Mon07062015

Business & Real Estate

Timing the market is risky

The Dow Jones industrial average rose slightly last week, primarily because the U.S. Federal Reserve indicated that interest-rate increases might come slower than previously thought. But the financial crisis in Greece – including the country’s debt load and rocky relationship with the eurozone – continues to burden Wall Street.

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Transactions

100 First Street No. 101, Los Altos8 Limited to I. & D. Plut for $1,399,000

100 First Street No. 213, Los Altos8 Limited to A. Mort for $390,000

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Keep in mind your Social Security survivor's benefit

I’ve written often about the value of delaying Social Security payments until age 70.

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Are stock prices poised for sustained drop?

Among the numerous economic and financial indicators that investment advisers use to predict future stock market performance, there is a pretty broad consensus that company profit margins, or earnings per share, are one of the better predictors. The challenge, of course, is the difficulty of predicting future profit margins. 

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Stock volatility can be confusing

Since the beginning of the new year, the market has dropped more than 200 points on 15 different days.

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Is there protection against rising rates?

On top of concerns that the stock market may be highly overvalued right now, investors also have to worry about their bond portfolios.

With interest rates continuing to hover near historic lows, bond investors worry that as rates rise, the value of their bonds will drop. We painfully experienced this effect in May 2013 when interest rates spiked by 0.75 percent in one week after Federal Reserve officials announced that they were thinking of tapering off the Fed’s quantitative easing program. Ten-year bonds dropped more than 7 percent that month, one of the largest monthly drops in a generation.

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How to diversify your company pension plan

If your company pension plan supports a lump-sum distribution when you retire, you will have to decide whether to roll over the pension into an IRA or take it as an annuity (i.e., guaranteed income for life).

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