The Investment Scientist

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In his book Unconventional Success: A Fundamental Approach to Personal Investment, Swensen recommends the following allocations, for individual investors who want a “well-diversified, equity-oriented portfolio”:

30% Domestic stock funds

20% Real estate investment trusts

15% U.S. Treasury bonds

15% U.S. Treasury inflation-protected securities

15% Foreign developed-market stock funds

5% Emerging-market stock funds

In an interview with Yale magazine, Swensen said, economic conditions might call for a modest revision. He now recommends that investors have 15 percent of their assets in real estate investment trusts, and raise their investment in emerging-market stock funds to 10 percent.

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Jim Cramer: “Watch TV, Get Rich!”

If you watch his show, you certainly would not forget the Top Ten predictions he made in January 2nd, 2008. Now that we are well into 2009, it’s about time to check the accuracy of his predictions.

On Goldman Sachs (GS)

Goldman Sachs (GS) makes more money than every other brokerage firm in New York combined and finishes the year at $300 a share. Not a prediction—an inevitability. In fact, it’s only January, and I think it’s already come true.

GS lost 59.06% last year, 22% more than the S&P 500 Index.

On oil and Transocean (RIG)

Oil goes much higher, maybe as much as $125 a barrel… We are running out of oil more quickly than people can imagine, and that means great returns for oil companies. Just buy the stock of the company you filled up at today or buy a driller (Transocean (RIG) is my favorite), then sit back and make money.

RIG lost a total of 67.64% last year, 29% more than the S&P 500 Index.

On Arabic bailout of Citigroup (C)

The Fed arranges an Arabic Heimlich maneuver on Citigroup (C), so the banking giant doesn’t choke on the worst mortgage portfolio in the country.

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“Avoid the fee-ing frenzy,” says David Swensen. financial-advisor

Marion banks at Wachovia. When she needs to rollover her 401(k) into an IRA account, she naturally asks a Wachovia financial advisor for help. He helps her open an account and recommends she buy the Evergreen Asset Allocation Fund (EAAFX). Is there anything wrong with this picture? Plenty!

First, the fund has a sales charge (front-end load) of 5.75%. Her 401(k) balance is $100,000. This means, the advisor takes $5,750 just for the act of opening the account for her.

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I wrote this article in early December 2008. Amazingly, it is one of the least read in my blog. Hadwealth-preservation someone read it and followed it, he would have earned 10% return so far in 2009.

– Michael Zhuang 3/10/2009

At the moment of writing this, SPY, the exchange traded fund (ETF) for the S&P 500 index, is trading at $85.95 and the near at-the-money call option (with strike 86 and only eight days until expiration) is trading at $3.45! (A call option is the right to buy the underlying stock at the strike price. At-the-money means the option strike price is equal to the price of the underlying stock.)

The at-the-money call premium is a full 4% of the underlying index price! Historically, that number has been in the 1% to 2% range.

What does 4% premium imply?

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Author

Michael Zhuang is principal of MZ Capital, a fee-only independent advisory firm based in Washington, DC.

Twitter: @mzhuang

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