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

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2015-05-28 00:00:00 World War D—Deflation by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Everywhere I go I’m asked, “Will there be inflation or deflation? Are we in a bull or bear market? Is the bond bulk market over and will interest rates rise?" The flippant answer to all those questions is “Yes.” And that can be the correct answer as well, but it depends on what your time frame is and what tools you use to measure the markets and inflation.

2015-05-28 00:00:00 The Importance of Liquidity by Byron Wien of Blackstone

Since the axiom “Don’t fight the Fed” came into common parlance, we have all been aware that central bank policy is an important component of market performance. Most of us started out as security or business analysts and believed that fundamental factors like the pace of the economy, earnings growth and interest rates were the drivers of equity values.

2015-05-28 00:00:00 How Much Should We Invest in Emerging Markets? by Dr. Burton Malkiel of WaveFront Capital Management

Investors today are significantly underexposed to emerging markets; fortunately, the opportunity to correct this flaw is the best in years.

2015-05-28 00:00:00 Is Now a Good Time to Add More Risk? by Alan Hartley of Black Cypress Capital Management

About this time in a market cycle, after several years of strong stock market returns, there is a tendency for investors to become more tolerant of risk. One may find his or herself questioning the reasoning behind their current asset allocation and strongly considering adding more stocks and other “risk” assets to their portfolio.

2015-05-28 00:00:00 Investing Without a Goal is Like Racing Without a Finish Line. by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

In investing, there is no actual finish line, unless you subscribe to the old line that, “He who dies with the most money wins.” But investing, like most activities in life, is improved by having goals.

2015-05-28 00:00:00 Tantrum Potential at Home, Opportunity Overseas by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

U.S. equities continue to climb, but BlackRock Global Chief Investment Strategist, Russ Koesterich, discusses why the best opportunities may reside outside the United States, which, in fact, has been the case so far this year.

2015-05-28 00:00:00 Yellen on Interest Rates and Equities, Grabs Attention by Paul Eitelman of Russell Investments

Paul Eitelman compares recent comments from Fed Chair Janet Yellen to historical commentary and also provides an update on Russell Investments’ outlook on the U.S. economy.

2015-05-28 00:00:00 Valuing Stocks Requires a Human Touch by Kevin Simms, Joseph Paul of AllianceBernstein

Following pure valuation metrics today could leave equity portfolios with severe imbalances—especially in financials. But by studying patterns of the past, investors can gain insight into investing in underappreciated stocks by applying a human touch.

2015-05-28 00:00:00 Inflation Expectations Are Turning Back Over In The US by Team of GaveKal Capital

TIPS derived breakeven inflation expectations have started to fall once again in May. For a little context, starting in last June, breakeven inflation started a steady march lower that lasted until January of this year. Since that time, we have seen a rebound in inflation expectations.

2015-05-28 00:00:00 Brexit Signs: Envisioning an EU Without the UK by David Zahn, Heather Arnold, Philippe Brugere-Trelat of Franklin Templeton Investments

In my view, the big risk for the United Kingdom of exiting the EU would be marginalization, not just economically, not just financially but also politically … I would even go so far as to suggest that the status of the United Kingdom as a large world financial center could be at risk if it were to leave the EU.

2015-05-28 00:00:00 Easy?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

My father first introduced me to Justin Mamis’ work by giving me a few of the books he had written like When to Sell: Inside Strategies for Stock-Market Profits, How to Buy: An Insider’s Guide to Making Money in the Stock Market, and my favorite, The Nature of Risk. Justin penned his last stock market letter at the age of 85 and his work is missed to this day. He was a stock market historian, author, strategist, and a technician’s technical analyst. I quoted him this morning because the stock market this year has been anything but “easy.”

2015-05-28 00:00:00 Half Full or Half Empty by Herbert Abramson, Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

The ultimate question for investors. Is the glass half full, that is to say are economic backdrops improving to support attractive valuations, or to the contrary, half empty, deteriorating and threatening full valuations?

2015-05-28 00:00:00 New Jobless Claims Disappoint with a 7K Increase by Doug Short (Article)

Today's seasonally adjusted 282K new claims was higher than the Investing.com forecast of 270K. The four-week moving average at 271,500 is 5K above the 15-year interim low set last week.

2015-05-28 00:00:00 S&P 500 Snapshot: A Modest Loss on Light Trading by Doug Short (Article)

The pre-market economic news was a 7K rise in new jobless claims, a bit higher than forecast. The S&P 500 opened an hour later at its -0.06% intraday high and dropped to a trading range for the next three hours that included its -0.50% intraday low. After the lunch hour, the index slowly trended higher to its -0.13% close.

2015-05-28 00:00:00 Moving Averages: Month-End Preview by Doug Short (Article)

Here is an advance preview of the monthly moving averages we track after the close of the last business day of the month. At this point, before the open on the last day of the month, three S&P 500 strategies are now signaling "invested" -- unchanged from last month. One of the five of the Ivy Portfolio ETFs, PowerShares DB Commodity Index Tracking (DBC), is signal "cash", unchanged from last month as well.

2015-05-28 00:00:00 The Latest Philly Fed ADS Business Conditions Index by Doug Short (Article)

The Philly Fed's Aruoba-Diebold-Scotti Business Conditions Index (hereafter the ADS index) is a fascinating but relatively little known real-time indicator of business conditions for the U.S. economy, not just the Third Federal Reserve District, which covers eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware. Thus it is comparable to the better-known Chicago Fed's National Activity Index.

2015-05-28 00:00:00 The Median Household Income Rose in April by Doug Short (Article)

The Sentier Research monthly median household income data series is now available for April. The nominal median household income was up $375 month-over-month and up $1,549 year-over-year. That's a 0.7% MoM increase and 2.9% YoY. Adjusted for inflation, the latest income was up $309 MoM and $1,606 YoY. The real numbers equate to a 0.6% MoM increase and a 3.0% YoY. In real dollar terms, the median annual income is 4.7% lower ($2,703) than its interim high in January 2008 but well off its low in August 2011.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 Forecasting Q1 Second Estimate GDP: Gazing Into the Crystal Ball by Doug Short (Article)

The big economic number this week will be the Q1 Second Estimate for GDP on Friday at 8:30 AM ET. With the BEA's Advance Estimate of 0.2% behind us, what do economists see in their collective crystal ball for Q1 of 2015? Let's take a look at the latest GDP forecasts from the latest Wall Street Journal survey of economists conducted earlier this month.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 The Currency Manipulation Charade by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

The US Senate narrowly defeated a “currency manipulation” amendment to a bill giving President Barack Obama so-called “fast-track” authority to negotiate the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. But the issue could return as the debate shifts to the House of Representatives.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 Weekly Gasoline Price Update: Up Another Three Cents by Doug Short (Article)

It's time again for our weekly gasoline update based on data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Rounded to the penny, the price of Regular and premium both rose three cents. This is the sixth week of price increases after six weeks of little change. According to GasBuddy.com, California has the highest average price for Regular at $3.75, and its averaging $3.93 in Los Angeles. South Carolina has the cheapest at $2.42.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 The Market and U.S. Economy from a Small-Cap Perspective by (Article)

Portfolio Manager and Principal Jay Kaplan discusses current market and economic conditions and what he's hearing from company management teams, the effect energy prices are having on some of his holdings, and Royce's competitive advantage within the small-cap space.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 Collecting High-Quality Stocks for the Long Term by (Article)

Royce Premier Fund, which has more than 20 years of history, represents the firm's highest conviction stocks. CEO Chuck Royce talks with Co-CIO Francis Gannon about how the portfolio is constructed and some of the characteristics prevalent in the portfolio today.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 On My Radar: Investor Behavior, Margin Debt & The Merciless Mathematics of Loss by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

As the Fed nears its tipping point, let’s take a look at investor tendencies and the risk to the market when investors are nearly “all in”. Can we safely ‘get off the Fed’s juice’? They are going to try and it’s going to get bumpy.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 Annual Cost of Healthcare for a Typical American Family of Four Approaches $25,000 by Chris Girod, Sue Hart, Scott Weltz of Milliman, Inc.

In 2015, the cost of healthcare for a typical American family of four covered by an average employer-sponsored preferred provider organization (PPO) plan is $24,671 according to the Milliman Medical Index (MMI).1 The amount will almost certainly surpass $25,000 in 2016.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 Macro Is Not the Markets: The Global Economy and the Resulting Investment Environment by Jeremy DeGroot of Litman Gregory

In a recent client Q&A event, Litman Gregory chief investment officer Jeremy DeGroot shared his thoughts on the global economy. He pointed out that, historically, macroeconomic cycles and financial-market cycles have not coincided, which has implications for asset allocation. Investors need to analyze the stock market separately from the economy.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 Don’t Fear Rising Rates — Embrace Them by Scott Eldridge of Invesco Blog

Interest rates have been on the march since late January, thanks largely to global rate markets and a looming US Federal Reserve. In general, bonds are vulnerable to falling market prices as a result of higher rates, but there are income investments that can be used to take advantage of, rather than fall victim to, rising rates. They’re known as floating rate instruments.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 The Fed Considers a More Seasoned Approach by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Just as the steady torrent of awful economic data, which began in the First Quarter and continued well into April and May, had forced many market analysts to grudgingly concede that 2015 would not see the robust economic growth that most had expected, the statisticians arrived on the scene like a cavalry charge and routed the forces of pessimism with a wave of their spreadsheets.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 European And Asian Stocks Are Approaching Overbought Levels by Team of GaveKal Capital

Unlike the majority of this six year old bull market, European and Asian stocks are outperforming North American stocks in 2015 (yes even measured in USD). Asian stocks are nearly 12% higher, European stocks are nearly 10% higher and North America stocks are just about 3%. This surge in Asia and European are starting to hit overbought levels judging by the the % of stocks above its 100-day and 200-day moving average.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 Global Economic Perspective: May by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

Having come through 2015’s first quarter with virtually no growth, the US economy is generally expected to pick up during the rest of this year. Indeed, as we move into a new quarter and shake off the effects of a significant West Coast dock strike and severe winter weather, forward indicators have pointed toward better growth.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 What America Can Learn from China’s Infrastructure by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

As one of the greatest nations on the planet, the United States excels in a number of areas, innovation and entrepreneurship foremost among them. But something you might be hard-pressed to find at the top of anyone’s best-of list is infrastructure—specifically roads, rail and mass transit.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 Moment of Truth For Non-U.S. Markets by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

The FTSE All World Ex-US index (VEU) is testing multi-year resistance in both dollar and gold terms. (See Chart 1 below.) Dollar-based investors are obviously interested in dollar thresholds, but why monitor relative strength in gold terms? Because gold provides an alternative base “currency” that measures confidence in the institutions of money and credit. A market making higher highs versus gold is exhibiting organic strength independent of local-currency devaluation or unsound credit expansion.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 The Uncorrelated by David Kleinberg of Universal Orbit

Once deemed uncorrelated, sovereign energy policies combine infrastructure development with corporate capital investment accounting for both scalability of renewable sources over the next 25 years and commodity strip pricing in the short-term. Reflecting continued private investment in public policy, simple audit of global multinational corporate profiles features integrated wind and solar operations—a dedication of business segments operations within industrial portfolios including oil and gas.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 The Slowly-Growing Economy Should Persist for Some Time by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

There was little meaningful direction in equity markets last week. Global bond yields generally rose and economic data was mixed.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 Inflation: Dormant, Not Dead by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Last month we explained why the dreaded threat of hyperinflation hasn’t materialized, and likely wouldn’t materialize, in spite of the huge expansion of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet the past several years, including QE1, 2, and 3.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 Actively Manage Your Activist Credit Risk by Jeff Skoglund, Susan Hutman of AllianceBernstein

Bondholders fret about leveraged buyouts (LBOs) late in the credit cycle. But this time around, with new federal lending rules slowing LBO activity, shareholder activism is stealing the spotlight—and the cash flows. The threat to bond portfolios is just as serious.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 New CEF Issuance by (Article)

New issuance of closed-end funds is likely to remain “light” while questions persist regarding interest rates, says Jonathan Isaac of Eaton Vance.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 For Bond Investors, The Timing of Liftoff Matters by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Kristina Hooper, US Investment Strategist for Allianz Global Investors, breaks down last week's FOMC minutes and public remarks from Fed Chair Janet Yellen. Find out why the path of rate hikes and the timing of tightening both matter.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 Mr. Bleu by Bill Gross of Janus Capital Group

“It’s a spectacle of excess at the highest level”, quoted an art consultant to the N.Y. Times. Perhaps it was. Christie’s, even not counting its archrival Sotheby’s, had bagged $1 billion in sales during its May auction week – rivaling even the frenzied bidding for Manhattan high rise condos. As with high flying stocks, the logic was that the money had to go somewhere and why not a wall instead of a monthly portfolio statement.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 San Francisco Real Estate Is 75% Above Housing Crisis Lows by Team of GaveKal Capital

The latest (March) Case-Shiller Home Price Index was released this morning and there were several noteworthy data points in the report. First, our 3-month diffusion index that measures the number of cities where prices are higher now than they were three months ago increased by six cities in March to a six-month high of 18.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 Do Record Stock Highs Signal a Top? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

With the U.S. stock market hitting a new record high every week, are we close to the bull market's top? Russ and an investment strategist on his team, Kurt Reiman, weigh in.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 Fun with GDP by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The current economic expansion is rapidly approaching its six-year anniversary. Contrary to popular belief, the likelihood of entering a recession does not depend on the age of the expansion. However, there are other issues. In this recovery, average growth in the first quarter of the year has been well below the average of the other three quarters, leading to some doubts about the quality of the seasonal adjustment. Looking ahead, the government will introduce two new gauges with the annual benchmark revisions in late July.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 Interest Rates Affect on Intrinsic Value by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

We at Smead Capital Management believe in the value of compounded returns. They are the friend of the long-duration common stock investor, especially when considering the intrinsic value of a company. With so much chatter among investors, the media and analysts over when the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates, we would like to share with you how we think about and use prevailing interest rates in security analysis. Together with earnings growth estimates and longevity, the discount interest rate is a cornerstone of calculating the intrinsic value of a company.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 How Is Capital Spending Trending? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The current pace of expenditures on property, plant, and equipment dampens the likelihood of an accelerated economic recovery.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 China Surpasses America As World's Largest Economy by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

For the first time in history, the People’s Republic of China’s Gross Domestic Product exceeded the GDP of America, as measured by purchasing power, in 2014. According to the International Monetary Fund, China’s purchasing power GDP hit $17.6 trillion last year versus $17.4 trillion in the US.

2015-05-26 00:00:00 A Modest Improvement in Consumer Confidence by Doug Short (Article)

The Latest Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index was released this morning based on data collected through May 15. The headline number of 95.4 was a small increase from the revised April final reading of 94.3, a downward revision from 95.2. Today's number was slightly below the Investing.com forecast of 94.9.

2015-05-26 00:00:00 Career Center by Various (Article)

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.

2015-05-26 00:00:00 April Durable Goods: Another Mixed Bag by Doug Short (Article)

The May Advance Report on April Durable Goods released today by the Census Bureau was another disappointment. The latest new orders headline number at -0.5 percent was slightly below the Investing.com estimate of -0.4 percent. However, this series is down 2.3 percent year-over-year (YoY). If we exclude transportation, "core" durable goods came in at 0.5 percent month-over-month (MoM), slightly beating the Intesting.com estimate of 0.4 percent. However, the core measure is down -0.9 percent YoY.

2015-05-26 00:00:00 The "Real" Goods on the April Durable Goods Data by Doug Short (Article)

Earlier today the Census Bureau posted the Advance Report on April Durable Goods New Orders. This series dates from 1992 and is not adjusted for either population growth or inflation. Let's now review Durable Goods data with two adjustments. In the charts below the gray line shows the goods orders divided by the Census Bureau's monthly population data, giving us durable goods orders per capita. The blue line goes a step further and adjusts for inflation based on the Producer Price Index for All Commodities, chained in today's dollar value.

2015-05-26 00:00:00 New Homes Sales Surprise Forecast by Doug Short (Article)

This morning's release of the April New Homes Sales from the Census Bureau at 517K was 7K above forecast, with the previous month an upward revision. The Investing.com forecast was for 510K sales, which would have been a 5.1% increase from the revised previous month. The actual increase was 6.8%.

2015-05-26 00:00:00 Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Flattened in May by Doug Short (Article)

Today the Richmond Fed Manufacturing Composite Index squeaked back above the flat line with a 4 point increase to 1 from last month's -3. Investing.com had forecast a rise to 0. Because of the highly volatile nature of this index, we include a 3-month moving average to facilitate the identification of trends, now at -3.3, in modest contraction.

2015-05-26 00:00:00 Why 'Smart Beta' Is Really Dumb by Michael Edesess (Article)

What does smart beta mean? Does it deserve the attention it is getting from the market and academia?

2015-05-26 00:00:00 The Most Important Step to Convert Prospects by Dan Richards (Article)

Most advisors using traditional mass-marketing methods without building early credibility will see heightened struggles to get a return on their effort. Fortunately, once the will and priority is in place, there are some proven models to successfully build credibility.

2015-05-26 00:00:00 The Fundamental Misunderstanding That Costs You Assets by Daniel Solin (Article)

A recent medical event involving one of my family members poignantly demonstrated the role emotions play in driving decisions. It also illustrated a fundamental misunderstanding about the decision-making process rampant among advisors.

2015-05-26 00:00:00 Disproving the Four Themes Behind Gold Bearishness by Trey Reik (Article)

The resurgent bear thesis for gold rests on four key assumptions. Because each of these assumptions is already in the process of being disproved, Western investment demand for gold will surge dramatically in coming years.

2015-05-26 00:00:00 Only the Paranoid Survive by Martin Weil (Article)

Only the paranoid survive, said Andy Grove. The quote comes to mind whenever I am talking with advisor colleagues who believe that they have little to fear from robo-advisors and the spread of technological innovation into the financial services arena.

2015-05-26 00:00:00 The Best Way to Train New Employees by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Some of my coworkers believe we should put on a sales hat and try and "sell" our new hires on how great we are. Others think we should stick purely to the facts and just say this is what we do and how we do it. Any perspective on what's better?

2015-05-26 00:00:00 Senior Loan CEFs by (Article)

Senior loan CEFs may appeal to “defensive” income investors, but don’t expect immediate payoff, says Ken Fincher of First Trust Advisors.

2015-05-25 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review For the Week of May 18-22; Housing Rebounds But the Markets Continue G by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

Last week’s fundamental news was encouraging. Although we’re still in a shallow industrial recession, other sectors of the economy are printing solid results. However, large multi-nationals face sufficient headwinds from a strong dollar, weak international environment and declining oil prices to prevent a sustained advance.

2015-05-25 00:00:00 Voting Machine, Weighing Machine by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The fact is that valuations drive long-term returns, but over shorter horizons, stock prices are the result of whatever investors collectively believe, however reckless or detached from historical evidence those beliefs may be. As long as enough market participants are attached to the idea that risk is their friend (or enemy) regardless of the price, there is no natural limit to how overvalued (or undervalued) stocks can become. There is only one way to address this: measure investor risk preferences directly through observable market internals.

2015-05-23 00:00:00 World Markets Weekend Update: The Rally Accelerates, Dominated by China by Doug Short (Article)

All eight indexes on our world watch list posted gains over the past week, with China's Shanghai Composite surging 8.10%, the largest one week gain for any of the eight indexes in 2015. The two eurzone indexes were in distant second and third place with healthy gains approaching three percent. The Nikkei and SENSEX were not far being in the middle two percent range. At the botton of the list, the S&P 500 eked out a fractional 0.16% for the week, although it logged two record closes during the week.

2015-05-23 00:00:00 Western Drought to Hurt or Help Housing? by John Burns of John Burns Real Estate Consulting

While the drought throughout the Western US has created a lot of concern, it turns out that a number of companies and water districts were prepared, having invested in all sorts of technologies and water recycling programs. In fact, new homes and new home communities are far more water efficient than existing communities.

2015-05-23 00:00:00 Rate Hike Ahead? Here’s How to Get Your Portfolio Ready by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Many experts and analysts believe a June rate hike seems very unlikely, but today, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen hinted that one might happen as soon as the end of this year.

2015-05-23 00:00:00 The Strong Dollar’s (Real) Toll on Tech Stocks by Heidi Richardson of BlackRock Investment Management

While the stronger dollar certainly did hurt technology sector earnings, the currency's impact wasn't as bad as predicted, and the case for US tech remains strong.

2015-05-23 00:00:00 Can Emerging Markets Survive Lower Commodity Prices? by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Can Emerging Markets Survive Lower Commodity Prices?; Some Central Banks Are Playing the Market; Australia – Real Estate Is Too Frothy for Regulator’s Tastes

2015-05-23 00:00:00 The Affordable Care Act and Low Interest Rates: A One-Two Punch for Health Insurance Portfolios by Chitrang K. Purani and Georgi Popov of PIMCO

Two common themes emerged from a recent PIMCO survey of U.S. health insurers: Underwriting performance will be a larger factor in asset allocation, and there will be more emphasis on liquidity and income. For now, health insurers generally expect increased premium volumes and shifts in insured profiles as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Re-examining investment policies and tiering liquid assets can help investment portfolios maintain flexibility while potentially contributing more to the bottom line.

2015-05-23 00:00:00 GDP Seasonal Adjustment: There's No Smoking Gun by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

First quarter GDP growth was stronger than originally estimated. When adjusted for seasonality, the economy grew 1.8%, which is consistent with the average growth rate over the past three years. It is also consistent with a wide variety of economic data (employment, wages, housing, consumption) released in the past several months. And, finally, it is consistent with the message being sent by the treasury market.

2015-05-23 00:00:00 Investor Opinions Have Become Extremely Uniform, And That's Not Good by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Investor opinions have become extremely uniform. By some measures, they are the most uniform in 25 years. In the past, this has corresponded to a period where equities have lacked significant upside momentum. That appears to be a quite likely outcome until investors become more varied in their market outlook than they are today.

2015-05-23 00:00:00 Northern Trust Perspective by Jim McDonald of Northern Trust

Our monthly Perspective newsletter keeps you apprised of current market and economic conditions across an array of topics including: US, European and Asian markets, global real estate and commodities.

2015-05-23 00:00:00 ECRI: "Fed Rate Hike May Be Postponed Due to Inclement Data" by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Friday's release of the publicly available data from the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) puts its Weekly Leading Index (WLI) at 133.9, down slightly from 134.6 the previous week. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at 1.5, up from the previous week's 1.2, and off its interim low of -4.7 in mid-January.

2015-05-23 00:00:00 The Great Beta Hoax: Not an Accurate Measure of Risk After All by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Beta is a rearview mirror statistic that is based solely on an analysis of its price history. To the prudent fundamental oriented value investor, statistics can never substitute for serious analysis and due diligence. Comprehensive research based on fundamentals will serve investors far better in the long run.

2015-05-23 00:00:00 Schwab Market Perspective: As the World Turns by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

A market that grinds higher isn’t all bad as it allows time for earnings to catch up to prices; but complacency must be reined in. Sharp movements could and should come as we move closer to a potential Federal Reserve rate hike. We believe the US economy will rebound from the weak soft first quarter, helping to support stocks and a rate hike, but the turn needs to gain traction. Meanwhile, Congressional approval of fast track trade authority could pave the way for improvements in the Japanese recovery.

2015-05-22 00:00:00 ECRI: "Fed Rate Hike May Be Postponed Due to Inclement Data" by Doug Short (Article)

Friday's release of the publicly available data from the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) puts its Weekly Leading Index (WLI) at 133.9, down slightly from 134.6 the previous week. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at 1.5, up from the previous week's 1.2, and off its interim low of -4.7 in mid-January.

2015-05-22 00:00:00 Inflation: A Six-Month X-Ray View by Doug Short (Article)

Here is a table showing the annualized change in Headline and Core CPI, not seasonally adjusted, for each of the past six months. Also included are the eight components of Headline CPI and a separate entry for Energy, which is a collection of sub-indexes in Housing and Transportation. We can make some inferences about how inflation is impacting our personal expenses depending on our relative exposure to the individual components.

2015-05-22 00:00:00 A Long-Term Look at Inflation by Doug Short (Article)

The Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (CPI-U) released this morning puts the year-over-year inflation rate at -0.20%. It is substantially below the 3.84% average since the end of the Second World War and its 10-year moving average, now at 2.19%.

2015-05-22 00:00:00 April Consumer Price Index: Core Inflation Remains Steady, Headline Deflation Worsens by Doug Short (Article)

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the April CPI data this morning. The year-over-year unadjusted Headline CPI came in at -0.20% (rounded to -0.2%), down from -0.07% (rounded to -0.1%) the previous month. Year-over-year Core CPI (ex Food and Energy) came in at 1.81% (rounded to 1.8%), unchanged to one decimal place from the previous month's 1.75% (rounded to 1.8%).

2015-05-22 00:00:00 What Inflation Means to You: A Look Inside the Consumer Price Index by Doug Short (Article)

Let's do some analysis of the Consumer Price Index, the best known measure of inflation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) divides all expenditures into eight categories and assigns a relative size to each. The pie chart below illustrates the components of the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers, the CPI-U, which I'll refer to hereafter as the CPI.

2015-05-22 00:00:00 The Big Four Economic Indicators: Real Retail Sales by Doug Short (Article)

The overall picture of the US economy had been one of slow recovery from the Great Recession. We had a conspicuous downturn during the winter of 2013-2014 and subsequent rebound. And weak Retail Sales and Industrial Production in recent months triggered a replay of the "severe winter" meme. However, we're now getting data points for Spring months, not the Winter, and as yet we're not seeing a rebound. Industrial Production has decline for five consecutive months and Real Retail Sales have contracted for four of the past five months.

2015-05-21 00:00:00 Vehicle Miles Traveled: A New Look at Our Evolving Behavior by Doug Short (Article)

The Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Commission has released the latest report on Traffic Volume Trends, data through March.

"Travel on all roads and streets changed by 3.9% (9.8 billion vehicle miles) for March 2015 as compared with March 2014." The less volatile 12-month moving average is up 0.31% month-over-month and 2.64% year-over-year. If we factor in population growth, the 12-month MA of the civilian population-adjusted data (age 16-and-over) is a smaller change, up 0.24% month-over-month and up only 1.48% year-over-year.

2015-05-21 00:00:00 Chicago Fed: Economic Growth Increased Slightly In April by Doug Short (Article)

"Index shows economic growth increased slightly in April": This is the headline for today's release of the Chicago Fed's National Activity Index, and here are the opening paragraphs from the report:

2015-05-21 00:00:00 Conference Board Leading Economic Index Increased Again in April by Doug Short (Article)

The Latest Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for April is now available. The index rose 0.7 percent, which follows a 0.4 percent March increase (an upward revision from 0.2 percent). The latest number came in aboove the 0.3 percent forecast by Investing.com.

2015-05-21 00:00:00 Understanding the CFNAI Components by Doug Short (Article)

The Chicago Fed's National Activity Index, which we reported on earlier today, is based on 85 economic indicators drawn from four broad categories of data:

  • Production and Income
  • Employment, Unemployment, and Hours
  • Personal Consumption and Housing
  • Sales, Orders, and Inventories

2015-05-21 00:00:00 Existing-Home Sales Lose Momentum in April by Doug Short (Article)

This morning's release of the March Existing-Home Sales disappointed expectations, slipping to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million units from an upwardly revised 5.21 million in March (previously 5.19 million). The Investing.com consensus was for 5.24 million. The latest number represents a 3.3% decrease from the previous month but a 6.1% increase year-over-year.

2015-05-21 00:00:00 Philly Fed Business Outlook: Another Month of Modest Increase by Doug Short (Article)

The latest gauge of General Activity came in at 6.7, down from last month's 7.5. The 3-month moving average came in at 6.4, down from 5.9 last month. Since this is a diffusion index, negative readings indicate contraction, positive ones indicate expansion. The Six-Month Outlook was little unchanged at 33.9 versus the previous month's 35.5.

2015-05-21 00:00:00 China: A Great Wall of Worry by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Beijing likely will find a way to mitigate the effects of a slowing economy and soaring debt levels—but the risks are high.

2015-05-21 00:00:00 Global Review and Equity Commentary: April 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

As expected, the global economy slowed during the first quarter but should gain momentum in the coming months. The U.S. economy almost came to a standstill during the first three months of the year as adverse winter weather limited activity. Consumer spending moderated and construction activity slowed, while lower oil prices discouraged businesses in that sector from capital investments. The stronger dollar and labor disputes at some of the seaports limited export gains, and led to a widening of the U.S. trade deficit.

2015-05-21 00:00:00 Quality on Sale by Adam Peck of Heartland Advisors

Investor indifference toward strong balance sheets and cash flow has created opportunities in today’s market.

2015-05-21 00:00:00 Forward Guidance Is Back at the Bank of England by Mike Amey of PIMCO

The central bank seeks to reassure markets about its policy intentions and also stabilise gilt yields ahead of an anticipated rate hike in the U.S.

2015-05-21 00:00:00 The Student Debt Dilemma and the Role of 529 Plans by Roger Michaud of Franklin Templeton Investments

While loans can be useful in bridging the gap between savings and final costs, a college degree doesn’t have to come with a mountain of debt. Develop a multi-pronged strategy, and hopefully you or your children can enjoy the fruits of a college education for decades to come.

2015-05-21 00:00:00 The (Investment) World Is Changing And You Need To Get On Board by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Fast Company posted an article that looked at existing jobs that are likely to change dramatically or disappear altogether over the next ten years. Change happens of course often spurred along by technology and/or innovation.

2015-05-21 00:00:00 Summer Breezes, Summer Squalls by (Article)

Bill McQuaker, Co-Head of Multi-Asset, gives his views on recent market shake out and explains why he expects a change in tone for the months ahead. Speaking on 5/19/15, Bill explains that the clear trends and consensual trades of late are unlikely to return through the summer months as confidence takes time to recover and outlines how he has repositioned accordingly.

2015-05-21 00:00:00 Factoring in Politics when Investing by Robert Harvey of Matthews Asia

Factoring in political backdrops typically makes investment decisions more complex. What should investors consider in trying to mitigate political risk?

2015-05-21 00:00:00 What a Rate Hike May Mean for Stocks by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ looks back at equity performance following past rate increases to gauge what could be ahead for investors.

2015-05-21 00:00:00 Smart Money Most Committed to Falling Rates Since The Last Peak in Long Bond Yields by Team of GaveKal Capital

Commercial traders (AKA the smart money) has massively flip flopped their positioning since the end of last year with respect to the long bond. In aggregate, commercial traders have moved from a net short position (benefiting when rates rise) of about 50K derivative contracts to a net long position (benefiting when rates fall) of 22K contracts.

2015-05-21 00:00:00 Is an Index Impassive? by Dianne Lob of AllianceBernstein

Passive investments continue to gain popularity, generate record flows and grab headlines. We understand the appeal. But investors must also consider some of the risks of tethering their fortunes to a benchmark.

2015-05-21 00:00:00 The 3 R's of a Winning Retirement Plan by Glenn Dial of Allianz Global Investors

There's a new paradigm for enhancing plan design, and therefore improving outcomes for plan participants, writes Glenn Dial, Head of US Retirement Strategy at Allianz Global Investors. It's not just about the 3 F's anymore (fiduciary responsibility, fees and funds). Learn why you should look to the 3 R's instead: results, reliability and risk.

2015-05-21 00:00:00 Slow Growth: A Tale of Two Theories by Shane Shepherd of Research Affiliates

Global demand is dragging. Savings far exceeds investment. The combination is a surefire recipe for long-term low to negative growth in the developed markets—and core U.S. asset returns of 1% or lower over the next decade.

2015-05-21 00:00:00 Our May 2015 Market Commentary by Adam Jordan of Paul R. Ried Financial Group

We could spend this letter going into detail on the topics du jour, such as if/when we think the Fed will finally raise interest rates (they will...eventually). Or whether Greece will leave the Euro (they probably will...eventually). Or what we think of China’s growth (It will continue slowing...Slowly).

2015-05-21 00:00:00 A Pivotal Year for ASEAN? by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

The role of Asian markets in the global economy has grown significantly in recent years, and we expect this trend to continue in the future. Many of these countries have also made fundamental improvements to their economies, and we think these changes are here to stay. This year could prove a pivotal one for a number of countries in Asia, as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) had set ambitious plans for a new ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) to come to fruition in 2015.

2015-05-21 00:00:00 Time to Go Active by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

Earlier this week we saw one of the major financial publications feature an article about how active management has outperformed passive management so far in 2015. While their article and data focused on equity funds, we believe that the same sort of opportunity for active fixed income managers exists over the balance of 2015.

2015-05-21 00:00:00 Longer Term Trends Have Reasserted Itself In May by Team of GaveKal Capital

Remember back in April when we noted how equity trends had completely flip-flopped during the first several weeks of the second quarter and we wondered aloud whether this was a trend change or simply a counter-trend rally? Well, so far in May the market is signalling that equity trends observed in April may have just been oversold (and well overdue) bounce.

2015-05-21 00:00:00 China Bonds Still Offer Opportunities by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein

As more corporate bond issuers in China run into financial trouble, investor anxiety about the possibility of a broader market collapse has understandably increased. We don’t think it’s time to man the lifeboats, however; on the contrary, we believe that Chinese bonds still offer good opportunities for research-driven investors.

2015-05-21 00:00:00 The Great Beta Hoax: Not an Accurate Measure of Risk After All by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Every investor is concerned with risk at some level. Arguably investors in retirement are and should be concerned with risk the most. However, not every investor looks at or defines risk in the same way. In truth and fact, there is a wide gap between how various segments in the financial community define and view the complex subject risk.

2015-05-20 00:00:00 A New Look at the Total Return Roller Coaster by Doug Short (Article)

Here's an interesting set of charts that will especially resonate with those of us who follow economic and market cycles. Imagine that five years ago you invested $10,000 in the S&P 500. How much would it be worth today, with dividends reinvested but adjusted for inflation? The purchasing power of your investment has increased to $18,300 for an annualized real return of 12.15%.

2015-05-20 00:00:00 The Idolatry of Interest Rates Part I: Chasing Will-o’-the-Wisp by James Montier of GMO

First is the idolatry of the “equilibrium/natural/neutral” rate of interest displayed by central bankers around the world. The second idolatry is the modern-day belief in the world’s greatest con: that monetary policy matters.

2015-05-20 00:00:00 The Economic Consequences of Mr. Osborne by Niall Ferguson of Project Syndicate

In the wake of the 2010 British election, Keynesians like Robert Skidelsky predicted that Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne was gravely wrong in seeking to reduce the budget deficit. It turns out that it is the Keynesians who were mistaken, with the main question being why they refuse to admit it.

2015-05-20 00:00:00 Economy is "Good Enough" for Stocks by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

With economic data remaining mixed, BlackRock Global Chief Investment Strategist, Russ Koesterich, discusses why investors should continue to favor stocks over bonds.

2015-05-20 00:00:00 China is Choking on its Own Debt by Joseph Taylor of Loomis Sayles

We have it on good authority. And in this case that authority is an unlikely source – the People’s Bank of China (PBoC). It’s difficult to remember the last time so many paid so little attention to something so vitally important. The revelation came in the bank’s release of its 1Q 2015 Monetary Policy Report on 8 May 2015.

2015-05-20 00:00:00 Recession Check: Updating The Indicators by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

In December of 2007, I wrote in my weekly newsletter that we were "...either in, or about to be in, the worst recession since the 'Great Depression.'" At that time, the warning rang hollow as GDP growth was positive, and the markets were still marching higher as the calendar turned to 2008. It was a year later, in December of 2008, that the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), stated that the recession did, in fact, begin in December of 2007.

2015-05-20 00:00:00 Why US Economic Growth May Disappoint Again In 2015 by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Our main topic today is how the US economy continues to disappoint expectations, and 2015 looks to be no exception. Forecasts for GDP growth this year continue to be downgraded, and there is at least a small possibility that the US economy is slipping into recession.

2015-05-20 00:00:00 Back to the drawing board by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The data reports for April suggest that the second quarter’s anticipated rebound from a weak 1Q15 will fall far short of expectations. We could get revisions, figures for May and June could be a lot stronger, but at face value, the economy has disappointed. However, the Fed is still on track to begin raising short-term interest rates later this year. We should come away with a better understanding of how the Fed sees the situation when the central bank’s two top officials speak later this week.

2015-05-20 00:00:00 Can We Really Trust Nike’s Stock Price? by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

One of the most common mistakes that I see common stock investors make is failing to formulate the important distinction between a company and its publicly traded stock. There are many great companies out there with fabulous stories surrounding their wonderful businesses. As a result, it can be very easy to fall so much in love with a great company that you can’t resist investing in the stock even when the valuation is extreme.

2015-05-20 00:00:00 Breakdowns in the Health Care Sector by Team of GaveKal Capital

Health care stocks have been the leadership sector in the MSCI World, and many (such as biotech) have reached some pretty elevated valuations. Most stocks in the sector have been in multi-year bull markets trends, outperforming the MSCI All Country World Index significantly.

2015-05-20 00:00:00 Reducing Inflation Risk During Retirement: The Compelling Case for Stocks by Joe Becker of Milliman Financial Risk Management

In April 2005, (when interest rates were arguably more normal than they’ve been during the low-rate, post-crisis economy, steered by the Federal Reserve) an investor could have purchased a 10-year Treasury bond with a yield to maturity of 4.4%. That represented an attractive boost over the dividend yield of the S&P 500 Index, which at the time was 1.9%.

2015-05-20 00:00:00 Secular Trends in New Residential Building Permits and Housing Starts by Doug Short (Article)

Over the long haul the two series offer a compelling study of trends in residential real estate. Here is an overlay of the two series since the 1959 inception of the Starts data and the Permits data, which began being tracked a year later. The monthly data points are preserved as faint dots. The trends are illustrated with 6-month moving averages of data divided by the Census Bureau's mid-month population estimates.

2015-05-19 00:00:00 Career Center by Various (Article)

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.

2015-05-19 00:00:00 Gundlach - Beware of CNBC Pundits by Robert Huebscher (Article)

On issues as central as the effect of quantitative easing or Fed tightening on interest rates, Jeffrey Gundlach says you shouldn't trust the pundits on CNBC.

2015-05-19 00:00:00 Do Goldman Sachs' Funds Add Value for Investors? by Larry Swedroe (Article)

Over the last few years, an expanding line of mutual funds created by commercial banks such as Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase have been drawing billions of dollars from investors looking to earn a good return. While the fees these funds have generated are among the few consistent bright spots of growth on Wall Street, the question for investors is whether or not the active mutual funds managed by these banks actually have been good investment choices.

2015-05-19 00:00:00 The Question That Qualifies Prospects by Dan Richards (Article)

Most advisors qualify prospects by their net worth or level of assets. But there's a better test of whether someone is a legitimate prospect.

2015-05-19 00:00:00 Happiness is a Choice by Daniel Solin (Article)

Why do so many highly intelligent people with good paying jobs act in a way that is so obviously not in their best interests?

2015-05-19 00:00:00 Financial Strategies for LGBT Couples by Holly Hanson (Article)

When talking with clients about the merging of their life with another person and financial strategies to help protect them, LGBT individuals and couples are subject to more complex considerations than heterosexual couples. In this article, I've broken down some of the most common questions that these specific individuals ask when it comes to setting up accounts and documentation within the relationship.

2015-05-19 00:00:00 Selling for the Non-Sales Professional by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Here are three key areas to focus on if you want to increase your selling acumen but stay comfortable doing it your own way.

2015-05-19 00:00:00 APViewpoint reaches 5,000 advisor-member milestone by Jeff Briskin (Article)

Advisor Perspectives is pleased to announce that APViewpoint has achieved an important milestone of enrolling its 5,000th member in its first year of operation. APViewpoint is a free online community for financial advisors and financial planners.

2015-05-19 00:00:00 Monetary Movements & Economic Mirage by Team of GaveKal Capital

While we entered 2015 with the Federal Reserve talking confidently about lift-off and how many rate increases there would be by the end of the year, the markets didn't seem to buy it. As weak economic data began to surface, the Fed seemed to quietly backtrack first on the date of lift-off and then on the trajectory of the expected hiking cycle.

2015-05-19 00:00:00 Active Equities Don’t Have to Be Riskier by Kent Hargis, Chris Marx of AllianceBernstein

Many investors are throwing in the towel on active equity management in the name of evading risk. But being active doesn’t always mean accepting higher risk. Consider, for instance, the benefits of even-tempered stocks.

2015-05-19 00:00:00 Crescendo or Consolidation? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

The S&P 500 (SPX/2122.73) has basically been locked in a trading range between 2040 and 2100 since early February of this year. Some technical analysts term the subsequent chart pattern a wedge and others call it a rising wedge. While pundits can debate the difference between the two, the important point is which way said chart pattern will be resolved with either an upside breakout, or a downside breakout.

2015-05-19 00:00:00 Devil Inside: Dissecting the Most Popular Valuation Metrics by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Given that first quarter earnings season is largely in the books—and since it’s been a couple of years since I wrote comprehensively about valuation—I am tackling it again this week.

2015-05-19 00:00:00 New Residential Housing Starts Surge in April by Doug Short (Article)

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have now published their findings for April new residential housing starts. The latest reading of 1.135M was well above the Investing.com forecast of 1.019M. Here is the opening of this morning's monthly report:

2015-05-19 00:00:00 On My Radar: Valuations and Forward Return by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

This week let’s take a look at current market valuations (high) and what they are telling us about probable 10-year forward returns (low).

2015-05-19 00:00:00 Equities Push Ahead Despite Softening Economic Growth by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

The continued advance in global bond yields dominated the financial story again last week, although this trend eased slightly by the end of the week. Economic data featured a relatively weak retail sales report.

2015-05-19 00:00:00 Rates and Returns, 2013 versus 2015 by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

Given the recent move in Treasury yields, with the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield up over 30bps in just the last 30 days, the concern about interest rate risk is heating up again.

2015-05-19 00:00:00 New Residential Building Permits Rise 10.1% in April by Doug Short (Article)

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have now published their findings for April new residential building permits. The latest reading of 1.143M was well above the Investing.com forecast of 1.060M. Here is the opening of this morning's monthly report:

2015-05-19 00:00:00 Taxes Culprit Behind Slow Sales by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Last week’s report on retail sales in April came in weaker than most economists expected, with no change from the pace of sales in March. As a result, the chorus calling for the Federal Reserve to postpone the start of rate hikes beyond June, already loud, grew even louder.

2015-05-19 00:00:00 On the Road to Normal by Charlie Dreifus of The Royce Funds

While conflicting signs of economic strength are, for the time being, stalling a rise in rates, Portfolio Manager Charlie Dreifus continues to believe that active stock picking remains an attractive approach in the current environment.

2015-05-19 00:00:00 U.S. Economy: A Variable-Speed Recovery by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

A flat first quarter likely will be followed by one or two quarters of accelerated growth. Then it’s back to the muddle.

2015-05-19 00:00:00 The U.K. Elections by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

The recent UK elections shocked pollsters, who had predicted a hung parliament. Instead, the Conservatives (Tories) won an outright majority in the legislature, allowing the party, led by David Cameron, to form a government without a coalition. We begin by recapping the election results and discuss the campaigns and what they indicate for future U.K. policy. An examination of the impact of the election follows, beginning with an analysis of the geopolitics of Britain and ending with how the election affects the country’s geopolitical situation.

2015-05-18 00:00:00 Treasury Snapshot: With Equities at Record Highs, What About Treasuries? by Doug Short (Article)

With the S&P 500 hitting new highs on Thursday and Friday last week, let's take another look at Treasury Yields.The first chart shows the daily performance of several Treasuries and the Fed Funds Rate (FFR) since 2007. The source for the yields is the Daily Treasury Yield Curve Rates from the US Department of the Treasury and the St. Louis Fed's FRED repository for the Fed Funds Rate.

2015-05-18 00:00:00 WSJ Economists' May Forecasts for 10-Year Yields and the Fed Funds Rate by Doug Short (Article)

On Wednesday the Fed will release the FOMC Minutes for its April meeting. Meanwhile let's take a quick look at a couple of items in the May Wall Street Journal survey of economists, starting with where the Federal Reserve is headed with the Fed Funds Rate, which is currently hovering around 0.12 percent.

2015-05-18 00:00:00 Two Blows to Broadband: 4 Implications of Tougher Regulation by Janet Sung of Loomis Sayles

The broadband industry is reeling from the one-two punch delivered by recent rulings that signal the advent of a much harsher regulatory landscape for internet service providers (ISPs).

2015-05-18 00:00:00 The "New Era" is an Old Story by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

It’s not monetary easing, but the attitude of investors toward risk that distinguishes an overvalued market that continues higher from an overvalued market that is vulnerable to vertical losses. That window of vulnerability has been open for several months now, and the immediacy of our downside concerns would ease (despite obscene valuations) only if market internals and credit spreads were to shift back toward evidence of investor risk-seeking. Meanwhile, there’s no evidence to suggest that historically reliable valuation measures have somehow become irrelevant.

2015-05-18 00:00:00 Investor Sentiment Around the World by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

We certainly don’t want to jump to any conclusions about potential market performance based on investor sentiment (or any one indicator for that matter), but it reminds me of the late Sir John Templeton’s famous words: ‘Bull markets are born on pessimism, grow on skepticism and die on euphoria.

2015-05-18 00:00:00 Chicago Faces Critical—but Not Insurmountable—Financial Problems by Joseph Rosenblum of AllianceBernstein

Chicago’s decades of poor financial decision making will come to a head as Mayor Rahm Emanuel starts his second term today. His battle to enact pension reform and stabilize finances will shape his legacy and Chicago’s future. But it’s hard to envision a successful solution given the extent of the problem.

2015-05-18 00:00:00 Security Selection and Liquidity Management Are Key in the Steadily Growing Credit Market by Jelle Brons, David Linton of PIMCO

Over the past several years, two trends have reshaped the market for U.S. investment grade (IG) corporate bonds: a significant increase in the size of the market (both in number of issuers and issues and in aggregate debt outstanding) and a contraction in dealer balance sheets.

2015-05-18 00:00:00 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

As the snow finally began melting in the North, the negative impact on the economy also began to melt away. While the weak jobs number for March was revised downward from 126,000 to only 85,000, the April jobs number bounced back with 223,000 non-farm jobs. Private jobs, primarily represented by services, healthcare, and construction, produced all but 10,000 jobs which were created by government. The headline unemployment number dropped to 5.4%, the lowest since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008.

2015-05-18 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Will the Interest Rate Spike Threaten Stock Prices? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

This week’s economic calendar includes the most important housing data, but the market context will prove irresistible to the pundits. Stocks continue at the top of the trading range, and even broke through for a few minutes. Even more interesting is the bond market. Interest rates decisively broke their trading range and also showed a lot of volatility.

2015-05-18 00:00:00 Inspiring Economic Growth by Robert Shiller of Project Syndicate

In his First Inaugural Address, during the depths of the Great Depression, US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously told Americans that, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” The same could be said today, seven years after the 2008 global financial crisis, about the world economy’s remaining weak spots.

2015-05-18 00:00:00 Constructively Dissatisfied by Keith McCullough of Hedgeye Risk Management

Say I was constructively dissatisfied with how last week went for Global Macro markets. Constructive because I think we made the right research pivot on Dollar Down, Commodities Up. Dissatisfied because devaluing the Dollar isn’t the answer for America’s stagnating economy.

2015-05-18 00:00:00 Warning: Don’t Let Market Hype Cause You to Miss This Total Return Opportunity by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Since the Great Recession of 2008 came to an end, the stock market, as measured by the S&P 500, is almost midway through the 7th year of a strong bull run. This marks today’s bull market as the third longest in US history. Considering how traumatizing the Great Recession and the accompanying stock market collapse was for most investors, this should be good and comforting news. But unfortunately, the length and level of our current bull market seems to be conjuring up more worry and angst than comfort.

2015-05-18 00:00:00 NAHB Housing Market Index: Confidence Falls Two Points in May by Doug Short (Article)

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Housing Market Index (HMI) is a gauge of builder opinion on the relative level of current and future single-family home sales. It is a diffusion index, which means that a reading above 50 indicates a favorable outlook on home sales; below 50 indicates a negative outlook.

2015-05-18 00:00:00 Energy, metals, agriculture, timber, water. by Shundrawn Thomas, Northern Trust Asset Management, Head of Funds and Managed Accounts (Article)

Why a balanced approach to natural resources resonates with financial advisors.

2015-05-18 00:00:00 Flexible Indexing: A Nontraditional Approach by Shundrawn Thomas, Northern Trust Asset Management, Head of Funds and Managed Accounts (Article)

How FlexShares' Flexible Indexing approach produces nontraditional indexes that target fundamental investor goals.

2015-05-17 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review For the Week of May 11-15; A Really Unimpressive New High, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

Last week’s economic news continued to disappoint. Retail sales were weak, industrial production was flat and capacity utilization decreased. As we near the end of the earnings season, the S&P 500 revenue numbers show a decline. While the SPYs made a new high, the mid-caps, small caps and transports failed to confirm, indicating the large cap move higher stands little chance of meaningful follow-through.

2015-05-16 00:00:00 Secular Versus Cyclical: Notes from SIC 2015 by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

The consensus I’m hearing and reading from the 500+ attendees at the recent Strategic Investment Conference is that this was the best ever. It was certainly intense, with more divergent views presented this year than at previous conferences. Plus, the range of topics was rather dramatic. This year I was able to listen to all but one of the presentations, and I want to share with you my notes and takeaway thoughts.

2015-05-16 00:00:00 Wall Street Underestimates the Great American Earnings Machine by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

With a little over 90 percent of S&P 500 companies having reported, it looks as if the index has risen a modest 2 percent for the first quarter. That might not seem significant, but as LP Financial Services Chief Investment Officer Burt White points out in a recent Barron’s piece, “given the steep uphill climb that corporate America faced due to the twin drags of the oil downturn and strong U.S. dollar, this is actually a good result.”

2015-05-16 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

US indices are in an uptrend. But what they have lacked is the ability to sustain upward momentum for more than a week or two. With SPY at a new ATH, another test of strength has again arrived. There's room for price to move higher, but we suspect that any gains are likely to be short lived.

2015-05-16 00:00:00 Strange Machinations by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

What to make of markets that are no longer on speaking terms with their fundamentals.

2015-05-16 00:00:00 Why Some Investors are Tilting Toward TIPS by Matthew Tucker of BlackRock Investment Management

With Treasury yields hovering near record lows, and many believing they are set to rise, Matt Tucker explains why Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS) may be worth another look.

2015-05-16 00:00:00 Align the Design: Considering and Evaluating Target-Date Glide Paths by Stacy Schaus and Ying Gao of PIMCO

Few responsibilities are as important to defined contribution (DC) plan sponsors as selecting a default glide path that best maximizes a participant’s odds of retiring on time and with sufficient lifetime income. The goal, put simply, is to maximize asset returns while minimizing volatility relative to the retirement liability – precisely what Objective-Aligned Glide Paths aim to achieve.

2015-05-16 00:00:00 Explaining the Rise in Long-Term Interest Rates by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Explaining the Rise in Long-Term Interest Rates; Consumers Should Overcome Higher Gas Prices; OPEC and the U.S. Face Off in the Oil Markets

2015-05-15 00:00:00 Michigan Consumer Sentiment Takes a Dive by Doug Short (Article)

The University of Michigan preliminary Consumer Sentiment for May came in at 88.6, down from the 95.9 April final reading and well below the interim high of 98.1 in January. Investing.com had forecast 96.0 for the May preliminary.

2015-05-15 00:00:00 “Wrestling with Something Else”: Why this Gold Bear Market Is Different by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure to appear on Jim Puplava’s Financial Sense Newshour radio program and discuss the state of the gold market. Along with my peers John Doody of the Gold Stock Analyst and Ross Hansen of Northwest Territorial Mint, I shared my thoughts on how we arrived in the current bear market, what factors might help us get out of it and the role real interest rates play in prices.

2015-05-15 00:00:00 Can Crude and Copper Keep Rallying with China Slowing? by Team of GaveKal Capital

Yesterday saw the monthly slue of Chinese economic stats and the key feature among them was the continued broad-based weakness. The weakness in some of these statistics has been so pronounced (some things like IP and retail sales are at levels near or below those seen at the depths of the financial crisis) that it has us wondering if the price of oil and copper can continue to rally in the face of an increasingly slower China?

2015-05-15 00:00:00 UK Election Result Fuels Vote for Smaller Stocks by Alan Connery, Liliana Castillo Dearth of AllianceBernstein

Britain’s Conservative party’s election win has buoyed smaller companies. The vote of confidence offers an opportunity to take a closer look at UK small- and mid-cap (SMID) stocks, which are highly profitable versus European peers.

2015-05-15 00:00:00 Monetary Policy at Warp Speed by Harley Bassman of PIMCO

An imaginative twist on theoretical physics forms the premise of the science fiction series “Star Trek”: An engine called a warp drive enabled the Starship Enterprise to travel faster than the speed of light, going beyond known space to uncharted, exciting new worlds. The confounding detail was managing the sheer power inherent in the warp drive, including its potential to behave in unexpected ways.

2015-05-15 00:00:00 The Big Chill: What’s Wrong with the U.S. Consumer? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Most market watchers expect the US economy to bounce back in the second quarter. However, the consumer isn’t playing to script. Russ explains.

2015-05-15 00:00:00 Taper Tantrum Redux by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

After a brief reprieve at the end of last week (May 4–8, 2015), the global bond sell-off resumed Monday, May 11, 2015, with 10- and 30-year Treasury yields rising to year-to-date highs of 2.28% and 3.04%, respectively. Treasury yields have now broken out of their recent ranges and have done so quickly.

2015-05-15 00:00:00 Close to Retirement and Under-Saved, What Should You Do? by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

A blog post from the Wall Street Journal back in February noted that “the typical working household with a 401(k) approaching retirement had only $111,000 in a 401(k) and IRA.” There are plenty of articles floating around in the last couple of years lamenting how low retirement balances are. If $111,000 is right, that would be one of the higher averages published (obviously it is all in how the data is collected and who is surveyed but that is not the point of this post).

2015-05-15 00:00:00 Diagnosing China's Debt Disease by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

China suffers from a serious case of “debt disease,” but the treatment and side effects may not be as severe as some expect, and dramatic credit tightening is very unlikely. Debt is concentrated among state-owned firms, while the private firms that generate most of China’s new jobs and investment have already deleveraged. The biggest risk is the high level of debt among real estate developers.

2015-05-15 00:00:00 The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (for Japanese Equities) by Christopher Gannatti of WisdomTree

March 31 marks the end of Japan’s fiscal year, making it a very important point from which to gauge how Japanese stocks are behaving and, ultimately, whether Abenomics is having any real impact. Based on what we’re seeing so far, we remain extremely excited for the prospects of Japanese equities.

2015-05-15 00:00:00 Beyond the Active vs. Passive Debate by Robert Cron of Bronfman E.L. Rothschild

The active versus passive debate is a hot topic in the financial media. That’s no surprise given recent performance and a dramatic shift in investors’ preferences. For several years, the average passively managed fund has outperformed the average actively managed fund.

2015-05-15 00:00:00 The Discovery of Ignorance by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

Eleanor Roosevelt reportedly said that small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events, and great minds discuss ideas. If she was right, my own mind took a huge leap toward greatness in the last few weeks.

2015-05-15 00:00:00 Downside Protection: The Changing Methods and Mindset of Investment Research by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

It is becoming increasingly important to be able to share information and “connect the dots” instead of developing narrowly focused proprietary expertise. It should not be forgotten that one of the primary goals of research should be to protect against the downside.

2015-05-15 00:00:00 Evolving Infrastructure Investing – Broader, Deeper, Global by Shundrawn Thomas, Northern Trust Asset Management, Head of Funds and Managed Accounts (Article)

Infrastructure offers an attractive combination of potential inflation hedging, income generation and long-term capital growth. In this video, Shundrawn Thomas, Global Head of ETFs, outlines the distinctive approach of FlexShares NFRA ETF.

2015-05-15 00:00:00 Empire State Manufacturing Conditions "Improved Slightly" by Doug Short (Article)

This morning we got the latest Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The diffusion index for General Business Conditions at 3.1 (3.09 to two decimals) shows an increase from last month's -1.2, which signals a return to modest improvement in activity. The Investing.com forecast was for a reading of 5.0.

2015-05-14 00:00:00 No Looking Back in Stock-Picking by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Wayne Gretzky is considered the greatest hockey player of all time. When asked why he was such a great player, he replied, “I skate to where the puck is going to be.” We at Smead Capital believe that investors are stuck where the puck is now. In fact, we theorize that most investors get stuck where the puck was before the last line change. We call this “rear-view mirror” investing. It is our opinion that understanding where we’ve been, where we are now and where we are going is important in common stock selection in 2015.

2015-05-14 00:00:00 The Momentum Mob by Keith McCullough of Hedgeye Risk Management

In markets, the momentum mob constantly cares about one thing – #charts. Lots and lots and lots of charts. The linear moving average ones are the simplest to scare you with.

2015-05-14 00:00:00 Problems The Media Ignored In The April Jobs Report by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today we’ll start with a look at last Friday’s unemployment report for April. If you read the mainstream media accounts, it was fantastic – the official unemployment rate fell to 5.4%, the lowest level since 2007. But as usual, if we dig into the internals of the report, we find that the results were much less than desired.

2015-05-14 00:00:00 OMG: Putting Jump In Interest Rates Into Perspective by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

During my daily radio broadcast yesterday, I received a rather "panicked" call regarding the "dramatic plunge" in his bond funds due to the recent jump in interest rates. Of course, he is not alone. Over the last few weeks the media has done its normal headline-grabbing spin by dragging out every bond "bear" they can find to discuss why this time, unlike like the last 30 times, is definitely the end of the "great bond bull market."

2015-05-14 00:00:00 M&A Activity in Technology Heats Up by J.P. Scandalios of Franklin Templeton Investments

Many IT firms are flush with cash, and, as companies are maturing in the space, they are expanding the ways they return value to shareholders. Buybacks and the initiation or growth of dividends have been common, but increasingly M&A activity is seen as a strong option for technology firms looking to increase their value.

2015-05-14 00:00:00 Wake Me Up When September Ends by Andrew Friedman of The Washington Update

In my legislative update early this year, I noted that ongoing acrimony between Congressional Republicans and the Obama White House likely precludes agreement on any broad new legislative initiatives this year. Instead, Congress and the White House are likely to reach agreement only in the face of “forcing events” – deadlines that compel action to ward off a draconian result.

2015-05-14 00:00:00 Bearish on the U.S. Markets, Yusko Looks to Japan and Russia for Growth by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

This week Professor Siegel and Jeremy Schwartz chatted with Mark Yusko, Chief Investment Officer of Morgan Creek Capital, about his thoughts concerning extended U.S. valuations and global markets that may offer abundant potential beyond that of the United States.

2015-05-14 00:00:00 Developed Asia Pacific: Economy Trends Update April 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

Though Japanese exports exceeded imports in March 2015, weak domestic spending appears to have impacted the country’s nascent economic recovery. Wage growth needs to trickle down to workers employed in smaller Japanese firms, which would also push up inflation. Thankfully, the Bank of Japan has said it will hold its stimulus program in place until economic growth picks up pace.

2015-05-14 00:00:00 A Look at High Yield Bond and Equity Valuations by Tim Gramatovich, Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

There has been talk in the media recently about high yield being overvalued at current levels. However, we feel that historical metrics indicate that we are nowhere near a point of overvaluation; rather, there is still value to be had in this market.

2015-05-14 00:00:00 What's Driving M&A in the Healthcare Space? by (Article)

Portfolio Manager Carl Brown believes that cash-rich corporate balance sheets and increased competitiveness in the healthcare universe will make smaller companies attractive targets for M&A activity.

2015-05-14 00:00:00 Risk Parity: Reducing Our Bond Exposure by Scott Wolle of Invesco Blog

Every month, the portfolio management team for the Invesco Balanced-Risk Allocation strategy examines the market’s signals for stocks, bonds and commodities, and makes tactical adjustments in an effort to enhance returns. In recent weeks, our tactical signals for government bonds have led us to substantially reduce our exposure and adopt an underweight position.

2015-05-14 00:00:00 Producer Price Index for Final Demand Hits a New Low by Doug Short (Article)

Today's release of the March Producer Price Index (PPI) for Final Demand came in at -0.4% month-over-month seasonally adjusted. That follows the previous month's 0.2% increase. Core Final Demand (less food and energy) came in at -0.2% month-over-month following a 0.2% change the month before. The Investing.com forecasts were for 0.2% headline and 0.1% core. The year-over-year change in Final Demand is -1.3%, the lowest in the brief history of this data series.

2015-05-13 00:00:00 The Next Generation by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Saudi King Salman recently announced a set of changes to his cabinet and the order of royal succession. We believe these changes are significant, perhaps the most critical since the first royal succession in 1953. In this report, we detail the changes announced by King Salman and provide a short history of the important succession plan that was established in 1964. With this background, we show how the king’s announcement represents the first change in the program and discuss how these changes could affect the future stability of the kingdom.

2015-05-13 00:00:00 The Happening by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

“The Happening” . . . except in this case I am not referring to the 1967 movie, whose title song was sung by the Supremes, but last Thursday’s “Friends of Fermentation” (FOF) gathering at Bobby Van’s across from the NYSE.

2015-05-13 00:00:00 Stocks Look Expensive…and Still Attractive by Ilya Figelman of AllianceBernstein

Developed-market equity valuations seem a bit expensive today—but we still think they’re worth an overweight in multi-asset strategies. A wider view shows that stocks remain attractive globally.

2015-05-13 00:00:00 US Equity Leadership (Still) Hasn't Changed by Team of GaveKal Capital

We mentioned two weeks ago how equity performance has flip-flopped in the second quarter and how asset prices are most likely just in a counter-trend rally. Since then, others have picked up on this theme with a lot of folks calling for higher bond yields in particular (we aren't so sure). If equity markets are in the process of a trend change, one would expect leadership to change as well. As we will show in the charts below, this doesn't look to be happening from a relative performance perspective in the US. All data is in USD, on an equal-weighted basis and as of 5/8/2015 close.

2015-05-13 00:00:00 When is “in” not the opposite of “out”? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

When you ask someone what is the opposite of “in,” they automatically say “out.” But when you ask them “What’s the opposite of income?”, some might immediately start to say “outcome”, but that’s never their final guess.

2015-05-13 00:00:00 Earnings Recap: Good Enough? by Burt White of LPL Financial

The first quarter 2015 earnings season is virtually over and the results relative to lowered expectations were quite good. Investors were braced for an earnings decline and the possible start of an “earnings recession,” but it looks like they will end up with a better than feared, year-over-year earnings growth rate of about 2%, according to Thomson Reuters data. This pace is impressive considering the significant drags from the oil downturn and strong U.S. dollar. Here we recap the first quarter 2015 earnings season and share our earnings outlook for the rest of 2015.

2015-05-13 00:00:00 Greece and China: Risks Continue to Simmer by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

Last week's strong employment report settled what I saw as the major short-term risk here in the U.S. Meanwhile, the biggest international risks—Greece and China—continue to make headlines, but the pot isn’t boiling over yet.

2015-05-13 00:00:00 CEF Yield by (Article)

If you’re looking for yield, closed-end funds may interest you, says John Cole Scott of CEF Advisors. But remember, CEF distributions may change.

2015-05-13 00:00:00 ‘Good Times’ Challenge by (Article)

Investing during good times, when markets are doing relatively well, may present a challenge to both the CEF industry and investors, says Alex Reiss of Stifel.

2015-05-13 00:00:00 Beyond Beta: How Quantitative Portfolios (QPs) Elevate the Client Experience by (Article)

Each client’s investment challenge is different from the next and “one-size-fits-all” passive investments can often fall short in addressing important needs. Watch this animated video to learn how our Factor-Enhanced and Market Series QPs can help take investor portfolios beyond beta and truly enhance the client experience.

2015-05-13 00:00:00 Energy, Interest Rates, and Risk Management Today by (Article)

Chuck Royce discusses some of the events that helped shape the first quarter and the prospects for risk management in a more normalized environment.

2015-05-13 00:00:00 See No Evil: What We Chose to Ignore in the April Jobs Report by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

We live in an age where bad economic news is not only unwelcome, but it is routinely overlooked or excused. On the other hand, good news is spotted and trumpeted even when it doesn't exist. An ideal illustration of this dangerous tendency towards collective selectivity came last week when the markets and the media somehow turned an awful employment report into an ideal data set that confirmed all optimism and contained nothing but good news for investors. In truth, it was anything but.

2015-05-13 00:00:00 April Retail Sales: The Spring Rebound Goes Missing by Doug Short (Article)

The Advance Retail Sales Report released this morning shows that sales in April came in flat month-over-month, a situation that was enabled by an upward March revision from 0.9% to 1.1%. Core Retail Sales (ex Autos) came in at a disappointing 0.1%, with the March number tweaked upward from 0.4% to 0.7%. Today's numbers came in below the Investing.com forecast of 0.2% for Headline Sales and 0.5% for Core Sales.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 Job Openings & Labor Turnover: Clues to the Business Cycle by Doug Short (Article)

The latest JOLTS report (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary), data through March, is now available. The first chart below shows four of the headline components of the overall series, which the BLS began tracking in December 2000. The timeframe is quite limited compared to the main BLS data series in the monthly employment report, many of which go back to 1948, and the enormously popular Nonfarm Employment (PAYEMS) series goes back to 1939. Nevertheless, there are some clear JOLTS correlations with the most recent business cycle trends.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 Small Business Optimism Rises, But Sales Expectations Remain Weak by Doug Short (Article)

The latest issue of the NFIB Small Business Economic Trends is out today. The update for April came in at 96.9, a 1.7 point increase from the previous month. The index is now at the 33rd percentile in this series. The Investing.com forecast was for 95.8.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 The Numbers Needed for the Prime U.S. Workforce to Recover by Doug Short (Article)

At last year's Jackson Hole Symposium, Fed Chair Janet Yellen delivered an extended analysis of "Labor Market Dynamics and Monetary Policy". Her speech essentially reviewed the ongoing debate over the mix of cyclical versus structural factors in employment since the Great Recession.

Here is an updated a series of charts illustrating some structural changes in the workforce that are far more significant than the cyclical impact of the Great Recession.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 The Best Approach to Adjustable Retirement Withdrawals by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

A great deal of recent research has focused on strategies that adjust withdrawals in retirement depending on investment experience. But such strategies disrupt retirement plans by causing withdrawals to vary a lot from year to year. I'll examine the prominent approaches for determining what will work best for clients.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 Louis-Vincent Gave: The World's Most Crowded Trade by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Investors are paid to adapt, not to forecast, according to Louis-Vincent Gave, and three changes are occurring globally that all portfolios must accommodate. One of them is a position that is missing from virtually every investor's allocation.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 Michael Pettis: The Limit to China's Growth by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Faced with an incredibly difficult rebalancing challenge - one which very few developed countries have overcome - Michael Pettis says that the best China can achieve is 3% to 4% GDP growth.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 Jim Bianco's Unconventional Ideas by Robert Huebscher (Article)

According to Berkshire Hathaway's Charlie Munger, when it comes to investing, everything important is counterintuitive; everything obvious is wrong. In that spirit, Jim Bianco offered a series of unconventional ideas on the stock market, Fed policy and oil prices.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 A Small Gift with a Lasting Impact by Dan Richards (Article)

Some advisors have found a way to make their gifts and entertainment stand out - and offer a valuable lesson on how you will get a bigger return from your activities - as well as recognize and thank clients. There are four keys to making your activity stand out.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 How to Make Your Message Persuasive by Daniel Solin (Article)

We all want to make our message persuasive, but few advisors pay attention to the peer-reviewed studies identifying the most efficient methods for doing so.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 Making Meetings More Productive by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I can't get any work done. My firm is obsessed with meetings, organizing them for every little thing. How do I stop the madness without looking like I'm not a team player?

2015-05-12 00:00:00 Five Reasons to Adopt "Legacy Planning" over Estate Planning by Mark Davis (Article)

Legacy planning - providing advice to intergenerational clients that extends beyond wealth transfer - is a critical strategy for retaining client relationships and assets for the long-term.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 Weathering Market Risk With Dividend Stocks by Sponsored Content by Invesco (Article)

Retirement planning is like a road trip: You need a well-thought-out plan to reach your destination. Prudent travelers should be prepared for occasional bursts of volatility. Dividend-paying stocks can help manage market risk by providing relatively conservative exposure to the equity market.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 The Future of Investing ESG Portfolios: Changing Beliefs, Perceptions and Goals by Sponsored Content by ClearBridge Investments (Article)

Investing consistent with environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles can no longer be dismissed as a short-term fad. Assets under management are growing steadily, accompanied by a rise in the number and type of investment options across asset classes. Clearbridge's research explores how institutions are investing with impact today.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 Henderson Unconstrained Bond Fund (HUNAX) update by (Article)

James McAlevey, Head of Interest Rates and Kevin Adams, Director of Fixed Income, provide a review of the Henderson Unconstrained Bond Fund’s performance in April and discuss the drivers of the recent increase in bond market volatility. Performance in April was reasonably good particularly in the context of global bond markets selling off quite substantially.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 Q1 Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

Grey Owl’s strategies all performed well in the first quarter. The good performance came despite US GDP growth of just 0.2%, continually lowered earnings expectations, and volatile equity and bond markets. Below we discuss the current environment including the now absolute fixation by investors on every Fed comment, our continued focus on an all-weather approach, and our best and worst performing securities during the quarter.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 Has Sales Growth Peaked for the Cycle? by Team of GaveKal Capital

Sales growth estimates for companies around the world began sliding towards the middle of 2014 as the price of oil began its months-long setback. In the first chart below we show the average and median company's next 12 month sales growth estimate for the MSCI World Index which shows that the level of expected sales growth took a significant step down into the first quarter of 2015.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 The Dangerfield Recovery Or A Skousen Reality by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

During my morning reading I ran across this article by my friend Cullen Roche, via Pragmatic Capitalist, entitled "The Economic Recovery That Can't Get Any Respect," or more commonly known as the "Dangerfield Recovery."

2015-05-12 00:00:00 Dog Days of the U.S. Expansion by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The Kentucky Derby marks the beginning of summer, but ultimately investors must prepare for the coming winter.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 A Wild Ride for Global Bond Yields by Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

Bond yields in key markets around the world have been on something of a roller-coaster ride, moving up quickly in recent months. Ten-year Treasury rates closed at 2.28% on May 11, up from 1.65% at the end of January.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 In the Market’s Sweet Spot by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Recent economic data reports have reflected a slowdown in growth, but they are not disastrous. The economy continues to improve, but not so much that the Fed will rush to take away the punch bowl. That’s good news for the financial markets.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 What's next for Gold? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Will gold zoom higher with Greece on the brink of default? Or will it crash as the Fed pursues an “exit?” Why has gold not rallied with the recent retreat of the dollar? To understand where gold may be heading, keep in mind that this shiny metal isn’t changing; it’s the world around it that is. We contemplate why investors may want to hold gold as part of their portfolio.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 Time to look at South Korea by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Our global investments continue to focus on the secondary effects of the deflating global credit bubble. The bubble’s deflation has left the world awash in capacity, and we expect countries to fight for market share as a result of that overcapacity.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 As Volatility Rises, Momentum Loses by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

With volatility rising, BlackRock Global Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses implications for the markets, especially momentum stocks.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 Korea's Booming Health Care Sector by Soo Chang Lee of Matthews Asia

Korea’s health care companies have long faced challenges competing with global players that have secured patents and intellectual property for products. But is Korean pharma finally prepared to move beyond generics?

2015-05-12 00:00:00 High Yield: Handling Headline Risk by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Market movements caused by the sharp drop—and subsequent recovery—in oil prices provide insight on successfully navigating the high-yield market.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 Are We Headed for a Hangover? by Gibson Smith of Janus Capital Group

It’s late, and the punch bowl is half full. With central banks around the globe still in accommodative mode, the threat that the Federal Reserve (Fed) will pull away the punch bowl sets up the markets for some real disruption. Until then, let the party continue.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 British Election: Repercussions for America by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

The British General Election, on May 7th, was an epic in two respects. First, in spite of polls forecasting a hung parliament, David Cameron’s Conservative Party was given unexpectedly large support, winning 331 seats, or 51 % for an overall majority of four, and showing once again the failure of left wing parties to make traction in Europe.

2015-05-11 00:00:00 Inside the World of Multiple Jobholders: Two Decades of Trends by Doug Short (Article)

What are the long-term trends for multiple jobholders in the US? The Bureau of Labor Statistics has two decades of historical data to enlighten us on that topic, courtesy of Table A-16 in the monthly Current Population Survey.

At present, multiple jobholders account for about five percent of civilian employment. The survey captures data for four subcategories of the multi-job workforce, the current relative sizes of which I've illustrated in a pie chart.

2015-05-11 00:00:00 Recognizing the Risks to Financial Stability by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Our hope is that Chair Yellen’s growing recognition of speculative risks will continue, and for the sake of the U.S. economy, that the rather baseless hope of manipulating a “Phillips Curve” or a “wealth effect” will fade. If one believes in these things, it is tempting to think that more monetary easing could be “good” for the economy. If the FOMC recognizes how weak those empirical relationships actually are, and how extreme the financial distortions have become, we might still avoid another financial crisis.

2015-05-11 00:00:00 Economic & Capital Market Summary – First Quarter 2015 by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

Our belief is that a market is simply a clearinghouse for the price of risk and the quantitative easing programs of the central banks of developed countries are distorting the price of risk in our capital markets. As a result, valuations in bonds, stocks, real estate and other assets are distorted.

2015-05-11 00:00:00 Strategic Allocaiton to High Yield Corporate Bonds – Why Now? by Matthew Kennedy of Rainier Investment Management

The demand for higher yielding fixed income investments has never been greater. In the current environment of low yields, from the virtually non-existent rate offered on savings accounts and CDs to the declining, and in some cases negative, yields on global government debt securities, investors are searching for attractive income¬ generating alternatives.

2015-05-11 00:00:00 Car Nut by Brian Andrew of Cleary Gull

I love cars, both new and old. I like to drive them, talk about them, watch them race and just about anything involving them. I also think cars can tell us a lot about people, investors and the economy. Last week, the monthly auto sales data were released and there were some interesting trends that tell us something about secular demographic trends, the impact of falling gas prices and how workers are feeling about their prospects.

2015-05-11 00:00:00 Taming Longevity Risk by Patrick Drum of Saturna Capital

"In spite of the cost of living, it's still popular." - Kathleen Norris. These words offered by Kathleen Norris decades ago carry more weight than ever before, particularly within the realm of financial planning and saving for retirement.

2015-05-11 00:00:00 Utilities Sector at an Inflection Point by John Kohli, Blair Schmicker of Franklin Templeton Investments

While utilities stocks will likely be impacted by upcoming Fed maneuvers and an eventual rising interest-rate environment, we think lower reliance on dividends and a decent growth rate in dividends received by investors might actually help counter the implied effect of higher interest rates.

2015-05-11 00:00:00 On My Radar: Life is Great! by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

The primary need of investors is shifting and the risk dynamics has changed. Gone are those wonderful defined benefit plans. This is the first generation of retirees retiring with control of their financial assets. That’s good news for your advisory business, yet, with zero bond rates and 10-year forward returns for equities in the 2% to 4% range, the challenges loom large.

2015-05-11 00:00:00 Attention Contrarians – Time to Look at Emerging Markets by Christopher Gannatti of WisdomTree

Often when it becomes difficult to even consider discussing—much less investing in—particular markets, it might be time to take another look. History is full of examples of investors with strong stomachs making out quite well by buying some of the most unloved markets, sectors or companies in the world.

2015-05-11 00:00:00 Corporate Earnings and Inflation by Clyde Kendzierski of Financial Solutions Group

A few months ago our 2015 forecast emphasized several points we began making late last year. Taken together, those points differed dramatically from the prevailing wisdom of the time. As we begin May, they are falling into place.

2015-05-11 00:00:00 Western Politics’ Locust Years by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

Many mainstream political parties in the West are so busy playing defense that they are forgoing the strategic thinking needed to re-energize growth models, anchor financial stability, and ensure that technological innovation enables broad-based prosperity. As a result, Western economies may be undermining their future potential.

2015-05-11 00:00:00 Roadblocks to Equity Gains May Start to Fade by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Investors had a lot to react to last week, with the biggest story being a continued rise in global bond yields. The Conservative Party secured an unexpectedly decisive victory in the U.K. elections and Fed Chair Janet Yellen commented about higher equity valuations.

2015-05-11 00:00:00 Tracking the Market with Social Media by Blair Jensen of Trade Followers

I’ve posted warnings of a short term top for the S&P 500 Index (SPX) over the past couple of weeks and since that time the market has been choppy. I’m now seeing evidence of sentiment from the Twitter stream that indicates SPX is due for a move higher. The evidence suggests that SPX should break out of its recent range. The first clue comes from 7 day momentum which has moved down into oversold territory.

2015-05-11 00:00:00 Bubble Trouble in Nasdaq’s Nursery by Dan Roarty of AllianceBernstein

Are technology stocks in a bubble? Opinions differ. But the sector’s startup baby boom and the rich valuations being showered on so many fledgling firms warrant a more discriminating approach for investing in disruptive innovation.

2015-05-11 00:00:00 How to Implement a Factor-based Smart Beta Investing Strategy by Sara Shores of BlackRock

Smart beta expert Sara Shores explains factor investing and shares several ideas for how to potentially implement this strategy into your own portfolio.

2015-05-11 00:00:00 Demographic Trends in the 50-and-Older Work Force by Doug Short (Article)

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 almost one in five of the 70-74 cohort are in the labor force.

2015-05-11 00:00:00 Long-Term Trends in Employment by Age Group by Doug Short (Article)

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.

2015-05-11 00:00:00 Ratio of Part-Time Employed Still Higher Than the Pre-Recession Level by Doug Short (Article)

Let's take a close look at Friday's employment report numbers on Full and Part-Time Employment. Buried near the bottom of Table A-9 of the government's Employment Situation Summary are the numbers for Full- and Part-Time Workers, with 35-or-more hours as the arbitrary divide between the two categories. The source is the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) of households. The focus is on total hours worked regardless of whether the hours are from a single or multiple jobs.

2015-05-10 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review For the Week of May 4-8; Mid-Caps Break Trend, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

Last week’s economic releases provided much needed bullish news with strong headline numbers from the ISM Services Index and the monthly employment report. But the 1.9% Q/Q decline in productivity was concerning. On the earnings front, with a little over 90% of the S&P 500 companies reporting, total revenues are off 4.1% Y/Y. Adding to the negative backdrop is that future earnings projections continue to move lower. This weak performance on the company level sent the markets lower, with the small caps consolidating recent declines while mid-caps joined in recent trend-breaking.

2015-05-08 00:00:00 Amazon and Apple: Two Approaches To Capital Investment by Team of GaveKal Capital

With Apple's (ticker: AAPL) announcement that are selling more debt in order to buy back more shares and pay out dividends, a client posed an interesting question to us: Do you think Amazon (ticker: AMZN) will announce something similar soon? Our short answer is most likely no since Amazon tends to reinvest earnings, especially in intangible investments, much more aggressively than Apple does. Let's take a quick look at how Amazon and Apple's investment profiles and payout strategies differ (all data refers to Gavekal's intangible-adjusted financial statements).

2015-05-08 00:00:00 In the Know: Seven Myths About Municipal Bonds by Rafael Costas, Sheila Amoroso of Franklin Templeton Investments

Municipal bonds are used to fund the public works projects that affect all of us every day. For many everyday investors (not just the wealthy) seeking to generate income in retirement, we think municipal bonds are worth considering.

2015-05-08 00:00:00 Follow the Smart Money: How the Pros Are Trading Right Now by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

No matter what profession you’re in, no matter what sport or hobby is important to you, chances are good you keep track of what the top professionals are up to. More often than not, they’re the smartest ones in the room. They’re the innovators, the thought leaders, and it pays to keep up with their decisions, behavior and opinions.

2015-05-08 00:00:00 Taxable Bonds in a Taxable Account? by Daryl Clements of AllianceBernstein

It sounds unorthodox. But for investors facing taxes, it makes sense to consider opportunities beyond the municipal bond realm. Because it’s all about what you have left after taxes.

2015-05-08 00:00:00 The Shocking Truth About Share Buybacks by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

The value and benefits, or lack thereof, of share buybacks to the future fortunes of a company and their shareholders is one of the most hotly debated subjects on popular financial blogs such as Seeking Alpha. Unfortunately, at least based on my own personal experience, most of the arguments are predicated on opinions and beliefs in lieu of the facts.

