24 Mar 2014

Yellen Speaks and Moves Markets

Markets closed lower on Friday, but were up strongly for the week. The S&P 500 was up 1.38 percent, the Russell 2000 was up 1.04 percent, the MSCI ACWI ex US was up 0.23 percent and the Barclays Aggregate bond index was up 0.18 percent last week. Please note that I’ve made an index change from the MSCI EAFE to the MSCI ACWI ex US index starting today.  The reason… Read More

11 Mar 2014

Which Stock Sector is Best?

A lot of our attention at Acropolis is focused on asset classes like US large or mid cap stocks, emerging markets or bonds.  We also spend a lot of time researching and trying to optimize strategies like value, momentum, size and quality. Another dimension that factors into our decision making process are stock sectors (bond sectors too, but I’ll save that for another day).  Within the S&P 500, there are… Read More

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7 Mar 2014

Five Years of Bull

During the tech bubble in the late 1990’s, I had the feeling that seeing five years of 20 percent plus returns was a one in a lifetime type event and that was going to be it for me. Looking at the data today, that was a pretty good bet since there have only been a few times when the average return for five years has been greater than 20 percent. … Read More

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6 Mar 2014

When to Take Social Security Benefits

Stocks were basically flat yesterday after Tuesday’s strong rally.  Some smaller economic releases like the ADP private payrolls report and the ISM services data were softer than expected, but the news from the Fed’s ‘beige book’ was modestly positive.  All of the reports included the negative impact of this winter’s cold weather.

5 Mar 2014

Acropolis vs the Yale Endowment

Just as I enjoy and learn from Warren Buffets annual letter to Berkshire stockholders, I also read and get a lot of value from the annual report from Yale’s endowment.  Here’s a link to the current report. Yale’s endowment is the largest in the world and has enjoyed spectacular investment performance, particularly under the stewardship of David Swensen, who wrote one of my favorite investing books of all time, Pioneering… Read More

3 Mar 2014

New Investing Insight from Warren Buffet

Markets were a bit of a seesaw Friday and were up more than a percent in the mid day, but dropped back in the last hour of trading on the increasing tensions in the Ukraine.  It was still a record close for the S&P 500. The second estimate of fourth quarter GDP was released in the morning and markets shrugged off the downward revision from the first estimate of 3.2… Read More

26 Feb 2014

Ukrainian Unrest

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I’m not really following what’s happening in the Ukraine.  I know that the people were unhappy, they protested, the President was ousted and Russia is involved. The only story that really caught my attention was that when they raided the President’s house, they found a palace, a golf course, a private zoo and, oddly, a replica of an old ship with a restaurant. … Read More

12 Feb 2014

The Market is Over Valued. Now What?

The same fine reader that asked about buy-side versus sell-side research asked another useful question about market valuation metrics.  Let this be a signal to all readers that I demonstrate my appreciation for questions with answers! The question refers to an article by Mark Hulbert from CBS Market Watch that looks at six different valuation measures that all come to the same conclusion – that the market is overvalued. First… Read More

6 Feb 2014

Bonds & Bond Ratings

At the end of October, I wrote that investors could earn a tax-free nine percent yield on their fixed income portfolio buy purchasing bonds issued by Puerto Rico. In the article, I said that ‘markets caught on before the bond ratings agencies’ since prices had fallen dramatically while Moody’s had just cut their rating from Aa3 to A2, which is still five rungs above investment grade. A little more than… Read More

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