It is very easy in hindsight to be in awe of one of today’s “great” stocks, and dream about how much money you could have if you had only invested decades ago.

For example, Apple stock since 1992, which is up about 8,300%:

Apple_AAPL_stock_chart2

 

But this doesn’t tell the whole story. Many of today’s great companies had periods where their stock performed terribly. There were times in history when Apple stock was down 80%, Home Depot down 75%, Nike down 70%. Here are some of the worst performing stretches of today’s “Super Stocks”:largest_longest_declines_for_super_stocks

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Peter Lynch header

Every once in a while, I like to take a closer look at an event that comes up in our “This Day in History” archive, which gets posted daily on Facebook, Twitter, and is now available as an Amazon Flash Briefing. Today we look into the life of Peter Lynch, whose birthday was last week, and one of the most successful mutual fund managers in history. What did Peter Lynch look for in an investment, and what stocks would Peter Lynch buy today? [click to continue…]

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Another earnings season upon us, this week kicks off with more than 100 companies announcing earnings. Here are a few of the results to be announced this week that I’ll be looking at carefully: [click to continue…]

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Exciting news! In addition to getting our ‘This Day in Stock Market History’ posts on Facebook and Twitter, it is now available as an Amazon flash briefing skill also. Here’s an example of what to expect: [click to continue…]

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Ben Graham stock screen

A New Year for the stock markets – That means it is time to run our Ben Graham Value Screens again and see what companies have made the cut this quarter! [click to continue…]

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Good news on the retirement front this year! For the first time in 6 years contribution limits for some retirement accounts are going up! What has changed for 2018 when it comes to your 401(k), IRA, ROTH IRA, and more? Here’s the quick rundown for most savers:

2018 IRA 401K contribution limits

For more details: [click to continue…]

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Another year in the books! Here are some of the highlights:

S&P 500 Index Performance in 2017

U.S. stocks outperformed much of the developed world in 2017. I believe it is the 15th best year  in the index’s history when including dividends.

S&P 500 performance (not including dividends) – 17.74%

S&P 500 performance (Including Dividends Re-Invested)- 21.83%

Range of the S&P 500 during the year: Low: 2,245.13, High: 2,694.97

Chart:

S&P 500 chart in 2017

Top 5 performers in the S&P 500 for 2017:

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86% of Americans cannot answer these basic financial questions. Can you? thumbnail

Below is a simple 5 question quiz presented to 25,000 Americans, and only 14% got all 5 answers correct.

We have also updated this to include the new “bonus question”available.

 

This is troubling because not understanding these topics can have a profound impact on your future investing success.

 

A lot of families handle their own finances, so it is imperative that the basic topics covered here are understood. At Begin To Invest, I want to empower people to have the confidence to handle their own finances and be able to do it well.

Here, we discuss the topics covered in the 5 question quiz in detail, to ensure you understand these concepts.

Click Here to Take the Quiz

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I have been enjoying having a little more time to look at individual stocks and securities lately. Writing about them helps me think a little bit clearer, and go into more detail. Here is another article I wrote for Seeking Alpha on a couple of preferred shares from DowDuPont (Ticker: DWDP) that are unique: [click to continue…]

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Dividend growth investing as been an immensely popular topic over the last couple years. And almost no other stock is in more dividend growth portfolios than Coca-Cola.

For 55 straight years Coca-Cola has raised its dividend, many are expecting #56 to be announced in a few months.

But the world is changing…is Coca-Cola keeping up? [click to continue…]

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CAPE RATIO HEADER

How can you tell if stocks are expensive?

Of course there is a thousand different ratios, indicators and indexes that attempt to measure the value in today’s stock market. Today we are going to look at one of the most popular ratios in particular, Shiller’s PE10 ratio, also known as CAPE ratio. What information can we get from looking at 100+ years of history between stock returns, treasury yields and CAPE ratio readings? [click to continue…]

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What stocks do Warren Buffett, Carl Ichan, George Soros and other billionaires own? Here is a great infographic I saw on WalletHub:

 

How can you find this information in the future, or for other investors? Read below. [click to continue…]

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Regional bank stocks have been hit hardest by the flattening of the yield curve lately. As a result of traders fear that bank earnings may fall, the KBW Regional Bank Index has underperformed the S&P 500 by more than 18% so far this year.

At what seems like the worst possible time to invest in small banks, why look now?

Here’s were I think there is some value, and one bank in particular that is set up to weather the storm:

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Big news this week as the U.S. yield curve has been flattening rapidly. Why should you care?

Here Bloomberg takes a look at the spread (or difference in interest rates) between 3 month treasury bills and 10 year treasury notes. Notice how inverted spreads (where short term treasuries yield more than long term treasuries) have often been a sign of an imminent recession:

Chart from Bloomberg article found here

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A high dividend yield can be a sign of a strong, stable company and investment.  However a large dividend yield may also be a signal of trouble and a hint that the company’s dividend may be unsustainable and cut in the near future.

 

Thankfully for investors, there are several quick checks you can do based on a company’s financial statements to see how sustainable that dividend really is. [click to continue…]

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9 Signs of a Competitive Advantage (#9 is One of Buffett’s Favorites to Look For!) thumbnail

Finding a company with a competitive advantage means finding an investment that will offer solid returns for decades to come. What identifies a company with a strong competitive advantage? Some results may surprise you. [click to continue…]

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Another busy week of earnings. Here are a few quotes that stood out to me during this week’s conference calls – major topic; rising prices and costs just about everywhere: [click to continue…]

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The announcements today of charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort have woken up markets this morning. The charges are not against anyone currently in the government, and no charges seem directly related to the investigation into Russia’s interference with U.S. elections or collusion with Russian officials.  But, where there is smoke there is fire, and this announcement has a lot of people wondering what else remains to be discovered.

It is not an direct comparison, but let’s say this gets as bad as Watergate and cover ups exist all the way up the ladder at the White House, what can investors expect to happen? [click to continue…]

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Why invest in commodities? And why now?

If you are questioning why commodities would make a good investment, you are not alone. Here’s what Warren Buffett had to say about one of the most famous commodities, gold: [click to continue…]

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The week starts off with an ominous article in the Wall Street Journal. Margin debt, or loans investors have taken out with their investments as collateral has hit an all time high. Higher than just before the 2000 bursting of the tech bubble, higher than just before the 2007 financial crisis.

WSJ_margin_debt [click to continue…]

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