Star Tribune 

A monthly column on topics that matter.

Marks Group is fortunate to be one of only two local financial advisors who write monthly columns in the Business section of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Our columns focus on subjects we feel investors can benefit from and cover a variety of topics from global elections to personal finance. Our most recent columns have been archived below.

Stocks healthier in countries with better pandemic response

/
The cure for the common stock market may be as simple as better policy. At least this year.

Why this is a golden opportunity to add gold to your portfolio

/
If you’re looking for silver linings during these strange economic times, gold offers more than a glimmer of hope. While likely to outperform if stocks suffer another sharp sell-off, you don’t need to be bearish on equities to have a positive outlook on gold.

Amid unprecedented uncertainty, target allocation should be your investment guide

/
Economic uncertainty has never been higher in our lifetimes than it is now. The quantifiable effects from coronavirus and the global shutdown it triggered remains as difficult to predict as April weather in Minnesota. Thanks to historic amounts of stimulus from Congress and the Federal Reserve, the stock market has dumped more sunshine than snow on weary investors in recent weeks. But while the S&P 500 recapturing half its losses certainly soothes some financial pain, a schizophrenic market remains clouded with questions.

This market downturn is unlikely to match 2008

/
Six trading days is all it took for the S&P 500 to fall 10% from its all-time high set Feb. 19, the fastest 10% correction in history. In less than a month, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 20%, officially entering a bear market.

Stock valuations elevated, but not yet peaked

/
An old Wall Street axiom suggests the stock market is the only place in the world where buyers are more comfortable paying a higher price for the product. If that's the case, the line at the checkout counter is about to get longer. There's no denying the majority of U.S. stocks have become more expensive. What most people really want to know: "Is it still a good time to invest in equities?"

Big news seldom fazes markets, but keep an eye on smaller stuff

/
While preparing for a review meeting with a client earlier this month, we waited for President Donald Trump to address the nation. It was the morning after Iran had fired missiles at U.S. military bases in Iraq. Although tensions in the Middle East have simmered down (relatively speaking) since the first week of January, it seemed Trump's first official public comments were worthy of our attention.

Another year of hedge fund not earning their keep

/
A typical hedge fund requires that any interested buyer first meet the definition of an "accredited investor." That usually means a person who earns at least $250,000 per year or has a net worth of at least $5 million. If you have ever thought about investing in a hedge fund, perhaps you considered that threshold unreasonable. These days, it's something to be thankful for.

Here's what bonds are trying to tell us

/
There's a long-held belief on Wall Street that if you want to understand what the smart money is doing, look at the bond market. That's not to say the most successful investors favor bonds over stocks, but rather that trends among bond investors have historically been more reliable indicators of future economic developments.

Forget last year — why a year-end stock market rally could happen in 2019

/
When it comes to stock market forecasting, it’s trendy to be pessimistic. Recession warnings and correction calls are as fashionable as ever. As for us, we consider it more likely than not that the market grinds higher through year-end.

Zombie companies could be lurking in your stock portfolio

/
Quick! Check your monthly statements! Your portfolio could be under attack! OK, we admit it. Reading the words "zombie company" doesn't exactly get your heart racing the way it might when watching a horde of undead bodies stagger across the movie screen.

Why sentiment is key to stock market's direction

/
Investors’ optimism is being tested. The rally in U.S. stocks that began a day after Christmas has (so far) survived the following: An escalating trade war with China, slowing growth in the global economy, an uncertain future for Europe and political unrest in Hong Kong.

The latest U.S. import? Lower interest rates

/
Of all the ways to make a bet, why wager on a bet that is guaranteed to produce a loss? That's the question we asked ourselves when reviewing the state of a global marketplace that includes roughly $13 trillion worth of bonds paying a negative yield.

Think small to avoid trade, antitrust trouble

/
The stock market is approaching a crossroads. U.S. equities hummed along on cruise control for the first four months of 2019, with the S&P 500 rising 17.5% in that time and finishing April at all-time highs. The low volatility and high returns, however, left investors ill prepared for the May whiplash.

