Jeff Benjamin

Investment Insights: The Blogblog

Jeff Benjamin breaks down the game for advisers and clients.

Dec 5, 2014

DoubleLine's Jeffrey Gundlach thinks the dollar will keep getting stronger

By Jeff Benjamin

DoubleLine's Jeff Gundlach called the dollar rally, and now he's calling for it to charge further ahead. Not worried about a crowded dollar trade Warren Buffett jumps on the Hillary Clinton bandwagon. Formerly 'dead broke' Hillary gets $25K worth of support from the world's third-richest man. 'Hillary is going to win.' Alerting bond fund managers to get flexible or go bust. Bill Eigen says he will only manage fixed income if he can go short and hold lots of cash. 'Fixed income does not have the ability to make back loses like equities.' Robert Shiller slams the door on homeownership in favor of stocks. Say what? It's important that we have homeowners. Just don't be one. ... Read full post

Dec 4, 2014

Financial adviser, and Teddy bear collector, goes to prison for fraud

By Jeff Benjamin

Financial adviser and former New York Islanders co-owner gets 10 years in the big penalty box for major financial fraud. He'll have lots of time in prison to ponder whether the pricey Teddy bear collection was worth it. 'He certainly did not help his investors.' Congress passes another tax law that nobody likes, including Congress. Your tax dollars at work. How Congress got here is no joke Lots of 'slack' in the labor market puts the Fed in a tight corner. When slacking off is too easy Nine things you probably didn't know were taxable. Please don't shoot the messenger. Income from illegal activities, including bribes, is taxable ... Read full post

Dec 3, 2014

Oil producers are feeling the heat from falling prices

By Jeff Benjamin

Some oil producers have a lot to lose from cheap oil. When big debt comes back to bite you. Banks could hold oil producers over a barrel Merrill brokers are hitting the bricks, and they say it's because Bank of America is micromanaging the brokerage side of the house. Merrill's loss has been UBS's gain Activist investors are taking over, and it's not necessarily a bad thing. Through September of this year activist investors initiated 238 campaigns at companies Like almost everything else, tipping gets more expensive every year. Here are some tips to help you out this holiday season. Tip up at restaurants this time of year ... Read full post

Dec 2, 2014

Corporate bonds fly off the shelves ahead of looming rate hikes

By Jeff Benjamin

U.S. corporations are signaling that they think interest rates are going higher, eventually. Bond sales top $1.5 trillion for a new record. Bond sales driven by record-low interest rates The stage is being set for another global currency war, which bodes well for the surging U.S. dollar. Bracing for too much of a good thing Falling oil prices caught portfolio managers flat footed, leaving a lot of investors with outdated portfolios. Loading up on industrial-goods and consumer-products stocks Making 2015 the year you maxed out your 401(k). It's not a crazy goal. Building wealth ... Read full post

Dec 1, 2014

Collapsing oil prices get real with no bottom in sight

By Jeff Benjamin

The collapse of oil prices is driving serious speculation about how bad things will get. Comparisons are being drawn to the impact of declining oil prices three decades ago that led to the fall of the Soviet Union. Few expected the power or speed of the U.S. oil resurgence. Russian equity ETF takes a hit in stride with oil prices. Market Vectors Russia (RSX) fell 5.5% in one day Gold drops like the rock it is after Swiss voters rejected a plan that would require the government to own lots of gold. The vote failed by a margin of 78% to 22%. If you must shop online at work today, here are a dozen Cyber Monday ideas for the foodies on your list. Teavana, for those who insist that tea is the new coffee. ... Read full post

Nov 26, 2014

Oil traders are liquidating positions as oil prices drop and uncertainty mounts

By Jeff Benjamin

Oil traders are hitting the brakes as oil prices slide and OPEC dithers. Translation: The situation is highly uncertain. Bracing for more downside Hedge fund shop showing a serious commitment to liquid alternatives by converting its third hedge fund into a mutual fund. Is this the start of a trend or something else altogether? Performance may vary It is starting to look a lot like Christmas for tech gadget junkies. When money is no object, there are a lot of really fun and exciting things to buy Everything you ever wanted to know about the coveted purebred, free range heritage turkey. It almost seems like a shame to cook and eat such a fine specimen. Please pass the gravy. An expensive way to put your relatives to sleep ... Read full post

Nov 25, 2014

John Hancock pushes for liquid alts in retirement plans

By Jeff Benjamin

John Hancock steps up to support for liquid alternatives in defined contribution plans. University endowments allocate 53% to alternatives, but most retail-class investors are stuck with long-only stock and bond funds. As straightforward as the Tortoise and the Hare As if investors needed another reason to be bullish about stocks, now the holiday shopping season looks extra festive. Look out, Black Friday Be thankful for a little bit of market timing heading into Thanksgiving. Seasonality Timing System Drones are taking the next generation of explorers to the edge, without ever having to get off the sofa. Degrees in drone piloting could be worth $100k a year. ... Read full post

Nov 24, 2014

Global buying binge pumps more air into the bond market run

By Jeff Benjamin

A global bond market mismatch now has demand far outstripping supply. Just when you thought yields couldn't get any lower, they can and probably will. Since 2007, demand for bonds has outpaced supply by $2.5 trillion Loading up on stocks in retirement? You betcha. The difference between saving for retirement and being in retirement Goldman calls out Larry Summers for his missed call on stagnation. Swing and a miss for the former Treasury secretary Innovative new alts player presents the benefits of alternatives that anyone could understand and appreciate. Providing a smoother ride ... Read full post

Nov 21, 2014

The economic immigration issue President Obama isn't ready to talk about

By Jeff Benjamin

The economics of immigration that President Barack Obama isn't ready to talk about. Addressing the fate of those already living in the U.S. without citizenship. The White House picks and chooses from academia. Making the cut on Morgan Stanley's wealth management team takes extreme riddle skills. "The client is always right. Describe three examples of when the client is wrong." Baby, it's cold outside, so let's cozy up to some commodities that will benefit from the frigid weather. Natural gas futures are up 27% from their October low. If you don't think Wall Street culture promotes dishonesty, you're probably not being honest, according to the University of Zurich. "Social norms in the banking sector tend to be more lenient toward dishonest behavior." ... Read full post

Nov 20, 2014

Why the IRS is toothless in the fight against supersized IRAs

By Jeff Benjamin

Government Accountability Office solves the riddle of the multimillion-dollar IRA. Turns out the IRS is toothless in the fight because of endless legal disputes over asset values. Filling retirement accounts with stock that isn't publicly traded. Some oil stocks are riding high following the Senate's pretend vote on the Keystone pipeline. Is this a great country, or what? GLF, PSX, RDC Despite the advantages, almost nobody delays taking their Social Security benefits. Just 3% wait till they're 70 years old. The "1099 economy" of contract workers has taken a bit of a hit because of a lawsuit filed by some strippers in New York. The ultimate fallout spreads all the way to Silicon Valley. In case you thought "performance fees" applied only to hedge funds. ... Read full post

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