The large-cap US market led the world, with smaller US stocks, international equities, fixed income, and commodities all trailing in its wake. Photograph: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

If you didn’t overweight technology, you had little chance of beating the market

Just as you shouldn’t recommend quack therapies for cancer, you really shouldn’t be giving stock tips. Photograph: Getty Images

Giving investment tips to investors without knowing their circumstances is ‘reckless’

Photograph: Getty Images

It is concerning that over 50% of private equity funding is going to unprofitable firms

US stocks have soared both in 2019 and over the last decade, but predictions of a ‘mega hangover’ are overstated. Photograph: iStock

Further US and tech sector outperformance can continue ‘well into 2020’

Experimental research suggests that, after engaging in moral behaviour, people feel ‘licensed’ to act immorally in subsequent interactions. Photograph: John Keeble/Getty

Studies find most of us want to think well of ourselves while simultaneously doing well for ourselves

Check your portfolio less frequently and be comfortable doing nothing. Photograph: iStock

Reviewing predictions in a year’s time will help investors learn from mistakes

Over the past five quarters, notes CNBC’s Michael Santoli, stocks generated annualised gains of 8.9 per cent. Photograph: iStock

A year of big gains feels out of the ordinary but is actually quite common

Amazon’s record-breaking holiday season has risen the company’s stock 4.5 per cent and boosted the Nasdaq index above 9,000. Photograph: David Dee Delgado/Getty

Some of the best performing stock of the last decade was unknown entities

The major Wall Street strategists are advising investors to brace for more modest returns in 2020. Photograph: iStock

The best forecasts are characterised by humility rather than certainty

Google: one of six companies that accounted for a large slice of the S&P 500’s total returns over the last 10 years. Photograph:  Loic Venance/AFP via Getty

Apple, Google and other tech companies had spectacular returns in the past year

Participants celebrate during the official ceremony marking the debut of Saudi Aramco’s IPO on the Riyadh stock market. Photograph: Marwa Rashad/Reuters

Saudi restrictions on short selling may help keep prices afloat for now

Paul Volcker. The scale of his many achievements is huge, although most tributes focused on his unshakeable integrity. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The former Federal Reserve chairman who died last week was a true public servant

Sometimes it pays not to stick your finger in the air and be greedy when others are fearful. File photograph: Reuters

This year was an excellent one for stock markets despite much fretting last Christmas

The world’s biggest pension fund recently surprised markets by suspending lending on its huge portfolio of foreign stocks. Photograph: Toru Hanai/Reuters

Suspending these loans will cost the GPIF about $125 million a year

First popularised by the Stock Trader’s Almanac  in 1972, this historical anomaly has persisted over the last five decades. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

This historical anomaly has persisted over the last five decades

Traffic on Dublin’s M50. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

If you want to swerve in and nab investment opportunities, watch how car drivers behave

US president Donald Trump: loves to claim the credit for stock market gains. Photograph: Oliver Contreras/SIPA USA/Bloomberg

US president playing risky game by using bull market as presidential rating tool

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York. Photograph: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Stocktake: Fall in early December may have signified end of unsustainable euphoria

Tesla co-founder Elon Musk at the launch of the Tesla Cybertruck. Ratings agencies differ sharply on whether Tesla is an ethical or unethical company. Photograph: Frederic J Brown/AFP

Lack of common approach makes it difficult for investors looking for ESG funds

Just 25% of Democrat supporters knew stocks had risen this year, while 58% of Republicans did, according to a Financial Times poll. Photograph: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Stocktake: Investors’ political leanings are distorting people’s view of the US market

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk introduces the Cybertruck at Tesla’s design studio earlier this month, in Hawthorne, Calif. The   botched launch of the electric vehicle caused shares to fall 6%. Photograph: Ringo HW Chiu/Ap

Is buying at all-time highs a good idea, and has the Santa Claus rally come early?

