London’s Canary Wharf: the UK stock market has been relatively calm in recent months.  Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

UK stocks have performed better under Conservative governments, but studies indicate that investors need not lose sleep over a cha(...)

Outside Tokyo Stock Exchange: Japanese November-April stock market returns typically exceed May-October by 8.3 percentage points annually.  Photograph: Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images

Studies show markets tend to stagnate in summer, but why they do is still a puzzle

‘Oil continues to look cheap compared to stocks. The ratio between the S&P 500 and US crude oil hit a 13-year high last month, Merrill Lynch noted recently.’ Photograph:  China Newsphoto/Reuters

Proinsias O’Mahony takes a look at the ups and downs of the stock market

Former Enron chairman Kenneth Lay: short-sellers tend to get a bad press but their defenders point to their exposure of questionable practices at companies like Enron. Photograph: Dave Einsel/Getty Images

They are usually discreet, but a new breed of activist short sellers say they are out to expose financial corruption

A look at the ups and downs of international stock markets

Photograph:  REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Proinsias O’Mahony takes a look at the ups and downs of the stock market

Since 2009’s market bottom, earnings have soared but actual sales growth has been relatively modest. Increased profits have been made possible by record profit margins of 9.2 per cent.  Photograph:  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Office of Financial Research says US markets overpriced and heading for trouble

The FTSE 100 recently rose above the 7,000 mark for the first time and hit a new record high, but all-time highs are common and not a sign of irrational exuberance. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Proinsias O’Mahony takes a look at the ups and downs of the stock market

Stock picking: ETFs offer investors the ability to assemble a low-cost, diversified portfolio but their convenience tempts investors to partake in the trading game in which the only sure winners are the brokers and dealers of Wall Street. Photograph: Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images

Do exchange-traded funds actually tempt investors into trading too much?

A look at the ups and downs of international stock markets

With US government bonds yielding more than 2 per cent compared to infinitesimal rates almost everywhere else, investors have been busy selling euros to buy dollars. photograph: getty With US government bonds yielding more than 2 per cent compared to infinitesimal rates almost everywhere else, investors have been busy selling euros to buy dollars. Photograph: Getty

Dollar’s relentless rise is triggered by US economic strength and the ECB’s devaluation strategies

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photograph: EPA/JUSTIN LANE

Even seemingly minor hikes can have major consequences

NYSE traders: stocks can underperform for long periods.. Photograph:  Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Research from the money manager suggests even the world’s best-performing portfolios can be undone by inattention to fees

Party’s over: The Nasdaq lost 78 per cent of its value in the years following 2000. Illustration: Steve Lopez/Bay Area News Group/MCT via Getty Images

The bubble burst in March 2000, proving that sometimes investors go bananas and rationality goes out the window

Trader Fred DeMarco watches a screen as he works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange: The longer you hold equities, the greater your chances of a decent return. But how long is necessary? Photograph: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Proinsias O’Mahony takes a look at the ups and downs of the stock market

Warren Buffett:  a born investor who accumulated a $73 billion fortune while remaining indifferent to the trappings of wealth. Photograph: Paul Morigi/Getty Images

Self-effacing and frugal, the €73 billion man is a maverick in the world of markets

The outperformance of sin stocks – tobacco, alcohol, gambling and arms – appears to be a global phenomenon

Proinsias O’Mahony takes a look at the ups and downs of the stock market

German bourse trader Matthias Praeger looks up to check his monitors as he sits in front of the German share price index DAX board at the stock exchange in Frankfurt. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Proinsias O’Mahony assesses if European equities are really good for further gains

NYSE traders: Critics say cap-weighted indices run the risk of significant declines if a handful of constituent stocks tumble and that tracker funds will end up being too invested in overpriced stocks, and too little in underpriced stocks. Photograph: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Hybrid approach aims to combine the best parts of active and passive investing

US stocks gained last week, but it has been an iffy 2015 for the S&P 500, which has badly underperformed other developed markets. Photograph: by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Proinsias O’Mahony takes a look at the ups and downs of the stock market

Checking Japan’s Nikkei: buying unpopular stocks on the Japanese index between 1981 and 2010 returned 13.6 per cent annually, compared with a meagre 3.97 per cent for the overall market. Photograph: Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images

It usually pays to buy what’s unloved and steer clear of the flavour of the month

A plastic bull figurine, symbol of the Frankfurt stock exchange is pictured in front of the German share price index DAX board at the Frankfurt stock exchange. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Proinsias O’Mahony takes a look at the ups and downs of the stock market

