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Quarterly Market Review – 2014 Q1

Posted on Thursday, April 17th, 2014

This report features world capital market performance and a timeline of events for the last quarter. It begins with a global overview, then features the returns of stock and bond asset classes in the US and international markets. The report also illustrates the performance of globally diversified portfolios and features a topic of the quarter. Click here to access read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – April 14, 2014

Posted on Monday, April 14th, 2014

HOUSEHOLD SENTIMENT REACHES 9-MONTH PEAKThe University of Michigan’s index of consumer sentiment rose 2.6 points in its preliminary April reading, bouncing back from a 4-month low of 80.0 at the end of March to a high unseen since last July. From 2003-07, the index averaged a reading of 89.0; during the 2007-09 recession, its average read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – April 7, 2014

Posted on Monday, April 7th, 2014

PAYROLLS EXPAND BY 192,000 IN MARCH This gain almost met Wall Street’s expectations. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had forecast 200,000 new jobs. March’s hiring didn’t move the Labor Department’s unemployment indicators much: the jobless rate remained at 6.7%, the labor force participation rate rose just slightly to 63.2, and the population of long-term unemployed still read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – March 31, 2014

Posted on Monday, March 31st, 2014

A SENSE OF OPTIMISM ON MAIN STREET The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index reached a six-year peak this month, climbing 4.0 points to 82.3. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a gain of 0.3 points to 78.6. Additionally, new Commerce Department data showed household spending rising 0.3% in February with household incomes up by the read the full article

Million Dollar Challenge Update

Posted on Friday, March 28th, 2014

Six years ago, arguably at the worst possible time, Warren Buffet made a bet with Ted Seides’ Protege Partners, betting that Vanguard’s S&P 500 Index Fund would outperform a combination of four hedge funds – Mr. Seides’ choice.  It’s a classic active versus passive contest, except with real dollars at stake – over one million read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – March 24, 2014

Posted on Monday, March 24th, 2014

FED TAPERS, CHANGES CRITERIA FOR A RATE HIKE Last week, the Federal Reserve disclosed another $10 billion cut for QE3 in April, and a view that declining unemployment would not necessarily prompt interest rate increases. Rather than peg rate hikes on the jobless rate dipping below 6.5%, the Fed will give greater weight to inflation read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – March 17, 2014

Posted on Monday, March 17th, 2014

RETAIL SALES UP 0.3% IN FEBRUARY Weather didn’t stop Americans from shopping last month. February’s headline gain in retail sales was the first in three months and represented a nice turnaround from the (revised) 0.6% drop measured by the Commerce Department for January. Minus car and truck buying, the February increase was still 0.3%. Sales read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – March 10, 2014

Posted on Monday, March 10th, 2014

ECONOMY ADDS 175,000 MORE JOBS February’s payroll growth was decent, and seemingly unimpeded by the weather. Last month’s net jobs gain approximated the 12-month average of 179,000 recorded by the Labor Department, which also revised January and December totals north by a collective 25,000 hires. Few of the 264,000 new participants in the job hunt read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – March 3, 2014

Posted on Monday, March 3rd, 2014

MIXED RESULTS FROM CONSUMER INDICES Wet, cold weather didn’t dampen the consumer outlook in February – at least according to the month’s final University of Michigan consumer sentiment index, which came in at 81.6. The index finished January at 81.2. On the other hand, February’s Conference Board consumer confidence index slipped 1.3 points to 78.1 read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – February 24, 2014

Posted on Monday, February 24th, 2014

MORE MILD INFLATION Consumer prices ticked up 0.1% for January while wholesale prices rose 0.2%. Analysts polled by MarketWatch expected both the headline Consumer Price Index and Producer Price Index to advance 0.1%. The bigger news item (perhaps) is that the Labor Department altered its calculation of producer prices for the first time in 36 read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – February 17, 2014

Posted on Monday, February 17th, 2014

FREEZING TEMPERATURES COOL RETAIL SALES   While the fourth quarter saw the strongest consumer spending in 3 years, the pace of retail purchases slowed last month. The Commerce Department reported a 0.4% drop in retail sales in January, and it revised December’s gain of 0.2% to a loss of 0.1%. Severe cold, reduced hiring and read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – February 10, 2014

