Opinion

John Wasik

Muni bonds should be ok… http://t.co/0qwrq8Ov

Nov 18, 2011 18:19 UTC

Muni bonds should be ok… http://t.co/0qwrq8Ov

Escape Europe’s woes with U.S. muni bonds

Nov 18, 2011 17:44 UTC

Nov 18 (Reuters) – Attention nervous municipal bond
investors: You’ll be pleased to know that most U.S. issuers are
not like Harrisburg, Pennsylvania or Jefferson County, Alabama.
Nor are they in the same tailspin as Greece, Italy or Spain.

And there’s little chance that the latest Italian crisis
will have any impact on the highest-rated U.S. muni bonds. That
doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful. You still need to do
some due diligence before plunging into these tax-free bonds
and related funds.

Unlike Europe, U.S. states and municipalities appear to be
on the slow road to recovery. According to the National Council
of State Legislatures, “state lawmakers have faced and
largely addressed budget gaps totaling $510.5 billion. And
though additional budget gaps loom, the magnitude and number of
states projecting them has fallen considerably.”

Cops pepper spray 84-year-old woman, pregnant teen: http://t.co/wNB3B1W5

Nov 18, 2011 14:15 UTC

Cops pepper spray 84-year-old woman, pregnant teen: http://t.co/wNB3B1W5

Fat Lady Hasn’t Sung Yet: OWS Shows Fight Is Far from Over: Explosive Actions on 2 Month Anniversary of Movement http://t.co/2shLcCXk

Nov 18, 2011 14:12 UTC

Fat Lady Hasn’t Sung Yet: OWS Shows Fight Is Far from Over: Explosive Actions on 2 Month Anniversary of Movement http://t.co/2shLcCXk

Thousands Occupy Wall Street: http://t.co/zpOQI47f via @AddThis

Nov 17, 2011 22:59 UTC

Thousands Occupy Wall Street: http://t.co/zpOQI47f via @AddThis

Real Estate: Why home prices won’t bottom out

Nov 16, 2011 17:56 UTC

By John Wasik

(Reuters) – Watching the U.S. home market struggle to rebound is like listening to children in the back of a car. No, we’re not there yet.

The National Association of Realtors reported that ten real estate markets are “leading the nation toward a general recovery and stability of the housing sector,” but myriad problems are going to weigh down the housing market for months to come.

The lingering malaise in the economy has triggered a new wave of defaults and foreclosures. After five straight quarterly drops, foreclosures nationwide shot up 14 percent from the second to third quarter this year, according to data released by Realtytrac, the foreclosure information service (see link.reuters.com/kaw94s), in October.

More precious than gold? Farmland has glowing appeal

Nov 15, 2011 15:19 UTC

Nov 15 (Reuters) – Where there’s muck, there’s money, the
old expression goes.

With 7 billion people now needing food on this planet,
putting your money into soil and agriculture might be a
long-term investment to consider. You’d certainly be in good
company: In recent years, high-profile investors such as Jim
Rogers and George Soros have made investments in farmland (see).

What makes farm property attractive? It has a finite supply
and may become even scarcer with global warming,
desertification and development. And with a rising population,
more tillable land will be needed.

Four international ETFs to escape financial chaos

Nov 11, 2011 14:51 UTC

Nov 11 (Reuters) – The financial troubles of Europe and the
U.S. have become fiscal soap operas on a grand scale. If you’re
an individual investor, where can you escape the endlessly
singing fat lady?

There are just a handful of countries that are reasonably
solid long-term investments. They are not without risk, yet
their leaders have managed their economies better than most
industrialized nations and they are thriving. The healthiest
economies also managed to invest in their countries while
avoiding the banking cyclones that are ravaging the U.S. and
Europe.

Here are four places with a positive story: gross domestic
product growth (GDP), top sovereign debt ratings, low or no
budget deficits (relative to larger industrialized nations) and
healthy domestic investment.

How to identify overpriced target date funds

Nov 8, 2011 14:38 UTC

Nov 8 (Reuters) – Not all target date funds are created
equal.

While these prepackaged, risk-reducing portfolios make a
lot of sense for retirement saving, you don’t know if the funds
within them are good choices unless you open them up and peel
them apart.

The lowest-cost among them contain index funds that track
baskets of securities. While neither a perfect nor risk-free
solution, these funds offer an efficient way to invest in the
entire stock or bond market without engaging costly active
management.

The products are designed to ratchet down stock exposure –
and then hold more bonds — the closer you get to a planned
retirement age or “target date.”

5 reasons to defy the bears and buy stocks now

Nov 4, 2011 17:24 UTC

Nov 4 (Reuters) – Buying stocks shouldn’t make sense
now.

Yet despite all of the growling in Europe, there are still
reasons why you should invest in U.S. stocks.

This is a contrarian view, to be sure. The last quarter was
the worst for stocks since 2008, with the S&P 500 index
suffering a 14 percent loss. For those keeping score at home,
that wiped out some $2 trillion in wealth.

Adding salt to that wound is the Federal Reserve’s slashing
of its growth forecast for next year and anemic U.S. job
growth.

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