Saudi Aramco’s Ras Tanura oil refinery and terminal in Saudi Arabia. Photograph: Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters

Saudi royal family’s ownership of oil firm could become problematic for investors

Stocks did something rare last week – they fell. Photograph: iStock

Epic fall for world’s best-performing stock, and why humble CEOs are a smart bet

Mergers and acquisitions is a very risky business and the Thomas Cook debacle was not an isolated one. Photograph: Michael Probst/AP Photo

The high failure rate in mergers and acquisitions has been known for 40 years

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange where ‘it could be another few years at least before occurrences of record new highs start to dry up’. File photograph: Getty

‘Easy part’ of rally is over, but stocks still retain potential to maintain rising profile

Democratic US presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren. Billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones has warned that the S&P 500 would sink 25 per cent if she wins the 2020 election. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters

Wall Street is increasingly preparing for the prospect of a Warren presidency

 US President Donald Trump meets with China’s President Xi Jinping: Th US and China have agreed in principle to phase out tariffs imposed in the ongoing trade war.  Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Impact of tariffs has fallen largely on the US

NYSE: ‘US stocks have nevertheless outperformed non-US stocks by 135 per cent over the last 10 years.’ Photograph: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty

Even Warren Buffett is guilty of home bias – he’s written it into his will

The Stoxx Europe 600 index hit 22-month highs last week and is hovering just below the 400 level that marked a generational top in 2000. Photograph: iStock

Global bull market may be under way, and why more rate cuts might not be good for Trump

President Donald Trump boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Friday, Oct. 25, 2019, for a day trip to South Carolina. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times)

New paper shows link between stock market success and presidential elections

 A new study notes that investors have long been prone to the disposition effect – the tendency to sell winning stocks and hold on to losers. Photograph: iStock

Why things are looking up for global stock markets; and SoftBank backs WeWork

 Uber launch on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange  on  May 10th, 2019. Photograph: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Overblown valuations mean that a ‘great public market reckoning’ may be under way

BAML’s surveys show UK stocks have been disliked by fund managers for the past five years. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty

But is yet another decade of underperformance for UK stocks really that likely?

Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley. Corporate governance concerns have long been an issue at the company. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Mike Ashley, who owns 62% of Sports Direct, pays little heed to shareholder rebellions

WeWork   shelved its IPO plans after its private valuation of $47 billion was reportedly slashed to $10 billion as unimpressed investors steered clear. Photograph:   Timothy  Clary/AFP via Getty Images

‘Elizabeth Warren correction’ hits markets, and earnings season likely to be uninspiring

Traders working  at the  New York Stock Exchange. Investors should be wary of sensationalist media headlines that make market declines seem larger than they really are. Photograph: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

Basic errors, encouraged by sensational media headlines, continue to distort market prices

Separate data from Pension Partners’ Charlie Bilello shows that over the last 70 years, readings of 47.8 or lower have usually been followed by recessions within two years. Photograph: iStock

‘Recession risk is real’, says Deutsche Bank’s Torsten Slok

Extrovert CEOs may be more likely to hurt their companies than to help them. Photograph: iStock

Extroverts can be more prone to overconfidence and cause poorer financial performance

Warren Buffett, chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, has always argued buybacks make sense if a company is trading below its ‘intrinsic value’. Photograph: Rick Wilking/Reuters

Practice has returned $5tn to shareholders since 2009 but opinion split on its merits

A scene from The Big Short (2015)

Opinion is divided over whether indexing poses a huge threat or adds to stability

 Mike Ashley: Almost a third of Sports Direct’s independent shareholders voting against the controversial billionaire’s re-election as director. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Stocktake: ‘Dinosaur’ Mike Ashley; Fed ‘boneheads’; Hurricane Dorian hits investors

US president Donald Trump:  He is no longer merely venting on Twitter, but using his tweets as a policy tools. Photograph: Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

Stock markets are increasingly concerned about the US president’s online outbursts

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

Ugly sentiment suggests stocks have bottomed

BlackRock founder Larry Fink said companies must ‘demonstrate their commitment to the countries, regions, and communities where they operate’ and that ‘purpose is not the sole pursuit of profits’.  Photograph: Michael Cohen/Getty Images

Hundreds of US’s biggest public companies have shed their shareholder-first ideology

Traders work the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photograph:  Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

Corporate insiders are busy selling

The New York Stock Exchange. Last month, major US indices suffered their biggest one-day falls of the year after 10-year bond yields fell below their two-year counterparts for the first time since 2008. Photograph: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

Yield curve inversions’ reputation as a recession indicator is well deserved

When unicorns go public. WeWork has revealed heavy losses as part of filings for its parent company’s multibillion dollar public offering in the United States. Photograph: Katelyn Perry/WeWork/PA Wire

More US recession indicators flashing red

Investing has a lot of the same features as poker, says game theorist Kevin Zollman.

