Post-Tribune http://posttrib.suntimes.com Latest news from Post-Tribune Online en-us webmaster@suntimes.com (Editor) http://posttrib.suntimes.com/csp/cms/sites/STM/assets/img/logos/posttrib.gif Post-Tribune http://posttrib.suntimes.com 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ A “twist” on how to stimulate the market ]]> Lead story image

Operation “twist” sounds like the script of a really bad spy movie, or a really interesting adult party game. It unfortunately is neither. It is actually the term given to the Federal Reserve’s most recent action to “do something” to stimulate our economy out of its malaise and back a little closer to the good ole days.     Operation twist is different from the two previous generations of aggressive Federal Reserve actions to stimulate the financial markets, QE and QE2, in that those programs involved the central bank printing a whole lot of new money out of thin air in order to … ]]> Thu, 17 Nov 2011 08:54:05 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/8214631-420/a-twist-on-how-to-stimulate-the-market.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/8214631-420/a-twist-on-how-to-stimulate-the-market.html <![CDATA[ ]]>

The Jackson Lake Lodge 40 miles north of the town of Jackson Wy. is a special place. Floor to ceiling windows in the hotel’s atrium overlook the majestic Teton Range. The dining deck out back sits above a field of willow and alders that make up the shoreline of Jackson Lake itself and I’ve never been to the lodge when there wasn’t a bull moose chomping on willow out back. It’s a place that should be on everyone’s life list. It’s also a place that will have the attention of investors and financial markets all over the planet when the central bankers of … ]]> Fri, 19 Aug 2011 23:53:10 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/7162054-452/story.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/7162054-452/story.html <![CDATA[ Trio of problems behind recent Dow instability ]]> Lead story image

I’ve been in the investment business for 18 years. These 18 years include the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the dot-com bubble, Sept. 11, 2001, and the 2008 financial collapse. After all those tough times I still can’t remember a time that involved the amount of vigorous day-to-day volatility present in world financial markets. Now maybe this is because my 41-year-old brain is getting numb, or maybe it’s because we tend to dismiss the pain of the past for the sake of the future (which is why we don’t all come from one-child families), but I have to say that market volatility … ]]> Mon, 23 Jan 2012 03:25:09 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/7029781-420/trio-of-problems-behind-recent-dow-instability.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/7029781-420/trio-of-problems-behind-recent-dow-instability.html <![CDATA[ Time may be right for investors to make money on gas, oil ]]> Lead story image

Once in a while, the Washington, D.C., circus opens up an avenue of opportunity that could lead to investment profits if used and timed correctly. Last week the Obama administration’s high-profile rejection of permits needed to construct the Keystone energy pipeline might just present one of those opportunities. First, let me say this issue is a complete circus. This pipeline will be built and pieces of the pipeline will be built fairly soon. But decisions allowing for the completion of the pipeline in its entirety will be delayed until after the 2012 presidential election, which will allow the president to … ]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2012 08:13:32 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/10125165-452/time-may-be-right-for-investors-to-make-money-on-gas-oil.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/10125165-452/time-may-be-right-for-investors-to-make-money-on-gas-oil.html <![CDATA[ How investment firms make money should matter to investors ]]>

Former New Jersey Gov. and U.S. Sen. John Corzine testified in front of the House Agricultural Committee on Thursday regarding his role as CEO of the now defunct MF Global. MF Global is an investment firm that provided futures trading accounts and brokerage services to a variety of customer types including individual investors. The firm had provided these services under different brands for decades.   On Oct. 31, MF Global declared bankruptcy due to a liquidity crunch that largely stemmed from the firm’s exposure to European sovereign debt. As the bankruptcy unfolded it was ultimately determined the firm had improperly and … ]]> Thu, 12 Jan 2012 08:33:04 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/9361161-420/how-investment-firms-make-money-should-matter-to-investors.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/9361161-420/how-investment-firms-make-money-should-matter-to-investors.html <![CDATA[ Debt problems spill from Greece to Italy ]]>

