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

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2016-02-11 00:00:00 New Jobless Claims: Down 16K, Better Than Forecast by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Today's seasonally adjusted 269K new claims, down 16K from last week's number, was better than the forecast of 281K. The four-week moving average is at 281,250, down from last week's unrevised 284,750.

2016-02-11 00:00:00 S&P 500 Snapshot: Down 1.23% for the Day, But Well Off the Intraday Low by Doug Short (Article)

Day two of Fed Chair Yellen's congressional testimony was the market's main focus today, along with some crazy volatility in oil. The S&P 500 plunged at the open and sank further during Yellen's testimony. But rumors of a potential OPEC production cut shifted the focus and prompted an afternoon rally. The intraday low of -2.11%, ninety minutes before the close, was trimmed to a less wicked -1.23%. The index is now down 10.51% year-to-date and 14.16% off its record close in May of last year ... 38 weeks ago.

2016-02-11 00:00:00 Technically Speaking: Psychology Of Loss by Lance Roberts of Real Investment Advice

In this past weekend’s newsletter, I discussed the formation of a very important “head and shoulders” topping pattern in the market. I know…I know. As soon as I wrote that I could almost hear the cries of the “perma-bull” crowd exclaiming “how many times have we heard that before.” They would be right. The problem with the majority of technical analysis, in my opinion, is that time frames are too short for most investors. When looking at technical price patterns using daily data, there have been numerous occasions where analysts have spotted “Head and Shoulder” patterns,

2016-02-11 00:00:00 Through the Looking Glass on Rates by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

On January 29th, Japan’s central bank governor, Haruhiko Kuroda, announced that the Bank of Japan would introduce a Negative Interest Rate Policy, or NIRP, on bank reserve deposits held in excess of the minimum requisite. The European Central Bank, and central banks in Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden have already partially blazed this mysterious trail. The banks have done so in order to weaken their respective currencies and to light a fire under inflation.

2016-02-11 00:00:00 China Rings in the New Lunar Year with Disconcerting Headline Numbers and Underlying Strengths by Charles Roth of Thornburg Investment Management

Six hundred million alcohol consumers celebrate the year of the Fire Monkey, and baijiu, China's $100 billion spirits industry, will benefit. As the country's "old economy" industries lose steam, its services sector is going gangbusters. Consumption now constitutes two-thirds of China's GDP.

2016-02-11 00:00:00 Putin is No Ally Against ISIS by George Soros of Project Syndicate

The leaders of the US and the EU are making a grievous error in thinking that President Vladimir Putin’s Russia is a potential ally in the fight against the Islamic State. Putin’s aim is to foster the hollowing out – and eventual disintegration – of the EU, and he may succeed if the West continues to ignore reality.

2016-02-11 00:00:00 2016 Economic & Capital Market Outlook by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

This year will likely be a challenging one for both the capital markets and investors. Investors are facing one of the worst stock markets in sixty years as stock prices plunge on news of slowing growth in China and plunging oil prices. We believe the risks in the economy are skewed to the downside and expect to see growing problems in manufacturing and the consumer sector. However, at the same time, this will prove to be a year of opportunity as stock prices of quality companies decline to levels that are now attractive and investors are adequately compensated for taking risk.

2016-02-11 00:00:00 Focus on Economic Fundamentals by Carl Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

Adverse financial market developments have led to an overflow of bearish analyses. It is certainly dangerous to ignore market signals, but they aren’t always conclusive. There are some positive fundamentals in place that provide some reassurance around the outlook.

2016-02-11 00:00:00 Watch Out for Falling Angels by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

The potential downgrade of over $100 billion worth of investment-grade rated bonds into the high-yield market looms as the next challenge for corporate bonds. The decline in oil and commodity prices may lead to $120–150 billion worth of bonds leaving the investment-grade corporate bond market and entering the high-yield bond market.

2016-02-11 00:00:00 3 Reasons Why this Gold Rally Is the Real Deal by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Gold prices peaked at $1,900 per ounce in September 2011. It was the end of a spectacular, decade-long bull market, during which the precious metal’s value increased a phenomenal 645 percent.

2016-02-11 00:00:00 The Narrowness of this Market in Two Charts (reprise) by Bryce Coward, of GaveKal Capital

Back on January 25th we highlighted just how narrow this market has become, with fully 83% of stocks in our global index having posted negative returns since the May 21st, 2015 high in the global equity market.

2016-02-11 00:00:00 Think Before You Sell by Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

If you’re a long-term investor, you should be confident in two key beliefs before you act on your impulse to get out of today’s rocky stock market.

2016-02-11 00:00:00 The Meaning of Risk? It Depends on Whom You Ask by Erik Ristuben of Russell Investments

Chief Investment Strategist Erik Ristuben looks at the meaning of risk through the eyes of investors.

2016-02-10 00:00:00 Weekly Heating Oil Price Update: Now at $2.09 per Gallon by Jill Mislinski (Article)

With winter in full swing, we've been thinking about the cold weather and thus our heating bill. Commodities saw their prices drop in 2015 with a 41% decline in energy. With the warmer weather this holiday season and warmer forecasts thanks to El Niño, heating oil prices will likely continue to drop. We're already seeing lower prices than at this time last year.

2016-02-10 00:00:00 What Would It Take for the Prime U.S. Workforce to Fully Recover? by Jill Mislinski (Article)

We've updated our workforce analysis to include last week's Employment Report for January. The unemployment rate ticked down to 4.9% and the number of new nonfarm jobs (a relatively volatile number subject to extensive revisions) dropped to 151K with December's number revised downward by 30K.

2016-02-10 00:00:00 Russia's Struggles by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Over the past year, Russia has faced a growing number of challenges that have the potential to weaken President Putin’s hold on the reins of power. In this report, we will discuss recent trends in the country, including the economic problems caused by falling oil prices and the military operations occurring in Ukraine and Syria. We will examine the Putin government’s responses to these issues. As always, we will conclude with market ramifications.

2016-02-10 00:00:00 Bear Market Ahead? by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

As I’ve said many times lately, I do not believe we’re heading for a repeat of 2008–2009. A number of factors—a stronger U.S. economy, a less leveraged financial system and consumer, and an absence of imbalances like we saw with housing—suggest that we’re not in for a 2008-style collapse. Although the economy may be entering a slowdown, growth is likely to continue.

2016-02-10 00:00:00 Fear Trade: Metals Up, Stocks and Jobs Down. by Clint Siegner of Money Metals Exchange

Precious metals banked another solid week of gains as investors looked for alternatives to the stock market and U.S. dollar. Both gold and silver pushed through important technical resistance levels. Metals bulls hope to see markets enter a virtuous cycle; improving charts followed by more speculative long interest leading to improved charts.

2016-02-10 00:00:00 The Big Long by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

I recently saw the movie, The Big Short. While the movie entertained as much as the book, the movie’s release coupled with the rough start to the year probably left a lot of investors feeling anxious. As long-duration common stock owners, we at Smead Capital Management believe a review of the circumstances preceding the financial meltdown of 2007-2009 and a comparison to where we are now in the U.S. economy would be helpful. Since residential real estate was the centerpiece of the movie, and traditionally is a centerpiece of our economy, we will dub our current view as "The Big Long."

2016-02-10 00:00:00 Is the Year of the Monkey a Good Sign for Bulls? by John Canally of LPL Financial

Yesterday was the Chinese New Year, and with it comes the year of the Monkey. There are 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, as it is based on a 12-year cycle. Take note that the Chinese New Year starts anywhere from mid-January to mid-February and is based on the lunar calendar.

2016-02-10 00:00:00 Investing in a 3-D World by Bill Nasgovitz of Heartland Advisors

Demographics, debt, and the fear of deflation are posing challenges for investors, but we believe some areas of the market are better insulated from the headwinds than others. Please do not hesitate to ask if you have questions or would like any additional details.

2016-02-10 00:00:00 Exploding Healthcare Costs Are Out Of Control by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today I want to address the soaring costs of healthcare, which are rising far more than the Obama administration and the Department of Health and Human Services will admit. While I personally don’t consider healthcare costs to be a political issue, many argue that it is indeed a political issue with regard to “Obamacare.”

2016-02-10 00:00:00 A Great Defense by Brian Andrew of Johnson Bank

For those of you who watched the Super Bowl Sunday night, we were all reminded that while a great defense can keep you in the game, you need some offense to win. Both the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos played great defense. At times, it looked like no one was going to be able to score. In fact, the Broncos’ only touchdown until the fourth quarter, came from the defense! The stock market’s gyrations last week remind us that knowing how to play defense in an investment portfolio is equally as important.

2016-02-10 00:00:00 Clueless Fed?! by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

"The Fed doesn't have a clue!" - I allege that not only because the Fed appears to admit as much (more on that in a bit), but also because my own analysis leads to no other conclusion. With Fed communication in what we believe is disarray, we expect the market to continue to cascade lower - think what happened in 2000. What are investors to do, and when will we reach bottom?

2016-02-10 00:00:00 70 Is the New 65: Demographics Still Support 'Lower Rates for Longer' by Matthew Tracey, Joachim Fels of PIMCO

The so-called demographic cliff remains at least a decade away; meanwhile, global demographics should continue fueling the savings glut.

2016-02-10 00:00:00 If Retirement Time Is on Your Side, Use It Wisely! by Richard Davies of AllianceBernstein

Younger American workers are eager and engaged. According to our latest DC participant survey, they’re enthusiastic and confident about saving for retirement. But they have very low scores on just how to do it.

2016-02-10 00:00:00 Demographic Trends for the 50-and-Older Work Force by Jill Mislinski (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 about one in five of the 70-74 cohort are in the labor force.

2016-02-09 00:00:00 Job Openings & Labor Turnover: Clues to the Business Cycle by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The latest JOLTS report (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary), data through December, 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 time frame 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.

2016-02-09 00:00:00 NFIB: Small Business Survey "Business Owners Wary of Future Conditions" by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The latest issue of the NFIB Small Business Economic Trends is out today. The headline number for January came in at 93.9, down 1.3 from the previous month's 95.2. The index is at the 20th percentile in this series. Today's number came in below the forecast of a decrease to 94.6.

2016-02-09 00:00:00 Multiple Jobholders: Two Decades of Trends as of December by Jill Mislinski (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 we've illustrated in a pie chart.

2016-02-09 00:00:00 Top Silver Mining CEO: Don't Laugh, We Could See $100+ Silver by Mike Gleason of Money Metals Exchange

Exclusive Interview with First Majestic CEO Keith Neumeyer on Metals, Mining, and Manipulation

2016-02-09 00:00:00 A View From the Hill by Team of Cedar Hill Associates

Investors cautious after rocky 2015, but recession appears remote. Investors stomached a white-knuckle ride through much of 2015 as the financial markets searched for direction. Although global equity indices bounced off their September lows during the fourth quarter, returns for the full year proved disappointing.

2016-02-09 00:00:00 How to Show Valentine's Day LOVE with Precious Metals by Chuck Self of iSectors

After a rough start in the stock market this year, it is a relief that Valentine’s Day is around the corner. Market participants, including financial advisors’ clients, can use a little love about now. One of the most tangible ways that advisors can show affection to their clients at this time is to add precious metals exposure to their portfolios.

2016-02-09 00:00:00 The 3 Keys to Active Investing by Neil Dwane of Allianz Global Investors

Neil Dwane, Global Strategist for Allianz Global Investors, says investors must navigate increasingly volatile markets by being more ACTive: agile, confident and thorough. Explore our global outlook and its investment implications in his summary of our latest Investment Forum.

2016-02-09 00:00:00 Banks Approaching Relative Performance Lows by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

The KBW Bank Index, which consists of 24 banks, is approaching 2008 and 2011 lows relative to the S&P 500. In the chart below, we plot the KBW Index against the S&P 500 going back to September 1992 which is when the KBW Bank Index began. We have indexed the chart at 100 starting in September 1992. Banks have underperformed the S&P 500 by nearly 37% since 1992 and only twice, in 2008 and 2011, have banks underperformed more. In 2008, banks had underperformed by nearly 48% and in 2011 banks had underperformed by about 43%.

2016-02-09 00:00:00 Spotlight on Yellen by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Fed Chair Janet Yellen will present her semi-annual monetary policy testimony to the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday. She is expected to present a moderately upbeat economic outlook, but she should also note the abundance of downside risks to that outlook. This is an election year, so she is unlikely to receive a warm welcome. If fact, many are likely to criticize the Fed for raising rates in December. She will put up a credible defense, but that’s unlikely to appease the markets.

2016-02-09 00:00:00 Midwinter Forecast: More Volatility Ahead by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses why the elements are in place for more volatility, and ways to help provide some insulation for your portfolio.

2016-02-09 00:00:00 Q&A with Liz Ann Sonders: What’s Behind the Recent Market Volatility? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Global markets have been unusually volatile so far this year, including during the past few trading sessions. In light of the market's downward moves, we sat down with Liz Ann Sonders, Chief Investment Strategist for Charles Schwab & Co., to get her take on the recent market action and economic news.

2016-02-09 00:00:00 Stocks You Shouldn't Own by Travis Fairchild, Chris Meredith, Patrick O'Shaughnessy, Ehren Stanhope of O'Shaughnessy Asset Management

Active management has two potential advantages versus an index. The first advantage is the one that most people think of: active stock selection. But this paper instead focuses on the second potential advantage: active stock elimination, or identifying stocks not to own in the portfolio. While owning strong performers is the most obvious source of excess returns versus a benchmark, the stocks that are in an index but not in an active portfolio often explain as much of the active portfolio’s relative returns.

2016-02-09 00:00:00 Recruiter Spotlight by Various (Article)

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

2016-02-09 00:00:00 The Latest Look at Long-Term Trends in Employment by Age Group by Jill Mislinski (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.

2016-02-08 00:00:00 Weekly Gasoline Price Update: Down Six Cents by Jill Mislinski (Article)

It's time again for our weekly gasoline update based on data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The price of Regular and Premium are down six cents each from last week. According to, Hawaii has the highest average price for Regular at $2.64 and Ventura,CA is averaging $2.65. Oklahoma has the cheapest at $1.37.

2016-02-08 00:00:00 Volatility in Europe May Reveal New Investment Opportunities in 2016 by Richard Nield of Invesco Blog

The end of 2015 didn’t bring any dramatic changes to European fundamentals. However, there have been some subtle shifts that the Invesco International and Global Growth team is keeping an eye on in 2016. While our strategy did not initiate any new positions in Europe during the fourth quarter, recent volatility has brought some of our “watch list” names closer to the point where we would add them to the portfolio.

2016-02-08 00:00:00 Recession Probability Models - February 2016 by Ted Kavadas of RevSD

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.

2016-02-08 00:00:00 Learning from Taylor by Brian Andrew of Johnson Bank

While attending one of my son’s downhill ski races over the weekend, I found myself riding the chairlift back to the top of the hill listening to the fifth Taylor Swift song in a row, blaring from the loud speakers. I thought, isn’t it possible that we’ve had too much of Taylor Swift? I mean she is everywhere on country and pop radio and has been for many years. And that had me thinking about last week’s news from central bankers, here in the U.S. and abroad.

2016-02-08 00:00:00 Exploring Culture and Companies in Changsha, China by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

It's clear to me that despite the tremendous amount of infrastructure building that has already taken place in China, there is a need for more.

2016-02-08 00:00:00 What Investing Factors Have Worked the Best for Equities Over the Last Year? by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

Factor investing is a well known and utilized means that investors use to allocate capital in hopes of outperforming the market over long stretches. It’s also known that no factor works all the time, and factors go into and out of favor with what can be a menacing frequency. With that said, what factors have worked the best for equity investors over the last year as the market has meandered around all-time highs and settled to multi-years all in twelve short months?

2016-02-08 00:00:00 Mitigating the Financial and Emotional Impact of Market Volatility by Adam Scully-Power of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

The era of low volatility may be over, but the need to pursue long-term financial goals is not. Investors should consider both the financial and emotional impact of market volatility. Positive returns are achievable in a volatile environment with the appropriate investment strategy.

2016-02-08 00:00:00 Will Oil Prices and Equities Stay Hitched? by James Tierney, Jr. of AllianceBernstein

Equity markets and oil prices are behaving lately as if they’re glued together. Our analysis suggests that the correlation is unjustified and investors should start thinking about what might happen when they become unstuck.

2016-02-08 00:00:00 On My Radar: QE Has Not Worked – Period! by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

U.S. recession signals are intensifying. The QE boost that hasn’t reached Main Street will be taken away from Wall Street in the next recession. I wrote a piece this week for Forbes entitled, U.S. Recession Signals Intensify . The hard reality is we are due (some say overdue) for a recession and evidence suggests the next one is heading our way. Equity market declines are at their worst during recession as you’ll see in the following chart. View the next chart with a stiff drink in hand. To this, as advisors, we must defend!

2016-02-08 00:00:00 The Most Dangerous Financial Products by Michael Edesess (Article)

What would we think of doctors who deliberately hurt patients by prescribing dangerous and unhealthful products in order to make more money? Fortunately, the medical profession is set up in such a way that such things virtually never happen. This is not so in the financial services industry, where hazardous products are routinely sold to unsuspecting consumers.

2016-02-08 00:00:00 Oil Prices & MLPs by (Article)

The oil price crash has affected energy-related Master Limited Partnerships, but David Grumhaus, Jr., of Duff & Phelps, says it’s time for advisors to “take another look” at the MLP sector. Low valuations may present a buying opportunity.

2016-02-08 00:00:00 Sustainable and Responsible Investing: Is There a Price to Pay? by Larry Swedroe (Article)

Consumers can use their market power to demonstrate their aversion to certain business activities by choosing not to purchase goods or use services from companies that, in their minds, are selling immoral products. Similarly, investors can decide not to invest in such companies. But do those investors sacrifice returns relative to a broad-based index fund?

2016-02-08 00:00:00 Are Women Advisors the Future of Financial Advice? by Dan Richards (Article)

Women advisors represent the future of financial advice. Some of the differences from men that held them back in the past will work to their advantage going forward.

2016-02-08 00:00:00 The Question You Should Ask Every Prospect by Dan Solin (Article)

Our social interactions – particularly in large groups – are invariably geared to extroverts, who are naturally comfortable in settings designed to interact with strangers. When you and a prospect first meet, you will be strangers. There is a question you can ask that will maximize your chances of establishing a relationship.

2016-02-08 00:00:00 Six Keys to Confident Presenting by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

The person who can best communicate thoughts and feelings to an audience gets heard. For financial advisors, effective communication with prospects, clients, centers of influence and peers is critical. I have developed the Six Keys to Confident Presenting as a guideline for the best way to deliver a message to any audience.

2016-02-08 00:00:00 Suffering Stock Market Stress? by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

It would be an understatement to call the recent stock market activity turbulent. High stock price volatility makes investors anxious and some people even become downright frightened. These emotional responses are often exaggerated for people in or near retirement. Therefore, I contend that all investors need to find ways to keep their emotions in check in order to avoid panicking, which typically leads to the making of a devastating financial mistake.

2016-02-08 00:00:00 Episodic Volatility by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

“The year ahead will be one of ‘episodic volatility’ – rather than wildly veering highs and lows – an environment that will create opportunities for astute investors.” . . . Simon Ho, Triple 3 Partners

2016-02-08 00:00:00 “Moneyball” Investing: Factors without Fama or French by Marc Gerstein (Article)

Eugene Fama and Kenneth French deserve enormous respect for the work they did in legitimizing an equity investors’ consideration of risk factors beyond the stock market itself and in identifying those factors. But to use factors as effectively as we can, we’ll have to use a framework that meets our client-centered concerns, which are not necessarily the same as those of academicians.

2016-02-08 00:00:00 Net Promoters: The Best Marketing Money Can’t Buy by Jeffrey Briskin (Article)

Advisors will become net promoters for fund companies they believe offer superior characteristics or benefits in addition to good performance. These advisors will highly recommend these firms’ products to their clients and to their peers. This word-of-mouth advocacy is the most effective marketing tool that money can’t buy.

2016-02-08 00:00:00 Location, Location, Location by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

When the global economy was binging on credit, it was fine to invest in marginal locations’ equity markets. However, as the global economy slowed, those fringe markets have disappointed, and “location, location, location” has proved as important to equity performance as it is in real estate.

2016-02-08 00:00:00 Rally Fails, Alerts Rise by Lance Roberts of Real Investment Advice

Last week, I discussed the boost the market received as the BOJ made an unexpected move into negative interest rate territory combined with end of the month buying by portfolio managers.

2016-02-08 00:00:00 When Stocks Crash and Easy Money Doesn't Help by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Historically, increases in the Fed’s balance sheet have only been positively associated with increases in the S&P 500, on average, when the S&P 500 was already in an uptrend and investors were already inclined to speculate.

2016-02-08 00:00:00 What’s Holding Back the World Economy? by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

The dominant policies pursued by developed countries during the post-crisis period – fiscal retrenchment and quantitative easing – have offered little support for household consumption, investment, and growth. On the contrary, they have tended to make matters worse.

2016-02-08 00:00:00 Crude Oil- Lower for Longer? by Joseph Hickey of Cleary Gull

The High Yield market is declining as the magnitude of the capital loss is amplified by the decline in energy prices. Most of the energy debt exposure is held by High Yield mutual funds and Hedge funds, not the banks. This is an important distinction. The High Yield market is designed to withstand a certain level of defaults and restructurings. Potential losses, while painful, should not cause the systemic collapse of the banking system and its ability to extend credit to the U.S economy.

2016-02-08 00:00:00 Equities Remain Under Pressure as Investors Focus on the Negatives by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equity prices fell again last week as investors followed the “de-risking” theme that has dominated most of 2016. The S&P 500 Index dropped 3.0% for the week. Oil prices staged a slight rebound last week, as expectations rose for coordinated production cuts from OPEC countries and Russia. The dollar experienced a sell-off last week as well, which provided some support for the hard-hit commodity-related equity sectors.

2016-02-08 00:00:00 Treasuries. The Game In Town by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

What a ride. Stocks were mostly unchanged on the week, as of Thursday afternoon. We have seen a range in the last few weeks of around +/-4%. The action continues to be in bonds where we’ll risk showing the same chart two weeks in a row (updated of course).

2016-02-08 00:00:00 Want Faster Growth? Put the Jockey on a Diet! by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

The number one reason the US has a Plow Horse economy rather than a Race Horse economy is the growth in the size and scope of the federal government, which sits like a grossly overweight jockey atop an otherwise healthy thoroughbred.

2016-02-08 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Is a Recession Looming? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

The economic calendar is light and it is the start of the week-long Chinese New Year. This means some media time and space that must be filled. Needing an attention-getter, I expect the punditry to be asking: Is a recession looming?

2016-02-08 00:00:00 The Labor Market Conditions Index for January by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The Labor Market Conditions Index (LMCI) is a relatively recent indicator developed by Federal Reserve economists to assess changes in the labor market conditions. It is a dynamic factor model of labor market indicators, essentially a diffusion index subject to extensive revisions based on nineteen underlying indicators in nine broad categories (see the table at the bottom for details). Today's release of the January data came in at 0.4, down from a revised 2.2 in December. Extentsive revisions were made to the entire series, including 10 out of the last 12 months.

2016-02-08 00:00:00 Ratio of Part-Time Employed Remains Higher Than the Pre-Recession Levels by Jill Mislinski (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.

2016-02-07 00:00:00 Have the Miners Bottomed? by Avi Gilburt of

We opened our doors at back in 2011 with our top call in the metals market. Since that time, we have been traversing a complex correction for the last 4+ years. And, as I have been saying since the end of last year, we are very close to its completion. In fact, there are indications that the miners “may” even have bottomed already.

2016-02-07 00:00:00 Charts That Matter, February 2016 by Ritesh Jain, Abhishek Sonthalia of Tata Asset Management

This is the third edition of my monthly ‘charts that matter’ (CTM) series where I have tried to stitch together charts which paint a picture of all that is relevant in the investment world today. With so much happening around, I could not restrict my slides to 5 this time and therefore this edition of CTM is bulkier than the previous two editions. Honestly, I just could not cull any of these charts so finally I decided to include all of them! I hope it makes for a crisp and informative presentation. Would welcome feedback/questions/discussions.

2016-02-07 00:00:00 Markets Are a Mess, but Don't Jump to Conclusions Yet by Zachary Karabell of Envestnet

2016 has not been a happy new year for investors thus far, with a January plagued by market volatility and some of the worst index returns observed in years. Have these first few weeks set the stage for disastrous markets throughout the rest of the year?

2016-02-07 00:00:00 Misadventures of Real Economy in Central Banks’ Neoclassical Wonderland by Sebastiao Buck Tocalino of SBTCapital Clube de Investimento

Before you start reading, I want to explain that the term wonderland I used in the title above is much more in the sense of incongruous and defying common sense, than in some cynical reference to the splendid sense of the word.

2016-02-07 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

NDX undercut its January low this week, and Friday's sell off was extreme enough that it is unlikely to mark the low. Negative investor sentiment seems to be feeding on itself, with sell offs leading to historic fund outflows and further sell offs. These extremes have reached a point where they most often reverse. Even if US equities are in a bear market, a rally of 7-10% is likely close at hand. Importantly, there has been no price action that yet suggests a reversal in the short-term trend.

2016-02-06 00:00:00 World Markets Weekend Update: The Selloff Resumes by Doug Short (Article)

The week-over-week change in our aggregate world market watch list was a healthy 1.10% gain, up from 0.68% the previous week, which was preceded by harshly negative numbers the first two weeks of 2016. Appropriately enough, Japan's Nikkei was the top performer, up 3.30% for the week, with most of the gain triggered by the Bank of Japan's announced policy of negative interest rates. Global indexes surged following the announcement. China's Shanghai is the conspicuous outlier, plunging 6.14% for the week despite a 3.09% rally on the news from Japan.

2016-02-06 00:00:00 $100 Trillion Up in Smoke by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

The total value of all the world’s oil reserves is over $100 trillion less than it was just a year and a half ago.

2016-02-06 00:00:00 10 Numbers to Know for the Chinese New Year by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

I’ve put together 10 figures to know as China enters a new year.

2016-02-06 00:00:00 Pollution and China's Economic Transformation by Henry Zhang of Matthews Asia

China’s air pollution has made frequent headlines recently, and authorities have implemented various measures to try to alleviate the situation. This week Portfolio Manager Henry Zhang writes about China’s attempts to solve its environmental issues during this critical juncture in its economic development.

2016-02-06 00:00:00 In Search of Solutions to Four Puzzles by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Economic discussions in Washington this week centered on a series of puzzles that are confounding the outlook.

2016-02-06 00:00:00 Watching and Waiting by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

Don’t just do something, sit there! Not panicking can be tough to do in times of increased volatility, but often the best advice to avoid emotional decisions. We continue to expect severe bouts of volatility at least until the trajectory of the U.S. and global economy is more definitive. In the meantime, the Fed is likely to become more dovish in the near-term, which could stabilize the volatility. Recent results for global PMI readings are relatively encouraging and certainly argue against the apocalyptic forecasts so prevalent today.

2016-02-05 00:00:00 ECRI Weekly Leading Index: Another Decrease from the Previous Week by Jill Mislinski (Article)

ECRI's latest weekly data point shows a fractional decrease from the previous week's number. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at -2.3, a decrease of 0.2 from the previous week, and well off its interim low of -4.7 in mid-January. The YoY is now at -0.77%, in negative territory for the majority of the last 52 weeks.

2016-02-05 00:00:00 Investors to Governments: We'll pay you to Hold Our Money by Joe Becker, Adam Schenck, Jeff Greco of Milliman Financial Risk Management

Markets tumbled out of the gate in early 2016 sending investors fleeing to quality. Rates around the globe plummeted in response, pushing some countries’ yield curves further into negative territory.

2016-02-05 00:00:00 Quarterly Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

The Grey Owl investment process starts and ends with robust risk management. Our goal with the Grey Owl Opportunity Strategy is to provide equity-like returns, but with lower drawdowns and volatility than the major equity indices. As such, we worry about the downside first. We do not want clients to fear opening their monthly statements, and we certainly do not want to put regular withdrawals at risk, regardless of what the indices are doing.

2016-02-05 00:00:00 The Global Economy’s New Abnormal by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

Since the beginning of the year, the world economy has faced a new bout of severe financial market volatility, marked by sharply falling prices for equities and other risky assets. A variety of factors are at work – and will remain so throughout 2016 and beyond.

2016-02-05 00:00:00 Rich Man, Poor Man by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Given the unmerciful “selling stampede” ushered in with the new year, I thought it would be appropriate to republish one of my strategy reports from a few years ago, because its advice is timeless. Indeed, after 45 years in this business, I have seen a number of cycles and developed a long-term perspective, much like Richard Russell wrote about in “Rich Man, Poor Man.”

2016-02-05 00:00:00 Riding Out Wild Equity Markets by Kent Hargis, Sammy Suzuki, Chris Marx of AllianceBernstein

The market convulsions of the past few weeks have many investors thinking twice about owning stocks. But there’s a way to stay the course in equities without abandoning comfort zones: consider strategies with built-in shock absorbers.

