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Straightforward Investing Since 1969

The investment advisory firm of O’Brien Greene & Co. provides independent investment management to a diverse clientele. Individuals, families, and corporate retirement plans make up the majority of clients, although longtime clients also include trusts, insurance companies, and charitable endowments. We seek the preservation and growth of capital through good and bad markets, and our investment strategy emphasizes several themes: simple, transparent, separate accounts; direct ownership of high-quality stocks and investment-grade bonds; diversification across the market; customized portfolios with a high degree of personal attention. The firm has more than $270 million under management and its offices are located in suburban Philadelphia in the borough of Media, Pennsylvania.

Review & Outlook

Our take on the investing, financial, & economic themes of the day

As Oil Prices Drop, Some Investment Opportunities Emerge

31 October, 2014 by Matthew O'Brien, Ph.D. in Commentary
Companies mentioned: EOG Resources (NYSE: EOG), Spirit Airlines (NASDAQ: SAVE), Tortoise Energy Infrastructure (NYSE: TYG) One of the biggest developments in financial markets recently has been the precipitous slide in oil prices.  Since this summer, oil prices have declined more than 20 percent from their highs of above $100 per barrel.  Here is the price of oil versus the S&P 500: The price gap between the international oil benchmark (Brent) and U.S. crude (West Texas Intermediate) has also narrowed to its closest range in the last few years.  Cheaper oil both helps and hurts the U.S. economy, which is to say that the U.S. economy isn’t monolithic, but really is a collection of many different economies.  Ordinary consumers get a windfall from lower oil prices as the decline translates into cheaper gas at the pump.  With extra cash to spare, companies in the consumer discretionary sector may stand to benefit.  Oil producers, however, get hit as their product immediately ... read more...

What We’re Reading: October 28

28 October, 2014 by Matthew O'Brien, Ph.D. in Commentary
Quotation of the Day “…fiduciary rules protect investors from adviser malfeasance, while suitability rules protect brokers from investor lawsuits.” – Barry Ritholtz, Washington Post Tuesday’s Links Buybacks Can Juice Per-Share Profit, Pad Executive Pay (WSJ) Google’s Newest Search: Cancer Cells (WSJ) Find a financial adviser who will put your interests first (Washington Post) Twitter ‘Not Broken,’ But Analysts Left Waiting for Proof (WSJ) How the Supreme Court Created the Student Loan Bubble (American Spectator) In Search of Uber’s Unicorn: The ride-sharing service says its median driver makes close to six figures. But the math just doesn’t add up. (Slate) 401(k) and IRA Changes Coming in 2015 (US News & World Report) 10 mistakes that may trigger a 401(k) plan audit (Employee Benefit News) Chart of the Day Hart to Bear: Eurozone Debts are Looking Increasingly Unsustainable   read more...

What We’re Reading: October 27

27 October, 2014 by Matthew O'Brien, Ph.D. in Commentary
Monday’s Links Bad Stock-Market Timing Fueled Wealth Disparity (WSJ) The Downside to Stock Buybacks (WSJ) Apple’s Surprising Growth Driver: the Mac (WSJ) Rising U.S. Lifespans Spell Likely Pain for Pension Funds (WSJ) Is economic growth permanently lower? (Financial Times) Amazon: Don’t Buy the Dip (Barron’s) Chart of the Day read more...

What We’re Reading: October 23

23 October, 2014 by Matthew O'Brien, Ph.D. in Commentary
After a few days hiatus, we’ll try to get back to posting our daily links… Thursday Links Clouds Darken for America’s Blue-Chip Stocks (WSJ) Union Pacific Profit Rises 19% On Freight Traffic Growth (WSJ) Apple Plans More Stores in China (WSJ) Amgen: $100 Billion Activist Target (WSJ) U.S. Mortgage Rates Fall With 30-Year at 3.92% (Bloomberg) Shale Boom’s Allure to Wall Street Tested by Bear Market (Bloomberg) That was nuts, what’s next? Goldman edition (FT Alphaville) Did Bank Rules Kill Liquidity? Volcker, Frank Respond (Bloomberg) IMF Finds Flaw in Bond Industry as Exiting Mutual Funds Is Too Easy (Bloomberg) Chart of the Day read more...

‘Liquid Alternative’ ETFs: Making a Bad Idea Worse

21 October, 2014 by Matthew O'Brien, Ph.D. in Commentary
We’ve written a number of skeptical posts on the recent broker-led push for “liquid alternatives,” which are hedge funds investment strategies offered through mutual funds.  Now comes this report from Bloomberg News that Goldman Sachs is considering buying IndexIQ, a firm that provides hedge funds wrapped not in mutual funds, but in exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Mutual funds, which have their net asset values determined once daily, are required to provide liquidity to their shareholders each day.  ETFs, by contrast, are traded on market exchanges throughout each day, so they must provide momentary liquidity as long as markets are open.  ETFs are made possible by complicated market-making activities and in-kind exchanges.  Liquid alternative mutual funds are a bad idea because most alternative assets are of their nature illiquid, and holding illiquid assets through a liquid wrapper doesn’t make the underlying illiquidity disappear.  Rather, the liquidity ... read more...