With international investing, countries matter

/
As investment advisers and legal fiduciaries, we are always motivated to keep clients well-informed. At review meetings, that means shining a light on which aspects of their portfolio are performing best and which ones are not. Owning a diversified mix of investments means you are usually disappointed in something, and lately that “something” has been international equities.

Market forecast sunny, but risks remain

/
Unless you are hung up on debating the significance of closing prices vs. intraday movements, the bull market officially died on Dec. 26, 2018. From its Sept. 21 all-time high, the S&P 500 had fallen 20.2% peak to trough (19.8% based on closing prices only) and triggered an avalanche of conversation about how soon the next recession would hit. Fortunately, the bull has since been resuscitated.

Believe It or Not, Latest Stock Rally is Legit

/
Death. Taxes. And stock market doubters. Benjamin Franklin died in 1790, two years before the Buttonwood Agreement laid the groundwork for organized securities trading in New York City. Had he lived long enough to see the creation of the New York Stock Exchange, Franklin may have recognized market doubters to be as inevitable as life’s other certainties.

Rising yields on cash deserve your interest

/
Most Americans have become accustomed to earning next to nothing on their cash. Like pedestrians staring at smartphones, it’s an unfortunate reality that we reluctantly accept. Low-yielding cash is a result of monetary stimulus and economic policies forged a decade ago during the Great Recession. The ability to borrow money cheaply is good for economic growth and helped clear a path for what became one of the longest economic expansions in history.

A recession is coming. Here’s why it won’t be as bad.

/
Other than forecasting market returns for the year ahead, few financial topics have been more popular in January than predicting the next recession. The U.S. economy is already facing the realities of a trade war with China, rising interest rates, record levels of corporate debt, and slowing earnings growth. On top of that, market volatility reached extreme levels last month.

A down year for mutual funds, especially at tax time

/
You will never go broke paying taxes. A good friend and fellow adviser likes to remind clients of that at this time of year. The idea, of course, is if you owe taxes on your investments, it's because they are making money.What is harder to explain is why some investors end up with a hefty tax bill in a year their investment portfolio has lost money.

Recent Selloff Makes Growth Stocks a Good Value

/
One of the eternal debates in the investment world is whether it's better to own growth stocks or value stocks. The answer depends upon what you find most attractive. For most investors, it's whatever gives them the best total return. In the last decade, that's been growth stocks.Since March 2009, the Russell 1000 Value index has increased roughly 170 percent, which sounds impressive until you hear the Russell 1000 Growth index is up almost 100 percent more. The S&P 500, as you would expect, is right about in the middle.

Movers & Shakers: John Feste, president, Marks Group Wealth Management

/
John Feste is overseeing daily operations and leading continued growth with his promotion to president of Minnetonka-based Marks Group Wealth Management. Feste previously was managing principal of the company, which he co-founded in 2008 with Ben Marks. Marks continues as chief investment officer and chairman of the independent registered investment advisory firm’s investment committee.

Let goals drive your investing strategy

/
October is Financial Planning Month, but it seems curious that any one month would be sufficient for this topic. Financial planning, after all, is a vital piece of the foundation necessary to support any successful investment strategy.Some might disagree. On one hand, it could be argued that successful investing is simple. Buy low, sell high. Minimize unnecessary risks. Focus on long-term results, not short-term fluctuations. Avoid emotional decisions.

What the most bullish of bull markets has taught us

/
It’s official. The current stock rally that began in March 2009 is now the longest bull market in history. In that time, the S&P 500 and Dow Jones industrial average have both quadrupled, averaging returns in the neighborhood of 17 percent per year. Statistically, this could be a once-in-a-lifetime investment cycle (and it isn’t over yet), so it makes sense to review some lessons investors can learn from an unprecedented period of stock market success.

Stocks healthier in countries with better pandemic response

/
The cure for the common stock market may be as simple as better policy. At least this year.