2015-05-08 00:00:00 Inequality, Immigration, and Hypocrisy by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

Europe’s migration crisis exposes a fundamental flaw, if not towering hypocrisy, in the ongoing debate about economic inequality. Wouldn’t a true progressive support equal opportunity for all people on the planet, rather than just for those of us lucky enough to have been born and raised in rich countries?

2015-05-08 00:00:00 MLPs: Providing Growth and Income Potential Despite Low Oil Prices by Joe Rodriguez, Darin Turner, Walt Stabell III of Invesco Blog

With oil prices down around approximately 50% since June 2014, investors are increasingly wary of the entire energy sector. Even given this environment, master limited partnerships (MLPs) represent an energy investment that we believe may weather short-term volatility in energy prices, benefit from the US’s long-term infrastructure needs, and provide attractive income potential for investors.

2015-05-08 00:00:00 Where Dividend Investors are Seeking Income by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Guest contributor Tony DeSpirito explains how investing in dividend-paying stocks isn’t what it used to be – and how to make dividend investing work in your portfolio.

2015-05-08 00:00:00 Janet Yellen’s Warning About the Stock Market by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

Once again, the chair of the Federal Reserve has weighed in on asset prices.

2015-05-08 00:00:00 CEFs for Retirees by (Article)

Investors in or near retirement may find that CEFs offer compelling potential income, says Anne Kritzmire of Nuveen Investments.

2015-05-08 00:00:00 Made In Europe by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

A weak finish to the month of April 2015 was “made in Europe” as expectations of better global growth weighed on bonds. On Monday, May 4, 2015, the 10-year German government bond yield closed at 0.45%, more than quadrupling over the past two weeks. European strength combined with a dovish Federal Reserve (Fed) meeting outcome continued to arrest U.S. dollar strength, a primary driver of the steady decline in inflation and investors’ inflation expectations from mid-2014 through the first quarter of 2015.

2015-05-08 00:00:00 Global Economic Overview and Equity Commentaries: March 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

The global economy is facing subdued growth in the short term, as adverse weather and a stronger currency have slowed the pace of U.S. expansion. Unusually severe winter weather on the U.S. East coast restricted business and consumer activity during the first three months of the year.

2015-05-08 00:00:00 Watching and Waiting by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

Patience can be tough, especially in investing, but that is what is needed at the present time. While a sharp upward move in equities seems unlikely, and the risk of pullbacks is elevated; a grind higher is not something most investors should miss out on. Economic data and the Fed will continue to be in the spotlight, and we expect improvement that will lead to both a Fed rate hike and increased equity volatility—so be prepared. Across the pond, political uncertainty exists, but money supply should be the main focus, which could bode well for the possibility of future European equity gain

2015-05-08 00:00:00 Americans Take 3-Trillion-Mile Road Trip, Dollar Corrects and Commodities Rebound by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The busy summer travel season is at our doorstep, starting this Mother’s Day weekend, and with that comes stronger fuel demand.

2015-05-08 00:00:00 Automation Can Inspire, But Also Intimidate by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

• Automation Can Inspire, But Also Intimidate • The United States Gets Back to Work • Disability Is Not a Refuge for the Unemployed

2015-05-08 00:00:00 The U.K. Election Surprises Everyone by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Will the United Kingdom remain united? And will it choose to continue its economic alliance with the rest of the continent? These are key questions not just for Britain, but for the rest of the world. Whatever happens next, this election will certainly prove to be as important as it was billed to be, but perhaps not for the reasons originally thought.

2015-05-08 00:00:00 Threats To Worry About, And Those To Ignore, In This Equity Market by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Understanding where headwinds lie is not academic. If macro or financials were the main headwinds, we would expect this bull market to be near an end. That it has more to do with sentiment and valuation implies that a reset in equity prices (lower) will likely set up the next leg higher in 2015 and 2016.

2015-05-08 00:00:00 April Jobs Growth Rebounds and the Unemployment Rates Ticks Down to 5.4% by Doug Short (Article)

Today's report of 223K new nonfarm jobs in April was close to the Investing.com forecast of 224K. Moreover, March nonfarm payrolls were revised downward by 41K from 126K to 85K. The unemployment rate ticked down from 5.5% to 5.4%.

2015-05-08 00:00:00 The Civilian Labor Force, Unemployment Claims and the Business Cycle by Doug Short (Article)

What does the ratio of unemployment claims tell us about where we are in the business cycle and our current recession risk? At present, the ratio for Continued Claims has been trending down. Excluding the 1981 recession, the Initial Claims trough lead time for a recession has ranged from 7 to 22 months with an average of 12 months if we include the 1981 recession and 14 months if we exclude it. Admittedly, the last recession is an extreme example, but the Initial Claims trough preceded its December 2007 onset by a whopping 22 months.

2015-05-07 00:00:00 For trading, not eating! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Trading sardines indeed, except I have seen a lot of folks attempting to trade this market over the past few months all to no avail. What has typically happened is that one day they are able to make some money, but the next day they give that profit back.

2015-05-07 00:00:00 What Rising Yields Mean for U.S. Stocks by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Last week’s bond selloff provided a foreshadowing of the U.S. stock segments likely to suffer as the eventual Federal Reserve (Fed) rate liftoff nears.

2015-05-07 00:00:00 Oil & Water: Their Possible Impact on State Fiscal Health by Charles Kishpaugh of Loomis Sayles

Two situations stand out as having the potential to disrupt the fiscal health of important states: the deepening drought in California and the impact of low oil prices on states where oil production revenue is vital.

2015-05-07 00:00:00 Be Vigilant - not Paranoid - about CyberSecurity by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group

Sony, JP Morgan Chase, Target, Home Depot attacked. Russian, Chinese, North Korean, stateless hackers blamed. Stories about identity theft, e-mail hacks, and elder abuse blanket the news. No wonder many of our clients fear it's just a matter of time before the cyber criminals attack them personally. Fortunately, with a reasonable amount of vigilance, you can avoid becoming a victim.

2015-05-07 00:00:00 Emerging Markets May Make a Good Draft Pick to Add to Portfolios by Burt White of LPL Financial

The evaluation process NFL football teams go through to prepare for the NFL draft, which took place this past weekend, is not unlike the investment decision-making process.

2015-05-07 00:00:00 Labor Productivity, Household Incomes and Corporate Profits: And the Winner Is? by Doug Short (Article)

Yesterday the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the preliminary data for Q1 Productivity and Costs. We learned that the headline metric, nonfarm business sector labor productivity, decreased at a 1.9 percent annual rate during the first quarter of 2015. Let's take a look at the BLS's complete data series for this index, which dates from 1947.

2015-05-07 00:00:00 Region Insights – Europe – Investment Opportunity in Europe is Compelling by Derrick Tzau of Rainier Funds

While Europe abounds in world-class companies, macro concerns in 2014 obscured compelling opportunities for price appreciation and earnings power that we believe will surprise to the upside in 2015. Investors have woken up to the opportunity in the first two months of 2015 and many European exchanges are off to a fast start. We think more gains are ahead, particularly in small- to mid-size companies in Europe.

2015-05-07 00:00:00 What's Next for the Dollar and Currencies? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

In anticipation of higher U.S. rates and lower rates elsewhere, the greenback had enjoyed a dramatic rally. Has the tide turned, or is the dollar merely taking a breather? We believe there are threats and opportunities hidden underneath recent market action. Below is a closer look in an effort to allow investors to better understand the dynamics that might be unfolding.

2015-05-07 00:00:00 Is Your Investment Factor “Campbell Harvey Strong”? by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

This week Professor Siegel and Jeremy Schwartz chatted with Campbell Harvey, professor at Duke University, to speak about his presentation, which challenges the efficacy of many factor-based investment strategies.

2015-05-07 00:00:00 Recession Probability Models - May 2015 by Ted Kavadas of StratX, LLC

There are a variety of economic models that are supposed to predict the probabilities of recession.

2015-05-07 00:00:00 The End of Short-Termism is Long Overdue by Zachary Karabell of Envestnet

For the past forty years, Wall Street and corporate boards increasingly have focused on short-term profits. Quarterly earnings determine the fate of a company’s share price, and demonstrating a robust trajectory of short-term earnings growth is rewarded above all else. Signs suggest that this trajectory is shifting, and if it does, that will bolster a long-term approach to investing and managing money.

2015-05-07 00:00:00 NASCAR, Firefighting, and Investing by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Over the weekend at the Geico 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway, the underside of the Number 3 car driven by Austin Dillon caught fire in spectacular fashion. Someone on Dillon’s pit crew advised him to keep driving to the point where one of the racetrack fire crews was positioned which resulted in an instantaneous response and faster suppression of the flames.

2015-05-06 00:00:00 ADP Employment Report for April Disappoints Expectations by Doug Short (Article)

The economic mover and shaker this week is the Friday employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This monthly report contains a wealth of data for economists, probably the most publicized in the near term being the month-over-month change in Total Nonfarm Employment.

Today we have the April estimate of 169K new nonfarm private employment jobs from ADP. That is the lowest number since the 157K in January of last year, 15 months ago. In addition, the previous month's estimate was revised downward from 189K to 175K.

2015-05-06 00:00:00 Laddered Bond Portfolios: Built to Perform in Rising Rate Environments by Josh Yafa of Thornburg Investment Management

As the Federal Reserve prepares to embark on a path of interest rate policy normalization, fixed income investors are finally facing the beginning of a cycle they have feared for the better part of a decade. Yet with answers come more questions, and while investors can reasonably expect a series of Federal Funds rate increases (hereafter, “Fed Funds”), the pace, magnitude, and ripple effects on various segments of the broader fixed income market are open to interpretation.

2015-05-06 00:00:00 International Equities: Another Turn of the Wheel by David Ruff of Forward Investing

It’s a truism that markets move in cycles and that the ideal time to invest is right at or near the start of an upswing. Diversification is another key tenet of Investing 101. Yet inertia and the pull of the crowd often lead investors to concentrate assets in markets that may be nearing their peak while ignoring potentially more promising opportunities.

2015-05-06 00:00:00 Can Assad Survive? by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Rebels in Syria have been making steady gains against forces loyal to the Assad regime and these gains have recently accelerated. The recent rebel victories are raising questions about the Assad regime’s ability to survive. In this report, we recap the problems the Syrian government faces, including internal dissent and military losses. We discuss the growing evidence of a Turkey-Saudi axis that may be aiding the rebels to weaken or eliminate Assad and pressure Iran. From there, we examine the potential Iranian and American responses to the rebel gains and support from Riyadh and Ankara.

2015-05-06 00:00:00 Crystal Balls, Likely Outcomes and Portfolio Planning by Robert Holton of Cleary Gull

In presentations to fellow professionals, we often make self-deprecating comments similar to this – “And then later we’ll tell you exactly when the Fed will raise interest rates. We’ll just grab our crystal ball and take a look.” That simple joke, variations of which are repeated over and over among financial professionals, draws on fairly deep-seated anxiety about the predictability of financial markets.

2015-05-06 00:00:00 The Mistake Eveyone Is Making About Fed Rate Hikes by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

With the Federal Reserve now indicating that they are "really serious" about raising interest rates, there have come numerous articles and analysis discussing the impact on asset prices. The general thesis is based on averages of historical tendencies as discussed recently by David Rosenberg in his daily commentary.

2015-05-06 00:00:00 An Investigation Into Corporate Investments by Team of GaveKal Capital

Profitability and investment are inextricably linked through time. A company's investment decisions today will ultimately drive its profitability level tomorrow. The fruits of a company's investment decisions eventually show up in profitability metrics such as free cash flow margin, operating cash flow margin, and return on equity. Finally. a company's ability to improve these metrics, year-in and year-out, ultimately dictates how a company's stock will perform over the long run.

2015-05-06 00:00:00 The Embarrassment of Transparency by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Over the past decade or so, "transparency" has become one of the buzzwords that has guided the Federal Reserve's culture. The word was meant to convey the belief that central banking was best done for all to see in the full light of day, not in the murky back rooms of Washington and New York. The Fed seems to be on a mission to prove that its operations are benevolent, fair, predictable, and equitable.

2015-05-06 00:00:00 Buying Time: Why We Think M&A Is Here to Stay by Cindy Sweeting of Franklin Templeton Investments

In an environment of still-moderate global economic growth that may not promise great rewards for new investment or capital expenditure, the market appears more prepared to accept that well-thought-out M&A, financed by lower-cost capital and low interest rates, could be quickly accretive.

2015-05-06 00:00:00 GSE Reform? It’s Already Happening by Michael Canter of AllianceBernstein

Official reform of the government’s role in housing finance isn’t likely this year. But de facto reform, led by the private sector, is already under way. That’s good for investors, borrowers and the housing market as a whole.

2015-05-06 00:00:00 The Credit Analysis Process: From In-Depth Company Research to Selecting the Right Instrument by Andreas Berndt, Charles Watford of PIMCO

Credit can offer a broad range of investment opportunities. But in today’s low yield environment, an active and integrated investment approach is critical.

2015-05-05 00:00:00 David Rosenberg - Bullish on Stocks by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The consensus narrative is negative for the economy and U.S. equity markets. But according to David Rosenberg, that is wrong. A recession is three years away, he said, and even if the Fed raises rates, equities will perform strongly this year.

2015-05-05 00:00:00 Should Investors Unload Their Mortgage REITs? by Keith Jurow (Article)

Lured by irresistible double-digit yields in 2012 and early 2013, investors dived into mortgage REITs with abandon. Having discussed the serious risks of equity REITs in my previous article, now is a good time to examine whether mortgage REITs pose similar risks for the unwary.

2015-05-05 00:00:00 Will China's Shadow Banking System be its Ruin? by Michael Edesess (Article)

A great deal of concern has focused on China's shadow banking system, and whether that system is reliant on a real estate bubble that will ultimately collapse, bringing the economy down with it. The recent global financial crisis, in which the U.S., the U.K. and other world leaders tripped and fell, makes this scenario seem very possible.

2015-05-05 00:00:00 Ten Lessons from America's Top Marketer by Dan Richards (Article)

The world's largest consumer products company with global sales of $80 billion, Procter and Gamble has 26 brands with sales over $1 billion and names like Tide, Crest and many others. P&G's marketing success provides 10 important lessons for financial advisors.

2015-05-05 00:00:00 How Your Clothes Alter Your Conduct by Dan Solin (Article)

I have never met an advisor who truly understood the extensive data on first impressions. That's unfortunate because the failure to recognize the impact of a first impression means converting fewer prospects into clients.

2015-05-05 00:00:00 Improving Client Communication Skills by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Clients describe a void to me; they will call to ask questions about an issue and might wait days to hear back. I know that my staff is working on finding an answer, and that's why they don't respond. But the clients don't know this, and it makes for a poor client experience. Any tips on improving the response time and communication?

2015-05-05 00:00:00 Make Your Website Work as Hard as You Do by Lauren Hong (Article)

Every three to five years. That's how often you should be refreshing and revamping your website based on how quickly technology and design develop. Not what you want to hear? Fear not: I promise the return is worth the investment on this one.

2015-05-05 00:00:00 Waiting on the Turn by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The economy slowed in the first quarter, reflecting a variety of restraints. Most of these should give way, leading to stronger growth in the second quarter. However, Federal Reserve officials and financial market participants will want to see proof.

2015-05-05 00:00:00 Who Is Afraid of the Inflation Ogre? by Liz Ann Sonders, Christian Menegatti of Charles Schwab

When many commentators and investors show a high conviction about something, it is perhaps a good time to explore how things could move in the opposite direction. After several trillions of quantitative easing (QE) from the major global central banks, and with trillions of QE likely ahead, the consensus appears spooked by the specter of global disinflation and deflation. The possibility of a higher inflation scenario seems to have fallen completely off the radar.

2015-05-05 00:00:00 Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice: Buffett’s 50th Shareholder Meeting by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

The 50th annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway with Warren Buffett as Chairman was filled with sugar and spice and everything nice. We at Smead Capital Management always look for three key takeaways from the annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway. This year we think we can sum it up by using the 19th Century nursery rhyme.

2015-05-05 00:00:00 Americas: Economy Trends Update - April 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

Lower oil and commodity prices as well as changes in currency rates continue to be the main drivers of economic trends in the Americas. The weak export outlook for energy and commodities have hurt the prospects of large economies such as Brazil, which is expected to see a decline in economic output this year.

2015-05-05 00:00:00 Spring Cleaning: Time to Throw Out Some Old Asset Allocation Advice by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

Many investors and advisors alike rest assured that the risk of stocks diminishes considerably as the holding period increases. This is only partly right as it overlooks a significant and extremely relevant risk.

2015-05-05 00:00:00 Yuan Vs. Dollar: The Fight of the Century by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

I know I’m a couple days late on the “fight of the century” theme. Apparently, there was a major boxing match the other night, which, characteristically, I missed. Nonetheless, better late than never, especially since there’s another “fight” going on that will ultimately have a much bigger effect on our lives.

2015-05-05 00:00:00 Re-Emerging Markets? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

With emerging markets showing surprising resilience, BlackRock Global Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses why investors should consider including EM equities in their portfolios.

2015-05-05 00:00:00 How to Dress for a Rainy Day by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

The answer is the Lollapalooza effect. The question you may recall from last month’s Absolute Return Letter - what’s the opposite of a perfect storm, or put another way, what do you call it when an unusual combination of constructive factors creates an outcome which is extraordinarily positive? A reader was kind enough to provide the answer, which was coined by Charles Munger years ago. As a non-American, the answer was at first complete gobbledygook to me, but a quick Google search convinced me that the answer is absolutely legitimate. Thank you.

2015-05-05 00:00:00 ISM Data for April Point to a Strong Rebound in U.S. Economic Growth In 2015 Q2 by Robert Lamy of The Forecasting Advisor

At the start of each month, the U.S. Institute for Supply Management (ISM) releases data on the state of the manufacturing and non-manufacturing industries of the U.S. economy. The data are closely followed by economists, stock market brokers and the media as they provide the earliest reading on the current state of the economy. The ISM provides data on the current performance of a number of indicators related to the manufacturing and non-manufacturing industries such as production, employment, new orders and backlog of orders, deliveries, inventories, new exports, imports and prices.

2015-05-05 00:00:00 The Real Financial Crisis That Is Looming by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

There is a financial crisis on the horizon. It is a crisis that all the Central Bank interventions in the world cannot cure. It is a financial crisis that will continue to change the economic landscape of America for decades to come.

2015-05-05 00:00:00 Too Late to Invest in EM? by Heidi Richardson of BlackRock

While emerging market stocks have had a good 2015 so far, this may still be an attractive time to invest for invest for investors who have been sitting on the EM sidelines.

2015-05-05 00:00:00 The Market Remains in Overvaluation Territory by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Here is a summary of the four market valuation indicators we update on a monthly basis.

2015-05-05 00:00:00 ISM Non-Manufacturing: Continued Growth in April by Doug Short (Article)

Today the Institute for Supply Management published its latest Non-Manufacturing Report. The headline NMI Composite Index is at 57.8 percent, up 1.3 percent from last month's 56.5 percent. Today's number came in above the Investing.com forecast of 56.2 percent.

2015-05-05 00:00:00 Market Valuation, Inflation and Treasury Yields: More Clues from the Past by Doug Short (Article)

Our monthly market valuation updates have long had the same conclusion: US stock indexes are significantly overvalued, which suggests cautious expectations on investment returns. In a "normal" market environment -- one with conventional business cycles, Federal Reserve policy, interest rates and inflation -- current valuation levels would be a serious concern.

But these are different times.

2015-05-05 00:00:00 The Market Remains in Overvaluation Territory by Doug Short (Article)

Here is a summary of the four market valuation indicators we update on a monthly basis.

  • The Crestmont Research P/E Ratio
  • The cyclical P/E ratio using the trailing 10-year earnings as the divisor
  • The Q Ratio, which is the total price of the market divided by its replacement cost
  • The relationship of the S&P Composite price to a regression trendline

2015-05-04 00:00:00 The Importance of Full Market Cycle Returns by Ryan Leggio, Steven Romick of FPA Fund

A full market cycle can be defined as a peak-to-peak period that contains a price decline of at least 15% from the previous market peak, followed by a rebound that establishes a new, higher peak.1 Few publications or data providers publish, let alone highlight, full market cycle returns, yet we believe understanding them can help the return of your portfolio over the long-term.

2015-05-04 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Can Employment News Change the Fed’s Course? by Jeffrey Miller of New Arc Investments

This week’s economic news is mostly jobs-related. The Fed has cited employment as the most important factor in future rate decisions. There is plenty of FedSpeak on tap. Pundits love to talk about the Fed. Voila!

2015-05-04 00:00:00 A Sense of an Ending by Bill Gross of Janus Capital Group

Having turned the corner on my 70th year, like prize winning author Julian Barnes, I have a sense of an ending. Death frightens me and causes what Barnes calls great unrest, but for me it is not death but the dying that does so. After all, we each fade into unconsciousness every night, do we not?

2015-05-04 00:00:00 Is the Stock Market Cheap? by Doug Short (Article)

Here is a new update of a popular market valuation method using the most recent Standard & Poor's "as reported" earnings and earnings estimates and the index monthly average of daily closes for the past month. For the earnings, see the table below created from Standard & Poor's latest earnings spreadsheet.

2015-05-04 00:00:00 Regression to Trend: A Perspective on Long-Term Market Performance by Doug Short (Article)

Quick take: At the end of April the inflation-adjusted S&P 500 index price was 93% above its long-term trend, unchanged from the previous month.

About the only certainty in the stock market is that, over the long haul, over performance turns into under performance and vice versa. Is there a pattern to this movement? Let's apply some simple regression analysis to the question.

2015-05-04 00:00:00 The Q Ratio and Market Valuation: Monthly Update by Doug Short (Article)

Note from dshort: This commentary has been updated to incorporate some extrapolations for estimating the latest Q Ratio.

The Q Ratio is a popular method of estimating the fair value of the stock market developed by Nobel Laureate James Tobin. It's a fairly simple concept, but laborious to calculate. The Q Ratio is the total price of the market divided by the replacement cost of all its companies.

2015-05-04 00:00:00 Crestmont Market Valuation Update by Doug Short (Article)

Quick take: Based on the April S&P 500 average of daily closes, the Crestmont P/E is 98% above its arithmetic mean and at the 98th percentile of this fourteen-plus-decade monthly metric.

2015-05-04 00:00:00 On My Radar: “The Rodney Dangerfield Expansion” by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

"Earnings don't move the overall market; it’s the Federal Reserve board. And whatever you do, focus on the central banks and focus on the movement of liquidity. Most people in the market are looking for earnings and conventional measures. It's liquidity that moves markets." - Stan Druckenmiller

2015-05-04 00:00:00 The Long Reach of Technology in Taiwan by Jim Harvey, Dilip Badlani of The Royce Funds

Taiwan is one of the high-tech epicenters of the world, and while it headquarters some of the industry's most dominant players, the country is also home to a large and diverse group of smaller companies that provide a vital supporting role to the growing demands of the global markets.

2015-05-04 00:00:00 How The Headlines On GDP Growth Were Wrong by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

GDP growth in the first quarter was, by various measures, among the best since the end of the recession. Real GDP grew 3.0%, the second highest growth rate in the past 5 years. GDP excluding inventories grew 2.5%, the third highest rate of growth in the past 8 years. Personal consumption grew 3.0%, the highest growth rate in 5 years.

2015-05-04 00:00:00 Two Point Three Sigmas Above the Norm by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

If you’re waiting for stocks to become overvalued by 2 standard deviations, we’re already past that, and we would not be at all surprised to observe another decade of negative total returns on the S&P 500, as we observed the last time valuations were similar on the most reliable measures.

2015-05-03 00:00:00 The S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq Since Their 2000 Highs by Doug Short (Article)

This update is a response to a standing request from a couple of sources that we also share with regular visitors to my Advisor Perspectives pages. The request is for real (inflation-adjusted) charts of the S&P 500, Dow 30, and Nasdaq Composite. Here two overlays — one with the nominal price, excluding dividends, and the other with the price adjusted for inflation based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (which is usually just refer to as the CPI).

2015-05-03 00:00:00 Secular Bull and Bear Markets by Doug Short (Article)

Was the March 2009 low the end of a secular bear market and the beginning of a secular bull? At this point, over five-and-a-half years later, the S&P 500 has set an inflation-adjusted record high.

Let's examine the past to broaden our understanding of the range of historical trends in market performance. An obvious feature of this inflation-adjusted series is the pattern of long-term alternations between up-and down-trends.

2015-05-03 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review For the Week of April 27-May 1: Weak GDP Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The market has been trading at fairly expensive levels since the first of the year. With a current PE of nearly 21, it clearly needs economic and earnings growth to move higher. Unfortunately, last week’s news and the general earnings backdrop are not cooperating. First quarter GDP was reported at a meager .2% while Y/Y revenue growth contracted 4.1%. This led to small caps (both the IWM and IWC) breaking uptrends while the larger averages continued to languish. We’re again left with a picture of markets starved for bullish news and not receiving any.

2015-05-03 00:00:00 SPY's Trading Range is as Tight as December Before a 5% Drop by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

The trading range for SPY is tighter now than at any time since December before a 5% drop. SPY's trading range is likely to expand and, on balance, it seems more likely that the expansion will be to the downside rather than the upside. That has been the most common outcome in the past and there are a number of supporting reasons to suggest that it will be the case this time as well.

2015-05-03 00:00:00 Show Me the Stocks, Not the Cash, Say Optimistic CEOs by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In early March, I made the case that there’s no greater vote of confidence in a company’s growth prospects than when its top officers put some skin in the game and buy their own company stock. Among the examples I used were Warren Buffett, who owns millions of shares in Berkshire Hathaway; Elon Musk, who purchased over $100 million worth of Tesla stock in 2013; and myself, the largest shareholder of U.S. Global Investors. Another example of how bullish an executive is on his own company is when he chooses to forego a base salary entirely and instead be compensated in company stock.

2015-05-02 00:00:00 Asia Weekly China's Coming IPO Reform by Hardy Zhu of Matthews Asia

As China continues shifting toward a more market-based economy, what government powers are really being relinquished? Asia Weekly takes a look at changes in the IPO process.

2015-05-02 00:00:00 Pondering Halftime Adjustments by Rick Vollaro of Pinnacle Advisory Group

At the beginning of the year, we wrote about an aging bull market that we thought could be ridden, but with the caveat that one wouldn’t want to take too much risk given the magnitude of the move, current valuation levels in the U.S., and an overall evidence profile that was clearly mixed with pockets of both strength and weakness. When weighing the evidence, our dashboards offered no reason to reach for additional risk this late in the cycle, but instead we tried to focus on some big picture themes that could help us find attractive opportunities to position for.

2015-05-02 00:00:00 Where Is the Prudence in Macroprudential Policy? by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Milton Friedman once said that “when that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around.” After the 2008–2009 financial crisis, there was no shortage of ideas for how to prevent catastrophic financial events from ever happening again. What ultimately resulted was forceful and wide-ranging regulatory responses that included Dodd Frank, the Volcker Rule, Basel III, Solvency II, the Federal Reserve Supplemental Leverage Ratios… the list goes on and on.

2015-05-02 00:00:00 Would More Government Debt Help the U.S. Economy? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ explains why he’s skeptical that massive, debt-fueled government stimulus is what’s needed to accelerate the U.S. recovery.

2015-05-02 00:00:00 Hope Is Not A Strategy, Before Investing Have A Precise Calculation Of Return In Mind by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Many people make the mistake of investing in a stock simply with the hope or belief that it will or might go up in value. However, there is a very popular mantra that states “Hope is not a strategy.”

2015-05-02 00:00:00 Dollar Dictated Returns In April - Except This Time The Lowest Correlated Outperformed by Team of GaveKal Capital

With April in the rearview mirror, it's a good time to look back on which factors had the strongest relationship to market over the past month. USD correlation had the tightest relationship to the market.

2015-05-02 00:00:00 Companies Are Doing Much Better Than 1Q Financials Show by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Companies are doing much better than 1Q financial figures show. Energy sector EPS has fallen 60% in the past year; for the remaining 90% of the S&P, EPS is growing 7.5%. Only energy has seen a meaningful drop in margins; among the other large weighted sectors, margins are either close to flat or higher than a year ago. If oil prices can rise to $70 by the end of the 2015, the year over year impact of falling energy profit margins on total S&P EPS will become negligible.

2015-05-01 00:00:00 Market Cap to GDP: The Buffett Valuation Indicator by Doug Short (Article)

This commentary has an updated denominator from the Advance Estimate of Q1 GDP. The numerator is a linear extrapolation of the Fed's "Corporate Equities; Liability" in the Q4 Z.1 Financial Accounts. The indicator remains over 2 standard deviations above its mean at an interim high of 132.4%.

2015-05-01 00:00:00 Light Vehicle Sales Per Capita: A New Look at the Long-Term Trend by Doug Short (Article)

For the past few years we've been following a couple of transportation metrics: Vehicle Miles Traveled and Gasoline Volume Sales. For both series we focus on the population adjusted data. Let's now do something similar with the Light Vehicle Sales report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. This data series stretches back to January 1976. Since that first data point, the Civilian Noninstitutional Population Age 16 and Over (i.e., driving age not in the military or an inmate) has risen 61.6%.

2015-05-01 00:00:00 ISM Manufacturing Index: Unchanged ... Lowest Growth Since May 2013 by Doug Short (Article)

Today the Institute for Supply Management published its monthly Manufacturing Report for April. The latest headline PMI was 51.5 percent, unchanged from the previous month and below the Investing.com forecast of 52.0. The indicator remains at the lowest PMI since May 2013.

Here is the key analysis from the report:

2015-05-01 00:00:00 Brittle Britain by Anatole Kaletsky of Project Syndicate

Once a haven of political and economic stability amid the turmoil of the euro crisis, the United Kingdom is about to become the EU’s most politically unpredictable member. No amount of denial ahead of the May 7 general election will change that.

2015-05-01 00:00:00 High Yield Bonds: A Legislative History and the Opportunity Created by Tim Gramatovich, Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

Throughout history of the high yield market there have been various legislative acts that have created and continue to create the market dislocation that allows investors an opportunity to produce what we see as attractive risk-adjusted returns.

2015-05-01 00:00:00 QE Posted On The Wall? by Sebastiao Buck Tocalino of SBTCapital Clube de Investimento

Pondering On Inflation, Corporate Debt, Dollar Exchange Rates, Oil Prices, NYSE Margin Debt, T-Bonds, China and Past QEs.

2015-05-01 00:00:00 Cross Currents by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

Cross currents continue to push and pull the bond market, leaving bond prices and yields range bound ahead of another Federal Reserve (Fed) meeting and key batch of monthly economic reports. Intermediate to long-term Treasury yields increased by 0.01% to 0.11% for the week ending April 24, 2015, despite weaker economic data.

2015-05-01 00:00:00 NYSE Margin Debt Charged To New All-Time Highs In March by Team of GaveKal Capital

After spending the past year somewhat ranged bound, margin debt increased by just under $11.5 billion in March to a new all-time high of $476 billion, taking out the previous high set in February 2014. The increase in margin debt over the past two months is the largest two-month increase since February 2013.

2015-05-01 00:00:00 Greece: Stuck in the Middle by J. Brooks Ritchey of Franklin Templeton Investments

Opinion polls show that many Greek voters support Athens's tough negotiation tactics. But the polls also show that most Greeks want their country to remain in the eurozone—but to do so would require agreeing with the zone's austerity demands. I think this would be the definition of a pickle.

2015-05-01 00:00:00 Yes, the Top 1 Percent Do Pay Their Fair Share in Income Taxes by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In January 2014, I posted what has unexpectedly become one of my most widely-read articles, “What Does It Take to Be in the Top 1 Percent? Not as Much as You Think.”

2015-05-01 00:00:00 Emerging-Market Opportunities: Look Under the Surface by Vadim Zlotnikov of AllianceBernstein

Emerging markets seem to offer value for investors to tap into based on stock and bond valuations. But allocating more isn’t necessarily the answer. We think the value lies under the surface.

2015-05-01 00:00:00 After the Market Crisis: Does Diversification Still Work? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Diversification may not have worked during the last market crisis, but this isn’t an argument for skipping exposure to international stocks.

2015-05-01 00:00:00 NYSE Margin Debt: A New Perspective by Doug Short (Article)

Update to our April 24th commentary: At the suggestion of Mark Schofield, Managing Director at Strategic Value Capital Management, LLC, we've created a new overlay chart with margin debt inverted so that we see the relationship between the two as a divergence.

2015-05-01 00:00:00 The Dollar Joins the Currency Wars by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

Until recently, US policymakers were not overly concerned about the dollar’s strength; America’s growth prospects were stronger than in Europe and Japan. But things look different today, and officials' exchange-rate jitters are becoming increasingly pronounced.

2015-04-30 00:00:00 PCE Price Index: Virtually No Change in the Fed's Preferred Inflation Gauge by Doug Short (Article)

The latest Headline PCE price index year-over-year (YoY) rate is 0.33%, statistically unchanged from 0.31% the previous month. The Core PCE index (less Food and Energy) at 1.35% is only one basis point above the previous month's 1.34% YoY.

The adjacent thumbnail gives us a close-up of the trend in YoY Core PCE since January 2012.

2015-04-30 00:00:00 Two Measures of Inflation and Fed Policy by Doug Short (Article)

The BEA's Personal Consumption Expenditures Chain-type Price Index for March shows core inflation below the Federal Reserve's 2% long-term target at 1.35%. The latest Core Consumer Price Index release, also data through March, is higher at 1.75%. The Fed is on record as using Core PCE data for its primary inflation gauge.

2015-04-30 00:00:00 Moving Averages: April Month-End Update by Doug Short (Article)

Valid until the market close on May 29, 2015

The S&P 500 closed April with a monthly gain of 0.85%. All three S&P 500 MAs and four of the five Ivy Portfolio ETF MAs are signaling "Invested". In the table below, monthly closes that are within 2% of a signal are highlighted in yellow.

2015-04-30 00:00:00 Analysts Love to Talk about China but Should Focus on South Korea by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

This week Professor Siegel and Jeremy Schwartz chatted with Jeff Weniger, Investment Strategist at BMO Global Asset Management. We spoke at length about the impact of the U.S. dollar on global markets. I found our conversation about the impact of easy monetary policy on economies such as China and South Korea particularly noteworthy.

2015-04-30 00:00:00 Refrigerator vs. Restaurant: Where Are US Consumers Spending More? by Brian Horrigan of Loomis Sayles

A very interesting detail from April's retail sales report – for the first time in US history, consumer spending at restaurants and bars exceeded spending at grocery stores. In March, Americans spent $50.4 billion in restaurants and bars versus $50.1 billion in grocery stores.

2015-04-30 00:00:00 Finding Growth Amid Emerging-Market Slowdowns by Laurent Saltiel, Sergey Davalchenko of AllianceBernstein

Emerging markets have faced a significant economic slowdown in recent years. But there are still many industries and companies that are continuing to grow. We believe these are the places that investors should focus on to capture attractive return potential in developing-world equities.

2015-04-30 00:00:00 Key Seven Weeks Starts Now by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Don’t be confused by the Federal Reserve acknowledging the obvious slowdown in economic growth in the first quarter. The door to a June rate hike is still open. Not wide open, but much more open than most analysts and investors think.

2015-04-30 00:00:00 Celebrating Romania by Greg Konieczny of Franklin Templeton Investments

Ten years ago, Fondul Proprietatea (Fondul) was established to compensate Romanians whose properties were confiscated by the former communist government, and we were selected as its investment manager in September 2010. My colleague Grzegorz Konieczny, based in Bucharest, spearheaded the effort to list Fondul on the Bucharest Stock Exchange in 2011, and now Fondul is making its debut on the London Stock Exchange on April 29. In honor of the occasion, I’ve asked Greg to share his thoughts on investing in Romania today, and the exciting changes that have taken place there in the past few years

2015-04-30 00:00:00 The Step Down In Long-Term US Growth Rates Breaks Lower by Team of GaveKal Capital

From 1974 to 2007, the long-term US growth rate in real GDP generally fell between 3-3.5% on annualized basis (excluding the v-shaped bounce from 1982-1984). We define long-term here by looking at the 10-year annualized percentage change. With the 1Q now in the books, this series just dropped to an all-time low of 1.46%.

2015-04-30 00:00:00 Real Disposable Income Per Capita Declined Fractionally in March by Doug Short (Article)

With the release of today's report on March Personal Incomes and Outlays we can now take a closer look at "Real" Disposable Personal Income Per Capita.

The March nominal -0.04% month-over-month decline in disposable income drops to -0.21% when we adjust for inflation. The year-over-year metrics are 2.89% nominal and 2.56% real.

2015-04-30 00:00:00 Being There by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Spring has definitely sprung here in Florida as pollen is in the air and raindrops fall on my tin roof with the sound of golf balls. “Tra la! It's May! The lusty month of May! That lovely month when ev'ryone goes blissfully astray,” to steal a line from the play Camelot. But many market pundits are worried about the softening economic reports, prompting me to dredge up my annual missive about the book “Being There” by author Jerzy Kosinski. The story revolves around a simple-minded man named Chance “the gardener,” who knows only gardening and what he sees on television.

2015-04-30 00:00:00 Why 2015 Does Not Look Like Y2K by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ explains why today’s U.S. technology rally is different from the tech bubble we experienced back in 2000. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index hit a new record last week, as a broader rally in stocks helped nudge it past its 2000 peak. At the same time, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and initial public offering (IPO) activities continue to gather speed.

2015-04-30 00:00:00 Carry Scares by Alexander Giryavets of Dynamika Capital L.L.C.

With Bill getting what he wants Bunds sell-off, and so does Global Carry (a.k.a. Risk Parity), as we warned last week, confirming that perfect correlation between the two is alive and well. Dollar unwind should not be surprise to anyone given now hardly arguable US deceleration at hands of which we warned all along, but the hidden Yen deleveraging that steepens US treasury yield curve is something to watch closely.

2015-04-30 00:00:00 The Ideology of IS by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Atlantic Magazine recently published an article about Islamic State (IS) that examined its theology and ideology. This article along with a paper from the Brookings Institute form the basis of our report. In our report this week, we examine the intellectual foundations of IS, showing how it evolved from two different sources of thought. We follow with an analysis of the concept of the Caliphate and the critical importance it has in Islamic theology, along with an examination of the eschatology of IS. We discuss the consequences of IS’s ideology and conclude with potential market ramification

2015-04-30 00:00:00 Finding Large Opportunities in Small-Cap Stocks by Jason Holzer of Invesco Blog

While the world’s expectations for US earnings growth have weakened into nearly single digits, Europe is finally seeing some positive developments after years of headwinds. At the same time, European valuations are about 40% cheaper than those in the US on the basis of the Schiller price-to-earnings ratio.1 As we survey the brightening landscape in Europe, looking for companies that meet our criteria for earnings, quality and valuations (EQV), an especially interesting area for us is in the small-cap market.

2015-04-30 00:00:00 Finding Opportunities in Dividend Paying Equities by (Article)

Alex Crooke provides a portfolio and economic update for the Henderson Global Equity Income Fund (HFQAX). Alex notes that he is currently favoring defensive sectors on valuations as well as income and has been increasing the Fund’s allocation to Europe. Broadly speaking, Alex sees the world growing at a reasonable rate with unemployment is falling in many markets which should lead to better/greater consumer spending. He notes that though equity prices are higher than they have been, there is still good value and strong dividend growth in many sectors and regions.

2015-04-30 00:00:00 Breaking Out of Bondage by Ben Inker of GMO

In a new quarterly letter to GMO's institutional clients, co-head of asset allocation Ben Inker provides the basis for future bond returns: "For while it is unlikely that stock investors are going to achieve anything like as strong a return over the next 30 years as they did over the last, it is basically impossible for bond investors to duplicate their feat." ("Breaking Out of Bondage").

2015-04-30 00:00:00 Are We the Stranded Asset? by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

In part two of the letter, chief investment strategist Jeremy Grantham examines the factors behind declining estimates of U.S. and overseas GDP growth, and offers an outlook for the coming years ("Are We the Stranded Asset? (and other updates)").

2015-04-29 00:00:00 Visualizing GDP: A Look Inside the Q1 First Estimate by Doug Short (Article)

The chart below 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:

2015-04-29 00:00:00 Q1 GDP Advance Estimate Surprises to the Downside by Doug Short (Article)

The Advance Estimate for Q1 GDP, to one decimal, came in at 0.2 percent, a substantial drop from the 2.2 percent of the previous quarter. Today's number was a disappointment for most economic forecasts, which were looking for a higher Advance Estimate. For example, both Investing.com and Briefing.com had forecast of 1.0 percent.

2015-04-29 00:00:00 Q1 GDP Per Capita Goes Negative at -0.6 percent by Doug Short (Article)

Advance Estimate for Q1 GDP, to one decimal, came in at 0.2 percent, a substantial drop from the 2.2 percent of the previous quarter. But with a per-capita adjustment, the data series is currently at -0.6 percent (-0.59 percent to two decimal places). The 10-year moving average illustrates that US economic growth has slowed dramatically since the last recession.

2015-04-29 00:00:00 Why It’s Good to Be Young in Japan by Christopher Gannatti of WisdomTree

At the Japan Society event “The Sun Also Rises?: Japan’s Potential in the Post-Crisis Global Economy,” we heard panelists talk about how they thought that Japan could incentivize growth in productivity. One area of note was that Japan’s largest industrial employer shifting from seniority-based pay to pay for performance was a very big step.

2015-04-29 00:00:00 Crouching Tigers, Hidden Assets by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Our experience tells us that Crouching Tigers, while appearing contentious and dangerous, often have hidden assets. These assets can potentially turn out-of-favor common stocks into future winners.

2015-04-29 00:00:00 MLPs Waxing not Waning by David Chiaro of Eagle Global Advisors

We view the recent sell off of MLPs/midstream energy infrastructure companies as a buying opportunity. Our long-term evaluation of the total return prospects of these companies is very good, especially on a risk adjusted basis.

2015-04-29 00:00:00 Do More Americans Feel Confident About Retirement? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

More Americans say they are feeling more confident about their retirement. That’s according to the results of the latest “Retirement Confidence Survey” conducted each year by the non-profit Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). The Washington-based EBRI is the leading source for data on savings, retirement, health and related issues.

2015-04-29 00:00:00 Risk Marches On by Burt White of LPL Financial

The latest data releases pointing to weak U.S. new home sales and manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) have investors guessing about the possible messaging coming out of this week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.

2015-04-29 00:00:00 The Smart Money Is Getting Long Treasury Bonds Again by Team of GaveKal Capital

Long-dated US Treasury bonds have been treading water of late, leaving many rate watchers wondering in what direction the next big move is going to be. One variable in the next move is of course trader positioning. The two charts below show how the "smart money" is betting.

2015-04-29 00:00:00 China Officials Dig in on Stronger RMB by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein

Recent events in China provide yet more support for our view that the renminbi (RMB) will continue to appreciate steadily—and that the country will proceed more rapidly with its reforms than most people expect.

2015-04-29 00:00:00 The Pause in Capital Spending by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The Bureau of Economic Analysis will report its initial estimate of first quarter growth on April 29. There’s always a lot of uncertainty in the advance estimate, but that’s especially true for 1Q15. Of the key components of GDP, consumer spending is expected to have slowed to a more moderate pace – nothing terrible. However, business fixed investment should be soft. For business investment, as with manufacturing activity in general, it’s often difficult to distinguish a short-term slowdown from the beginning of a more significant downturn.

2015-04-29 00:00:00 Funded Status of Largest Corporate Pension Plans Drops by $6 Billion in March by John Ehrhardt, Zorast Wadia of Milliman, Inc.

The funded status of the 100 largest corporate defined benefit pension plans dropped by $6 billion during March as measured by the Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index (PFI). The deficit increased to $349 billion from $343 billion at the end of February because of the dual effect of a decline in the benchmark corporate bond interest rates used to value pension liabilities and flat asset performance in March. As of March 31, the funded ratio fell to 81%, down from 81.2% at the end of February.

2015-04-29 00:00:00 Newsletter by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz

Harold Evensky presents his quarterly newsletter.

2015-04-28 00:00:00 Does Lipper's Best Overall Fund Company Beat a Passive Strategy? by Larry Swedroe (Article)

Lipper recently gave financial services firm TIAA-CREF the award for "Best Overall Large Fund Company", making 2015 the first time any fund family has won this honor for three consecutive years. Among its actively managed peers, TIAA-CREF's funds did exceptionally well. But does that mean your clients benefitted by owning its funds?

2015-04-28 00:00:00 Five Words that Shape Client Behavior by Dan Richards (Article)

Financial advisors know the difficulty of getting clients to do the right things. Clients often fail to diversify portfolios, rebalance out-of-whack allocations or discuss inheritance plans with adult children. These behaviors undermine long-term outcomes. But five words can put the right default behavior in place.

2015-04-28 00:00:00 Seven Interview Questions to Hire a Sales Superstar by Eliot Burdett (Article)

Here are the seven most common personality traits found in top sales performers and tips to determine if the candidate across the table truly possesses them.

2015-04-28 00:00:00 Reasonable Expectations, Warren Buffett and Active Management by Michael Crook (Article)

According to the ongoing SPIVA analyses, most equity mutual fund managers have failed to keep up with their respective benchmarks recently. In fact, roughly 60% of domestic managers and 65-70% of international managers underperformed in 2014 - a phenomenon that most investors observed in their own portfolios. But that is not a reason to abandon active management, assuming you own active managers for the right reasons.

2015-04-28 00:00:00 Speed Date Your Way to More Clients by Daniel Solin (Article)

New research on speed dating has uncovered how to determine a woman's interest. Strangely enough, those findings also provide insight into why certain sales tactics with prospects are likely to fail.

2015-04-28 00:00:00 Q1 2015 Venerated Voices™ by Jill Mislinski (Article)

We announced our Venerated Voices awards for articles published in Q1 of 2015. Rankings were issued in three categories: The Top 25 Venerated Voices by Firm, The Top 25 Venerated Voices by Author and The Top 10 Venerated Voices by Commentary.

2015-04-28 00:00:00 Getting Centers of Influence to Refer by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We have a number of strategic alliances with estate attorneys and CPAs to whom we often refer business. We provide a steady flow to these connections, but they do not refer in kind. Is there a formula that works best to stimulate referrals?

2015-04-28 00:00:00 Build Your Business by Being Charitable by Teresa Riccobuono (Article)

One of the unintended benefits of being charitable is being exposed to new business opportunities. Let's discuss a few ways to become involved.

2015-04-28 00:00:00 The Fed's Countdown to Liftoff by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Kristina Hooper, US Investment Strategist for Allianz Global Investors, previews the upcoming FOMC meeting and its implications for the first interest-rate hike since 2006: "Suffice it to say that the Taylor Rule, which fairly accurately predicted the fed funds rate from 1988 through 2008, might as well be in my attic with my Duran Duran albums, Benetton rugbies and other vestiges of the '80s and '90s..."

2015-04-28 00:00:00 Equities Should Push Higher Along a Bumpy Road by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Investors mostly focused on the positives last week. Corporate earnings generally beat expectations and merger and acquisition activity remained solid. Despite disappointing economic data, this trend reinforced the perception that the Federal Reserve would hold off on rate hikes for the time being. The turmoil in Greece rattled investors, but remains relatively contained.

2015-04-28 00:00:00 Tracking the Market with Social Media by Blair Jensen of Trade Followers

Sentiment and momentum calculated from the Twitter stream for the S&P 500 index (SPX) is still confirming the uptrend, but has turned down as the market rises. This shows a lack of confidence by traders on Twitter that the market can move immediately to new all time highs.

2015-04-28 00:00:00 M&A: Bubble Trouble Ahead? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Talk of an unsustainable surge in mergers and acquisitions is premature. The current level of activity suggests that corporate managers will continue to buy rather than build.

2015-04-28 00:00:00 Mythbusters: Style Performance During Bear Markets by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

Will Rogers said, “It isn’t what we don’t know that gives us trouble, but what we know that ain’t so.” Investors have long “known” that Value stocks provide a safer place to hide than Growth stocks during a cyclical bear market, an assumption probably based on: (A) experience since the early 1970s; and (B) common sense, in that speculative investments with low price tags and low expectations should be expected to suffer less when animal spirits deflate.

2015-04-28 00:00:00 Are You Financially Literate? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

That is the question being asked throughout the month of April, which is designated as National Financial Literacy Month. This effort highlights the importance of financial literacy and supports teaching Americans on how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits.

2015-04-28 00:00:00 That Silly Mr. Market by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

I’m sure you remember my friend Mr. Market. He was introduced to me a few years after I entered the business of investment advice via Ben Graham’s book The Intelligent Investor, and for most years since I have found him to be quite fair and reasonable. Whether I wanted to sell or buy any one of the thousands of securities available to the public, he would make an intelligent opinion of its value and proceed to close the deal at that price.

2015-04-28 00:00:00 As Milestones Are Crossed, Be Selective by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

Stocks around the world rewrote the record books last week. In the United States, the Nasdaq Composite Index eclipsed its 2000 peak, advancing 3.26% to close the week at 5,092. In Japan, the Nikkei Index climbed above 20,000 for the first time in 15 years, while China's equity market continues to defy gravity.

2015-04-27 00:00:00 Forecasting Q1 GDP: Gazing Into the Crystal Ball by Doug Short (Article)

The big economic number this week will be the Q1 Advance Estimate for GDP on Wednesday at 8:30 AM ET. What do economists see in their collective crystal ball for Q1 of 2015? Let's take a look at the GDP forecasts from the latest Wall Street Journal survey of economists conducted earlier this month.

2015-04-27 00:00:00 Fair Value on the S&P 500 Has Three Digits by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

We continue to classify market conditions among the most hostile expected return/risk profiles we identify. The current profile joins rich valuations with continued evidence of a subtle shift toward risk aversion among investors, which we infer from market internals (a variant of what we used to call “trend uniformity”), credit spreads, and other risk-sensitive measures.

2015-04-27 00:00:00 Stock Splitting Caused Stock Market Crash 1929 by Wim Grommen of Transfer Solutions

This article explains why the introduction of stock splitting on December 31st, 1927 eventually caused the crash of 1929. The frequent splitting of shares into very large proportions gave a massive boost to the stock market boom, making the stock market crash of 1929 equally violent.

2015-04-27 00:00:00 Spring Quarterly Commentary by John Prichard, Miles Yourman of Knightsbridge Asset Management

Charlie Munger, firmly ensconced in the investor hall of fame, remains, at age 91, one of our favorite purveyors of worldly wisdom on subjects investment related and otherwise. He is also known to be blunt and humorous, offering the above response to a question regarding money-printing, interest rates and unintended consequences at the Daily Journal shareholder meeting a few weeks ago. When a genius like Charlie is confused...then things indeed are confusing.

2015-04-27 00:00:00 Foreign Factors by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

Gauging foreign demand for U.S. bonds, Treasuries in particular, is a constant source of attention for bond investors, with foreign ownership of outstanding U.S. Treasuries remaining fairly constant at approximately 50% over the past few years.

2015-04-27 00:00:00 Lessons from the Nasdaq’s New High by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

It’s been 15 years since the dot-com boom and bust, and the Nasdaq has finally reclaimed its old high. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 have hit a bunch of new highs since then, but the Nasdaq, which flew higher and crashed harder, didn’t make it back to the top of the mountain until yesterday.

2015-04-27 00:00:00 Airlines Report on Q1 Earnings by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

A recent Deutsche Bank report projects a total airline industry first-quarter pretax profit of $3.5 billion, up from $700 million this time last year—a 400-percent improvement.

2015-04-27 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Time for an Upside Breakout? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

We have the makings of a volatility cocktail! It is a huge week for economic data. It is the heart of earnings season, with Apple’s report leading off the week. The Fed has a two-day meeting culminating with a policy announcement. Global economic threats continue. Which of these will be the theme?

2015-04-27 00:00:00 Significant Slip—or Just a Blip—in Emerging Markets’ Foreign Exchange Reserves? by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

For those looking to invest in emerging markets, a steady growth in foreign exchange reserves—in many cases to higher levels than in most developed markets—has been a positive talking point for the past two decades. This reserve build-up has allowed emerging markets to be dominant buyers of US and European debt. However, a general decline in emerging market foreign reserves last year now has pundits pondering whether there is danger of more significant slippage with potentially ominous market implications.

2015-04-27 00:00:00 Revisions Have Improved But Can It Last? by Team of GaveKal Capital

The percent of stocks in the MSCI World Index that have had positive EPS revisions compared to six months ago currently stands at 45%. Over the past 7+ years, the average level of this statistic is 56%. So it currently stands below average levels but encouragingly it has improved from a low of 30% set on January 14th.

2015-04-27 00:00:00 Growth Is Becoming More Valuable by Frank Caruso, Christopher Kotowicz of AllianceBernstein

Precious gems, Old Masters artwork and certain brands of scotch: scarcity makes them more desirable and adds to their value. The same can be said of organic growth. As the economic cycle matures, we expect the stocks of companies that have it—and can maintain it—to become increasingly prized.

2015-04-27 00:00:00 Time to Love Emerging Markets Again? by (Article)

45-year industry veteran, Tom White, CIO of Thomas White International, returns to offer his thoughts on what he feels are the most promising emerging markets for this year and beyond. He also explains why investors worried about a repeat of the ‘2013 taper tantrum’ may be missing the big picture.

2015-04-27 00:00:00 On My Radar: Recession Watch – Keep an Eye on This Chart by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Understanding when a recession might begin is important to our long-term financial health. Why? The stock market declines approximately 40% during recessions.

2015-04-27 00:00:00 Investment Trends Shaping Our Industry’s Future by Patty Quinn McAuley of Clark Capital Management Group

I attended iShares Connect in New York last week, a conference focused on bringing together industry leaders in the ETF space. Attendees heard from a variety of investment experts and thought leaders and had an open dialogue about where our industry is headed.

2015-04-27 00:00:00 Where's the Hyper-Inflation? by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

If we had a dollar for every time we’ve heard about the threat of hyperinflation, we’d probably have enough money to never worry about it.

2015-04-26 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review For the Week of April 20-24: Is This Another False Break-Out?, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

After a series of first quarter economic disappointments, last week’s financial news provided much needed ammunition for optimism. The latest new and existing home sales numbers indicated the housing market is healing while the slight uptick in durable goods orders stopped that data series’ recent set of declines. The markets rallied as a result, printing at or close to new highs. The market’s technical picture, however, is still unconvincing; the SPYs chart looks like a short term top while the Transports and Dow’s failure to confirm the QQQ’s recent advance adds to the caution.

2015-04-26 00:00:00 The Third and Final Transformation of Monetary Policy by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

My good friend Dr. Woody Brock makes the case that an unintended consequence of QE is that the Federal Reserve’s normal transmission of monetary policy through periodic changes in the fed funds rate has been vitiated. He contends that soon we will no longer care about the fed funds rate and will be focused on other sets of rates.

2015-04-25 00:00:00 Why International Diversification Matters Today by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

The tendency of U.S. investors to invest close to home is understandable, but it’s not optimal. Russ has three reasons why international diversification matters now more than ever for U.S. investors.

2015-04-25 00:00:00 Sustaining The New Highs in Equities Might Prove Difficult by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

New price highs are usually bullish as all investors are in a profitable position and not in need of selling. We don't like to be cautionary when price is bullish, but the reality is that prior moves to new highs have failed in the past year and several measures of breadth, sentiment and volatility suggest that is likely to be the case again now.

2015-04-24 00:00:00 Searching for Clarity Among the Dots by Carl Kaufman, Simon Lee, Bradley Kane of Osterweis Capital Management

In 1886 Georges Seurat finished his most famous painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. Seurat used a new technique, Pointillism, in which small dots of color are applied to the canvas to express an image. More recently, Janet Yellen and the Federal Open Market Committee (the FOMC) updated their own version of Pointillism to express an image called the dot plot – a graphical representation of each FOMC member’s forecast of future federal funds (fed funds) rates.

2015-04-24 00:00:00 BofA Is Confusing Liquidity Fueled And Secular Bull Markets by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Over the past couple of years, there has been a growing chorus of individuals claiming that the financial markets have finally shaken the shackles of the secular bear market that began at the turn of the century. This, of course, suggests that the markets have now begun the next long-term secular bull market.

2015-04-24 00:00:00 Going Fast or Going Far by Michael Kayes of Willingdon Wealth Management

The college basketball season ended in historic fashion recently with two iconic coaches reaching new pinnacles in their profession. Coach K at Duke won his fifth national championship moving him past legendary Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp into second place all-time. Meanwhile, on the women's side, Geno Auriemma led Connecticut to its 3rd consecutive title, and 10th overall under his reign.

2015-04-24 00:00:00 Asian Markets Host Potential for Long Term Growth by (Article)

In this latest video update, Sanjeev Lakhani, CFA, Co-Portfolio Manager of the International Select Equity Fund, highlights a recent trip to Asia and discusses why India, Indonesia, China and Japan offer long term growth. Historically, China has been a difficult market to invest in, however, there do appear to be signs that it is changing. India and Indonesia both have reform-minded leaders who plan to invest in their countries infrastructure. India has reduced its account deficient and has benefited from low oil prices.

2015-04-24 00:00:00 Global Divergence, the Federal Reserve and the Impact on U.S. Insurers by David Braun, Scott Millimet of PIMCO

Insurance publication SNL Financial recently sat down with members of PIMCO’s Financial Institutions Group to discuss PIMCO’s latest views on global divergence, the Federal Reserve and the impact on U.S. insurers in their investment portfolio positioning.

2015-04-24 00:00:00 China's First SOE Default: More to Come? by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

A power equipment maker just became China’s first state-owned company to default on domestic debt. Is this a strategic move by the central government to further liberalize its capital markets, and to reform its state-owned enterprises?

2015-04-24 00:00:00 The Right Tool For The Job of Active Management by Team of GaveKal Capital

Market-cap weighted indexes such as the MSCI global equity indexes are commonly used reference points for investment benchmarking. In these indexes, the market cap of the top 10% of the stocks is generally 50% of the market cap of the index.

2015-04-24 00:00:00 Global Economic Perspective: April by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

Given the example set by US equity markets after the Fed stepped in to buy government debt in two successive QE programs, investors appear convinced that the rally in European financial markets has considerably longer to run.

2015-04-24 00:00:00 Sine of the Times by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Powerful secular and fundamental forces at work signal that the risk to U.S. interest rates remains to the downside.

2015-04-24 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary: The Eurozone Is Seeing Green Shoots but Isn’t Out of the Woods by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The Eurozone Is Seeing Green Shoots but Isn't Out of the Woods; Gauging a Country's Potential for Growth; The Trans-Pacific Partnership Might Actually Happen

2015-04-24 00:00:00 Stand and Deliver: Will the US Economy Rebound as Expected in the Second Quarter? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

Most market watchers are blaming another bad winter for this year’s rough start, and they’re assuming a strong second-quarter rebound. One obscure economic statistic calls that view into question.

2015-04-24 00:00:00 Attractively Valued Ameriprise Financial: a Long-Term Total Return Opportunity Raises Dividend 16% by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Ameriprise slightly missed their earnings estimates for the first quarter of fiscal 2015, and the stock has dropped over 3%. However, their return on equity increased to a record high 23.1 % and operating earnings were up 7%. Management appears to remain confident about the future as evidenced by the raising of their quarterly dividend 16% to $0.67 per share. Consequently, I consider the recent weakness an excellent opportunity for long-term oriented investors desirous of earning an above-average total return.

2015-04-24 00:00:00 Schwab Market Perspective: Heads, Bulls Win; Tails, Bears Lose? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

The bears can’t seem to grab hold of this market, but that doesn’t mean full-speed ahead for the bulls either. Grinding generally higher with increased volatility seems to be the course for now, but the possibility of a correction still exists. Diversification, discipline and patience is required. International equity exposure should be part of most investors’ portfolios, to a level commiserate with risk tolerance. European risks related to Greece seem to have lessened, while the Chinese stock market doesn’t appear grossly overvalued, although a pullback from the recent run is possi

2015-04-23 00:00:00 U.S. Consumers Gaining Ground by John Osterweis, Matt Berler of Osterweis Capital Management

In early 2015 global financial markets continued to be buoyed by a combination of low interest rates, central bank liquidity and positive, albeit modest, economic growth. For some time we have been talking about the "Goldilocks" backdrop of slow growth, low inflation and low interest rates that has been very rewarding for financial assets.

2015-04-23 00:00:00 Tax Receipts Flash Economic Warning Sign by Lance Roberts of STA Wealth Management

With "tax day" now firmly behind us, it is expected that 2015 will show a record level of tax collections. This is a good thing, right? Maybe not.

2015-04-23 00:00:00 Could Aflac’s Contentiousness Spell Wealth Creation? by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

At Smead Capital Management, we like to combine the qualitative aspects of a meritorious company with the temporary contentiousness of deeply out-of-favor psychology. We have found in our research that using qualitative attributes alone can be very expensive. Additionally, we feel that just buying stocks off of the out-of-favor junk pile can lead you to bankruptcy court if the companies fail to turnaround.

2015-04-23 00:00:00 Meandering Continues for Silver & Gold by Avi Gilburt of ElliottWaveTrader.net

While the metals continue to meander, I still remain bullish over the next few months, and bearish into later this year. And, yes, I still believe that lower lows will be seen, as the final lows to the 3+ year correction have not yet been seen.

2015-04-23 00:00:00 Where Banks Are Performing Well In The World by Team of GaveKal Capital

There is an old belief that when bank stocks are doing well, the economy must be doing well also. With this in mind, we decided to take a look how the banking sectors have performed in seven different countries: USA, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Japan, China, Brazil.

2015-04-23 00:00:00 Emerging Markets Winners and Losers: Q1 2015 by Jackie Lafferty of Loomis Sayles

2015 kicked off with a rocky start for emerging markets: pending US rate hikes, falling commodity prices, quantitative easing in Europe, and idiosyncratic country risks all soured investor sentiment and caused the US dollar to soar. This led to substantial weakness in emerging market (EM) foreign exchange, pummeling US-based investors in many local currency bond markets. Despite that pain, EM credit performed well, and along with EM sovereign debt, posted positive gains.

2015-04-23 00:00:00 To Hedge or Not To Hedge by Treesdale Partners of AdvisorShares

There have been several blogposts on the merits of buying currency hedged ETFs for foreign equity exposure versus unhedged exposure. The arguments against unhedged ETFs are weak and often false, like “the companies hedge their currency exposure already”.

2015-04-23 00:00:00 Lower Oil Prices Have Varied Effect on Municipal Bond Market by Stephanie Larosiliere of Invesco

The decline in oil prices since the summer of 2014 continued throughout the first quarter, as oil supply surpassed demand and we saw substantial price declines. This is of particular interest to municipal bond investors, as many US state and local budgets have a substantial dependence on oil production and exploration revenue, and lower oil prices can influence economic growth and inflation, which can affect Treasury and municipal yields.

2015-04-22 00:00:00 Gasoline Volume Sales and our Changing Culture by Doug Short (Article)

The Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA) data on volume sales is over two months old when it released. The latest numbers, through mid-February, 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.

2015-04-22 00:00:00 Sizing Up Small Caps by Burt White of LPL Financial

The Russell 2000 Index hit a fresh all-time high last week (on tax day, April 15, 2015) and has outpaced large caps by 205 basis points (2.05%) year to date. Although valuations are on the high side, the factors that have driven recent small cap strength, in our view, remain largely intact. Small cap technicals appear bullish, with positive relative strength and an upward sloping 40-week moving average.

2015-04-22 00:00:00 Bill’s “Short of a Lifetime” by Alexander Giryavets of Dynamika Capital L.L.C.

According to Bill Gross “German 10yr Bunds = The short of a lifetime.” We just wanted to make it clear that the Bunds were perfectly co-moving with the Global Carry over the last six years and the Global Carry is the major source of returns behind US equities, bonds, the Risk Parity portfolios, and 60/40 for that matter.

2015-04-22 00:00:00 Gimme Shelter: The U.S. Dollar Trade and Its Risks by Michele Mazzoleni of Research Affiliates

By selling foreign currencies to take advantage of the dollar’s appreciation, U.S. investors are increasing their exposure to the risk of an economic slowdown at home.

2015-04-22 00:00:00 How Organization Promotes Successful Outcomes by Patty Quinn McAuley of Clark Capital Management Group

By delivering a realistic road map to clients, illustrating their financial future, you can help them remain confident and on course toward successful outcomes.

2015-04-22 00:00:00 Is Volatility Making a Comeback in Europe? by Team of GaveKal Capital

Having fallen from the recent highs earlier this year, various metrics of volatility in Europe have risen abruptly in the last few days-- especially when viewed in the context of a rather subdued VIX (a measure of expected market volatility conveyed by S&P 500 options prices; represented by the light blue line below).

2015-04-22 00:00:00 Is Greece Nearing the End of the Road? by Darren Williams of AllianceBernstein

Greece and its euro-area partners have yet to reach a deal to secure long-delayed bailout funds. Without these funds, Greece could run out of money in a matter of weeks, raising the real prospect of a default on payments due to its official creditors.

2015-04-22 00:00:00 One Silver Lining of Slower Global Growth by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ explains why today’s economic environment, characterized by monetary stimulus meant to combat slower-than-expected economic growth, is helping many of the large, global financial firms.

2015-04-22 00:00:00 Uncertainty by Scott Brown of Raymond James

We live in an uncertain world. Policymakers have to sift through a wide range of data, much of which is subject to statistical error and measurement difficulties. Financial market participants deal with much of the same data, but also have to account for the uncertainty in how policymakers will interpret the data and respond. There are longer-term questions, which won’t be resolved anytime soon. So where do we stand now?

2015-04-22 00:00:00 Activity Versus Inactivity by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Plainly there are times for investors/traders to be active. But there are also times for them to be inactive, despite the trait of human nature to be “active;” and, for the past few months inactivity has been the best overall strategy.

2015-04-22 00:00:00 House of the Rising Sun: Is Housing Staging a Turn for the Better? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Economic data has been mixed-to-weak over the past few months; but some of the housing-related data has perked up and could be a bright spot for the economy in the medium-term. Some recent highlights include single-unit permits, pending and new home sales, mortgage applications, building materials sales, anecdotal strength via the Fed’s Beige Book, and the well-watched Housing Market Index (HMI), put out by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

2015-04-22 00:00:00 Four Bad Bears: Some Comments from Bob Bronson by Doug Short (Article)

Earlier today I received an email from my friend Bob Bronson of Bronson Capital Markets Research. Bob offered some comments on the latest update in my periodic overview of bear market recoveries:

2015-04-21 00:00:00 The Best Asset Allocation for Retirees by David Blanchett (Article)

In this article, I determine the optimal glide path for retirees using varying initial bond yields and stock market valuations.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 Should Leveraged ETFs Be Held for Long Horizons? by C. Thomas Howard, Lambert Bunker and David Stock (Article)

There are numerous misconceptions and emotions surrounding the use of leveraged ETFs. This article provides a simple and clear explanation of how these instruments can be used to enhance portfolio returns over longer term investment horizons. We show that commonly used 2x ETFs have delivered the expected return over multi-year time horizons.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 How to Attract Top Talent by Dan Richards (Article)

How should you recruit and motivate top-performing support staff?

2015-04-21 00:00:00 Success Is Within Your Control by Daniel Solin (Article)

You may be skeptical of the expression, "The harder I work, the luckier I get." But empirical evidence says it's true. While we often look with envy at people who get a "lucky break", the reality is that the vast majority of those people worked long and hard before they achieved success.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 Closing the Retirement Gender Gap by Jeff Briskin (Article)

New research shows how a lack of "retirement readiness" puts many women at risk of financial hardship during their retirement years, especially since most will outlive their spouses.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 When Lead Advisors Are Not Mentors by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I am working to establish a training program that would match a newer advisor with one of our more seasoned ones. So far, this has been a disaster. The lead advisors treat the newer people like administrative staff. How do I teach my lead advisors to be better mentors?

2015-04-21 00:00:00 Profit Margins - Is the Ladder Starting to Snap? by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Since mid-2014, the broad market as measured by the NYSE Composite has been in a broad sideways distribution pattern, with an increasing tendency in recent months for advances to occur on weaker volume and declines to follow on a pickup in volume. While capitalization-weighted indices have done somewhat better since mid-2014, the S&P 500 Index is unchanged since late-December.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 Roller Coaster Quarter by Jim Tillar and Steve Wenstrup of Tillar-Wenstrup Advisors

Volatility continues to be the theme for stocks. The S&P 500 was down big in January, rallied even bigger in February and went down again in March ending the quarter up 0.95%. The real action was in Europe where stocks clocked double-digit returns.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 Rear-View Mirror Shows Ugly Q1 by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

We know Plow Horses don’t have rearview mirrors, but economists do. So, let’s not beat around the bush: the economy barely grew last quarter. Right now, we’re forecasting that real GDP expanded at a 0.7% annual rate in Q1.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 Social Security & Portfolio Withdrawals; It’s Complicated by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

The Wall Street Journal ran a blog post that outlined Michael Kitces’ argument for delaying Social Security which can be summed up by saying it should be thought of it as an asset in a portfolio so by waiting, the value of your asset grows.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 Can Lumber Be Worth It's Weight in Gold? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Well, maybe not literally. But figuratively-speaking, one can make the case. And two very bright, young investment advisors have done just that.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 U.S. Budget: The Fiscal and Political Calculations by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

A compromise budget from the House and Senate will not affect U.S. revenues and spending—but it may help Republicans frame key policy debates ahead of the 2016 election.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 Pregnant Pause by Adam Bowe and Robert Mead of PIMCO

After re-engaging policy support in February following an 18-month hiatus, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) wrong-footed many in the market by keeping policy on hold in the two subsequent board meetings. So was February's decision a "one-and-done" policy event or the start of a more aggressive easing cycle?

2015-04-21 00:00:00 QE: The Silver Lining of Slower Growth by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Stocks struggled last week amid more evidence that economic growth is not accelerating as expected. In the United States, the S&P 500 Index fell 0.99% to 2,081, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1.28% to 17,826, and the Nasdaq Composite Index lost 1.30% to close the week at 4,931.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 The AIIB by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

China has founded the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to compete with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. The U.S. has opposed the creation of this bank but, despite administration opposition, 57 nations have joined. A chorus of commentators have suggested that the founding of this bank may mark the end of U.S. hegemony. In this report, we describe the AIIB, including its members and capitalization. Next, we cover the conventional wisdom surrounding the bank, and follow up with our analysis of the real impact of the bank. We conclude with potential market ramifications.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 Stay Patient Against the Consensus Trade of 2015 by Kathleen Gaffney and Matt Hildebrandt of Eaton Vance

When making moves that are against a crowded trade, does it pay to be a patient, opportunistic income investor?

2015-04-21 00:00:00 Something To Keep In Mind During Earnings Season... by Team of GaveKal Capital

As we enter the heart of the S&P 500 1Q earnings season, and the CNBCs of the world focus on the number of companies that (surprise) beat earnings expectations once again, remember this fact: earnings expectations have been beaten down over the past six months. Let's take a quick tour of the developed world to illustrate this point.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 Good Things To Life by Brian Andrew of Cleary Gull

Last Thursday, General Electric announced that they were selling a $26 billion real estate portfolio and substantially reducing the size of their financing arm, GE Capital. This announcement has a number of broader implications beyond GE’s own company and stock price. It may be an indication of what large multi-national companies must do at this point in the market cycle to show earnings growth.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 The Charge Of The Monetary Light Brigade - Neosho Capital On The European Central Bank And Negative by Chris Richey of Neosho Capital

A paper on European Monetary Easing, which we feel is a well-meaning, but misguided effort, to solve demographic, cultural, and political problems with massive monetary manipulations of exchange rates and securities markets.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 GE's Restructuring Pleases Investors and Avoids Other Risks by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

On April 10, General Electric, which for 123 years has been one of America's best known and most highly respected companies, announced a radical return to its basic industrial roots. After years of disappointing share performance, and a campaign of criticism by frustrated investors, Chief Executive Jeff Immelt decided to spin off most of its $500 billion GE Capital arm which, if taken as a stand-alone company, would have been the seventh largest bank in the U.S.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 Has The US Dollar Topped Out, Or Headed Much Higher? by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The US dollar’s value has been on a tear since last summer, with the greenback’s value surging more than 20% against a basket of major foreign currencies.

2015-04-20 00:00:00 Alternative Investing: Why Manager Skill is Crucial to Results by Walter Davis of Invesco

A key attribute of alternative investments is that alternative managers are typically given considerable freedom in how they invest. This freedom means that manager selection, an important consideration for all investors, becomes particularly crucial when investing in alternatives.

2015-04-20 00:00:00 Is Brazil The Next BRIC To Ride EM Equity Wave? by Team of GaveKal Capital

On an equal-weighted, USD basis, Russia is up 46% year-to-date, by far the best performing country in the MSCI All-Country World Index. Coming in second, is China which is up 29%. India is the 14th best performing country (8.2%). The lone man out is Brazil which is the fifth WORST performing country year-to-date, one of only 10 countries posting a negative return year-to-date (-7%).

2015-04-20 00:00:00 Afraid of Rising Rates? Don’t Be. by Ashish Shah and Ivan Rudolph-Shabinsky of AllianceBernstein

Sometime this year, the Federal Reserve will probably raise interest rates for the first time in more than half a decade. That makes bond investors nervous. But it shouldn’t. Those who keep their cool may find that higher rates can work to their advantage.

2015-04-20 00:00:00 Pockets of Value in the Stock Market by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Given the headwinds facing U.S. stocks, investors may want to consider tilting their stock portfolios toward these sectors and geographies offering relative value.

2015-04-20 00:00:00 On My Radar: The Speech at Lost Tree Club by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

You and I are in a tough business. It is based on probabilities and involves imperfection. The mismatch between customer expectations and practical reality is challenging. Art Cashin said, That to survive 50 years in this business, you learn that the first thing you do when you enter a room is look for the exit sign. It is with this thinking that I also share a great piece on investing and risk from Ned Davis.

2015-04-20 00:00:00 Market Rules to Remember by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

A few years ago, I participated in a panel discussion at the 50th Annual Contrary Opinion Forum in Vermont. One of my fellow panelists, Walter Deemer of Deemer Technical Research Inc., has been a cornerstone of institutional market strategy since the early 1960’s and is this year’s recipient of the MTA’s prestigious annual award.

2015-04-20 00:00:00 Picking Stocks in the Tech Sector by Chaitanya Yaramada of Robert W. Baird & Co.

Technology is an important sector for growth portfolios - it carries a significant weight in major growth benchmarks, and more importantly, tends to be a ripe area for stock picking. The technology sector represents nearly 15% of the Russell Midcap Growth benchmark and 24% of the Russell 3000 Growth benchmark. The percentage is even higher when including Internet stocks that are categorized into the Consumer Discretionary sector.

2015-04-20 00:00:00 Drags on the Economy and Earnings Should Slowly Fade by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Investors focused on the negatives last week, including some disappointing U.S. economic data and growing concerns over what will happen with Greece’s debt problems.

2015-04-20 00:00:00 Emerging Europe: Economy Trends Update – April 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

With the exception of energy exporter Russia, economic conditions appear to have taken a turn for the better in emerging Europe.

2015-04-20 00:00:00 Thoughts from the Frontline: Half a Bubble Off Dead Center by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Central banks, in their valiant, unceasing efforts to restore liquidity and growth, have unleashed numerous unintended consequences that are beginning to show up in earnest. Today we are going to review the well-meaning behavior of central banks for clues about our near future.

2015-04-20 00:00:00 The Four Totally Bad Bear Recoveries: Where Are We Now? by Doug Short (Article)

This chart series features an overlay of the Four Bad Bears in U.S. history since the market peak in 1929. They are:

  1. The Crash of 1929
  2. The Oil Embargo of 1973
  3. The 2000 Tech Bubble bust and,
  4. The Financial Bubble and Crisis.

2015-04-19 00:00:00 US Equity And Economic Review For the Week of April 13-17; False Break-Out Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

After consolidating since the beginning of March, it appeared that SPYs broke out on Wednesday. It was a false break-out. Wednesday’s daily candle was weak, with a small body and high shadow. Rather than continuing the move higher, Thursday printed a similar candle. The markets gapped lower on Friday, sending the daily chart back into its previous consolidation pattern. Several weak economic numbers contributed to the markets sell-off, including industrial production, further weakness in retail sales and increasing negativity in the LEIs components.

2015-04-19 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: A Geopolitical Risk to U.S. Stocks? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

I expect the supposed worries of Friday to prove unwarranted – an idea supported by late-day Friday trading. The real focus will quickly turn to earnings and housing data.

2015-04-18 00:00:00 Today's NFP Miss Means Little For Equities and The Economy by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Failed sell offs lead to failed rallies. This has been the recurrent pattern for the past four months. There is unlikely to be a sustained move higher until there is a more complete sell off lower. Risk remains to the downside.

2015-04-17 00:00:00 The Labor Market Recovery’s Missing Ingredient by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Why are so few Americans participating in the labor market even as jobs become more plentiful? Russ explains, noting two implications for investors.

2015-04-17 00:00:00 Hoisington Quarterly Review and Outlook – First Quarter 2015 by Lacy Hunt and Van Hoisington of Hoisington Investment Management

Over the more than two thousand years of economic history, a clear record emerges regarding the relationship between the level of indebtedness of a nation and its resultant pace of economic activity. The once flourishing and powerful Mesopotamian, Roman and Bourbon dynasties, as well as the British empire, ultimately lost their great economic vigor due to the inability to prosper under crushing debt levels.

2015-04-17 00:00:00 Irrational Expectations by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

Do we have irrational expectations for the Chinese economy? On the one hand, we asked China to restructure and rebalance its economy, and it has delivered. It shrunk its state sector, and privately owned firms now account for more than 80% of employment and almost all new job creation. Almost all prices are set by the market. Investment growth is slowing and consumption is now the engine of economic expansion. China’s service sector is now larger than its manufacturing and construction sectors.

2015-04-17 00:00:00 Who will get caught skinny-dipping? by Edward Perkin of Eaton Vance

More than six years into a bull market for all major asset classes, are there any true investment bargains left?

2015-04-17 00:00:00 Are Commodities And EM Stocks Becoming Less Sensitive To The Dollar? by Team of GaveKal Capital

Are commodities becoming less sensitive to changes in the USD? The surge in the dollar has negatively affected commodities somewhat but not nearly as much as one might have expected given that the real trade-weighted dollar is 19% higher than it was in July. Commodities are about 19% lower during this time. However, when the dollar surged by 14% in 2008, commodities fell by 39%.

2015-04-17 00:00:00 Key Themes for Navigating Credit Markets in Alternatives Strategies by Joshua Anderson of PIMCO

Against a backdrop of low volatility and tight spreads, 2014 turned out to be a challenging year for many alternative investors as they watched their trades become crowded, and reverse quickly when expected returns were not realized. One such example was the positioning among investors in advance of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) Asset Quality Review announcement; many had increased their exposure in anticipation of a tightening of European bank-related securities.

2015-04-17 00:00:00 Greek Drama Extends Its Run by David Zahn of Franklin Templeton Investments

Greece’s debt problems have retaken center stage, as payment deadlines approach and negotiations with creditors continue. The money-strapped country and Syriza, its radical left-wing ruling party, are back in the headlines and on the minds of investors, as predictions that Greece could leave the eurozone abound. David Zahn, head of European Fixed Income, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group®, offers his perspective on Greece’s dramatic debt saga, as well as the orderly beginning of the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing program.

2015-04-17 00:00:00 Sharpen Your Pencils: Why Low Rates Challenge Traditional Security Analysis Methods by Edward Talisse of Chelsea Global Advisors

Now that we are dealing with near-zero, and in certain instances, negative short-term interest rates, is it worth retaining the highly cherished Sharpe Ratio as a tool of investment performance? Measuring and ranking the intersection of risk and reward is a foundational principle of investment management, first introduced by Noble Laureate William F. Sharpe back in 1966.

2015-04-17 00:00:00 Junior Mining Companies Have Taken a Senior Role by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

For the past decade, junior mining companies have outperformed senior miners at finding new mineral deposits and generating wealth for investors.

