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Archive for January, 2010

January 27th, 2010

What to do with Bank Stocks?

(Michael Farr) - Most of the larger banks have reported fourth quarter earnings already, and we must admit the results were better than we had anticipated. In general, the growth in problem loans declined, capital and reserve ratios strengthened, low-cost deposits continued to grow at a robust pace, and earnings largely surpassed estimates. Absent the bucket of cold water that President Obama threw on the sector when he announced new regulatory initiatives late last week, the 4Q results may have actually strengthened the resolve of those that believe we are nearing a peak in credit losses for this painful cycle. So while we at Farr, Miller & Washington remain non-believers for now (which we will explain further below), let’s examine some of the factors that have many people believing that the days of outsized loan write-offs at the banks are nearly over.

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January 20th, 2010

Top 10 for 2010

(Michael Farr) - For the past 7 years we have published our Top Ten Stocks for the coming year. The results have been very gratifying, but we need to be mindful that concentrated positions also concentrate risk. Some institutional accounts have expressed interest in more concentrated portfolios like this. I buy this list personally for one of my personal accounts on the first trading day of the year and sell it completely on the last trading day of the year.

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January 14th, 2010

The Markets

(Michael Schwartz) - So far, so good. The S&P 500 index rose every day last week and finished with a 2.7% gain. This gain came despite a disappointing jobs report, which showed another 85,000 jobs were lost in December. A survey from MarketWatch expected a gain of 15,000 jobs. On the bright side, temporary-help jobs rose by 46,500. This is often a precursor to growth in full-time jobs.

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January 12th, 2010

Stretch Out Your IRA Assets For Future Generations

(Tad Majerek) - Like most people, you’ve probably spent years building your retirement savings in an IRA by saving in a disciplined manner and investing to help it grow. If you’d like your children and grandchildren to benefit from your retirement savings, consider the benefits of a “stretch-out” IRA.

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January 7th, 2010

Generate Income During Markets Ups and Downs

(Tad Majerek) - If you are like many investors, you most probably have been noticing and keeping up with the recent market fluctuations. During these times, you may be looking for opportunities to help protect your investments and possibly generate some income from your portfolio. The good news is there are several strategies investors can use to help increase the income generated from their investments and help protect your portfolio during turbulent markets. Let’s take a look at some of these strategies:

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January 4th, 2010

Stocks Look to Start on High Note

(Lee Siler) - Stocks are indicating a strong opening on the first trading day of the New Year. The question on everybody's mind is whether or not stocks can perform anywhere close to 09's performance? As intelligent investors, we know that at some point this year the Fed will start cutting stimulus to the economy and in fact, they already have to some degree. Considering we're at historically low interest rates there's only one direction they can go. Obviously, Wall Street is listening to every word the Fed says to try and get a clue when the tightening trend will begin. The fact of the matter is that rates have started going up; it's just the Fed Funds rate is still holding still.

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January 4th, 2010

Three Advantages of a Roth IRA

(Hampton Scurlock) - Many may not understand what a Roth IRA is, and what some of the benefits of a Roth IRA are. But there are three advantages that a Roth IRA can offer if your estate value is under the Applicable Exclusion Amount ($1.5 million in 2005, and $2 million in years 2006 & 2007) and if one of your planning goals is to leave as much money as possible to your heirs.

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