Investing Column

Skarbeck: Bucking common jitters rewards stock investorsRestricted Content

July 26, 2014
Ken Skarbeck
When it comes to investing, some deep thinking can provide perspective on your finances. A reflective investor will find himself challenging some of the accepted beliefs held dear by the investment industry.
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Kim: Midterm election years challenging for stocksRestricted Content

July 19, 2014
Mickey Kim
A persistent seasonal anomaly for stocks is the “presidential cycle,” a pattern of performance coinciding with various years of a presidency.
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Skarbeck: Lots of reasons to avoid 'liquid-alt' mutual fundsRestricted Content

July 12, 2014
Ken Skarbeck
Considering that annual fees can run 3 percent or more, and investment performance for the vast majority of these funds has been subpar, if offered a liquid-alt mutual fund, our decision would be to pass.
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Kim: Investors fleeing market as stocks hit record highsRestricted Content

July 5, 2014
Mickey Kim
It’s amazing how the 24/7 media bombardment of random noise and sound bites on the economy and markets has investors continually on tenterhooks. It seems Armageddon is always lurking around the corner.
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Skarbeck: Multi-asset model risky for institutional investingRestricted Content

June 28, 2014
Ken Skarbeck
Wall Street’s propensity to create arcane products and sell them to investors within broad asset-allocation programs has increased portfolio complexity and altered overall performance.
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Kim: Envy can be dangerous to your financial healthRestricted Content

June 21, 2014
Mickey Kim
If your employer offered to double your salary, would you jump at the chance? In a rational world, you’d take that deal 100 times out of 100. However, you’ll probably be surprised to learn how we make a “no brainer” decision like this depends on whether someone else is involved.
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Skarbeck: Hedge fund fees pile up despite bad performanceRestricted Content

June 14, 2014
Ken Skarbeck
Investors continue to pour money into hedge funds, even though their performance has been downright awful.
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Kim: What is insider trading? It's time for clear answerRestricted Content

June 7, 2014
Mickey KimMore

Skarbeck: Trillions raised, invested by private equity playersRestricted Content

May 31, 2014
Ken Skarbeck
An estimated 2,700 private equity firms manage some $3.5 trillion in assets. Often called “buyout firms,” they solicit investments from pension funds and other well-heeled investors that are pooled into “funds” and used to acquire public and private companies.
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Kim: Target-date funds simple, but one size doesn't fit allRestricted Content

May 24, 2014
Mickey Kim
The popularity of target-date funds has attracted a bevy of providers fighting for market share, many trying to differentiate themselves by using unconventional strategies. This has led to wildly different performance for funds with the same target date.
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Skarbeck: Understand accounting--or pay the consequencesRestricted Content

May 17, 2014
Ken Skarbeck
Throughout history, good accounting practices have promoted trust in government and capitalist systems, while inadequate accounting has led to financial chaos and even revolutions.
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Kim: Graduating from college entitles you to nothingRestricted Content

May 10, 2014
Mickey Kim
Despite your newly obtained degree, you don’t know anything. You have no skills. If you are really lucky, you will soon land your first job. You are not entitled to that job. If you get it, you should be grateful for your good fortune and make the most of it.
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Skarbeck: Companies using mergers to sidestep taxes in U.S.Restricted Content

May 3, 2014
Ken Skarbeck
Merger activity has exploded this year, and a key factor behind many of the deals is the ability to use cash stockpiles held overseas.
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Kim: Analysis of 2012 NFL draft offers investment lessons

April 26, 2014
Mickey Kim
Slow and steady wins the race” is a value-investing mind-set that’s also applicable to building an NFL roster. Choose overlooked or undervalued prospects, not the Heisman Trophy winner or Twitter.
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Skarbeck: Debt levels have shot higher in wake of financial crisisRestricted Content

April 19, 2014
Ken Skarbeck
According to the Switzerland-based Bank for International Settlements, aggregate global debt has ballooned more than 40 percent since the financial crisis and is estimated to have reached $100 trillion.
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Kim: Human nature stands in way of earning robust returnsRestricted Content

April 12, 2014
Mickey Kim
'Behavior gap' is the difference between what an average investment returns and what the average investor actually earns, because he or she can't leave investments alone long enough for them to prosper.
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Skarbeck: Being a company director can be a lucrative gigRestricted Content

April 5, 2014
Ken Skarbeck
As another annual report season arrives, the compensation tables in proxy statements clearly show that it pays to be a director of a public company.
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Kim: How Amazon bullied its way into retail dominationRestricted Content

March 29, 2014
Mickey Kim
In a 2013 cover story, Fortune magazine described Amazon as a “brass-knuckled battler for every penny of competitive advantage.” As state treasurers can attest, that portrayal is both well-deserved and important to understanding the rise of Amazon.
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Skarbeck: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac roil big investment firmsRestricted Content

March 22, 2014
Ken Skarbeck
In 2012, Fannie and Freddie started making money as the housing market rebounded and losses in their mortgage portfolios reversed. By the end of this month, the firms will have returned $203 billion to taxpayers. In the meantime, several hedge funds began acquiring both the preferred shares and common stocks of Fannie and Freddie.
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Kim: Investors must play to win to reach long-term goalsRestricted Content

March 15, 2014
Mickey Kim
Whether an athletic contest or the “game” of investing, many factors determining whether we win or lose are beyond our control. However, we can control how we approach the game and respond as events unfold, which can be just as important.
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Skarbeck: Tactics have proliferated to gain edge in tradingRestricted Content

March 8, 2014
Ken Skarbeck
Critics are divided on whether Regulation NMS has achieved its stated purpose, or whether it has produced unintended consequences.
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Kim: Buffett's farmland buy illustrates valued lessonsRestricted Content

March 1, 2014
Mickey Kim
Warren Buffett's annual letter to shareholders in Berkshire Hathaway’s annual report always contains timeless advice, useful in good times and bad. He told of two non-stock investments he made decades ago. Though relatively small and insignificant to his net worth, they illustrate important concepts.
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Skarbeck: Trendy 'quant' hedge funds have run their courseRestricted Content

February 22, 2014
Ken Skarbeck
For those who feel they missed capitalizing on the bull market in stocks, consider that an elite fraternity of heralded money managers actually lost money for their clients over the past three years.
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Kim: Sports wagers illustrate concepts of investing

February 15, 2014
Mickey Kim
Sports betting wouldn’t be what it is today without an innovation by Charles K. McNeil. McNeil’s strong analytical ability enabled him to earn a living as a professional gambler, or “sharp.” His innovation was the “point spread.”
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Skarbeck: Analysts' quarterly focus can lead investors astrayRestricted Content

February 8, 2014
Ken Skarbeck
Wall Street analysts are notorious for their short-term attention spans. This leads to undue scrutiny of a company’s quarterly figures and can lead to poor decisions by investors.
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