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

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Recent Articles

The Looming Risk in the Bond Market

by Robert Huebscher

Lack of bond-market liquidity has been the focus of recent reporting in the financial media. But one of the first to warn about that danger was Michael Aronstein, who said last week that the risks are clearer than ever. Mutual fund investors face the greatest peril.

Rethinking 'Safe Haven' Assets in a Multi-Asset Portfolio

by Sponsored Content from Invesco

• Correlations have risen between perceived ‘safe haven’ assets and equities • Volatility has been a positive performer in falling equity markets, and we see it as a diversification tool in multi-asset portfolios • We look for areas where we think the markets' implied relative risk is an opportunity

Does Wells Fargo Add Value for Investors?

by Larry Swedroe

Assets in actively managed mutual funds have been a consistent source of revenue growth for Wall Street banks. But would investors have been better off in passively managed funds? I’ll answer that question for Wells Fargo and then for the group consisting of the four largest banks.

How Google’s Innovation Formula Can Fuel Your Growth

by Dan Richards

In today’s results-driven world, many CEOs focus on hitting short-term profit targets. But not Eric Schmidt. In the book, How Google Works, he outlined the model that allowed the company to meet ambitious goals while simultaneously positioning itself for success down the road. Here’s what advisors can learn from his approach.

When Obfuscation Backfires

by Dan Solin

Many advisors face with troublesome questions from prospects. Sometimes these questions go into the technical aspects of investing. How you answer these questions can determine whether you are successful in converting a prospect into a client.

The Case for Gold to Protect Clients’ Wealth Shorting the Federal Reserve

by Michael Lebowitz

This article presents the case for an asset that will help managers protect their clients and uphold their fiduciary duty owed to them. I’ll explain why gold is a powerful hedge that will protect your clients’ wealth, but first I’ll look at the history of trade and currencies and how gold evolved to become a global store of wealth.

Evaluating Sustainable Competitive Advantages: Entry and Exit Barriers

by Baijnath Ramraika, CFA and Prashant Trivedi, CFA

This article is the first in a series discussing an assessment process for existence or absence of sustainable competitive advantages. In this article, we discuss the basic building blocks of an investment process designed to identify high-quality businesses: the entry and exit barriers.

How to Define Your Service Model

by Brooke Mease

What I’ve discovered through developing client-service models for many advisory firms is that you need to start by determining who you enjoy serving and then build out your service model based on the needs of those specific clients.

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 Keys to Finding New Prospects

by Beverly Flaxington

Can I find prospects without cold calling or running an advertisement, both of which are time consuming and expensive?

Recent Commentaries

Under Pressure: Earnings Recession Warning; Economic Recession Watch

by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Many of the questions I’ve been getting recently at client events are around earnings, and whether the expected move into negative territory for earnings growth is a signal of a pending economic recession.

US Corporate Bond Spreads Continue To Widen

by Eric Busch of GaveKal Capital

Spreads are on the move in the bond market, especially for lower credit bonds. The spread between the Bank Of America/Merrill Lynch US High Yield index and 10-year treasuries has widened out to 623 basis points which is the largest spread since June 2012. It’s not just junk bonds that are making multi-year highs in spreads, however. The spread between BAA and 10-year treasuries is the widest since July 2012 and the spread between BAA and junk is the widest since September 2012.

Employment, GDP, and the Fed

by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The September Employment Report was disappointing, but not horrible. Some of the recent softening in the pace of job growth may reflect seasonal issues. Stronger seasonal hiring in May and June should naturally lead to more seasonal layoffs in August and September. That is unlikely the only explanation. Concerns about global growth and financial market volatility may have made firms, especially smaller firms, reluctant to hire. Estimate of 3Q15 GDP have been declining, while underlying domestic demand have remained strong.

Failure to Launch

by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The popular belief that the U.S. economy has been steadily recovering has endured months of disappointing data without losing much of its appeal. A deep bench of excuses, ranging from the weather to the Chinese economy, has been called on to justify why the economy hasn't built up any noticeable steam, and why the Fed has failed to move rates off zero, where they have been for seven years. But the downright dismal September jobs report that was released last Friday may prove to be the flashing red beacon that even the most skilled apologists can't explain away.