2016-02-05 00:00:00 Muni Bonds Have Performed Well in Volatile Times by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Like Winter Storm Jonas, which has disrupted life on the East Coast with up to 30 inches of snow in some cities, strong levels of volatility are sweeping through global markets, from the U.S. to China. The Shanghai Composite Index closed at a 13-month low on Tuesday, while the S&P 500 Index has lost over 7 percent year-to-date.

2016-02-05 00:00:00 GMO Quarterly Letter by Ben Inker, Jeremy Grantham of GMO

In a new quarterly letter to GMO's institutional clients, co-head of asset allocation Ben Inker examines U.S. high yield corporate bonds, an "asset class that had a notably bad year," concluding, "at current spreads, high yield seems to be no worse than fair value and probably better than that... In today's environment, that makes it one of the best available risk assets for investors" ("Giving a Little Credit to High Yield").

2016-02-05 00:00:00 The Super Hole: Taking on the Competition of Entitlements by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

Healthcare liabilities in the form of Medicare and Medicaid present an enormous challenge that will meaningfully affect all of us. It’s time to get our game faces on.

2016-02-05 00:00:00 Deflation Rears Its Ugly Head by John Osterweis, Matt Berler of Osterweis Capital Management

Several years ago we developed a view that the U.S. economy and its equity market were misunderstood, out of favor and undervalued. The world was infatuated at the time with the mesmerizing growth rates of many emerging market economies while the U.S. was viewed as having been bumped from center stage by the ascendant BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) economies. Over the five years, 2009-2014, investors moved a stunning $1.6 trillion into emerging market funds.

2016-02-05 00:00:00 No Place to Hide or No Place to Go? by Carl Kaufman, Simon Lee, Bradley Kane of Osterweis Capital Management

2015 was a very frustrating year for investors as there was plenty of volatility, virtually no standouts and quite a few disappointments. Despite relatively steady U.S. economic growth, domestic equities were essentially flat for the year with the exception of some tech and biotech heavy indices. U.S. investment grade bond performance was also essentially flat, while high yield, still under pressure from declining energy and industrial commodity prices, lost money.

2016-02-05 00:00:00 The Big Four Economic Indicators: January Nonfarm Employment by Doug Short (Article)

Note: This commentary has been updated to include Nonfarm Employment for January. As the adjacent thumbnail of the past year illustrates, Nonfarm Employment remains in its upward trend. The January report of 151K new jobs was substantially below expectations ( was looking for 190K), and the December number was revised downward by 30K from 292K to 262K.

2016-02-05 00:00:00 December Trade Deficit Up from Revised November by Jill Mislinski (Article)

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

2016-02-05 00:00:00 January New Jobs Disappoints Forecast; Downward Revisions to 2015 by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Today's report of 151K new nonfarm jobs in January was lower than the forecast of 190K. December's nonfarm payrolls was revised downward by a 30K. Further downward revisions were made to 2015 numbers. The unemployment rate declined slightly to 4.9%.

2016-02-05 00:00:00 The Civilian Labor Force, Unemployment Claims and the Business Cycle by Jill Mislinski (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.

2016-02-04 00:00:00 Groundhog Day? by John Canally of LPL Financial

In recent weeks, there have been plenty of “groundhogs” in the financial markets and in the financial media. For some investors, the fear is that the market’s performance in January 2016 will be repeated over and over again, as in the classic 1993 film Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. Other investors fear that 1998 will play out all over again, triggered by central bankers’ policy mistakes, volatile currency markets, wave after wave of currency devaluations, and eventually a sovereign default.

2016-02-04 00:00:00 5 Reasons to Consider Convertible Securities Today by David King of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

Strong secular arguments for investing in convertible securities are now complemented by strong shorter-term arguments for investing in the asset class. Most individual investors have little or no exposure to convertibles which have delivered decades of returns like those of the S&P 500 but with more current income and less volatility. The focus on whether convertibles are especially attractive on a shorter-term basis can obscure the fact that the asset class has delivered for investors over time.

2016-02-04 00:00:00 January Data Point to a Modest Decline in U.S. Real GDP in the First Quarter of 2016 by Robert Lamy of The Forecasting Advisor

Each month, the U.S. Institute for Supply Management (ISM) conducts a survey on the state of the manufacturing and non-manufacturing industries of the U.S. economy and releases data for the previous month. The data are closely followed by the financial media, economists, and wealth portfolio managers as they provide the earliest reading on the state of the economy.

2016-02-04 00:00:00 The Dethroning of Cash: Discouraged, Penalized, Even Banned? by Stefan Gleason of Money Metals Exchange

Stock market gyrations and deteriorating global economic conditions in the early goings of 2016 sent investors fleeing for safety. Or at least what is commonly thought to be safety.

2016-02-04 00:00:00 Mind the Gap by Eric Miller of Heartland Advisors

The surge in momentum investing is creating valuations that may be hard to sustain in the future.

2016-02-04 00:00:00 Negative on Japan’s Negative Interest Rates by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

One of the most interesting (and surprising) pieces of news on the economics front has been the Bank of Japan’s decision to take rates to negative levels—in other words, to charge depositors to keep their money in the bank. This is not an unprecedented move, as negative rates have been in place for a while in some European countries, but it’s still somewhat unusual.

2016-02-04 00:00:00 Revenge of the Nerds by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

In a classic 1984 film, “Revenge of the Nerds,” a group of out-of-favor college students (“nerds”) assert themselves at the expense of highly-esteemed fraternity athletes and popular sorority girls. Here is how describes the movie on their website: “At a big campus, a group of bullied outcasts and misfits resolve to fight back for their peace and self respect.”

2016-02-04 00:00:00 The Folly of Negative Interest Rates as Public Policy by Stephen Conwill of Milliman, Inc.

With its surprise decision last month, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) has joined the European experiment with negative interest rates. Is this a bold and brilliant policy move or the last gasp of failed policy? Unfortunately, it is the latter. Quantitative easing was always a risky experiment. From the start, it failed the test of intellectual coherence. With three years of experience in Japan, it is failing empirical tests as well. It is unclear whether policymakers have the knowledge, fortitude, and tools to reverse course and unwind this unfortunate experiment.

2016-02-04 00:00:00 Crude Awakening by Jeffrey Baker of HiddenLevers

The price of oil has had a dramatic effect on markets since the start of the year. WTI was down over 9.0% in January and domestic markets followed oil downwards, returning approximately -5.0% the first month of this year. In an effort to break through the noise surrounding oil, HiddenLevers recently analyzed the commodities market and in this post will summarize the good, bad and ugly outcomes for oil and its broader effect on the global economy.

2016-02-04 00:00:00 2016: The Year of Multi-Asset Investing (again) by Jeff Hussey of Russell Investments

Global CIO Jeff Hussey shares at his multi-asset investing resolutions for 2016.

2016-02-04 00:00:00 Putting the Recent Market Volatility in Context by Doug Short (Article)

The increase in market volatility has been a major focus of the popular financial press during the opening weeks of 2016. Let's examine the historical context for market volatility over the past nine-plus years, specifically since January 2007. Our preferred measure of volatility is the daily price range in the S&P 500: The percent change from the intraday low to the intraday high. To illustrate this bit of market behavior, we've charted the intraday range, the red dots in the accompanying chart, along with a 20-day moving average of this measure.

2016-02-03 00:00:00 Gold to Beat Stocks? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

"Stocks beat gold in the long run!" is a 'rallying cry' to buy stocks we have heard lately that gets me riled up. It’s upsetting to me for two reasons: first, an out of context comparison, in my opinion, misguides investors. It might be the wrong assertion in the short to medium term.

2016-02-03 00:00:00 A Look Back at 2015: Lessons Learned by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

The first sentence of my market update for last January went like this: “U.S. stock markets dropped across the board in January, as investors reassessed their risk tolerances.” Sound familiar? I went on to note that the primary concerns were slow earnings growth, caused by weakness elsewhere in the world, and a strong dollar. Again, does that ring a bell?

2016-02-03 00:00:00 A Little Chaos Is a Good Thing by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Longtime readers know that I rarely delve into partisan politics. That’s not the usual focus of this letter. While I am sure that most readers suspect that I generally lean Republican, I try not to let that enter into our macroeconomic and investment discussions. And I’m not really going to change that policy today. What I do want to talk about are the rather arcane topics of how the delegates to a national convention are chosen and what a “brokered convention” would actually look like.

2016-02-03 00:00:00 Increasingly Addled by Bill Gross of Janus Capital Group

Long ago and far away in the adolescent cauldron known as Los Altos High School, I attended a senior U.S. history class with a man-child named Delos Roman. He was appropriately christened it seems, because his body resembled that of Zeus, the God of Thunder, and at 6’4”/230 pounds, he rumbled down the football sidelines like a Mack truck on a downhill mountain road.

2016-02-03 00:00:00 Market Thoughts for February 2016 by (Article)

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth Financial Network’s chief investment officer, discusses January market performance, which was the worst we’ve seen since the financial crisis. Why did it happen, is it likely to get worse, and what can we do about it? Brad answers these questions, and more, and explains why he thinks this is all quite normal. Follow Brad at

2016-02-03 00:00:00 Fear February After Jittery January? by Burt White of LPL Financial

Don’t worry about the January Barometer, which says, “As goes January, so goes the year.” Here we discuss the reliability of this indicator and several factors that may lead to better performance in February. We see opportunities in the stock market in 2016, but suggest caution in the near term as we await clarity on the key issues pressuring investor sentiment.

2016-02-03 00:00:00 What Investors Need to Know About Returns in 2016 by Rick Rieder of BlackRock

Last year wasn't a great one for investors seeking solid returns. With 2016 off to a rocky start, will we see more of the same this year? Rick Rieder weighs in.

2016-02-03 00:00:00 Anticipating January Employment: ADP Report at 205K by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The economic mover and shaker this week is Friday's employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This monthly report contains a wealth of data for economists, the most publicized being the month-over-month change in Total Nonfarm Employment (the PAYEMS series in the FRED repository). Today we have the January estimate of 205K new nonfarm private employment jobs from ADP, a drop from December's 267K, revised upward from 257K.

2016-02-03 00:00:00 China's Retail-driven Equity Market a Wild Ride by Inbok Song of Thornburg Investment Management

Household equity market exposure still a small fraction of total household assets. For institutional investors, opportunities in companies benefitting from long-term, structural growth.

2016-02-03 00:00:00 Light Vehicle Sales Per Capita: Our Latest 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 62.8%.

2016-02-03 00:00:00 ISM Non-Manufacturing: January Growth Continues at Slower Rate by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Today the Institute for Supply Management published its latest Non-Manufacturing Report. The headline NMI Composite Index is at 53.3 percent, down 2.5 percent from last month's seasonally adjusted 55.8 percent. Today's number came in below the forecast of 55.1 percent.

2016-02-03 00:00:00 Sub-3% GDP Growth: A Lost Decade For The US Economy by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Whew – January is finally over! Up until the last week or so, the downside carnage in January was the worst New Year’s stock market start in history. Thanks to last week’s rebound, it was only the worst New Year’s start since January of 2009 when the Great Recession was unfolding. Still, it was a hair-raising month for stock investors. And no one knows if the damage is over.

2016-02-03 00:00:00 Iowa by Andrew Friedman of The Washington Update

In last month's white paper, The Metrics and Dynamics Underlying the 2016 Election, we said that a lack of ground organization might ultimately trip up Donald Trump's campaign. The results in Iowa reflected that deficiency. Trump generates large crowds and great excitement when he flies in to speak. But when he departs he leaves behind relatively few volunteers knocking on doors - and little guidance as to which doors are worthy of a knock. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio developed ground organizations and predictive voter data greatly superior to Trump's.

2016-02-03 00:00:00 Bizarre Gold & Silver Movements Occurring Behind-the-Scenes… by Clint Siegner of Money Metals Exchange

A lot is riding on the demand side of the equation when it comes to metals' price performance this year. Demand is the bigger wildcard with signals thus far being mixed in gold and silver bullion markets. The outlook for supply is more certain, and it isn't pretty.

2016-02-02 00:00:00 The Big Four Economic Indicators: Real Personal Income for December by Doug Short (Article)

Personal Income (excluding Transfer Receipts) in December rose 0.19% and is up 4.0% year-over-year. When we adjust for inflation using the BEA's PCE Price Index, Real Personal Income (excluding Transfer Receipts) rose 0.29%. The real number is up 3.4% year-over-year. Real PI less TR is one of those indicators that warrants adjustment for population growth to understand the long-term trends.

2016-02-02 00:00:00 The Q Ratio and Market Valuation: January Update by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Note: We've posted an update to incorporate the latest monthly close data through the end of January and the Federal Reserve's latest Z1 report released last month, data through Q3 of 2015.

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.

2016-02-02 00:00:00 Market Valuation, Inflation and Treasury Yields: Clues from the Past by Jill Mislinski (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.

2016-02-02 00:00:00 Market Remains Overvalued, Down from Last Month by Jill Mislinski (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

2016-02-02 00:00:00 As Markets Swing, Momentum Can Be Deceiving by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses the likelihood that markets will remain volatile, and what that means for stocks, particularly for the momentum theme.

2016-02-02 00:00:00 Life in the Fast Lane: Look Through the Windshield, Not the Rear View Mirror by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The recession drumbeat has picked up tempo, which is to be expected given the signal coming from several market-based indicators, the contraction in manufacturing, and the anemic reading on (the lagging) fourth quarter U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). Notwithstanding the sharp equity market rally late last week, the market has certainly been ringing the alarm bell, with the worst January start to a year since 2009. But remember, there is an apt and famous phrase on Wall Street: “The stock market has called nine of the past five recessions.”

2016-02-02 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Is the Correction Over? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

Stocks once again made a sharp turnaround late in Wednesday’s session. The “mystery” rebound took the S&P 500 up 3.5% in about two days of trading. Despite the important economic releases and heavy earnings calendar next week, expect the punditry to be asking: Is the correction over?

2016-02-02 00:00:00 Global Economy Facing Five Finger Discount by Erik Weisman of MFS Investment Management

In the 1970s, as the US struggled through a deep recession, shopkeepers were constantly on the watch for stretched consumers looking to employ the so-called "five finger discount," a euphemism for shoplifting. Today, central bankers around the world need to be mindful of five growth-robbing challenges threatening the global economy over the course of the next several business cycles. Stalling globalization, unfavorable demography, excessive leverage, a harsher regulatory environment and rising taxes are creating a five-finger discount that much of the world will be hard pressed to avoid.

2016-02-02 00:00:00 Tough January. Now What? by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

Last week was relatively quiet, with stocks pretty much unchanged but still down around 2% since year-end. The action continues to be Treasuries with the Ten-Year note at 1.92% compared to 2.29%, when the Fed raised rates in December. Here’s the Treasury yield curve in mid-December and now.

2016-02-02 00:00:00 What the Bank of Japan's Negative-Rate Policy Means for Investors by Daisuke Nomoto of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

The Bank of Japan’s new negative interest rate policy should benefit Japanese exporters and high-dividend stocks, but could have an adverse effect on banks. We believe this policy should provide the Japanese economy and equity market with more positives than negatives. We encourage investors to look for opportunities in high-quality Japanese companies to take advantage of the recent sell-off.

2016-02-02 00:00:00 The End of the New Normal? by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

Just when the notion that Western economies are settling into a “new normal” of low growth gained mainstream acceptance, doubts about its continued relevance have begun to emerge. Instead, the world may be headed toward an economic and financial crossroads, with the direction taken depending on key policy decisions.

2016-02-02 00:00:00 The Great Escape from China by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

It might seem odd that a country running a $600 billion trade surplus in 2015 should be worried about currency weakness. But a combination of factors, including slowing economic growth and a gradual relaxation of restrictions on investing abroad, has unleashed a torrent of capital outflows.

2016-02-02 00:00:00 Today's KYC Rules No Substitution for Know Your Customer by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest piece, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, contrasts current 'Know Your Customer' rules with those that had been practiced for decades, when "stockbrokers were among the most trusted members of their communities."

2016-02-02 00:00:00 On My Radar: The Last Bull Standing by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Today, I share with you some of my high-level notes from this week’s Inside ETFs Conference in Hollywood, Florida. The forward return theme was consistent, from Vanguard to Wharton Professor Jeremy Siegel: expect low equity and fixed income returns. Jeffrey Gundlach left the audience in a state of depression (well the audience, not Gundlach) and Mark Yusko spoke of likely recession citing poor ISM numbers. This left Prof. Siegel to later say, “It appears I’m the only bull at the conference.”

2016-02-02 00:00:00 The Biggest Retirement Issue in 2016 by Glenn Dial of Allianz Global Investors

Financial advisors and retirement planning specialists are facing potential regulatory changes that could transform just about every aspect of their business. Here’s what you should be looking out for with the DOL’s proposed fiduciary duty regulation.

2016-02-02 00:00:00 Global Growth Forecast - Q1 (Infographic) by Laura Sarlo of Loomis Sayles

Every quarter, we update our global forecast map. Explore our key themes by region in our latest infographic.

2016-02-01 00:00:00 The Core PCE Price Index Inches Higher But Remains Well Below Target by Doug Short (Article)

The Personal Income and Outlays report for December was published this morning by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The latest Headline PCE price index year-over-year (YoY) rate is 0.58%, up from the previous month's 0.44%. The latest YoY Core PCE index (less Food and Energy) came in at 1.41%, little changed from the previous month's 1.38%, but the trend has inched higher from its interim low of 1.26% five month earlier.

2016-02-01 00:00:00 Two Measures of Inflation and Fed Policy by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The BEA's Personal Consumption Expenditures Chain-type Price Index for December shows core inflation below the Federal Reserve's 2% long-term target at 1.41%, a statistically insignificant change from the previous month's 1.33%. The latest Core Consumer Price Index release, also data through December, is higher at 2.10%. The Fed is on record as using Core PCE data for its primary inflation gauge.

2016-02-01 00:00:00 Market Cap to GDP: A Fractional Increase in the Buffett Valuation Indicator by Doug Short (Article)

With last week's Advance Estimate of Q4 GDP, we now have an updated look at the popular "Buffett Indicator" -- the ratio of corporate equities to GDP. The indicator remains under 2 standard deviations from its mean. The current reading is 114.4%, up from 115.3% for the Second Estimate for Q3 GDP. It is off its 129.8% interim high in Q1 of 2105 year and below the +2SD level after seven quarters at or above that benchmark.

2016-02-01 00:00:00 Is the Stock Market Cheap? by Jill Mislinski (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.

2016-02-01 00:00:00 Regression to Trend: A New Look at Long-Term Market Performance by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Quick take: At the end of January the inflation-adjusted S&P 500 index price was 73% above its long-term trend, a decline from 87% 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.

2016-02-01 00:00:00 The Latest Look at Secular Bull and Bear Markets by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Was the March 2009 low the end of a secular bear market and the beginning of a secular bull? At this point, almost seven 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.

2016-02-01 00:00:00 ISM Manufacturing Index: Fractional Increase by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Today the Institute for Supply Management published its monthly Manufacturing Report for January. The latest headline PMI was 48.2 percent, an increase of 0.2% from the previous month and above the forecast of 48.1.

2016-02-01 00:00:00 James Montier on Fed-Induced Bubbles, Market Valuations, Smart Beta and Liquid Alts by Robert Huebscher (Article)

James Montier is a member of Grantham Mayo van Otterloo’s (GMO’s) asset allocation team. In this interview, he discusses the effect of monetary policy on market valuations, and offers his opinion on smart-beta and liquid-alt investment products.

2016-02-01 00:00:00 Two New Books on Retirement Planning by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

The New Year brought us two new books on retirement planning written by well-known authors – Teresa Ghilarducci and Jane Bryant Quinn. Ghilarducci focuses on key steps to build retirement savings, while Quinn provides a much fuller analysis for both accumulation and de-accumulation. Both are books advisors should read themselves as candidates to recommend to clients.

2016-02-01 00:00:00 Crestmont Market Valuation Update by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Quick take: Based on the January S&P 500 average of daily closes, the Crestmont P/E is 77% above its arithmetic mean and at the 96th percentile of this fourteen-plus-decade monthly metric.

2016-02-01 00:00:00 December Disposable Income Per Capita Rose 0.22%, 0.31% When Adjusted for Inflation by Jill Mislinski (Article)

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

The November nominal 0.22% month-over-month increase in disposable income come in at 0.31% when we adjust for inflation. The year-over-year metrics are 2.94% nominal and 2.35% real.

2016-02-01 00:00:00 A Frail New World by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

In this month's Absolute Return letter we argue why the long-term outlook for GDP growth and for returns on risk assets is uninspiring. We are often 'accused' of allowing the negative long-term demographic outlook to colour our view on risk assets in general, but in the February letter we argue why the demographic outlook is only one of (at least) four factors, which will hold back GDP growth as well as returns on risk assets in the years to come.

2016-02-01 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

A more than 20% rebound in oil the past 10 days helped equities close higher a second week in a row. Importantly, there were two positive breadth thrusts this week: equities have strong tendency to add to gains over the following weeks. Despite equity's gains, investors remain very bearish, and this is also a tailwind into February. After a powerful move Friday, a giveback early in the week would be unsurprising.

2016-02-01 00:00:00 Thoughts on the Alternative Investing Landscape in 2016 by Marc Gamsin, Greg Outcalt of AllianceBernstein

As 2016 gets under way, investors need to guard against short-term volatility spikes and contagion risks from factors including geopolitical turmoil and pressure on oil prices. How is the environment impacting the risk/return characteristics of various hedge fund strategies?

2016-02-01 00:00:00 Investing for Retirement: A Focus on Sustaining Income by Anshul Shah, Ric Costa of PIMCO

Longevity protection strategies can simplify retirement planning and may reduce the risk of running out of money in retirement.

2016-02-01 00:00:00 The Growth Outlook, Near and Far by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Real GDP rose at a 0.7% annual rate in the advance estimate for 4Q15, roughly what was expected before the release, but a lot lower than was anticipated at the start of the quarter. It’s not as bad as it looks. Growth was held back by foreign trade and slower inventory growth. Domestic demand was mixed, but moderate. The fourth quarter numbers don’t tell us much about the important question: what’s growth likely to be over the course of this year. More troublesome, there are more important concerns about the economy’s long-term prospects.

2016-02-01 00:00:00 Municipal Bond CEFs by (Article)

Municipal bond CEFs have performed relatively well in recent years and remain attractive in 2016, says senior analyst Cara Esser of Morningstar.

2016-02-01 00:00:00 Researching United Technologies: Here’s How I Do It by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

One of the greatest challenges that authors face when posting articles on financial blogs is how much information they should include and how much they should exclude. Space is limited, and many readers prefer a short write-up over long dissertations. Therefore, most authors (yours truly included) attempt to summarize their positions in the fewest words possible. However, this approach implies that readers will fill in the blanks between what is said and what is left out. Unfortunately, that is not what always happens.

2016-02-01 00:00:00 The Danger in Emerging Market Debt by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Most observers saw the recent troubles in the high-yield markets – the gating of the Third Avenue and Stone Lion funds – as a precursor to a junk-bond crisis. Instead, investors should be focusing on a potentially bigger problem, according to Russell Napier. Open-end mutual funds holding emerging-market debt are at risk.

2016-02-01 00:00:00 What Would Minsky Do Now? by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)

In the two decades since his death, Hyman Minsky’s stature has grown enormously. He foresaw the great financial crisis of 2007-2009, and economists routinely refer to “Minsky moments” as the tipping point when seemingly stable financial markets collapse with catastrophic consequences. It’s instructive to speculate on how Minsky would view our post-crisis economic recovery, and a new book allows us to do just that.

2016-02-01 00:00:00 Now is the Time for Value to Outperform Growth by John Alberg and Michael Seckler (Article)

Now is a very attractive time to invest in value strategies. In similar times in the past, value investors achieved both strong absolute returns and robust relative performance versus the broad market indexes. Let’s explore what history can teach us about what is to come.

2016-02-01 00:00:00 The Big Trap in Casual Conversations by Dan Richards (Article)

Today, I highlight an example of bad advice – focusing on how to engage people who aren’t clients in casual conversation and in particular on how to respond to the question “How’s business?”

2016-02-01 00:00:00 A Powerful Tool to Convert Prospects to Clients by Dan Solin (Article)

If you organize initial meetings with prospects to leverage what you know about them, you are much more likely to convert them to clients.

2016-02-01 00:00:00 The Role of Short Selling in Equity Markets by Niall H. O’Malley (Article)

To understand the role of short selling, one has to step back and see how it impacts price discovery in equity markets. We are familiar with terminology such as short squeeze, prime brokers and short interest, but what does it all mean?

2016-02-01 00:00:00 Managing Stress During Market Downturns by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

With market movements being mostly negative, I’m riddled with anxiety and stress. I dread every phone call with a client. Is there anything I can do to alleviate this? I can’t ignore the markets; I have a job to do.

2016-02-01 00:00:00 Equities Rally as Oil and Monetary Policy Remain in Focus by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Volatility remained high last week as U.S. equities regained some ground, with the S&P 500 Index rising 1.8%. Stocks soared on Friday in response to the Bank of Japan’s decision to adopt a negative interest rate stance. Oil prices also rose over speculation that global production might fall. Corporate earnings were mixed, as results continued to be held back by the long-term decline in lower oil prices, a soft economic backdrop and the strong dollar.

2016-02-01 00:00:00 Fed Not Going Away by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Close your eyes (well, not literally). Imagine a huge manufacturing economy, in Asia, growing very rapidly. It became the second largest economy in the world, from ruin, in just a few short decades and produced 14% of global output. Now imagine it collapses.

2016-02-01 00:00:00 The Long View Of US Income and Consumption Patterns by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

In the summer of 2008 and the fall of 2012, US consumers were spending over $400 billion on gasoline (and other motor fuels) on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) according to Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). As of the end of last year spending on gasoline is down to $251 billion, which outside of January 2015, is the lowest amount of spending since the summer of 2009, and since the average gasoline price (average between Los Angeles, NY Harbor, and the Golf Coast) has now fallen to its lowest level since December 2008, we can expect future spending on gasoline to continue to fall

2016-02-01 00:00:00 Tokyo Doubles Down by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

I’ve been busily writing a letter on oil and energy, but in the middle of the process I decided yesterday that I really needed to talk to you about the Bank of Japan’s “surprise” interest-rate move to -0.1%. And I don’t so much want to comment on the factual of the policy move as on what it means for the rest of the world, and especially the US.

2016-01-31 00:00:00 The Gas Pedal Is Useless When The Spark Plugs Are Gone by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

As we observe in the U.S., central bank easing in Japan only reliably benefits the stock market, on average, when market action is already favorable, indicating a preference among investors to accept market risk. Once market internals deteriorate, central bank easing fails to provoke speculation, on average. The gas pedal is useless when the spark plugs are gone. Aside from short-lived, knee-jerk responses, there is no historical basis to assume that central bank easing will promptly encourage fresh speculation in an overvalued market that has lost internal support. To the contrary, as investo

2016-01-30 00:00:00 Where to Ride Out the Volatility by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

Recent market volatility is leading many investors to exit stocks. For those that remain, the key question is: Where to hide? Russ Koesterich shares ideas, and opting for defensive sectors isn't one of them.

2016-01-29 00:00:00 Michigan Consumer Sentiment: January Final Fractionally Below December by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The University of Michigan Final Consumer Sentiment for January came in at 92.0, a 1.3 point decrease from the 93.3 January Preliminary reading and only a 0.6 point decrease from the December Final reading. had forecast an even 93.0.

2016-01-29 00:00:00 Regional Fed Manufacturing Overview: January by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The Federal Reserve System consists of twelve Federal Reserve Banks, twenty five branches, and the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C. Each bank serves a larger regional district. Five out of the twelve Federal Reserve Regional Districts currently publish monthly data on regional manufacturing: Dallas, Kansas City, New York, Richmond, and Philadelphia. Here is an overview of all five with an overlay and average of historical data.

2016-01-29 00:00:00 Visualizing GDP: A Closer Look Inside the Q4 Advance Estimate by Jill Mislinski (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.

2016-01-29 00:00:00 Moving Averages: January Month-End Update by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Valid until the market close on February 29, 2016

The S&P 500 closed January with a monthly loss of 5.07%. All three S&P 500 MAs are signaling "cash" and two of the five Ivy Portfolio ETF MAs are signaling "Invested". In the table, monthly closes that are within 2% of a signal are highlighted in yellow.

2016-01-29 00:00:00 Q4 GDP Advance Estimate at 0.7%, Down from Q3 Third Estimate by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The Advance Estimate for Q4 GDP, to one decimal, came in at 0.7 percent, down from the 2.0 percent for the Q3 Third Estimate. Today's number was on par with most mainstream estimates, with forecasting 0.8 percent and forecasting 0.7 percent.

2016-01-29 00:00:00 The Philly Fed ADS Business Conditions Index by Jill Mislinski (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.

