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

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Can New Portfolio-Risk Tools Improve Client Results – Or Win New Business?

by Bob Veres

New portfolio-risk tools have been created specifically to integrate with FinaMetrica and map a client’s risk tolerance with an actual (and revised) portfolio. I looked at two such tools to see if they can help advisors improve client results – or if they can help win new business. Here’s what I found out.

My Misadventure in Buying a Car: How Not to Persuade

by Dan Solin

The poor reputation of car salespeople is richly deserved. Here’s what you can learn from my experience.

12 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Donor-Advised Fund

by Ken Nopar

Just like advisors evaluate investment options for clients, they must also evaluate donor-advised fund sponsors to be sure that there is an ideal fit. Here are 12 questions to ask while investigating different options.

Does Socially Responsible Investing Work? And How to Do It

by Adam Jared Apt

Since the 1990s, there has been a movement—a very, very small movement, and mostly foreign—to produce the data needed to evaluate the social responsibility of corporations, by integrating measures of their social responsibility into financial reporting.

Last Week’s Highlights on APViewpoint

by Marianne Brunet

The top conversations on APViewpoint last week were started by thought leader Michael Edesess and member Adam Butler. They generated thoughtful discussions on why DALBAR is dead wrong on investor versus fund performance and the art and science of portfolio optimization.

The Benefits of a Diversified Precious-Metals Exposure

by Robert Huebscher

ETF Securities are pioneers in specialist investments, having developed the world’s first gold exchange-traded commodity. I spoke with Maxwell Gold, director of investment strategy at ETF Securities, on July 15.

Venerated Voices™ 2016 Q2 Rankings

by Jill Mislinski

We published over 1,000 commentaries from the mutual fund industry in the second quarter. See which authors, firms and commentaries drew the largest readership.

Recruiter Spotlight

by Various

Visit our recruiter spotlight to hear from our monthly sponsors about opportunities available for advisors in the industry.

What’s the Value of Niche Marketing?

by Beverly Flaxington

What’s the value of niche marketing? Is it necessary? Will it limit your marketing options? In this week’s column, I offer some ideas on how to create a workable niche market for your advisory firm.

Gundlach: The Once-in-a-Career Moment in the Bond Market

by Robert Huebscher

In a career spanning more than three decades, Jeffrey Gundlach had never seen the conditions the bond market faced last week. Indeed, he said the “setup for the 10-year Treasury was the worst in his career.”

Recent Commentaries

What’s New About Today’s Low Interest Rates?

by Carmen Reinhart of Project Syndicate

In an era when public debt write-offs are widely viewed as unacceptable and governments are often reluctant to write off private debts, sustained negative real returns are the slow-burn path to reducing debt. Absent a surprise inflation spurt, this will be a long process.

Is Oil Patch Influence Swinging Toward the US?

by Darin Turner of Invesco

After five decades of influencing global oil prices, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has lost its ability to act in a coordinated manner, in my view. This sets the stage for the US to become the world’s “swing producer” — the region that can most easily loosen or tighten its flow of oil in response to changing global demand.

ECRI Weekly Leading Index: WLI at 138.0, Growth Index Highest Since 2013

by Jill Mislinski of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Today's release of the publicly available data from ECRI (Economic Cycle Research Institute) puts its Weekly Leading Index (WLI) at 138.1, down 0.1 from the previous week. Year-over-year the four-week moving average of the indicator is now at 3.46%, up from 3.02% the previous week. The company's Weekly Leading Index annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at 8.0, up from last week, its highest since February 2013.

A Barrel of Texas Tea: Half-Full or Half-Empty?

by Jim Masturzo of Research Affiliates

Oil prices should remain low, likely in the $30–$40 a barrel range, through summer 2017. Investors seeking greater diversification and yield than offered by traditional asset classes should consider commodities, albeit those not heavily tilted toward oil.

5 Unique Charts From US 2Q GDP Report

by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

US GDP in the second quarter underwhelmed (1.2% QoQ AR vs expectations of 2.4% QoQ AR) thanks to the volatile inventory category. We will let others get into the weeds regarding what may happen with future revisions and instead focus on several charts you will (hopefully) not see anywhere else.