Posted on Monday, February 10th, 2014

WAS IT THE WEATHER, OR THE ECONOMY?   For a second straight month, hiring was weak. Employers added 113,000 jobs in January, and while the unemployment rate ticked down to 6.6%, the Labor Department’s latest report came with some caution flags. Private-sector payrolls expanded by 142,000 new positions, but 29,000 federal workers were let go read the full article

The Golden Ticket Trap

Posted on Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

In the attached article, Jim Parker of Dimensional Fund Advisors explores the fallacy of looking for the investing “treasure” that no one else can see. The Golden Ticket Trap

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – February 3, 2014

Posted on Monday, February 3rd, 2014

CONSUMER MORALE, CONSUMER SPENDING IMPROVE   On Friday, the Commerce Department announced that consumer spending rose 0.4% in December, even as consumer incomes stayed flat. The University of Michigan’s final January consumer sentiment index came in at 81.2 (up 0.8 points from December) and the Conference Board’s January consumer confidence index posted a reading of read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – January 27, 2014

Posted on Monday, January 27th, 2014

MORE HOMES MOVE IN DECEMBER Last month saw a 1.0% gain in existing home sales, a nice change for this key economic indicator after a few subpar months. Analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires anticipated sales improving 0.6%. The National Association of Realtors did revise November’s sales decline to 5.9% (it had been 4.3%).1,2 GAUGE read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – January 20, 2014

Posted on Monday, January 20th, 2014

INFLATION RISES IN DECEMBER Labor Department reports showed the Consumer Price Index up 0.3% last month (with core CPI rising 0.1%) and the Producer Price Index advancing 0.4% (core PPI went north 0.3%). If these spikes foreshadow greater inflation for 2014, they do little to alter the big picture of 2013 – a year in read the full article

Quarterly Market Review – 2013 Q4

Posted on Thursday, January 16th, 2014

This report features world capital market performance and a timeline of events for the last quarter. It begins with a global overview, then features the returns of stock and bond asset classes in the US and international markets. The report also illustrates the performance of globally diversified portfolios and features a topic of the quarter. Click here to access read the full article

Surprise! No Selloff in 2013

Posted on Monday, January 13th, 2014

In the following article, Weston Wellington, a Vice President at Dimensional Fund Advisors, reviews why it is so easy for prognosticators to get their predictions of the wrong. Surprise! No Selloff in 2013

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – January 13, 2014

Posted on Monday, January 13th, 2014

INTERPRETING A PERPLEXING JOBS REPORT Why did the economy generate only 74,000 new jobs last month? Why did 347,000 people drop out of the job hunt to leave the labor participation rate at 62.8%, the lowest in 35 years? Was it the weather? Maybe. As a note from Capital Economics mentions, the Labor Department found read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – January 6, 2014

Posted on Monday, January 6th, 2014

A MAJOR GAIN FOR A CONSUMER CONFIDENCE INDEX The Conference Board’s monthly gauge of consumer confidence came in at 78.1 for December, beating the 76.0 median forecast from economists polled by Bloomberg. In November, it stood at 72.0. The index is way up from where it once was: its average reading was just 53.7 during read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – December 9, 2013

Posted on Monday, December 9th, 2013

GOOD NEWS ON MAIN STREET Unemployment declined to a 5-year low of 7.0% in November, according to the Labor Department; underemployment also reached its lowest level in five years. The economy added 203,000 new jobs last month, far better than the 180,000 forecast by economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters. October also brought a 0.3% rise read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – December 2, 2013

Posted on Monday, December 2nd, 2013

CONFIDENCE INDEX FALLS, SENTIMENT INDEX RISES Two respected barometers of consumer mood went different ways in November. The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index came in at a disappointing 70.4, down from a revised 72.4 mark for October and well below the 74.0 reading forecast by Briefing.com. November’s final consumer sentiment index from the University of read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – November 25, 2013

Posted on Monday, November 25th, 2013

CONSUMER & PRODUCER PRICES DECLINE Last week, Labor Department reports showed the Consumer Price Index down 0.1% for October while the Producer Price Index slipped 0.2% with help from a 3.8% dip in gasoline costs. The real news was the remarkably tame yearly inflation. In the last 12 months, the CPI has only increased 1.0% read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – November 18, 2013

