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

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Recent Articles

Should Clients Select Lump-Sum Pension Payments?

by Neal Angel

Employers are increasingly offering lump-sum pension payments. Should your client take the money? Or should they take the monthly paycheck for life?

The Characteristics of a Great Sales Culture

by Beverly Flaxington

If you don't think your sales culture is strong enough, here is a guideline for developing a more robust sales culture.

2014 Global Factor Round Up

by Michael Nairne

Factor performance can vary as a result of business cycle influences, market sentiment, interest rate changes, sector composition and other variables. Here are the returns earned by each factor globally in 2014 compared to the overall broad market.

How Monkeys and Peanuts Can Help You Gather AUM

by Daniel Solin

Monkeys love peanuts. To understand how that relates to gathering assets under management (AUM), let's revisit a study demonstrating that emotions drive decisions.

The Warren Buffett Way: High Quality Stocks in Emerging Markets

by Baijnath Ramraika, CFA® and Prashant Trivedi, CFA®

A simple three-factor quantitative process for selecting emerging-market high-quality stocks outperforms the publicly traded benchmarks and does so with lower risk.

The Unspoken Issue that Will Cost You Clients

by Dan Richards

Advisors spend lots of time addressing their clients' concerns about markets, interest rates and their retirement plans. But a recent conversation with a client identified an important concern that is typically ignored.

Introducing the Retirement Wealth and Affordability Indices

by Wade Pfau

How can you help clients determine if they are retiring at a good time? I aim to answer that with my recently developed Retirement Accumulation Index and Retirement Affordability Index. Let me explain how those two indices work and how you should use them with clients.

Key Issues for 2015: The View from Western Asset

by Sponsored Content from Legg Mason Investor Services LLC

The U.S. represents a bright spot in a global recovery best characterized as "two steps forward, one step back." Sector and issue selection remain crucial in this environment, but so do macroeconomic strategies, which may help provide ballast when the pace of recovery slows.

Recent Commentaries

Weekly Market Summary

by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

SPX has now fallen 4 of the last 5 weeks, including this past one. For the week, SPX and DJIA each lost nearly 3% and NDX lost 0.8%. Tthe indices and most of the sectors have fallen under their key moving averages. Many of these now have a declining slope. Over the past month, price has made lower highs. All of this suggests that the trend is down. Moreover, bullish set ups are failing, a warning that price has not reached an oversold level. Despite the sell off, breadth and longer term measurements of sentiment have not washed out to an extent that would suggest a low is in place. Finally, th

An Unconventional Truth

by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

To be effective, monetary stimulus must be accompanied by temporary fiscal stimulus, which is now lacking in all major economies. That is why, given persistent insufficient aggregate demand, unconventional monetary policies will remain a central feature of the macroeconomic landscape.

Diverging Policies…Converging Economies?

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

The US economy should continue to expand but faces headwinds with weak global growth and a strengthening dollar leading to diverging central bank policies. Volatility has risen and the potential for a correction in the near term appears more likely. Nonetheless, timing the market in the shorter-term is dangerous, while the longer-term picture still looks positive for US equities. Across the pond, we remain skeptical much can be accomplished with the ECB’s QE program and continue to favor emerging markets over developed internationally. We also believe global diversification is becomin

Weekly Economic Commentary

by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Calculating the consequences of budget policies is a global headache. The recent round of central bank easing may continue for a while. Reports of a budding currency war are exaggerated

Encouraging Lifetime Income in US DC Plans

by Daniel A. Notto of AllianceBernstein

With the continuing shift from defined benefit (DB) plans to defined contribution (DC) plans, fewer Americans have the ability to enjoy guaranteed income for life. Now, federal regulators are trying to change that.

The Super Bowl of Investing

by Robert Isbitts and Vincent Esposito of Sungarden Investment Research

Here is our list of official National Football League penalties — as applied to investors. Don’t get penalized, think your way through today’s environment, or find a money management specialist who can.

Is Dividend Investing Passe?

by Yu Zhang of Matthews Asia

Dividends can be used as a lens through which we attempt to identify high-quality, financially healthy companies with prudent capital allocation policies.

Over Half The Stocks In The MSCI World Index Are Outperforming The Index For The First Time In A Yea

by Team of GaveKal Capital

For the first time in exactly one year, over half the stocks (51%) in the MSCI World Index are outperforming the headline MSCI World Index over the past 252 trading days (1-year). This is the highest percentage of stocks outperforming in exactly one year.

Recent dshort Posts

World Markets Update: The Trend Reverses to the Downside

Only two of eight indexes on my world market watch list posted weekly gains, down from seven the previous week. The average of the eight was -1.21%, a dramatic change from the +3.37% average of the previous week. Japan's Nikkei 225 was the top performer with its 0.93% advance. China's Shanghai Composite was the biggest loser, down 4.22%.

Here is a overlay of the eight for a sense of their comparative performance so far in 2015.

Moving Averages: Month-End Update

Valid until the market close on February 27, 2015

The S&P 500 closed January with a monthly loss of 3.10%. All three S&P 500 MAs and three of the five the Ivy Portfolio ETF MAs are signaling "Invested".

S&P 500 Snapshot: Worst Monthly Decline Since ... January 2014

The pre-market release of Q4 GDP was a disappointment, but the 10 AM Consumer Sentiment report remained at an 11-year high. The S&P 500 opened lower and sank to its morning low about 45 minutes after the sentiment report. A subsequent rally lifted the index to its 0.10% intraday high in the early afternoon. It then sold off to its -1.30% close, just a tad off its -1.38% intraday low. The index closed the month with a -3.10% loss, its worst monthly performance since its -3.56% plunge in January of last year.

Treasuries continued to suggest a flight to safety.

Visualizing GDP: A Look Inside the Q4 Advance Estimate

The chart below is my way to visualize real GDP change since 2007. I’ve used a stacked column chart to segment the four major components of GDP with a dashed line overlay to show the sum of the four, which is real GDP itself....

Here is the latest overview from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: