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IPOs: Profiles Are High. What About Returns?

Initial public offerings (IPOs) often attract initial public interest—especially when familiar brands become broadly available to investors for the first time. In recent months, investors have had the opportunity to buy shares of ride‑hailing networks Uber and Lyft, workplace productivity services Zoom and Slack, and other high-profile businesses ranging from Pinterest to Beyond Meat. News outlets contribute to the frenzy, building anticipation, tracking the early hours of trading, and casting judgment on the IPO’s success. Investors, perhaps lured by tales of outsized returns, try to get
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Why Is Inflation So Low? (And What to Do About It)

Ronald Reagan famously described inflation as being “as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” While the inflation experienced under President Reagan was all those things, inflation over the past decade would struggle to get a ticket for jaywalking. Since the global financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, inflation has been low. The Federal Reserve, the government agency responsible for keeping unemployment down and prices stable, has been formally targeting a
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Timing Isn’t Everything

Over the course of a summer, it’s not unusual for the stock market to be a topic of conversation at barbecues or other social gatherings. A neighbor or relative might ask about which investments are good at the moment. The lure of getting in at the right time or avoiding the next downturn may tempt even disciplined, long-term investors. The reality of successfully timing markets, however, isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. OUTGUESSING THE MARKET IS DIFFICULT Attempting to buy
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The Randomness of Global Equity Returns

Investment opportunities exist all around the globe. Across more than 40 countries, there are over 15,000 publicly traded companies. If you listen to the news, however, some countries may seem like better places to invest than others based on how their economies and stock markets are doing at the time. Fluctuations in performance from year to year only add to the complexity, providing little useful information about future returns. Daunted by the prospects of sorting it out, some investors look
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Can You Win in a Lose-Lose Game: Tariffs and Trade Wars

“We’re On The Brink Of An All-Out Trade War!” “Market Futures Fall As Investors Anticipate New Tariffs!” “What Will Happen If Trade Tensions Escalate!?” Chances are you’ve seen headlines like these over the past few months. The media can’t stop talking about tariffs and trade tensions and how they might harm the U.S. economy. But are tariffs really that bad? Is it true that we’re approaching a full-blown trade war with China? In this piece, we hope to untangle reality from
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Tim Maurer’s Top 10 Personal Finance Books

Tim Maurer was assigned a task: put together a list of his five favorite books from the world of personal finance. He came up with 10. In this video, Maurer, director of advisor development for the BAM ALLIANCE, walks us through his wide-ranging library, which includes books that focus on financial planning, behavioral economics, life planning, and a bonus pair that aren’t necessarily about money but can help change the way you look at money.     The Rent Collector,
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Perspective on Premiums

Investors may be tempted to extrapolate recent returns into the future, which can lead them to abandon their investment philosophy at potentially inopportune times. While negative outcomes are disappointing, investors should view them with the proper perspective and stay the course. When you leave your server a tip, do you round it to a whole-dollar amount and often in multiples of $5? Does a 60th birthday seem more significant than a 59th? If you answer yes to these questions, you’re
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2018 Report Card For Hedge Funds

Hedge funds entered 2019 coming off their ninth­ straight year of trailing U.S. stocks (as measured by the S&P 500 Index) by significant margins. And for the 10­ year period ending 2017 — one that included the worst bear market in the post­ Depression era — the HFRX Global Hedge Fund Index produced a negative return (­0.4%), underperforming every single major equity and bond asset class. So how did hedge funds fare in 2018? The following table shows the returns
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Getting to the Point of a Point

                    A quick online search for “Dow rallies 500 points” yields a cascade of news stories with similar titles, as does a similar search for “Dow drops 500 points.” These types of headlines may make little sense to some investors, given that a “point” for the Dow and what it means to an individual’s portfolio may be unclear. The potential for misunderstanding also exists among even experienced market participants, given that
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Why Should You Diversify?

As 2019 begins, and with US stocks outperforming non-US stocks in recent years, some investors have again turned their attention towards the role that global diversification plays in their portfolios. For the five-year period ending October 31, 2018, the S&P 500 Index had an annualized return of 11.34% while the MSCI World ex USA Index returned 1.86%, and the MSCI Emerging Markets Index returned 0.78%. As US stocks have outperformed international and emerging markets stocks over the last several years,
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