Investing Basics

As earnings season winds down, insider activity heats up. That’s because insiders (classified as company executives, directors and beneficial owners) get the green light to buy or sell their company’s stock on the open market once earnings… Read More

For those that don’t know, in addition to being the Chief Strategist behind StreetAuthority’s Stock of the Month newsletter, I’m also an avid poker player. I first picked up poker about a decade ago, well before it was all over television. But I wasn’t after the big… Read More

I don’t want to bury the lead, so let me start with my prediction: the economy will add over 2 million jobs in the next 12 months. But before we get to that, let’s add some context. To say that the job market is weak would be like saying the Saw horror movie franchise is a little gory. In fact, I’m not sure which has seen more bloodletting. Last month, The Los Angeles Times reported that 2.3 million California workers have been axed — and that’s just in the Golden State. Read More

I don’t want to bury the lead, so let me start with my prediction: the economy will add over 2 million jobs in the next 12 months. But before we get to that, let’s add some context. To say that the job market is weak would be like saying the Saw horror movie franchise is a little gory. In fact, I’m not sure which has seen more bloodletting. Last month, The Los Angeles Times reported that 2.3 million California workers have been axed — and that’s just in the Golden State. Nationwide, the unemployment rate has remained at elevated levels above 9.5% for 15 consecutive months, the longest such drought on record. The last time we saw a “jobless recovery” of this magnitude was in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, more than 2.5 million jobs were lost in the 18 months following the terror attacks. At that point, it seemed as if the labor market would never get in gear. But by January 2004, payrolls around the country were already… Read More

Want to know how much power the Federal Reserve holds? Late Tuesday, the Fed announced it would spend $600 billion on a program of buying Treasury bonds. That’s in addition to what it will also spend by reinvesting the proceeds of other bonds it had purchased already. On Wednesday, the S&P soared nearly +2%, creating about $220 billion in market cap in a single day. I can’t say it was unexpected. You see, every year for my StreetAuthority Market Advisor readers,… Read More

Want to know how much power the Federal Reserve holds? Late Tuesday, the Fed announced it would spend $600 billion on a program of buying Treasury bonds. That’s in addition to what it will also spend by reinvesting the proceeds of other bonds it had purchased already. On Wednesday, the S&P soared nearly +2%, creating about $220 billion in market cap in a single day. I can’t say it was unexpected. You see, every year for my StreetAuthority Market Advisor readers, I put together two lists. First comes a list of my predictions for the coming year. Next is a list of my top 10 stocks for the year. About a week before the Fed’s announcement, I sent my predictions for 2011 to my subscribers. Prediction No. 9 called for this next round of quantitative easing, or as it’s more elegantly called, QE2. But that was only part of the prediction. Now that the first half came true, I also predicted exactly where I want to invest based on the news… and it’s looking good, too. Read More

A very large grain of salt. That’s what economists suggest you take when digesting Chinese economic numbers. The country’s financial planners tend to massage key numbers to give the impression of an economy that is neither too hot nor too cold. To its credit, China’s decade-long growth spurt has been truly miraculous and policy planners seem to continually pull the right levers, even though those choices are often antithetical to Western economic dogma. Much of China’s success has come from its status as a low-cost provider of goods and comparatively low levels of… Read More

A very large grain of salt. That’s what economists suggest you take when digesting Chinese economic numbers. The country’s financial planners tend to massage key numbers to give the impression of an economy that is neither too hot nor too cold. To its credit, China’s decade-long growth spurt has been truly miraculous and policy planners seem to continually pull the right levers, even though those choices are often antithetical to Western economic dogma. Much of China’s success has come from its status as a low-cost provider of goods and comparatively low levels of per capita GDP, which enabled it to grow without bumping into hurdles that often come when economies achieve world-class status. But those days are over. China’s economy is now far larger — having recently surpassed Japan to occupy the No. 2 spot — and the government ‘s task of managing growth has become ever-more complex. Even as Chinese economic planners will continue to massage the numbers to give the appearance of a smooth-sailing ship, 2011 offers more potential pitfalls than ever. If… Read More

You may think stocks are still attractively priced after the recent rebound — but that doesn’t matter. Instead, it’s more important what your peers think and do. Because if you’re buying while they’re selling, you’ll lose. And right now, many of your peers have a solid excuse for selling: year-end profits. The S&P 500 has risen nearly +15% since early September, and many individual stocks are up +40% or even +50% from the summer swoon. With a hike in the capital gains tax expected next year, many investors will look to secure profits now instead of later. Read More

You may think stocks are still attractively priced after the recent rebound — but that doesn’t matter. Instead, it’s more important what your peers think and do. Because if you’re buying while they’re selling, you’ll lose. And right now, many of your peers have a solid excuse for selling: year-end profits. The S&P 500 has risen nearly +15% since early September, and many individual stocks are up +40% or even +50% from the summer swoon. With a hike in the capital gains tax expected next year, many investors will look to secure profits now instead of later. As my colleague Ryan Fuhrmann noted back in September, the capital gains tax rate will rise from 15% to 20% in 2011. Investors can avoid capital gains by generating offsetting capital losses, but after the market’s massive 20-month surge, there are fewer losers to be culled from investors’ portfolios. #-ad_banner-#If investors start to tiptoe toward the exits, it could quickly morph into a larger move. Just like we’re seeing in the current rally where success begets success, failure also begets failure. The market seems to be locked into mini-cycles characterized by broadening rallies (March… Read More

A surging stock market has brought a smile to the face of investment bankers. They’ve suddenly found a much more receptive environment for new initial public offerings (IPOs), with 16 deals of at least $100 million being pulled off in October — the best month for IPOs this year. And… Read More