2015-04-17 00:00:00 Mr. Valuation Disagrees with Henry Blodget: "It's a Market of Stocks" is not a Meaningless Phrase by Chuck Carnevale of FAST Graphs

The meaningful phrase “it’s a market of stocks, not a stock market” stands as a continuous reminder to me to focus on what’s important while ignoring what’s not. Since I do not invest in the entire market, I spend no time worrying about it. Instead, I spent all my time and effort evaluating the specific investments that I am actually invested in.

2015-04-17 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary: Countries Can’t Devalue Their Way to Prosperity by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Countries Can't Devalue Their Way to Prosperity; Central Banks Are Doing Some Interesting Rebalancing; Paying for the Energy Dividend

2015-04-17 00:00:00 Two Job Markets by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

We have written in the past about U-6, which in addition to being a very large shrimp (it’s a code that means 6 shrimp to a pound), is one of the government’s measures of unemployment. Specifically, it includes not only the traditional definition of unemployed (which the government calls U-3) but also those who are working but “under-employed." These may be people who are working multiple jobs, taking jobs that are below their level of experience, or those who have been unemployed for a long time. None of these people are included in the “headline” employment figures you hear about o

2015-04-16 00:00:00 REIT CEFs by (Article)

Closed-end funds focusing on Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITS) offer potentially attractive exposure to a huge asset class, says Mark McAllister of ClearBridge Investments.

2015-04-16 00:00:00 Q1 Review by (Article)

Closed-end funds got off to a strong start in Q1 2015 and senior loan funds reversed a trend, says Mike Taggart of Nuveen Investments.

2015-04-16 00:00:00 Global Business Cycle Deceleration and US Conundrum by Alexander Giryavets of Dynamika Capital L.L.C.

The Global Business Cycle is decelerating while the regional Asian and European Subcycles are recovering. This poses the US between a hammer and a hard place as it gets hurt by each single one of them. Will it get crushed or stand strong in this global interplay?

2015-04-16 00:00:00 Three Portfolio Moves to Consider Now by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

While the first quarter largely played to script, there were a few surprises. Russ explains, noting three portfolio moves to consider as the second quarter kicks off.

2015-04-16 00:00:00 Stock Market Boom and Crash: Cause and Effect by Wim Grommen of Transfer Solutions

This article explains, based on transition properties, why a stock market boom occurs during the acceleration phase of a transition, inevitably followed by a stock market crash in the stabilization phase of a transition.

2015-04-16 00:00:00 A New Way Forward for Nigeria? by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Perhaps the biggest long-term challenge for Nigeria going forward is to develop government leadership that will be intent on economic development and utilizing the country’s resources to develop infrastructure.

2015-04-16 00:00:00 Can The Marriage of Two Knowledge Followers Produce a Knowledge Leader? by Team of GaveKal Capital

Most of our readers are familiar with our process that seeks to identify what we refer to as Knowledge Leaders or, quite simply, companies that consistently invest in knowledge-intensive activities such as research & development, advertising, and employee training. Common attributes of knowledge leaders include, but are not limited to, less volatile earnings and sales growth, lower adjusted ROE, and a larger stock of intangible capital on their balance sheets.

2015-04-16 00:00:00 Finding Value in Declining Commodity Prices by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

I’m going to begin with a bit of good news. Below is our China Region Fund (USCOX). As you can see, not only has it broken above its 50- and 200-day moving averages, but it’s also trading at four-year highs. And since this chart was created early last week, the fund has climbed even higher, to $9.53 as of this writing.

2015-04-16 00:00:00 Counting on Cash in Cloudy Equity Markets by David Dalgas of AllianceBernstein

Equity markets are digesting mixed signals in early 2015, from the divergence of monetary policies, shifting economic growth patterns and currency volatility. Instead of worrying about deciphering these trends, we think investors should focus on individual company cash flows in order to identify companies with strong long-term return potential.

2015-04-16 00:00:00 Implications of a Fed Funds Rate Hike on Asian Securities by Gerald Hwang of Matthews Asia

The prospect of a higher U.S. federal funds rate can make U.S. cash and short duration Treasurys look more attractive vs. risky assets. The effect of higher U.S. short rates is felt across all asset classes, regardless of the pattern of cash flows or currency of denomination. We can expect some market reallocation out of risky assets and into risk-free assets. But why does the market seem to fear a wholesale shift out of risky assets and why might that view be unjustified? In the second installment of a two-part series, Matthews Asia Portfolio Manager Gerald Hwang, CFA, examines the ways in wh

2015-04-16 00:00:00 The Unexpected Ripple Effect of New Bank Capital Requirements by Libby Cantrill, William G. De Leon, Tracey Jordal, Courtney A. Walker of PIMCO

In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, lawmakers and regulators promulgated sweeping regulations that sought to reduce systemic risk and promote market stability.

2015-04-16 00:00:00 Gauging Global Growth: An Update For 2015 & 2016 by John Canally of LPL Financial

Global growth is likely to be a recurring theme for investors this week. The health of the global economy and key regions (U.S., Eurozone, Japan, China, etc.) is likely to get plenty of attention from corporate managements as they discuss Q1 2015 results and provide guidance for the rest of the year. In addition, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will release the spring 2015 edition of its widely read World Economic Outlook on Tuesday, April 14, 2015, and China will release its Q1 2015 gross domestic product (GDP) that same day.

2015-04-16 00:00:00 1Q 2015 Newsletter: Eliminating the Confusion about Active Equity Management by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

There are a great number of bright mathematicians out there who can explain almost everything in common stock selection and portfolio management. One well-known student of the arena is Michael Mauboussin, a Managing Director at Credit Suisse, who recently published a challenging piece of research seeking to explain how difficult it was last year (2014) for mutual funds to beat the S&P 500 Index. In reviewing his analysis, we are reminded that calling stock picking and portfolio management “active management” has done the investment marketplace a huge disservice.

2015-04-15 00:00:00 Market Overview Q115 by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

One consequence of loose monetary policy and financial repression is that market participants stop “making judgments for themselves” which exacerbates procyclical behavior. At the same time, high levels of debt weaken the ability of the economic and financial systems to absorb shocks which creates a fragile situation. Although this environment is difficult for almost all investors, it will favor those who can think and act independently.

2015-04-15 00:00:00 Emerging Markets of Tomorrow by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

This week Professor Siegel and Jeremy Schwartz chatted with Gavin Serkin, Emerging Markets (EM) Editor at Bloomberg News. They also spoke to Worth Wray, Chief Strategist at Mauldin Economics, whose current focus is also on EM and the implications of a stronger U.S. dollar.

2015-04-15 00:00:00 Bank Loans Are the Tortoise, Not the Hare by Cheryl Stober of Loomis Sayles

The global financial crisis did not change the nature of bank loans. Bank loans were specifically designed by bankers to resist the forces that drive volatility in most other asset classes. Bankers designed bank loans to reduce the volatility that comes along with changes in interest rates and company values, so they insisted that loans have floating coupons and that they be senior and secured.

2015-04-15 00:00:00 China Finally Stops Fighting the Stock Market by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Although China's economy has been leading the world in annualized growth since the days that mobile phones had retractable antennas, there have always been some aspects of the country's commercial and financial system that loudly broadcast the underlying illogic of a Communist Party's firm control of burgeoning capitalism. China's stock markets were one such venue where things just didn't add up...literally.

2015-04-15 00:00:00 Despite Volatility, Global Economy Looks Stronger by Hank Herrmann of Ivy Investment Management Company

So far this year, the financial markets have given us a volatile ride. But it’s a ride that has left us just about where we started. It’s not exactly that nothing happened, of course, but the S&P 500 Index ended the first quarter essentially flat. The volatility stems largely from two things: since January we’ve seen a steep decline in energy prices and a sharp rally in the dollar.

2015-04-15 00:00:00 The Long-Term Outlook: Secular Stagnation or Not? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The good news is that the output gap, the difference between real Gross Domestic Product and its potential, has narrowed. The bad news is that’s largely because potential GDP has declined. The big question now is whether the economy is on a permanently lower track. The answer is not so clear.

2015-04-15 00:00:00 Managing Risk by Jeffery Saut of Raymond James

Most people acknowledge that losses will happen regardless of the type of business venture. A light bulb manufacturer knows that two out of three hundred bulbs will break. A fruit dealer knows that two out of one hundred apples will rot. Losses per se don’t bother them; unexpected losses and losing on balance does. Acknowledging that losses are part of business is one thing; taking and accepting those losses in the markets is something else entirely. In the markets, people tend to have difficulty actively taking losses. This is because all losses are treated as failure; in every other area o

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Gundlach - The Bond Market is at a Pivotal Point by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Jeffrey Gundlach turned defensive on the U.S. bond market at the end of January, almost precisely when yields were at their lowest point. Whether his outlook changes hinges on the direction of the 30-year bond and if it retests its low yield of 2.45%.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Ukraine: Mass Corporate Debt Restructuring Looks Likely by Sponsored Content from Invesco (Article)

Ukraine's biggest economic problem is its deep recession. We expect gross domestic product to contract by about 7% this year, as the conflict with Russia has devastated Ukraine's vital industrial corridor in the east, interest rates and inflation are soaring, and its currency teeters on collapse.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 New Research: Reverse Mortgages, SPIAs and Retirement Income by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Retirees need longevity protection and additional funds. Annuities and reverse mortgages can meet those needs. While annuities have been researched extensively, reverse mortgages haven't received as much attention. We need research on how to fit these two products together in overall retirement plans. I'll launch that effort here.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 The Key to Attracting New Clients: Be Less Available by Dan Richards (Article)

Whether in booking appointments with prospects, getting key clients to come to events or winning over referrals, communicating a sense of limited supply helps you achieve your goals.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Stock Market Returns - The GDP Growth Rate Myth by Baijnath Ramraika, CFA® (Article)

The idea that nominal equity market returns approximate the country's GDP growth rate is historically uninformed and intellectually dishonest. If there were any merit to the idea that equity market returns should approximate GDP growth rate, we would see this in a tight relationship between the two variables across countries. But we don't.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Why Women Advisors are Judged Differently by Daniel Solin (Article)

Are women advisors perceived differently than their male counterparts? If so, what can we do about it?

2015-04-14 00:00:00 The Words to Avoid in Marketing Your Firm by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Are there key phrases and terms we should stay away from in our firm's marketing message?

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Tocqueville Gold Strategy Investor Letter by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

John Hathaway, manager of the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), looks back at the performance of gold over the first quarter, noting that "Gold and gold mining shares appear to be as contrarian today as in 1999, before a decade?plus run in which bullion rose nearly seven?fold in US dollar terms."

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Not-So-Great Expectations: Why Real Interest Rates Won’t Soar by Shane Shepherd of Research Affiliates

In a recent piece from Research Affiliates, Shane Shepherd, Senior Vice President, Head of Macro Research, looks at the consensus on interest rates: they are set to fly. But if, as Research Affiliates expects, savings accelerate and real GDP grows slowly, then interest rates won’t rise very much anytime soon.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Expect Further Divergence in Emerging Market Economies by Michael Gomez, Lupin Rahman of PIMCO

Each quarter, PIMCO investment professionals from around the world gather in Newport Beach to discuss the firm’s outlook for the global economy and financial markets. In the following interview, portfolio managers Michael Gomez and Lupin Rahman discuss PIMCO’s cyclical outlook for the emerging markets (EM).

2015-04-14 00:00:00 U.S. Labor: A Not-So-Great Participation Rate by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The percentage of Americans either working or looking for work is lower than pre-recession levels. Here’s what it could mean for the economy—and Fed policy.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 The Case for Not Currency Hedging Foreign Equity Investments: A U.S. Investor’s Perspective by Catherine LeGraw of GMO

In a new white paper, Catherine LeGraw of GMO's asset allocation team explains GMO's approach to currency hedging, a topic which has gained relevance as the U.S. dollar has strengthened.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Bear Market Hibernation End is Nearing by Sean Butson of DC Capital Management

The S&P 500 continues to be overvalued and has become more so over the last 6 months. Based on 7 different valuation metrics, future 10 year compound annual returns are likely to be only about 6% vs. 9%-10% historically. While we are not expecting an imminent bear market, the specter of FED rate increases likely does indicate the beginning of the end of the current bull, as 12 out of 14 S&P 500 declines of at least 15% over the last 60 years have occurred within 3 years of FED tightening.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 China: New Year, New Opportunity? by Burt White of LPL Financial

China will release its first quarter 2015 gross domestic product (GDP) report this week on April 14, 2015, with the market expecting a 7% year-over-year increase. Regardless of whether China hits that target, its stock market has already been positive so far this year. In this year of the goat in 2015, global investors have not been sheepish about buying Chinese stocks, powering the Shanghai Composite 25% higher so far in 2015 amid prospects for more monetary stimulus and policy reforms.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Where's the Remote? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

The panic would set in as soon as Dad would bellow “Where’s the clicker?” Everyone had to move. Cushions on chairs and sofas would be quickly tossed aside. Hands would stretch and scramble among the stale crumbs in the creases underneath in search of the elusive foe. Failure was not an option. There would be no TV that night until Dad’s hands grasp the clicker once more.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 The Active/Passive Debate: Others Weigh In by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

In the most recent AdvisorShares Alpha Call Josh Brown and Michael Batnick from Ritholtz Wealth Management discussed at length the importance finding the right strategy and then taking the time to understand the strengths and weaknesses of whatever you decide is the right strategy.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 The Iran Framework by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

On April 2, the P5+1 and Iran announced a framework to deal with Iran’s nuclear program. The framework is a roadmap to establishing a final agreement in June and could be a major step toward delaying Iran’s entry into the “nuclear club.” This report begins with a short history of Iran’s nuclear program. Next, we review the details of the framework and address the broader policy issues surrounding Iran’s nuclear program. An analysis of the real issue, regional hegemony, follows along with a review of the political factors of the deal. We conclude with the potential market effects.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Stocks: The Great Wealth Non-Equalizer by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Just recently, IBD.com published a very interesting article entitle "Stock Market Is America's Great Wealth Equalizer." While I am sure the author is well-intentioned, it is a very misguided article in its assumptions.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Waiting for the Right Pitch by John Loesch, CFA of Diamond Hill Capital Management, Inc.

Patience is a virtue, both in life and in investing. As a long-term investor in a short-term focused world (and a father of three young children), I know that remaining patient is not always easy. At Diamond Hill, we keep the advice of both Warren Buffett and legendary hitter Ted Williams in mind and try to wait for the “right pitch.”

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Yield Curve Flattening and Volatility LIkely to Continue in 2015 by Payson Swaffield of Eaton Vance

In the first quarter of 2015, we continued to see a trend toward a flatter yield curve, shaped by rising rates at the short end and a relatively tethered long end, against the backdrop of higher volatility.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Second Quarter Market Commentary 2015 by The CCR Wealth Management Investment Committee of CCR Wealth Management

Over a year ago in our January 2014 Outlook commentary, we cited European markets as attractively priced relative to the US equity markets. Most market observers at the time were expecting a nascent recovery from the 2012 EU recession to get a boost from the European Central Bank (ECB). We even boosted our non-US developed market (and European-specific) allocation—though cautiously—in anticipation. Please note that we still think these markets are most attractively valued.

2015-04-13 00:00:00 Liquid Alternative Strategies as Mutual Funds by Michael Winchell of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

The recent growth of mutual funds offering a wide array of liquid alternative strategies has raised questions among many advisors about the possible drawbacks of attempting alternative strategies within a 1940 Act vehicle.

2015-04-13 00:00:00 Asia’s Multilateralism by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

In March, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Italy joined more than 30 other countries as founding members of the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which will do what existing institutional arrangements cannot: help Asia meet its massive infrastructure needs. So why has the US sought to undermine the effort?

2015-04-13 00:00:00 Top 10 Considerations for June to September Liftoff by Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

One of the top stories of 2015 so far has been the anticipated liftoff from the zero bound interest rate target of the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed). As market forecasters continue to debate June vs. September, we share some observations from previous hiking cycles to guide your views.

2015-04-13 00:00:00 On My Radar: High Valuations = Low Forward Returns by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination. – Jimmy Dean”

2015-04-13 00:00:00 Global Economic Risks Remain but Appear to Be Diminishing by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Investors reacted to a range of data and news last week that included a further digesting of the relatively weak March jobs data, ongoing merger and acquisition news, signs of weakening corporate earnings and further evidence of upward pressure on wages. Amid all of the crosscurrents, U.S. equities finished higher, with the S&P 500 Index gaining 1.7%.1 Most international markets advanced as well, while Treasury yields and the U.S. dollar rose.1 Industrials, health care and energy stocks led the way while telecommunications, utilities and financials lagged.

2015-04-13 00:00:00 How Much Lower Can The 30-Year Treasury Yield Go? by Team of GaveKal Capital

Three weeks ago we mentioned how Fed assets were finally declining on a quarterly basis. Since then we have had a few more data points released and the trend is still downward. Compared to three months ago, the Fed's balance sheet has shrunk by over $32 billion. We are, however, beginning to reach the contractionary limit during the QE period. The most the Fed's balance sheet has contracted over a three month period was $81.8 billion in May 2012.

2015-04-13 00:00:00 Quarterly Letter – April 2015 by Ron Muhlenkamp, Jeff Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Company, Inc.

Ron and Jeff Muhlenkamp discuss their views on the U.S. stock market, then briefly touch on some broader U.S. and global issues, then close with a summary of how it all ties together.

2015-04-13 00:00:00 June Rate Hike Still on Tap by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

According to a recent survey by the Wall Street Journal, most economists think a June rate hike is unlikely. In fact, four times as many think the Federal Reserve won’t start raising rates until September or later as currently think the Fed will start in June.

2015-04-12 00:00:00 Are We Doomed to Weaker Growth by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

Any rally still faces strong headwinds. With a PE of 20.47, equities are already expensive. The strong dollar and weaker overseas economies are hampering general earnings growth while oil’s price drop is decimating the energy sector. And the percentage of NASDAQ and NYSE stocks about the 50 day EMA is approaching overbought levels. Without a meaningful change in either the earnings or valuation environment, any advance appears limited to at most 5%. That places a premium of stock picking and allocation.

2015-04-12 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: The Start of an Earnings Recession? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

The year-over-year growth rate for forward earnings has once again turned positive. We can and should be on the watch for a true recession – the source of major earnings declines. The talk about an “earnings recession” should not be a source of worry.

2015-04-12 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

US markets once again look set-up to continue higher, as they have multiple times in the past four months. Each time in the past, however, they have instead reversed lower. Equities may continue higher this week - they are not overbought - but it seems unlikely that the largely trend-less environment has ended once and for all. Sentiment and volatility suggest unfavorable risk/reward on a one-month timeframe.

2015-04-12 00:00:00 Valuation and Speculation: The Iron Laws by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

If you genuinely want to learn something from our experience during the recent half-cycle, it’s not to discard the Iron Law of Valuation, but to couple your awareness of valuation with an understanding of where investor preferences toward risk are from the standpoint of the Iron Law of Speculation. I had very vocal concerns about valuation during the tech bubble and the housing bubble, well before they burst.

2015-04-11 00:00:00 Finding Value in Declining Commodity Prices by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

So what’s the deal with Chinese equities right now? After all, China’s economic growth for the first quarter of the year cooled to a six-year low of 7 percent. The market surge is mostly attributable to monetary easing and government policy changes such as housing stimulus and modernization of the country’s financial structure. But there’s more at work.

2015-04-11 00:00:00 It’s the Weather…! by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Investors anticipating first-quarter GDP growth should revisit the data—a replay of 2014’s weather-induced economic downturn is more likely.

2015-04-11 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Today’s Oil Retreat Is at Odds with Long-Term Trends; A New Bank Creates Controversy in Asia; Solving the U.S. Wage Conundrum

2015-04-11 00:00:00 Slip Sliding Sideways by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

Volatility will likely continue and more sideways action could be in store for the US equity market. We believe US economic data will start to rebound, helping push stocks higher in the second half of the year. The Fed remains in focus, but a rate hike is not likely until the latter half of 2015, which has helped slow the dollar’s upward momentum; potentially comforting the market and letting businesses better react. Better near-term opportunities may exist overseas as the Eurozone economy is improving and Japan seems poised to rebound from soft data.

2015-04-10 00:00:00 Combining Active and Passive: Three Issues to Consider for Risk-Averse Investors by Clint Harris of Invesco Blog

I was having a lively due diligence meeting with a retirement consultant the other day, discussing how our team manages Invesco Diversified Dividend Fund, and where we, as a conservative strategy, see opportunities and risks in the market today. Then came a moment of truth. The consultant sat back and said, “I really believe in what you all are doing, but many of my retirement plan committees just want passive index funds to bring down expenses.”

2015-04-10 00:00:00 An Open Letter to the Eurozone by Harley Bassman of PIMCO

As it has once again become fashionable to send an open letter to foreign dignitaries, now is certainly a propitious moment to help focus attention upon dissolving a perplexing financial impediment. For while limiting nuclear proliferation and reducing armed conflict are headline grabbers, the more mundane topic of cleansing the channels of global finance is in fact a public policy good that can create a positive social impact in real time. As such, I now respectfully offer my thoughts on ways to enhance the effectiveness of the current policy path.

2015-04-10 00:00:00 Words with Friends by John Canally of LPL Financial

Words matter. As investors brace for the unofficial start of the S&P 500 earnings reporting season for first quarter 2015 (see this week’s Weekly Market Commentary, “Earnings Recession?” April 6, 2015, for details), the financial media is swirling with words and phrases like “rig count,” “strong dollar,” “port strike,” and even “bad weather.”

2015-04-10 00:00:00 Using Options Strategies to Mitigate Volatility by George Hashbarger, Jr. of The BPV Family of Funds

The current bull market in U.S. stocks has now entered its seventh year and continues chugging along. In such a market environment, which has lacked a meaningful correction in either magnitude or duration, it’s easy to become complacent. However, the pull back last October and the choppiness markets experienced in December and January should serve as a reminder that the long period of low volatility has likely ended.

2015-04-10 00:00:00 Job Creation: What Is Normal, Anyway? by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

Why all the angst over the weak jobs number? Much of it is based on the assumption that a decline of that magnitude, especially after a very strong run, means we’re moving into shaky economic territory. We might be, but let’s check the data before we get too upset.

2015-04-10 00:00:00 Key Themes for Navigating Credit Markets in Alternatives Strategies by Joshua Anderson of PIMCO

??We believe the current investment environment provides extensive opportunities for alternative investors.

2015-04-10 00:00:00 China for Sale? by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

In recent years, some China watchers have been wondering where the “smart money” is going? How telling are the real estate transactions of the region’s tycoons? And do concerns still exist over the growth in loans to the corporate sector? Matthews Asia’s CIO Robert Horrocks, PhD, explores.

2015-04-10 00:00:00 Favorable growth in European bond markets by Phil Apel (Article)

Phil Apel, Head of Fixed Income, reviews European current fixed income market trends and provides an outlook for the bond market throughout 2015. Apel reflects that during Q1, global bond markets were positively driven by the actions of the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank (ECB) resulting in bonds yields generally falling, and good returns for government bond markets.

2015-04-10 00:00:00 Where Positive Economic Surprises Are (And Aren't) Happening by Team of GaveKal Capital

There is a geographic disparity amongst the Citi Economic Surprise Index. Economies, both developed and emerging, are surprising to the upside in Asia and Europe while economies in the western hemisphere are not doing as well (at least in terms of meeting and exceeding expectations). Below we show some of the more interesting charts.

2015-04-10 00:00:00 Buybacks Are Not Just an Accounting Trick by Joseph Paul of AllianceBernstein

As if on cue, news of record buyback authorizations earlier this year unleashed a torrent of media coverage denouncing them as nothing more than an accounting sleight of hand. We think the reaction has been pretty extreme.

2015-04-10 00:00:00 Reforms Help Revive Eurozone Recovery Hopes by Lisa Myers of Franklin Templeton Investments

Many of the eurozone’s local stock markets began 2015 with a bang, as the effects of the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing (QE) program were felt even before the bond-buying began. While QE seems to have provided a quick lift to many eurozone economies and and their respective equity markets, Lisa Myers, executive vice president, Templeton Global Equity Group™, stresses the importance of long-range structural reform in any sustained eurozone recovery. She analyzes country-specific endeavors and discusses their implications for future economic growth in the region.

2015-04-10 00:00:00 The Dollar and the Fed: A Love-Hate Relationship by Rick Harrell of Loomis Sayles

The US job market continues to plow ahead, leading many to believe Fed rate hikes are coming later this year. However, the pace of hikes may be slower than expected. The Fed is facing a “dollar dilemma” as it evaluates US economic outperformance.

2015-04-09 00:00:00 It’s Time to Make Taxes Less Taxing by Michael Allison, Peter Crowley, Jim Evans, Tom Metzold, Rey Santodomingo of Eaton Vance

Can a strategy based on asset allocation, asset location and asset management increase the tax efficiency of your portfolio?

2015-04-09 00:00:00 Supply-Side Yellenomics Is (Slowly) Losing Its Grip on Markets by Tony Crescenzi of PIMCO

Should investors worry about the possibility that the Federal Reserve might raise interest rates this year? How about the negative economic consequences of the rally in the U.S. dollar? “Hawkish” Fed mistakes?

2015-04-09 00:00:00 Bottom Fishing by Team of GaveKal Capital

I often go back and re-read things that have shaped my perspective on managing portfolios. In my 20s (in the 1990s) I was fortunate to have a friend and mentor named Clay Allen who taught me volumes on the art of portfolio management. He introduced me to the point and figure method of charting stock prices and we often talked at length about how to win the "losers game".

2015-04-09 00:00:00 When Will the Bull Market End? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ explains why the stock market rally can continue, at least for another year.

2015-04-09 00:00:00 The PMC Spotlight: Quantitative Portfolios: Factor-Enhanced Series by (Article)

In this video, Brandon Thomas, Chief Investment Officer, underscores the unique features of the Quantitative Portfolios: Factor-Enhanced Series. In addition, Mr. Thomas provides background on the financial research supporting value and momentum factor style investing.

2015-04-08 00:00:00 The 'Perfect Storm' by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

This month's Absolute Return Letter is about the highly unusual set of circumstances which have underpinned the equity bull market of the last 35 years. Not one of the factors we identify did exceptionally well - they all did and, between them, they created the perfect breeding ground for exceptional equity performance. So far so good. Unfortunately a reality check is required as it is exceedingly unlikely that those circumstances will be repeated in our lifetime. We should prepare for more modest returns ahead.

2015-04-08 00:00:00 Equity Cyclical Outlook: Between Fed lift-off and living in the New Neutral by Virginie Maisonneuve, Mark Richards of PIMCO

Virginie Maisonneuve, PIMCO’s CIO Global Equities, and equity macroeconomic analyst Mark Richards provide an update on PIMCO’s views on equity markets.

2015-04-08 00:00:00 Runs in the Market Suggest Under-performance in 2015 by Ian Arvin of Innovative Quant Solutions

Based on our analysis of the number of consecutive days the market moves in one direction, or “runs”, 2015 is currently pointing to either a down year or a below average return.

2015-04-08 00:00:00 Creative Self-Disruption by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

Companies like Uber, Apple, and Airbnb have succeeded by exploiting a fundamental trend affecting nearly all industries: individual empowerment through the Internet, app technology, digitalization, and social media. If traditional firms hope to remain competitive, they must follow suit.

2015-04-08 00:00:00 Earnings Recession? by Burt White of LPL Financial

Earnings season kicks off this week (April 6?–?10) with Alcoa set to report first quarter 2015 earnings on Wednesday, April 8. This earnings season has received a great deal of attention in recent weeks because it may produce the first year-over-year decline in S&P 500 operating earnings since the tail end of the financial crisis during the third quarter of 2009. We preview earnings season and highlight reasons not to fear a potential decline.

2015-04-08 00:00:00 Valuation Normal for Mid-Cycle Period by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

While not as headline-catching as some of the doom and gloom market predictions currently circulating, our indicators suggest that the equity markets are fairly valued and are in the midst of a mid-cycle environment.

2015-04-08 00:00:00 The Misunderstanding Of El-Erian's Cash Position by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

In a recent interview with Mohamed El-Erian, former CEO of PIMCO Investments, a most interesting question was posed.

2015-04-08 00:00:00 Why The US Unemployment Rate May Be Wrong by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Last Friday’s unemployment report for March was a stunner, no doubt about it. After 12 consecutive months of new job creation above 200,000 per month, the Labor Department reported that only a meager 126,000 new jobs were created in March.

2015-04-08 00:00:00 Policy Paranoia by Robert Stimpson of Oak Associates

The present version of policy paranoia encompasses concerns over impending interest rate hikes, the rapid appreciation of the US dollar, a bloated US government balance sheet, weak international economies and increased probability of a crisis in certain Latin American countries. While legitimate, we do not believe the current ghosts are any more imminently destructive today than over the past six years.

2015-04-08 00:00:00 Economists in Glass Houses by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

For many economists, the chicken and egg question is, which came first, consumption or production? What drives growth? Let’s continue with our series on debt, in which I have been contrasting my views with those of Paul Krugman.

2015-04-08 00:00:00 U.S. and Canada: Continued Recovery With Some Potential for Headwinds by Ed Devlin, Mike Cudzil of PIMCO

?Each quarter, PIMCO investment professionals from around the world gather in Newport Beach to discuss the firm’s outlook for the global economy and financial markets. In the following interview, portfolio managers Ed Devlin and Mike Cudzil discuss PIMCO’s cyclical outlook for Canada and the U.S..

2015-04-08 00:00:00 Will a Weak Jobs Report and Poor Productivity Give the Fed Pause? by Jeremy Schwartz, of WisdomTree

Last Friday, Professor Jeremy Siegel and Jeremy Schwartz sat down with Sam Chandan, founder and chief economist at Chandan Economics, to discuss the unexpectedly weak jobs report, productivity, low interest rates and implications for the housing market.

2015-04-08 00:00:00 Dalbar: Why Investors Suck And Tips For Advisors by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Dalbar just recently released their 21st annual Quantitative Analysis Of Investor Behavior study which continues to show just how poorly investors perform relative to market benchmarks over time and the reasons for that underperformance.

2015-04-08 00:00:00 Barron's Recap by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

2015-04-07 00:00:00 An In-Depth Look at the MFS Value Fund by Larry Swedroe (Article)

As I continue with my series analyzing the performance of some of the most successful actively managed mutual funds, it's important to acknowledge that I possess the benefit of hindsight; I am selecting funds I know have done well in the past. The question I seek to answer is whether investors should expect that outperformance to continue. With that in mind, today we'll take an in-depth look at the MFS Value Fund (MEIAX).

2015-04-07 00:00:00 Behind Arnott's Strategy for PIMCO's All Asset Funds by John Coumarianos (Article)

If you thought a stretch of subpar performance would shake a fund manager's confidence, you'd be wrong in the case of Rob Arnott. Through Research Affiliates, his Newport Beach firm most famous for its fundamental indexing strategies, Arnott manages PIMCO's All Asset funds. These include PIMCO All Asset (PAAIX) and PIMCO All Asset All Authority (PAUIX).

2015-04-07 00:00:00 A Q1 Letter to Clients: Ben Bernanke on Interest Rates by Dan Richards (Article)

Every quarter since 2008, I have posted a template for a client letter. This letter can be used as a starting point to provide an overview of the period that just ended and thoughts looking forward. This quarter's letter addresses questions from clients about why interest rates are so low and when they are likely to rise.

2015-04-07 00:00:00 Another Day, Another Breach by Steven J. Ryder (Article)

With an estimated 82,000 variations of viruses and malware released every day by hackers, how can you keep your client data secure? There is no room for complacency when it comes to the security of your client data, yet it is easy to become apathetic when nearly every day another cybersecurity breach is reported. Here are a few guidelines to protect your network.

2015-04-07 00:00:00 How to Defend Your Fees by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

There must be a way to more effectively illustrate the value we provide for the fees our clients pay. How have other advisors done this?

2015-04-07 00:00:00 Bullseye: Abe and the Japanese Equity Market by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

Earlier this year, I articulated my thesis in this publication discussing how the developed markets would outperform the developing markets for the foreseeable future. I have grown to believe that Japan is in the nascent stage of a massive multiyear bull run – the likes we haven’t seen since the US market climbed from the painful declines of 2008-2009.

2015-04-07 00:00:00 Tracking the Market with Social Media by Blair Jensen of Trade Followers

Over the past week the market worked off the overbought condition created in the Trade Followers momentum indicator calculated from the Twitter stream for the S&P 500 index (SPX). The daily prints have been mostly positive even though the market was declining. This indicates market participants on Twitter believe that healthy consolidation is occurring rather than the start of a new down trend. 7 day momentum continues to hold its up trend line which confirms the move higher out of the January lows as well.

2015-04-07 00:00:00 Don't "Dread" The Plow Horse by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

“Dread” is the perfect word for what many investors have felt in recent years. Some have experienced it daily since the bottom in March 2009. Some experience it whenever the stock market falls.

2015-04-07 00:00:00 Currencies Are a 2-Way Street by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Humans are funny animals. There are many events, experiences, environments, and data points in the world shaping our perception. There is a psychological phenomenon called the recency effect, although it is known in the investment world as recency bias. Without delving into the psychological science as to why this happens, I think you will agree that most people tend to place a greater emphasis on more recent events.

2015-04-07 00:00:00 U.S. Economy: Getting the Jobs Recovery to Work Harder by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Even with the recent improvement, the pace of U.S. employment growth still lags earlier labor-market rebounds by a significant margin. What needs to be done to speed up the pace?

2015-04-07 00:00:00 Recession Probability Models - April 2015 by Ted Kavadas of StratX, LLC

There are a variety of economic models that are supposed to predict the probabilities of recession. While I don’t agree with the methodologies employed or probabilities of impending economic weakness as depicted by the following two models, I think the results of these models should be monitored.

2015-04-07 00:00:00 Margin Levels Look Safe Despite Tepid Economic Growth by Charlie Dreifus of The Royce Funds

Portfolio Manager Charlie Dreifus comments on the Fed's March statements and the first quarter's economic lull, discusses why dividend-paying stocks remain an attractive investment option, and makes a case for risk management in the current climate.

2015-04-07 00:00:00 The New World Order: Part IV by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

The final installment of our series examines how, in light of winning the Cold War, policymakers have been unable to settle on a set of key priorities and offers glimpses of a new policy emerging. The US never wanted to be a superpower; its founding story is one of wresting independence away from a colonial power. Now that the existential threat of communism is over, the political class has struggled to create a foreign policy that can simultaneously provide the required hegemonic global public goods and create a working economic policy and political coalition that will build domestic harmony.

2015-04-07 00:00:00 How to Profit When Rates Rise: Negative Duration Bond Strategies by Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

As the debate rages surrounding the timing of the first Federal Reserve (Fed) rate hike, we continue to discuss the potential tradeoffs surrounding this inevitable shift in policy. While some investors may be content to ride out the waning bull market in bonds, others may seek to position more tactically.

2015-04-06 00:00:00 Dividend Value Investing: No Time for Suspension of Disbelief, Part 3 by Meggan Walsh of Invesco Blog

As previously explained in this series, investors who follow Hollywood’s lead and suspend disbelief may very well overlook the potential downside risk of a profit cycle in its later stages. But to avoid misunderstanding the market, it’s important to balance the concerns I’ve previously addressed in the first two parts of this series with supporting factors for the market.

2015-04-06 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Correction Looming? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

After a week loaded with economic data there are plenty of fresh economic worries. In addition, the Fed seems ready to act in spite of some weak data. This means that good news is (finally) good news, and bad news will be bad. For economic and market skeptics, it signals a market shift that they see as long overdue.

2015-04-06 00:00:00 Brobdingnagian Top? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

According to Wikipedia, “Brobdingnag is a fictional land in Jonathan Swift's satirical novel about Gulliver's Travels whose land is occupied by giants. Lemuel Gulliver visits the land after the ship he is travelling on is blown off course and he is separated from a party exploring the unknown land.” I thought of Brobdingnag as I stared at a chart of the D-J Transportation Average ($TRAN/8605.31) last week, which looks like it is making what a technical analyst would term a giant broadening top, or in my terms a “Brobdingnagian Top?”

2015-04-06 00:00:00 March Employment Report – Fear vs. Hope by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The nonfarm payroll data for March were disappointing. Job growth was substantially less than expected and figures for the first two months of the year were revised lower. These data fit in with the general theme of other recent economic reports.

2015-04-06 00:00:00 Will China’s Infrastructure Bank Work? by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

With China's creation of the new $50 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, most of the debate has centered on the futile US effort to discourage other advanced economies from joining. Bu the real question is why multilateral development lending has so often failed, and what might be done to make it work better.

2015-04-06 00:00:00 Improving Growth Should Eventually Push Equities Higher by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

On the heels of a somewhat rough first quarter, many investors are questioning the state of economic growth and wondering if equities still hold value. Our view is that an improving global economy should (eventually) allow for a renewed upturn in earnings prospects, and in equity markets. As such, we believe investors should remain patient.

2015-04-06 00:00:00 ISM Data for the First Quarter Point to Sluggish U.S. Economic Growth in Q1 by Robert Lamy of The Forecasting Advisor

The value of the coincident economic index for the first quarter is used to get a forecast of the rate of growth in U.S real GDP for the first quarter of 2015. The official advance estimate of real GDP growth for the first quarter of the 2015 will be released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) on April 29th.

2015-04-06 00:00:00 Stock-Flow Accounting and the Coming $10 Trillion Loss in Paper Wealth by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The failure to recognize that stock-flow consistency must hold in the economy and the financial markets is the basis for an enormous amount of misunderstanding in both fields. That omission of clear thinking about the link between economics and finance contributes to misguided policies that ignore the impact of financial distortions on the real economy, and invite speculation, malinvestment, and ultimately financial crisis.

2015-04-05 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Correction Looming? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

No one has a good, verifiable, real-time track record at predicting small corrections. Meanwhile, many investors get sidelined because they read an article or saw a chart suggesting that “the big one” was right ahead. Some people have been waiting for years for the correction so that they can get back in the stock market. Even when the correction finally comes they will be losers – and that assumes the ability to pull the trigger when things look bad!

2015-04-05 00:00:00 US Equity Market Review For the Week of March 30 - April 3; Economic News Weighing Negatively, Editi by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

True, the XLKs, XLIs and XLYs are consolidating at the top of a rally, implying the current price movement could simply be a pause before a move higher. But this would be occurring against a weakening economic backdrop, already expensive market valuations and declining corporate earnings. This makes a sustained move higher improbable unless the fundamentals change to a more bullish posture or earnings surprise to the upside.

2015-04-04 00:00:00 Lack Of Oxygen Causing a Feeding Frenzy? by Jerry of Flexible Plan Investments

Yesterday I awoke to a scene right out of a WWI or WWII aviation epic. The sky was filled with hundreds of flying objects, circling, swerving, and maneuvering for the best position. No human airport could possibly have dealt with the number of minute-by-minute, repeated takeoffs and landings, stretched in a panorama before me. Adding to the chaos, every few seconds one of the white-and-grey projectiles would crash into the lake with a vengeance.

2015-04-04 00:00:00 U.S. Economy: Are Consumers a Spent Force? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Americans are saving more, while keeping consumption and borrowing in check. What does this signal for the broader economy?

2015-04-04 00:00:00 High-Yield Bonds: Equity-Like Returns Without Equity-Like Volatility by Michael Weilheimer, Steve Concannon, Will Reardon of Eaton Vance

Can an allocation to high-yield bonds help moderate the volatility in your portfolio without having to sacrifice return potential?

2015-04-04 00:00:00 On The Economy, The Environment & Income Tax Time by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The combination of topics for today’s E-Letter might seem unusual, and it is – the economy, the environment and income tax time. How do those fit together? They don’t really, but I think you will find today’s discussion on each to be interesting.

2015-04-04 00:00:00 Overview of the Fixed Income Market by Tim Gramatovich, Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

As we look at the high yield bond market, it is important to have an understanding of the fixed income marketplace and the investment options within it. The first thing to note is the sheer size, which is massive (just under $40 trillion).1 Somewhat surprisingly, mortgages represent the second largest single subcategory of the bond market; this helps to explain why problems in the mortgage market nearly took down the entire financial system in 2008. The largest subcategory is U.S. Treasury debt.

2015-04-03 00:00:00 Less Than Zero: The Implications of Negative Interest Rates by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

Many bonds, mainly in Europe, are trading with a negative yield, meaning creditors are paying in order to lend money. Russ K explains, providing three implications for investors.

2015-04-03 00:00:00 Central Bank Dominance by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

The policies of the central banks are theoretically aligned in that they all have the objective of managing private economies with modern monetary macroeconomic principles. But, all four major economies are in different stages of recovery and disruptions are nearly inevitable. However, a positive view is that central banks are all focused on managing growth and that significant investment opportunities may be available for thoughtful investors and managers.

2015-04-03 00:00:00 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Friday's release of the publicly available data from the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) puts its Weekly Leading Index (WLI) at 132.6, up slightly from 131.5 the previous week. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at -2.5, up from the previous week's -3.3 and off its interim low of -4.9 in mid-January.

2015-04-03 00:00:00 Is a Lost Decade for Performance Coming? by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Game plan the composition of your portfolio for the long term. There will be periods of generally good performance in the market (this will be most of the time) and the occasional declines (12-18 months is a normal duration) and a portfolio’s strategy and composition need to account for cycles and rotating performance leadership. No segment of the market can be the best for all times.

2015-04-03 00:00:00 Soft U.S. Employment Data: Not the End of a Trend by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The headline numbers of the March employment report are disappointing against the backdrop of consistently strong reports for past several months. But putting things in perspective suggests that we have not completely forfeited the positive momentum in America’s labor market.

2015-04-03 00:00:00 The Four Questions by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

So with a nod to that annual Passover ritual, we present the financial markets’ current “Four Questions.” That is, why is this market different from all other markets?

2015-04-03 00:00:00 Today's NFP Miss Means Little For Equities and The Economy by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

On it's own, today's weaker than expected NFP report is not necessarily a harbinger of bigger troubles ahead. The monthly NFP numbers are usually volatile. That we haven't seen any volatility in the past year perhaps made today's report surprising. The trend in employment is very strong; this is of far more importance than today’s miss.

2015-04-03 00:00:00 The Legend of Buybacks Outperforming The Market Has Outlived The Reality by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

There are two myths associated with stock buybacks. The first is that companies with large buybacks consistently outperform the market; they don't. The second is that buybacks are responsible for most of the market's earnings growth; also incorrect. It is true that buybacks are an important source of demand and that it has pushed the market indices higher. So it's noteworthy that the amount of money being spent on buybacks has been declining since the start of 2014.

2015-04-02 00:00:00 Henderson Strategic Income Fund (HFAIX) 1st Quarter 2015 Review by Jenna Barnard, CFA, Co-Head of Retail Fixed Income (Article)

Jenna Barnard, CFA, co-lead portfolio manager of the Henderson Strategic Income Fund (HFAIX) provides a 1st quarter 2015 update on the performance and positioning of the Fund. She notes that the Strategic Income Fund has seen strong relative performance on the back of an overweight to the European fixed income market in particular favored themes such as legacy banking bonds, investment grade insurance and the convergence of the European telecommunications sector. As of 2/28/15 the Fund held the following securities: Liberty Global 2.6% of NAV, Vodafone 0.0% of NAV.

2015-04-02 00:00:00 The Perfect Storm for Risk-Conscious Active Managers by (Article)

Principal and Portfolio Manager Steve Lipper discusses three specific conditions that have shaped the current small-cap market and how, after five years, these developments all showed signs of reversing in the latter part of 2014.

2015-04-02 00:00:00 1Q15 Market: Slow Start Leads to Solid Gains by Jack Fockler of The Royce Funds

A bearish January gave way to solid first-quarter gains. The small-cap Russell 2000 was the leader among the broad-based domestic indexes, up 4.3% versus gains of 1.6% and 1.0% for the large-cap Russell 1000 and S&P 500 indexes, respectively. The more tech-oriented Nasdaq Composite was also strong with a 3.5% first-quarter return.

2015-04-02 00:00:00 Market's March Madness by Burt White of LPL Financial

With the NCAA Final Four set, we share our own Final Four for stock market investing: economy, earnings, technicals, and valuations. With valuations above average and the economy slowing during first quarter of 2015, our championship game comes down to earnings and technicals. Based on our assessment of these four factors, we expect stock market investors will be “cutting down the nets” due to potential mid- to-high-single-digit stock market gains in 2015.

2015-04-02 00:00:00 The ECB's QE program: Don't judge a book... by Paul Grillo and Wen-Dar Chen of Delaware Investments

The European Central Bank’s (the ECB’s) historic quantitative easing (QE) program, which commenced operations on Monday, March 9, is a unique animal. Despite the temptation for onlookers to draw similarities, the program is not quite like the rounds of easing undertaken by other major central banks since the end of the global financial crisis.

2015-04-02 00:00:00 Optimism amid a global view of equities by Todd A. Bassion of Delaware Investments

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reported on Wednesday that it expects India’s economy to grow by 7.7% in 2015, making it the fastest-growing major economy in the world. This puts India in a position to possibly outpace China, where growth is slowing to the government’s official target of approximately 7%.

2015-04-02 00:00:00 How should we think about risk today in an investment world that has largely rewarded it? by Francis Gannon of The Royce Funds

The removal of "patience" from the Federal Reserve's vernacular might be as close as investors get to a more concrete timeframe for an increase in interest rates, at least for now.

2015-04-02 00:00:00 Convertibles Address Multiple Investor Needs by John P. Calamos, Sr. of Calamos Investments

I began investing in convertible securities during the 1970s, and since then, I’ve seen an exciting evolution of the asset class—from little-known securities to a global asset class totaling approximately $342 billion USD today, including issues from household-name companies worldwide. Clearly, what began as an “alternative investment” has become much more mainstream.

2015-04-02 00:00:00 The Bull Market Turns Six by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

We cautioned investors during the current bull market’s initial blast-off not to expect a repeat of the prior bull market’s leadership—namely, Emerging Market equities and commodity-oriented equity sectors. Excesses built up during a sustained leadership cycle (i.e., equity valuations, production capacity) require a long period to be surged, generally resulting in the former leaders “skipping” a market cycle from a relative performance perspective. That view has been on the mark…

2015-04-01 00:00:00 March Madness by Bill Gross of Janus Capital Group

If there ever was an economic concept that currently is not a layup, it would be what the future average level of Fed Funds will be. No one really knows and unlike the gimme layup that Coach K provided for me, there are no “gimmes” when it comes to scoring a Fed Funds basket.

2015-04-01 00:00:00 Will the UK Election Derail the Recovery? by Mike Amey of PIMCO

While the economic outlook for the UK is not without risk, most notably if there is an extended period of political paralysis, the UK recovery is much better shape than during the last general election in 2010 and should stay its course. We believe the benign inflationary backdrop will aid economic growth that saw GDP gains of 0.6% for the final quarter of 2014. In an environment of subdued underlying inflationary pressures and sterling appreciating relative to its major trading partners, the Bank of England can afford to wait to tighten monetary policy.

2015-04-01 00:00:00 Well, you know this is a bull market [in government bonds]! by Team of GaveKal Capital

Those familiar with "Reminiscences of a Stock Operator" will recall several scenes in which young traders are gathered at a brokerage house exchanging ideas and contemplating every tick on the tape as if marked some monumental episode for owners of the stock. Then one of the young traders would ask a quiet veteran trader, who was sitting in the corner paying little or no attention the topic de jure, what he thought of the recent price action of some issue, to which the veteran would reply, “Well, you know this is a bull market”.

2015-04-01 00:00:00 The Coming Chinese Crackup? by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

Prominent China scholar David Shambaugh has turned bearish on the Middle Kingdom, which offers us the chance to review our own thinking about China’s prospects. As head of the China Policy Program at The George Washington University, Shambaugh is a respected analyst of Chinese Communist Party affairs, so his WSJ op-ed, “The Coming Chinese Crackup,” has received much attention. This issue of Sinology explores how Shambaugh’s view now is an about face from his prior analyses, and why his current arguments may be flawed.

2015-04-01 00:00:00 Chuck Royce on 1Q15: Will Rising Rates Benefit Active Stock Pickers? by Chuck Royce of The Royce Funds

With a rise in interest rates on the horizon, and economic recovery firmly underway, CEO Chuck Royce believes the market may be on the cusp of rewarding disciplined and risk-conscious approaches.

2015-04-01 00:00:00 In the Know: Europe’s Capital Markets Union by Norm Boersma of Franklin Templeton Investments

Templeton Global Equity Group’s Norm Boersma discusses the European Commission’s newly unveiled proposals for Capital Markets Union.

2015-04-01 00:00:00 China to Take the Reins in Funding Regional Infrastructure Projects by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This Tuesday marked the last day that countries could submit their applications to become founding members of the new China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). As of this writing, a little over 40 nations have either already been approved or have applied for membership, including strong U.S. allies such as Britain, Germany and Australia.

2015-04-01 00:00:00 How Europe’s QE Could Be a Stimulus for U.S. based Investors by Heidi Richardson of BlackRock Investment Management

Heidi Richardson sees several catalysts that point to strong investment opportunities in Germany and the broader eurozone.

2015-04-01 00:00:00 Running to Stand Still: Wild Swings Taking Market Nowhere by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Stocks have gone 28 trading days without back-to-back gains; a very unique experience historically. Uncertainty abounds, associated with Fed policy, economic surprises on the weak side, and earnings which have dropped into negative territory. Investor sentiment is swinging more wildly than is normally the case.

2015-04-01 00:00:00 Euphoria and Reality in European Stocks by Michele Patri of AllianceBernstein

Euro-area stock markets have rebounded as the ECB has launched its QE program. In our view, investors should take a pragmatic approach that aims to capture the gains—but with eyes wide open to reality.

2015-04-01 00:00:00 Things That Go Bump in the Night by Dwaine Van Vuuren of RecessionALERT.com

The U.S economy appears unstoppable right now. Just about every leading and co-incident indicator you can think of is pointing to positive growth. Among the hundreds of indicators we follow for our models on a daily basis, we have discovered a few that are displaying worrying trends and flagging a future recession. It should be pointed out that a handful of indicators flagging recession should not mean we have to push the panic button. A large raft of indicators all concurring is what you should be looking for, and right now a large raft of indicators is confirming economic growth.

2015-04-01 00:00:00 That’s So Overrated: How Credit Ratings Do Damage by Jeff Skoglund of AllianceBernstein

Credit rating agencies are a capital-markets fixture; the ratings they assign to the debt of corporations and governments are widely used by investors as a standard measure of credit risk. But agency credit ratings aren’t perfect—and shouldn’t be a substitute for investors doing their own analysis.

2015-04-01 00:00:00 Small Korean Companies Punch Above Their Weight by Liliana Castillo Dearth of AllianceBernstein

South Korea’s cultural exports are spreading around the globe. While the country’s corporate landscape is dominated by huge conglomerates, we think small-cap companies stand to benefit most from the world’s growing fascination with all things Korean. It might be time for investors to take a closer look.

2015-04-01 00:00:00 For Canadian Pension Funds, It’s Time to Go Global by Erin Bigley of AllianceBernstein

Pension funds in Canada have long relied on a simple fixed-income strategy: buy Canadian. And for a long time, this worked wonders. But times are changing, and our research suggests that swapping a Canada-only approach for a more globalized portfolio will provide better risk-adjusted returns in the future.

2015-04-01 00:00:00 Recessionary Level in Credit Conditions by Alexander Giryavets of Dynamika Capital L.L.C.

The Credit Managers Index deteriorated significantly over the last two months and current readings stand at the recessionary levels not seen since 2008. There is a very serious financial stress in the amount of credit extended to the businesses and the amount of credit applications rejected. The speed of deterioration is shocking.

2015-04-01 00:00:00 Finding an Oasis in a Bond Liquidity Drought by Gershon Distenfeld of AllianceBernstein

Let’s not mince words: Liquidity is draining out of global corporate bond markets, and we doubt it’s coming back. But that doesn’t mean investors have to take their chips and go home. In fact, with the right approach, less liquid markets can offer some attractive opportunities.

2015-04-01 00:00:00 Geopolitical Risk — The Fear and Reality for Financial Markets by Colin Moore of Columbia Management

Given the threat of geopolitical risk, it is reasonable to question why global financial markets remain so buoyant. The answer may partly be the constant nature of geopolitical risk. Consider the French proverb “plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose” (the more things change, the more they stay the same).

2015-04-01 00:00:00 Why Fed Patience on Rate Hikes Is Likely to Continue by John P. Calamos, Sr. and Gary Black of Calamos Investments

John and Gary discuss how lackluster economic data and low inflation could influence the Fed’s timetable for raising short-term interest rates.

2015-03-31 00:00:00 The Final Say on Spending Rules by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)

After decades of focused research, why can't finance experts decide on a safe withdrawal rate for retirement? It is time to refocus this debate by asking a slightly different question: Is there a spending rule that retirees can use over a fixed time horizon? There is and I call it "the only spending rule you will ever need."

2015-03-31 00:00:00 The Not-So-Hidden Risks in REITs by Keith Jurow (Article)

With most investors confident that equity REITs are a sure bet to continue their upward momentum, now is an excellent time to carefully examine whether this ebullience is justified. Let's see what the conditions in the real-estate market mean for valuations in several of the largest REITs, as well as two of the ETFs that hold them - IYR and VNQ.

2015-03-31 00:00:00 Why 2015 Will Be the Year of the Roth: Meet the “Freight Entrance” Roth 401(k) Conversion by John H. Robinson (Article)

Two new tax rules will affect the treatment of 401(k) monies. Taken individually, the rules were not particularly far-reaching or noteworthy, but together they will reshape the retirement-planning landscape. Roth IRA conversions that previously trickled through the cumbersome "backdoor" will be supplanted by a new wave moving through the "freight entrance."

2015-03-31 00:00:00 Two Routes to Compelling Value by Dan Richards (Article)

Low-cost alternatives for financial advice and investing are forcing advisors to articulate why clients should pay a premium to do business with them. This week's article features two different approaches that could help you communicate your value to prospective and existing clients.

2015-03-31 00:00:00 How Advisors Can Learn Empathy from Doctors by Daniel Solin (Article)

According to a recent article, the mindset of doctors is changing. Empathy skills are no longer dismissed as a "good bedside manner." Indeed, advisors can improve their own empathetic skills by looking at advances in medical training.

2015-03-31 00:00:00 Are You Building a Harley Davidson Practice? by Teresa Riccobuono (Article)

Harley Davidson is the only company I know of whose customers permanently tattoo its name on their body. What is it that makes Harley Davidson customers want to show their support in this way? Bad-boy image, reputation, quality products, exceptional service?

2015-03-31 00:00:00 Helping Younger Advisors Excel by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

What's the best way to integrate a new, young advisor into our practice? We are too small to have a formal training program and I don't have time to sit with someone and provide step-by-step instruction.

2015-03-31 00:00:00 5 Charts: The Troublesome Trajectory of Student Loans by Jennifer Thomas of Loomis Sayles

Although many seem focused on the dangers posed by the recent growth of subprime auto loans, we believe a major looming threat to consumers is coming from student loans. The increasing level of student debt on the millennial generation raises concerns about its sustainability and the impact it may have on known consumer behavior patterns.

2015-03-31 00:00:00 Convertibles Address Multiple Investor Needs by John Calamos, Sr of Calamos Investments

I began investing in convertible securities during the 1970s, and since then, I’ve seen an exciting evolution of the asset class—from little-known securities to a global asset class totaling approximately $342 billion USD today, including issues from household-name companies worldwide. Clearly, what began as an “alternative investment” has become much more mainstream.

2015-03-31 00:00:00 Duration: To Hedge or Not to Hedge? by Jeroen van Bezooijen, Berdibek Ahmedov of PIMCO

Because duration tends to be an important component of the return profile in a bond portfolio, adjusting exposure rather than hedging it away may make sense for many investors. Low duration strategies may provide a level of interest-rate duration that provides a better trade-off between a full market beta (with interest-rate duration) and a fully duration-hedged beta.

2015-03-31 00:00:00 U.S. Isolated in Opposition to Chinese Bank by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Over the past few decades while the economic power of the Chinese has grown exponentially, many observers have been surprised by the relative willingness of China to operate within the financial and economic framework established by the dominant Western order. But it should now be blatantly clear that Beijing prefers to act slowly, deliberately and quietly to advance its agenda.

2015-03-31 00:00:00 Beware Momentum Stocks in Sheep’s Clothing by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Global Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses the risks in the so-called momentum stocks—as well as some that have been acting that way.

2015-03-31 00:00:00 Should Liquid Alts Be Part of the Core Allocation? by Michael Winchell of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

Many advisors may view alternative investments as diversifiers in portfolios: satellite investments added to a portfolio of stocks and bonds in an attempt to “hedge,” or counterbalance a specific risk the advisor believes is not completely addressed by the stock/bond core. For example, real assets such as gold and real estate are alternatives that may be added to portfolios for inflation protection because advisors expect real assets to rise in value with any overall increase in wages and prices.

2015-03-31 00:00:00 Exploring Four Myths by Byron Wien of Blackstone

In talking with investors, I find four concepts prevail among the consensus that I believe may be wrong. In the interest of full disclosure, it is fair to say that at various points in time I have subscribed to each of these ideas. They are: 1. American Exceptionalism is a thing of the past. 2. The price of oil is likely to stay low for a long time. 3. Europe’s economy is in a slow growth deflationary trap. 4. Abenomics is not working, and Japan is in danger of falling back into a recession. I decided to explore each of these

2015-03-31 00:00:00 On My Radar: Going Forward with Great Purpose! by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

The Fed tried to talk down the dollar last Wednesday. Essentially firing a warning shot (downgrading estimates for growth, inflation and short-term interest rates). The ultra-low rates in Germany and Japan vs. the U.S. favor the dollar. Anything that points to the Fed raising rates enhances the attractiveness of U.S. bonds and attracts further capital flows.

2015-03-31 00:00:00 Rate Hikes Won't Kill Housing by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Home building plummeted in February, which made perfect sense; this February was the coldest for the most Americans since 1979. What no one expected was that new home sales would soar. Bad winter weather usually doesn’t hurt new home sales as much as it hurts housing starts, but it typically has an impact. This time, though, new homes sales spiked 7.8%, hitting the highest level in seven years.

2015-03-31 00:00:00 Corporate Bonds Offer Opportunities in the Slowing Economy by Tracy Chin and Aaditya Thakur of PIMCO

Lack of corporate leveraging and investment among Australian companies may provide a macro headwind to economic growth and, hence, future prospects for equity investors, but from a creditor's perspective, this should keep credit metrics relatively healthy. PIMCO's bottom-up analysis has helped identify several opportunities, even within the resources sector, where strong balance sheets, competitive industry positions and sound management build a compelling case for credit investors despite the challenging period ahead.

2015-03-31 00:00:00 Fit & Focused by Mark R. Kiesel of PIMCO

Many powerful forces are driving markets and asset prices; chief among them are global monetary policy, technicals and fundamentals. We use rigorous top-down and bottom-up analysis to identify the best sectors and companies around the world. We see opportunities in the U.S. (cyclical consumer and housing sectors), Europe (equities, bank capital securities, high yield bonds and corporate hybrids), China (property, technology and Macau) and Japan (cyclical industries, exporters and financials).

2015-03-31 00:00:00 The New World Order: Part III by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In the third installment of our series, we examine how policymakers coped with the superpower role. We examine how policymakers attempted to resolve the tensions created between the desires of domestic constituencies and foreign superpower obligations. We offer a history of how the U.S. managed these differences, with an analysis of Roosevelt’s political configuration and how the Reagan Revolution adjusted to the failures of the first program, detailing these periods with charts. We explain the capability and willingness of the U.S. to continue providing the global public goods to the world.

2015-03-31 00:00:00 Common Stocks: A Garden of Wealth Creation by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

We think the reason most investors do not gain the benefit of common stock ownership stems from the blight which comes along about once every five years on average in the stock market. We call this blight a bear market and it usually consists of a decline of greater than 20% in price from the prior stock market peak. There have been nine declines of that magnitude since 1950 in the S&P 500 Index. Three of those declines exceeded 40% and two of them were in the last 15 years.

2015-03-31 00:00:00 Signs of Life in the Eurozone by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

The latest economic data from the eurozone suggest that recovery may finally be at hand. But a more robust and sustained upturn in job creation and income growth still faces a broad array of daunting challenges.

2015-03-30 00:00:00 Dividend Value Investing: No Time for Suspension of Disbelief, Part 2 by Meggan Walsh of Invesco Blog

While investors may be riveted by Hollywood’s surprise endings and cliffhangers, they generally aren’t fond of unexpected plot twists in the market. So here’s a spoiler alert. The operating results of companies in the current cycle have been quite strong, and many investors expect this to continue. But we’ve seen enough plot twists over time to know this can be a risky assumption.

2015-03-30 00:00:00 Last Chance for Ukraine and Europe by George Soros of Project Syndicate

Ukraine has reached a critical point in its survival struggle; but so, too, has the European Union. And the line beyond which all possible scenarios worsen – for Ukraine and the EU alike – may be just days or weeks away.

2015-03-30 00:00:00 Eating Our Seed Corn: The Causes of U.S. Economic Stagnation, and the Way Forward by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The U.S. has become a nation preoccupied with eating its seed corn; placing consumption over investment, outsourcing its jobs, hollowing out its middle class, and accumulating increasing debt burdens to do so. What our nation needs most is to adopt fiscal policies that direct those seeds to productive soil, and to reject increasingly arbitrary monetary policies that encourage the nation to focus on what is paper instead of what is real.

2015-03-30 00:00:00 Further Equity Gains Await Earnings Recovery by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Downward pressure on U.S. equities returned last week, with the S&P 500 Index falling 2.2%. This marked the second-largest weekly downturn of the year and the fourth negative week in the last five. Some of the decline can be attributed to fading positive sentiment that came in the wake of the recent Federal Reserve meeting. Ongoing negative earnings forecasts have taken their toll as well. All market sectors were in negative territory last week, with financials, technology and industrials losing the most ground and consumer staples and energy holding up the best.

2015-03-30 00:00:00 Federal Funds Rate Expectations: It’s October 2014 All Over Again by Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

After a series of stops and starts, comments from a variety of Fed speakers and a slight pickup in some U.S. economic data, the Fed took the opportunity to deliver a dovish surprise at its March 18 policy meeting.

2015-03-30 00:00:00 China’s New Normal and America’s Old Habits by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

China is generating a lot of confusion nowadays, both at home, where officials now tout the economy’s “new normal” but are unclear about what it is, and abroad, where the US is embracing “containment” of China’s rise. On both counts, the disconnects are striking, adding a new dimension of risk to a fragile world.

2015-03-30 00:00:00 Should Liquid Alts Be Part of the Core Allocation? by Michael Winchell of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

Many advisors may view alternative investments as diversifiers in portfolios: satellite investments added to a portfolio of stocks and bonds in an attempt to “hedge,” or counterbalance a specific risk the advisor believes is not completely addressed by the stock/bond core. For example, real assets such as gold and real estate are alternatives that may be added to portfolios for inflation protection because advisors expect real assets to rise in value with any overall increase in wages and prices.

2015-03-30 00:00:00 Equity Option CEFs by (Article)

If you’re looking for a fixed income alternative, you may want to consider equity option CEFs, also known as covered call funds, says Gregory Mino of Nuveen Investments.

2015-03-30 00:00:00 International Equity CEFs by (Article)

International equity closed-end funds may provide access to “best in class” companies in local markets, says Jonathan Morgan of Canadian General Investments.

2015-03-30 00:00:00 EM Sector Featuring Ryan Paylor by (Article)

Ryan Paylor of Thomas J. Herzfeld Advisors shares a CEF market view, commenting on discounts, interest rates and sectors.

2015-03-29 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Time for an Economic Spring Thaw? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

In the absence of real data it is easy and tempting to speculate. Unlike last week, the week ahead features an avalanche of data – more in both quantity and importance than we have seen in a month. With some recent significant reports showing economic improvement we expect a change of focus.

2015-03-29 00:00:00 US Equity Market Review For the Week of March 23-27; Hey, We're Still Consolidating, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

Writing about market consolidation is very difficult. There are no strong rallies, massive volume spikes or huge losses to get the reader excited. Instead, the entire analysis focuses on prices pin-balling between two trend lines, usually on decreasing volume and weakening technical indicators. So if you’re looking for an article the grabs your attention by telling a story of an incredibly strong surge in bullish price action, move elsewhere. Because this week we again have a market that is consolidating.

2015-03-29 00:00:00 The Fat Pitch Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

The largely trend-less environment of the past four months continues. Despite the fall this week, US equities are not oversold and sentiment is still heady. This suggests that a rally early in the week would likely fail. While April is one of the best months of the year, the first half of the month has been weak. If this pattern continues this year, there would likely be a more attractive entry point mid-month.

2015-03-29 00:00:00 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Friday's release of the publicly available data from the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) puts its Weekly Leading Index (WLI) at 131.6, up slightly from 131.2 the previous week. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at -3.2, up from the previous week's -3.6 and off its interim low of -4.9 in mid-January.

2015-03-28 00:00:00 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.

2015-03-28 00:00:00 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.

2015-03-27 00:00:00 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.

2015-03-27 00:00:00 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.

2015-03-27 00:00:00 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.

2015-03-27 00:00:00 Enjoying the Shade by Patricia Huang and The Matthews Asia Investment Team of Matthews Asia

As commentator Cherian George has said: “The legacy passed down to today’s Singaporeans isn’t one of random opportunism…There is nothing accidental about it.” Singapore’s first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, took charge of the city-state, transformed and drove it forward in the span of just a few decades. This week Matthews Asia pays tribute to this “giant of history.”

2015-03-27 00:00:00 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?

2015-03-27 00:00:00 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.

2015-03-27 00:00:00 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.

2015-03-27 00:00:00 Global Asset Allocation Shifts by Alexander Giryavets of Dynamika Capital L.L.C.

A couple of days ago BIS (Bank of International Settlements) released a seminal research piece “Global Asset Allocation Shifts” in which authors explain that weekly institutional and retail portfolio reallocations (not just fund flows) of U.S. investors are 90% driven by two factors easily identified as Yen (Risk On/Off) and Dollar factors hence reaffirming our Global Macro Framework. They also explore systematic predictability of these factors in great details.

2015-03-27 00:00:00 A Deeper Look at Smart Beta in Fixed Income by Sara Shores of BlackRock

While most tend to think of smart beta as a tool for stock portfolios, there are ways to apply it to bonds. Sara Shores shares a smart beta approach to balancing interest rate and credit risk.

2015-03-27 00:00:00 Japanese 10-Year Rates Double in 2015, Rise Above German Bunds by Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

Since reaching historic lows in mid-January, Japanese government bond (JGB)yields have doubled over the last several weeks. In the process, they have eclipsed German 10-year bund yields for the first time in over 20 years.

2015-03-27 00:00:00 A Tale of Two Economies: Singapore and Cuba by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

It would be nearly impossible to find two world leaders in living memory whose influence is more inextricably linked to the countries they presided over than Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew, who passed away this Monday at the age of 91.

2015-03-27 00:00:00 REITs in a Rising Interest-Rate Environment by Wilson Magee of Franklin Templeton Investments

Wilson Magee, director of global real estate and infrastructure securities, Franklin Real Asset Advisors®, believes this environment is causing many investors to search for alternative investments that can add an income-oriented asset to their portfolio as well as gain exposure to global economic growth potential. He outlines why he thinks it’s an opportune time for many investors to consider diversifying into global real estate through an actively managed investment vehicle.

2015-03-27 00:00:00 Growth Expectations Are No Longer Cratering For Energy Stocks by Team of GaveKal Capital

Sales and earning growth expectations for energy stocks are still pretty awful for the next fiscal year (FY1). Sales are expected to drop by 17% and earnings by a whopping -29%. However, earnings are expected to make a V-shaped rebound. Analysts expect sales to grow by an average of 12.3% per year over the next three years (FY2-FY4). The rebound in earnings is expected to be even stronger. Earnings are expected to grow by an average of 32.5% per year over the following three years (FY2-FY4). These expectations are setting a high bar for the energy sector for 2016-2018.

2015-03-27 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

After Slow Start, the U.S. Should Regain Steam; Greece: The Debt Elephant in the Room; How Can Governments Keep Borrowing Under Control?

2015-03-27 00:00:00 The Monetary Illusion by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The long-term consequences of global QE are likely to permanently impair living standards for generations to come while creating a false illusion of reviving prosperity.

2015-03-27 00:00:00 Will a Spring Thaw Lead to a Stock Surge? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

US economic data has been soft, repeating a trend we’ve seen in recent first quarters. But we believe growth will again bounce back as some of the temporary weights drop off. US stocks should continue to grind generally higher—but with heightened volatility—aided by better data and a still-dovish Federal Reserve. But investors shouldn’t ignore international opportunities. Global growth generally appears to be improving and foreign central banks are largely easing monetary policy, potentially benefiting risk assets.

2015-03-27 00:00:00 Deglobalization Redraws the Investment Map by Hayden Briscoe and Vincent Tsui of AllianceBernstein

Divergence between economies and financial markets has been a key macroeconomic trend over the last few years, and reflects in part the deglobalization of the worldwide supply chain. We expect the big winners to be countries and regions with large internal markets; the losers will be smaller countries which have yet to move up the export value chain.

2015-03-27 00:00:00 In US Small-Caps, Quality Is on Sale by James MacGregor of AllianceBernstein

Investors who wanted safety and certainty last year mostly shunned smaller-cap US stocks. As a result, many high-quality names are now on sale. With US growth likely to accelerate in 2015, we think these domestically oriented smaller-cap companies may turn out to be a real bargain.

2015-03-26 00:00:00 OFR: Assessing The Risk Of Overvalued Markets by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

A Review Of The Office Of Financial Research report on valuation risks and consequences.

2015-03-26 00:00:00 The Relationship of Suds and Bubbles by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

The proliferation of news, information, opinion and fact (which all come across in the same way) has had an overwhelming effect on the common investor and the instructional as well. Attempting to delineate the crowded trade from the minority viewpoint is a far greater task currently. Though this increased dissemination of information is beyond the recognition of the investor’s psyche, it does have a more pronounced positive impact.

2015-03-26 00:00:00 Investment Times Are A Changin’: New Landscape and New Approaches by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

Significant changes over the past 30-40 years make it very likely the next 30-40 will be very different than the last. Investors who are able to discard old assumptions and adapt to the new environment will be best suited to succeed and those who can’t or won’t will struggle. One thing that will have to change is that investors will need better access to high level investment expertise.

2015-03-26 00:00:00 Global Economic Overview: February 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

The global economic outlook improved in February, helped by encouraging data from some of the largest countries as well as supportive monetary policy measures. Monthly job additions in the U.S. exceeded expectations in February, continuing the robust trend from last year. Though wages are yet to see meaningful growth, the strengthening labor market should help the U.S. economy sustain the current pace of expansion.

2015-03-26 00:00:00 Dove or Ivory? A Case Study on Currency Impacts by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

Given the divergence of central bank policies, currencies are among the most important investment topics today. If the U.S. dollar continues to strengthen, it may be a headwind to U.S. multinationals earning revenue abroad, while boosting foreign companies that are earning revenue in the United States.

2015-03-26 00:00:00 Latin America Is Blowing Up Your EM ETF Performance by Team of GaveKal Capital

On an equal-weighted, USD basis, the MSCI Emerging Markets Index is up just 0.99% YTD compared to MSCI World Index which is up 5.65%. So is this just a simple continuation of the trend of emerging market underperformance that has been in place over the last 4 years ? Yes, but with a caveat.

2015-03-26 00:00:00 The Labor Market Conundrum: The Cyclical and the Secular by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Low workforce participation and slow wage growth are structural issues that the strengthening U.S. labor market must overcome in the long run.

2015-03-26 00:00:00 Why This Airline Just Landed in the S&P 500 Index by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

For the first time in its 84-year history, American Airlines was cleared for landing in the S&P 500 Index.

2015-03-26 00:00:00 Breaking Up is Hard to Do by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

The high-yield energy sector has kept pace with the broader high-yield bond market in 2015 even as oil prices weakened, a notable difference from 2014. Although we don’t believe the high-yield bond market will return to the June 2014 peak, the current yield spread may still represent good value given still strong corporate fundamentals and low defaults.

2015-03-26 00:00:00 Data Dependence, Broadly Defined - Implications of Last Week’s Fed Meeting by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

At last week’s meeting, the FOMC made a widely-anticipated but nonetheless important change to the statement, dropping a commitment to be “patient” and thereby creating the option to hike rates at any meeting after April. In the end, this proved to be a sideshow to the more interesting changes in the Fed’s Summary of Economic Projections (SEP)—the forecasts officials’ provide at every other FOMC meeting.

2015-03-26 00:00:00 Rates and Bonds by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

So at long last we know whether the word “patient” stays or goes: it’s gone and Treasury yields have actually declined as a result. So far this year we have seen rates go from a 2015 low of 1.19% on the 5-year and 1.68% on the 10-year on February 2nd, and then spike a month later at 1.70% and 2.24%, respectively, on March 6th. So an over 50bps move in a month all over the worry about the word “patient” and whether rates will rise as early as June. Only for rates to fall after the statement was released and the key word removed.

2015-03-25 00:00:00 The Dollar Isn't the Peso Anymore (Part II) by Richard Bernstein of Eaton Vance

In May 2013, Richard wrote a report titled “The Dollar isn’t the Peso anymore.” He rebutted the argument that the U.S. dollar (USD) was weak. The data showed that the USD had actually troughed in the spring of 2008. For seven years now, the USD has been gaining strength and is today a standout among the world’s currencies.

2015-03-25 00:00:00 US Economy Badly Disappoints Analysts' Expectations by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today we will talk about an economic indicator that I have not written about before, which is compiled and reported monthly by CitiGroup, the American multinational banking and financial services corporation headquartered in Manhattan.

2015-03-25 00:00:00 Five Reasons Why Interest Rates Will Stay Low by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Last week we focused on investors’ waiting game with the Federal Reserve. Would their policy statement following last Wednesday’s meeting, like last month’s Groundhog Day sighting, suggest more weeks of winter in the form of rising interest rates?

2015-03-25 00:00:00 Silver and Gold: I Really Want to Look Up by Avi Gilburt of ElliottWaveTrader.net

For the last several weeks, I have provided you, and, sometimes even entertained you, with my perspective of a very evil pattern to play out in the metals. Such a pattern was supposed to test the 2014’s lows (and potentially even break them), and then rally to the 2015 highs to set up the final decline to the lower lows to end the 3+ year correction in silver.

2015-03-25 00:00:00 Can ECB Policy Heal Europe’s Ills? by Mike Amey, Andrew Bosomworth, Lorenzo Pagani of PIMCO

In this interview, Managing Directors Mike Amey, Andrew Bosomworth and Lorenzo Pagani discuss the conclusions from PIMCO’s quarterly Cyclical Forum in March 2015 and how they influence our European investment strategy. They also delve into the impact of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) balance sheet expansion on growth and inflation and reflect on Europe’s improving economic health.

2015-03-25 00:00:00 The Dollar's Ripple Effect by Burt White of LPL Financial

In technical analysis, “intermarket analysis” looks at the way in which various markets interact. Intermarket analysis primarily looks at four market sectors: currencies, commodities, bonds, and stocks. From a technical analyst’s perspective, focusing our attention on only one market without considering what’s happening in the others leaves us in danger of missing vital directional clues and potential profits. The dollar, which has appreciated 24.4% since June 30, 2014 (as of March 19, 2015), has had an unusually strong intermarket effect of late.

2015-03-25 00:00:00 Active vs. Passive Redux by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Most of you know I spend my days gathering “thin reeds” and try to weave them into a favorable “investment bouquet.” As Yogi Berra said, “You can observe a lot by just watchin’!”

2015-03-25 00:00:00 Fed Policy Outlook - in *Retrograde? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The question of whether the Fed would abandon the “patient” language should have not been an issue, but the financial press always tries to generate some level of tension. However, while the Federal Open Market Committee appeared to move closer to tightening monetary policy, it indirectly signaled that it would likely be much less aggressive.

2015-03-25 00:00:00 Signs of a Normalizing Market by Chris Clark of The Royce Funds

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the Fed's monetary stimulus programs had the unintended effect of suspending the historically typical functioning of capital markets in terms of the productive and destructive uses of capital. Today, the fiscal climate is beginning to change. President and Co-Chief Investment Officer Chris Clark takes a look at what's happening in the current market and talks about why our discipline could be rewarded in the foreseeable future.

2015-03-24 00:00:00 An In-Depth Look at Fidelity's Contrafund by Larry Swedroe (Article)

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?

2015-03-24 00:00:00 How do Deferred-Income Annuities Stack Up Against Rival Products? by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

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.

2015-03-24 00:00:00 Krugman at His Worst by Robert Huebscher (Article)

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.

2015-03-24 00:00:00 Two Approaches to Landing New Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

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

2015-03-24 00:00:00 Negative News and Bad Decisions by Daniel Solin (Article)

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.

2015-03-24 00:00:00 Words Every Client Likes to Hear by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

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?

2015-03-24 00:00:00 The Economic Outlook by George Mokrzan of Huntington National Bank

The United States forecast is for solid average annual economic growth of 3.1% in 2015 -- fastest in the economic recovery to date overall, although areas of the economy with high energy or international exposure will likely encounter headwinds. Strengthening employment conditions, continual improvements in consumer finances and steadily rising housing markets are likely to reestablish the consumer’s lead role in the U.S. economy in 2015.

2015-03-24 00:00:00 A New Playbook for Diversification by Chris Arthur of Eaton Vance

Is an active/passive/smart beta strategy the future of diversification? Chris Arthur, CFA, sees a growing need for a new approach and explains how this one works.

2015-03-24 00:00:00 March Economic Update by Kevin Moloney of Bronfman E.L. Rothschild

With the unemployment rate dropping to 5.5% in early March, the economy has reached the upper limits of the Federal Reserve’s estimate of long-run normal unemployment (5.2% - 5.5%). GDP growth remains stable, with a current estimate of 2.2% growth for the fourth quarter of 2014. The housing market recovery continues at a slow-but-steady pace, with prices rising twice as much as inflation during 2014 (+4.5%) according to the 20 city Case-Shiller Index. The most uncertain aspect of the economic recovery in the U.S. remains the consumer.

2015-03-24 00:00:00 The Active Passive Debate Evolves by Necessity by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Daily Alts took a stab at the topic of evolving asset allocation and the blurring of the line between active and passive citing work/theory done by Eaton Vance. As a starting point, and something we’ve been talking about here for several years, the basic 60/40 may be losing some of its effectiveness especially on the 40 side, the fixed income portion, because interest rates are so low and as we learned from the most recent Fed statement may stay lower for longer. The article also considered a blurring of the line between active and passive management.

2015-03-24 00:00:00 Don't Fret Student Debt by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

For the past six years, investors have faced one fear after another. One of those fears has been the more than $1 trillion of student loan debt outstanding. This debt is up 160% since the start of 2006 (and growing) while the share of student loans with payments 90 days late, or longer, has risen from 6.4% to 11.3%.

2015-03-24 00:00:00 US Equity Market Review For the Week of March 16-20: Small and Mid-Caps Outperform, Edition by Hale Stewart of XE Currency Blog

Last week, both the small and mid-cap ETFs broke through upside resistance and printed new highs. The IWCs were up 2.5% for the week, closing at 80.49 while the IJHs rose 4.5% and closed at 153.69. This continues a trend that started in early October where the small and mid-cap sectors outperformed the mega-cap stocks.

2015-03-24 00:00:00 A Relatively Dovish Fed Statement Helps Equities Recover Ground by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Last week featured some disappointing economic data and further downward revisions of corporate earnings estimates, but investors focused heavily on last week’s Federal Reserve policy meeting. The Fed’s statement was more dovish than expected, and investors interpreted the comments as an indication that rate increases would not happen as soon as some anticipated.

2015-03-24 00:00:00 The New World Order: Part II by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In the second installment of our four-part series we focus on two themes. First, we examine the global public goods the superpower provides, and second, we analyze how the U.S. has done so. The global hegemon often faces tensions between the desires of domestic constituencies and its foreign obligations. Every superpower negotiates these pressures and each tends to have its own ways of meeting both objectives. However, no superpower can subjugate the goals and aspirations of its citizens indefinitely. If the cost of hegemony becomes too high, a nation may be unable to maintain the position.

2015-03-24 00:00:00 U.S. Trade: Shortchanged by a Strong Dollar? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Worries that the elevated value of the greenback will crimp U.S. exports—and hurt corporate profits—are overstated.

