Insights on markets, emergent trends, history, innovation, risk management, global economics, strategy, policy, and other topics that catch our attention. Inspired by ongoing research, conversations and events. Written and edited by Osbon Capital Management and published every Thursday morning.

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2024 will bring more positive novel surprises. New years always do. In 2023, it was the dramatic acceleration in AI, which touches nearly every industry, and the early stages of an answer to the obesity epidemic with GLP-1s. Here is a list of what’s on our minds going into 2024.

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Fidelity joins index club?

What’s this? Fidelity, one the largest active investment management companies has index investments?  It sure does. Fidelity’s Spartan 500 Index fund, with $48 billion in assets under management, is the flagship in the Spartan family of 14 index mutual funds. What’s going on? Is Fidelity going passive? The fund war – fight or join Fidelity, which built its business on stock-picking for…

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Lifetime employment

Some people want to work forever. I’m one of them. In investment management, a field where jumping from firm to firm in search of higher compensation is the accepted norm, lifetime employment is the rare exception. With all my job changes behind me, I intend to spend the rest of my career working hard at Osbon Capital. I think that’s…

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Let’s do something. Now.

We all feel grief and despair and perhaps helplessness in the wake the Newtown massacre last week.  How can these mass slaughters happen, over and over again?  How bad will the next one be? What can be done?  Anything?  For me, it’s finally time to start talking and start acting. Silence is not a solution I guess this one finally…

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Finally a free lunch! Or maybe not.

When one basket of stocks pays a 2 percent dividend yield, and another, seemingly very similar one pays 6 percent, which one do you want to own? In today’s one percent bond yield world, it’s not a hypothetical question. Two popular ETFs, both comprised of some of the world’s best known companies, present this puzzle. Let’s sort it out.

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Dividend cliff-jumping

At some point, the 15% tax rate on dividends will go up.  Or will it?  We don’t know for sure. But there are all sorts of dire predictions about the future of dividend yields and stock prices based on the higher dividend tax rate that will apply if we are swept off the fiscal cliff. Some are even suggesting selling…

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Capital preservation through growth

As we discussed last time, it’s just not realistic to hope to stay ahead of inflation’s slow but persistent drain without assuming some risk. For investors whose first goal is to preserve capital, a growth strategy is the appropriate response, in our view. Here’s why. By our definition, a growth strategy means a portfolio of diversified securities – stocks, bond,…

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Don’t let gravity get you down

“I never want to lose money.” This sounds like a modest and reasonable investment goal, one that would be far easier to achieve than one that, for instance, aims for significant growth over a long time span. But is it? Is it feasible to invest and never lose money? How would you do it and might you regret it?

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2012 currency impacts

Last week we discussed how owning international securities adds an extra layer of risk, due to currency exchange rates. This time we look at the actual year-to-date return of major indexes, both before and after currency conversions. The big currency fluctuations may not be where you would have expected.

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Ignore currencies at your peril

Many US investors are just that: they invest mostly in US stocks and bonds.  But many also diversify their investments outside our borders, buying securities domiciled in other countries, and denominated in their respective currencies. What are the risks related to international investments, and are they worth it?

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