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Investing

The $4 Million Photograph: How Do You Value Art?

by Luke Landes

Last week, a photograph by Andreas Gurksy, Rhein II, was sold at auction for $4,338,500 to an anonymous buyer. The record-breaking sale allowed Gursky to reclaim fame as the artist whose work has claimed the highest price paid for a photograph. This auction was a secondary market sale. As in most art auctions commanding high ... Continue reading this article…

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Should Hedge Funds Receive Special Treatment?

by Luke Landes

The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has advised the managers of super-secret hedge funds, investments of the most wealthy, that they will soon need to disclose more information to the regulators. Highly leveraged hedge funds contributed to the economic collapse, but the pressure to increase oversight has been mostly ignored by the industry. In response ... Continue reading this article…

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401(k) Contribution Limits for 2012

by Luke Landes

Thanks to inflation, the maximum amount of money you may contribute to your 401(k) in 2012 will change. This applies to 403(b) accounts, as well. For 2009, 2010, and 2011, the maximum you may designate to your 401(k), not including your employer’s matching contributions, was $16,500, but in 2012, this will finally increase to $17,000. ... Continue reading this article…

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Citi Settles Lawsuit for $285 Million

by Luke Landes

Without admitting any wrongdoing, Citigroup has settled a major lawsuit. The Securities and Exchange Commission claimed that Citi misled investors, and to settle the claims, the financial behemoth was ordered to pay $285 million to customers. The issue focuses on collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) in 2007. The bank packaged subprime mortgages, loans with a good ... Continue reading this article…

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Betterment Review

by Luke Landes

Updated May 2014 to reflect the latest incentive for new customers. Betterment is a different type of brokerage. Unlike most discount brokerages whose purpose is to get customers to trade — as frequently as possible — Betterment is looking to be your asset manager. Currently, the brokerage is offering an incentive for new customers, but ... Continue reading this article…

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Bank of America Paid Warren Buffett $1.4 Billion for a $5 Billion Investment

by Luke Landes

If you’ve been reading the financial news today, you might have heard that veteran investor and market-mover Warren Buffett invested $5 billion into the battered Bank of America. For this $5 billion investment, Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway receives preferred shares, a type of investment that’s beyond the reach of most other investors. These shares come with ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Hedge Against Gasoline Price Increases

by Luke Landes
Gas Pump Fuel | crowt59

When gasoline prices at the pump increased to the point where the cost was a major news item engendering backlash among the public, oil companies were sporting big profits. Consumers reacted by buying more fuel-efficient cars and traveling less, but there is another approach for investors — an approach that mimics what commodities and hedge ... Continue reading this article…

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High-Yield Investing In a Low-Yield Environment

by Investor Junkie
Tokyo Stock Exchange Investing

This is a guest article by Investor Junkie, focusing on alternative investments. This is a broad topic, so this article functions as a brief overview. There are many ideas within that deserve deeper explanation, something I’ll consider for future articles here. Market turmoil is all around us. Last week, the 10-year US Treasury bond went ... Continue reading this article…

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Taxing Wall Street Transactions

by Luke Landes

We pay a sales tax on most products we buy, so why isn’t there a tax when you buy stocks and bonds? In the United Kingdom, a tax on stock purchases raises four billion pounds annually. It’s hard to estimate how much revenue a tax on financial transactions would generate in the United States, but ... Continue reading this article…

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Using Twitter to Predict the Stock Market

by Luke Landes
Twiter

A perfect predictor for stock market movements is the holy grail of investing. If you knew with certainty that the stock market would increase tomorrow, you would buy to take advantage of the change, and if yo knew with certainty it would decline, you would sell. If a predictor could be proven to be perfect, ... Continue reading this article…

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Warren Buffett: Buying More Stocks Amid Turmoil

by Luke Landes
Warren Buffett

There’s no doubt that the stock market has been a bit turbulent these past few days. After days when the stock market tumbles, the financial news media claims the double dip recession is here, and after days when the Dow and S&P shoot back up, stories point to the rally in 2008 that took place ... Continue reading this article…

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TradeKing $100 Cash Bonus For New Accounts and Free Trades

by Luke Landes
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From now until August 31, 2011, the TradeKing discount brokerage is offering a $100 cash bonus for all new accounts that are funded with at least $2,500 and execute three trades. If you happen to lose money in an investment, you won’t be penalized and will still receive the bonus. $100 bonus The $100 cash ... Continue reading this article…

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Should You Sell When the Stock Market Tumbles?

by Luke Landes
Scream

Although stocks are opening higher this morning, yesterday brought more devastation to the stock market. Stocks are now down 13 percent over the past week and down 11 percent for the year. This is bad news for stock investors, with the worst short-term performance since the market crashed at the beginning of the recession. This ... Continue reading this article…

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Don’t Take Out a Loan From Your 401(k)

by Luke Landes

As a very last resort, employees with active 401(k) retirement accounts have an option to take out a loan against their future. Borrowing money is never a good position to be in, but if you’re borrowing money from yourself, you ease the pain. 401(k) plans permit borrowing at interest, and paying interest to yourself can ... Continue reading this article…

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Despite Big Valuations, There is No Tech Bubble

by Luke Landes

I’ve always been a fan of Marc Andreessen. By the time the World Wide Web came into its own, I had already been a long-time user of and creator on the Internet. Marc’s Mosaic changed the way in which the Internet was viewed. It was fascinating, and I had to be a part of it. ... Continue reading this article…

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Investor Performance Won’t Match Advertised Returns

by Luke Landes

Mutual funds use annual returns as advertisements to attract investors. Investors are customers for managed mutual funds, and the better the annual returns, the more likely the fund will be to attract investors. Track the actual investor performance for someone who invests in a mutual fund, it often diverges greatly from the advertised performance. This ... Continue reading this article…

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ING Direct Financial Independence Days Sale

by Luke Landes
Fireworks

Online bank ING Direct is offering some goodies in July in time for Independence Day. July 4 is a bank holiday in the United States, so this sale starts early. July 1 and July 2 are the only days this sale will be available, so this offer is only around for a very limited time. ... Continue reading this article…

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Life After Salary: I Am Selling 18 Months of Company Stock Today

by Luke Landes

My former employer has a generous company stock purchase plan for employees. Each quarter, the company offers the opportunity to buy stock at a discount of 15 percent off the share price at the close of the first day of the quarter or the last day of the quarter, which ever is lower. When I ... Continue reading this article…

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Reader Question: Invest $100,000 or Pay Off Mortgage

by Luke Landes

To someone with debt, receiving an inheritance can feel like winning the lottery. Occasionally, an heir doesn’t realize money will be coming her way and hasn’t planned for the windfall or thought about her options. Even those who do plan often realize that contemplating options for managing a potential windfall is quite different from making ... Continue reading this article…

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J.P. Morgan Misled Investors, Will Pay $153.6 Million

by Luke Landes

As the market was collapsing, J.P. Morgan Securities continue to convince clients to invest in a complicated investment made up of credit-default swaps, even though the underlying investments were selected by a hedge fund, Magnetar Capital LLC, that would benefit from seeing the investment fail. Allegedly, J.P. Morgan was knowingly selling an investment designed to ... Continue reading this article…

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