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Growth Without The Hassle

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Who needs acquisitions? Firms that find internal growth could be good bets in this market. WALL STREET BANKERS and lawyers often win big when a company “‘buys” growth, acquiring another company to expand its sales. But there’s often a loser in these deals: the investor. A 2007 study by the Boston Consulting Group found that more than 58 percent of acquisitions between 1992 and 2006 led to a...

Polishing Your Portfolio

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IT DOESN’T SEEM TO MAKE SENSE. When the markets were surging last year, the best stock performers were struggling companies that exceeded Wall Street’s low expectations for them—the investing equivalent of buying a bunch of rotten apples just because they didn’t have any worms. Ironically enough, that means IBM, Johnson & Johnson and other traditional stalwarts lagged behind, missing out on...

Car Seats Get Cushier

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Temperature controls. Inflatable chambers. Why cars seats are getting more complex—and costly. David Sperling figured he’d be getting the royal treatment in his new Mercedes-Benz. So when the cushy leather seat in his $100,000 sedan malfunctioned, this Los Angeles-area physician found the experience “very strange and frustrating.” The culprit: a control unit for inflatable side supports, designed...

Underwater? Wait a While

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Almost 25 percent of U.S. homes are now worth less than their mortgages. But that doesn’t mean they’re bad investments. At last count, an estimated 10.7 million residential mortgages— almost a quarter of all home loans in the u.s.—were underwater, meaning that the property was worth less than the amount outstanding on the mortgage. This is a legacy of the housing and credit bubbles: with every...

The National Football League Won’t Tell You

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“Our reign may be in danger.” BASEBALL MAY be the national pastime, but it’s no secret football is America’s No. 1 sport. Last year 31 percent of sports fans chose football as their favorite sport, up from 24 percent in 1994, according to pollsters Harris Interactive. In fact, half the 20 highest-rated TV broadcasts of all time are Super Bowls, according to Nielsen. And with roughly $8 billion a...

How to Make Savings Pay

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With interest rates low, short-term investors have to take more risks to make money” Here, some strategies that could boost your returns” Rock-bottom interest rates have been a boon to borrowers, speculators, real estate developers, bankers, the U.S. Treasury—just about everybody except savers. Just when Americans are being castigated for their profligate borrowing and told to save...

Your Own Winter Olympics

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Forget Vancouver. With curling broom and bobsled helmet in hand, we play Olympian at former host cities dusting off their old venues. Every four years, the Winter Olympics roll around and remind us about the glory of sport, the importance of international cooperation and just how nuts you have to be to set foot in a bobsled. And yet here we are, crammed into one with four other suicidal...

The Same Index, Higher Fees

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More consumers are paying top dollar for plainvanilla index funds” Do they realize it3 YOU MIGHT THINK THAT all stock index funds would have rock-bottom expenses—after all, similar index funds basically own the same basket of stocks. And yet the expenses for S&P 500 index funds can range from 0.1 percent of assets, or just $10 per $10,000 invested, up past 2 percent. Stranger still:...

What’s your house really worth

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SUCCESSFUL SEATTLE ENTREPRENEUR, Ben Elowitz spent countless hours last summer putting together a major acquisition. Doing research online, he studied tax records, built graphs of sales data and relied on sophisticated algorithms to determine the fair-market value of the asset. But the 37-year-old Elowitz wasn’t planning a business deal. He was buying a home. Homebuyers have been going online to...

Rethinking Your Gut

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When it comes to managing money, doing the right thing isn’t easy. In fact, new research shows our instincts often lead us astray. AS ADAM SMITH FAMOUSLY wrote in The Wealth of Nations (1776), “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner but from their regard to their own interest.” and the economists who followed in his footsteps developed the...

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