Featured Insights —
- By Dr. Michael Kirsch
- May 06, 2013
I attended a medical staff meeting recently. These are required meetings and attendance is taken, as was done when we were in kindergarten. While some folks are interested in these meetings' content, many are not and simply sign the attendance sheet and then slither out in a stealth fashion. Sly doctors grab their pagers and then leave hurriedly pretending that they were summoned to an urgent medical situation, when they are actually heading for Starbucks.
- By Sy Harding
- May 03, 2013
For several months the U.S. stock market has been impressively shrugging off a staggering string of terrible economic reports that seemed to indicate the economic recovery is stumbling again, as it has in each of the last three summers.
Since in each of those last three years the stumbling economy was accompanied by double-digit corrections by the S&P 500 of up to 21%, the market's lack of concern this time has been puzzling analysts.
In my column last week I noted that although the market gets high marks for its resilience and ability to shrug off the negative economic reports, it had also made almost no further progress over the last six weeks. The Dow & S&P 500 had been trading in a narrow sideways range since mid-March, while the DJ Transportation Average and Russell 2000 had pulled back 4% or so from their levels of mid-March.
- By Frank Holmes
- May 03, 2013
Sometimes following where money is being invested is a solid course of action to gain alpha; other times, a better opportunity lies in going the opposite direction, i.e., thinking contrarian.
Take commodities, energy and materials, which may be the most unappreciated areas of the market these days. According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch's Global Fund Manager Survey of 250 participants who collectively manage $725 billion, energy, materials and commodities are extremely underowned.
As you can see below, the global asset class positioning during the first week of April compared to historical data shows that energy positions are close to 3 standard deviations below the long-term average. An allocation to materials is more than 2 standard deviations below its long-term average and commodity exposure is close to 2 standard deviations below its historical measure.
- By Patti S. Spencer Esq.
- May 02, 2013
On March 26 the IRS released its annual list of the worst 12 tax scams for the year. The IRS cautions taxpayers not to fall for any of these scams - often these scams are at their peak during the filing season as people prepare their tax returns. This week's column presents one-half of the "Dirty Dozen".
- Identity Theft and Refund Fraud
Tax fraud through the use of identity theft tops this year's Dirty Dozen list. For the 2013 tax season, the IRS has put in place a number of additional steps to prevent identity theft and detect refund fraud before it occurs. The strategy uses a three-pronged effort focusing on fraud prevention, early detection and victim assistance.
- By Andrew Jensen
- April 30, 2013
Pushy customers and clients can make a bad day worse, and they have the uncanny ability to raise your stress levels from manageable to "I quit" in no time at all. Pushy clients want things done their way, they want something for nothing, they want you on-call 24/7, and they want projects completed on their timeline.
Their demands aren't always reasonable, and catering to these types of clients can not only make you unhappy, but it can also put your business in danger. Think about it: If you cave under the pressure of a pushy client's bullying today, what do you think their expectations will be for tomorrow?
Instead, of conforming to their unreasonable expectations, follow the tips below to help maintain some semblance of balance in your relationship with these unbearable clients:
Public Financial Markets >
The Last Of The 2008 Doomsday Scenarios Is Fading Away
The gloom and doom theorists swarmed out of the woodwork during the 2008 financial meltdown in reaction to government actions taken to prevent the 'great recession' from morphing into the next great depression. The blame fell on both political parties. The Bush administration began the bailout efforts in March, 2008 and by the time its term ended it had provided $29 billion in loan >>
The Dow Hits All-Time Highs, But The Truth Is It Remains Cheaply Valued
My Top 10 Fairly Valued Fast-Growing Stocks
Three Reasons to Buy Gold Equities Today
A strong stomach and a tremendous amount of patience are required for gold stock investors these days, as miners have been exhibiting their typical volatility pattern. That's why I often say to anticipate before you participate, because gold stocks are historically twice as volatile as U.S. stocks. As of March 31, 2013, using 10-year data, the NYSE Arca Gold BUGS Index (HUI) had a >>
It’s Still Fool’s Gold For A While Yet
A Case for Owning Commodities When No One Else Is
Economy & Finance >
No Free Lunch, No Free Sushi
Everybody loves a free lunch, myself included, and many in Japan would like free sushi too. Despite the short term boost in Japanese exports and Nikkei stock prices, there are no long-term free lunches (or free sushi) when it comes to global financial markets. Following in the footsteps of the U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) has embarked on an ambitious plan of doubling >>
Here’s Why Next Week’s Economic Reports Are The Most Critical in Months
M&A Bankers Away as Elephant Hunters Play
Global Business >
Why China is Tunneling a Mind-Boggling 800 Miles in 2 Years
Would it surprise you to discover that China is planning to add 800 miles to its subway system over the next two years? That's the distance equivalent to building a network from Dallas to Chicago in less time than the U.S. Congress can resolve a budget! In 2015, when the infrastructure build-out is complete, China's subway track alone will be a mind-boggling 1,900 miles, according to >>
A Taxing Situation in Europe
Out With the Dragon, In With the Snake
Taxes & Financial Planning >
Peek-ing Into "Rollover As Business Startup" IRAs
They are called ROBS – an acronym for "Rollovers as Business Startups." The idea is to own a business through your IRA. Perhaps your IRA could be the bank in the transaction. Perhaps the business will go exponential, which would do wonders for your IRA balance. Me? I do not particularly care for them. Why? This field is so fraught with landmines I cannot help wonder why I would >>
Judge Rips Into The IRS Over Prosecution Of Widow
Time to Change to a C-Corporation?
Estate Planning >
Can a Court Revoke your Advance Health Care Directive?
If you have an advance health care directive, can a court or guardian overrule your instructions after you become incapacitated? That question was explored recently in a Pennsylvania appeals court case, In Re Border, 2013 PA Super 94 (PA Superior Court, April 23, 2013). Russell Border was a 62 year old resident of the Golden Living Nursing facility in Berks County Pennsylvania. In >>
Dangers of Giving Your Home To Your Children Explained
Case Illustrates Dangers of Do It Yourself Wills
Property Investments >
Fixing the Mortgage Mess
Two landmark developments on August 16th give momentum to the growing interest of cities and counties in addressing the mortgage crisis using eminent domain: The Washington State Supreme Court held in Bain v. MERS, et al., that an electronic database called Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS) is not a "beneficiary" entitled to foreclose under a deed of trust; and San >>
Will Speculators Rescue the Housing Market?
Real Estate, Especially Commercial Real Estate, Still A Major Problem
Special IRA/Charity Option Before January 31st
I had a call last week on what the rules are for the 70 ½ IRA owner making a direct distribution to a charity. You may recall that – if you are a certain age – you can make distributions – up to a limit - from an IRA directly to a charity. The age is 70 ½ and the limit is $100,000. Why would you do this? There are several reasons: The first, of course, is that you are >>