Worries over the plan to force bank depositors in Cyprus to help fund a $13 billion international bailout rattled global equities and sent the U.S. stock market today (Monday) lower.
Right after the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index and the Nasdaq were all sharply lower.
By mid-afternoon, all three indexes remained in negative territory with the Dow down 4.76, or .03% at 14,509.03; the S&P down 2.97, or 0.17%, at 1,557. 73, and the Nasdaq down 2.11, or 0.11%, at 3,247.
Sending global markets lower Monday was the unprecedented agreement reached this weekend over Cyprus' bailout plan.
The proposed plan - by representatives of the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and Eurozone's finance ministers - includes taxing deposits over 100,000 euros ($128,950) at 9.9%, while those with less than that amount would be subject to a 6.75% levy.
The aim is to raise 5.8 billion euros ($7.52 billion) that would go toward the $13 billion international bailout of the country.
Why this Ivy League Professor Sees Dow Hitting 18,000
The bears predicting a stock market crash have it all wrong.
So says Jeremy Siegel, finance professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and author of "Stocks for the Long Run." He predicts the Dow - which closed yesterday (Wednesday) at a new record high 14,455.28 - will continue the bull market run, ending this year in the 16,000 to 17,000 range.
For 2014, he says, the "best bet goal" is the Dow will climb to 18,000.
And the well-known bull has nearly 150 years of data to back up his bold prediction.
Here's why Siegel is so bullish.
The FBI and the SEC Are Cracking Down on People Just Like You
Some people will do anything to make money in the market.
Believe it or not, folks have even resorted to manipulating stocks to fatten their wallets.
And, crazy as this sounds, there are more people doing it than anyone imagined.
Now, I know you'd never do that. But the SEC isn't so sure. Neither is the FBI.
According to yesterday's Financial Times (the pink paper that some financial types read), the FBI is joining forces with the SEC in order to "tackle the potential threat of market manipulation... that [has] taken markets beyond the scope of traditional policing."
What's hilarious to me is that, before the FBI goes looking for market manipulators (like you) along with the SEC, it should be looking at the SEC!
But I digress...
Dow Hits Record High – What Does That Say About the U.S. Economy?
Equity market cheerleaders got very excited about the Dow Jones Industrial Average hitting a new record high yesterday (Tuesday).
The Dow closed at 14,253.77, topping its previous record close of 14,164.53 on Oct. 9, 2007.
While it is nice to see a sign that equities are improving following the devastating shock of the financial crisis of 2008, today's Dow Jones Industrial Average is not the same index as it was in 2007.
In fact, if we look back at when the Dow Jones Industrial Average last exceeded 14,000, we'll see that the Dow seems to have less of a connection now to what is really happening in the economy than it did in 2007.
What Bankrupt Athletes Wish They Knew About Financial Windfalls
Few among us haven't dreamed of sudden riches - the financial windfall of a big legal settlement, an unexpected inheritance, a winning lottery ticket, or, for the young and athletically gifted, a lucrative contract with a major professional sports franchise.
But it turns out that few are prepared for a financial windfall when it comes their way.
Nowhere is this more obvious than with big sports stars.
Despite the proliferation of multimillion-dollar contracts, an astonishing number of professional athletes are forced to declare bankruptcy within a few years of hanging up their jerseys.
In the National Football League, for example, where the average salary is $1.9 million, 78% of former players are in bankruptcy within five years of retirement. That figure is 60% for former National Basketball Association players, who earn an average of $5.5 million a year as players.
How can people so generously compensated go broke so quickly?
Part of it has to do with youth, but many of the mistakes athletes make with the financial windfall of a professional sports salary also are made by regular people who suddenly come into large sums of money.
There's a lot we all can learn from their mistakes. When it comes to financial windfalls, it's best to know what to expect ahead of time so you can put the money to work for you instead of squandering it.
"Every single day, people come into large sums of money, whether it's a thousand dollars or a million, and without proper planning, funds quickly disappear," writes Jim Wang in U.S. News and World Report. "Just look at the horrible stories you often hear of lottery winners, and you'll have enough evidence that everyone needs a little preparation, even if you don't expect to get a windfall."
Stock Market Today: With Dow at Record High, Will the Climb Last?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was at a record high after nearly six years, as the stock market today (Tuesday) rallied enough to push the index up nearly 70 points at the open.
