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Everything Is Wonderful… Ex-Energy, Ex-Retail And Ex-Banks

By | Biotechnology ETFs, Consumer ETFs, Energy ETFs, ETF Philosophy, ETF Strategy, Health ETFs, Materials ETFs, Popular Posts, Technology ETFs, US Markets and ETFs, Utilities ETFs | No Comments

As long as central banks around the globe are creating monetary credits at a breakneck clip of $200 billion per month, assets from stocks to real estate to higher yielding securities may have a floor underneath them. In particular, saber rattling in North Korea, government shutdown threats, natural disasters from Harvey to Irma, slower job growth and/or the demise of big name retailers may not cause long-lasting stock declines. And therein lies a problem: extreme complacency. The masses are beginning…

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Stocks Climb A ‘Wall Of Worry,’ Though Humpty-Dumpty Investors Can Fall Off The Wall

By | Consumer ETFs, Current Affairs and ETFs, Energy ETFs, ETF Philosophy, ETF Strategy, Popular Posts, Special Sectors ETFs, Transportation ETFs, US Markets and ETFs | No Comments

Macy’s, JC Penney, Sears. Does anyone seriously believe that these corporations will thrive in the years ahead? They’re far more likely to go belly up than to turn things around. Many investors seem unfazed by the probability that Amazon (AMZN) will terminate traditional retail. They see it as an opportunity to invest more in the stock shares of the wildly overvalued e-tailer. What they’re neglecting, however, are the people that brick-n-mortar companies employ. There are roughly 400,000 at these three “dead-in-the-water” businesses alone….

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Is ‘FAANG’ More Dangerous Than The ‘Four Horsemen’ Of The Late 1990’s And The ‘Nifty Fifty’ Of The Early 1970s?

By | Current Affairs and ETFs, ETF Philosophy, ETF Strategy, Large Cap ETFs, Popular Posts, Special Sectors ETFs, US Markets and ETFs | No Comments

During the late 1990s tech boom, investors fell in love with the remarkable price appreciation of four mega-cap public corporations: Microsoft (MSFT), Intel (INTC), Cisco (CSCO) and Dell (DELL). They became known as the ‘four horsemen’ for their unparalleled influence. In fact, at points in 1999 and 2000, the group accounted for as much as 55%-60% of the NASDAQ’s price movement. Perhaps ironically, some of these hold-forever stocks began losing a bit of their appeal as dot-com mania kicked into…

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Surging Corporate Profits? Not For The Rest Of This Economic Cycle

By | Bond ETFs, Currency ETFs, Current Affairs and ETFs, ETF Philosophy, ETF Strategy, Popular Posts, Special Sectors ETFs, US Markets and ETFs | No Comments

Are corporate earnings genuinely wonderful? It may depend on your perspective. For example, after-tax corporate profits have grown at an annualized pace of less than 1% over the last 5 years. You won’t find many 5-year periods that have been as anemic as that. In the same vein, earnings per share (EPS) growth has been equally unimpressive. Yet stock prices have been climbing with or without corporate earnings support. One could make a case that corporate profits are just now…

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How Much Longer Should Stock Investors Dance Near The Fire Pit?

By | Bond ETFs, Current Affairs and ETFs, ETF Philosophy, ETF Strategy, Large Cap ETFs, Popular Posts, Special Sectors ETFs | No Comments

American consumers are financially strained. One indication? Card defaults rose from 2.81% back in November to 3.53% in May. Meanwhile, the expansion of credit by cards as well as by autos has slowed to the point of contraction. Some would have you believe that low headline unemployment (4.4%) is translating into increased consumption and increased demand for goods or services. Yet tepid GDP data demonstrate otherwise. One explanation is that nominal wage growth would need to grow in the 3.5%-4.0%…

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Are Stocks Adequately Compensating You For The Risk Of Financial Loss?

By | Bond ETFs, Current Affairs and ETFs, ETF Philosophy, ETF Strategy, Large Cap ETFs, Popular Posts, Special Sectors ETFs, US Markets and ETFs | No Comments

Few predict that a recession is imminent. On the flip side, how should one reconcile the fact that the treasury yield curve is flatter than it has been since 2007? A diminishing spread between 30s and 2s has a history of alerting market watchers to economic difficulties. At the start of the current recovery in June of 2009, the spread between the longest-term maturities and shorter-term maturities clocked in at a relatively robust 3.5%. The yield curve was noticeably steep. Eight years later? The…

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Why You Will Lose Your Lovin’ Feeling For Central Banks

By | Bond ETFs, Current Affairs and ETFs, Emerging Market ETFs, ETF Philosophy, Global ETFs, Popular Posts, Real Estate ETFs, Special Sectors ETFs, US Markets and ETFs | No Comments

Central banks across the globe have acquired $1.5 trillion in assets through the first five months of 2017. The monthly amount ($300 billion) has found its way into virtually every cranny and nook of the financial system. U.S. stocks, European stocks, emerging market equities, higher yielding junk bonds, convertibles, preferred shares, real estate investment trusts, real estate – you name it. Values have continued to climb in spite of inadequate economic growth. When a central bank buys assets with electronically printed…

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The Euphoria Debate: U.S. Stocks Versus U.S. Real Estate

By | Bond ETFs, Consumer ETFs, Current Affairs and ETFs, ETF Philosophy, ETF Strategy, Financial ETFs, Large Cap ETFs, Popular Posts, Small Cap ETFs, Special Sectors ETFs, US Markets and ETFs | No Comments

When an asset class (e.g., stocks, bonds, commodities, real estate, collectibles, etc.) skyrockets in price – when it surges higher without sufficient economic reason – a bubble develops. Technology stocks in the late 1990s. Housing in the mid-2000s. When the asset class inevitably nose-dives? The balloon implodes. Speculative silliness has not been difficult for me to spot. As a national talk radio personality in the late 1990s, I warned stock investors not to get carried away by dot-com madness. A “New…

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Buy U.S. Stocks Today? Graham Thinks You’re Nuts

By | Bond ETFs, Current Affairs and ETFs, Dividend ETFs, ETF Philosophy, ETF Strategy, Large Cap ETFs, Mid Cap ETFs, Popular Posts, Short ETFs, Small Cap ETFs, Special Sectors ETFs, US Markets and ETFs | No Comments

Would Warren Buffett’s mentor buy domestic stocks today? Probably not. The father of value investing, Benjamin Graham, would have trouble recommending a single U.S. company’s shares across thousands of possibilities. Need proof? In the fourteenth chapter of The Intelligent Investor, a classic that Mr. Buffett regarded as “…the best book on investing ever written,” Graham offered a seven-step test for stock selection. The criteria include: (1) adequate size with respect to revenue, (2) strong financial condition with respect to liquidity, (3) reasonable…

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Amazon (AMZN): Love the Company, Hate The Stock Price

By | Current Affairs and ETFs, ETF Philosophy, ETF Strategy, Large Cap ETFs, Popular Posts, Special Sectors ETFs, US Markets and ETFs | One Comment

I recently ate dinner with a high-net-worth sales executive who asked me, “What are your thoughts on Amazon?” I told him the truth. Excellent company… unusually vulnerable stock. I explained my thesis on debt levels, excessive financial leverage, bubbly market euphoria, over-valuation as well as forced liquidation via margin calls. He seemed surprised that I might be concerned. He stated confidently, “Jeff Bezos is a one-of-a-kind innovator and Amazon is the future of retail. The stock should do very well…

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