Posted on Monday, November 18th, 2013

YELLEN EMPHASIZES FURTHER EASING While conceding that the Federal Reserve’s current stimulus effort “will not continue indefinitely,” Federal Reserve chair nominee Janet Yellen sounded decidedly dovish at her confirmation hearing in the Senate last week. “Supporting the recovery today is the surest path to returning to a more normal approach to monetary policy,” she noted, read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – November 11, 2013

Posted on Monday, November 11th, 2013

SHUTDOWN DOESN’T DETER HIRING The Labor Department’s delayed October employment report showed the economy adding 204,000 new jobs last month. Analysts polled by Reuters had only expected a gain of 125,000. The unemployment rate actually rose to 7.3%, as those analysts had predicted. This was a nice Friday surprise for Wall Street, and it also read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – November 4, 2013

Posted on Monday, November 4th, 2013

TAME INFLATION, 1.5% BOOST FOR SOCIAL SECURITY Yearly inflation hit a 5-month low of 1.2% in September – the Labor Department noted a 0.2% rise in the headline Consumer Price Index. The core CPI rose 0.1%, with yearly core inflation at 1.7%. (Producer prices dipped 0.1% in September after a 0.3% advance in August.) With read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – October 28, 2013

Posted on Monday, October 28th, 2013

AN ARGUMENT AGAINST TAPERING According to the Labor Department, the economy added 148,000 jobs in September. The jobless rate dipped to 7.2%, but job creation has averaged less than 150,000 for three straight months. (August job growth was revised up to 193,000, July job growth down to 89,000.) The University of Michigan’s final October consumer read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – October 21, 2013

Posted on Monday, October 21st, 2013

FOCUS RETURNS TO EARNINGS, FUNDAMENTALS A sense of normalcy returned to Wall Street late last week following Wednesday’s deal to end the federal shutdown. The sense of relief spurred the S&P 500 to an all-time high on Friday. At the end of last week, 85 S&P firms had reported quarterly results with earnings surpassing forecasts read the full article

Quarterly Market Review – 2013 Q3

Posted on Friday, October 18th, 2013

This report features world capital market performance and a timeline of events for the last quarter. It begins with a global overview, then features the returns of stock and bond asset classes in the US and international markets. The report also illustrates the performance of globally diversified portfolios and features a topic of the quarter. Click here to access read the full article

Eugene Fama Awarded Nobel Prize in Economics

Posted on Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

We are pleased to announce that Dimensional Financial Advisors’ Eugene Fama has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics. As an independent advisory firm, Windham Brannon Financial Group has access to thousands of investment choices without restriction or financial incentive. It’s natural to assume our clients would see the “best of the best” fund managers read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – October 14, 2013

Posted on Monday, October 14th, 2013

HOPES FOR A DEBT DEAL EMERGE After a Friday meeting with President Obama, GOP senators went to work on a bipartisan solution to both the federal budget and federal debt limit impasses, one that would lift the debt limit in exchange for spending cuts. House Republicans introduced a proposal last Thursday to raise the debt read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – October 7, 2013

Posted on Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

WALL STREET FEELS EFFECTS OF SHUTDOWN Even with the federal government mostly out of commission last week and a debt ceiling battle brewing, stocks didn’t fall too far. The NASDAQ actually rose 0.69% in five trading days, marking its fifth straight weekly advance; the S&P 500 lost only 0.07%. The CBOE VIX, unsurprisingly, rose 9.25% read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – September 30, 2013

Posted on Monday, September 30th, 2013

HOUSEHOLDS BOOST THEIR SPENDING August saw a 0.3% gain in personal spending, and the Commerce Department also noted a 0.4% rise in personal income – the largest monthly increase since February. Consumer spending accounts for about 70% of GDP, and analysts widely expect about 2% growth in Q3; Q2 growth was pegged at 2.5% last read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – September 23, 2013

Posted on Monday, September 23rd, 2013

NO TAPERING YET…BUT COULD IT HAPPEN SOON? The DJIA hit an all-time high Wednesday after the Federal Reserve decided not to reduce its $85 billion monthly stimulus effort. Friday, the index lost 185 points on the heels of comments from St. Louis Fed President James Bullard (who said that QE3 could be tapered next month) read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – September 9, 2013

