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$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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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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