Stock

Why Does the Stock Market Keep Going Up?

Many people were taken by surprise when the stock market reached new highs after the 2016 election, with the Dow Jones industrial average (DJIA) breaking 20,000. But the recent record highs are only the latest in a long trend of stock market growth extending back well over 100 years.

The average rate of return for the DJIA since 1896 is about 7 percent when adjusted for inflation. Looking at a broader representation of the overall stock market, the average rate of return for the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 index since it’s inception in 1928 is about 10 percent per year.

Of course, if you pay attention to the stock market, you know that stocks do not move steadily up all the time. Sometimes there are sudden market declines, such as the crash of 1929 that led to the Great Depression, or the 2008 collapse that led to the Great Recession. Sometimes there are long periods of market stagnation when stock prices do not go up much at all, such as during the 1970s. But over time, the long-term trend has been that stock values keep on pushing up, even after setbacks, and routinely go on to break record highs.

What makes stock values keep going higher and higher?

Investors think stocks will go up

Investors who decide to put money into the stock market select individual stocks and stock funds based on the financial performance of the businesses in the portfolio. Ultimately, investors weigh the potential for a stock to go up versus the risk that it will go down during their investment window.

Sometimes “irrational exuberance” seems to play a big role in driving stock prices. In a hot housing market, investors will pay essentially any price to buy a property if they are confident the price will go up, even if the price is not rational. Investors sometimes buy stock for the same reason — simply because they think someone else will pay more for it when they want to sell and they don’t want to miss an opportunity to make a big gain. In some extreme…

This Startup Is Telling Everyday Investors It Will Be The Next Uber

Actor John O’Hurley appears in an ad for YayYo, a ride-sharing app that promises to compare the prices of different ride-sharing companies (that aren’t Uber or Lyft).

Ramy El-Batrawi has founded 27 companies that are now inactive or dissolved, hawking everything from relationship counseling to futures trading to van rentals to Alaskan fishing vacations, a HuffPost review of state records finds. He even ran a travel agency in Palm Beach, Florida, with a Saudi arms dealer involved in the Iran-Contra affair, and was named as a go-between for an offshore entity listed in the Panama Papers.

In 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission barred El-Batrawi from being an executive in a publicly traded company for five years as part of the settlement over a $130 million stock fraud case against a company he led until it collapsed in 2001.

Now that his prohibition period is over, El-Batrawi has something new to sell: shares in YayYo, a price-comparing ride-sharing app that doesn’t currently work.

HuffPost

The company, with El-Batrawi as CEO, is trying to sell $50 million in stock ― which it can do thanks to newly relaxed securities laws that let speculative startups raise money from mom-and-pop investors. Proponents of the laws said they would boost the economy and create jobs, while critics said the loosened rules put people’s money at risk.

YayYo paid Master P to record a promotional track for the company and has been running TV ads on daytime cable news for weeks featuring the actor John O’Hurley, who famously played a catalog salesman peddling ordinary products and whimsical stories on “Seinfeld.”

“What if you were an early investor in Uber or Lyft — what would you be worth today?” O’Hurley asks. The answer, he says, is that you would have made “made millions, if not tens of millions.” (Uber and Lyft are valued at $62.5 billion and $7.4 billion, respectively.)

But wait, there’s more: YayYo, O’Hurley says, might just grow even faster that Uber and Lyft. When and if YayYo’s app works, it will let you compare prices from different ride-hailing companies by plugging directly into the data that companies like Uber and Lyft have made available to third-party developers.

As the old saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably running stock ads on Fox News at 11:45 on a random weekday morning.

Lyft has already filed a cease and desist order against YayYo and barred the company from using its data, a spokesman told HuffPost. Uber did not return HuffPost’s request for comment, but BuzzFeed’s Will Alden noted that the company’s terms don’t allow its data to be aggregated with that of its competitors.

A ride-hailing price-comparison app that can’t compare the prices of the two dominant ride-hailing services is extremely unlikely to succeed,…

9 Expensive Mistakes of the Newly Retired

Transitioning to retired life on a fixed income will undoubtedly have a few bumps in the road. This is a brand-new chapter of life for you, and it’s reasonable to expect some challenges ahead. The last thing you want to do, however, is compromise your nest egg with costly, easily avoidable mistakes. After all, you need that money to get you through the rest of your life.

As such, consider these costly mistakes of the newly retired so you don’t follow suit.

1. Not balancing your portfolio

Retiring doesn’t mean you have to stop investing. You can still dabble in the stock market, but perhaps not as aggressively as you once did. Risky bets could cost you your life savings, which means that you’ll either have to go back to work past age 65, or put your hat out on a street corner. Neither of those options sound great in the golden years of life, so it’s important to ensure your retirement portfolio is balanced.

