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Connecting the Dots

Human beings love stories. But this innate tendency can lead us to imagine connections between events where none really exist. For financial journalists, this is a virtual job requirement. For investors, it can be a disaster. “Needing to create order from chaos, journalists often stick the word “after” between two events to imply causation. In […]

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Efficient Markets: The Practical View

The recent awarding of the Nobel Prize in economics to Professor Eugene Fama has sparked some criticism of his theory of efficient markets. Debate is a good thing, but it is always advisable to start with the right definitions. Fama’s ‘efficient markets hypothesis’ is a model of how markets behave. It was developed back in […]

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A Look Back at 2012

A Look Back at 2012 It took nearly 4½ years, but the cumulative wealth of an S&P 500 strategy with dividends reinvested finally reached an all-time record (measured on a month-end basis) in March 2012, and finished the year 3.3% above the previous high-water mark set in October 2007. Results were slightly better for a […]

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Where’s the Party?

The surge in stock prices around the world in the first quarter serves as a reminder that predicting market trends can be a frustrating business. Six months ago, the outlook for stock prices appeared to be fading from grim to grimmer: Congressional leaders were wrangling unsuccessfully to craft a deficit reduction plan, Standard & Poor’s […]

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