Jeff Benjamin

Investment Insights: The Blogblog

Jeff Benjamin breaks down the game for advisers and clients.

Mar 5, 2015

Hospital stocks ride a wave of potential insurance subsidies

By Jeff Benjamin

Hospital stocks rallied on word the Supremes would be hearing arguments related to Obamacare subsidies. HCA, THC, CYH The dollar has hit an 11-year high against the euro. 'A continuation in the selling we've seen all week' An easy road map to institutional investor actions can be found with a few basic screens. Increased volume is a good place to start As bad investments go, it doesn't get much worse than a scenario that forces American taxpayers to pony up for over-priced college tuition. Government student loans are the only type of consumer debt that gets issued without the lender accounting for the possibility that the borrower won't repay the loan. ... Read full post

Mar 4, 2015

Cash-heavy mutual funds take downside protection to the extreme

By Jeff Benjamin

For investors who truly cannot sleep at night out of fear that this roaring equity market is too risky, here are some mutual funds that are taking the slow lane by sitting on lots of cash. Downside protection to the max A Virginia financial adviser is charged with bilking widows, single moms and church friends out of $1.3 million. Most of the money was pocketed and never invested Spare parts from Citi and AIG are used to build another subprime lending beast. Springleaf Holdings Inc. (LEAF) Millennials, the most self-indulgent generation, are quickly becoming the center of Wall Street's attention because they are slated to inherit $30 trillion. 'Don't believe us, just watch us' ... Read full post

Mar 3, 2015

Smart money moving to the sidelines as earnings signal flashes red

By Jeff Benjamin

The leading indicator of corporate earnings says stocks are getting scary expensive, and it might be time to follow the so-called smart money to the sidelines. A similar story across the blue chip universe Bill Gross, 70, says he's in no big hurry to make his mark at Janus. He's taking two to four years to re-establish himself. A desire to prove he can still beat the market Ben Bernanke wants to give U.S. presidents more power to properly manage financial emergencies. In other words, taking some pressure off the Fed in times of extreme stress. 'I'm sure it's not politically possible, but it would be worth thinking about' For ETF investors, February was all about hedged currencies and corporate bonds. Adjusting to the strength of the U.S. dollar A year later, Colorado's mile-high pot experiment looks totally righteous, dude. $63 million in tax revenue, $13 million in licensing fees, and snack food sales through the roof ... Read full post

Mar 2, 2015

When is a good time to convert to a Roth IRA?

By Jeff Benjamin

When, if ever, is a good time to convert a traditional IRA to a Roth? It might make sense to convert even if you're already retired Two surface as likely successors to Warren Buffett. The 84-year-old CEO of Berkshire Hathaway can't go on forever, despite what some investors might think and hope. Meet Greg Abel and Ajit Jain In recognition of seasoned financial veterans, here are five money managers still getting it done at a time when many of their contemporaries are playing shuffleboard and sitting by the pool. A long way from the youth movement Chinese central bankers gave Asian stocks on Monday boost. Second interest rate cut in three months shows that China is slowing down ... Read full post

Feb 27, 2015

Obama's proposed budget lets unemployed workers drain their retirement savings

By Jeff Benjamin

If 26 weeks' worth of unemployment benefits aren't enough to get you back on your feet, why not tap into your retirement savings? Sad as this logic might sound, it is the safety net that President Barack Obama is proposing as part of his 2016 budget. Two wrongs don't make a right Even as inflation goes negative for the first time since 2009, Fed watchers say a rate hike is as on track as it has ever been. Don't bet the farm on it. Falling gasoline prices seen as the culprit Investing in Argentina, a country already in default, means putting your big-boy pants on and being prepared to lose them. Consider yourself warned Once you get past the multiple layers of lawyers, the net neutrality decision doesn't mean much for consumers. At least not yet. 'Preventing things from getting worse' ... Read full post

Feb 26, 2015

Index-investing purists ignoring mounting downside risks

By Jeff Benjamin

Few topics can whip the financial advice industry into a full-blown tizzy like a good debate over active versus passive portfolio management.For some reason, it's right up there with politics and religion in terms of conversations best avoided around the dinner table, assuming your family is made up entirely of financial professionals.For some advisers, it has always been about an unofficial blend of indexed strategies for broad exposure and active management in specific sectors. But at certain points in market cycles, such as six years into a bull run that has seen the S&P 500 Index more than triple in value, it seems logical to recognize the potential benefits of active management over pure indexing.“For us, it's all about return per unit of risk, which is something you can't maximize using passive indexes, and I think all the easy money has been made on the passive side,” said Tim Holsworth, president of AHP Financial... Read full post

Feb 26, 2015

Morgan Stanley settles mortgage bond probe for $2.6 billion

By Jeff Benjamin

Morgan Stanley's mortgage bond history results in a $2.6 billion settlement. The math hits shareholders to the tune of $1.35 per share Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway empire is being described by analysts as one of the murkiest around. Transparency is not the Oracle of Omaha's strong suit. Combing all financial disclosures into one New legislation seeks to head off President Obama's efforts to tighten guidelines on financial advisers. Making the SEC the primary rule writer over the Dept. of Labor New York state to tax refugees: You can run, but you can't hide. To avoid New York income taxes you may need to account for every single day you lived outside the state ... Read full post

Feb 25, 2015

The bond market and the Fed are suddenly marching in lockstep

By Jeff Benjamin

The bond market is finally seeing eye-to-eye with the Fed. And greater clarity on inflation is just around the corner. Pressure on inflation linked to the sudden drop in oil prices should clear up this year Big bets on energy leads to an early exit for BlackRock PM Tim Keefe. With almost 12% of the fund in energy-related investments, the Flexible Equity Fund trailed 96% of its peers Obama finally gets his chance to veto the Keystone pipeline. Don't ask why he didn't veto the controversial construction project years ago. Attempts are already in the works to overturn the veto Tax season is hard. Most Americans failed this basic tax quiz. Can married individuals file separately? ... Read full post

Feb 24, 2015

Is OPEC about to flinch and cut oil production?

By Jeff Benjamin

After five months of playing it cool, OPEC is starting to sweat over low oil prices. An emergency meeting is now being considered, which means they might be rethinking their strategy of flooding the market with oil to crush the fracking industry. Saudi Arabia remains committed to the strategy Obama's AARP speech fires a populist shot at the usual suspects: Financial advisers, Wall Street, and, of course, banks. Protecting Americans from financial advisers who sell faulty advice in order to pocket commissions from big banks If you believe the price of oil has more upside than downside, energy-sector junk bonds might be the place for you. Betting that supply and demand market forces will prevail If banks are sitting on huge piles of low-yielding cash, should the rest of us be worried? Things aren't nearly as wonderful as they might appear ... Read full post

Feb 23, 2015

Gold loses its luster on the global stage

By Jeff Benjamin

Gold has been losing its luster among investors. Stronger dollar and record valuation for global stocks have kicked the precious metal to the curb. Diminishing appeal as a store of wealth Janet Yellen will be in the hot seat starting on Tuesday as she presents the Fed's semi-annual monetary policy to Congress. Fear not, Ms. Yellen, because most members of Congress have no idea what the Fed does. The politicians will try to figure out when rates will rise U.S. government tightens the screws on expatriates, and the number of citizens renouncing citizenship spikes as a result. Trust me, I'm from the government and here to help you Some hot tech stocks to help take the chill out of the air. AMKR, CHU, SIMG, SIMO, USAT ... Read full post

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