Investing Column

SKARBECK: Deficits turn up pressure on unions, politicians

January 8, 2011
Ken Skarbeck
One sure bet this year is that Americans can expect to see a number of high-profile battles across the country between municipal or state governments and public-employee unions.
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SKARBECK: Regulators and 'experts' failed to stop scammers

December 25, 2010
Ken Skarbeck
Most people find it incomprehensible that there are hundreds of con men around the country who wake up every morning with the objective of looting people who have placed their trust in them.
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SKARBECK: Brokerage soft costs under tighter scrutinyRestricted Content

December 11, 2010
Ken Skarbeck
Many investment firms, hedge funds and mutual funds participate in this less-than-desirable industry practice.
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SKARBECK: GM's return to market not your usual IPORestricted Content

November 27, 2010
Ken Skarbeck
This unusual taxpayer-owned IPO did create some interesting conflicts.
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HAUKE: Fed pulling out all stops to keep inflation downRestricted Content

November 20, 2010
U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke wants the entire world to believe that the United States is in a deflationary economic cycle and, therefore, the drastic, insane steps he is taking are justified.
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SKARBECK: Benchmarks helpful, but have their problemsRestricted Content

November 13, 2010
Ken Skarbeck
Benchmarking has exploded with the industry’s propensity to slice and dice and categorize every segment of the overall investment pie.
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SKARBECK: Changes on horizon for mutual fund fees

October 30, 2010
Ken Skarbeck
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is proposing significant changes to the structure of the annual marketing or distribution fee on mutual funds known as a 12(b)-1 fee.
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SKARBECK: Short sellers maligned, but play a useful roleRestricted Content

October 2, 2010
Ken Skarbeck
True professional short sellers are typically intelligent, above-board investors who often alert the markets and investors to overvalued securities and, in some cases, to fraud.
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SKARBECK: Expect more battles over public pensions

September 18, 2010
Ken Skarbeck
This year, 15 states have enacted legislation to reduce future public pension obligations.
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HICKS: Most majors pay off, but some a lot more than othersRestricted Content

August 28, 2010
Mike Hicks
There is clearly something important about the totality of what is learned in college, but, if you want to apply all those upper-level classes in your major, you'd better study hard or pick the right field.
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SKARBECK: Investors may miss mark by switching to bonds

August 21, 2010
Ken Skarbeck
It seems more likely that bond investors today are making the same mistake stock investors made back at the peak of the stock-market bubble.
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SKARBECK: U.S. will someday have to deal with debt

August 7, 2010
Ken Skarbeck
After years of easy borrowing that helped boost economic growth, governments around the globe are dealing with evil twinsâ??high levels of debt and shrinking revenue to repay.
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SKARBECK: Financial overhaul law leaves much uncertaintyRestricted Content

July 24, 2010
Ken Skarbeck
The public, to no surprise, is skeptical that the new regulations will succeed. A Bloomberg poll shows nearly four out of five Americans have little confidence the measures will prevent a crisis.
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SKARBECK: Short-term sizzle can't beat consistencyRestricted Content

July 10, 2010
Ken Skarbeck
To achieve outsized returns, whether in mutual funds or individual stocks, investors must avoid the hype and reliance on past outperformance.
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SKARBECK: Even investment stars have losing periodsRestricted Content

June 26, 2010
Ken Skarbeck
Most investors have heard the cautionary statement “past performance is not indicative of future results.” This oft-repeated caveat reveals its truth time and again in the investment industry.
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SKARBECK: Municipal bond defaults might be next crisisRestricted Content

June 12, 2010
Ken Skarbeck
for decades, politicians have regularly boosted public pension benefits to score election gains, while neglecting the long-term costs to municipal budgets. Now the bills are coming due.
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SKARBECK: Why do Fannie, Freddie deserve a free pass?Restricted Content

May 29, 2010
Ken Skarbeck
One crisis that continues to simmer under the public radar is the endless taxpayer support needed to prop up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
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SKARBECK: Exchanges' proposed fix for glitch is ludicrousRestricted Content

May 15, 2010
Ken Skarbeck
Is investing becoming a technology-rigged game for computerized gamblers who rent stocks for seconds or minutes and whose objective is to repeatedly skim small profits?
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SKARBECK: Finding one last lesson in Grace's amazing taleRestricted Content

April 17, 2010
Ken Skarbeck
Grace held her investment through many ups and downs in the stock market. But most important to her was that Abbott as a business continued to thrive, despite the swings in its stock price.
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SKARBECK: How Grace stayed patient under pressure to sellRestricted Content

April 3, 2010
Ken Skarbeck
When we left, we were trying to imagine a few of the many obstacles Grace might have encountered as her initial investment grew into $7 million over 74 years.
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SKARBECK: Amazing patience paid off for GraceRestricted Content

March 20, 2010
Ken Skarbeck
Back in 1935, she invested $180 in Abbott Laboratories stock and never sold it. This one decision became the entire investment career of Grace Groner.
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SKARBECK: Financial reform should start with derivativesRestricted Content

March 6, 2010
Ken Skarbeck
At the very least, regulators need to get control of derivative trading—transactions need to be more transparent and carried out on an exchange.
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SKARBECK: Economic Greek tragedy could play out globallyRestricted Content

February 20, 2010
Ken Skarbeck
Fears that Greece may default on its government debt have kept global markets on edge.
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SKARBECK: Biglari's ambitious, but he's no BuffettRestricted Content

February 6, 2010
Ken Skarbeck
While Sardar Biglari's effort to duplicate Warren Buffett is clear, some of the Steak n Shake chief's moves have been superficial.
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SKARBECK: Stocks that pay dividends can provide yield, safetyRestricted Content

January 23, 2010
Ken Skarbeck
These are challenging times for savers who demand a high level of safety from their investments.
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  1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.

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