Jeff Benjamin

Investment Insights: The Blogblog

Jeff Benjamin breaks down the game for advisers and clients.

Oct 10, 2014

Market chop puts alternative strategies front and center

By Jeff Benjamin

It's not too late to add some portfolio insurance in the form of liquid alternatives. Here are some mutual funds that have been stacking up nicely against their more expensive hedge fund counterparts. Better examples of hedge funds than hedge funds The 200-day moving average is the next threshold on focus for stocks. 'We seem to be in that anxiety zone that often gives way to decent corrections' New market volatility has investors assuming the worst. This might be a good for financial advisers to remind clients about the opportunities to buy on the dip. The glass suddenly looks half empty A lack of inflation is front and center at the Fed. The upside is, this looks like another reason to delay a rate hike. The downside is, the Fed can't seem to find a tactic for triggering price increases. 'Too-low inflation is getting to be a real issue again' China's economic bubble looks like the big thing to worry about. This is what happens when... Read full post

Oct 9, 2014

Markets are poised to ride the Fed doves even higher today

By Jeff Benjamin

The Fed-minutes rally could have legs. The market is loving the dovish tone related to the stronger dollar and the weaker global economic outlook. More economic data out today, and more earnings Putting the strength of the dollar in perspective. Less pain at the pump, but multinationals will suffer. The viscous cycle ultimately has to come back around to hit the consumer. Americans are taking the rising dollar in stride for now Meanwhile, China looks poised to duke it out in a full-blown currency war. A strong dollar could catch the U.S. flat-footed. 'A major, slow-motion shock for the world and financial markets' JPMorgan hack attack was just the tip of the iceberg. The threat extended to more than a dozen other major financial firms. Warning signs in firewalls Pimco's slippery comparisons between Bill Gross and Dan Ivascyn could trip up less-savvy investors. It has the markings of a misleading and desperate marketing ploy.... Read full post

Oct 8, 2014

Equity markets buckle up for FOMC minutes, Alcoa earnings

By Jeff Benjamin

The stock market will dust itself off from Tuesday's carnage to brace for today's minutes from the September FOMC meeting, as well as Alcoa kicking off third-quarter earnings. Some are blaming a weakened European economy for the pullback, but in such a nervous market, the tipping points are everywhere. Fewer companies expected to beat revenues estimates, but the outlook is better for earnings The race for the billions of dollars set loose from the Pimco Total Return Fund over the past few weeks is being won by a handful of ETFs. A bright spot for select fixed-income ETFs Where the bond bears are getting it right, and where they're getting it wrong. This is what happens when investors try to discern the short-term future of the markets. Not being haunted by fixed-income questions that can't be answered A Morgan Stanley analyst, who probably doesn't own a car, calls for the end of the auto industry as we know it. This will sound like... Read full post

Oct 7, 2014

Wanted: Gold bears

By Jeff Benjamin

Friday's big drop in gold didn't lead to more bearishness and that's not necessarily a good sign. Gold market sentiment takes a big turn for the worseStructuring client portfolios for retirement is not easy. Here are some ideas. Top fund ideas for retirement bucket portfoliosAbout that breach at JPMorgan: The big bank wasn't alone. JPMorgan hackers attempted to infiltrate other financial institutionsIt's going to be a long fourth quarter for that bond manager in Newport Beach, Calif. Pimco's outflow headaches only just beginningA big, big, big real estate deal in the Big Apple. Hilton to sell Waldorf Astoria to Chinese investors for $1.95B Here's an event you should try not to miss, if you're in the right place. Rocking the red: A lunar eclipse bathes the moon in color Wednesday morning... Read full post

Oct 6, 2014

Bring on the competition: Gross

By Jeff Benjamin

In an interview with InvestmentNews, Bill Gross, now a portfolio manager at Janus, says he's ready to take on his rivals. Gross speaks out on Pimco exit, vows to regain crown at Janus Back at Pimco, the firm suffered record outflows in September, raising the question: Where did that money go? Pimco losing assets to DoubleLine, Metwest, BlackRock others The stock market rally might be a house of cards. S&P 500 companies spend almost all profits on buybacks, payouts Here's a stock market indicator you might not be watching. Is a stock market crash coming? The dental indicator says yes. It's baaaack! And ugly as ever. Bitcoin has been getting obliterated Another company jumps on the business strategy du jour bandwagon. Hewlett-Packard to split in two, seeking to remain competitive ... Read full post

