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.

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.”

The Fallacy behind Investor versus Fund Returns (and why DALBAR is dead wrong)

by Michael Edesess

There is no way to determine if investors underperform the mutual funds they own, either because of bad timing or for any other reason.

The Tradeoff Between Income and Capital in Retirement Withdrawals

by John Walton

How can the best performing retirement strategies be combined with annuities, pensions, Social Security and different ‘tilts’ to allow clients to best choose between capital preservation and income stability?

Tips for Dealing with Introverted and Extroverted Prospects

by Dan Solin

Unless you are reflective enough to understand whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you will be unable to connect with your prospect.

Last Week’s Highlights on APViewpoint

by Marianne Brunet

The top conversations on APViewpoint last week were started by thought leader Larry Swedroe and member Adam Butler. They generated thoughtful discussions on: how the performance of legendary value investors like Warren Buffett matches up against passively managed alternatives; the art and science of portfolio optimization; and the myth of private equity and venture capital outperformance.

Inside the GoodHaven Fund, a Top-Performing Value Fund in 2016

by Robert Huebscher

The GoodHaven Fund (GOODX) is managed by Larry Pitkowsky and Keith Trauner of GoodHaven Capital Management, LLC. As of July 13, the fund had returned 12.75% year-to-date, as compared to 3.84% for the S&P 500, placing it in the top 2nd percentile of its Morningstar peer group.

Three Fail-Safe Ways to Jumpstart Growth

by Beverly Flaxington

We are in a lull right now. Unless we acquire another advisory firm, our numbers will be flat or negative this year. I am looking for a shot in the arm – something to jumpstart our growth and get everyone energized.

Recent Commentaries

Harman International Industries, Inc., Cheap or Dear

by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

I am sure you can easily see the common sense in the idea of price relative to value. It’s such a simple concept and relevant to all investor types, whether they use individual securities or funds; active management or passive. Yet the idea of “cheap and dear” have been erased by investment practitioners who promote efficient markets, asset allocation, passive investing, smart beta, and a host of other data mined approaches that have worked for someone at some point in the past. Personally I am pleased with these current promoters and their applications to the management of portfolios, as it is their actions that create cheap and dear prices for us.

Speculative Extremes and Historically-Informed Optimism

by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

There’s a field in one of our data sets that rarely sees much play, being driven primarily by only the most extreme combination of overvaluation, overbullish sentiment, and overbought conditions we’ve identified across history. It’s one of a variety of such syndromes we track, and I’ve simply labeled it “Bubble,” because with a single exception, this extreme variant has only emerged just before the worst market collapses in the past century.

TFTB: Howard Marks & Investing Rules

by Lance Roberts of Real Investment Advice

It’s that time of the year again for the annual family beach retreat. Over the past few years, TFTB has become a regular series of posts on the markets and economy from a “detached,” and slightly more relaxed, point of view.

Promises Broken, PROMESA Made

by James Dearborn of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

Island living is often likened to paradise, but on the distressed shores of Puerto Rico, the island is anything but carefree. Treading on the heels of the largest default in municipal bond history, investors are left asking, “where’s the money?

Promises, Promises, Pension Promises

by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Chicago residents are learning about this the hard way. They won’t be the only ones. Voters all over the US will pay for the promises their elected officials made long ago – and broke.

Will the Gold Bull Market Resume After the Summer Correction?

by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Only time will tell which candidate will be triumphant in November, but in the meantime, one of the winners might very well be gold, which has traditionally attracted investors in times of political and economic uncertainty. In the United Kingdom, which voted one month ago to leave the European Union, gold dealers are seeing “unprecedented” demand, especially from first-time buyers. Some investors are reportedly even converting 40 to 50 percent of their net worth into bullion, though that’s not advisable. (I always suggest a 10 percent weighting, diversified in physical gold and gold mining stocks.) In Japan, where government bond yields have fallen below zero and faith in Abenomics is flagging, gold sales are soaring. It’s not unreasonable to expect the same here in the U.S. between now and November (and beyond).

The Perils of Populism

by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Populism is not new, and its current incarnation is certainly not its most extreme expression. Wikipedia describes populism as “a political position which holds that the virtuous citizens are being mistreated by a small circle of elites...the elites are depicted as trampling in illegitimate fashion upon the rights, values and voice of the people.”

A Tale Of Two Exits—How Different Is This Time?

by Chun Wang of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

Despite the uncertainties surrounding all the possible paths Brexit might take, and the significant differences in the macro backdrop, we think our best guide is still the 1992 U.K. exit from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM). While the ERM exit was practically forced upon the U.K., Brexit is very much a self-inflicted wound. The initial market reaction was nonetheless similar with big drops in the pound in both cases. Overall, we think the market action of the pound is consistent with an event of this magnitude and there is probably more room on the downside.

ECRI Weekly Leading Index: WLI Up 1.1, Growth Index Highest Since 2013

by Jill Mislinski of Advisor Perspectives (

Today's release of the publicly available data from ECRI (Economic Cycle Research Institute) puts its Weekly Leading Index (WLI) at 138.1, up 1.1 from the previous week. Year-over-year the four-week moving average of the indicator is now at 3.00%, up from 2.53% the previous week. The company's Weekly Leading Index annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at 7.5, up from last week, its highest since February 2013.

Recent dshort Posts

Dallas Fed Manufacturing Outlook: Activity Stabilizes in July, Outlook Improving

This morning the Dallas Fed released its Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey (TMOS) for July. The latest general business activity index increased in July, up 17 points, coming in at -1.3, up from -18.3 in June. Other measures of manufacturing activity reflected increasing and improving conditions.

NYSE Margin Debt and the Market

Note: The NYSE has released new data for margin debt, now available through June. We've updated the charts in this commentary to include the latest numbers.

The NYSE margin debt data is a few weeks old when it is published. The latest debt level is down 0.8% month-over-month, the second consecutive month of decline, but it is still off its interim low set in February. This metric is well below its record high set 14 months ago in April of last year.

World Markets Weekend Update: The Global Rally Moderates

The global rally in equities Moderated last week. The average gain of the eight indexes on our world watch list was a respectable 0.41%, down from the previous week's steroidal 3.87% average. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was the top performer with a 1.41% advance. At the other end, the chronic laggard Shanghai Composite fell 1.36%.

Best Stock Market Indicator Update

According to this system, the market is now tradable and a signal to enter and continue all long trading. The OEXA200R is at 84% and all three secondary indicators are positive.

S&P 500 Snapshot: The Third Record Close of the Week

The S&P 500 hesitated at the open and remained in a quandary for the first 45 minutes or so, then rallied to a mid-day range, after which it drifted higher to its closing 0.46% gain within eight ticks of its intraday high. It finished the week with a 0.61% gain and another record close, the third of the week -- one on Monday, another on Wednesday and again today.

Gasoline Volume Sales and our Changing Culture

The Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA) monthly data on volume sales is several weeks old when it released. The latest numbers, through mid-May, are now available. However, despite the lag, this report offers an interesting perspective on fascinating aspects of the US economy. Gasoline prices and increases in fuel efficiency are important factors, but there are also some significant demographic and cultural dynamics in this data series.

ECRI Weekly Leading Index: WLI Up 1.1, 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, up 1.1 from the previous week. Year-over-year the four-week moving average of the indicator is now at 3.00%, up from 2.53% the previous week. The company's Weekly Leading Index annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at 7.5, up from last week, its highest since February 2013.