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Happy Days Are (Not) Here Again (Yet)
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Does the S&P outperform active funds?
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Warnings About the Vagaries of Working With Stock Brokers
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Corporate Earnings Still Struggling
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IRS Tax Debt Resolution: The Financial Planning Approach

Happy Days Are (Not) Here Again (Yet)

I recently attended an excellent seminar held by State Street Global Advisors and Morningstar. Although the meeting focused on building portfolios with exchange traded funds (ETF’s), the highlight of the afternoon was a presentation on the current state of the global markets.

The speaker, Shawn Johnson, who heads State Street’s investment committee, made it pretty clear that the financial world is not back to normal. The recent blip in the stock markets notwithstanding, capital flows and business conditions are far from normal. But for the federal money tap, credit markets would still be largely frozen instead of only somewhat frozen.…

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Does the S&P outperform active funds?

Does the S&P outperform active funds?Standard & Poor’s Index Services released today the year-end 2008 results for its Standard & Poor’s Index Versus Active Fund Scorecard (SPIVA).  The key findings are summarized below.  SPIVA draws its underlying data from University of Chicago’s CRSP Survivor-Bias-Free U.S. Mutual Fund Database.  To view the report click here (Standard & Poor’s Indices Versus Active Funds Scorecard, Year End 2008).

A summary of the results:

  • Over the five year market cycle from 2004 to 2008, S&P 500 outperformed 71.9% of actively managed large cap funds, S&P MidCap 400 outperformed 79.1% of mid cap funds and S&P SmallCap 600
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Warnings About the Vagaries of Working With Stock Brokers

Brokers are not innately bad people, but the systems under which they’re required to function can make it tough for them to work in the best interests of their clients.

Having just a few days ago read Jeffrey Goldberg’s entertaining article in Atlantic magazine on why he fired his broker, I was intrigued to uncover a recent piece on CBS’s Moneywatch site that not only referenced the Atlantic article, but also offered a list of some important things that your stock broker may not tell you.

The author, a financial services veteran whose frank opinions about the mutual …

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Corporate Earnings Still Struggling

While the stock market is up sharply since early March, corporate earnings continue to suffer. This chart (courtesy of chartoftheday.com) helps provide some perspective as to the magnitude of the current economic decline.

Corporate Earnings Still Struggling

The chart illustrates that S&P 500 earnings have declined over 90% over the past 20 months (with over 90% of S&P 500 companies having reported for Q1, 2009), the largest decline on record. In fact, real earnings have dropped to a record low and if current estimates hold, Q3 2009 will see the first 12-month period during which S&P 500 earnings are negative.

However, the stock …

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IRS Tax Debt Resolution: The Financial Planning Approach

IRS Tax Debt ResolutionsTrying to find the best way to resolve tax problems can be a difficult process. Writing about the best practices to help taxpayers is also a unique challenge. When I started the project of writing a book on tax resolution planning I had a simple goal in mind. I wanted to present an overview of how to use the tax and financial process to deal with tax problems. However, I quickly noticed that very few tax and financial planning professionals actually provide comprehensive financial counseling and planning for a group of people that needs help the most. While exploring this …

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