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

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Recent Articles

An In-Depth Look at Fidelity's Contrafund

by Larry Swedroe

Fidelity's largest actively managed fund is the Contrafund (FCNTX). It's also among Fidelity's top performers, making it their flagship fund, a status previously accorded to the Magellan Fund under Peter Lynch. Will Contrafund investors continue to enjoy outperformance or will they face flagging returns like Magellan's investors did following Lynch's departure?

How do Deferred-Income Annuities Stack Up Against Rival Products?

by Joe Tomlinson

Deferred-income annuities (DIAs) have received a lot of attention with new Treasury Department regulations encouraging their use. Many tout them as providing the most cost-effective way to generate retirement income. But retirement products are not one-size-fits-all. I'll show where DIAs fit among the products and investment solutions available to advisors.

Krugman at His Worst

by Robert Huebscher

As an economist, Paul Krugman has much to offer. Sometimes I agree with him, but more often he challenges me to defend my opposing position. When he uses his privileged perch at the New York Times to advance his political agenda, however, he is nothing more than another second-rate "talking head" littering the media. Such was the case with his column on March 16, Israel's Gilded Age.

Two Approaches to Landing New Clients

by Dan Richards

What does it take to build a high-performance team? My analysis shows that the best advisors follow two distinct approaches.

Negative News and Bad Decisions

by Daniel Solin

The financial media is engaged in a relentless pursuit of negative news items. They know it creates anxiety among investors, which increases viewers and readers. Understanding the role of negative news in your clients' lives will help you guide them toward sound and rational decisions.

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.

Words Every Client Likes to Hear

by Beverly Flaxington

I've read a lot about different ways to show appreciation for clients: events to plan, gifts to send, newsletters to write, etc. Is there one thing that stands out more than anything else when it comes to letting clients know how important they are?

Gundlach - Don't Bet on Higher Rates

by Robert Huebscher

Even if the Fed raises short-term interest rates as many expect it to, longer-term bond investors won't face a decline in prices, according to Jeffrey Gundlach. Indeed, the market may have already priced in the effect of rate hikes, he said.

Recent Commentaries

International Equity Commentary: February 2015

by Team of Thomas White International

International equity prices gained during February on expectations that the central banks in Europe and Japan would continue their quantitative easing programs, while the U.S. Federal Reserve could possibly delay its interest rate hikes. At the same time, economic trends from most major economies remained relatively stable. After two quarters of robust gains, the U.S. economy expanded at a slower pace during the fourth quarter of 2014, as expected.

Living in a Free-Lunch World

by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

I believe the fundamental imbalances we are seeing in the world (highlighted in the two papers mentioned above) are the result of the massive increases in global debt and misunderstandings about the use and consequences of debt. Too much of the wrong kind of debt is going to be the central cause of the next investment crisis.

Emerging Markets Equity Commentary: February 2015

by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging Market Equities Emerging market equity prices advanced during the month of February on signs of improvement in global economic trends as well as expectations about quantitative easing in Europe and Japan. Encouraged by reduced inflation risks after the oil price decline, some of the emerging market central banks have also lowered interest rates in recent months.

Are Equities Overvalued?

by Michael Spence of Project Syndicate

Since the global economic crisis, sharp divergences in economic performance have contributed to significant stock-market volatility. Now, stocks are reaching relatively high levels by conventional measures – and it is difficult to discern precisely why.

Liquidity

by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital Management

My wife Nancy’s accusations of repetitiveness notwithstanding, once in a while I think of something about which I haven’t written much. Liquidity is one of those things. I’m not sure it’s a profound topic, and perhaps my observations won’t be either. But I think it’s worth a memo.

Woe Betide the Value Investor

by Jason Hsu, Vivek Viswanathan of Research Affiliates

The excess return earned by the average investor in value mutual funds was meaningfully negative over a 23-year period when the funds themselves outperformed the market. Why don’t all value investors benefit from the value premium?

In a Challenging Environment, Policy Easing Sweeps Through Asia

by Adam Bowe, Tomoya Masanao, Isaac Meng of PIMCO

The key change to our cyclical outlook for Asia: We have further downgraded our growth forecast for China to the low-6% range as real borrowing rates remain elevated. In Japan, we expect growth to recover from last year's technical recession, following the delay in the next value-added tax (VAT) hike and the increase in the Bank of Japan's easing program.

Global Economic Outlook Involves More than Fed News

by Andrew Pease of Russell Investments

Andrew Pease outlines the key economic outlook points and key watch points going forward.

Recent dshort Posts

S&P 500 Snapshot: Selloff Ends with a Modest Gain

Friday was a mixed bag of economic data. Hopes for an upward revision to Third Estimate of Q4 GDP were disappointed when the BEA left the annualized rate at 2.2%. The Michigan final Consumer Sentiment for March was an improvement on the preliminary reading, but it was below the February final and well off the January 11-year high. The S&P 500 spent the day in a narrow range, ending with a modest 0.24% gain, which snapped a four-day selloff. The index was down 2.33% for the week, its second worst weekly performance of 2015 (the worst being the -2.77% plunge in late January).

Median Household Income Up Slightly in February

Summary: The Sentier Research monthly median household income data series is now available for February. The nominal median household income was up $178 month-over-month and up $1,409 year-over-year. That's a 0.3% MoM gain and 2.7% YoY. Adjusted for inflation, the numbers were up $60 MoM and $1447 YoY. The real numbers equate to a 0.1% monthly increase and a 2.7% yearly increase.

Michigan Consumer Sentiment at 93.0, An Improvement from the March Preliminary

The University of Michigan final Consumer Sentiment for March came in at 93.0, up from the 91.2 March preliminary reading but down from the final reading of 95.4 in February and the 98.1 level in January. Investing.com had forecast 92.0 for the March final.

Q4 GDP Third Estimate Remains Unchanged at 2.2%

The Third Estimate for Q4 GDP, to one decimal, came in at 2.2 percent, unchanged from the Second Estimate. Today's number was a minor disappointment for most economic forecasts, which were looking for a somewhat higher Third Estimate.

Here is a log-scale chart of real GDP with an exponential regression, which helps us understand growth cycles since the 1947 inception of quarterly GDP. The latest number puts us 13.6% below trend. That is slightly off the 14.0% below in Q1 of 2014.