The Greeks have gotten all the unwanted attention since Europe’s debt crisis heated up last year. But as it’s been said many times, this tragedy was never really all about Greece.     Greece has simply been the opening act in a drama that always was expected to have far broader implications. As we are continually reminded, the economy of Greece is inconsequential on the world stage, and even that nation’s crippling debt is only $329 billion, a sum not likely to throw the world’s largest — $16 trillion, single-currency economy, the Eurozone — into disarray. Instead the Greek situation has been … ]]> Wed, 14 Dec 2011 08:23:32 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/8765452-420/debt-problems-spill-from-greece-to-italy.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/8765452-420/debt-problems-spill-from-greece-to-italy.html <![CDATA[ Know your 401(k) options when retiring early ]]>

As we approach the end of the year with the economy and markets looking a bit more stable, retirement seems to be on the minds of people in Northwest Indiana. In just the last two months my office has helped more preretirees engineer their retirement than we have in about the last two years.  With the 401(k) being such an important part of any retirement planning in the United States today, one question we are always assisting with during the retirement process is “what to do” with these important assets. Now I know conventional wisdom with these plans is that … ]]> Thu, 01 Dec 2011 08:36:22 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/8487366-420/know-your-401k-options-when-retiring-early.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/8487366-420/know-your-401k-options-when-retiring-early.html <![CDATA[ Debt ceiling not the end of the world for investors ]]> Lead story image

I really didn’t want to write about the debt ceiling again this week, but I’m having so many conversations on the topic with clients and readers that I think it merits another column. First let me say I am annoyed by the whole circus, but not alarmed by it. This is because there is a big difference between the European debt crisis and the debt ceiling discussion in the U.S. In Europe the world bond market has decided it is not willing to lend money at affordable interest rates to a couple of governments that desperately need to borrow more … ]]> Wed, 02 Nov 2011 15:23:56 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/6772226-420/debt-ceiling-not-the-end-of-the-world-for-investors.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/6772226-420/debt-ceiling-not-the-end-of-the-world-for-investors.html <![CDATA[ Indicators show economic stabilization, first step to recovery ]]> Lead story image

The growth fundamentals of the United States do not appear to have been permanently altered by the shocks of the past four years, the economic healing will take a while, and there may be setbacks along the way, however ... the healing process should not leave major scars.” This statement by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke was the keynote of last week’s central banking conference in Jackson Hole. The statement was not accompanied by any guidance on further actions the Federal Reserve would take to address slow growth in the U.S. economy.    I found the speech quite similar in tone to … ]]> Mon, 23 Jan 2012 03:38:50 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/7313198-420/indicators-show-economic-stabilization-first-step-to-recovery.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/7313198-420/indicators-show-economic-stabilization-first-step-to-recovery.html <![CDATA[ Fed’s lack of action causing Wall Street confusion ]]> Lead story image

Boy what a spooky week. Just like the weather here in Northwest Indiana, the economic and financial news seems to bring dark clouds and storms on a daily basis. On Wednesday Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke held his second ever post FOMC meeting news conference. It is during the quarterly FOMC meeting that our central bank decides on issues relating to interest rates and other polices concerning the financial system. We all have to assume the Fed governors who attend this meeting go into it with the best economic data available, which causes the financial markets to hang on every word that … ]]> Fri, 28 Oct 2011 11:29:47 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/6134751-420/feds-lack-of-action-causing-wall-street-confusion.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/6134751-420/feds-lack-of-action-causing-wall-street-confusion.html <![CDATA[ Americans need to pay attention to nation's finances  ]]> Lead story image

If you read my column regularly then you know that I count myself as a fan of PIMCO CEO Bill Gross. I appreciate Mr. Gross’s ability to take complex topics and boil them down to pithy straight talk.   In his most recent Investment Outlook Mr. Gross once again sheds some light on an issue that should be near and dear to all of us — the financial future of our nation and ultimately the future of the U.S. dollar itself. The April PIMCO Investment Outlook focuses specifically on our nation’s primary entitlement programs Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and the numbers … ]]> Mon, 23 Jan 2012 02:08:29 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/4613843-420/americans-need-to-pay-attention-to-nations-finances.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/4613843-420/americans-need-to-pay-attention-to-nations-finances.html <![CDATA[ ‘Quantitative easing’ nears an end ]]>

In an aggressive effort to stimulate our economy by raising the value of financial assets such as stocks and bonds, the U.S. Federal Reserve has been executing programs that economists call quantitative easing. Quantitative easing describes the process in which the Fed increases the money supply by releasing the excess reserves American banks hold at the Federal Reserve or by actually creating new money and then using these funds to purchase certain types of targeted financial assets. When this money flows into the financial system it tends to have the effect of raising prices in the financial markets and while … ]]> Thu, 24 Nov 2011 03:34:38 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/4491776-452/quantitative-easing-nears-an-end.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/4491776-452/quantitative-easing-nears-an-end.html <![CDATA[ Printing more money becomes standard strategy in disasters ]]> Lead story image