Oct 3, 2014

Pimco is losing assets to DoubleLine, MetWest, BlackRock and others

By Jeff Benjamin

Right or wrong, the market has been loud and clear over the past week that it believes Bill Gross' sudden departure from Pimco marked the ultimate sell signal for the Pimco Total Return Fund (PTTAX).The big issue now is where that money will land and why.Spoiler alert: Mr. Gross and unconstrained bond funds are part of the answer.The world's largest bond fund reported $23.5 billion in outflows for September. Dropping the asset level to $198 billion, that amount was nearly seven times the $3.5 billion that exited the fund in August.Lipper Inc. analyst Jeff Tjornehoj logically concluded that $20 billion had raced out of the fund during the final three trading days of September, after Mr. Gross resigned Sept. 26. “Before the announcement, we assumed the outflows for September would be similar to August,” Mr. Tjornehoj said. “I've never seen anything like this.”BLEEDING ASSETSAnd, keep in mind, we're talking about... Read full post

Oct 3, 2014

Pimco boss shrugs off Gross' exit

By Jeff Benjamin

Pimco CEO says the big beachside bond shop has already moved past Bill Gross. Nothing to see here, folks. It's all good in the neighborhood. 'Our DNA is fundamentally unchanged' after Gross A bullish sign for stocks. The big-money investors are getting in position to pounce on the stock market pullback. Options traders have started making bullish wagers. The JPMorgan Chase data breach has compromised 76 million households and 7 million small businesses. The hackers have your name, address, phone numbers and e-mail addresses, but they don't have your passwords, yet. The pace of data breaches has ramped up. IPOs and M&A deals are both pointing to signs of a stock market bubble. Coincidentally, this is how things looked just before the 2008 financial crisis. Twin peaks Inventions that might not have been the children of necessity. Did the world really need buffalo wing soda, pajama jeans and pumpkin spice hummus? ... Read full post

Oct 2, 2014

Pimco Total Return takes big hit

By Jeff Benjamin

What happened with Bill Gross left Pimco? Cash, and lots of it, followed. Total Return Fund records largest redemptions in its history But all that cash might not be moving with him to Janus. 4 better alternatives to Bill Gross and Pimco A new robo adviser hits the market, this one with some cache. Ritholtz Wealth Management launches robo platform Wait. What? Corporate U.S. healthiest in decades under Obama with lower debt Oil prices are falling hard and there are many possible reasons. Oil plunge What's Tesla chief Elon Musk have up his sleeve now? Better get on Twitter to find out.Tesla, Twitter among premarket's biggest movers ... Read full post

Oct 1, 2014

Biotechs riding high as Ebola diagnosed in the U.S.

By Jeff Benjamin

Biotechs linked to Ebola treatments are taking off. The CDC has confirmed the first case of Ebola has been diagnosed in the U.S. TKMR, BCRX, NLNK, SRPT The stock market's 'Halloween indicator' looks great, but it also overlooks the scariest month of all, October. Trick or retreat J.P. Morgan Chase is getting sued by investors over mortgage-backed securities. The investment that keeps in giving. 10 months after the big bank's last $13 billion MBS settlement Is Ford the stock market's canary in the coal mine? Investors, take note. Profits are shrinking Investing like the rich and famous, even if you're neither. Start with a focus on fees and expenses ... Read full post

Sep 30, 2014

The dangerous downside of the stronger dollar

By Jeff Benjamin

A stronger U.S. dollar is threatening to knock the markets out of balance. This is scarier and more serious than the 'taper tantrum.' The downside of strength A commodity ETF that strikes all the right notes, and navigates the punishing tax gauntlet. Attracting assets as the broader category sees outflows. First Trust Global Tactical Commodity (FTGC) Sponsors are now kicking Pimco's Total Return Fund out of retirement plan menus. $88.3 billion in 401(k) plan assets Doing the math on high-interest credit card debt. Better ways to pay it off or avoid it. Tricks of the trade ... Read full post

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