On the surface, Americans might think that a weakening dollar means that there is something going wrong with our country. Quite the contrary, a declining greenback could actually help the economy recover sooner than hoped, and the stock market knows this. (more…)

That’s right, thanks to an initiative by President Obama, announced earlier this month; you can contribute all those unused vacation days to your 401(k). So if you’re the type that just can’t stay away from the job, start lobbying your employer to amend your benefit plan. (more…)

More than leaves are falling on this, the first week of October. As if a starter gun were fired as the third quarter came to a close, stock markets around the world declined simultaneously. I warned last week that a pullback was in the offing and I for one would use this as an opportunity to add to positions in stocks. (more…)

All that Glitters

As the price of an ounce of gold bullion gyrates around the $1,000 mark, I continue to receive numerous calls concerning the precious metal from clients, readers and even people who would normally never consider investing in financial markets. What is it about gold that brings out the best and worst in us? (more…)

This week’s dip presents another opportunity for investors who have been itching to put more money in the stock market. There have been several pullbacks this year since the market bottomed but all of them have been shallow. Investors waiting for a really big sell-off have been disappointed and they may be yet again. (more…)

I know, I know, times are tough. Yet, by investing now in one of the many government-sponsored, energy-efficient household improvements, you can reap big savings in the form of tax credits. (more…)

The market action this week appeared ideal for further upside gains in the week ahead. Although sectors such as technology, commodities, industrials and financials led the markets higher, other sectors are beginning to participate while volume expands as more investors abandon the sidelines and take the equity plunge. I expect this to continue. (more…)

If everything goes as planned, the up-coming $300 million Federal ‘cash for appliances’ program will be ready by November 30, 2009 just in time for the holiday season. At that time, the Department of Energy will start awarding individual states their share of the loot. The program is supposed to incentivize consumers to ditch old energy-wasting refrigerators, stoves or washing machines in exchange for a new ENERGY STAR -rated version. But there’s a hitch. (more…)

There is a saying that markets climb a wall of worry. That aptly describes the stock market’s behavior over the last few weeks. There isn’t a day that goes by without some talking head warning that “the markets are ahead of themselves” or “valuations are rich at these levels.” That may be true but investors continue to look over the valley and focus on what they perceive are the golden days of recovery ahead of us.
“I think we’re seeing the last big opportunity of my lifetime,” said a 62-year old investor from Canaan who lost 30% last year and is considering changing investment advisors.
He is disgruntled that his present financial advisor has missed most of the 54% move up in the Dow and still won’t commit to the markets. It is a common predicament for many in our business. Since last year many brokers and money managers lost between 35-50% of their client’s money, they are understandably cautious of a market that has gone straight up on extremely light volume. They worry that if they commit what remains of their clients money and guess wrong, they will be out of business.
The few mangers who called the market correctly last year, however, began moving back into the market in March and have been incrementally investing client money as the markets moved higher. I have to say that the last two years of market volatility has separated the truly good managers from what I call “Bull Market Babies”, those who are long on marketing but short on the unique ability of truly managing money. (more…)

The report this week by the Congressional Oversight Panel that ‘”it is unlikely they (taxpayers) will receive the entire amount” of the $60 billion in bail-out money we gave to the auto industry ticks me off. No way should Americans walk away from this at a loss. The solution is simple. We should swap whatever bad debt remains into equity and just sit on it. (more…)