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  • Protective Instincts
    Plus November Market Report

    John Gorlow | Dec 16, 2018
    Financial Unicorns

    The disgraced Wall Street investment manager Bernie Madoff wrote the playbook on how to defraud investors. Make investments sound exclusive and special, make the club difficult to join, mingle with the rich and meet their closest friends. Before Madoff’s house of cards collapsed, he stole tens of billions of dollars, escaping SEC attention despite many red flags. Madoff was a fraud, pure and simple. But what about those high-rolling hedge fund managers who lose millions through completely legal means? This month we look at important safeguards that every investor should understand before chasing high-stakes returns. First, a quick review of November markets.

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  • A Hidden Menace
    Plus October Market Report

    John Gorlow | Nov 12, 2018
    Caution

    October was the worst month in six years as global stock prices plummeted. Many investors are now bracing themselves for stormier weather ahead. And yet for all the focus on stocks, bonds could wreak even more havoc. Janet Yellen, former Chair of the US Federal Reserve, recently warned of “systemic risk” in leveraged corporate debt products—risk that would be greatly magnified by an economic downturn. Are we looking at a repeat of 2008, when irresponsible lending practices decimated the global economy? We’ll share insights and advice after a review of October markets.

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  • Benefits of International Diversification
    Plus Third Quarter Market Report

    John Gorlow | Oct 17, 2018
    Global Investing

    Lifted by a strong US economy, it was a profitable quarter for global markets, which returned a rewarding 4.28% as measured by the MSCI All Country World Index. But the gap between US stock returns and everywhere else was wide. Absent the 7.08% US return, global markets returned a meager 0.71% against a backdrop of lackluster growth, rising US interest rates, and a stronger dollar. International developed markets returned 1.31%, while emerging markets remained in the red at negative -1.09%. These performance measures may make some investors want to chase higher returns through portfolio reallocation. That’s not a good idea. Sooner or later, the tide will turn, and investors diversifying overseas will be rewarded. We’ll share more about why it’s important to remain diversified after a look at Q3 results.

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  • A Looming Matter of Interest
    Plus August Market Report

    John Gorlow | Sep 13, 2018
    Yield Curve Flattening 192x128

    As the spread between long and short-term Treasuries flattens, three words are stirring fear on Wall Street: inverted yield curve. Is the long economic expansion that began in 2009 nearing its inevitable end? More to the point, how should you respond to worrisome noise about recessions and sinking stock prices? We’ll offer our perspective after a quick look at August market performance. 


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  • Should You Rethink How You Diversify?
    Plus July Market Report

    John Gorlow | Aug 17, 2018
    Rethinking Diversification 192x128Occasionally a cornerstone of one’s investment strategy is called into question. Recently, some pundits have claimed that adequate diversification is no longer possible due to a diminishing number of publicly traded US stocks. Join us for a closer look at this issue—and the hype and fear that surround it—following our July market review.  



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  • How to Think about Benchmarks
    Plus Q2 Market Report

    John Gorlow | Jul 17, 2018
    measuring tape smallIt’s our nature to compare our performance to others. Clothes, cars, homes, vacations, athletic skill, personal wealth, even our kids—it’s all part of a complex mental calculation that tells us how we stack up. But is there any such thing as a reliable benchmark? In life, certainly not. In investing, the answer also is “no,” as evidenced by substantial tracking error in classic benchmark indices. What’s an investor to do? We’ll share our advice after a review of Q2 markets.

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  • How Investing is Like Tennis
    Plus May Market Report

    John Gorlow | Jun 16, 2018

    Roland Garos  I was a competitive tennis player in high school. For that I can thank my father, who learned to play on the red clay courts in Brooklyn and taught me what he knew. I watched him parlay above-average skills into quite an extraordinary game by learning the fundamentals and playing regular doubles matches with skilled competitors. My own game evolved from his example. So did my approach to investing. More on that after a quick look at May markets.

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  • Dazzled and Duped: Our Morningstar Report
    April 2018 Market Report

    John Gorlow | May 08, 2018
    mutual fund ratings smallIt’s human nature to compare products, especially when money is involved. We’ll spend hours and even days poring over ratings for cars, washing machines, restaurants and vacations. How about picking a mutual fund? For that, millions of investors and their advisors rely on Morningstar’s five-star rating system. Does it work? Yes, but not the way you might think. This month we offer our own rating of the Morningstar juggernaut. First, a review of the April numbers.

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  • Swing Time
    Plus Q1 2018 Market Report

    John Gorlow | Apr 17, 2018
    Volatility

    After a remarkable climb in 2017, the market turned volatile in the first quarter of the new year. The swings were dramatic, including a drop in the Dow of 1,175 points on February 5. The U.S. stock market suffered one of the swiftest 10% slumps in history, and global equities lost $4.2 trillion that week. In terms of dollars, that’s more than the total losses suffered by the Nasdaq when the dotcom bubble burst. What’s next? Nervous investors are looking for signs and signals. Of particular interest will be Q1 profits. Other areas of concern include slower growth in China, tightening monetary policy, trade wars, a spike in wage growth and interest rate hikes. But despite a mountain of forecasting data, the market is unpredictable. A proven investment strategy is still your best defense. More about that after a look at Q1 numbers.

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  • Rising Rates Shadow a Strong Economy
    February Market Report

    John Gorlow | Mar 14, 2018
    Volatility is BackVolatility roiled the markets in February. As the dust settled, the February employment report came out and it was golden: 313,000 new jobs were added to US payrolls, the greatest single-month gain since July 2016. So why is the market nervous? Many investors are eyeballing interest rates as the culprit. (Not to discount the unpredictable antics of the White House.) This month we look at the impact of rising rates on REITs, a particularly vulnerable sector. First, the February numbers. 

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