2015-03-24 00:00:00 Cash Dividends are Key by Richard Skaggs of Loomis Sayles

The income potential of equities is positive right now – especially in this low interest rate and low inflation environment. The S&P 500 currently boasts a yield of around 2.0% and (assuming no recession) dividends should continue to grow.

2015-03-24 00:00:00 Give'em the Old Razzle Dazzle by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Janet Yellen channels Billy Flynn? Last week the Fed Chairwoman treated us to a master class of rhetorical misdirection which produced some memorable examples of doublespeak, including the soon to be classic "Just because we removed the word 'patient' does not mean we're going to be 'impatient."' But perhaps more surprising than her new heights of verbal dexterity was the market's euphoria at being so blatantly manipulated. Never has the financial world enjoyed a lie so thoroughly.

2015-03-23 00:00:00 Monetary Policy and the Economy: The Case for Rules Versus Discretion by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Deviations in monetary policy from what one would have predicted (using past non-monetary variables alone) have zero correlation or ability to explain subsequent GDP growth (versus the levels that would have been predicted by past non-monetary variables alone). In other words, once we allow for the component of monetary policy captured by a fixed linear rule (the Taylor Rule comes close – and currently indicates an appropriate Fed funds rate of about 3% here), one can find no evidence in the historical record that additional activist monetary policy is useful.

2015-03-23 00:00:00 Dividend Value Investing: No Time for Suspension of Disbelief by Meggan Walsh of Invesco Blog

When Hollywood tells a story, the expectation is that viewers are willing to suspend disbelief to fully immerse themselves in the plot. But when the market tells a story, suspending disbelief may result in overly complacent investors who blithely ignore the potential downside risk of a profit cycle in its later stages, which we see today through the lens of our full-cycle perspective.

2015-03-23 00:00:00 Building a High-Conviction Portfolio of Superior Businesses by (Article)

Portfolio Manager Lauren Romeo talks about how many holdings that populate this Royce portfolio are companies we have seen persevere through various economic cycles, changing industry conditions, and company-specific challenges.

2015-03-23 00:00:00 Special Equity Fund: Looking Back at 2014 and Ahead to 2015 by (Article)

Portfolio Manager Charlie Dreifus discusses the current state of Royce Special Equity Fund's portfolio and what he believes could be a potential tailwind for some of his holdings as the year develops.

2015-03-23 00:00:00 A Body at Rest by Brian Andrew of Cleary Gull

As the temperature rises above 50 for the first time in several months, I am reminded of this Newtonian law that a body at rest will stay at rest unless an outside force acts on it. Perhaps the warm-up in weather is the “outside force” we all need to get moving again. I believe that the current market environment is similar to my body coming out of winter.

2015-03-23 00:00:00 Central Bank Policies And Market Distortions by Sebastiao Buck Tocalino of SBTCapital Clube de Investimento

Recurrent countercyclical monetary policies have given way to several distortions in the economy. It is believed that printed dollars have inflated both stocks and bonds in the US, but that is a misunderstanding! Still attractive, US Treasury Bonds may provide the basis for a sustained appreciation of the US dollar against foreign currencies. Once more, the widely anticipated interest rate hike by the FOMC may get postponed… further into oblivion!

2015-03-23 00:00:00 How Should Advisors Evaluate Alternative Strategies? by Michael Winchell of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

Because modern portfolio theory emphasizes the value of holding instruments having low cross-correlations, we’ve heard many advisors describe the search for alternative investments as a search for assets with low correlations to either equities or bonds. This leads advisors too often to consider nontraditional assets over alternative strategies. We believe that perspective is too narrow and misses the larger point. It is our opinion that clients primarily desire reasonable returns with low volatility, and that there are many ways to achieve that goal.

2015-03-23 00:00:00 Tracking the Market with Social Media by Blair Jensen of Trade Followers

The Trade Followers 7 Day momentum indicator for the S&P 500 index (SPX) has confirmed the new uptrend and is indicating that it will most likely have staying power. One kink in the works is that momentum is overbought. This indicates that the market will need to digest recent gains before it can break to all time highs.

2015-03-23 00:00:00 On My Radar: Investors Behaving Badly by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

There were several charts that caught my eye this week. The first is a chart that tells us the likely annual return for the S&P 500 Index will average just 2.25% over the next ten years. Many valuation measurements support a period of probable low future returns, but this particular data is different – it looks at the percentage of household equity ownership.

2015-03-23 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: The Quest for New Worries by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

In my last WTWA (two weeks ago, since I am allegedly on vacation. I resumed work on Fed day to watch and to meet with readers and potential investors near New Orleans. Next week I’ll be back on my normal). I asked whether good news was now bad for investors. The continuing Fed focus was once again a successful theme, despite the increasing irrelevance of Fed policy.

2015-03-23 00:00:00 Time to Ratchet Up Risk Management? Volatility is Back in Vogue by Patty Quinn McAuley of Clark Capital Management Group

Considering the full spectrum of risk management tools available when building asset allocations can help ensure that clients make the right decisions about their money regardless of market conditions. A personalized risk management approach will adjust and adapt to the changing markets based upon the desired outcome or goal of the client.

2015-03-23 00:00:00 Euro: Parity Like It’s 1999 by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Europe stands to benefit as the euro nears parity with the U.S. dollar; the Fed knows the U.S. economy faces a winter soft patch; the outlook for equities and fixed income remains fundamentally strong.

2015-03-21 00:00:00 The Fed -- Drunken Coxswain of the SS America by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

What if the Fed’s luck should change for the worse without its “smarts” changing for better? Well, that question now is relevant. After rebounding to a rate approximately equal to its long-run median, growth in total thin-air credit sharply decelerated in February, both on a year-over-year basis as well as a three-month basis.

2015-03-21 00:00:00 It’s Good to Be Better by Richard Davies of AllianceBernstein

What’s the real point of having a defined contribution (DC) plan in the first place? That’s the big question US plan sponsors needs to ask themselves. If the answer is helping employees achieve better retirement outcomes, then the DC plan can’t just be good: it’s got to be better.

2015-03-21 00:00:00 Beating the Emerging Benchmark Blues by Morgan Harting of AllianceBernstein

It’s been another tough start to the year for emerging-market equities, amid growing concern about political risk and economic growth. But we believe the seeds have been sown for a recovery that can best be captured through a selective investing approach to avoid the risks of a benchmark.

2015-03-21 00:00:00 Five Reasons to Hold High Yield in 2015 by K. Sean Clark of Clark Capital Management Group

We believe that the high yield market may reward investors who adopt a tactical approach. Here are five reasons we anticipate a reemergence of opportunities in the high yield space in 2015.

2015-03-21 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

What Is Full Employment, and Are We There Yet?; Negative Interest Rates Are Spreading Across Europe; The Return of the U.S. Debt Ceiling

2015-03-21 00:00:00 Stuck in Neutral by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

We see emphasis on “neutrality” in outlook in several of the indicators we follow at Sungarden, including our Sungarden® Stock Scoring System. From a fundamental and technical standpoint, we see fewer screaming long-term buys than we have in some time, yet we also don’t see too many situations that signal pending disaster.

2015-03-21 00:00:00 What the Federal Reserve and the Fear Trade Do for Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Following the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting yesterday, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen made it clear (again) that interest rates would not be raised until inflation gains more steam. With current inflation rates negative for the first time since 2009, and with the U.S. dollar index at an 11-year high, we can probably expect near-record-low interest rates for some time longer.

2015-03-21 00:00:00 Optimism, Pessimism and Opportunity by Ed Perks of Franklin Templeton

Given that the S&P 500 has been on a tear since 2008, logging double-digit returns in five of the past six years, and US Treasury rates remain near historical low levels, many investors are questioning their prospects for long-term total return. Ed Perks, chief investment officer and portfolio manager, Franklin Equity Group®, offers his views on why he remains optimistic about the US market’s prospects, and where he’s looking for investment opportunities today.

2015-03-21 00:00:00 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Today's new release of the publicly available data from the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) puts its Weekly Leading Index (WLI) at 131.1, down slightly from 131.6 the previous week. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at -3.7, up from the previous week's -4.0 and off its interim low of -5.0 in mid-January.

2015-03-21 00:00:00 The Fat Pitch Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Strong price and breadth suggest the uptrend from the March low has further to go. A dip early in the week is a high probability buy set up. But gains from here are likely to be short lived; nibble traders may want to sell into strong gains on the expectation of weakness over the next month.

2015-03-20 00:00:00 The Declining Demand for Driving Vehicles by Doug Short (Article)

Paul Hodges, who writes a blog for ICIS.com on Chemicals and the Economy, recently sent me link to his fascinating study on the correlation between gasoline prices and the Department of Transportation's monthly statistics on vehicle miles driven. Paul offers a new perspective with a scatter chart showing the correlation between gasoline prices (vertical axis) and per-capita vehicle miles traveled on the horizontal axis.

2015-03-20 00:00:00 Northern Trust Perspective by Team of Northern Trust

The long-telegraphed launch of quantitative easing by the European Central Bank (ECB) has added some accelerant to financial market trends in place so far this year. European stocks, which had been strong performers in local currencies, have continued their strong performance while European bond yields have declined even further.

2015-03-20 00:00:00 Key Questions for China Investors in 2015—Part III by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

In this final installment of a three-part Sinology series, Andy Rothman, Matthews Asia Investment Strategist, answers the question: is China’s property market heading for a crash? He also discusses what he believes are the biggest long-term risks to growth and stability—an absence of the rule of law and trusted institutions.

2015-03-20 00:00:00 The student loan debt crisis revisited: For-profits come to the forefront by Leighton A. Hunley of Milliman, Inc.

Problems connected with high levels of student loan debt continue to make headlines. Today, the controversy centers around for-profit colleges, which, according to The Wall Street Journal, teach about 11% of higher education students, but whose students account for 44% of defaults on federal loans.

2015-03-20 00:00:00 Navigating Interest Rate Cycles with the Laddered Bond Portfolio by Josh Gonze of Thornburg Investment Management

The purpose of fixed income for most investors is to generate income and serve as ballast in their broader portfolios. It’s not meant to be the fastest boat in the water, but rather the most seaworthy. Since the global financial crisis, major central banks have kept interest rates at rock-bottom levels and provided abundant liquidity through asset purchase programs more commonly known as quantitative easing.

2015-03-19 00:00:00 De-risking Goes Beyond Interest Rate Risk: The Case for Dynamic Asset Allocation in an LDI Solution by Catherine LeGraw of GMO

In this piece, we introduce a measure of valuation risk, and demonstrate how rotating growth assets into a valuation-aware dynamic strategy can help to reduce risk, improve long-term returns, and help improve funded status in the case of a reversion to the mean.

2015-03-19 00:00:00 Muni market – Favorable environment remains in place by James Dearborn of Columbia Management

Municipal bond market volatility in early '15 may have investors wondering if they should sell today and lock in their gains from 2014. After 13 consecutive months of positive returns, the muni market turned negative in February and the first two weeks of March as interest rates rose. After such a long and strong run, it is not surprising that the muni market has taken a step backward. That said, we do not see reason to panic and continue to believe that the muni market remains on sound footing due to supportive market fundamentals and technicals, as well as our entrenched high tax environment

2015-03-19 00:00:00 Cabela’s: Little Room for Error by Jenny Hubbard of Diamond Hill Capital Management, Inc.

Through our research process, we attempt to identify actionable investment ideas, but we often conclude that a company does not present an immediate long or short investment opportunity. A decision not to invest in a company is valued just as much as a decision to invest in one, but we are always expected to stay current on our area of coverage in case conditions change.

2015-03-19 00:00:00 Patiently Waiting by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

The Fed faces a number of obstacles now and may require greater justification to suggest raising interest rates as soon as June. Bond market reaction to recent Fed meetings has been initially bearish but muted overall. Maintaining the word “patient” could have different implications for segments of the bond market.

2015-03-19 00:00:00 Dollar Strength is a Symptom, Not a Cause by Burt White of LPL Financial

We do not think the strong U.S. dollar will derail the bull market. The dollar itself is not a key driver of market performance; it is a symptom.

2015-03-19 00:00:00 Growth in the Euro Zone: Europeans Consuming Again by Laura Sarlo of Loomis Sayles

Euro area growth appears set to outperform in 2015, thanks in part to a stronger consumer. Consumers are feeling more confident about their own economies, and in some spots, job growth and wage increases provide an additional boost. Here are some of the major consumer trends I have noticed across the euro zone.

2015-03-19 00:00:00 Dropping the "Patient" Word Does Not Mean the Fed Is "Impatient" by Team of Northern Trust

Markets sometimes hang on every word from the Federal Reserve. In recent weeks, they had been hanging on a single word: “patient.” This term had been used to describe the prospective approach to policy tightening in recent statements; analysts speculated that removing the term would be a strong signal that rates would be heading up soon.

2015-03-19 00:00:00 Merk Analysis: How to Diversify When the Fed Out of Patience? by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

The S&P 500 has more than tripled in six years, just like in 1929 and 1999-2000. What could possibly go wrong?

2015-03-19 00:00:00 Could India “Run the Table” like China by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

Jeremy Schwartz had the opportunity to speak with Rob Lutts, CIO of Cabot Wealth Management, a client of WisdomTree, about a research trip to India he had just taken. India has been a standout among emerging market countries, and Lutts’ outlook is that India remains a very attractive place to allocate part of his growth portfolio capital.

2015-03-19 00:00:00 Yellen Loses "Patience," But Maintains Flexibility by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

The Federal Reserve is no longer committed to being “patient” before it starts raising rates. In Fed-speak, that means it will actively consider raising rates starting in two meetings, which will be in mid-June.

2015-03-19 00:00:00 10 Investment Quotes To Live By by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

As markets hover near all-time highs, investors have become quite complacent that the current bull market trend will continue indefinitely. But why shouldn't they? After all, the Central Banks of the world have made it a primary mission to ensure that asset prices don't fall in order to keep extremely weak economies limping along.

2015-03-19 00:00:00 Proposed Changes to U.S. Bankruptcy Code Could Create Opportunities in Distressed Credit by Sai S. Devabhaktuni, Ethan Schwartz of PIMCO

The American Bankruptcy Institute's (ABI) proposals aim to balance the objectives of effective reorganization of debtors and the maximization of asset values for all creditors and stakeholders. The proposals seem to mark an effort to modify the positions of different creditor classes in bankruptcy, a move that could disadvantage both senior and junior creditors depending on the particular case.

2015-03-19 00:00:00 Riding a Wave of Accommodation by Richard Clarida, Andrew Balls of PIMCO

PIMCO’s quarterly Cyclical Forum was held earlier this month to evaluate and assess the state of the global economy, to reach consensus on the near-term macroeconomic outlook, and to explore the tail risks to that outlook.

2015-03-19 00:00:00 Meet the world’s worst economic forecasters – The Fed by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

I have been tracking the Federal Reserves forward looking projections ever since they begin releasing their forecasts. The purpose of tracking these projections was to compare the Fed's forecasts with what eventually became reality. The record is now clear...they are the worst economic forecasters...ever.

2015-03-18 00:00:00 APViewpoint Event: "The Tested Strategy That Increases Client Assets by Doug Short (Article)

Presenter: Dan Richards
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - 4:15 PM ET


In today's time-pressed world, advisors need to make sure that every minute counts when communicating with clients. In this webinar, you'll hear what today's most successful advisors are doing to operate more effectively:

2015-03-18 00:00:00 Curse of the Brilliant Client by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group

What do I say when clients think they know more than I do? At my firm, we work with executive families. Our clients are brilliant; many have advanced degrees from top universities. These clients have ascended to the pinnacles of their careers and are accustomed to being the smartest person in the room.

2015-03-18 00:00:00 The Surging U.S. Dollar - Good For Some, Bad For Others by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The US dollar has been surging against most other currencies over the last year. The question is, is the rising US dollar good for the economy and the investment markets, or not? No doubt, the rising dollar has been buffeting the US equity and bond markets this year and is increasingly cited as the main culprit. That is what we will delve into today.

2015-03-18 00:00:00 How Far Will the Euro Fall? by Anatole Kaletsky of Project Syndicate

The US dollar is hitting new 12-year highs almost daily, while the euro seems to be plunging inexorably to below dollar parity. But there are plenty of reasons to believe that the exchange-rate trend may already be overshooting.

2015-03-18 00:00:00 Alpha Matters More in Muted Equity Markets by Chris Marx of AllianceBernstein

In a Wall Street Journal article last week, financial advisors described how exuberant investors had unrealistic expectations for stock market returns after a six-year rally. We think a more pragmatic approach should aim to beat a slower-paced market in an effort to capture compounding returns.

2015-03-18 00:00:00 Keep it Simple: India is Outperforming Because Oil is Crashing and Inflation is Tame by Team of GaveKal Capital

India has for years battled high levels of inflation which has in many ways kept the country from realizing its full economic potential. Over the last year though, basically since the price of oil stopped going up, Indian inflation has remained tame. As global growth has continued to muddle through, the further collapse of the price of oil has been a major tailwind for India since global growth has not collapsed in lockstep.

2015-03-18 00:00:00 Global Economic Perspective: March by Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group® of Franklin Templeton Investments

IN THIS ISSUE: United States Prepares for Interest-Rate Hikes; But Much of the World Is Still in Monetary Easing Mode; European Outlook

2015-03-18 00:00:00 WSJ Economists' Forecasts for 10-Year Yields and the Fed Funds Rate by Doug Short (Article)

The big economic news today will start the statement from the Federal Open Market Committee at 2 PM ET and followed by Janet Yellen's press conference 30 minutes later. The economic press has been a veritable cacophony pundit views on whether the word "patient" remains or is discarded in the new statement. Here is the key sentence in the previous statement (emphasis added).

2015-03-17 00:00:00 Gundlach - Don't Bet on Higher Rates by Robert Huebscher (Article)

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.

2015-03-17 00:00:00 Prognosis Excellent for Health Care by Sponsored Content from Invesco (Article)

Three years of outperformance is rare; a fourth would be unprecedented. Parts of the health care sector are more defensive, but opportunities to outperform exist even in an up market. Biopharmaceutical pipelines, M&A activity and reform will help drive longer-term health care outperformance.

2015-03-17 00:00:00 How Advisors Are Positioning Fixed-Income Portfolios by Bob Veres (Article)

I asked the readers of my Inside Information newsletter service to tell me how they're preparing for an impending Fed rate hike. To date, I've received 178 pages of responses from advisors all over the country and across the spectrum, from indexers to fervent believers in active management, representing large and small firms investing on behalf of wealthy or middle-income clients.

2015-03-17 00:00:00 MLPs Will Weather the Storm by Sponsored Content from ClearBridge Investments (Article)

A significant decline in oil prices has led to increased MLP volatility. However, their fundamentals remain robust. Our latest white paper examines the economics of the U.S. oil and natural gas markets and their impact on the outlook for MLPs.

2015-03-17 00:00:00 Do Liquid Alts Justify Their Costs? by Robert J. Martorana, CFA (Article)

Liquid alts are complex and expensive, so it is natural for advisors to ask if they worth the time and trouble. In this article, I answer this question. I evaluate returns with special emphasis on 2014, when managed futures (notably the AQR Managed Futures Strategy Fund - AQMIX) soared and the largest global macro fund, MainStay Marketfield (MFLDX), stumbled.

2015-03-17 00:00:00 The Skill Set for Exceptional Performance by Dan Richards (Article)

Once you have built an initial client base, you face a very different set of challenges to take your practice to the next level. Overcoming that challenge boils down to identifying and cultivating the skill set needed for exceptional performance - and that's building and managing a high-performance team.

2015-03-17 00:00:00 How to Deal with High-Anxiety Clients by Daniel Solin (Article)

This is not an easy time to be an investor. Market volatility, often represented in the financial media through triple-digit gyrations in the Dow), creates understandable anxiety. Here's how to assess the source of your clients' anxiety and some tips for easing it.

2015-03-17 00:00:00 Bounded Rationality, Unbounded Confidence by Baijnath Ramraika, CFA® and Prashant Trivedi, CFA® (Article)

Our rationality is limited by the information we have, the cognitive limitations of our minds and the finite amount of time we have to make a decision. Herbert A. Simon called that concept "bounded rationality." As a consequence of these limitations, our confidence becomes unbounded. We will discuss the implications of this phenomenon and how investors can overcome it.

2015-03-17 00:00:00 The Art of Pension Hopping by Antolin Du Bois, CFP® (Article)

Clients who are unlikely to complete a traditional 30-year defined-benefit pension and are willing to pursue an un-orthodox strategy of switching work locations, continually re-purchasing prior service completed in another location will increase their work options, their retirement security and their overall pension income.

2015-03-17 00:00:00 How to Get Your Team to Use Your CRM by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

After a lengthy search, my staff and I agreed on a CRM system and paid for consulting and installation. Now we have installed it, but no one is using it. They offer excuses: it is unwieldy or they don't have the time. How do I get them to use the system that they asked for in the first place?

2015-03-17 00:00:00 Monetary Policy Concerns Continue to Weigh on Markets by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Investors continued to focus on global monetary policy last week. The divergence between the start of the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing program and the pending shift in the Federal Reserve’s policy stance caused the euro to fall, the U.S. dollar to rally and acted as a drag on U.S. equities. Concerns over a weakening corporate earnings environment acted as an additional headwind for stock prices. the S&P 500 Index declined 0.8% for the week.

2015-03-17 00:00:00 The Messy Politics of Economic Divergence by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

The world is increasingly characterized by divergence – in economic performance, monetary policy, and thus in financial markets. Though there is a broad consensus on what must be done to rebalance the global economy, political leaders remain unwilling to fulfill their economic-governance responsibilities.

2015-03-17 00:00:00 Resist the Rate-Hike Huff by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

In June 2013, then-Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke hinted the time to “moderate” quantitative easing was approaching. The press called this “tapering”. The Fed would end QE gradually, by slowly shrinking its asset purchases rather than going cold turkey.

2015-03-17 00:00:00 FOMC Preview: When, How Often, and How Much by John Canally of LPL Financial

What the FOMC says, if anything, about the rising dollar and its implications, could have ramifications for monetary policy over the next several quarters and beyond. In addition to “when,” market participants may start asking “how much” and “how fast” rates may increase once the Fed begins to raise the rates. We are watching several factors to gauge when the Fed may begin to hike rates, including wages, the output gap, inflation, and inflation expectations.

2015-03-17 00:00:00 The New World Order: Part I by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

We have focused for several years on the issue of the uncertainty surrounding America’s superpower role. It has been our position that the U.S. has lacked a coherent foreign policy since the Cold War ended in the early 1990s. Although we cannot definitely say that a new policy is in place, the trappings of one appear to be emerging. The focus of this paper is how policy seems to be evolving and why. This will be a four-part report. Part I begins with the evolution of U.S. foreign policy, focusing on the 25-year cycle pattern between the adaptations to new circumstances.

2015-03-17 00:00:00 Japan: Why Stagnation Is the "Abe Normal" by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Until the prime minister draws the "third arrow"—structural reform—from his quiver, Japan's economic and investment prospects will remain limited.

2015-03-17 00:00:00 The 11-Year Itch: Waiting for the Fed to Act by Jon Denfeld of AllianceBernstein

It was 2004: the New England Patriots won their second Super Bowl, Facebook was launched and the US Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time in four years—the start of a two-year cycle of rate hikes. To markets, it seems like a distant memory.

2015-03-17 00:00:00 The Airline Industry Ascended to New Records in 2014 by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Just as the U.S. economy is in full-recovery mode, so too is the airline industry. It’s lately made an impressive about-face from only a decade ago and, in 2014, soared to several new benchmarks.

2015-03-17 00:00:00 Waiting for the Squirrel by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Spring has finally begun to show itself here in Michigan. It has been a brutal winter. Molly, our six-year-old, loveable mutt (of “Where’s Molly” fame), loves the new freedom that warmer weather brings. She bounds from the door each chance she gets and instead of the quick return that the winter’s cold elicited, she is gone for hours. Where does she go? First there is a quick reconnaissance of the property, carefully sniffing every square inch it seems. Then, she’s caught the scent. A flash of movement catches her eye. It’s her arch nemesis - the squirrel.

2015-03-17 00:00:00 Should You Buy in to Oil’s Secular Bear Market? by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

March 10th is one of my favorite days of the year. The tech bubble of the late 1990's burst on March 10th of 2000 and the biggest bear market of my career (2007 peak to 2009 low) bottomed on March 10th of 2009. There is a great deal to learn from those two dates in history as it pertains to the way secular bear markets work and how long it takes to move from the most popular investment in the world to being completely out of favor.

2015-03-16 00:00:00 Extremes in Every Pendulum by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Whether or not it is fully appreciated, we are observing extremes in nearly every pendulum of the global financial markets. The situation is likely to be seen in hindsight as one of the broadest points of financial distortion in history.

2015-03-16 00:00:00 How Scary Is the Bond Market? by Robert Shiller of Project Syndicate

With the bond market appearing ripe for a dramatic correction, many are wondering whether a crash could drag down markets for other long-term assets, such as housing and equities. But when an event has never occurred, it cannot be predicted with any semblance of confidence.

2015-03-16 00:00:00 Welcome to the World of Taxes! A Philosophical Introduction for New Taxpayers by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest piece, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, discusses his philosophy on taxes for the high net worth, especially from an international perspective.He notes "two waves" of investors who are new to tax planning.

2015-03-16 00:00:00 This Too Shall Pass by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Behavioral finance reminds us that ignoring daily volatility roiling the market is wise. Instead, investors should focus on the positive, fundamental outlook for equities and fixed income.

2015-03-16 00:00:00 Should Greece Stay or Go? by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

Professor Jeremy Siegel and I spoke with University of Texas professor James Galbraith on February 27. Professor Galbraith has an inside look on the ongoing Greek debt dynamics, as he became friendly with the current Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis as a colleague at the University of Texas.

2015-03-16 00:00:00 An Overview of Nontraditional Assets by Michael Winchell of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

We review a collection of nontraditional assets and acknowledge the growing attempts to offer more liquid instruments with market exposure to these assets. However, it is our opinion that these assets will ultimately represent a small portion of the overall allocation to alternative investments.

2015-03-16 00:00:00 On My Radar: Rate Hike Ahead, Bond Model Says Sell by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

I wrote a piece in Forbes this week titled “Rate Hike Ahead, Bond Model Says Sell”. The gist of the piece is about a tug of war between opposing views on the direction of interest rates. The outcome of this contest will enrich some and demoralize others.

2015-03-16 00:00:00 Ingredients Missing for a Turnaround in Brazil by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Brazil has struggled in the past years, bogged down by unfavorable economic conditions including a collapse in growth. A recovery would hinge upon some much needed structural reforms.

2015-03-16 00:00:00 APViewpoint Event: "The Tested Strategy That Increases Client Assets by Doug Short (Article)

Presenter: Dan Richards
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - 4:15 PM ET


In today's time-pressed world, advisors need to make sure that every minute counts when communicating with clients. In this webinar, you'll hear what today's most successful advisors are doing to operate more effectively:

2015-03-16 00:00:00 Brazil: Macro Headwinds Are Strengthening by Sean Newman of Invesco Blog

Invesco Fixed Income’s outlook on Brazil as a sovereign credit is deteriorating. Downside risks to growth have increased given the country’s deteriorating fiscal position, rising interest rates, lower commodity prices, global growth headwinds, water and electricity shortages, among other challenges. The key for markets, in our view, will be the administration’s ability to deliver on promised fiscal adjustments.

2015-03-14 00:00:00 The Fat Pitch Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Our overall view continues to be that 2015 will not be like 2013 or 2014. This is a year where fundamentals improve while equity prices mark time, allowing sentiment and valuation to fall back inline. This is a common pattern: large parts of 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2005 were similar. That November and December were the first back to back down months in 3 years bears out the change in character.

2015-03-14 00:00:00 Ingredients Missing for a Turnaround in Brazil by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Brazil has struggled in the past years, bogged down by unfavorable economic conditions including a collapse in growth. A recovery would hinge upon some much needed structural reforms.

2015-03-14 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

China Moves Cautiously Toward a New Normal; Deleveraging Is Unfinished in the Industrialized World; Will Lower Borrowing Costs in Europe Be a Boon for U.S Firms?

2015-03-14 00:00:00 The Airline Industry Ascended to New Records in 2014 by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Just as the U.S. economy is in full-recovery mode, so too is the airline industry. It’s lately made an impressive about-face from only a decade ago and, in 2014, soared to several new benchmarks. This industry is flying high again.

2015-03-14 00:00:00 The U.S. Dollar: Is Strength a Weakness? by Jim McDonald of Northern Trust

The U.S. dollar has seen strong upward moves in the past 9 months. What would continued dollar strength mean for economic growth, earnings and asset class performance? Find out more in Jim McDonald's latest strategy piece.

2015-03-14 00:00:00 Will Dipping Data Lead To Dramatic Drop? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

US stocks have been resilient, although there has been an uptick in volatility. Economic data has shown some softening, but we believe it is temporary in nature. However, the risk of a correction is elevated in our view and investors should be prepared for such a possibility by having a diversified portfolio and keeping a close eye on rebalancing opportunities after pullbacks. Meanwhile, investors should also look overseas for global diversification opportunities as monetary policy easing should help to bolster asset values.

2015-03-13 00:00:00 Prospect of U.S. Fed Hike & its Effect on Asian Assets, Part I by Gerald Hwang of Matthews Asia

How close are we to a U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) rate hike? How would a hike affect Asian securities? These are the questions we explore in this two-part series of Asia Insight.

2015-03-13 00:00:00 Equities: Enhancing the Core/Satellite Framework by Sabrina Callin, Andrew Pyne of PIMCO

?In a lower-returning environment, investors may need to look beyond traditional active or passive approaches in order to capture equity alpha. The “building blocks” of equity alpha include high active share stock selection, smart beta-based strategies and portable alpha approaches. These complementary sources of alpha can be implemented in an enhanced core/satellite framework to allow investors to pursue the returns needed to meet their objectives.

2015-03-13 00:00:00 Charting The Winners And Losers Of The Latest Surge In The USD by Team of GaveKal Capital

On March 4th we wrote in The Dollar Is Breaking Out Again And What It Means For Stocks that "for a variety of cyclical and structural reasons...stocks in North America tend to be the relative beneficiary of USD strength while stocks in other regions generally, but not always, tend to underperform. The negative correlation is especially strong for European stocks." Well, since then the USD has surged another 6% so we thought we'd review how things have played out.

2015-03-13 00:00:00 Could the Search for Income Lead to Instability? by Daniel Loewy, Morgan Harting of AllianceBernstein

Years of quantitative easing has pushed yields on government bonds down to record lows, and income-starved investors are being pushed out the risk spectrum, forced to choose between more volatile assets to find income. Finding acceptable levels of income exposes portfolios to greater instability ahead—we believe a multi-asset approach can help.

2015-03-13 00:00:00 Household Net Worth: The "Real" Story by Doug Short (Article)

Let's take a long-term view of household net worth from the latest Z.1 release. A quick glance at the complete data series shows a distinct bubble in net worth that peaked in Q4 2007 with a trough in Q1 2009, the same quarter the stock market bottomed. The latest Fed balance sheet shows a total net worth that is 50.9% above the 2009 trough and 22.2% above the 2007 peak and at an all-time high. The nominal Q4 net worth is up 1.9% from the previous quarter and up 5.2% year over year.

2015-03-13 00:00:00 The Fed Balance Sheet: What Is Uncle Sam's Largest Asset? by Doug Short (Article)

Pop Quiz! Without recourse to your text, your notes or a Google search, what line item is the largest asset on Uncle Sam's balance sheet?

  • A) U.S. Official Reserve Assets
  • B) Total Mortgages
  • C) Taxes Receivable
  • D) Student Loans

2015-03-13 00:00:00 Big Government, Little Buns by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

You’re kidding, right? It’s 2015. How can a populated country run out of bread? It would be understandable if a natural disaster or devastating war caused a shortage, but neither of these is happening in Venezuela – and they seem to be running out of bread. Why? Well, Socialism, of course.

2015-03-13 00:00:00 Keep it Short? The Limited-Term Fixed Income Market by Mark Otterstrom, Susan Regan of Ivy Investment Management Company

Concern about interests rates has made fixed income investors more aware of the potential for interest rate risk – or the risk that a rise in rates will reduce the value of their longer-maturity securities. This risk, which is often expressed as a bond or bond fund’s “duration,” has led some investors to consider investments believed to have less potential risk. These securities, which are considered to have a lower duration, are seen as less vulnerable to market volatility.

2015-03-12 00:00:00 Great Advice from Bill Bernstein by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Investing/indexing legend Bill Bernstein was interviewed by ETF.com and had a couple of great nuggets that are useful for any type of investor and helpful for advisors’ communication with their clients.

2015-03-12 00:00:00 Is a New U.S. Bear Market Hanging Over Our Head? by Robert Lamy of The Forecasting Advisor

The current bull stock market is now six years old and it will start its seventh year on March 9th. As of March 6th, the S&P 500 stock price index has risen by 206% from the last bear market through of March 9th, 2009. This gain implies that the current bull market recorded a larger increase and rose for a longer period than most of the previous bull markets over the past fifty years.

2015-03-12 00:00:00 Beige Book Suggests Continued Modest Economic Growth by John Canally of LPL Financial

The latest Beige Book suggests that the U.S. economy is still growing at a “modest or moderate” pace that is at or above its long-term trend, and that some upward pressure on wages is beginning to emerge. Optimism on Main Street remains high despite the recent barrage of bad news on the economy. Over the past three Beige Books, the BBB averaged +85, in-line with the +89 average reading in all of 2014.

2015-03-12 00:00:00 Global Macro Framework by Alexander Giryavets of Dynamika Capital L.L.C.

Global Carry, Yen and Dollar are irrefragable drivers of Global Macro. As we explain equities and bonds are just derivatives of these factors. We expose how the big picture asset dynamics worked since the GFC, brief on what happened over the last year and conclude with comments on dollar blowout over the past week.

2015-03-12 00:00:00 Pop Quiz: What Is The Best Performing Regional Sector YTD? by Team of GaveKal Capital

The recent focus of the financial world (including for us) has been on the massive currency moves going on in the forex markets. By this point, everyone and their grandma knows that the US dollar has been on an explosive move higher. Since we are in a stronger US dollar environment now that must mean the US stock market has been outperforming in US dollar terms, correct? Not so fast.

2015-03-12 00:00:00 Cutting Through the Currency Fog by Mark Phelps, Dev Chakrabarti of AllianceBernstein

With the euro sliding deeper against the dollar this week, equity investors have been getting nervous. But why is everyone so surprised when known currency fluctuations derail earnings? In our view, a sharper focus on company exposures can help create a “natural” currency hedge in global equity portfolios.

2015-03-11 00:00:00 A Patient Fed Considers Losing Patience by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

I have always argued that quantitative easing and zero percent interest rates were misguided policies to combat economic weakness. But as the years went on, misguided turned into irresponsible, which led to ridiculous, and then turned into dangerous. But lately, the only word that comes to mind is "surreal." How should we react when central bankers begin to speak like Willie Wonka?

2015-03-11 00:00:00 Strong Jobs Report Hits Fed's Rate-Hike Target Zone by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Last Friday’s unemployment report for February was stronger than expected, both in terms of new jobs created and the headline unemployment rate which fell from 5.7% to 5.5%. This sparked growing fears among investors that the Fed will move to raise short-term interest rates sooner rather than later. Stocks fell sharply just after the report.

2015-03-11 00:00:00 Metals May Have an Evil Intent by Avi Gilburt of ElliottWaveTrader.net

From an anecdotal sentiment perspective, before I go into this week’s analysis, I would like to give you a little feedback from this year’s Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) annual convention. I was honored at being a featured speaker there this year, and discussed how I viewed us as being on the cusp of the next great bull market in the investment world. But, the most common comment I received from all those with whom I spoke was that the attendance had been quite underwhelming.

2015-03-11 00:00:00 The Expansion Settles, but Its Foundation Is Strong by Team of Northern Trust

Growth in the U.S. economy tapered a bit in the fourth quarter, but the outlook ahead remains very positive. Real gross domestic product (GDP) grew 2.2% in the fourth quarter after a 5.0% increase in the third quarter, but some special factors were at play that should ease as the first quarter of 2015 winds down.

2015-03-11 00:00:00 Worries about the Looming Fed Hike Spill Over by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Many investors are anxious about a possible bubble in stock markets, but those fears seem overblown to us. The greater near-term danger may be a more aggressive Federal Reserve.

2015-03-11 00:00:00 A Contrarian Case for Brazil by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Many investors in Brazil, including us, have been a little frustrated over the past couple of years with its lack of growth and progress. Gross domestic product (GDP) in Brazil grew a mere 0.2% in 2014 (estimated), a far cry from the 7.5% it saw in 2010. However, we believe Brazil has all the elements in place to achieve much higher rates of growth if the political will is there.

2015-03-11 00:00:00 The Market Is Pricing In Two Rate Hikes In 2015 (And Four In 2016) by Team of GaveKal Capital

According to Fed Fund futures, the market currently expects about 2 rate hikes by December 2015 (assuming the Fed raises rates by 25 basis points each time). Fed Funds futures is pricing the Fed Funds Rate at 54 basis points by December 2015. The market was most optimistic regarding delaying fed hikes in mid-January when the market was pricing in only about one and half hikes for 2015.

2015-03-11 00:00:00 Optimal Diversification Portfolio for Upcoming Interest Rate Environment by Chuck Self of iSectors

Historical patterns in interest rates leading to the current trend; Macroeconomic activity supporting future rising interest rates; Recommendations for optimizing client portfolios in such an environment

2015-03-10 00:00:00 A Warning Sign from the Latest Wage Data: Update by Doug Short (Article)

Note from dshort: I've added a second chart to show the correlation between hourly earnings and inflation.

Over the weekend, my virtual friend and occasional correspondent New Deal Democrat requested some assistance on visualizing Average Hourly Earnings of Production and Nonsupervisory Employees.

2015-03-10 00:00:00 The Hidden Peril in Sequence of Returns Risk by Wade Pfau (Article)

Should retirees place greater faith in stocks' ability to outperform bonds over reasonable holding periods or in insurance companies and bond issuers' ability to meet their contractual guarantees? Your position on this fundamental question will determine how you choose to build retirement income strategies for your clients.

2015-03-10 00:00:00 Curiouser and Curiouser... by Sponsored Content from Legg Mason (Article)

Though historically low, U.S. interest rates are actually high in comparison to the rest of the developed world. U.S. bonds appear overpriced on domestic fundamentals, but they are a bargain based on global valuations.

2015-03-10 00:00:00 America's China Codependency by Michael Edesess (Article)

The massive Chinese investment in Treasury securities helps keep interest rates extremely low. This hugely increases the incentive for Americans to borrow. All that is needed is "collateral," and Americans will go out and borrow to their hearts' content and buy Chinese goods.

2015-03-10 00:00:00 What Advisors Can Learn from Bernie Madoff by Dan Richards (Article)

Few advisors would admit that they have anything to learn from Bernie Madoff. But setting the obvious ethical issues aside, advisors can still learn from the most notorious con artist of our generation.

2015-03-10 00:00:00 'Cheating' for Alpha with Beta by Ryan J. Lehman (Article)

In a recent white paper, our colleagues at GMO very appropriately asked, "Is Skill Dead?" In this paper they examined the results of the large-cap blend peer group, and offered an optimistic outlook for active managers despite recent underperformance. In this article, I expand upon their work and our own by discussing how managers "cheat" for alpha by taking positions in out-of-benchmark risk premia and beta exposures, and how those bets have compromised recent results.

2015-03-10 00:00:00 Use "Self-Distancing" to Make Better Decisions by Daniel Solin (Article)

Before I became a consultant and coach to a number of financial planning firms, I used to run my own investment advisory firm. I believe the advice I give today is far superior to the actions I took when I managed my own firm. Now I understand why.

2015-03-10 00:00:00 President Obama's 2016 Federal Budget Proposal by Tim Steffen (Article)

Both parties are focused on passing some type of tax reform this year, and in order to do that Republicans will likely have to concede on at least some of the president's wishes. Which of those may survive remains to be seen, but it's now up to the Republicans in Congress to respond with a proposal of their own.

2015-03-10 00:00:00 How to Make a Graceful Departure by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I can't seem to find the magic conditions to make it worth my while to create a succession plan and retire. What advice do you have that might push me to finally figure out how to make a graceful departure?

2015-03-10 00:00:00 Stranded in NYC by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

The week began well enough as I arrived Sunday a week ago in Orlando for the 36th annual Raymond James Institutional Investors conference. As previously stated, there were more than 1,000 portfolio managers (PMs) and analysts there to listen to some 300 companies’ presentations. In addition to the PMs and their analysts, our analysts anchored the presentations by the CEOs and CFOs of those companies.

2015-03-10 00:00:00 February Employment Report - Is It Enough? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Job growth remained strong in February, leading financial market participants to believe that the Fed will begin to raise short-term interest rates sooner (June) rather than later (September) and, more importantly, at a faster pace than thought earlier. The report is only one item that the Fed will consider when it meets to set monetary policy (March 17-18).

2015-03-10 00:00:00 Good News is Still Good News by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

The stock market sold off hard last Friday and the reason looks clear: job creation was stronger than the consensus expected in February, the fourth straight month of upside surprises in payrolls.

2015-03-10 00:00:00 On My Radar: Rut Ro Rastro by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

At the beginning of each month, I like to look at a series of valuation metrics: Median PE, Price to Sales and Price to Operating Earnings. Let’s look at them today. The logic, of course, is simple. When expensively priced, reduce exposure and reduce return expectations. When inexpensively priced, overweight exposure and increase return expectations. Let’s also take a look at what has been driving the market higher. Some argue that individual investors are still on the sidelines. I don’t think so and I show evidence that they are almost as fully invested as they were at the 2000 and

2015-03-10 00:00:00 The 6th Anniversary of 676 by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group

On March 9th, 2009, the S&P 500 made an intra-day and 20 year low at 676.53. Millions of Americans drew a straight line from the mid-September 2008 failure of Lehman Brothers through that March low and projected that the S&P 500 would be zero by June. Armed with that projection, average investors liquidated hundreds of billions of dollars in stock investments, never to return. Those investors will never be able to retire.

2015-03-10 00:00:00 Will Dow Jones Become the Last Buyer of Apple? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Spring arrives in the northern hemisphere this month. Its appearance holds various connotations to different people, although my unscientific poll of a few random individuals leads me to believe the majority of the population has a positive bias toward its arrival. Daylight Savings Time has already kicked in, and soon winter’s frozen landscapes thaw, daylight hours lengthen, flowers bloom, and the frequency of outdoor activities increases. Ah, spring time!

2015-03-10 00:00:00 Stock and Bond Funds Grow with the Flows by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

No redistribution here: Even as equity fund flows have turned positive, bond funds continue to see inflows. Here’s a closer look at the trend—and what it means for investors.

2015-03-10 00:00:00 Happy Birthday Bull Market by Burt White of LPL Financial

The current bull market celebrates its sixth birthday today (March 9, 2015). Bull markets do not die of old age, they die of excesses, and we do not see evidence of excesses emerging today. Some of our favorite leading indicators suggest the economic expansion and bull market may continue through the end of 2015.

2015-03-10 00:00:00 Good luck, Jonathan. Good luck, Nigeria. by Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

This week we look at the upcoming Nigerian presidential election and how the persistent threat of the Boko Haram terrorist movement has complicated the democratic process. The election promises to be a close one between the incumbent, Goodluck Jonathan, and a former military leader, Muhammadu Buhari. In turn, we look back at the 2011 presidential election and analyze how that election facilitated the rapid spread of Boko Haram. Exacerbating matters further, the country suffers from a deepening divide between the Christian south and the Islamic north, which we discuss in detail in this report.

2015-03-10 00:00:00 Q&A with Jeff Knight: What’s in store for 2015? by Jeff Knight of Columbia Management

I believe we are still going through a process that is flattering to financial market returns. But after six years and a tripling of the stock market, recognize that we're getting late in the game. Does Europe hang together? Do events in the Ukraine or Greece disrupt the economic recovery in Europe? Is the Fed’s tightening appropriate, or does it represent a threat to financial markets? Will those who come out on the short end of oil’s dramatic repricing emerge as a threat to capital markets either through default and bankruptcies, or worse through geopolitical tensions?

2015-03-10 00:00:00 Why Holding Cash May Mean Losing Money by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

There are many reasons to hold cash in your portfolio, but sometimes it can be too much of a good thing. Russ Koesterich explains the risks of a large cash position and offers some alternatives.

2015-03-10 00:00:00 Never Smile at a Crocodile by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

We will briefly survey my worry closet today before resuming our series on debt, in which we’ll encounter Paul Krugman’s lament that “Nobody understands debt.”

2015-03-09 00:00:00 What Does That Difference Mean? by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The difference between actual market returns over a given time period, and the returns that one would have projected earlier based on reliable valuation measures, is extremely informative about where current valuations stand, and about where future market returns are headed.

2015-03-09 00:00:00 ISM Data for January and February Point to Modest U.S. Real GDP Growth in 2015 Q1 by Robert Lamy of The Forecasting Advisor

At the start of each month, the U.S. Institute for Supply Management (ISM) released data on the state of the manufacturing and non-manufacturing industries of the U.S. economy. The data are closely followed by economists, stock market brokers, and the media as they provide the earliest reading on the current state of the economy.

2015-03-09 00:00:00 Recession Probability Models - March 2015 by Ted Kavadas of StratX, LLC

There are a variety of economic models that are supposed to predict the probabilities of recession. While I don’t agree with the methodologies employed or probabilities of impending economic weakness as depicted by the following two models, I think the results of these models should be monitored.

2015-03-09 00:00:00 An Overview of Alternative Investments by Michael Winchell of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

If you have been thinking about adding alternative investments to your clients’ portfolios, it’s important to step back and analyze the various types of investments available to you—which, despite being lumped together in the same category, have become increasingly varied.

2015-03-09 00:00:00 The Stock-Bond Disconnect by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

How should one understand the disconnect between the new highs reached by global equity indices and the new depths plumbed by real interest rates worldwide? Several competing explanations attempt to reconcile these trends, and getting it right is essential for calibrating monetary and fiscal policy appropriately.

2015-03-09 00:00:00 The Dollar isn’t the Peso anymore (Part II) by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

The US dollar rally is in its seventh year and we expect this trend to continue. Many observers, including the Fed, continue to worry about inflation. However, we think a strong USD and disinflation/deflation seem more likely than inflation so long as global overcapacity forces nations to fight for market share and depreciate their currencies.

2015-03-09 00:00:00 Personalized Risk Management: Helping Clients Make Smarter Decisions about Their Money by Patty Quinn McAuley of Clark Capital Management Group

Patty writes about helping clients achieve successful investment outcomes and about communicating effectively with clients.

2015-03-09 00:00:00 Tracking the Market with Social Media by Blair Jensen of Trade Followers

Last week we highlighted several signs coming from Twitter that a short term top was in the making. One of them was Twitter momentum for the S&P 500 Index (SPX) turning down from over bought levels and at the same time creating a negative divergence. This week momentum is warning that the selling we saw last week will most likely continue. After painting a negative divergence, 7 day momentum has broken its newly formed uptrend line. This suggests that investors and traders are not committed and were quick to exit positions established during the February rally.

2015-03-09 00:00:00 Why Is the Fed’s James Bullard Optimistic about the U.S. Economy? by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

On February 20, Professor Jeremy Siegel and I had the pleasure of speaking to St Louis Federal Reserve Bank (Fed) president James Bullard, who is a member of the Fed monetary policy committee. 2015 is shaping up to be an interesting year for monetary policy, with the Fed expected to hike interest rates.

2015-03-08 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Is Good News Now Bad for Investors? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

Anyone who wants to speculate on what the Fed is thinking must include some actual evidence from past transcripts. If, for example, you want to suggest that the Fed “wants a market correction” (you can’t make this stuff up) then you have to find at least one historical example where some participant raised that idea. Otherwise, shut up!

2015-03-07 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Quantitative easing comes to the eurozone; U.S. job growth is strong, but wage growth is not; The California port strike has troubled trade... and economists

2015-03-07 00:00:00 The Strong USD Is Negatively Impacting US Trade by Team of GaveKal

Exports have been a solid contributor to US GDP growth for the last few years, while consumption and residential investment have been more restrained. Recently, with consumption firming and likely to improve further from the tail-wind of lower oil prices, and exports faltering, it appears the drivers of the US economy are trading places. It appears that we should expect trade to subtract from growth in the coming quarters.

2015-03-07 00:00:00 The Search for a Low Expense Ratio Ends Here by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

The investment of the decade is not mutual funds or ETFs. It is individual stocks. You may just not realize it yet.

2015-03-07 00:00:00 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Today's new release of the publicly available data from the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) puts its Weekly Leading Index (WLI) at 130.6, unchanged from the previous week. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at -4.6, down from the previous week's -4.5 but off the interim low of -5.0 in mid-January.

2015-03-07 00:00:00 The Official Unemployment Rate is Meaningless by Steve K. Rumsey of Optimus Advisory Group

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) official unemployment report, also known to economic wonks as U-3, has historically been used to give a fairly accurate depiction of the overall employment situation in our country. Not anymore. This "depiction" of the jobs/employment environment is now meaningless.

2015-03-07 00:00:00 Trampled Under Foot: Earnings Estimates Crushed; But Not Stocks by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The pace of earnings estimate cuts by Wall Street analysts and companies has been well sharper than the norm, suggesting the bar has now been set so low as to make it easier to hurdle. That’s what investors can hope for heading into the next earnings season; but the risk around earnings and valuation is unquestionably higher than it’s been in some time.

2015-03-07 00:00:00 The Fat Pitch Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Our overall view continues to be that 2015 will not be like 2013 or 2014. This is a year where fundamentals improve while equity prices mark time, allowing sentiment and valuation to fall back inline. This is a common pattern: large parts of 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2005 were similar. That November and December were the first back to back down months in 3 years bears out the change in character.

2015-03-07 00:00:00 After a Dismal 2014 Business Development Companies Poised to Outperform in the New Year by Grier Eliasek of Prospect Capital Corp.

After a dismal performance in 2014 business development companies are enjoying a reversal of fortune, floating to the top of the leaderboard in the New Year. They’re outpacing their interest-rate sensitive brethren, utilities and REITs, bonds and the S&P 500 alike amid widespread anticipation that the Federal Reserve will lift interest rates mid year. As the stock market grows ever more expensive and profit margins are reaching record highs, the catalysts that should drive outperformance in BDCs grow stronger and stronger considering that most BDCs are trading at single-digit multiples.

2015-03-06 00:00:00 Taking a Multi-Asset Approach to Inflation by Duy Nguyen of Invesco Blog

With more than two decades of stable inflation in the US and forecasts calling for moderate inflation in the short term, many investors have become complacent about the risk of inflation to the real value of their portfolios. But inflation can change unexpectedly, and although we don’t believe that change is necessarily imminent, investors should remain vigilant about addressing this risk.

2015-03-06 00:00:00 Hot and Cold Bonds by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

January 2015 was the best month for high-quality bonds since December 2008. In February 2015, high-quality bonds posted their worst monthly performance since June 2013 and the taper tantrum sell-off. High-yield bonds experienced ups and downs thus far in 2015. After a muted January, high-yield bonds returned 2.4% in February, the largest single month gain since October 2013. After a wild first two months, we expect more muted returns over the remainder of 2015.

2015-03-06 00:00:00 Market Fragility and Opportunity by Jim Tillar, Steve Wenstrup of Tillar-Wenstrup Advisors

Investing is a funny business. It is usually wise to invest the opposite of how the market feels to you. Six years ago stocks had fallen by 50%, the financial institutions that underlie our global economy were buckling, and the economy was in shambles. Investors were running from the stock market in droves. But because prices and expectations were low and because all the major central banks flooded the world with liquidity it was actually a great time to invest.

2015-03-06 00:00:00 Opportunities in Global Financial Disintermediation by Dave Gallagher of Calamos Investments

Increasing financial disintermediation is a strong secular theme providing tailwinds in several financial industries, but a likely arduous and complicated process warrants the need for a disciplined focus on both risk and reward. The financial system essentially performs one basic function—the direct or indirect movement of funds from savers to borrowers or investors. Although financial disintermediation is formally defined as the shifting of funds from indirect to direct financing, the term is more commonly used to describe the increasing role of non-bank intermediaries.

2015-03-06 00:00:00 The Great Monetary Expansion by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

While winter weather will likely distort first-quarter economic data, accommodative monetary policy around the world means the long-term outlook remains positive.

2015-03-06 00:00:00 Malaysia: Too Indebted to Spend? by Satya Patel of Matthews Asia

Many Asian households are dependent on debt. Malaysia has been working to reshape its economy while addressing the risk of high household debt levels. Asia Weekly examines this issue.

2015-03-06 00:00:00 China’s Reforms: Will They Work? by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein

The internationalization of China’s currency is proceeding hand in hand with the liberalization of the country’s capital markets. If China can surmount its short-term challenges, the impact of these reforms on global economies and markets should be profound.

2015-03-06 00:00:00 ECB Asset Purchases = (Big) Equity Decline? by Team of GaveKal Capital

We have commented quite a bit on the dismal revisions to sales and earnings estimates (see here, here, and here for just a few examples). As we have noted, European stocks have excelled in the downgrade department, led by the Energy sector.

2015-03-06 00:00:00 Growth Surprises and Possible Risks by Bill McQuaker (Article)

Bill McQuaker, Co-Head of Multi Asset, provides an update on the positive surprises that have unfolded recently in European data, the extent to which that has been reflected in prices and a few risks to keep an eye on mid-year.

2015-03-06 00:00:00 On the Investment Process of a Global Generalist by Jason Brady of Thornburg Investment Management

The process and logic behind the security selection and the construction of portfolios is, in many ways, as complex as the markets themselves. A portfolio of 50 holdings culled from only 500 possible choices leads to: 500!/(50!*(450!)) or 2.31442 x 1069 potential portfolios! That’s a lot of potential outcomes, and this doesn’t even take into account the various possible weights of those choices.

2015-03-05 00:00:00 Another Bubble? by Burt White of LPL Financial

The Nasdaq Composite just hit 5000 today as this report was going to press and is nearing its all-time record closing high of 5048. Even with the Nasdaq at 5000, we do not believe stocks have reached bubble territory. The Nasdaq has a much stronger foundation today of valuations, profits, and sentiment.

2015-03-05 00:00:00 Don’t Audit It: Reign It In by Brian Wesbury of First Trust Advisors

Some in Congress want to “Audit the Fed.” But an audit, unless the word is used in a very broad sense, would be redundant and basically irrelevant. The Fed is already audited, by Deloitte & Touche LLP and it releases an annual report that includes the auditor’s opinion, each year.

2015-03-05 00:00:00 Positioning U.S. Community Bank Investment Portfolios for 2015 by Chitrang Purani, Thomas Luciano of PIMCO

When market uncertainty is elevated and bank profitability is an ongoing concern, taking an extreme view toward investing cash or harvesting liquidity is not optimal. Currently, we do not see as much value in interest rate or duration risk for bank portfolios as yields imply a moderate path for future policy rates. We believe there are opportunities for banks to earn income without taking excess interest rate risk or limiting flexibility against the need to fund future opportunities.

2015-03-05 00:00:00 A Fair Hearing for Sovereign Debt by Joseph Stiglitz, et al. of Project Syndicate

Last July, when US federal judge Thomas Griesa ruled that Argentina had to repay in full the "vulture" funds that had bought its sovereign debt at rock-bottom prices, the decision reverberated far and wide, affecting bonds issued in a variety of jurisdictions. Do US court rulings really apply to contracts executed in other countries?

2015-03-05 00:00:00 The High Yield Default Outlook by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

We see default risk as the most prominent risk for credit investors. As we look forward, a benign default environment is projected over the next few years.

2015-03-05 00:00:00 The Dollar Is Breaking Out Again And What That Means For Stocks by Team of GaveKal Capital

The ICE US dollar index looks to have broken out of what has been a rather short-lived consolidation after the massive move since the middle of 2014. If this is in fact the start of another round of dollar strength, then stock investors should carefully consider where in the world to deploy cash into stocks. For a variety of cyclical and structural reasons, certain regions of the world tend to outperform in periods of USD strength and others lag. We'll try to shed some light on that with the below charts.

2015-03-05 00:00:00 Searching for Yield Down Under by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

The persistence of low yields has had investors searching for income high and low for a while now. Recently, investors are expanding their hunt to some less than obvious places.

2015-03-05 00:00:00 India the Best-Performing Emerging Market by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

India had an incredible banner year. The world’s largest democracy, home to 1.25 billion people, was the best-performing emerging market in 2014, delivering over 29 percent. It was followed by the Philippines in second place and Indonesia in third.

2015-03-05 00:00:00 Greek Problems Born from Socialism by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Like many of the important discussions in the economic world today, the negotiations between Greece and its European creditors has become increasingly absurd . Late on Friday, February 20, in a tense meeting between the new Greek Finance Minister and a host of ministers from 19 Eurozone countries, Germany apparently 'authorized' negotiators to accept a four-month extension of the $272 billion bailout so long as the Greeks promised to make a series of difficult fiscal steps needed to stay solvent over that time frame.

2015-03-04 00:00:00 Municipal Market Perspectives by Fixed Income Team of SMC Fixed Income Management

A much colder than normal winter throughout the United States has impacted daily activities. Folks are remaining indoors and waiting for the March thaw. Not only are there fewer pedestrians, but runners are a rare sight. The logical inference is that many dedicated exercisers have retreated to the warmth of their basements or local health clubs for exercise, and are instead logging miles on stationary treadmills.

2015-03-04 00:00:00 January Inflation Turns Negative - Is Deflation Upon Us? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Consumer prices fell in January for the third straight month, while inflation over the past 12 months turned negative for the first time since 2009, largely because of cheaper gasoline. In January, the Consumer Price Index sank by a seasonally-adjusted 0.7%, the biggest one-month drop since the end of 2008, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

2015-03-04 00:00:00 A Plurisy Of Madness by Sebastiao Buck Tocalino of SBTCapital Clube de Investimento

When old grandpa Demographus entered the room and started speaking of the changing trends in business, with a growing number of workers retiring and his best clients spending less, attention was dispersed. Distraction and entertainment were provided by granny Janet.

2015-03-04 00:00:00 The Misery Index by John Canally of LPL Financial

Reports on the CPI and unemployment rate for January 2015 sent the Misery Index down to 5.6%, its lowest level in 56 years. Despite the low reading of the index, headlines and polls indicate the index may not be capturing the nation’s mood. Wage growth may be the key to improving consumer sentiment about the state of the U.S. economy.

2015-03-04 00:00:00 The Millennial Obsession by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

You cannot pick up a business publication, tune into a financial news program, or glance at any news website without confronting yet another story on Millennials.

2015-03-04 00:00:00 Tigers in Africa by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

This month's Absolute Return Letter is about unrealistic expectations which is something we are all guilty of from time to time. We look at why it is unrealistic to expect equity returns to be in the double digit range over the next several years, why central banks are not printing money like many believe, plus a few other topics.

2015-03-03 00:00:00 Howard Marks on Luck and Skill in Investing by Justin Kermond (Article)

When Howard Marks graduated from the Booth School of Business of the University of Chicago, he was turned down for the one job he really wanted. That, he said, was the luckiest moment of his career. The firm that turned him down was Lehman Brothers.

2015-03-03 00:00:00 Dan Fuss - The New Factor in the Bond Markets by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Dan Fuss' career in the bond market has spanned over 50 years. During that time, Fuss has spoken regularly at CFA luncheons. Last week in Boston, he began by warning that what he had to say would be markedly different from any of his previous talks.

2015-03-03 00:00:00 Why Networking Makes You Feel Dirty - New Research: The Mindset for Effective Networking by Dan Richards (Article)

Talk to advisors about networking and you will hear two main complaints: It's uncomfortable to introduce yourself to people you don't know, and it doesn't work. Many advisors have tried without success to convert community activity into new clients. Networking might make these advisors feel "dirty."

2015-03-03 00:00:00 Are DFA's Funds Active or Passive? by John Coumarianos (Article)

Larry Swedroe's recent critique of Graham and Dodd value investing mischaracterized DFA's value funds as "passive." Beyond that, he misread James Montier's discussion of "perfect" value investors, made unfair comparisons among funds and didn't measure risk properly.

2015-03-03 00:00:00 How to Tell If a Prospect Is Interested by Daniel Solin (Article)

Your presentation materials may be eminently persuasive and your delivery equally flawless, but your prospect's mind may be on an entirely different topic. Here's how to tell if your prospect is listening and - more importantly - interested in what you are saying.

2015-03-03 00:00:00 Can Aggressive Sales and Quality Service Co-Exist? by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Providing the highest quality client service and finding time to network and uncover new sales is challenging at best and impossible at worst. Can these two goals coexist and be achieved?

2015-03-03 00:00:00 Reasonably Confident by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Fed Chair Janet Yellen signaled that officials will likely alter the forward guidance at the March 17-18 policy meeting. However, altering this guidance (the conditional commitment to keep short-term interest rates exceptionally low) is not the same as signaling that a rate hike is imminent, as Yellen made clear. She did indicate what would lead the Fed to start tightening.

2015-03-03 00:00:00 Is Japan Zimbabwe? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Is Japan Zimbabwe? How preposterous: Japan is an advanced economy that cannot possibly suffer the same fate as Zimbabwe. Right? Or could Japan get hyperinflation? Below I explain why Japan, and with it investors’ portfolios, might be at risk.

2015-03-03 00:00:00 The Return of the Comeback: Is 2015 the Year for International Stocks? by Zachary Karabell of Envestnet

For several years, many professional investors and advisers have been bullish about the prospects for investing outside the United States. Calls to overweight European stocks or global stocks have been typical each January for the past years, and this year is no different.

2015-03-03 00:00:00 The Euro: How Low Can It Go? by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

Recently, Professor Jeremy Siegel and I sat down with Brown Brothers Harriman currency strategist Marc Chandler. Given the European Central Bank’s (ECB) recent activities, most of the discussion centered around the euro.

2015-03-03 00:00:00 Yemen: A Land with a Rich Past and a Poor Present by Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

The country of Yemen is slowly dissolving in the midst of an ongoing civil war. The Houthi movement has aggressively secured territories in the north, while al-Qaeda has widened its activities in the south. Outside powers are watching these developments closely. Yemen’s neighbor and U.S. ally, Saudi Arabia, would like to see the Houthi insurgency stopped as the group is widely viewed as a proxy for Iran. At the same time, the U.S. has been a partner to Yemen in fighting al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, but the fall of its government has left the U.S. without a formal partner.

2015-03-03 00:00:00 The Conference by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Greetings from Orlando where the Raymond James 36th Annual Institutional Investors Conference is in full swing. At this year’s conference there will be more than 1,000 portfolio managers (PMs) and analysts, as well as more than 300 companies presenting. In a past life I used to attend many of Wall Street’s institutional investors conferences, but have come to like ours the best.

2015-03-03 00:00:00 Buffett on the Value of Patient Optimism by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Like picking up the Good Book, a read of Berkshire Hathaway’s Annual Shareholder Letter yields insight, wisdom, and encouragement for the long-duration common stock investor in a world of short-term thinking and 30-second sound bites.

2015-03-03 00:00:00 The Benefits of Tiny Withdrawal Rates by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

For about the last year we have been blogging about the concept known as tiny houses. In that time interest has proliferated in terms of new websites devoted to the concept as well as at least four TV shows about tiny houses. The show Portlandia just had a bit making fun of tiny houses in a sketch where the toilet and the office were the same space as was the bathtub/shower and TV area.

2015-03-02 00:00:00 Going to the Dogs by Bill Gross of Janus Capital Group

If you were a dog, what kind would you be? I can’t say I’ve thought about it a lot myself, but it is an interesting, possibly introspective question considering the theory that many dog owners pick a breed that looks or perhaps acts like themselves.

2015-03-02 00:00:00 Value Oriented Bond Management by Jerry Paul, Zach Jonson of ICON Advisers, Inc.

Equity investors can be categorized into a broad range of equity strategies, including valuation-based approaches, whereas bond investors generally think in terms of interest rates and duration management. Professional investment managers have been taught that the market is efficient and while this may often be true, we believe there are a number of select areas within the bond market that exhibit less efficient behavior. This paper will discuss these potential inefficiencies and how “value oriented” bond management looks to exploit the inefficiencies. First we need to define “traditi

2015-03-02 00:00:00 Why We Invest in Royalty Companies by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Royalty companies basically serve as specialized financiers that help fund cash-strapped miners’ exploration and production projects. In return, they receive either royalties on whatever the mine produces or what’s known as a “stream,” which is a commitment to an agreed-upon number of ounces of gold or other precious metal per year.

2015-03-02 00:00:00 The Most Important Number No One Is Talking About by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Economists are divided over the reasons behind the slowdown in U.S. productivity growth, but its effects on future economic growth are unquestionably negative.

2015-03-02 00:00:00 States Feel Impact of Oil Price Collapse by Joseph Rosenblum of AllianceBernstein

Crude oil prices have fallen sharply since last summer, a bright spot for American consumers. Major oil-producing states aren’t as happy, because the loss in tax revenue is impacting budgets and economies. Some states will face real hardship; others will emerge relatively unscathed.

2015-03-02 00:00:00 The Return of the Comeback: Is 2015 the Year for International Stocks? by (Article)

Will 2015 finally be the year for international stocks? Year-to-date performance suggests yes, as do proclamations by renowned market experts. But the case is far from clear or settled.

2015-03-02 00:00:00 US Economy: Cooler Than Consensus by Brian Horrigan of Loomis Sayles

The rebound is over, and we can’t just blame the dreadful winter weather. Much recent data have been disappointing. Even though I believe they are not bad enough to be recessionary signals, they do suggest that the recovery going forward may be a bit blander than hoped.

2015-03-02 00:00:00 On My Radar: Equity Valuations, Recessions and Market Declines by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Today let’s take a look at the hard evidence signaling slowdown. My personal view is that slowdown would not be as much of a problem if valuation measures were low. They’re not: by just about every measure the market is overpriced, overbought and over believed. What can you do? I share a simple and disciplined rules based way for you to stay invested in the market’s primary trend.

2015-03-02 00:00:00 What’s Really Driving the Value of the Euro and Yen? by Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

With a majority of developed markets rallying strongly over the last several years, we think the single biggest determinant for investors actually being able to capture those returns has hinged on their ability to manage currency risk.

2015-03-02 00:00:00 Markets Pause While Awaiting Federal Reserve Activity by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities were mixed last week, with the S&P 500 declining -0.2%. The Federal Reserve (Fed) had a busy week, as the nuanced debate continues around when to begin policy normalization. The global policy divergence grabbed headlines, but the focus was mainly on negative yields in Europe and inflows to non-U.S. equities.

2015-03-02 00:00:00 Today’s Floating Rate Loan Market by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

Together the high yield bond and floating rate bank loan market total over $3 trillion.1 This has evolved into a significant, and growing asset class. With high yield bonds and loans now representing about 30% of corporate credit2, this market deserves not only our attention, but we also feel is ripe with opportunity for investors.

2015-03-02 00:00:00 Fed Has Less Patience For ZIRP by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Economic data will have something for everyone this week. The ISM reports (manufacturing and non-manufacturing) will likely be held down by unusually harsh weather and the Port closures. But, autos sales should remain strong and January jobs data are set for a gain close to 250,000.

2015-03-02 00:00:00 Royce Premier Fund: Reviewing 2014 and Positioning for 2015 by (Article)

Portfolio Manager Lauren Romeo talks about the relative performance challenges for Royce Premier Fund and the types of businesses we are emphasizing and avoiding.

2015-03-02 00:00:00 Bill Hench on Consumer and Tech Stocks by (Article)

A bottom-up stock picker, Portfolio Manager Bill Hench is finding compelling valuations in the semiconductor industry. Bill also believes many Consumer Discretionary stocks are poised to benefit from the recent decline in energy prices.

2015-03-02 00:00:00 Why Puerto Rico may now be stuck in “no man’s land” by Municipal Insight Committee of Eaton Vance

Our Municipal Insight Committee examines the island’s significant short- and long-term liquidity challenges, and what they mean to muni bond investors.

2015-03-02 00:00:00 Tracking the Market with Social Media by Blair Jensen of Trade Followers

Over the past week we got several signals from the Twitter stream that a short term top is likely. At the very least we should see a choppy market rather than a strong rally higher.

2015-03-02 00:00:00 Nevis & NASDAQ 5000 by Doug MacKay, Bill Hoover of Broadleaf Partners

Fifteen years ago, the tech-stock heavy, dot-com laden NASDAQ hit 5000, a level it hasn't seen since - until today - March 2nd, 2015. Whether or not it will maintain a closing price above 5000 remains a work in progress, but in all likelihood, we'll get there.

2015-03-02 00:00:00 The Herd Can Be Blind by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Going into 2015 the economic outlook held by the U.S. investment establishment could not have been much more positive, and more unified. Pundits saw all the variables aligning to create the best of all investment worlds, a virtual "no-brainer" of optimism. Many believed that the 5.0% annualized growth in 3rd quarter would stay strong in the 4th Quarter and then usher in a strong 2015, which many believed would be the best economic year since the crash of 2008. The only question that divided most forecasters was how good the year would be.

2015-03-02 00:00:00 Obama Comments on IRA Fiduciary Rules by Andrew Friedman of The Washington Update

Last week the President gave a speech in which he focused on forthcoming Labor Department rules intended to ensure that IRA holders receive investment advice unencumbered by financial advisor conflicts of interest. In conjunction with the President’s speech, the Labor Department will be re-issuing proposed rules addressing the extent to which financial advisors may receive compensation in connection with investments made by IRAs and other retirement accounts they advise. The new proposed rules should be available in the next 60-90 days.

2015-03-02 00:00:00 A Greek Tragedy Averted - for Now by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

While the Tsipras government has bought itself some time, the possibility of a Greek exit from the eurozone remains quite real—as does the risk to global financial markets.

2015-03-01 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Will the Economic News Alter Fed Policy? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

The exact timing of the first Fed rate increase does not matter. There is a difference between tight monetary policy and slightly less accommodative policy. Markets do quite well in the early stages of rising rates, especially when starting from a low initial point. This will be ignored by many who will invoke “Don’t fight the Fed.” This will be the fundamental battleground between traders and investors, bears and bulls, and various political types – perhaps lasting for years. The end of the business or stock market cycle is not imminent. Bull markets do not die of old age.

2015-03-01 00:00:00 Plan to Exit Stocks Within the Next 8 Years? Exit Now by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Unless we observe a rather swift improvement in market internals and a further, material easing in credit spreads – neither which would relieve the present overvaluation of the market, but both which would defer our immediate concerns about downside risk – the present moment likely represents the best opportunity to reduce exposure to stock market risk that investors are likely to encounter in the coming 8 years.

2015-02-28 00:00:00 The Most Important Number No One Is Talking About by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Economists are divided over the reasons behind the slowdown in U.S. productivity growth, but its effects on future economic growth are unquestionably negative.

2015-02-28 00:00:00 The Negative Way to Growth? by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

Monetary policy has become increasingly unconventional in the last six years, with central banks implementing zero-interest-rate policies, quantitative easing, credit easing, forward guidance, and unlimited exchange-rate intervention. But now we have come to the most unconventional policy tool of them all: negative nominal interest rates.

2015-02-28 00:00:00 The Fat Pitch Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

When SPY has risen 3 weeks in a row, it most often rises further for at least one more week. SPY has been up 3 weeks in a row 19 times in the past 4 years. In 17 of those 19 times (89%), it continued up at least one more week. In one of those 19 instances, SPY gave back half its gains before going higher (yellow arrow); and in just one instance, SPY gave back 100% of its gains (red arrow).

2015-02-27 00:00:00 Are Expectations Too High? by Burt White of LPL Financial

The market’s continued ascent has caused some to ask if the stock market reflects excessive optimism. The pace of economic surprises as measured by the Citigroup Economic Surprise Index suggests expectations remain reasonable. We view recent economic disappointments as largely temporary, and would expect the surprise index may reverse recent declines as expectations have come down, providing support for cyclical sectors.

2015-02-27 00:00:00 Lost in Translation: Navigating the Changing Environment for Investment Information by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

In the best of times, it requires effort and expertise to filter through investment information. Since the financial crisis, however, that challenge has gotten even harder.

2015-02-27 00:00:00 Recession is On the Way: Questioning One's Sanity; Beat the Crowd, Panic Now! by Mike "Mish" Shedlock of Sitka Pacific Capital

In 2006-2007 I called for a recession. We got a big one. I called for another one in 2011, as did the ECRI. That recession never happened. 50% is not a very good recession predicting track record except in comparison to consensus economic opinions that have never once in history predicted a recession. Consensus opinion is batting a perfect 0.00%

2015-02-27 00:00:00 Macro View Rate Hike Rally by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The lead-up to the first rate hike by the Federal Reserve is historically a favorable environment for U.S. equities and credit.

2015-02-27 00:00:00 Could Apple Buy a Third of the World’s Gold? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

So what’s Apple’s next trick? How about moving the world’s gold market?

2015-02-27 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The U.S. Housing Industry Continues to Struggle; The "Millennials" Hold the Key to Housing; Is Another Bubble Forming in U.S. Commercial Real Estate?

2015-02-27 00:00:00 Focusing on the Three Ds by Byron Wien of Blackstone

Looking forward several years, there will be three important factors that will determine the economic and investment outlook. They are decoupling, deflation and demand.

2015-02-27 00:00:00 With the Bank of Canada, Is the Canadian Economy in Good Hands? by Ed Devlin of PIMCO

A disorderly decline in energy prices could spill over into consumer and business sentiment, which would worsen any drop in Canada's economic output. More rate cuts this year are likely a part of the Bank of Canada's base case scenario. Investors may be able to improve their returns by buying bonds with high-quality credit spreads, including Canadian bank senior debt and Ontario bonds.

2015-02-27 00:00:00 We're Having "Flation" by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

We decided to look back at the last four years and get a sense of what is happening with prices. And, like so many investment discussions these days, our conclusions are not uniform. In the case of consumer prices, we are having inflation, disinflation depending on which major component of the CPI you watch. Conclusion: just as the broad stock market can have many underlying sub-trends within it, so too can that be the case for consumer prices. “Flation” – it is everywhere and of all three types in today’s consumer world.

2015-02-27 00:00:00 On the Long Bond and Why the Widow Maker is Alive and Well by Team of GaveKal

Perhaps one of the most important questions investors need to answer today is whether we've seen the low in the long bonds yields or whether the trend lower is firmly intact. The recent spike in the 10-year bond yields from 1.65% at the end of January to 2.14% just two weeks later has no doubt complicated the situation. In this piece we'll try to layout one case for lower yields still.

2015-02-27 00:00:00 China’s New Generation of Entrepreneurs II by Beini Zhou of Matthews Asia

China has long been perceived to be a breeding ground for business copycats, and has struggled with rampant intellectual piracy. Many businesses there have indeed been founded based on business models that originated in the U.S. or Europe. But what’s been overlooked in recent years is China’s rising “innovation machine.” More favorable government policies toward R&D have helped. This month, Asia Insight takes a look at developments in China’s grassroots-level entrepreneurship.

2015-02-27 00:00:00 Hasenstab on Global Growth: Headwinds or Tailwinds? by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton

While some forecasters predict gloomy global growth this year, the contrarian-minded Dr. Michael Hasenstab, chief investment officer, Templeton Global Macro Group (formerly known as Templeton Global Bond Group), has a different view. He aims to counter what he sees as “excessive pessimism” surrounding the global economy and outlines why he believes the recent plunge in oil prices could prove a tailwind, not only for economic growth in the United States, but also in Europe. He also offers his scorecard regarding Japan’s monetary policy experiment dubbed “Abenomics.”

2015-02-27 00:00:00 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Today's new release of the publicly available data from the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) puts its Weekly Leading Index (WLI) at 130.6, up slightly from 130.4 the previous week. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at -4.5, down from the previous week's -4.2 but off the interim low of -5.0 in mid-January.

2015-02-27 00:00:00 Rhyming…but not Repeating. by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

Stocks have recovered their January losses and have continued to move higher. While economic growth remains solid and we remain secular bulls, investors should be prepared for increased volatility and the potential for a near-term correction. Also, European stocks may be due for at least a pause and we suggest looking to add exposure to emerging market positions if needed. Staying well diversified and keeping an eye on rebalancing is the recommended strategy.

2015-02-27 00:00:00 Power Surge for Women as Emerging Consumers by Tassos Stassopoulos of AllianceBernstein

What’s the connection between electricity and women? Electricity is an agent of empowerment, able to transform societies and economies in emerging markets. It paves the way to buying home appliances like electric cookers, refrigerators and washing machines, freeing up women from hours of daily housework. In our view, more access to power in developing countries will be a catalyst for more women to join the workforce, leading to huge changes in consumer spending patterns.

2015-02-27 00:00:00 Reconnecting with Energy Stocks by Sharon Fay of AllianceBernstein

Plunging oil prices since mid-2014 have led many equity investors to shun energy stocks. We think that’s a mistake. By studying the aftermath of previous oil shocks, we believe investors can gain insight to prepare for a possible rebound.

2015-02-26 00:00:00 Obama Steps Up by Simon Johnson of Project Syndicate

For the past six years, Barack Obama's administration has, more often than not, sided with the interests of big banks on financial-sector policy. But this week, announcing a new proposal to prevent conflicts of interest in financial advising, Obama seemed to turn an important corner.

2015-02-26 00:00:00 Equity Valuations, Recessions and Stock Market Declines by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

When I initiated the dshort web page in late 2005, one of my routine topics was equity valuations, initially inspired by Nobel laureate Robert Shiller's book, Irrational Exuberance, the second edition of which was published earlier that year. I gradually expanded my focus from his cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratio (CAPE) to include Ed Easterling's Crestmont P/E, Nobel laureate James Tobin's Q Ratio and my own monthly regression analysis of the S&P 500.

2015-02-26 00:00:00 Family-Owned Businesses: One More Reason Not to Neglect Emerging Markets by David Ruff of Forward Investing

At the end of a year in which the U.S. handily led the world’s equity markets, many dividend investors find it hard to rouse any interest in emerging markets at all. “Why even bother?” seems to be the prevailing sentiment.

2015-02-26 00:00:00 Yellen’s Trip to the Hill, a Preview… by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Fed Chair Janet Yellen will testify on monetary policy on Tuesday and Wednesday. These appearances are less traumatic for the financial markets than they used to be. The Fed releases minutes of the policy meetings on a timelier basis and the Fed chair holds press conferences after every other meeting. Hence, it’s unlikely that we’ll see Yellen signal a major change in the policy outlook. Still, the financial markets will pay attention.

2015-02-26 00:00:00 Gathering Thin Reeds? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Many of you know that I spend time gathering “thin reeds” and try to weave them into a favorable “investment bouquet.” This is a strategy Fidelity’s Peter Lynch took to its zenith in an era gone by. Recall the story Peter told about how he stumbled into Magellan Fund’s (FMAGX/$96.12) investment in Hanes, when he first heard his wife rave about a new product called pantyhose.

2015-02-26 00:00:00 Investing in Volatility: Is Asian Volatility Poised to Rise? by David Jubb of Invesco Blog

Volatility is cheap these days. That may sound strange at first. But, the Invesco Multi Asset team views volatility as an investable asset type that can be included in our investment strategy. Why might this make sense? We believe volatility can provide additional diversification and return benefits when combined with our portfolio’s other asset exposures. For example, when volatility is low, markets may benefit. But when it rises, markets can come under pressure.

2015-02-26 00:00:00 Rise in Spanish CDS Outpaces Greece by Team of GaveKal Capital

Unsurprisingly, the cost of insurance against Greek default (as evidenced by 10-year credit default swaps) has risen since the beginning of the year. It is interesting to note, however, that the monthly rate at which Spanish CDS are rising is actually higher, increasing more than 20% according to the most recent data point.

2015-02-26 00:00:00 Monetary Policy Matters by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

This year we expect the divergence in monetary policy among the world’s central banks to be a key theme and a likely driver of asset flows. For now, the scorecard seems to be tilted toward monetary easing since in the first month of 2015 alone, 14 central banks engaged in some form of monetary policy loosening, generally in the form of interest rate cuts or asset purchases.

2015-02-26 00:00:00 Why Does Louis Vuitton Like a Weaker Euro? by Christopher Gannatti of WisdomTree

In an article published January 31, 2013, Bernard Arnault, the chief executive of LVMH, was quoted as saying, “The cloud on the horizon … is the evolution of currencies, [and a strong euro] would have an impact on French exporters and for our group …”

2015-02-26 00:00:00 Viewer Discretion Advised by Dan Walker of Heartland Advisors

Rich valuations for Utility stocks and current low bond yields point to a dim future for the sector.