Posted on Monday, September 9th, 2013

BENEATH THE SURFACE, A DISQUIETING JOBS REPORT In August, the U.S. unemployment rate declined to 7.3% with the economy adding 169,000 jobs. Not bad, but details in the Labor Department’s latest report also raised caution flags: the jobless rate fell only because more people gave up the hunt for work, as the labor force participation read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – September 2, 2013

Posted on Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Q2 GDP REVISED UP, CONSUMERS SPEND A BIT MORE Personal spending and personal incomes each rose 0.1% in July, the Commerce Department stated Friday. The tiny household spending advance fell short of the 0.3% increase forecast by economists polled by Bloomberg. In better news, the Commerce Department adjusted its estimate of Q2 GDP to 2.5% read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – August 26, 2013

Posted on Monday, August 26th, 2013

ARE COSTLIER MORTGAGES IMPACTING HOME SALES? On Friday, the Census Bureau announced an unexpected 13.4% drop in new home purchases for July. In contrast to that news, the National Association of Realtors stated that existing home sales rose 6.5% last month. So what is the takeaway here? Most new home purchase contracts close months in read the full article

The Broccoli and Pizza Portfolio

Posted on Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

In the following article, Jim Parker of Dimensional Fund Advisors discusses some of the behavioral challenges investors face in constructing an efficient long term portfolio. The Broccoli and Pizza Portfolio

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – August 19, 2013

Posted on Monday, August 19th, 2013

CONSUMER PRICES RISE 0.2% IN JULY That was exactly the increase that analysts surveyed by Briefing.com expected, and it was a relief after the 0.5% rise in the Consumer Price Index for June. As for July’s Producer Price Index, it was flat – a welcome contrast to June’s 0.8% jump.1 RETAIL SALES IMPROVE July didn’t read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – August 12, 2013

Posted on Monday, August 12th, 2013

IMPRESSIVE SERVICE SECTOR GROWTH Last month saw solid expansion in U.S. service industries, according to the July non-manufacturing PMI from the Institute for Supply Management. ISM’s latest service sector PMI came in at 56.0 compared with 52.2 in June. July’s new orders index rose 6.9% to 57.7, and July’s business activity index climbed 8.7% to read the full article

Following Faber… NOT!

Posted on Friday, August 9th, 2013

I see Marc Faber is at it again. Along with Nouriel Roubini, the two seem to have a competition to see who can be the most negative about the market and/or economy. It’s a toss-up right now. Anyway, Faber is expecting a crash. If you want to see his reasoning, click here. Question – is read the full article

Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust: What is it? Do I need one?

Posted on Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Should I purchase life insurance?  Life insurance is commonly used to replace the loss of a decedent’s income.  This is particularly important for those with dependents or significant financial liabilities where sufficient assets have not been accumulated. Some business owners maintain insurance policies as part of buy-sell agreements for their company succession plans to ensure read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – August 5, 2013

Posted on Monday, August 5th, 2013

JOBS REPORT SENDS MIXED SIGNALS Unemployment sank to a 4½-year low of 7.4% last month, even as the pace of hiring declined a bit from spring. The Labor Department’s July report showed non-farm payrolls expanding by 162,000 jobs, with retail, bar and restaurant hires accounting for most of the gain. The ranks of the self-employed read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – July 29, 2013

Posted on Monday, July 29th, 2013

CONSUMER SENTIMENT CONTINUES TO RISE In 12 months, the University of Michigan’s index of consumer sentiment has gained almost 13 points. At 85.1, July’s final edition of the index was up 1.0 points from the final June reading. Two notable details: the percentage of respondents saying their home values had increased hit a six-year peak, read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – July 22, 2013

Posted on Monday, July 22nd, 2013

CONSUMER PRICES RISE 0.5% FOR JUNE Gas prices soared 6.3% last month, and they contributed greatly to the jump in the Consumer Price Index. Core inflation (minus food and energy prices) increased just 0.2% in June. As the headline CPI advanced only once during March-May, does this signal mounting inflation pressures? Maybe not. Looking deeper read the full article

Second Guessing

Posted on Friday, July 19th, 2013

In the following article,  Jim Parker of Dimensional Fund Advisors provides a perspective on the recent move in interest rates. Click here for full article:  DFA_Parker_ Second Guessing

