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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

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...

What We’re Reading: October 16

16 October, 2014 by Matthew O'Brien, Ph.D. in Commentary
Thursday’s Links Bad Money Is Undermining Growth (Forbes) Risk of Deflation Feeds Global Fears (WSJ) AbbVie Board Recommends Shareholders Vote Against Shire Acquisition (WSJ) Apple Hopes to Revive iPad Growth With New Tablets (WSJ) Greece Forces Bond Investors to Confront Risk Realities (WSJ) Governments Need Inflation, Economies Don’t (RealClearMarkets) Citigroup Sees $1.1 Trillion Stimulus From Oil Plunge (Bloomberg) Chart of the Day Via FT Alphaville and BofA’s “Thundering Word,” we have the “Alibaba peak”: the S&P 500’s high before the recent sell-off came 8 minutes after Alibaba’s IPO. read more...

Is This the Long-Awaited Correction?

15 October, 2014 by Mark O'Brien in Commentary
As I write this Wednesday afternoon the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 423 points and most other market indices are also down sharply.  Remember that with the DJIA’s growth over recent years, a 423-point drop is “only” 2.6%.  Still, following three other “down” market days bracketing the holiday weekend, this may be the long-awaited 10% correction. A correction might well be expected after the DJIA’s run-up of roughly 200% from March 2009 to its high in September of this year.  If a correction is underway it may reflect the winding-down of the Federal Reserve’s “Quantitative Easing” (QE) stimulus program, or the declining price of oil.  It is not, however, a sign of a broken economy so much as it is a natural and healthy wringing out of speculation and other forms of excess, a process that our system seems to require from time to time.  Putting up with uncertainty and anxiety appears to be the price of admission to the wealth-creating process that is the market. While every ... read more...

What We’re Reading: October 15

15 October, 2014 by Matthew O'Brien, Ph.D. in Commentary
Wednesday’s Links No Smoke, No Mirrors: The Dutch Pension Plan (New York Times) Global Oil Glut Sends Prices Plunging (WSJ) A High-Speed Trader Looks to Slow Down Critics (WSJ) MLPs Have Been Getting Crushed. Blame the Newbies? (WSJ) Fears About Eurozone Economy Chill European Markets (WSJ) Qualcomm Pounces On U.K. Chip Maker in $2.48 Billion Deal (WSJ) Catalonia: Spain’s Separatist Tinderbox (Bloomberg) Chart of the Day   read more...