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[ March 1, 2015 | Author: admin | Views: 22795 | Weather: | Mood: normal]

The S&P 500 has churned in a fairly tight band of being down 6% to up 2% during 2014 as investors continue to digest the ongoing tapering by the Federal Reserve, as well the many non-domestic issues that have surfaced during the first quarter. Despite very solid pricing for oil and natural gas, the energy sector is Neutral rated at most of the firms we cover at 24/7 Wall St., and there are not many bullish takes on 2014. In a new research report from Baird, they are right in line with the Wall Street consensus on energy. Their work has lacked the strength from the favorite indicators they follow to shift to a more bullish position, but at the same time, other factors have kept them from abandoning the sector. One thing is for sure, they are cautioning against having large sector bets relative to the benchmark S&P 500. … Continue reading

[ March 1, 2015 | Author: admin | Views: 13678 | Weather: | Mood: normal]

The North American natural gas revolution has had an undeniable effect on domestic energy companies. While many of the companies we read about every day are more or less obvious investment ideas, be they oil and gas producers or pipeline operators, there are still a few opportunities floating under the radar. In this video, Fool.com contributor Aimee Duffy takes a look at Canada’s Methanex (NASDAQ: MEOH  ) , an energy company that thrives on cheap natural gas, and as a result is striking deals left and right. One of those deals is with Chesapeake Energy. Investors would be hard-pressed to find another company trading at a deeper discount than Chesapeake. Its share price depreciated after negative news surfaced concerning the company’s management and spiraling debt picture. While the debt issues still persist, giant steps have been taken to help mitigate the problems. To learn more about Chesapeake and its enormous potential, … Continue reading

[ March 1, 2015 | Author: admin | Views: 21963 | Weather: | Mood: normal]

Exchange-traded funds offer a convenient way to invest in sectors or niches that interest you. If you’d like to add some industrial stocks to your portfolio, the Industrial Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEMKT: XLI  ) could save you a lot of trouble. Instead of trying to figure out which companies will perform best, you can use this ETF to invest in lots of them simultaneously. The basics ETFs often sport lower expense ratios than their mutual fund cousins. The SPDR ETF’s expense ratio — its annual fee — is a very low 0.18%, and it recently yielded about 2%. This ETF has performed well, outstripping the world market over the past three, five, and 10 years. As with most investments, of course, we can’t expect outstanding performances in every quarter or year. Investors with conviction need to wait for their holdings to deliver. Why industrials? The industrials sector will see demand … Continue reading

[ March 1, 2015 | Author: admin | Views: 89475 | Weather: | Mood: normal]

Most markets have successfully rebounded from the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009. Stocks, bonds, gold, oil, copper and grains are all up big in the last 5 years. But there is one market that has continued to lag. I’m talking about shipping rates. That shows up in the Baltic Dry Index, a global index of dry shipping rates that has continued to fall for the last five years, dropping from above 7,500 in 2008 to a recent low near 1,000. That huge decline was driven by a surplus in shipping capacities that was built up into the financial crisis ahead of 2009. Because bringing a large ocean liner to market takes years, making it very difficult for the industry to adjust to economic volatility and downsize shipping capacities in a contraction. But now, for the first time in years, the Baltic Dry Index is showing signals of a long-term … Continue reading

[ March 1, 2015 | Author: admin | Views: 92098 | Weather: | Mood: normal]

Getty Images Dealing with the costs of education isn’t just a task for the young anymore. Even for those 50 or older, student-loan debt has become a key concern, with the latest figures from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York showing that those ages 50 to 59 had $112 billion in outstanding student loans — almost 12 percent of all student debt — while those 60 and older had $43 billion in student loans. Moreover, default rates among those 50 or older have jumped sharply in the past eight years, with 60-plus borrowers seeing default rates double from 6 percent in early 2005 to 12.5 percent at the end of 2012. Older Americans face unique financial challenges that can make repaying educational debt more difficult. Yet as college costs rise, many people older than age 50 want to try to help their children and grandchildren with educational expenses to … Continue reading