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – July 15, 2013

Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2013

WILL THE EASING END SOONER, OR LATER? Last Wednesday, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke lifted stocks by noting that the U.S. economy needed “highly accommodative monetary policy for the foreseeable future,” adding that the current 7.6% jobless rate “overstates the health of the labor market.” Remarks like these didn’t exactly suggest the Fed would scale read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – July 8, 2013

Posted on Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

AMERICA ADDS 195,000 JOBS IN JUNE Payroll growth in June matched that of May, according to the Labor Department (the May gain was revised upward). The private sector hired 202,000 new workers after adding 207,000 in May, offsetting reductions to government payrolls. Economists polled by Bloomberg had forecast net job growth of 165,000, so this read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – July 1, 2013

Posted on Monday, July 1st, 2013

CHECKING IN ON THE CONSUMER According to the Commerce Department, consumer spending improved 0.3% in May as consumer incomes increased 0.5%. The latest household sentiment polls seemed to reflect the good news. The Conference Board’s consumer confidence gauge hit 81.4 in June, the best mark since January 2008; the University of Michigan’s final June survey read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – June 24, 2013

Posted on Monday, June 24th, 2013

FED OUTLINES END FOR STIMULUS, STOCKS SLIP Last Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke shared the central bank’s vision for winding down its current aggressive easing effort – the potential tapering of QE3 by late 2013, and the end of the program by mid-2014 if economic conditions permit. Wall Street reacted abruptly – the Dow read the full article

When “Normal” Doesn’t Feel Good

Posted on Thursday, June 20th, 2013

When “Normal” Doesn’t Feel Good But it is.  The market pullback, that is.  Markets have pullbacks of -5% or more about every 8 months.  We haven’t had one since November of last year.  At some point today, it crossed the -5% pullback mark as measured by the S&P but is above it as of this read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – June 17, 2013

Posted on Monday, June 17th, 2013

IMF: FED SHOULD WAIT 6 MONTHS TO TAPER QE3 On Friday, the International Monetary Fund called for the Federal Reserve to keep easing at current levels at least until the end of 2013 and to carefully manage any exit from QE3. In its annual review of the U.S. economy, the IMF characterized the March 1 read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – June 10, 2013

Posted on Monday, June 10th, 2013

A REASSURING JOBS REPORT A jittery Wall Street liked the big picture it saw in the Labor Department’s May employment report. The economy added 175,000 jobs last month: decent hiring growth, not dismaying to investors, yet not impressive enough to signal the Federal Reserve to taper off QE3. Economists polled by Bloomberg forecast payrolls rising read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – June 3, 2013

Posted on Monday, June 3rd, 2013

CONSUMERS UPBEAT IN MAY, SPEND LESS IN APRIL Consumer spending slipped 0.2% in April, with a 4.4% drop in purchases of gas, electricity and other energy goods and services being a major influence. In better news, the Commerce Department noted a 3.4% rise in personal spending in Q1, and the two most-watched consumer confidence gauges read the full article

DFA’s Jim Parker on The Art of Letting Go

Posted on Thursday, May 30th, 2013

In his latest article on investment philosophy, Jim Davis of Dimensional Fund Advisors, provides a perspective on the long view of investing. DFA_Davis_The_Art_of_Letting_Go

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – May 27, 2013

Posted on Monday, May 27th, 2013

APRIL DATA AFFIRMS HOUSING REBOUND Last month brought a 2.3% gain in new home sales and an 0.6% increase in existing home sales. Distressed properties (short sales and foreclosures) represented only 18% of residential resales in April, the National Association of Realtors noted; compare that with 28% of sales in April 2012. NAR also announced read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – May 20, 2013

Posted on Monday, May 20th, 2013

SUBDUED INFLATION IN APRIL Consumer and producer prices retreated last month. The federal government’s Consumer Price Index fell 0.4%, a monthly descent unseen since December 2008; the Producer Price Index declined 0.7%, its biggest monthly drop in three years. Consumer prices also fell for a second straight month; the last time that happened was in read the full article

Choosing a Fiduciary: Who to Name as Your Executor and Trustee

Posted on Monday, May 20th, 2013

Who will handle the distribution of your estate and ensure your testamentary wishes are fulfilled at your death?  This can be a difficult decision for many clients – particularly those in second marriages with children from a previous relationship or those whose family members may need special care or protection.   What is a Fiduciary? read the full article

