Investments to Avoid

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Every year, the Morningstar mutual fund tracking organization releases a list of the worst new ETF investments—and generally, these tend to be trendy new offerings that are designed to catch the eye of investors who are responding to yesterday’s  headlines rather than their long-term economic future.

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The Uptrends We Never See

Most of us suspect that the world is going to hell in a handbasket—or at least getting worse over the long term.  In the U.S., only 4% of respondents will tell you that our world living conditions are improving.

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Calendar Facts

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Happy new year!  Did you ever wonder how January 1 became the day when one year ends and another begins?  Or why this handoff from one year to the next takes place a few weeks after the shortest day of the year?  Why are there 12 months instead of, say, 25 or 50?

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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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Higher Rates: The Tempest in the Teapot

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Anybody who was surprised that the Federal Reserve Board decided to raise its benchmark interest rate this week probably wasn’t paying attention.  The U.S. economy is humming along, the stock market is booming and the unemployment rate has fallen faster than anybody expected.  The incoming administration has promised lower taxes and a stimulative $550 billion infrastructure investment.  The question on the minds of most observers is: what were they waiting for?

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Is OPEC Back?

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It was initially considered something of a big deal when, on November 30, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) ended years of squabbling and mutual frustration by announcing that their members would cut oil production in the coming year by 2 million barrels a day.  If the deal holds, it will represent the first reduction on the global markets in eight years.

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Employment by Category

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We look at the unemployment statistics in the newspaper and see a blended picture of all Americans.  Currently, we are told, 4.6% of Americans who are looking for a job are unable to find one.  But what is the figure for adult men and women over age 20?  Or for people with a high school diploma vs. those who are college-educated?

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An Independent Fiduciary

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