US Economy

  • 21 Jun
    Diversification vs. Concentration

    Diversification vs. Concentration

    • Index funds and diversification have worked extremely well in the past 35 years, however their success can be thanked to geography, as we hear only about the success in the U.S., and to declining interest rates.
    • If the S&P 500 had the same earnings yield as when the Vanguard fund gained traction, it would be at 557 points, yes 77% below current levels.
    • It’s better to wait in cash than buy a diversified index fund now.

    Introduction

    Some investment gurus advocate spreading your portfolio across various asset classes in order to limit your risks for the same return. On the other hand, others say diversification is for idiots and for those who don’t know what they’re doing. I’ll analyze their arguments and see what the best option is for you. More →

  • 09 Jun
    Want To Know About The Current State Of The Market? Read This.

    Want To Know About The Current State Of The Market? Read This.

    • A quick look at the economy points out a few risks, but there are also some positives.
    • Unfortunately, savers have gotten the short end in this environment, but average investors haven’t done much better either.
    • It’s important to understand what’s going on and how will it affect your long-term returns. If you only think about the short term, your returns will be below average, thus below 2.3% per year.

    Introduction

    J.P.Morgan (NYSE: JPM) recently released its Q2 2017 Guide To The Markets. As this report is very long, with a total of 71 slides and a lot of correlation charts, I’ll take out the most important things an investor should know about the current state of the markets and the economy. More →

  • 30 May
    Why You Want Gold Miners In Your Portfolio Now

    Why You Want Gold Miners In Your Portfolio Now

    • Investing 5% of your portfolio in gold miners offers you the potential for a twenty-fold upside while the downside is just the invested 5%.
    • A macroeconomic analysis shows that there is a high chance that the FED won’t be able to significantly increase interest rates or trim its balance sheet.
    • More quantitative easing—similar to what is still going on in Europe and Japan—would easily bring gold above $2,000 per ounce. In that case, I wouldn’t exclude 1,000% jumps for miners.

    Introduction

    Lately I’ve been mentioning in a few articles how gold, especially gold miners, are a good hedge for a portfolio. My idea is that if you own gold miners with 5% of your portfolio, you are relatively well protected against whatever surprises we might see coming from the economy. More →

  • 29 May
    Are You Ready? The FED Says More Tightening Ahead

    Are You Ready? The FED Says More Tightening Ahead

    • The FED’s meeting minutes clearly signal more tightening ahead.
    • Inflation has consistently been above 2% in 2017, so we can say “bye bye” to low interest rates.
    • There’s a rosy scenario for the economy and a negative one. In both, stocks are bound to fall.

    Introduction

    Inflation is an extremely important factor concerning anything related to investing. Over time, there’s a huge difference between real (inflation adjusted) and nominal returns. Therefore, we always have to keep an eye on inflation and invest accordingly to minimize the risk of seeing inflation eat up our returns, and to maximize our real returns. More →

  • 25 May
    Building The Best Portfolio For The Upcoming Recession

    Building The Best Portfolio For The Upcoming Recession

    • Stocks will be hit badly. Low price earnings and high book values can provide some safety.
    • Bonds look much better than last year.
    • Alternative investments can be a jack-pot for your portfolio.

    Introduction

    Yesterday we discussed how a recession is imminent, especially if the trending down credit growth turns negative.

    The most important thing now for investors is to prepare for such an event. Today, we’re going to dig deeper into the recession-related investing risks as different asset classes will be affected differently. More →

  • 24 May
    As Credit Growth Slows, The First Recession Bell Tolls

    As Credit Growth Slows, The First Recession Bell Tolls

    • The economy can only grow as fast as productivity in the long term.
    • U.S. real GDP growth has been around 2% in the last 8 years while productivity growth has lingered at 0.5%.
    • Therefore, 75% of economic growth is under the influence of credit. Credit expansion is slowing down and turning negative.

    Introduction

    What do you do when your neighbor, that you know makes the same amount of money as you do, buys a Porsche, puts a big pool in their garden, remodels and refurnishes their house, and throws big parties to brag about it? More →

  • 10 May
    The Trouble The Market Refuses To See

    The Trouble The Market Refuses To See

    • GDP growth is at three year lows, car sales have dropped 11%, and the biggest sector contributing to new employment is about to go into oversupply.
    • The FED is in a stalemate situation. It should raise interest rates and deleverage, but it’s already too late as the economy, government, and population is hooked on low interest rates.

    Introduction

    The market’s behavior reminds me of the three wise monkeys. One doesn’t see, the other doesn’t speak, and the third doesn’t hear. The VIX index, a measure of market expectations of near-term volatility conveyed by S&P 500 stock index option prices, indicates that investors expect stability and didn’t even react to the bad news coming from the automotive industry, jobs, and a very important bankruptcy. More →

  • 21 Apr
    Are We Already In A New Bear Market?

    Are We Already In A New Bear Market?

    • The biggest investor of them all just said that he will start cashing out. Hopefully, this won’t lead to a bear market, but it will certainly put the brakes on further growth.
    • Economic signals are mixed, the outlook is uncertain and as much as the low unemployment rate is positive, historically, that isn’t a good sign for the future.
    • As always, we’ll discuss what to do in this environment.

    Introduction

    It seems that the S&P 500 peaked on March 1, 2017. More →

  • 19 Apr
    The Next Bear Market Is Coming. Here’s Where It Will Start.

    The Next Bear Market Is Coming. Here’s Where It Will Start.

    • $2 billion a day flows into Vanguard to be mindlessly invested in the market through index funds.
    • When the only reason people invest is because staying on the sidelines means getting sore while others get rich, it usually spells trouble ahead.
    • When the investors plowing $2 billion per day understand what are they buying at extreme valuations, the next bear market will arrive and it will be terrible as the buying reverses to selling.

    Introduction

    A recent The New York Times article described how Vanguard, the $4.2 trillion mutual fund, is the fastest growing fund due to the attractiveness of passive investment vehicles and the average 0.12% fee the fund charges. The low fee is something I applaud as I strongly believe fees in the financial world should be minimal or performance related where nothing is paid if the manager doesn’t deliver. More →

  • 13 Apr
    Why You Should Consider Defined Benefit Pension Plans Before Investing

    Why You Should Consider Defined Benefit Pension Plans Before Investing

    • By adjusting a few percentage points on expected returns and discount rates, unfunded amounts become huge.
    • It’s essential to check the possible future pension obligations of your investments as they can easily cost you your returns. I’ll show a possible impact on General Electric.
    • If you have a defined benefit plan of any kind, don’t take it for granted. The only certain retirement income is the one you provide by yourself.

    Introduction

    A good way to see what’s going on in the pension fund industry is to analyze the 50 largest defined pension plans of the S&P 500 through Goldman Sachs’s 2016 Pension Review. More →

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