2016-01-29 00:00:00 Q4 GDP Per Capita at -0.10% for Advance Estimate by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The Advance Estimate for Q4 GDP, to one decimal, came in at 0.7 percent, well below the 2.0 percent of the Q3 Third Estimate. But with a per-capita adjustment, the data series is currently at -0.1 percent. The 10-year moving average illustrates that US economic growth has slowed dramatically since the last recession.

2016-01-29 00:00:00 Chicago PMI Jumps Back in January by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The latest Chicago Purchasing Manager's Index, or the Chicago Business Barometer, jumped back up in January to a value of 55.6 from last month's 42.9. Values lower than 50.0 indicate contracting manufacturing activity.

2016-01-29 00:00:00 Oil’s Well That Ends Well? by Templeton Global Equity Group of Franklin Templeton Investments

With the modest-at-best global economic recovery after the still front-of-mind global financial crisis trauma from 2008-2009 … markets are understandably preoccupied with the scope for unpleasant shocks.

2016-01-29 00:00:00 For the Love of Mobile Money in Frontier Markets by Christine Phillpotts, Henry D'Auria of AllianceBernstein

Mobile money–transfer services are taking off in many lower-income countries in sub-Sahara Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America. These platforms offer investors an exciting growth opportunity that is still in the embryonic stages.

2016-01-29 00:00:00 Monetary Policy Stuck in the Mid?Atlantic by Mike Amey of PIMCO

As we look forward to 2016, once again we are faced with the question of whether the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) at the Bank of England (BOE) will finally raise interest rates, or whether this will prove to be another year where expectations for a move in official rates are to be dashed.

2016-01-29 00:00:00 Denmark Is THE Bright Spot? by Jennifer Thomson of GaveKal Capital

With ~80% of all stocks down since last May’s highs, and market sentiment fairly (shall we say?) stressed, we sometimes find it helpful to take a step back and try to look at the bigger picture. Regular readers are familiar with our use of a proprietary point-and-figure methodology that we use to help us avoid underperformers in our stock selection (or, where appropriate, DE-selection) process.

2016-01-29 00:00:00 Crude Oil: The Bane of a Commodity Trader’s Existence by Harish Sundaresh of Loomis Sayles

Oil traders everywhere probably had their fingers crossed that oil’s craziest trading days would not persist into the New Year. In 2015, we watched benchmark oil indices drop over 30% and the sheer number of shuttered commodity hedge funds is testament to how difficult trading ‘black gold’ has been. Unfortunately, I expect 2016 to be no easier – full of fits and starts with lots of volatility in between. However, by end of 2016 I expect crude prices to rise to $45-50 from current levels of just under $30.

2016-01-29 00:00:00 Recession on the Horizon? Look at the Big Picture by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Whether or not a recession is imminent, I believe it's a good idea for investors to be prepared by having a well-diversified portfolio, including assets such as gold and municipal bonds. Gold has tended to have a low correlation with stocks, meaning that even when stocks were tumbling, it's managed to retain its value well. The same can be said for short-term, high-quality munis, which have been shown to offer a greater amount of stability than some other types of securities, even during market downturns.

2016-01-29 00:00:00 Do Interest Rates Know No Bounds? by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Many interest rates in Europe have been below zero for quite a while and are poised to fall further.

2016-01-28 00:00:00 December Durable Goods Report Disappoints Expectations by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The Advance Report on Manufacturers’ Shipments, Inventories and Orders released today gives us a first look at the December durable goods numbers. The latest new orders headline number at -5.1 percent was below the estimate of -0.6 percent. This series is down -0.6 percent year-over-year (YoY). If we exclude transportation, "core" durable goods came in at -1.2 percent month-over-month (MoM), which was below the estimate of -0.1% percent. The core measure is also down -3.2 percent YoY.

2016-01-28 00:00:00 The "Real" Goods on the December Durable Goods Data by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Earlier today the Census Bureau posted the Advance Report on December 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 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.

2016-01-28 00:00:00 Moving Averages: Month-End Preview by Jill Mislinksi (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, all three S&P 500 strategies are signaling "cash" — changed from last month's triple "invested" signal. Only one of the five Ivy Portfolio ETFs — iShares' Barclays 7-10 Year Treasury (IEF) — is signaling "invested", a change from last month's double invested signals.

2016-01-28 00:00:00 Home Ownership Remains Near Its Interim Low by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Over the last decade the general trend has been consistent: The rate of home ownership continues to decline. The Census Bureau has now released its latest quarterly report with data through Q4 2015. The seasonally adjusted rate for Q4 is 63.7 percent, up slightly from 63.6 in Q3. The nonseasonally adjusted Q4 number is 63.8 percent, slightly above the Q3 number and up from the 63.4 percent interim low in Q2.

2016-01-28 00:00:00 December Pending Home Sales Show Slight Decline by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Today the National Association of Realtors released the December data for their Pending Home Sales Index. According to the National Association of Realtors®, "Pending home sales were mostly unchanged in December, but inched forward slightly, fueled by a large increase in the Northeast that outpaced declines in the other three major regions."

2016-01-28 00:00:00 Global Economic Overview: December 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

While the developed economies remain fairly resilient, economic data from the emerging countries have turned more subdued recently. Export gains remain restricted as global demand is yet to see sustained revival, despite relatively brighter consumer sentiment in the developed countries. Continued weakness in energy and commodity prices is likely to keep Brazil and Russia in recession in 2016, while also hurting the growth prospects of most countries in Latin America, including Mexico.

2016-01-28 00:00:00 Five Forecasters: Few Warning Signs by Burt White of LPL Financial

The Five Forecasters still favor the continuation of the current bull market and no recession. The Five Forecasters, which we first introduced in 2014, are five indicators that, collectively, have historically signaled the increasing fragility of the U.S. economy and a transition to the late stage of the economic cycle and an oncoming recession.

2016-01-28 00:00:00 Does Market Volatility Bring Opportunities for High-Yield Bonds? by Jennifer Ponce de Leon of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

We believe the recent volatility and selloff in U.S. high yield offers an attractive relative investment opportunity as yield premiums have widened to provide appropriate compensation for today’s market risks. The overall market still warrants a cautious approach for 2016, but we are constructive on much of the non-commodity-related high-yield opportunity set. A disciplined credit selection process should serve investors well in taking advantage of high-yield opportunities.

2016-01-28 00:00:00 Knee Deep In An Earnings Recession by Phil Segner of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

We entered an earnings recession at the end of June. Thanks to evaporating earnings, last-twelve-months earnings per share now stands almost 5% below its all-time high. To see 2015 lumped in with the market meltdown years of 2001, 2008, and 2009 is a bit unsettling. While we don’t think we’re on the precipice of economic calamity, the longer that profits and revenues (which have also contracted for the past three quarters) fall short of their peaks, business activity will be adversely affected.

2016-01-28 00:00:00 On My Radar: The Central Banks, the Market and Wealth Creation by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group, Inc.

Numerous investor behavior studies have been conducted by researchers, and most come to the same conclusion: individual investors tend to buy and sell at the wrong time. Perhaps it is the “fight or flight” in us that gets in the way. “Thinking deeply” – “Reflecting”. A good friend and advisor client said to me this morning, “This business can be a bi&@h.” I told him I was posting a chart today that may speak to his frustration. Here, I share it with you.

2016-01-28 00:00:00 How Low Can Oil Go? by Lee Kayser of Russell Investments

Not too much further we think. As we’ve seen over the first few weeks of 2016, WTI (West Texas Intermediate) crude has been down as much as 25% from last year end 2015. Prices per barrel also closed below $30 for the first time since 2003.

2016-01-28 00:00:00 Message to Shareholders by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

I can't believe I am putting my fingers to the keyboard again to write about U.S. Federal Reserve rate rises. Again!! You must be thoroughly bored with the whole tedious topic; I am certainly starting to tire of it. But it is an important topic for a couple of reasons: first, because December saw the first rate rise in the U.S. in almost a decade; second, because people seem to have serious misunderstandings about what it means for Asia. I intend to take on the second of these issues—the misunderstandings—and then examine more important matters concerning Asia's domestic growth.

2016-01-28 00:00:00 Fed Waiting for More Information by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

After starting liftoff in December, no one really expected much out of today’s Fed meeting. And the Fed delivered exactly that, voting unanimously to do…nothing. But despite no action, their wording will get plenty of scrutiny.

2016-01-28 00:00:00 4th Quarter Commentary by John Prichard, Miles Yourman of Knightsbridge Asset Management

When it comes to the stock market, it is clearly a time for much doubt, but perhaps also heroism. As we write, the market is in the midst of a nasty sell-off, the worst start to a year in U.S. stock market history, with every sector down for the year with the exception of utilities. Global stocks have fared even worse, losing $14 trillion since peaking last May and more than $2 trillion during the first week of January alone. The beginning of the year is an especially inauspicious time for a stock market plunge as markets often trend in the direction of the year’s first week.

2016-01-28 00:00:00 Travels in China: Nanning to Guiyang by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

While we’ve heard reports of falling real estate prices in some of the smaller (second- or third-tier) cities in China, we didn’t see widespread evidence of that; sales still seemed generally robust in the regions we toured.

2016-01-28 00:00:00 Kansas City Fed Survey: Moderate Declines in January, Composite Unchanged by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The latest index came remained at -9.0, which indicates declining activity. Here is a snapshot of the complete Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Survey. The three-month moving average, which helps us visualize trends, is at levels last seen in April.

2016-01-28 00:00:00 Saved by the Bell by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

“Saved by the Bell” except in this case we are not referring to the late-1980s TV sitcom that focused on a group of high school teens and their principal, but last Wednesday’s closing bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The day began well enough with the preopening S&P futures only off about 9 points when I slid into my trading turret around 5:30 a.m. From there, however, things got pretty ugly as the D-J Industrial Average (INDU/16093.51) went into a minicrash that would see the senior index shed some 567 points and in the process break below its August 25, 2015 clo

2016-01-28 00:00:00 The (Expected) Market Impact of the 2016 Election by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

According to Russ, the outcome of the presidential election will matter for markets and investors, although perhaps not in the way many anticipate.

2016-01-28 00:00:00 Why It Pays to Keep an Eye on the Credit Cycle by Ashish Shah, Gershon Distenfeld of AllianceBernstein

Market sell-offs can be unsettling. But it’s important to keep them in perspective. The recent downturn in some credit markets is normal, given where we are in the credit cycle. It’s not evidence of a bursting bubble.

2016-01-28 00:00:00 The Return of the Currency Crash by Carmen Reinhart of Project Syndicate

Excluding the mayhem associated with the global financial crisis of late 2008 and early 2009, currency crashes were few and far between from 2004 to 2014. But recent developments suggest that the dearth of currency crashes during that decade may be remembered as the exception that proves the rule.

2016-01-28 00:00:00 In Search of Growth Strategies by Michael Spence of Project Syndicate

Restoring growth to the global economy will require the removal of obstacles to investment, efforts to fix dysfunctional labor markets, and measures to counteract rising inequality. But, with few exceptions, such comprehensive growth strategies have been missing.

2016-01-28 00:00:00 2016: The Year of the Foolish Critic by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

An effective strategy for judging stock market psychology comes from looking to see which outstanding stock pickers are being singled out for criticism. This happens when they underperform the S&P 500 Index and are invested in out-of-favor parts of the stock market. This also happens when the stock market is limiting its favor to a narrow group of futuristic companies and the historically smart stock picker is not willing to bend their will to the current trend.

2016-01-28 00:00:00 Oil Stocks: Is Bad News Signaling Good Opportunities? by Kevin Holt of Invesco Blog

As a deep value manager with a long time horizon, I often see opportunities in the midst of gloomy headlines. While crude oil hit a new 12-year low of around $26 a barrel in January, I view this sector as one of my top long-term opportunities.

2016-01-28 00:00:00 Bearish Tendencies (and silver linings) by Team of Pinnacle Advisory Group

2015 had many twists and turns, but from a financial market perspective, it was effectively a road to nowhere when looking across a variety of asset classes. In U.S. equity markets, large company stocks (large cap) barely moved as just a few sectors and stocks were big winners. In the broad market, many stocks performed far worse than the large cap averages and gave investors the false impression that the market was generally flat.

2016-01-28 00:00:00 A Market Correction Isn't Unusual…Look for Growth Later This Year by Vern Sumnicht of iSectors

As we saw at the close of last week’s market and really the entire first half of January, 2016 has had a difficult beginning. There are a number of market concerns that have resulted in a correction in the first half of January and they revolve around.

2016-01-28 00:00:00 Peak Profits by Chris Brightman, Jonathan Treussard, Mark Clements of Research Affiliates

After recovering from the commodity-induced profits recession, aggregate market EPS should advance in the decades ahead much more slowly than the unsustainably rapid rate of the past 25 years.

2016-01-28 00:00:00 As Goes January...Revisited by Peter Nielsen of Saturna Capital

Oh, market volatility — your foul stench is particularly rancid in the dark of winter, when the taxman begins his rounds and rebalancing fills investors' minds.

2016-01-28 00:00:00 FOMC FAQS: Making a Statement by John Canally of LPL Financial

The Fed holds its first FOMC meeting of 2016 this Tuesday and Wednesday, January 26–27, 2016. Without a press conference or a new set of economic and fed funds projections, the Fed must rely on its statement to communicate a complicated message to fragile markets.

2016-01-28 00:00:00 NYSE Margin Debt Renews Its Decline by Doug Short (Article)

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

The NYSE margin debt data is a few weeks old when it is published. The latest debt level is down 2.4% month-over-month and 9.0% off its real (inflation-adjusted) record high set in April 2015. The pattern in recent months is beginning to resemble what we saw following the market peaks in 2000 and 2007.

2016-01-27 00:00:00 New Home Sales Surprise Expectations by Jill Mislinski (Article)

This morning's release of the December New Home Sales from the Census Bureau at 544K surprised general expectations, and the previous month was revised upward by 1K. The MoM increase was 10.8%. The forecast was for 500K.

2016-01-27 00:00:00 Henderson's US Growth Opportunities Fund Celebrates Its 1-Year Anniversary by (Article)

In this latest video update, Michelle Picard, CFA, Portfolio Manager, recaps the US Growth Opportunities Fund’s one-year track record and provides an update on the Fund’s current positioning. Picard comments on the Fund’s top quartile performance and ranking in the 15th percentile* in the Morningstar Large Growth category. She explains why she feels the Fund is well positioned in an environment of rising US interest rates and slower global growth.

2016-01-27 00:00:00 The Challenges Facing Emerging Markets Debt by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

Emerging markets debt (EMD) valuations have cheapened in recent weeks, as weaker Chinese economic data and lower oil prices pushed prices lower and yield spreads higher. The average yield spread closed at 4.6% on Friday, January 15, 2016, essentially matching the post-recession peak of August 2015; and the average yield to maturity rose to 6.25%, the highest since mid-2011 and the height of European debt fears.

2016-01-27 00:00:00 Verbal Intervention From Draghi by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

A better week. In markets that are directional and emotional, few large buyers stepped up. But we heard from Mario Draghi at the ECB that policies would be “reviewed and reconsidered”. Admittedly, the Fed is in a blackout period before its first meeting since it raised rates. So the news from the ECB was welcome and stocks rallied.

2016-01-27 00:00:00 Opportunities in the Evolving Non-Agency Mortgage Backed Security Market by Jason Callan of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

The non-agency MBS market has evolved over the past few years with new sectors offering attractive investment opportunities. Non-agency MBS have attractive fundamentals as consumers benefit from a stronger dollar and lower energy prices. Flexible strategies with disciplined credit selection can help take advantage of the evolving non-agency RMBS investment landscape.

2016-01-27 00:00:00 Markets Recover (for Now) as Investors Remain Wary by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Equities remained volatile last week as the S&P 500 Index gained 1.4% following two weeks of sharp declines. The rebound didn’t appear to be driven by any fundamental shifts, although rising oil prices and expectations of additional policy support from the European Central Bank and Bank of Japan helped. In some ways, last week’s bounce may have been due to a reaction from oversold conditions, and we are not seeing technical signs that would suggest these gains will have sustained traction. Investors remain skeptical and seem to be looking for the next crisis.

2016-01-27 00:00:00 International Equity Commentary: December 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

International equity prices saw a modest correction in December as the U.S. Federal Reserve announced its first rate hike in several years and indicated further increases in 2016. U.S. economic growth for the third quarter was revised higher and the strong labor market gains suggested that the expansion could continue.

2016-01-27 00:00:00 Economic Strength: Looking at The Long Haul by Will Nasgovitz of Heartland Advisors

Heavy selling has the market pointing to a tough times ahead, but a look at one economic indicator paints a less dour picture.

2016-01-27 00:00:00 3 Charts All Investors Should See by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Worried there's a bear market ahead? You'll want to pay attention to these three charts. Russ Koesterich explains.

2016-01-27 00:00:00 Buckle Up by Byron Wien of Blackstone

My list of Ten Surprises for 2016 has a gloomy tone. I generally think of myself as an optimist, but some concepts that I have been brooding about for a while seem to be converging. I have been worrying about the impact of China’s slowdown on the rest of the world, the ramifications of the refugee crisis on the stability of Europe, the peaking of profit margins in the United States, the surfeit of goods around the world coupled with insufficient demand, the dependence of developed economies on central bank monetary easing for growth, the accumulation of public and private debt...

2016-01-27 00:00:00 Multiple Worries Continue To Hammer The Stock Markets by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The major US stock markets have turned in their worst January performance in history, as have many equity markets around the world – and the month is not over yet. As a result, we’ll keep our focus on what is driving this extremely volatile move.

2016-01-27 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: A Dovish Tilt from the Fed? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

Stocks managed a mid-day rebound from a 566-point decline in the DJIA. Among the suggested reasons was more help from central bankers. With a light economic calendar, I expect Fed speculation to compete with earnings in the week ahead. Everyone will be wondering: Will the Fed signal a dovish tilt?

2016-01-27 00:00:00 China’s Bumpy New Normal by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

Too often, the debate about China’s economy has been dominated by naive proposals for supply-side reform and criticism of the demand-side measures adopted after the 2008 global financial crisis. But, while those measures were far from perfect, they were far better than nothing – a lesson that remains relevant today.

2016-01-27 00:00:00 Italy's Banking Crisis by Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

On January 1, the EU implemented a new bank restructuring directive. The new and stricter rules are aimed at forcing private stock, bond and deposit holders to accept losses before public funds would be used in a bank restructuring. Although all EU countries are affected, Italy remains of particular concern due to the number of distressed loans in the country. This week, we look at the overall health of Italy’s banking system as well as its nonperforming loan problem.

2016-01-27 00:00:00 To Quote Aaron Rodgers -- R-E-L-A-X by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

Yes, Q4-20015 real GDP growth likely slowed to a crawl. Yes, the stock market has taken it on the chin in recent weeks. Yes, credit-quality yield spreads have been trending higher since mid-year 2015. Yes, commodity prices have cratered. Is it time to panic about an impending U.S. economic recession?

2016-01-26 00:00:00 Consumer Confidence Improved in January by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The latest Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index was released this morning based on data collected through January 14. The headline number of 98.1, was an increase from the December final reading of 96.3, which is an upward revision from 92.6. Today's number was above the forecast of 96.5.

2016-01-26 00:00:00 Home Prices Rose 4.8% Year-over-Year in November by Jill Mislinski (Article)

With today's release of the November S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price we learned that seasonally adjusted home prices for the benchmark 20-city index were up month over month at 0.9%. The seasonally adjusted year-over-year change has hovered between 4.6% and 5.5% for the last twelve months.

2016-01-26 00:00:00 FHFA House Price Index Up 0.5% in November, New Nominal Peak by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has released the U.S. House Price Index (HPI) for the most recent month. U.S. house prices rose in November, up 0.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous month and is at its nominal peak. Year-over-year the index is up 5.9% (nonseasonally adjusted). had forecast a 0.4 percent MoM increase.

2016-01-26 00:00:00 The Best Question to Engage Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

Explicitly asking about the value you provide won’t advance your relationship with most clients – but an alternate question will.

2016-01-26 00:00:00 Why Most Equity Mutual Funds Underperform and How to Identify Those that Outperform by C. Thomas Howard, PhD (Article)

The real culprit for the underperformance of actively managed funds is the structural decisions made by fund companies: asset bloat, closet indexing and over-diversification. These structural inefficiencies can be measured and ranked using a methodology dubbed the Portfolio Drag index. Once understood, it is fairly straightforward to avoid high portfolio-drag funds and reap the value add of skill.

2016-01-26 00:00:00 Exit, Voice, and Loyalty by Adam Jared Apt (Article)

There are some activists who object to the belief that investing entails merely interpreting the economy; their point is to change it. The activists seem, at first glance, to have nothing in common with traditional investors, and to inhabit a separate conceptual world. What follows is an in-depth look at socially responsible investing.

2016-01-26 00:00:00 Getting Centers-of-Influence to Refer by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

This year in particular, with the markets underperforming, accountants and attorneys must have clients who need a second pair of eyes on their portfolios. We would be willing to do reviews at no charge and make recommendations. Why aren’t we seeing referrals from these firms?

2016-01-26 00:00:00 The Research on Crisis Counseling for Panicked Clients by Dan Solin (Article)

Advisors want their clients to know that they care about them and are ready to assist by answering their questions and calming their anxiety. Since this is an important part of maintaining any client relationship, it is prudent to do the research and find the most effective approach.

2016-01-26 00:00:00 Nine Tips for Organizing Your Inbox by Crystal Butler (Article)

I am a sucker for productivity hacks and organizational aids. Nothing is worse than returning from a long weekend or a vacation to find an inbox full of 1,583 emails. Here are nine tips to help you through not only the “out of the office” scenario, but the daily chaos as well.

2016-01-26 00:00:00 Finding Bargains After the Selloff by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses the recent selloff, which means some bargains are emerging.

2016-01-26 00:00:00 China Walks an FX Tightrope by Hayden Briscoe, Anthony Chan of AllianceBernstein

The liberalization of China’s currency and capital account is under threat as the renminbi (RMB) falls, capital outflows intensify and foreign reserves dwindle. Will the country forge ahead with its reforms or pause to allow the market to settle down? Both, in our view, have their pros and cons.

2016-01-26 00:00:00 Municipal Bonds: Staying Calm in Turbulent Markets by Team of Lord Abbett

Municipal bonds continue to defy market volatility, offering an oasis of tranquility for investors. Here’s why.

2016-01-26 00:00:00 Why You Should Question “Buy And Hold” Advice by Lance Roberts of Real Investment Advice

I recently received an email from an individual that contained the following bit of portfolio advice from a major financial institution: “Despite the tumble to begin this year, investors should not panic. Over the long-term course of the markets, investors who have remained patient have been rewarded. Since 1900, the average return to investors has been almost 10% annually…our advice is to remain invested, avoid making drastic movements in your portfolio, and ignore the volatility.”

2016-01-26 00:00:00 Will the Tail Wag the Dog? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Global economic conditions do not appear to be severe enough to justify this year’s adverse market action. However, the adverse market action may pose a risk to the global economic outlook. While the global financial system may currently seem a bit unstable, it’s unlikely that fear will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. At least, that’s the hope.

2016-01-26 00:00:00 Q4: Sluggish Growth, No Recession by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

The recent turmoil in the equity markets would make more sense if the US economy were headed for recession. But the economic data aren’t cooperating.

2016-01-26 00:00:00 Clueless in Davos by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Making their annual pilgrimage to the exclusive Swiss ski sanctuary of Davos last week, the world's political and financial elite once again gathered without having had the slightest idea of what was going on in the outside world. It appears that few of the attendees, if any, had any advance warning that 2016 would dawn with a global financial meltdown.

2016-01-26 00:00:00 False Alarm on China by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

The prospect of an economic meltdown in China seems to be rattling global financial markets at the start of 2016. Yet such fears are overblown, pumped up by a growing misalignment between China’s encouraging progress on structural adjustment in its real economy and disappointing performance on market-based financial-sector reforms.

2016-01-26 00:00:00 Second Set of Updates at Crestmont Research by Doug Short (Article)

Note from dshort: My friend Ed Easterling, whose Crestmont Research P/E valuation is a regular feature on this website, has published a collection of periodic updates to his ongoing analysis. The commentary below is based on his latest distribution email to subscribers.

2016-01-26 00:00:00 Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Grew Modestly in January by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Today the Richmond Fed Manufacturing Composite Index dropped 4 points to 2 from last month's 6. had forecast a decrease to 3. Because of the highly volatile nature of this index, we include a 3-month moving average to facilitate the identification of trends, now at 1.7, indicating expansion.

2016-01-25 00:00:00 Bear Market Confirmed? by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Back in September I wrote a post titled Bear Market Coming? Bear Market Here? in which I talked about taking defensive action in the face of what might have been the start of the next bear market. As of now the S&P 500 is down about 11% since a high hit in May, a little better than that factoring in the dividends.

2016-01-25 00:00:00 Window on Main Street by John Canally of LPL Financial

During periods of economic volatility, investors sometimes abandon the tools for evaluating markets and the economy that had been serving them well before the volatility started. Good tools, however, should continue to provide insight, which is why we are turning, once again, to the latest Beige Book from the Federal Reserve (Fed) as we gauge the health of the broad U.S. economy as 2015 ended and 2016 began.

2016-01-25 00:00:00 Peak Gold and Silver - It’s Here! by Stefan Gleason of Money Metals Exchange

Have we reached peak precious metals? Many analysts think so. Just to be clear, however, the idea of peak gold and peak silver doesn't refer to a peak prices. The precious metals put in a cyclical price high in 2011. But annual mining production levels may have peaked in 2014-2015. This is what is meant by “peak precious metals."

2016-01-25 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Equities fell to their August/September lows this week and then reversed higher. A retest of the low would be normal, something to keep in mind in the event of an uncorrected rise from here. Any number of breadth and sentiment indicators strongly suggest that prices should rise further in the weeks ahead. The risk comes from oil prices, which remain too volatile to predict and which have been highly correlated to equities for several weeks.

2016-01-25 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review: Downside Risks Increase, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The IMF lowered its global forecast for 2016 and 2017. While they project growth for the US, EU and Japan, the rest of the world will experience weaker prospects.

2016-01-25 00:00:00 US Bond Market Week in Review: A Detailed Look at the Long-Leading, Leading and Coincident Indicator by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

2016 certainly opened with a bang. It started with a massive sell-off in the Chinese market that sent ripples throughout the world. Oil and other commodities continued to plumb new lows. Treasury yields dropped and volatility increased. The combined impact of these events led to an increase in bearish calls for the US economy, which is bolstered by the drop in the Atlanta Fed’s GDP Now and Moody’s High Frequency GDP models. In this article, I’ll take a look at the long-leading, leading and coincident indicators, which will show some weakness exists.

2016-01-25 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review: Where's the Next Big Trade Idea? Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The market started the year with quite a bang, selling off to a degree not predicted by any event that occurred at the end of 2015. The ensuing sell-off has not only caused a fair amount of stress among investors, but also analysts who are struggling to explain what exactly is happening. To that end, I will argue we are seeing two events: an unwinding of the major post-recession trades followed by the markets attempting to find “the new trade.” Most importantly, current turmoil is the result of the inability to find new investment thesis.

2016-01-25 00:00:00 Annus Horribilis for MLPs by David Chiaro of Eagle Global Advisors

Despite the returns seen recently for MLPs generally, we are very optimistic about the outlook for MLPs in the long-run. Bottom line, we see the demand for midstream services to continue to expand. While we expect the volumes of oil will decline in the coming quarters, we expect the volumes of gas to be produced will still increase. And while oil is in oversupply for the current time, strong demand growth is being spurred by lower prices.

2016-01-25 00:00:00 Reduce Drag on Performance through Tax Managed Indexing by Rey Santodomingo of Parametric

Tax changes in recent years have hit high-income earners, including investment income. These include an additional Medicare surtax, a new top rate for dividends and long-term capital gains, and the phase out of itemized deductions for affluent taxpayers. It’s increasingly important for advisors to help clients identify strategies to help them invest more tax efficiently.

2016-01-25 00:00:00 Wicked Skew: When Extreme Losses are Standard Outcomes by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

With extreme valuations coupled with uniformly unfavorable market internals, the market return/risk classification we identify here could not be more hostile. In particular, relief rallies under current conditions tend to be truncated by wicked losses. My use of such strong words here is not hyperbole; it’s a reflection of the skewed return/risk profile that has historically been associated with market conditions similar to those we observe at present.

2016-01-25 00:00:00 Reacting To Volatility by (Article)

Long-term CEF investors may face a volatile market in 2016, says Mike Taggart of Nuveen Investments, who sees potential opportunity in taxable fixed-income funds.

2016-01-25 00:00:00 How Airlines Are Spending Their Record Profits by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

How did you spend your $700? That’s how much the average American driver saved at the pump in 2015, according to a report from J.P. Morgan Chase. The bank also found that the savings fueled consumer spending on non-gas related purchases, which, based on credit and debit card transactions, were higher than previously thought. For every dollar saved, Americans spent roughly $0.80 on other things—restaurant visits, appliances, new gadgets and more.

