The S&P 500 has not merely been resilient in its six consecutive weeks of gains. The celebrated U.S. stock benchmark has been unstoppable in its 8.3% unrealized run-up.
Granted, nearly everyone expects a period of mild selling activity (aka "a breather"). Indeed, history certainly suggests that unbridled enthusiasm usually gets a reality check or three. The most popular bugbears? Think in terms of the automatic spending cuts to defense, a free-falling yen, and Spain's rocky road in 2013. In fact, iShares MSCI Spain (EWP) is struggling at its 50-day support.
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I've been asked many times whether I am bullish or bearish on "the markets." And I often find myself explaining that my strength as the president of a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC rests with the recognition that predictions often distract investors from achieving financial goals.
I have emphasized that far too many folks are
It appears the dreaded fiscal cliff is good for something.
"Something" being the spate of special dividend news investors have been treated to in recent days. Amid fears the fiscal cliff will not be settled before year-end, companies (and investors) are fearful the dividend tax rate will soar in 2013.
Those fears have prompted a special dividend outbreak as companies ranging from Las Vegas Sands (LVS) to Costco (COST) have announced special payouts to investors that will be taxed at the current dividend tax rate of 15 percent. Speaking of Costco, the warehouse store operator today announced a special dividend of $3.07 billion, thus far the largest of the special payouts to be announced.
The fiscal cliff has prompted an increase number of special dividends. Just this quarter, 63 companies have announced special dividends compared with 44 all of last year, according to CNBC. That elevated means it is
The Bureau of Economic Analysis' most recent Personal Income and Outlays report showed continued inflation pressures occurring in September in the U.S. economy. Consumers' personal income and disposable income continued to increase during the month while real disposable income decreased nearly 0.1 percent.
As inflation continues to push prices up and real disposable income down, a few factors are weighing heavily on the economy in the current environment. Specifically, energy prices appear to be a leading inflation driver.
September's PCE Price Index, which measures prices of U.S. consumer goods, increased 0.4 percent. Food prices were less of a factor in September, decreasing 0.1 percent. Energy prices, however, increased 4.8 percent in September following a 5.8 percent increase in August but a 0.2 percent decrease in July. Third quarter energy prices rebounded significantly from a steep decline in the second quarter. PCE Energy Price Index data for the second quarter