Second Quarter Market Review

ticker and chartThe Markets

After a rocky start, the quarter eventually made up for domestic equities' earlier losses. As winter weather finally lost its chokehold on the U.S. economy, investors also grew increasingly comfortable with the Federal Reserve's slow-and-steady approach to unwinding quantitative easing. As a result, they were willing to take on risk again, handing the Dow and S&P their 11th and 22nd all-time record closes of the year. As tech and biotech stocks rebounded from their early-spring slump, they helped push the Nasdaq back to a level it hadn't seen since March 2000. By June, the small caps of the Russell 2000, which suffered the most in April, had managed to climb back into positive...

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Providing Income from Your Retirement Portfolio

retirement picHow Much Annual Income Can Your Retirement Portfolio Provide? Your retirement lifestyle will depend not only on your assets and investment choices, but also on how quickly you draw down your retirement portfolio. The annual percentage that you take out of your portfolio, whether from returns or the principal itself, is known as your withdrawal rate. Figuring out an appropriate initial withdrawal rate is a key issue in retirement planning and presents many challenges. Why is your withdrawal rate important? Take out too much too soon, and you might run out of money in your later years. Take out too little, and you might not enjoy your retirement years as much as you could. Your withdrawal rate is especially important in the early years...

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Real Estate Investment Trusts

real estateWhat is it? A real estate investment trust (REIT) is a company that buys, develops, manages, and/or sells real estate such as skyscrapers, shopping malls, apartment complexes, office buildings, or housing developments. Rather than investing directly, investors in REITs put their money into a professionally managed portfolio of real estate. REITs trade on the major exchanges, just like stocks. REITs make money from rental income, profits from the sale of the property, and other services provided to tenants. REITs also receive special tax considerations; they do not pay taxes as long as they pay out at least 90 percent of their net income to their investors. Thus, successful REITs can offer investors high yields, current income, and...

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Factors Contributing to Recent Market Volatility

globeThe Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 2013 at a new all-time record, and the S&P 500 reached its all-time closing high two weeks later. The Federal Reserve is confident enough that in December it announced it would begin reducing the bond purchases that have helped fuel economic recovery. But fast-forward to the end of January and things look a little different. The Dow lost 5.6% during the month--its worst January since 2009--and the S&P 500 went from an all-time high to a monthly loss in just over two weeks. What in the world has been going on? As it turns out, "what in the world" is exactly the right phrase. The recent turmoil demonstrates just how tightly linked global markets are now. The shift in Fed policy coupled with internal...

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Business Owners: Don't Neglect Your Own Retirement Plan

Business Owners: Don't Neglect Your Own Retirement Plan If you're like many small business owners, you pour your heart, soul, and nearly all your money into your business. When it comes to retirement planning, your strategy might be crossing your fingers and hoping your business will provide the nest egg you'll need to live comfortably. But relying on a business to fund retirement can be a very risky proposition. What if you become ill and have to sell it early? Or what if your business experiences setbacks just before your planned retirement date? Rather than counting on your business to define your retirement lifestyle, consider managing your risk now by investing in a tax-advantaged retirement account. Employer-sponsored retirement...

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