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The Rise of Bitcoin: Is Virtual Currency a Fad or the Future?

By Robert Pagliarini on April 21, 2014

Mention “bitcoin” to assorted economists or investors, and you may trigger all kinds of associations. To some, it signifies an exciting new reality – a digital currency, with a payment system that could revolutionize finance. To others, it is a volatile commodity – propped up by hype, fraught with risk. It also refers to an…

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Asset Allocation for Retirees

By Robert Pagliarini on

If you move away from equities with age, are you making a mistake? For some time, financial professionals have encouraged investors to lessen their exposure to the stock market as they get older. After all, a 60-year-old has less time to recover from a market downturn than someone decades away from collecting Social Security checks.…

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What is High-Frequency Trading?

By Robert Pagliarini on April 9, 2014

Is Wall Street out of control? Main Street and Wall Street are abuzz over Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, the new book from Berkeley-based journalist Michael Lewis (author of Moneyball and The Blind Side, London School of Economics graduate and former bond salesman). Flash Boys makes a couple of bold conclusions, which the media…

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Will the Fed Raise Interest Rates Earlier Than Expected?

By Robert Pagliarini on March 22, 2014

Wall Street skips a beat on three words. The words were “around six months,” and they were spoken by Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen at the Federal Open Market Committee’s March 19 press conference. Those three words sent the Dow south 190 points; it lost 114 points on the trading day. Specifically, Yellen was responding…

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The Possibilities of Premium Bonds

By Robert Pagliarini on March 18, 2014

You buy a corporate bond at par or at a discount, right? It just seems like common sense. What would lead you to purchase a corporate bond at a premium? Actually, investors do sometimes buy fixed-income securities with coupon rates above current market rates. If interest rates are on the way up, buying a premium…

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Dynamic Asset Allocation

By Robert Pagliarini on March 7, 2014

Stocks rise, fall … and rise again. Volatility certainly came back to Wall Street during the first several weeks of 2014 in the form of a 7.2% descent for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and a 5.9% retreat for the NASDAQ. The declines gave investors pause: was a correction underway? Would bulls be held back…

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Unit Investment Trusts: Examining the Potential of Defined Portfolios

By Robert Pagliarini on January 30, 2014

An alternative to the common fund. People invest in mutual funds and exchange-traded funds all the time, but unit investment trusts (UITs) remain comparatively underappreciated and unrecognized. They really aren’t that mysterious, and their popularity is growing – in fact, total net assets invested in unit trusts increased 151% during 2009-12. The word “trust” may…

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How Will Rising Interest Rates Impact Bonds?

By Robert Pagliarini on January 7, 2014

This might not surprise you: 2013 is going in the books as the worst year bond funds have ever seen. According to TrimTabs Investment Research, investors yanked $72 billion out of bond mutual funds in 2013 – all of it after May. Those net outflows alone exceeded the record of $63 billion seen in 1994.…

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The Federal Reserve Finally Tapers

By Robert Pagliarini on December 19, 2013

December 18 turned out to be T-Day: the day on which the Federal Reserve finally tapered QE3. In making the move, the Fed acknowledged an improving economy; Wall Street quickly and enthusiastically applauded its decision. The Fed will reduce its monthly asset purchases by $10 billion. QE3 will continue, but the central bank will buy…

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Investing Advice – Keep It Simple, Stupid

By Robert Pagliarini on December 3, 2013

Investing Advice – KISS means “keep it simple, stupid.” Two of the most renowned investors who have ever lived – Warren Buffett and Peter Lynch – have followed this principle in building their fortunes. As Lynch famously put it, “Know what you own, and know why you own it.” Those who study the so-called “Oracle…

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