Reality Check

Drones, Pizza and a Reality Check

08/31/2016

The FAA’s approval of commercial drone flights excited investors, but with key rules still unwritten, patience seems paramount.

Stocks’ Rise Doesn’t Rely on Dividends

08/26/2016

The hunt for high dividends isn’t fueling this bull market.

Searching for Meaning in ‘Quiet’ Times

08/25/2016

Should stocks’ recent “boring” streak worry investors?

Sales, Not Surveys

08/23/2016

July’s UK retail sales report is yet more evidence sentiment surveys aren’t as predictive as many think.

Blue? Red? For Stocks, Election Years Are Typically Green

08/02/2016

Falling uncertainty as elections approach tends to boost stock market returns.

Don’t Jump to Conclusions on Brexit’s Impact

07/25/2016

Recent UK economic data are insufficient to draw any conclusion about the impact of June 23’s vote to leave the EU.

Don’t Be Swayed by Downgrades

07/20/2016

Credit rating agencies continue to downgrade sovereign debt, but this doesn’t mean nations’ finances are imperiled.

One Simple Investors’ Trick for Navigating Brexit

07/01/2016

When weighing politics—even Brexit—investors must focus on actions, not talk.

Getting Sentimental About Negative Rates

06/20/2016

Negative bond yields show investors remain fearful, a sign the bull market is far from over.

The ‘Retail Recession’ Label Doesn’t Fit

05/13/2016

Department stores’ recent woes aren’t a sign the US economy is headed for recession.   

Government or No, Watch Spain Grow

05/06/2016

Spain’s government takes a siesta, but the economy keeps on working.

False Fears of a False Dawn

04/12/2016

Stocks’ rally since February 11 is built on fundamental support, not sand. 

Who’s Too Big to Fail Now?

04/06/2016

Recent developments suggest the “too big to fail” regulatory environment may be changing.

Terrorism Still Won’t Succeed

03/23/2016

Free people and free markets will overcome the horrific attacks in Brussels.  

Subprime Auto Loans: Not Another 2008

03/22/2016

Subprime auto loans aren’t another crisis waiting to happen.

Sweden’s Central Bank Pushes Harder on String

02/11/2016

Investors may be starting to notice central banks’ monetary gimmickry is misguided.

The World Isn’t a Safe Place. Own Stocks Anyway.

01/07/2016

Conflict and tension are omnipresent, and markets typically aren’t impacted materially.

New Year, Same Old Volatility

01/05/2016

Stocks opened 2016 on a rocky note, but one day’s volatility doesn’t predict the year.

Gleaning Investment Wisdom From a Magician Turned Skeptic

12/09/2015

How one man’s conversion to skepticism can inform your approach to due diligence.

Did the NYSE Put a Halt to Stop-Losses?

11/24/2015

A policy change at the NYSE highlights the silliness of stop-losses as a trading tactic.

Mutually Beneficial?

10/14/2015

Mutual funds have benefits, but investors should consider the drawbacks as well.

Fire the Unemployment Rate

10/02/2015

The unemployment rate is a terrible indicator of where the economy and stocks are headed.

The ECB’s FAQs on QE

06/05/2015

The ECB’s press conference Q&A turned into Mario Draghi attempting the impossible: forecasting volatility.

Don’t Gush Over Oil Stocks

04/24/2015

Considering diving into Energy stocks? Better check the water’s depth.

Friday Treat: Why 2015 Won’t Repeat the S&P 500’s Worst Year Ever

03/20/2015

Why one freaky statistic shouldn't scare you.

Charts Are Pretty, But Not Predictive

03/12/2015

Technical analysis returned to headlines this week. What can investors glean from it all?

1,896 Days Ago, Greece Was a Mess

02/26/2015

If Greece fears haven't derailed the bull market yet, the likelihood they do the enxt time they pop up is teensy. 

Braking Down Subprime Auto Loan Concerns

02/18/2015

Are subprime auto loans going to drive the next financial crisis?  

Safe Haven, Found! It’s in the Fiction Aisle

02/12/2015

The hunt for a new safe haven to replace those just proven unsafe is on again.  

The Eurozone’s Underappreciated Improvement

02/10/2015

The eurozone economy has several little-noticed positives.