2016-01-25 00:00:00 Can The Yen Buck The Stronger Dollar Trend? by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

The dollar keeps on chugging along to higher and higher values. According to the nominal trade-weighted USD index (major currencies), the dollar has gained 1.4% since the Fed raised rates on 12/16/2015. While not a major move, it’s large enough to increase the nominal trade-weighted USD index to a level it hasn’t reached since 2003. The real trade-weighted USD index moved slightly higher in December as well and is now its highest level since November 2002.

2016-01-25 00:00:00 New Year, More Volatility—What Can Investors Do? by Martin Atkin, Dianne Lob, Alison Martier of AllianceBernstein

The calendar has changed to 2016, but the volatility story remains. The key concern: weaker global growth and its possible ripple effects, including low oil prices for an extended period. How should investors approach this challenge?

2016-01-25 00:00:00 How Can You Avoid Value Traps In this Market? by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

When the stock market turns bad, like it has been recently, investors find it extremely difficult to remain positive. As a result, people tend to be more cynical during bad times than they would normally be during better times. When this happens, it becomes all too easy to paint every stock in the stock market with the same negative brush. Since most stocks will, temporarily at least, experience falling prices during a bad market, the distinction between good stocks and bad stocks can become blurred.

2016-01-25 00:00:00 Capital Flows into Insurance: Are We at a Tipping Point? by Krishna Mohanraj of Diamond Hill Capital Management, Inc.

A sudden rush of small, related moves within an industry could signal something bigger: an imminent tipping point, perhaps with large impacts. Recent capital flows into the property and casualty (P&C) insurance industry appear to show signs of one such shift.

2016-01-25 00:00:00 The First Eagle Portfolio Management Team on the Trends Driving Global Opportunities by Robert Huebscher (Article)

First Eagle’s Global Fund (SGENX) is its flagship fund, with over $45 billion in assets. Since inception (1/1/79), it has returned 13.35% annually, versus 9.50% for the MSCI world index. Over the last 15 years, it has been in the top 2% of its peer group. I recently spoke with its managers about the global trends driving opportunities for their fund.

2016-01-25 00:00:00 Lifting Sanctions on Iran a Mixed Bag by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

From a financial perspective, the New Year has been anything but happy. As of January 20th, the S&P had fallen over 9% since the beginning of the year, to levels not seen since 2014,reflecting a loss of some $2 trillion in market value. Compounding matters was the 30% collapse in oil prices, which brought crude down to the lowest levels in 13 years. The New Year has also seen further evidence of recession in the U.S., which has appeared in a string of bad manufacturing service sector data.

2016-01-25 00:00:00 Buckle Up: More Volatility Ahead by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Investors enter the final week of January wondering if they should sit out the rest of 2016. US Investment Strategist Kristina Hooper cautions against such short-term thinking and reminds investors to keep their eyes on long-term goals.

2016-01-25 00:00:00 New Year, A New Start for EM? Not Exactly by Charles Wilson of Thornburg Investment Management

Emerging markets have tripped out of the gate in 2016, tangled in some of the same concerns that dragged down performance last year. But valuations have now become even more attractive.

2016-01-25 00:00:00 Dallas Fed Manufacturing Outlook: Weakening Business Conditions by Jill Mislinski (Article)

This morning we got the most recent Dallas Fed Manufacturing Outlook. The latest index came in at -34.6, a 13 point decrease from last month's revised -21.6. Annual revisions were made. The forecast was for a reading of -15.0.

2016-01-24 00:00:00 China’s Year of the Monkees by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

China isn’t the only reason markets got off to a terrible start this month, but it is definitely a big factor (at least psychologically). Between impractical circuit breakers, weaker economic data, stronger capital controls, and renewed currency confusion, China has investors everywhere scratching their heads.

2016-01-23 00:00:00 Understanding the CFNAI Components by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The Chicago Fed's National Activity Index, which we reported on yesterday, 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

2016-01-22 00:00:00 Vehicle Miles Traveled: A 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 November.

"Travel on all roads and streets changed by 4.3% (10.4 billion vehicle miles) for November 2015 as compared with November 2014." The less volatile 12-month moving average was up 0.33% month-over-month and 3.6% 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 0.27% month-over-month and up 2.8% year-over-year.

2016-01-22 00:00:00 Chicago Fed: Economic Growth Below Average in December by Jill Mislinski (Article)

"Index shows economic growth below average in December": This is the headline for today's release of the Chicago Fed's National Activity Index.

2016-01-22 00:00:00 Gasoline Volume Sales and our Changing Culture by Doug Short (Article)

The Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA) monthly data on volume sales is several weeks old when it released. The latest numbers, through mid-November, 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.

2016-01-22 00:00:00 Shenzhen: A City on the Move by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Driving through Shenzhen, I could see how it has transformed since the first time I visited about 20 years ago. Where there were once rice fields, office and apartment buildings have sprung up—some of which are now among the tallest in China.

2016-01-22 00:00:00 Even As Defaults Rise, High Yield Should Stay Afloat by Gershon Distenfeld of AllianceBernstein

The plunge in commodity prices is bad for energy- and metals-sector high-yield bonds. But it’s positive for the majority of issuers. That’s why we expect only a modest rise in the average default rate in 2016.

2016-01-22 00:00:00 On January Barometers and Market Bargains by Templeton Global Equity Group of Franklin Templeton Investments

We are now witnessing historic extremes in the discount afforded to value relative to growth, quality and safety. While this environment has been (and may remain) painful for some time, the eventual normalization of these extremes represents the most compelling opportunities in equity markets today.

2016-01-22 00:00:00 Assassins, Hunters, and Rabbits . . . Oh My by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

It was a few weeks ago that I resurrected a line used in my September 10, 2001 missive from the movie Star Wars that read, “I felt a great disturbance in the force . . . as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.”

2016-01-22 00:00:00 Changes: Turn and Face the Strange (Market) by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The S&P 500 is down 8% since the year began, the worst two-week start to a year ever. There have only been five other years since 1928 when the index fell by more than 5% in the first 10 trading days of the year. As shown in the B.I.G. table below, looking back at the five worst yearly starts, the returns for the rest of January were mixed, while the rest of year returns were more positive (dramatically so in three cases). The only dud was during the financial crisis in 2008.

2016-01-22 00:00:00 The S&P 500 Just Erased 24 Months of Gains, but there is a Silver Lining by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

With 3 hours of trading left today the S&P 500 finds itself back at the same level it traded at two years ago and down about 15% from the May 2015 high. Scary as this sounds, with today’s action stocks will move further into oversold territory, which will increase the likelihood that this phase of the decline is behind us.

2016-01-22 00:00:00 Do Retirement and Investing Posts from 2015 Still Ring True? by Phill Rogerson of Russell Investments

Phill Rogerson takes a look back at blogs posts in 2015 to see what insights on retirement and investing may be helpful in 2016.

2016-01-22 00:00:00 Global Greying and Demographic Drags by Bruce Campbell of BMO Global Asset Management

The report examines the changing demographics of global workforces. The report notes that birth rates are dropping everywhere, workforce growth is dramatically slowing, and the median age is rising as people are living longer. BMO warns that the likely repercussions include inadequately funded pension and social security plans, strain on health care and retirement facilities, and uncertainty surrounding government budget forecasts due to slowing GDP growth.

2016-01-22 00:00:00 Market Macro Myths: Debts, Deficits, and Delusions by James Montier of GMO

In the context of the role that debts and deficits play in overall economic policy, in this paper I focus on the philosophy known as “sound finance,” which includes adherents who believe that governments should seek to balance their budgets. I, however, take a different view, and believe that the role of government when dealing with budget deficits should be one of “functional finance,” which ensures that the policies implemented help to reach the overarching goals of macroeconomic policy (generally held to be full employment and price stability).

2016-01-22 00:00:00 ETF Mechanics and Liquidity by Rob Parker of AdvisorShares

When a stock or a bond is traded, the traded price is the value of the security. This is due to the fact that stocks and bonds are non-derivative securities. Their value is driven solely by supply and demand at the moment of the trade. The supply of the security is fixed.

2016-01-22 00:00:00 Conference Board Leading Economic Index: Slight Decrease in December by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The Latest Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for December is now available. The index decreased 0.2 percent to 123.7 from November's revised 123.9. The latest indicator value came in below the -0.1 percent forecast by

2016-01-22 00:00:00 LWM Market Commentary by Jeremy Boynton of Laureate Wealth Management

The S&P 500 is down roughly 9% on the year currently. I thought it might be helpful to briefly review some of the causes for such a poor start to 2016.

2016-01-22 00:00:00 Global Currency Watch: The Chinese Renminbi by Rob Waldner of Invesco Blog

Volatility in China has been a major driver of global markets, and Chinese foreign exchange policy has been a critical aspect of this volatility. The recent depreciation of China’s currency, the renminbi (RMB), has increased the volatility of currency pairs across Asia and may affect markets across the world.

2016-01-22 00:00:00 A "Glass-Is-Half-Full" Perspective on the Outlook by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Growth during the current phase has been by far the weakest of the four long expansions the U.S. has enjoyed during the past 50 years. Employment gains have also lagged past precedents.

2016-01-22 00:00:00 Surviving Chinese Volatility by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

2016 is likely to be a year of volatility in China. This month’s Asia Insight explains how this volatility can create opportunities for investors, especially when dire headlines incorrectly assume that weak performance by outdated market indexes signal an economic hard landing.

2016-01-22 00:00:00 Looking for Answers by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

It can be difficult to stay calm during market declines, but reacting emotionally is rarely beneficial. Investors need to maintain discipline and keep long-term goals in mind. Risks have risen for the U.S. and global economy, but neither a domestic nor global recession appears to be on the imminent horizon. But oil likely needs to stabilize to stem some of the recent volatility. Stay calm, and don’t overreact to the short-term gyrations in the market.

2016-01-22 00:00:00 Comparisons to 2008 Spark Gold’s Fear Trade by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The comparisons to 2008 have triggered gold’s Fear Trade, with many investors scrambling into safe haven assets. Jeffrey Gundlach, the legendary “bond king,” recently made a call that amid further market turmoil, the metal could spike as much as 30 percent, to $1,400 an ounce.

2016-01-22 00:00:00 Existing-Home Sales Jumped in December by Jill Mislinski (Article)

This morning's release of the December Existing-Home Sales shows a jump from last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million units from 4.76 million in November. The consensus was for 5.20 million. The latest number represents a 14.7% increase from the previous month and a 7.7% increase year-over-year.

2016-01-22 00:00:00 The Four Totally Bad Bear Recoveries: Where Is Today's Market? 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.

2016-01-21 00:00:00 Hoisington Quarterly Review and Outlook – 4Q2015 by Van Hoisington, Lacy Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

The economy was supposed to fire on all cylinders in 2015. Sufficient time had passed for the often-mentioned lags in monetary and scal policy to finally work their way through the system according to many pundits inside and outside the Fed. Surely the economy would be kick-started by: three rounds of quantitative easing and forward guidance; a record Federal Reserve balance sheet; and an unprecedented increase in federal debt from $9.99 trillion in 2008 to $18.63 trillion in 2015, a jump of 86%.

2016-01-21 00:00:00 Colombia Shifts to Keep Its Balance Amid Slide in Oil Prices by Pablo Echavarria of Thornburg Investment Management

Accepting short-term fiscal and foreign exchange pain for long-term macroeconomic gains, which may compound with infrastructure investment and possibly peace dividends.

2016-01-21 00:00:00 Another Battle for Investment Survival by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

It has been over four decades since my discharge from the US Army. During the short time I spent in service to our country, I had the privilege of becoming friends with a number of battle hardened veterans. These were special people who had the ability to face fear, adjust plans and, most importantly, lead others when needed in hopes that all would survive.

2016-01-21 00:00:00 It Feels Worse than It Is by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

There comes a point in the market cycle where all news is good news. This lasts for a while. And then all news becomes bad news. Right now, it’s all bad news.

2016-01-21 00:00:00 Seeking Shelter from the Storm by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses the recent volatility and how investors should proceed going forward.

2016-01-21 00:00:00 The Confounding Bias for Investment Complexity by Jason Hsu, John West of Research Affiliates

Complexity can dampen investor understanding, leading to poor investment decision making and ultimately derailing long-term financial goals—yet the bias toward investment complexity persists, reinforced by explanations that are behavioral in nature.

2016-01-21 00:00:00 Managing Chinese Volatility by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

China’s economy continues to decelerate, but gradually and while generating a much bigger incremental expansion in GDP than a decade ago. The old economy is weak, but the consumer and services part—the biggest part of the economy—remains healthy. Recent volatility is likely to continue, as the economy becomes more market-oriented and regulators experiment with unfamiliar tools.

2016-01-21 00:00:00 Any Bulls Left? by Burt White of LPL Financial

The number of bulls is dwindling. In periods of extreme market volatility such as we have experienced in recent weeks—and Friday, January 15, 2016, in particular, when the Dow was down over 500 points at one point before paring losses—we find it helpful to try to take some of the emotion out of our investment decisions. As difficult as that can be at times, this approach can help us reduce the chances of selling at the bottom, even though the natural reaction for many is to panic and hit the sell button.

2016-01-21 00:00:00 Low Oil Prices Hammer Markets by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

Oil prices continue to fall and are bringing markets down with them. We talked about why oil prices are dropping last week, so today, let’s take a look at why markets are getting hammered—and whether that is likely to last.

2016-01-21 00:00:00 Advisors Need to Know How to Address Their Clients’ Market Concerns by Chuck Self of iSectors

Given the recent 10% stock market decline from the May 2015 highs, financial advisors are receiving calls and emails from concerned clients. If a client called me, my extended elevator speech would be...

2016-01-21 00:00:00 What’s Missing in the Debate About Thomas Piketty? by Hans-Jörg Naumer of Allianz Global Investors

Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century offered passing insights on economic inequality, but Hans-Jörg Naumer, Global Head of Capital Markets & Thematic Research for Allianz Global Investors, says a more lasting solution lies in the relationship between labor and capital.

2016-01-21 00:00:00 2016 Marks Worst New Year Start on Record for S&P 500 by Joe Becker, Adam Schenck, Jeff Greco of Milliman Financial Risk Management

Economic weakness and market turmoil in China along with the continued decline in the price of crude oil rattled global markets during the first 10 trading days of 2016.

2016-01-21 00:00:00 Philly Fed Manufacturing Index: Activity Contracts Modestly in January by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The latest Manufacturing Index came in at -3.5, up from last month's revised -10.2. The 3-month moving average came in at -6.5, up from a revised -7.3 last month. Since this is a diffusion index, negative readings indicate contraction, positive ones indicate expansion. The Six-Month Outlook was up at 19.1, versus the previous month's 24.1. Annual historical revisions were made to this index.

2016-01-21 00:00:00 Secular Trends in Residential Building Permits and Housing Starts by Jill Mislinski (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.

2016-01-20 00:00:00 The Big Four Economic Indicators: December Real Retail Sales by Doug Short (Article)

Nominal Retail Sales in December declined 0.11% (rounded to -0.1%). Real Retail Sales, calculated with the seasonally adjusted Consumer Price Index, came in at 0.0% month-over-month (rounded from 0.001%). The chart below gives us a close look at the monthly data points in this series since the end of the last recession in mid-2009. The linear regression helps us identify variance from the trend.

2016-01-20 00:00:00 Inflation: A Six-Month X-Ray View by Jill Mislinski (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.

2016-01-20 00:00:00 A Long Term Look at Inflation by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (CPI-U) released this morning puts the year-over-year inflation rate at 0.73%. It is substantially below the 3.80% average since the end of the Second World War and its 10-year moving average, now at 1.97%.

2016-01-20 00:00:00 What Does the Market Know? by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital Management

In Thursday’s memo, “On the Couch,” I mentioned the two questions I’d been getting most often: “What are the implications for the U.S. and the rest of the world of China’s weakness, and are we moving toward a new crisis of the magnitude of what we saw in 2008?” Bloomberg invited me on the air Friday morning to discuss the memo, and the anchors mostly asked one version or another of a third question: “does the market’s decline worry you?” That prompted this memo in response.

2016-01-20 00:00:00 Charts Indicating Economic Weakness by Ted Kavadas of RevSD

Throughout this site there are many charts of economic indicators. At this time, the readings of these various indicators are especially notable. While many are indicating economic growth, others depict (or imply) various degrees of economic weakness.

2016-01-20 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review: China Sneezed and We All Caught A Cold, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

What’s behind the Chinese sell-off? It’s partly due to an expensive market. But equity markets are leading economic indicators, meaning a connection exists between the overall Chinese slowdown and its equity market.

2016-01-20 00:00:00 One Weird Trick to Forecast Commodity Trends by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

If you want to know about the past, a good place to start is by looking at GDP. It tells you the dollar value of a country or region’s goods and services over a specific time period. But GDP’s like looking in the rearview mirror, in that it shows you where you’ve been and little more. It’s “blind” to what’s ahead of you.

2016-01-20 00:00:00 A Year of Transition for Financial Assets by Jeffrey Knight of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

The rocky start to the year corroborates our belief that 2015 marked a transition in the investment environment. We expect low returns and high volatility to continue in 2016. Two factors that help explain market outcomes in 2015 remain relevant in 2016: 1) financial assets aren’t cheap and 2) Fed tightening eliminates one of the greatest tailwinds for financial markets. Even in this new and challenging environment, we strongly believe that positive returns are achievable with the appropriate investment strategy. Active strategies deserve higher prominence.

2016-01-20 00:00:00 Commit to a Great Communication Strategy in 2016 by Patty Quinn McAuley of Clark Capital Management Group

Our industry is suffering from a communications crisis. In fact, a wealth of industry statistics cite poor communication as a top reason clients fire their financial advisor. Too often, our clients just don’t understand what we’re saying. Here are three tips for ensuring clients understand the messages you’re trying to convey.

2016-01-20 00:00:00 Central Planners Freaking Out about Discussion of Gold’s Role by Clint Siegner of Money Metals Exchange

Sound money issues make for good politics these days. The leading Republican candidates have all suggested reforms to our monetary system. The topic is popping up in debates as well as interviews. Predictably, Fed worshippers and proponents of central planning everywhere are snickering and trotting out the usual responses.

2016-01-20 00:00:00 December Consumer Price Index: Up Slightly from November by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the December CPI data this morning. The year-over-year unadjusted Headline CPI came in at 0.73%, up from 0.50% the previous month. Year-over-year Core CPI (ex Food and Energy) came in at 2.10% (rounded to 2.1%), little changed from the previous month's 2.02% (rounded to 2.0%).

2016-01-20 00:00:00 Fear is Overbought by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

The stock market is not the economy, and the economy is not the stock market. Nonetheless, many are convinced that the market correction of the past few weeks is a certain sign of impending recession. Never mind that China just reported 6.9% real GDP growth. Never mind that a barrel of oil costs less than $30, which means consumers are saving hundreds of billions of dollars per year on top of what the drop in natural gas prices has saved them.

2016-01-20 00:00:00 The Sharp Equity Sell-Off Continues as Sentiment Sours by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Equity markets remained in free fall last week, with the S&P 500 Index dropping another 2.2%. Mixed economic data, a renewed collapse in oil prices, financial turmoil in China and worries over credit conditions and corporate earnings prompted fears that the U.S. economy may be heading for recession. This put additional downward pressure on equity markets and other risk assets.

2016-01-20 00:00:00 It’s Time to Reevaluate Risk in Your Portfolio by Don Schreiber of WBI Investments

In response to the 2008 Financial Crisis, governments around the world led by the U.S. Federal Reserve adopted zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) and quantitative easing (QE) monetary policy tools to try to stabilize the financial system.

2016-01-20 00:00:00 On My Radar: A Cyclical Bear Market (Here’s Why) by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group, Inc.

The speed at which stocks have dropped 10% (defined as a correction) two times in a short period of time has happened just three times in the last 100 years. 1927, 2000 and 2008.

2016-01-20 00:00:00 Why the “Worst Year” Might Be a Good Time to Invest by Team of Lord Abbett

Investors who had a hard time finding returns in 2015 might do well to heed the lessons of two other challenging years—1937 and 1987.

2016-01-20 00:00:00 Quarterly Letter by Ron Muhlenkamp, Jeff Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Company

In the fourth quarter, the S&P 500 Index was up a bit over 7% and up 1.38% for the year. Our accounts, on average, were up 3.52% in the quarter and down 5.03% for the year. (Individual performance varies by account.) The gains for the broader Index in the quarter were mostly made by a small number of large capitalization tech stocks, Facebook, Amazon, Netfl ix, Google, and Microsoft among them.

2016-01-20 00:00:00 Stocks Plunge Most On Record Last Week, Oil Down 10% by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

In the first week of 2016, US stocks plunged by more than in any other first week of January since records have been kept (before 1900). The Dow Jones Industrial Index fell over 1,000 points from 17,591 at the close on December 31 to 16,519 at the close last Friday – a loss of over 6% in one week.

2016-01-20 00:00:00 What Inflation Means to You: Inside the Consumer Price Index by Jill Mislinski (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.

2016-01-20 00:00:00 New Residential Housing Starts in December Come in a Bit Shy of Forecast by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have now published their findings for December new residential housing starts. The latest reading of 1.149M was below the forecast of 1.200M.

2016-01-20 00:00:00 New Residential Building Permits: December Numbers Better Than Forecast by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have now published their findings for November new residential building permits. The latest reading of 1.232M was above the forecast of 1.200M.

2016-01-19 00:00:00 Venerated Voices™ 2015 Year-End Rankings by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Here are our Venerated Voices awards for commentaries published in 2015. Rankings were issued in three categories: by firm, by author and by commentary.

2016-01-19 00:00:00 Go Ahead – Hit the Hero Key! by Wendy Cook (Article)

When the markets are having a bad day (or a run of them), should you reach out to your clients right away or hold off until the outcome is clearer?

2016-01-19 00:00:00 Lessons from Billionaires Who’ve Gone Broke by Dan Richards (Article)

Some new Price Waterhouse Coopers research on billionaires who, over the last 20 years, failed to maintain their wealth provides valuable perspective on dealing with risk-prone clients.

2016-01-19 00:00:00 Why Talking to Prospects is Like Dating by Dan Solin (Article)

The dating analogy is the core of my coaching advice. On a first (and subsequent) date, your goal is to get to know the other person. Here’s what that translates to in an advisor-prospect relationship.

2016-01-19 00:00:00 Gundlach’s Forecast for 2016 by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Jeffrey Gundlach is a prescient and accurate forecaster. Last week, as he does each January, he offered his market outlook. But unlike prior years, when Gundlach typically offered high-conviction investment ideas, this year he said he would let market movements over the near-term dictate his outlook.

2016-01-19 00:00:00 Albert Edwards – Dollar Appreciation and a Global Recession by Robert Huebscher (Article)

As the equity markets have suffered their worst performance ever to start a year, we’ve heard the familiar refrain from the chorus of sell-side analysts: Don’t panic, the economy is fine and the markets will recover. Among the few who are warning that things could get worse – indeed, much worse – is Albert Edwards.

2016-01-19 00:00:00 How to Provide Career Development by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Less than 30% of our staff believe we do a good job in career development. We would like to take steps to address this issue, but we’re not sure where to start.

2016-01-19 00:00:00 An Imminent Likelihood of Recession by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Since October, the economic evidence has shifted from supporting a growing risk of recession, to a guarded expectation of recession, to the present conclusion that a U.S. recession is not only a risk but an imminent likelihood, awaiting confirmation that typically only emerges after a recession is actually in progress.

2016-01-19 00:00:00 What, Me Worry? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Recent economic data releases have been mixed. However, despite strong job figures, most have been on the soft side of expectations. Lower commodity prices are tough for producers of raw materials, but beneficial to the buyers of those materials. However, the bigger concern is why commodity prices are falling. Many view the drop in oil prices as signaling a more pronounced global slowdown and fear that the U.S. domestic economy may not be robust enough to escape that. The anecdotal data from the manufacturing sector is much worse than is suggested by the hard economic data reports.

2016-01-19 00:00:00 Simplify Your Research Process and K.I.S.S. Your Worries Goodbye by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Most everything I write about is based on my belief in value investing as a sound, prudent and profitable long-term investing strategy. At its core, value investing relates to getting value on your money with investing just as it would to getting value for anything you would purchase. I feel safe in saying that no one wants to pay more than they should for anything that they purchase. This would apply to the basic necessities of food, clothing and shelter, and everything else that we would want to buy. Consequently, I don’t think it should be any different when we are buying stocks.

2016-01-19 00:00:00 Pricing Power Adds Pep to Equities by Mark Phelps, Dev Chakrabarti of AllianceBernstein

It’s hard to find companies that can reliably increase earnings while global economic growth remains subdued. In this environment, pricing power can help investors identify companies that are capable of delivering sustainable growth.

2016-01-19 00:00:00 Newsletter - Volume 9, No. 1 - January 2016 by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz / Foldes Financial Wealth Management

A belated Happy and Healthy New Year! Now for this NewsLetter’s musings…

2016-01-19 00:00:00 CEF Market View by (Article)

Get ready for a bouncy ride. Volatility in the CEF market may continue in 2016, says senior analyst Cara Esser of Morningstar.

2016-01-19 00:00:00 Global Economic Perspective: January by Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group of Franklin Templeton Investments

Though the rest of the world may not be doing as well as the United States, we think global growth remains acceptable and do not anticipate a global recession or global deflation.

2016-01-19 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Can Earnings Season Provide a Floor for Stocks? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

Stocks continued the worst start in history. With little sign of dip-buying and the start of earnings season, everyone will be wondering: Can earnings reports provide a floor for stocks?

2016-01-19 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

US equites have dropped some 10% in the past two weeks, returning to their August/September lows. This has triggered a bearish technical pattern. Is the stock market signaling a recession and the start of a bear market? Risk has clearly increased, but on balance, the evidence suggests the answer remains no.

2016-01-19 00:00:00 Economists on the Refugee Path by Robert Shiller of Project Syndicate

Under today’s haphazard and archaic asylum rules, refugees must take enormous risks to reach safety, and the costs and benefits of helping them are distributed capriciously. Economists can help spur reform by testing which international rules and institutions are needed to improve an inefficient and often inhumane system.

2016-01-19 00:00:00 Tactical Alpha: Theory & Practice (Pt. I) – Fundamental Law of Active Management by Adam Butler of ReSolve Asset Management

For the overwhelming majority of investors, portfolios are broadly organized into strategic silos of stocks and bonds, such as the ubiquitous 60/40 balanced portfolio. By design, the strategic proportions of stocks and bonds in the portfolio change very little over time. However, within each silo investors take active risk by choosing to hold individual stocks and bonds in weights that deviate substantially from passive market-cap weights.

2016-01-19 00:00:00 Chuck Royce & Francis Gannon: Small-Cap Review and Outlook by (Article)

CEO Chuck Royce and Co-CIO Francis Gannon reflect on 2015 and discuss the importance of the market’s gradual return to a normal range of returns, the uneventful Fed rate increase, the impact of widening credit spreads, and the role of active management.

2016-01-19 00:00:00 NAHB Housing Market Index: Unchanged in January 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.

2016-01-17 00:00:00 2016: Surprises & Scenarios by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Today we’ll look at 2016 forecasts from some professionals I trust. I know most of them personally and have been friends with some of them for years. I know they aren’t just “talking their book.” They may turn out to be wrong, but if so, it will be for the right reasons. After we review the forecasts, we’ll look at some common threads among them, as well as important differences.

2016-01-16 00:00:00 On the Couch by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital Management

I woke up early on Saturday, December 12 – the morning after a day of significant declines in stocks, credit and crude oil – with enough thoughts going through my mind to keep me from going back to sleep. Thus I moved to my desk to start a memo that would pull them together. I knew it might be a long time between inception and eventual issuance, since every time I dealt with one thought, two more popped into my head. In the end, it took a month to get it done.

2016-01-16 00:00:00 One Weird Trick to Forecast Commodity Trends by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Several times in the past, we’ve shown that there’s a high correlation between the global PMI reading and the performance of commodities and energy three months later. When a PMI “cross-above” occurs—that is, when the monthly reading crosses above the three-month moving average—it has historically signaled a possible uptrend in crude oil, copper and other commodities. Our research shows that between January 1998 and June 2015, copper had an 81 percent probability of rising 7 percent, while crude jumped the same amount three-quarters of the time.

2016-01-16 00:00:00 Ill Winds from the Far East by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The new lunar year doesn't begin for another three weeks, but it can't come soon enough for China and its Asian neighbors.

2016-01-16 00:00:00 A Fork in the Road by Colin Moore of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

The arrival of disruptive innovation via new collective vehicles, pricing models, advice models and the unbundling of investment returns represents a fork in the road. Growth in demand for unbundled distribution and investments is being driven by generational preferences, technology and regulation. The future of the asset management industry belongs to those who are able to innovate and adapt.

