Jeff Benjamin

Investment Insights: The Blogblog

Jeff Benjamin breaks down the game for advisers and clients.

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

Jun 10, 2016

George Soros embraces his inner bear

By Jeff Benjamin

George Soros is back with a bearish take on the global economy. The billionaire hedge-fund founder and philanthropist, who had taken a break from trading, recently sold equities and purchased safe-haven gold and gold miners. Financial advisers expect market volatility going forward given that no incumbent is running and instead two unpopular candidates are vying for the White House. History bears out their expectations, as Merrill Lynch says the S&P 500 has fallen on average 2.8% during election years when an incumbent isn't on the ballot. The Debbie Downers at Goldman Sachs are cautioning stock investors that the market has gotten riskier. One analyst blames the market's fragile state on high valuations and the lack of growth for companies and countries. Sharks may seem like mindless killing and eating machines, but a new study says the animals are much more complex than that. The study in the Journal of Fish Biology concludes... Read full post

Jun 9, 2016

Are the stock indexes signaling who will win the White House?

By Jeff Benjamin

Have you noticed that the major indexes have moved higher in past two weeks as Hillary Clinton gained ground to become her party's presumptive nominee? Tom McClellan, technical analyst and editor of the newsletter The McClellan Market Report, says that's because presidential polls and U.S. indexes move in lockstep. Nuveen Asset Management's Bob Doll gives two reasons why Donald Trump would be worse for the markets than Hillary Clinton. The equity strategist says Mr. Trump's policies are an unknown and that the billionaire wants to start a trade war with China and Mexico. Taking the three stages of the Chartered Financial Analyst exam can be a grueling experience, highlighted by the fact that four out of five who start the process drop out. But is it worth it? Maybe. But don't expect a big immediate payoff.Bill Gates, the richest man in the world, thinks chickens can help end poverty in the third world. How so, you ask? Chickens are ... Read full post

Jun 8, 2016

Struggling active managers face the reckoning

By Jeff Benjamin

Active investment managers have done a pretty poor job of beating their benchmarks. And to add insult to injury, AllianceBernstein CEO Peter Kraus says the $30 trillion industry may need to cut assets by as much as a third. One of Dodd-Frank's biggest Republican foes has outlined his plan to take down significant parts of the landmark regulation. Some are saying U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling's plan may influence the presidential debate and help shape the GOP agenda in the next term. Goldman Sachs says utility stocks, a safe haven for seeking shelter from volatility, are getting expensive. Analyst with the bank say regulated utilities now trade at a forward price-to-earnings ratio in excess of the S&P 500 based on estimated 2017-2018 earnings. At JPMorgan, pin-striped suits are so yesterday. The big bank has revamped its dress code to allow employees to dress in business-casual attire when appropriate. ... Read full post

Jun 7, 2016

The real reason Trump won't reveal his tax returns

By Jeff Benjamin

The real reason The Donald won't reveal his tax returns might surprise you. It comes down to two words: Real estate. Janet Yellen says the Fed will eventually raise rates, but that's all you get at this point. Confused yet? Four ways to not become a 401(k) millionaire. Shortchanging your HSA. The perfect summer job for that eager young college student willing to get some dirt under those finger nails. Food foragers wanted, apply within. ... Read full post

Jun 6, 2016

The ultimate alternative investment: Really expensive watches

By Jeff Benjamin

Instead of timing the market, how about investing in time? Watches, that is. “People are seeking trophies.” Don't just assume your value fund is providing any real value. Being mindful of the smoke and mirrors. JPMorgan catches up with the times by allowing most employees to dress in business casual attire, but not too casual. Ixnay on the flip flops and halter tops. A tip of the hat to Muhammad Ali. The champ's life in pictures. ... Read full post

« Newer Older »