Sat04192014

Looking beyond the bull market

moneymatter 600When the latest bull market for U.S. stocks reached the five-year mark on March 10, 2014, only five bulls had lasted longer. The Standard & Poor's 500 index posted a gain of 177 percent for the five-year period.

The current bull followed on the heels of the Great Recession and the worst stock market decline since the 1929 stock market crash. The most recent bear market began in October 2007; the S&P 500 fell 57 percent before hitting the bottom on March 9, 2009.

In typical fashion, investors who sold stocks during the downturn may not have participated fully in some of the subsequent bull market gains. A recent Morningstar study found that emotional trading practices had a negative effect on investment returns over the last decade. For the 10-year period ending December 31, 2013, investor dollars returned an average of 2.5 percentage points per year less than the average mutual fund's performance, largely because people have a tendency to buy high and sell low.

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‘Vanishing Pearls: The Oystermen of Pointe a la Hache’

VanishingPearl 600On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon, a drilling rig owned and operated by British Petroleum (BP), exploded, spilling over 50 million barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico before it was finally capped weeks later. In June, President Obama announced that the company had set aside $20 billion in cash designated to help those deleteriously affected by the ecological disaster.

Kenneth Feinberg's law firm, which had previously handled the distribution of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, was retained at a rate of $850,000/month to handle the BP one also. Although the TV commercials running in the company's highly-saturated PR campaign would have you believe that it was contrite and committed to undoing any damage, truth be told, that carefully-cultivated corporate image bore little relation to how it was actually treating many of the victims seeking restitution.

Take, for example, Pointe a la Hache, an African-American enclave located in Plaquemines Parish, La. For generations, the men of that Gulf shore village of less than 300 had supported their families by plying their trade as oyster fishermen. However, the BP spill put the brothers out of business and by 2012 the tiny African-American community had effectively been turned into a ghost town.

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Is a sex tape key to a successful relationship?

Myron-Mays-160Big talk this week is the leaked sex tape between "Love and Hip Hop Atlanta" stars Mimi and Nikko. If you haven't heard about this or at least heard, seen or read a "shower rod" joke in the past few days, you must be living underneath a rock...a very large one.

Admittedly, I've been spending a little time under that rock myself. I have never watched an episode of the show. Before this week I couldn't have picked Mimi or Nikko out of a line up. However, I know them both quite well now. Possibly more than I'd really like.

OK, first off, it's not really a sex tape; it's a "DVD." A sex tape is a video between two people that is meant to be kept private. This was a production with a professional cameraman that was made for retail. Ever since Kim Kardashian made the spotlight for a "sex tape" there seems to be never-ending quests for 15 minutes of fame...or the extending of it, that is.

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Natural hair: Doing business with ‘a movement’

onwealthyhair 600Maintenance of natural hair is not just a science; it is an art. Additionally, it is now a unique profit center for black hair care companies, divisions, stylists and schools. In that mix is natural hair instructor Anya Parker, who clearly has a passion for natural hair care.

Carlee McCullough: Tell us about yourself.
Anya Parker: I've been a licensed hair stylist for almost ten years. I am also a natural hair instructor at Lisa Akbari Hair Institute, where we specialize in the training of future natural hair stylists.

C.M.: What makes natural hair a business opportunity?
A.P.: This is a great business opportunity because it is "today's" popular trend that I don't feel like it's going to run out like most trends do. I encourage anyone who is in fashion, makeup, hair or whatever it is that you do to make people feel good on the inside and the outside, to jump on board. Natural hair is a movement of women and men determined to live healthier lifestyles.

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Kam’s Kapsules: OPENING THIS WEEK

Marlon 600For movies opening April 18, 2014

BIG BUDGET FILMS

"Bears" (G) John C. Reilly narrates this nature documentary, set in the Alaska wilderness, chronicling a year in the life of a family of brown bears with a couple of young cubs just learning how to survive the elements, including avalanches, predators and the bitter cold.

"A Haunted House 2" (R for violence, graphic sexuality, frontal nudity, drug use, ethnic slurs and pervasive profanity) Irreverent spoof of recent horror flicks featuring Marlon Wayans as a newlywed who moves his bride (Jaime Pressly) and step-children (Ashley Rickards and Steele Stebbins) into a dream home only to be plagued by the ghost of his ex-girlfriend (Essence Atkins) as well as a series of paranormal phenomena. With Cedric the Entertainer, Gabriel Iglesias, Affion Crockett and Missi Pyle.

 

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