2016-01-16 00:00:00 Market Plunges Deeper, but No Recession in Sight by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

I’ve written over the past couple of days that it's not time to panic, and I still believe that's true. But it appears there may be more short-term damage than I initially thought. Now, the question is, how much worse might it get, and what does that mean for us as investors?

2016-01-16 00:00:00 What We’re Thinking by Doug MacKay and Bill Hoover of Broadleaf Partners

China and energy are the risks and lower for longer is the most likely domestic growth path. No recession is our call. And we’ll sell when we need to, even when we don’t necessarily want to. Discipline is key in times like these.

2016-01-16 00:00:00 What is your Sell Discipline by Brandon H. VanLandingham of Perissos Private Wealth Management

When I ask this question, most don’t have anything to say except, “my advisor handles that.” Of course, my next question is, “so, what is your advisor’s sell discipline?” Once I explain the importance of having not only a buy discipline but also a sell discipline, they become intrigued. I will attempt to explain that to you here.

2016-01-16 00:00:00 Driving Mr. Andy by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

U.S. ride-sharing company Uber has big plans for China. Andy Rothman describes his personal experiences and reveals some Uber driver confessions.

2016-01-16 00:00:00 Market Overview Q415 by David Robertson, CFA of Arete Asset Management

Several economic trends are converging to meaningfully alter the investment landscape. This suggests it will require a great deal more effort from investors to stay on course.

2016-01-16 00:00:00 Global Economic Perspective by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

• US Fundamentals Look Strong Enough to Cope with Higher Rates • A Softer Growth Backdrop for Much of the Rest of the World • Europe’s Recovery Remains Modest but Inflation Still Weak

2016-01-15 00:00:00 The Big Four Economic Indicators: December Industrial Production Contracts Yet Again by Doug Short (Article)

Today's report on Industrial Production for December shows a month-over-month decline of 0.4 percent (0.36 percent to two decimal places), which was below the consensus of a 0.2 percent decline. The previous three months were revised downward. this indicator has posted a monthly decline for ten of the last twelve months and is down 1.75% year-over-year, a year-over-year level that is lower than at the start of all ten recessions since 1950.

2016-01-15 00:00:00 5 Good and 5 Bad Scenarios for 2016 by Neil Dwane of Allianz Global Investors

Peering into the future, Neil Dwane, Global Strategist with Allianz Global Investors, looks at how 10 different scenarios—from a rehabilitated Russia to a global pandemic—could impact the global economy and move markets over the coming year.

2016-01-15 00:00:00 Stay the Course! Which One? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Each time I hear someone suggest investors should ‘stay the course’ as markets tank, I fear such well-intentioned advice fails to adequately capture the predicament investors are in. Worse, the ‘stay the course’ mantra may set many investors up for failure.

2016-01-15 00:00:00 ENVESTAT: 2015 Year-in-Review by (Article)

ENVESTAT is a series of regular reports that deliver powerful insights, trends, and predictions about investor behavior and advisory practices brought to you by Envestnet. In 2015, we examined the trends that we saw with advisory practice growth. Watch the video to see some of the highlights from our reports. Visit

2016-01-15 00:00:00 4Q 2015 Municipal Bond Commentary by Chris Ryon, Nick Venditti of Thornburg Investment Management

It finally happened. After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, the Federal Reserve moved the target on short-term interest rates up 25 basis points (0.25%) with indications of future rate increases to come. The market reaction? Unimpressed. All who predicted doom and gloom from an interest rate increase were quickly reminded that while the Fed has some power, the mechanics of supply and demand inevitably determine the value of interest rates.

2016-01-15 00:00:00 Producer Price Index: A Slight Decrease in December by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Today's release of the December Producer Price Index (PPI) for Final Demand came in at -0.2% month-over-month seasonally adjusted, down from 0.3% in November. It is down -1.0% year-over-year, the twelfth consecutive month of YoY shrinkage. Core Final Demand (less food and energy) came in at 0.1% MoM, down from 0.3% the previous month and is up 0.3% YoY. The forecasts were for -0.2% headline and 0.1% core.

2016-01-15 00:00:00 Empire State Manufacturing Disappoints Forecast, Declined at Fastest Pace Since Recession by Jill Mislinski (Article)

This morning we got the latest Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The diffusion index for General Business Conditions at -19.4 (-19.37 to two decimals) shows a significant decrease from last month's -6.21, which signals a faster decline in activity. The forecast was for a reading of -4.0.

2016-01-15 00:00:00 Retail Sales: December Numbers Are a Huge Disappointment by Doug Short (Article)

The Census Bureau's Advance Retail Sales Report released this morning shows that seasonally adjusted sales in December decreased 0.1% month-over-month and are up 2.2% year-over-year. Core Retail Sales (ex Autos) also declined 0.1% MoM and are up only 1.2% YoY. The forecasts were 0.1% for Headline and 0.2% for Core Sales.

2016-01-14 00:00:00 Japan: 5 Reasons to Be Optimistic Despite the Demographics by Julian Wellesley of Loomis Sayles

For many analysts, it’s difficult to be positive about Japan over the long-term given its demographic headwind. The old-age dependency ratio may rise by 70% by 2050. The government has forecast that the population may halve within 70 years. Despite Japan's demographic challenges, I see several significant bright spots which bode well for the future.

2016-01-14 00:00:00 Why Oil Prices Are Declining by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

Now that the equity markets seem to have stabilized a bit, let’s return to what underlies much of the current turmoil: the market for oil. The conversation usually centers on the price of oil, but the price is merely a symptom, not the cause.

2016-01-14 00:00:00 What Saudi-Iranian Tensions Mean for Oil Prices in 2016 by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

A prisoner's dilemma game of sorts between Saudi Arabia and Iran has big implications for oil prices in 2016. Russ and an investment strategist on his team, Terry Simpson, explain.

2016-01-14 00:00:00 A Tale of Two Economies by Carl Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

U.S. economic growth appears to have shifted to a lower gear in the final months of 2015. It has left many concerned about the well-being of the economy and raised questions about the Federal Reserve’s recent hike of the policy rate. In this context, it is important to note that the recent slowing reflects a lopsided development not a widespread deceleration of economic activity.

2016-01-14 00:00:00 Stocks Plunge Most On Record Last Week, Oil Down 10% by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

In the first week of 2016, US stocks plunged by more than in any other first week of January since records have been kept (before 1900). The Dow Jones Industrial Index fell over 1,000 points from 17,591 at the close on December 31 to 16,519 at the close last Friday – a loss of over 6% in one week.

2016-01-14 00:00:00 Technically Speaking: Managing A Trend Change by Lance Roberts of Real Investment Advice

In last weekend’s newsletter I discussed the ongoing topping process and the issuance of all three “sell signals,” which only occur at major market peaks.

2016-01-14 00:00:00 Economic Outlook January 2016 by John Calamos, Sr. of Calamos Investments

In 2015, we saw significant bifurcation between the haves and have-nots (within asset classes, across asset classes and among economies), as well as high volatility. We expect bifurcation and volatility to remain dominant themes in 2016, making positioning especially important. The year has gotten off to a rocky start, but we believe 2016 ultimately will prove to be a low-return environment. We expect elevated volatility as market participants grapple with a range of unknowns.

2016-01-14 00:00:00 Paper Gold: Utopia for Alchemists by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

An acute shortage of readily marketable physical gold is developing that we believe will deepen in years to come. This possibility seems to be unrecognized by those who are short the gold market through paper contracts. The relentless dumping of synthetic or paper gold contracts since 2011 by speculators in Western financial markets has caused the shortage. The steady selling has driven down the price of physical gold, hobbled the gold-mining industry, and drained the stores of gold held in the vaults of Western financial centers.

2016-01-14 00:00:00 China: A Rocky Start to a New (Old) Year by Matthew Peterson of LPL Financial

Once again, the precipitous decline in the value of the Chinese stock market has spilled over to the broader global financial markets. The value of the Shanghai Index declined almost 15% since the beginning of the year, or at least the beginning of our year. China’s social and economic life is geared around the lunar New Year, which will be celebrated on February 8, 2016. The New Year makes a big difference in China, both psychologically and in real economic activity.

2016-01-14 00:00:00 Four Reasons Why the Bond Market Is Not Headed Toward a Liquidity Crisis by Tony Wong of Invesco Blog

Liquidity in fixed income markets has become a major focus of concern inside and outside of the investing community. While the consensus view suggests that US bond markets have become more susceptible to serious shocks, Invesco Fixed Income believes there are four main factors that will help the US avoid a liquidity-induced systemic crisis.

2016-01-14 00:00:00 4 Financial Fitness Tips for 30-Somethings by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Just in time for New Year's Resolution season, Russ shares advice to help 30-somethings build strong and stable retirement plans.

2016-01-14 00:00:00 Rising Rates Won’t Hurt US Home Prices by Janaki Rao, Michael Canter of AllianceBernstein

The long-anticipated rate hike by the US Fed has intensified concerns that the move will be a drag on the ongoing housing recovery. We think that’s unlikely.

2016-01-14 00:00:00 Asset Allocation 2.0™ by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Global markets are experiencing a major paradigm shift, which has rendered traditional asset allocation models all but obsolete. In order to attain true diversification investors must abandon the past and embrace the new. Introducing Asset Allocation 2.0™.

2016-01-14 00:00:00 The Saudi Executions by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

On January 2, Saudi Arabia executed 47 people accused of various crimes against the state; 46 were Sunni jihadist radicals and one was a Shiite cleric, whose execution set off protests in Iran and the Saudi embassy in Tehran was sacked. In response, the Saudis broke off diplomatic relations with Iran and several other Sunni nations have either followed suit in breaking off relations or recalled ambassadors in protest. These executions are the result of many important trends affecting Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. In this report, we discuss the executions and the signals they send.

2016-01-14 00:00:00 Active Share and Multi-Manager Funds: The Labradoodle Effect by Leola Ross of Russell Investments

Our experts continue a four-part conversation about understanding active share in the context of multi-manager funds.

2016-01-14 00:00:00 Don't Be a Consumer Dinosaur by Scott Klimo of Saturna Capital

The Consumer Staples sector logged solid stock market performance in 2015, outpacing the S&P 500 Index. Intra-sector performance, however, varied widely, even among companies we might consider similar blue chips. Clorox enjoyed double-digit appreciation, while Procter & Gamble saw a double-digit share price decline, and Church & Dwight came in between the two. Changes to the market landscape are forcing Home and Personal Care companies to evaluate past practices and develop new strategies to address the evolution of consumer preferences and purchasing behavior.

2016-01-14 00:00:00 Fed Rate Hike Playbook: Part 2 by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

In Part 2 of our Federal Reserve (Fed) rate hike playbook, we assess how municipal bonds have fared during periods of Fed rate increases. In the first full week of trading for 2016, Fed rate hike expectations declined in response to another bout of Chinese economic concerns and a benign message from the Fed meeting minutes, which appeared to cast doubt on whether the Fed would ultimately follow through on its forecast of roughly four rate increases in 2016.

2016-01-14 00:00:00 Should Investors Worry About China Selling U.S. Bonds? by Matthew Pasts of BTS Asset Management

At BTS we often say investors should increase the level of attention they pay to the price side of bonds, because we believe the risk of principal loss, especially in a low?interest rate environment, is higher than many people realize. It’s important to focus on supply and demand factors as part of that focus on bond prices.

2016-01-13 00:00:00 Treasury Snapshot: 10-Year Note at 2.08% by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The Fed finally raised rates last month and ended the almost decade-long ZIRP policy. Let's take a closer look at US Treasuries since the decision. The yield on the 10-year note ended the day today at 2.08%, which is at the higher end of the year-to-date range of 1.68% to 2.50%. The yield on the 2-year note closed today at 0.91%, below its 1.09% interim high set the last week of 2015.

2016-01-13 00:00:00 Frontier Markets in Focus: 2016 and Beyond by Carlos Hardenberg of Franklin Templeton Investments

Frontier markets represent exciting long-term investment opportunities for our team. We see favorable fundamentals including strong economic growth, abundant natural and human resources, favorable demographic profiles, the potential for rapid technological progress, and potential benefits from improving infrastructure and improving standards of governance.

2016-01-13 00:00:00 Are US Stocks Consolidating Or About To Have A Waterfall Decline? by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Considering the historically bad start to the year, it is worth asking whether US stocks are in a consolidation mode or are about to break down significantly? To help get us closer to an answer we wanted to run through a variety of our market internal charts.

2016-01-13 00:00:00 Is Oil Too Slick for Equity Investors? by Joseph Paul, Jeremy Taylor, Akhil Kapoor of AllianceBernstein

It’s early January and oil is already making news again. We believe that there are effective ways to position an equity portfolio for an eventual oil-price rebound—without getting hurt in the meantime.

2016-01-13 00:00:00 Will Lower Interest Rate Volatility Last? by Vicky Zhao of PIMCO

Though volatility has diminished in recent years, U.S. interest rates are unlikely to be structurally less volatile going forward.

2016-01-13 00:00:00 Albert Einstein by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” . . . Albert Einstein I thought about Einstein’s quote, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them” when the Chinese abandoned their stock market circuit breakers system on Thursday (1-7-16) at 9:30 a.m. (EST) after just putting them in place on Monday (1-4-16). Said system halted stock trading for 15 minutes when the Chinese stock market declined 5% last Monday and after the quarter of an hour halt stocks reopened.

2016-01-13 00:00:00 Feeling Abandoned, Saudi Arabia Ups the Ante by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Last week a major diplomatic crisis developed between Saudi Arabia and Iran over the Saudi execution of Nimr al Nimr, a charismatic Shiite cleric and anti-Sunni political activist. Nimr’s execution was...

2016-01-13 00:00:00 Why Top Mutual Fund Managers Love Municipal Junk Bonds by Robert Kane of BondView

Data for municipal bond funds show the so-called smart money investors have big bets on junk-rated bonds despite the worries over Puerto Rico and pension deficits across the U.S. Perhaps fears over pension costs are overblown.

2016-01-13 00:00:00 The China Storm: Parsing Sentiment and Substance by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses last week's market rout, and whether it marks the start of a bear market.

2016-01-13 00:00:00 Breaking Up Is Hard To Do by Tony Scherrer of Smead Capital Management

At Smead Capital Management we are in the business of attempting to gain a clear understanding of what we refer to as a “Well Known Fact.” A Well Known Fact is a body of economic information which is known to all market participants and has been acted on by nearly anyone with access to capital.

2016-01-13 00:00:00 EM Loses Footing by Jeffrey Baker of HiddenLevers

The start of the year has been bleak for investors. Domestic equity markets markets have had their worst start to the year ever and equity trading in China has been halted twice after markets in Shanghai cratered.

2016-01-13 00:00:00 The IT Sector: Where Growth and Value Meet by Dr. Brian Jacobsen, CFA, CFP® of Wells Fargo Asset Management

Looking at Information Technology (IT) stocks in 2016, here’s why Wells Fargo’s Dr. Brian Jacobson believes there’s ample opportunity for good growth and a great price.

2016-01-12 00:00:00 Looking Ahead to 2016: What Matters Most by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

You work with advisors every day. What do you think will be the biggest challenges and opportunities we’ll face in the coming year?

2016-01-12 00:00:00 Can Your Firm be Required to Cover an Employee’s Mistaken Trades? by Anne Wallace, Esq. (Article)

If one of your employees makes a trading error, can you force him or her to reimburse your client directly for the losses? A securities lawyer answers that question.

2016-01-12 00:00:00 A Year-End Letter to Clients: Why I’m Optimistic by Dan Richards (Article)

This is a template for a year-end letter that can be sent to clients. It summarizes 2015 market performance and provides reasons why clients should be optimistic about the period ahead.

2016-01-12 00:00:00 Color Psychology for Financial Advisors by Crystal Butler (Article)

When representing your firm – whether in brand logos, web design or images used in print media – carefully choose every color with the psychology behind the color in mind.

2016-01-12 00:00:00 Has Vanguard Added Value as an Active Manager? by Larry Swedroe (Article)

Passive management was pioneered by Vanguard, and its founder, John Bogle, remains its most outspoken advocate. But the firm also offers actively managed funds. Have they added value relative to its passive counterparts?

2016-01-12 00:00:00 Should Advisors Hire a Financial Planner? by Bob Veres (Article)

Based on conversations with advisors who have allowed themselves to be financial planning clients, I’ve come to believe that most – perhaps all – financial planners should hire an outside professional.

2016-01-12 00:00:00 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly by Colin Moore of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

Interpreting equity declines as relatively “good”, “bad” or “ugly” provides context on how investors should react. We are experiencing a “good” correction as investors have focused on the level of sustainable economic growth and concluded that it is lower than they hoped. I am modestly positive about risk assets and believe investors will get significantly more impact by looking at sectors and individual securities rather than broad markets.

2016-01-12 00:00:00 Macro Concerns... Bottom Up Opportunities? by Jim Tillar, Steve Wenstrup of Tillar-Wenstrup Advisors

A year ago we wrote: "Anyone who scans the investment landscape beyond the S&P 500 should be anxious." Market signals were flashing caution and most financial markets disappointed investors in 2015.

2016-01-12 00:00:00 No More Excuses! by Sam Stewart of Wasatch Funds

What’s really important going forward is not the Fed’s recent decision?—?which was widely conveyed ahead of time?—?but the course of several issues that will play out globally. These issues include the type and duration of monetary policies that will be pursued by the world’s central bankers, and the trends in commodity prices, currency values, credit spreads and longer-term interest rates.

2016-01-12 00:00:00 Psuedo-Economics by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

To paraphrase the late Jude Wanniski – the history of man is a battle between the creation of wealth and the redistribution of wealth. Jude was a Supply-Sider, which means an economist who believes that entrepreneurship and supply (not demand) drives economic growth.

2016-01-12 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Is It Time to Buy the Dip? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

After the worst start in history for U.S. stocks everyone will be searching for meaning. One strategy has worked for almost seven years, but what about now? Is it time to “buy the dip?”

2016-01-12 00:00:00 Policy Support Amid Sluggish Growth: Asia’s Economies in Transition by Adam Bowe, Luke Spajic, Tadashi Kakuchi of PIMCO

Policy will be critical over the coming year but options are constrained by excessive debt, domestic politics and potential asset bubbles.

2016-01-12 00:00:00 Charts That Matter, January 2016 by Ritesh Jain, Abhishek Sonthalia of Tata Asset Management

I have tried to stitch a collection of 5-6 well explained charts which in my opinion are the most important charts affecting the global investment world today. The idea behind “Charts That Matter” is to filter macro-economic information and data points and present the most relevant charts. I want the presentation to be interesting but at the same time crisp and non-verbose which is why I have chosen to limit the charts to 5-6 in number. I believe that they sum up almost everything important in the investment world.

2016-01-12 00:00:00 Don’t Put Your Bonds on Autopilot in 2016 by Douglas Peebles of AllianceBernstein

The bond market is probably in for more turbulence in 2016, and investors may have to make some course corrections along the way. Staying airborne in these blustery conditions requires an active strategy.

2016-01-12 00:00:00 10 Attractive Dividend Growth Stocks Poised to Become the Next Dividend Champions Or Aristocrats by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

I screened the Dividend Contenders list provided by fellow Seeking Alpha Author David Fish searching for attractive valuation. This article presents 10 Dividend Contenders that I considered most attractive based on valuation and forecast long-term earnings and dividend growth. I want to be clear that these selections are not offered as a portfolio. Instead, these are 10 individual selections with various degrees of safety, yield and valuation levels that prospective investors can choose from.

2016-01-12 00:00:00 Grouchy Tiger, Somethin's Draggin' by Scott Brown of Raymond James

It was an important week for U.S. economic figures, but the data releases were overshadowed by market developments in China. The country’s new circuit breakers, which were meant to reduce market volatility, were a disaster, and were jettisoned after the Shanghai market was shut down completely in two of four trading sessions. The hope is that the Chinese authorities will stabilize the situation. However, currency management should be more of a challenge and poses the greater risk.

2016-01-12 00:00:00 My Four Resolutions for 2016 by Dan Solin (Article)

To increase your assets under management in 2016, here are four resolutions to implement.

2016-01-11 00:00:00 January 2016 Flash Update by Clyde Kendzierski of Financial Solutions Group

Stock market performance during the first week of the year has historically been a good indicator of market direction for the year ahead. Strong starts have historically indicated a better than normal outcome. Conversely, weak beginnings are generally ominous (excluding years when the Fed cuts short term rates).

2016-01-11 00:00:00 Economicus Terra Incognita by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Welcome to 2016. Tradition dictates that you spend the first few weeks or so reading forecasts for the coming year. I can say with certainty that most of them will be wrong. A smaller number may hit the target. Unfortunately, no one knows which forecasts will fall into which category.

2016-01-11 00:00:00 Complex Systems, Feedback Loops, and the Bubble-Crash Cycle by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Our expectations for a global economic downturn, including a U.S. recession, have hardened considerably in the past few weeks, with a continued expectation of a retreat in equity prices on the order of 40-55% over the completion of the current cycle as a base case. The immediacy of both concerns would be significantly reduced if we were to observe a shift to uniformly favorable market internals. Last week, market conditions moved further away from that supportive possibility.

2016-01-11 00:00:00 China Reset by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

And we’re off. The China stock market sucked the air out of the room last week. It’s a strange beast. The size of the market relative to GDP is around 58% compared to 150% for the U.S. But the free, or tradable, part is about one-third as small again. And it runs on high levels of retail margin. What we saw was pent-up selling, circuit breakers kick in, the market close and then repeat for two more days. The authorities dumped the circuit breaker system and allowed the market to settle.

2016-01-11 00:00:00 Thinking International by (Article)

Closed-end funds may appeal to investors thinking about international strategies for portfolio diversification, says John Cole Scott of CEF Advisors.

2016-01-11 00:00:00 The Chinese Economy’s Great Wall by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

The renminbi's recent decline, which has thrown Chinese stock markets into turmoil and drove the government to suspend trading twice last week, highlights a major challenge facing the country: how to balance its domestic and international economic obligations. The authorities' answer will have a major impact on the global economy.

2016-01-11 00:00:00 A Path to Making Gold and Silver the Currency of the 21st Century. by Stefan Gleason of Sound Money Defense

Several Republican presidential candidates are floating the idea of returning to some form of a gold standard in the U.S., although none have gone into any great detail. So, how might a modern gold standard work?

2016-01-11 00:00:00 Extreme Weather and Global Growth by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

Until recently, the usual thinking among macroeconomists has been that short-term weather fluctuations don’t matter much for economic activity. But recent economic research, bolstered by an exceptionally strong El Niño, has prompted reconsideration of this view.

2016-01-11 00:00:00 The Mathematics of Diversification by Marc Odo of Swan Global Investments

Although it is certainly possible to go overboard with the mathematics when it comes to portfolio optimization, we will keep it simple and straightforward in this discussion.

2016-01-11 00:00:00 China Worries Trigger a Tough Start to the New Year by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Equities dropped sharply last week with the S&P 500 index losing 5.9%, its worst first trading week of the year on record.1 Worries about slowing Chinese growth and policy uncertainty were the main culprits for the rout, and sagging oil prices triggered concerns about corporate earnings. Late in the week, markets saw a brief reprieve in light of a strong December jobs report.

2016-01-11 00:00:00 On My Radar: China, Valuation Charts and Recession Watch Charts by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

China marked its currency lower once again yesterday. That makes eight days in a row they lowered the yuan. Last August, they devalued the yuan and that sent global equity markets into a dive. As Yogi Berra would say, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

2016-01-11 00:00:00 Another 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 $17,357 for an annualized real return of 11.08%.

2016-01-11 00:00:00 Long-Term Thinking in the Midst of Short-Term Volatility by Joe Rodriguez of Invesco Blog

The past year witnessed a significant spike in volatility as the health of the global economy faced uncertainty. Global markets struggled with concerns over growth and stability in China, emerging market weakness and currency devaluation, recession in Japan and the continued need for inflation-targeting policy in Europe. And while the US economy appeared to be the relative picture of health, the equity markets continued to focus on decisions by the Federal Reserve Board (the Fed) and depressed commodity prices.

2016-01-10 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review: Don't Be Too Spooked By the Sell-Off (At Least, Not Yet), Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

Overall, this week’s sell-off isn’t surprising in light of the weakening technical and fundamental environment. Prices for riskier equities (IWMs) have been weak for nearly 6 months. Transports – whose price action should theoretically confirm broader upward price movement – have been in a bear market (below the 200 day EMA) for 7 months. The SPYs couldn’t get above the 110-112 price level for all of 2015. And now the QQQs have fallen below their 200 day EMA. And the “average” stock is now in a bear market.

2016-01-10 00:00:00 US Bond Market Week in Review: The Yield Curve Continues Narrowing, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

If the bond market shared the Fed’s optimism, we’d be seeing yield spreads widen. We’re seeing just the opposite.

2016-01-10 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review: New Year, Same Problems, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

As the new year starts, the world economy is still in a difficult situation. The Chinese slowdown is impacting a number of developing countries, slowing their top-line growth. Deflationary pressures continue. But now, we have an event (the Chinese market drop) that triggered concerns about global, leading to action (a global sell-off). Don't be surprised to see increased volatility in the coming few months.

2016-01-10 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Momentum should carry equities lower, at least intra-week. Important support levels have been broken; these are now first resistance. Breadth is washed out, similar to past lows, and investor sentiment is now very bearish. It's time to be on the lookout for the formation of a base and at least a temporary bounce higher.

2016-01-09 00:00:00 How Gold Got Its Groove Back by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

After five straight positive trading sessions, the yellow metal climbed above $1,100 on a weaker U.S. dollar, its highest level in nine weeks. The rally proves that gold still retains its status as a safe haven among investors, who were motivated this week by a rocky Chinese stock market, North Korea’s announcement that it detonated a hydrogen bomb on Wednesday and rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

2016-01-09 00:00:00 An Almost Perfect Employment Report by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

After a string of bearish market tidings in the past week, the December U.S. employment report brings relief. The U.S. labor market stands on solid ground.

2016-01-09 00:00:00 Why We’re Not Panicking about China by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments

Templeton Global Macro CIO Michael Hasenstab’s response to the latest news from China? Don’t panic.

2016-01-09 00:00:00 Questions for the New Year by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

We continue to believe that U.S. and global stocks will continue to experience bouts of volatility and pullbacks; but a major bear market is likely to be avoided. Key determinants of the path stocks will take include central bank policy, inflation, currency volatility and earnings/valuation. We continue to reinforce the benefits of broad and global asset class diversification during a more difficult market environment.

2016-01-08 00:00:00 Money Market Reform and DC Plans Time Is Almost Up by Brett Gorman, Brian Leach of PIMCO

SEC reforms will make money market funds far less attractive but sponsors have several capital preservation alternatives to consider.

2016-01-08 00:00:00 China’s Conundrum by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

As we see it, there is no question that China should continue to have strong growth this year, but one might say China is facing a bit of a conundrum. On the one hand, the government wants stability, but on the other, it also is striving toward more openness.

2016-01-08 00:00:00 Will Equities See a Sweeter ’16 Ahead? by Ed Perks of Franklin Templeton Investments

Global financial markets still face numerous risks, but the drivers of corporate profitability appear to us to be sustainable in the current business and economic environment.

2016-01-08 00:00:00 FOMC Preview: Liftoff Is Imminent, but What’s the Flight Plan? by Carl Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) gathering next week became a “live” meeting when the Fed declined to act in September. Those who follow U.S. monetary policy have, therefore, had to stay close to their desks and stay away from the punch bowl.

2016-01-08 00:00:00 You Cannot Manage New Economies with Obsolete Measuring Tools by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest piece, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, discusses how misleading macroeconomic averages and aggregates can be as they often consist of components that could both signal either economic weakness or an acceleration with the potential to rekindle inflation.

2016-01-08 00:00:00 The New Geo-Economics by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

Last year was a memorable one for the world economy. Not only was it one of the most disappointing in a long time; more important, it brought profound changes – both for better and for worse – in global economic governance.

2016-01-08 00:00:00 Lackluster Returns Made 2015 a Year Worth Forgetting by Joe Becker, Adam Schenck, Jeff Greco of Milliman Financial Risk Management

After finishing November in marginally positive year-to-date territory, the S&P 500 sold off by nearly 2% in December, finishing the year down 0.73%, its first down year since 2008.

2016-01-08 00:00:00 CIO Newsletter – Jan 2016 by Ritesh Jain, Abhishek Sonthalia of Tata Asset Management

This newsletter has my views on the important developments in the investment world in 2015 and the outlook for 2016. Indeed we are in a very dynamic global environment and volatility is abound. One of the most important developments in 2015 was the depletion of global forex reserves held by central banks and asset sales by petro dollars funded sovereign wealth funds.

2016-01-08 00:00:00 Forecasting Returns: Simple Is Not Simplistic by Jim Masturzo of Research Affiliates

The value of a forecasting model is that it improves on the alternative models available and classifies the forecaster’s knowledge of asset classes into an economically intuitive framework for building portfolios. A yield-based model is simple, but it checks both boxes.

