Economy

Insights, research, and analysis on breaking economic news and market trends.

Is there a gorilla in our midst?

In a famous experiment, psychologists Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons asked people to watch a video of people playing basketball and count the number of passes. Technically, the answer is 15, but that misses the point of the experiment. …

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Recent Posts

REITs: A word of caution

In my past post on dividend-paying stocks, some of you responded with questions about REITs (real estate investment trusts). You asked whether REITs are effective “bond substitutes,” whether they are a “defensive” equity investment, whether they’re good short-term hedges …

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Look beyond the fiscal cliff

The nation’s near-term focus is on the “fiscal cliff,” the slate of expiring tax cuts and automatic spending reductions that will be triggered at the end of 2012 if leaders in Washington fail to reach a budget agreement. The debate …

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Put your tie-dye away: It’s not the ’70s

Any long-term investor knows that inflation is the enemy. A spike in inflation can drastically reduce your real investment returns, particularly for fixed income securities. At present, yields on many Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are negative, a clear reflection of …

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The outlook for bonds: Are the good times about to end?

U.S. interest rates today are clearly low and below historical long-term averages. Recalling the double-digit rates of the 1970s and early 1980s, I still find it somewhat astonishing that the yields on a broadly diversified basket of high-quality bonds (whether …

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Global contagion: Europe’s next export?

In the summer at the beach as a boy, I used to dig in the sand and dream of finding pirate treasure. Old silver and gold coins from Spain and other parts of Europe that may have once washed upon …

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Why investors should ignore the Fed

On December 16, 2008, the Federal Reserve cut its target for the shortest-term interest rate to nearly 0%. The Fed’s bold policy action was one of many aggressive steps taken to stabilize global financial markets and a U.S. economy that …

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Why I still own Treasuries

Bond funds have generally been on a total return “tear” the past several years, given the sharp decline in U.S. Treasury yields.

Bond fund cash flows have been solid, especially into corporate and municipal bond funds, which tend to carry …

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$10 salads, $4 gas, and low inflation

Note: For an expanded look at Vanguard’s outlook for inflation—and an explanation of the data behind our analysis—read our interview with Joe Davis on vanguard.com.

As Vanguard’s chief economist, I’m often asked about inflation. And it’s an important topic. …

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Dividend-paying stocks are not bonds

A popular question from my friends is “Where do I go for income in this low-yield environment?” There isn’t an easy answer.

Here’s why: Yields on money market funds are near 0%, and long-term Treasury bond funds are yielding below …

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The case for China

I was at a garden party recently, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in September, where talk centered around the economy, politics, favorite movies, and the latest in electronic gadgets. Yet one conversation that struck a particular chord with me was …

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