Stan Choe

Despite age and doubters, bull market looks to keep running

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street is forecasting another year of gains for stocks in 2018, even as worries rise that the end may be nearing for one of the market’s greatest runs in history.

The Standard &Poor’s 500 index has nearly quadrupled since the dark days of early 2009, and this bull run of eight-plus years is well into senior-citizen status. Only the rally of 1990 to 2000 lasted longer. But analysts see several reasons this bull market isn’t ready for retirement. Chief among them: Economies around the world are growing in sync.

Profits and stocks: When better than expected is barely good enough

NEW YORK (AP) — Here’s how much hope and expectation has been built into the stock market: Big companies are healthy and making fatter profits than Wall Street expected, yet it’s barely enough to keep the market from falling.

What’s next for bond investors?

NEW YORK (AP) — Everywhere bond-fund investors look, reasons to fear seem to be lurking.

After decades of dropping interest rates led to strong and steady returns for bond funds, conditions seem to be massing in the opposite direction. The Federal Reserve raised short-term rates last month, the third time it’s done so since December. It’s also planning to pare the vast trove of bonds it built up to keep rates low following the financial crisis.

Funds in the first quarter: Foreign markets were first

NEW YORK (AP) — Anyone with an American-only 401(k) account missed out in the first quarter.

Funds that own stocks from Latin America, Asia and other foreign markets were some of the best performers during the first three months of the year. Hundreds had returns that were more than double those of the most popular U.S. stock funds, which were no slouches themselves. The largest U.S. stock fund had one of its best quarterly performances in years.

The most contrarian move in investing: Trusting a stock picker

NEW YORK (AP) — It’s perhaps the most contrarian move in investing today: Trust a stock picker.

Investors have been dumping funds run by managers who try to beat the market, and they’re pouring money instead into those that track the Standard & Poor’s 500 or other indexes. Last month alone, $44 billion left actively managed stock funds, and nearly $41 billion went into comparable index funds.

Market fear can mean profit, but know the risks

NEW YORK (AP) — For some investments, the sound of crashing stock prices and panic in the market is actually the sweetest melody.

These investments tie themselves to the VIX index, a measure that traders call the stock market’s “fear gauge,” and they’ve been in higher demand as markets have become bumpier. Investors poured more than $2 billion into volatility funds during the first half of the year, triple the amount they did 12 months earlier, according to Morningstar.

Mutual fund costs at lowest in decades

NEW YORK (AP) — It hasn’t been this cheap to invest in mutual funds for decades, possibly ever.

Expenses dropped again last year for both stock and bond funds, and they’re at their lowest levels since at least 1996, as a percentage of their total assets, according to the Investment Company Institute. That’s how far back the trade group’s records go, and funds have been getting steadily cheaper to own since then.

Beyond growth and value: Investors are tired of choosing

NEW YORK (AP) — Coke or Pepsi? Biggie or Tupac? Growth or value?

For decades, investors chose their stock mutual funds from one of two distinct camps. On one side were growth funds, which bought only the most dynamic stocks with the fastest-rising revenues and profits. On the other were value funds, which hunted the bargain bin for stocks with cheap prices relative to their earnings.

Main Street holds up as Wall Street struggles

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street is hurting, and Main Street doesn’t care. It’s got burgers and cars to buy.

Big losses in stock markets around the world this year have the wingtip-set fretting, but regular consumers across the United States are confident enough to open their wallets and spend more. It’s an about-face from the early years of the economic recovery, which began in 2009, when stocks and big banks were soaring but many on Main Street felt like they were getting left behind.

As the rest of the world dumps Chinese stocks, some wade in

NEW YORK (AP) — While the rest of the world scrambles to get out of the crumbling Chinese stock market, a trickle of investors is heading straight into the wreckage.

Managers of Chinese stock mutual funds have seen huge drops many times before, and they even find things to like about them. Instead of taking cover, and preserving cash in their portfolios, this time these managers say they are buying stocks of companies set to take advantage of how the Chinese government is reshaping the economy.

With emerging market stock funds, check what’s in the tin

NEW YORK (AP) — When you’re built different, in investing, you act different. That’s why it’s important to check what’s in your emerging-market stock fund — even if it’s an index fund.

Emerging-markets index funds track different indexes, which can have very different exposure to different parts of the world. And as Brazil, India and other emerging market economies move in increasingly different directions, actively managed funds are looking more distinct as well.

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