2016-01-07 00:00:00 New Updates at Crestmont Research by Doug Short (Article)

Note from dshort: My friend Ed Easterling, whose Crestmont Research P/E valuation is a regular feature on this website, has published collection of periodic updates to his ongoing analysis. The commentary below is based on his latest distribution email to subscribers.

2016-01-07 00:00:00 It's a Xanax World by Bill Gross of Janus Capital Group

The Romans gave their Plebian citizens a day at the Coliseum, and the French royalty gave the Bourgeoisie a piece of figurative “cake”, so it may be true to form that in the still prosperous developed economies of 2016, we provide Fantasy Sports, cellphone game apps, sexting, and fast food to appease the masses. Keep them occupied and distracted at all costs before they recognize that half of the U.S. population doesn’t go to work in the morning and that their real wages after conservatively calculated inflation have barely budged since the mid 1980’s.

2016-01-07 00:00:00 Franco-Nevada: Royalty of the Gold Industry by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In 1983, my friends and early mentors Seymour Schulich and Pierre Lassonde founded Franco-Nevada Mining, the world’s first gold royalty company. The two uniquely gifted money managers were on to something big. It was originally Seymour—then an oil analyst at the Canadian investment firm Beutel, Goodman & Company, where he and Pierre met—who recognized that the royalty model used in the oil and gas industry had some of the highest returns on capital.

2016-01-07 00:00:00 Still Plenty Of Dry Powder For More Health Care Acquisitions in 2016 by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

As this Bloomberg article states, 2015 was a gangbusters year for M&A activity in the health care sector. The record setting year ended with “$605 billion” total in health care takeovers, with the majority coming from the pharma and biotech industry. While it is difficult to project whether the health care sector can break 2015’s record in the coming year, one thing that is for certain is there is still ample room on company balance sheets for more M&A activity.

2016-01-07 00:00:00 Federal Reserve Outlook for 2016 by Tony Crescenzi of PIMCO

Up until the Federal Reserve’s historic December meeting, when the central bank increased its policy rate for the first time since 2006, investors were fixated upon when the Fed might finally move its policy rate up from the range of 0%–0.25%. The Fed set the rate at the zero bound in 2008 to combat a plunge in economic growth and to fight disinflationary pressures tied to the debt deleveraging process.

2016-01-07 00:00:00 Three Things That Matter Most to Markets in 2016: U.S. Interest Rates, Oil Prices, and China by Charles Wilson of Thornburg Investment Management

All three are linked, and hit inflection points in 2015. They all will play key roles in global growth and market performance again this year, but their respective impacts will differ from years past.

2016-01-07 00:00:00 A Happy New Year After All by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

As we return to work after the holidays, a sharp sell off in global equities and escalating geopolitical tensions in the Middle East beg the question whether this New Year will be a happy one for investors. I believe the recent market swings are no more than passing disruptions. For U.S. equities and credit, in particular, evidence is mounting that 2016 will prove happier than 2015 for investors. In fact, the global factors currently roiling the markets are easy to discount, and could lead to investment opportunities.

2016-01-07 00:00:00 My New Year's Resolution: Don't Confuse Debt with Wealth by Guy Christopher of Money Metals Exchange

If you don't have a magical crystal ball to see the future, then a good history book will do the job. Understanding the past offers a full color panorama to the dangers and opportunities facing you in 2016.

2016-01-07 00:00:00 Active Investing: Managing Global Currency Forecasts by Rob Balkema of Russell Investments

Rob Balkema, takes a look at what potential opportunities there may be for investors in light of our strategists’ recently released annual market outlook and its global currency forecast.

2016-01-07 00:00:00 Passive or Active Equities: Why Choose Just One? by Dianne Lob, Nelson Yu of AllianceBernstein

Passive investing is popular—but it isn’t risk free. By combining active and passive approaches in an equity allocation, we think investors can effectively reduce risk relative to a single manager and also enjoy better returns than those of the benchmark.

2016-01-06 00:00:00 Betting on Deflation May Be a Huge Mistake. Here’s Why by Clint Siegner of Money Metals Exchange

Precious metals investors heading into 2016 worry the dollar will continue marching ahead, right over the top of gold and silver prices. The Fed is telegraphing additional rate hikes throughout the year, and commodity prices – led by crude oil – are falling. There have been tremors in the biggest beneficiary markets of all when it comes to the Fed's QE largesse – U.S. equities and real estate. And the possibility of a recession is growing, both in the U.S. and around the world.

2016-01-06 00:00:00 5 Portfolio Ideas for 2016 by Russ Koesterich, of BlackRock

Amid high prices and high volatility, selectivity will be key to generating returns in 2016. So where should investors look for opportunities? Russ shares five ideas.

2016-01-06 00:00:00 Recession Probability Models - January 2016 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. Please note that each of these models is updated regularly, and the results of these – as well as other recession models – can fluctuate significantly.

2016-01-06 00:00:00 Will Weak Closes Drag Markets Down? by Jennifer Thomson of GaveKal Capital

Our Gavekal Capital Net Close Indicator is designed to help get a sense of investors’ conviction level. It is calculated by subtracting the value of the Weak Close Indicator from that of the Strong Close Indicator, each of which counts the number of times (over the previous six months) that stocks closed in the bottom (or top, respectively) quartile of their daily trading range.

2016-01-06 00:00:00 The U.S. Economy Has Slowed in the Fourth Quarter of 2015 by Robert Lamy of The Forecasting Advisor

Each month, the U.S. Institute for Supply Management (ISM) conducts a survey on the state of the manufacturing and non-manufacturing industries of the U.S. economy and releases data for the previous month. The data are closely followed by the financial media, economists, and wealth portfolio managers as they provide the earliest reading on the state of the economy.

2016-01-06 00:00:00 2016 Outlook by Brandon VanLandingham of Perissos Private Wealth Management

There are pockets of hope in 2016 for a more sustainable economy. The jobs picture, at least portrayed by the government, has improved based on their measures. Inflation is low. Corporate profits are high. Under the light of the media the economy is improving. However, as I have been sifting through the data, there are two areas of concern I think we need to discuss. First is Government Debt. We owe as a nation, $18 Trillion in total debt, and we are borrowing $500 billion a year.

2016-01-06 00:00:00 Market Thoughts for January 2016 by (Article)

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth Financial Network’s chief investment officer, looks back at 2015, which was actually the worst year for the markets since the financial crisis, but a solid year for the ongoing economic recovery. In addition to explaining the reasons behind this disconnect, he also discusses what we might expect in 2016, including a couple of headwinds for the markets (low oil prices and a strong dollar) that might disappear. Follow Brad at

2016-01-05 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.

2016-01-05 00:00:00 How to Calibrate a Business’ Competitive Advantage by Baijnath Ramraika, CFA and Prashant K. Trivedi, CFA (Article)

While sustainable competitive advantages are good indicators of business quality, not all are created equal. The strength of the competitive advantage and the risks that the business needs to protect itself against are largely dictated by the type of competitive advantage that the business possesses.

2016-01-05 00:00:00 New Year’s Goals to Effectively Increase New Revenue by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

What is the right way to set achievable goals? I don’t want to set the bar so low that my team doesn’t need to work hard, nor can I afford to do that. At the same time, if I set it too high, all I will hear is grumbling for the first few months of the year.

2016-01-05 00:00:00 How to Influence Your Employees’ LinkedIn Profiles (Without Breaking the Law) by Kristen Luke (Article)

LinkedIn is a great tool for financial advisors to promote their business, research prospects, connect with COIs and ask for referrals. Because it has so much potential, advisors often want their employees to use their personal accounts to promote the business. While this may sound like a great idea on the surface, you need to tread carefully, as 21 states have passed legislation banning employer access to workers’ social media accounts.

2016-01-05 00:00:00 Krugman’s Billionaire Derangement Syndrome by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The New Year can be a time for taking positive, productive steps to improve one’s life and those of others. But not for Paul Krugman. He used his January 1 column in the New York Times to chastise the super-rich as narcissistic egomaniacs who use their wealth to manipulate the political process for their own purposes.

2016-01-05 00:00:00 The New Tools to Measure Risk in Your Portfolios by Michael Edesess (Article)

Understanding the risks embedded in a portfolio is central to providing value to clients. Traditionally, risks have been measured statistically – with standard deviation or value-at-risk. The shortcomings of those metrics, however, have been well documented. In response, a new generation of analytical tools has emerged that allow advisors to assess risk through scenario analysis – looking at portfolio outcomes through the lens of a storyteller.

2016-01-05 00:00:00 Why Advisors Avoid Succession Planning by Jeff Briskin (Article)

Anyone who has attended an advisor conference in the last few years has noticed the increasingly graying hair on attendees’ heads. With so many of our cohort nearing retirement, it is striking how few have taken the appropriate steps to ensure that their practice survives and thrives as they wind down their personal roles in their firms.

2016-01-05 00:00:00 Three Ways to Get Prospects to Like You More by Dan Solin (Article)

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to increase your assets under management in 2016, you would be wise to focus on your likeability.

2016-01-05 00:00:00 The Key to Becoming a Trusted Advisor by Dan Richards (Article)

Every advisor wants to be viewed by clients as the trusted advisor, the resource to whom they turn for counsel – not just for financial matters, but on their overall wellbeing. To do that, you have to be a resource for all the things that concern clients, not just what makes you money.

2016-01-05 00:00:00 Henderson Multi-Asset Team 2016 Outlook: Growth Set to Drive Asset Returns by (Article)

In this video, Paul O’Connor and Bill McQuaker, Co-Heads of Multi-Asset, review the key developments in markets during 2015 and give their in-depth outlook for 2016. They argue that the era of monetary policy-driven markets has come to an end and explain what this means for returns across the asset spectrum. They note that a key factor to watch in 2016 will be the pace of US monetary policy tightening. Further they comment that while a number of risks remain there are opportunities to be found.

2016-01-05 00:00:00 Liftoff by Dr. Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

Domestic equities were positive for the quarter but mostly flat for the year. In the quarter the S&P 500 gained 4.8%, the Dow Jones Industrials 5.8% and the NASDAQ 6.4%. Year to date the S&P went down by 0.7%, Dow declined by 2.2% but the NASDAQ was up nearly 5.7%. U.S. small caps underperformed large caps; the Russell 2000 index gained 1.9% for the quarter and lost 5.7% for the year. Domestic bond markets were little changed for the quarter and year.

2016-01-05 00:00:00 We Remain Positive About 2016 by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

The Arab Spring is turning into an Islamic Winter, with some added cold wind, reminiscent of the Cold War – as Russia and Iran are seemingly aligned against a US-backed Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The intricacies of the religious, political, military, and historical events taking place are enough to give any normal person a headache. “Outrageously unstable,” is an understatement. Millions of refugees are voting with their feet.

2016-01-05 00:00:00 Top 6 Investment Lessons from 2015 by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Despite news headlines bemoaning last year's stock-market returns, US Investment Strategist Kristina Hooper says it wasn't such a bad year overall—particularly for investors who avoided energy, diversified internationally and took advantage of dividends.

2016-01-05 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Will There Be a January Effect? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

After two weeks of slow, holiday-shortened trading, the A-Teams will (gradually) get back to work. Despite the importance of the data on this week’s schedule, I expect a different sort of fixation on the calendar. We can expect widespread discussion of the question: Will we see a January effect?

2016-01-05 00:00:00 More of the Same in 2016, for Better or Worse by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses the outlook for 2016, which will offers challenges similar to the ones investors faced in 2015.

2016-01-05 00:00:00 The Biggest Stories of 2016? by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

Which stories are most likely to clear the front pages of the financial newspapers in 2016? In this month's Absolute Return Letter we take a closer look at that and arrive at the conclusion that three favourites stand out. We discuss all three, and we look at the implications for financial markets, should any of them unfold. Enjoy the read and happy New Year.

2016-01-05 00:00:00 Where Are Valuations At Heading Into 2016? EM Edition by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Yesterday we looked at where developed world valuations stand so today we are going to move over to the emerging markets. The equity pain experienced in the EM in 2015 has been well documented. While the median stock in the developed world has managed to squeak out a slight gain, the median stock in the emerging markets is down a disastrous 15% YTD. It shouldn’t be any surprise then that the average and median valuations in the emerging markets are both well below levels seen in the developed world.

2016-01-05 00:00:00 How Are Your Alternative Investments Wired? by Richard Brink of AllianceBernstein

Alternative strategies can be programmed to deliver a dizzying variety of return patterns. To cut through the clutter, investors can start by understanding the settings a manager uses.

2016-01-05 00:00:00 Monkey See, Monkey Do by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

This is how the stock market works: “Once upon a time in a village, a man appeared and announced to the villagers that he would buy monkeys for $10 each. The villagers, seeing that there were many monkeys around, went out to the forest and started catching them. The man bought thousands at $10, and as supply started to diminish, the villagers stopped their effort. He further announced that he would now buy at $20. This renewed the efforts of the villagers and they started catching monkeys again. Soon the supply diminished even further, and people started going back to their farms...

2016-01-05 00:00:00 A Tale of Two Cities – Looking Forward to 2016 by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

The U.S. equity market in 2015 was a tale of two cities. There was a wide divergence of performance within the market, which is reminiscent of the late 1990s. In 1999, tech stocks (per the NASDAQ composite returns) rallied to gain approximately 86% (that’s 86% in one year, not a decade!), while the more prosaic, or “old economy,” stocks (per the S&P 500) gained a mere 21%. In 2015, the divergence was exemplified by the largest ten stocks (by market cap) in the S&P 500 accounting for a 17% return, while the remaining 490 stocks were down in aggregate -5%.

2016-01-05 00:00:00 2015 In Review: It Was A Wild Year In The Markets by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

As we begin another New Year, it is often good to reflect on the year that just passed and what we may have learned from it. Here are some thoughts about the market activity we saw in 2015 and what we may see in 2016.

2016-01-04 00:00:00 Time to Throw out the Rising-Rate Playbook? by Clint Harris of Invesco Blog

We’ve seen daily references to what has worked — or hasn’t worked — when interest rates have risen in the past. Strategists, asset managers and pundits have dusted off numerous “tried-and-true” historical playbooks for investing in a rising-rate environment. But here’s the problem with applying those lessons to today’s markets: We’ve never been in this exact economic environment before, so relying too heavily on what’s worked in the past may not be particularly helpful.

2016-01-04 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).

2016-01-04 00:00:00 Where Are Valuations At Heading Into 2016? by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

The average price to cash flow value for a company in the developed world currently sits at 13.67x while the median value is lower at 10.18x. Europe has some of the most expensive and cheapest valuations out there based on price to cash flow.

2016-01-04 00:00:00 Boss Kettering by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Charles “Boss” Kettering was an American automotive engineer, businessman, inventor, and the holder of 186 patents who was the head of research at General Motors. My father met Kettering during the late 1940s and often reminded me of the aforementioned quote. I recalled the quote when I received a pretty nasty email from someone I don’t even know about my call for a “rip your face off rally.” The phrase he kept using was “you failed!”

2016-01-04 00:00:00 The Europe Question in 2016 by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

At the cusp of the new year, we face a world in which geopolitical and geo-economic risks – in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia – are multiplying. Yet it is Europe that may turn out to be the ground zero of geopolitics in the coming 12 months.

2016-01-04 00:00:00 An Institutional View by (Article)

Institutional investor Cliff Short of Ashford Capital Management says when considering CEFs he looks at asset class, discount and yield, among other factors.

2016-01-04 00:00:00 The Bond Market Is Raising a Cautionary Flag by Marie Schofield of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note won't rise much above 2.5% in 2016. Fed tightening cycles typically see curves flatten but long rates also typically rise, pricing in faster growth and inflation. The lack of conviction from the bond market that this will be the case represents an important cautionary flag.

2016-01-04 00:00:00 NEW: Money Metals Issues 2016 Gold/Silver Forecast by Clint Siegner of Money Metals Exchange

Forecasting today's volatile, high-frequency machine driven and manipulated futures markets using fundamental analysis is futile, as a great many precious metals bulls will attest. To complicate matters, an obsession with Fed policy dominates all markets. Officials at the Federal Reserve are often less than forthcoming and are just as bumbling as the Soviet bureaucrats when it comes to centrally planning our economy.

2016-01-04 00:00:00 Byron Wien Announces Predictions for Ten Surprises for 2016 by Byron Wien of Blackstone

Byron R. Wien, Vice Chairman of Multi-Asset Investing at Blackstone, today issued his list of Ten Surprises for 2016. This is the 31st year Byron has given his views on a number of economic, financial market and political surprises for the coming year. Byron defines a “surprise” as an event that the average investor would only assign a one out of three chance of taking place but which Byron believes is “probable,” having a better than 50% likelihood of happening.

2016-01-04 00:00:00 On My Radar: 2016 Outlook by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

If you haven’t seen the movie The Big Short, go see it. Christian Bale plays Michael Burry in Adam McKay’s adaptation of Michael Lewis’s book about the 2008 financial crisis. Burry was one of the hedge fund managers me and my team knew well. He and others helped us to better understand the approaching sub-prime crisis. I wrote about the issue frequently back then.

2016-01-04 00:00:00 Back to Zero: Market’s Flat Return Masks Underlying Pressures by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

It was indeed a “running to stand still” market this year (a U2 song title I used for one of my reports last spring to describe the market). The S&P finished 2015 nearly flat at -0.7%, but only Rip Van Winkle would have thought it was a calm year. The return, or lack thereof, belied the angst investors were feeling for much of the year. There are precedents for flat years, and in this short update, we’ll look at what it meant in the past for the future.

2016-01-03 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review: A Year End Look At China, Japan and Australia, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The Pacific Rim is suffering from the Chinese slowdown. China’s decreased appetite for raw materials is negatively impacting the giant Australian raw material build-out of the last 10 years. Japan’s intra-regional trade is slowing as well. There are no signs of a recession on the horizon. But it is obviously one step closer in the current environment.

2016-01-03 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review: A Closer Look At The Business Sector, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The industrial sector starts the year in a mild recession while the market is becoming defensive in its sector rotation.

2016-01-03 00:00:00 US Bond Market Week in Review: What Little Difference a Year Makes by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The treasury market doesn’t see bombastic growth nor a recession; merely more of the same middling growth for the foreseeable future.

2016-01-03 00:00:00 The Great Malaise Continues by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

Optimists say that the global economy will perform better in 2016 than it did in 2015. That may turn out to be true, but only imperceptibly so, unless the problem of insufficient global aggregate demand is finally addressed.

2016-01-03 00:00:00 The Next Big Short: The Third Crest of a Rolling Tsunami by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

At speculative extremes, recent history always temporarily belongs to the reckless herd that has ignored concerns about valuation and risk at every turn. Fortunately, the future has always belonged to those who take discipline, analysis, and the lessons of history seriously. On the basis of the valuation measures most strongly correlated with actual subsequent market returns (and that have fully retained that correlation even across recent market cycles), current extremes imply 40-55% market losses over the completion of the current market cycle.

2015-12-31 00:00:00 High Yield vs. Equities—Is This the End of the Run for Equities? by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

The decline in credit has been well publicized over the last several weeks, though this decline began months ago. Since the summer, we have seen spreads, a measure of valuation for the high yield market, widen from 400bps to 760bps1, which are levels we have not seen for the last four years.

2015-12-31 00:00:00 A Year for Value? by Norman J. Boersma and Cindy L. Sweeting of Franklin Templeton Investments

While global equities appear vulnerable to near-term volatility, Templeton Global Equity Group’s Norm Boersma and Cindy Sweeting are optimistic about the year ahead. And, they believe the environment appears favorable for value investing to shine. Read on for the team’s 2016 outlook.

2015-12-31 00:00:00 The Year Ahead - 2016 by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

In the spirit of year-end prognostication, here's my annual review of long-term trends and behavioral tendencies that are likely to influence key markets in 2016.

2015-12-31 00:00:00 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economy Trends Update - October 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

Among the outperformers, India clung to its top position on the list of the world’s fastest growing large economies while the Philippines remained on track to be one of Asia’s fastest growing economies in 2015.

2015-12-31 00:00:00 Developed Europe: Economy Trends Update October 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

The 19-country Euro-zone, which forms a substantial part of the Developed Europe region under our coverage, lost a bit of its growth momentum during the third quarter, signaling that the slowdown in the developing world is likely taking a toll on the export-focused single-currency bloc.

2015-12-31 00:00:00 How to Get Rich: Fade Drudge by Jared Dillian of Mauldin Economics

I always felt that Matt Drudge was linking to things I found important—things I wanted to read, particularly about surveillance/privacy, which is a hobby horse of his, and mine. As I write this, let’s see what’s going on over at the Drudge Report.

2015-12-31 00:00:00 Hope for the New Year: 3 Asset Classes for 2016 by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Last week, I reflected back on 2015 by revisiting the 10 most popular posts of the year. Today I’d like to look ahead to 2016 by pinpointing three asset classes that I believe hold opportunities for investors.

2015-12-31 00:00:00 A Year of Sovereign Defaults? by Carmen Reinhart of Project Syndicate

Like so many other features of the global economy, debt accumulation and default tends to occur in cycles, with one- and two-decade lulls in defaults typically followed by a new wave of defaults. As 2016 begins, there are clear signs of such a wave on the horizon.

2015-12-30 00:00:00 Emerging Markets 2016 Outlook by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

In many respects, 2015 was a challenging year for investors in emerging markets. However, we consider many of the factors driving recent volatility to be temporary, and we are optimistic for the longer term due to several factors.

2015-12-30 00:00:00 On the Completion of the Current Market Cycle and Beyond by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

As we look forward to 2016, to following through on our investment discipline over the completion of the current market cycle and beyond, a few recent market comments will serve as a detailed review of our present market and economic outlook.

2015-12-30 00:00:00 Somber 2015. Brighter 2016 by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

Thwaites discusses three main influences on capital markets in 2015 and recommendations for your portfolio in 2016.

2015-12-30 00:00:00 Closing The Books On 2015 by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

The transition from the old year into the new is always busy for tax reasons, reviewing the old year and game planning for the future.

2015-12-30 00:00:00 The Next Generation in Philanthropy: The Rockefeller Foundation to the Zuckerberg Chan Initiative by Robert J. Holton of Cleary Gull

This recent announcement, from a modern technological billionaire using the latest technology to shake up the philanthropic world, echoes the thoughts and actions of another notable American, John D. Rockefeller. Adjusting for inflation, John D. Rockefeller may have been the wealthiest American to have ever lived, holding assets estimated at $253 billion in today’s dollars[i]. The Rockefeller Foundation today is worth a far more modest $4 billion, but has been setting a standard for philanthropy for the past 100 years.

2015-12-30 00:00:00 Which China are You Looking At? by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

Few investors recognize that this is almost certain to be the third consecutive year in which the manufacturing and construction part of China’s economy will be smaller than the consumption and services part. What else have we learned about China in 2015? Sinology examines.

2015-12-30 00:00:00 Russia’s Strategy by George Friedman of Mauldin Economics

Two things are necessary to understand a nation’s strategy. The first is to view the world through the eyes of that nation… to know what it hopes for and fears. The second is to understand that the nation’s leader is far from a free agent.

2015-12-29 00:00:00 Rebalancing Revisited by Michael Kitces (Article)

Earlier this year, in a series of articles, Michael Edesess argued that rebalancing neither increases returns nor reduces risk, although in the latter case his conclusion was based on one’s definition of risk. However, it turns out that the debate on whether there is value in rebalancing – in terms of return enhancement and/or risk management benefits – actually depends on the similarity (or lack thereof) of the returns between the available investments in the first place.

2015-12-29 00:00:00 My Top Ten Tips for 2016 – Part Two by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I hope you enjoyed Part I last week. Here is Part II of my “Top Ten” list of advice for 2016. Hopefully these lists will be beneficial and spark some ideas.

2015-12-29 00:00:00 The 10 Most-Read Articles of 2015 by Various (Article)

As is our custom, we conclude the year by reflecting on the 10 most-read articles over the past 12 months. In decreasing order, based on the number of unique readers, those are…

2015-12-29 00:00:00 The Ten Best Articles You Probably Missed by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Great articles don’t always get the readership they deserve. We’ve posted the 10 most-widely read articles for the past year here. Below are another 10 that you might have missed, but I believe merit reading…

2015-12-29 00:00:00 The Peril of Talking by Dan Solin (Article)

Looking forward to 2016, I face a crowded schedule for webinars and presentations. But this seemingly good news makes me anxious – because it involves talking to a group of people who are passively listening.

2015-12-29 00:00:00 A Surefire Way to Get Your 2016 Emails Opened by Dan Richards (Article)

For my last article of 2015, I want to share two changes that led to a dramatic boost in the impact of my holiday emails.

2015-12-29 00:00:00 Let?s Try Again: S&P 2,375 by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

The future exists to keep forecasters humble. And our 2,375 forecast for the S&P 500 at year-end 2015 has done just that. We are humbled, but we do tip our hat to Jim Paulsen at Wells Fargo Asset Management who said that 2015 would be a tough year for US stocks.

2015-12-29 00:00:00 2015: What Worked ?and What Didn't by Team of Lord Abbett

The trends were clear early on, but 2015 still took some unexpected turns, particularly with regard to the intensity of the decline in oil prices.

2015-12-29 00:00:00 Can Sustainable Portfolios Offer Sufficient Diversification? by Peter Nielsen of Saturna Capital

Do sustainable oriented portfolios exhibit lower volatility? Sufficient diversification? The data say, "Yes!"

2015-12-29 00:00:00 What I Got Right (and Wrong) in 2015 by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Keeping with his annual tradition, Russ compares the year that was to the year that he expected.

2015-12-29 00:00:00 How to Fight Jihadi Terrorism by George Soros of Project Syndicate

The Islamic State’s leaders know that their days in Iraq and Syria are numbered, which is why they are transferring their forces to Libya and stepping up attacks in the West. As 2016 gets underway, the most important imperative faced by the West is to disarm the trap ISIS has set, by resisting the siren song of fear.

2015-12-29 00:00:00 Congress Lifts Ban On Crude Oil Exports After 40 Years by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

1. Congress Reverses 40-Year Ban on Crude Oil Exports 2. Gasoline Prices Are Low, But Don’t Get Used To It 3. Texas Company to be First to Export US Crude Abroad 4. Oil Bears Bet on $25 Crude Oil Price, Some Even $15

2015-12-29 00:00:00 November Median Household Income at a New Post-Recession High by Doug Short (Article)

The Sentier Research monthly median household income data for November came in at $56,746. The nominal median rose $75 month-over-month and is up $2,812 year-over-year. That's an increase of 0.1% MoM and 5.2% YoY. Adjusted for inflation, the latest income was up $58 MoM and $2,574 YoY. The real numbers equate to increases of 0.1% MoM and 4.8% YoY.

2015-12-28 00:00:00 Fed Hikes 25 Basis Points, Signals Gradual Path by Rob Waldner of Invesco Blog

On Dec. 16, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) increased the federal funds target rate range from 0-0.25% to 0.25-0.5%, in line with market expectations and Invesco Fixed Income’s baseline scenario. The committee’s “dot projections,” each member’s estimate of the federal funds rate based on personal economic projections, were unchanged for 2016, with a slight shift down thereafter. The median projection is often compared with overall market expectations. The dots signaled a faster pace of interest rate increases than the market had expected before the meeting.

2015-12-28 00:00:00 Innovation in Emerging and Frontier Markets by Ajay Krishnan, Roger Edgley, Laura Geritz of Wasatch Funds

While many investors consider innovation to be the province of Silicon Valley and other high-tech centers in developed markets around the world, the reality is very different. A look at where intellectual property is being created gives us some indication that we have to broaden our horizons as investors if we want to take full advantage of the potential opportunities.

2015-12-28 00:00:00 International Retrospective and Outlook by Roger Edgley, Ajay Krishnan, Andrey Kutuzov, Scott Thomas of Wasatch Funds

The ratio of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index divided by the MSCI World Index (an index of developed markets) is at its lowest level in 10 years, and developed markets have dramatically outperformed since 2010. If we believe most trends eventually reverse course, we may be close to a period of outperformance for emerging markets.

2015-12-28 00:00:00 7-Investment Lessons From Mom by Lance Roberts of Real Investment Advice

When I was growing up my mother had a saying, or an answer, for just about everything…as do most mothers. Every answer to the question “Why?” was immediately met with the most intellectual of answers; “…because I said so”. Seriously, my mother was a resource of knowledge that has served me well over the years and it wasn’t until late in life that I realized that she had taught me the basic principles to staying safe in the world of financial investments.

2015-12-28 00:00:00 Puerto Rico’s Debt Trap by Simon Johnson of Project Syndicate

The Caribbean island of Puerto Rico – the largest United States “territory” – is broke, and a human calamity is unfolding there. Unless a constructive course of political action is found in 2016, Puerto Rican migration to the 50 states will rival the scale of the 1930s Dust Bowl exodus.