The Japanese tragedy has become an all consuming news item in the United States. As any friend would be we as a nation are saddened and terrified by what’s happening to our strongest friend in Asia. Our financial markets are also upset by the fast evolving situation at the nuclear power plant and the resulting volatility in the stock market has edged close to the extreme. While the immediate reaction to the crisis has been overwhelmingly negative, with the S&P 500 extending its negative trend with a further 5 percent decline following the onset of the crisis, from an economic … ]]> Mon, 23 Jan 2012 02:03:23 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/4408166-420/printing-more-money-becomes-standard-strategy-in-disasters.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/4408166-420/printing-more-money-becomes-standard-strategy-in-disasters.html <![CDATA[ Stock market investors take a break ]]> Lead story image

In following the stock market of the past couple of weeks I think we’ve run into a case of buyer’s fatigue. This can be seen in the market’s (S&P 500) movement and volume over the past month. Starting in late April the trend has been predominately down, but just as tellingly at the same time the volume of shares traded every day has diminished on an almost daily basis as well. This trend has caused the index to lose a little less than 3 percent and is leaving investors with very little conviction to go on one way or the … ]]> Mon, 23 Jan 2012 02:27:01 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/5503267-452/stock-market-investors-take-a-break.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/5503267-452/stock-market-investors-take-a-break.html <![CDATA[ May be time for adjustment in gold, silver investments ]]>

So is the silver and gold party over?   These two bulletproof assets have been just about the best place to have money for the better part of the last three years. Since late 2008 gold has appreciated by over 100 percent and silver is up a whopping 350 percent, and that’s after getting slaughtered over the past two weeks. I’m gonna toot my own horn a little bit here to say that I started buying silver in ETF form in the $14-to-$17 range and unloaded about half of my positions three weeks ago around $43. That still leaves me with … ]]> Thu, 24 Nov 2011 03:34:43 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/5230914-452/may-be-time-for-adjustment-in-gold-silver-investments.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/5230914-452/may-be-time-for-adjustment-in-gold-silver-investments.html <![CDATA[ Consider ramifications of Fed’s ‘easy money’ policy ]]>

In a week of royal weddings, sometimes real history comes in on the quiet side. This was true this week as the most important event of the week actually occurred on Wednesday (no it wasn’t the birth certificate thing), not Friday, with the first ever post Open Market Committee press conference held by the Federal Reserve. While for many Americans this event may have slipped under the radar, and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is not nearly as fun to look at as “Princess Katherine” the press conference was actually the anticlimactic result of years of political pressure, much of it … ]]> Mon, 23 Jan 2012 02:18:13 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/5104780-452/consider-ramifications-of-feds-easy-money-policy.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/5104780-452/consider-ramifications-of-feds-easy-money-policy.html <![CDATA[ Budget battle’s real issue is U.S.’ foreign debt ]]> Lead story image

In this wrangling over the U.S. budget in recent weeks, the real issue has to do with the raising of the debt ceiling, which is the amount that the federal government is allowed to borrow from places like foreign countries.Since this credit limit has been increased 74 times in the last 40 years, the fact that the Republicans have decided to draw a line in the sand this time can lead us into a bit of investment strategy. … ]]> Mon, 23 Jan 2012 02:10:46 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/4737720-420/budget-battles-real-issue-is-us-foreign-debt.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/4737720-420/budget-battles-real-issue-is-us-foreign-debt.html <![CDATA[ ]]>

I was having lunch with a colleague this week. The colleague knows that I have a lot of experience with fixed income investments (bonds and such) and asked me to do a smell test on an idea that one of his clients had been looking in to. Apparently this client had been looking at an opportunity to invest in a “CMO.”  A friend had introduced him to some “financial planners” that had a limited time opportunity. This supposed investment would have involved a fairly large initial investment but would had involved even larger weekly “returns” that amounted to about 60 percent … ]]> Thu, 24 Nov 2011 03:34:36 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/4264846-452/story.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/business/ruiz/4264846-452/story.html