2015-02-26 00:00:00 Hedge Funds on the Comeback? by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

A few days ago I stumbled across a post from CIO titled Reports Of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated that chronicles the outflows from hedge funds last year and posits whether a comeback might be around the corner but with generally lower fees. The lower fee angle of the article seemed to focus on negotiating a lower fee with the manager. Of course lower fees are available through the various exchange traded products that one way or another replicate the exposure but doing so without the so called ‘2 and 20’ fee structure.

2015-02-26 00:00:00 Rate Hike Rally by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The lead-up to the first rate hike by the Federal Reserve is historically a favorable environment for U.S. equities and credit.

2015-02-25 00:00:00 At a Standstill? - The Debate Over "Secular Stagnation" by Team of Northern Trust

During one particularly stormy day recently, I asked my daughter to unearth herself from the couch and help me clear the snow from the driveway. Unfortunately, the prospective reward of industry was no competition for the television remote, and I was left to fend for myself.

2015-02-25 00:00:00 Putting Declining Sales Estimates In Context by Team of GaveKal Capital

We track analyst estimates in a variety of ways. We look at growth rate expectations over the next four years. We also measure the percent change in the level of USD estimates across various time frames. We also track the difference in growth rates now versus three months ago. Finally, we look at the percent of companies that are experiencing a positive earnings revision over various time frames.

2015-02-25 00:00:00 Complexity, Critical States and Tributaries of Uncertainty by Brooks Ritchey of Franklin Templeton Investments

For long periods of time, the markets can advance relatively smoothly until a sudden onset of chaos occurs, a “tipping point” that quickly changes the picture. Some might say the recent drop in oil would be a case in point. Brooks Ritchey, senior managing director at K2 Advisors, Franklin Templeton Solutions, explores the tipping points that trigger dramatic market turns, and ponders whether he thinks global equities may be teetering on the edge of one today.

2015-02-25 00:00:00 China Levels the Global Playing Field by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein

It’s a powerful vision for the world’s future. The US and China: two growth powerhouses; two major currencies.

2015-02-25 00:00:00 Greece Clears First Hurdle: More to Come by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Early negotiations between Greece and its creditors brought about an extension to the bailout program, but talks could remain contentious. What should investors focus on during this time?

2015-02-25 00:00:00 Lower Lows Still to Come for Silver & Gold by Avi Gilburt of ElliottWaveTrader.net

Yes, I want to be abundantly clear, as some still question my perspective, even though I have reiterated this time and again: I believe metals will see lower lows before this 3+ year correction will end. And, simply because I noted that I was keeping an open mind in January as to the market proving me wrong by completing an impulsive move off the November lows did not change my primary perspective. So, I believe I have been rather consistent and clear that my expectation was and has been that lower lows have yet to be seen to complete this 3+ year correction.

2015-02-25 00:00:00 The Strange World of Negative Interest Rates by Lowell Yura of BMO Global Asset Management

This article examines explanations for negative bond yields. The article argues that central bank policies may be one of the causes. The article also suggests that to make sense of low Treasury yields, investors should be mindful of global yield correlations.

2015-02-25 00:00:00 Equity Valuations, Recessions and Stock Market Declines by Doug Short (Article)

Last week I had a fascinating conversation with Neile Wolfe, of Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC. Based on the underlying data in the adjacent chart, Neile made some cogent observations about the historical relationships between equity valuations, recessions and market prices:

2015-02-24 00:00:00 Gundlach to the Fed: "Dont Raise Rates" by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The Fed should reject its inclination to raise rates, according to Jeffrey Gundlach. It's rare that he agrees with Larry Summers, but in this case the two believe that the fundamentals in the U.S. economy do not justify higher interest rates.

2015-02-24 00:00:00 An In-Depth Look at the Sequoia Fund by Larry Swedroe (Article)

Looking at its 35-year track record, some now consider the Sequoia Fund (SEQUX) an anomaly; it is an actively managed fund that has persistently generated positive risk-adjusted returns, outperforming its peers and its benchmark. Should investors expect this outperformance to persist?

2015-02-24 00:00:00 The Big Threat to Your Reputation by Dan Richards (Article)

Yelp and other "advisor-ratings" sites give a new platform to former clients who bear grudges. Fortunately, you don't have to be a powerless victim. There are some simple, proactive measures that can help you protect your reputation against unfair reviews.

2015-02-24 00:00:00 The Power of Mimicry by Daniel Solin (Article)

You are in a meeting with a prospect. You want to do everything you can to convert that prospect into a client. What actions can you take to maximize the possibility of success?

2015-02-24 00:00:00 A Lesson from Little League by Martin Weil (Article)

I tip my hat to Little League for the courage of their convictions in how they dealt with the transgressions by Chicago's Jackie Robinson West team. I only wish that the same justice might have been meted out to those firms who gamed the system throughout the 1990s and 2000s.

2015-02-24 00:00:00 A Fresh Look at Life Settlements in 2015 by Stephen Terrell (Article)

Rather than let unneeded term policies expire, clients may be able to sell them to a life insurance settlement provider. Life settlements were historically limited to whole-life policies, but new developments offer advisors greater flexibility to access cash for a variety of insurance products.

2015-02-24 00:00:00 How to Tell Your "Story" Effectively by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We have been very successful when we sit down with a prospect to tell our story. However, our newest advisors find this more challenging. Our story is clear to them, but it isn't distinct from what they have heard at other firms. How can we reinforce our story or build a new one incorporating ideas from our staff?

2015-02-24 00:00:00 On My Radar: A $9 Trillion Dollar Crisis by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Here is the main point of today’s OMR: According to the Bank of International Settlements, non-bank borrowers outside the U.S. have borrowed, in dollars, $9 trillion. This is an increase of $4.5 trillion since the financial crisis and it places that $9 trillion on the wrong side of the dollar bet. The dollar debt is an example of how the Fed’s tightening will impact the world economy. This is a pressure cooker and the pot is starting to boil.

2015-02-24 00:00:00 While the World Is Not Flat, Distributions May Be by William De Leon, Courtney Walker of PIMCO

?Investors have long relied on the assumption that asset returns are normally distributed with correlations that are slow to change. Based on our analysis, however, we now have flat distributions and correlations that are much less stable; a fat-tailed event to either the left or the right is as likely to occur as a non-event. Active management that recognizes and adapts to these changes will be essential to seeking strong returns in the future.

2015-02-24 00:00:00 2015 Leadership: An Early Take by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

Last year’s economically defensive winners held their grip on stock market leadership in January. This action is consistent with our view that the bull market is an aged, overvalued one that has begun a final “distribution” process that will eventually erupt into a cyclical bear. Like every other facet of the topping process, though, defensive leadership can persist for an extended period—to the point that it’s ignored when there’s a genuine warning to be heard.

2015-02-24 00:00:00 Municipal bonds in 2015: Time to get back to basics by Municipal Insight Committee of Eaton Vance

In this insight, our Municipal Insight Committee examines why munis remain compelling in 2015 after a year of robust performance.

2015-02-24 00:00:00 U.S. Economy: Will Growth Be Roaring, or Boring? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Here’s a look at key indicators—and what they signal for the pace of U.S. economic activity.

2015-02-24 00:00:00 Finally, At Least One Financial Media Person Gets It by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

I spent the last two weeks on a Caribbean island (as I always say: Timing is everything!). We rented a house and had lots of visitors from “Up North” (my wife will be there a month and during that time we will have had seventeen people staying in the house!).

2015-02-24 00:00:00 Coffee Camaraderie and Lingering Questions by Michael Kayes of Willingdon Wealth Management

America has the opportunity to lead the world economy far into the future. Read on to find out the key drivers and challenges to global leadership.

2015-02-24 00:00:00 Markets Vs Economy - The Great Disconnect by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Last week, the markets hit new "all-time" highs as Greece caved into the demands of the Eurozone, at least for now, in order to secure funding for another four months. The relief that the latest Eurozone crisis has been resolved sent money flowing into equity markets as investors remain "afraid to miss out" on rising asset prices. The general consensus of analysts and economists is that the rise in capital markets is clearly a sign of economic strength which makes equities the "only game in town" as long as Central Banks stand at the fore.

2015-02-24 00:00:00 Debt Be Not Proud by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Some things never change. Here is Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, one of the founding intellectuals of the Austrian school of economics, writing in January 1914, lambasting politicians for their complicity in the corruption of monetary policy.

2015-02-24 00:00:00 Détente with Iran: An Update by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

This report is an update to a similarly titled piece we published in 2013. In this report, we delve further into what appears to be an evolving policy change by the U.S. with Iran, discussing the basic goals of the U.S. and Iran. With this background, we examine America’s alternatives to achieving our aims in the region, followed by a full examination of U.S. difficulties in making a historic policy change with Iran. We discuss the recent policy pattern in the region and how it supports the notion that improving relations with Iran is probably the reason for this pattern.

2015-02-24 00:00:00 Is Gold Risk Free? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

I’ve long argued that there may not be any safe asset anymore and that investors may want to take a diversified approach to something as mundane as cash. But what about gold? When I mentioned in a recent interview that not even gold is ‘risk free,’ it raised some eyebrows in the gold community. Let me elaborate.

2015-02-24 00:00:00 Find Hated, You May Find Wealth by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

As we overhear the chatter of major stock market media outlets and read the best writing on publicly-traded companies, we realize how incredibly popular and exciting most of the companies are which dominate investment news. We like to think of it as a love affair between investors and certain “popular” companies. There are numerous contrarians floating around in the media world as well and they caught our attention recently.

2015-02-24 00:00:00 Steady on the Renminbi by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

As China's exports sag and the risk of deflation grows, many believe that a reversal in currency policy is the most logical course. But intervening to weaken the exchange rate would be a serious mistake.

2015-02-23 00:00:00 Yes, There Will Be Growth in the Spring by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian

Looking past the large upward revision to November 2014 nonfarm payrolls, you might have noticed that the U.S. economy has entered, in the words of the Federal Reserve’s version of Chance, the Gardener, Alan Greenspan, a “soft patch”. In recent months, labor conditions have weakened, manufacturing activity has hit a wall, consumer spending has waned and residential real estate demand has sunk.

2015-02-23 00:00:00 Exploring for High Yield Energy Opportunities Amid Ailing Oil Prices by Scott Roberts of Invesco Blog

Energy is a popular topic of conversation in the high yield bond space, with many observers warning of a wave of defaults to come due to the plunge in oil prices. While there will likely be some defaults in the sector, we believe that the market’s pessimism has been overly broad, and we view energy as a potential source of opportunity in 2015. Having a clear understanding of macro drivers in energy, paired with careful security selection, will be key to successfully navigating this volatile space, in our view.

2015-02-23 00:00:00 When Volatility Rises, So Have Active Management Results by Team of The Royce Funds

For many investors, volatility is often synonymous with risk. We as value investors (and risk managers), on the other hand, have always viewed volatility as a crucial component of active stock selection. In our latest Royce Research piece, we explore the relationship between low- and high-volatility environments and the relative performance of active managers versus their respective benchmarks during these periods. This deep dive is especially important in a market that has recently seen more volatility and its largest correction in almost three years.

2015-02-23 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

SPX has risen two weeks in a row for the first time in 2 1/2 months. For the week, SPX gained 2%, DJIA 1% and RUT 1.5%. The big winner was the previously worrisome laggard, NDX, which gained 3.7%.

2015-02-23 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Help for the Economy from Housing? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

The economic calendar includes much more housing data than we normally see in a single week. With Fed Chair Yellen’s Congressional testimony and the GDP revisions also on tap, I expect many observers to be linking these topics. They will ask:

2015-02-23 00:00:00 US Existing Home Sales Drop To 9-Month Low by Team of GaveKal Capital

US existing home sales fell by 4.9% in January to 4.82 million. This is the lowest level since April of last year.

2015-02-23 00:00:00 Global Reflation Should Allow Equities to Push Higher by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Financial markets reacted well to the provisional Greek bailout extension, but risks for Europe remain elevated. Wages appear to be starting to climb, which would increase pressure on the Fed to begin rate increases this summer. There is a valid bearish case to be made, but we think the positives for equities outweigh the negatives.

2015-02-23 00:00:00 Why the Bond Market Is Yielding Negative and What Negative Yields Mean for You by Vineer Bhansali, Ben Emons of PIMCO

Negative yields on bonds are no longer unicorns. In Switzerland, Germany, Denmark and several other European countries, government bonds are trading at negative nominal yields. There are four potential reasons that can explain the negative yield conundrum and can also illustrate the trade-offs between different investment strategies.

2015-02-23 00:00:00 Strong Dollar: Good, Not Bad by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

In fifteen short days, the bull market will be six years old. And, we’ve never seen such a steep wall of worry. Nouriel Roubini called it a “dead cat bounce.” Many said the recession wouldn’t end until 2010, maybe 2011. Supply-siders said the “Fiscal Cliff” would do us in. Keynesians said “The Spending Sequester” would end the boom.

2015-02-22 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

The dramatic retreat in the price of oil and other commodities has muddied the waters for those trying to assess inflation. The world’s central banks, most of which are charged with meeting an inflation target, are among those struggling to gain adequate visibility.

2015-02-22 00:00:00 Deja You? by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

This picture is the story of many investors’ lives, providing they were investing 20-25 years ago. While younger investors may not be able to “feel” the similarities between today’s investor environment and that of the late 1990s buildup to the Nasdaq Composite hitting the 5000 level, those of us who remember it...

2015-02-22 00:00:00 Mind-Blowing: China Consumes More Gold Than the World Produces by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The Chinese New Year, which kicks off today, is the largest and most widespread cultural event in mainland China, bringing with it massive consumer spending and gift-giving. During this week alone, an estimated 3.6 billion people in the China region travel by road, rail and air in the largest annual human migration.

2015-02-22 00:00:00 Apple’s Halo Masks US Earnings Conundrum by James Tierney, Jr. of AllianceBernstein

Deep into the US earnings season, the halo from Apple’s shining performance has lit up an otherwise lackluster market. This is no consolation for the rest of the companies in the S&P 500. In this type of market, we believe investors need to be especially discriminating.

2015-02-22 00:00:00 Will Interest Rates Defy Expectations Again? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

U.S. interest rates so far this year have not risen above their low levels. While long-term yields are unlikely to spike, we expect U.S. rates (both short- and long-term) to climb over the next 12 months.

2015-02-21 00:00:00 International Equity Commentary: January 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

International equity prices were mostly unchanged during January as gains in both developed and emerging Asian markets were offset by weakness in Canada and select markets in Europe. Investors turned more cautious after the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank lowered their global growth forecasts for the current year, contrary to expectations.

2015-02-21 00:00:00 Global Economic Overview: January 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

Concerns about the sharp fall in capital investments and earnings growth in select sectors resulting from lower oil prices continue to cloud the global economic outlook. While the decline in fuel prices is revitalizing consumer spending across all the major countries, the energy and mining sectors have already started curtailing their capital outlays.

2015-02-21 00:00:00 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary: January 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices outperformed in January on expectations that economic conditions in large Asian countries such as China and India could brighten this year. Fourth quarter GDP growth in China met expectations, helped by higher industrial production and consumer spending.

2015-02-20 00:00:00 Developed Asia Pacific: Economy Trends Update January 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

Japan, the biggest of the developed economies in the region, stands to benefit from cheaper oil as it should boost domestic demand and help some of the country’s key industries reduce costs. Still, the bigger advantage for the country seems to be the re-election of Prime Minister Abe, which has ensured continuity of the fiscal and monetary policies pursued by the government for the last two years.

2015-02-20 00:00:00 Middle East/Africa: Economy Trends Update January 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

This year likely promises mixed prospects for the Middle East and Africa. Among the five economies under our coverage in this region, oil exporters U.A.E. and Qatar are expected to remain under pressure amid the oil price slump. On the other hand, oil-importing South Africa will probably benefit from the downtrend in oil prices as a potential rise in domestic consumption should help the beleaguered economy deal with its various problems.

2015-02-20 00:00:00 High Yield in a Rising Rate Environment: Duration and Yield by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

We began February with a yield on the 10-year Treasury of 1.68% and today sit at 2.14%.1All the concerns and talk of maybe even no rate rise this year that we saw in January, have turned to frequent mention of a rate rise beginning in June. So what are bond investors to do? Is this finally the year of rising rates and what impact does that have?

2015-02-20 00:00:00 A Stable Outlook for US Banks: 6 Factors to Watch by Elizabeth Schroeder of Loomis Sayles

Overall, my outlook for US banks remains stable with some hope for a positive turn later in 2015. The game changer will be the Federal Reserve. Should the Fed begin to take steps towards higher rates this year, bank earnings could improve.

2015-02-20 00:00:00 Forward Estimates, Valuations vs. Returns, Told You So by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

I got into a debate recently with a gentleman who was adamant that current valuation levels in the market did not suggest trouble ahead. The problem is that his valuation argument was based on the use of forward operating earnings estimates. Let me explain why this is a faulty assumption.

2015-02-20 00:00:00 The Case for Global Investing by Team of Litman Gregory

As U.S. stocks have outperformed developed international and emerging-markets stocks in recent years, we’re starting to hear more people question the benefit of investing outside of the United States. This is an important question, and we acknowledge that owning foreign stocks has been an unsatisfying experience over the past couple of years. Moreover, given some of the current economic and geopolitical forces, it can appear likely to continue this way.

2015-02-20 00:00:00 Skeptical, Yes. Cynical, No. by Edward Talisse of Chelsea Global Advisors

A cynic is someone who is negative ahead of the evidence and will who only, if ever, grudgingly admit to reality. Financial markets have always been afflicted by cynical perma-bears and detractors who simply refuse to acknowledge the power of the market’s relentless upward drift in equity prices over the past two centuries. The data is unassailable.

2015-02-20 00:00:00 Global GDP Tracker by John Canally of LPL Financial

The top 25 global economies make up 90% of global gross domestic product (GDP). Through Friday, February 13, 2015, 13 of these economies (including countries and political unions) have already reported Q4 2014 GDP results, including the four largest economies (U.S., Eurozone, China, and India). As this commentary was being prepared for publication, Japan, the world’s fifth-largest economy, released Q4 GDP results.

2015-02-20 00:00:00 Mardi Gras Market by Brian Andrew of Cleary Gull

Geo-political concerns in the Middle East and Ukraine don’t seem to be able to keep the market down, nor do the tepid economic growth numbers coming from Europe and China. Finally, corporate earnings expectations have been moderated significantly for 2015 and that doesn’t seem to matter to stock prices either. Perhaps the explanation is in the sentiment.

2015-02-20 00:00:00 The Glass Ceiling on Rates by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

With the debt-to-GDP ratio at historic highs, the Fed doesn’t have much room to maneuver on the federal funds rate.

2015-02-19 00:00:00 Loan Fund Primer by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Last week the Riksbank (the Swedish central bank) dropped its benchmark interest rate to -0.10 and as of earlier this week Sweden’s ten year sovereign debt was yielding 0.50%. So Sweden is now the latest country to make headlines about extreme central bank policy to stimulate growth.

2015-02-19 00:00:00 Mistakes Must Service a Purpose by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest piece, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, examines some investment mistakes he's made in the past. He details five investments, explaining the rationale behind the purchase, what went wrong, and what he learned.

2015-02-19 00:00:00 Hub Group: A Long-Term Investment Thesis by Jason Downey of Diamond Hill Capital Management, Inc.

In September 2013, we outlined our favorable view of the domestic intermodal transportation industry driven by cost advantages, continued market share growth opportunities, and improving pricing power. At that time, we viewed Hub Group, Inc. (HUB) and Pacer International, Inc. as the most attractive investment opportunities within the industry. During the last seventeen months there have been material developments in each of these areas, some positive and some negative.

2015-02-19 00:00:00 Energy Sector Outlook: What We Are Watching by Burt White of LPL Financial

No sector is getting more attention right now than energy. Market participants are attracted to the potential upside after both oil and the energy sector suffered substantial declines in recent months. Many see the sector as cheap, something that is not easy to find these days in the U.S. equity market. We drive by gas stations every day where we see prices have been cut in half, serving as a constant reminder of how cheap oil is. In this commentary, we discuss what we are watching to assess the opportunity in energy.

2015-02-19 00:00:00 2015 Annual Forecast by Clyde Kendzierski of Financial Solutions Group

It’s already February, but for many readers this is the first communication of 2015 so, Happy New Year! It’s been a great 6 weeks so far and we’re looking forward to many more to come. Let’s get into it…

2015-02-19 00:00:00 ??Why Does the Internet of Things Matter? by Vladimir Cara, Iain McNaught, Ji Young Park of PIMCO

The opportunity to gather, process and use data more effectively is potentially worth several trillion dollars across multiple industries over the next decade. We expect most industries to adopt some form of this technology, with network effects and competitive dynamics leading to almost ubiquitous adoption beyond the current decade.

2015-02-19 00:00:00 Great Expectations for Small-Cap Active Management by Chuck Royce, Chris Clark, and Francis Gannon of The Royce Funds

Widening credit spreads, increasing volatility, and decreasing stock correlation should allow stock pickers the chance to emerge as performance leaders. We continue to see good times ahead for active managers who focus on business fundamentals.

2015-02-19 00:00:00 February 2015 Economic Update by John Richards of Bronfman E.L. Rothschild

Consumers in the U.S. are showing their optimism by pushing a key consumer sentiment indicator to its highest level in over a decade. Despite a drop-off in Q4 GDP to a 2.6% annualized growth rate and three consecutive months of slowing manufacturing expansion, the U.S. economy still seems to be on strong footing.

2015-02-19 00:00:00 Liquid Endowment Portfolios by (Article)

In this video for The PMC Spotlight, Michael Featherman, Director of Portfolio Strategies, discusses how the "endowment" portfolio framework addresses the headwinds recently faced by conventional sources of diversification.

2015-02-19 00:00:00 Brighter Days Ahead for the Global Economy? by Team of Thomas White International

After seven years of uneven growth trends following the 2008 financial crisis, we believe the global economy is likely to see a moderate acceleration in 2015. While several risks remain, we are reasonably confident that there are now enough growth drivers in place to help most major economies advance.

2015-02-19 00:00:00 Global Economic Overview: December 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

After the initial optimism about lower energy prices supporting a healthier global economic growth outlook, investors and analysts have become more apprehensive as the price decline has been remarkably steep.

2015-02-19 00:00:00 International Equity Commentary: December 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

International equity prices corrected during the month as fears about the negative economic and political fallout of the steep drop in oil prices on energy producing countries unnerved investors. Brent crude oil prices fell to a six-year low during the month, a decline of more than 50 percent in four months.

2015-02-19 00:00:00 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary: December 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices corrected during the month on concerns that the steep fall in crude oil prices could hurt the outlook for select countries.

2015-02-19 00:00:00 Emerging Europe: Economy Trends Update -- January 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging European economies witnessed renewed volatility as the New Year unfolded. Russia, the largest of the economies covered in this review, appeared particularly vulnerable as President Putin has not yielded his stance on Ukraine despite the damage inflicted to his country by the Western sanctions and plunging oil prices.

2015-02-19 00:00:00 Global dividends reach new record in 2014 by Alex Crooke (Article)

Alex Crooke reviews the latest Henderson Global Dividend Study (HGDS) findings where he notes global dividends reached a new record in 2014, with the United States leading the charge. Global dividends soared 10.5% to $1.167 trillion in 2014, a new record. Underlying growth was still robust at 8.8%, even with generous special dividends, exchange rate movements and other factors stripped out. The HGDS value reached 159.9 at the end of 2014, meaning that dividends have grown almost 60% in just five years.

2015-02-18 00:00:00 On My Radar: Schumpeter’s Creative Destruction by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

This week let’s take a look at debt around the globe. I share a great piece from McKinsey & Company that shows just how much more debt, county by country, has been piled on since the 2007 debt induced financial crisis. Evidence is apparent in the commodity market and I also share a few ideas how you may risk manage those allocations.

2015-02-18 00:00:00 The Most Successful Public Company In The World by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today we focus on the most successful and profitable company in the entire world. It just happens to be an American company, but many of us have never heard of it. If you had invested $1 in this company in 1968, your investment would have soared to $6,638 at the end of last year. I think you’ll be surprised to see which company this is.

2015-02-18 00:00:00 Student Debt: Grading the Threat by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Could widespread defaults on the $1.2 trillion in U.S. student debt cripple the economy? Not likely.

2015-02-18 00:00:00 A World of Uncertainty by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

After spending over 32 years working in and around the financial services industry, I have come to a realization about one of the most important attributes for investors.

2015-02-18 00:00:00 Global Carry Game Over? by Alexander Giryavets of Dynamika Capital L.L.C.

The world has changed on the 2nd of February after US Personal Income and Outlays report or maybe more importantly ISM Manufacturing Index report got released. The Global Carry trade and Dollar trade got broken and have been broken since. Is it a passing correction or the time is up and the game is over?

2015-02-18 00:00:00 Winter of Discontent or Winding the Spring? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Retail sales figures disappointed in December and January. The Bloomberg/University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index fell back in mid-February. This news has cast some doubt about whether the drop in gasoline prices will propel consumer spending growth in the near term. However, economic data are notoriously unreliable in the winter months. The spring economic data reports should provide a better picture of the underlying strength in jobs, consumer spending, and housing.

2015-02-18 00:00:00 Can Trees Really Grow to the Sky? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

I stopped my rental car in the middle of a cluster of giant sequoia trees while driving to one of my speaking engagements in northern California last week. I have always been overwhelmed with these beautiful “beasts” and last week was no exception. As I lay supine at the base of the behemoth the visual fallacy actually made it look like this monster was indeed growing to the sky. The surreal sensation brought to mind the old stock market axiom, “Trees don’t grow to the sky!”

2015-02-18 00:00:00 Africa Could Mine Its Way to Prosperity if It Addressed Instability by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Last week I attended the Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa, as both a presenter and a student seeking opportunities. One of the highlights of the conference was former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s keynote address, during which he offered some crucial advice to African governments: To attract and foster a robust mining sector, a commitment to fiscal stability must be made.

2015-02-18 00:00:00 Demystifying - and Defeating - Deflation by Donald Taylor of Franklin Templeton Investments

Consumers who have been raised to fear inflation may find it hard to understand why falling prices could ever be negative. Like many things in life, however, too much of a seemingly good thing sometimes can spell trouble. Donald Taylor, president and chief investment officer, Franklin Equity Group®, US Value, explains why, much like a football or basketball, an economy grappling with deflation is not in its optimal condition.

2015-02-18 00:00:00 Euro-Area Growth: Reasons to be Cheerful by Darren Williams of AllianceBernstein

There are good reasons to be concerned about the medium-term outlook for euro-area growth. But that doesn’t mean the business cycle is dead. We think the conditions for a cyclical rebound in regional growth are currently better than they’ve been at any time since the global financial crisis.

2015-02-17 00:00:00 Why We’re Cautious on Credit by Rob Waldner of Invesco Blog

In the current environment of rising global volatility and potentially weak US corporate earnings growth, Invesco Fixed Income is cautious on US and European credit. While European investment grade credit may be supported by the European Central Bank’s (ECB) program of quantitative easing (QE), we believe US investment grade would likely underperform US Treasuries in the current environment, although we would expect it to perform better than riskier assets.

2015-02-17 00:00:00 Gary Shilling - Why You Should Own Bonds by Robert Huebscher (Article)

If you followed Gary Shilling's advice for the last 30 years, you would be very wealthy. Since 1981, Shilling has consistently advocated owning long-dated Treasury securities. In a talk last week, he reiterated that advice as one piece of his three-part asset-allocation strategy for the coming year.

2015-02-17 00:00:00 Search for Strength: EM Downturn Puts Focus on Fundamentals by Sponsored Content by Invesco (Article)

  • Corporate earnings deterioration and a decline in return on capital have held back emerging market performance.
  • Reversing weak performance depends on a return to stronger corporate earnings.
  • Downside risks could lead to disappointing earnings growth, but positive fundamentals are unfolding.

2015-02-17 00:00:00 Robo-Advisors Are Not New But They Foretell the Future of Financial Advice by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

So-called robo-advisors have been heralded as the next generation of technology that will transform the financial advice industry. Underneath the considerable debate that has emerged over their potential impact, an obvious fact has been overlooked: Much of what they offer is distinctively "old school."

2015-02-17 00:00:00 The Devastation Awaiting Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities by Keith Jurow (Article)

Real estate investment euphoria is widespread. An asset class for which Wall Street has provided little useful information - residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) - is especially vulnerable if this euphoria is misplaced.

2015-02-17 00:00:00 The Question that Quadrupled Response Rates by Dan Richards (Article)

Last week, my article described how an advisor uses case studies on tax saving strategies to get in front of prospects. Today, I will discuss the tactic that quadrupled participation in a Red Cross blood drive, and how this technique could increase your success when talking to existing and prospective clients.

2015-02-17 00:00:00 How to Open a Closed Mind by Daniel Solin (Article)

Every advisor knows that sinking feeling that arises when a prospect raises serious objections and a meeting heads downhill. Here's how you can open what appears to be a closed mind.

2015-02-17 00:00:00 Steering Clear of Bad Blood in the Office by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Two of our advisors openly dislike each other. Is there a graceful way to steer clear of this whole situation?

2015-02-17 00:00:00 Repression, Compression, Expression by Rick Chan of PIMCO

Cumulative financial repression has led to compressed and recently highly correlated yields in most developed countries, while markets have been volatile as investors react and adjust to the new environment. Recent short-term spikes in volatility belie likely damped volatility at these low rates over time, suggesting a potentially attractive opportunity to sell longer-term volatility at current premiums.

2015-02-17 00:00:00 Is Modern Portfolio Theory Dead? by Vern Sumnicht of iSectors

A response to an article titled, “Modern Portfolio Theory is Dead.” The point is to simply ask which of the principles of Modern Portfolio Theory are no longer true. I think it’s more than obvious that these sound principles of investing that have been with us for more than 50 years will be here 50 years from now.

2015-02-17 00:00:00 Wide Disparity in 2014 Stock Returns Shows the Importance of Diversification by Team of Bronfman E.L. Rothschild

With another calendar year in the books, investors can look back to 2014 and see the vast disparity between asset classes, with the U.S. markets leading the way for a second consecutive year. Why not just invest in the S&P 500 Index? The answer is that we don’t know which asset class will be the top performer from year to year. Looking back on the past 15 years, the U.S. has only led three times, with all three coming since 2011, hence the reason for the initial question.

2015-02-17 00:00:00 Tracking the Market with Social Media by Blair Jensen of Trade Followers

As the S&P 500 Index (SPX) made a new closing high this week momentum and sentiment from both Twitter and StockTwits confirmed the move by making a print above their prior peaks. 7 Day momentum from Twitter also has a higher low which indicates a new uptrend is most likely under way.

2015-02-17 00:00:00 European Forecast: Clouds Lifting by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

We understand the general public’s concern with regard to Europe. Just when you get your hands around a cease fire in Ukraine, the “Greexit” hits the newsstands with hardline headlines. If this Greek drama ever ends - which is unlikely as we noted two weeks ago detailing Greece’s restructuring –-rescheduling or outright default on debt occurs over 45% of the time since 1800, one still has to deal with the constant threat of a deepening recession.

2015-02-17 00:00:00 Extreme Overvaluation and the Inventory Problem by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Current equity markets are no place for long-term investors, and even a resumption of risk-seeking investor preferences would demand a considerable safety net.

2015-02-17 00:00:00 Shut off the Noise, Hear the Risks by Gibson Smith of Janus Capital Group

Janus Fixed Income CIO Gibson Smith believes volatility in the fixed income market may represent a greater risk than a sustained increase in rates.

2015-02-17 00:00:00 Keynesian Contrarianism: Where is the Minority Today? by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

To get a good feel for where the largest pools of money are invested around the world and to identify the minority, we draw from the NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments in North America. This year’s survey included $516 billion in investable assets. The results for the fiscal year ended June 30th of 2014 are listed below. Pay particular attention to the largest endowments, because we believe they represent the asset allocation of the largest worldwide institutions.

2015-02-17 00:00:00 Why Equities Should Be in Your Portfolio by (Article)

What kind of total return could the market produce this year? Portfolio Manager Charlie Dreifus believes owning a portfolio of high-quality companies looks more attractive than the alternatives.

2015-02-17 00:00:00 Learn About CEFs by (Article)

Learning more about closed-end funds may help financial advisors be even more successful with clients, says Anne Kritzmire of Nuveen Investments and CEFA.

2015-02-17 00:00:00 EM Sector Featuring Ryan Paylor by (Article)

The emerging market sector, especially Latin America, presents potential opportunity to CEF investors, says Ryan Paylor, of Thomas J. Herzfeld Advisors.

2015-02-17 00:00:00 High Yield Bond CEFs Featuring John Cole Scott by (Article)

High yield bond closed-end funds may be “overdone” by investors, says John Cole Scott of CEF Advisors.

2015-02-17 00:00:00 What Does the Current Low Interest Rate Environment Mean for Agency MBS? by Mike Cudzil, Daniel Hyman of PIMCO

After the agency MBS market in 2014 was dominated by low volatility, limited prepayment risk and strong performance, the strong rally in U.S. Treasuries in January resulted in just the opposite. With the Fed ending net purchases of MBS in October 2014, it seems unlikely for the private investment community to take the Fed’s place in the MBS market at this level of interest rates and spreads. PIMCO expects the environment for MBS in 2015 to be quite the opposite of 2014, resulting in higher volatility, cheaper valuations and more attractive excess return opportunities for the active manager.

2015-02-17 00:00:00 Investor Sentiment Is Strengthening by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished higher for a second straight week, with the S&P 500 Index gaining 2.1% as it ended the week at a record high.1 Investors largely shrugged off disappointing retail sales figures and chose to focus on the positives.

2015-02-17 00:00:00 QE and Currency Wars: A Theory With No Evidence by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Some analysts think that central bank policy (specifically, quantitative easing) is the only thing that matters. They overlook innovation, investment, and just plain old hard work and argue that stock prices, interest rates and economic performance are driven by central bank stimulus. These analysts say the world has returned to a Depression-era game of competitive devaluation (some call it “currency wars”).

2015-02-17 00:00:00 U.S. Dollar Strength Continues to Impact U.S. Multinationals by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

S&P 500 Index has traded inversely to the currency moves over recent years, and it has become increasingly negatively negatively correlated. One reason, we believe, is that a growing share of revenue and profits for U.S. corporations comes from overseas—and that share seems likely to increase with the globalization of the economy.

2015-02-17 00:00:00 Is That Leveraged ETF Worth It? Comparing SSO and VOO by Team of GaveKal Capital

As ETFs control a larger number of assets under management, it is no surprise that the options available to investors are getting ever more exotic. One of the early examples (and thus we actually have history available) of exotic ETFs are leveraged ETFs. Leveraged ETFs attempt to to mimic the daily change in an index, in today's case the S&P 500, by a defined multiple (i.e. 2x, 3x, etc). Today, we will look at one of the more highly used leveraged ETF: Proshares Ultra S&P 500 (ticker: SSO).

2015-02-15 00:00:00 Self-Sustaining US Economy…So What Now? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

The US economy appears to be in a self-sustaining phase of the expansion, which could mean more volatility as the Fed embarks on a tightening cycle. We remain confident the secular bull market is intact, but volatility has risen and we suggest investors who are over-exposed to US equities consider global diversification, with a preference for emerging markets. Europe appears to be stealthily improving, but Greece remains a flash point and Eurozone equity markets may have gotten ahead of themselves a bit.

2015-02-15 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Will Energy Stocks Support the Market Breakout? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

I do not know whether we have reached a bottom in energy prices, but I have identified two important themes.

2015-02-15 00:00:00 Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Pension Fund Managers by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

We do not have to look to Greece to find massively underfunded obligations. Here in the US we can find hundreds of examples, willingly created by politicians and businessmen who proclaim they are working for the public good. We call them pension funds, but they’re just another form of unfunded debt. A sovereign bond is a promise to pay a certain amount of money over time.

2015-02-14 00:00:00 The Fat Pitch Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

So there are a number of positives that suggest indices will continue broadly higher. But there a few other considerations that are potentially negative.

2015-02-14 00:00:00 The Daily X-Change - 3 Things - Uncomfortable Facts, 25-54 Employment, Houston RE by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

While the media and mainstream analysts discount the negative economic impact of falling energy costs, I have personally witnessed it in the mid-80's, the late 90's and just prior to 2008. In all cases, the negative outcomes were far worse than predicted which left economists scratching their heads as to what went wrong with their models. Of course, considering the BLS only saw a loss of 1900 manufacturing (oil and gas) jobs in January when there were 26,000 layoffs may explain part of the problem.

2015-02-14 00:00:00 Alternate Current: The Power of Diverse Return Sources by Christine Johnson of AllianceBernstein

After a long period of calm, global markets now face tumbling oil prices, geopolitical risks and monetary policy changes. Investors looking for new ways to diversify in this uncertain environment should take a long look at investments that don’t take their cues from stock or bond market movements.

2015-02-14 00:00:00 When Patience Disappears by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Advance notice of the timing of a rate hike by the Federal Reserve may hinge on the removal of just one word, warns St. Louis Fed President Bullard.

2015-02-14 00:00:00 Bonding with Diversification by Rick Rieder of BlackRock

With the fixed income landscape poised for a makeover, Rick Rieder discusses the importance of diversification.

2015-02-14 00:00:00 Anatomy of a Down Market by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

As with all professional investors, we have an opinion about where the market is going, over the next few months and years, and even longer. Such forecasts do not contribute meaningfully to the investment decisions we make at Sungarden. Rather, our investment committee tries to focus on what is right in front of us. Instead of investing for a specific outcome, we gauge the possibilities, evaluate the tradeoff between reward and risk, and plan for anything.

2015-02-14 00:00:00 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Today's new release of the publicly available data from the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) puts its Weekly Leading Index (WLI) at 130.0, down from 130.8 the previous week. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at -4.3, down slightly from the previous week's -4.0, but up from the interim low of -5.0 in mid-January.

2015-02-13 00:00:00 DC Managed Accounts: Shining a Spotlight on Investment Advice by Steve Ferber, Michael Esselman of PIMCO

?Nearly one in three defined contribution (DC) plans offers managed account and automated advice services that attempt to enhance investment outcomes with personalized advice. As the Government Accountability Office has reported, however, plan sponsors often have had limited or insufficient information to evaluate and monitor automated advice engines, despite having fiduciary responsibility over advice provided to participants.

2015-02-13 00:00:00 47% of the MSCI World Index Is In A Correction (At Least) by Team of GaveKal Capital

Regular readers know we like to slice the market internal data in a many different ways because a lot of the time the cap-weighted indices aren't a proper representation of what is going on with the majority of stocks. With this in mind, one of the ways we like to measure what is going on underneath the surface is to take a percentage of stocks that are trading at levels less than 10% off its 200-day high, 10-20% off its 200-day high, 20-30% off its 200-day high and greater than 30% off its 200-day high.

2015-02-13 00:00:00 Global Airline Stocks Soaring, and Not Just Because of Low Oil Prices by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The airline industry is notoriously competitive. There’s even an old joke: If you want to make a million dollars in the airline business, you need to start with two million.

2015-02-13 00:00:00 One Cheer for India: Hip, Hip but no Hooray? by Sudarshan Murthy of Matthews Asia

There has been a sense of optimism lately over India’s place in the world, and its markets demonstrated some enthusiasm over the seemingly good chemistry between U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But should investors beware of chasing price momentum?

2015-02-13 00:00:00 January Jobs Data - Good, but Slack Remains by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Contrary to what you may have heard, the U.S. economy did not add 257,000 jobs in January. That’s the seasonally adjusted figure. We actually lost 2.755 million jobs, which was a smaller decline than the year before (-2.811 million).

2015-02-13 00:00:00 From Russia with Love? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

The big news late last week was German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s and French President Francois Hollande’s emergency trip to Russia for peace talks with President Putin. Obviously, the situation in the Ukraine is heating up again or such Herculean efforts would not be undertaken.

2015-02-13 00:00:00 Three Surveys Show US Consumers Feeling Friskier by Brian Horrigan of Loomis Sayles

US consumers are feeling friskier according to recent data. Consumers appear to have, at long last, shaken off the “blues” they suffered on account of the severe recession of 2007-2009 and the subsequent slow recovery. I don’t think we can attribute the improved consumer outlook to any one factor, but rather from a combination of factors: over a year of solid payroll growth, improving wage gains, a plunge in gasoline prices, rising stock and house prices, and low interest rates.

2015-02-13 00:00:00 The dshort Economic Calendar, Miami Style by Doug Short (Article)

Note from dshort: I'm in semi-vacation mode in southern Florida for the next few days. My routine updates on economic indicators will be posted on a somewhat delayed basis.

Today we spent Friday on a touring the Fairchild Topical Gardens a few miles south of Miami, 83 acres of amazing rare tropical plants including palms, cycads, flowering trees and vines. The gardens are all the more spectacular with the current exhibition of works by American artist Dale Chihuly.

2015-02-12 00:00:00 President Obama's tax proposal: What equity investors need to know by Michael Allison of Eaton Vance

In this insight, Michael examines the potential for higher tax rates on long-term gains and dividends and makes the case for taking a tax-managed approach to equity investing.

2015-02-12 00:00:00 Europe: The Road to Recovery? by John Canally of LPL Financial

Although it is too soon to gauge the effectiveness of QE in the Eurozone, key readings and data are beginning to show improvement, and consensus expectations are for continued growth in 2015. However, Market participants looking for an immediate and sustained response by the Eurozone economy to QE may be disappointed. The renewed political and fiscal uncertainty in Greece will be watched closely by market participants in the coming weeks and months.

2015-02-12 00:00:00 Rising Interest Rates & Long Term Stock Returns by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

With the Federal Reserve now indicating that they are "really serious" about raising interest rates, there have come numerous articles and analysis discussing the impact on asset prices.

2015-02-12 00:00:00 On My Radar: Go Ahead Angela, Make My Day by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

I spend a great deal of time writing about valuations, probable future returns (near record lows today), portfolio construction and risk management. Reflecting on four days of non-stop sessions, media interviews and meetings at the Inside ETFs Annual Conference this past week, I thought I’d share several key takeaways with you.

2015-02-12 00:00:00 Is Skill Dead? by Neil Constable, Matt Kadnar of GMO

As investment boards and committees gather to discuss performance for 2014, eyebrows will most certainly be raised as people review the performance of many of their equity managers. Depending on which database they are looking at, between 80% and 90% of active U.S. equity managers will have underperformed their benchmark this year, making it one of the worst years for active management in the recent past.

2015-02-12 00:00:00 Sector Insights: Technology by Steve Jue of Rainier Investment Management

With cloud computing, mobile Internet, the “Internet of Things” and next-generation security, recent trends in technology are driving innovation and are creating attractive opportunities for investors.

2015-02-12 00:00:00 Scott Mather Discusses PIMCO’s Total Return Strategy by Scott Mather of PIMCO

Bonds have continued to rally so far this year, even as the Federal Reserve contemplates raising interest rates. In the following interview, Scott Mather, CIO U.S. Core Strategies, discusses recent developments in the bond markets, the outlook for the year ahead and the investment implications for PIMCO’s Total Return Strategy. Mather co-manages the strategy with Mark Kiesel, CIO Global Credit, and Mihir Worah, CIO Real Return and Asset Allocation.

2015-02-12 00:00:00 Alpha Generation for Active Managers by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

As we discussed in our recent blog (see “The Opportunity in Volatility”), we are currently seeing a lot of attractive opportunities in the high yield market—discounts and yields that we haven’t seen in some time. And while we have seen the yields in the high yield indexes and the products that track them increase over the last six months, they don’t really seem to reflect the true opportunity we are seeing in the market.

2015-02-11 00:00:00 Will China’s Year of the Goat Bring Out the Market Bulls? by Eddie Chow of Franklin Templeton Investments

According to the Chinese calendar, 2015 is the Year of the Goat (or sheep), creatures that are typically peaceful in nature but can also be stubborn, while exhibiting herd-like behavior. I’ve invited my colleague Eddie Chow, senior executive vice president and managing director, Templeton Emerging Markets Group, to share his perspective on some key themes our team is watching in 2015 for China, and whether we think market bulls, bears or goats can be friends this year.

2015-02-11 00:00:00 Earnings Season Highlights and Lowlights by Burt White of LPL Financial

In this commentary we look at some of the highlights and lowlights of fourth quarter earnings season. Despite the massive drag from the energy sector and the negative impact of a strong U.S. dollar, fourth quarter 2014 earnings are on track to exceed prior estimates. We maintain our 5?-?10% earnings growth forecast for 2015* and believe cheaper energy costs will help us get there.

2015-02-11 00:00:00 Deflation Is Spreading In Europe - Is America Next? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

US consumer prices fell in December by the largest amount in six years, reflecting another big monthly decline in gas prices and providing further evidence of falling inflation pressures. The Labor Department said Friday that its Consumer Price Index dropped 0.4% in December, the largest one-month drop since December 2008. It was also the second straight monthly decline in prices with both months reflecting big decreases in gasoline prices.

2015-02-11 00:00:00 The Bond Market in 2015: Mind the (Price) Gaps by Kathleen Gaffney of Eaton Vance

In this insight, Kathleen reviews her outlook for the bond market and explains how a multi sector bond approach could turn rate hike volatility into opportunity for patient investors.

2015-02-11 00:00:00 Repression Investing: Got Gold? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Gone are the ZIRP days – the ‘Zero Interest Rate Policy’ is being replaced by negative interest rates in various countries. ZIRP is a form of financial repression, where savers earn less than the inflation rate to discourage saving. Pundits suggest the U.S. has chosen a different course, as ‘liftoff’ may soon take U.S. rates higher. We’ll try to separate reality from fiction, discussing investment implications for the U.S. dollar and gold.

2015-02-11 00:00:00 Did the 2014 Volatility Create a 2015 Opportunity? The Outlook for High Yield by Chad Gunther of Ivy Investment Management Company

The tumbling oil market put junk bond prices On a slippery slope in late 2014. Total returns on high-yield bond indexes tracked by Barclays fell into negative territory in mid-December for the first time since 2011, as investor fear about downside risk associated with energy-related junk bonds spilled over into the rest of the high-yield market. While the slide in high-yield valuations may have disappointed some investors, Ivy High Income Portfolio Manager Chad Gunther believes it created some potentially attractive opportunities in the high-yield credit market. Below he shares his views.

2015-02-11 00:00:00 Investing Lessons from the Super Bowl by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Super Bowl losing teams are usually quickly forgotten—consigned, as the expression goes, to history’s dustbin. In fact, some NFL historians and coaches have said that the losers of the semi-finals (conference title game) have often received more long-term recognition than the Super Bowl losers, for the simple reason they may have played the Super Bowl winner much tougher in the earlier round.

2015-02-11 00:00:00 Positive Economic Surprises in Europe, Negative in the U.S. by Team of GaveKal Capital

The Citi Economic Surprise index is a quick way to get a high-level look at the condition of economic data around the world. Calculated as a diffusion index, values generally range between 100 and -100 for the overall index, which is currently right in the middle of that range.

2015-02-11 00:00:00 China Just Crossed a Landmark Threshold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Back in July 2013, the think tank Heritage Foundation predicted that China’s outbound investment “could very well exceed $80 billion [by the end of the year] and is on course to breach $100 billion by about 2016.”

2015-02-11 00:00:00 The Sectors Now on Shaky Ground by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Bond yields surged last week, putting some dividend-rich stocks (utilities, REITs) in a very vulnerable position. Could this be the end of their rally?

2015-02-11 00:00:00 Don’t Count High Yield Out in 2015 by Gershon Distenfeld of AllianceBernstein

Fears about higher US interest rates, rising defaults and a multi-month decline in the price of oil have injected a dose of high anxiety into the high-yield market. But we still think investors will be better off this year if they stand their ground and stay invested.

2015-02-10 00:00:00 Harold Evensky - Nine Key Communication Points by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Advisors should put their mouths where their money is, according to Harold Evensky. Educating and preparing clients for what advisors will ultimately deliver must be a core principle of every practice. In a recent presentation, Evensky described nine key ways that advisors should interact with clients, the media and their peers.

2015-02-10 00:00:00 An In-Depth Look at the Tweedy Browne Value Fund by Larry Swedroe (Article)

Tweedy Browne has long been one of the most respected and iconic names in the mutual fund industry. But, over the long term, has the firm's flagship fund outperformed a passive benchmark?

2015-02-10 00:00:00 Mohamed El-Erian: Beware the Bubble in Liquidity by Robert Huebscher (Article)

In 2000, it was technology stocks. In 2007, it was real-estate prices. Among today's overvalued asset classes, which one will crash most spectacularly when the bubble bursts? Mohamed El-Erian, the chief economic advisor at Allianz, thinks he knows the answer.

2015-02-10 00:00:00 Curiosity-free Research by Michael Edesess (Article)

You come across an article that won the Financial Analyst Journal's award for best paper of 2013. You tracked it down from something you saw recently in The Economist. It is written by two Yale professors and two researchers at investment management firms - a good mix of academics and practitioners. Is it safe to assume that it provides reliable information about how to invest one's savings?

2015-02-10 00:00:00 Getting Prospects to Meet by Dan Richards (Article)

While prospective clients are pressed for time, the core issue is that many advisors fail to convey a big enough payoff when asking for the time to meet. After all, everyone can find 45 minutes if they really want to. So, how can you create urgency around your request?

2015-02-10 00:00:00 How to Generate More "Warm" Referrals by Daniel Solin (Article)

For many advisors, the issue isn't converting prospects into clients, but rather generating more leads. A recent article offered some helpful suggestions on how even small advisory firms can generate a flood of new prospects.

2015-02-10 00:00:00 Freeing Up Time for Growth Activities by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We devote most of our time to client communications and portfolio changes. These are the activities that fuel business, so I am reluctant to spend less time doing them. My preference would be to provide the same level of investment and client service but to find time to grow as well. Do you any tips for me?

2015-02-10 00:00:00 Why Building Trust is the Top Priority in 2015 by Robin Powell (Article)

I have long advocated using high-quality, engaging content to build trust and attract and retain more clients. Your content reflects - or should reflect - you and your values and it has to take center stage in your firm's marketing strategy.

2015-02-10 00:00:00 Questions Remain After Blowout Employment Report by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

I like to think of myself as a pretty simple guy. I don't like complexity or complications, but most importantly I like things to make sense. The latest employment report, which showed a surge in employment in recent months, left me with more questions than answers.

2015-02-10 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Time for “Risk On?” by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

With a modest schedule of data releases, we can expect more analysis of last week’s news. Trading in several markets changed course rather abruptly. With traders poised to spot any change in trend, the question will be whether this shift is for real.

2015-02-10 00:00:00 Greece Dependency Has Created Dangerous Illusions by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Once again the crisis in Greece is threatening the unity of the entire euro zone. Many analysts are asking what must be done to restore viability to the Union's weakest link. Lost in this discussion is that modern Greece, formed in 1830, has never really been required to stand on its own. Generations of support from abroad, typically given for strategic reasons, has created a false sense of prosperity in the country and has prevented the Greeks from accepting the realities of their current situation.

2015-02-10 00:00:00 Greek Games by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

After the Syriza party won 149 of the 300 seats in the Jan. 24th Greek elections, European markets have been roiled by worries over another crisis developing. In this report, we use game theory to describe the situation between Greece and the EU/Germany/ECB. This method shows how misunderstandings can develop and how catastrophic mistakes are made. Using this structure, we will outline the positions and perceptions of both sides and describe how this situation could lead to another crisis. As always, we will finish with market ramifications.

2015-02-10 00:00:00 Currencies: What to Watch for after the Swiss Surprise by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Switzerland’s decision to scrap the franc-euro peg has grabbed the headlines, but the bigger story remains the continued dominance of the U.S. dollar.

2015-02-10 00:00:00 Recession Probability Models - February 2015 by Ted Kavadas of StratX, LLC

There are a variety of economic models that are supposed to predict the probabilities of recession.

2015-02-10 00:00:00 Evensky & Katz Newsletter by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz

Harold Evensky presents his quarterly newsletter.

2015-02-10 00:00:00 Riding An Aging Bull (Market) by Rick Vollaro of Pinnacle Advisory Group

The year has begun in roller coaster fashion, and our team has been busy reading and digesting the many 2015 outlooks that come across our desks. But reading is the easy part, and now it’s our turn to distill the many facets of our process into a workable thesis that allows us to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns in this maturing market cycle.

2015-02-10 00:00:00 An Accidental Currency War? by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

Six and a half years after the global financial crisis, central banks in emerging and developed economies alike are continuing to pursue unprecedentedly activist – and unpredictable – monetary policy. How much road remains in this extraordinary journey?

2015-02-09 00:00:00 Surprises in 2014 and Expectations for 2015 by (Article)

Portfolio Manager and Principal Charlie Dreifus talks about the global slowdown in 2014 and its effects on interest rates in the U.S. and abroad, how data points for the U.S. economy and quantitative easing in the eurozone will play a big role in shaping the investment landscape in 2015, and how - with interest rates so low - wage inflation could have a positive impact on the markets.

2015-02-09 00:00:00 Outlook and Positioning by Alex Crooke (Article)

Alex Crooke, Head of Global Equity Income, provides a review of the Henderson Global Equity Income Fund's (HFQAX) recent performance and current positioning as well as providing an update on recent events in Europe. Alex notes that the action of the ECB (European Central Bank) starting a quantitative easing (QE) program as the most significant factor driving markets over the next 6 months. While he believes the program will be a slow modest start with monthly purchases around 60trillion Euros, it should gain traction over the next year or two.

2015-02-09 00:00:00 Revisions to the Nonfarm Payroll Jobs Report by Doug Short (Article)

In my latest Employment Update for January, I pointed out that the Bureau of Labor Statistics revised the December month-over-month change for Nonfarm Payroll Employment upward from 252K to 329K and November from 353K to 423K, a total of 147K to the upside. However, the BLS's initial estimate for this metric should be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. In this chart, I plot the change since the turn of the century from the first to third estimate for each month through November 2014, the most recent month for which we have three estimates.

2015-02-09 00:00:00 Bonds or Jeter? by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

In baseball, batters choose to either swing for the fences in hopes of a home run or go for more consistent base hits. These same principles are highly relevant to the current market environment and long-term investment success. So, see if you really want home run hitters in your portfolio?

2015-02-09 00:00:00 The International Ramifications of ECB QE by Andrew Bosomworth of PIMCO

By engaging in quantitative easing, the European Central Bank is pursuing its inflation mandate with a vengeance. Overall, we think the combination of quantitative easing, investment and lower oil prices will help eurozone growth reach approximately 1.3% in 2015. Global central bank balance sheets continue to expand: Although the Federal Reserve stopped purchasing assets in 2014, the Bank of Japan and now the ECB have stepped up buying bonds where the Fed left off.

2015-02-09 00:00:00 Leaning in to Headwinds and Headlines by Matt Dennis of Invesco Blog

There’s been no shortage of headlines focused on European volatility lately, and the current consensus is that Europe is the last place investors want to put money. The risk for investors in my mind, however, is that they follow the headlines and exit Europe now instead of leaning into the headwinds of consensus and building positions.

2015-02-09 00:00:00 Tracking the Market with Social Media by Blair Jensen of Trade Followers

Traders on Twitter and StockTwits are still waiting for a break of the current range before making any commitment to the market. As the S&P 500 Index (SPX) has oscillated in a range between 1990 and 2065 the Trade Followers momentum and sentiment indicators have continued to fall. The StockTwits community is getting more bearish as the range continues. The new up trend line from StockTwits has been broken to the downside which indicates there was no enthusiasm for last week’s rally.

2015-02-09 00:00:00 All the Children Are Above Average by Harley Bassman of PIMCO

Many investment strategies are centered upon discovering a long-term (average) valuation framework to help in asset allocation and security selection. The term surface of various risk parameters often moves in such a manner that the discounted forward value will point toward this long-term average. If a secular shift has taken place - if all the children are above average, so to speak - then maybe the “average” has changed.

2015-02-09 00:00:00 Questions Remain After Blowout Employment Report by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

I like to think of myself as a pretty simple guy. I don't like complexity or complications, but most importantly I like things to make sense. The latest employment report, which showed a surge in employment in recent months, left me with more questions than answers.

2015-02-08 00:00:00 The Eurozone: Collateral Damage by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Now we're watching another Greek drama that could have significant unintended consequences – far beyond anything the market has priced in today. Then again, maybe not. Maybe the market is right this time. When we enter unknown territory, who knows what we will find? Fertile valleys and treasure, or deserts and devastation? Today we look at the situation in Europe and ponder what we don't know. Greece provides a wonderful learning opportunity.

2015-02-08 00:00:00 Expect a Decade of 1.7% Portfolio Returns from a Conventional Asset Mix by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The problem for investors here is that risk premiums are compressed in equities at a time when bonds offer no way out. When risk premiums are compressed across the board, conventional asset allocations are very much like trying to squeeze water from a stone. We project a 10-year nominal annual portfolio total return averaging only about 1.7% annually for anything close to a standard portfolio mix of equities, bonds and cash, regardless of how much diversification one has within each of those asset classes.

2015-02-07 00:00:00 The Fat Pitch 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%.The 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.

2015-02-07 00:00:00 The Power of Lower Oil Prices by Byron Wien of Blackstone

The Ten Surprises of 2015 have two prevailing themes. The more dominant is that the decline in the price of oil is generally a positive for the world. It puts money in the pockets of consumers everywhere and it is likely to force Iran and Russia to be more conciliatory in geopolitical negotiations because both countries are suffering not only from the drop in the oil price, but also from the sanctions imposed on them. The second theme is that in spite of notable economic problems in Europe, China and Japan, the United States equity market will have another good year.

2015-02-06 00:00:00 Earnings of Private Employees: A Big Recovery in January by Doug Short (Article)

First, here is a chart of the Average Hourly Earnings. I've included a linear regression through the data to highlight the trend. Hourly earnings increased at a faster pace through 2008, but the pace slowed from early 2009 onward. The December data point was a bit disturbing, a 5 cent month-over-month decline, the largest decline in the history of the series. However the January data point is a big bounce of 12 cents, the largest increase in the series.

2015-02-06 00:00:00 Diving Into the Payroll Report: Wages Rebound (But Don't Get Too Excited), Revisions, Huge Jump in L by Mike Shedlock of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

Wages rebounded from the dip last month (but don't get too excited as per details below). Also, there were big upward revisions to many prior numbers. The unemployment rate rose this month because of a huge increase in the labor force. The civilian institutional population also leaped this month, and apparently these newly-found people are all looking for work.

2015-02-06 00:00:00 Oil Prices: The Petro Plunge Continues in January 2015 by Harish Sundaresh of Loomis Sayles

Crude oil spot prices have dropped in a straight line to around $50 per barrel with no semblance of consolidation since the second half of 2014. In the near-term, weak supply/demand balance, high inventory, poor demand and a risk-averse investor could mean that oil prices will remain depressed.

2015-02-06 00:00:00 Fixed income macro and portfolio update by John Pattullo, Head of Retail Fixed Income (Article)

John Pattullo, Head of Retail Fixed Income, co-lead portfolio manager for the Henderson Strategic Income Fund (HFAAX) gives an appraisal of the macro environment and explains the current themes within the portfolio. John also shares his thoughts on recent announcement of quantitative easing (QE) made by the European Central Bank (ECB), the Greek vote and issues in the energy sector.

2015-02-06 00:00:00 Global Opportunities: The Next Leap Forward for Defined Contribution Investment Menus by Charles Roth of Thornburg Investment Management

Under ERISA, fiduciaries are obligated to ensure plan menus provide diverse investment options to help minimize the risk of long-term losses in account values. Global, non-traditional equity and fixed income options are sorely lacking in Defined Contribution (DC) plan menus. These op-tions can offer both lower correlation to U.S. markets and potentially strong returns, which par-ticipants increasingly need given the uncertainty surrounding Social Security’s future benefit levels.

2015-02-06 00:00:00 The Good News Behind GDP's Decline by Team of Guggenheim Partners

As the U.S. economy maintains its momentum and with the euro zone showing signs of improvement, all eyes are now on the Fed’s next move on rates.

2015-02-06 00:00:00 Quarterly Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

Over the past seven months the price of oil has plunged from a peak above $100/barrel to the mid-$40s today. This is just the most extreme version of the market volatility and divergence we began highlighting in our second quarter letter. A cautious investment stance remains the prudent choice.

2015-02-06 00:00:00 Metaphors and the message: Searching for deeper understanding of investment information by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

Metaphors have a powerful influence on how we think about things and even on the evidence we consider important. Investors should be aware of this influence and how it shapes the way we perceive various messages and data points. An important application is to focus on metaphors that are consistent with your investment goals and philosophy.

2015-02-06 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Not everyone is happy about the dollar’s recent strength; Debt negotiations between Greece and its creditors are off to a rocky start; Wages may finally be reflecting the strong U.S. employment picture

2015-02-06 00:00:00 Outcome Investing: Blending Index and Active Strategies by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

There is a lot to consider when building a portfolio. First and foremost, what is the end goal? Beyond that, investors need to also consider how much risk to take and over what time horizon? Another question that frequently comes up and is the source of many contentious debates: Should I consider indexed or active products? The simple and important answer is: both.

2015-02-06 00:00:00 A Contrary Opinion On The US Employment Report by Team of GaveKal

One of the main features of the current recovery is the drop in the potential growth rate. In every other recovery since WW2, real GDP has risen back to potential as the recovery got going, thereby closing the output gap. This time around, the output gap has narrowed because potential GDP has been revised down. This is an important point to understand when looking at today's jobs report.

2015-02-06 00:00:00 Key Questions for China Investors in 2015 by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

China raises many questions for investors. Last year, for example, GDP growth slowed to 7.4% from 7.7%, but China still accounted for almost one-third of global growth. Is this a healthy economy or an impending disaster? In the first of a three-part Sinology series, Andy Rothman, Matthews Asia Investment Strategist, addresses some key investor concerns.

2015-02-06 00:00:00 Inflation Expectations Have Increased Since Mid-January by Team of GaveKal

Since January 15th, 5-year TIPS derived breakeven inflation has increased 23 basis points from 105 basis points to 138 basis points. 10-year TIPS derived breakeven inflation has increased 16 basis points during this time and 30-year TIPS derived breakeven inflation has increased 8 basis points since the beginning of February.

2015-02-06 00:00:00 Active Opportunities in a Passive World by Norman J. Boersma, Cindy L. Sweeting and Heather Arnold of Franklin Templeton

Investors have heard the drumbeat for years that the days of actively managed mutual funds are numbered. After all, some experts maintain, the performance of active funds, especially after fees are removed, typically fall short of those of passive index funds, especially when the stock market is on an upswing. But the authors contend, with apologies to Mark Twain, that reports of the demise of actively managed funds have been greatly exaggerated. And, with the help of some prominent academics, they make the case for staying active.

2015-02-06 00:00:00 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Today's new release of the publicly available data from the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) puts its Weekly Leading Index (WLI) at 130.8, down from 131.6 the previous week. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at -4.0, up from the previous week's -4.3 and the interim -5.0 low in mid-January.

2015-02-06 00:00:00 Should I Stay or Should I Go: Global Diversification Could be 2015’s Winner by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Last year ended on a weak note for US equities; and January continued the trend; Divergences will remain a theme and likely keep volatility elevated; US investors haven’t felt the need to diversify globally…they should

2015-02-06 00:00:00 Detroit Reorganizes. The Muni Market Takes Notes. by Joseph Rosenblum of AllianceBernstein

Stockton. San Bernardino, California. Jefferson County, Alabama. Over the past few years, municipal bankruptcies (Chapter 9) have captured headlines. Detroit’s case, the largest municipal bankruptcy in history, was recently settled. What have we learned? Here are four key take-aways for muni market investors.

2015-02-06 00:00:00 China’s Millennials: Have Money, Will Travel by Sammy Suzuki of AllianceBernstein

China’s millennials are better educated and more affluent than their elders. They also have a serious case of travel fever. Their favored destinations, and shopping habits abroad, could have far-reaching implications for a wide range of global companies.

2015-02-06 00:00:00 High-Yield ETFs: Don’t Get Fenced In by Gershon Distenfeld of AllianceBernstein

Few high-yield investors have weathered the recent plunge in energy prices without experiencing at least a few bumps and bruises. But those who relied on broad market exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to gain market exposure are nursing the most serious wounds. Coincidence? We don’t think so.

2015-02-06 00:00:00 After the Perfect Storm in US Smaller-Cap Stocks by Bruce Aronow of AllianceBernstein

Last year was a tough one for US small- and mid-cap stocks, but there’s reason to think 2015 may be different. For investors who trimmed their smaller-cap allocation last year, we think it may be time to consider taking it back to its long-term target.

2015-02-06 00:00:00 Worried About US Stocks? by Joseph G. Paul of AllianceBernstein

After a jittery January, investors in US equities are gritting their teeth. But even if equities lose some steam after last year’s rally, we think company fundamentals and the interest-rate environment should support a resilient market in 2015.

2015-02-05 00:00:00 Macro View: Good Company, Bad Stock by Team of Guggenheim Partners

The U.S. economy is strong relative to other countries, but its equity valuations mean less upside potential for long-term investors than other areas of the world.

2015-02-05 00:00:00 Your Alpha is My Beta by Adam Butler, Mike Philbrick and Rodrigo Gordillo of Butler|Philbrick|Gordillo & Associates

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of a short correspondence with Lars Kestner, a well known quant and derivatives trader, and creator of the thoughtful K-ratio as a measure of risk adjusted performance. We connected on the definition of alpha, and how the term has been so abused in media and marketing as to become almost meaningless.

2015-02-05 00:00:00 Why own bonds? by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

A soft start for the U.S. stock market in 2015 once again illustrates the diversification benefit of high-quality bonds even at very low yields. Even in a low-yield environment, bonds provide a cushion as price movements, not yields, are the primary buffer to equity movements. An allocation to core bonds, in addition to more attractively valued high-yield bonds, may make sense for investors.

2015-02-05 00:00:00 The 2015 Economic Outlook: Opportunities and Risks by Derek Hamilton of Ivy Investment Management Company

In 2014, the global economy grew at roughly the same pace as the prior year. However, the composition was notably different. Developed market economies grew at a faster pace, while growth slowed in emerging market economies. The dollar strengthened and commodity prices weakened. Overall, we expect these trends to continue in 2015.

2015-02-05 00:00:00 Is the stock market sliding off an icy road? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

As declines were registered in the major stock market indexes in December, the fear index certainly also increased among investors. Now with January, again, ending in the negative column, I imagine even more investors are beginning to fear that the bull market surge that began in 2009 may be coming to an end.

2015-02-05 00:00:00 Germany's "Time Pressure" Thesis; Noose Tightens on Europe by Mike Shedlock of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

Today German Chancellor Angela Merkel proclaimed Greek Diplomatic Offensive Is Failing. Merkel’s Christian Democratic-led bloc in parliament has agreed not to give in to any “bad compromise that “defacto adds up to a debt writedown,” Hans-Peter Friedrich, a deputy leader of the caucus, said in an interview today.

2015-02-05 00:00:00 Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities: Approaching the Later Innings of a Recovery by Bryan Tsu of PIMCO

With the U.S. recovery as a supportive backdrop, PIMCO expects commercial real estate prices to rise 4%-6% in 2015. Commercial mortgage-backed securities issuance has increased for five years, and projections for 2015 are for growth of 20%-30%, driven largely by an increase in maturing loans on the supply side and the continued search for yield on the demand side. The growth in issuance does not come without concern: CMBS underwriting standards will likely continue to slip.

2015-02-05 00:00:00 ISM Data for January Point to Modest U.S. Real GDP Growth in 2015 Q1 by Robert Lamy of The Forecasting Advisor

At the start of each month, the U.S. Institute for Supply Management (ISM) released data on the state of the manufacturing and non-manufacturing industries of the U.S. economy. The data are closely followed by economists, stock market brokers, and the media as they provide the earliest reading on the current state of the economy. The ISM provides data on the current performance of a number of indicators related to the manufacturing and non-manufacturing industries, such as production, employment, new orders, and backlog of orders, deliveries, inventories, new exports, imports, and prices.

2015-02-05 00:00:00 US vs G7: Decoupling? Recoupling! by Alexander Giryavets of Dynamika Capital L.L.C.

We review how the U.S. growth and inflation relate to that of G7 over the last forty years and conclude that not only the decoupling incidents are nothing more than temporary deviations seen as noise in the long run but also that U.S. has actually just recoupled.

2015-02-05 00:00:00 What To Look For When The Price Of Oil Has Bottomed 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%.

2015-02-05 00:00:00 The Pursuit of Pricing Power by Robert McConnaughey of Columbia Management

Recent oil and commodity price declines have raised concerns about global deflation and price stability. While the circumstances around oil’s precipitous decline are unique, many industries have built up capacity in recent years to serve a level of global growth that is not likely to reappear in the intermediate future.

2015-02-05 00:00:00 The Long View: Is The Bull Market In Bonds Almost Over? by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

There has been much debate about the current low levels of interest rates in the economy today. The primary argument is that the "30-year bull market in bonds", due to consistently falling interest rates, must be near its end. Of course, this debate has devastated the "bond bears" who have consistently been frustrated by lower interest rates despite their annual predictions to the contrary. However, just because interest rates are currently low, does this necessarily mean that they must rise?

2015-02-05 00:00:00 Ditch the Good, Buy the Bad and the Ugly by Ben Inker of GMO

In a new quarterly letter to GMO's institutional clients, co-head of asset allocation Ben Inker provides background on why, "as the New Year begins, we in Asset Allocation find ourselves slowly selling down even our beloved U.S. quality stocks in favor of the various problem children of the investing world" ("Ditch the Good, Buy the Bad and the Ugly").

2015-02-05 00:00:00 Why Were We So Surprised? by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

Chief investment strategist Jeremy Grantham examines the sources for the "unique decline" in the oil price since June, and offers an outlook for the coming years -Why Were We So Surprised? The Oil Glut, Saudi Decisions, and the Uniqueness of U.S. Fracking

2015-02-04 00:00:00 Why global currency investing still makes sense by Michael A. Cirami, Eric Stein, John R. Baur, Matthew F. Murphy, Jr., Bradford Godfrey of Eaton Vance

Why global currency investing still makes sense – even amid a strong dollar We believe there are three reasons why many investors should remain committed to a diversified global currency strategy – even if the US dollar remains strong.

2015-02-04 00:00:00 Woody Hayes on Portfolio Management by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

“There are three things that can happen when you pass the football and two of them are bad,” observed The Ohio State University’s legendary coach Woody Hayes. All the Seahawk fans, myself included, know exactly what he is talking about since the Seahawks chose to pass the ball at the one-yard line. You can complete a pass, you can throw it for an incompletion, or you can throw it to the other team (an interception). The same thing can be said for existing common stocks in your equity portfolio.

2015-02-04 00:00:00 The Trouble With Zero by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

We have watched the decline in crude noting the slow decline that started in June that then turned into a crash starting at around $75 at Thanksgiving. The circumstances of crashes are always “different” but the market action is very similar almost every time and the oil market is showing the same pattern for now.

2015-02-04 00:00:00 The Opportunity in Volatility by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

While 2014 was characterized largely by the lack of volatility for most the year, and active management suffered as a result, we see those tables turning in 2015 as we expect this volatility to continue. As we sit today, we see an attractive entry point into the high yield market for active managers who can parse through the space to determine where there is value to be had, and where there are value-traps.

2015-02-04 00:00:00 Australia Coming Apart at the Seams by Mike Shedlock of Sitka Pacific

With the huge spotlight on Europe, Greece, the US Dollar, Canada, Switzerland, and China, it's easy to lose track of major things outside of mainstream attention. Like what? Like Australia. Australian Government on Brink of Collapse

2015-02-04 00:00:00 The Absolute Return Letter - January 2015 by Team of Absolute Return Partners

In large parts of the financial community there is a strongly held belief that the problems which caused the credit crisis back in 2008-09 have never been properly addressed, causing many to suspect that it is only a matter of time before the ‘end game’ is upon us – the credit crisis Mk. II so to speak. I will in the following pages look at various ways the end game might unfold but, before I do so, I shall return to one of the subjects I discussed in the January letter – the end of cheap oil – which caused a flurry of comments and questions.

2015-02-04 00:00:00 Developed Europe: Economy Trends Update by Team of Thomas White International

Thomas White International seeks superior performance by identifying undervalued securities in the U.S. and nearly 45 markets worldwide. Its flagship product is the Thomas White International Fund (TWWDX).

2015-02-04 00:00:00 Global Carry Rock ‘n’ Roll by Alexander Giryavets of Dynamika Capital L.L.C.

Global Carry (known as Risk Parity to some) got a bit of a headwind in December (as we proclaimed it to do on Black Friday) but went straight back to Rock ‘n’ Roll as this year started, good to great. And while the other utterly famous star – the Yen is patiently await, shocked and subdued by her competitor act, all the eyes are on the King of Rock – the Dollar. Some still have his last year stellar performance tune on the mind, but is he about to sing “The times they are a changin’”?

2015-02-04 00:00:00 Is It Time for Our Industry To Embrace Mass Personalization? by Patty Quinn McAuley of Clark Capital Management Group

Nike. Coca-Cola. Oakley. They are all top brands in the global marketplace and they have all led the charge towards mass customization and personalization. You can build a custom pair of Nike Free Run sneakers online, incorporating your favorite designs and colors. You can put your name on a virtual Coke bottle and “share” it on social media. You can even custom-build your own shades on Oakley.com, creating your own unique pair of sunglasses.

2015-02-04 00:00:00 What's Up? Quantitative Easing and Inflation by Chris Brightman of Research Affiliates

The Fed has ceased its program of quantitative easing (QE) and may soon begin to raise interest rates. Japan has embarked on an even more aggressive program of QE. The European Central Bank (ECB) has just begun QE. In a related development, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) recently stopped pegging the Swiss franc to the euro. Many investors are asking, “What does all this monetary turmoil mean?”

2015-02-04 00:00:00 Greek Drama by Chris Brightman of Research Affiliates

Alexis Tsipras, the new prime minister of Greece, was elected because he and the Greeks who voted for him oppose the austerity imposed by Greece’s creditors. Apparently, markets were shocked by this turn of events: Greek bond yields spiked and bank stock prices plunged as euros began flowing out of the country. But should this scene have been a surprise?

2015-02-04 00:00:00 There's Diversity in Value by Brent Leadbetter and John West of Research Affiliates

A portfolio comprising long positions in individual fundamentally weighted country indices and short positions in cap-weighted country indices might prove to be the Boris Diaw of a diversified portfolio. Investors would be unlikely to meet their return targets by concentrating all their assets in such a strategy. However, given its high Sharpe ratio and low correlation with widely used asset classes, it seems a suitable addition to a robust asset mix.

2015-02-04 00:00:00 Don't fret about January effect by Burt White of LPL Financial

The stock market fell in January, causing some to ask whether the so-called January effect means that stocks will fall this year. Recall less than four weeks ago the “first five days” indicator sent a positive stock market signal for 2015. We always put fundamentals first when forecasting stock market direction—and on that score, we believe stocks still look good.

2015-02-04 00:00:00 Gallup CEO Calls 5.6% Unemployment Rate "The Big Lie": What's a Realistic Unemployment Rate? by Mike Shedlock of Sitka Pacific

On Linked-In, Gallup CEO, Jim Clifton proclaims 5.6% unemployment is "The Big Lie". And it is. I have talked about this for years, but perhaps it would be interesting to hear the same thing from a CEO of a big agency. I picked this story up from ZeroHedge.

2015-02-04 00:00:00 January employment report preview by John Canally of LPL Financial

The market is expecting the economy to add 235,000 net new jobs in January 2015 and for the unemployment rate to remain at 5.6%. Other measures of the health of the labor market--hiring rates, the quit rate, the unemployment rate, and most importantly, wages--still show that the labor market is not yet back to normal.

2015-02-03 00:00:00 Facing Reality by Questioning Some Common Beliefs by Ron Surz (Article)

I've decided to do something different in this quarterly commentary. I begin as usual with a review of first quarter market performance. Then I turn my attention to some commonly held beliefs that I regard as mistaken, as shown in the figure below.

2015-02-03 00:00:00 How to Link Retirement Strategies to Sustainable-Spending Rates by Wade Pfau (Article)

Last week, my article introduced the Retirement Accumulation and Retirement Affordability indices, which help clients determine if they are retiring at a good time. In this article, I will present my new Retirement Dashboard. More specifically, I will explain how advisors can determine the appropriate sustainable-spending rate based on their client's desired spending pattern.

2015-02-03 00:00:00 Ben Hunt: Investing Lessons from the Poker Table by Justin Kermond (Article)

Markets have not been this dominated by political uncertainty and divorced from economic fundamentals since the 1930s. Ben Hunt - Harvard Ph.D., the author of the Epsilon Theory Newsletter, and Chief Risk Officer at Salient Partners, an asset manager based in Houston, TX - provides useful lessons from game theory for thriving in what he calls "the age of central bankers."

2015-02-03 00:00:00 The Secret to Empathizing with Prospects by Daniel Solin (Article)

It's quite easy to empathize with a loved one. But how do you demonstrate empathy with your prospect, who is a stranger?

2015-02-03 00:00:00 Coaching an Uncooperative Employee by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Is it possible to coach someone who doesn't really want the job they have?

2015-02-03 00:00:00 Doing Business Through the Know, Like, and Trust Process by Teresa Riccobuono (Article)

We have all heard the phrase, "People like doing business with people they know, like and trust." But how does one get to the point of trust in a relationship?

2015-02-03 00:00:00 Making Your Practice a Magnet for Seniors by Dan Richards (Article)

Many advisors believe that their practice is senior-friendly if their office doesn't require climbing a flight of stairs and their client newsletters are in large type. To test that premise, recently I hosted a roundtable lunch for several advisors who've built a niche working with seniors.

2015-02-03 00:00:00 A Greek Morality Tale by Joseph E. Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

When the euro crisis began a half-decade ago, Keynesian economists predicted that the austerity imposed on Greece and the other crisis countries would fail. Now that it has, what is needed is not structural reform in Greece so much as a fundamental reform of the eurozone's design and policy frameworks.

2015-02-03 00:00:00 Deflation: Consternation Not Elation by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

Deflation has been around ever since there was an excess supply of something or when demand had plummeted. The term “deflation” has now become mainstream in the general public’s lexicon, though the understanding of the declining economic growth that corresponds with it is often disregarded until it wreaks havoc on the consumer’s paycheck. When we see deflation permeating global economics, market movements and NFL games, the general public will become acutely aware of the other major impact from deflation, the increasing symbiotic nature of all the global economies.

2015-02-03 00:00:00 Connecting the Dots: Procter & Gamble, the Strong Dollar, and Pepto Bismol by Tony Sagami of Mauldin Economics

Collectively, the 500 companies in the S&P 500 get 46% of their sales and roughly 50% of their profits from outside the US. They are truly multinational giants. Expanding your customer base is always a good thing, but doing business overseas is not without peril, and one of the under-appreciated perils is the impact of currency movements.

2015-02-03 00:00:00 Retirement Realities and Contingencies by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Stites on Estates took an interesting look at retirement intentions versus retirement reality along with a reiteration of the dismal statistics about how little savings people who are working have accumulated as well as how few dollars people have put away when beginning their retirement.

2015-02-03 00:00:00 The Bravado of Borrowers by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Last week a scene unfolded in Athens, largely unnoticed by American eyes, that provided all the visual and metaphorical symbols needed to define the current state of the global economy. Hollywood's best screenwriters couldn't have laid it out any better.

2015-02-03 00:00:00 Americas Economy Trends Update January 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

Thomas White International seeks superior performance by identifying undervalued securities in the U.S. and nearly 45 markets worldwide. Its flagship product is the Thomas White International Fund (TWWDX).

2015-02-03 00:00:00 PIMCO Introduces the PIMCO Multi-Strategy Alternative Strategy by of PIMCO

In a New Neutral environment that anticipates muted returns and heightened volatility, many investors have looked to liquid alternatives in an effort to boost returns and lower overall portfolio risks. Our approach seeks to efficiently combine a range of complementary liquid alternative strategies, offering the potential for diversification and higher return per unit of risk than a single strategy could achieve on its own. This strategy can play a central role in liquid alternatives allocations or be used as a stand-alone complement to traditional stock and bond allocations.

