ACTIONABLE ADVICE FOR FINANCIAL ADVISORS: Newsletters and Commentaries Focused on Investment Strategy

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Recent Articles

Do John Hancock Funds Add Value for Investors?

by Larry Swedroe

John Hancock ranked second on Barron’s annual list of best-performing mutual fund families for the latest 10-year period. How did its performance compare to that of two popular passively managed fund companies?

The Use and Abuse of Dividend Strategies

by Robert J. Martorana

I will look at the underlying justification for a dividend-based strategy and at how the most popular funds have performed recently. I will then discuss the criteria that investors should use to construct the best dividend-oriented portfolio, and which mutual fund best meets those criteria.

How an “Abundance Mentality” Drives Top Advisors

by Dan Richards

Hard work, talent and luck drive top advisors. But research from Wharton’s top-rated faculty member shows there’s another quality high on the list.

A Different Perspective on Market Valuations

by Michael Lebowitz

How fast must annual EPS grow over the next five years to normalize the current CAPE 10 with its historic average?

Strategies to Convert More Prospects

by Dan Solin

Evidence-based advisors are no match for the media’s steady drumbeat of misinformation. As a consequence, they need to be especially skilled at persuasive techniques grounded in peer-reviewed data, which will permit them to convert more prospects into clients. Here is a research-backed strategy to accomplish that goal.

Career Center

by Various

Find career opportunities for firms that seek to add financial advisors and planners to their staff. Read more to find out how to post opportunities at your firm.

Getting Advisors to Recognize Bad Behavior

by Beverly Flaxington

I have an advisor who is boisterous and pushy. My administrative team does everything to avoid him. I know he doesn’t mean to be so aggressive, but no matter what I say to him, he laughs it off and makes it out like I am the problem.

Why You Shouldn’t Trust Most Financial Research

by Michael Edesess and Kwok L. Tsui

Most claimed research findings in financial economics are likely false, according to a recently published paper. I’ll explain how those researchers arrived at that conclusion by looking at the ongoing search for factors that influence investment returns.

The Hour of Your Day that Matters Most

by Dan Richards

Three decisions drive productivity: how you start your day, how you end your day and what you do in between. Advisors who have given careful thought to these questions have seen big improvements in productivity.

15 Ways to Make Investment Reports Easier to Read

by Joyce Walsh

You put on your best outfit for client and marketing meetings. Your offices are well appointed, reflecting the professional culture of your firm. Then you pass the presentation materials around. The font is quirky and informal. In places it’s too small for some clients to read comfortably. With the flip of a page, your chance of making a positive first impression is lost.

Recent Commentaries

What’s Holding Back the U.S. Consumer

by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Since the recession ended, U.S. real household consumption has remained well below the historical average. Russ Koesterich explains why it’s likely to remain that way.

Cheap Oil and Global Growth

by Anatole Kaletsky of Project Syndicate

The standard explanation is weak Chinese demand, with the oil-price collapse widely regarded as a portent of recession, either in China or for the entire global economy. But this is almost certainly wrong: On all recent occasions when the oil price was halved, faster global growth followed.

12 Attractive Fast-Growing Dividend Growth Stocks for High Total Return

by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

The current market environment is presenting many challenges to the conservative retired investor in need of current income. Interest rates are near all-time lows and the valuations of many blue-chip dividend growth stocks have become extended. Consequently, it is becoming very difficult to find quality investment opportunities that can provide safety through sound valuation, attractive yield and the potential to fight inflation.

Feeling Old Yet? Incoming College Freshmen Have Always Known Google

by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

I use Google every day, and yet I still marvel at how amazing a tool it is. Part of this amazement stems from the fact that most of my life was spent in the dark ages before the search giant changed human knowledge forever. I appreciate it in a way 19th-century, transcontinental travelers must have appreciated steam locomotives’ ability to shave days and weeks from their covered-wagon travel time. Except Google is more like a rocket ship than a locomotive.

On Market Corrections, and Keeping a Calm Head

by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Despite recent market volatility, we consider the long-term outlook for China’s market and economy to be good. We don’t view this recent correction as the start of any sort of economic or market collapse underway, and it doesn’t change our view on investing there.

Are You a "Ben Graham Defensive Investor"?

by Charles Aram of Research Affiliates

Benjamin Graham’s well-reasoned, rules-based approach to security analysis remains, after more than 80 years, a cornerstone for building a strong, long-term investment program to meet investors’ financial goals.

Don't Panic: Putting Market Turbulence in Context

by Tom Fahey of Loomis Sayles

Sharp declines in China’s equity markets have heightened fears about the country’s economic prognosis and what it might mean for global growth. While concerns center on the emerging markets, the tumult has spilled across global financial markets. Our advice: don’t panic.

Doodles from an Eventful Summer

by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

This month's Absolute Return Letter is a little different. It was a very eventful summer with many incidents impacting financial markets and we have compiled all these topics into one letter. China is, not surprisingly, a core subject. If the Chinese economy is slowing (and it is), we don't think China is in for a hard landing. If anyone is in the near term - and this may surprise you - we think the U.S. and the euro zone are far more likely candidates.

Recent dshort Posts

July Real Disposable Income Per Capita Rose 0.31%

With the release of today's report on July Personal Incomes and Outlays we can now take a closer look at "Real" Disposable Personal Income Per Capita.

The July nominal 0.39% month-over-month increase in disposable income drops to 0.31% when we adjust for inflation. The year-over-year metrics are 2.83% nominal and 2.52% real.

Michigan Consumer Sentiment: Down Slightly from August Preliminary Reading

The University of Michigan Final Consumer Sentiment for August came in at 91.9, a slight decrease from the 92.0 Preliminary reading. had forecast 93.0 for the August Final.

ECRI Weekly Leading Index: Down Marginally from Last Week

ECRI's latest article discusses the large decline in global trade growth, specifically mentioning that YoY world trade growth is nearing zero. After almost four years of falling export prices and major policy stimulus, export price deflation is almost at a point that compares to the Global Financial Crisis. We are essentially in a "shrinking pie trade".

The PCE Price Index Still Below Target

The Personal Income and Outlays report for July was published this morning by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The latest Headline PCE price index year-over-year (YoY) rate is 0.30%, down from a revised 0.34% the previous month. The latest Core PCE index (less Food and Energy) at 1.24% is essentially unchanged from the previous month's 1.30% YoY.

NYSE Margin Debt: Down 3.5% from the Previous Month

Note: The NYSE has released new data for margin debt, now available through July. We've updated the charts in this commentary to include the latest numbers.

The NYSE margin debt data is about a month old when it is published. The latest debt level is down 3.5% month-over-month and 4.7% off its real (inflation-adjusted) record high in April.

S&P 500 Snapshot: The Rebound Continues

The global recovery continued today. The Shanghai Composite rose 5.4% to close above the benchmark 3,000 level, the Euro STOXX 50 rose 3.5%, and S&P 500 rounded out the rosy picture with a 2.43% gain for the day. Is the correction in US equities behind us? Or have we simply experienced an oversold bounce? With yesterday's strong durable goods number and today's upward revision to Q2 GDP, all eyes will be on clues from Jackson Hole for likelihood of a September rate hike in the wake of the recent correction.

Q2 GDP Per Capita at 3.1 for Second Estimate

The Second Estimate for Q2 GDP, to one decimal, came in at 3.7 percent, up from the 2.3 percent of the Advance Estimate. But with a per-capita adjustment, the data series is currently at 3.1 percent (3.05 percent to two decimal places). The 10-year moving average illustrates that US economic growth has slowed dramatically since the last recession.