2015-12-27 00:00:00 US Bond Market Week in Review: A Look at the Coincident, Leading and Long Leading Indicators by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The Fed wouldn’t have raised rates if they didn’t have confidence that the US economy would be able to handle higher rates. So, let’s take a look at coincident, leading and long leading data to get an idea for the strength of the US economy now, but, more importantly, in the next 12-18 months.

2015-12-27 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review: A Closer Look at the US Consumer, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

As we near year-end, it seems appropriate to take a macro look at the US economy. This week, I’ll look at the US consumer while next I’ll take a look at business.

2015-12-27 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review: Year End Look as the EU, UK and Canada, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

While both service and manufacturing PMIs continue to show moderate expansion, the Conference Board’s and OECD-s LEIs are showing weakness, largely due to negative contributions from the manufacturing sector. Weak emerging economies and the strong sterling are tamping down global demand. So long as domestic demand remains strong, this shouldn’t lead to a decline in GDP. But industrial weakness is never a good development and should be monitored.

2015-12-24 00:00:00 From Congress: An Early Christmas Present for the Charitably Inclined by Tara Thompson Popernik of AllianceBernstein

Christmas came early for US taxpayers when Congress passed the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015 on December 18. The Act extended several expired tax provisions, some permanently, including qualified charitable IRA distributions. But other giving strategies may make some philanthropic taxpayers even merrier come tax time.

2015-12-24 00:00:00 The Sea Change in Repos, Swap Spreads and Dealer Balance Sheets: How Active Management May Benefit by Jerome Schneider, Scott Berman, William Martinez of PIMCO

Since the financial crisis in 2008, global regulators have been working hard to strengthen the banking system and forestall a similar calamity. A torrent of new regulatory requirements for financial institutions, for instance, aims to create global minimum requirements for liquidity and capital, increase transparency and decrease systemic leverage. The transactional intermediation that occurs between borrowers and lenders without governmental oversight – a vital piece of the world’s financial and funding mechanisms – has come under particular scrutiny.

2015-12-24 00:00:00 10 Undervalued Dividend Champions For 2016: Be Greedy When Others Are Fearful by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Dividend Champions/Aristocrats are the go-to dividend paying stocks for prudent investors desirous of a safe, predictable and growing stream of income on the common stock portion of their retirement portfolios. As most investors are aware, in order to be classified as a Dividend Champion/Aristocrat a company must meet the stern test of consecutively increasing their dividend for 25 years or longer. Of all the dividend paying stocks in the universe, only a select few make these prestigious lists.

2015-12-24 00:00:00 Out of Balance by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

It was September 10, 2001 when I slid into my trading turret around 5:00 a.m. to write that day’s strategy report. The stock market should have been rallying for the previous few weeks, but that was not happening.

2015-12-24 00:00:00 The Perils of Fed Gradualism by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

Although the Fed's recent interest-rate hike is fundamentally a positive step, it is not enough. In fact, the Fed's commitment to gradualism in normalizing interest rates could set the stage for another devastating financial crisis.

2015-12-24 00:00:00 Why Big Oil Should Kill Itself by Anatole Kaletsky of Project Syndicate

Oil prices are likely to remain low, making it harder for large Western companies to compete with national producers in countries like Russia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Unless these companies self-liquidate, activist shareholders or corporate raiders could do it for them.

2015-12-24 00:00:00 2016 Global Market Outlook: A Tussle Between Bulls and Bears? by Andrew Pease of Russell Investments

Our annual global market outlook looks at global economies through the lens of value, cycle and sentiment to help investors see what might be ahead.

2015-12-24 00:00:00 Warm Weather Distortions in US Economic Data by Brian Horrigan of Loomis Sayles

November 2015 ranked as the 25th warmest November in the last 121 years. A warm spell like this can wreak havoc with economic data.

2015-12-24 00:00:00 The 2015 Festivus Airing of Grievances by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

Well, it’s that time of the year again for the airing of grievances. And, although I don’t have a lot of problems with you people this year, rest assured, I have a few. The first one has to do with the continued misconception that the purpose and measure of effectiveness of central bank quantitative easing (QE) is related to a decline in bond yields. If falling bond yields are an indicator of an easing monetary policy, then how would one explain the contractions in industrial production almost month after month from October 1929 through June 1931 in the face of declining bond yields?

2015-12-24 00:00:00 Where Investors Have Turned Optimistic by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ Koesterich shares his observations from Japan, where investors have turned positive on their domestic market and cautious toward the United States.

2015-12-24 00:00:00 Christmas Edition: 2015 in Review by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Before we reach 2016, I want to reflect back on 2015. Everyone is talking about interest rates and monetary policy right now, but the role fiscal policy plays is just as important—if not more so. As I always say, government policy is a precursor to change, and very recently we saw this firsthand.

2015-12-24 00:00:00 Arnott on All Asset December 2015 by Robert Arnott, Jason Hsu of PIMCO

Rob Arnott, head of Research Affiliates, and Jason Hsu, Research Affiliates’ co-founder and vice chairman, share their firm’s market insights and allocation strategies for PIMCO All Asset funds.

2015-12-23 00:00:00 These Asian countries are gearing up to pay out by Jeff Middleswart of Ranger International

Japan and South Korea have long offered equity investors notoriously low yields. That may be about to change.

2015-12-23 00:00:00 2016 Investment Playbook by Doug MacKay of Broadleaf Partners

It’s that time of year again. Time to take stock of the year that was and time to try pondering what 2016 could look like.

2015-12-23 00:00:00 Developed Asia Pacific: Economy Trends Update - October 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).

2015-12-23 00:00:00 Interest Rates, Energy, Commodities: The Highs and Lows of Year-End by Zachary Karabell of Envestnet

The Fed. Interest rates. A stressed bond market. The Paris climate accords. What do these things have in common, and what does that commonality portend for portfolios?

2015-12-23 00:00:00 Pew Study: American Middle Class is Steadily Shrinking by Gary D. Halbert of ProFutures Investments

1. Pew Research: American Middle Class is Steadily Shrinking 2. Pew’s 5 Takeaways About the American Middle Class 3. American Middle Class Also Losing Ground Financially 4. Wealth Gap Between Upper, Middle & Lower Incomes 5. Political Implications of the Shrinking Middle Class

2015-12-23 00:00:00 The Market Correction In Metals Is Long In The Tooth But Not Likely Over by Avi Gilburt of

For the last 5 months, the miners have basically oscillated within the same general region, while the metals have made lower lows. But none of the charts seem to have completed their respective downside structures.

2015-12-23 00:00:00 There Is Nothing That Must Be Traded by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

A couple of weeks ago the Barron’s Striking Price column included the following related to the December FOMC meeting; "The rate hike is one of those events that has to be traded, no matter what. No portfolio manager wants to sit on the sideline and miss what could be a big move in the market." The context was probably not aimed at investment advisors but that is unclear and of course the many individual investors who also read Barron’s could be influenced by that sort of sentiment as well.

2015-12-23 00:00:00 What You Should Know About Convertible Bonds by Matthew Tucker of BlackRock

What is a convertible bond and what does it have to do with a rising rate environment? Matt Tucker explains.

2015-12-22 00:00:00 The Case against Wall Street by Bob Veres (Article)

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we are here today to consider the case of a defendant who is familiar to everyone: the brokerage industry, or simply Wall Street. The defendant is charged with a number of crimes: employing deceptive business practices; operating a cartel; undermining consumer protections; engaging in anti-competitive behavior against the emergent financial advisory profession; exerting undue and improper influence on Congress and the regulators; raking in excess profits and thereby harming the American economy that it originally was created to benefit.

2015-12-22 00:00:00 How to Maximize Your Team’s Performance in 2016 by Dan Richards (Article)

For advisors early in their careers, success depends on their own efforts. But continuing success depends not on one’s performance, but rather on the efforts of their team. That’s why I made building a strong team a theme of my articles this past year. And that’s why I am finishing up with some key lessons from top-performing advisors on team communication, coaching and development.

2015-12-22 00:00:00 Lessons I Learned as a Mediator by Dan Solin (Article)

I used to serve as a mediator to facilitate the resolution of complex commercial cases. Resolving those difficult and challenging disputes was highly rewarding – and it taught me several things about how to subtly but effectively persuade clients and prospects.

2015-12-22 00:00:00 Caregiver Decision Fatigue by David Solie, MS, PA (Article)

The ongoing decisions one confronts with aging defy containment or elimination. They demand sustained engagements with uncertainty, challenges most caregivers are ill equipped to handle. Consider the following example…

2015-12-22 00:00:00 My Top Ten Tips for 2016 – Part One by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

The end of the year offers a chance to reflect on what’s worked well and decide what we’d like to do differently in 2016. For the last two columns of the year, I will provide my “top ten” list of advice I’ve given, common issues I’ve heard and ideas that come up over and over again. Part I -- the first five -- appears here, and Part II -- the second five -- will run next week.

2015-12-22 00:00:00 How to Create an Employment Code of Conduct by Kristen Luke (Article)

An Employment Code of Conduct is often defined as the “rules” an employee must follow. At Kaleido, we view it not as a rules book, but rather as an expression of core company values. These shared values define not only how your company operates, but also how employees’ behavior can contribute to a happy, healthy and productive workplace.

2015-12-22 00:00:00 Robert Gordon, the Special Century, and the Prospects for Economic Growth by Laurence Siegel (Article)

Is the slowdown in economic progress in this new century an aberration or should we have expected it all along? Is it the result of unwise policies or unfavorable demographics, or is it the comedown that naturally occurs after a century-long global economic miracle? How one views the prospects for economic growth will have profound implications for the long-term performance of the capital markets.

2015-12-22 00:00:00 2015 Recap and a Look to the Year Ahead by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Sir John Templeton coined the phrase, “Bull markets are born on pessimism, grow on skepticism, mature on optimism and die on euphoria.” In 2015, we expected investors to transition from “skepticism” to “optimism” as we experienced (1) solid momentum in U.S. economic growth with low inflation, (2) a pickup in consumer spending based on job growth, confidence and a positive wealth effect, (3) solid earnings growth, (4) stimulus from low commodity prices and financing costs and (5) a still-good liquidity environment aided by stimulus from non-U.S. central banks.

2015-12-22 00:00:00 What’s the Canary in the Financial Coal Mine Saying? by Martin Pring of Pring Turner Capital Group

Credit spreads, which measure the relationship between bonds of different credit ratings, are arguably one of the most overlooked tools in financial market analysis. That is a shame because reversals in the momentum of credit spreads offer reliable signals of changes in the fortunes of bonds, stocks and commodities. Current evidence suggests some of these relationships have reached a critical juncture point, which means further deterioration in junk bonds and their connection with higher quality ones could lead to a crisis prone 2016.

2015-12-22 00:00:00 Argentina’s Economic Big Bang by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

Last week, newly elected Argentine President Mauricio Macri's government initiated a bold plan to revitalize a bruised and beleaguered economy. The plan's outcome matters not just for Argentina, but also for nearby countries, where leaders are watching closely for clues about how to deal with their economies' own woes.

2015-12-22 00:00:00 The Fed’s Risk to Emerging Economies by Michael Spence of Project Syndicate

The US Federal Reserve has finally, after almost a decade of steadfast inaction, set off down the path of interest-rate normalization. But other central banks' reluctance to follow the Fed’s lead implies a coming period of monetary-policy divergence, with uncertain consequences for the global economy.

2015-12-22 00:00:00 5 Investing Myths That Will Hurt You by Lance Roberts of Real Investment Advice

In the summer of 1885 William R. Travers, prominent NYC businessman and builder of Saratoga Race Track, was vacationing in Newport, Rhode Island. He pointed out a long line of beautiful yachts tied up in the harbor. When he was informed that they all belonged to Wall Street brokers he simply asked, “Where are their clients’ yachts?”.

2015-12-22 00:00:00 The End of an Era: The Fed Lifts Off by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

After months of speculation and debate, the Federal Reserve has, by raising the fed funds rate, decided that the U.S. economy has recovered from the Great Recession.

2015-12-22 00:00:00 2015: A blueprint for 2016? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses how the factors that constrained stocks in 2015 are likely to repeat next year.

2015-12-22 00:00:00 Oil Prices—The Asset Allocation Perspective by Multi-Asset Solutions Team of BMO Global Asset Management

The commentary examines the impact of falling oil prices, specifically the possibility of a “risk-off” event created by an unexpected sharp decline in oil prices spilling over into equity and credit markets. Additionally, the recent closing of the Third Avenue credit fund should not trigger a “one size fits all” attitude regarding all high-yield funds. As asset allocators with a long-term time horizon, BMO sees lower energy prices as a net positive for riskier assets such as equities and high-yield bonds.

2015-12-22 00:00:00 Coasting into Year End by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

The Fed made its long awaited increase last week. We think it’s a mistake. The statement was muted and talked about “further improvements” here and there. The only improvement we have seen is in the labor market but, as we mentioned, scratch the surface and it’s not a great picture. At the risk of flogging this to death, we would make two points.

2015-12-22 00:00:00 Can the Markets Be Timed? by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

In the past I regularly attended investment conferences, and at first they were informative. As time went by they were my way of rationalizing a vacation for myself and my family at some resort hotel. During the last decade or so, the few conferences I have attended were those in which I was invited to give a presentation to those attendees willing to listen to my thoughts on portfolio management and security selection.

2015-12-22 00:00:00 Is Biotech in a Bubble? by (Article)

Portfolio Manager Carl Brown discusses valuations in the biotech industry. What does he look for in an area that led the market before correcting in 2015's third quarter?

2015-12-22 00:00:00 Growth Themes Benefiting from a Steady Economy by (Article)

Portfolio Manager Chip Skinner talks about the healthcare and business service sectors where he continues to see new ideas.

2015-12-22 00:00:00 How Does Market Volatility Usually Affect Investing in Small-Caps? by (Article)

The post-Financial Crisis period has been an environment largely characterized by above-average returns with few meaningful corrections. Portfolio Manager Jay Kaplan talks about the importance of stock market volatility and the ways in which he attempts to manage risk by paying close attention to valuation and the expectations of Wall Street.

2015-12-21 00:00:00 The Average Stock is Just Shy of Being in a Bear Market by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

As of today’s closing the S&P 500 index is quite literally in spitting distance of its all-time high as the markets cheered the first rate hike in a decade. Yet, as we noted here and here, most stocks are not quite acting as ebullient as one might expect given former. Here is more evidence of just that.

2015-12-21 00:00:00 Seeing the Silver Lining for Fixed Income in Fed Move by Christopher Molumphy of Franklin Templeton Investments

As we look ahead to 2016, we finally have entered this long-anticipated rising-rate environment. However, it’s likely to be slow and steady, and certainly not something we believe should cause major portfolio dislocations for fixed income investors.

2015-12-21 00:00:00 Chinese Railway Stays On Track by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The Chinese railway system has changed dramatically since I last visited the Asian nation. I can remember taking the high-speed train from Shanghai to Beijing during a visit in 2011; at the time it was a fresh, dedicated line covering 819 miles in a little less than five hours.

2015-12-21 00:00:00 ETFs: Passing Marks for Liquidity, but What About Performance? by Gershon Distenfeld of AllianceBernstein

Proponents of credit exchange traded funds (ETFs) claim the last week of market turmoil was a test for these instruments—and that they passed. We think this takes grading on a curve to a new level.

2015-12-21 00:00:00 Can EM Debt Continue to Outperform? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

One investing surprise of 2015: While emerging market assets in general have had a tough year, emerging market debt denominated in U.S. dollars has outperformed. Russ and an investment strategist on his team, Terry Simpson, examine whether this exception can continue.

2015-12-21 00:00:00 What Comes Next? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The Federal Reserve has now raised short-term interest rates for the first time in nine and a half years. In the policy statement, the Fed signaled that policy will still be accommodative, that future action will be data-dependent, and that the pace of rate increase is likely to be gradual. None of that should be a surprise.

2015-12-21 00:00:00 Main Themes of 2015 by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

As we all looked back on the past year, the word “eventful” came up often in conversation. Following are our reflections on the main events that influenced economic performance in 2015.

2015-12-21 00:00:00 Discount Response by (Article)

Corporate efforts to narrow CEF discounts include share buybacks and fund mergers, say Ken Fincher of First Trust Advisors and Mariana Bush of Wells Fargo Advisors.

2015-12-21 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: A Parade of Pontificating Pundits! by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

Last week’s stock market had a Jekyll and Hyde feeling, setting the background for the two weeks ahead. We will have lighter volume and plenty of people taking vacation during the holiday-shortened weeks. With plenty of explaining to do and a new year ahead, we can expect: A Parade of Pontificating Pundits!

2015-12-21 00:00:00 On My Radar: Henry Hazlitt and Inflation by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

There is a battle going on between deflation and inflation. Right now, deflation is winning. It is winning globally. In the extreme, neither is desired, yet perhaps the worst of the two is deflation as it leads to depression. The global central banks are fighting to create inflation and it is fight that I think they will ultimately win (though it may take years).

2015-12-21 00:00:00 Greedy Innkeeper or Generous Capitalist? by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

The Bible story of the virgin birth is at the center of much of the holiday cheer this time of year. The book of Luke tells us that Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem because Caesar Augustus decreed a census should be taken. Mary gave birth after arriving in Bethlehem and placed baby Jesus in a manger because there was “no room for them in the inn.”

2015-12-21 00:00:00 Reversing the Speculative Effect of QE Overnight by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

In recent quarters, I’ve remained adamant that the immediate first step of the Federal Reserve in normalizing monetary policy should have been to reduce the size of its balance sheet. The Fed’s failure to prioritize that first step, in the apparent desire to maintain an aggrandized role in the U.S. financial markets, has significantly increased the risk of a collapse from the speculative extremes the Fed has created in recent years. Given the increasing risk-aversion evident in market internals, we doubt that even a reversal of last week’s rate hike would materially reduce that prospect.

2015-12-21 00:00:00 Middle East/Africa: Economy Trends Update -- October 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

The three months from July to October turned out to be a reasonably good period for the five economies we cover in the Middle East and Africa region. Although the largest among these economies, South Africa, remained beleaguered by a range of external and domestic problems, there were signs that the country coped well with its difficulties. Israel recorded robust growth after staying depressed for much of the first half of this year while Egypt took further steps to reform its economy.

2015-12-20 00:00:00 Drilling Down for Bargains After Oil’s Decline by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

The recent collapse in oil prices has placed pressure on a range of asset classes related to energy. Russ shares where to look for bargains.

2015-12-20 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review: EU Growing, China Slowing, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

As we go into year end, the world economic situation is tenuous. The US, UK and EU are doing fairly well, but Japan and China are weakening. And while Australia is growing, it's clear the Chinese slowdown is hurting. Overall, as noted by the Dallas Fed, the global economic environment is fragile.

2015-12-20 00:00:00 US Bond Market Week in Review; The Most Telegraphed Rate Hike In History, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The combination of weak labor utilization, weak inflation and an already challenging environment for the industrial sector (that will be made worse by the resulting stronger dollar) provide a strong counter-argument to timing of this rate increase.

2015-12-20 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review; Good Economic But Weaker Technical Environment, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

As we near year-end, we have more of the same: a market in desperate need of revenue growth isn’t getting any. Therefore, prices are weaker.

2015-12-20 00:00:00 The Seven Fat Years of ZIRP by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

In today’s letter we are going to examine the problematic credit markets, and I want to focus on something that is happening off the radar screen: the continuing rise of credit in private lending. I predicted the rise of private credit back in 2007 and said that it would become a major force in the world, but I got strange looks from audiences when I talked about the arcane subject of private credit. Today the shadow banking system is taking significant market share from traditional banking.

2015-12-19 00:00:00 Why the Fed’s Rate Increase is Good (Not Bad) News by Rick Reider of BlackRock Investment Management

Rick Rieder provides five reasons why an interest rate hike is a good thing for the economy and markets (even if it came a bit late).

2015-12-19 00:00:00 How Much Oil Is Needed To Power Santa’s Sleigh? by Michael McDonald of

Every year around the world, hundreds of millions of children wait anxiously for Santa Claus to arrive and bring presents and good cheer. But what if Santa never came? What if this year the reindeer all fall ill, perhaps due to Crazy Reindeer disease (the analog to Mad Cow) and Santa is forced to cancel Christmas? The result would be devastating.

2015-12-19 00:00:00 The Fed Awakens: A New Hike by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

On Wednesday, Chair Yellen announced that, for the first time in seven years, easy money will become slightly less easy. The target rate will be set at between 0.25 and 0.50 percent, which doesn’t sound like much, but it’s important that the Fed ease into this cycle cautiously and gradually. Plus, this comes at a time when fellow industrialized nations and economic areas around the globe are considering further monetary easing measures.

2015-12-18 00:00:00 Positioning Portfolios After Fed Rate Liftoff by Gene Tannuzzo of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

With a positive backdrop for credit risk, we favor investment-grade corporate bonds and MBS, while some areas of high yield also present opportunities. We believe a modest but positive duration stance remains appropriate, with 2016 likely to provide additional opportunities to buy longer dated bonds. Currency risk presents some opportunity, but it is no longer as simple as expecting the U.S. dollar to appreciate versus all other currencies. Inflation risk will likely increase next year as commodity prices ultimately bottom and wages perk up.

2015-12-18 00:00:00 Fed Lift-Off Begins – a Little by Paul Eitelman of Russell Investments

Today the Fed lift-off begins. Paul Eitelman delves into what it might mean for global markets in 2016.

2015-12-18 00:00:00 High Yield: Flows Over Fundamentals by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

High-yield bond selling, or the threat of selling, has sparked one of the worst sell-offs in the high-yield bond market since the summer of 2011 and the peak of European debt fears. The origin of high-yield weakness has come from the lowest-rated tiers of the high-yield market but has infected the broader market. Last week’s redemption freeze by an $800 million high-yield strategy, and news of a similar halt by a smaller fund over the weekend of December 12–13, 2015, intensified pressure on the high-yield bond market.

2015-12-18 00:00:00 Healthcare Hijinks and the Affordable Care Act by Jeffrey Baker of HiddenLevers

Depending on who you ask, the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) has been either a total failure or a great success. Those who remain skeptical of the bill point to ballooning insurance premiums as evidence the act has failed. Conversely proponents of the measure look to increasing insurance rolls as evidence the act has succeeded. Regardless of your views, the act has had a profound impact on the largest sector in the US economy.

2015-12-18 00:00:00 Interest Rates and Energy: The Highs and Lows of Year-End by (Article)

Interest rates, the high-yield market, collapsing energy and commodity markets – it seems like the markets couldn't resist a last hurrah before closing out 2015. Are these events signaling a potential crisis? This month, we assess the market events of the recent weeks and talk about "The Highs and Lows of Year-End".

2015-12-18 00:00:00 Past vs. Prologue: Cutting Through the Noise of Investment Returns by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

While investors are fortunate to have good data on returns to guide them, the quality of translation of that information into investment advice varies considerably.

2015-12-18 00:00:00 What to Expect in 2016: 4 Investment Outlooks for the New Year by Neil Dwane, Ben Fischer, Doug Forsyth, Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

How will rising rates affect the US economy and markets? Which risks are most worth watching? Our CIOs discuss a range of challenges and opportunities for investors, and Kristina Hooper provides six timely tips on asset allocation.

2015-12-18 00:00:00 Mission Accomplished by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The new rounds of rate cutting and Quantitative Easing that the Fed will have to unleash will echo the military "surge" in Iraq in 2007. Those fresh troops were needed to roll back the chaos that the Administration had ignored for so long. But just as that surge only bought us a few years of relative calm, look for the gains brought about by our next monetary surge to be even more transitory. That is a development for which virtually no one on Wall Street is preparing.

2015-12-18 00:00:00 Said the Fed to the Markets, “Take a Hike” by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The initiation of rate hikes removes the uncertainty around the start date obviously; but does not remove the uncertainty around the path of rate hikes from here. We believe this will remain a focus by investors in 2016; and is likely to contribute to some of the volatility we believe will persist across the equity and fixed income markets.

2015-12-17 00:00:00 Rising Interest Rates, Part 1: Return to the Natural Level? by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

Although economic growth appears to be slowing, stocks continue to hit new highs. This may lead one to ask, “How does the market retain its strength?” In fact, much of this strength seems to result from the low interest rates provided by the Federal Reserve (Fed). And although it can’t be said exactly when the Fed will raise rates, expectation is currently high that it will happen on December 16.

2015-12-17 00:00:00 Rising Interest Rates, Part 2: Exploring the Gap by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

In part 1 of this series, I explored what interest rates would look like if they returned to their natural level and determined they would be approximately 5 percent on a nominal basis (assuming 2-percent inflation). As the Federal Reserve (Fed) has determined that 2 percent is the target inflation rate, this approximation of the natural rate seems reasonable. Current interest rates, however, are well below 3 percent, resulting in an obvious gap between where the rate is now and where it should be.

2015-12-17 00:00:00 Global Economic Overview: November 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

The upward revision in third quarter U.S. economic growth and buoyant consumer sentiment supports a more stable global economic outlook for the next few quarters. Consumer optimism also remains healthy in Europe, though the Euro-zone economy expanded less than expected during the third quarter. The Japanese economy declined during the July-September period, according to initial estimates, but the data could be revised higher as capital investments for the period were greater than initially calculated.

2015-12-17 00:00:00 How Today's Fed Rate Hike Affects Investors by Dr. Brian Jacobsen of Wells Fargo Asset Management

The Federal Reserve’s (Fed’s) policy move is exactly what the market expected. Wells Fargo’s Dr. Brian Jacobsen, CFA, explores what the Fed’s first rate hike in nine years means for future Fed policy, the markets, and investors.

2015-12-17 00:00:00 The Fed Launches Rate Hikes by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

One small step for the Fed, one giant leap for the US economy. At long last, after seven years of near zero percent short-term interest rates, the Federal Reserve unanimously decided to raise rates by 0.25 percentage points, the first rate hike since 2006. The new range for the federal funds rate is 0.25% to 0.5%, 25 basis points above the prior range.

2015-12-17 00:00:00 One Small Step by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Seven years to the day after bringing overnight interest rates to near zero, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) ended what Chair Janet Yellen termed an “extraordinary period” by moving its targets up by 25 basis points.

2015-12-17 00:00:00 The Important Role Of Recessions by Lance Roberts of Real Investment Advice

My friend and colleague, Michael Lebowitz of 720 Global Research, recently penned a response to Larry Summers commentary on the economy’s weakened ability to withstand higher interest rates.

2015-12-17 00:00:00 Six Lessons We Learned About Bonds in 2015 by Douglas Peebles of AllianceBernstein

In 2015, bond investors faced slower nominal global growth, less liquid markets and a looming US rate hike. But with challenges come lessons: here are some takeaways from 2015 that should remain important in 2016.

2015-12-17 00:00:00 Did a Frozen Fund Lead Last Week's Outflows in High Yield? by Jennifer Ponce de Leon of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

The circumstances of two large leveraged debt funds do not mean that investors with exposure to traditional high-yield funds are subject to the same outcomes. While we believe risk premiums should be higher for illiquidity and other risks, any technically-driven sell-off due to large redemptions could present a buying opportunity. Last week’s events are further evidence that disciplined credit selection based on strong fundamental analysis will be a key driver of manager performance over the coming year.

2015-12-17 00:00:00 FOMC FAQS by John Canally of LPL Financial

The Fed holds its eighth and final FOMC meeting of 2015 this Tuesday and Wednesday, December 15–16, 2015. As of Monday, December 14, 2015, the fed funds futures market has priced in about an 80% chance of a 25 basis point (0.25%) rate hike at this week’s meeting. Our view remains that the timing of the first hike matters less than the pace of the hikes; the end point for the fed funds rate in this tightening cycle and the gap between the Fed’s own view of rates and the market’s view remain crucial.

2015-12-17 00:00:00 The Fed’s Dilemma by Brandon VanLandingham of Perissos Private Wealth Management

The Fed is expected to raise interest rates this week for the first time in nine years. This could be a turning point in the overall economic landscape. The Fed in its latest meeting has sighted a healthy employment picture and an expectation that inflation will normalize in the near term as the reasons for a rate hike this week. We typically think of low inflation and low unemployment as keys to a healthy economy and this is for the most part true.

2015-12-17 00:00:00 Travels in Sri Lanka: The Tourist Trade by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

I encourage travelers to check out Sri Lanka, which has much to offer tourists including warm weather, expansive beaches, and an interesting heritage with many cultural attractions.

2015-12-17 00:00:00 Fed Raises Rates for the First Time Since 2006: Our Reaction by Orla O'Brien of Loomis Sayles

The Fed has spoken. Now that we finally have the answer, what does it mean to you and your investors? Read the analysis from two Loomis Sayles strategists who have been following the rate decision play-by-play — every step of the way.

2015-12-17 00:00:00 December 2015 Newsletter - Divergence by Jim Tillar, Steve Wenstrup of Tillar-Wenstrup Advisors

The biggest stock market story for 2015 is divergence of returns. The year 2015 is looking a lot like 1999 where performance was driven by a narrow group of stocks while most stocks did poorly. In 1999, technology stocks seemed to suck money from every other part of the stock market in what in hindsight was clearly a bubble.

