Investing

Why All the Money Anxiety?

Two economic indicators suggest that the U.S. economy is recovering from the recession. The housing market is almost back to 2006 levels in most areas of the country. We also see frequent near-record highs for the Dow Jones stock index.

Bonds Deliver a Surprise

Tapering down the Federal Reserve’s stimulus was supposed to push long-term bond yields. But that hasn’t happened. Why? Overseas woes, low inflation and, despite what many expected, the Federal Reserve’s new chief, Janet Yellen.

Over the past several years, Fed actions dominated the financial landscape. Arguably, the Fed played a significant behind-the-scenes role in economic improvement. This is more than obvious to equity market investors, whose enthusiasm over low rates propelled the stock market last year.

Why Inflation Lies Ahead

Inflation, at 1.5%, is tame. So why worry? Because the enormous expansion of the U.S. money supply, thanks to Washington’s attempt at economic stimulus, eventually will lead to harmful inflation, which really is a tax on your wealth.

Handling Market Volatility

Stock market volatility can scare investors. Rising markets tend to show little of it, but falling ones display a lot, as people unload their shares. Volatility – which is basically the degree to which stock prices jump around – is now low. But here’s a guarantee: It will shoot up again.

World Problems and U.S. Stocks

Remember when overseas events influenced the U.S. stock market? From 2010 through 2012, the market zigged and zagged in time with the European debt crisis. Now that the Federal Reserve plans to wind down its stimulus program, which has propped up American stocks, get ready for more shocks from aboard.

Scary News? Keep Your Focus

What can you and other investors do about Russia, vanished airliners or whatever tomorrow’s headlines bring? How does the Ukraine crisis affect your providing income for you and your family for the rest of your lives? The answer – in this age of rat-ta-tat information about disasters – fixes your whole mindset about investing.

Speed Trading Does Rig Markets

To hear the blowback from Wall Street, Michael Lewis’s book slamming high-frequency trading is misguided, naïve and inaccurate. But the Lewis book, Flash Boys, is spot-on. HFT does rig the stock market against small investors.

His take:

Michael Lewis’ Hyperbole

According to author Michael Lewis’ new book, the stock market is “rigged.” The reason: Professional traders armed with super-fast computers get better prices than you. But several smart advisors think his diagnosis is overblown, saying that HFT  harms mainly day traders and that Lewis ignores the good that faster connections bring, such as lowering costs and expanding liquidity.

4 Harmful Market Myths

Market myths keep proliferating, and they are dangerous to your portfolio. Among the worst are: IPOs are the road to riches, ditto biotech, Apple is over and moribund stocks will stay that way.

Investing for Tax Benefits

The most wonderful time of the year this isn’t. With taxes and your returns due April 15 and changes in tax laws, a big surprise might loom for some of us. Smart investors re-tool portfolios now to save on tax days now and to come.

New for 2013 taxpayers: a 3.8% surcharge on investment income. To avoid this, you may look for investments that pay little or no income, ones relying on growth in value rather than dividend or interest payments.

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