Greek Flip-Flops: Not Just for Santorini

02/06/2015

What to make of noisy negotiations between Greece's new anti-austerity government and their European creditors? 

Reason #529 Why Stocks Love Gridlock

01/29/2015

President Obama's decision to scrap plans to tax 529 savings plan distributions probably won't have a direct market impact, but it illustrates why stocks like gridlock. 

How Wearable Gadgets Describe Economic Data

01/15/2015

A crop of new products promise data about your body and fitness level, but they’re far less accurate than touted. The same holds true for economic data.

 

Buried Growth

01/07/2015

Contrary to fears otherwise, the global economy is growing just fine.  

The Often-Rumored, But Rarely Seen Grexit

01/06/2015

Politicking over a Greek exit from the euro resumes.

Considerable Wrangling Over Considerable Time

12/17/2014

Did the Fed just tell you when short-term rates will rise?

Now What?

12/16/2014

Did economic reform in Japan just become more likely?

No, China Is Not Number One.

12/05/2014

What to make of recent IMF estimates that show, by one measure, China’s economy will be larger than America’s this year.  

OPEC Stays Put—Will US Shale Take a Hit?

12/01/2014

Will OPEC’s decision not to reduce its output negatively impact US shale producers?

SEC Catches Self Proclaimed Pirate Running a Very Real Ponzi in Virtual Currency

11/05/2014

And there are two big takeaways.

Putting Stocks’ Zigzags in Broader Perspective

10/10/2014

It has been a bouncy start to October, but equity investors must focus on longer time periods than seven trading sessions.

A Fun Fight With the Fed

10/03/2014

Contrary to the old Wall Street saying, the Fed’s interest rate moves often mean little for stocks.

About That Manufacturing ‘Slowdown’

10/02/2014

The latest factory surveys have folks chattering about a global manufacturing slowdown, but even if they’re right, stocks are pretty good at dealing with these things.

Independent for a Reason

10/01/2014

Greater collaboration between the Fed and Treasury doesn’t ensure better policy. 

Hey La, Hey La, Volatility Is Back?

09/30/2014

Volatility can be pretty volatile sometimes, but at the moment, this is not one of those times.

Seven Charts to Free You From Skepticism’s Shackles

09/26/2014

Gauges of tangible activity in the US economy show this expansion is driven by more than just the Fed’s attempted financial engineering.

Some Ken Fisher Wisdom on the Eurozone

09/24/2014

As our boss, Ken Fisher, once wrote, “The older an argument is, the less power it has.”

The Dismal Art

09/03/2014

It’s unlikely you’d see many headlines touting the fact US GDP growth has been above average in three of the last four quarters. 

The SEC Adds 60 More Bullet Points on Credit-Ratings Agencies

08/29/2014

Will the new regulations targeting credit-ratings agencies accomplish much?

Adventures in Forecasting: CBO Edition

08/28/2014

Whether you think they’re too sunny or sour, the Congressional Budget Office’s latest debt forecasts probably won’t match reality.  

The Joy of All-Time Highs

08/22/2014

How we learned to stop worrying and love the acrophobia.

Statista: The Countries Hit Hardest By Russia’s Trade Ban

08/21/2014

Putin's feeble, timid trade war in a picture.

Can Korea Tax Its Way to Business Investment?

08/18/2014

Korea’s plans to goose business spending by taxing the cash on corporate balance sheets probably won’t work out so well.

Are the Reds in the Red?

07/23/2014

 Will China’s high debt lead to problems for the global economy?

Yellen About Valuations

07/16/2014

Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen sees some froth in equity markets—should investors be concerned?

America Gets All Austere

06/20/2014

The Federal budget deficit is way down, and deficit fears should be too.

Crude Reality

06/19/2014

US crude oil production is surging, but will allowing exports make gas prices do the same?

The Cost of Trying to Time Corrections

06/09/2014

Opportunity cost is money lost.

When Does Focusing on Dividends Actually Pay Dividends?

06/04/2014

In the long run, stocks are stocks—there is no permanently “better” stock. And yes, that includes high-dividend stocks.

Robots, Marie Antoinette and You

06/02/2014

Why are UK regulators saying, “Let them eat cake”?

Is Volatility Crashing?

05/27/2014

Can investors predict future volatility just by looking at “volatility” and “stress” gauges?

