Happy Hour: Using The Strong Dollar

A strong US dollar has been terrible for the returns of international funds. If you’re thinking of giving up on those funds, now is probably a bad time to do so.

Like markets, currency exchange rates rise and fall over time. Right now, the US dollar is rising. At some point in the future the dollar will peak versus other currencies, and eventually fall. Anyone who sells now, will kick themselves for missing out. Why? It’s no different than selling after the stock market falls. Selling at the bottom rarely turns out well. Continue Reading…

Happy Hour: Cash Wars

petty fight broke out this week between Charles Schwab, Wealthfront, and Betterment over whose cash was better. The issue came about when Schwab opened its own free robo-advisor platform of automated portfolios with a small cash allocation. I guess Wealthfront and Betterment figured the best way to combat this is to make “free” look like a bad thing.

It was only a matter of time before the bigger brokerages offered a competing service. What’s funny is all three services basically have cash allocations to some degree. Hell, every brokerage account does. Continue Reading…

Happy Hour: On Hedge & Equity Crowdfunding

Since the market crash of ’08 we’ve seen a flurry of new ways to invest your money. I noticed an uptick in the number of articles promoting these “alternative investments”. Most recently it’s been hedge funds and equity crowd funding.

The companies pushing these “alternatives” have been out in full force promoting their cause. The promotion comes in all shapes and sizes. The obvious one is regular advertising. A sneakier one is paying for links or entire articles advertorials on sites. Continue Reading…

Happy Hour: Buffett Watch

We’ve reached the point in the year when business news transitions to the Warren Buffett reality show. Saturday morning Berkshire Hathaway will release its annual letter. Only this year is the 50th anniversary. So the Buffett watch started a little early with a bit more speculation on what the letter would say.

Most of the business world wants to know about the future – his successor or what company he plans to buy next. I expect he’ll talk about the past, like every other year. And like years past, there’s a good chance you’ll learn something if you read it. Continue Reading…

Happy Hour: Cause or Effect

Robert Shiller announced his CAPE ratio on twitter last week. I mentioned it in a post earlier this week. I won’t post his quote again, so jump over to check it out. In it, he compares today’s CAPE level with the previous high of 2007.

It doesn’t take much to over think it, put two and two together, and see another crash as a foregone conclusion. The reference of ’07 makes that connection. Though, to be fair, Shiller is simply stating a fact, not making a prediction. But my first thought was – what role did the high CAPE in ’07 play in the resulting crisis? Continue Reading…