Why has the Nasdaq under-performed over the last six months? It has an Apple (AAPL) problem.
The S&P 500 and Dow are hitting fresh 5 year highs this week and the major indices are in sight of their October 2007 highs. The one theme that has jumped off the screen at me is expensive stocks have moved higher while cheaper stocks have lagged the market so far.
Exchange traded funds (ETFs) are a hit with both individual and institutional investors. They offer the opportunity to buy buckets of stocks, bonds or commodities in a single security. The top 100 ETFs have over $1 trillion in assets under management.
Do the first five days of trading in a new year give us any guidance on stock markets returns for the entire year? According to the Stock Market Almanac, you bet.
Stocks held onto their solid gains for the year despite the market selling off slightly in the fourth quarter. The S&P 500 posted its third consecutive year of positive results. For the full year the S&P 500 gained 15.99% and the NASDAQ added 17.73%. The fourth quarter saw a 0.38% decline from the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ dropped 2.48%.
Global equity markets had a great year finishing 2012 with a strong fourth quarter rally. Asian markets were the best performer in the quarter and for the year although Europe was close to matching their gains. Currencies helped returns as the US dollar was weaker against most currencies except the Yen.
Investors seeking yield are looking high and low for better yielding assets than corporate and government bonds. Dividend paying stocks received plenty of attention this year from both investors and the media. High yield bonds have been another beneficiary in this quest for yield.
Tax rates on dividends are going up in 2013 as part of the expiring Bush tax cuts. This isn’t news to anyone because of the media’s attention to the fiscal cliff.
There are a lot of acronyms that people who want to manage your investments have after their names. Making sense of this can be confusing for even veteran like myself. At least once a month I get an email with some new 3 or 4 letter acronym that has me saying “Wow, that’s a new one”.