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

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Recent Articles

Why 'Smart Beta' Is Really Dumb

by Michael Edesess

What does smart beta mean? Does it deserve the attention it is getting from the market and academia?

The Most Important Step to Convert Prospects

by Dan Richards

Most advisors using traditional mass-marketing methods without building early credibility will see heightened struggles to get a return on their effort. Fortunately, once the will and priority is in place, there are some proven models to successfully build credibility.

The Fundamental Misunderstanding That Costs You Assets

by Daniel Solin

A recent medical event involving one of my family members poignantly demonstrated the role emotions play in driving decisions. It also illustrated a fundamental misunderstanding about the decision-making process rampant among advisors.

Disproving the Four Themes Behind Gold Bearishness

by Trey Reik

The resurgent bear thesis for gold rests on four key assumptions. Because each of these assumptions is already in the process of being disproved, Western investment demand for gold will surge dramatically in coming years.

Only the Paranoid Survive

by Martin Weil

Only the paranoid survive, said Andy Grove. The quote comes to mind whenever I am talking with advisor colleagues who believe that they have little to fear from robo-advisors and the spread of technological innovation into the financial services arena.

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.

The Best Way to Train New Employees

by Beverly Flaxington

Some of my coworkers believe we should put on a sales hat and try and "sell" our new hires on how great we are. Others think we should stick purely to the facts and just say this is what we do and how we do it. Any perspective on what's better?

Gundlach - Beware of CNBC Pundits

by Robert Huebscher

On issues as central as the effect of quantitative easing or Fed tightening on interest rates, Jeffrey Gundlach says you shouldn't trust the pundits on CNBC.

Recent Commentaries

Voting Machine, Weighing Machine

by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The fact is that valuations drive long-term returns, but over shorter horizons, stock prices are the result of whatever investors collectively believe, however reckless or detached from historical evidence those beliefs may be. As long as enough market participants are attached to the idea that risk is their friend (or enemy) regardless of the price, there is no natural limit to how overvalued (or undervalued) stocks can become. There is only one way to address this: measure investor risk preferences directly through observable market internals.

US Equity and Economic Review For the Week of May 18-22; Housing Rebounds But the Markets Continue G

by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

Last week’s fundamental news was encouraging. Although we’re still in a shallow industrial recession, other sectors of the economy are printing solid results. However, large multi-nationals face sufficient headwinds from a strong dollar, weak international environment and declining oil prices to prevent a sustained advance.

Schwab Market Perspective: As the World Turns

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

A market that grinds higher isn’t all bad as it allows time for earnings to catch up to prices; but complacency must be reined in. Sharp movements could and should come as we move closer to a potential Federal Reserve rate hike. We believe the US economy will rebound from the weak soft first quarter, helping to support stocks and a rate hike, but the turn needs to gain traction. Meanwhile, Congressional approval of fast track trade authority could pave the way for improvements in the Japanese recovery.

The Affordable Care Act and Low Interest Rates: A One-Two Punch for Health Insurance Portfolios

by Chitrang K. Purani and Georgi Popov of PIMCO

Two common themes emerged from a recent PIMCO survey of U.S. health insurers: Underwriting performance will be a larger factor in asset allocation, and there will be more emphasis on liquidity and income. For now, health insurers generally expect increased premium volumes and shifts in insured profiles as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Re-examining investment policies and tiering liquid assets can help investment portfolios maintain flexibility while potentially contributing more to the bottom line.

ECRI: "Fed Rate Hike May Be Postponed Due to Inclement Data"

by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (

Friday's release of the publicly available data from the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) puts its Weekly Leading Index (WLI) at 133.9, down slightly from 134.6 the previous week. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at 1.5, up from the previous week's 1.2, and off its interim low of -4.7 in mid-January.

Rate Hike Ahead? Here’s How to Get Your Portfolio Ready

by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Many experts and analysts believe a June rate hike seems very unlikely, but today, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen hinted that one might happen as soon as the end of this year.

Can Emerging Markets Survive Lower Commodity Prices?

by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Can Emerging Markets Survive Lower Commodity Prices?; Some Central Banks Are Playing the Market; Australia – Real Estate Is Too Frothy for Regulator’s Tastes

Northern Trust Perspective

by Jim McDonald of Northern Trust

Our monthly Perspective newsletter keeps you apprised of current market and economic conditions across an array of topics including: US, European and Asian markets, global real estate and commodities.

Recent dshort Posts

S&P 500 Snapshot: A -1.03% Post-Memorial Day Plunge

Before the market opened, the April Durable Goods presented another mixed bag of data. On a brighter note, Core Capex rose 1.0%, although it's down 1/4% YoY. The S&P 500 dropped at the open and continued downward despite improved Consumer Confidence and better-than-expected New-Home Sales. The index hit its -1.26% intraday low near the beginning of the final hour of trading, which trimmed the daily loss to -1.03%.

A Modest Improvement in Consumer Confidence

The Latest Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index was released this morning based on data collected through May 15. The headline number of 95.4 was a small increase from the revised April final reading of 94.3, a downward revision from 95.2. Today's number was slightly below the forecast of 94.9.

New Homes Sales Surprise Forecast

This morning's release of the April New Homes Sales from the Census Bureau at 517K was 7K above forecast, with the previous month an upward revision. The forecast was for 510K sales, which would have been a 5.1% increase from the revised previous month. The actual increase was 6.8%.

The "Real" Goods on the April Durable Goods Data

Earlier today the Census Bureau posted the Advance Report on April Durable Goods New Orders. This series dates from 1992 and is not adjusted for either population growth or inflation. Let's now review Durable Goods data with two adjustments. In the charts below the gray line shows the goods orders divided by the Census Bureau's monthly population data, giving us durable goods orders per capita. The blue line goes a step further and adjusts for inflation based on the Producer Price Index for All Commodities, chained in today's dollar value.