Energy Game Changers?

05/22/2014

This week was full of big news about Energy. What does it mean for investors?

Detoxifying Mortgage-Backed Securities

05/15/2014

Global financial policy and regulators’ attitudes toward securitization seem to be shifting. What’s behind the change?

Bubble Hunting With Sweden’s Wild and Crazy Riksbank

05/09/2014

What could happen when a country goes bubble-hunting before the boiling point? Sweden likely finds out.

Inflating Eurozone Deflation Concerns

04/30/2014

Quantitative easing would likely create—not stop—deflation in the eurozone.

About That Wibbly Wobbly Market

04/29/2014

Will stocks keep bouncing sideways?

When the Growing Gets Tough

04/11/2014

China’s recent trade data sparked hard-landing fears among investors. But is fundamental weakness really to blame?

Three Down. Nine to Go.

04/02/2014

What does a flattish first quarter mean for the rest of the year?

Abenomics and Other April Fools

04/01/2014

With a sales tax hike about to bite an already weakening Japanese economy, the Land of the Rising Sun looks even more like the Land of Rising Disappointment.

Predicting Past Performance

03/31/2014

Many investment professionals claim to “manage the fund managers”—in my view, a recipe for an inefficient, backward-looking strategy.

Shaped for U?

03/27/2014

In our view, the so-called u-shaped investment strategy is fraught with peril for investors.

You Get What You Pay For

02/18/2014

Index funds have many fine features, but they can’t help investors fight the biggest stumbling block to long-term success: emotion.

Another ACA Delay

02/12/2014

The latest delay of the employer mandate stole headlines from something more impactful for investors: the new tax on investment income.

Charting the Future

02/05/2014

With all the recent market volatility, can the charts tell us what to expect next?

Zero Sum Sentiment

01/31/2014

As seen after GDP’s release Thursday, sentiment is still stuck between skepticism and optimism—for every positive, folks can find a negative.

Sentiment’s Goldi-Lockdown

01/17/2014

Global growth is accelerating, and inflation isn’t. Investors used to appreciate this, but today’s skeptical crowd sees low inflation as a grizzly prospect.

Shinzo’s Stalemate

12/13/2013

On the anniversary of his election, reviewing Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s progress thus far might prove insightful for Japanese reform in the near future.

The Truth About Negative Deposit Rates

11/29/2013

The internet is awash with rumors banks might charge for deposits. What’s a customer to do? 

Passive Investors and Other Endangered Species

10/25/2013

Passive investing is fine in theory, but extremely difficult to apply in the real world.

The Debt Ceiling and China

10/14/2013

Will the debt ceiling make China dump its US Treasury holdings?

France’s (Non)Investment Philosophy

10/03/2013

France’s parliament is considering rules that, if implemented, might create some headwinds for its economy down the road.

A Guide on Government Gridlock

10/01/2013

Gridlock makes it tough to pass legislation—but is that good or bad for markets?

The Perils of Price Controls—A History Lesson for the UK

09/26/2013

A prominent UK politico has pledged to freeze energy prices if his party wins the 2015 election—something history shows is dangerous for stocks.

Abenomics’ Glowing Tofu Problem

09/17/2013

From energy to tofu, Japan’s weakening yen is causing more than a scene these days.

Bull Steam Ahead

09/06/2013

Volatility can be pretty volatile sometimes—what does that mean for markets?

Doing It Wrong

09/04/2013

It is true there is no be-all-end-all guide to global economic and monetary policy, but here are a few examples of policies investors should watch closely when considering their portfolios.

The Great Non-Rotation

08/20/2013

This bull market should keep running, but not for the reason many seem to think.

Rating Agencies: Late as Usual

07/22/2013

With Moody’s raising its outlook for US debt on Friday, a look at what happened during our two years on “negative” watch confirms ratings agencies’ decisions aren’t predictive.

Municipal Bond Madness

07/10/2013

A proposed tax on municipal bonds likely doesn’t get through Washington gridlock.  

The EU-turn on Banks

06/28/2013

EU finance ministers are rewriting the roadmap to bank bailouts.

Land of the Setting Sun?

06/14/2013

Japanese stocks’ sharp advance seems to have hit a rough patch.

Opinions Make Poor Standards

06/12/2013

S&P thinks the US economy is doing fine, but we didn’t need an outlook upgrade to tell us that.

