S&P 500

(Podcast) The $700 Million Man Who Lost His Fortune

What’s hot and what’s not? The chart below shows that U.S stocks (NYSEARCA:SPY) are still outperforming other asset categories like bonds (NYSEARCA:BND), global real estate (NYSEARCA:RWO), and gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) this year.  Stock market fear is contained and the VIX – a popular barometer of sentiment –  has declined around 30% year-to-date. In terms of S&P 500 industry …

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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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Ocean Waves

Is Elevated Volatility on Modest Losses Normal?

Stock market volatility creeps up when most investors least expect it. But even more intriguing about the latest upward explosion in equity volatility is that it occurred on small percentage losses in major stock index benchmarks like the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) and Russell Small Cap 2000 (NYSEARCA:IWM). (Audio) Portfolio Report Card: Diseccting a $1.2 Million …

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Grading Retirement Plan

(Podcast) What’s the Right Way to Measure Your Portfolio’s Progress?

Can you believe it? The year 2015 is already half over. As second quarter investment account statements arrive, now is the time to un-distract yourself and focus on what’s impacting the performance of your money. Get Your Portfolio Checklist Why do so many people ignore their investment portfolio? Is it because they’re afraid to look inside? …

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(Podcast) Well Organized Portfolios Aren’t Accidental

Many investment portfolios reflect the lives of their owners; they’re cluttered, scattered, and completely disorganized. In my latest podcast, Welcome to Portfolio School!, I talk about how good organization within your investment portfolio contributes to better results. And a big part of being organized means having smart asset location. This boils down to making sure you’re …

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Here’s Why a Total Market Approach is Better vs. the S&P 500

Last year, Warren Buffett said he would direct the trustees of his estate to put 90% of his remaining assets in an S&P 500 index fund and 10% in short-term government bonds.  Is there a better approach for individual investors to follow? Although popular benchmarks like the S&P 500 get most of the headlines, broader funds like …

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Conservative Utility Stocks Lose Favor

Last week we told you how dwindling stock market volatility (NYSEARCA:VIXY) and the insatiable appetite for high risk debt (NYSEARCA:JNK) is characterizing the market’s latest episode of fearless risk taking. This time around, there’s another piece of evidence that confirms this scary trend. The chart below shows how S&P 500 utilities (NYSEARCA:XLU) are on the …

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Portfolio Chart 1

3 Ageless Lessons for Nasdaq 5000

Back to the future! The Nasdaq Composite Index (NasdaqGIDS:^IXIC) just crossed 5,000. Other stock market yardsticks like the Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) and S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:VOO) sit atop multi-year highs too. Everything that is old and worn out is suddenly new and exciting. (See skinny jeans and venture capital.) All of us are 15 …

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Ocean Waves

Volatility Sleeps, Risk Doesn’t

Higher stock prices (NYSEARCA:DIA) have kept a lid on stock market volatility. The S&P 500 volatility index (ChicagoOptions:^VIX), also known as the “fear index,” has now fallen around 17% over the past month and is back below its 200-day moving average. Does the stock market’s general lack of fear mean that volatility has reached a permanently low …

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What’s Your Income Plan?

For just the fourth time in 50 years, the S&P 500’s (NYSEARCA:IVV) dividend yield was briefly more versus 10-year U.S. Treasuries (ChicagoOptions:^TNX). It’s another testament to the difficult climate facing bond investors (NYSEARCA:BOND) who want to generate a respectable level of income. For good reason, more people are employing alternative income strategies like selling covered calls. The covered call technique (also …

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A Seasonal Snapshot of the S&P 500

Although we know market prices always trump seasonality in terms of importance, we shouldn’t completely ignore the significance of historical seasonal trends. Since 1996, the S&P 500 (SNP:^GSPC) has ended higher during the month of January 55% of the time but with a flat return. This particular January appears to be an obvious divergence from this trend. …

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Super Bowl Indicator: Bullish or Bearish?

Sometimes the quirkiest predictors of stock market performance are the most accurate. And for whatever reason, the Super Bowl Indicator fits that precise description. It has scored an accuracy ratio of 81% over the past 48 Super Bowl games. How does it work? If the NFC team wins, the U.S. stock market (NYSEARCA:DIA) will end the …

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Assets Flood to Europe

How did market participants react to the ECB’s 1.1 trillion euro QE-styled asset purchase plan? By pouring money into European stocks. Europe focused stock ETFs (NYSEARCA:VGK) collectively raked in 65% of all global ETP asset flow last week, gaining just over $4 billion in new assets. (Audio) Listen to Ron DeLegge @ The Index Investing …

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Are Momentum Stocks Losing Momentum?

Never mind how the U.S. stock market is posting modest year-to-date losses close to 2%. Momentum stocks are up and so is risk taking. A comparison of the iShares MSCI USA Momentum Factor ETF (NYSEARCA:MTUM) – a good proxy for the risk appetite of bullishly trending stocks – versus the S&P 500 (SNP:^GSPC) shows that momentum stocks have not …

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Volatility: Friend or Foe?

Stock market volatility is frequently portrayed as an evil force that all investors should strive to avoid. However, embracing volatility (ChicagoOptions:^VIX) rather than avoiding it can be extremely lucrative. On 12/17/14 we told our subscribers the following via our Weekly ETF Picks: “The VIX has been on a tear, gaining almost 40% since early December. Here’s …

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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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Lower Energy Stocks

Have Energy Stocks Finally Bottomed?

Energy stocks slid 8.7% last year and was the only S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:VOO) industry sector to lose value in 2014. Have energy stocks (NYSEARCA:XLE) really bottomed? FactSet reports: “Despite declining oil prices over the past few months, industry analysts are most optimistic regarding the Energy sector in 2015, based on their current ratings and target price estimates. In …

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Ocean Waves

Is Rising Stock Market Volatility Bullish?

When stocks go up volatility goes down and vice versa. While this historically inverse relationship plays out most of the time, there’s been a significant disconnect as of late. The chart below illustrates this disconnect. As you can see, over the past three-months, the S&P 500 (black line) has gained around 2.7% yet the S&P 500 volatility …

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Is it Time for Stock Market Investors to Play Defense?

The U.S. stock market has gained five consecutive years and 9 out of the past 10 years. Put another way, an offensive oriented aggressive approach toward stocks has worked like a charm. Is it time for investors to start playing defense? (Audio) Listen to Ron DeLegge @ The Index Investing Show The consumers staples sector (NYSEARCA:XLP) …

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