2015-02-03 00:00:00 Diving Into the ISM: What's It All Mean? by Mike "Mish" Shedlock of Sitka Pacific Capital

This morning the Institute for Supply Management released its much followed Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.

2015-02-03 00:00:00 Municipal Market Perspectives by Team of SMC Fixed Income Management

Pick your poison: weaker oil and copper prices; increasing gold demand; Swiss Franc and Canadian Dollar devaluations; another possible Greek tragedy; launch of European Central Bank (“ECB”) bond buying program; waning emerging markets; weakening U.S. stock prices; global deflation worries. It appears to us that the broadening global weakness could be beginning to negatively impact the U.S. expansion. Given the current state of global events, we see no reason for the Fed to prematurely move ahead with its rate normalization plan as many anticipate occurring by mid-year 2015.

2015-02-03 00:00:00 Tax Reform: No Hope for Change by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The latest proposals from the White House all but ensure that no progress will be made on sorely needed tax-code fixes in 2015.

2015-02-03 00:00:00 Woody Brock on Why to Own Stocks Now - Video by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Dr. Horace 'Woody' Brock is the founder Strategic Economic Decisions and the author of American Gridlock. In a recent talk, he explained why investors should own stocks ? particularly those with stable dividends ? and why bonds are very risky in today's environment. This is the video; a transcript of this talk is also available.

2015-02-03 00:00:00 Seeking Value Amid Volatility by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Stocks struggled last week, and once again the losses were most pronounced in the United States. Financial markets remain highly volatile, with violent swings in the oil price and interest rates adding to the angst. With the Fed likely to start removing monetary accommodation, 2015 was bound to be a more volatile year than last.

2015-02-02 00:00:00 Market Action Suggests Abrupt Slowing in Global Economic Activity by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The combination of widening credit spreads, deteriorating market internals, plunging commodity prices, and collapsing yields on Treasury debt continues to be most consistent with an abrupt slowing in global economic activity.

2015-02-02 00:00:00 Tracking the Market with Social Media by Blair Jensen of Trade Followers

Last week the Trade Followers social media indicators for the S&P 500 Index (SPX) suggested that the market wasn’t out of the woods yet due to several factors. Chief among them was a warning from our sector sentiment readings. They indicated that market participants were rotating to safety as the market rallied. Every time all sectors were positive since we’ve been tracking them has resulted in a short term top within two weeks.

2015-02-02 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Will the data deluge signal economic weakness? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

This is a landslide week for economic data, and earnings season is in full swing. Last week’s Q4 GDP report and overall market tone has revived deflation concerns. I expect market participants to be watching each economic release closely, asking: Are there signs of incipient economic weakness?

2015-02-02 00:00:00 What Is Plan B for Greece? by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

Though the far-left Syriza party’s recent election victory has sent Greek equities and bonds plummeting, there is little sign of contagion to other distressed countries on the eurozone periphery. The question is how long this relative calm will prevail.

2015-02-02 00:00:00 Perception vs Reality - Rates of Return by John Riley of Cornerstone Investment Services

What is the annual average rate of return for the market? 10.00%? 12.50%? 15.00%? This is one of those "facts" that investors hear from friends, the media and the investment industry, and it is usually wrong.

2015-02-02 00:00:00 Why the Rest of 2015 May Not Look Like January by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

January was a rough month for equity markets. Volatility increased and stocks endured some notable setbacks. For the month, the S&P 500 Index fell 3.0% after declining 2.8% last week. We believe, however, that the same factors pushing stock prices lower will actually support longer-term economic growth. We expect markets will stabilize and recover in the coming months, and believe that by the end of 2015 equity prices will be at a higher level than where they began the year.

2015-02-02 00:00:00 Fooled By Extrapolation by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Pundits have a bottomless reservoir of pessimism and also a magnified ability to extrapolate the most recent trends. So, when Q1-2014 real GDP fell at an annual rate of 2.1%, fear turned rampant.

2015-02-02 00:00:00 Portfolio Strategies 2015: Investing in an Age of Divergence by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Everyone is worried about being blindsided by a significant downdraft in the markets when maybe we should be thinking about making sure we don’t miss a bull market somewhere. These and several dozen other topics were on the table when the Mauldin Economics writing team gathered here in Dallas for 3½ days of intensive talk, interviews, and planning. Today we’ll go over a few of the highlights of this last week, and I’ll share a few reasons to be optimistic about 2015.

2015-02-01 00:00:00 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

2015-01-31 00:00:00 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

2015-01-31 00:00:00 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.

2015-01-31 00:00:00 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

2015-01-31 00:00:00 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.

2015-01-31 00:00:00 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.

2015-01-30 00:00:00 Finding Tax-Free Transfer Opportunities in Undervalued Energy Stocks by Carin Pai, Elisa Shevlin Rizzo of Fiduciary Trust Company International

In the past few weeks, crude oil has extended its biggest price slump since the 2007-2009 global financial crisis, dropping to the lowest levels since 2009 amid signs of softer demand growth from major economies, strong output from the US and steady output from the rest of the world.

2015-01-30 00:00:00 PIMCO Extends Its Dividend Suite With Two New Regional Strategies by Brad Kinkelaar, Adam Muller of PIMCO

As is the case with our other dividend strategies, we are unconstrained by benchmarks and focused on generating yield and capital appreciation by finding attractively valued companies that pay appealing dividends today and have an ability and willingness to grow dividends over time.

2015-01-30 00:00:00 The Great Complacency...Continued by Jeffrey Bronchick of Cove Street Capital

At this point last year, we were effusively cautious after a period of terrific performance. We suggested that while we considered a material number of portfolio stocks to represent "solid" values, their near-term appreciation was going to be limited after the big numbers of 2013.

2015-01-30 00:00:00 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.

2015-01-30 00:00:00 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.

2015-01-30 00:00:00 The Next Act in the Greek Drama by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

The outcome of Greece’s election suggests a prolonged period of heightened tensions and difficult negotiations with the troika. Compromises are possible, but reform efforts could fall by the wayside.

2015-01-30 00:00:00 Weighing the Odds of Compromise in Greece, and the “Grexit” by Heather Arnold, Cindy Sweeting, Norm Boersma of Franklin Templeton Investments

Against a backdrop of growing dissatisfaction with Greece’s bailout terms [imposed by the “troika” of lenders comprised of the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund], the country’s parliament failed to decisively elect a president in December 2014, resulting in the dissolution of the parliament and the calling of new elections for January 25, 2015.

2015-01-30 00:00:00 7 Things about Saudi Arabia You Need to Know by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

A week ago we learned that the king of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, passed away at the age of 90. Following the announcement, crude oil immediately spiked 2.5 percent over uncertainty of how this might affect the Middle Eastern kingdom’s position on keeping oil production at current levels.

2015-01-30 00:00:00 Reforms in Asia Bring Big Potential for Small Companies by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

At Templeton Emerging Markets Group, we believe Asia’s combination of rapid economic growth, generally strong national finances and economic fundamentals has created an attractive landscape for equity investors. Seismic changes have been taking place in Asia’s political arena over the past couple of years, including major elections, leadership transitions and even a military coup. These political shifts have economic reform implications as well.

2015-01-30 00:00:00 Opportunities and Risks for Investors After the Oil Price Slump? by Daniel Lacalle of PIMCO

What we are seeing now is that oil prices, when OPEC refuses to balance the market, test the marginal cost of production, and costs fall. Some of the costs of the largest components of oil projects – high-spec sixth-generation rigs, pressure pumping, seismic, completion – have fallen between 20% and 45% in the space of months as overcapacity became evident and capital expenditure was revised downward.

2015-01-30 00:00:00 Wall Street for President? by Simon Johnson of Project Syndicate

America's Democratic Party – including President Barack Obama – is apparently of two minds on the extent to which it should defend its own financial legislation from attack by the country's powerful megabanks. It can have the 2010 Dodd-Frank reforms, or it can have Wall Street's campaign contributions, but it cannot have both.

2015-01-30 00:00:00 Voya Fixed Income Perspectives – January 2015 by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms of Voya Investment Management

Voya Investment Management’s fixed income strategies cover a broad range of maturities, sectors and instruments, giving investors wide latitude to create a new portfolio structure or complement an existing one.

2015-01-30 00:00:00 Accentuate the Positive: The Psychological Inflation of Quarterly GDP by Doug Short (Article)

Note from dshort: I've updated the last chart in this commentary to include today's Q4 GDP Advance Estimate of real quarterly GDP. The BEA's annualized growth rate of 2.6% (2.64% to two decimals) is based on a 0.65% quarter-over quarter percentage change.

2015-01-29 00:00:00 Household Income versus Family (Tax-Unit) Income by Doug Short (Article)

My virtual acquaintance New Deal Democrat has posted an interesting article on real (inflation-adjusted incomes) based on annual IRS tax data through 2013. His discussion includes some comparisons between the Census Bureau's median Household Income data and the Family Unit average income. A Family Unit is the term used for an IRS designated Tax Unit (e.g., a couple with dependents, or a head of household with dependents, or a single person).

2015-01-29 00:00:00 The Unintended Consequences of "Sophisticated" Performance Measurement by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

Sicart believes a measure of investment success should encompass "several cycles, with bull and bear markets as well as many fads and fashions and their aftermaths." He notes that "economic events really progress at a near-tectonic pace," so "a quarter or even a year is almost always a totally irrelevant period."

2015-01-29 00:00:00 We Didn?t Start the Fire by Robert Waas of RSW Investments

History shows that what starts as an overall lack of fear, becomes outright complacency, which inevitably leads to the "Minsky Moment" of instability. Virtually every major Central Bank has outright expressed, or at the very least implied to market participants that not only do they have "our backs", but our backsides too! If distorted markets create distorted behavior, we can logically infer that unprecedented excesses exist somewhere in the system and probably in many places. The entire financial system has been re-stocked with dry kindling and oil is the most likely mat

2015-01-29 00:00:00 Commodity Outlook 2015: Watching the Supply Response Across Markets? by Nicholas Johnson, Greg Sharenow of PIMCO

Today?s low oil prices should allow for supply and demand to come back into alignment by year-end, led by a decline in the U.S. output growth rate and a modest increase in global demand. We expect continued oversupply to weigh on natural gas prices this year, but some semblance of balance may return to this market in 2016. Grain prices may experience pressure in 2015 as low oil prices pass through to corn prices, which may cause producers to switch to higher-priced crops. With production growth likely having peaked, we expect metals prices to stabilize this year.

2015-01-29 00:00:00 What's Up? Quantitative Easing and Inflation by Chris Brightman of Research Affiliates

In a recent piece from Research Affiliates, Chris Brightman, chief investment officer, provides "Central Banking 101," noting that just within the last several months the Fed has ceased its program of quantitative easing (QE) and may soon begin to raise interest rates, Japan has embarked on an even more aggressive program of QE and the European Central Bank (ECB) has just begun QE. In a related development, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) recently stopped pegging the Swiss franc to the euro. Many investors are asking, ?What does all this monetary turmoil mean??

2015-01-29 00:00:00 The Strange Case of the Current Small-Cap Cycle by Team of The Royce Funds

For much of the past five years, small-cap stocks have generated returns well above their monthly rolling five-year averages. In addition, lower-than-usual volatility within the asset class and a decline in the cost of capital spurred by the Fed?s monetary stimulus programs have created an unfriendly environment for active stock pickers such as ourselves. Our latest research, however, suggests that some of these conditions were abating late in 2014, which might benefit those investors who focus on fundamentals and try to use volatility to create longer-term opportunities.

2015-01-29 00:00:00 Is US Sliding Into Recession? by Alexander Giryavets of Dynamika Capital L.L.C.

Almost a year ago we identified the late cycle symptoms in sector rotations, leading indicators and US treasuries term structure. We briefly review where we stand and conclude that it does not look pretty.

2015-01-29 00:00:00 Rate Hikes Still A Few Meetings Away by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

No one expected the Federal Reserve to make any changes to monetary policy at today?s meeting and there were no surprises. The Fed continued to say it would be ?patient? before raising short-term interest rates, which means the Fed is very unlikely to raise rates through at least April.

2015-01-29 00:00:00 A Year to Think Small by Ted Baszler of Heartland Advisors

The current economic environment here and abroad could be setting up to benefit small-cap equities.

2015-01-29 00:00:00 Fed in Wait-and-See Mode by Team of Northern Trust

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) concluded its meeting on an optimistic note. There were no dissents, following three at the December 2014 meeting.

2015-01-29 00:00:00 Games People Play by William Gross of Janus Capital Group

My mother taught me how to play Monopoly ? the game ? and the markets over 40 years past have taught me how to play Monopoly ? the financial economy. Financial markets and our finance-based economy are actually quite similar to the game in terms of the rules and strategies it takes to win. Monopoly?s real-time bank (the Fed) distributes money to players at the beginning and then continues to create more and more credit as the economy passes go.

2015-01-29 00:00:00 U.S. Long Bond: Panic Buying by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

The demand for long-term Treasury bonds has reached panic proportions. A casual inspection of price history suggests that the rally since December 2013 is too steep, too fast. An alternative measure of intensity, the ratio of 30-year to 10-year bond prices is also flashing red. The price of 30’s relative to 10’s is rising at a pace not seen since the panic of 2008. Can an important top be far ahead?

2015-01-29 00:00:00 Advice for Investing in Today's Volatile Markets: 5 Points by John Calamos of Calamos Investments

In my view: (1) Volatility will likely continue at an elevated level. Falling commodity prices, global growth fears and political uncertainties in the euro zone are among the factors that will add to volatility in the markets over these next months. (2) The U.S. stock market can continue to advance for 2015. (3) Investors need to look through the short-term volatility and position their portfolios proactively and strategically. (4) Diversification is important?but bonds aren?t necessarily the right answer.

2015-01-29 00:00:00 Municipal Market Update: What's Ahead in 2015 by Joseph Deane, Julie Callahan, Sean McCarthy of PIMCO

Municipal bonds ended 2014 as one of the best-performing asset classes - buoyed by investors’ search for yield in a low interest-rate environment. For 2015, we are positioned cautiously for greater volatility in the fixed income markets. We currently prefer revenue-backed bonds over most general obligation (GO) debt, as these sectors typically benefit from dedicated revenue streams and do not have the pension challenges that many state and local governments face.

2015-01-29 00:00:00 A Very, Very, Very, Very Black Swan? by Jay Leopold of Columbia Management

Nassim Taleb’s book "The Black Swan" effectively demonstrates that seemingly highly improbable events are much more common than expected, often with significant consequences. In fact, experts are often blind to these occurrences because past data is not necessarily a good predictor of the future. Most investors are aware a black swan event hit the Swiss franc earlier this month.

2015-01-29 00:00:00 3 Things - Fed Mistake, ECB QE, Housing by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve made their latest monetary policy announcement. Janet Yellen, the current Chairwoman, made several statements that led the markets to believe that they remain on course for increasing the overnight lending rate this year.

2015-01-29 00:00:00 Momentum X 2: Unleashing the True Power of Momentum by Gordon Nelson of Keystone Wealth Advisors

Momentum is one of the most researched market anomalies and has become widely accepted and used in a variety of ways for investment management. When used in practice is it most commonly referred to as relative strength or relative momentum. What happens if we combine the power of relative momentum with absolute momentum?

2015-01-29 00:00:00 Contrarian View: A More Balanced Approach to Rate Risk in 2015 by Scott Eldridge of Invesco Blog

The threat of higher interest rates is dominating many 2015 outlooks for investors and professional forecasters alike. Consensus expectations call for the Federal Reserve (Fed) to begin tightening in the second half of the year, with market rates to rise in concert and bond prices to fall. But the changing composition of voting members on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is a looming variable that I believe will likely impact the pace and severity of Fed action.

2015-01-28 00:00:00 Sell-off in Corporate Credit Creates Income Opportunities for 2015 by Payson Swaffield of Eaton Vance

In this insight, Payson puts last year?s bond market volatility and performance in perspective and points out potential investment opportunities across market sectors in 2015.

2015-01-28 00:00:00 Thoughts on Energy by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

We?re not certain that the historic rout in the Energy sector is over, and even if we were our Group Selection (GS) Scores would likely prohibit us from loading up on Energy subgroups for at least a few more months. Last decade we frequently discussed the ?Three Act Play? then unfolding in commodities, with the terminal act producing a 2006-2008 surge in commodity-oriented equities and a commensurate binge in capital spending. While all of the commodity sector participated, Energy certainly played either a lead or a co-starring role.

2015-01-28 00:00:00 Black Cypress: Ignore the Bears; The Force(s) are with Us by Alan Hartley of Black Cypress Capital Management

The U.S. economy should continue to expand and that bodes well for stocks. The next bear market will likely start due to a recession or geo-political conflict and not from the start of Fed interest rate increases or time elapsed. The current economic landscape is favorable to growth. Stock markets are priced for low returns.

2015-01-28 00:00:00 The Benefits of Proper Risk Budgeting by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

William J. Bernstein had an interesting op-ed in the Wall Street Journal titled How To Tell If Your Retirement Nest Egg Is Big Enough. Anytime the term nest egg pops up in a post I feel compelled to make the Lost in America reference when Julie Hagerty loses the nest egg at the tables in Las Vegas almost immediately after they hit the road and Albert Brooks tells her to never use the words nest and egg in the same sentence ever again.

2015-01-28 00:00:00 European Central Bank Embraces QE, For Better Or Worse by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Last Thursday, European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi announced the much-anticipated launch of a sovereign bond buying program at the rate of ?60 billion ($70 billion) per month known as ?quantitative easing.? The amount of the monthly purchases was slightly higher than had been expected.

2015-01-28 00:00:00 Is There A Case For German Equities? by Team of GaveKal Capital

With the highest productivity in Europe, a sizeable current account surplus and rock bottom interest rates, is there a case to made for German equities? Germany's competitiveness, export performance and trade surplus should increase as the Euro weakens helping German exporters in markets outside of the Euro bloc.

2015-01-28 00:00:00 Global Economic Perspective: January by Christopher Molumphy, Michael Materasso, Roger Bayston, Michael Hasenstab, John Beck of Franklin Templeton Investments

After a much better-than-expected annualized growth rate of 5% in the third quarter of 2014, the stars would seem to be fairly much aligned for continued US growth in the months ahead. Job growth has continued apace, interest rates and energy prices have remained low, and consumer and business confidence has been buoyant. As we start the new year, the main areas of uncertainty would seem to be the pace of growth and the implications of recent price and employment trends for the timing of monetary tightening by the US Federal Reserve (Fed).

2015-01-28 00:00:00 Why European Euphoria Isn?t Likely to Last by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

The ECB took definitive action against deflation fears with a broad asset purchase program that impressed the markets. Here is a quick analysis of its impact on stocks and bonds beyond the short term.

2015-01-28 00:00:00 Random Thoughts on a Cruise to Nowhere by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

We have lost our way as a people and a country when we ignore and/or fail to see the significance of history. King Abdullah and his father King Abdul Aziz al Saud were titans of the modern day middle east that so affected us all. I read about his death in the B section of the local paper after a story about our local nursing home under new management. God, Allah, Adonai ... please help us all.

2015-01-28 00:00:00 The Road Back, and Ahead by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The U.S. economy data are likely to be mixed in the near term, but there is little doubt that we are gathering steam. The plunge in gasoline prices is an enormous tailwind. However, this isn?t just an energy story. The fundamentals are getting better.

2015-01-28 00:00:00 Forecasting Q4 GDP: A Look at the WSJ Economists' Collective Crystal Ball by Doug Short (Article)

What do economists see in their collective crystal ball for Q4? Let's take a look at the GDP forecasts from the latest Wall Street Journal survey of economists conducted earlier this month.

Here's a snapshot of the full array of WSJ opinions about Q4 GDP. I've highlighted the values for the median (middle), mean (average) and mode (most frequent).

2015-01-27 00:00:00 Looking Back at James Montier's "Perfect" Value Investors by Larry Swedroe (Article)

Is there such a thing as a "perfect" value investor? And if so, what does that investor's fund look like? James Montier thought he knew the answers when he penned his 2006 article "The Perfect Value Investor." Let's look back and see how that portfolio did.

2015-01-27 00:00:00 Key Issues for 2015: The View from Western Asset by Sponsored Content from Legg Mason Investor Services LLC (Article)

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.

2015-01-27 00:00:00 Introducing the Retirement Wealth and Affordability Indices by Wade Pfau (Article)

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.

2015-01-27 00:00:00 The Unspoken Issue that Will Cost You Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

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.

2015-01-27 00:00:00 The Warren Buffett Way: High Quality Stocks in Emerging Markets by Baijnath Ramraika, CFA® and Prashant Trivedi, CFA® (Article)

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

2015-01-27 00:00:00 How Monkeys and Peanuts Can Help You Gather AUM by Daniel Solin (Article)

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

2015-01-27 00:00:00 2014 Global Factor Round Up by Michael Nairne (Article)

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.

2015-01-27 00:00:00 The Characteristics of a Great Sales Culture by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

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

2015-01-27 00:00:00 Should Clients Select Lump-Sum Pension Payments? by Neal Angel (Article)

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

2015-01-27 00:00:00 What Happened to the Secular Bear Market in Equities? by Martin Pring of Pring Turner Capital Group

History shows that US equity prices have consistently alternated between secular bull and bear trends. These price movements typically average 15-20 years in length and embrace several different business cycles. In April 2003 we published an article posing the question, ?Whither the Secular Trend of Equities?? which laid out the case for the year 2000 being a secular or very long-term peak for the US stock market. Since the three previous secular bears averaged just over 18-years, our working hypothesis was for a weak market until sometime around 2018.

2015-01-27 00:00:00 GDP, Strong Again by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

With all the focus on Europe in general and Greece in particular, it?s important to keep in mind that the US economy continues to move forward. After real GDP dropped in the first quarter of last year, some analysts were predicting another recession. By contrast, we said the drop was due to unusually harsh winter weather and the economy would rebound quickly.

2015-01-27 00:00:00 Is Cheap Oil Here to Stay? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The answer to that question depends on three key factors. Here?s a closer look at each.

2015-01-27 00:00:00 11 Investing and Personal Finance Hacks by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

You?ve probably seen one or two of the listy articles about life hacks which are little tricks that can make the day to day routine a little easier. Some are for very mundane aspects of life like using a paper clip to mark the spot where the roll of tape starts or laying a wooden spoon across a pot of boiling water to prevent it from boiling over. I saw one of these lists a few days go where one of the hacks was a little off the beaten track, suggesting you always carry bolt cutters with you.

2015-01-27 00:00:00 Time to Get Off the Merry-Go-Round ?? by Jerome Schneider of PIMCO

In 2014, many investors de-risked their portfolios by moving into shorter-duration passive approaches but the potential for capital preservation from these strategies may face challenges. Passive benchmarks and strategies with pre-specified, structural interest rate exposure may have little to no flexibility around their positioning and may push investors into the heart of the proverbial storm. Active strategies not constrained by benchmark limitations may be optimal for investors as they can seek to manage exposure to interest rates.

2015-01-27 00:00:00 Global Equities 2015: Fasten Your Seat Belt for a Multi-Speed World by Virginie Maisonneuve, Mark Richards ? of PIMCO

We sat down recently with Virginie Maisonneuve, PIMCO?s CIO Global Equities, and equity macroeconomic analyst Mark Richards to discuss PIMCO?s global equity outlook for the coming year.

2015-01-27 00:00:00 The Cacophony of Earnings Announcements by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

As long-duration common stock owners, we are always interested and entertained when the media covers company earnings. To understand why, we think you need to know the facts behind the intrinsic value of a company, what it means to be a business owner and what differentiates a good business from a great one. Our contention is that there is little or no correlation between short-term stock price movements at the time of earnings reports and long-term success in common stock investing.

2015-01-27 00:00:00 Europe: A look at what lies ahead by Stephen Peak (Article)

Stephen Peak, Director of International Equities, comments on the recent ECB action of quantitative easing and how it provides another necessary ingredient for Europe to progressively improve during 2015. He sees the ECB action as a necessary component of what lies ahead for Europe – with the other components already in place that occurred through the second half of last year. He notes that while it has been a dramatic start to the year, the overall case for international markets looks decent and he believes that Europe will defy the doubters.

2015-01-27 00:00:00 No Deflating the U.S. Dollar by Burt White of LPL Financial

The latest leg up for the U.S. dollar has been driven by anticipation and arrival of QE by the ECB. The dollar has been strong for a number of reasons, all of them good things. Though not the end all and be all, currency is an important consideration when determining asset allocation.

2015-01-26 00:00:00 Global macro update: Risks and opportunities for early 2015 by Matthew Beesley (Article)

Matthew Beesley provides an update on global risks and opportunities for early 2015. In general, a good environment for equities is often one in which corporate profitability is growing, and corporate profitability is likely to be growing when GDP growth is present in the world. With a forecast for 2015 of GDP growth globally at 3%, Matthew suggests there are many attractive companies that may deliver decent earnings growth; particularly those companies that have valuations priced for a more disappointing outlook. Matthew seeks to offset risks to the downside by selecting companies where that

2015-01-26 00:00:00 Active and Passive: The Yin and Yang of Investing by (Article)

Stop the debate: active and passive investing are best when they work together. Despite underwhelming performance in recent years, keeping active managers in the mix is key to minimizing volatility and achieving alpha in investor portfolios. Zachary Karabell, Head of Global Strategy at Envestnet, explains in this short video.

2015-01-26 00:00:00 How Global Interest Rates Deceive Markets by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

When it comes to interpreting what current interest rates are telling us about the markets in various countries, I have to say that I do not think they mean what the market seems to think they mean. In fact, buried in that list of bond yields is ?false information? ? information so distorted and yet so readily misunderstood that it leads to wrong conclusions and decisions ? and to bad investments.

2015-01-26 00:00:00 Is Q-ECB a Favorable Development? by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

It?s not entirely clear what will happen in the near term, but the financial markets are already pushed to extremes by central-bank induced speculation.

2015-01-26 00:00:00 And the Winner Is... by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

The annual awards season for the entertainment industry has begun and will kick into high gear over the next two months. It has not been without some controversy already, as the acting and directing nominee lists for the 87th Academy Awards (to be presented on February 22nd) were criticized for a lack of diversity.

2015-01-26 00:00:00 Unknown Unknowns by Michael Kayes of Willingdon Wealth Management

How accurate are annual predictions about the market? What are the key drivers for stocks this year? Read on to find out..

2015-01-26 00:00:00 The Consumption of Davos by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Europe?s central bank took bold action this week, consuming the conversation at the World Economic Forum?s Annual Meeting, but will it be enough?

2015-01-26 00:00:00 The Lemmings of QE by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

Predictably, the European Central Bank has joined the world?s other major monetary authorities in the greatest experiment in the history of central banking: large-scale quantitative easing. But careful analysis of QE's impact so far should give the ECB pause.

2015-01-26 00:00:00 The Fed -- Lucky or Smart? by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian

Given the rapid growth in total thin-air credit, i.e., the credit created by the Fed and depository institutions, during most of 2014, the Fed was correct in phasing down the amount of securities it was purchasing if it wanted to avoid creating another asset bubble and/or an acceleration in price increases of goods and services. But when the Fed ended its securities-purchase program in October 2014, it appeared as though growth in total thin-air credit would slow precipitously in 2015 without some contribution from the Fed.

2015-01-26 00:00:00 Global Economic Growth Should Gradually Begin to Improve by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Equity markets reacted to both positive and negative forces last week, but the positive factors won out in the end. Corporate earnings sentiment was lackluster and investors continued to focus on the negative effects of falling oil prices. However, markets experienced a significant tailwind from a more aggressive-than-expected quantitative easing announcement from the European Central Bank (ECB). For the week, the S&P 500 Index climbed 1.6%, snapping a three week losing streak.

2015-01-26 00:00:00 Rate Cut a Positive Jolt for India?s Growth Dynamics by Jack Deino of Invesco Blog

In a surprise move, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cut its policy rate for the first time in two years on Jan. 15 by 25 basis points (bps) to 7.75%. Encouraged by multiple anti-inflationary catalysts building up over the past few months - including lower commodity prices, a stable rupee, a favorable winter wheat crop and the government?s commitment to fiscal consolidation - the RBI instituted a rare inter-meeting rate cut.

2015-01-26 00:00:00 The Greek Elections: A Gordian Knot? by Dimitri Balatsos of Tesseract Partners

The upcoming Greek elections on Sunday, January 25 have whipped political and economic pundits into a frenzy. At the heart of the excitement is a possible win by Syriza, the left-leaning political party. This relative new comer on the political stage has promised a slew of populist programs, which include doing away with fiscal austerity, rolling back reforms, and renegotiating bailout terms with the country?s creditors.

2015-01-25 00:00:00 No Need to Fear Low Oil Prices by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Oil markets are starting 2015 in a very different position than a year ago. It may be time to review your portfolio as cheaper oil may change the investment landscape and become the new reality.

2015-01-25 00:00:00 There?s More to the Gold Rally than European Market Fears by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Even though gold was down last year, it still ranked as the second-best-performing currency, following the U.S. dollar. The metal has risen about 10 percent year-to-date, and on Tuesday, for the first time since mid-August, it broke through the $1,300 mark.

2015-01-25 00:00:00 Equity Investment Outlook: More of the Same by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

We are of the view that the conditions for further gains in the bull market that began in early 2009 are still intact and that the conditions for a true bear market are not. The market could, of course, be subject to corrections ? it always is ? but we believe the trend is still upward.

2015-01-25 00:00:00 Fixed Income Investment Outlook: 2014 is Over. Long Live 2014! by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

We believe that at current yields there is no investment grade ?fat pitch? at this time. Our focus remains on keeping duration short and layering-in higher yielding paper, especially on sharp corrections in markets like we have seen recently. We believe that the appropriate time to take a swing at investment grade bonds will be when yields are much higher and the economy is teetering towards recession.

2015-01-25 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The ECB Faces Fact; United States: Federal Budget Check-Up; Are Risk Management Techniques Adding to Market Risk?

2015-01-25 00:00:00 Decoding The ECB?S QE Paradox by Jeffrey Rosenberg of BlackRock

The ECB?s launch of its one trillion euro rescue plan this week has implications for investors everywhere. Jeffrey Rosenberg dissects two critical comments Mario Draghi made after the announcement.

2015-01-25 00:00:00 A Market Forecast We Can Believe In by Robert Isbitts and Vincent Esposito of Sungarden Investment Research

When Leuthold makes a major forecast, we pay close attention. And in their January Green Book, they said they see the U.S. stock market beginning a ?topping process? which started last July. They believe that this will ultimately take U.S. stocks down by 25-30% in either 2015 or 2016. Leuthold points to symptoms such as a weak high yield bond market, lagging relative performance of the NYSE Composite Index (which was the focus of our 11/28/14 blog), and very bullish newsletter writers.

2015-01-25 00:00:00 Is Your China Glass Half Empty or Half Full? by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

It's been well-noted that China's 2014 GDP growth was the slowest in 24 years. But following 7.7% growth for the prior two years, 7.4% doesn't feel like a huge slump. And because the base was so much bigger, the incremental increase in the size of China's economy last year was 100% bigger than the increase at a much faster growth rate a decade ago. What are other important perspectives on China these days? Andy Rothman, Matthews Asia Investment Strategist, explores in this issue of Sinology.

2015-01-25 00:00:00 Obama?s Proposed Tax Hikes: Just an Opening Bid by Tara Thompson Popernik of AllianceBernstein

Over the holiday weekend and in last night?s State of the Union address, President Obama unveiled several ideas he believes will strengthen the country?s workforce, education and infrastructure. He plans to pay for these proposals through corporate tax reform and higher income taxes on people in the top tax bracket.

2015-01-25 00:00:00 Connecting to China?s New Equity Plays by Stuart Rae and John Lin of AllianceBernstein

Despite a slow start following its launch in November, the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect share trading scheme has significantly increased foreign access to China equities and created new investment opportunities. Two subsectors are particularly noteworthy for global investors.

2015-01-25 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

It's safe to say that US indices have been acting very differently over the past two months than they have at any other time in the past 3 years. This oscillating pattern of sharp falls and rebounds suggests equities are searching for direction. In the past 5 years, this has been a prelude to a change in trend.

2015-01-25 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Time to Focus on Europe? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

This week?s potential themes all defy prediction. I do not know what will happen in Greece. I question the preliminary analysis of the ECB moves. The earnings stories have been a bit better than market forecasts, but with little reaction.

2015-01-23 00:00:00 Obama tax proposal by Andy Friedman of The Washington Update

In conjunction with his State of the Union address, President Obama proposed new taxes on the wealthy to raise $320 billion in revenue, to be spent on new government programs to help the middle class and working families.

2015-01-23 00:00:00 Despite Hitting an Oil Slick, Evidence Underpins a Positive Outlook on MLPs by David Chiaro of Eagle Global Advisors

The fall in energy prices has raised concerns that the dramatic hydrocarbon volume growth we have seen from the new shale plays in the U.S. in the past few years is over or might even reverse. We believe these concerns are overblown. We think the current dislocation in the commodity markets is a case of supply temporarily getting ahead of demand.

2015-01-23 00:00:00 3 Things - The Fed, Rig Counts And Employment, ECB by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Yesterday, I wrote a fairly lengthy discussion on the biggest fear of the Fed is deflation. As I stated: "The biggest worry of the Federal Reserve, and frankly every Central Banker on the planet, is deflation. The reason is that deflation, as an economic pressure, is dangerous and once entrenched becomes difficult to break."

2015-01-23 00:00:00 U.S. Lodging: The Recovery Checks In for an Extended Stay by Ray Huang, Amit Arora of PIMCO

Relatively high occupancy levels should drive room rate growth in the hotel sector over the next several years, despite some supply entering the market. We see opportunities in certain segments, such as premium hotels and C-corporations, due to high barriers to entry and pricing power.

2015-01-23 00:00:00 Shock Therapy: Volatility Spells Opportunity by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

Over the past six months, the world has seen the price of crude oil decline by over 50%. Other commodities such as copper, gold and iron ore have also suffered declines, as demand from emerging markets has weakened. The supply/demand imbalance has created some uncertainty as to where commodity prices will eventually settle, and the sharp price moves have contributed to some of the volatility in financial markets.

2015-01-23 00:00:00 Winter Quarterly Commentary by Team of Knightsbridge Asset Management

Last year, Legos hit the big screen. In ?The LEGO Movie?, as those of you with children are more likely to be aware, a Lego mini-figure named Emmet Brickowski and his allies save the universe from the clutches of the evil Lord Business. Victory in hand, our Lego friends then party, to the tune ?Everything is Awesome?. And indeed, here too in our more mundane real world...everything is awesome!

2015-01-23 00:00:00 ECB Review: Blowing on the Embers of a Reflationary Fire by Andrew Bosomworth of PIMCO

?Not to pursue our mandate would be illegal? is how Mario Draghi ended his last press conference of 2014. Mr. Draghi?s first press conference of 2015 began with the announcement of a quantitative easing (QE) programme that pursues the European Central Bank?s (ECB) inflation mandate with a vengeance. And rightly so, for the disinflationary trends in the eurozone had become all the more precarious as economic output and the price of oil continued to fall.

2015-01-23 00:00:00 High Yield Bonds versus Equities by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

Investors are often led down the path that they must invest in equities in order to generate a decent return, and that the high yield market is too risky and speculative. However, reality and the data points suggest otherwise. Looking over the past couple decades and various periods in between, you can see that high yield has outperformed the equity market (as measured by the S&P 500 Index) on a risk adjusted basis (return/risk) over the past 5, 10, 15 and 25 years, and performed equivalently over the last 3 years.

2015-01-23 00:00:00 Tsunamis Most Often Come Without Warning by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

On Thursday, January 15th, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) discontinued its three year effort to maintain its minimum currency floor of the Swiss franc. In a single day the move sent the Swiss Franc (SWF) climbing a massive 21% against the U.S. dollar and 41% against the euro. The move sent shockwaves of unprecedented ferocity through the massive foreign exchange (FX) market, which is by far the largest, and most highly levered, trading market in the world.

2015-01-23 00:00:00 Quarterly Review and Outlook by Van Hoisington, Lacy Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

Commodity price declines were the symptom of sharply deteriorating economic conditions prior to the 1920-21 depression. To be sure, today?s economic environment is different. The world economies are not emerging from a destructive war, nor are we on the gold standard, and U.S. employment is no longer centered in agriculture and factories (over 50% in the U.S. in 1920). The fact remains, however, that global commodity prices are in noticeable retreat.

2015-01-23 00:00:00 Conference Board Leading Economic Index: About Those Benchmark Revisions by Doug Short (Article)

Today's release of the December Conference Board's Leading Economic Index included benchmark revisions in addition to the routine monthly revisions. Also the base year for the index was changed from 2004=100 to 2010=100. Today's press release included the following comment:

2015-01-22 00:00:00 Wait and See at the Bank of England by Mike Amey of PIMCO

UK growth looks to be sustainable, with encouraging domestic demand, though we need to see business investment continue to pick up. Although inflation hovering below the 1% lower tolerance band of the Bank of England (BOE) remains a concern, we think it actually gives the central bank welcome breathing room during a period of uncertainty for the global economy. Looking ahead, we see compelling investment value in the intermediate part of the UK yield curve, namely five- to 10-year bonds, as the BOE plays the waiting game.

2015-01-22 00:00:00 Deflation Is A Problem For The Fed by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

The biggest worry of the Federal Reserve, and frankly every Central Banker on the planet, is deflation. The reason is that deflation, as an economic pressure, is dangerous and once entrenched becomes difficult to break. For the Fed, the fear of inflation is far less worrisome.

2015-01-22 00:00:00 Deflation, Low Inflation, and Monetary Policy by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Central bank policymakers fear deflation more than anything. However, there is good deflation and there is bad deflation. Yet, even low inflation can create problems for an economy. Low inflation is expected to be a key factor in the ECB?s decision to embark on quantitative easing and ought to have some influence on the timing of the Fed?s initial rate hike.

2015-01-22 00:00:00 Rocky Horror Picture Show by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

?Rocky Horror Picture Show? was a satirical film production done as a tribute to the science and horror ?B? movies of the late 1930s through the 1970s. I was reminded of the flick last week when one portfolio manager I saw in Fort Lauderdale said to me, ?The first few weeks of the New Year have been an absolute horror show!?

2015-01-22 00:00:00 How U.S. Stocks Lost Their Lead by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

High expectations and valuations are making U.S. stocks more vulnerable to disappointments against a slowing world economy. It?s a good time to make sure your portfolio is truly international.

2015-01-22 00:00:00 Will Millennials Drive in 2-0-1-5? by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

It is our opinion that the most important question in stock picking is one related to the Millennial group. Will they drive the U.S. Economy in 2015 through 2020 and in the process greatly impact the long-term profitability of the businesses which benefit the most from their emergence?

2015-01-22 00:00:00 Fixed Income in 2015: Lower for Longer? by Jonathan Heckscher of Pennsylvania Trust

2014 surprised many bond investors as interest rates fell dramatically on the longer end while they rose as expected on the short end. The result was another solid year of returns for investors that remained in longer-duration bonds, and was adequate for most investors that shortened their duration.

2015-01-22 00:00:00 A few words on Europe by Tim Stevenson (Article)

Tim Stevenson, Director of Pan European Equities, comments on the recent revaluation of the Swiss Franc, political uncertainty and the ECB’s actions in terms of monetary easing. He also notes the recent outperformance of European markets and provides his near term expectations.

2015-01-22 00:00:00 Oil Impact Featuring David Grumhaus, Jr. by (Article)

Pressure on oil prices doesn’t necessarily affect the attractiveness of MLPs, says David Grumhaus, Jr., of Duff & Phelps Investment Management

2015-01-22 00:00:00 Interest Rates, Will They Rise In 2015? by (Article)

Interest rates set by the Fed are expected to rise, but timing remains uncertain – as does potential impact, says Mike Taggart of Nuveen Investments.

2015-01-21 00:00:00 Buy the Rumor, Sell the News by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Economic strength in the U.S. and the announcement of QE in Europe could spell the end of the recent bond rally.

2015-01-21 00:00:00 Oversold Market Poised to Rebound by Gene Peroni of Advisors Asset Management

The distinction between ?bear market? and ?interruption? is important in understanding and assessing the ultimate upside potential of this cycle. The DJIA had a terrific advance between October 2002 and 2007 of nearly 100%, but when the advance resumed in March 2009 with much of the market?s longer term sector leadership still intact, it soon became apparent that the financial debacle had presented only an interruption of the bullish cycle that began in 2002.

2015-01-21 00:00:00 Swiss Franc's Surge = Chaos In Global Currency Markets by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Last Thursday, the Swiss National Bank stunned the financial world by decoupling the Swiss franc from the euro. This surprise move sent the franc up almost 40% against the euro in one day, although it didn?t close that high (up 19%). Nevertheless, many currency traders, banks and brokerages were left with devastating losses.

2015-01-21 00:00:00 IBM: When a Company Veers Off the Roadmap by Nate Palmer of Diamond Hill Capital Management, Inc.

In 2010, International Business Machines? (IBM) then-CEO Sam Palmisano unveiled the company?s 2015 Roadmap in which management detailed its plans to grow (non-GAAP) operating earnings to ?at least $20? per share by 2015. This plan was the successor to a 2010 Roadmap, originally unveiled in 2007, in which management outlined its plan to deliver ?at least $10? in earnings per share by 2010. Since the company ultimately exceeded its 2010 Roadmap expectations and delivered $11.52 in 2010 earnings per share, the 2015 Roadmap was generally met with enthusiasm by

2015-01-21 00:00:00 Switzerland Wins As Its Central Bank Surrenders by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

If anyone had any doubt how severely the global economy has been distorted by the actions of central bankers, the "surprise" announcement last week by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) to no longer peg the Swiss franc to the euro should provide a moment of crystal clarity.

2015-01-21 00:00:00 What We Are Hearing From Asia-Pacific Investors: Five Themes for 2015 by Eric Mogelof of PIMCO

Amid lower forward-looking returns, investors are focusing on multi-asset solutions, enhanced beta, income and alternatives in Asia-Pacific. PIMCO is prepared to address these themes, drawing upon our time-tested investment process that combines high-level macroeconomic views with thorough on-the-ground research.

2015-01-21 00:00:00 Saudi Succession by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was recently hospitalized with pneumonia. In light of his advanced age and declining health, an analysis of royal succession in Saudi Arabia is in order. We will begin with a history of Saudi kings and follow with an examination of the current Saudi succession, focusing on the Crown Prince and who remains as potential kings among the ?second generation? of the Saudi Royal Family. We will analyze the challenges facing the kingdom and how the succession issue will likely complicate the way these issues are resolved, and conclude with potential market ram

2015-01-21 00:00:00 Greece's Perilous Odyssey by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

At best, the black sheep of the eurozone family is a troubling source of uncertainty for policymakers and global markets?at worst, it?s a potential disaster.

2015-01-21 00:00:00 European Head Fake? by Burt White of LPL Financial

The much anticipated European Central Bank (ECB) policy meeting this week may include a quantitative easing (QE) program announcement. Although we would view a potentially bold QE program from the ECB as an incremental positive, the ongoing growth and deflation challenges in Europe leave us still with a strong preference for the U.S.

2015-01-21 00:00:00 Investor implications of QE by the ECB by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Is European Central Bank (ECB) head Draghi?s determination to purchase government bonds turning Europe into a banana republic? What are the implications not only for the euro and U.S. dollar, but gold, stocks and bonds? Our analysis shows that conventional wisdom may be proven wrong in more than one way.

2015-01-21 00:00:00 Tocqueville Gold Strategy Investor Letter: Year End 2014 by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

John Hathaway, manager of the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), looks back at the performance of gold over 2014, noting that: "in dollar terms gold declined 1.7 percent, but?it posted solid gains against all other currencies," and that "the dollar?s strength relative to other currencies has camouflaged the strength of gold."

2015-01-20 00:00:00 Gundlach's Forecast for 2015 by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Despite a fragile economic recovery - now threatened by falling oil prices - and the likelihood that the Fed will raise short-term rates, the prospects for the U.S. bond market in 2015 are good, according to Jeffrey Gundlach.

2015-01-20 00:00:00 Retiring in a Low-Return Environment by David Blanchett, Michael Finke and Wade Pfau (Article)

Low bond yields and high equity valuations suggest lower spending for retirees. Prior research forecasted the impact on safe-withdrawal rates (SWRs), but a more sophisticated model can improve the accuracy of those predictions. We show just how low the SWRs should be for today's retirees.

2015-01-20 00:00:00 A Year-End Letter to Clients: How the World's Wealthiest Families Invest by Dan Richards (Article)

Here are the components of the year-end letter for 2014: An overview of 2014 performance; Some context on market valuations and how wealthy families are investing today; and brief thoughts for the period ahead.

2015-01-20 00:00:00 Albert Edwards - "Markets to Riot" by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Albert Edwards admits that his "bear" reputation is well deserved, at least with respect to equities, an asset class he has dismissed for the last 10 years. His bearishness has not abated, and for the coming year, he fears that "deflation will overwhelm the west." Markets, he said, will riot.

2015-01-20 00:00:00 The Small Investment that Pays a Big Return by Daniel Solin (Article)

Television anchors have discovered something that has eluded many financial advisors, both male and female.

2015-01-20 00:00:00 Venerated Voices by Various (Article)

Advisor Perspectives, a leading publisher serving financial advisors and the financial advisory community, has announced its Venerated Voices awards for articles published in 2014.

2015-01-20 00:00:00 Combating Depression in Your Firm by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

One of our most senior advisors has been suffering from depression and it is creating an increasing problem in our firm. Though there has been no official corporate communication, we all know it is going on and see the impacts.

2015-01-20 00:00:00 Are You Considering a Client Advisory Board? Here's What You Need To Know. by Teresa Riccobuono (Article)

As part of your 2015 marketing calendar, consider including a client-advisory board.

2015-01-20 00:00:00 The Swiss Release the Kraken! by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

In an era when central bankers are supposed to be more open, collaborative, and communicative, what would make the Swiss National Bank decide to turn on a dime and shock the markets ? to release the Kraken, as it were? Note that in fact all hell did break loose. Rather than delivering hints accompanied by a few well-placed leaks, the Swiss decided it would be best to completely surprise the markets. It will be a long time before we get the full story on what must have been going through their heads as they reached the decision.

2015-01-20 00:00:00 5 Things To Ponder: A View Of A Correction by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

It has been a rough start to a new year as all of the gains following the end of the Federal Reserve's flagship "QE-3" campaign have been erased.

2015-01-20 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

US equities have now fallen three weeks in a row. At its low on Friday, SPX was 5% off its high on December 29.

2015-01-20 00:00:00 Economic Update by Kevin Moloney of Bronfman E.L. Rothschild

The drop in energy prices dominates global headlines and the economic implications on a global scale are somewhat mixed, with major oil importers benefiting the most. Beyond energy, the backdrop for the U.S. economy continues to be strong, with a third quarter GDP estimate of 3.9% and a labor market that continues to plod along; although improvements are still needed. The strong close to 2014 is providing a robust tailwind for the domestic economy entering the New Year, whereas many countries overseas continue to cope with slower growth and potential deflation.

2015-01-20 00:00:00 The Politics of Economic Stupidity by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

In 2014, the world economy remained stuck in the same rut that it has been in since emerging from the 2008 global financial crisis. But we know how to escape our current malaise, which suggests that the big problem facing the world in 2015 is political, not economic.

2015-01-20 00:00:00 Despite Escalating Volatility, U.S. Fundamentals Remain Sound by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities declined for a third straight week, with the S&P 500 Index dropping 1.2%. Defensive areas such as utilities and telecommunications were the best-performing sectors, while the financial sector was hit the hardest. Notwithstanding last week?s decision by the Swiss National Bank to remove its currency peg, the fundamental backdrop has not changed much in recent weeks. We attribute the fall in equity prices to ongoing worries about the collapse in oil prices and the ripple effect on the global financial system.

2015-01-20 00:00:00 Swiss Surprise: National Bank Ends Currency Cap by Rob Waldner, Nicholas Wall, Ray Uy of Invesco Blog

On Jan. 15, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) unexpectedly abandoned its policy to cap the value of the franc at 1.2 euros.1 Over the past few years, the SNB has had to sell billions of francs to buy euros to prevent an excessive appreciation of the domestic currency - a too-strong currency could dent the country?s export business.

2015-01-20 00:00:00 Navigating the Oil Slick by Team of Calamos Investments

GDP growth for 2015 is likely to be 2.0%-2.5% globally and 2.5%-3.0% in the U.S. Oil prices may fall further but are likely to stabilize over the next several months. The ECB is likely to ramp up QE in the first quarter. These next months are likely to be volatile, but equities have more room to run. Low corporate borrowing costs and high dividend yields should encourage continued M&A and buyback activity, providing support to equity valuations. With the U.S. in the middle innings of the recovery, the case for secular and cyclical growth companies remains strong.

2015-01-20 00:00:00 Davos - And the Euro by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Perfect! Last week, the Swiss National Bank in reaction to market pressure, ended its crawling peg against the euro. The Swiss Franc surged 40% versus the euro, before settling around 20% higher, and roughly 17% against the already strong dollar. So, guess what? Attendees at The World Economic Forum ? an annual gaggle of the global financial elite held in Davos, Switzerland, which starts today ? just saw their trip get a lot more expensive.

2015-01-20 00:00:00 What is a Deep Value Investor? by (Article)

Deep value investors have a long-term focus and are not fixated on quarterly earnings. They're looking for companies with the ability to compound wealth over time.

2015-01-20 00:00:00 Seeking Strong Int'l Growth Stocks Amid Mixed Macro Signals by Sponsored Content from Invesco (Article)

Previously stretched valuations have become reasonably constructive in Europe's stalled economy. China's structural reforms and corruption crackdown could be positive in the long term. The commodity cycle downturn hurts resource-dependent emerging markets but benefits net commodity importers.

2015-01-18 00:00:00 QE and the ECB: "Authorize" is a Slippery Word by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The ECB will authorize a large QE program this week, but my impression is that the details will leave the ECB itself responsible for executing only a fraction of the announced program, with the remaining majority of the program (perhaps 60-75%) being nothing more than the option for each national central bank to purchase its own country?s government bonds, at its own discretion, and its own risk. Moreover, that option is likely to be limited to something on the order of 25% of the outstanding government debt of each respective country.

2015-01-18 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: The Message from Fourth Quarter Earnings by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

I do not know how earnings season will play out this week. My list of things to watch is good, but the market seems to be demanding a parlay of positive indications: Beating the whisper number for earnings; Beating the revenue expectations; Business growth ?organic, not from mergers or purchases; Solid ?quality of earnings? with no gimmicks or accounting moves; A credible, positive outlook.

2015-01-17 00:00:00 Clock Will Be Ticking for Greece?s New Government by Darren Williams and Dennis Shen of AllianceBernstein

Greece is holding early parliamentary elections on January 25. A victory for the anti-austerity Syriza party would probably trigger tense negotiations with the country?s official lenders and fresh volatility in Greek government bond markets. But the expected launch of ECB QE should mitigate contagion to the rest of the periphery.

2015-01-17 00:00:00 Looking Ahead: What the ECB Might Do by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

The next European Central Bank policy setting meeting could bring about a new quantitative easing program. Would it be able to keep the eurozone from falling into a deflationary trap?

2015-01-17 00:00:00 Palladium Was the Winner in 2014 by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Palladium, 2014?s top commodity, performed relatively according to script. For the year it was up 11.35 percent, compared to its 10-year annualized returns of 14 percent. Much like nickel, palladium was spurred by extenuating circumstances. Between January and June, a labor strike in South Africa, the world?s second-largest producer of the metal following Russia, halted production, which depleted reserves and sent palladium to a three-year high of $850 an ounce.

2015-01-17 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

?Francogeddon? ? ?tsunami? ? ?carnage? ? The hyperbole after the Swiss National Bank (SNB) unexpectedly ended its three-year currency ceiling peg to the euro yesterday was not misplaced. The immediate impact has been profound across a range of markets. The longer-time ripples are only beginning to become apparent. This is what we?ve gleaned so far:

2015-01-17 00:00:00 Oil Prices... A Metaphor for an Investment Process by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Energy is an essential part of the global economy. There are companies that drill for oil or natural gas, those that process and refine it into products and others that transport and sell those products (e.g. gas stations). These businesses are all impacted by the price, supply and demand environment surrounding energy. Lately, they have nearly all been losing investments.

2015-01-17 00:00:00 Occupy Wall Street in Qing Dynasty, China by Gerald Hwang of Matthews Asia

What if a banker's family could be taken as slaves to repay losses arising from the banker's malfeasance? This may seem extreme now but it was part of a system that existed 200 years ago in a China's desolate Shanxi region near Mongolia. This week, Gerald Hwang, CFA, writes about this surprising birthplace for a banking system that served elite citizens and the treasury of the Qing dynasty.

2015-01-17 00:00:00 For US Economy, 2015 May Be a Very Good Year by Joseph G. Carson of AllianceBernstein

The US economy shifted into a higher gear in 2014 as growth over the last three quarters averaged 4.5%. With consumer, business and even government spending set to rise, the outlook for 2015 is even brighter?and that should be enough to convince the Federal Reserve to start lifting interest rates.

2015-01-17 00:00:00 What Did We Learn About Bonds in 2014? by Douglas J. Peebles of AllianceBernstein

After a less-than-stellar 2013 for bonds, many investors were ready to turn their backs on the asset class. But many didn?t?and were rewarded for their long-term perspective.

2015-01-16 00:00:00 Population-Adjusted Real Retail Sales: Another Perspective on the Economy by Doug Short (Article)

In real, population-adjusted terms, Retail Sales are at the level we first reached in December 2004.

Earlier this week, the Advance Retail Sales Report showed that sales in December declined 0.9% month-over-month, as I reported in my real-time update.

With the subsequent release of the Consumer Price Index, we can now dig a bit deeper into the "real" data, adjusted for inflation and against the backdrop of our growing population.

2015-01-16 00:00:00 3 Things - Employment, Interest Rates & Retail Sales by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

There has been much discussion as of late about the "longest string of employment gains since the 90's." There is certainly no argument that employment has improved since the financial crisis, however, with the economy six years into a recovery we should certainly expect as much.

2015-01-16 00:00:00 QQE2: Japan?s Monetary Banzai Charge by Chris Richey of Neosho Capital

In this Age of Monetary Policy, it is impossible to ignore the macro. As much as we would like to focus only on individual enterprises, the mind-boggling scale of $5 trillion of monetary intervention in the U.S., Japan, and Europe renders such cloistered thinking imprudent. Not only must Benjamin Graham?s enterprising investor understand individual stocks, but they must also be keenly cognizant of the role the world?s largest central banks actively play in the value of currencies, bonds, stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and derivatives of all kinds.

2015-01-16 00:00:00 Yesterday?s Gone: Year-End Capital Markets Commentary and Expectations by Chris Brightman, Jim Masturzo of Research Affiliates

With updated return expectations, we estimate that the performance of U.S. stocks and bonds over the next 10 years will be significantly lower than long-term historical averages. Other asset classes may produce moderately better returns.

2015-01-16 00:00:00 Market Overview Q414: Using Knowledge as a Yardstick by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

Simply following the Fed?s lead of investing in risk markets may seem overly simplistic and ultimately ill-advised. Indeed by assessing the economy by the standard of knowledge, we can see the Fed?s policy of low rates is actually counter-productive.

2015-01-16 00:00:00 The Year Ahead by Jack Rivkin of Altegris

It is once again time to put down in print in one place some pretty specific speculations on what could happen next year. We do this every year with the intent of trying to get investors to think about what could happen and factor that into their decisions on how to adjust their portfolios to take advantage of opportunities while at the same time being aware of the risks.

2015-01-16 00:00:00 Managed Futures, Quantitative Easing and Volatility by Jack Rivkin of Altegris

Mark Melin, writing for ValueWalk, picked out some of the points in our Altegris Perspectives piece, ?What to Expect in 2015??. Mark asked some questions expanding on topics scattered throughout the piece, specifically relating to Managed Futures and the persistence of dispersion; Quantitative Easing (QE) and the lack of continuing discussion about it; and Volatility and its impact on relative values.

2015-01-16 00:00:00 The Swiss National Bank?s Unpleasant Experience of Sleeping Next to an Elephant by Sachin Gupta, Thomas Kressin of PIMCO

On 15 January 2015, the Governing Board of the Swiss National Bank (SNB) unexpectedly exited its minimum exchange rate regime, which it had adopted back in September 2011 when it was fighting sharp appreciation of the Swiss franc in the midst of the eurozone sovereign debt crisis.

2015-01-16 00:00:00 2015 Economic & Capital Market Outlook by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

The domestic economy is growing at 3.0% to 3.5% pace. The budget deficit is plummeting and currently is less than 2.8% of GDP. The price of oil is in a freefall now below $55 per barrel and inflation is virtually nonexistent. The rate of unemployment is below 6.0%. These are idyllic conditions for any economy, especially five years after the largest financial crisis since the Great Depression. So, what?s the problem?

2015-01-16 00:00:00 Dow 20,000: Is 2015 the Year by Adam Butler, Mike Philbrick, Rodrigo Gordillo of Butler|Philbrick|Gordillo & Associates

It?s that time of year again. Yup, that jolly, happy time of year when the soothsayers of Wall Street start trumpeting their views on what?s going to happen in 2015, and how to position portfolios to profit. Esteemed Wharton professor, Jeremy Siegel, author of the permabull bible, Stocks for the Long Run, recently joined the merry parade with his own forecast that Dow 20,000 ?could happen? in 2015. Astute investors might take stakes now in large manufacturers of confetti, party horns, and streamers.

2015-01-15 00:00:00 5 Charts For Fully Invested Bears by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

While the mainstream media continues to misalign individuals expectations by chastising them for "not beating the market," which is actually impossible to do, the job of a portfolio manager is to participate in the markets with a predilection toward capital preservation. It is the destruction of capital during market declines that have the greatest impact on long-term portfolio performance.

2015-01-15 00:00:00 A New Ceiling for Oil Prices by Anatole Kaletsky of Project Syndicate

Most analysts still view $50 as a floor for the price of oil ? or even a springboard. But, though the futures market suggests expectations of a fairly quick rebound to $70 or $80, economics and history suggest that today?s price should be viewed as a probable ceiling for a much lower trading range.

2015-01-15 00:00:00 Seizing Credit Opportunities When Oil Prices Are Sliding by Mark Kiesel, David Linton of PIMCO

?We believe we are moving into an extended period of lower oil prices, and we are actively managing our clients? energy exposure with an eye toward benefiting from recent events. Differentiation between the winners and losers across countries, sectors and individual companies is essential. We currently favor subsectors and companies with strong asset quality, high barriers to entry, solid production profiles and strong balance sheets and liquidity profiles.

2015-01-15 00:00:00 The Long Growth Drag From Financial Market Tinkering? by William De Leon of PIMCO

Central bankers and regulators have greatly underestimated the negative impact their actions may have on the economic ?multiplier.? Over the next two to three years this miscalculation may settle into a permanent drag on global growth. Forget fears of bloated central bank balance sheets and their potentially inflationary effects ? rather than generating credit in the consumer sector, much of that ?liquidity? is being used to meet new capital requirements.

2015-01-15 00:00:00 Bracing for Stagnation by Raghuram Rajan of Project Syndicate

As 2015 begins, the global economy remains weak. With few signs that this year will bring any improvement, policymakers would be wise to understand the factors underlying the global economy?s anemic performance and the implications of continued feebleness.

2015-01-15 00:00:00 Outlook 2015: Global Equities by Alex Tedder of Schroders Investment Management

We see 2015 as being characterized by an ongoing divergence in global growth and monetary policy that will create attractive pockets of investment opportunity for stockpickers.

2015-01-15 00:00:00 What Good Are Economists? by Robert Shiller of Project Syndicate

Since the global financial crisis and recession of 2007-2009, criticism of the economics profession has intensified. If economists were unable to foresee something so important to people?s wellbeing, what good are they to society?

2015-01-15 00:00:00 Is the Euro the New Yen? Increasingly So by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

There is recent evidence that Europe is becoming more Japan-like in displaying negative correlations between its equity markets and its currency moves. This negative correlation in Europe is not a new phenomenon.

2015-01-14 00:00:00 Census Bureau Revisions to Retail Sales by Doug Short (Article)

Earlier today I posted my monthly update on Retail Sales. Those of us who routinely track this series know that the Advance Estimate will be followed by a second estimate next month and a third estimate the month after. How big are those revisions? Are they big enough to warrant skepticism about the Advance Estimate?

See for yourself. Here is a visualization of the cumulative change from the first to third estimates from January 2007 through October 2014, the most recent month for which we have all three data points.

2015-01-14 00:00:00 The Job Market and the Fed by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The December Employment Report presented a mixed job market picture. The establishment survey data reflected strong job growth, but with a lackluster trend in average hourly earnings. The household survey showed a larger-than-expected drop in the unemployment rate, but that was due to a decline in labor force participation. What should Fed policymakers make of this report? Patience, grasshopper, patience ...

2015-01-14 00:00:00 Is the Party Over? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Every year it seems to be the same. January arrives and with it the winter blahs set in. The excitement of Christmas Day has passed. The celebration of New Year?s is but a memory. We?re putting away all the holiday decorations. What a pain (literally)! And, forgive me for a parochial slip; the Lions, once again, are out of the football playoff picture and off TV.

2015-01-14 00:00:00 Are Macroeconomists Rebuilding a Wall of Worry? by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Those of you who follow us at Smead Capital Management know that we believe in the idea that good markets die on too much affection and continue due to a lack of affection. You also know that we want to own wonderful companies for a long time and do so through regular stock market corrections/bear markets over the years. Since the stock market bottom in March of 2009, this secular bull market has climbed on a wall of worry and on a lack of optimism.

2015-01-14 00:00:00 The Bright Side of Cheap Oil by Burt White of LPL Financial

Earnings season is here and, as we wrote in our earnings preview last week (?A Tale of Two Earnings Seasons?), low oil prices and the energy sector will be the market?s main focus.

2015-01-14 00:00:00 Is The US Treasury Market Rigged? Some Say Yes by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The last time federal regulators took a hard look at how Wall Street banks and brokers trade US Treasury securities ? the largest bond market on the planet by a longshot ? a little company called Google Inc. was just starting out.

2015-01-14 00:00:00 Barron?s Makes The Case For Active Management by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

The Barron?s cover story made the case for active management outperforming passive indexing when interest rates rise citing the history that supports the notion from past periods of rising rates with the underlying logic being that ?rising rates go hand-in-hand with outperformance of smaller stocks, which active managers tend to favor? as well as part of active management including what to avoid which is a concept we have discussed here many times before.

2015-01-14 00:00:00 Don?t Bet on a Stronger Dollar by Barry Eichengreen of Project Syndicate

Economic pundits, almost without exception, are predicting a stronger dollar in 2015 ? an expectation that is leading investors to place some very large bets. But that market strategy could turn out to be a very large mistake.

2015-01-14 00:00:00 Avoiding Value Traps and Aggressive Growth by (Article)

Portfolio Manager Jim Stoeffel talks about his investment criteria, what he looks for in management teams, how he tries to avoid value traps, and Royce’s approach to building conviction.

2015-01-14 00:00:00 Bond CEFs Featuring Robert Shaker by (Article)

Bond-focused closed-end funds may help your portfolio even in rising rate environments, says Robert Shaker of Shaker Financial Services.

2015-01-14 00:00:00 2015 Outlook Featuring Mike Taggart by (Article)

Senior loan closed-end funds may present an opportunity to investors in 2015, says Mike Taggart of Nuveen Investments.

2015-01-14 00:00:00 2014 Review Featuring Mike Taggart by (Article)

US equity and long-duration municipal bond sectors fared well in 2014, while senior loans and MLPs disappointed, says Mike Taggart of Nuveen Investments.

2015-01-13 00:00:00 The Advantages of a Dynamic Retirement Income Strategy by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Retirees will adjust their spending depending on investment experience. But most research uses withdrawal strategies that are fixed at inception, such as the 4% rule. I'll show that when spending can adjust each year, retirement outcomes will improve. I'll also show the gains that can be achieved by adding annuities.

2015-01-13 00:00:00 Estimating the Impact of Oil Prices and Interest Rates on the S&P 500 by Eric Stubbs (Article)

Two important developments in 2014 will affect U.S. equity markets in 2015: the precipitous decline in oil prices and increasing expectations that the Fed will begin raising short-term rates sooner rather than later. But how specifically will these affect our stock market? I report on the results of an econometric model that I developed to address these questions.

2015-01-13 00:00:00 Is the Commercial Office Market Recovery a Mirage? by Keith Jurow (Article)

I will focus on an important question few analysts are raising: Is the so-called recovery in commercial office markets real or a mirage?

2015-01-13 00:00:00 The Small Decisions that Lost a $5 Million Account by Dan Richards (Article)

A recent conversation with a woman looking to invest an inheritance highlighted how seemingly trivial decisions by advisors can make a huge difference. In this case, the advisor's inattention to a small detail cost a $5 million account.

2015-01-13 00:00:00 An Introvert's Guide to Gathering AUM by Daniel Solin (Article)

Here's how introverts can turn what may seem like a weakness into a significant advantage.

2015-01-13 00:00:00 The Best Way to Communicate New Investment Approaches by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We recently changed our investment approach. As senior management, we decided against broad messaging because we believed it would cause more consternation on the part of our clients. Some of our advisors think this is disingenuous. Do you agree with our decision or should we be telling our clients exactly what we are doing and why?

2015-01-13 00:00:00 Women: Overlooked, Disenfranchised and High-Value by Jack Singer, Ph.D. (Article)

Women are earning more, inheriting more and controlling more wealth than ever before. This is a huge, untapped demographic cohort awaiting every financial advisor who understands some key points about women's needs and desires.

2015-01-13 00:00:00 "Divergent" Markets by Jim Tillar, Steve Wenstrup of Tillar-Wenstrup

We expressed some concern about financial markets in last quarter's client letter and stated the theme of the letter was volatility. That characteristic carried over into the fourth quarter and caused our concern to heighten considerably.

2015-01-13 00:00:00 Volatility and Uncertainty in the Energy Market by Kathleen Gaffney of Eaton Vance

What?s causing the decline in oil prices? Kathleen Gaffney, co-director of investment-grade fixed income weighs in.

2015-01-13 00:00:00 European Populism by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In our 2015 Geopolitical Outlook, one of the risks we discussed was the rise of populism. In this week?s report, we will focus on European populism. The recent attack on the employees of Charlie Hebdo in France makes this a timely topic. In this report, we will define populism, examine why populism has developed in the West, note the particular characteristics of European populism and identify the effects it could have on general geopolitics in the future. As always, we will conclude with potential market ramifications.

2015-01-13 00:00:00 The 2015 State Of The Union by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

It is that time of the year when the President of the United States delivers his annual "State Of The Union" address. Over the weekend, the Associated Press discussed President Obama's retooled message.

2015-01-13 00:00:00 Central Banks' Power Shortage by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank face significant limitations on what they can do to solve economic problems.

2015-01-13 00:00:00 2015 - Fasten Your Seat Belts, This Could Be a Bumpy Ride by Chris Puplava of PFS Group

While higher stock prices are often cited as the biggest beneficiary of the Fed?s several rounds of quantitative easing (QE), a lesser cited beneficiary has been overall market volatility and the credit markets. With each round of QE and/or ?Operation Twist? we?ve seen measures of financial stress in the credit markets contract.

2015-01-13 00:00:00 What Does the Oil Turmoil Mean for the Energy Sector in the Long Term by Tripp Zimmerman of WisdomTree

One of the largest investment stories for the second half of 2014 was the precipitous decline of oil prices and its impact on the energy sector. As a result of the sharp price declines, the dividend yields on various energy stocks have increased.

2015-01-13 00:00:00 Market Outlook 2015: Double Digit Gain...Thank You, May I Have Another? by K. Sean Clark of Clark Capital Management Group

The U.S. stock market finds itself in rare territory as we enter 2015. For only the sixth time in the past 150 years, the U.S. stock market has registered a double-digit gain for three consecutive calendar years from 2012 to 2014. We will try to answer the question: ?Can the U.S. stock market post a fourth year of double-digit gains??

2015-01-13 00:00:00 High-Yield and Bank Loan Outlook by Team of Guggenheim Partners

Investment-grade and high-yield spreads widen as energy plunges.

2015-01-13 00:00:00 What Are We Betting On? by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

The world has collectively placed a huge bet on three fundamental outcomes: a shift toward more inclusive global growth, the avoidance of policy mistakes, and the prevention of market accidents. But all three developments are highly uncertain ? and bets on them are exceedingly risky.

2015-01-12 00:00:00 Investing During Turbulent Markets by (Article)

Portfolio Manager Chris Flynn explains why volatility plays such an important role in our investment process.

2015-01-12 00:00:00 Equity Market Surprise in 2015? by (Article)

45-year industry veteran Thomas S. White, Jr. reveals what he feels will surprise investors in 2015.

2015-01-12 00:00:00 Making Sense of Unconstrained Bond Funds by (Article)

In the latest video in Envestnet | PMC's Spotlight series, Senior Investment Analyst Nathan Behan, CFA, CAIA examines non-traditional and unconstrained bond funds.

2015-01-12 00:00:00 Tracking the Market with Social Media by Blair Jensen of Trade Followers

The Trade Followers Momentum indicator for the S&P 500 Index (SPX) continues to show chasing by market participants. Traders are jumping quickly from one side of the market to the other as price moves in large daily swings. The chasing increases instability because traders are not committed to positions. This shows up as Twitter and StockTwits 7 day momentum painting a pattern that mirrors price. This indicator is suggesting caution is warranted.

2015-01-12 00:00:00 Rethinking Europe?s Deflation Dilemma by Darren Williams of AllianceBernstein

December?s negative inflation print has led to a cacophony of headlines proclaiming that the euro area has finally succumbed to deflation. We think concerns about modest declines in consumer prices are overdone. But the structural weakness of nominal growth remains a major concern.

2015-01-12 00:00:00 Global Economic Overview: November 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Lower energy prices continued to brighten the global economic growth outlook, though some of the recent data trends have been less cheerful. Crude oil prices have slipped to their lowest level since 2010, and the steep fall has the potential to significantly alter global growth patterns next year.

2015-01-12 00:00:00 International Equity Commentary: November 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

International equity prices saw modest gains during the month of November, helped by hopes of additional quantitative stimulus measures from the European Central Bank (ECB) as well as more robust U.S. economic data.

2015-01-12 00:00:00 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary: November 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices saw a moderate correction during the month as markets in Latin America and Europe slipped. Countries where exports are dominated by energy and commodities saw the worst declines as oil prices continued to tumble.

2015-01-12 00:00:00 Europe at War by George Soros of Project Syndicate

Assisting Ukraine to defend itself against Russian aggression would have a stimulative effect not only on Ukraine, but also on Europe. That is why the EU ought to be even more committed to helping Ukraine than it is to imposing sanctions on Russia.

2015-01-12 00:00:00 Supply Shock and Awe by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

If the mid-80s? supply-driven oil crisis is a guide, we should expect further declines and a prolonged period where oil prices remain depressed.

2015-01-12 00:00:00 Bullish, For the Right Reasons by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Last week, we forecast the S&P 500 will hit 2,375 at the end of this year (link), so we?re obviously bullish on stocks. Our case is based on fundamentals, specifically, the long-term link between stocks, earnings, interest rates, and the economy as a whole. However, just because we?re bullish, doesn?t mean we agree with every bullish argument that?s out there.

2015-01-12 00:00:00 Markets May Be Choppy, but Equities Should Advance in 2015 by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

The year started off with equity markets experiencing volatile trading. Stock prices dropped sharply in the first few trading days before recovering, while oil prices plummeted and bond yields fell. Last week, U.S. equities lost ground and the S&P 500 Index declined 0.6%.

2015-01-12 00:00:00 A Five-Year Global Financial Forecast: Tsunami Warning by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

It is the time of the year for forecasts; but rather than do an annual forecast, which is as much a guessing game as anything else (and I am bad at guessing games), I?m going to do a five-year forecast to take us to the end of the decade, which I think may be useful for longer-term investors.

2015-01-11 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: A Message from the Bond Market? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

There are many reasons for some to own bonds, but the extremely low interest rates suggest something beyond that. I suggest a leveraged arbitrage with Europe and Japan. Please note: This is basically the opposite of the 1998 carry trade.

2015-01-11 00:00:00 A Better Lesson than "This Time is Different" by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The near-term outcome of speculative, overvalued markets is conditional on investor preferences toward risk-seeking or risk-aversion, and those preferences can be largely inferred from observable market internals and credit spreads. The difference between an overvalued market that becomes more overvalued, and an overvalued market that crashes, has little to do with the level of valuation and everything to do with investor risk preferences. Yet long-term investment outcomes remain chiefly defined by those valuations.

2015-01-10 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

After hitting new all-time highs in the days after Christmas, US equities have now fallen two weeks in a row, an auspicious way to start the new year.

2015-01-10 00:00:00 Bad News Is Good News: A Contrarian View of China Investing by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

I asked Xian Liang, portfolio manager of our China Region Fund (USCOX), to outline a few of the most compelling cases to remain bullish on the Asian giant.

2015-01-10 00:00:00 Five Things To Ponder: What This Way Cometh by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

This week's reading list is a smattering of reads about 2015. As a contrarian investor by nature, it was interesting to note how hard it was to find views that were NOT bullishly biased. It seems we may have now entered a market realm where Unicorns and Bears are only things of legend.

2015-01-10 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Greece's renewed drama is more noise than signal; U.S. job growth rolls merrily along

2015-01-09 00:00:00 Five Decades of Middle Class Wages: Update by Doug Short (Article)

Note from dshort: I've updated this series to include today's release of the December employment data. While my focus here is on long-term trends, I want to call attention to the six-cent decline from November to December in the average hourly earnings for this cohort. That's the largest month-over-month decline in the history of the series, which dates from 1964. The second largest was three cents in August 1983.

2015-01-09 00:00:00 Nonrandom Patterns by Keith McCullough of Hedgeye Risk Management

What an excellent start to 2015! It?s been years since I?ve seen so many great long and short ideas across the Global Macro universe. If your portfolio mandate is diversified and flexible (across asset classes), I think you can have a crusher of a year!

2015-01-09 00:00:00 Recovery Gaining Momentum? by Ed Devlin, Mike Cudzil, Lupin Rahman of PIMCO

U.S. growth will remain robust over the cyclical horizon due to increasing consumption driven by the narrowing unemployment gap and increase in disposable incomes. The Canadian recovery should continue, though divergent forces ? including the U.S. recovery and oil price declines ? could have significant implications for the economy. Growth will be muted across Latin America, with some economies benefitting from U.S. growth, and others dragged down by the slowdown in the eurozone and China.

2015-01-09 00:00:00 A Tale of Two Earnings Seasons by Burt White of LPL Financial

The fourth quarter of 2014 will be a tale of two earnings seasons: the best of times and the worst of times. Despite a substantial drag from the energy sector, we expect another good earnings season overall. We expect more winners from cheap oil than losers, although the energy sector faces significant challenges.

2015-01-09 00:00:00 A Devoted Contrarian Needs Patience by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest piece, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, argues that despite their clear value, "fundamental analysis and contrarian thinking are not very precise investment-timing tools." He explores the dangers of both acting too son and acting too late even when an anticipated substantive investing scenario comes into being.

2015-01-09 00:00:00 The Wild, Wild East: Risks and Opportunities in Russia by Chris Brightman, Vitali Kalesnik of Research Affiliates

Investors in Russian companies are exposed to political and economic risks that raise the odds of default. But Russia needs western capital and is willing to pay up for it. Long-term investments in Russian equities might prove rewarding.

2015-01-09 00:00:00 Investment themes for a ?Groundhog Day? world by David King of Columbia Management

Wall Street strategists and ?financial media pundits have spent much of the last several years foreshadowing a dramatically changing investment environment and telling people what to do about it.

2015-01-09 00:00:00 Pie in the Sky? by Team of Absolute Return Partners

January each year brings with it a host of forecasts, many of which are 'pie in the sky' - silly predictions on equity markets, interest rates and currency movements. We are not in that game, but this is the first time we have written a letter in January. Why? Because we think investors should be focusing on longer term structural trends when analysing the future.

2015-01-09 00:00:00 Grease and Greece by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

With the energy sector and Eurozone concerns dominating the financial industry?s outlook on 2015, see what RBA believes to be the real issues facing both Greece and Grease.

2015-01-09 00:00:00 The Hidden Perils of Low Interest Rates by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Late last year, with the U.S. economy experiencing falling unemployment and seemingly low inflation, observers were extremely confident that the Federal Reserve would move judiciously in 2015 to restore 'normal' interest rates sooner rather than later. However, in light of the recent fall in both stocks and oil, that conviction has softened considerably.

2015-01-09 00:00:00 Shades of APEC Blue by Raymond Deng of Matthews Asia

During last year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, Beijing revealed stunning blue skies to replace its normally smog-choked atmosphere?a result of intentional government closings of factories and roads. Producing "APEC blue" as it came to be called was a complicated and expensive task. Asia Weekly explores such initiatives in China.

2015-01-08 00:00:00 Consensus Macro Memes by Keith McCullough of Hedgeye Risk Management

Do Global Macro Themes propagate themselves into consensus narratives? You bet your Madoff they do. But timing them matters. You really get paid by front-running them by 3-6 months.

2015-01-08 00:00:00 Global Economic Outlook by Team of Northern Trust

Re-entry to the workplace after the holiday season isn't exactly like a satellite descending from earth's orbit.

2015-01-08 00:00:00 TIPS Adjust to the Financial Market Environment by Stephen Percoco of Lark Research, Inc.

U.S. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities had a solid year in 2014, bouncing back from losses in 2013. Yet, except for the losses in 2013, TIPS returns were the lowest since 2008.

2015-01-08 00:00:00 Europe?s Lapse of Reason by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

If Europe does not change its ways ? if it does not reform the eurozone and repeal austerity ? a popular backlash will become inevitable. Though Greece may stay the course following its early election later this month, democracy will not permit the economic madness to continue.

2015-01-08 00:00:00 Consumer outlook ? a strong start in 2015 by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Amid all of the recent economic data releases, the consumer spending figures stand out. The near-term outlook for the consumer has improved substantially, but financial market participants have yet to embrace the good news.

2015-01-08 00:00:00 All about that base by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

The transition from one year to the next is always accompanied by a whole host of traditions intended to help people celebrate this annual new beginning. The resolutions, parades, fireworks, football games, food, furniture sales ? they all seem to be experienced in a fresh, optimistic light, like an all-forgiving reset button was hit when that ball dropped on New Year?s Eve.

2015-01-08 00:00:00 3 Things - Volatility, The Fed and Yield Spreads by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Since the end of the Federal Reserve's latest QE program, market volatility has picked up markedly. Since October, as QE came to its final bond buying conclusion, the drain of liquidity begin to financial market activity. As shown in the chart below, there have been three fairly sizable selloffs last quarter of 7.9%, 5.0%, and 4.3%.

2015-01-08 00:00:00 Levitate: More Market Mood Swings in 2015? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Secular bull market is likely intact, but 2015 could bring more volatility associated with Fed policy and/or global events. Longer-term sentiment suggests the ?wall of worry? is intact; but shorter-term sentiment is more troubling. Falling oil and rising dollar have generated loads of questions from clients ? history tells a generally positive story.

2015-01-08 00:00:00 Will Active Stock Picking Be More Relevant in 2015? by Charlie Dreifus of The Royce Funds

While active managers continued to struggle in 2014, we remain confident in our approach, which emphasizes discipline, patience, and absolute results. Portfolio Manager and Principal Charlie Dreifus discusses the performance of his small-cap portfolio, what sectors and industries he found most interesting at the end of 2014, conditions in place that may lead to a more robust M&A market in 2015, the state of the U.S. economy, and why he believes the value of active stock picking will increase in importance.

2015-01-08 00:00:00 Averages Won't Keep You Warm...or Wisely Invested by Jack Tierney of Invesco Blog

When investors build their portfolio allocations, they correctly look at long-term average returns for the asset classes they?re considering, such as stocks, bonds, real estate, cash and alternatives. After looking at the returns for asset classes below, though, an investor may be tempted to invest everything in emerging market securities and real estate investment trusts (REITs), as they have the highest average annual returns over the last 10 years.

