Jeff Benjamin

Investment Insights: The Blogblog

Jeff Benjamin breaks down the game for advisers and clients.

Mar 18, 2015

Being smart about smart beta

By Jeff Benjamin

Smart beta is here to stay, so you might as well try and figure out what the heck it is. The robots are coming The ongoing disappointing reality of the U.S. economy. Reality versus expectations You don't have to be rich to have a will, but most people still don't have one. Deciding who gets what Practice Management: Why a private foundation may not be the best deal for your clients. Looking past the allure ... Read full post

Mar 17, 2015

Oil-price slide is starting to get scary

By Jeff Benjamin

Oil has dropped to a six-year low and the dollar continues to ride the rocket higher. Talk about an oil comeback is starting to fade. Look out below The basic economic principle that 'bad money drives out good' could be good news for gold. Applying Gresham's Law to entire markets Wall St. bankers see the writing on the wall and are moving to low-pay tech jobs. 'Technological progress is going to leave behind some people.' In honor of various celebrations recognizing St. Patrick's Day, we offer unscientific proof that people who consume alcohol can be bad at spelling. 42% of Americans can't spell Budweiser, 23% can't spell Jameson, but only 6% can't spell Jack Daniel's ... Read full post

Mar 16, 2015

How Warren Buffett's $1 billion prize for a perfect NCAA bracket went bust

By Jeff Benjamin

As busted NCAA brackets go, it doesn't get much nastier than last year's gimmick to pay $1 billion to anyone who correctly picked every game in the tourney. No contestants made it past the first round without at least one loss, and the contest sponsors are all suing each other. What was supposed to be a light-hearted publicity stunt ultimately devolved into a series of lawsuits over who came up with the idea first. All the same factors that have been driving the U.S. bull market for six years are why investors should be allocating to European markets now. Watching the rise of European stock indexes Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina chides Hillary Clinton for her lame excuses for using private email. “If Hillary Clinton had to face me on the debate stage, at the very least she would have a hitch in her swing.” In America, it seems everybody is Irish on St. Patrick's Day. Here's to celebrating. 13 million pints of... Read full post

Mar 13, 2015

The smoke and mirrors of stock repurchase plans

By Jeff Benjamin

Stock repurchase plans are all the rage. Whether they provide any benefits to shareholders is a whole different issue. A clever accounting trick You don't have to be Secretary of State to benefit from a personal email account. As Hillary has proven, it is a lot easier than most people think to set up your own email account. Using an employer-provided email account as your only email is the “plain ol' dumb way” Deutsche Bank was warned about painting an overly rosy picture of the bank's health leading up to the stress tests. 'Way too optimistic' Millennials are more scared of the Internet than any other age group. Does that mean other ages should be worried about what they might not know? The Internet is scary ... Read full post

Mar 12, 2015

Reading between the lines of liquid alternatives fund expense ratios

By Jeff Benjamin

As more financial advisers wade into alternative strategy mutual funds, many are discovering the unique riddle of variable — and often confusing — expense ratios for certain strategies.For example, Morningstar Inc. lists an expense ratio of just 25 basis points for the $361 million Vanguard Market Neutral Fund (VMNFX). But on its website, The Vanguard Group Inc. lists the fund's expense ratio at 1.6% — more than six times as high as Morningstar's calculation. Likewise, Morningstar pegs the expense ratio of the $700 million JPMorgan Research Market Neutral Fund (JPMNX) at 99 basis points, while J.P. Morgan Asset Management reports it as 3.35%.And nothing drives the point home like the $720 million TFS Market Neutral Fund (TFSMX), which Morningstar says charges 2.02% but TFS Capital reports as 8.4%.... Read full post

Mar 12, 2015

Big banks are stressing over the Fed's stress tests

By Jeff Benjamin

Stressing over the Fed's stress test. Two big failures in Europe, Citi makes the grade, while BofA is still cramming. The bar will keep rising for banks How the strongest dollar in a decade translates to consumer spending. Seven straight months of falling prices for imported goods and services Rising interest rates could push more investors into liquid alternative funds. Shorting the bonds of weaker companies or buying protection on them Looking beyond the first interest rate hike to figure out where rates will end up once all the dust has settled. Fed vs. Futures ... Read full post

Mar 11, 2015

Strong dollar is keeping the markets on edge

By Jeff Benjamin

The wicked-fast pace of the dollar's rise has the markets on edge, and there's little reason to expect the greenback will slow down any time soon. Other currencies are not able to adapt fast enough An ominous outlook for the bond bubble. When it blows, it will take the stock market with it. 'We're only one financial crisis away from going back to square one' Invest like a hedge fund manager. Or at least copy what they're doing. ARDX, AXDX, PGNX, PTLA, RDUS Getting to the heart of behavioral finance. Focusing on what is most important to your clients. 'Your true heart starts with your values' ... Read full post

Mar 10, 2015

Maxing out a 401(k) doesn't mean you can't keep saving for retirement

By Jeff Benjamin

Where to invest after you've maxed out your 401(k). It's a good problem to have. Follow the rules How much steam is left for the U.S. dollar and the U.S. equity markets? It looks different from outside the U.S. Don't forget to hedge when investing in foreign stocks As the equality theme gains momentum, quantifiable investment opportunities are starting to surface. CL, CSCO, DD, GIS, TXN, VZ, In the category of 'It's about time,' the three main credit bureaus are cobbling together a plan to try and improve the accuracy of consumer credit reports. They're going to have to hire more people and actually verify that what a creditor says is true.' ... Read full post

Mar 9, 2015

Fresh rate-hike rumors will be testing investor nerves this week

By Jeff Benjamin

The Fed's first rate hike since 2006 suddenly seems imminent to investors. The question is, does the Fed buy into the rosy unemployment data? Major equity indexes pull back in response to strong jobs data Even at current price levels of around $50 a barrel, most of the world's major oil projects are still above the break-even point. Most unsettling is that some countries can turn a profit even if the price drops below $5 a barrel Retirement savings in a nutshell: Keep it simple and keep it cheap. Over the long term, most diversified investment allocations will perform about the same The consumer debt choke hold is difficult to escape. The long-lasting pain of compound interest ... Read full post

Mar 5, 2015

Hospital stocks ride a wave of potential insurance subsidies

By Jeff Benjamin

Hospital stocks rallied on word the Supremes would be hearing arguments related to Obamacare subsidies. HCA, THC, CYH The dollar has hit an 11-year high against the euro. 'A continuation in the selling we've seen all week' An easy road map to institutional investor actions can be found with a few basic screens. Increased volume is a good place to start As bad investments go, it doesn't get much worse than a scenario that forces American taxpayers to pony up for over-priced college tuition. Government student loans are the only type of consumer debt that gets issued without the lender accounting for the possibility that the borrower won't repay the loan. ... Read full post

« Newer Older »