Oiling your portfolio

As everyone knows, “oil is in a raging bull market,” says Brett Arends in The Wall Street Journal. And “if you’re sitting on the sidelines, you are missing out on profits.” You’re already “on the other side of this market,” paying exorbitant gas prices, so you might as well cash in. And it’s not too late. Oil is at record highs, but “so far, the boom has left big oil stocks trailing.” The safest way for average investors to buy in is by slowly investing in a fund that invests in big oil companies, like an exchange-traded fund. It’s true that “no investments are perfectly safe,” but the shares of big oil companies “already anticipate a pretty sharp fall in the oil price.” Comparatively, big oil today isn’t that big of a risk.

Why the long face?

Ask Americans about the economy and “their answer is stark,” says Neil Irwin in The Washington Post. They’ll say “it is not just bad, it is run-for-the-hills terrible.” But is it? “Soft? You betcha. In recession? Quite possibly.” But when you look at “most broad measures” of the economy, “it’s not that grim.” Unemployment isn’t that high, not so many jobs have been shed, and GDP is still growing. So why the disconnect? Maybe the things that are up (gas and food) and down (home values) affect most people more often. It could also be that we’re just used to good times, so any downturn “feels terrible.” But real or not, it matters what we think—pessimism can easily become a “self-fulfilling prophecy.”