Ask George

George Putnam, one of the country's leading turnaround and distressed investing professionals, answers your investing questions. This is your chance to find out everything you wanted to know--but were afraid to ask--about turnaround investing.

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Does the poor performance of the stock market in May indicate that the U.S. is headed for a new recession?

June 15, 2012

This question comes up frequently when the market takes a dip. While it is true that the stock market does sometimes anticipate a recession, the market is far from an accurate economic indicator. As the Nobel prizewinning economist Paul Samuelson once said, “The stock market has predicted nine of the last five recessions.” In fact, in the last few days as I was preparing to write this, the market has already staged a sharp turnaround. Bottom line: don’t try to time the market!

(Question submitted by Richard M.)

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Are the "Experts" Usually Wrong? Time to Buy Emerging Markets?

If you look longer-term--both backwards and forwards--emerging markets look like much more promising investments...and many of the stocks have decent dividend yields to compensate you in case you have to wait a while for a rebound. Read More.

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Act Now on Tax Losses

Beat Year-End Bounce Rush


With all the stock market volatility this year, many investors probably find themselves holding some stocks in which they have sizable losses. By selling those losers and realizing losses, you can use those losses to offset taxable gains that you may have realized during the year.

Value Stock Profit

Most individual investors consider this investing strategy in December, which means that this tax-loss selling could push the price of some of these stocks even lower--meaning you probably do not want to be selling your losers then. In fact, savvy contrarians should consider buying some of these beaten down stocks to take advantage of that tax-generated downward pressure that goes away on January first.