An Oil Breakout and Pullback

Oil, and more specifically gasoline, has been in the news recently. Will $4 or $5 gasoline kill the consumer one more time? For the moment it seems the improving jobs picture is helping to insulate the consumer, but at some point there will come a choking point. With that said the price chart for oil…

Three Ways to Evaluate Portfolio Returns

Consumers of investment management might consider three different methods to analyze investment returns. The first method is to look at absolute returns in the context of your financial plan. If the portfolio return was 7% annualized for ten years, was that return high enough for you to achieve your financial goals? What about 3% annualized…

A Bearish Divergence

On October 7, 2011, I wrote a blog post describing a bullish divergence forming in the Financial Sector SPDR. I used the Relative Strength Indicator to measure momentum and the price of the XLF to show that although the XLF made a new price low, the indicator did not confirm the drop. I could have…

Fixed Income 101 (or maybe 201)

The duration of a bond portfolio tells you how much the price of your bonds will change for each percentage change in interest rates. A high duration means more sensitivity or price volatility as interest rates change. Duration tells you virtually everything you want to know about the price sensitivity of U.S. government bonds, which…

How Bulls and Bears See Fed Policy

Bearish investors look at the chart below and immediately notice that Fed intervention in the form of QE1 and QE2 (quantitative easing program 1 and 2, or perhaps more accurately, money printing programs 1 and 2) occurred after substantial market declines. QE1 is announced after the Lehman Brothers collapse in 2008 and QE2 is hinted…