30 Jul 2014

Official Market Forecast Update

If you were reading Daily Insights back in January (and I hope you were), I started the year off right with the first ever Official Acropolis 2014 S&P 500 Market Forecast. In case you missed it, here’s what I said: ‘We forecast with a 90 percent degree of confidence that the S&P 500 will close the year at 2,033, plus or minus 450 points.’ So far, we’re nailing it! Just… Read More

29 Jul 2014

Pension Cuts Hedge Fund Investments

I was reading the Wall Street Journal over the weekend and saw that the California Public Employees Retirement System (Calpers) was cutting back their hedge fund exposure by 40 percent. Given that hedge funds have generally struggled over the past five years, I was interested to see what the article said, and, basically, it said that they weren’t happy with the lackluster performance and high fees. The article then said… Read More

28 Jul 2014

Money Market Reform

Cash may seem like the least interesting asset class at this point with interest rates hovering near or at zero for the past several years, but there was a major shift in policy last Thursday. For the most part, investors forget that most cash is actually parked in money market mutual funds.  The money market funds invest in short-term government bills from around the world and debt issued by corporations… Read More

24 Jul 2014

Visualizing Bond Returns

Over the years, we’ve seen and created a ‘periodic table’ of returns that stacks asset classes in order of their performance on a year by year basis.  By color coding each asset class, most investors look at the table and realized that asset classes jump around a lot and it’s difficult, if not impossible, to make good timing decisions. I thought it would be interesting to the same thing with… Read More

By Tags:
24 Jul 2014

Taxes Sure Take a Bite

A few years ago, someone forwarded me a chart that showed the history of the top marginal tax bracket. I found a similar chart that you can see below from www.visualeconomics.com with a simple Google Image search. At the time, I forwarded the image to a trust and estate tax lawyer that I worked with to see what he would say and his response was interesting. He said that the… Read More

21 Jul 2014

Money and Happiness

Any sensible person knows that you have to save money for the future. At the very least, you need to have money set aside for the so-called ‘rainy-day.’  If you don’t have a cushion, the consequence of a negative surprise can be a lot worse than if you have an emergency fund set aside. Do money and happiness go together?  Can saving actually make you happier?  I wouldn’t have thought… Read More

14 Jul 2014

Penny Stock Scams

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal ran a story about a company with no assets, no revenue and only one employee that has a market value of more than $6 billion! I immediately had three thoughts. First, I was reminded of a story that I read in 2000 (I found it online here) during the technology bubble.  One of my favorite authors, Michael Lewis, wrote a column about NetJ.com that… Read More

9 Jul 2014

When Interest Rates Rise

With the Federal Reserve now unwinding their bond purchasing program known as quantitative easing, it’s likely that the Fed will start to raise short-term interest rates at the end of 2015 or the beginning of 2016 (assuming no new information). Now that we ‘know’ that the Fed will raise rates, what will happen when interest rates rise?  The short answer is that it depends.  I know that’s an unsatisfying answer,… Read More

8 Jul 2014

Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble

I had intended for the subject line to be Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble, but I don’t know Shakespeare very well: it’s ‘double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn and caldron bubble!’  Since I wanted to write about bubbles, I went with the latter half of the statement, which still sounds fairly ominous. The New York Times has a terrific new section, The Upshot, that featured an article yesterday titled,… Read More

By Tags:
7 Jul 2014

Unemployment Report Does’t Disappoint

The fireworks started a day early on Thursday with the Bureau of Labor Statistics announcement that employment increased by 288,000 in June and that the April and May numbers were revised upward by a combined 29,000 jobs. June marked the fifth month where more than 200,000 jobs were added per month and averaged more than 250,000, a streak that we haven’t seen since the late 1990s. Furthermore, the unemployment rate… Read More

By Tags: