U.S. Government Debt

ETF Battles: LQD vs. JNK, Who Wins?

This is an excerpt from ETF Battles on ETFguide TV between LQD vs. JNK – two bond ETFs at opposite spectrums of credit risk.  Who wins the battle? In our latest ETF Battles, Ron DeLegge at ETFguide referees the match-up between the iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Bond ETF (LQD) and the SPDR Barclays Capital …

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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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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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How Safe are Bonds?

News flash: Investors who assumed their investments in conservative bonds and bond funds (Nasdaq:LSBRX) were safe from losses are learning otherwise. Since mid-2016, the performance for U.S. bonds (NYSEARCA:BND) with top credit grades have sunk almost 4%. For perspective, the 12-month yield on ETFs tracking the Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index is just 2.40%. Put another …

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3 Risks that Could Derail Your Retirement Plan

Funding your retirement is a big financial obligation that no one can escape. How big? While other expenses like paying for college education or a home are also large, they aren’t necessarily in the same league. Why? Because buying a home or paying for a family member’s education isn’t something we necessarily have to do. …

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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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Are You Still Investing Without a Margin of Safety?

In retrospect, Brexit turned out to be more meaningful than Grexit. And while the immediate reaction of global financial markets (NYSEARCA:VT) to the England’s decisive vote to leave the European Union (EU) was negative, it’s a stark reminder of why investing without a margin of safety is negligent. With the exception of precious metals (NYSEARCA:GLTR), mining …

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Why the Debt Ceiling Deadline Isn’t That Scary

On Oct. 15, the sitting U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew sent his warning letter to Congress to increase the U.S. debt ceiling “or else.” Should bond investors be scared? Here’s an excerpt from Lew’s letter to Congress: “Based on our best and most recent information, we now estimate that extraordinary measures will be exhausted no later than …

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One Place Where So-Called “Smart Beta” Hasn’t Been Very Smart

Never mind what the cute marketing brochures or what nouveau indexers say. The trumped-up allegations that beta is somehow “smart” or “better” is a grand ole fairytale. (Audio) Listen to Ron DeLegge @ The Index Investing Show While “smart beta” types (formerly referred to as fundamental indexers) are pumping up their equity concoctions (NYSEARCA:PRF), their …

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The Bull Market in U.S. Treasuries that Just Won’t Quit

Stocks around the globe are swooning and bonds are zooming. The almost 3% correction in the S&P 500 (SNP:^GSPC) over the past week has pushed long-term Treasury bond ETFs (NYSEARCA:TLT) higher by around 2.75%.  And just like that, the bull market in bonds that 100% of Wall Street’s economists said would end badly in 2014 …

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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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Fairytale

Slaying Fiction about Gold and QE

Assassinating financial fairytales is something I enjoy doing. And the precious metals (NYSEARCA:GLTR) market is jam-packed with fiction of all sizes, flavors, and colors. One of the biggest pieces of financial propaganda promoted over the past several years is that massive monetary stimulus by the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank (also known as “quantitative easing” or …

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Car Crash 1

One Rally That Has Blindsided Wall Street’s Throngs

It seems nobody on Wall Street can stop talking about how the S&P 500 just breached its 200-day moving average for the first time since November 2012. From bedazzled TV anchors to nouveau bears, it’s suddenly everybody’s favorite chart, minus Abby Joseph Cohen. The other chart nobody wants to discuss is the significant outperformance of …

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The Crowd Votes for Stocks over Cash

What do investors love and what do they hate? Where are they putting their money? Analyzing the money inflow/outflow data for ETFs gives us some clues. In a study of U.S. ETF flows just published by the SPDR ETFs, David B. Mazza, the Head of Research observed: “Equities drove a disproportionate share of September’s inflows with …

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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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BBQ Grill 2

Treasury Doomsayers Get Grilled by Hated Rally in Bond Prices

In late 2013 just before the Federal Reserve began its scaling back on monthly Treasury bond purchases, the conventional wisdom was that interest rates would rise and bond prices would fall. Invariably, the consensus opinion was – at it has been since “quantitative easing” or QE began in 2008 – that “interest rates have nowhere …

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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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Falling Bricks

A $725,000 Portfolio on Shaky Ground

Having a six or seven figure sized investment portfolio doesn’t automatically make it smart. Such is the case with a $725,000 investment portfolio that I recently graded. An investment Portfolio Report Card request was made to me by a mid-40s software engineer who described himself as an “aggressive investor.” Software is a pretty aggressive business and …

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