November 29, 2011 |
If you have just had an argument with your spouse, that is a bad time to rebalance your retirement portfolio. Your emotions influence the way you trade, says a new book by a professional Wall Street trader and trading coach. Market Mind Games: A Radical Psychology of Investing, Trading and Risk (McGraw-Hill), due out this January, says that when it comes to making judgment calls on your portfolio, don't suppress your emotions. Instead, harness them and understand how they are influencing your decisions.
November 11, 2011
Life is hard for many these days, even folks with jobs. We're working ourselves to exhaustion. Which is why Mandy Kirkby's new book, A Victorian Flower Dictionary (Ballantine Books, $22), is fun to read. It's a pleasant escape. Instructive, too, with 192 pages and short chapters covering the history and symbolism of individual flowers. According to the publisher, Kirkby's book was released about a month after The Language of Flowers, a first novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, and is meant to be its companion.
November 4, 2011
Jeff Gillman already has a reputation as a garden troubleshooter, having separated truth from myth and fiction in earlier books about garden remedies, organic gardening and environmental policy. Now comes Decoding Gardening Advice: The Science Behind the 100 Most Common Recommendations, which is set for publication by Timber Press in January ($16.95) and can be preordered online. Gillman, who grew up in Pughtown, Chester County, is a horticulturist and entomologist who teaches at the University of Minnesota.
October 28, 2011
RAIT Financial Trust, a Philadelphia company that invests in real estate and lends money for real estate, reported positive trends in its loan portfolio. The company said it had $91.8 million in troubled loans on Sept. 30, down from $143.2 million a year ago. The occupancy rate for its apartment, office, and retail properties has improved steadily over the past year, to 84.5 percent on Sept. 30 from 74.8 percent a year ago. RAIT's shares were up 15 percent, or 68 cents, to $5.30 on the New York Stock Exchange.
October 28, 2011
If you're a student or admirer of the duPonts, there's a new book to lighten the long winter's darkness. It's called Nemours: A Portrait of Alfred I. duPont's House, by Dwight Young and Grace Gary, with photos by Sisse Brimberg and Cotton Coulson (Rizzoli International Publications, $40). It took three sherpas 30 minutes to haul these 307 pages upstairs to my third-floor desk at The Inquirer. Just kidding. But this is one hefty love letter to "a true American original and the Delaware estate he called Nemours.
October 25, 2011 |
The markets have just been plain wacky of late. It took me a long time to learn about market volatility and why it is important for investors. But understanding volatility helps to have a broader sense of why markets move the way they do and how to split up portfolios between stocks, bonds, and other assets. I'll share some things I've read recently about why the stock market has been gyrating like a carnival ride. First, the definition of volatility: It refers to the range of movements in either direction, up or down.
October 21, 2011
Perhaps, like me, you'll groan at the title of Stephen Orr's new book. It's called Tomorrow's Garden: Design and Inspiration for a New Age of Sustainable Gardening (Rodale, $24.99). Strip away the stereotypes and bad writing that "new age" and "sustainable" bring to mind. They best describe the book's idea, that 21st-century gardens need to be about wise water use and plant choices, as well as preserving the resources of the larger universe. But beauty need not be a casualty of heightened consciousness.
October 18, 2011 |
There is no income in fixed income. We're at a strange inflection point in the capital markets. For decades, yields on fixed-income securities such as U.S. Treasuries have been falling, and they have reached a historic low point because the federal government has been intervening in its own debt markets. Leaving aside whether it's a good idea for the Federal Reserve to buy Treasuries, the yield on the 10-year Treasury, for instance, is now less than 3 percent. As a result, there are very few places for investors like us to find a place to generate income in our portfolios.
October 14, 2011 |
Denise Schreiber fell in love with the notion of edible flowers in 1999, when she traveled with friends to the great gardens of England and Wales - including Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire, home of a famous collection of shrub roses created by Graham Stuart Thomas. There, she enjoyed a classic afternoon tea. But instead of tea and scones, Schreiber opted for rose petal ice cream. "I put a spoonful into my mouth and discovered heaven on earth," she writes in her new book, Eat Your Roses . . . Pansies, Lavender, and 49 Other Delicious Edible Flowers (St. Lynn's Press, $17.95)
October 11, 2011 |
Public stock and bond markets got you down? Venture capital is starting to look good again. VC and angel funding have rebounded strongly since 2008 and the financial crisis, and Golden Seeds Fund 2 L.P. , a vintage 2011 fund, is just one example. The fund is focused on making early-stage portfolio investments, such as Cognition Therapeutics Inc., a Pittsburgh life-sciences company, and is building a portfolio of 20-plus investments through 2013. Golden Seeds is a network of angel investors wagering on start-ups at a time when small business needs financing more than ever.