It was no coincidence that we interviewed Bruce Berkowitz two weeks ago. The Fairholme Fund, which he manages, has been on my radar screen for the last few months. The fund is ranked by Lipper Analytical as one of their leaders over the last 3-and 5 year periods. In 2009, I noticed it was up over 41.48%, according to the company’s latest performance numbers on their website. Last year, although it was down 29%, the fund still managed to out perform its benchmark by 7%. Just this week, Morningstar, the premier mutual fund rating company, named Berkowitz the top U.S. mutual fund manager of the year. It couldn’t have happened to a smarter guy. (more…)

Now that the remaining days of 2009 have come and gone, there’s little to say about this year’s Christmas Rally. It appears Santa was a might stingy as far as the stock market was concerned. (more…)

New Year resolutions, I suspect, will be quite popular this year, especially in the financial and investment areas. Given the horrible losses most of us sustained last year in our retirement accounts, followed by a pink slip at work for over 10% of us, makes for a bit of soul-searching as 2009 comes to a close. (more…)

This week saw the markets advance, despite some disappointing economic data, but progress can only be described as Grinch-like. Still, there’s nothing in the tea leaves that indicate that this coming week will be anything more than a big yawn at worst and maybe a moderate new yearly high at best. (more…)

Finding small cap value stocks is a difficult job in the best of times. When you deliberately limit your horizons to just six states, south of the Mason-Dixon Line, the odds get even longer. Yet, Hancock Horizon’s Burkenroad Fund continually ranks in the top ten percent of funds in its class, according to Lipper Associates. Here’s how they do it. (more…)

The Cover of Time

A contrarian is a person who prefers to take positions and views that are opposite of those in the majority. There is also a practice of some on the Street that when some event or person reaches the cover of a prominent national magazine, it is time to move on or to take a ‘contrarian’ view. This week’s cover of Time Magazine is just such a contrarian event. (more…)

Mutual funds that charge investors sales charges, called loads, should never be a part of your investment portfolio. And yet, in just about every portfolio I have reviewed in the last six months, that’s practically all I’ve seen. It is clear to me that investors who have retained the services of financial consultants, brokers and investment advisors are getting royally shafted when it comes to paying for their services (and they don’t even know it!). (more…)

We have been stuck in a trading range since early November. It is the most extended period of narrow, sideways trading we have experienced since hitting a low on the S&P 500 Index of 666 back in March. Since then the index has rallied 62%. That’s the largest gain for the S&P since 1933. Normally, a period of ‘distribution’ like we are experiencing now, where buying is waning while selling is intensifying, should tip off investors that a correction is coming. But times are far from normal and the action is inconclusive for a variety of reasons. (more…)

Don Yacktman, his son, Stephen, and Jason Subotky, all portfolio managers of the Yacktman Fund and it’s sister the Yacktman Focus Fund, are not sitting on their duffs just because their funds are up over 51% and 48% respectively so far this year, according to Morningstar. And just because Mr. Yacktman is a finalist in a very small group of five fund managers being considered as “domestic fund manager of the decade”, doesn’t mean much to this veteran manager with 40 years experience. (more…)

In my last column, I outlined the plight of primary care doctors in the region and the country overall, yet pointing out a problem without offering a solution seems pointless. So how do we incentivize graduating American medical students to opt for entering primary care practice instead of a far more lucrative specialty like radiology, ophthalmology, anesthesiology or dermatology? (more…)