Led Zeppelin

06/04/2013

The dreaded Hindenburg Omen flashed Friday, but evidence shows little reason to fear this technical indicator.

Puffery: S&P’s Magical First Amendment Defense

04/23/2013

Oddly, S&P’s defense against the Justice Department’s lawsuit seems to be their ratings amount to “puffery.”

Monkeying About

04/19/2013

What can investors glean from two studies making headlines in recent weeks?

Comic: Real GDP Explained

04/03/2013

What Cyprus Tells Us About Banking Regulations

03/26/2013

Cyprus is in trouble because of two big banks’ bad trades—but that doesn’t make efforts to fix “too big to fail” or the Volcker rule any more sensible.

About That Magic Number

03/18/2013

Bullish or bearish, new record highs hold no predictive value.

Was That Cry “Wolf”?

03/07/2013

If we extrapolate its growth forward, hyperbole is destined to crush common sense.

Missing the (Maker’s) Mark

02/25/2013

Businesses trying to capitalize on rising Emerging Markets demand can learn from bourbon label Maker’s Mark’s recent misstep.

Comic: A Debt Ceiling Solution

02/25/2013

An interview with the press reveals a bipartisan effort to solve the debt ceiling debate.

Limited Prices, Limited Improvement

02/05/2013

Once again, Argentina likely does much more harm than good in its battle against inflation.

Big League Capitalism

11/07/2012

Turns out Hugo Chavez and many Venezuelans are huge baseball fans. If only the country could leverage that love in the name of freer markets and private property protection.

A Supply-Side of Bacon

10/03/2012

Due to this summer’s drought’s decreasing corn and soy crops, costs of pig feed are rising and the numbers of pigs across Europe are declining. Could this change fried eggs and Cobb salads as we know them?

Greece’s Anything-But-Euro Crisis

08/14/2012

The common currency tends to be a convenient scapegoat for all that ails Greece, but this seemingly gets the Greek situation entirely backwards.

Government Chicken or Private-Sector Egg?

08/07/2012

There seems to be much confusion surrounding the origin of economic activity. But it seems pretty clear, to me.

Want Cheaper Rent? End Rent Control

02/03/2012

Contrary to popular belief, price ceilings like rent control frequently have the exact opposite of the intended effect. Fortunately, the Supreme Court may soon have an opportunity to end rent control altogether—to the benefit of all involved parties.

27 Things That Mattered This Week - 10/31/2011

11/03/2011

After a brief hiatus, our weekly look at interesting stories around the web returns.

34 Things That Mattered This Week, 10/3/11

10/05/2011

This week’s collection of headlines—financial, economic and otherwise—that caught our eye.

40 Things That Mattered This Week, 09/23/2011

09/23/2011

Here are 40 interesting stories that flew beneath many folks’ radar screens this week.

Full Faith and Credit

07/12/2011

As the debt ceiling drama kicks into overdrive, it’s worthwhile to step back and look at whether the fuss is truly warranted.

A Primer on the CPI

03/28/2011

Have changes made to the Consumer Price Index calculation affected its value?

Not a Doi Moi Contagion

06/30/2008
Vietnam is in crisis, stirring up memories of the 1997-98 Asian Financial Crisis. But its problems are unlikely to give investors déjà vu.

Reality Check: You Get What You Pay For

12/26/2007
It's safe to say everyone likes a good deal, but government subsidies often turn out to be more than we bargained for.

Hyped Up on Hooch

10/18/2007
Nearly three quarters of a century after the end of Prohibition, bootleggers are making a comeback. This time, though, they're turning that corn hooch into fuel, not moonshine.

Average Trickery

07/05/2007
According to 2005 Census data, the average US family has 3.18 persons. Naturally, we know it's impossible for any family to have a fractional population (unless Dr. Moreau's practicing without our knowledge).

Fool's Gold

02/20/2007
If you've been around long enough, oil as a cause for hysteria isn't a new thing.

The Profligate Consumer

12/29/2006
The news media has everyone just about convinced the "conspicuous consumption" and "pecuniary emulation" of US consumers is out of hand.

The Current Account—One Less Thing to Worry About

12/01/2006
The current account balance is a commonly misunderstood economic statistic.

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