Why this is a golden opportunity to add gold to your portfolio

/
If you’re looking for silver linings during these strange economic times, gold offers more than a glimmer of hope. While likely to outperform if stocks suffer another sharp sell-off, you don’t need to be bearish on equities to have a positive outlook on gold.

Amid unprecedented uncertainty, target allocation should be your investment guide

/
Economic uncertainty has never been higher in our lifetimes than it is now. The quantifiable effects from coronavirus and the global shutdown it triggered remains as difficult to predict as April weather in Minnesota. Thanks to historic amounts of stimulus from Congress and the Federal Reserve, the stock market has dumped more sunshine than snow on weary investors in recent weeks. But while the S&P 500 recapturing half its losses certainly soothes some financial pain, a schizophrenic market remains clouded with questions.

This market downturn is unlikely to match 2008

/
Six trading days is all it took for the S&P 500 to fall 10% from its all-time high set Feb. 19, the fastest 10% correction in history. In less than a month, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 20%, officially entering a bear market.

Stock valuations elevated, but not yet peaked

/
An old Wall Street axiom suggests the stock market is the only place in the world where buyers are more comfortable paying a higher price for the product. If that's the case, the line at the checkout counter is about to get longer. There's no denying the majority of U.S. stocks have become more expensive. What most people really want to know: "Is it still a good time to invest in equities?"

Big news seldom fazes markets, but keep an eye on smaller stuff

/
While preparing for a review meeting with a client earlier this month, we waited for President Donald Trump to address the nation. It was the morning after Iran had fired missiles at U.S. military bases in Iraq. Although tensions in the Middle East have simmered down (relatively speaking) since the first week of January, it seemed Trump's first official public comments were worthy of our attention.

Another year of hedge fund not earning their keep

/
A typical hedge fund requires that any interested buyer first meet the definition of an "accredited investor." That usually means a person who earns at least $250,000 per year or has a net worth of at least $5 million. If you have ever thought about investing in a hedge fund, perhaps you considered that threshold unreasonable. These days, it's something to be thankful for.

Here's what bonds are trying to tell us

/
There's a long-held belief on Wall Street that if you want to understand what the smart money is doing, look at the bond market. That's not to say the most successful investors favor bonds over stocks, but rather that trends among bond investors have historically been more reliable indicators of future economic developments.

Forget last year — why a year-end stock market rally could happen in 2019

/
When it comes to stock market forecasting, it’s trendy to be pessimistic. Recession warnings and correction calls are as fashionable as ever. As for us, we consider it more likely than not that the market grinds higher through year-end.

Zombie companies could be lurking in your stock portfolio

/
Quick! Check your monthly statements! Your portfolio could be under attack! OK, we admit it. Reading the words "zombie company" doesn't exactly get your heart racing the way it might when watching a horde of undead bodies stagger across the movie screen.

Why sentiment is key to stock market's direction

/
Investors’ optimism is being tested. The rally in U.S. stocks that began a day after Christmas has (so far) survived the following: An escalating trade war with China, slowing growth in the global economy, an uncertain future for Europe and political unrest in Hong Kong.

The latest U.S. import? Lower interest rates

/
Of all the ways to make a bet, why wager on a bet that is guaranteed to produce a loss? That's the question we asked ourselves when reviewing the state of a global marketplace that includes roughly $13 trillion worth of bonds paying a negative yield.

Think small to avoid trade, antitrust trouble

/
The stock market is approaching a crossroads. U.S. equities hummed along on cruise control for the first four months of 2019, with the S&P 500 rising 17.5% in that time and finishing April at all-time highs. The low volatility and high returns, however, left investors ill prepared for the May whiplash.

With international investing, countries matter

/
As investment advisers and legal fiduciaries, we are always motivated to keep clients well-informed. At review meetings, that means shining a light on which aspects of their portfolio are performing best and which ones are not. Owning a diversified mix of investments means you are usually disappointed in something, and lately that “something” has been international equities.

