Jeff Benjamin

Investment Insights: The Blogblog

Jeff Benjamin breaks down the game for advisers and clients.

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

Jun 16, 2015

The next big worry is that the Fed already missed its chance to raise rates

By Jeff Benjamin

More Fed handwringing is coming this Wednesday. Now we can worry all the way back to 1937 when the Fed raised rates too soon. That's clearly not the problem this time, but it could be that the Fed has waited too long. So, the answer is more waiting. Fear and consternation There's such a thing as real investment skill, but luck is much easier to find and apparently more dependable over time. Investment luck is the 'dirty little secret' There are signs of life for consumer spending, and here are some stocks that could and should benefit. COH, MTEX, PG, SAM Don't confuse income inequality with wealth inequality, because one of them is actually good for an economy, to a certain point. Only when the inequality gets exaggerated is it something to fret about ... Read full post

Jun 15, 2015

Saudi Arabia lays out the welcome mat for global investors

By Jeff Benjamin

The richest and most powerful Arab nation opens its stock market to the world. Foreigners can own as much as 49% of a single stock Don't look now but silver is starting to look like the new gold. Net trade balance The euro is starting to skid as Greece misses another deadline. More negotiations and still no agreement in sight When corporate profits don't add up, but they still drive stock price performance. Passing along the rosy numbers ... Read full post

Jun 12, 2015

How Fed policy is wrecking the bond market

By Jeff Benjamin

Turns out the Fed got it all wrong, and completely messed up the bond market. Welcome to the upside down world of too much liquidity creating illiquidity.Feeding price bubbles China's roaring stock market got back on track Wednesday after a brief respite The data looks bright. Now can we get back to wondering if the sky's the limit for China? An 'unstoppable' pace As the mid-year mark nears, Morningstar's Christine Benz tells advisers and investors to keep your feet on the ground, and don't get distracted by the returns. Basking in the glow of the wealth effect An oversized venture capital investment from Asia proves that 'Silicon Valley can happen anywhere.' There are new players in the VC space ... Read full post

Jun 11, 2015

Bill Gross tweets and technical analysts get all giddy

By Jeff Benjamin

Bill Gross tweets out a nerdy note that only technical analysts can really understand, but the translation is both bearish and fun. Kicking it old school is a 'discretionary black art practiced by the old Jedi masters.' Suddenly a U.S. rate hike looks like really bad news for Asia. The entire world has become addicted to zero interest rates The World Bank sees a raft of headwinds facing the global economy, and trims its outlook for 2015 growth to 2.8%. A 'more difficult economic environment' for developing countries Peter Schiff is intent on scaring the heck out of everybody. Bubbles that no one seems willing to confront or even acknowledge. ... Read full post

Jun 10, 2015

It's time for retirees to start bracing for higher interest rates

By Jeff Benjamin

Retirees should be bracing for rising interest rates. The Fed probably doesn't even know when it plans to raise rates, which is probably something else we should all be worried about. The risks of chasing yield If the stock market really is finally losing steam, it would be a good idea to have a strategy in mind. Start by looking past short-term activity A few pesky regulatory snags are the only thing preventing China mainland stocks from joining the MSCI. Saudi Arabia could be next Eleven stocks you don't want to buy right now. The analysts could be wrong, but it isn't worth the risk. ... Read full post

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