How to Improve Your Market Returns in 2014

December 20, 2015

Getty Images/Cultura RF With the end of the year fast approaching, there’s no better time to review your portfolio’s performance and, if need be, take some steps to ensure that your returns for 2014 are the best they can be. One simple, cost-effective way to do that is to subscribe to a market service. If you’re like the average investor today, you own a mixture of asset classes, which might…


Gold Prices Slip on Uncertainty Over Fed Policy

December 14, 2015

Mario Tama/Getty ImagesBy Jan Harvey LONDON — Gold edged lower on Friday, hurt by a recovery in stock markets and gains in the dollar, as dealers awaited clearer direction on the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy. European shares climbed on Friday and the dollar index rose 0.2 percent as robust U.S. economic data lifted assets seen as higher risk, outweighing persistent uncertainty over the durability of Fed stimulus. The Fed’s next…


Are You Ready for a Bitcoin ETF? (And Is It Ready for Your Money?)

December 11, 2015

Prev1 of 2Next Bloomberg via Getty Images Whether you love them, hate them, or just learned that they actually exist outside of that movie about Facebook (FB), the Winklevoss twins are working twice as hard as everyone else to be relevant in the world of finance. The almost-founders of the world’s biggest social network are enthusiastic champions of Bitcoin — the cryptographic, algorithmic currency of the future that you mine…


How to Buy a Dollar with Just 88 Cents

December 8, 2015

Alamy What if there was a way to buy Apple (AAPL) — recently trading near $568 a share — for just $500? It’s not an outlandish scenario. That’s essentially what investors buying into Tri-Continental (TY) are doing. Like many closed-end stock funds, Tri-Continental trades for less than the value of its underlying assets. In Tri-Continental’s case, its close on Dec. 24 of $20.18 is a 12 percent discount to its…


The Risky Funds Ringing Alarm Bells in 2014

December 2, 2015

AlamyBy Catherine Boyle Brokers prodding individual investors into putting their money into certain key kinds of riskier assets are facing a crackdown from U.S. authorities. Frontier funds, which focus on up-and-coming emerging markets, and complicated, higher-risk products like exchange-traded funds and mortgage-backed securities are among the products in the firing line of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the U.S. regulator of securities firms. “Heightened risks associated with investing in foreign…


Despite Surge in U.S. Stock Prices, Investors Remain Cautious

November 29, 2015

Five and a half years after the start of a frightening drop that erased $11 trillion from stock portfolios, the Dow Jones industrial average has regained all the losses suffered and reached a new high. (Richard Drew/AP)By MARK JEWELL BOSTON — The Dow Jones industrial average continues to set new records but average investors are still proceeding with caution. While they added to U.S. stock funds in the first two…


Investing Summer School: Understanding the 5 Most Common Ways to Invest

November 26, 2015

Getty Images When it comes to investing for your future, it can be hard to overcome procrastination. But it’s a lot easier than you might think to get started. All this week, we’re running a series on basic investing lessons, trying to give novices the information they need to invest their money and make it work harder for them. We opened Monday with the basics on finding ways to save…


Money Minute: Beef Prices Break the Bank; Vanguard Rakes In the Dough

November 23, 2015

The price of beef is near record highs, and it’s likely to go still higher. Jessica Hill/AP While most food prices have increased only modestly, beef prices have soared 26 percent over the past five years. The main reason for the latest round of beefier prices is the severe drought in Texas and other key areas that has trimmed cattle supplies. And as prices go up, American consumption of beef…


Gold Is Cheap Again: 5 Ways to Get It Into Your Portfolio

November 20, 2015

(Getty Images)More than nearly any other investment, gold inspires strong opinions among investors. On one hand, superinvestor Warren Buffett has said that buying gold merely locks up your money in an asset that in his words is “neither of much use nor procreative.” On the other side of the coin you have advocates arguing that gold is the best choice to preserve purchasing power when central banks are pouring huge…


14 ETFs to Watch in 2014 — Even If You Don’t Buy Them

November 14, 2015

Prev1 of 2Next Alamy 2014 has just begun, and already, investors have seen some surprises. A rare first-trading-day drop in the stock market has engendered fresh nervousness about the prospects for a market correction. If you’re one of those worried watchers, consider keeping one eye on exchange-traded funds. Because they cover many different portions of the stock market (as well as other financial assets like bonds, commodities, and real estate),…