Swiss National Bank’s decision to end the Swiss franc’s peg with the euro has resulted in the euro falling as much as 41 per cent against the franc.  Photograph: Thomas Hodel/Reuters

No amount of risk management could have saved traders

In the US, almost $92 billion was withdrawn from active funds last year, while passive funds attracted inflows of $156 billion. In the UK, money flowed into passive funds but more than $17 billion was pulled from active funds. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Active funds will have to prove their worth or risk being overtaken by the passive trend

Traders  on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photograph: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

Proinsias O’Mahony takes a look at the ups and downs of the stock market

Under review: NYSE traders consider the stock market which sceptics say is due a serious decline. Photograph: Brendan McDermid

An increasing number of strategists believe we are in a secular bull market, with any decline likely to prove fleeting

Proinsias O’Mahony looks at what’s been happening and what might happen

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange look forward to 2015. PHOTOGRAPH: CARLO ALLEGRI/REUTERS

Learn from the experts and you can be a more effective investor

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photograph: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

Momentum can drive markets, but a value-based approach also matters

Stocks soared after Federal Reserve said it would be ‘patient’ with hike rates

On a high: the continued advance of equities means one influential strategist sees almost no value in the US market and precious little elsewhere.Photograph: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Investment managers are struggling to give advice as even emerging markets don’t look attractive

One-product wonder: the main risk for Apple is an over-reliance on one product (the iPhone), which accounts for 54 per cent of total revenues. Photograph: Adam Berry/Getty Images

Having become the first company to be valued at more than $700bn, Apple bulls have their eyes on the trillion-dollar milestone

Nobel economist Robert Shiller’s Yale International Centre for Finance find confidence among individual investors, as measured by the percentage believing stocks will be higher in a year’s time, is at an all-time low. Photograph: Bloomberg via Getty Images

Investors believe stocks are more expensive than any time since 2001

Outside the NYSE on Wall Street: Traders and investors alike continue to eulogise the fictionalised biography of legendary Wall Street speculator Jesse Livermore in Reminiscences of a Stock Operator

74 years after his death, Jesse Livermore’s Wall Street reflections continue to exert influence

Nasdaq eyes dotcom peak, firing the top performers and the S&P 500 has tripled since March 2009

Currency fluctuations on an electronic board in Tokyo: ordinary traders lose an average of 3 per cent per week on forex markets. Photograph: Yuya Shino/Reuters

Nine out of 10 French traders lose money and evidence confirms high-risk bets rarely turn out well

NYSE trader: an emphasis on share prices and on meeting quarterly earnings expectations has led to destructive short-term behaviour by some chief executives. Photograph: EPA/Justin Lane

Companies and executives accused of moving from a value-creation approach to one of value extraction

Battered image: Tesco’s auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers, warned in May of the “risk of manipulation” of financial results. photograph: jeff j mitchell/getty images

Massaging the figures is an age-old problem, and one that is not going to disappear anytime soon

Bill Clinton (right) campaigns for Kentucky secretary of state Alison Lundergan Grimes (left) with Kentucky governor Steve Beshear. photograph: win mcnamee/getty images

Markets typically rally in the months following American midterm elections

Tough times: a trader on the floor of the NYSE during recent market falls. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Stock markets have been volatile of late, many indices suffering double-digit corrections before swiftly rebounding. Is more turmo(...)

Warren Buffett: last week lost more than $2 billion in two days. Photograph: Carlo Allegri/Reuters
Stocktake

Warren Buffett not crying over lost billions

Luck and risk: traders at the New York Stock Exchange. Photograph: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Report spanning 34 years charts (frequent) agony and (rare) ecstasy of stock-picking

Checking stock prices too often is not good for your financial health, according to research. Photograph: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Financier believes investors must focus only on specified criteria

The link between wealth and happiness is less strong than commonly assumed, but research suggests clever spending may yield bene(...)

Pause for thought: multiple signals indicate that the US stock market faces years of sub-par returns. Photograph: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Bulls are not convinced by indicators showing that the US market is severely overvalued

Bears v bulls: as US markets hit new highs, bearish observers warn that a crash may be imminent but only some bearish arguments have merit. Photograph: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

There are always reasons to be cautious, but most warnings are easily debunked

Bears v bulls: as US markets hit new highs, bearish observers warn that a crash may be imminent but only some bearish arguments have merit. Photograph: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

There are always reasons to be cautious, but most warnings are easily debunked

Analysts are more excited by Apple Pay

Conflict in Ukraine: the country’s annual GDP is equal to about two days of US GDP resulting in little effect on the global market. Photograph: Reuters/Gleb Garanich