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE – May 13, 2013

Posted on Monday, May 13th, 2013

HOW IS THIS EARNINGS SEASON TURNING OUT? At the closing bell on May 10, 90% of S&P 500 firms had reported quarterly results. According to Reuters, 67% of them have surpassed earnings forecasts and 24% have fallen short of projections. Should the remaining 50 components report results matching estimates, earnings will be up 5.3% on read the full article

DFA’s Weston Wellington on gold

Posted on Monday, May 6th, 2013

As advisers, we are frequently asked our opinion on purchasing gold. This article by Weston Wellington of Dimensional Fund Advisors does an excellent job of objectively evaluating gold as a long term investment. DFA_Wellington_Gold

When Will the Easing End?

Posted on Monday, May 6th, 2013

When Will the Easing End? How will the Fed taper off its bond buying program?   In its May 1 policy announcement, the Federal Reserve reaffirmed its commitment to its current stimulus campaign, or QE3 – its monthly purchase of $85 billion in bonds.1 QE3 has undeniably boosted the stock market and assisted the real read the full article

Expensive Mistakes

Posted on Thursday, March 28th, 2013

In the following article from Jim Parker of Dimensional Fund Advisors, he outlines some basic principles to avoid common investor mistakes. These principles are embedded in the investment practices of Windham Brannon Financial Group.

He Called The Crash

Posted on Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Marty Zweig, who recently passed away, was often introduced as a “Wizard of Wall Street.”  His main claim to fame came in predicting the 1987 stock market crash.  Weston Wellington of Dimensional Fund Advisors attempts to answer the question: “Should Zweig’s approach be a template for other investors?”   February 28, 2013 “He Called the read the full article

Our Current Thinking on Accelerating Capital Gains into 2012 and Other Tax Considerations

Posted on Friday, November 16th, 2012

Here’s our current thinking:  IF you know you will be in the highest tax bracket this year and for the foreseeable future, AND you know you will be liquidating an asset that has a capital gain within the next four years, AND you don’t have capital loss carry forwards, then we are recommending you CONSIDER read the full article

The Mourning After

Posted on Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

No, no.  I’m not talking about me.  I’m talking about the markets. After $2 billion of campaign spending, the electorate has decided….well…nothing, except the status quo of gridlock and constant decision deferral.  Consequently, the markets are speaking, at least today, that this is not acceptable. We can surmise what will happen with the fiscal cliff, read the full article

Another One Bites the Dust

Posted on Thursday, October 18th, 2012

I guess we’re “piling on,” but since our last post re: “Market Gurus Not So Great After All,” another hedge fund wunderkind has thrown in the towel.  Greg Coffee of Moore Capital is packing it in according to CNBC’s article today.  The enormous returns of previous years apparently were more a result of his huge read the full article

Market Gurus Not So Great After All

Posted on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

After the great bear market of 2008, market pundits couldn’t help themselves in pointing out that we now had the proof that markets were not only inefficient, but we now had great examples of more than a few market prognosticators who had made correct calls in real estate, oil, and banks.  Never mind that most read the full article

Genius or Coin Flipper?

Posted on Friday, June 15th, 2012

WBFG operates on the belief that the wisdom of the many (the market) trumps the intelligence of the few (money managers) in determining how to invest capital.  This belief is not founded just on theory, although the theory makes perfect sense.  It’s also based on hard data – study after study showing that active managers read the full article

Buffet vs. Hedge Fund Update

Posted on Thursday, April 19th, 2012

In a interesting bet of the power of the market vs. stock picking, Buffet’s bet on the S&P vs. Hedge Fund manager Protege Partners is now in a dead heat.  While this bet will prove nothing in the end, it’s still a entertaining. You probably know we think Buffet will win.  For more info, click here.

Three Year Anniversary of the Bear Market

Posted on Saturday, March 10th, 2012

Yesterday marked the 3 year anniversary of the 2008-2009 bear market.  If you ask most investors today, they would probably say they aren’t any more positive than 3 years ago.  But markets tell us something much different.  The S&P 500 is up a total of 116%, and the international markets (MSCI ACWI ex US) are read the full article

Stocks vs. Gold – Warren Says….”STOCKS!”

Posted on Friday, February 10th, 2012

In a great, great article, Warren Buffett makes his case for stocks and against gold (and bonds).  Read the article here.

