Jeff Benjamin

Investment Insights: The Blogblog

Jeff Benjamin breaks down the game for advisers and clients.

Sep 16, 2014

A user's guide to this week's "Fedspeak"

By Jeff Benjamin

Calpers sends hedge funds out to pasture in a move that could represent a wake-up call to the alternatives space. A decision based on high fees What to watch for, and what to worry about, in the Fed's next public statements. A user's guide to fretting over Fedspeak. The market hangs on Yellen's every word The happy and encouraging math behind investing in stocks that are about to split. Apple Inc. has gained 36% since it announced plans for a 7-to-1 split A rebound for reverse mortgages. As housing prices come back, more aging Baby Boomers tap into the last-ditch lifeline to fund retirement. Tighter regulatory scrutiny Beer stocks are getting frothy amid increased merger talks between Anheuser-Bush and Miller. Most expensive price-to-earnings ratios in 10 years ... Read full post

Sep 15, 2014

Markets wait on the Fed's next move

By Jeff Benjamin

The market waits for the Fed to pull the trigger on rates, which appears to be the only thing investors care about these days. Reading into the phrase 'considerable time' Try the ETF route for a piece of the celebrated Alibaba IPO. Biggest public stock offering in history As the S&P 500 charges forward, the Nasdaq starts to crumble, showing trouble for equities. Almost half of Nasdaq stocks are in bear market territory Hedge funds are riding high on strong performance and big inflows in a sign that institutional investors are taking some risk off the table. Performance enhanced by hot stock markets The second quarter was huge for annuity sales, and the industry appears to have a lot of momentum on its side. Most products saw double-digit sales increases ... Read full post

Sep 12, 2014

Should you follow Bill?

By Jeff Benjamin

Bill Gross has been cutting his position in bonds. Should you do the same? Bill Gross is selling bonds, but here's why maybe you shouldn't. Finra might have found its replacement for retiring arbitration chief Linda Fienberg. Wall Street watchdog to pick insider as arbitration head - sources If you were wondering why there was such a muted reaction to President Obama's speech in the markets, adviser Paul Schatz has an idea. Bet these investors didn't have an adviser. Eight charged in $290M pump-and-dump plot Here's where at least some investors are going for return. Investors boost hedge fund holdings in August Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald has a great way to commemorate Sept. 11. Charity day, during which celebrities help the firm that lost the most on 9/11 give back. ... Read full post

Sep 11, 2014

The recovery's winners

By Jeff Benjamin

The recovery has been a good time to be youngish. Only Gen Xers have gotten richer since the recession Here's how far investors have gone to bolster returns. Bond investors turn to leverage in low-yield desperation It's not too early to start thinking about next week. Fed's rate guidance on chopping block, new exit plan nears How much did Charlie Munger contribute to partner Warren Buffett's success? Munger hosts groupies, mocks Wall Street, praises Buffett You don't see this very often ... Private equity exec gets super candid about his best and worst deals And finally, remembering Sept. 11. By any definition, 9/11 was an 'act of war' ... Read full post

Sep 10, 2014

Bears are giving up and that could be a bad sign

By Jeff Benjamin

Long-standing bears are giving up. That could be a bad sign. Yet another Wall Street bear folds while uber-bear Bob Janjuah expects stocks to keep rising until one particular condition Is met. (Hat tip Bloomberg's Matt Levine) How the housing market recovery is (or isn't) helping homebuilders. Homebuilder ETFs stall at the foundation 529 college savings plans are raking in money but ... Why 97% of people don't use 529 college savings plans Miss Tuesday's news from Apple? No problem. 10 tech things you need to know today Chances are good some clients have asked about long-term care insurance. Do retirees need long-term care insurance? ... Read full post

Sep 9, 2014

'Don't fight the Fed' was never more true

By Jeff Benjamin

Need proof that the age-old adage 'don't fight the Fed' works? You missed $1 trillion return agreeing with Fed naysayers Alibaba mania is in full swing. All you need to know At long last, it's here. Big day for Apple and CEO Tim Cook Plus: Amazon's fire sale Amazon Cuts Struggling Phone's Price to 99 Cents Repercussions from the financial crisis-era are still being felt in the advisory business. Wells Fargo facing possible Finra action over anti-money laundering failures Is this the future we need to accept? Home Depot confirms data breach Plus: How advisers can help hack attack victims ... Read full post

Sep 8, 2014

Where are the flows?

By Jeff Benjamin

How do you make sense of lackluster flows into equity funds amid the longest outperformance for U.S. stocks since the presidency of Richard Nixon? S&P 500 beating world doesn't spark flows This is Apple's big week but something's missing. 4 things that haven't been said about Apple Plus: A high bar for Apple's new products So long, and thanks for all the fish. Or something. Hertz shares jump after CEO resigns A long-standing, well known name in appliances waves goodbye. Electrolux takes on Whirlpool in U.S. with $3.3 billion GE Appliances buy Sir William Wallace must be smiling The pound is getting destroyed after Scotland poll stunner ... Read full post

Sep 5, 2014

Bond gurus say the rally is over

By Jeff Benjamin

Bond gurus speculate on the end of the bond rally. Tepper says it's over; Gundlach says it's range bound Hackers access Obamacare site and find nothing to steal. At least that's what the government is reporting. Someone 'accidently connected it to the Internet' The Fed wants to replace Libor as a benchmark for the interbank lending market. Trying to avoid a 'horrible mess' Another big study on alternative investments reminds us what we already know: Risk is high, so diversify. Institutional investors lead the way Kicking off football season with a makeshift NFL index. Why not. Team jerseys, beer, chicken wings ... Read full post

Sep 4, 2014

The four flavors of multialternatives have widely differing tastes

By Jeff Benjamin

With the equity markets appearing to layer on more risk with each passing day, it's not surprising that the category of mutual funds labeled multialternative would be gaining appeal as a reliable means of reducing risk.Trouble is, the funds making up the category are less homogenous than one might think, a situation that could lead to confusion among investors and financial advisers who are adding exposure to the growing universe of alternative strategies.Unlike some of the more generic fund categories, such as large-cap growth, the initial screens related to issues such as fees and performance can fall well short of standard expectations when it comes to researching multialternative mutual funds.Even Morningstar Inc., which tracks 122 multialternative funds, admits the category has become a kind of catch basin for some alternative strategies that don't fit anywhere else.Through the end of July, assets in the category have grown to... Read full post

Sep 4, 2014

Bringing back pooled 401(k) plans could derail a fund industry cash cow

By Jeff Benjamin

Revisiting the idea of pooled 401(k) plans: It's easier and cheaper. What's not to like? Getting back to the basics of smart retirement saving Jack Bogle gives the Fed only part of the credit for the bull market, and he worries that investors are embracing too much risk. 'Nice bump of confidence' The gimmick and the logic behind water ETFs. It's not about buying or betting on the price of the world's second-most precious resource for supporting life. The ultimate long-term play The list of billionaires calling for a market plunge continues to grow. 'It's very likely that something has to give' ... Read full post

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