NEW ORLEANS - High-net-worth, accredited investors hunting for substitutes to the buy-and-hold mantra of mutual funds gathered here for a conference on alternative investments, ranging from gold to private placements to covered calls. The aim of the group, more than 1,000 strong, was to unearth ways to make money now - not when the market finally turns around.

To hear the high-profile speakers, many renowned publishers of popular investment and stock newsletters, speak at the New Orleans Investment Conference, one might conclude the recovery is decades away.

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