Just minutes after the opening bell, the Dow sailed passed its all-time high of 14,165 hit on Oct. 9, 2007. Less than a half-hour into the trading session the Dow roared higher by triple digits propelling benchmark to yet another record.
By 1 p.m. the Dow was up 146.99, or 1.04%, at 14,274.81. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 17.32 or 1.14%, to 1,542.52, leaving it in striking distance if its record close of 1,565 hit in 2007. The Nasdaq climbed 43.39 or 1.37% to 3,225.42.
Money has poured into stocks over the last several months as individuals have begun to feel more comfortable about the health of the economy - but can it last?
"The question is, can the Dow maintain these levels? The market is interested in risk-that's why the Dow is higher, why the riskier currencies are higher," Matthew Lifson, currency trader at Cambridge Mercantile Group in Princeton told Reuters.
Does the Heinz Deal Mean Warren Buffett Has Become a Doomsday Prepper?
At first sight, Warren Buffett's deal with the Brazilian-led private equity firm 3G Capital to purchase H.J. Heinz Company (NYSE:HNZ) looks strange.
At $28 billion the famed ketchup maker is valued at a rich 23 times earnings, and Buffett won't even control the management, which is to be left to 3G. Given Warren's long and storied history, something doesn't make sense.
But maybe he's become a doomsday prepper.
In the age of Ben Bernanke, canned baked beans and the like seem to make as the ideal investment. Or maybe Buffett feels that the dollar is about to be wiped out by hyperinflation.
Of course, in those circumstances, you would normally buy gold, but maybe Buffett believes that the crash will be so severe that the economy as a whole will break down.
In that case, you'd want guns and ammunition. Buffett's holding company Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A and BRK-B) does not own a gun manufacturer, but a subsidiary manufactures shoes under license from Browning Arms Company, so no doubt a deal could be done.
However, an even more strategic asset in such an event would be imperishable canned food, and you can certainly imagine a gigantic stockpile of Heinz 57 varieties being accumulated in warehouses around Omaha, maybe accompanied by a lake of ketchup, allowing Buffett to corner the market in baked beans and condiments.
As Volatility Hits New Lows, It Could Be Time to Sell
The average daily price volatility of stocks has fallen more than 60% since the beginning of 2013. It's the biggest straight-line drop in some 82 years.
A lot of investors are rejoicing. After all, stocks have risen an average of 17% a year when volatility is as low as it is right now, Bloomberg reports.
There is, however, a dark side to low volatility. Namely, it tends to precede powerful reversals that can wipe out investors, as was the case in 2000 and early 2008, and at other key turning points over the past 100 years.
Today, I'm going to talk a bit about what low volatility means for you in terms of upside, and also show you how to protect yourself in a downslide.
Let's start with the concept of average daily volatility itself.
Will the Year of the Snake Bring Another Stock Market Crash?
The Chinese New Year officially began Feb. 10, bringing us the year of the snake - which some investors consider a very bad omen.
Not only does the year of the snake have the worst stock market returns of all zodiac signs, but some of the darkest moments in U.S. history have come during that zodiac year.
Art Cashin, director of floor operations at UBS AG (NYSE: UBS), appeared on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" Monday and even listed the year of the snake as one reason investors should be cautious about stocks.
And there's plenty of history to back up Cashin's statement.
As Insiders Head For the Exits, Do They Know Something "We" Don't Know?
Whenever the markets begin to look toppy like they do now, I turn to short-term indicators to help me figure out "what's next" for the markets. It complements the fundamental analysis I rely on for the big picture.
Some people - lots of people, in fact - will tell you that this is a wasted exercise. Predicting the markets, they say, can't be done. I disagree if for no other reason that if that were true, guys like Jim Rogers, Warren Buffett, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and Carlos Slim wouldn't be the legends they are today.
As I see it, learning to "read" the markets and anticipate its twists and turns is absolutely possible.
But let me qualify my statement. My goal is not necessarily to be "right."
Any savvy trader will tell you the objective is to get enough of a read - right or wrong -so that you can use the appropriate tactics needed to be profitable.
For example, the markets have one heckuva run and flirted with new highs in recent trading. To the casual investor, it appears that things are good because the economy is gradually recovering.