ARTICLES

BULLS & BEARS: Why diversifying may not accomplish what you think

What is the one thing nearly every investment adviser, financial planner or grandpa would tell you is the most important attribute of a solid portfolio? Diversify. In other words, don't put your eggs in one basket-right? It makes perfect sense to any rational person and is almost a religion among some in the financial-planning community. Planners use fancy-schmancy software to "optimize" asset allocation and will plot your portfolio vs. "the efficient frontier" in order to fine-tune your risk and potential...
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BULLS & BEARS: Don't expect market assumptions to be true

The other day, a client asked me the following question about the stock market: "How are we going to play the downside when the next president is a Democrat and raises taxes?" That question has three assumptions in it: Presidents who are Democrats raise income taxes. The stock market will drop if taxes are raised. The next president will be a Democrat. For more than five decades, tax rates on personal income have basically been dropping. In the 1950s, the...
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BULLS & BEARS: Reflect if you must, but look ahead, too

Let's peer back to a time a few years ago to see if there are any similarities to today. "Back then," corporations were buying back their own stock as never before and pundits talked about the massive liquidity flowing into stocks. "Back then," the U.S. market hit new all-time highs in the first half of the year, although professional investors were skeptical since the strongest global economy was in Asia. "Back then," the economy was in the fifth year of...
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BULLS & BEARS: Today's trust company isn't your grandfather's

Over the last few months, I've gotten to know an expert in the trust business by the name of Charlie Mosbrucker. He is a former trust officer and lawyer who spent more than 22 years working in various trust departments. Over the last decade or so, the trust business has evolved and, as he says, "Today's trust company is not your grandfather's trust company." When I think of a trust company, my image is that of a chubby white-haired guy...
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BULLS & BEARS: Market history suggests election lead-up will rock

Two weeks ago, I mentioned that there could be a way to profit from now until the big election late next year. The election is still more than 500 days away, and I already am tired of the sound bites. But if there is a way to make a nickel from the candidates' hot air, the race might be tolerable. On a recent television appearance, Rich Karlgaard of Forbes said he thought the Dow Jones industrial average could hit 18,000...
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BULLS & BEARS: Why ETFs are gaining on mutual fund industry

The big election is 18 months away. Is there an investment you can use to play it? I think so if you look to a rising star that is attracting the attention of the wealthy as well as the common man. This star's popularity has gone from relative obscurity a decade ago to a media frenzy now. If this were 1958, you would think I was talking about JFK, and today Obama comes to mind. But I'm not thinking of...
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BULLS & BEARS: Sectors of stock market swing in and out of favor

I hated chemistry class in high school. Beakers and Bunsen burners were fun, but memorizing the periodic table of elements was torture for my ADD brain. All those little boxes with different colors stacked up in rows with the twoletter symbols and numbers of protons and neutrons boggled my mind. Today, though, a periodic table provides valuable instruction in my business. I am not talking about the periodic table with hydrogen, einsteinium and nobelium on it. The table valuable to...
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BULLS & BEARS: Embracing unloved stocks great way to make money

Proverbs 30:19 states that there are "four things I'll never understand, how an eagle flies so high in the sky, how a snake glides over a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, and why adolescents act the way they do." Having had three adolescents, I will agree they are beyond understanding. If there had been a stock market in the 10th century B.C., the author might have added one more item to the list. Besides adolescents, he probably wouldn't...
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BULLS & BEARS Market poised for big run, so put your money in now:

After the market swoon a few weeks ago (which I said in this column on Jan. 8 and Feb. 5 was overdue), you might be feeling a bit woozy. You might be weak in the knees, but it's time to take a big whiff of smelling salts and turn bullish. Even if you are a bull, you are not bullish enough. With the pullback, you might have been lucky enough to catch the market wiggle, but it is time to...
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BULLS & BEARS: Amid all the complaining, U.S. continues to prosper

A few weeks ago, I heard Ben Stein speak about politics and the economy. The noted lawyer, writer, actor and economist spouted off various positive statistics about the U.S. economy and then lamented that the public seemed morose about the financial sunshine. Even though our standard of living is at an all-time high, it seems as if Americans like to grovel and complain. Stein said, in his best Ferris Bueller drone, the American public was the most "unhappy happy society"...
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