Category Archives: Stock Index

Bad Barometer

Chances are, the market barometer you most often hear about is the Dow Jones Industrial Average.  Every evening, the Dow’s ups or downs are soberly reported as if they reflect something important.

They don’t.

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Measuring the Market

Have you ever wondered what stock market professionals and equity analysts talk about in their spare time?  Recently, the Bloomberg website featured a debate about something that is getting a lot of attention recently: the historically high, and still-rising U.S. stock market valuations.  People have been willing to pay more, and more, and more for a dollar of corporate earnings.  What does that mean about future returns?

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Vanishing Equities

A recent Wall Street Journal article, citing a study by the Center for Research in Security Prices, tells us something remarkable about the times we are investing in: the number of stocks on the U.S. market has quietly diminished by more than half over the last 20 years.  In November 1997, investors could choose from 7,355 U.S. stocks.  Today, there are fewer than 3,600.

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What Does It Mean When Your Portfolio Is Up 10%?

You receive portfolio performance reports every three months—a form of transparency that financial planning professionals introduced at a time when the typical brokerage statement was impossible to decipher.  But it might surprise you to know that most professionals think there is actually little value to any quarterly performance information, other than to reassure you that you actually do own a diversified portfolio of investments.  It’s very difficult to know if you’re staying abreast of the market, and for most of us, that’s not really relevant anyway.

Why?

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What a Market Top Looks Like

The current bull market in stocks will reach its 8th anniversary tomorrow, and for about the last four years, professional investors and financial planners have been scratching their heads.  The markets have gone up and up and up, and we all know that they won’t go up forever, which means there’s a correction looming somewhere on the horizon.

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How to Reset Your Portfolio (Regardless of What You Think of the Markets)

Over the last few weeks, professional financial planners have been fielding calls from clients who are asking the kinds of questions that every professional investor hates to hear.  The Dow has reached (and then fallen back below) 20,000.  Should I take money off the table?

My preferred candidate didn’t win the election, and I think the world is going to hell in a handbasket.  Don’t you think I should sell my stocks now before it’s too late?

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2016 Year End Report

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You know you’re deep into a longstanding bull market when you see things like average pedestrians keeping one eye on the market tickers outside of brokerage houses to see when the Dow Jones Industrial Average has finally breached the 20,000 mark.  Who would have imagined record market highs at this point last year, when the indices ended the year in negative territory?  Or when new year 2016 got off to such a rocky start, tumbling 10% in the first two weeks—the worst start to a year since 1930?

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