No time like now to avoid bond funds

January 25, 2010

Even in the most stable of economic times, it’s hard to make much of a case for investing in a bond fund. At this point in time, when bond rates are at an all-time low, there’s little if anything that can be said on behalf of investing in a bond fund.

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Third quarter report some growth, more concerns

December 21, 2009

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s recently predicted “formidable headwinds” for the U.S. economy. Norris, Perné & French, in the firm’s most recent economic overview, Sound of the Economy, similarly described an economic recovery that is under way, but “hardly the beginning of a period of above-average growth and prosperity.”

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Roth IRA rollover presents challenges and opportunities

November 14, 2009

The approach of the year’s end brings more challenges than where to get a deer-hunting license or the search for the perfect gift. For many taxpayers, the end of the year presents opportunities to roll over amounts in qualified employer-sponsored retirement plan accounts (including 401(k)’s and profit-sharing plans) and regular IRA’s into Roth IRAs. 

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Balloon, boom or boomlet — bonds deserve consideration

October 12, 2009

The credit crisis appears to be waning, calls that the recession has ended are rising in frequency, and the stock market has enjoyed a double-digit run to date this year. Fall often can be a difficult time for the market, as many of us were reminded last year to an extent unknown in our lifetimes.

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Don’t hold your breath waiting for inflation's arrival

August 17, 2009

We may be in the summer doldrums, but economic arguments continue to raise temperatures. Will we see inflation or deflation? Has the recession ended? Will there be more unemployment before the year’s end?

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Dividends' desirability grows as availability shrinks

July 13, 2009

The second quarter’s end brought good news — the Dow closed 11 percent higher than the end of the previous quarter — and two doses of reality: It remained down 3.8 percent for the year and 40 percent down from the all-time high Oct. 7, 2007.

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Warren Buffet 2009 cautious or cockeyed optimist

May 4, 2009

Warren Buffet’s annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders rings of the Harry Truman quote, “I never did give anybody hell. I just told the truth and they thought it was hell.” Buffet also follows Truman’s counsel that “a pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.” In practice, Buffet has excelled at that definition of optimism for decades — even in the face of a 62 percent drop in net income for his company. In this year’s letter he continues to embrace optimism while telling truths that singe their subjects.

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Canards and experience: what we’ve learned about truth

February 23, 2009

In a time when the unanticipated has become the anticipated — in the sense that there are enough economic news tremors and quakes daily to dull our responses — there are truisms and theories that prove and reprove themselves. And unfortunately there are those of long-standing support that are disproved under unprecedented conditions of stress.

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