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Top Ten: Weekend reads: How to be a better investor

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Panorama of a city business district with office buildings and skyscrapers and superimposed data, charts and diagrams related to stock market, currency exchange and global finance. Blue line graphs with numbers and exchange rates, candlestick charts and financial figures fill the image with a glowing light. Sunset light.

No matter how you make your investment decisions — in a retirement account, on your own or with the help of an investment adviser — it can only help to learn more about what you buy. Tomi Kilgore has written a detailed guide to the wealth of information about a company and its stock on a MarketWatch quote page.

Click here to read (and watch) more of the continuing “How to Invest” series, which covers stock selection and analysis, tax implications, risk management and much more.

Playing it safer with bitcoin, crypto and blockchain

iStockphoto

Bitcoin
BTCUSD,
-1.61%

is up 56% this year. It has also dropped 28% since April 15. During 2018, it fell 75%. Then it nearly doubled in 2019, before tripling in 2020. If your timing has been good, bitcoin bets have paid off. Otherwise, the volatility has caused some investors to buy or sell at the wrong time and lose money. Here’s an alternative way to invest in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space that removes some of the volatility and other risks associated with holding bitcoin directly.

More cryptocurrency coverage:

What’s going on with oil prices?

FactSet

Above is a chart showing the dramatic rise in oil
CL00,
+2.44%

and natural gas
NG00,
-2.09%

prices this year. William Watts looks into the metrics, including shortages, that have driven the price increases and the debate over whether the price-increase cycle may be near an end.

Related: Energy stocks are on a big run — and still have some catching up to do

What do the delta variant and Congress have in common?
Activists near the U.S. Capitol supporting President Joe Biden’s proposals for spending on “human infrastructure.”

Getty Images

The surge in COVID-19 cases brought about by the delta variant and the slowing of federal stimulus payments has caused many economists working for Wall Street firms to cut their economic growth estimates. Meanwhile, budget negotiations in Congress have underlined a host of uncertainties that might hurt the economy even more, Victor Reklaitis reports.

Amazon is now a clothing powerhouse too — should it be broken up?

Quick — what percentage of clothing purchased in the U.S. is sold by Amazon.com Inc.
AMZN,
+0.32%

? Tonya Garcia looks into Amazon’s increasing dominance in various areas of commerce and points to what eventually may be a voluntary spinoff of various parts of the e-commerce giant’s business.

Lessons from a quant fund

The HCM Tactical Growth Fund
HCMIX,
-0.35%

 has greatly outperformed its benchmark, the Russell 1000 Index, over the long term. Michael Brush shares five lessons for investors, based on how the fund has performed and his interview with Vance Howard, the fund’s portfolio manager.

 Overconfidence is one of investors’ biggest pitfalls
All glory is fleeting.

Everett Collection

It’s difficult to repeatedly beat the stock market, as Mark Hulbert shows, using data he has compiled for four decades. Be skeptical of those who claim they do, and watch for this trick some use when boasting about their great picks.

Estate planning and other documents for the living
It’s time to get your ducks in a row.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Estate planning is a topic many families avoid because of all the emotions involved. But it is not only for the wealthy, and it is about more than money. For example, durable power of attorney can make it much less difficult for you to care for a loved one — and manage their household and financial affairs — if they need the help. Putting off the planning until a family member is facing difficulty can make matters much worse. Robert Powell spells out the six essential estate planning documents every adult needs

Don’t give up on your dreams

Dennis Welch is old enough to be on Medicare, but he hasn’t given up his day job or his dream: composing songs. Welch describes his newfound success in his side line and how it has resulted from persistence

It’s betting season — that is, football season

Getty Images

Gambling has become so mainstream that NFL broadcasters now discuss point spreads during the games. How much will Americans bet on NFL and college football games this year? Hint: It’s 11 figures.

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