Jeff Benjamin

Investment Insights: The Blogblog

Jeff Benjamin breaks down the game for advisers and clients.

Jun 29, 2015

Greek capital controls send ripples across global financial markets

By Jeff Benjamin

Greece locks down its banks in a desperate attempt to prevent a public panic. Not sure what would make anybody think blocking access to an entire country's savings would be the best anti-panic strategy. The European Central Bank is providing no financial support to Greek banks. Everything you need to know about Greece's financial meltdown in five easy points. Spoiler alert, Greece is broke Jim Rogers goes on a buying binge in the midst of what he describes as a “historical anomaly.” 'I'm buying China, Japan and Russia' When scientists on June 30 engineer an extra second into our lives to help clocks reset to the slowing pace of the Earth, the financial markets might get a little crazy. In the financial markets, a whole lot can happen in a second ... Read full post

Jun 26, 2015

No one can agree on the stock market's valuation

By Jeff Benjamin

The stock market is overvalued. Or it isn't. Even Robert Shiller doesn't know what to make of price-earnings data that make stocks look expensive. Either way, some folks recommend you buckle up. It's not only the financial advice business that's falling short on gender equality. It's all of Wall Street. Why Wall Street's women are stuck in the middle Best and worst states for (fill in the blank) lists are a dime a dozen but this one you might want to see. The best state for business in the country has high taxes, high wages and is union friendly As if filing for Social Security, with all its options, were enough. When your Social Security check disappears because of an old student loan ... Read full post

Jun 25, 2015

Goldman's Cohn: Dream on if you think the Fed is hiking rates in September

By Jeff Benjamin

Just because the Fed hasn't raised interest rates since 2006 is no reason to believe it absolutely has to raise them this year. Bottom line is, no matter how much Yellen & Co. hem and haw about the improving strength of the U.S. economy and how things are moving along as planned, the economy and the financial markets are in no shape for higher interest rates. Goldman's Cohn: 'We're probably less ready than people think.' More proof that investors too often buy and sell at the absolute worst times. There is truth to higher risk equals higher returns, but you gotta be able to stomach the risk. Wall Street is still buzzing over the Fitbit (FIT) IPO, because the successful offering has wider implications. AAPL, GOOG, GRMN, INTC Hank Greenberg is setting his sights on Cuba as a business opportunity. Seeing green in the more normalized relations with Cuba ... Read full post

Jun 24, 2015

The world braces for a slower Chinese economy

By Jeff Benjamin

Is the world ready for a Chinese economic slowdown? A weakening China will show the world how much it is really hooked on the Chinese economy. Better brace for the impact All eyes are on Justice Kennedy as the Supreme Court closes in on a crucial ruling that could determine the fate of Obamacare. Determining whether the U.S. government can keep subsidizing insurance in dozens of states that did not set up health exchanges If the ruling favors the plaintiffs, it could trigger a major pullback for health care sector stocks. Some bulls are already taking profits ahead of the ruling The latest bearish indicator is the so-called 'stock-picker's market.' Consider yourself warned. When the pickings get slim It's high time to recognize the bond bubble for what it is, and not some kind of 'new paradigm.' Ignore the bond bubble at your own risk ... Read full post

Jun 23, 2015

Pimco's Income Fund becomes the firm's new star

By Jeff Benjamin

Pimco's Income Fund (PIMIX) takes an atypical path to success, shining bright under Dan Ivascyn. Raising the question, Bill Gross who? A history of top-notch performance First-time homebuyers are driving the housing market to a five-and-a-half-year high. The strong housing numbers stack up alongside positive consumer sentiment and retail sales Ben Bernanke comes to the defense of fellow former central banker, Alexander Hamilton, in fighting to keep the ten-dollar bill as is. Throwing Andrew Jackson under the bus Just because you're still in your 20s is no reason to ignore planning for retirement. There's no time like the present ... Read full post

Jun 22, 2015

The Fed has painted itself into a corner, and is only trying to manage expectations

By Jeff Benjamin

Citigroup economist William Lee calls the Fed too 'chicken' to raise rates, but at the same time the FOMC is trying to reassure the markets that when rates do rise, it will be slow and deliberate. The Fed is stuck trying to manage expectations Janet Yellen gives the gold market a jolt. The Fed's long-term view sends investors rushing to gold. Americans reel in the risk when it comes to retirement savings. That's OK as long as it doesn't create a new risk of not building a big enough portfolio to fund retirement. Playing it too safe It's summertime and the economy is getting hotter, but still a long way from sizzling. Business investment is still weak ... Read full post

Jun 19, 2015

Why male advisers are still not connecting with female clients

By Jeff Benjamin

C'mon, dudes, you can do better. Male financial advisers still can't find a way to fully communicate with the female half of client couples. Both spouses should be equally involved in family financial matters The stock market looks scary from so many different directions. Active managers have the least amount of equity exposure since October 2014 Gold has crested $1,200 an ounce and that's no small feat. There is reason to expect $1,350 an ounce With a June rate hike off the table, it's already looking like September is not in the cards, either. A very unclear picture for consumer spending and jobs ... Read full post

Jun 18, 2015

Bob Doll is betting consumer spending will fuel the economy through December

By Jeff Benjamin

Nuveen's Bob Doll banks on consumers stepping up to the counter and spending in the second half of the year. Thanks to energy savings and at least some signs of wage increases It is long past time to rethink the traditional allocations to bonds in retirement portfolios. It's a classic trade off Economists are predicting some major market reactions if Obamacare fails the latest Supreme Court test. There will be 'second-order effects' The 10-spot is getting a new face. This is so big that somebody broke the embargo on the news release. Say goodbye to Alexander Hamilton ... Read full post

Jun 17, 2015

Abandoning alternative investments at this point is based on twisted logic

By Jeff Benjamin

As contraindicators go, things are starting to stack up in favor of alternative investment strategies. After a half-dozen years of charging full speed ahead into the alternatives space with all manner of impressive-sounding products and strategies, a lot of investors, along with much of the asset management industry, are showing signs of exhaustion. Last week, SkyBridge Capital announced it was launching plain-vanilla mutual funds rather than trying to export alternative strategies into a mutual fund format. The main reason the firm gave was the “mixed performance” of existing "liquid alts" products. Then there's the report due out next week from Invesco Consulting, which will encourage asset managers and advisers to take a fresh spin on alternatives. A key recommendation is using less industry jargon and more basic language that describes how each alternative investment is expected to perform under various market... Read full post

Jun 17, 2015

MetLife files suit to fight 'too big to fail' status

By Jeff Benjamin

MetLife takes big issue with its “Too Big To Fail” status by filing suit against the Financial Stability Oversight Council. Charging FSOC with acting as 'judge, jury and executioner' Looking past the fact the Fed is not expected to announce a rate hike today, there is at least some hope that we will get some direction on future monetary policy. Keep your fingers crossed, but don't hold your breath. Where are rates headed, and how fast? There are still some really good dividend-paying stocks out there. The upside of rising dividends Donald Trump announces that he's worth $9 billion, and that he's running for president. The late-night comedians must be jumping for joy. He owns a Boeing 757 with his name painted on the side ... Read full post

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