2015-01-07 00:00:00 Will Current M&A Activity Benefit Small-Caps? by (Article)

With M&A total deal volumes running at their highest pace since 2007, what has spurred increased activity? Portfolio Manager Lauren Romeo and Director of Consultant Relations & Client Service Jeff Smith discuss the correlation between improving economic conditions and increased corporate spending.

2015-01-07 00:00:00 Recession Probability Models - January 2015 by Ted Kavadas of StratX, LLC

There are a variety of economic models that are supposed to predict the probabilities of recession. While I don?t agree with the methodologies employed or probabilities of impending economic weakness as depicted by the following two models, I think the results of these models should be monitored.

2015-01-07 00:00:00 Keeping Track of Changing Values by Matt Collins of Source

Stock prices keep moving, even after the exchanges close.

2015-01-07 00:00:00 How Can The Bond Bull Keep Going? by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

In our Weekly Market Update we have made an effort to track the deflationary story being told in the global fixed income markets, specifically sovereign yields have continued to trade lower defying what most investors thought was possible; Swiss 10 year debt recently yielded 25 basis points. A while back I quoted a Seth Klarman Tweet about German debt trading at multi-century low yields.

2015-01-07 00:00:00 ISM Data Point to a Slowing but Still Strong U.S. Real GDP Growth in 2014 Q4 by Robert Lamy of The Forecasting Advisor

At the start of each month, the U.S. Institute for Supply Management (ISM) released data on the state of the manufacturing and non-manufacturing industries of the U.S. economy. The data are closely followed by economists, stock market brokers, and the media as they provide the earliest reading on the current state of the economy.

2015-01-07 00:00:00 Action and Reaction by Team of Heartland Advisors

A summary of Newton?s third law may best describe the effects of the macro events that surrounded 2014 and brought it to a close: Nothing happens in a vacuum. The trick is to anticipate what the consequence of any action might be.

2015-01-07 00:00:00 A ?Living in the Moment? Guide to Investing by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

New Year?s Eve is all about partying for a large percentage of the world?s population, but it has a different meaning to me. Don?t get me wrong. I?ve gone to my share of NYE parties, including doing the Times Square thing in 2000 (highly recommended!). But over the years I?ve shifted away from celebrating that way.

2015-01-07 00:00:00 Economic Optimism Abounds As Crude Oil Plunges by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Each year at this time, we see a plethora of fresh forecasts for the New Year, and this year is certainly no exception, especially with the recent implosion in oil prices. There is widespread agreement that sharply lower energy prices will provide a boost to the global economy this year, especially for oil-importing nations including the US.

2015-01-07 00:00:00 Is Your Portfolio Ready for 2015? #crash by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Is the recent bout in volatility yet another ?buy-the-dip? opportunity or a sign of worse to come? Investors struggle to both keeping up with the markets while protecting themselves against a severe correction. By taking a step back, investors might be able to see the forest for the trees to gauge whether their portfolio is ready for what lies ahead.

2015-01-07 00:00:00 2015 Investment Outlook: Emerging Markets Still Global Growth Drivers by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

We at Templeton Emerging Markets Group believe high economic growth rates will remain a key attraction of many emerging markets in 2015. Even with major economies like Brazil and Russia slowing down, overall economic growth in emerging markets during 2015 is expected to be comfortably in excess of developed markets, with China and India likely to drive the Asian region to particularly strong growth.

2015-01-07 00:00:00 A Quick Look at the World Economy by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

An assessment of where the different world economies stand, including a look at the United States, Europe and Asia.

2015-01-07 00:00:00 Health Care Stocks Pick Up in 2015 Where They Left Off in 2014 by Team of GaveKal Capital

Across two of the three regions in the MSCI World Index, the health care sector has been the best performer over the last year. In North America, measured in USD, health care stocks are up 29.13% over the last year, while they were up 5.96% in Europe and 2.53% in Asia/Pacific.

2015-01-07 00:00:00 Transition to the Cloud: Do-or-Die Time For Laggards by Paul Meeks of Saturna Capital

Saturna places considerable emphasis on technology, especially in growth strategies. Amana Growth and Sextant Growth Funds sport tech heavy allocations well in excess of their benchmarks.

2015-01-06 00:00:00 An In-Depth Look at Two Dodge & Cox Funds by Larry Swedroe (Article)

For investors looking to choose a U.S. large-value fund, The Dodge & Cox Stock Fund (DODGX) is an excellent candidate. Given its outstanding record, let's take a look at the fund's performance.

2015-01-06 00:00:00 The Shiller P/E Enters Rarefied Air by Keith Goddard, CFA (Article)

The domestic stock market cannot deliver a sustainable double-digit return without entering a speculative bubble, based on historical data reflecting correlations between the level of the Shiller P/E and subsequent outcomes in the stock market over the past 134 years. Conditions are ripe for a speculative bubble in the domestic stock market in 2015, and investors should reduce risk in their portfolios in stages during the coming year.

2015-01-06 00:00:00 How to Influence Your Prospects by Daniel Solin (Article)

Here are some tips for how you can influence a prospect in the manner most likely to achieve a positive result.

2015-01-06 00:00:00 New Year's Resolutions for Advisors by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I am asking everyone in my advisory firm to write down resolutions for 2015. I want to post these as motivation. As the owner of the firm, I know I need to do the same. What are some of the best resolutions advisors can make?

2015-01-06 00:00:00 Evaluating the Arguments for the Dollar's Demise by Seaborn Hall (Article)

From the great financial crisis and the massive escalation of sovereign debt and QE to the threat of currency wars to cries from pundits to exit the dollar and buy gold, it requires a discerning advisor to sift through the din and decide whether the dollar's reserve status is slipping. Could the dollar look strong and still be in danger? Several recent books, and papers from the BIS, IMF and Fed delineate the noise from the reality.

2015-01-06 00:00:00 Six Key Steps to Build Prospecting Momentum in 2015 by Dan Richards (Article)

Here are six key steps to make 2015 the year that you build prospecting momentum.

2015-01-06 00:00:00 Ben Graham's Mr. Market 2015 by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

As we enter 2015, we at Smead Capital Management would like to separate how unsuccessful investors use Mr. Market and how successful investors use his "voluntary" participation in the stock market.

2015-01-06 00:00:00 As We Enter 2015, "Bulls" Should Consider by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

As we enter into 2015, analyst calls for a continued "bull market" advance have never been louder. There have been a litany of articles written recently discussing how the stock market is set for a continued bull rally. The are some primary points that are common threads among each of these articles.

2015-01-06 00:00:00 Hurts So Good: When Exactly Are Falling Prices Bad? by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The sudden fall in the price of oil provides a unique opportunity to examine the widely held belief that deflation is economic poison. As many governments and central banks have vowed to fight deflation at all costs in 2015, the question could hardly be more significant. While falling prices may strike the layman as cause for celebration, economists believe that it can kick off a nasty, and often inescapable, negative cycle, which many believe leads inevitably to a prolonged recession, or even a depression.

2015-01-06 00:00:00 Oil, Currencies, and the Fed by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

Fourth quarter headlines included volatility spikes, dramatic declines in oil prices, and positive views of the economy by the Fed. Oil declined 41% this quarter and 46% for the year. The dollar continued to gain against some major developed global currencies. For the year, the dollar gained 13.6% against the euro and 13.8% against the yen while gold was down 2%.

2015-01-06 00:00:00 2015: More Investment and Profits, Higher Rates, Dollar and Stocks by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Contrary to popular opinion, business investment is a key factor behind the current recovery. Productive investments have boosted profits to record highs and, in turn, those profits have driven stock prices to record highs. They should continue to do so.

2015-01-06 00:00:00 Volatility May Bring Opportunity and Challenges by Burt White of LPL Financial

As the economic and market cycles progress, increased volatility[1] should be expected; however, none of our Five Forecasters show elevated reason for concern, indicating a recession is unlikely in 2015.

2015-01-06 00:00:00 The Cuban Thaw by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

On December 17, 2014, President Obama surprised the country by announcing a prisoner exchange and negotiations to begin establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba. Given that the Eisenhower administration broke off diplomatic relations with Cuba in January 1961, even considering resuming relations is a major change in policy. In this report, we will discuss the importance of Cuba to the geopolitics of the U.S and offer a short history. We will analyze the limits of the current thaw and why this attempt at rapprochement is occurring now. As always, we will conclude with market ramifications.

2015-01-06 00:00:00 Ides by William Gross of Janus Capital Group

Beware the Ides of March, or the Ides of any month in 2015 for that matter. When the year is done, there will be minus signs in front of returns for many asset classes. The good times are over.

2015-01-06 00:00:00 U.S. Municipal Finances On the Mend by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

While much work still needs to be done, the financial condition of state and local governments in the United States continues to improve. What does this mean for investors?

2015-01-05 00:00:00 2015 Challenges & Opportunities by Matt Beesley (Article)

Matt Beesley, Head of Global Equities at Henderson, discusses current hot topics in the markets going into 2015 including: the oil price, US dollar strength and the possibility of European quantitative easing. With each, Beesley notes, comes a myriad of challenges/risks as well as a lot of opportunities for active stock pickers.

2015-01-05 00:00:00 Regression to the Mean by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

I often hear from many of you that you know very little about investing. However, I find that most of you understand investing quite well. Many of the concepts and theories thrown out by those of us who claim to be professionals can be restated into words and phrases you use regularly. For instance, when you say, what goes up must come down, or, when you are going through a particularly tough time, dont worry, things will get better, you are showing your knowledge of regression to the mean.

2015-01-05 00:00:00 Tips for Navigating The Market in 2015 by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

As the calendar turns to 2015, its time to assess the investing landscape and your investment portfolio to ensure youre well positioned for the New Year. The BlackRock List can help.

2015-01-05 00:00:00 Pills for Cognitive Dissonance in a Speculative Bubble by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Several years of persistent yield-seeking speculation provoked by zero-interest rate monetary policies have created a fertile ground for cognitive dissonance.

2015-01-05 00:00:00 China Watch: Bull Market Ahead? by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

Something interesting is happening in China. Financial stocks are surging relative to the broad market. The "hockey stick" liftoff began in late November when the People's Bank of China (PBOC) cut policy rates for the first time since 2012. China is the world's only large economy with room to pursue conventional monetary policy. Further rate cuts are likely as falling energy costs put downward pressure on consumer prices.

2015-01-05 00:00:00 Is the Stock Market Cheap? by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Here is a new update of a popular market valuation method using the most recent Standard & Poor's "as reported" earnings and earnings estimates and the index monthly average of daily closes for the past month, which is 2,054.27.

2015-01-05 00:00:00 Paul Krugman and the Obama Recovery by Jeffrey Sachs of Project Syndicate

The Nobel laureate economist is a great economic theorist and a great polemicist. But he should replace his polemical hat with his analytical one and reflect more deeply on recent experience: rather than throwing the US back into recession, deficit reduction has been accompanied by recovery, job creation, and lower unemployment.

2015-01-05 00:00:00 Energy: Technology Disruption, but not to all by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

Disruptive Technologies are the gold vein every entrepreneur seeks, but rarely find. Clayton M. Christensen, the patriarch of observing disruptive technologies, noted in his seminal book The Innovators Dilemma in 1997 that each breakthrough can be categorized as either disruptive or sustaining.

2015-01-04 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Time for the January Effect? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

I am not a big fan of seasonal effects unless there is a logical underlying reason. The Presidential cycle logic rests upon taking unpopular actions early in the term while emphasizing economic stimulus later. That does not have much relevance in the current environment. The January tax loss effect is more persuasive, especially in years where there are some clear losers to sell. That was true in many sectors this year.

2015-01-04 00:00:00 Why the World Needs the US Economy to Struggle by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

In this weeks letter, my associate Worth Wray explores what a rising dollar means for emerging markets and what central banks are likely to do in response. Can they smooth the ride, or will it be the worlds scariest roller coaster? This letter will print long because of the number of fabulous charts Worth provides. I might make a brief comment or two at the end. Heres Worth.

2015-01-03 00:00:00 Flying High in the Sky, Looking for Opportunities in 2015 by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Savvy investors know to be patient with their holdings and not easily give in to the prevailing culture of instant gratification. Ive run multiple marathons over the years and am intimately familiar with the personal rewards of going the distance. A similar investing strategy can come with the same rewards.

2015-01-02 00:00:00 Do Economic Sanctions Work? by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

With Western economic sanctions against Russia, Iran, and Cuba in the news, it is a good time to take stock of the debate on just how well such measures work. The short answer is that economic sanctions usually have only modest effects, even if they can be an essential means of demonstrating moral resolve.

2015-01-02 00:00:00 Chuck Royce on 4Q14: Positioning for a Normalizing Economy by Chuck Royce of The Royce Funds

Chief Executive Officer and Portfolio Manager Chuck Royce discusses the spread between large- and small-cap returns in 2014, the current case for active management in the small-cap space, the valuation picture as we enter 2015, and the impact lower energy prices are likely to have on stocks.

2015-01-02 00:00:00 Inflation Is Not Traveling in the Right Direction by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Inflation is something that those of us in the investment community have been talking about for a while now. While some economists worry that the easy monetary policy of recent years will eventually lead to significant inflation, it is possible that too little inflation is on the horizon, not too much.

2015-01-02 00:00:00 2015 Investment Outlook: EuropeThe Saga Continues by David Zahn of Franklin Templeton Investments

David Zahn, head of European Fixed Income and portfolio manager, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group, gives his perspective on what he thinks may lie ahead as the eurozones drama continues into 2015.

2015-01-02 00:00:00 Stability and Prosperity in Monetary Union by Mario Draghi of Project Syndicate

There is a common misconception that the eurozone is a monetary union without a political union. In fact, monetary union is possible only because of the substantial integration already achieved among European Union countries and sharing a single currency deepens that integration.

2015-01-02 00:00:00 Where Will All the Workers Go? by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

In the years ahead, technological improvements in robotics and automation will boost productivity and efficiency, implying significant economic gains for companies. Yet, unless the proper policies to nurture job growth are put in place, it remains uncertain whether demand for labor will continue to grow as technology marches forward.

2015-01-02 00:00:00 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Today's new release of the publicly available data from the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) puts its Weekly Leading Index (WLI) at 130.8, unchanged to one decimal place from the previous week. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at -3.9, down from -3.3 the previous week. This is its lowest level since February 2012.

2015-01-02 00:00:00 Rounding Third and Heading for Where? by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

These past few weeks, with the year winding down and investment strategy decisions to think about (always), I spent a lot of time with my research team analyzing historical stock market index data as far back as 1871. First conclusion: I am sick and tired of analyzing historical stock market index data! We did this to see what todays investor might learn from market history.

2015-01-02 00:00:00 Global Economic Outlook: US Sets the Pace for Growth in 2015 by John Greenwood of Invesco Blog

As we begin the new year, there are certain key issues that I expect to dominate the macroeconomic conversation and to impact markets around the world. Here, I highlight a few of those issues.

2014-12-31 00:00:00 Falling Energy Costs And Economic Impacts by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

In the financial markets and economics it is a common occurrence that the media and commentators will latch on to a statement that supports a cognitive bias and then repeat that statement until it is a universally accepted truth.

2014-12-31 00:00:00 Gold Beat All Other World Currencies in 2014 by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Loyal readers of our Investor Alert and my blog Frank Talk are no doubt aware that the U.S. dollars rising strength has put pressure on commodities such as oil and gold. I wrote about this as recently as my roundup of the top commodities stories of 2014, which you can read here.

2014-12-31 00:00:00 All Asset Outlook 2015: The bright side of growth by Bill McQuaker and Paul O’Connor (Article)

Bill McQuaker and Paul O’Connor, Co-Heads of Multi-Asset, assess the macroeconomic backdrop, how it could impact financial markets in 2015, and how this is driving their positioning. Global growth may have disappointed as 2014 comes to an end, but looking ahead to the new year the Multi-Asset Team sees scope for a positive growth surprise, due in part to reduced fiscal tightening and less bank de-leveraging, oil price effects, and supportive central bank policy.

2014-12-31 00:00:00 2015 Investment Outlook: EuropeThe Saga Continues by David Zahn of Franklin Templeton Investments

Like television fans deciphering a season-finale cliffhanger, investors have been left with unanswered questions about the eurozone as 2014 draws to a close. Will the European Central Bank unleash full quantitative easing? Will the eurozone fall into a recession? David Zahn, head of European Fixed Income and portfolio manager, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group, gives his perspective on what he thinks may lie ahead as the eurozones drama continues into 2015.

2014-12-31 00:00:00 Structural Reforms in Asia by Sharat Shroff of Matthews Asia

The global investment community continues to deliberate about the impact of quantitative easing stemming from Europe, and more recently from Japan, as a means to revive domestic demand. Meanwhile, several Asian economies are embarking on a different kind of stimulus, aimed at boosting long-term productivity and investment spending, through structural changes to the underlying economies.

2014-12-31 00:00:00 2015 Global Market Outlook: Exploring the Growth Landscape by Simon Fennell, Olga Bitel of William Blair

For much of 2014, the financial press was filled with dire headlines warning of global stagnation and deflation. These demoralizing reports seemed to paralyze policy makers. The facts behind the headlines, however, suggested the reality was not nearly as gloomy or pessimistic as it seemed. This paper outlines a more optimistic outlook for 2015 where the world economy is expected to remain resilient and where the outlook for sustainable corporate returns remains strong.

2014-12-30 00:00:00 Household Incomes Across Time: The Divergence at the Top by Doug Short (Article)

Among the most interesting of the long-term economic indicators I track is the Census Bureau's annual data on the mean (average) household income received by each fifth (quintile) and top 5 percent. See my latest update here. A conspicuous pattern in the series is the widening of the spread in income growth that started during the 1980s.

2014-12-30 00:00:00 The 10 Most-Read Articles of 2014 by Various (Article)

As is our custom, we conclude the year by reflecting on the 10 most-read articles over the past 12 months.

2014-12-30 00:00:00 The Ten Best Articles You Probably Missed by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Great articles don't always get the readership they deserve. Here are 10 that you might have missed, but I believe merit reading

2014-12-30 00:00:00 Your Most Important Resolution for 2015 by Dan Richards (Article)

What's the single change that more than any other would drive your business to new heights in 2015?

2014-12-30 00:00:00 The "Art" of Gathering AUM Should be a "Science" by Daniel Solin (Article)

The process of converting prospects into clients is more of a science than an art. There is peer-reviewed support that shows how you can skew the odds in your favor by following some basic rules. Here are some suggestions.

2014-12-30 00:00:00 Qualified Charitable Distributions by Tim Steffen (Article)

The Qualified Charitable Distribution rules allow taxpayers to make IRA distributions payable directly to a qualified charity without treating the distribution as taxable income. The QCD rules have expired and then extended periodically over the years, and were recently extended again through 2014 with the passage of the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014. These rules do expire again after 2014, meaning taxpayers will enter 2015 with the same uncertainty they had throughout the prior year.

2014-12-30 00:00:00 Can Every Advisor Learn to Sell? by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I hired an advisor who showed great promise. Now, nine months later, he does not have a new asset to his name. I read some of your articles on developing selling skills but I wonder whether some advisors just can't learn to do it.

2014-12-30 00:00:00 2015 Investment Outlook - Stay Tactical! by Stephen Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

I wrote often throughout 2014 about the danger signals flashing from an excessive run up in debt and derivatives. We have a repeat of the scenario we suffered in 2008, only much worse. The budget recently passed by Congress put taxpayers on the hook for a 2008-like derivatives failure. The potential losses could exceed the previous financial meltdown as other world market conditions exacerbate a bad situation.

2014-12-30 00:00:00 Can The Dollar Save Small Caps? by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

The dollar’s moonshot in recent months has resuscitated a stock market leadership argument we haven’t heard for a long time—namely, that Small Cap stocks are better insulated than Large Caps from the loss of competitiveness and the currency translation impact of a stronger buck. Is there merit to this argument, or are Small Cap proponents grasping for straws after a flat year? It turns out there’s reasonable support for the Small Cap enthusiasts’ view, based on evidence from the U.S. (trade-weighted) Dollar Index.

2014-12-30 00:00:00 U.S. Consumers: Spend More? Bah, Humbug by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Despite an improving labor market and lower oil prices, consumer outlays should continue to expand at a slow pace. Heres why.

2014-12-30 00:00:00 MLPs Werent Supposed To Decline by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Most income investors will know at least a little about Master Limited Partnerships more commonly referred to as MLPs. Most MLPs are tied to the transportation of energy products. They collect royalties as the energy product moves through their pipeline (this is a very common structure). Fundamentally, the movement of MLPs should not be vulnerable to price movements of the underlying energy product. The royalty collected is what it is.

2014-12-29 00:00:00 Fixed Income - 2015 Outlook by Phil Apel (Article)

Phil Apel, Head of Fixed Income at Henderson, shares his views on the outlook for fixed income markets in 2015, and the lessons learnt from a really interesting year for bond investors. In the video he discusses: central bank policy divergence, fixed income liquidity and volatility in 2014, where he sees risks and opportunities in 2015, how a lower oil price could spur growth and his current investment strategy.

2014-12-29 00:00:00 Unsettling Interplay of Leading Indicators by Alexander Giryavets of Dynamika Capital L.L.C.

We review in details where we stand in terms of the US and World leading indicators and point to some of the unsettling recent developments which should be watched carefully over the coming months.

2014-12-29 00:00:00 The Coming Crash in 2015: Why there will be no Happy New Year before we see QE Reloaded by Franz Lischka of Franz Lischka

In September 2013 in my post How QE Alters Bond Yields (Or Rather How It Does Not) I wrote that historically the end of QE was associated with the following 4 events, which I expected to show up again after the end of the latest QE-programs (which in some cases was completely against the market consensus of that time).

2014-12-29 00:00:00 Holiday Randoms by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Business Inside posted an article a few weeks ago that recapped the Black Swan concept using Nassim Talebs example of the Thanksgiving Day Turkey who is well fed and treated well until the day before Thanksgiving and then the ax fallsliterally.

2014-12-29 00:00:00 Adventures in Forecasting by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Every December, economists are asked for their projections for the coming year. Whats GDP growth going to be? How many jobs will be added? Whats the Fed going to do? How will the financial markets react? We build models of the economy models that we know are not precise. There are simply too many variables.

2014-12-29 00:00:00 Adam Smith or Jerry Goodman by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

I met Jerry Goodman, whose nom de plume was Adam Smith, late in my career. He was working at my friend Craig Drills money management firm along with another icon in this business, from an era gone by, namely Al Wojnilower. I have had many conversations with all three of these Wall Street legends around the conference table at Drill Capital Management. Jerry wrote The Money Game (1968), Powers of Mind (1975), Paper Money (1981), and The Roaring 80s (1988), but unfortunately we lost his wisdom on January 3rd of this year .

2014-12-29 00:00:00 Intellectual Property Helps Boost 3Q GDP Growth To Highest Level Since 2003 by Team of GaveKal Capital

As was widely reported yesterday, 3Q GDP growth was the strongest since 9/30/2003. However, less widely reported was the fact the intellectual property products contributed the most to real GDP in 32 quarters (9/30/2006).

2014-12-29 00:00:00 Oil and Emerging Markets: A Double-Edged Sword by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

The price of oil has plummeted this year as a result of increased volatility in most markets and a temporary imbalance of supply and demand. In view of continued long-term world growth, particularly in emerging- and frontier-market countries, we believe oil prices will probably not suffer from a prolonged price slump. As we see it, the demand for raw materials in general, including not only oil but also iron ore, copper, nickel and agricultural products, is still likely to increase over the long term with increased global growth.

2014-12-29 00:00:00 Chicken Little Economics by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Its now been more than six years since the failure of Lehman Brothers when the sky fell in and economic panic seized the land. Since then, Chicken Little Economics has inflicted fear and loathing on many investors.

2014-12-29 00:00:00 The Lessons of Oil by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital

I want to provide a memo on this topic before I and hopefully many of my readers head out for year-end holidays. Ill be writing not with regard to the right price for oil about which I certainly have no unique insight but rather, as indicated by the title, about what we can learn from recent experience.

2014-12-28 00:00:00 The Line Between Rational Speculation and Market Collapse by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Current equity valuations provide no margin of safety for long-term investors. One might as well be investing on a dare. If we observe an improvement in market internals and credit spreads, it would not make valuations any less obscene, but it would significantly ease our immediate concerns about market losses. A safety net would be required in any event, but there is a range of possible outlooks between hard-negative and constructive with a safety net.

2014-12-27 00:00:00 Epic Price Reversal for Commodities in 2014 by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

If you want to know what happened in 2014 with regard to gold and oil, it?s important to appreciate the inverse relationship between the U.S. dollar and commodities.

2014-12-27 00:00:00 Perspective on 2015: Maintain Yours by Zachary Karabell of Envestnet

In 2014, interest rates remained low, U.S. equities stayed strong, mid-year geopolitical events barely shook the markets, and a sudden, late-year drop in oil prices took many by surprise. What should investors expect in 2015?

2014-12-27 00:00:00 Sungarden's 2015 Investor Preview by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

2014 is nearly behind us. And since we tend to not want to do things the way the Wall Street herd does, our 2015 outlook is formatted this way: we list a group of potential scenarios, and then assign our best guess probability that they will happen next year. This is about considering the possibilities, not making outright predictions.

2014-12-27 00:00:00 Global Economic Perspective: December by Christopher Molumphy, Michael Materasso, Roger Bayston, Michael Hasenstab & John Beck of Franklin Templeton Investments

With 321,000 jobs added, the initial US nonfarm payroll report for November was much stronger than markets expected and brought job growth this year close to levels last seen in the late 1990s. Added to upward revisions in September and October jobs data, the nonfarm payrolls data reinforces the view that whatever is occurring in the rest of the world, the US economy appears to remain firmly on track to record reasonably strong growth in the months ahead. And while fourth-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth this quarter for the United States is expected to be lower than the third-quart

2014-12-27 00:00:00 Break Up Citigroup by Simon Johnson of Project Syndicate

Break up Citigroup, end dangerous government subsidies, and bring back the market. The US presidential candidate who says this in 2016 and says it most convincingly has a good chance of winning it all.

2014-12-27 00:00:00 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Lakshman Achuthan made a recent appearance (December 24th) on Al Jazeera TV discussing the company's outlook for the US economy in 2015. Despite improvements in GDP and jobs data, Achuthan takes a cautious view. Among other things, he points out that latest year-over-year GDP growth rate of 2.7% (a more intuitive metric than the latest quarterly annualized rate of 5.0%), has happened before since the end of the last recession, only to slide back to lower levels. He identifies US manufacturing as a potentially weak area.

2014-12-24 00:00:00 Municipal Market Perspectives by Fixed Income Management Team of SMC Fixed Income Management

"Constructive but cautious is our 2015 mantra. Price appreciation has been a major contributor to portfolio performance as evidenced by the yield curve shift from the beginning of the year. 2015 market performance should largely be determined by income, with less support from declining yields.

2014-12-24 00:00:00 Early Look: Who is the Author? by Keith McCullough of Hedgeye Risk Management

While I can try to explain why the SP500 can drop 103 points in a straight line (in 7 days), then ramp 106 points in 4 days, I dont think thats where I add value. There are legions of pundits on the #OldWall that use 1-factor moving averages than can help you with that.

2014-12-24 00:00:00 Credit Spreads: Relative vs. Absolute Levels by Bob Andres of Andres Capital Management

Following a yearlong environment of relatively stable corporate bond spreads, we are beginning to see increased market volatility and a widening of these credit spreads. The plunge in oil prices, the rise in the U.S. dollar, and geopolitical uncertainty all contribute to wider spreads as they represent a proxy for market risk.

2014-12-24 00:00:00 10 Stock Market Questions for 2015? by Burt White of LPL Financial

With 2015 almost here, this week we pose and respond to 10 key stock market questions for 2015. Look for more on these and other topics throughout the year.

2014-12-24 00:00:00 The Rolling Stones Understand Long-Duration Investing by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Its only after the animals are out of the barn that investors want to close the door. This means attempting to make most of the money from participating in common stocks, but somehow regularly going to cash in the worst declines.

2014-12-24 00:00:00 Government Spent $29,000 Per US Household in 2014 by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

A new study from The Heritage Foundation found that out-of-control spending in Washington amounted to more than $29,000 per household in fiscal year 2014. Today, I will reprint the highlights of that excellent report. As you will see below, government spending has topped $3.5 trillion in each of the six years that President Obama has been in office.

2014-12-24 00:00:00 The Fed Sets Another Trap by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

The US Federal Reserve is headed down a familiar and highly dangerous path. Steeped in denial over its past mistakes, the Fed is pursuing the same incremental policy approach that helped set the stage for the financial crisis of 2008-2009.

2014-12-24 00:00:00 2015 Outlook: Watching Our Overweights by Team of Northern Trust

Asset class returns were much more differentiated this year than last, with yield-oriented assets and U.S. equities being the standout performers. We entered 2014 overweight risk tactically, but made several changes as the year progressed.

2014-12-24 00:00:00 A Healthy Skepticism is Key to Managing Risk by (Article)

At Royce, our more-than-40-year investment approach is built on the idea that preserving capital is just as critical to successful long-term growth as growing it. Portfolio Manager Jim Stoeffel talks to Co-Chief Investment Officer Francis Gannon about his auditing background and how that experience influences the way he assesses risk.

2014-12-23 00:00:00 The Price All Investors Pay for Benchmarking by Michael Edesess (Article)

Could the practice of measuring and evaluating manager performance by comparing it to a market index be distorting prices across the whole market? That is the conclusion reached in a recent paper entitled "Asset Management Contracts and Equilibrium Prices," by three academic researchers, Andrea M. Buffa of Boston University and Dimitri Vayanos and Paul Woolley of the London School of Economics.

2014-12-23 00:00:00 U.S. Equities: Overvalued or Undervalued? by Baijnath Ramraika, CFA® and Prashant Trivedi, CFA® (Article)

Market participants have devised tools to value overall equity markets: the cyclically adjusted price to earnings (CAPE) ratio, Tobin's Q-ratio, the regression trendline, market capitalization-to-GNP (Buffett's valuation indicator) and the trailing price-to-earnings ratio. We summarize each one of these valuation tools and its implications for investors.

2014-12-23 00:00:00 Convertible Bonds: The Rodney Dangerfield of Liquid Alts by Robert Martorana (Article)

Historical returns have been outstanding for convertible-bond strategies. Moreover, low drawdowns during bear markets give these products an attractive risk-return profile, especially when compared to other liquid alternatives.

2014-12-23 00:00:00 Seven Tips for Converting Prospects into Clients by Daniel Solin (Article)

Here are seven evidence-based tips to improve your persuasive skills for converting prospects to clients.

2014-12-23 00:00:00 Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 by Tim Steffen (Article)

In the waning days of the Congressional year, the House and Senate gave new life to more than 50 tax provisions that had expired at the end of 2013, giving them all a one-year extension through 2014. Included in this extension were popular individual tax breaks, including the ability to make charitable gifts directly from an IRA, an option to deduct state sales tax rather than income tax and an above-the-line deduction for tuition costs. The bill also created a new tax-favored savings account for those with disabilities.

2014-12-23 00:00:00 Internal Mentoring or External Coaching? by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We are considering two methods for training our younger team members: using internal senior staff mentors or hiring an external coach. Which do you think is best?

2014-12-23 00:00:00 Three Reasons why Robo-Advisors are a Huge Benefit to the Advisory Profession by Bob Veres (Article)

It's time to change our thinking about the so-called robo-advisory firms that are moving into the financial planning landscape. They are going to be far more beneficial to the planning/investment advisory profession than any innovation in recent decades. Let's explore three ways these firms are changing the planning ecology, and note that all of them are not just positive, but significantly positive.

2014-12-23 00:00:00 Four Steps to Make Resolutions Stick by Dan Richards (Article)

My last two weeks' columns have outlined how to break the cycle of high hopes around New Year's resolutions followed by disappointment and dashed expectations. Here are four additional steps to create new habits in your routine.

2014-12-23 00:00:00 Could an Energy Bust Trigger QE4? by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

In a normal economic times falling energy costs would be considered unadulterated good news. The facts are simple. No one buys a barrel of oil to display above the mantle. No one derives happiness from a lump of coal. Energy is simply a means to do or get the things that we want

2014-12-23 00:00:00 Has Diversification Lost Its Luster? by Patty Quinn McAuley, CFP of Clark Capital Management Group

One of the most basic tenets of investing has been the importance of diversification. Individual investors can quickly understand the concept of not putting all your eggs in one basket. However, the recent market environment has been punishing the prudent, diversified investor.

2014-12-23 00:00:00 Setting the Scene for 2015 by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Market prospects in the coming year would seem to hinge on four major considerations. One is geopolitics, inherently unpredictable but potentially disruptive, especially these days. Another is the Federal Reserves plan to raise interest rates along a gentle path beginning sometime in the middle of the year. Third is the perennial question of where value lies within and between markets. Fourth is the state of the U.S. economy.

2014-12-23 00:00:00 2015 - What Does Cycle Analysis Suggest by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

We cant predict the future if it were possible fortune tellers would all win the lottery. They dont, we cant and we arent going to try to. However, we can analyze what has happened in the past, weed through the noise of the present and try to discern the possible outcomes of the future.

2014-12-23 00:00:00 Growth Headwinds Continue to Blow Through Asia in 2015 by Adam Bowe, Tomoya Masanao, Robert Mead of PIMCO

This commentary discusses the conclusions from PIMCOs quarterly Cyclical Forum in December 2014 and how they influence our Asian outlook and investment strategy.

2014-12-23 00:00:00 Canary in a Coal Mine? by Dennis Rhee of AdvisorShares

With the collapse of oil, market participants are logically discussing which assets are vulnerable to more selling and which are value buys.

2014-12-22 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Time for the 2015 Pundit Forecasts! by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

With little fresh news during the holidays and many pros on vacation, I expect a time of reflection and prediction. Publications hungry for content and TV producers needing to fill slots will highlight forecasts of any and all flavors. This happens every year, but the mid-week holidays are pushing it a little earlier than usual,

2014-12-22 00:00:00 Come and Listen to a Story About a Man Named Jed by Ted Ake of Willingdon Wealth Management

For those that were around in the 1960s, the Beverly Hillbillies were a highlight of lowbrow humor. Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs played the theme song that I still sing today. The story of a poor mountain family that strikes it rich when oil is found on their land, made millions of us laugh as they moved to a huge mansion in Beverly Hills.

2014-12-22 00:00:00 Jorge Posadas (Financial) Slump by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Add Yankee great, Jorge Posada to the long list of names of professional athletes who have been done in by their investment advisors. There are of course several accounts of this around the web but according to the NY Post he lost millions on a real estate deal and in a hedge fund run by his advisors. The Post implies he has not been totally wiped out but that Posada and his wife, who are referred to as nave in the article, have taken a meaningful blow to their net worth.

2014-12-22 00:00:00 4 Sectors That May Be Worth Avoiding by Team of GaveKal Capital

Success in investing can many times come down to avoiding the major losers rather than always hitting home runs with one's winners. Correct sector allocation plays an important role in sidestepping potential landmines that out there in the market.

2014-12-22 00:00:00 Could an Energy Bust Trigger QE4? by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

In a normal economic times falling energy costs would be considered unadulterated good news. The facts are simple. No one buys a barrel of oil to display above the mantle.

2014-12-22 00:00:00 Stars Align This Holiday Shopping Season by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

American consumers are in a better spending mood for many reasons. We think the final tally for holiday retail sales could differ from the gloomy picture some of the initial estimates had painted.

2014-12-22 00:00:00 This Deal Wont Last: Give to Charity Now! by Tara Thompson Popernik of AllianceBernstein

Philanthropic US taxpayers should greet the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 with holiday cheer. The law extends several expired tax provisions for 2014 onlyincluding qualified charitable IRA distributions. But other giving strategies may make some taxpayers merrier come tax time.

2014-12-22 00:00:00 Completing the Alternative Investments Puzzle: Putting the Pieces Together by Walter Davis of Invesco Blog

In my previous blog, I discussed why I believe advisors and investors should approach alternative investments much like a jigsaw puzzle and offered an organizing framework that can help. When putting together a puzzle, the first step is to sort and organize all the pieces. For alternatives, the first step is to organize and align the various alternative strategies with specific investment objectives. This step is critical because it helps investors decide whether alternatives can help them meet their needs, and, therefore, whether they should invest in them.

2014-12-22 00:00:00 A Look Back at 2014 (and a 2015 Preview) by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

At the beginning of this year, we had three broad thoughts about what it would look like. First, we expected U.S. economic growth would accelerate moderately. Second, we believed Federal Reserve tapering would occur slowly and that global monetary policy would remain accommodative. And third, we forecasted that the U.S. equity market would grind higher due to central bank liquidity, modest economic acceleration, solid corporate earnings, contained inflation and an improving fiscal situation. These views formed the basis for the predictions we made in January. And at this point, we can offer a

2014-12-22 00:00:00 The US Dollar and the Cone of Uncertainty by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

For the past two letters weve been looking at the global scene and trying to figure out which issues will help us outline scenarios for 2015. We finish the series today by looking at the impact of the dollar bull market on the probabilities for various 2015 developments.

2014-12-21 00:00:00 2014 In Review: A Good Year to Avoid Performance Envy by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

2014 has been an odd year in many ways. Easy money has continued to be the rule for central governments across the world, and this has created false sense of security that is going on six years (following the end of the financial crisis-induced stock market decline that ended in March, 2009). To us, it was a year of waiting: for an end to the suppression of interest rates to aid retirees, for the U.S. Congress to do something productive, and for investors to start taking risk more seriously and stop falling for Wall Street come-ons.

2014-12-21 00:00:00 Rising Insurance Premiums: A New Impetus for Voluntary Funding of Corporate Defined Benefit Plans by Markus Aakko, Rene Martel, Kate Tan of PIMCO

?The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation will hike variable-rate premiums on unfunded liabilities in corporate defined benefit plans in 2015 and 2016. The increases along with muted return potential on stocks and bonds and aging plan demographics could make borrowing to reduce or eliminate funding shortfalls less expensive than paying PBGC variable-rate premiums. For efficient execution, we believe it is important to consider appropriate investment strategies before any funding decisions are made.

2014-12-21 00:00:00 The Second Wind of Abenomics? by Sachin Gupta, Tomoya Masanao of PIMCO

Mr. Abe now has up to four more years in power. While investors are likely to be patient in the near term, unless Abenomics gains a second wind the way a tired athlete finds the will to pick up the pace and finish strong there is a risk that this post-election market euphoria could be short-lived. The time for him to act is now.

2014-12-21 00:00:00 The 2014 Festivus Airing of Grievances by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian

Well, its that time of the year again for the airing of grievances. And Ive got a lot of problems with you people! First of which are those of you (PK, NYT?) who insist that the Feds QE did not result in any inflation. It all depends on your definition of inflation. If your definition is restricted to the prices of goods and services, you are right.

2014-12-21 00:00:00 Your Time is Gonna Come: From Considerable Time to Patient by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Regardless of the obsession around the specific words used, the statement is somewhat par-for-the-course; and supports our consistent view that rates should begin rising at some point in mid-year 2015, that the US dollar will remain strong, and that the yield curve should continue to flatten (as a result of benign inflation keeping longer-term rates fairly low). Although our view is that the stock market will be at the mercy of more frequent mood swings, the secular bull market we believe began nearly six years ago should persist in 2015.

2014-12-21 00:00:00 Iceberg at the Starboard Bow by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Market history, including the series of bubbles and crashes over the past 15 years, does not teach that valuation is irrelevant, but instead that a key distinction affects whether stability or instability is likely to prevail. When rich valuations are coupled with tame credit spreads and uniform strength across a broad range of market internals and security types, one can infer that investors remain tolerant toward risk. In that environment, risk premiums may be low, but theres no particular pressure for them to normalize, even if the speculation is driven by mindless yield-seeking.

2014-12-21 00:00:00 European QE Draws Attention to Irish Bonds by John Taylor and Dennis Shen of AllianceBernstein

Europes bond markets are starting to focus on the potential impact of ECB sovereign-bond purchases. While we expect QE to prompt a further narrowing of peripheral European sovereign-bond spreads, its important to stay focused on country fundamentals when selecting exposure.

2014-12-21 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

On balance, there seem to be good reasons to expect the indices to trade higher over the next two or three weeks. This period also corresponds to the holidays.

2014-12-20 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

I recently revisited the economic projections we made last January, as part of my performance appraisal. I dread the experience, as it tends to highlight my frailty as a forecaster. This year wasnt too bad, though. Allowing for the polar vortex, we got U.S. growth just about right. We had been skeptical about Europe, and thought that China would moderate. Our call on how the Federal Reserve would progress was spot on. However, a number of things that transpired during 2014 caught us quite by surprise. Here is our roster of the most unexpected events and trends of the year.

2014-12-20 00:00:00 The $330 Billion Global Tax Break by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

According to an article by Jon Markman titled The Saudi Stimulus, the global economy is looking to save hundreds of billions of dollars on an annual basis: "According to EIA data, consumption of crude oil during the latest 12 months was 6.9 billion barrels. So the price drop from $107/barrel at the June 2014 high to $59 today represents a total presumptive savings of $332 billion per year." In a time when China, the European Union and other major markets are trying to jumpstart their economies, a $330 billion tax break can only come as good news. It should help in stimu

2014-12-20 00:00:00 The Lessons of Oil by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital

I want to provide a memo on this topic before I and hopefully many of my readers head out for year-end holidays. Ill be writing not with regard to the right price for oil about which I certainly have no unique insight but rather, as indicated by the title, about what we can learn from recent experience.

2014-12-19 00:00:00 Tempting TIPS by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

Lower inflation expectations as a result of falling oil prices have weighed on TIPS prices during the second half of 2014. TIPS underperformance has led to the lowest market-implied inflation expectations of the past four years. We do, however, find TIPS an attractive high-quality option and certainly more appealing than Treasuries as a result of recent underperformance.

2014-12-19 00:00:00 A Rising Tide Lifts Most Boats by Saumil Parikh, Daniel Ivascyn of PIMCO

PIMCO expects global growth to accelerate in 2015, reaching about +2.75% year-over-year, with the majority of this improvement due to the (predominantly supply-driven) decline in oil prices. However, there will be large differences in growth dynamics among countries. While fiscal and monetary policies in most developed countries will stimulate growth in 2015, the U.S. Federal Reserve will attempt to break from the pack.

2014-12-19 00:00:00 Solar Growth Not Impacted by Oil by Edward Guinness of Guinness Atkinson Asset Management

The recent fall in the oil price has caused the share prices of solar stocks to fall. This fall is indicative of a growing negative sentiment towards energy investing, but it is not supported by rational analysis of the economics of the solar industry.

2014-12-19 00:00:00 The Promise of Smart Beta by Jason Hsu of Research Affiliates

Forty years ago, Jack Bogle helped revolutionize our industry for the benefit of the investor. Today there is opportunity for a second revolutionpromising to bring the same low costs and high transparency to additional equity factors. Can smart beta break free from the conventional objectives of asset gathering and obfuscation, and deliver on that promise? Jason Hsu provides his commitment and reasserts that of Research Affiliates to deliver on the promise of smart beta.

2014-12-19 00:00:00 Testing the Limits of Monetary Policy Without Fiscal Union by Andrew Balls, Andrew Bosomworth, Lorenzo Pagani of PIMCO

Over the next 12 months, we expect eurozone growth to accelerate from the current annualised run rate of 0.5% to a still-very-weak pace of approximately 1%, while the ultra-low inflation tells us there is a demand problem. With the ECB set to expand its balance sheet over the cyclical horizon, the biggest risk to growth is if the ECB buys large quantities of government bonds but the governments do nothing. We expect to remain overweight European peripherals and overweight European corporate credit, with the focus on financials.

2014-12-19 00:00:00 Outlook for the Global Credit Markets in 2015 by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

The combination of fundamentals, technicals, valuations and global central bank policies drives our overall constructive outlook for global credit in 2015. Economic growth dynamics, including an improving outlook in the U.S., along with likely changes in global central bank policies, continued energy price volatility and the potential for more shareholder-friendly actions by companies inform our credit views and strategies.

2014-12-19 00:00:00 Valuation estimate of SP500 2015 returns : 2,246 target by Dwaine Van Vuuren of RecessionALERT.com

The RecessionALERT Valuation Index (RAVI) is a multifactor valuation model that examines cyclically adjusted trailing SP-500 earnings (various multi-decade horizons), the SP-500 total-return index level, total stock market capitalization, Gross Domestic Product, non-financial corporate equities and liabilities, non-financial corporate business net-worth and percentage of investors allocation to stocks versus cash and bonds to determine 10, 5, 3, 2 and 1 year forecasts for the SP-500 Total Return Index (dividends re-invested).

2014-12-19 00:00:00 Will 2015 Remain a Central Bankers World? by Andrew Pease of Russell Investments

Central bankers have dominated the outlook for global markets for the past five years. Theyve lowered interest rates to zero and implemented unorthodox policies like quantitative easing and forward guidance.

2014-12-19 00:00:00 Will Shoppers Bring Holiday Cheer for Markets? by Burt White of LPL Financial

We expect holiday shoppers, bolstered by lower energy prices, to help support potential stock market gains. Although the severity of the oil price decline has been unsettling, we view the decline as positive for U.S. consumers overall. Retail stocks should deliver some cheer for markets this holiday season, but dont stuff those stockings with too much of them.

2014-12-19 00:00:00 5 Things To Ponder: Variegated Contemplations by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Yes, it is that magical week leading up to Christmas and the subsequent low volume push into the new year. For individuals, it is "magic time" as hopes are high that "Santa Claus" will come to WallStreet.

2014-12-18 00:00:00 Tempting TIPS by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

Lower inflation expectations as a result of falling oil prices have weighed on TIPS prices during the second half of 2014. TIPS underperformance has led to the lowest market-implied inflation expectations of the past four years. We do, however, find TIPS an attractive high-quality option and certainly more appealing than Treasuries as a result of recent underperformance.

2014-12-18 00:00:00 Will the European Union Reindex Stock Markets to 100 points? by Wim Grommen of Transfer Solutions

The introduction of the euro brought the citizens of Europe many advantages, including uniformity. It would be nice if that uniformity also applied to the comparison of the various stock exchanges. An index point is not a fixed unit in time and does not have any historical significance, so the European citizen may therefore not attach any significance for the future. Comparing index points to their history and also comparing the various stock exchanges makes no sense. The time is ripe to reindex European stock exchanges to 100 points.

2014-12-18 00:00:00 2015 Investment Outlook: US Credit Cycle Tiptoes into Middle Age by Eric Takaha of Franklin Templeton Investments

Eric Takaha, SVP, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group, discusses how far the US economy is in the credit cycle and the potential effects of rising rates.

2014-12-18 00:00:00 Does Victory For Abe Mean Defeat For The Yen? by Dennis Rhee of AdvisorShares

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prevailed on Sundays snap election which will give Abe a fresh mandate to implement his policies to revive Japan from its prolonged well chronicled economic malaise. There was no way Abenomics wasnt going to continue since Abes LDP party had 352 candidates to the opposition Democratic Party of Japan fielding only 198 candidates for the 475 seats up for grabs.

2014-12-18 00:00:00 Why We Expect Japan to Regain Favor with Investors by Robert Sharpe of Heartland Advisors

Despite the consensus view that Japanese stocks are inexpensive, investors have generally avoided the space, perhaps because Japan has disappointed in the past. We think the tide is about to change, and Portfolio Manager of the Heartland International Value Fund Robert C. Sharpe explains why.?

2014-12-18 00:00:00 When is a Turnaround Not Really a Turnaround? by Austin Hawley of Diamond Hill Capital Management, Inc.

Like all good students, we try to learn from the experience of experts, and amongst value investors there is no more esteemed expert than Warren Buffett. We have followed Buffett closely, sending dozens of employees to Berkshire Hathaway annual meetings and scouring past letters to shareholders in search of value investing knowledge. Thus, we pay heed when Buffett warns that the temptation to predict a turnaround is often misguided.

2014-12-18 00:00:00 Touching Base on the Commercial Real Estate Recovery by Ian Goltra of Forward

Considering the recent upswing in commercial real estate prices and traded real estate stocks, in what inning is the commercial real estate recovery? Could there be extra innings? Prior to the most recent decline in real estate, downturns in commercial real estate cycles have historically been caused by supply shocksdevelopers putting up new buildings until they (or their banks) ran out of money.

2014-12-18 00:00:00 Rate Hikes To Start in 2015 by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Unlike most meetings, todays actions by the Federal Reserve were chock full of implications for the future course of monetary policy. At long last, the Fed finally removed the language in its statement that short-term interest rates will remain at essentially zero for a considerable time and replaced it with language that the Fed will be patient before starting to increase rates.

2014-12-18 00:00:00 A Tale of Two Markets by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

A solid run of domestic data has set the United States apart from a beleaguered world.

2014-12-18 00:00:00 2014 Year End Letter by John Osterweis, Matt Berler, Carl Kaufman of Osterweis Capital Management

As 2014 comes to a close, we want to provide an update on the energy sector. Energy has been making headlines as oil prices have reached unexpected lows. As discussed below, while the decline in oil prices is creating volatility in the energy sector, we believe that there continues to be opportunity in this sector and that the low oil prices should prove beneficial to U.S. and global economic growth.

2014-12-18 00:00:00 Emerging Markets Trends: What’s Negative for One Market May Boost Another by (Article)

Volatility is a normal part of investing and in response long-term CEF investors may see opportunity, says Alexander Reiss of Stifel, Nicolaus.

2014-12-18 00:00:00 Senior Loan CEFs Featuring John Cole Scott by (Article)

“Unloved” senior loan closed-end funds may appeal to CEF investors concerned that interest rates may rise, says John Cole Scott of CEF Advisors.

2014-12-18 00:00:00 Volatility Response Featuring Alexander Reiss by (Article)

Volatility is a normal part of investing and in response long-term CEF investors may see opportunity, says Alexander Reiss of Stifel, Nicolaus.

2014-12-17 00:00:00 Where Did The New Middle Class Citizens Go? by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

The "well known fact" with regards to oil over the last decade read like this: because of huge GDP growth in emerging markets like China, there were going to be 400 million new middle class citizens born of uninterrupted prosperity; they were going to want all the autos, consumer goods, $10,000 watches and food that Americans have.

2014-12-17 00:00:00 If Corporate America Is Investing in Sustainability, Then Why Arent You? by Michael Marinus Young of AdvisorShares

Unfortunately, thirty seconds in an elevator or hallway is not enough time to build the case for sustainability. But here on AlphaBaskets, were afforded the space and time to better explain why Sustainability should matter to them, and you.

2014-12-17 00:00:00 Plunging Oil Prices Spark Fears of Global Recession by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today, we touch on several bases. No doubt everyone reading this noticed that stocks tanked last week, and now seem to be moving in lockstep with oil prices. While consumers welcome cheaper gas and heating oil prices, there is a growing fear that the collapse in oil prices may be a harbinger of a global recession.

2014-12-17 00:00:00 The Median Stock Is Once Again Negative YTD by Team of GaveKal Capital

The median year-to-date performance in the MSCI World Index with two weeks of trading left is -1%. The median stock was up 20% at this point last year and was up 13% at this point in 2012.

2014-12-17 00:00:00 Are Bonds Really Less Risky than Equities? by Patrick Rudden of AllianceBernstein

Its practically an investing axiom that government bonds are much less volatile than equities. But that depends on how you look at it. In fact, our research suggests that income streams from stocks are actually much less volatile than those of government bonds.

2014-12-16 00:00:00 U.S. Housing: Still Room to Grow? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Federal Reserve rate hikes or not, the fundamentals suggest the sectors slow, steady recovery likely will continue.

2014-12-16 00:00:00 Europe Flash PMI Better, Not Fabulous by Team of GaveKal Capital

While today's better than expected rise in the flash PMI indicator (black line) for the euro zone is a welcome surprise, it would seem that it will take quite a bit more improvement before we can reasonably expect substantial progress in the recovery of important metrics such as GDP or industrial production.

2014-12-16 00:00:00 More Turbulence Ahead? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Stocks and other risky assets experienced particularly violent moves last week, and given uneven global growth and the impending tightening of U.S. monetary conditions, I think we are likely to see more turbulence ahead. As I discuss in my weekly commentary, there are two forces driving the volatility.

2014-12-16 00:00:00 Is the Grinch Stealing Investors Christmas? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

It was 1957. My Mom settled down with my brothers, sister, and me and began to read. It was a book by one of my favorites, Dr. Seuss. Unless you have spent the time since then living in a van down by the river, youve either read the book (or had it read to you), seen the TV cartoon account (1966) or Jim Carrey in Ron Howards motion picture version (2000) of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Even the song has been a hit!

2014-12-16 00:00:00 High Anxiety by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Federal Reserve policymakers meet this week to set monetary policy. The key concern is the timing of policy normalization. Officials may be anxious to begin lifting short-term interest rates, but they need to be very careful about managing market expectations. The risks of tightening too soon or too late are not symmetric and with the financial markets in turmoil, the Fed will not want to add to the level of anxiety.

2014-12-16 00:00:00 Please Make it Stop! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

He said: Jeff, you sure were right in Thursday mornings verbal strategy comments when you said we should get a bounce following Wednesdays 90% Downside Day, but that that bounce should not hold and for the perfect set-up to occur for the Santa Rally would be to have the S&P 500 come back down and travel into the 2000 2010 level.

2014-12-16 00:00:00 Oil, Employment, and Growth by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Last week we started a series of letters on the topics I think we need to research in depth as we try to peer into the future and think about how 2015 will unfold. In forecasting US growth, I wrote that we really need to understand the relationships between the boom in energy production on the one hand and employment and overall growth in the US on the other.

2014-12-16 00:00:00 Gundlach: Don't Fear Fed Tightening by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Throughout the post-crisis period, collective wisdom among market forecasters has held that interest rates would rise. But low rates have persisted, proving those prognosticators "dead wrong," in Jeffrey Gundlach's words. Gundlach, correctly contrarian in his interest-rate predictions, now believes the Fed will raise rates in 2015 but investors should not fear Fed tightening.

2014-12-16 00:00:00 How Much Risk Should Clients Take? by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Determining the degree of risk that is appropriate and tolerable in clients' financial plans is central to an advisor's role. I will show how advisors should deconstruct risk into six components and then integrate them using a framework to provide the best recommendations for clients.

2014-12-16 00:00:00 Financial Planning for an Uncertain Energy Future by Richard E. Vodra (Article)

Advisors hearing optimistic forecasts of plentiful new supplies of oil that may last for decades may be encouraged to make aggressive projections for their clients. It is critical to understand the role oil plays in the economy and the factors that will affect future supplies. Advisors should "drill down" beneath the slogans to see both risks and opportunities upon which to base their recommendations.

2014-12-16 00:00:00 Why I'm Concerned about Stock Market Valuation Levels by Ron A. Rhoades, J.D., CFP® (Article)

Looking at a range of valuation metrics, long-term investors have good reason to worry about the U.S. equity market. They can take comfort, however, in the fact that certain asset sub-classes are less overvalued that others.

2014-12-16 00:00:00 Increase the Emotional Connection with Your Prospects by Daniel Solin (Article)

To convert prospects into clients, you need to make an emotional connection. Lecturing, educating, presenting data or otherwise demonstrating your superior expertise in financial planning and investments will not achieve that goal.

2014-12-16 00:00:00 The Top Priority for Growth in 2015 by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

What is the number one most important area to focus on for growth in 2015?

2014-12-16 00:00:00 Turning Resolutions into Reality by Dan Richards (Article)

I will outline the research on the tactics that go into creating the new habits that will turn your personal and business New Year's resolutions into reality.

2014-12-16 00:00:00 Allocating to Alternative Investment Strategies by Nathan Rowader of Forward

Following the market declines in 2008 and 2009, many investors have shown interest in alternative investment strategies such as hedge funds and mutual funds that employ hedge fund-like strategies. These types of strategies have been around a long time, but until recently their use among individual investors has been somewhat limited.

2014-12-16 00:00:00 Strategy Spotlight: An Update on PIMCO'S Fundamental Index-Based Product Suite by Sabrina Callin, Robert Arnott of PIMCO

The Fundamental IndexPLUS AR strategies combine the best of what passive indexing and active management aim to deliver: broadly representative, transparent equity exposure plus the potential for meaningful equity market outperformance.

2014-12-16 00:00:00 Busting the Myth About Size by Vitali Kalesnik, Noah Beck of Research Affiliates

Many market participants (including investors, product providers, and analysts alike) assume that, just as value stocks on average outperform growth, small-cap stocks on average outperform large-caps. Unlike value, however, and contrary to popular opinion, there is little solid evidence that stock size affects performance.

2014-12-16 00:00:00 Oil Price: Looks Reasonable by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of Fortigent

A former economic colleague, and mentor, used to say: In the Bible, it says an ounce of gold will buy a fine suit of clothing. We have read the Bible, and we havent found this, although there could be some high-powered math, using talents, cubits, frankincense and myrrh that make it true.

2014-12-16 00:00:00 An Interest Rate Hike? Check Out Long Bonds, US Dollar Index, Demographics And Money Multiplier. by Sebastiao Buck Tocalino of SBTCapital Clube de Investimento

Inflation is out of sight in terms of Treasury bond yields, dollar exchange rates and demographic outlook lets not even mention energy costs! Much of the FEDs monetary base expansion did not flow into consumption or, more importantly, entrepreneurial productive investments! Money multiplier is more like a fractional now, since not even credit increased the money available for Main Street the way it used to.

2014-12-15 00:00:00 Why Should an Investor Consider International Small-Caps? by (Article)

With approximately 25,000 international companies in our chosen asset class, we believe active management suits our search for businesses with the quality metrics that we typically look for in our domestic investments - high returns on invested capital, strong balance sheets, and sizable market shares.

2014-12-15 00:00:00 Are Energy Stocks Undervalued? by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

Energy stocks have tumbled along with crude oil. But have they reached the bargain basement? This depends on one’s outlook for the price of crude. The performance of energy stocks relative to the broad market is well correlated with the underlying commodity.

2014-12-15 00:00:00 How to Approach the Alternative Investments Puzzle: Putting the Pieces Together by Walter Davis of Invesco Blog

Every summer my family and I go on a vacation to the beach. While there, my wife buys a big jigsaw puzzle for us to work on. Every year, we feel overwhelmed immediately after she dumps out all 1,000 pieces.

2014-12-15 00:00:00 Why Does Everyone Keep Asking Us About Great Value Buys in Europe? by Team of GaveKal Capital

While attending a conference last week and hearing questions and comments such as, "Europe's pretty cheap right now, isn't it?", "Where are you finding the best deals in Europe?", and "I bet you are finding a lot of value in Europe these days", we felt as though it might be appropriate/ necessary to quickly review where European valuations stand at the moment (short answer: the perception that an abundance of relatively inexpensive stocks may be found in Europe is largely misguided).

2014-12-15 00:00:00 A Sensible Proposal and a New Adjective by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The FOMC is well-served by Richard Fishers proposal to consider terminating the current policy of reinvesting proceeds from Fed balance sheet holdings as those securities mature. That shift would not imply any rush to raise the federal funds rate or otherwise normalize policy rates.

2014-12-15 00:00:00 Falling Oil Prices Cause Jitters, but the Economy Stays on Track by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

The dominant financial story last week was the concern over the continued slide in oil prices, which have dropped close to 40% so far this year.1 Worries about the growing power of the Greek opposition party Syriza, and the potential effect on European policy should it assume control over the government, also contributed to investor unease.

2014-12-15 00:00:00 Black Gold Loses Glitter by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The stunning 40% drop in the price of oil over the past few months has scrambled global economic forecasts, changed the geo-political landscape, and has severely pressured many energy sector investments. Economists are scratching their heads to determine if the drop is good or bad for the economy or whether cheap oil will add to or decrease unemployment, or complicate the global effort to "defeat" deflation.

2014-12-14 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

The question now is what lies immediately ahead. We think risk/reward on a one month basis is now positive.

2014-12-14 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Will Crashing Oil Prices Change the Feds Course? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

The investment conclusion is opportunity in non-energy cyclical stocks, including basic materials, technology, and consumer discretionary. There are also energy names that are part of the knee-jerk reaction, but which do not necessarily suffer from lower oil prices. These include refiners and some of the large integrated oil companies that need to replace reserves. (Barrons also suggests oil tanker stocks storage needed!)

2014-12-13 00:00:00 Glancing Back but Focusing Forward by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

The US stock market appears set for further gains into at least the first half of next year, although risks are elevated with valuations no longer discounted and looming rate hikes. There is hope that ongoing easy monetary policy by global central banks can help to bolster economic activity is areas such as the Eurozone, China, and Japan. But we are somewhat skeptical about stock market performance in developed international countries and favor emerging markets to start out the New Year.

2014-12-13 00:00:00 China Wants to Conduct the World's High-Speed Rail Market by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The Chinese want to return to the railroad business. This time, however, they strive to become the world?s leading go-to provider of high-speed rail and exporter of mass transit technology.

2014-12-13 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The Fed prepares to take a "considerable" step. We could be in for another round of emerging market volatility.

2014-12-13 00:00:00 Bulls, Bears and Pigs by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

So, the global stock markets have your attention. Whether you are focused on declining economic prospects in Europe, Emerging Markets weakness or the recent slide in the U.S. stock market, we are all forced to contemplate something that may now be driving up beside us, not merely in the rear-view mirrora stock bear market.

2014-12-12 00:00:00 Measuring Tactical Alpha by Adam Butler of Dundee Goodman Private Wealth

We are big fans of active asset allocation, which is sometimes called tactical alpha. Our enthusiasm stems from the following observations from our own research, and from other published sources.

2014-12-12 00:00:00 Energy Sector Woes Continue to Weigh on Market as Risks of Default Increase by Chris Puplava of PFS Group

Energy prices have collapsed with unwinding of massive net-long positions. Weak demand and rising supplies also weighing on the sector. Slide in prices puts debt of certain issuers at risk of default. Until we see signs of stabilization in energy credit markets, bottom to remain elusive

2014-12-12 00:00:00 Grandma Got Run Over By A Dividend Portfolio by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Forbes had a very short article titled High Yield Grandma which offers a brief profile of a woman who has overcome a few setbacks and has a very substantial investment portfolio worth $3 million. As the clever title implies she focuses on dividend stocks.

2014-12-12 00:00:00 Examining the Correlation between Oil and Gold by Dennis Rhee of AdvisorShares

Crude Oil and Gold have generally exhibited a positive correlation (meaning they move in tandem) for the past 7 out of 10 years. In general both fall in the commodity asset class and are commonly used by investors as an inflation hedge as well as for portfolio diversification. As inflation increases, both commodities will tend to follow suit.

2014-12-12 00:00:00 Oil, Roil, and Turmoil by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The free fall in oil prices is roiling markets. There are near-term benefits of lower energy prices, but darker clouds are gathering for the global economy.

2014-12-12 00:00:00 5 Things To Ponder: Crude Oppositeness by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

This past week I have been inundated with questions regarding the dive in crude oil prices and the energy sector in general. Is this a fantastic buying opportunity, or is the bigger of something bigger? The answer depends on your time frame.

2014-12-12 00:00:00 Asia, Looking to 2015 and Beyond by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

Over the next decade, I expect Asias econo-mies to continue to raise living standards and to narrow the income gap between its own citizens and those in the U.S. or Europe.

2014-12-12 00:00:00 Europe: Look for Value, Expect Volatility by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Greeces ruling coalition is at risk of losing its grip on power, which sent the countrys stocks and bonds dramatically down. Is this the beginning of another Greek crisis?

2014-12-12 00:00:00 Measuring Tactical Alpha Part II: Examples and Analysis by Adam Butler of Dundee Goodman Private Wealth

When we left off in Part 1, we promised to examine how select Global Tactical Asset Allocation products stack up against the Global Market Portfolio from the perspective of several performance measures particularly Sharpe ratio, alpha and information ratio. Without further adieu:

2014-12-12 00:00:00 5 Things To Ponder: Crude Oppositeness by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

This past week I have been inundated with questions regarding the dive in crude oil prices and the energy sector in general. Is this a fantastic buying opportunity, or is the bigger of something bigger? The answer depends on your time frame.

2014-12-11 00:00:00 OPECs Thanksgiving by Jonathan Waghorn of Guinness Atkinson Asset Management

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting ended on 11/27/14, Thanksgiving Day, with the decision to leave their production quota unchanged and no clarity on when a cut might be forthcoming. The lack of any quota cut, combined with little indication that OPEC were particularly focused in the short term on quota compliance, caught the market by surprise. Crude oil prices and energy equities fell sharply.

2014-12-11 00:00:00 Favorable Policy Environment for Stocks in 2015 by Burt White of LPL Financial

We expect the policy environment in 2015 to be supportive for stocks. The transfer of power to Republicans may have a meaningful impact on broad policy measures. Regardless of the political party in power, the year before the presidential election has historically been a good one for stocks.

2014-12-11 00:00:00 10 Legendary Investment Rules From Legendary Investors by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

I live in Houston, which has been a huge economic beneficiary of the sustained increases in oil prices, drilling, refining and related processes. As such, the amount of wealth created in energy-related investments has been enormous and, not surprisingly, a vast majority of individuals have overweighted portfolios in energy with the expectations that "oil prices can only go up."

2014-12-11 00:00:00 Global Carry Is Correcting by Alexander Giryavets of Dynamika Capital L.L.C.

The day after Thanksgiving we noted that Global Carry has gone parabolic and needs to be watched carefully. It has been mildly correcting since and we encourage investors to stay cautious. We also review where we stand in terms of Risk On/Risk Off factor.

2014-12-11 00:00:00 Inequality and the American Child by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

Though an average American childhood may not be the worst in the world, the disparity between the country's wealth and the condition of its children is unparalleled. And, without compensatory measures, unequal opportunities translate into unequal lifelong outcomes by the time children reach the age of five.

2014-12-11 00:00:00 The Fed, Jobs, and the Financial Markets by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Looking ahead to 2015, the labor market is expected to play the key part in the Feds path to policy normalization. However, as we learned from New York Fed President Dudley last week, the Fed will also consider the reaction in financial markets.

2014-12-11 00:00:00 Quote of the Week by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

As most of you know I was in New York City most of last week seeing institutional accounts, doing media and speaking at various events. One of the media appearances was to co-host CNBCs Closing Bell on Tuesday, with the sagacious Sara Eisen, who unsurprisingly gave me the quote of the week. The quote was, Think of it this way, lower oil prices are to America what lower labor costs were to the BRICs!

2014-12-11 00:00:00 Three Winning Arguments for Japan by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

I travel to Japan every year, normally around early December. The more time I spend there, the more I come to realize what a uniquely distinct country it is. On my trip last week, one of my Japanese colleagues pointed out that Tokyo was starting to allow taller office buildings. I assumed the previous limitation was a function of Japans location in a geologically active part of the Pacific. My friend politely laughed. The injunction was due to the fact that no building was supposed to look down on the Imperial Palace.

2014-12-11 00:00:00 European Small-Caps: Focus on Companies, Not Countries by Liliana Castillo Dearth, Alan Connery of AllianceBernstein

Growth in the euro area has slowed sharply, but thats not true for all companies in the region. We think worries about Europes recovery may offer investors the chance to buy quality, small-cap stocks for less than they would pay for similar-caliber companies elsewhere.

2014-12-10 00:00:00 2015 Year Ahead: Continuing to Deflate the Global Credit Bubble by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Stock market leadership virtually always changes when volatility significantly spikes, and the 2008 bear market was no exception. Credit-related asset classes led the markets for the decade prior to 2008 as the global credit bubble inflated. Since 2008?s bear market, however, leadership has significantly changed and credit-related asset classes have generally underperformed plain, old-fashioned stocks.

2014-12-10 00:00:00 Interest Rates Have Nowhere To Go But Up? by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Earlier this week Daniel Druger and Liz McCormick wrote an article for Bloomberg entitled: "One Hundred Years Of Bond History Means Bears Destined To Lose." The premise here is simple. With interest rates near their lowest levels on record, they have nowhere to go from here "but up." This is the consensus of virtually all of the analysts and economists on Wall Street which currently suggests that rates will rise to 3.88% next year on the 30-year treasury.

2014-12-10 00:00:00 Dealing with Divergence by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

From the Age of Recovery to the Age of Divergence, we look forward to 2015 with an overview of the investment world and explore the different themes that will matter in the New Year.

2014-12-10 00:00:00 Whos Really in The Kingdoms Gun Sights? by Doug Holt of AdvisorShares

According to the EIA, U.S. crude oil imports averaged about 7.3 million barrels per day last week with Canadian barrels making up 3.2 million barrels of the total. U.S. commercial reserves increased by 1.9 million barrels week over week where total inventories fell 3.7 million barrels versus expectations of a build of 950,000.3 Are we at the beginnings of a rebalancing of the market? Possibly.

2014-12-10 00:00:00 Follow the ECB Compass by Eve Tournier of PIMCO

As the European Central Bank continues to expand its balance sheet to counter low growth and ?low inflation, we believe European duration should remain relatively well-anchored and European assets should be well supported. Looking ahead, in a world of low yielding European core rates, we believe credit will continue to attract investors. We continue to see spread compression opportunities in peripheral sovereign, fundamentally improving banks and high yield.

2014-12-10 00:00:00 November Jobs Report Wasn't So Great After All by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Last Fridays unemployment report for November was a stunner, at least on the surface. US businesses ramped-up hiring across the board in November, putting 2014 on pace to be the best year for job growth since 1999.

2014-12-10 00:00:00 A Point-and-Figure Perspective on Ratings Upgrades by Team of GaveKal Capital

Faithful followers will already know that we do not rely on meetings with management or analyst reports in our methodology for finding the world's best knowledge leaders. And, while we have developed a more objective, data-driven process, it is always interesting to at least take a look at how our various tools compare with the consensus from the street.

2014-12-10 00:00:00 Lessons Learned in 2014 by Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

In 2014, US stocks forged ahead, international developed and emerging-market stocks lagged, bonds did better than expected, and the IRS took a bigger bite. Here are some lessons for US investors to carry forward into 2015.

2014-12-09 00:00:00 Jeremy Grantham's Favorite Book by Michael Edesess (Article)

Jeremy Grantham has long advocated that economic growth is inexorably constrained by physical resources, especially oil and other fossil fuels. Thus, in his quarterly letter, he writes, "I think that the old growth rates in productivity will not come back, at least until we have had a transition away from fossil fuels." But Grantham also gratefully notes that "a new book appears that amazes me by doing the opposite, and by an increasingly well-known economist no less - It is entirely sensible from start to finish - I agree with almost everything he writes."

2014-12-09 00:00:00 The Hidden Value of a Reverse Mortgage Standby Line of Credit by Wade Pfau (Article)

Recent research has investigated how opening a standby line of credit through a reverse mortgage and strategically spending from this line of credit can help improve the sustainability of retirement income strategies. In this article, I show that the benefits of opening a home-equity conversion mortgage (HECM) line of credit extend beyond meeting spending needs.

2014-12-09 00:00:00 Is Discipline Over-rated? by Dan Richards (Article)

What some advisors need is not more discipline, but new habits around tasks like email. There's growing research surrounding how discipline works.

2014-12-09 00:00:00 The New Credential That Will Increase Your AUM by Daniel Solin (Article)

Advisors spend an enormous amount of resources developing their knowledge in various areas of wealth management. Some of the credentials they obtain reflect years of study. Currently, however, no one has the "ME" credential, and for good reason.

2014-12-09 00:00:00 Capital Gains and Losses - Timing Is Everything! by Glenn Frank (Article)

This article will lend insight into one of the few areas that investors actually can control in our new American Taxpayer "Relief" Act environment.

2014-12-09 00:00:00 How to Deal with Unresponsive Clients by Teresa Riccobuono (Article)

We all have clients who, for whatever reason, become unresponsive to our calls and emails. Here's a process that will address those unfortunate situations.

2014-12-09 00:00:00 Developing Growth Plans for 2015 by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Every year we talk about formalizing our client referral process, increasing our market presence and setting other growth-related goals. But we start January 1 without real plans in place. What can we do this December to ensure we are successful with our resolutions?

2014-12-09 00:00:00 Germany and France: Looking for Quality in the Eurozone by Jim Harvey, Dilip Badlani of The Royce Funds

While concerns over economic growth in Europe have been escalating, Royce International Micro-Cap Fund Portfolio Managers Jim Harvey and Dilip Badlani are finding small-cap opportunities with long-term benefits.

2014-12-09 00:00:00 A Year of Divergence by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

In the coming year, the global economy will be characterized by widening discrepancies in economic growth and policies. As these divergences become increasingly difficult to reconcile, policymakers will either have to overcome the obstacles that have so far impeded effective action or allow their economies to become destabilized.

2014-12-09 00:00:00 Designing Balanced DC Menus: Considering Equity Investments by Stacy Schaus, Ying Gao of PIMCO

Defined contribution investment lineups typically provide numerous equity choices but still may lack adequate diversification and return potential. Participants may benefit by accessing high-growth markets such as emerging markets and tapping in to dividend-paying stocks. Retirement outcomes could improve further by including portfolios structured using fundamental measures rather than market capitalization.

2014-12-09 00:00:00 2015 Fixed Income Outlook: Handle with Care by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

With sustained improvement in economic growth, slowly rising inflation, and the approach of the Feds first interest rate hike, bond prices are likely to decline in 2015. High-yield bonds and bank loans can help investors manage this challenging bond market.

2014-12-09 00:00:00 Stocks: Going with the Flows by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Mutual-fund data show that retail investors remain reluctant to commit money to equities. That actually could help extend the rally in the months ahead.

2014-12-09 00:00:00 Who Should Go to the Bowls? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

When I was a kid there were just four year-end college football bowl games. Today there are 39. Perhaps the title of this piece should be Do we need holiday football bowls at all? But I guess they wouldnt produce them unless there was a demand for them from the cities, hoping to get some travelers, to the sponsors, hoping to get some attention, to the teams, seeking to cap a successful season, and to the fans, who are just looking to have some fun and experience a last hurrah for this years heroes.

2014-12-09 00:00:00 Pushback: The Gift That Keeps on Giving by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

We have been out on the road telling the story of Smead Capital Management and explaining our portfolio of common stocks. One of the many benefits of these meetings is the feedback we get from existing investors, potential investors, the financial media and other interested parties.

2014-12-09 00:00:00 An Improving Economy Justifies a Pro-Growth Investment Stance by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities advanced again last week with the S&P 500 Index climbing 0.4%, extending its winning streak to seven weeks. Investors responded well to improving economic data and focused on the positive aspects of declining oil prices. In China, equities moved sharply higher and notched their best weekly performance in seven years as investors speculated that Chinese officials were on the verge on enacting additional policy support.

2014-12-09 00:00:00 Room to Run for the Stock Market by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Last week Bill Gross and the former co-CIO of PIMCO, Mohamed El-Erian, were advising clients to lighten up on stocks. You may agree that these are certainly two people with a passion for what they do. To that end, we all benefit.

2014-12-09 00:00:00 Data Driven or Driven Data by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

There can be little doubt that data releases rather than experience or intuition are driving the economic conversation. This is perhaps a function of the disconnection that many people feel about an economy that they no longer understand.

2014-12-09 00:00:00 Hungary's PM: Madman or Geopolitical Genius? by Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

Hungarys Prime Minister Viktor Orban is one of the first European leaders to turn friendly toward Russia, noting that geopolitics are changing and Eastern European countries should redefine their international policies according to these changes. This report explores the differences between the rules of the geopolitical game being played by Hungary, the West and Russia. We will describe the history of Hungarys balancing act between the powers of the East and West and how this history affects its current politics. We will discuss the most likely outcomes and their international si

2014-12-08 00:00:00 Portfolio Replenishing During Bull Markets by (Article)

Royce Opportunity Select and Opportunity Fund Portfolio Manager Bill Hench talks with Principal Dave Gruber about his buying and selling process, which—while more difficult to maintain during up-market periods—remains consistent regardless of market movements.

2014-12-08 00:00:00 Peaking Process by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

In my view, we are likely witnessing the peak of the third equity valuation bubble in the past 14 years, the first two which saw major indices plunge by at least 50%. Its important to recognize that market peaks are a process, not an event. Internal deterioration has actually been developing since early July, and became measurable in early August. This process has been quite like what we observed in 2007, when deterioration became measurable in July of that year. Despite an initial selloff, the major indices recovered to a marginal new high in October 2007 before continuing lower.

2014-12-08 00:00:00 The Big Squeeze Begins by Michael Story of PIMCO

Current European Central Bank policies, along with the regulatory environment, are constricting the two primary investment vehicles available to store cash. As many money market funds have maxed out the risk they can take and some regional European banks have started to charge the equivalent of negative rates on deposits, large cash investors are left to ponder how to avoid the potential loss of capital. We believe PIMCO's approach to balancing three key cash management trade-offs may provide an attractive solution for investors.

2014-12-08 00:00:00 The All Everything Portfolio? No Such Thing by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Barry Ritholtz has had some good fun torching Tony Robbins All Weather Portfolio for having too much in bonds and commodities as well as being to backward looking and being put forth as a one size fits all. The latest was in his WaPo column dated December 5, 2014.

2014-12-08 00:00:00 Ramping Up Reform in Brazil by Rick Harper of WisdomTree

On November 27, President Rousseff shook up her cabinet through the appointment of Joaquim Levy as finance minister. In our opinion, this marks a positive first step by the administration in its attempt to re-establish its credibility with the market.

2014-12-08 00:00:00 A Long-Term View for China by Nick Niziolek of Calamos Investments

When I meet with clients, one of the most frequent questions Im asked is, What do you think about China? With Chinas rate cut this past Friday helping to fuel a global equity rally, we were reminded of how relevant the China question is to the overall health of the global markets and economy. In this post, Ill discuss the lens through which we view China and how we interpret the daily flood of policy-related headlines coming out of the country to determine what is noise and what is actionable.

2014-12-08 00:00:00 Are You Prepared for Short-term Rates to Rise? by Craig Brandon of Eaton Vance

In this timely Q&A, Craig Brandon, portfolio manager of Eaton Vance Floating-Rate Municipal Income Fund, offers his thoughts on the asset class, how he manages the Fund and which investors may find the strategy attractive.

2014-12-08 00:00:00 Inflection Points by Guy Scott of Janus Capital Group

U.S. equities surged over the last six years as the economy regained its footing after the financial crisis, and companies underwent substantial cost cuts to improve profitability. Today, many international companies and regional economies are early in the process of making similar positive, transformative changes.

2014-12-08 00:00:00 Go for the Gold: Commodities and Inflation by Denis Chaves of Research Affiliates

Unexpected inflation would be especially damaging to portfolio returns when asset class yields are low, but a modest amount of inflation protection can substantially mitigate the risk. Commodities can be effective hedges against inflationary shocks.

2014-12-07 00:00:00 Macroeconomics Finally Gets Interesting by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

2015 may be the year that macroeconomics really becomes interesting again, if it hasnt already. After a long period of relatively coordinated central bank policies and remarkably low volatility, the macro scene is becoming more dynamic. Thats great for those who live and die by dramatic long-term shifts in global markets, but it should be terrifying for emerging-market policymakers, currency carry traders, Texas oil men, and, frankly, the average investor. King Volatility is back on his throne.

2014-12-06 00:00:00 Dont Let Market Motion Sickness Keep You From Missing the Boat by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Despite all of the good news, the recent threat of market volatility, which weve seen plenty of in commodities and emerging markets, seems to have pushed close-to-retirement folks away from equity securities. The August and October downturns, not to mention the decline in gold and oil prices, have understandably heightened consumer fears.

2014-12-06 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Oil isn't the only commodity enduring a significant correction; The European Central Bank moves closer to QE; The U.S. is nearing full employment, but inflation holds the key to monetary policy

2014-12-06 00:00:00 Will Two Key Sectors Survive Chinas Long Landing? by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein

Based on insights from our teams recent trip to China, we noted that the country is likely headed for a long economic landing. What does that mean for its infrastructure and commodity sectors?

2014-12-06 00:00:00 Five Ways to Tackle Risk in Emerging Equities by Nelson Yu and Morgan C. Harting of AllianceBernstein

Emerging-market (EM) equities are far more turbulent than their developed-world peers. But there are several things investors can do to capture the attractive return potential while reducing volatility. Staying active is the lynchpin for success.

2014-12-06 00:00:00 Chinas Economy Gliding into Long Landing by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein

Chinas economy isnt headed for a hard or soft landinginstead, its more likely to be a long landing. Thats our perspective, based on our teams recent visit to China to get an up-close look at the economic landscape.

