Those “Horrible” Wonderful Fixed Index Annuities

September 12, 2014

Imagine that you and your spouse are currently in the market for a new car.  You have two large dogs and your three grandchildren several days each month, so you’re logically thinking that a minivan or SUV would be appropriate and safe.  Yet when you walk into your local car dealership to explain your needs, the salesman replies, “Oh no, those minivans and SUVs are reeeeally over-rated; what you want is simply a good pick-up truck—step right this way…”  

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The Cognitive Dissonance Market

July 22, 2014

Investors’ Staggering Indifference Amid Rising Dangers As a 25-year financial industry veteran with a broad background in managed money, market history, and risk mitigation, I have become amused—shocked really—at the cognitive dissonance being displayed by some in the investing public in this 6th year of the Federal Reserve’s “Recovery Market.”  Not since early 2000 during the heady days of a peaking tech/dot-com market, have I seen such displays of indifference, sans the enthusiasm of that euphoric run-up, for the market’s

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Analysts See Big Sell-Off, Flat Growth Through 2021

May 16, 2014

It’s mid-May, and if you haven’t taken the opportunity to “Sell in May and Stay Away” you still have some time.  Since I penned last month’s piece, we’ve seen a slew of advisors, columnists, and retired asset managers chime in with their own warnings, some of them dire, and all of them based on sound analysis and a firm grasp of market history.  Don’t take my word for it; consider the following: Writing at seekingalpha.com, Beverly Hills advisor Craig Brockie

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Ten Reasons to “Sell in May And Stay Away” This Year

April 21, 2014

Historic Indicators Point To A Significant Sell-Off Ahead After rising over 26% in 2013, the U.S. stock market remains flat three and a half months into the new year, battered by an increasing list of worries not easily brushed away.  The following are 10 compelling reasons to pare back risk exposure, especially if you’re retired or are about to retire, i.e. you can’t make up for large losses via ongoing 401(k) contributions, and/or your accounts represent monies that it’s taken

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The Six Things 2013 Should Have Taught us – But Didn’t

January 21, 2014

As we reflect on another year in the financial markets, whether you were deeply invested in equities or safely earning market-linked interest as they rose, it is once again enlightening to see who was right—and who was way off—in 2013, and what investors should have learned, but probably didn’t.  Here goes:   The Forecasters were wrong—again.  At the end of last year, CNNMoney polled 30 of the major asset managers on Wall Street, asking them where they thought the S&P

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Storm Clouds on Horizon for Markets in 2014

November 11, 2013

Jim Cramer, host of MAD Money on CNBC, has a problem. The sound-effects specialist and equal-opportunity stock mocker has noticed a compelling trend on Wall Street. It seems those stocks and sectors that tend to do well in a recovery are declining, even as those which advance amid slowdowns are attracting capital. The cantankerous Mr. Cramer has finally tripped over the tip of the iceberg. Today we have two contrasting metrics. One the one hand, a recent Forbes survey of

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The Abysmal Failure of Bernanke’s QE3

October 15, 2013

$1.05 Trillion Printed, 1.3 Million Fewer Jobs Consider the following staggering statistic: Since 2008, Ben Bernanke has increased the Fed’s balance sheet from $480 billion to $3.5 trillion, a 730 percent increase in five years.  So what did we get for all of those asset purchases? Predictably, it depends on who you ask. If you ask Wall Street, clearly they’re happy.  Since March 9, 2009, after a 57 percent sell-off of the S&P 500, that index has posted a gain

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Bernanke: Economy Still Weak And Slowing, Postpones Taper of MBS Purchases

September 23, 2013

Surprised Markets Rally To New Records, Then Retreat Is it just me, or does anyone else find irony and abnormality in the headline, “Fed Cuts Outlook Again, Cites Fragile Economy, Stocks Roar to New Records”? Welcome to The New Abnormal, friends, a surreal condition wherein bad economic news is cheered by the frat boys on Wall Street because it means that Professor Ben will continue to enable them by keeping their punch bowl filled with their favorite elixir: Free Money

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The Incredible Shrinking Recovery of 2013

August 20, 2013

Depending on which experts you ask, the stock market is either about to suffer another precipitous decline a la 2007-9 — or continue a rally with no end in sight.  Both sides have their math (more on that in a moment), but the bears increasingly have statistics, history, and facts on their side. In early July, Americans learned that first quarter U.S. economic growth (GDP) was revised downward to 1.8 percent from the previously-estimated 2.5 percent annual pace—a massive overestimation

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Markets Should Beware of Europe This Summer

May 13, 2013

If you blinked, you missed it: the amount of time that the US financial media has spent analyzing the potential fallout from recent events in Europe, not just in Cyprus but in Italy, Spain, Slovenia and elsewhere. At this writing, US markets are up nearly 12 percent year-to-date, either unconcerned or oblivious to the multiple crises developing in the Mediterranean region on economic, political and military fronts. In Cyprus, the extortion that the Cypriot government agreed to with the European

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