Like poker players, investors should learn to think in terms of probabilities

Most of the Fanmags – Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Microsoft, Apple, and Google – are “trading at valuations nearly as rich as they have ever traded,” according to investor Rob Arnott. Photograph: Alastair Pike/AFP/Getty Images

History suggests no market fashion or trend persists indefinitely

US president Donald Trump may view trade threats as a way of getting the rate cuts he craves, but this would be a pyrrhic victory if China accepts an economic downturn in order to hurt his election prospects. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

A Trump trade deal ahead of 2020 presidential election now unlikely, says Goldman Sachs

Forgetting bad investments can stop us learning from costly mistakes

On Wall Street, the phrase ‘it’s a stock-picker’s market’ is often bandied about, the implication being indices may struggle in coming months or years and that investors need to place their faith in stock-pickers who will identify the companies that will hold their own and outperform. Photograph: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

Picking the handful of stocks that deliver the bulk of investor returns is seeking a needle in a haystack

Earnings season in the US is in full swing with Amazon, Facebook and Google parent Alphabet all reporting earnings last week. Photograph: Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images

Companies might be beating estimates but they are not increasing guidance

Despite increased recession concern and flat to negative corporate earnings and revenues, the S&P 500 enjoyed its best first half to a year since 1998. Photograph: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

Survey suggests 45 per cent chance of global recession in next 12 months

Traders work  at the New York Stock Exchange. Photograph: Johannes EISELE / AFP)JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images

Investors can only hope Trump fails in his latest attempt to bend the Fed to his will

It is tricky  for investors to overcome their thinking biases. Photograph: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

Our present investing behaviour is very much shaped by our past

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photograph: Lucas Jackson/reuters

Some market jitters ahead would not be surprising

“The only reason stock markets have been an excellent investment is because of the gargantuan returns generated by a handful of stocks (think Apple, Amazon and the likes).” Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

Concentrated portfolios are in theory more likely to outperform the market

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange. Photograph: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Stocktake: Mega-cap stocks are driving global market gains

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. All investors can suffer from short-termism, says fund manager Joe Wiggins, “but it is easier for amateur investors to avoid it”. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Ordinary investors are free to avoid the short-termism that plagues professionals

Federal Reserve chief  Jerome Powell  has come under pressure from markets and Donald Trump to cut rates. Photograph: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

Like a binge-worthy drama, Netflix shows stocks move because of fear and greed

The US stock market has looked much pricier than other developed markets over the last decade but it has justified seemingly hefty valuation multiples precisely because US companies have been so profitable.   Photograph: Westend61/Getty images

Recent indications show profitability is coming under pressure

One gets the impression right now that markets, buoyed by the likelihood of US interest rate cuts from an increasingly dovish Federal Reserve, want to go higher. Photograph: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

A record number of investors say the global economy is in its late-cycle stages

 Neil Woodford: his reputation lies in ruins.

Investors shouldn’t be surprised by Woodford’s fall from grace

US president Donald Trump: took to Twitter to bash the Fed.  Photograph: Yuri Gripas/Reuters

Also, the Beyond Meat bubble and Woodford investors paying for underperformance

Investors were alarmed by US president Donald Trump’s recent threat to keep hiking tariffs on Mexico if it doesn’t take steps to stop illegal immigration to the US. Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPA

Investment strategists concerned by Trump’s unpredictable trade policy

President Donald Trump. Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times

Stocktake: If Trump thinks he can bully the Fed via risky policies, he might just do so

The JP Morgan post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. In April,  the firm launched a European-listed ETF with a total expense ratio of just 0.04 per cent. Photograph: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Funds in passive investment poised to eclipse active stock-picking for the first time

 Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: ‘United’s assumption was there was a “causal link between Solskjær’s skill as a manager and the upturn in the team’s fortunes”.’ Photograph: Andrew Yates/Reuters

Club paying price for turning down chance to expand sample on which to judge Solskjaer

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk after his company’s initial public offering at the Nasdaq market in New York, 2010. Photograph: Brendan McDermid/File Photo/Reuters

Morgan Stanley’s Adam Jonas said shares could fall to $10 in a worst-case scenario

 Casual investors who noticed the sudden jump in 10-year returns might think 2018 was a spectacularly good year for stock markets, but that’s not the case at all. Photograph: David Karp/AP Photo

Managers will look to capitalise on boost in 10-year returns when calendar falls in their favour

The cryptocurrency market is notorious for manipulative activity. Investors should stay sceptical.

