Results 251–297 of 297 found.
The U.S. Can't Default On Its Debt. Right?
The Treasury Secretary has warned that his agency will exhaust the extraordinary measures it has used to fund the government on October 17. On the Sunday talk shows, he warned of catastrophic consequences if Congress doesnt raise the statutory debt ceiling by then. So, over the next nine days, youll be hearing ominous forecasts of what will happen if the US defaults on its nearly $17 trillion national debt, or even some of it. Sound familiar?
Handing Down Your Legacy - A Special Gift For Readers
No one likes to talk about death. Many people put off planning for this contingency because its just not pleasant to think about. Additionally, most young people think that death is a long way off, so they have plenty of time to plan for it. But as we all know, accidents happen and no one knows exactly when their time will come.
Another Budget & Debt Ceiling Fiasco Starts Now
Last Wednesday, after the Fed surprisingly voted not to taper, stocks soared to new record highs, but then lost ground for the next two days. It may be that some investors decided to lock in some gains, reduce exposure and brace for the next few weeks as the budget and debt ceiling circuses play out in Washington.
Stock Funds' 5-Year Track Records Set to Double
Many investors focus on the previous five years annualized return when analyzing which mutual funds to buy. We also pay a good deal of attention to the 5-year performance number when analyzing mutual fund and ETF returns at Halbert Wealth Management. And currently the 5-year average returns for most equity mutual funds are not all that attractive.
Some Scary Bumps in the Road Just Ahead
The major stock indexes moved lower after setting new record highs in early August, although prices have recovered somewhat in the last few days. So was the weakness in August just an overdue correction before moving even higher? Maybe, but there are a number of things coming up in the next month or so that could rattle the markets even more, including whether or not we go to war with Syria. Well talk about those today.
How Syria Could Spark New Middle East War
What does the stand-off in Syria have to do with the investment markets? Potentially, a lot. As I have argued in recent weeks, if the Middle East devolves into another military quagmire, it could be quite bearish for the US stock and bond markets going forward. Thats why we will talk about the implications today.
America is Turning Into a "Part-Time Nation"
Part-time work accounted for a whopping 77% of the jobs the US economy created from January through July, according to household survey data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Last year during the same time period, part-time jobs were only 53% of the total versus 47% full-time jobs. This trend toward part-time, low paying jobs is accelerating rapidly.
The Big Secret Mutual Fund Companies Are Hiding
Do you know that most (if not all) mutual fund and ETF sponsors are keeping vital information about their funds secret from you? Well start todays E-Letter with a discussion about what that valuable information is and why fund companies dont want you to know about it.
Middle East Is A Looming Tinderbox - Think Egypt
We begin today by looking into the latest unprecedented embassy closures across the Middle East and North Africa. Did President Obama take the appropriate actions, or were the closures a sign of weakness to our enemies in the region? From there, we turn our attention to the worsening political tensions in Egypt. There is a real threat that Egypt could deteriorate into a full-scale civil war in the months ahead.
New GDP Revisions to Boost US Economy by 3%
At the end of April, I pointed out that the Commerce Departments Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) announced it would be making some significant revisions to the way it calculates Gross Domestic Product on July 31. It will revise economic growth for all years going back to 1929. This change is somewhat controversial in that it is expected to add up to 3% to total GDP in one fell swoop tomorrow morning. Thats about $1,500 worth of extra goods and services for every person in the US!
Average Gas Price Could Hit $4 by Labor Day... Or Not
With the recent jump in gasoline prices, several energy analysts are forecasting that prices at the pump will top $4 a gallon (national average) later this summer. On the other hand, some analysts feel that gas prices will only go up another 5-10 cents a gallon just ahead, and then move lower in the fall. Of course, no one knows for sure. Today, well take a look at whats driving gas prices higher.
Fed's Gobbledygook - What Do They Really Mean?
Recent communications from the Fed and comments by Chairman Bernanke cast a great deal of uncertainty on the equity and bond markets in late June. Specifically, Bernankes remarks in his press conference on June 19 where he discussed ending its program of quantitative easing prompted a huge global selloff in the stock and bond markets.
