Why Trump, Hillary Will Not Take Down the Market

In this election cycle, will investors be winners or losers? Let’s just get this out of the way: the bulk of this year will be consumed by election noise. There is no way around that. That noise, in turn, will drive out other stories, unless there is a major disruptive event (a terrorist attack, such as the recent one in Brussels, a natural disaster, unexpected political upheaval in the world, or expectations of a possible Brexit coming to fruition). That noise also will subtly influence investors’ behavior, or at least how they view the world. There is no way to avoid that.

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An Economy of Chicken Littles

The “nattering nabobs of negativism” (a phrase we have to thank Spiro Agnew for, via William Safire) are out in full force again in the financial and pundit world. While there was only occasional mention of the economy during the Republican debate last week, both the GOP contenders and market mavens seem to agree that the world is going to hell. They have different reasons: The Republicans think the world has become dangerously unstable and that Obama is a cause. Investors, who have pushed global financial markets sharply lower (the S&P 500 is now down almost 10 percent since January 1) to the worst start to a year ever, see the root cause as heedless central banks, a U.S. economy grinding to a halt, and a collapsing debt-laden China.

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Column: Fannie, Freddie and our flawed 'Ownership Society'

More than four years ago, President Obama assumed office promising dramatic reform to the housing market. After all, it was the housing market that triggered the financial crisis, and the vast proliferation of low-quality loans that had fueled the housing bubble. But politics delayed those reforms, and now the president is reopening the issue with a call to wind down the two main federal mortgage agencies,

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Ignore the Markets (and the Fed), the Economy Is Doing Fine

You could be forgiven for missing the latest installment of market panic over the past ten days. It came and went like a summer thunderstorm -- passing over the global financial landscape quickly and violently. But unlike meteorological events that inflict actual harm, the sharp gyrations of financial markets have increasingly less relationship to real-world economies and exist in their own never-never land of self-fulfilling prophecies and conventional wisdom.

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COLUMN - Stormy markets, smooth seas

You could be forgiven for missing the latest installment of market panic over the past ten days. It came and went like a summer thunderstorm, passing over the global financial landscape quickly and violently. But unlike meteorological events that inflict actual harm, the sharp gyrations of financial markets have increasingly less relationship to real-world economies and exist in their own never-never land of self-fulfilling prophecies and conventional wisdom.

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Wall Street’s Irrational Negative Reaction to Apple’s Earnings Report

A large multinational company announces that its business has grown significantly from a year earlier, that its earnings are up more than 20 percent and its sales up nearly 25 percent. Its products continued to see strong demand around the world, with the only negative being that some people apparently held off buying because they wanted to wait for the newest version.

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Don't De-Friend Facebook Yet: Its IPO Might Not Mean Trouble Ahead

Facebook’s epically hyped IPO debuted not with a bang but with a whimper. While the company sold $16 billion worth of initial shares, the stock ended the day largely where it began, at $38 a share, leaving the company with a market cap of about $100 billion. The offering was widely derided by the Wall Street community of traders, who viewed the stock's failure to soar on day one as a sign of troubled times ahead for Facebook.

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Latest Record Results Show Apple a Bigger Global Power Than Most Nations

Yet again, Apple announced record sales and earnings. Yet again, its “Jobs report” stood in stark contrast to the monthly official jobs report. For the past four years, as the U.S. economy has stumbled, Apple has soared. As millions have lost jobs or stayed underemployed, Apple has sold more phones, iPads, and computers than most thought possible. While its success certainly has come at the expense of competitors such as Research in Motion (maker of the BlackBerry) and Nokia, it has generated tens of billions in revenue and sold tens of millions of devices by reaching new customers and not simply taking market share. And it has seen its most dramatic success during one of the worst economic slumps in the developed world.

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Why Was Executive Greg Smith Shocked by Greed at Goldman Sachs?

Yet again, Goldman Sachs has seen its reputation plummet in the public eye. A scathing resignation letter-cum-opinion piece by a disgruntled midlevel executive published in Wednesday’s New York Times quickly went viral and was the talk of the financial town. And it was quite the letter, filled with accusations of a “toxic and destructive” culture, of executives expressing unmitigated scorn for clients, including referring to hapless ones as “muppets,” and general disdain for anything except profit and more profit, whatever the ethical or moral costs.

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Bells Are Ringing! Confidence Rises as the Dow—Finally—Hits 13,000 Again

The Dow Jones industrial average briefly flirted with 13,000 today, marking the first time since May 2008 that the august index has reached that level. The number is purely symbolic, of course, but the steady rise of stocks this year (with the major indices up anywhere from 5 to 10 percent) has taken many by surprise, none more than Wall Street professionals who have assumed a Greek default and the ensuing financial catastrophe to be a near certainty. Instead of a Europe-led meltdown, we are witnessing a melt-up.

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Google 2011 Results Show Growth, But Can Tech Giant Thrive in Long Run?

‘Tis the season for large technology companies to announce their results for the end of 2011, and last night it was Google’s turn, along with other behemoths Microsoft, Intel and IBM. With expectations lofty, Google’s performance was found lacking by investors, who sent the stock down nearly 10 percent after the company reported that while revenues grew, the prices it was able to charge for advertising had declined about 8 percent.

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