“Annuitizing a significant portion of one’s retirement income can complement a portfolio of stocks and bonds,” says Jim Poolman, executive director of the Indexed Annuity Leadership Council. “Fixed indexed annuities (FIAs) can serve as part of a balanced financial plan because they do not directly participate in any stock or equity investments and [they] protect your principal from fluctuations in the market.”

2. Not changing your lifestyle after retirement

Your spending habits as a retiree will need to change if you’re going to make it for the long haul. This is especially true if you’re not receiving any kind of monthly payments, like Social Security or disability, to help with bills. You can live off what you have in the bank (hopefully; otherwise you shouldn’t be retiring yet), but you may have to downsize and rethink your spending strategy.

This means you need to start learning how to save money on everyday expenses, and re-evaluate your budget to find places for cuts. Don’t expect yourself to suddenly drop 30 percent or more of your spending. Work your way to it by making small cuts at a time before you retire.

3. Not evaluating risk

When you start saving for retirement, you may have a certain monetary goal in mind — either based on what financial sources have told you, or what you’ve calculated you’ll need based on your lifestyle. But you may not be accounting for the ups and downs of Wall Street and inevitable inflation.

“Revisit your retirement plan to make sure your savings reflect your new needs, and adjust for market conditions,” Poole advises.

4. Spending too much money too soon

When you retire, what you have is what you have. Unless you still have income coming in somehow, you have to…

Apple’s Stock Races Ahead as Investors Bet on New iPhones

SAN FRANCISCO — A year ago, many investors had given up on Apple, whose stock price had fallen more than 30 percent from its 2015 peak. Apple’s once-unstoppable growth had come to a crashing halt: The number of iPhones sold was down 13 percent, and the company posted its first revenue decline in 13 years.

Today, Apple’s business remains sluggish, but that hasn’t stopped investors, including the famously tech-averse Warren E. Buffett, from falling in love with it again. Shares of the tech giant — the most valuable company in the United States by market value — have repeatedly hit new highs this year. On Friday, they closed at $143.65, up nearly 60 percent from last May’s trough.

What’s driving the stock, say skeptics and fans alike, is hope — hope that the new iPhones due in September, on the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone’s introduction, will be dazzling enough to inspire existing iPhone users to upgrade and prompt others to switch from Android phones made by Samsung, Huawei and other manufacturers.

“Everyone expects Apple to cure cancer with their next product launch,” said Kevin Landis, chief executive of Firsthand Funds, who has managed tech-focused mutual funds through many ups and downs.

Investors will get more data about Apple’s performance, and perhaps some clues about its future, on Tuesday, when the company reports its results for the financial quarter that ended in March. Analysts expect the company to report a slight increase in iPhone sales and overall revenue.

Apple declined to comment ahead of its earnings report.

Mr. Landis sold most of Firsthand’s Apple position near last year’s bottom, but he said he had no regrets despite the stock’s recent gains. He expects Apple to continue churning out incremental improvements rather than shake up the industry. The biggest change in last fall’s iPhone 7, he noted, was the elimination of the headphone jack.

Apple is expected to make more exciting updates in its next high-end iPhone, including a high-resolution screen that covers the phone’s entire face. But the company has also suggested that much of its future growth will come from services like Apple Music, Apple Pay and the cut that Apple takes from application sales and subscriptions in the app store.

Apple executives, who are fond of using the word “revolutionary” to describe their products, have also acknowledged some missteps. After watching iPad unit sales spiral downward for 12 quarters in a row, the company introduced a cheaper model in March to win over schools that were flocking to Chromebooks. Apple is also likely to update its Pro models for businesses this year.

Apple…

Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News

If you pay close attention to investment news, it’ll either make you laugh or it’ll drive you bonkers. Within the same hour, and on the same market news website, you will often see completely contradictory articles. One says the market is headed higher; the next says the market is about to tank.

What’s a smart investor to do? Be very careful about your information diet.

More Information, Less Success

In the late 1980s, former Harvard psychologist Paul Andreassen conducted an experiment to see how the quantity of market information impacted investor behavior.

He divided a group of mock investors into two segments — investors in companies with stable stock prices, and investors in companies with volatile stock prices. Then he further divided those investors. Half of each group received constant news updates about the companies they invested in, and half received no news.

Those who received no news generated better portfolio returns than those who received frequent updates. The implication? The more closely you monitor news about your investments, the more likely you are to make changes to your portfolio — usually to your detriment.

In another study, renowned human behavior researchers Daniel Kahneman, Amos Tversky, Richard Thaler, and Alan Schwartz compared the stock/bond allocations of investors who checked on their investments at least once a month against those who did so just once a year. Those who took in…