Jeff Benjamin

Investment Insights: The Blogblog

Jeff Benjamin breaks down the game for advisers and clients.

Mar 27, 2015

In contrast to wages, real estate prices are hitting the roof

By Jeff Benjamin

Real estate prices are now increasing at a rate 13 times faster than wages, and fingers are pointing at investors for blame. A little bit of wage growth would be nice The New York Fed gets all polished up in preparation for its first rate hike since 2006. Hoping and praying that it goes smoothly A big pullback by a bellwether biotech ETF has stoked the argument of real weakness for the category. iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) falls just shy of correction territory A fun test to find out which rock star investor you are most like. I was kind of bummed to learn that I'm like Nouriel Roubini, aka Dr. Doom. Testing your mettle ... Read full post

Mar 26, 2015

Stocks are looking more wobbly by the day

By Jeff Benjamin

As the equity markets start to wobble, analysts start to claim they saw it all coming. 'The timing of market shocks is difficult, if not impossible' Warren Buffett's big ketchup investment. 'Historically, that's not the Berkshire way' When it comes to active management, sometimes latitude is the key to success. FSRAX, VASIX If the stock market isn't exciting enough for you, how about investing in a racehorse? You could get in for as little as $10k, not including the saddle. 'Maximizing value and selling at the right time' ... Read full post

Mar 25, 2015

Can the REIT run weather a rate hike?

By Jeff Benjamin

Will higher interest rates crush the real estate market, or is it supposed to be different this time? Temporarily derailing REIT returns Those curiously annoying bitcoins are back, and some stock exchanges are starting to take them seriously. A 'vote of confidence' in bitcoin technology Getting to the point of hedge funds, one dot at a time. A quick read that is worth the effort. The Dot Fund LLC Seeing carbon-dioxide emissions unchanged between 2013 and 2014, despite 3.3% global economic growth, has some claiming the regulations are working. Or, maybe there's just no reason to try and connect the two. The planet is fixed. ... Read full post

Mar 24, 2015

The surging dollar could crush unhedged global mutual funds

By Jeff Benjamin

As the U.S. dollar continues to surge against most global currencies, financial advisers face three basic paths for navigating the punishing effects on international investments: Ignore it, get out of international markets or get busy hedging.While the third option might sound like the most challenging, it is actually easy and available in several accessible forms, including mutual funds that do all the work for you.For an illustration of how the dollar's recent strength is hitting U.S. investors, consider the ready-made example of two funds from Tweedy Brown Co.Since the start of the year, the $453 million Tweedy Brown Global Value Unhedged Fund (TBCUX) has gained 2.4% through March 23. Over the last 12 months, it's down 1.4%.But the $9.4 billion Tweedy Brown Global Value Fund (TBGVX), which actively hedges out the currency exposure, is up 4.6% this year and 6.6% over those same 12 months.... Read full post

Mar 24, 2015

Where to invest during the run-up to the presidential election

By Jeff Benjamin

There are 20 months between now and the next Presidential election, and it is officially on. As the dollars get thrown around the mud starts flying, you might as well invest along for the ride. CBS, CCO, CMCSA, FB, P, TWX, FOXA, TWTR, DIS Believe it or not, silver looks like a pretty good buy right now. Demand is rising A heads-up for empty nesters, time to get serious about saving for retirement. The role kids play in calculating how much you will need to retire Finally somebody figured out a way to get all the ketchup out of the bottle. It seems to work, but is it safe to eat? ... Read full post

Mar 23, 2015

The looming threat of an increasingly powerful dollar

By Jeff Benjamin

The scary downside of a really strong U.S. dollar. This is the biggest threat since the 2008 financial crisis. Cheap oil and the strong dollar will be expose sector weakness in the S&P. Companies with more than half their sales in the U.S. will standout Can algorithms give rational financial advice? The Silicon Valley viewpoint on investing. With consumers keeping debt at arm's length, wages stand out as the only thing that can help the economy. 'The fate of wages matters' ... Read full post

Mar 20, 2015

HSBC says the dollar's powerful days are numbered

By Jeff Benjamin

British bank, HSBC, says the U.S. dollar's run of strength is about to lose steam. Of course, that could just be wishful thinking on their part. Staying too long at the party can lead to trouble. Female portfolio manager gets no respect in Pakistan, where value is placed on “grey hair and being male.” Even at home, after leaving the office, the CEO says it's all about “we're out of eggs, the laundry isn't done.” From inside the room at Janet Yellen's press conference, it seemed like the market missed the point. Not being patient, but not being impatient Financial titans square off in an NCAA tournament challenge with big charitable donations on the line. Fortress Investment Group's Novogratz suffers a big hit from the Iowa State loss to UAB in round one. ... Read full post

Mar 19, 2015

Foreign mutual funds look like a good way to dodge some U.S. market risk

By Jeff Benjamin

With U.S. stocks now about as expensive as they were at the peak in 2008, foreign mutual funds might be a good place to hang out, or even hide out, for a while. ANJIX, LLINX, VTRIX Who will replace Jack Bogle when the 85-year-old founder of Vanguard decides it is no longer fun to go to work? Still a thorn in the industry's side even after six heart attacks and a heart transplant The upside and downside of the millennial generation's aversion to consumer credit. 63% don't use credit cards The good news is, the city of Detroit will pay you to live there. The bad news is, you will be living in Detroit. Chattanooga, Tenn., and Niagara Falls, N.Y. offer similar deals ... Read full post

Mar 18, 2015

Being smart about smart beta

By Jeff Benjamin

Smart beta is here to stay, so you might as well try and figure out what the heck it is. The robots are coming The ongoing disappointing reality of the U.S. economy. Reality versus expectations You don't have to be rich to have a will, but most people still don't have one. Deciding who gets what Practice Management: Why a private foundation may not be the best deal for your clients. Looking past the allure ... Read full post

Mar 17, 2015

Oil-price slide is starting to get scary

By Jeff Benjamin

Oil has dropped to a six-year low and the dollar continues to ride the rocket higher. Talk about an oil comeback is starting to fade. Look out below The basic economic principle that 'bad money drives out good' could be good news for gold. Applying Gresham's Law to entire markets Wall St. bankers see the writing on the wall and are moving to low-pay tech jobs. 'Technological progress is going to leave behind some people.' In honor of various celebrations recognizing St. Patrick's Day, we offer unscientific proof that people who consume alcohol can be bad at spelling. 42% of Americans can't spell Budweiser, 23% can't spell Jameson, but only 6% can't spell Jack Daniel's ... Read full post

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