Romania Did This, and Now It’s Among the Fastest Growers in Europe

by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In 1974, the American economist Arthur Laffer, then a professor at the University of Chicago, was having dinner with his friend Jude Wanniski, an associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. They were joined by Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, both of whom worked at the time in the Gerald Ford administration. The topic at hand was President Ford’s Whip Inflation Now, or WIN, initiative, which included proposed tax increases.

Looking at Future Stock Returns

by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

Yesterday we talked about future bond returns, noting that while bonds have done very well over the past several decades, current conditions suggest their returns over the next 10 years could be significantly lower. Today, we’ll focus on stocks, making the same distinction between returns from income and returns from capital gains.

Peculiar Stock Leadership in 2016

by Travis Fairchild of O'Shaughnessy Asset Management

Bank of America started tracking the performance of active managers in 2003, and 2016 has—thus far—been the most difficult year on record for active managers: only 18 percent of large cap managers have outperformed the Russell 1000® through June 30. The Russell 1000 Value has beaten the Russell 1000 Growth, but the companies with the highest returns this year have had a peculiar profile.

Don’t Plan on Being Average

by Gail Buckner of Franklin Templeton Investments

Unless you have no choice and need the income, deciding when to begin Social Security requires thoughtful consideration. It needs to be incorporated into your overall plan for providing yourself with retirement paychecks for literally the rest of your life.

Recent dshort Posts

S&P 500 Snapshot: Weak GDP? No Worries!

The potential mover and shaker this morning was the surprisingly weak Advance Estimate of GDP for Q2, not to mention the downward revisions to the two previous quarters. But no worries for the market! The S&P 500 hits its -0.30% intraday low about 30 minutes into the trade and then bounced to its 0.32% intraday high during the lunch hour -- a record intraday high for that matter. A bit of zigzagging in the afternoon cut the closing gain in half to 0.16%, just a tad shy of a record close.

Visualizing GDP: An Inside Look at the Q2 Advance Estimate

The accompanying chart is a way to visualize real GDP change since 2007. It uses 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.

ECRI Weekly Leading Index: WLI at 138.0, Growth Index Highest Since 2013

Today's release of the publicly available data from ECRI (Economic Cycle Research Institute) puts its Weekly Leading Index (WLI) at 138.1, down 0.1 from the previous week. Year-over-year the four-week moving average of the indicator is now at 3.46%, up from 3.02% the previous week. The company's Weekly Leading Index annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at 8.0, up from last week, its highest since February 2013.

Michigan Consumer Sentiment: July Final Slightly Worse Than Expected

The University of Michigan Preliminary Consumer Sentiment for July came in at 90.0, a 3.5 point decrease from the 93.5 June Final reading. Investing.com had forecast 90.5.

Q2 Real GDP Per Capita: Less Than Half the Headline Real GDP

The Advance Estimate for Q2 GDP, to one decimal, came in at 1.2 percent, up from 1.1 percent in the Q1 Third Estimate. With a per-capita adjustment, the data is less than half the headline number at 0.53 percent. The 10-year moving average illustrates that US economic growth has slowed dramatically since the last recession.

Chicago PMI Down Slightly in July

The latest Chicago Purchasing Manager's Index, or the Chicago Business Barometer, was down slightly in July to a value of 55.8 from last month's 56.8, it's highest since January 2015. Values lower than 50.0 indicate contracting manufacturing activity.

Q2 GDP Advance Estimate: A Major Downside Surprise

The Advance Estimate for Q2 GDP, to one decimal, came in at 1.2 percent, up from 0.8 percent for the Q1 Third Estimate (a downward revision from 1.1 percent). Today's number was far below most mainstream estimates, with Investing.com posting a consensus of 2.6 percent. However, the Atlanta Fed's GDPNow forecast was revised downward yesterday to 1.8 percent from 2.3 percent the day before. Today's update includes data revisions from Q2 2013 to the present.