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

Apple’s Debt-Financed Buybacks and Dividend

28 April, 2014 by Matthew O'Brien, Ph.D. in Commentary
Apple famously has a huge pile of cash on its balance sheet, which now stands at about $150 billion and is down from about $160 billion in 2013.  Last year Apple started putting this cash to work in a number of comparatively modest capital investments.  As Barron’s recently noted, ... read more...

Trouble in Paradise for Municipal Bonds

18 December, 2013 by Matthew O'Brien, Ph.D. in Commentary
It takes about $25,000 to buy corporate or municipal bonds in a lot that is able to secure a reasonable commission.  Bonds purchased in smaller amounts incur excessive brokerage fees.  For investors who don’t have enough money to purchase individual bonds efficiently, bond mutual funds (and ... read more...

Stocks are up almost 20%. Now what?

9 August, 2013 by Mark O'Brien in Commentary
We are getting some inquiries from nervous clients about the stock market in the weeks and months immediately ahead.  What do we think right now? The stock market is not expensive.  By most metrics it is fairly valued–not cheap but not overvalued either.  There is much loose talk about ... read more...

“Bond Buyer’s Dilemma”

9 December, 2011 by Ben O'Brien in Commentary
The economist Burton Malkiel, who happened to be my professor sophomore year in college (Spring 1970!), wrote an article in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal entitled “Bond Buyer’s Dilemma” that made many of the same points that I have been making for the last year or so. ... read more...

Time to Clean the Fishtank

22 September, 2011 by Ben O'Brien in Commentary
As I write the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 475 points, or about 4.3%. At the same time the stock market is tumbling, the bond market is soaring. Here it is a bit confusing for the layman, because bond yields and bond prices move in the opposite direction, and it is the practice in the ... read more...