Obama Tax Flight Plan: Doomed

Tax inversions – relocating a U.S. company’s headquarters to a lower-tax nation – are an attractive prospect for American shareholders. But President Barack Obama’s move to block them is doomed because the government has a bad track record in legal tax disputes. Plus, his plan likely would backfire, spurring more foreign takeovers of U.S. companies.

The ECB’s Useless Stimulus

The European Central Bank is trying to stimulate the continent’s sagging economy. Judging by the Federal Reserve’s fruitless efforts to perform such a miracle on the U.S. economy, the ECB is wasting its time.

How to Pick Individual Stocks

Picking single equities seems almost quaint in these days of the mutual fund. Singling out a stock for your portfolio still makes sense, though, if you know how to select smart and you sift carefully through headline deals.

One caveat remains true: “Stay away from them if you can’t afford to lose the money,” said Daniel Mazzola, an advisor with American Portfolios in Massapequa, N.Y., speaking at a recent investing panel.

Should You Invest in Startups?

Are you looking to get into an exciting startup? Despite all the success stories – Facebook, Twitter, etc. – you should know that rarely does a startup make it and reward you with a lot of money. Investing in pre-initial public offering companies involves too great a risk for individual investors.

Investing: Head Vs. Heart

What’s life without joy, sadness, happiness and sorrow? Emotions enliven and enrich your existence – and, if you let them sway your financial judgment, they can drive your portfolio onto the rocks. How do you avoid letting your feelings determine your investing?

“Emotions do matter,” said Hugh Massie, chief executive officer of behavioral management advisory firm DNA Behavior in Atlanta. “They get in the way of investors’ success.”

Save ‘Enough’ for Retirement

Your looming retirement can change your idea of just how much money you need to save for your later years. Most important: be realistic and avoid common planning pitfalls.

“‘What’s money mean to you?’ gives most people pause,” said Eric Hutchinson, president of Hutchinson Financial in Little Rock and Bentonville, Ark., and in Texarkana, Texas, speaking at a recent advisory panel. “Most people [say] they don’t want a whole bunch of money; they want ‘enough.’ They begin to use words like ‘comfort’ and ‘peace of mind.’”

The Long Bond Rally Lives On

For the past five years, prognosticators, legendary fund managers and other savants have predicted the end of the incredible 30-year bull market in U.S. Treasury bonds. Odds are, though, that it won’t stop soon, thanks to Treasuries’ status as a refuge in a turbulent world and the Federal Reserve’s ongoing interest in avoiding an economy-jolting rate shock.

Whether that’s a good thing is another question. What’s for sure is that reversing the momentum of a longstanding trend of lower bond yields is not easy.

Bond Fund Prices Stale?

Beware of buying bond funds whose prices are stale, giving speculators an opening. With some seldom-traded categories, like junk bonds, old prices can make the funds holding them cheaper – or more expensive – than they should be.

Bonds, unlike stocks, aren’t traded on central exchanges. So, for instance, when some junk issues are lightly traded, reporting on their current prices takes a while to catch up. The price you pay for a fund is based on those of the individual bonds in its portfolio.

The Bull Market’s Longevity

The stock market has enjoyed a virtually uninterrupted rally since the dismal days of 2009, following the financial crisis. So the market is overdue for a big pullback, right? History suggests otherwise. Huge bull markets happened in the wake of serious past crises, with stocks reaching levels that were unimaginable at the time.

‘Made in the U.S.A.’ Again

The extent of the U.S. manufacturing renaissance is little appreciated. New energy sources are one reason for the turnaround. There’s another factor at work, though: American workers are increasingly competitive with foreigners.

The comeback of this country’s domestic production is not widely known. My wife Maureen and I were in our local mall recently when we overheard a couple of people in the Nike store discussing how nothing is made in America anymore.


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