I have been on the road quite a bit recently, appearing at several professional conferences around the country. One fellow speaker at a conference in San Diego was Dr. Christopher Geczy, a finance professor at the Wharton School and the new academic director of the Wharton Wealth Management Initiative. His impressive resume features a B.A. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in finance and econometrics from the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago. Professor Geczy’s talk was both much anticipated and well received.
So far in 2013, U.S. investors have enjoyed a steady climb in stocks, with the major market averages surging into record-high territory. There’s been a near absence of any sort of market volatility, with the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) sliding to multi-year lows. Whatever the reasons behind the rally, it’s been gradually bringing back positive vibes on the part of market participants. In other parts of the world, however, the story is different: There’s been a greater degree of volatility in many international markets, and in general, international stocks have lagged behind the U.S.
As my clients, friends, and colleagues know, I love to travel. While my vacations have not (unfortunately) been tax-deductible, they have been memorable experiences that will stay with me forever. For that reason, I often encourage my clients to take vacations; after all, we don’t know when our health will change and we’ll no longer even be able to travel. You don’t want to be one of those people who will someday look back with regret on the things you didn’t do.
Generation Y includes those born between 1977 and 1991, ranging in age from 22 to 36 years old. Also referred to as echo boomers and millennials, the group makes up about 25% of the U.S. population.
There is an entire school of investing that would have you screening for stocks that are making new lows in price on the assumption that the best values can be found in that group. I recently wrote about the strange psychological wiring of value investors who believe that they can outsmart Mr. Market and find investment ideas that are mispriced by the crowd. They are supported in their belief by the study of momentum and crowd psychology which shows that investors often over react to bad news and sell securities at prices well below their intrinsic value. With steely nerves and an ability to see value that the rest of the market doesn’t see, value investors are the heroes of the professional investment universe (foremost among them, of course, is Warren Buffett).
The last two days in gold have been downright nasty, as it has lost roughly 13% of its value in that time. That is clearly not what one would have expected in a so called “safe haven” asset class. As always in markets, with a huge move comes big media attention when everyone gets to weigh in on why gold has plummeted over the past few days. Some say large hedge funds have been forced to liquidate, some think the safe haven trade is over, and some believe the great rotation might be a commodity rotation into equity.
It’s that time of year when everyone gets excited for their hoped-for tax refund. But should we really be celebrating?
The way we explain our process for managing portfolios has significantly changed over the past few years. It seems that both retail and institutional investors want to hear more about how ‘the sausage is made’ than they did a decade ago. And why not? The financial markets have been difficult to navigate since the market topped in the year 2000 and good consumers want to know how we might fare if the markets remain challenging in the future. While I appreciate the work that has gone into fine-tuning our message, one aspect of our investment process is just as relevant as it was when we started tactically and actively managing portfolios in October 2002: We try to find investment opportunities that have a great story.
Are you paying too much in taxes? Are you sure you have claimed every possible deduction? It is possible to do your taxes yourself — especially if you have a very simple tax situation — and there are tools available out there to help you. However, in this era of increasing specialization, there are some very good reasons to hand this responsibility off to a professional:
J.C. Parets with Allstarcharts.com does fantastic technical work, and he is telling his readers to watch the Yen/USD exchange. The chart below shows this relationship; a falling line means that the Yen is gaining against the U.S. Dollar. The Yen is rallying hard today on the back of a manufacturing miss here in the U.S., and is pushing below some key technical levels. The short term uptrend marked in white has been broken, the $94 support/resistance level has been broken, and the 50 day Moving Average has been broken. A stronger Yen seems to be the play here.