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Market and investing bits and pieces

By Dian Vujovich

As always, the markets are off to a who-knows-where it’s all going to end start. To that end, here’s a look at a few market/investment observations that could impact your 2015 investment choices.

• Calling all ultra-high-net-worth individuals: According to Wealth-X and Sotheby’s International Realty, billionaires like owning real estate. Why? Prices on high-end properties have increased in value recently.

From 2013 to 2014, residential real estate assets grew by 8 percent for the 211,275 UHNW folks surveyed. That brought the collective value of their homes to $2.9 trillion. For that select group, 7 percent of their wealth was gained thanks to residential real estate holdings.

“On average, a billionaire owns four properties, they trade them out every three years, and the four properties total about $96 million,” said Philip White, president and CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty, in Madison, NJ.

BTW, the UHNW Real Estate Index does include properties in Palm Beach as well as those in cities such as New York, Hong Kong, Monaco, etc.

Additionally, wealthy women value real estate holdings more than men do and hold on to them twice as long.

Full story at LuxuryDaily.com, http://tinyurl.com/l265kvy

• Making up your mind which property to purchase is one thing, rating REITs is quite another.

In 2014, SNL Financial reports that analysts changed ratings on 60 US publicly traded REITs 289 times.

This matters, why? Because ratings are one valuable tool in evaluating investment risk/reward.

Read more at GlobeSt.com, http://tinyurl.com/k7nvx23

• At long last, gold has garnered a few bulls.

Bloomberg reports that the slowing economies in Europe and Asia—perhaps even in the U.S.—have turned the heads of hedge-fund managers for the first time in over two years.

And, government data show speculators have increased their net-long position in the precious metal. Accompany that with the fact that gold prices in January enjoyed the highest gains seen in three years, and the gold call might be one worth listening to.

More at Bloomberg.com, http://tinyurl.com/ncsvyxn

•Be aware of dividend cuts.

Thanks to an economy that isn’t growing at a rapid pace and dropping oil prices, a number of companies have already cut their dividends. More quite likely will follow.

According to data from Standard & Poor’s Monthly Dividend Action Report, 57 U.S. companies cut their dividends in January.

“Going by the number of publicly-traded companies that acted to cut their dividends in January 2015, the U.S. economy didn’t just experience recessionary conditions during the month. Instead, it outright contracted,” wrote an unnamed Ironman at Political Calculations author in a recent SeekingAlpha.com story.

The full story at SeekingAlpha.com, http://tinyurl.com/q678mrm

To read more articles, please visit the column archive.

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