The Alternative Answer Daily

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Holding Bonds To Balance Stocks? There Are Better Ways

This post originally appeared on Forbes.com. Before you dump bonds, remember why you have them.” So says the mainstream financial press, echoing countless advisors. Their big point is that investors shouldn’t get too spooked by the recent carnage because bonds have, for decades, acted a ballast against stock volatility, and that sort of insurance will… Read More

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Liquidity Detox: Prepare For The Shakes

This article originally appeared on forbes.com. Volatility is back, and unpacking for a long stay. June will set a 2013 record for days with 100-point swings, and the Vix is headed north. But the real story is in bonds, where total returns for the year — interest income plus or minus price movement– actually went… Read More

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And the Mighty Arms of Atlas Hold the Heavens from the Earth

Jeremy Hill of TF Market Advisors puts out the excellent weekly Macro Monitor newsletter. Check out this week’s edition below: Roughly 4.4 million Americans were described as long term unemployed in Friday’s jobs report. That number seems intuitively important in the context of current monetary policy. We believe the fear of structural long term unemployment has… Read More

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The Hedge-Fund Investment Puzzle

The following originally appeared in the The Wall Street Journal: If hedge funds are as bad as the headlines would have us believe, why do sophisticated institutions keep investing in them? Anyone glimpsing headlines lately knows that hedge funds are accused of causing the Cooper Union college endowment to fail, are underperforming and overcharging, and… Read More

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Safe Fixed Income Returns, Even As Bonds Tumble

This post originally appeared on Forbes.com.  Bond investors are faced with a rude development: total returns – that is, the combination of income and price movement – are now negative for the year (junk bonds aside). Who even remembers the last time that was true? Perhaps we’re not really seeing the end of a 30-year… Read More

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Defense Wins Investing Championships, Too

The following post originally appeared on Forbes.com. Every serious sports fan knows that “defense wins championships. The Ravens and the Tide are famous for it. In the NBA, all three of the top scoring teams were easily eliminated early in the playoffs by more defensively-minded squads. Great pitching beats great hitting. You knew that, but… Read More

The United States Federal Reserve

It Depends Upon the Data

Bob Eisenbeis over at Cumberland Advisors shared the following insights about the Federal Open Market Committee:  Two keystones to current FOMC policy are transparency and effective communications. Both have taken a hit last week. Chairman Bernanke’s testimony before Congress did little to clarify how long the FOMC will pursue accommodative policy, what will cause it… Read More

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MLPs: High After-Tax Income… But Avoid A Common Mistake

MLPs– Master Limited Partnerships– are back in style. Born in the 80s to incent investment in domestic energy infrastructure, Congress showered them with impressive tax benefits. Like their contemporaries, acid washed jeans and Swatches, they were forgotten for a while, but are du jour again…. Read More

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Inflation Hedges That Pay Today

This piece originally appeared on Forbes.com. The globe is awash in cash. The Fed’s adds $85 billion a month of new liquidity to our system, but even its herculean efforts will be outdone by the Bank of Japan. Negative real interest rates are common. And it seems as if any respectable corporation has scores of… Read More

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Hunting Big Game (And Gains)

This piece originally appeared on Forbes.com. When people hear “hedge fund” or “alternative investments,” many conjure up exotic strategies aimed at amazingly high returns. Well, as Sportin’ Life sang, it ain’t necessarily so. As discussed in earlier columns, some alternatives aim for higher current income; others, to avoid losses; and as we’ll see tomorrow, many… Read More