Could Verizon Bond Mark a Temporary Peak?

Can you hear me now? Yesterday Verizon priced $51 billion worth of bonds at $49 billion. Technically they sold $49 billion of bonds at $49 billion that then traded to be worth $51 billion.  That is a lot of profit to those who got good allocations. That is positive for the market. Some “free money” goes… Read More


Is a 3% Yield the Turning Point for the Treasury Market?

How Much Has the Fed Lost? We spent much of yesterday looking at the potential for 3% on the 10-year Treasury and the Fed’s treasury position. For those of you who asked the Fed had lost $105 billion on the $1.6 trillion on the bonds they owned in early March. Since the 10 -ear was… Read More


Stocks Won’t Be Enough

This post appeared originally on Forbes.com. Heard this one from your broker? “Sure, there are problems out there, but the real question is whether you think the market will be higher or lower three years from now.” Most of us are optimists, so we buy. OK, but the critical issue is really: how much higher?… Read More


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


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


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

Power Plant at sunset

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


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


Finding Yield In Alternatives

This article originally appeared as part of Bob’s alternative investing column on Forbes.com. The best known income “alternative” class is MLPs, master limited partnerships. There are many flavors, but the “midstream” variety is most popular; these own the infrastructure assets used to get and transport oil and gas, rather than the commodities themselves (which makes… Read More


An Inefficient Market Hypothesis

My understanding of the “efficient market hypothesis” is that all information is already “priced in” to the market and that only new information that is different than expectations can move markets. I’m not sure which is funnier, that at one point I was willing to believe that, or that a lot of people a lot smarter… Read More