Geopolitical crises have little effect on markets partly because they are anticipated and priced in

There are a host of reasons why the vast majority of funds are destined to continue their underperformance in the coming decades. Photograph: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Most fund managers underperform their benchmarks and this is likely to continue

Robert Shiller’s recent New York Times piece on the “mystery of lofty stock market elevations” does not impress bulls. Photograph: Jessica Hill/AP
Stocktake

Irrational exuberance is back, says Shiller

Geopolitical tensions have catalysed a flight from risk

George Soros:  “To others, being wrong is a source of shame; to me, recognising my mistakes is a source of pride. Once we realise that imperfect understanding is the human condition, there is no shame in being wrong, only in failing to correct our mistakes.” Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/ AFP/Getty Images)

As the most successful hedge fund manager in history turns 84, what lessons can he offer?

New York Stock Exchange traders: We are, according to one finance professor, biologically predisposed to screw up in our investment choices. Photograph: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Biology is not destiny, but research indicates our genes play a large part in our investment approach.

Report by London Business School says investors' return would have been half that of FTSE

A man walks past a newspaper kiosk advertising Spanish wireless network provider Gowex in Madrid. Photograph:  Andrea Comas/Reuters

Short-selling outfit claims to be motivated by Batman-like desire for corporate justice

Investors shrug off $8.9bn fine

Twitter shares lost a quarter of their value following its last earnings report in May, despite beating estimates. It is not an isolated phenomenon – young glamour stocks are often priced to perfection, putting them under pressure to live up to unrealistic expectations. Photograph: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

With US earnings season about to start, it is no harm to learn how to decipher statements

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange: many market nuggets are more likely to mislead than to enlighten. Photograph: Jin Lee/Bloomberg

Folk wisdom is full of gems on supply and demand. But beware: they are based on faulty logic

Messi business: Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates scoring his team’s winner against Iran. Academic studies have shown that there is a big difference between wins and losses, with the latter followed by an increase in heart attacks, crimes and suicides. Photograph: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

In sport and in trade, it is all about winning and losing – and financial investments are affected by both

Winner’s curse: Apple shareholders suffered a torrid time shortly after the company smashed the market capitalisation record in August 2012, descending from a high of $705 (€520) per share to a low of $385 (€284) just seven months later. Photograph: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

The top ranking companies in every sector go on to suffer years of underperformance, a US expert claims

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange: Research indicates that returns are usually dictated more by chance than skill. Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA

Recent polls shows that people put good returns down to skill while bad ones are blamed on bad luck. But now there are c(...)

Warren Buffett has referred to his best ever investment –  a book, one that chang
ed forever his investment outlook.
Photograph: Nati Harnik/AP Photo

Investors have more access to information than ever but they still return to classic books for inspiration

World Cup winners can look forward to ‘honeymoon bounce’

IPO celebration: TrueCar employees mark its recent IPO by ringing the opening bell at the Nasdaq Exchange in Times Square, New York.  Photograph: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Investors can be lured by the promise of outsized profits from market debutantes, but history suggests they should steer clear

Traders working on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange earlier this month. The momentum effect can be found in 212 years of US data. Photograph: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

Buying winners and selling losers sounds like a dumb money strategy, but momentum drives markets

Christoph Mueller: may deserve his increased pay packet but the argument that his actions saved Aer Lingus and tripled the share price needs more consideration. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

The lionisation of CEOs has resulted in multi-million euro pay packages, but research indicates their importance is overstated

 Jerome Kerviel arrives at a  Paris courthouse  accused of gambling tens of billions of euros  of Societe Generale’s money in outrageous secret trades that humiliated the French banking powerhouse and exposed a need for tighter risk controls. Photograph: Thibault Camus/AP Photo

Sean Quinn’s fall from grace was spectacular, but he’s not the first high-flier to have been taught a painful lesson by the mark(...)

An employee walks past a logo of Alibaba Group at its headquarters on the outskirts of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. The Chinese ecommerce giant is about to file for an initial public offering (IPO) in the US, with talk of a $170 billion valuation. Photograph: Reuters

Despite some crazed internet valuations, 2014 is not a rerun of 1999

Outside the Hellenic stock exchange in Athens: the new Cambria Global Value ETF specialises in undervalued markets, like Greece. Photograph: chris ratcliffe/bloomberg

A new fund consists of the markets currently most loathed – including Ireland, Greece and Russia – but there’s no room for the US,(...)

Work it out for yourself – is it a maze or a hedge fund?

Given that hedge funds, have underperformed stock markets for each of the last five years, why do we still pay their exorbitant (...)

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