Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli ¹

April 2017 In the first quarter of 2017 the market continued the up-trend that began the day Donald Trump was elected President.  From the start of the year to March 1, 2017 the S&P 500 was up 7%.  But the remainder of March was down 1% leaving the S&P 500 with a 6% gain for the quarter. Beyond the S&P 500 some market ... Continue Reading

Where’s Nostradamus When You Need Him?

January 2017 Two thousand sixteen has to be the worst year ever for pollsters.  First they horribly missed in their predictions of the Brexit vote.  Then they missed again in their predictions of the U.S. Presidential election. Interestingly the market reactions to both events were similar.  A swift decline followed by a swift ... Continue Reading

Will She or Won’t She?

October 2016 The first six months of 2016 were relatively volatile with the market twice falling significant amounts only to recover within short periods of time. The first decline was at the start of the year and was due to the slowdown in China and the decline in the price of oil.  The second decline was in response to the Brexit ... Continue Reading

Brexit Shmexit

July 2016 After a negative and volatile start to 2016 (January to mid February) the markets steadied and recouped earlier losses. In fact the second quarter was shaping up to be reasonably profitable until June 24. What happened on June 24? Brexit. Unless you have been hiding under a rock the last few weeks you know that Brexit ... Continue Reading

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

April 2016 One of the nice things about the stock market is that you never have to wait very long to be rewarded for patience.  The first quarter of 2016 was one of those times. The first six weeks of the year was one of the worst starts ever for stocks.  From January 1 to February 11 the S&P 500 was down -10.5%.  And large cap ... Continue Reading

Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself

January 2016 Although equity returns in the fourth quarter of 2015 were good, the year as a whole offered few reasons to cheer. For the quarter equity returns were +5%, +2.5%, and +3.5% for large cap U.S. equities, small cap U.S. equities, and international equities, respectively (as measured by the average mutual fund in each ... Continue Reading

Social Security Changes… for the Worse

If you haven't heard by now let me be the one to break the bad news to you. Buried in the most recent budget deal our government has changed two significant rules for collecting Social Security. And they will cost many people tens of thousands of dollars over their lifetime. File and Suspend File and suspend was a very popular ... Continue Reading

What a Drag!

October 2015 The equity markets around the world had a tough third quarter. Here in the U.S. the S&P 500 fell -6.4%. Other indices were down even more. The NASDAQ and small cap stocks were down -7% and -12%, respectively. Globally it wasn't any better. International stocks were down -10.2%. The third quarter loss also put stocks ... Continue Reading

Grexit – What is it and Does it Matter?

July 2015 The stock and bond markets are leading very different existences right now. Historical evidence has taught us that stocks are riskier than bonds. Risk means more variation in returns - higher highs and lower lows. Lately that axiom has been turned on its head. In the second quarter stocks were more stable and bonds more ... Continue Reading

A Race to the Bottom

April 2015 The markets in 2015 are in need of an identity. Thus far neither the bulls nor the bears can make a claim. There were 61 trading days in the first quarter. Of those the S&P 500 was down 35 days and up 26 days. In fact there were only two times during the quarter that the S&P gained for more than two consecutive ... Continue Reading

Beware the Headline

January 2015 Beware the Headline Despite some volatility along the way the fourth quarter of 2014 turned out to be a fairly good time to be an investor - at least for domestic equities. For the quarter the S&P 500 made +4.9% and small cap stocks did even better at +9.8%. The news was not as good on the global front as ... Continue Reading

The Bulls Take a Breather

October 2014 Despite the fact that so many market pundits were expecting a significant stock market decline over the summer it didn't happen. Instead what we got was a relatively stable market that by the end of the quarter was almost unchanged. While volatility did increase significantly in September, the S&P 500 was up 1.1% ... Continue Reading

7 Things You Need to Know About Social Security

September 2014 The claiming strategy you elect for Social Security Benefits is one of the most important financial decisions you will ever make.  This decision could have income implications for decades. Understanding these seven details about Social Security will go a long way to helping you maximize your benefits. 1. ... Continue Reading

A Goldilocks Market

July 2014 We all know the story of Goldilocks. A little girl takes a walk in the forest and comes across a house that, unbeknownst to her, is inhabited by bears. Once inside she finds three bowls of porridge:  one too hot, one too cold, and finally one that is just the right temperature. Then there are chairs (too big, too small, and ... Continue Reading

Don’t Believe the Naysayers

 April 2014 The stock market thus far in 2014 has been more volatile that than it was in 2013.  Yet the net result was a slightly positive first quarter.  The S&P 500 was up 1.3% (not including dividends).  International stocks, though positive, were up only 0.5%.  Perhaps the biggest surprise of the quarter was in the bond ... Continue Reading

Expect the Unexpected

January 2014 Two thousand thirteen is not the kind of year that happens very often, but when it does we should rejoice.  The last time the market performed this well was 1997.  In fact the S&P 500 has only returned more on a calendar year basis four times in the last 50 years. How good was it?  The S&P 500 returned 32% and ... Continue Reading

Tempo Presents to Boston Women Communicators

Photo of Jane B. Wilson, Dan Traub, and Janice Foley On November 18, 2008, Tempo President Dan Traub presented "Managing Your Investments in a Down Economy: Tips to Use Now and Long-term to Protect and Grow Your Investments" to Boston Women Communicators (BWC). Pictured above with Dan are Jane Breschard Wilson, BWC Founder and Janice ... Continue Reading

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Déjà Vu All Over Again ¹

October 2013 The more things change the more they stay the same. At this time last year we were talking about how strong the market was despite the fact that no one expected it to be so. And every quarter since 2011 there has been some mention of the debt ceiling, sequestration, and the inability of our elected officials to get ... Continue Reading

When Good News Is Bad

July 2013 I am always interested in the stories that drive the markets. Sometimes news that is normally positive is suddenly viewed as negative. This occurred in the second quarter of 2013. Here is a piece of good news: The economy is continuing to improve. Read on to find out why that is bad. The second quarter started much the ... Continue Reading

So This is Sequestration?!

April 2013 A funny thing happened on the way to the sequester. Nothing! Like many market observers, I had expected the market would be vulnerable to decline should our government fail to avert the sequester (the automatic spending cuts that would occur should the government fail to act). And yet the sequester came and the market did ... Continue Reading

Strategies for Negotiating the Fiscal Cliff

News of the fiscal cliff seems to be everywhere at the moment. Fiscal cliff is the term given to the Bush era tax cuts that will expire and the spending cuts that will be triggered at the end of 2012 unless our government passes legislation otherwise. This would mean increased tax rates for income, capital gains, qualified dividends, and ... Continue Reading

Just the Facts, Please

October 2012 When was the last time you heard someone speak well of the state of the economy or of prospects for the stock market? You can't remember? Me neither! This might explain, at least in part, why the stock market has continued to the up-side. The markets have an uncanny ability to do the opposite of what most people expect. ... Continue Reading

Take Stock in the Summer

One common Wall Street adage says to "Sell in May and Go Away." The idea is that stocks have historically performed better from November through April than from May through October and that we would be better off not owning stocks at all between May and October. Even if you've never heard this saying before perhaps you've noticed that ... Continue Reading

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