Are You Financially Literate? Take the Test!
For over a decade, numerous studies have found that most Americans are lacking in their basic knowledge regarding finance and investments. I first reported on this back in 2003 and have done so every few years since then. Unfortunately, things have not gotten better over the years, despite the fact that we went through a major financial crisis in 2008-2009.
The Fed's Dirty Little Secret: QE Does Not Work
Today I hope to dispel the myth that the Fed?s massive quantitative easing (QE) policy has driven long-term interest rates lower. I will argue that the opposite is true and demonstrate that the yield on the 10-year Treasury note has actually risen during QE-1, QE-2 and QE-3. This flies in the face of most market commentators.
Will The Fed Tank The Markets Tomorrow?
The Fed Open Market Committee is meeting today and tomorrow to set monetary policy going forward. The big question is whether or not the Fed will decide to taper its monthly purchases of $85 billion in Treasury bonds and mortgage securities, which have driven stocks and bonds higher over the last few years. The decision depends largely on the Feds view of the economy, so they tell us.
Fed Advisory Council Drops A Bombshell
Last Friday afternoon, the Fed released the minutes from a May 17 meeting of the Federal Advisory Council (FAC). The Council is a group of 12 influential bankers from across the country who meet periodically and give the Fed Board of Governors input regarding the economy, moneyary policy, etc. The minutes from the latest FAC meeting clearly indicate that the bankers are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the Feds unprecedented quantitative easing policy. To my knowledge, no one in the mainstream media has reported on what you will read here today.
Investors Shun Stocks But Cling To Bonds - Why?
he Halberts are out of town celebrating our sons graduation from college on the sunny beaches of southern Florida. In place of my usual writing, I have chosen to reprint an excellent article from The Wall Street Journals Jason Zweig on investor behavior. The WSJ writer keys in on a new investor survey from Blackwater, Inc., one of the largest money management firms in the world (almost $4 trillion in customer assets). Blackwater surveyed investors that have at least $50,000 in investable assets. The findings are almost sure to surprise you.
6.7 Million Missing Workers Where Did They Go?
Today we will touch several bases. We begin with last Fridays unemployment report which was hailed by the mainstream media, but had a lot of bad news to go with the good. From there we look at the estimated 6.7 million missing workers in this economy and ponder if theyre permanently gone from the employment rolls.
US Economy to Get a Hollywood Makeover
You may have heard that the government is going to make some major changes in how our Gross Domestic Product is calculated later this year. Your first thought might be that this is no big deal. However, I will argue today that it is a very big deal, the biggest in a decade, and you need to know why. So I hope you read what follows with more than a passing interest.
An Awesome Gift For Your Kids, Grandkids, or You
This week, I veer from our usual economic and investment themes to tell you about what I believe is one of the greatest gifts you can ever give your children, grandchildren or others who are dear to you (or maybe even yourself). What I am about to describe is something that has literally changed the lives of dozens of my friends and relatives over the last 30+ years.
Fed to End QE, Obama's Tax & Spend Budget
Today I tackle several topics, each of which could take up an entire E-Letter. But these topics are very important, and I want to address them today. The first is the minutes from the March 19-20 Fed Open Market Committee meeting that were released last Wednesday. Those minutes definitively confirm that the Fed is ready to chart an end to quantitative easing.
Why This Economic "Recovery" is So Weak
We start today with an excellent editorial I read last week written by Mort Zuckerman, Editor-In-Chief of U.S. News & World Report. My goal every week is to do a lot of reading and summarize what Ive learned in these pages week in and week out. But every now and then I run across something so good that it just makes sense to reprint it in its entirety, even if its not my own work. Not many of my contemporaries are willing to do that, as they think it makes them look less scholarly. I dont have that problem.
On the Fed, the Keystone Pipeline & the War On Jobs
The Fed Open Market Committee (FOMC) met as scheduled last Tuesday and Wednesday to review monetary policy and its massive quantitative easing effort. The official policy statement released at the end of the meeting on Wednesday was little changed from those in previous months.
Is The Government Lying To Us About Inflation? Yes!