Why Diversify?

Posted on Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Why Diversify?  It’s Not Just About Risk   The rationale (and it’s a good one) to diversify your investments is to lower risks – to make sure you don’t end up poor.  And while pursuing stock picking or single stock positions in trying to hit the proverbial investment “Home Run,” the typical investor can strike read the full article

Just a thought -

Posted on Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Three years ago, we were facing serious liquidity and debt problems here and abroad.  Today, it feels like many of the same problems are still dogging us along with a few new ones.  But for perspective, consider the following –   The S&P 500 (the U.S. stock market) and the MSCI All Country World Index read the full article

What’s in Your View Finder?

Posted on Friday, October 21st, 2011

I’ve thought quite a bit about Steve Jobs.  Things like what he’s contributed to the world, what his impact will have been 10 years from now, could he have done it outside the U.S., was he a good dad, etc.  And I’ve thought about the investment implications of his work.  The following is an article read the full article

Where Do Investment Returns Come From?

Posted on Monday, September 19th, 2011

Part I O.K.  I know my third grade English teacher would cringe at the grammar, but I hope it gets the point across.  But have you ever pondered the question? Historically, capital markets have provided positive returns.  But why?  Risk is not the only answer.  There are plenty of types of risk that don’t produce read the full article

Comments about S&P Downgrade and Market Reaction

Posted on Monday, August 8th, 2011

I am usually reluctant to respond to market events, especially bad ones, with commentary.  I think it just fuels the pessimism.  However, since S&P downgrades of the U.S. come about every other century, I thought I should at least throw out a few observations. The market over the last few days has been ugly.  There’s read the full article

Crowds

Posted on Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

I hate crowds.  Here’s a nightmare scenario for me – Disney World  during spring break…or WalMart on December 23rd.  I know.  The problem is me, not the crowds.   You know who else hate crowds?  Dictators, socialists and active money managers.  Now, they may not tell you that, and “hate” may be to strong a word, but “disdain” surely isn’t.   read the full article

Why DFA? Here Are A Few More Reasons

Posted on Friday, March 11th, 2011

Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA) is an important part of our clients’ investment strategy.  There are three recent news items about DFA that you may have some interest in.  The first is from Barron’s which named DFA as the best fund family for 2010 and #1 for equity funds.  While that’s nice, we are always suspect read the full article

Vegas, Wall Street, and Investor Behavior

Posted on Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

If Index Funds Perform Better, Why Are Actively Managed Funds More Popular?   A recent article published by two researchers at Wharton suggest that investors rationally invest in actively managed strategies, knowing that the odds are against them.  It’s been widely known for years that index funds consistently outperform actively managed mutual funds.  Actively managed read the full article

The Private Equity Illusion

Posted on Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Imagine this.  A private equity firm puts together 73 funds over a number of years with each one lasting 10 years. Funding occurs over the first 5 years of the life of each fund with distributions occurring the last 5.  All but 2 make money, the average total return being over 150%.  Better yet, over read the full article

DFA Cracks the Top 10 Largest Fund Families

Posted on Saturday, November 20th, 2010

  Dimensional Fund Advisors moved into the top 10 of Mutual Fund Families due its strong inflows from investors over the last 18 months, but also because of its lack of outflows during the market downturn from 2008-2009.  As you know, we use DFA almost exclusively in our clients’ portfolios.  To see why, click here. read the full article

Why Do the Ultra-Rich Pour Money Into Hedge Funds?

Posted on Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

And it’s not just hedge funds.  It’s private equity and venture capital, too, according to a Wall Street Journal article.  By most measures, performance in these investment vehicles is spotty at best, and taking into account that many of them don’t report performance when results are bad, the only ones you have to measure are read the full article

Elections…Much Ado About Nothing

Posted on Thursday, November 4th, 2010

There’s a general belief that divided government is a good thing for markets because it means that the government is less likely to pass any legislation that doesn’t have broad support among the electorate.  The concept is the government can do no harm.  But looking at the history of which party was in charge including read the full article

Here We Go…

Posted on Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

I’ve been wanting to start a blog for a while now under the self-delusion that anyone would actually be interested in what I think about.  Well, here it is along with a few thoughts right out of the box.  If you’re interested in subscribing, copy the web address into you’re RSS reader (get some techie read the full article

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