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For What It’s Worth: Bulls and Bears

July 26th, 2018

Bears and Bulls aren’t just the names of Chicago-based sports teams. They’re symbols of investor expectations. Since the 1700s, bears have been associated with investors anticipating prices will go down, while bulls believe prices are trending upward. As part of an occasional exploration of the origins of financial lingo, Joel Dresang hunts down how these creatures wound up on Wall Street. […]

For What It’s Worth: Chair

August 18th, 2017

For What It’s Worth is an occasional look at the meanings and origins of words and expressions investors may encounter. In this instance, we consider the preferred title for Janet Yellen, who’s seated at the head of the Federal Reserve. […]

For What It’s Worth: Stock

July 17th, 2017

Financially speaking, a stock is a stake in a corporation. Etymologically, though, a stock is part of a stick. […]

For What It’s Worth: Salting Away

February 17th, 2017

As part of an occasional series examining the origins of common financial expressions, we get a taste of the savory saying “salting away” as it refers to saving money for the long haul. […]

For What It’s Worth: Dollars to Doughnuts

August 24th, 2016

We say “dollars to doughnuts” when we’re really sure of ourselves. We’re so confident that we’re making a bet, and we’re betting something valuable against something that’s worth less. If I’m wrong, I’ll pay you money. If you’re wrong, just give me pastry.
As part of our occasional look at money-related expressions, find out how this saying isn’t worth what it used to be. […]

For What It’s Worth: Sell in May

June 29th, 2016

By Joel Dresang
The notion of an annual summer sell-off is based on a sense that shareholders should get out of the market while stock traders leave Wall Street to summer in the Hamptons or on the Jersey Shore. As part of an occasional series exploring the origins of financial lingo, we look into the expression, “Sell in May and go away.” […]

For What It’s Worth: Penny

February 8th, 2013

Now that Canada is pitching its penny, its neighbors to the south can rekindle debates over whether it’s worthwhile making cents.
(For What It’s Worth is an occasional look at the meanings and origins of words and expressions investors may encounter.) […]

For What It’s Worth: Beige Book

June 9th, 2011

For What It’s Worth is an occasional look at the meanings and origins of words and expressions investors may run into. By Joel Dresang What’s commonly called the Beige Book is formally known as the “Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions by Federal Reserve District.” And that’s a better description. The report, from the […]

For What It’s Worth: Windfall

January 18th, 2011

By Joel Dresang Accumulating wealth requires solid values such as discipline, patience and balance. But reaping a big bundle in a hurry often comes as the result of a windfall. A windfall is a sudden – usually surprising – gain from circumstances largely beyond one’s control. How to handle a financial windfall, a Money Talk […]

Mortgage debt in retirement: Worth a talk

July 2nd, 2020

By Joel Dresang
In our 30 years as homeowners, my wife and I have had occasional conversations about the urgency of retiring our mortgage. Math always settles it: At a fixed rate below 4%, our home loan is costing us less than the average 6%-7% a year that balanced investments have returned historically. […]

The simple bear necessities

May 1st, 2020

By Kyle Tetting and Joel Dresang
It’s fair to say that March 2020 marked the end of the longest bull market in history, begun in March 2009. On March 12, the closing price on the S&P 500 fell more than 20% below its Feb. 19 peak, marking the beginning of the first bear market in 11 years. Technically, the beginnings and ends, depths and breadths of bear and bull markets vary by what precisely analysts measure. There’s devilish disagreement in the details. […]

For What It’s Worth: Black Friday

December 31st, 2019

The common name for the day after Thanksgiving has more than one story behind it. One story dates back almost to the first national Thanksgiving holiday and has nothing to do with the occasion. Another uses “Black Friday” as a term of disparagement. A third story appears to be just made up. […]

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