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Fiscal Cliffs and Economic Woes

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Post-election questions mean the economic puzzle is still incomplete. Now that the stress of the election is over, you might find yourself sleeping a little better at night. But even though its conclusion brings a feeling of relief, it does not mean that any of the real challenges this country faces have been solved. Today, neither party want to be …

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Should Investors Buy the Housing Recovery?

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The recovery is real, but so are the risks that remain. After Wednesday’s report of a better-than-expected number of new housing starts, I took a look at homebuilders to see if I could find a few reasonably priced names. Many were trading near their 12-month highs, but I was a little surprised at the percentage gains that most have turned …

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Miss This Rally? Look On the Bright Side

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Much is at risk in the economy, but markets could still show strength. The U.S. markets have been climbing a wall of worry for some time now. A positive 15 percent move in the S&P 500 index in the past three months is more than what most investors expected. Yet here we are: looking at the S&P 500 up nearly …

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How to Invest for the Presidential Election

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A few sectors win depending on who takes the White House. With the presidential election just weeks away, voters and political pundits across the country are seeking any sign as to who will triumph in early November. Investors, by contrast are more focused on what industries and sectors will benefit or lose under a Democratic or Republican White House. Analysts …

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The LIBOR Scandal and You

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What the rate-setting debacle means for you. Surprise! It’s not all bad. We’ve all read a lot (probably too much), about the LIBOR scandal in the past couple of weeks. Despite a constant stream of stories, blog posts and articles, so far I’ve only seen a couple of pieces that have really helped me to understand true effects this circus …

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In a Volatile Market, What Investment Strategy is Best for You?

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Growth, value or GARP? A volatile market may be just what the doctor ordered—at least for those investors who feel holding an investment for 30 days is as likely as holding an investment for eternity. Although most of the day trading operations that popped up in cities and towns across the country in the 90s no longer exist, I can …

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5 Investing Themes to Focus On

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Munis, real estate, and more So, Philly doesn’t quite have it all, but it does have some pretty cool things, for sure. In addition to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, you can get your hands on a pretty awesome cheesesteak sandwich. Oh, and of course it has the Wharton School, arguably the best business school in the world, and …

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Real Estate as an Alternative Asset Class

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Is it right for you? The use of “alternative investments” has increased significantly over the last few years. This trend began when investors and advisers started looking for ways to get a reasonable return on their investment dollars without using the traditional equity market. They are looking to try to get away from volatility that has become all too common. …

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Investing in Alternatives

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Considerations to keep in mind. Alternative investments are becoming more common among retail investors. The adviser community has a better understanding of the potential advantages of adding alternative investments to client portfolios as a way of diversifying and, hopefully, further managing risk in client accounts. Many advisers seem to be managing their clients’ assets in a manner similar to the …

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You Are Not an Index. Don’t Try to Act Like One!

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Benchmarks matter, but planning does too.  If you find yourself scratching your head and wondering why your portfolio is not keeping up with the indexes this year, you’re not alone. Many portfolio managers’ returns are behind their benchmarks. The main reason, I propose, is that every professional manager I know has some doubt in the back of their mind as …

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More Foreclosures Yet to Come?

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Some predictions about the housing market. Late last summer, I wrote a Smarter Investor post under a similar title to this one. The thesis and conclusion of that post was simple: Credit delinquencies were dropping, and availability of credit was rising—both good signs for a continuing recovery in the housing market and in the broader U.S. economy. Now, more than …

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Why You Need to Pay Attention to Earnings

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What the estimates say about the market’s future. With earnings season officially underway, everyone will be watching to see if analysts’ expectations are being met or if future earnings will need to be adjusted for the rest of the year. There are a lot of concerns this earnings season about the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate in China and …