On Friday, the Labor Department reported that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) jumped an unexpected 0.7% in February. This was above pre-report estimates and was the highest monthly reading since 2009. We should be very concerned, right? Lets take a closer look.
Who Cares if There's a High-Yield Bond Bubble?
High-yield bonds, or "junk bonds" as they are widely known, have received a lot of attention in recent months. Is there a high-yield bond bubble? Certainly a ton of new money has gone into high-yield bond funds over the last few years. Millions of Americans who would have never considered high-yield bonds have bought in due to near zero returns on traditional savings vehicles.
Why Our Best Ideas Come In The Shower and Why They Are So Hard To Remember
I don't know about you, but I have had some of my best and most creative ideas while in the shower. But the shower is not the only place or activity where we tend to be more creative. Our creative juices can frequently be stimulated when doing other things as well such as driving home from work, during or after exercise, cooking, meditating, etc.
Pew: Americans Have Little Will to Cut Spending
The Pew Research Center released a new national poll on Friday and the results are quite surprising. As the March 1 deadline for a possible budget sequester approaches, the new Pew survey finds limited public support for reducing spending for a wide range of government programs, including defense, entitlements, education and health care.
Stock Market Lingers At A Precarious Place
The Dow Jones Industrial Average has flirted with its all-time high of 14,198 twice in February as the Dow managed to rise above the 14,000 mark but then fell back. The S&P 500 Index is not quite as close to its all-time high, but it is within striking distance. There is widespread optimism that both indexes can break-out to new record highs, which would likely spark a new buying surge.
The Economy: Worst Five Years Since the Depression
While the many facts and figures below are disappointing, even depressing, Americans need to know the truth about the real state of our economy and our union. Consider what follows as a rebuttal to President Obama's speech tonight. Feel free to forward this to as many people as you wish.
GDP Report Tanks - Is A Recession Looming?
We will cover a lot of ground today. We begin with a new report from Goldman Sachs which argues that the US economy will remain the strongest in the world for many more years. The report rebuts claims that America is a nation in decline. Quite the contrary, say Goldman analysts who claim that there is a growing"awarenessof the key economic, institutional, human capital and geopolitical advantages the U.S. enjoys over other economies."
U.S. Debt Crisis End-Game Looms in 3-5 Years
Last week, one of the most respected research groups in the world predicted that the US likely has only 3-5 years before the wheels fall off and the world is thrust into a major financial crisis, possibly even a depression. We'll talk about all of these things as we go along today. But before we go there, let's take a brief look at the economy before tomorrow's advance (first) estimate of 4Q GDP.
Gun Control & How To Play Upcoming Debt Battles
Ever since the tragedy on December 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut occurred when Adam Lanza senselessly murdered 26 people (20 children and six staff) and then himself there has been a growing cry from millions of Americans for some kind of new gun controls. And the current occupant of the White House is all too happy to oblige. Last week, the president unveiled the most sweeping new gun control laws since the so-called Brady Bill was passed in 1993, requiring background checks on firearm purchasers in the US. Obama's proposals go much further as I will discuss.
Obama Claims We Don't Have A Spending Problem
There's a lot to talk about this week. A lot of my contemporaries are offering their predictions for the New Year. But with our nation now over $16 trillion in debt and annual budget deficits over $1 trillion, I don't think there is any way to accurately predict what will happen this year. Another financial crisis could rear its ugly head just about any time.
Finally, a Solution to the Income Investing Dilemma
There's an endangered species in the investment industry today and it goes by the name of "yield." With continued downward pressure from the Federal Reserve, both short-term and long-term interest rates have been held to artificially low levels. And each new announcement from the Fed seems to extend the outlook for low interest rates farther into the future.
Fed Announces QE4 Starting Next Year
I continue to believe that President Obama is willing to let the economy go over the cliff and blame the Republicans. Obama is hell-bent on raising taxes on those in the top two brackets; he campaigned on it; and I dont think he will back off. It remains to be seen if the Republicans will cave.
On The Economy & Capitalism vs. Socialism
Today we look at a Pew Research Center survey that polled Americans for their feelings about capitalism versus socialism. The survey included all races, different ages and various income groups. I think it's safe to say, this survey will SHOCK YOU!
