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Articles of Interest

Risk and Expected Return Are Related

  • February 15th, 2011
  • Market Insights

A mistake that is often made is to say that risk and reward are related when it comes to investing. But if risk and return were always related, there’d be no risk. It’s risk and expected return that are actually related. The price investors have to pay is the chance that the risk will actually… Read More

A Response to the “60 Minutes” Segment on Municipal Finances

  • December 22nd, 2010
  • Market Insights

The following addresses the “60 Minutes” segment from Sunday, December 19 on the state of municipal finances. The “60 Minutes” segment did not expose any new problems in the municipal market. Rather, it highlighted some growing concerns surrounding state fiscal problems and their potential effect on local governments. In fact, Meredith Whitney, who appeared in… Read More

Why “Name Your Price” Insurance Can Cost You Dearly

  • December 15th, 2010
  • Market Insights

Many people zero in on price when buying insurance. However, that strategy is only safe if you never file a claim. Tom Hopkins of The Delp Company discusses why it’s important to consider more than just the price tag of insurance. A national insurance company has implemented an interesting marketing strategy: Tell us the premium… Read More

The End of Social Security’s Interest-Free Loan

  • December 9th, 2010
  • Market Insights

The end of Social Security’s payback option means there is less room for error when devising a strategy to maximize your Social Security benefits. The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) announced December 8 that, effective immediately, the ability to “pay back” Social Security benefits will be allowed only during the first 12 months following the… Read More

Issues to Consider With a High-Dividend Approach

  • December 3rd, 2010
  • Market Insights

With the current low yields on fixed income securities, the financial media have produced many articles regarding high-dividend strategies. The following discusses two fundamental flaws with using these strategies as alternatives to either high-quality fixed income portfolios or to other equity strategies. While the financial media tout high-dividend strategies as alternatives to other prudent investment… Read More

Understanding Interest Rate Risk

  • December 2nd, 2010
  • Market Insights

Many investors have responded to worries about interest rate risk by keeping their fixed income investments restricted to money market accounts and very short-term fixed income securities. The following discusses the risks of following such a strategy and what should be considered. Over the past year, we have received questions about the potential impact of… Read More

Corporate Bonds Versus Treasury Bonds

  • November 18th, 2010
  • Market Insights

While it is true that corporate bonds have outperformed Treasuries, we have not and do not recommend owning corporate bonds for two main reasons: 1) they contain some of the same risks that stocks do; and 2) the historical outperformance has been very small. One of the most important concepts of fixed income investing is… Read More

Coupon Rate, Yield and Expected Returns on Fixed Income Securities

  • November 18th, 2010
  • Market Insights

Currently, rates in the fixed income market are very low. As of September 13, the yield on the five-year Treasury note was close to 1.5 percent. In a low-rate environment in particular, it is critical to understand the differences between and the concepts of coupon rate, yield and expected return on fixed income securities.Coupon Rate… Read More

Interest Rates and Expected Returns

  • November 18th, 2010
  • Market Insights

Many people are questioning whether they should stay in fixed income or branch out to other strategies with higher expected returns, due to low interest rates. The following discusses viewing expected returns between investment strategies. The low interest rate environment has many people wondering about using their fixed income allocation for other strategies, such as… Read More

Ratings Agencies and the Municipal Market

  • November 15th, 2010
  • Market Insights

In this article, we review our thoughts on the value of credit ratings within the municipal market. Even though ratings agencies appear to have misjudged the credit worthiness of some mortgage-backed securities leading up to the financial crisis of 2007–2009, we believe their ratings are still of importance in assessing the default risk of municipal… Read More

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