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.

Good Stocks Get Bad News

Investors often overreact to bad news. When that happens, good companies hit by bad news become that most exquisite thing: a value play. Rule of thumb: When a solid business runs into a temporary mess, it’s likely a buy signal.

Reasons for a Spring Rally

Despite this year’s anemic start, there’s a decent chance of a spring rally. Don’t expect that to continue for the rest of the year, as it did in 2013.

How to Manage Risk Now

Many investors have skewed ideas about risk. Even after 2013’s stock market run-up, they fear losing money more than they wish to make more. That could be a mistake. What’s the best way to handle risk?

Investment advisors and financial planners are getting more and more statements of this ilk: “I would like to invest to make more money but I don’t want to take a risk.” Or: “I want an investment more rewarding than a bank account but I want it to be safe.”

Recession? Market Won’t Tell

Once upon a time the economy seemed to drive the stock market. Now we tend to think the opposite holds true. Wall Street trading and Main Street business in fact remain disturbingly distinct – which you forget at your peril when investing.

Corporate Bonds: Why Bother?

A standard investing precept: Bonds add ballast to your portfolio, buffering it from harsh economic times, when stocks tank. But most don’t recognize that there are bonds and there are bonds. From a total portfolio perspective, corporate bonds don’t give you any better performance than Treasury securities, and corporate-leaning portfolios do worse in downturns than Treasury-laden ones.

Buffett’s Edge on Hedge Funds

Fees count in investing. Just ask storied investor Warren Buffett, who is far ahead in his highly publicized wager with the hedge fund industry. His bet: Over 10 years, a simple index fund tracking the Standard & Poor’s 500 will outperform the so-called experts who run hedge funds. Buffett’s advantage is that the hedge funds charge much higher fees than the index fund.


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