...'Til Debt (Limit) Do Us Part
Last week I discussed the "fiscal cliff" and the political battle that entails. If lawmakers cant come together for a solution before the end of the year, the economy is almost certainly headed for a recession or worse in 2013 and beyond. But there's a potentially even bigger battle coming up in the next couple of months.
Weekly Commentary & Outlook
Obviously, I am very discouraged with the outcome of the election. The main mistake Spencer and I made (and others including Gallup, Rasmussen, Pew, Rove, Morris, etc., etc.) in our pre-election analysis was to significantly underestimate the turnout rates among Democrats. The widely-held view that Democrats were unenthused and wouldn't turn out to vote, as suggested by numerous pollsters, was simply wrong. Obama won both the popular vote and the Electoral College comfortably.
Forecasts & Trends
Last Friday's unemployment report for October had the headline rate rising from 7.8% to 7.9%, in line with expectations. However, the pleasant surprise was that the economy created 171,000 new jobs last month, well above the pre-report consensus of 125,000 and above the average monthly increase of 157,000 jobs this year. That's the good news.
What Really Happened in Benghazi on Sept. 11
I've been taking a lot of flak from the Obama supporters in this audience over the past few weeks. Some are demanding that I stick to economic and investment issues and stop criticizing the president. Sorry liberals, but I have long maintained that who we elect to run the country has a big impact on the economy and therefore investment trends.
The Supreme Court Hangs in the Balance
The airwaves are overflowing with intense discussions about President Obama's and Governor Romney's positions on a variety of issues. What we don't hear much talk about is the likelihood that our next president will get to appoint at least a couple of justices to the Supreme Court. Depending on the outcome of the election, the balance in the High Court could shift significantly. With that in mind, let's focus today on what's at stake for the highest Court in the land, and therefore all of us.
Understanding How "Debt Deleveraging" Works
For many years, I have warned that our massive explosion in federal debt (up 50% just since Obama took office) would one day stifle economic growth. Obviously economic growth is currently stifled, what with the weakest post-recession recovery in decades. But the question remains as to whether our massive national debt and trillion-dollar budget deficits are the main reason for the disappointing recovery.
Will America Be Greece in Four Years?
The US national debt topped $16 trillion last week, and it was almost as if no one paid attention. At the rate we are going, the national debt will top $20 trillion just four years from now in 2016. In my August 21 E-Letter, I pointed out just how mind-boggling a trillion dollars is. Lets revisit that analogy of a trillion in terms of time.
September: A Rough Month for the Markets?
September is often a bad month for the stock markets, historically speaking, and this year it could be especially turbulent. In addition to all the uncertainty about the weak US economy, there is uncertainty about what the Fed may do just ahead and what, if anything, will be done to address Europe's recession and debt crisis. In addition, there is the looming presidential election which no doubt will go hyperbolic this month.
"Curiosity" - Return of American Exceptionalism
The IRS regularly issues something called Individual Tax Identification Numbers to people living in the US, but who are not eligible for a Social Security number. These illegal aliens working in the US received $6.8 billion in tax refunds last year by filing. A number of IRS employees recognized that this is/was tax fraud. We could end $2.5 billion in government waste like paying almost three times that much in tax refunds to illegal aliens to pay for invaluable missions like Curiosity.
GDP Report: "Good News" - You've Got to be Kidding!
We dissect last Fridays controversial 2Q GDP report, which most found disappointing but some in the mainstream media found encouraging (ie at least were not in a recession). From there, well discuss the Feds latest monetary policy meeting that ends tomorrow. The stock markets rallied strongly last week, partly on perceived good news from Europe, and partly because of renewed expectations that the GDP report would be weak enough to move the Fed to enact QE3.
How to Avoid the Bursting of the Bond Market Bubble
This letter is the first in a series that I hope you will take very seriously. U.S. interest rates are at record lows. Meanwhile, Obama and Congress are sky-rocketing the national debt. We all know this cant go on much longer.
Results 251–297 of 297 found.