Market forecast sunny, but risks remain

/
Unless you are hung up on debating the significance of closing prices vs. intraday movements, the bull market officially died on Dec. 26, 2018. From its Sept. 21 all-time high, the S&P 500 had fallen 20.2% peak to trough (19.8% based on closing prices only) and triggered an avalanche of conversation about how soon the next recession would hit. Fortunately, the bull has since been resuscitated.

Believe It or Not, Latest Stock Rally is Legit

/
Death. Taxes. And stock market doubters. Benjamin Franklin died in 1790, two years before the Buttonwood Agreement laid the groundwork for organized securities trading in New York City. Had he lived long enough to see the creation of the New York Stock Exchange, Franklin may have recognized market doubters to be as inevitable as life’s other certainties.

Rising yields on cash deserve your interest

/
Most Americans have become accustomed to earning next to nothing on their cash. Like pedestrians staring at smartphones, it’s an unfortunate reality that we reluctantly accept. Low-yielding cash is a result of monetary stimulus and economic policies forged a decade ago during the Great Recession. The ability to borrow money cheaply is good for economic growth and helped clear a path for what became one of the longest economic expansions in history.

A recession is coming. Here’s why it won’t be as bad.

/
Other than forecasting market returns for the year ahead, few financial topics have been more popular in January than predicting the next recession. The U.S. economy is already facing the realities of a trade war with China, rising interest rates, record levels of corporate debt, and slowing earnings growth. On top of that, market volatility reached extreme levels last month.

A down year for mutual funds, especially at tax time

/
You will never go broke paying taxes. A good friend and fellow adviser likes to remind clients of that at this time of year. The idea, of course, is if you owe taxes on your investments, it's because they are making money.What is harder to explain is why some investors end up with a hefty tax bill in a year their investment portfolio has lost money.

Recent Selloff Makes Growth Stocks a Good Value

/
One of the eternal debates in the investment world is whether it's better to own growth stocks or value stocks. The answer depends upon what you find most attractive. For most investors, it's whatever gives them the best total return. In the last decade, that's been growth stocks.Since March 2009, the Russell 1000 Value index has increased roughly 170 percent, which sounds impressive until you hear the Russell 1000 Growth index is up almost 100 percent more. The S&P 500, as you would expect, is right about in the middle.

Movers & Shakers: John Feste, president, Marks Group Wealth Management

/
John Feste is overseeing daily operations and leading continued growth with his promotion to president of Minnetonka-based Marks Group Wealth Management. Feste previously was managing principal of the company, which he co-founded in 2008 with Ben Marks. Marks continues as chief investment officer and chairman of the independent registered investment advisory firm’s investment committee.

Let goals drive your investing strategy

/
October is Financial Planning Month, but it seems curious that any one month would be sufficient for this topic. Financial planning, after all, is a vital piece of the foundation necessary to support any successful investment strategy.Some might disagree. On one hand, it could be argued that successful investing is simple. Buy low, sell high. Minimize unnecessary risks. Focus on long-term results, not short-term fluctuations. Avoid emotional decisions.

What the most bullish of bull markets has taught us

/
It’s official. The current stock rally that began in March 2009 is now the longest bull market in history. In that time, the S&P 500 and Dow Jones industrial average have both quadrupled, averaging returns in the neighborhood of 17 percent per year. Statistically, this could be a once-in-a-lifetime investment cycle (and it isn’t over yet), so it makes sense to review some lessons investors can learn from an unprecedented period of stock market success.
The LPL registered representatives associated with the website may only discuss securities or transact business with persons who are residents of: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, FL, IA, IL, IN, KY, ME, MI, MN, MO, NC, ND, NE, NY, OH, OK, OR, SC, TX, VA, WI.
Barron’s Top Financial Advisors (2010-2020) is based on assets under management, revenue produced for the firm, regulatory record, quality of practice and philanthropic work.
The Forbes Best-In-State Wealth Advisor (2018-2020) and the Forbes America’s Top Wealth Advisors (2017) are based on client retention, industry experience, review of compliance records, firm nominations; and quantitative criteria, including: assets under management and revenue generated for their firms.
An important message from Ben Marks, our Chief Investment Officer.View Here »
+