The Bull is Alive!

July 2012 After two very profitable quarters (The S&P 500 gained more than 10% in Q4, 2011 and in Q1, 2012) it is not surprising that the market took a breather in the second quarter of 2012. This is especially true if you believe, as I do, that we are in the third stage of the economic recovery which is characterized by periodic ... Continue Reading

Watch the Forest, Ignore the Trees

April 2012 The first quarter of 2012 saw a continuation of the stock market rally that began at the end of 2011, with most equity benchmarks gaining over 10%. At the end of the day the stock market reflects corporate profitability and today corporate profits (and margins) are very attractive. This remains a conundrum given that ... Continue Reading

The Van Winkle Strategy

January 2012 I'm beginning to think that Rip Van Winkle was onto something. This classic tale takes place during the time of the American Revolution. Rip avoided the hardship of war by sleeping through the revolution. Ah, ignorance is bliss! Anyone who somehow tuned out in 2011 may have saved him or herself much stress as well. An ... Continue Reading

Europe is the Key

October 2011 The 2008 mortgage-credit crisis in the United States can fairly be blamed for throwing the world into recession. And while things were certainly touch and go for a while, at least our administrators (The Fed and Treasury Departments) and legislators had the ability and the will to take extreme measures to restore stability ... Continue Reading

Tyrannosaurus Debt

July 2011 After a positive stock market in April (S&P 500 up 2.8% through 4/29/11) the next eight weeks saw a steady decline. That's the bad news. The good news is that the decline was relatively tame. Over the past few years we have become accustomed to stock market swings exceeding 20%. The decline from April 29 to June 24, by ... Continue Reading

Worry All the Way to the Bank

April 2011 There is a saying that the market likes to climb a wall of worry. I've often thought about why this mythological wall of worry would help the market rise. My analysis is that excessive worries cause people who are inclined to sell to sell and once the sellers have sold there is less selling pressure (try saying that five ... Continue Reading

5 Things You Should Know About Your 401(k)

401(k) programs can often feel like a black box to both participants and plan sponsors. These 5 questions will help you demystify some important concepts. Is your 401(k) service provider a fiduciary?A plan sponsor is by definition a fiduciary. A fiduciary must: Act solely in the interest of plan participants and their ... Continue Reading

Uncertainty is a Fact of Life

January 2011 The fourth quarter of 2010 turned out to be a great time for equity investors with benchmarks rising in excess of 10%. In fact, 2010 as a whole was quite profitable. Despite a significant decline in the second quarter (when the S&P 500 lost -11.3%), stocks gained 15% for the full year. The fourth quarter for bonds ... Continue Reading

September Surprise

October 2010 The markets have a way of doing the opposite of what most participants expect. That has certainly been true in 2010 for both the stock and bond markets. After a choppy and negative second quarter for the stock market (S&P 500 down -11%) and with the weak economic recovery (continued high unemployment), many feared a ... Continue Reading

Double Dip or Short Term Breather?

July 2010 The ink had barely dried on the April issue of the Tempo Vantage, in which I touted the remarkably calm stock market, when volatility abruptly returned. Suddenly every day became a seesaw battle reminiscent of the most recent bear market. During the second quarter most equity benchmarks fell in excess of 11%. As with other ... Continue Reading

Is Healthcare Reform a Game Changer?

April 2010 For a change, recent headlines in the business section are less about stock market performance and more about healthcare reform. That shift to something else, anything else, has led to a period of low stock market volatility. Low volatility generally bodes well for the stock market. Indeed, the first quarter saw a rise in ... Continue Reading

Signaling the End of the Recession

October 2009 A minor decline the last few weeks of September could hardly tarnish what was otherwise a spectacular quarter for the stock market. The S&P 500 returned 15.6% for the quarter, which brings the year to date return to 19.2%. Many people hardly noticed how good returns have been these past months. Several people (clients ... Continue Reading

To Convert or Not to Convert: That is the IRA Question

November 2009 Until now you may not have given a Roth conversion for your IRA (or other retirement accounts) much thought. After all, if your modified adjusted gross income was greater than $100,000 you were not even eligible. In 2010 that will change, however, as the income limit for Roth conversions is eliminated. Then anyone can ... Continue Reading

Getting Back on Track

July 2009 The stock market has made a tremendous turnaround in just a few months. After falling 25% from the start of 2009 through March 9, the market rose 36% through the end of the second quarter. More than half of that advance occurred the last three weeks in March, and the rest (15.9%) in the second quarter. Remember the ... Continue Reading

Diversification is not Dead

April 2009 The markets are continuing the roller coaster ride that began last September. To put this statement in perspective, consider this sequence of returns for the Standard & Poors 500: 08/28/2008 to 11/20/2008  -42.1% 11/20/2008 to 01/06/2009  +24.2% 01/06/2009 to 03/05/2009  -27.9% 03/05/2009 to ... Continue Reading

How You Can Avoid Investment Fraud

February 2009 In the wake of what appears to be the biggest investment fraud in history, perpetuated by famed investor Bernie Madoff, it is important to know how to make sure this will never happen to you. As with many things in life, a little common sense will go a long way. Here are some rules to follow: Avoid Illiquid ... Continue Reading

Market Will Turn Before Economy

January 2009 In the third quarter Vantage (October 2008), I indicated that there were reasons for optimism. At that time the market was down 25% in just the first few weeks of October. Initially my sentiment could not have appeared further from reality as the market continued down another 11% and there was (and still is) wide spread ... Continue Reading

Five Smart Investment Moves to Make Before Year End

Two thousand eight (2008) is shaping up to be one of the worst years for stock market performance in the past century. When all is said and done it may very well be the worst year ever. Most of us would just assume forget it and move on. But simply putting your head in the sand is the wrong thing to do when there are changes that you can ... Continue Reading

Room for Optimism Amid the Gloom

October 2008 While there have certainly been credit crunches in the past, it is now clear that this one is broader and deeper than any in at least the last 75 years. Large financial companies and government sponsored enterprises have failed or required assistance, which was almost unfathomable just a short time ago. What brought us to ... Continue Reading

Weathering the Crisis

September 2008 I have fielded a number of phone calls and e-mails the past few days expressing nervousness about the current state of the financial markets - understandably so. While I can't say for sure when this will end, I can provide some thoughts on the current situation and how to proceed from here. When it comes to business, ... Continue Reading

The Tempo Vantage

July 2008 Welcome to the first edition of the Tempo Vantage, a quarterly newsletter that will look at the current state of the financial markets, explore in greater depth salient themes, and report the results of Tempo Financial Advisors LLC's investment strategies. After a difficult first quarter, with the S&P 500 falling over ... Continue Reading