Many investors bet on a weak dollar by buying foreign stocks and bonds denominated in other currencies. But how do you play a stronger dollar? Online bank EverBank (everbank.com) and two fund companies, ProFunds Advisors (profunds.com) and Rydex Investments (rydexinvestments.com), have come up with some novel approaches. With Everbank's new DollarBull CDs, which require a $10,000 minimum investment, you bet that 1 of 12 currencies will weaken against the dollar. Choose the euro, and the bank will sell euros, buying them back in 3, 6, or 12 months -- whenever the CD expires. If you're right, and the dollar rises, you'll make a profit. If you're wrong, you'll have a loss. There's no interest on these CDs. In fact, you have to pay for the trans-action. That's about 0.5% for the euro, but the fee varies depending on the currency. At ProFunds, the Rising U.S. Dollar ProFund tracks the U.S. Dollar Index and requires a $15,000 investment. Rydex, meanwhile, just launched the Strengthening Dollar Fund, designed to double the return of that index. The minimum is $25,000. Remember, a fund that doubles your gains can double your losses, too.
Cobblestone streets evoke Old World charm. Now your driveway can have the same look thanks to a Studio City (Calif.) company that imports modular sections of cobblestone quarried in the Italian Alps. The modules from Eurocobble (eurocobble.com) go for $15.90 per square foot and are less expensive than paving stones, which must be placed one at a time. Minimum order is 1,600 square feet.
What book should you throw into your beach bag? How about The Diary of Ma Yan, the heart-wrenching story of a Chinese peasant girl's struggle to get an education? It's one of the nonfiction books that JPMorgan Private Bank (JPM) is recommending to its clients as they head off on vacation (jpmorgan.com/summerreading). The list runs the gamut from Through the Eyes of the Gods: An Aerial Vision of Africa by Robert Haas, to Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan by Russell Shorto. One book, Duveen: A Life in Art by Meryle Secrest, profiles the art dealer who served Henry Clay Frick, Henry Huntington, and, you guessed it, J.P. Morgan.