Jeff Benjamin

Investment Insights: The Blogblog

Jeff Benjamin breaks down the game for advisers and clients.

Jun 24, 2016

If all else fails, blame the sluggish economy on demographics

By Jeff Benjamin

You know you're out of logical options when somebody claims that demographics is the reason stocks are yielding more than bonds. It couldn't possibly have anything to do with a dismal economic recovery loaded with stimulus and all manner of other obstacles to growth. The economy has fallen and it can't get up, because Baby Boomers are starting to retire. In Europe, the activist hedge funds are kinder and gentler. But is that what hedge fund investors really care about? “Wolf pack tactics” not welcome. Calling out billionaire activist George Soros for being wrong about the Brexit and the pound. That's gotta hurt.“He is confused about the underlying needs of the British economy.” Crowdfunding is not going away and financial advisers who don't get it will quickly fall behind. Here's some help to get you up to speed. Take the crash course. ... Read full post

Jun 23, 2016

The high risks facing a low-yield world

By Jeff Benjamin

The low-yield world has turned what used to be the most conservative investments into the riskiest part of a portfolio. There is now $10 trillion worth of government debt 'paying' negative yields. What are investors actually getting from those non-traditional bond funds? Eliminating interest-rate risks. Taking on some common dividend-investment myths that every financial adviser should understand. Don't make the mistake of thinking of dividends as guaranteed return. On the fashion front, there are ways to look like a millionaire even if you're still just a humble thousanaire. Applying the one-third rule when shopping for clothes. ... Read full post

Jun 22, 2016

Royal Alliance lawyers capitalize on Finra's broken BrokerCheck

By Jeff Benjamin

The wacky world of Wall Street's homegrown justice system was on full display last week when Royal Alliance attorneys fought to scrub the tarnished record of former broker Kathleen Tarr, who is saddled with 44 customer disputes. Have lawyers, will expunge customer complaints. Billionaire hedge funder George Soros is showing his support for a Bexit 'no' vote by scaring the bejesus out of investors. Believing the vote will have no impact on the markets is “wishful thinking.” Most Americans might not care much about Thursday's Brexit vote, but they might want to know what Queen Elizabeth thinks of the vote. Her territories have been threatened before. The smart beta world is morphing toward the next generation, which could make getting up to speed even more challenging for advisers that are already behind the curve. Passive investing evolved. Retirement is a great concept, but there are many ways to live it out. Seasonal ... Read full post

Jun 21, 2016

Pimco issues urgent warning about state of commercial real estate market

By Jeff Benjamin

Pimco see rough seas ahead for the $3 trillion commercial real estate market. Increased volatility, including a 5% price drop in the year ahead.The cannabis industry in the U.S. continues to grow like a weed, but Wall Street remains cautious of wading into investments that are still technically illegal at the federal level. The 'legal' pot business is on track to generate $7 billion in sales this year.Five arguments for where and how to invest $10,000 right now. Find your comfort zone.Become financially better off by not doing any of these 51 things. No. 24: Don't buy any fund with an expense ratio above 35 basis points.... Read full post

Jun 20, 2016

DoubleLine's Jeffrey Gundlach says Donald Trump would be huge for stocks, not so much for bonds

By Jeff Benjamin

DoubleLine's Jeff Gundlach says a Trump presidency would be bad for bonds, but good for stocks. This could be huuuuge for stock-market bulls. Sen. Liz Warren is the GOP's least favorite financial adviser. The potential Democrat veep choice charged with having the “moral authority to cripple Main Street in order to occupy Wall Street.” The smart beta space is getting increasingly crowded and complex. It doesn't help that the asset management industry keeps falling over itself trying to rebrand the varied factor-based strategies to the point where it all is starting to sound like an unfamiliar foreign language. With that in mind, the truly curious might want to check out this July 1 webcast from Applied Research. 10 misconceptions of smart-beta investing. This BBQ season, instead of just cooking and eating the meat, how about also investing in the general theme of summertime eating? HRL, LUK, PPC, SAFM, TSN ... Read full post

Jun 17, 2016

Allianz's El-Erian says the Fed is putting the U.S. economy at risk

By Jeff Benjamin

The critics of the Fed's monetary policy are getting louder. Meanwhile, the Fed continues to march to the beat of its own drummer. Mohamed El-Erian calls out the Fed's clueless strategy. The housing-market bottom line: Rents are likely to keep climbing. Vacancy rates are falling while demand is rising. Traders are brushing off Brexit no matter what happens. “In the long run, I don't think it makes that much difference.” The plan to make 529 college saving plans even better. Enticing companies to do a match. ... Read full post

Jun 16, 2016

Wall Street figuring out how to hedge against a Donald Trump presidency

By Jeff Benjamin

Wall Street investors are working on how to position their portfolios for a potential Donald Trump presidency. And, equal time: they're also doing the same thing for Hillary Clinton. Focusing on the Mexican peso, pharmaceutical and bank stocks. In a new presentation, DoubleLine's Jeffrey Gundlach paints a pessimistic picture of what the summer months will hold for the markets. Sell-off is coming, but no cause for recession worries. Apple bulls are placing some heavy long-term bets, looking for a whopping 36% jump in the tech giant's stock value by early 2018. "Sounds shocking — until you realize that Apple was trading at that level a year ago." Not great: the median working-age American couple has saved only $5,000 for their retirement, according to a new analysis. "The do-it-yourself pension system is a disaster." ... Read full post

Jun 15, 2016

Sky-high cash stockpiles expose rising investor unease

By Jeff Benjamin

If the heaping cash stockpiles are any indication, investors are getting more nervous by the day. Cash levels hit 15-year high. Don't ignore the potential impact of the Brexit just because it's happening on the other side of the world. The polls are shifting. Here's a fund that should do well when the Fed starts to tighten. Assuming the Fed starts to tighten.Benefitting from rising rates. Bill Clinton says if Hillary is elected, the family's controversial foundation will introduce a policy of complete transparency about donations. So, there's that. The details are still vague on how the foundation might evolve. ... Read full post

Jun 14, 2016

Wall Street's fear index rises as global markets face unrest

By Jeff Benjamin

The CBOE Market Volatility Index, dubbed Wall Street's fear index, climbs above a symbolic threshold. Above the 20-level as the Brexit vote approaches. About that Brexit vote. Unsurprisingly, expert opinions remain very split on what the vote will mean for markets. In one corner, it won't have a big impact on the U.S. market. In another corner, investors are more worried about it than a Fed rate hike, or the November election. In the wake of that $26.2 billion LinkedIn sale, Goldman Sachs has tried to identify the next technology companies likely to be acquisition targets. Eight potential sellers as tech industry deals pick up steam. It would appear that earning the distinction of "Wall Street's Best Athlete" requires a previous stint in the NFL. Ex-NFLer holds on to the crown for the fifth straight year. He beat out, you guessed it, another fellow ex-NFLer. ... Read full post

Jun 13, 2016

Bill Gross highlights the dirty downside of negative interest rates

By Jeff Benjamin

Bill Gross lays out the explosive implications of negative interest rates. Just because it feels good doesn't mean it's a good thing. The lowest yields in 500 years of recorded history. Investors are increasingly taking the quiet, calm path toward safety by snapping up bonds. Paying to own certain bonds. A reason not to freak out about the next housing bubble. Try to think of it as a reflection of a strengthening economy. Try out some public speaking tips that don't involve imagining your audience in their underpants. Prepare for some less-friendly faces, and don't be afraid to go rogue. Something to think about the next time you're watching Major League Baseball. It should be impossible to hit the ball. ... Read full post

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