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

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Recent Articles

Gundlach to the Fed: "Dont Raise Rates"

by Robert Huebscher

The Fed should reject its inclination to raise rates, according to Jeffrey Gundlach. It's rare that he agrees with Larry Summers, but in this case the two believe that the fundamentals in the U.S. economy do not justify higher interest rates.

An In-Depth Look at the Sequoia Fund

by Larry Swedroe

Looking at its 35-year track record, some now consider the Sequoia Fund (SEQUX) an anomaly; it is an actively managed fund that has persistently generated positive risk-adjusted returns, outperforming its peers and its benchmark. Should investors expect this outperformance to persist?

The Big Threat to Your Reputation

by Dan Richards

Yelp and other "advisor-ratings" sites give a new platform to former clients who bear grudges. Fortunately, you don't have to be a powerless victim. There are some simple, proactive measures that can help you protect your reputation against unfair reviews.

The Power of Mimicry

by Daniel Solin

You are in a meeting with a prospect. You want to do everything you can to convert that prospect into a client. What actions can you take to maximize the possibility of success?

A Lesson from Little League

by Martin Weil

I tip my hat to Little League for the courage of their convictions in how they dealt with the transgressions by Chicago's Jackie Robinson West team. I only wish that the same justice might have been meted out to those firms who gamed the system throughout the 1990s and 2000s.

A Fresh Look at Life Settlements in 2015

by Stephen Terrell

Rather than let unneeded term policies expire, clients may be able to sell them to a life insurance settlement provider. Life settlements were historically limited to whole-life policies, but new developments offer advisors greater flexibility to access cash for a variety of insurance products.

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.

How to Tell Your "Story" Effectively

by Beverly Flaxington

We have been very successful when we sit down with a prospect to tell our story. However, our newest advisors find this more challenging. Our story is clear to them, but it isn't distinct from what they have heard at other firms. How can we reinforce our story or build a new one incorporating ideas from our staff?

Recent Commentaries

Reconnecting with Energy Stocks

by Sharon Fay of AllianceBernstein

Plunging oil prices since mid-2014 have led many equity investors to shun energy stocks. We think that’s a mistake. By studying the aftermath of previous oil shocks, we believe investors can gain insight to prepare for a possible rebound.

Power Surge for Women as Emerging Consumers

by Tassos Stassopoulos of AllianceBernstein

What’s the connection between electricity and women? Electricity is an agent of empowerment, able to transform societies and economies in emerging markets. It paves the way to buying home appliances like electric cookers, refrigerators and washing machines, freeing up women from hours of daily housework. In our view, more access to power in developing countries will be a catalyst for more women to join the workforce, leading to huge changes in consumer spending patterns.

Rhyming…but not Repeating.

by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

Stocks have recovered their January losses and have continued to move higher. While economic growth remains solid and we remain secular bulls, investors should be prepared for increased volatility and the potential for a near-term correction. Also, European stocks may be due for at least a pause and we suggest looking to add exposure to emerging market positions if needed. Staying well diversified and keeping an eye on rebalancing is the recommended strategy.

ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update

by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Today's new release of the publicly available data from the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) puts its Weekly Leading Index (WLI) at 130.6, up slightly from 130.4 the previous week. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at -4.5, down from the previous week's -4.2 but off the interim low of -5.0 in mid-January.

Hasenstab on Global Growth: Headwinds or Tailwinds?

by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton

While some forecasters predict gloomy global growth this year, the contrarian-minded Dr. Michael Hasenstab, chief investment officer, Templeton Global Macro Group (formerly known as Templeton Global Bond Group), has a different view. He aims to counter what he sees as “excessive pessimism” surrounding the global economy and outlines why he believes the recent plunge in oil prices could prove a tailwind, not only for economic growth in the United States, but also in Europe. He also offers his scorecard regarding Japan’s monetary policy experiment dubbed “Abenomics.”

China’s New Generation of Entrepreneurs II

by Beini Zhou of Matthews Asia

China has long been perceived to be a breeding ground for business copycats, and has struggled with rampant intellectual piracy. Many businesses there have indeed been founded based on business models that originated in the U.S. or Europe. But what’s been overlooked in recent years is China’s rising “innovation machine.” More favorable government policies toward R&D have helped. This month, Asia Insight takes a look at developments in China’s grassroots-level entrepreneurship.

On the Long Bond and Why the Widow Maker is Alive and Well

by Team of GaveKal

Perhaps one of the most important questions investors need to answer today is whether we've seen the low in the long bonds yields or whether the trend lower is firmly intact. The recent spike in the 10-year bond yields from 1.65% at the end of January to 2.14% just two weeks later has no doubt complicated the situation. In this piece we'll try to layout one case for lower yields still.

We're Having "Flation"

by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

We decided to look back at the last four years and get a sense of what is happening with prices. And, like so many investment discussions these days, our conclusions are not uniform. In the case of consumer prices, we are having inflation, disinflation depending on which major component of the CPI you watch. Conclusion: just as the broad stock market can have many underlying sub-trends within it, so too can that be the case for consumer prices. “Flation” – it is everywhere and of all three types in today’s consumer world.

Recent dshort Posts

S&P 500 Snapshot: Biggest Monthly Gain Since October 2011

The markets had much to consider this week, most notably Fed Chair Yellen's semi-annual congressional testimony on Tuesday and Thursday and today's updates on Consumer Sentiment and GDP. The S&P 500 showed relatively little reaction to any of this week's economic events, trading within a microscopic 0.79% range from its intraday low on Monday to its intraday high on Wednesday (which was also its record high). Today's -0.30% closing loss trimmed the February monthly gain to a whopping 5.49%, the biggest monthly gain since October of 2011, 40 months ago, when the index rose 10.77%.

Q4 GDP Per Capita Drops to 1.4%

Earlier today we learned that the Second Estimate for Q4 2014 real GDP came in at 2.2 percent (rounded from 2.19 percent), down from 2.6 percent in the Advance Estimate. Real GDP per capita was lower at 1.4 percent (rounded from 1.43 percent), down from 1.85 percent in the Advance Estimate.

Here is a chart of real GDP per capita growth since 1960. The per-capita calculation is based on quarterly aggregates of mid-month population estimates by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

NYSE Margin Debt Declined in January

Unfortunately, the NYSE margin debt data is a month old when it is published. Real (inflation-adjusted) debt hit its all-time high in February 2014, after which it margin declined sharply for two months, but by June it had risen to a level about two percent below its high and then oscillated in a relatively narrow range. The latest data point for January is four percent off its real high eleven month ago.

ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update

Today's new release of the publicly available data from the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) puts its Weekly Leading Index (WLI) at 130.6, up slightly from 130.4 the previous week. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at -4.5, down from the previous week's -4.2 but off the interim low of -5.0 in mid-January.