Mutual Funds

Finding Long-Term Stocks

A constant mantra in the investment world is that it pays to own good stocks for the long term. The question is: How do you find these long-term winners? This is very difficult, as the most recent quarter illustrates. Let’s examine the field.

How to Tap the Energy Boom

Odds are that the U.S. energy renaissance now under way will continue for some time. That means investing in energy companies should bring a bountiful result. But the menu of possibilities is dauntingly large. What works best? One answer: natural gas and an investment vehicle called a master limited partnership.

Is Smart Beta Smarter?

The market has a new tool to supposedly boost returns using smaller companies’ stocks. Smart beta isn't necessarily small stocks, though, and figuring out how this idea works – and if it works at all – is your first step before banking on it.

Smart beta (or whatever you want to call it) hinges on investors’ easing off the traditional market capitalization-based indexes in search of fatter returns and lower costs. On the whole, it’s a great idea – no rule says that market cap-weighted indexes are the best way to go.

Massive Sell-Off? Unlikely

Fewer investors own stocks these days. The upside: Lower equity ownership lessens the likelihood of a massive sell-off. This is pertinent now in light of the market’s recent dip, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 down for July.

Plus Sign: Low Correlation

Here’s some love for the most unloved bull market in history. Different asset classes are not moving together, as they did for most of the last few years. That lack of correlation, when one set of assets zigs as another zags, is a positive sign because it is typical of secular bull markets.

Questions About Alternatives

Alternative investments are all the rage these days. Think through all the details, though, before deciding if they fit your financial plans.

Mutual fund companies fall all over themselves to sell financial advisors and their clients on “liquid alts” easily bought or sold or on hedge fund-like strategies with the daily liquidity offered in a mutual fund wrapper.

Advisors and Better Returns?

Can you quantify a smarter way to own mutual funds? Vanguard Group thinks so. It believes you – and specifically your advisor – could add more than three percentage points to your returns by adopting seven principles.

Vanguard, which specializes in low-costs index funds, recently published a report that lists the seven value-added types of advice that advisors can use to potentially fatten your performance. To make their idea a reality, of course, you need to choose the right fund manager.

Bull Market: Room to Run

Just because we’ve had a five-year rising market doesn’t mean its demise is near. We are in the fifth inning of a nine-inning long-term secular bull market in stocks, comparable to the 1982-1999 run. So declares Joseph Zidle, portfolio strategist for Richard Bernstein Advisors.

Handling Mutual Fund Bloat

Asset bloat in a mutual fund is akin to how we all sometimes feel after a fantastic meal: We can’t stop eating even though we know we’ll feel lousy and bloated if we don’t stop. Asset bloat in a mutual fund can be a big problem for you the investor.

How to Invest in Bonds Now

Bonds are a familiar asset to most investors. Maybe you’re one of the many who took advantage of the declining interest rates that fueled bond funds in the past few years. Rates always fluctuate, though, and our clients frequently ask, “What’s the best way to invest in bonds today?”

First, you need to know how bonds work. Your investment essentially lends money to a government or corporate entity that agrees to pay the investment back to you after a set time (the bond’s “maturity”) plus interest.


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