Fund managers are cautious but not gloomy while volatility spike augurs well for stocks

During strong bull markets, positive economic and corporate news can cause investors to forget the lessons of history and to assume the trend will continue indefinitely. Photograph: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

A multitude of inbuilt unconscious biases undermine investors’ decision-making

US President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping  in Beijing in November 2017. Trade tensions between the two countries have caused ripples in stock markets. Photograph: Damir Sagolj/Reuters

Stocktake: Fear index on track to record biggest monthly increase since last October

Lyft founders John Zimmer and Logan Green at a party celebrating the ride-hailing company’s IPO in March. Photograph: Alex Welsh/The New York Times

Current flotation market resembles manic dotcom era

Uber is worth what investors are willing to pay, and that willingness is influenced by the “fear of missing out on the next Amazon”.  Photograph: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

‘If you believe that there are no games played with pricing ... think again’

While professional investors tend to be undone by distraction and inattention, ordinary investors are more likely to pay attention to the wrong things. File photograph: Getty

‘Managers running at least two funds did much worse than managers running one’

The old “sell in May and go away” adage invariably does the rounds at this time of year. So is it good advice? Photograph: Juan Mabromata/AFP/Getty Images

The overall picture suggests investors, burned badly in late 2018, still guarded

Climate change activists stage a protest outside the HM Treasury building in central London, during environmental protests by the Extinction Rebellion group. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP

Leading oil and gas companies have a lot to fear from eventual introduction of a carbon tax

Fund managers may not be worried about a US recession occurring in 2019, but things might get hairy in 2020. Photograph: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg 

Many investors, sceptical of US rally, have kept piles of money on the sidelines

Analysts tend to get it wrong when companies are strongly outperforming or underperforming relative to others in their sector, according to a 2013 study. Photograph: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Analysts are often overworked, overconfident and poor at spotting lies

It’s often joked that IPO stands for ‘It’s probably overpriced’ and Lyft’s valuation always looked challenging. Photograph: Oliver Berg/AFP/Getty

Stocks are on the cusp of all-time highs and at the upper end of their five-year range

 A paper from the San Francisco Fed last year found that yield curve inversions are the most reliable predictor of recession risk. Photograph: iStock

US bond market recently gave off a classic signal of a coming recession. Should investors be spooked?

The S&P 500 posted double-digit gains in the first quarter after three consecutive monthly advances, something that might unnerve cautious types who assume what goes up, must come down. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images/File photo

Data suggests investors shouldn’t be wary simply because stocks have been strong

Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman lost hundreds of millions of dollars betting against nutritional supplement company Herbalife. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Research shows investors should also be wary of firms headed by egotistical chiefs

Stephen Moore speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview in Washington, DC, on March 22nd. Trump said he’s nominating Moore, a long-time supporter of the president, for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Stephen Moore described as lacking ‘intellectual gravitas’ for the role

Value investing: has the strategy outlived its usefulness due to structural market changes? Photograph: Getty Images

Practice has yielded handsome returns in the past but failed to bear fruit in recent years

US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell   insisted the US economy remains strong, but many commentators speculated the Fed must be increasingly concerned about a looming slowdown Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Fed’s rate hike U-turn surprises investors; Woodford claims ‘spectacular’ returns on way

Professional investors are almost twice as likely to change their behaviour after a losing streak than a winning streak, and not in a good way. Photograph: Getty Images

Fund managers become risk-seekers following losing streaks, study finds

A mosaic of pound sterling symbols set into the floor of the front hall of the Bank of England in London. Photograph: Luke MacGregor/Reuters

Short bets against sterling now at highest level since December

Yes, most investors are awful at timing. Photograph: iStock

It’s hard to disagree with old cliché that time in the market is more important than timing the market

President Donald Trump with China’s president, Xi Jinping, in Beijing for trade talks in 2017. Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times

President has linked recent gains to progress on trade talks with China

Both sexes are biased but are they equally biased? According to a 2010 paper female analysts tend to issue bolder and more accurate forecasts than their male counterparts. Photograph: iStock

Studies show analysts can be influenced by number of factors including political views and gender

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