2014-12-06 00:00:00 Dont You Worry bout a Thing: Tell That to Individual Investors! by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Some attitudinal measures of investor sentiment show troublingly high levels of optimism. Longer-term sentiment surveys that separate individuals from institutions show something much, much different. These longer-term surveys suggest theres little risk that the wall of worry the market likes to climb is crumbling.

2014-12-06 00:00:00 Revisiting a YouTube Classic by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Back in the summer of 2011, a short animated film was built using a website called XtraNormal. The site allows anyone to create a film and chose animated characters and voices. This one particular film sought to educate (with the creators strong opinions included) the audience on the Federal Reserves Quantitative Easing (QE) program, which then was in its middle stages. And boy, did it find an audience, with over 5 million people viewing it!

2014-12-06 00:00:00 Five Things To Ponder: Unstoppable Force Paradox by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

As we enter the final month of the year, the markets advance got me thinking about something known as the "Unstoppable Force Paradox." While you may not be familiar with the name, you will certainly know the definition which questions "What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?"

2014-12-06 00:00:00 China's One-Child Policy by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

Last November, Chinas Communist Party announced that it would relax its famed one-child policyone of the most draconian examples of government social engineering ever seen. This is a significant political move, as it represents the Partys decision to withdraw from its citizens bedrooms, restoring a key element of personal freedom that should help rebuild peoples trust in the Party. But what some observers may not realize is that the steepest fall in Chinas total fertility rate (the average number of live births per woman) actually came be

2014-12-06 00:00:00 Draghi Crosses the Rubicon while Juncker Peddles "Europhemisms" by John Beck of Franklin Templeton Investments

The announcement by newly installed European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker of a package designed to secure 315 billion of investment for the eurozone garnered a lot of press interest in late November. However, John Beck, director of Fixed Income, London, and portfolio manager, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group, believes a speech by European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi at a bankers conference in Frankfurt earlier in the month offers more practical insight for investors. Here he outlines lessons to take from Draghis speech in the lions

2014-12-06 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Coming into this week, SPY had been above its 5-dma for 30 days in a row. This was a new record, unlike any streak the index has ever seen. We reviewed prior examples of these streaks earlier; our conclusion was that the streak rarely marked the top in the market, meaning there were higher highs immediately ahead after the streak ended. But the index also struggled in the following weeks, often trading lower.

2014-12-06 00:00:00 Sources of Investment Power: Why Expertise Matters and What it Looks Like by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

There is a wide dispersion of ability in the investment services industry which makes it difficult to identify expertise. This is a shame because expertise is a critical factor in making good decisions and in avoiding bad ones. As the investment landscape becomes more difficult, it will become progressively more important to identify and access expertise.

2014-12-06 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Time for a Santa Claus Rally? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

The schedule for data releases is lighter than usual. The calendar year is about to end. The market continues to set records. The stage is set for the annual question: Will there be a Santa Claus rally in stocks?

2014-12-05 00:00:00 Outlook 2015: Multi-Manager by Marcus Brookes, Robin McDonald of Schroders Investment Management

Investors need to prepare for lower returns in the next few years, with a focus on capital preservation appearing prudent in the current environment.

2014-12-05 00:00:00 Getting More From Your Equity and Bond Benchmarks by Ryan Blute of PIMCO

Benchmarks have long served as a starting point, or anchor, for investors, representing the neutral point for an investment decision. They serve as the basic ingredients that combine to form an investors asset allocation and result in a desired risk/return profile.

2014-12-05 00:00:00 The Dark Side to Falling Oil Prices by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The slump in oil prices could stifle global growth and force some oil-dependent economies into recession.

2014-12-05 00:00:00 Monetary Policy Outlook by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The minutes of the October 28-29 Federal Open Market Committee meeting suggested that there is still no consensus opinion among senior officials regarding when the Fed will begin raising short-term interest rates. There is strong agreement that monetary policy moves will be data-dependent. However, policymakers differ in their views on the amount of slack in the job market.

2014-12-05 00:00:00 2015? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Year-end letters are always difficult to write because there is a tendency to discuss the year gone by, or worse, try and predict what is going to happen in the New Year. I mean really, at this time last year who predicted Russia would invade Crimea, that ISIS would effectively take over a significant portion of Iraq, or the Republicans would sweep Congress.

2014-12-05 00:00:00 Right for the Wrong Reason by Tim Gramatovich of AdvisorShares

It has been a poorly kept secret that I am among the biggest skeptics in the planet as it relates to this whole US energy independence fantasy. As a credit investor, I have been no bid on the entire US E&P business. This was not an easy thing to sidestep as energy as a sub-set is by far the largest component of the various high yield indexes representing around 18%1.

2014-12-05 00:00:00 Three Reasons Why Municipal Bonds May Offer More Than Just Tax-Exempt Income by Stephanie Larosiliere of Invesco Blog

Tax-exempt income historically has been the main reason why investors buy municipal bonds. As a result of newer tax laws, including several provisions that expired at the end of 2013, tax bills for high-income earners have increased in recent years.

2014-12-05 00:00:00 A Mix of Central Bank Action and Oil by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Central bank action and plunging oil prices have been wielding big influence over market movements in recent months. Russ K explains why the impact is likely to continue.

2014-12-05 00:00:00 The Great Escape?? by Tony Crescenzi of PIMCO

Since the financial crisis, the Fed has engaged both conventional and unconventional tools in a colossal effort to smooth the deleveraging process, help put Americans back to work and boost wage growth. The Fed has achieved two out of three "escapes": 1) Escape from a liquidity trap: Get banks to lend. 2) Escape from quantitative easing: Stop the bond buying program. 3) Escape from the zero bound: Hike the policy rate above zero. Over the longer term, portfolios should be positioned for low policy rates not only in the U.S., but also in Europe and Japan.

2014-12-05 00:00:00 Is the Oil Price Slump an Early Holiday Gift for Some Consumers? by Virginie Maisonneuve, Ji Young Park, Mark Richards of PIMCO

With 60% of global GDP driven by consumers, the impact that sustained lower oil prices will have on the global economy is an important factor for investors to take into account. The benefits of lower oil prices will not be evenly distributed and it is important to think about countries that stand to benefit more because of higher consumption and/or less economic dependence on oil exports.

2014-12-05 00:00:00 Are Oil Prices Ready to Break out of the Trough? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

American business holds up the rest of the world.In ancient Greek mythology, the Titan Atlas was charged with holding up the world. Today, that task largely falls on the shoulders of American businesses.

2014-12-05 00:00:00 Why OPEC Will Tolerate Cheap Oil by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Despite falling oil prices, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) voted on November 27th not to cut production in order to boost prices. The key to this decision appears to have been the attitude of Saudi Arabia, which has long been the first among equals in the coalition.

2014-12-05 00:00:00 Liquidity Factor Featuring Mariana Bush by (Article)

2014-12-05 00:00:00 Emerging Markets Featuring Rennie McConnochie by (Article)

2014-12-04 00:00:00 Young Adults Then and Now: A Perspective on the Millennials by Doug Short (Article)

The Census Bureau has released a fascinating new study on young adults today compared with previous generations. Among other things, we learn that today's 18-34 population numbers 73 million, about 23 percent of the total population compared to 30 percent for that cohort in 1980. Millennials today are more highly educated but have lower employment rates and are more likely to be living in poverty. They are also less likely to be married and more likely to be living with parents.

2014-12-04 00:00:00 Outlook 2015: Japanese Equities by Shogo Maeda of Schroders Investment Management

Strong corporate earnings growth and a weak yen should continue to provide support to Japanese equities in 2015.

2014-12-04 00:00:00 Exchange Rate 101: A Primer For International Investors by Bryce Fegley of Saturna Capital

A solid grasp of exchange rates and how they impact various asset classes can help international investors make better-informed decisions. The asset class most likely to be impacted negatively by a strengthening dollar is non-dollar fixed-rate bonds.

2014-12-04 00:00:00 OPEC Meeting Post-Mortem: All Eyes on U.S. Shale by Greg Sharenow of PIMCO

After averaging nearly $110 per barrel during the first half of 2014 and peaking at over $115 per barrel in June, Brent crude oil has fallen by over $40 in just a few short months.

2014-12-04 00:00:00 ISM Data for October and November Point to Strong U.S. Real GDP Growth in 2014 Q4 by Robert Lamy of The Forecasting Advisor

At the start of each month, the U.S. Institute for Supply Management (ISM) released data on the state of the manufacturing and non-manufacturing industries of the U.S. economy. The data are closely followed by economists, stock market brokers, and the media as they provide the earliest reading on the current state of the economy.

2014-12-04 00:00:00 The Illusion Of Full Employment And Technology by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Recently, Tim Duy wrote an interesting piece entitled "Yes, I am Optimistic" wherein he stated that: "The lesson no one wants to draw from this recovery is that the US economy is both stronger and more resilient than commonly believed. Do not dismiss the real improvement in the economy since 2009. It is not unimportant that 2014 is likely to be the biggest year for private sector employment..."

2014-12-04 00:00:00 What's Next for the Dollar and Gold? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Who would have predicted oil prices in the sixty-dollar range a year ago? Something is not right about these markets. Our take: dont get burned when markets add fuel to the fire. Heres what to watch out for as we head into 2015; ignore at your own peril.

2014-12-04 00:00:00 How Could They? by William Gross of Janus Capital Group

Punch and Judy fought for a pie. Punch gave Judy a sock in the eye. Said Punch to Judy, "Would you like any more?" Said Judy to Punch, "No my eye is too sore." Mother Goose nursery rhyme. Ah, nursery rhymes! Intended for kids no less! The above little ditty could serve as a modern day NFL domestic playbook, I suppose, while a century ago it was but one of many lesson plans on what not to do when you grow up.

2014-12-04 00:00:00 U.S. Economic Growth Picks Up by Team of LPL Financial

We believe the U.S. economy will continue its transition from the slow gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 2011 - 2013 to more sustained, broad-based growth. We expect the U.S. economy will expand at a rate of 3% or slightly higher in 2015, which matches the average growth rate over the past 50 years.

2014-12-03 00:00:00 Unintended Consequences of Staying Early Termination Rights by William De Leon, Tracey Jordal, Libby Cantrill, Courtney Walker of PIMCO

The topic of too big to fail has been an intense area of focus for policymakers and market participants, and for good reason: Everyone has a vested interest in avoiding a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis and its corresponding aftershocks.

2014-12-03 00:00:00 Commodity Bears (i.e., Everyone) Should Read This by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

The commodity "oversupply" story remains intact, with high levels of capital spending in the Energy and Materials sectors persisting, despite the 3 1/2-year downtrend in commodity prices. But for those wishing to buck that longer-term bearish trend, now might be an interesting time. The negative reaction appears disproportionate to the actual damage. Don't look for further substantial declines in commodity prices over the very short term, except perhaps in gold.

2014-12-03 00:00:00 Can Stocks Deliver the Goods in 2015? by Burt White of LPL Financial

We believe stocks will deliver mid- to high-single-digit returns in 2015. We expect earnings, and not valuations, to do the heavy lifting in producing potential stock market gains for investors in 2015. Monetary policy is in transit in 2015, when stocks will face a shift from the very loose monetary policy of the Federal Reserves (Fed) quantitative easing (QE) program to an environment in which the Fed begins to hike interest rates.

2014-12-03 00:00:00 On The Economy, Oil Prices & Obama's Temper Tantrum by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Last Tuesday the Commerce Department raised its estimate of 3Q Gross Domestic Product to a 3.9% annual pace from the 3.5% rate reported last month, reflecting upward revisions to business investment and consumer spending and a smaller than previously reported decline in inventories. The pre-report consensus was for a slight cut to 3.3%, so the latest report was much better than expected.

2014-12-03 00:00:00 Digging Deeper for Market Valuations by Robert McConnaughey of Columbia Management

Nobody buys a house without looking inside. And nobody should make investment decisions without doing their due diligence on the underlying fundamentals. But that is exactly what happens in an investment world increasingly driven by high-level asset allocation and utilization of passive, index-based products or strategies. Pundits look at aggregate index data and declare one country cheap (or some other action-inducing characteristic) vs. another. Maybe they are right, but maybe they are missing something too.

2014-12-03 00:00:00 Can Japan Reboot? by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

Shinzo Abes recent policy decisions to increase monetary stimulus dramatically, to postpone a consumption-tax increase, and to call a snap election in mid-December have returned Japan to the forefront of an intense policy debate. The question is simple: How can aging advanced economies revive growth after a financial crisis?

2014-12-03 00:00:00 A Brave New World by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

In the the last two Absolute Return Letters I have argued why one should expect global GDP growth to be below average over the next decade or so, why interest rates should, as a consequence, remain low and why equity returns should also disappoint. Not as in negative returns but below the levels we have grown accustomed to over the past 30 years. If you have read those two letters, none of this should come as a surprise.

2014-12-03 00:00:00 Recession Probability Models - December 2014 by Ted Kavadas of StratX, LLC

There are a variety of economic models that are supposed to predict the probabilities of recession. While I dont agree with the methodologies employed or probabilities of impending economic weakness as depicted by the following two models, I think the results of these models should be monitored.

2014-12-03 00:00:00 What the Swiss Gold Vote Means to the Capital Markets by Dennis Rhee of AdvisorShares

As expected, Swiss voters rejected a proposal Sunday to increase the Swiss National Bank (SNB) gold holdings to a mandatory 20 percent of its foreign exchange reserves. The Save Our Swiss Gold proposal was voted down by 77 percent to 23 percent which was a larger margin than what polls had indicated. The SNB had campaigned against this referendum initiated by the European Union-skeptic right wing Swiss Peoples Party which falsely argued that this would have strengthened the SNBs credibility.

2014-12-03 00:00:00 Outlook 2015: Convertible Bonds by Martin Kuehle of Schroders Investment Management

The equity market is likely to be the main driver of convertibles in 2015, when diligent research will once again be crucial.

2014-12-03 00:00:00 The ECBs Shifting Regimes by Andrew Bosomworth of PIMCO

The European Central Bank (ECB) is likely to commence a broad-based asset purchase programme, i.e., quantitative easing (QE), in the first quarter of 2015. As it stands, the eurozone is stuck in a liquidity trap, the risk of deflation is rising and inflation expectations are deviating from their long-term anchor. With the private sector deleveraging and the policy rate near zero, additional easing will require expanded asset purchases.

2014-12-02 00:00:00 In Defense of John Hussman by David Horn (Article)

John Hussman is a polarizing figure. The performance of his Strategic Growth Fund (HSGFX) is in the fourth, fourth and seventh percentile in one-, three- and five-year rankings, respectively. Worse, he's actually experienced a drawdown over the past six years. Much of that criticism, however, is misguided.

2014-12-02 00:00:00 The Tooth-Fairy Economics of Jeff Madrick by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)

Incentives don't matter, tradeoffs don't exist and there are no limits to what the government can give you. Those who believe this dogma are likely to still have faith in the tooth fairy. In Seven Bad Ideas, a critique of the neoclassical revival in economics that surrounded Milton Friedman and that affected policy and politics worldwide for more than a generation, Jeff Madrick emerges as tooth-fairy economics' chief exponent.

2014-12-02 00:00:00 Response to Larry Swedroe's Article, "How AQR's New Fund Adds Value" by Michael Edesess (Article)

In our November 18 issue, Larry Swedroe published an article titled "How AQR's New Fund Adds Value." His article was followed by a lively debate on APViewpoint. Michael Edesess took one side of that debate, in opposition to Swedroe, and his position is stated here.

2014-12-02 00:00:00 The Best Way to End Your Day by Dan Richards (Article)

Advisors frequently ask me for new ways to get referrals and attract clients. But here's the reality: what keeps advisors from moving forward isn't the lack of ideas - in fact most advisors are drowning in ideas. Instead, what keeps you from advancing your business is failing to act on the ideas you already have on your to-do list.

2014-12-02 00:00:00 A Second Look at First Impressions by Daniel Solin (Article)

What if a prospect makes a snap judgment that you are not trustworthy? How can you overcome that obstacle?

2014-12-02 00:00:00 The Danger of a Gossip-Monger by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

One of my colleagues thrives on gossip. She talks about each of us behind our backs, criticizing how we do everything. I want it to stop.

2014-12-02 00:00:00 Oil - Just Another Price by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Dont take this the wrong way: energy is important. Oil prices are important. But, we believeth those involved in economic punditry often bloweth them out of proportioneth.

2014-12-02 00:00:00 Strangers Passing in the Night by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

The economies of China and the United States appear to be headed in the opposite direction. Chinas economy is decelerating fast and the U.S. looks right on the cusp of having its economic growth accelerate, as evidenced by the revised quarterly GDP number of 3.9% released on November 25th, 2014.

2014-12-02 00:00:00 Learning From Mistakes Made By Pension Funds by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Forbes took a look at How Pension Funds Make Investing Too Complex. The issue was hedge funds and private equity funds that tend to be expensive, opaque or both. These types of direct investments also tend to be illiquid in terms of having long waiting periods before investors can get their money out.

2014-12-02 00:00:00 Black Friday Hindenburg Omen Suggests Near-Term Caution by Chris Puplava of PFS Group

Given how extended the markets are and the near uninterrupted run since the mid-October lows, the recent Hindenburg Omen signals on the NASDAQ and Russell 2000 on Black Friday are likely warning of a coming pullback.

2014-12-02 00:00:00 The Evaluation of Common Stocks by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

I have met many financially secure families over the years. Most earned this financial security by working hard, while saving as much as possible, for a very long time. Some inherited a safety net, some married into wealth, and a few lucky people just did everything right at the right time. What I have not come across is anyone who gained financial security quickly in a short period by investing in the capital markets. I know there are a few of these wonder kids somewhere on the planet, but I havent met them.

2014-12-02 00:00:00 World Inflation Falls To 59-Month Low by Team of GaveKal Capital

All eyes seem to be on crude oil prices right now. Taking an average price of WTI and Brent as a proxy for global oil prices, oil is down over 33% year-to-date.

2014-12-02 00:00:00 Making Sense of Dollar Strength by Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

Over the last several months, investors and economists alike have started to take note of the broad-based appreciation of the U.S. dollar. However, we believe the magnitude of this years move tells only a portion of the story. In our view, this summers rally does not represent a correction or near-term adjustment, but rather the continuation of a broader trend that started in the middle of 2011.

2014-12-02 00:00:00 The Worlds Dumbest Idea by James Montier of GMO

In a new white paper today, James Montier of GMO's asset allocation team "explor(es) the evidence that shareholder value maximization (SVM) has been an unmitigated failure and contributed to some very undesirable economic outcomes."

2014-12-01 00:00:00 Current Opportunities Built from Short-Term Headwinds by (Article)

As bottom-up stock pickers who pay close attention to risk and valuation, we often see negative headlines as an opportunity to reevaluate our holdings and build our exposure to companies with long-term value at attractive entry points. Portfolio Manager Lauren Romeo provides her perspective on macro headwinds and how they affect our investment approach.

2014-12-01 00:00:00 Is Bitcoin the Future? by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Worth Wray has written this weeks letter as a summary of what we know about Bitcoin. Delving into its history and bringing us up to date, he also offers a glimpse of the future. At the end of the letter I offer a few of my own thoughts on the relationships among gold, fiat money, Bitcoin, and financial transactions. If nothing else, Bitcoin offers a provocative way to think of the future of money.

2014-12-01 00:00:00 As Oil Falls, Indian Equities May Rise by Christopher Gannatti of WisdomTree

We believe that, as the price of oil falls, Indias economic growth prospectsand by extension, equity market performancemay improve.

2014-12-01 00:00:00 Global Carry Gone Parabolic? by Alexander Giryavets of Dynamika Capital L.L.C.

Global Carry has gone parabolic. Last such move precipitated the Taper Tantrum, only this time the parabolic move is exaggerated by US dollar appreciation.

2014-12-01 00:00:00 Quantitative Easing, Interest Rates, Real Yield Curves And Fedspeak...Get A Load Of That BULL! by Sebastiao Buck Tocalino of SBTCapital Clube de Investimento

People got it wrong, Quantitative Easing did not lower long-term interest rates. The Federal Reserves money printing actually halted the plunge of yields and cheapened bonds. Yields fell when other institutions showed their hunger for long bonds, and that suggests trouble ahead.

2014-12-01 00:00:00 The Dow Jones: Beautiful Tree in the Desert by Wim Grommen of Transfer Solutions

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) Index is the only stock market index that covers both the second and the third industrial revolution. Calculating share indexes such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average and showing this index in a historical graph is a useful way to show which phase the industrial revolution is in. Changes in the DJIA shares basket, changes in the formula and stock splits during the take-off phase and acceleration phase of industrial revolutions are perfect transition-indicators.

2014-12-01 00:00:00 The Return of Currency Wars by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

The recent decision by the Bank of Japan to increase the scope of its quantitative easing is a signal that another round of currency wars may be under way. The cause of the latest currency turmoil is clear: In an environment of public and private deleveraging, monetary policy has become the only available tool to boost demand.

2014-12-01 00:00:00 Monetary Tectonics by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

John Hathaway, manager of the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), examines in his latest piece "the very meaningful difference between the dollars relative and absolute strength, and look(s) at the widening fissures beneath the faade of strength fissures that, as yet, appear to have had little impact upon the investment consensus."

2014-12-01 00:00:00 Hard-Won Lessons and the Bird in the Hand by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The S&P 500 is more than double its historical valuation norms on reliable measures (with about 90% correlation with actual subsequent 10-year market returns), sentiment is lopsided, and we observe dispersion across market internals, along with widening credit spreads. These and similar considerations present a coherent pattern that has been informative in market cycles across a century of history including the period since 2009. None of those considerations inform us that the U.S. stock market currently presents a desirable opportunity to accept risk.

2014-12-01 00:00:00 Black Friday Special: How Do The Retailers Look? by Team of GaveKal Capital

In honor of Black Friday, we thought we would look at how the North American retailers look from a technical perspective using our relative point and figure charts. Once again, our box size is 2.5% relative performance and all charts have four years worth of history.

2014-12-01 00:00:00 Worried About Year-End Capital Gains Taxes? ETFs May Help by John Feyerer of Invesco Blog

This is the time of year when asset managers announce year-end capital gains distribution estimates for their funds. Capital gains are generated when funds sell their holdings at a profit. Due to the solid performance of the markets this year, some investors may find their tax liabilities have grown along with their portfolio balance even if they havent sold their investments.

2014-11-29 00:00:00 Giving Thanks to the Innovators and Creators of Capital by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Im grateful to live in a society that monetarily rewards such innovation and problem-solving, in addition to the intrinsic rewards entrepreneurs receive for improving the lives of others.

2014-11-27 00:00:00 Five Things To Ponder: Tryptophan Induced Coma by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

As we prepare for the annual food fest, and post-Thanksgiving tryptophan-induced food coma; I thought this weekend's reading list should be a bit of a smorgasbord of interesting topics to stimulate your brain cells between naps and football.

2014-11-27 00:00:00 Pick and Mix: Fresh Ideas for Diversifying Bond Exposure by John Taylor of AllianceBernstein

Policy backdrops and growth trajectories around the world are showing increasing signs of divergence. Yet many bond investors continue to congregate in a few selected pockets of the fixed income universe. In our view, its a perfect time to reconsider diversification tactics.

2014-11-27 00:00:00 Oil Price Wont Stay Low Forever by Kevin Simms and Jeremy Taylor of AllianceBernstein

If US$80 oil is sustained for a year or more, we think the impact on investment will be significant and the seeds of a future spike in oil prices will have been sown. In our view, its only a matter of time before the market begins to recognize thisand starts to push up oil prices again.

2014-11-26 00:00:00 The Tortoise and the ECB by Harley Bassman of PIMCO

It is curious that the ECB continues to slumber while the eurozones trading partners move steadily ahead. While not a certainty, it seems highly unlikely that the ECB will indefinitely allow its main trading partners to competitively devalue versus the euro. And since there is no reason to reinvent the wheel, Europes policymakers will likely unveil a familiar-looking and expansive QE policy designed to accelerate asset velocity and, in turn, reflate their equity market.

2014-11-26 00:00:00 Median Household Income Down Last 15 Years - Why? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

One of the most puzzling questions in economics today is why did median household income peak in 1999 and has yet to recover? Most analysts cite the fact that we had two serious recessions in the space of a decade, including the financial crisis of 2008-2009.

2014-11-26 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

Someone observed recently that the holidays are starting late this year, as the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is shorter than usual. You could have fooled me; judging by store displays and TV advertising, the commercial side of the season is already two months old.

2014-11-26 00:00:00 With Oil and Gold Prices Depressed, Halliburton and Osisko Play Defense by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Digestion of the acquired company often takes a while, during which time the buyer tends to experience a short-term slowdown. Its stock typically falls because, among other reasons, it must pay a premium for the acquisition.

2014-11-26 00:00:00 Global Economic Perspective: November by Christopher Molumphy, Michael Materasso, Roger Bayston, Michael Hasenstab & John Beck of Franklin Templeton Investments

Steady improvements in US employment and relatively good economic growth figures mean that debate over when the US Federal Reserve (Fed) will begin to tighten policy continues to be the order of the day. US job growth increased at a fairly brisk pace in October, and numbers for the previous two months (already good) were revised higher. Since the start of 2014, US employers have added more than 220,000 workers on average each month, which should be sufficient to sustain economic momentum after an initial reading showed annualized gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 3.5% in the third quarter

2014-11-26 00:00:00 2014 U.S. Midterms: A Win for Stocks? by Zachary Karabell of Envestnet

With the 2014 U.S. midterm elections behind us, investors wonder what the political gridlock will mean for the markets. If we consider historical trends and recent earnings, we could actually see a prolonged bull equity market.

2014-11-25 00:00:00 Gross versus Gundlach: Who Has More Skill? by Robert Huebscher (Article)

If rocket science has a counterpart in financial analysis, it is in the quantitative analytics from companies like Boston-based Northfield Information Services. Last week, I spoke with Dan di Bartolomeo, founder and CEO, to see if he could detect skill or luck among the two biggest fixed-income managers: Bill Gross, when he managed the PIMCO Total Return Fund (PTTRX), and Jeffrey Gundlach, manager of the DoubleLine Total Return Fund (DBLTX).

2014-11-25 00:00:00 The Dangers of Euphoria in Real Estate Investments by Keith Jurow (Article)

There is widespread consensus that the real estate crisis is over. Because of this complacency, wealth management firms and RIAs widely believe that you do not need to talk about risks at all.

2014-11-25 00:00:00 The Flaws in the Dollar Indices by Marianne Brunet (Article)

According to the most widely recognized data series, the value of the dollar has declined by approximately 20% over the last half century. Critics of federal policy claim this is proof of systematic "dollar debasement," engineered through quantitative easing and the Fed's mandate to maintain a baseline level of inflation. But that data series is incomplete, and once it is corrected, the 20% decline shrinks considerably.

2014-11-25 00:00:00 Five Steps to Networking Success by Dan Richards (Article)

Few things are more frustrating than when the time you spend networking with prospective clients produces no results. But I will share some good news: A few simple steps to rethink your expectations and change your approach will dramatically improve the outcome from networking activity.

2014-11-25 00:00:00 The Elusive Goal of Success by Daniel Solin (Article)

There's no shortage of information on the subject of success. The problem is defining what success means to you.

2014-11-25 00:00:00 How to Visually Illustrate the Fiduciary Obligation to Clients by Seaborn Hall (Article)

Industry and legal experts have described the fiduciary obligation as complex, simple, elusive, atomistic, and contradictory. It is like the parable of the six blind men describing the elephant: how you see it depends on your vantage point. Deriving a flexible, easily explained definition of the fiduciary obligation is a challenge.

2014-11-25 00:00:00 Aging Clients and Dementia by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We are worried a client of ours might be in the early stages of dementia. How do we address this issue sensitively and most effectively?

2014-11-25 00:00:00 Fed "Mystified" Why Millennials Still Live at Home; My Answer May Surprise You by Mike "Mish" Shedlock of Sitka Pacific

A New York Fed research paper wonders Whats Keeping Millennials at Home? Is it Debt, Jobs, or Housing?

2014-11-25 00:00:00 Active Investing: Opportunity in Gold by Tim Gramatovich of AdvisorShares

As active managers, we embrace both a top down and bottom up investment philosophy as we look for opportunities for investment. One such potential opportunity we are seeing from more of a top down, thematic approach is in gold.

2014-11-25 00:00:00 Why Cant Investing Be as Simple as Going from Here to There? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

After traveling more than 20,000 miles over the last month, my mind is overflowing with strong impressions gained from my travels. The richness of the culture, the beauty of the lands, and the friendliness of the people in Australia and New Zealand cannot be overstated. As Americans, we tend to think of ourselves as the youngest kid on the block with a freshness and youthfulness that puts Europes stodginess to shame. Yet down under there is a land as big as the USA with a history half as long and economies just in the earliest stages of expansion.

2014-11-25 00:00:00 Real Estate is Having a Moment by Christopher Gannatti of WisdomTree

Looking at equity market, one theme this year is that the U.S. has been outperforming global markets, both developed international and emerging markets. However, looking within the U.S., real estate has performed particularly well.

2014-11-25 00:00:00 Reflections on the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Part 2 by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Last week, we began our two-part series on the fall of the Berlin Wall with an examination of the end of Marxism. In this report, we will examine the rest of the important consequences from the fall of the Berlin Wall. These are: the Collapse of the U.S.S.R., the Onset of the U.S. Unipolar Moment, and the Impact of German Unification. We will conclude our comments with potential market ramifications.

2014-11-25 00:00:00 Middle East/Africa: Regional Economic Review - Q3 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Despite continuing geopolitical tensions and subdued oil prices, the Middle East and Africa region had a largely positive third quarter. South Africa, the largest economy in this region, saw its labor problems diminish while Egypt reported a string of encouraging data, signaling that it is steadily recovering from a long phase of political and economic turbulence.

2014-11-25 00:00:00 Developed Europe: Regional Economic Review - Q3 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Developed Europe remained bogged down by deflationary conditions all through the third quarter. Annual inflation in the regions 18-member single-currency bloc, the Euro-zone, slipped from 0.4 percent in July to 0.3 percent in September, its lowest level since October 2009.

2014-11-25 00:00:00 Where's Waldo Global Treasury Bond Style by Team of GaveKal Capital

In case some of our readers aren't familiar with the popular picture book/game series entitled Where's Waldo, here's a quick run down of how it works. Basically, the object is to find an inconspicuously dressed Waldo among a throng of people in endless settings ranging from a sports stadium to the Egyptian pyramids and everything in between. Finding Waldo isn't as easy as it sounds as he tends to blend in quite well with his surroundings.

2014-11-25 00:00:00 In Energy Revolution, Bond Investors Must Keep Their Heads by Ivan Rudolph-Shabinsky, Petter Stensland of AllianceBernstein

A surge in capital expenditures and leverage in the energy industry could end badly for some companies and their creditors. While select opportunities exist, we think bond investors should think carefully before they blindly bankroll todays North American energy revolution.

2014-11-25 00:00:00 Jeremy Siegel - Fair Value for the S&P 500 is 2,300 by Robert Huebscher (Article)

During the post-financial crisis period, no person has been more accurate at forecasting U.S. equity market returns than Jeremy Siegel, the Russell E. Palmer Professor of Finance at the Wharton School. In this year's interview, he explains why the fair value of the S&P 500 is 11% higher than its valuation today.

2014-11-25 00:00:00 What is Artificial Pricing? by Bob Andres of Andres Capital Management

After the sharp plunge in U.S. 10-year Treasury yields on the morning of October 15, 2015, Bob sent us a few articles which blamed the quick v-shaped price movement on the new breed of algorithmic traders often referred to as High-Frequency Traders (HFTs). The robots were at it again. They were scraping headlines; focused on speed and execution; artificially pricing the Treasury market. A herd mentality amongst the machines was blamed to which Geoff replied, Why doesnt someone write an algorithm to arbitrage algorithmic trading, and what do these people mean by artificial pricing

2014-11-25 00:00:00 3 Things to Think About, Including the Disconnect between Data And Surveys by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Last Friday, I discussed the growing gap between economic reports particularly when they measure the same basic areas of the overall economy. For example, how can the Markit Manufacturing PMI Index be negative for three months while the ISM PMI has surged higher during the same period. Both cannot be right.

2014-11-25 00:00:00 Monetary Policy Outlook by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The minutes of the October 28-29 Federal Open Market Committee meeting suggested that there is still no consensus opinion among senior officials regarding when the Fed will begin raising short-term interest rates. There is strong agreement that monetary policy moves will be data-dependent.

2014-11-25 00:00:00 Thanksgiving Recipe by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Begin with a turkey chilling in a sink for a few hours. Mix in the Bank of Japans shock and awe announcement of a week ago. Add the U.S. unemployment claims that are at a 14-year low and stir well, include housing prices that are better by +6%, fold in the Leading Economic Indicators advancing by 7%, the ECB announcement by Draghi about a bazooka of Quantitative Easing (QE), and the Thanksgiving dinner result . . . new highs for equity prices!

2014-11-24 00:00:00 Finding Small-Cap Opportunities in Technology and Energy by (Article)

Despite the recent correction for small-caps, we have been finding compelling opportunities in those areas of the market not always discussed in the headlines. Portfolio Manager Jim Stoeffel sits down with Co-Chief Investment Officer Francis Gannon to talk about investment ideas that play on current trends but may be particularly interesting to value-oriented investors.

2014-11-24 00:00:00 On the Verge of Chaos by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

In this weeks letter were going to explore some of the ramifications of the currency war that Japan is precipitating. It is more than just Germany, Korea, and China having issues and needing to contemplate their own competitive devaluations. If the yen goes too far too fast, there will be geopolitical repercussions far beyond the obvious first-order connections.

2014-11-24 00:00:00 A Most Important Distinction by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Quantitative easing only works to the extent that default-free, low interest liquidity is viewed as an inferior holding. When investor psychology shifts toward increasing risk aversion which we can reasonably measure through the uniformity or dispersion of market internals, the variation of credit spreads between risky and safe debt, and investor sponsorship as reflected in price-volume behavior default-free, low interest liquidity is no longer considered inferior. Its actually desirable, so creating more of the stuff is not supportive to stock prices.

2014-11-24 00:00:00 Experts Weigh In On Solving Retirement by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

There were a couple of very interesting retirement articles posted last week that are worth pointing out. The first on was from the LA Times and focused on research and comments on the research from Alicia Munnell from the Boston College Center for Retirement Research which, cutting to the chase, concludes most people will not have the retirement they hope for in financial terms.

2014-11-24 00:00:00 Japan Dips into Recession as Japan, Inc. Profits Set New Highs by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

When investors buy Japanese equities, they dont really buy a slice of that economy; they buy shares in corporations that operate both in Japan and around the world. Japan, Inc. (i.e., Japanese corporations) is showing a profit picture that differs dramatically from the countrys economic growth rate.

2014-11-24 00:00:00 Supportive Outlook for Credit Conditions in Europe by John Pattullo (Article)

The market backdrop in Europe remains familiar; low economic growth, low inflation, relatively low defaults and volatility with the odd spike. This environment is attractive for corporate bond investing. Seasonals will soon start to kick in, helping credit markets to rally into Christmas and the early months of the new year. However, going forward bouts of volatility should be expected. This year alone there have been two volatility spikes; a 'valuation shakeout' in August and a 'position shakeout' in October. John Pattullo explains what lay behind each event.

2014-11-24 00:00:00 When 'Buy and Hold' Works, And When It Doesn't by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Imagine if you had invested in the S&P 500 in 1984 and held through the tech bubble and crash and then through the financial crisis and its recovery. How would you have done over those 30 years? As it turns out, very well. On a real basis (meaning, inflation-adjusted), your holdings would have appreciated by over 400%. A $100,000 investment in 1984 would now be worth more than $500,000.

2014-11-24 00:00:00 International Equity Commentary: October 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

International equity prices saw large price swings during the month of October as fears about slower global growth led to an appreciable decline during the first two weeks. Equity prices recovered subsequently as better than expected U.S. economic data helped allay global growth fears.

2014-11-24 00:00:00 Global Economic Overview: October 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Regional growth trends diverged further during the month of October as data from the U.S. and China were positive, while activity in the Euro-zone remained subdued. The U.S. economy expanded faster than expected during the third quarter, helped by higher government spending.

2014-11-24 00:00:00 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary: October 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices turned volatile during October as concerns about weak global growth and the impending close of bond purchases by the U.S. Federal Reserve unnerved investors. Still, some of the large emerging markets in Asia rebounded strongly during the second half of the month.

2014-11-24 00:00:00 Risk Parity: Comparing the Objections With Reality - Part 2 by Scott Wolle, Michael McHugh, David Gluch of Invesco Blog

As the use of risk parity has grown, so have criticisms against the approach. In this blog series, I look at objections Ive heard about risk parity, and explain why we believe they do not apply to our risk-parity approach - the Invesco Balanced-Risk Allocation strategy.

2014-11-24 00:00:00 Time to Look at Long Credit? by Mohit Mittal of PIMCO

?Tactical decisions regarding the scaling of an LDI allocation cannot be based solely on Treasury market dynamics. Given recent underperformance of long credit relative to intermediate credit, LDI investors should consider increasing long credit exposure. A structured approach that combines rigorous top-down macroeconomic-analysis to take views on duration and credit sectors with equally thorough bottom-up credit research to identify companies where fundamentals are improving may deliver alpha that can help clients reduce their funding mismatch over time.

2014-11-24 00:00:00 Equities Benefit as U.S. Growth Solidifies by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

The dominant news story last week was President Obamas announcement of new executive actions on immigration policy, but investors chose to look past any political risks and focused on the positives. Specifically, markets reacted well to signs that the European Central Bank would expand its monetary easing and to a surprise interest rate cut in China.

2014-11-24 00:00:00 You Thought QE Was Over? by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

A couple of weeks ago in the weekly newsletter I discussed the series of events behind the decline of the market in October and the subsequent surge.

2014-11-24 00:00:00 Let's Finally Fix The CBO by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

If they came back today, the Founders of the United States wouldnt recognize the government they created 225 years ago. They put safeguards in place separation of powers, a bicameral legislature and reserved powers for the states to prevent it from growing so large.

2014-11-24 00:00:00 The Clock is Ticking in Switzerland by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

For most of my career in international investing, I had always placed a great deal of faith in Switzerland's financial markets. In recent years, however, as the Swiss government has sought to hitch its wagon to the flailing euro currency and kowtow increasingly to U.S.-based financial requirements, this faith has been shaken.

2014-11-23 00:00:00 Chinas Monetary-Policy Surprise by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

In economic policy, as in most other areas, actions speak louder than words. By cutting its policy benchmark interest rates, the Peoples Bank of China has underscored the tactical focus of Chinese governments stabilization policy: it aims to set a floor of around 7% on GDP growth.

2014-11-23 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Are Investors Too Complacent? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

There is no investment edge from repeating what you read in the morning paper. Here was my list still worth watching: Geo-political that is not on the current radar a true black swan. An increase in the PCE index that was not accompanied by strong economic growth. Wage increases that were not accompanied by strong economic growth. Declining profit margins that were not accompanied by strong economic growth and increased revenues. An increase in the chances for a business cycle peak (the official definition of a recession). Remote at this point. An increase in financial stress t

2014-11-22 00:00:00 Solar Energy Powers Record Silver Demand by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Silver demand in the fabrication of solar panels is set to outpace photography, if it hasn?t already done so.

2014-11-22 00:00:00 A Surprising Volatility Hedge by Heidi Richardson of BlackRock

Halloween has come and gone, but the bout of volatility in October is still haunting many investors.

2014-11-22 00:00:00 Rolling AlongFor Now by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

We remain optimistic that US stocks will likely continue to move higher, but warn against getting overly complacent as a pullback is always a possibility. The US economy is improving, the Fed is erring on the side of dovishness, and both corporate and consumer confidence are growing. The fall in oil should be a net positive for the US and global economy, and we are in a traditionally seasonally positive time of the year for equities. Global economies remain weak, but we are seeing a glimmer of hope from stepped up responses from foreign central banks.

2014-11-22 00:00:00 2015 Is Shaping Up to Be a "Turkey" of a Year for the U.S. Economy and Stock Market by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian

As U.S. thin-air credit growth is on track to slow in 2015, thin-air credit growth in the eurozone and in Japan is likely to accelerate as the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan step up their QE programs. These foreign QE programs could indirectly stimulate U.S. exports. But the dominant factor affecting the U.S. economy in 2015 will be below-normal growth in U.S. thin-air credit. So, as you gather your family around you on Thursday, November 27, to give thanks for our bountiful 2014 economic harvest, bear in mind that next years harvest is likely to be a turkey

2014-11-22 00:00:00 A Tale of Two Worlds by Doug MacKay and Bill Hoover of Broadleaf Partners

We are in a Tale of Two Worlds. One worlds success is highly dependent on the outlook for oil and other commodities, while the others is far less exposed and perhaps even a beneficiary of a more bearish climate. Commodity dependent countries like Russia, Saudi Arabia, China and Australia are hurt by falling oil prices, weak global demand and new sources of supply, while the United States, with a far larger consumer driven economy, experiences an overall net benefit, as perhaps seen in earnings from the likes of Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Lowes in recent days.

2014-11-22 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Mixed fortunes drive the outlook for holiday spending; The Fed and Bank of England are working harder to achieve consensus; The dollar has a long way to strengthen before it impairs U.S. growth

2014-11-22 00:00:00 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Doug Short

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 133.2, up from the previous week's 132.0. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at -2.4, down from -2.9 the previous week. ECRI's latest public statements have focused on Japan. The website now features a November 17th response to the announcement of Japan's Fourth Recession Since 2008.

2014-11-21 00:00:00 Emerging Markets Opportunity Still Emerging by Burt White of LPL Financial

We believe emerging markets (EM) fundamental conditions are set for improvement in 2015, based on our outlooks for economic growth, earnings, and policy. Valuations are compelling and EM may be situated to recapture some of their relative losses from a technical perspective, particularly in Asian markets. However, somewhat mixed fundamental and technical pictures suggest a better opportunity may be forthcoming

2014-11-21 00:00:00 3 Things Worth Thinking About, Including the Message from Commodities by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Following the October swoon, stocks have vaulted to all-time highs. As I discussed previously in "Sentiment Is Off The Charts Bullish," there have only been few occasions where investors have felt so "giddy" about the financial markets. Such periods of exuberance have never ended well for investors as they were deluded by near-term "greed" which blinded them to the building risks.

2014-11-21 00:00:00 Gold Gets Physical by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

Its happening again the gold cost of carry as defined by the one month gold forward rate has swung sharply into negative territory. This means that an investor is able to earn a positive carry from owning gold. This is unusual for gold markets and a relatively rare occurrence the more common scenario is that because of the storage costs associated with gold, an investor would expect to have to pay a cost of carry to hold gold. Prior to the instance in July 2013, the last time that gold forward rates went negative was in November of 2008.

2014-11-21 00:00:00 If German Yields Break To New Lows, European Cyclicals Will Likely Follow by Team of GaveKal Capital

European cyclicals continue to be the weakest segment of developed global equity markets, and there doesn't appear to be much sign of that changing. We refer to the extremely strong relationship between German 10 year bond yields and the relative performance of European cyclical sectors.

2014-11-21 00:00:00 The Right Fit: Global Bonds and DC Plans by Alison Martier of AllianceBernstein

At a time when US defined contribution plans are seeking to control risk and enhance returns, hedged global bonds can improve outcomes for participants and sponsors. But how do plans incorporate global bonds in core menus and target-date funds?

2014-11-21 00:00:00 The Implications of Easing by Mark Mobius, Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments

Just as the US Federal Reserve (Fed) announced the conclusion of its long-running quantitative easing (QE) program, the Bank of Japan surprised markets by announcing the expansion of its own easing regime. Mark Mobius, Executive Chairman, Templeton Emerging Markets Group, and Michael Hasenstab, Chief Investment Officer, Global Bonds, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group, weigh in on the implications of these central bank actions, as well as current European Central Bank (ECB) policy, and what they could mean for investors on both the equity and fixed income side.

2014-11-21 00:00:00 Is Your Portfolio Truly Diversified? by Eric Stein of Eaton Vance

In this Insight, Eric Stein, co-director of Eaton Vance Global Income Group, discusses the potential benefits of absolute return strategies, what they invest in and the role they can play in investor portfolios.

2014-11-21 00:00:00 Asia's Deepening Capital Markets by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

The drivers of economic growth, the region's small- and medium-sized enterprises, are finally gaining access to capital through alternative funding sources outside of just banks. Retail investors are accessing increasingly diverse products in which to store their savings and build wealth. Institutions are demanding long-dated assets to match their liabilities? Are we finally seeing more stable local demand in Asia's local capital markets?

2014-11-21 00:00:00 Still A Winning Hand by Scott Mather, Mark Kiesel, Mihir Worah of PIMCO

The U.S. is finally enjoying a self-sustaining economic recovery, but slow global growth remains a concern and financial markets are bouncing up and down by the day. So what exactly does this U.S. recovery mean for investors?

2014-11-21 00:00:00 Falling Gas Prices Fuel Holiday Cheer by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Rising equities and falling prices at the pump will bring holiday cheer, but be aware of potential headwinds as we head into 2015.

2014-11-20 00:00:00 Buyer Beware: Nowhere To Hide by John Del Vecchio of AdvisorShares

The price/sales ratio is often used as a valuation metric in the place of earnings because of the common belief that revenues are harder to manipulate than earnings. In my book, Whats Behind the Numbers? (McGraw-Hill, 2012), I debunk that theory and outline many ways that management teams can aggressively manage the top-line. Nevertheless, the price/sales ratio is useful because there are fewer inputs, such as reserves, tax issues, share buybacks, and recurring charges, than earnings that can be used to manage the reported results.

2014-11-20 00:00:00 Outlook 2015: European Equities by Rory Bateman of Schroders Investment Management

Monetary policy remains loose in Europe but governments could do more to boost demand. Meanwhile, the weaker euro and stronger banking sector should help support European equities in the coming year.

2014-11-20 00:00:00 The Abenomics Death Spiral by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

As Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe has turned his country into a petri dish of Keynesian ideas, the trajectory of Japans economy has much to teach us about the wisdom of those policies. And although the warning sirens are blasting at the highest volumes imaginable, few economists can hear the alarm.

2014-11-20 00:00:00 Will $2.50 Gasoline Catalyze U.S. Consumer Stocks? by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

A great deal has been written about how lower gasoline prices could stimulate discretionary purchases in the United States. RBOB gasoline futures peaked on June 20, 2014 at $3.12 per gallon and closed on November the 14th at $2.04. Those in the bearish camp like Randall Forsyth at Barrons argue that lower oil and gas prices will negate and ruin the economic benefit of the oil boom.

2014-11-20 00:00:00 Hiring Good Managers Is Hard? Ha! Try Keeping Them by John West, Amie Ko of Research Affiliates

Because the likelihood of hiring equity managers who will outperform the market is remote, it is sensible for investors to monitor their actively managed funds. But placing underperforming managers "on watch" might not be the best policy.

2014-11-20 00:00:00 Japanese Recession and the Referendum on Abenomics by Team of Northern Trust

Early this week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that he will delay to April 2017 from October 2015 the next phase of his countrys consumption tax hike. In addition, he dissolved the lower house of Parliament and announced that elections will be held on December 14.

2014-11-20 00:00:00 Flows Potential: Fund Managers Remain Under-Weight Japan by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

The recent bout of aggressive monetary policy easing by the Bank of Japan (BOJ), combined with the direct purchases of equities by the Japanese Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), has brought on a new period of positive sentiment toward Japanese equities.

2014-11-20 00:00:00 The "Other" Problem for Bond Investors by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

For a while now, my firm and I have been devout in alerting our clients and blog subscribers to the issues that will confront them as investors if/when the more than three decades of generally falling U.S. interest rates reverses itself. But what if they dont rise much for a while, and instead stay around where they are?

2014-11-20 00:00:00 The U.S. Labor Market - Show Me the Money by Marie Schofield of Columbia Management

The U.S. labor market data has improved in the last six months now that many measures have reached cyclical highs. For the Federal Reserve though, this is not enough. They want to see this data feed through to a broader rise in incomes and wages, and ultimately spending. This will be necessary to bend the economic trajectory toward sustainably higher growth.

2014-11-20 00:00:00 Muni CEFs Featuring John Cole Scott by (Article)

After last year’s difficulties, closed-end funds with municipal bonds now appear relatively attractive for discount-seeking investors, says John Cole Scott of CEF Advisors.

2014-11-19 00:00:00 U.S. Congress: 10 Post-Election Moves to Watch by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Amid the big changes in the U.S. capital, here are the potential legislative actions that could influence financial markets.

2014-11-19 00:00:00 A Yield Play Without Any Yield? by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

On Friday a recently launched IPO fell about 15% on an earnings report that was poorly received by markets leaving the stock down 39% since its first day of trading in June. Naming names becomes difficult for compliance reasons but as a hint it is an infrastructure name and you would probably need to read the name two or three times to figure out the word.

2014-11-19 00:00:00 Global Economy Worsening, But America is on Top by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

With President Obama making controversial moves on several fronts this month, it is tempting to go all politics this week. The president is threatening to grant defacto amnesty to five or six million illegal aliens, via Executive Order, even though he knows this is unpopular among the American people. Its as if hes in full denial regarding the landslide midterm election results.

2014-11-19 00:00:00 Next 12 Month Sales Estimates For MSCI North America Lowest Since 2009 by Team of GaveKal Capital

Last week we looked at how sales growth estimates for the next fiscal year are now negative for five of the 10 MSCI World Index sectors. Today, we are again looking at estimates but this time from a forward 12-month perspective. Sales for the MSCI World Index are only expected to grow by 3% over the next 12 months according to estimates (blue line below). This is about 2% lower than expected in July. EPS for the MSCI World Index are expected to grow by 9% over the next 12 months which is about 1.5% lower than expected in July.

2014-11-19 00:00:00 Indonesian Optimism by Tek Khoan Ong of Franklin Templeton Investments

Southeast Asia represents one of the fastest-growing regions in the world today, and is one that we are excited about as investors. The Templeton Emerging Markets Group held our semiannual analyst conference in Jakarta in September, and one of the key reasons for choosing that location was to observe and discuss the changes and challenges on the ground with the new regime of President Joko Widodo. Ive invited my colleague Tek Khoan Ong to pen some thoughts on the outlook and investment opportunities in Indonesia today.

2014-11-19 00:00:00 Ben Bernanke: Too Big to Fail by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

I shared the stage at Schwabs IMPACT conference recently with former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke (a goose-bumpy experience). He was remarkably funny; but also firm in his views about the merits of the Feds extraordinary efforts to stem the tide of the financial crisis. Notably, he strongly pushed back on the notion that QE is an inflation accident waiting to happen.

2014-11-19 00:00:00 Credit Markets Signaling Near-Term Caution by Chris Puplava of PFS Group

Since the S&P 500 bottomed at 1820 on October 15th, it is up roughly 12.5% and has seen only 6 down days in the last month. According to trading desks, steady growth in the U.S. and China, better-than-feared European economic data, and accommodative global central banks are the main causes for driving the market higher. Other bullish supports are an increase in foreign buying of U.S. equities and corporate buybacks.

2014-11-19 00:00:00 Examining the Divergence between Equities and Credit by Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

Over the last year, U.S. equities rallied, and credit spread generally tightened. However, in recent months, this winning formula has started to diverge. Concerns about global growth, potential changes in monetary policy and uncertainty from geopolitical risk weighed on investor sentiment.

2014-11-19 00:00:00 A Mixed Bag, But Optimistic on the Consumer by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Inflation-adjusted consumer spending growth, 70% of Gross Domestic Product, rose at a lackluster 1.8% annual rate in the advance estimate for 3Q14. That figure is likely to be revised higher, but the pace is expected to remain disappointing relative to job growth (this year, we are on track to post the largest increase in jobs since 2005). The main restraint on spending appears to be the weak trend in average wages. Until the job market tightens a lot more, were unlikely to see a significant pickup in wage growth.

2014-11-19 00:00:00 Crude Oil? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Integrity, Websters dictionary defines it as, The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. Recently the voters of America sent the D.C. crowd a message that they want integrity back in government. Consequently, I viewed the midterm election as a turning point. And, a turning point approaches on December 21st of this year. Thats when the Winter Solstice arrives.

2014-11-19 00:00:00 Investment Implications for UK DC Schemes in Light of Tax and Regulatory Changes by William Allport of PIMCO

With greater flexibility and choices available to DC savers in the latter stages of their career, we believe DC schemes need to reconsider their traditional pre-retirement approach to providing low-risk, income-orientated and pre-retirement investment portfolios. The primary immediate challenge for UK DC schemes is navigating the need for capital stability versus a portfolio that can generate a sustainable income stream for DC savers in retirement.

2014-11-19 00:00:00 Understanding Investor Anxiety: A Perspective on Diversification by Doug Short (Article)

Diversification is a cornerstone of Modern Portfolio Theory and risk management. We spread our investments across a range of asset classes, rebalancing periodically, to ensure participation in the upside and reduce exposure to the downside. This is a time-honored strategy that works ... most of the time. But during the epic market downturn of the Financial Crisis, equity asset classes essentially marched in step to the same dismal drumbeat.

2014-11-18 00:00:00 Why the Way You Work Destroys Productivity by Dan Richards (Article)

Research from brain science has highlighted four ways that our work routines sabotage productivity and identified four ways to increase our efficiency and effectiveness.

2014-11-18 00:00:00 A Touching Way to Increase AUM by Daniel Solin (Article)

Nonverbal signals play a bigger role than you think in increasing your AUM. What you wear, your body language and "touching" have a meaningful impact on how prospects perceive you - within seconds of initial contact.

2014-11-18 00:00:00 A Process to Get Things Done! by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Our firm has many new projects underway. Our owner expects us to finish everything quickly while still managing client accounts. How do we communicate that we are working hard and take these projects seriously but that we can't do everything at once?

2014-11-18 00:00:00 Deflation Fears Are A Distraction by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

No matter what happens these days, deep fears, driven by breathless newscasters, take things to the extreme. As a result, slight gains in inflation create forecasts of hyper-inflation, while slowing or low inflation leads to fears of deflation.

2014-11-18 00:00:00 Creativity, Corporatism, and Crowds by Robert Shiller of Project Syndicate

Ultimately, economic progress depends not on saving and the accumulation of capital, but on creativity. That is why fear of secular stagnation in todays advanced economies has many wondering how creativity can be spurred.

2014-11-18 00:00:00 Has Europes Recovery Story Turned Back a Page? by Heather Arnold of Franklin Templeton Investments

The European economy at large had been moving forward in the wake of the 20072009 global financial crisis and subsequent sovereign debt crisis, spurred by European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghis pledge to do whatever it takes to save the euro in 2012 and the implementation of austerity measures in the eurozone periphery. In recent months, the recovery seemed to have stalled, with some countries, including the eurozones engine of growth- Germany - flirting with recession.

2014-11-18 00:00:00 Tinkering with the Core Bond Recipe by Alison Martier of AllianceBernstein

This is the time of year when, in almost every American household, the tinkerer in the family eyes the recipe box. Certain venerable traditions will make it to the Thanksgiving table intact. A cousin or an in-law is sure to bring an entirely new dish. And some traditional plates could use some freshening up. Thats the case with core fixed income.

2014-11-18 00:00:00 Is This Purgatory, Or Is It Hell? by Ben Inker of GMO

GMO is often accused of being a glass half empty investor, and I admit that in a year that has seen the S&P 500 rise 8.3%, MSCI All-Country World rise 3.7%, and the Barclays U.S. Aggregate rise 4.1% through the third quarter, the words Purgatory and Hell are unlikely to come to mind to most investors when opening their brokerage statements. It has been a dull year, perhaps, but certainly not a hellish one. So what is bringing Danteesque visions of damnation into our slightly warped minds?

2014-11-18 00:00:00 Bubble Watch Update by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

As you may remember, the January Rule serves as a kind of barometer for the behavior of the market in the coming year. Historically, when January was down, the rest of the year had over twice the declines than one would expect randomly, far more mediocre months, and a very sub average return. But it is far from perfect and it had the unusual problem this year of bumping into the positive signal from the Presidential third year, which started for us on October 1.

2014-11-18 00:00:00 The Beginning of the End of the Fossil Fuel Revolution (From Golden Goose to Cooked Goose) by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

The quality of modern life owes almost everything to the existence of fossil fuels, a massive store of dense energy that for 200 years had become steadily cheaper as a fraction of income. Under that stimulus, the global economy grew ever larger, more complex, more inter-related and, I believe, more fragile. Then around the year 2000 the costs of finding oil start to rise at over 10% a year, and with the global economy growing at only 4% oil starts to fall behind in affordability.

2014-11-18 00:00:00 Putins World: Why Russias Showdown with the West Will Worsen by Vitaliy Katsenelson of Investment Management Associates

I grew up hating America. I lived in the Soviet Union and was a child of the cold war. That hate went away in 1989, though, when the Berlin Wall fell and the cold war ended. By the time I left Russia in 1991, the year the Soviet Union collapsed, America was a country that Russians looked up to and wanted to emulate. Twenty-three years later, a new version of cold war is back, though we Americans haven't realized it yet

2014-11-18 00:00:00 How AQR's New Fund Adds Value - An Alternative Approach to Alternatives: Investing with Style by Larry Swedroe (Article)

The conventional justification for alternative investments has been their ability to effectively diversify against core equity and fixed-income allocations. But, in many cases, the empirical data doesn't support that view. A new fund provides a different way to obtain returns from sources that have low to negative correlation to stocks and bonds, as well as each other - an alternative to alternative investment vehicles.

2014-11-18 00:00:00 Why the Risk-Reduction Benefits of Bond Ladders Have Been Overstated by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Proponents of bond ladders argue that they will significantly improve the security of financial plans. Others contend that the risk reduction benefits are merely a mirage. I side with the latter view and will explain why.

2014-11-17 00:00:00 The Hypocritical Assertions of CFP Lobbyists CFP Lobbying Organization Calls Out RIAs by John H. Robinson (Article)

Recently released research from the Financial Planning Coalition is likely generating the desired attention its media-savvy crafters intended, but an informed reading of the materials reveals a campaign that is at odds with the ethical preaching of its three member organizations.

2014-11-17 00:00:00 Capital Allocation and Risk Management by (Article)

Companies with little or no debt on their balance sheets can focus on capital allocation decisions that help the business to grow and/or return free cash back to shareholders. Especially during uncertain periods, a low-debt balance sheet also helps us to assess risk, which is crucial in the small-cap universe, where companies are often fragile.

2014-11-17 00:00:00 Navigating the Credit Markets by Bob Andres of Andres Capital Management

Both the corporate and municipal bond markets continue to be shrouded in decades old business practices, provincial in nature and unfamiliar to many independent advisors and retail investors.

2014-11-17 00:00:00 Tracking the Market with Social Media by Blair Jensen of Trade Followers

The Trade Followers Twitter Momentum indicator for the S&P 500 Index (SPX) continued to drift this week as the market posted a small gain. It is attempting to turn down, but lack of confidence from the bears on Twitter is holding 7 day momentum up. The StockTwits indicator moved up into what is normally an overbought condition that has caused the market to pause in the past. Both streams are indicating that we should see some consolidation or sideways movement over the next week.

2014-11-17 00:00:00 When Will Value Come Back Into Favor? by Will Nasgovitz, Ted Baszler, Dave Fondrie of Heartland Advisors

An investment style may be inherently biased toward one part of a market cycle. Understanding that fact can help investors stay the course when faced with superficially inferior results during an unfavorable portion of the cycle.

2014-11-17 00:00:00 These Go to Eleven by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

We have entered an environment in which extraordinarily thin risk premiums have been joined in recent weeks by a subtle shift toward increasing risk aversion. Present conditions couple every essential component of historically extreme and vulnerable market environments. The market has been dodging boomerangs, not bullets, and they are likely to come back harder for it.

2014-11-17 00:00:00 On My Radar: Stocks Remain Richly Valued by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Shortly after each month end (after the most recent reported earnings numbers are posted), I like to run through a few of my favorite valuation charts to gauge level, asses risk and to get a sense for what the probable forward return may be. Fortunately, there is a great deal of historical data that can help us.

2014-11-17 00:00:00 Risk Parity: Comparing the Objections With Reality Part 1 by Scott Wolle, Michael McHugh, David Gluch of Invesco Blog

Over the last several years, risk parity has gained prominence as a general asset allocation approach as well as a specific strategy. Rising adoption rates of the approach have invited scrutiny from both practitioners and academics. We agree with some of the challenges identified by critics and have addressed them over time through our research agenda. Others, however, either do not apply to our version of risk parity or, at least to our knowledge, the approach in general.

2014-11-17 00:00:00 U.S. Economy: The Disconnect between Reality and Perception by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

American sentiment remains weak despite encouraging improvement in economic fundamentals. We think sluggish growth in wages plays a major part in keeping optimism at bay.

2014-11-17 00:00:00 Economic Data Continues to Impress, Driving Equities Higher by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Once again, a combination of solid economic data, decent earnings results and receding fears of global deflation pushed stock prices higher. The S&P 500 Index rose for a fourth consecutive week, gaining 0.4%. The telecommunications and technology sectors showed particular strength while utilities and energy lagged.

2014-11-17 00:00:00 Morningstar Responds to Our Analysis of its Ratings by Jon Hale (Article)

Morningstar's director of manager research responds to Robert Huebscher's article, A First Look at Morningstar's Analyst Ratings, which appeared last week.

2014-11-16 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

SPX, DJIA and RUT ended the week nearly unchanged from last week. NDX, which was unchanged last week, gained 1.5%. It's hard to say trend is not bullish: SPX, DJIA and NDX all made new highs intra-week; RUT briefly traded above its early September high before closing lower.

2014-11-16 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Time to Buy Commodities? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

It may not be the exact bottom for energy stocks, but they are among the cheapest on a P/E basis. There is a lot of bad future news in current commodity prices, so the risk/reward balance has shifted. Many seem to start with the commodity prices and infer future economic weakness. This method is unreliable with a lot of false signals. I prefer to begin with economic data and then find the most attractive stocks. I provide more detail in Circular Reasoning about Commodities, including why I favor ESV and FCX.

2014-11-15 00:00:00 Reality Check by Bob Rodriquez of FPA Funds

As many of you know, and for those of you who dont, Ive been a harsh critic of the fiscal and monetary policies that have been deployed these past several years. Since returning from my 2010 sabbatical in 2011, Ive been very cautious about capital deployment, as many of my successors will confirm. In light of the stock markets astounding rise since 2009 and five years of near zero short-term rates, Ive reassessed and challenged my basic fundamental understanding of how the financial markets operate.

2014-11-15 00:00:00 U.S. Economy: The Disconnect between Reality and Perception by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

American sentiment remains weak despite encouraging improvement in economic fundamentals. We think sluggish growth in wages plays a major part in keeping optimism at bay.

2014-11-15 00:00:00 Explore and Discover the Winners When Gas Prices Fall by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil for December delivery is currently priced at $75 per barrel, Brent for January delivery at $78 per barrel. Many investors, publications and news sources focus only on the drawbacks to falling oil and gas prices-don't get me wrong, there are many-but today we're going to give the spotlight to the biggest winners and beneficiaries.

2014-11-15 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Falling oil prices produce gain... and pain; Brazil's post-election challenges; The Fed may seek to overshoot its inflation target

2014-11-15 00:00:00 Volatility and Risk by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

Volatility has seemed to be the trend in markets over the past couple months. It was just a few weeks ago that we saw equity markets getting crushed, only to roar back and actually finish up for the month of October and back near all-time highs. It makes no sense to us that investors have no problem dealing with volatility in stocks, investing for the long run, as the stock market has historically gone up, but with the high yield asset class, we often see the risk on or risk off mentality, meaning investors think they should either be fully invested

2014-11-15 00:00:00 Where You Finish Could Depend on Where You Start by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

It helps to be aware of the many possible outcomes and adjust your strategy to sync with the current record price highs in this popular market benchmark. Doing so can help you be more successful, regardless of what the next five years may bring. In this sense, it is not where you finish, its where you start.

2014-11-15 00:00:00 Hard to Hit Two Targets at Once: The ECB ABS Asset Purchase Programme by Felix Blomenkamp of PIMCO

We believe that reviving the asset-backed securities (ABS) market is a better near-term goal, and the primary target of the European Central Banks (ECB) buying programme should be the new issuance market. Sizeable purchases by the ECB in the European ABS market carry the possible risks of crowding out established investors and suppressing interest in this asset class. By not crowding out existing investors while making the asset class more attractive to issuers and investors alike, the ECB has an opportunity to reach its ultimate goal to spur lending.

2014-11-14 00:00:00 High-Yield Bonds & Oil Prices by Team of LPL Financial

The decline in oil prices and its impact on the high-yield market has been cited as a concern for investors. This week we stay on the topic of high-yield bonds and take a closer look at the potential impact of oil prices on the high-yield bond market and whether recent concerns are justified.

2014-11-14 00:00:00 Investment Update October 2014 by James Klein of Meritage Portfolio Management

Coming off a strong second quarter, stocks turned in a mixed performance for the three months ending September 30. The fundamental backdrop for stocks remained relatively stable, with interest rates drifting slightly lower and generally supportive news flow around corporate earnings, economic growth, inflation and Fed policy. While this familiar combination of factors has been hospitable for stocks, this past quarter reflected a growing unease about the prospects of further upside.

2014-11-14 00:00:00 Contemplating Stocks without QE by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Some influences on the stock market are casual, subtle or open to interpretation, but the catalyst behind the current stock market rally really shouldn't be controversial. As far as stocks go, we have lived by QE. The only question now is, whether we will die without it.

2014-11-14 00:00:00 Global Investing: Are Foreign Stocks Attractive? by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

One of todays most glaring inter-market divergences is the relative performance of US versus non-US equities. For dollar-based investors, non-US stocks have underperformed US stocks by a whopping 40% over the past five years. But are foreign stocks attractive at current prices? And if so, how much of my portfolio should I allocate abroad?

2014-11-14 00:00:00 Mean-Reverting Profits and Other Things Worth Thinking About by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Earlier this week I discussed the growing detachment between the stock market and the "real" underlying economy. One of the areas I touched on was corporate earnings that have been elevated by an immense amount of accounting gimmackry, cost cutting, and productivity increases. The problem, as I stated, is that historically earnings have grown 6% peak-to-peak before a reversion. Notice, I said peak-to-peak. The issue is that the majority of analysts now estimate that earnings will rise unabated for the next five years.

2014-11-14 00:00:00 How the Long Bond Stole the Trophy by Gibson Smith of Janus Capital Group

The aggressive bet many investors made on long-end rates in 2014 was the equivalent of betting on a Hail Mary pass to win the game. It has been rewarding, but is it repeatable? Probably not. Janus Fixed Income CIO Gibson Smith reflects on why he believes consistency beats the long shot, in sports and in investing.

2014-11-14 00:00:00 Tired of Being Scared Yet? by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Bull markets are based on climbing the proverbial wall of worry, and this cycle has been no different. We have consistently argued over the past five years that the current bull market could be one of the biggest of our careers. Both investors and corporations continue to act conservatively because of the uncertainty caused by a litany of issues. Uncertainty is typically the engine of bull markets.

2014-11-14 00:00:00 Bad #Deflation by Keith McCullough of Hedgeye Risk Management

Obviously times, technologies, and mostly everything other than the Old Wall have changed. But the very basic difference between what Ill call good vs. bad #deflation has not.

2014-11-13 00:00:00 The October Employment Report by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The headline figures from the September jobs report were better than expected. However, the details were more consistent with moderate growth and a continued high degree of slack. Fed officials arent going to jump to any conclusions.

2014-11-13 00:00:00 Dash Dash...Dot Dot by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Dash, Dash ... Dot, Dot is all about Morse Code where the dash is three times the duration of the dot. According to Wikipedia, Each character (letter or numeral) is represented by a unique sequence of dots and dashes. Each dot or dash is followed by a short silence, equal to the dot duration.

2014-11-13 00:00:00 Municipal Market Perspectives by Team of SMC Fixed Income Management

The most surprising and impressive asset class performance has been generated by long-term municipal bonds. Most pundits were calling for negative market performance again this year following the sharp 2013 sell-off; no one we know of (ourselves included) foresaw the stellar returns achieved through the years first ten months.

2014-11-13 00:00:00 "Late Cycle" Markets by Jim Tillar, Steve Wenstrup of Tillar-Wenstrup

Late in the summer we sold several fully valued stock positions and kept the proceeds in cash. We had trouble finding attractively valued alternatives, were alarmed about the falling prices in everything except large capitalization US stocks, and worried about the high degree of optimism in the stock market.

2014-11-13 00:00:00 Portfolio Effects of Holding Gold in Yen Terms by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

Last week in Gold in Yen Calm in the Eye if the Storm we focused on the factors behind the significant outperformance of gold priced in yen versus gold priced in dollars, identifying the strength of the dollar as the primary factor pushing down the price of gold in dollars. While on the currency side, the strength of dollar resulted in significant weakness in the YEN/USD FX rate.

2014-11-13 00:00:00 The ETF Trader Interview Series: Ken Dolan, Jefferies & Company by David Abner of WisdomTree

In this edition, Dave Abner, Head of Capital Markets at WisdomTree, speaks with Ken Dolan, Senior Vice President on the ETF trading desk at Jefferies & Company, Inc. Ken joined the desk in 2011 after spending nine years at LaBranche & Co. as a Managing Director and Head of ETF Trading. In addition to his ETF trading experience, Ken has nine years of trading experience across equities, fixed income and emerging markets at Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and Lehman Brothers. He received a BS from Providence College and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

2014-11-12 00:00:00 Corporate Profit Margins versus Employee Compensation: A Rather Disturbing Comparison by Doug Short (Article)

Yesterday's collection of Advisor Perspectives articles particularly caught my attention: "Why Jeremy Grantham is Right about Corporate Profit Margins." The article includes a number of fascinating graphs, the first of which is a snapshot of US Corporate Margins since 1947 calculated by dividing Corporate Profits after Tax by Gross National Product.

The article inspired me to produce a chart of the Profit-to-GNP ratio, but with an added and rather sobering overlay: Employee Compensation (wages and salaries), which I've likewise divided by GNP.

2014-11-12 00:00:00 Oil Prices: Good News by the Barrel by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Ignore the pessimists. Declining petroleum prices likely will give an overall boost to the U.S. economy.

2014-11-12 00:00:00 Our Investment Beliefs by Chris Brightman, Jonathan Treussard, Jim Masturzo of Research Affiliates

The public launch of Research Affiliates interactive Asset Allocation website this month gives us an opportunity to describe the investment beliefs underlying our models, expected returns, and investment strategies. To be clear, our beliefs are constructs that help us make sense of the capital markets.

2014-11-12 00:00:00 Ramifications of Republican Romp by Robert McConnaughey of Columbia Management

In our recent midterm election preview, we said that Republicans were likely to gain control of the Senate in a close contest; we also laid out some possible implications of such a win. As it turns out, we did not give the Republican momentum enough credit, as election night turned out to be a clear victory for the GOP across the board.

2014-11-12 00:00:00 Four Questions on Investors Minds Today by Chris Engelman of Cedar Hill Associates

From the strengthening U.S. dollar to Bill Gross departure from Pimco, a few common questions have been coming up in Cedar Hills meetings with clients during the past few months. In this article, Managing Director Chris Engelman shares the firms thoughts on these timely issues.

2014-11-12 00:00:00 Retirement Saving Crisis is Worse Than We Thought by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Each year Wells Fargo & Company conducts a survey of middle-class Americans of various ages to see how they are faring with saving for retirement. The results of the 2014 survey were just made public late last month. I will summarize them for you below. Let me warn you in advance they are not pretty!

2014-11-12 00:00:00 When Oil Prices Dip, Unexpected Winners Emerge by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

A stronger dollar is one of the reasons that oil prices are low, which serves many energy-importing economies in Asia while weighing on large oil-producing nations.

2014-11-12 00:00:00 Is Levering Bonds a Losers Game Today? by Michael DePalma, Arnab Nilim of AllianceBernstein

Multi-asset strategies like risk parity owe much of their popularity to their ability to navigate the global financial crisis. Lately, critics have cited levered bond returns as the driverand as a looming headwind. We think theyre missing a key point.

2014-11-12 00:00:00 Octobers Market Ups and Downs Put Into Perspective by Ed Perks, Don Taylor, Peter Langerman of Franklin Templeton Investments

Global equity markets went on a rollercoaster ride in October, although given the cauldron of global issues that were brewing for some time and the months history of big moves, it shouldnt be all that shocking many investors got spooked. While much of the media focused on the short-term panic, long-term investors used such pullbacks to search for bargains.

2014-11-12 00:00:00 4Q Tax Selling Featuring Ken Fincher by (Article)

Seasonal “tax selling” may present opportunity to closed-end fund investors looking for potential bargains, says Ken Fincher of First Trust Advisors.

2014-11-11 00:00:00 A First Look at Morningstar's Analyst Ratings by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Overwhelming academic evidence documents the difficulty in distinguishing skill from luck among actively managed mutual funds. Despite this fact, many vendors have attempted to identify those that will beat their benchmarks and deliver excess risk-adjusted returns. Noteworthy among those vendors is Morningstar, which offers forward-looking "analyst ratings." We've evaluated the predictive ability of the first vintage of those ratings, which were published three years ago.

2014-11-11 00:00:00 Why Jeremy Grantham is Right about Corporate Profit Margins by Baijnath Ramraika, CFA® and Prashant Trivedi, CFA® (Article)

As U.S. corporate profit margins have made it to record highs, a debate has raged between those who place their hopes on a new paradigm of sustained high profits and those who believe in capitalism's efficiency and the tendency of margins to revert to the mean. We show that an often-cited explanation for the new paradigm - that the U.S. economy is more service-focused - lacks empirical support.

2014-11-11 00:00:00 How to Get Clients to Open Your Emails by Dan Richards (Article)

It's imperative that your clients and prospects open and read your e-mails. But with escalating volumes, people are drowning in email, leading to steep declines in open rates and readerships. Here's the latest research on how to get your email read.

2014-11-11 00:00:00 Use Oxytocin to Gather More AUM by Daniel Solin (Article)

While competency is critical to your success, understanding how prospects make decisions is more important. Understanding the role of a chemical compound produced by your brain - oxytocin - will give you a tool to emotionally connect with prospects.

2014-11-11 00:00:00 Nine Tips for Great Performance Reviews by Andrea Schlapia (Article)

Here are nine actions managers can take to encourage and motivate employees during performance reviews.

2014-11-11 00:00:00 Qualifying Made Easier by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I have so many leads that sometimes I can't manage them all in one day. My biggest problem is that when I do follow up and generate interest, only a small portion open an account. Where am I making a mistake?

2014-11-11 00:00:00 The Last Argument of Central Banks by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

In this weeks letter I have for you a brief essay on the topic of deflation. Depending on your view, you might find some of my thoughts controversial, but I will try to make my case clear, at least. Please note this is the 30,000-foot view and is nowhere close to definitive.

2014-11-11 00:00:00 Early Freeze Could Derail Economic Growth Forecasts by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

This past August I discussed the potential for the market to rise to 2100 along with "5-risks" to that forecast. One of those risks related to the "Polar Vortex" that shut down economic activity across much of the northern part of the economy.

2014-11-11 00:00:00 One year in: Im doubling down on investment discipline by Jeff Hussey of Russell Investments

Since assuming the role of Global CIO here at Russell Investments one year ago, I have been met by one inescapable truth again and again: Discipline matters!

2014-11-11 00:00:00 Capital Raising in the MLP Sector Remains Active by David Chiaro of Eagle Global Advisors

We continue to see evidence that underpins our long term positive outlook on MLPs and midstream energy infrastructure companies. The need for new midstream infrastructure remains significant and announcements of large projects continue to be made. New export markets for U.S. hydrocarbons continue to develop and offer new profit opportunities for MLPs.

2014-11-11 00:00:00 The Continuation of QE by Bob Andres of Andres Capital Management

October 30, 2014 ended the third and final round of Quantitative Easing. Right? The announcement was couched in a hyperlinked document at the end of the FOMC statement. Those who made it through the statement and still felt like reading, realized that the end of QE was not as finalized as one may have expected.

2014-11-11 00:00:00 The Return of the Dollar by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

The recent dollar rally, the result of genuine economic progress and divergent policy developments, could contribute to the rebalancing that has long eluded the global economy. But that outcome is far from guaranteed.

2014-11-11 00:00:00 Switzerland: Vote Yes on Gold Initiative by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

On November 30th, the Swiss are voting whether to amend their countrys constitution on an initiative entitled Save our Swiss Gold. The Swiss gold initiative appears widely misunderstood, both inside and outside of Switzerland. We discuss implications for gold, the Swiss franc and Switzerland as a whole.

2014-11-11 00:00:00 Factors: An Essential Part of Any Nutritious Portfolio by Adam Butler, Mike Philbrick, Rodrigo Gordillo of Dundee Goodman Private Wealth

We recently posted a piece on factor investing so we were thrilled to have an opportunity to see Dr. Andrew Ang and Don Raymond discuss factor investing at a seminar in Toronto last week.

2014-11-11 00:00:00 The Opportunity in Japan is Not Over by Christopher Gannatti, of WisdomTree

We believe that the ultimate success of Abenomics will be judged over a period of multiple years, and while certain actionsespecially those from the Bank of Japanhave been significant, others, like structural third arrow reforms, will take time.

2014-11-11 00:00:00 The 5 Es for Equity Investors by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

As we move closer to the end of 2014, there are some key considerations that will wield significant influence over the stock market, writes Kristina Hooper.

2014-11-10 00:00:00 Maintaining a Consistent Portfolio Approach by (Article)

Maintaining a consistent portfolio approach—even during times when our style of investing may fall out of favor with the market—is a critical element of the Royce philosophy.

2014-11-10 00:00:00 Countering Three Investor Biases by Shundrawn Thomas, Head of Funds and Managed Accounts, Northern Trust Asset Management (Article)

Shundrawn Thomas discusses strategies to counter common investor biases around concentration of risk, compensation for risk, and explicit versus implicit costs.

2014-11-10 00:00:00 Buyer Beware: Jobs? WHAT Jobs?! by John Del Vecchio of AdvisorShares

While many market observers debate whether quantitative easing (QE) worked the general consensus appears to be that the lower unemployment rate is a positive result of the Federal Reserves policies. Recently the unemployment rate hit 5.9%, the lowest since 2008. However, in our view, that is highly misleading with respect to the effectiveness of QE. The chart below shows the labor force participation rate as well as the percentage of people employed relative to the population.

2014-11-10 00:00:00 Dollar, China and Brazil In The Short Or Medium Term by Sebastiao Buck Tocalino of SBTCapital Clube de Investimento

The Dollar Index is approaching two important and converging barriers for its recent uptrend. The Shanghai Composite Index is also bordering the top of its channel. Brazil lost a good chance at recent elections to recycle its unsuccessful policies and government. But technical analysis may show some relief for optimism in Brazilian stocks and the EWZ ETF.

2014-11-10 00:00:00 Eurozone 2015 Economic & Capital Market Outlook by Gregory Hahn, Marco Carvajal of Winthrop Capital Management

Five years after the financial crisis, the Eurozone is facing major challenges in restoring economic growth. The Eurozone is faced with numerous structural problems, high unemployment, excess capacity, stagnant wages, slow banking reform, declining manufacturing, low level of capital investment and the uncertainty of Russian foreign policy. The result is that member countries are struggling to comply with the original terms of the European Union and running budget deficits in order to stimulate growth within their countries.

2014-11-10 00:00:00 Ebola and Inequality by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

The Ebola crisis reminds us, once again, of the downside of globalization. And, though governments may not do a perfect job in addressing such crises, one of the reasons that they have not done as well as we would hope is that we have underfunded the relevant agencies at the national and global level.

2014-11-10 00:00:00 Change Is In The Air by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

While many flay away, trying to figure out the meaning of last weeks GOP wave election, it seems simple. The government has tried for more than five years to turn a Plow Horse economy into a Race Horse, and failed. Yes, the economy is growing and creating jobs, but living standards are growing slowly, or not at all, for many.

2014-11-10 00:00:00 Tracking the Market with Social Media by Blair Jensen of Trade Followers

The Trade Followers Momentum indicator for the S&P 500 Index (SPX) has been drifting sideways over the past few weeks. This drift comes near levels that have often meant some consolidation in price is warranted. However, traders on Twitter are now tweeting higher price targets. This gives the market a chance to drift to the 2040 or 2050 area while 7 day Twitter and StockTwits mom