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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5 Feb 2014

Who am I to Judge?

At the beginning of a client relationship, we ask new clients whether or not there are any constraints that we need to be bound by in managing the investment assets.  Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, there’s nothing to worry about other than assets with a low cost basis and, therefore, a lot of potential capital gains taxes. In addition to any tax considerations, we want to know whether an… Read More

30 Jan 2014

Fed Tapers as Bernanke Departs

Stock markets fell and bonds rose sharply yesterday as the Federal Reserve continued to pull back on their quantitative easing program and tensions about emerging markets ramped up. The yield on the 10-year Treasury dropped eight basis points to 2.69 percent, falling all the way from 3.0 percent at the start of the year. Even though January isn’t even over, the Barclays US Aggregate bond index has regained almost three-quarters… Read More

28 Jan 2014

Client Goals Trump Everything

Markets were lower yesterday across the board, but the feeling in the air, so to speak, was more calm, as evidenced by the four percent drop in the CBOE Volatility index.  Granted, it was a four percent drop following a 40 percent increase last week, but the direction was right. Bonds fell, as measured by the 10-year US Treasury bond, as bond investors pulled away from the ‘flight-to-quality’ trade and… Read More

27 Jan 2014

Emerging Markets Tail Wags Dog

Concerns about a slowdown in China’s economy appears to be the ‘go-to’ rationale for the selloff, although there hasn’t been any new data since the Purchasing Index Managers (PMI) report that we discussed on Friday. A secondary, but possibly more plausible explanation is that investors are looking at the weakness in Emerging Markets currencies and are concerned about the end of the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing program. We noted the… Read More

27 Jan 2014

Time to Exit Emerging Markets?

Emerging markets (EM) had a tough time last year, down about five percent while US markets rose by basically one-third.  Given that the losses are extending into 2014, it’s natural to wonder whether we should remain invested in EM. The short answer is that we certainly don’t intend to withdraw or reduce our position there, and, in fact, we are actually considering increasing our allocation slightly. Acropolis has held EM… Read More

21 Jan 2014

Acropolis vs Harvard Endowment

I didn’t apply to Harvard because I was certain that they would not admit me. My grades were fine and scores were so-so, but at that time they were accepting only nine or ten percent of applications and I knew that the other kids had top grades and scores AND were fluent in four languages, captain of multiple teams and fought poverty on the side. Or, worse yet, their parents… Read More