Heading into 2010, most financial analysts and investment professionals seem to agree on two things: We’re no longer on the brink of another Great Depression, and there won’t be another 60 percent surge in the stock market anytime soon. Beyond that, things get a little hazy.
As anyone devoted to the rituals of swirl, sniff and sip can attest, 2009 was a very good year for bargain hunters – whether they’re newbie collectors who rarely pay more than $50 for a bottle, or seasoned wine geeks who write six-figure checks for pristine cases of the rarest old first-growth Bordeaux and Burgundy.
A year ago, with the markets and the economy in meltdown, the SmartMoney Power 30 was full of the usual cast of government giants and Wall Street heavyweights: Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner, Warren Buffett. But as the U.S. moves into a new phase, a time of slow but seemingly steady recovery, some of the biggest players might seem more on the fringe – academics, advisers, even a lobbyist.
For decades, Dole Food has stuck mostly to its chief business – picking and selling fruit. But recently, the California-based food company branched into a new line of work: offering mutual funds designed specifically for its employees.
If there’s one belief that took hold during the financial mess, it’s "All debt is bad." After all, too many companies borrowed too much money, and when the recession hit, they couldn’t pay back all that cash. Hundreds of firms saw their stock value plummet and filed for bankruptcy protection, and embittered investors lost billions.
It’s the ultimate sugar rush – a stock you own surging 20 percent or more in a day because it’s become a takeover target. But if you’ve been in withdrawal for a while, a new wave of merger mania might bring some of those sugar highs back.
Best-selling books, top colleges in the U.S., the safest cars. There’s no shortage of reviews and rankings to help with all manner of decisions. But when it comes to one of the biggest – how to choose among retirement investments – the most prominent raters and judges have been uncharacteristically silent.