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Survey shows adults struggle with financial literacy

One of the reasons SmartStops came into existence was to help investors worldwide understand the risk they were taking when owning a stock or ETF.  As the article points out:  “..Understanding risk is critical to a person’s financial well-being.”   The concept of Risk in the stock market originally focused on modern portfolio theory’s of diversification. But in today’s computerized/internet age, even that has shown to be insufficient.  We, at SmartStops, hope to help investors move into a more profitable Buy & Protect vs. Buy & Hold mindset by proving the efficacy of such an approach.

From article here:

Risk diversification. The concept that most people didn’t understand was risk diversification, or the idea that you need to diversify assets to minimize potential losses.

Lusardi, who teaches an elective course on personal finance to graduate business students at George Washington University, says she’s not surprised.

“I’ve seen the same thing in my class,” she said. “It’s just a harder concept because you’re talking about probabilities. And with diversification, you have to think about correlation. It’s just more complex.”

But understanding risk is critical to a person’s financial well-being. As Lusardi noted, most financial decisions involve some type of risk, from buying a home to deciding how much money to save for retirement.

And worldwide, it is becoming increasingly important to teach about risk and other financial basics.

See SmartStops-in-Action here.

$1M more in your IRA by avoiding major losses

SmartStops Comment:   Modern Portfolio Theory  – continues to have holes poked in it.  Here’s a post by Hedgeable reiterating the importance of missing the worst times in the market.

From their post:  If you merely miss out on 75% of market losses during the two largest crashes of the past 25 years- the dot-com crash and the financial crisis crash- you will have $1 MILLION MORE IN THE AVERAGE IRA ACCOUNT!!!

Hedgeable_Portfolio_without_75_percent_Losses

BaseBall fans will like the rest of the post too.  Read Entire Post

 

 Per Doug Kass: We’re Heading for a Bear Market So Plan Accordingly

SmartStops comment:   Interesting perspective posted on by Doug Kass (TheStreet.coM)  as to signals he’s watching.    

           SmartStops Mantra:     ALWAYS STAY PROTECTED !

From the article:     Since early August I have highlighted numerous technical divergences (in the weakness of the Russell Index (IWM) , new highs, the cumulative advance/decline lines, etc.), the schmeissing of the high-yield market (often seen as a precursor to stock vulnerability) coupled with growing evidence of weakening global economic growth (posing a threat to consensus corporate profit forecasts) and other factors (including valuation, sentiment and geopolitics) suggesting that a downward trend and (potential) bear market might be in the early state of developing.

History also shows that rising volatility in foreign exchange markets may be consistent with bear markets. (A good analysis by Nautilus Research can be found here.)

Economic weakness in Europe has been a worrisome factor that I have steadily highlighted.

Read entire article at:

http://www.thestreet.com/story/12904902/1/kass-on-the-market-i-am-throwing-down-the-bear-market-gauntlet.html?kval=dontmiss

 

Risk Mitigation strategies as Fed Tapers

SmartStops Comment:   WisdomTree suggests its time to consider a strategy of hedging with ETFs to mitigate risk as the Fed begins to taper. That can be one approach to ensuring that a market correction will minimally affect your portfolio.  But determining when to hedge especially with the costs incurred, becomes the main question. That’s where SmartStops can help – by providing an objective analysis for when risk levels are increasing in the market.  

This excerpt from a white paper of WisdomTree:

Over the last nine months, the Federal Reserve (Fed) has gradually reduced the pace of its asset purchases in
conjunction with improving strength in the U.S. economy. With tapering on pace to conclude October 29, we believe that investors should now look beyond 2014 and start to focus on when, not if, the Federal Reserve will begin to tighten monetary policy. In our view, the way that investors have prepared their portfolios for tapering could be inadequate for the likely market reaction to increases in short-term rates. In the remainder of this discussion, we intend to focus on the following topics:
+ Preparing your portfolio for tightening is different than tapering
+ Traditional approaches to rising rates may not adequately insulate portfolios from losses going forward
+ Duration4-hedged and negative duration exchange traded funds (ETFs) may provide investors with
more comprehensive and intuitive tools to mitigate interest rate risk

For the entire white paper, click here.

Why You Should Shift From Profits To Protection

SmartStops Comment: We couldn’t agree more with this author.

From Seeking Alpha, Contrarian Profits
The bulls are back out in force, as the hiccups from a few weeks ago seem a distant memory. Indexes have resumed breaking records on a regular basis, and all seems right with the world.

Great – trust me, few things make me happier than a happy market. I like making money as much as the next guy.

But I’m also a little more suspicious than the next guy. And right now, that suspicion is warranted.

… Today, the average price-to-earnings ratio of an S&P 500 stock is a hair below 19. The long-term average is right around 15. We’re solidly sitting in overbought territory. Stocks are expensive right now.

More at:
More at Seeking Alpha: Why You Should Shift From Profits To Protection

Is Best Buy really a “sell?”

Best Buy has had to deal with competition from online stores.

The past year has been a dramatic time for electronics retailer Best Buy (BBY). After nearly tripling its stock price, peaking at $45 a share in November 2013, the company’s stock plummeted almost 30 percent after releasing its fourth quarter earnings report. The store had weak sales during what should have been a strong holiday season and fell far short of its goals.

Over the past decade, Best Buy and similar retailers have faced difficulties competing with websites like Amazon.com (AMZN). The theory is that consumers use brick-and-mortar stores like showrooms. After finding the products they like, customers then take their business online. Read More…

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