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The latest Gallup survey on investment preferences in the U.S. puts real estate ahead of gold and stocks for the first time in at least a few years in yet another example of how most people (at least in the U.S.) simply follow established trends.

Interestingly, those favoring real estate as the best long-term investment rose to as high as 50 percent a decade ago when the prior housing bubble was inflating.

There’s also a breakdown of preferences by income, age, and political party affiliation. Not surprisingly, those with higher incomes favor stocks and real estate over other investment choices and the appeal of gold goes up as income goes down.

By a wide margin, younger Americans think more highly of Savings accounts/CDs than do other age groups, but the most interesting part of this survey (at least to me) was how views toward equity markets change  based on party affiliation. Some 30 percent of Democrats think stocks are the best investment, but only 26 percent of Republicans agree, yet just 19 percent of independents also see it this way.

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Here they are over at CNBC late yesterday afternoon talking about how Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, in her inaugural press conference,  threw a cat amongst the pigeons by suggesting that interest rates might rise sooner than expected while offering no hint at dialing back on the central bank’s tapering of their money printing effort.

By nearly all accounts, Ms Yellen acquitted herself quite well, that is, up until the time that she began talking about the “considerable period” of time between the end of tapering and beginning of hikes to the Fed’s short term interest rates.

With about a half hour to go before trading begins in New York, stock futures are solidly down after a sell-off in Asia and some pretty big share declines in Europe. The central bank has probably already launched damage control plans that will appear in the form of modified speeches by Fed officials to downplay the clear impression that there’s no stopping the taper and that Fed rate increases will begin as soon as a year from now.

Pimco Needs a “Wambulance”

This entry from the always interesting (if sometimes typographically and grammatically challenged) Urban Dictionary describes what billionaire bond king Bill Gross at Pimco and outgoing Pimco CEO Mohamed El-Erian are apparently in need of…

…at least based on the Reuters front page that, for most of the morning, has been blaring:

Exclusive: Pimco’s Gross declares El-Erian is ‘trying to undermine me’

A Captain Queeg reference from the classic movie Caine Mutiny might have worked just as well in this case and this prompted the recall of this item from a couple years ago that should probably be hoisted up again for old times sake.

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New Month, Same Market?

Axel Threlfall of Reuters discusses the latest batch of disappointing economic data around the world that has prompted another slide in emerging market shares, this following a dismal end of the month for stock trading in the U.S. on Friday.

The fairly calm period that greeted former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke in 2006 was the exception, rather than the rule, as markets may soon test new Fed Chair Janet Yellen as they did Alan Greenspan in 1987 and Paul Volcker in 1979. That should be fun.

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