How to Prepare for a Stock Market Surprise

The markets have been fairly calm lately. But when financial stress returns, will you be prepared? We offer a classic solution, as well as market insight and analysis, in our quarterly report on investing.

CreditLeigh Guldig

When you consider how sharply stocks declined early in 2018 and how many problems still appear to be lurking around the world, the peaceful state of financial markets over the last few months has been nothing short of remarkable.

The second quarter wasn’t spectacular for stocks in the United States, but it produced solid returns with relatively little volatility. Stocks elsewhere around the world didn’t fare quite as well and the bond market gave up ground, but for the most part, investors had some very welcome breathing room.

Still, it’s a good bet that difficult times will return to financial markets at some point, so this may be good moment to prepare for a future shock. In our quarterly report on investing, we’ve analyzed one time-tested approach: the balanced fund.

Our survey includes articles with reporting on where the markets have been and analysis that suggests where they may be heading. Our selection also provides an introduction to investing. And we hope that at least some of these articles will entertain you as well.

Useful Funds That Don’t Inspire Fear or Greed

Balanced funds are old-fashioned and effective. Their straightforward mix of stocks and bonds can discourage investors from behaving in self-defeating ways, leading to strong returns.

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Wall Street’s Summer Calm May Depend on Selective Vision

Investors seem to be focusing on strong earnings and all but ignoring trade tensions, a Federal Reserve rate increase and trouble abroad. The markets have been relatively peaceful, but how long will it last?

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Trade Wars? Three Funds Made Solid Profits Anyway

Despite trade tensions and global problems, some American investors have prospered by focusing on international investments. We examine how three of the better-performing mutual funds have generated strong returns over the last quarter, as well as the last five years.

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Feeling That Old Urge to Merge, but in a Vertical Way

AT&T did it with Time Warner, so why not me? Our reporter asks Mark Cuban to help him get more verticality into his life.

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Long Dormant, Inflation Reawakens Investors’ Fears

After years in which the threat of rising prices was barely a concern, the rate of inflation has been creeping back up toward its long-term average. We discuss several coping strategies.

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How It Got Riskier to Own High-Quality Corporate Bonds

Investment-grade corporate bonds — the supposed middle ground between government and junk — delivered poor returns in the first half of the year.

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Bitcoin Funds Are Rare. That May Be for the Best.

As firms seek approval for specialty exchange-traded funds, some advisers warn that cryptocurrencies may be intrinsically worthless. Others say they diversify a portfolio.

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As Marijuana Goes Mainstream, Investors Rush In

An exchange-traded fund focused on companies in the cannabis industry, the first listed in the United States, has attracted about $400 million.

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The Lazy Person’s Guide to Successful Investing

Is it possible to create a solid, diversified investment portfolio with just three mutual funds? Yes, argues a new book from a 94-year-old author.

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Jeff Sommer writes Strategies, a column on markets, finance and the economy. He also edits business news. Previously, he was a national editor. At Newsday, he was the foreign editor and a correspondent in Asia and Eastern Europe. @jeffsommer Facebook