Buy? Sell? Hold? Investing Moves to Make Now

December 6, 2010  |  

(Wall Street Journal) — First the good news: Improving U.S. economic data. Surprising strength in consumer spending. Solid earnings.  Then the bad: Irish banking problems. Korean military exercises. Disappointing employment figures. As the year winds down, investors confront a number of confusing trends, making it harder to figure out if it’s a time to buy or sell. One example of how bewildering it’s become: The Federal Reserve has launched a historic program to buy bonds, a step termed “quantitative easing,” aimed at pushing down bond yields and mortgage rates and other consumer interest rates. But long-term bond yields and mortgage rates have climbed, not fallen, since the program was unveiled just over a month ago, underscoring how mystifying the current investment environment is.

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