Equity Outlook Fourth Quarter 2015

by Neuberger Berman Asset Allocation Committee of Neuberger Berman

The Committee upgraded our view on U.S. large cap equities following the recent correction, and maintained a slightly overweight view on European equities. Our view on MLPs has also improved following a challenging year.

Global Bonds: To Hedge or Not to Hedge?

by Scott DiMaggio, Alison Martier of AllianceBernstein

With US rates poised to rise, there’s never been a better time to reposition into global bonds as your core mandate. But when you do, it’s crucial to fully hedge against currencies—an asset class nearly twice as risky as fixed income.

Money Glut: More to Come, Still Effective

by Joachim Fels of PIMCO

Given global lowflation pressures, the central-bank-fueled money glut is likely to increase further before year-end.

An All-Market Approach to Investing in China

by William Yuen of Invesco Blog

As China transitions from a manufacturing-driven economy to a consumer-led one, the Chinese investment universe has expanded. Historically, global investors have chosen to invest in Chinese equities via Hong Kong stock exchanges. But with China gradually opening its capital markets to global investors, and more Chinese enterprises successfully listing overseas, the investment options and opportunities have increased significantly. In this changing investment landscape, we are seeing a growing trend toward investors adopting an all-market approach to investing in China.

A Growing Risk of Recession

by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

With the S&P 500 within about 8% of its highest level in history, with historically reliable valuation measures at obscene levels, implying near-zero 10-12 year S&P 500 nominal total returns; with an extended period of extreme overvalued, overbought, overbullish conditions replaced by deterioration in market internals that signal a clear shift toward risk-aversion among investors; with credit spreads on low-grade debt blowing out to multi-year highs; and with leading economic measures deteriorating rapidly...

Recent dshort Posts

What Would It Take for the Prime U.S. Workforce to Fully Recover?

The reaction in the popular financial press to last week's Employment Report for September followed the usual pattern of hyper-reaction to the monthly data points. The unemployment rate was unchanged, but the number of new nonfarm jobs (a relatively volatile number subject to extensive revisions) disappointed expectations. The popular consensus was that the low number of new jobs will dissuade the Fed from a rate hike this year.

S&P 500 Snapshot: Five-Day Rally Ends

Global markets had a good day today. The Nikkei rose 1.0% and the Euro STOXX 50 was up a comparable 0.93%. In contrast, our benchmark S&P 500 vacillated at the open, traded in the shallow red and then sold off to its -0.76% mid-day low. It spent the rest of the day grinding in a narrow range above the intraday low and closed with a trimmed loss of -0.36%, snapping its 5-day rally. The index is now down 3.84% for the year and 7.08% off its record close on May 21.

Demographic Trends for the 50-and-Older Work Force

Note: This commentary has been updated with the latest numbers from last week's Employment Report.

This is not the scenario that would have been envisioned a generation ago for the "Golden Years" of retirement. Consider: Today nearly one in three of the 65-69 cohort and about one in five of the 70-74 cohort are in the labor force.

A Look at Long-Term Trends in Employment by Age Group

The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) is a simple computation: You take the Civilian Labor Force (people age 16 and over employed or seeking employment) and divide it by the Civilian Noninstitutional Population (those 16 and over not in the military and or committed to an institution). The result is the participation rate expressed as a percent.

August Trade Deficit at $48.3 Billion

The International Trade in Goods and Services, also known as the FT-900, is published monthly by the Bureau of Economic Analysis with data going back to 1992. The monthly reports include revisions that go back several months. This report details U.S. exports and imports of goods and services.

The Labor Market Conditions Index for September: At the Flatline

The Labor Market Conditions Index (LMCI) is a relatively recent indicator developed by Federal Reserve economists to assess changes in the labor market conditions. It is a dynamic factor model of labor market indicators, essentially a diffusion index subject to extensive revisions based on nineteen underlying indicators in nine broad categories (see the table at the bottom for details). Today's release of the September data came in at 0, down from 1.2 in August. Negative revisions were made to the previous three months: -0.1 in July to 0.7 in June, -0.7 in July and -0.9 in August.

ISM Non-Manufacturing: September Growth Continues to Slow

Today the Institute for Supply Management published its latest Non-Manufacturing Report. The headline NMI Composite Index is at 56.9 percent, down 2.1 percent from last month's 59.0 percent. Today's number came in below the forecast of 57.5 percent.