2015-12-17 00:00:00 Why the Fed Liftoff Matters by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

When the U.S. Federal Reserve finally lifted the key rate by a quarter point on December 16, it was arguably the most widely anticipated rate hike in U.S. monetary history. This Fed liftoff matters precisely because no other major central bank in the world has the ability to do it. This marks the end of ZIRP (zero interest rates policy) for the U.S. But every other central bank is in ZIRP or is heading in that direction.

2015-12-17 00:00:00 Stock Market Update – Fed Raises Interest Rates by Willie Delwiche of Robert W. Baird

Fed Chief Janet Yellen raised interest rates 25 basis points. Although this was the first rate hike in nine years, the impact on the markets is not anticipated to add to volatility. Bottom Line: Fed removes uncertainty over rate hike – broad market should expand beginning late next week.

2015-12-17 00:00:00 Performance Measurement: Danger of Point-in-Time Analysis by Charles Batchelor of Cleary Gull

I hear it on TV, I see it in ads and I get the sales pitch. “Fund XYZ is a 5-star fund according to Morningstar,” or “Fund XYZ is in the top quartile of its peer group for the trailing one- and three years.” It sounds impressive. But, should we listen? No, not really. Should you invest in a fund based on this data? Definitely, not. Looking at these statements through a critical lens, they’re little more than a means to pique investor interest in a product…

2015-12-17 00:00:00 Silly Myths about Gold during Rising Interest Rates by Stefan Gleason of Money Metals Exchange

The Fed finally acted this week – upping its benchmark Federal Funds rate by 0.25%. Now that the speculation over whether the Fed will hike has been put to rest, analysts are busily speculating about what the Fed's move means for the economy and markets.

2015-12-17 00:00:00 Rising Interest Rates, Part 3: What About Investments? by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

As this is the final post in my series on interest rates, it’s time to talk about what everyone is probably thinking: What happens to investments when interest rates rise? This question is especially pertinent given yesterday’s decision by the Federal Reserve on a rate hike.

2015-12-17 00:00:00 High Yield: A Challenge and an Opportunity by Sean Slein of First Eagle Investment Management

Liquidity in the high-yield market has been a challenge over the past several quarters, as several structural factors have adversely affected traditional sources of liquidity. Historically, counterparties like banks and brokers served as market-makers, allocating capital to provide down bids in periods of market distress, as they did in 2002 and 2008/09.

2015-12-17 00:00:00 Navigating the Current Rate Environment by Giorgio Caputo of First Eagle Investment Management

Low interest rates globally have been an important driver of asset price returns over the past few years and are very much on investors’ minds today. In our conversations with financial advisers, many questions come up: How long can we expect the low-rate environment to continue? What has led rates to be so low in the first place? What are the consequences of global central banks’ quantitative easing (“QE”) policies? Have we definitively slain the specter of inflation?

2015-12-17 00:00:00 Government Funding and Tax Extenders Legislation Affects Investors by Andy Friedman of The Washington Update

After weeks of negotiations, Congress reached agreement on a bipartisan bill to fund the government through September 2016. Following are provisions of particular interest to investors.

2015-12-16 00:00:00 China Keeping the Dream Alive with Government Spending by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

Reported central government spending in China, which is likely only a fraction of the actual level of state directed spending in the economy, has recently shot up to a new all-time high just as the reported economic growth rate has plunged to a low not seen since the late ’90s.

2015-12-16 00:00:00 Follow the Dollar: It’s Heading for China by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein

The move to confer reserve status on China’s currency is part of a process that could lead to nearly US$3 trillion being injected into the country’s bond and equity markets. We’ve taken a close look at where the money could come from.

2015-12-16 00:00:00 It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas . . . Not by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Many of you know that around this time of year I journey to New York City for the Christmas tree lighting and the Friends of Fermentation (FOF) Christmas party; this year was no exception. However, it sure did not feel much like Christmas in Manhattan. The temperatures were in the 50s and 60s, so the top coat I brought was never used. Such warm climes brought about thoughts of the much discussed topic, “global warming.”

2015-12-16 00:00:00 Liftoff Takes Backseat as Oil Drives Sentiment by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses the reasons behind, and implications of, the collapse in oil prices.

2015-12-16 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Is It Finally Time for the Santa Claus Rally? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

Last week’s stock results were poor for nearly all funds and sectors. Will this continue? Until Wednesday, we can expect a continuing focus on the Fed. After that announcement we may see a change in tone: Pundits will be asking: Is it finally time for the Santa Claus Rally?

2015-12-16 00:00:00 What Does the High-Yield Sell-Off Mean for Stocks? by Burt White of LPL Financial

High-yield bond weakness has led investors to fear that a recession or bear market may be forthcoming. Widening of high-yield bond spreads (the spread between yields on high-yield bonds and comparable U.S. Treasuries) preceded the start of the stock market downturns in 2000 and 2008, causing many to ask if the latest bout of high-yield weakness portends another downturn. Here we try to answer that question by looking at characteristics unique to the high-yield bond market and prior periods of similar high-yield weakness.

2015-12-16 00:00:00 US Bond Market Week in Review: Why The Fed Is About to Make A Mistake In Raising Rates by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The consensus is the Fed will raise rates at their next meeting. The latest employment report all but baked this into the cake. However, I’m not so sure this is a good idea.

2015-12-16 00:00:00 The 2016 Geopolitical Outlook by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

As is our custom, we close out the current year with our outlook for the next one. This report is less a series of predictions as it is a list of potential geopolitical issues that we believe will dominate the international landscape in the upcoming year. It is not designed to be exhaustive; instead, it focuses on the “big picture” conditions that we believe will affect policy and markets going forward. They are listed in order of importance: the Election Transition, Western Populism, Small-Scale Islamic Terrorism, the Weakening of the European Union, and Trouble in the South China Sea.

2015-12-16 00:00:00 Lift Off! by Dimitri Balatsos of Tesseract Partners

With all systems set on “GO,” the broadly-advertised and widely-anticipated lift off by the Federal Reserve from the zero-bound Fed funds rate is expected to take place this Wednesday, December 16. One would hope that the fate of the tragic Danish prince does not befall what comes afterwards. As a skeptic of unconventional monetary policies, we look at the impending action and potential consequences with trepidation.

2015-12-16 00:00:00 Impact Of The First Hike - This Time Might Really Be Different by Chun Wang of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

This rate hike might really be different as it occurs in an environment where, despite strong job growth, the business cycle has already turned contractionary, disinflation is still dominant, and various risky assets are showing late-stage characteristics. In other words, we are in unchartered territory. Expect the unexpected.

2015-12-16 00:00:00 Fed Set To Pull Trigger Tomorrow - A Good Thing Or Bad? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The Fed Open Market Committee (FOMC) which sets US monetary policy convened in Washington this morning for its last meeting of 2015. It is widely expected that the Committee will vote to hike the key Fed Funds rate for the first time in almost a decade before the meeting concludes tomorrow.

2015-12-16 00:00:00 Brace Yourself: Our Latest Look at Student Debt by Jill Mislinski (Article)

College Tuition and Fees constitute one of the biggest threats to our economic outlook. Here is a chart of data from the relevant Consumer Price Index sub-component reaching back to 1978, the earliest year Uncle Sam provides a breakout for College Tuition and Fees. As an interesting sidebar, we've thrown in the increase in the cost of purchasing a new car as well as the more substantial increase for the broader category of medical care, both of which pale in comparison.

2015-12-15 00:00:00 How to Use an Employee Exit Survey to Improve Your Culture by Kristen Luke (Article)

Despite your best intentions, you will see employee churn in your firm. Onboarding is the beginning of your employee’s life at your firm; the exit survey is the end of it.

2015-12-15 00:00:00 Year-End Bonus or Holiday Thank You: Which works best for you and your team? by Teresa Riccobuono (Article)

This time of year I am often asked by advisors, "What should I do about holiday bonuses?" Although this seems like a simple question, it is certainly not.

2015-12-15 00:00:00 Are Clients Honest When They Say They Refer? by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

More than 90% of our clients say they would refer us if asked. However, our new business comes from only a handful of clients who actually refer us. Why do you think this is happening?

2015-12-15 00:00:00 Dear Ms. Yellen, I Don’t Care What You Do by Andy Martin (Article)

Rising interest rates are nothing to fear. Total returns will be positive, not negative, if we have a similar rate trajectory that we had in the last bear market in bonds. Bonds should continue to be a staple in investors’ portfolios – and in greater, not lesser percentages as our population ages and interest rates increase.

2015-12-15 00:00:00 The Importance of Self-Awareness by Dan Solin (Article)

The next time you receive an inquiry from a prospect, think about how your response will be perceived. Do you come across as self-centered and all-knowing? Or do you come across as sensitive, caring and genuinely interested in the welfare of the prospect? I know how important this issue is because of a recent experience in my own business.

2015-12-15 00:00:00 The Risk and Opportunity in Peer-to-Peer Investing by Michael Kitces (Article)

In today’s low-interest-rate environment, advisors must add value to fixed-income allocations. Unfortunately, some of the higher yielding segments of the fixed-income markets – such as peer-to-peer (P2P) investing – don’t fit into the typical financial advisor investment platforms. But that will soon change.

2015-12-15 00:00:00 Why Dividend-Paying Stocks are Riskier than You Think by Larry Swedroe (Article)

As advisors shift allocations from bonds to high-dividend stocks, they are exposing their clients to equity market risk. But they are also increasing interest-rate risk. Investors in two of the biggest dividend ETFs – SDY and VIG – are among the most exposed to the surging demand for dividend-paying stocks.

2015-12-15 00:00:00 How Just-In-Time Advice Deepens Relationships by Dan Richards (Article)

The growing focus on clients with assets over $2 million risks missing opportunities with clients the next level down, with assets of $500,000 to $2 million. Helping the children of mid-size clients is a powerful way to strengthen relationships, but only if advice is offered at the right time.

2015-12-15 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review: 2016 Technical Outlook Is Not Encouraging by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

This week’s column focuses exclusively on the technical side of the US market. I’ll be using three weekly charts to illustrate my concerns about the structure of the US equity markets.

2015-12-15 00:00:00 Positioning Portfolios for the Next Tightening Cycle by Gordon Bowers of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

Credit is trading at much more attractive spread levels relative to past hiking cycles, reinforcing our view that credit risk can perform well following liftoff. Opportunities may present themselves to add duration risk further out the curve while the potential pullback in the dollar could create an opening to add currency risk. Performance of inflation risk is mixed, with underperformance accelerating throughout the tightening cycle as the Fed lowers market expectations of future inflation.

2015-12-15 00:00:00 Weakness in Oil Puts Downward Pressure on Equity Prices by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities fell sharply last week, with the S&P 500 Index declining 3.7%. This was its largest loss since August and the second-largest downturn of the year. A sharp sell-off in oil prices was the main cause, along with credit and liquidity concerns within the high yield market. The energy sector was the worst performer last week and financials also took a hit. In contrast, more defensive areas such as utilities, consumer staples and health care held up better.

2015-12-15 00:00:00 Monday Update: An Encouraging Week, Overall by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

Although I identified consumer confidence as a yellow light in December’s economic risk factor update, last week’s data releases gave a largely encouraging take.

2015-12-15 00:00:00 3 Charts The Fed Should Consider by Lance Roberts of Real Investment Advice

This week, the Fed will meet to decide the “fate of the universe,” as they are highly anticipated to announce the first rate hike in a decade. This is a momentous occasion as it marks the end of the “ultra-accommodative” monetary policy that has been the primary driver behind asset prices since the end of the financial crisis.

2015-12-15 00:00:00 Panic, Punts and Reality by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

The biggest single college football play of 2015 happened in Ann Arbor, MI, on October 17th. The ball was at mid-field, it was fourth down with two yards to go and there were only 10 seconds left in the game. The Michigan Wolverines were beating the Michigan State Spartans, 23-21.

2015-12-15 00:00:00 Analyst Notes: A Brighter Outlook for US Banks? by Julian Wellesley of Loomis Sayles

The overall mood at the recent US BancAnalysts Association of Boston conference was positive. Many bank CFOs believe that the future for regional bank revenue, which has been growing at barely over 1% for the past three years, looks brighter.

2015-12-15 00:00:00 Trade: Taking the Pulse of the TPP by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

What are the pluses, and minuses, of the Trans-Pacific Partnership for the United States? Here’s a look.

2015-12-15 00:00:00 What to Expect When You're Expecting Uncertainty by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Last week, we looked at the Fed’s various policy tools and how the central bank will use them. This week, let’s examine the implications of a Fed rate hike. While a rate increase should be largely factored into the markets by now, the global reaction may be the largest concern for Fed officials.

2015-12-15 00:00:00 Stock Market Control by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

We saw the chart below in a recent column from Mark Hulbert. It shows the likelihood of the stock market going up or down in the next year, based on how it did the prior year. This got us thinking about what you can and can't control in the U.S. stock market. After all, the reason that stocks outperform other liquid asset classes over long stretches of time is the uncertainty and variability of returns. Here is a short list of things which can't be controlled in the U.S. stock market.

2015-12-15 00:00:00 The Stealth Bear Market by Clyde Kendzierski of FSG LLC

Lots of investors have been very disappointed this year. The financial media keep telling us that the markets, although less than stellar, are intact and poised for future gains. Few investors see that in their own portfolios. The reality is that if your portfolio is concentrated a few mega cap stocks that have done well you are doing just fine.

2015-12-14 00:00:00 The Slippery Welcome Mat for Rising Rates, by Steven Malin, Ph.D of Allianz Global Investors

The commencement of a policy-rate-hike cycle by the US Federal Reserve has both symbolic and material significance for the US economy and financial system. Gradually unwinding unconventional, ultra-accommodative monetary policies sets in motion the repricing of assets and other long-delayed adjustments in economic, financial and currency markets. Comparing economic and financial outcomes with prior rate-hike cycles provides clues as to the possible outcomes this time around, but they have little predictive power.

2015-12-14 00:00:00 Rising Rates: A Good Thing for Bond Investors? by Wendy Stojadinovic of Cleary Gull

When interest rates rise, the price of your bond goes down. That’s obviously not a good thing at the time it happens, but investors should consider how their bond investment does over time. The change in price is not the only component of your return. In fact, the income you receive and the rate at which you reinvest that income are typically the biggest components of bond returns. Rising rates aren’t the worst thing for bond investors. In fact, for long term investors, rising rates are a good thing. The more rates go up, the more you earn.

2015-12-14 00:00:00 International Economic Week In Review: Hodgepodge, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

This was a very light week of news. Only the BOE had a policy meeting. And other major countries released very few economic numbers.

2015-12-14 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

The selling on Friday was extreme; there is typically some follow through downward momentum in the day(s) ahead. SPY and NDX are near support and breadth is either washed out or close to being so. Volatility experienced an extreme spike; mean reversion usually follows. Seasonality, especially with December OpEx up next, is very bullish. All things being equal, risk/reward should be skewed higher. The wild card is oil: equity markets are being driven lower by falling oil prices and their impact on high-yield.

2015-12-14 00:00:00 How to Diversify into International Growth Cycles by Jeff Everett, Dale Winner, and Venk Lal of Wells Fargo Asset Management

When it comes to portfolio diversification, the dialogue tends to focus on the domestic side of investing, from market-cap size to stocks versus bonds. What’s often missed is the need to think regionally. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the importance of positioning your portfolio to capture overseas opportunities, through international diversification strategy. We’ll also highlight three types of companies that position themselves to capitalize on improving business climates.

2015-12-14 00:00:00 Oil Prices and Global Growth by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

Oil prices were not as consequential for global growth in 2015 as seemed likely at the start of the year, and strong reserve positions and relatively conservative macroeconomic policies have enabled most major producers to avoid falling into crisis. But next year could be different, and not in a good way – especially for producers.

2015-12-14 00:00:00 On My Radar: El-Erian’s 2016 Outlook & The T Junction by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

I spent a few days earlier in the week in Scottsdale, Arizona. I was invited to present on portfolio positioning and best execution at the 20th annual IMN Global Indexing and ETF Conference. One of the big highlights for me was El-Erian’s keynote presentation. Today, I share with you my notes from El-Erian’s speech. He is humble, balanced and brilliant. I have listened to my recording of his presentation several times. Stop-start-rewind-replay-rinse-repeat. Fun for me and well worth the effort. In short, he puts the odds for a good outcome at 50/50 saying he, “hates to say that."

2015-12-14 00:00:00 Yellen Is About to Blunder by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

Quiet week for the Fed’s “data dependency”. But what we saw was not good.

2015-12-14 00:00:00 Deja Vu: The Fed's Real "Policy Error" Was To Encourage Years of Speculation by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Over the past several years, yield-seeking investors, starved for any “pickup” in yield over Treasury securities, have piled into the junk debt and leveraged loan markets. Just as equity valuations have been driven to the second most extreme point in history (and the single most extreme point in history for the median stock, where valuations are well-beyond 2000 levels), risk premiums on speculative debt were compressed to razor-thin levels. By 2014, the spread between junk bond yields and Treasury yields had fallen to less than 2.4%.

2015-12-14 00:00:00 Gundlach: The Fed’s Biggest Problem by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The Fed may be intent on raising interest rates, but a wide range of market indicators should give it pause to reconsider, according to Jeffrey Gundlach. Indeed, he said the biggest challenge to a rate hike is this one piece of data...

2015-12-14 00:00:00 Income Opportunity by (Article)

Despite a rising rate environment, CEF strategist Rob Shaker of Shaker Financial Services, says he’s “bullish” on the income opportunity for investors.

2015-12-14 00:00:00 The Fed's Financial Accounts: What Is Uncle Sam's Largest Asset? by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Pop Quiz! Without recourse to your text, your notes or a Google search, what line item is the largest asset in Uncle Sam's financial accounts?

  • A) U.S. Official Reserve Assets
  • B) Total Mortgages
  • C) Taxes Receivable
  • D) Student Loans

2015-12-12 00:00:00 The Topic We Should All Be Paying Attention to (in 3 Charts) by Rick Reider of BlackRock Investment Management

While everyone focuses on the Fed, this important topic isn't receiving as much attention as it deserves. Rick Rieder explains, with the help of three charts.

2015-12-11 00:00:00 Breaking Down US Energy Valuations by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

It’s not breaking news to say its been a bad year for energy stocks but it might be breaking news that not all energy stocks are trading at cheap valuations. In the United States, the median energy stock is down nearly 29% (the average energy stock is down about 23%). As this first chart shows, energy has clearly been the worst sector by a wide margin.

2015-12-11 00:00:00 2015's Market Correction Uncovered New Valuation Opportunities by Kevin Holt of Invesco Blog

After six years of positive returns and almost four years without a US market correction, August 2015 provided a jolt to investors as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 10% from its peak.

2015-12-11 00:00:00 Government Funding Deadline by Andy Friedman of The Washington Update

Congress has agreed to fund the government for another five days – through December 16 - to give it time to work out longer term appropriations legislation. The sides are furiously negotiating that appropriations bill, but progress has been slow. The sticking points mostly involve what policy “riders” should be attached to the final legislation. Most of these riders are not directly related to government funding.

2015-12-11 00:00:00 FOMC Preview: Liftoff Is Imminent, but What’s the Flight Plan? by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) gathering next week became a “live” meeting when the Fed declined to act in September.

2015-12-11 00:00:00 Intelligent Design Sustainable Income by Chris Brightman, Vitali Kalesnik, and Engin Kose of Research Affiliates

The AND principle means building in desirable features without the trade-offs that conventional thinking considers inevitable. Case in point: an equity income index holding liquid, quality stocks with high dividend yields. (1) The AND principle holds that creative product design can surmount some trade-offs that conventional thinking considers unavoidable.Simple investment strategies are easier to govern than complex ones and may be less likely to result in catastrophic outcomes. A simple new design demondemonstrates that income-oriented indices need not trade off yield for capacity & quality.

2015-12-11 00:00:00 George Friedman’s World of Geopolitics by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

In today’s letter, I have transcribed a conversation George Friedman and I had a few days ago. In it, we talk about how our new joint effort came about and why George has left Stratfor to create his new firm, Geopolitical Futures.

2015-12-11 00:00:00 What Was, What Is, and What May Be by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

With some international central banks expanding their easing programs, assets in areas such as Europe, Japan and general emerging markets look relatively attractive and most investors should have exposure to those regions in a diversified portfolio.

2015-12-11 00:00:00 This Industry Is Set to Post Record Profits on Lower Fuel Costs by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Everyone knows there are winners and losers in any bear market, including the recent commodity rout. Low crude oil prices have definitely hurt explorers and producers. Airlines, on the other hand, appear to be thriving.

2015-12-11 00:00:00 2016 Fixed Income Outlook: New Episode, Same Show by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

We expect a limited return environment may persist in 2016 and the year as a whole may look similar to 2015. High valuations, steady economic growth, and the lingering threat of Federal Reserve (Fed) rate hikes may keep pressure on bond prices in 2016. We do not envision a recession developing, which we believe is ultimately needed for a sustained move higher in bond prices.

2015-12-11 00:00:00 Eurozone 2016 Economic and Capital Market Outlook by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

Six years after the financial crisis, the Eurozone continues to face major challenges in restoring economic growth. Our investment thesis has been that the structural problems facing the European Union are real impediments to sustained economic growth and until they are addressed, sustained growth is elusive. While that does not mean that there are not investment opportunities in Europe, it does mean that as one of three major capital markets in the world, investors need to be careful.

2015-12-11 00:00:00 Crude Oil: Near Bottom by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

While the price of oil has tumbled dramatically in recent weeks, its monthly momentum turned positive in October. And since momentum often precedes price, investors should pay close attention to this development.

2015-12-11 00:00:00 December 2015 Market Commentary by Adam Jordan of Paul R. Ried Financial Group

As we are approaching the end of a roller coaster year in most markets, many asset classes are now nearly flat or negative for the year.

2015-12-11 00:00:00 China Takes a Big Step Forward by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

On November 30th the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced that it would admit China’s Renminbi currency, commonly known as the Yuan, to the select basket of reserve currencies that make up its Special Drawing Rights (SDR’s). Having been stalled by U.S. influence for many years, the long-awaited IMF decision acknowledges the massive transfer of financial power from the old West to the new East. The move heralds an era of potentially great change with global implications for politics, economics and investments.

2015-12-11 00:00:00 2016 – Mute the TV by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

With 2016 right around the corner, investors should remember that it rarely helps portfolio performance to listen to the 24-hour news cycle and Presidential candidates’ rhetoric. We’d rather invest for our clients based on a rigorous analysis of data, which currently suggests the US economy is in considerably better shape than recent campaigning suggests. For 2016, it’s time to mute the TV and focus on fundamentals, not noise.

2015-12-11 00:00:00 Extreme Leverage in a Gold Futures Market Nearing the Breaking Point by Clint Siegner of Money Metals Exchange

The metals markets rallied strongly on Friday – action which came as a surprise to many. The gains snapped a 6-week losing streak for gold, silver, and platinum. Prices rose despite a stronger-than-expected November jobs report raising the odds the Fed will hike interest rates later this month.

2015-12-11 00:00:00 Rising Rates: Dispelling the Myth by Scott Mather, David Fisher of PIMCO

Bond investors may have little to fear and potentially something to gain from rising interest rates.

2015-12-10 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 55.1% above the 2009 trough and 25.9% above the 2007 peak but off the all-time high set in Q2. The nominal Q3 net worth is down 1.4% from the previous quarter but up 2.9% year over year.

2015-12-10 00:00:00 The Paris Climate Negotiations: A World in Transition by BMO Global Asset Management’s Governance and Sustainable Investment team of BMO Global Asset Management

The stage is set in Paris for global leaders to secure a climate change deal, which would aim to curb fossil fuel use. China, India and United States are signaling their willingness to keep global warming to within two degrees Celsius. We have intensively engaged policy makers and companies advocating for reforms, which will result in a smooth transition path to a more sustainable climate.

2015-12-10 00:00:00 Strong Jobs Data Raises Expectations of Fed Rate Hike by Joe Becker, Adam Schenck, Jeff Greco of Milliman Financial Risk Management

The S&P 500 finished November largely unchanged, but not without oscillation along the way as markets absorbed information of higher-than-expected jobs data and its implications for a December rate hike.

2015-12-10 00:00:00 Understanding Covered Call CEFs by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Barron’s recently had a favorable write up on closed end funds that one way or another use a covered call strategy as a means of providing income. Where the article focused on CEFs, the yields can be quite high because of the leverage that CEFs often use as well as returning capital, when necessary to maintain a payout. It is also worth noting that there are traditional funds that sell calls and ETFs that sell calls and puts too for that matter.

2015-12-10 00:00:00 An Illustrated Timeline of the Gold Standard in the U.S. by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Ever since the U.S. left the gold standard for good in 1971, some politicians and investors have called for its return. At one of the Republican presidential debates in October, Texas Senator Ted Cruz became the latest, touting the stability and booming prosperity the U.S. economy enjoyed in the years when the dollar was pegged to the yellow metal.

2015-12-10 00:00:00 Die Another Day: Can the Global Economy Keep Going? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Looking ahead to 2016, will the global economy improve, stabilize or slip into another recession? Russ weighs in.

2015-12-10 00:00:00 Refine the Rules: 3 Ways the DOL Can Help Investors and Our Industry by Jean-David Larson of Russell Investments

Jean-David Larson weighs in on ways the latest round of proposed rules might be refined to better help investors and our industry.

2015-12-10 00:00:00 GMO Quarterly Letter by Ben Inker, Jeremy Grantham of GMO

In a new quarterly letter to GMO's institutional clients, co-head of asset allocation Ben Inker examines whether emerging-market equities might be a "value trap," and if U.S. equities are "deserving of trading at a premium P/E to the rest of the world" ("Just How Bad Is Emerging, and How Good Is the U.S.?"). In part two of the letter, chief investment strategist Jeremy Grantham provides "a list of propositions that are widely accepted by an educated business audience ... but totally wrong. ...

2015-12-09 00:00:00 Back to a Routine: 2016 Economic Outlook by John Canally of LPL Financial

Our view is that the U.S. economy—as measured by real gross domestic product (GDP)—is likely to post growth of 2.5–3.0% in 2016. This rate is below its post-World War II average of 3.2%, but above the 2–2.5% average growth rate seen in the first six-and-a-half years of this expansion, based on the factors discussed below. Despite the length of the current expansion (already the fourth longest on record), it has not followed what would be considered a routine path.

2015-12-09 00:00:00 Retirement Savings Crisis Getting Worse, Not Better by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

As long-time readers know, one of my continuing themes over the years has been saving, and in particular saving for retirement. Record numbers of Americans are retiring every year and, unfortunately, most have not saved nearly enough for the retirement lifestyle they envisioned.

2015-12-09 00:00:00 2016: The Fed Acts? Consumers Spend? Inflation Returns? Possible Economic Impacts? by Andrew Melnick of The BPV Family of Funds

The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets on December 15-16 to consider, among other issues, raising the Federal funds rate. Even the man-on-the-moon, or out of respect to today’s sensitivities—the person-on-the-moon, waits with great anticipation for this well telegraphed decision. The publicity surrounding this decision over the last year seems similar to the noise surrounding Y2K—perhaps with the same muted reaction.

2015-12-09 00:00:00 Want High Income? Time to Expand Your Horizons by Gershon Distenfeld of AllianceBernstein

As we look ahead to 2016, we still see attractive opportunities for investors who need their portfolios to deliver a high level of income. CCC-rated corporate bonds are not one of them.

2015-12-09 00:00:00 Why Getting Valuation Right Is So Important To Retired Dividend Growth Investors by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Although getting valuation right before you buy a stock is critically important to the long-term oriented retired dividend growth investor, it is not a short-term market timing concept. My point is that short-term market movements are typically volatile and unpredictable. The reason is simple. Over short periods of time, which I define as less than a business cycle (3- 5 years), emotion has a major effect on stock prices.

2015-12-09 00:00:00 Steady Is Stellar by Carl Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

As we approach the end of the year, it is customary to take stock of major developments. Economic data point to continued forward momentum in the United States. All in, the economy has grown at an average pace of 2.2% during the first three quarters of the year, nearly matching the potential growth rate of the economy. The labor market is in a significantly better spot than it was at the beginning of the year. Inflation is low despite the age of the expansion.

2015-12-09 00:00:00 Mid-Week Update by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

SPY will have a golden cross tomorrow. It follows NDX which had a golden cross in mid-November and is now near a 15-year high. Equity-only put/call ratios jumped on Tuesday; this has preceded upside in the past. Also, some updated views on breadth, macro and valuation.

2015-12-09 00:00:00 What to Expect When You're Expecting (a Fed Hike) by Scott Brown of Raymond James

It’s anticipated that the Fed will begin tightening monetary policy soon, but many investors may be unfamiliar with how policy will be tightened. Let’s review the key policy tools and how this tightening cycle will differ from previous cycles.

2015-12-08 00:00:00 How to Create Baseline Job Descriptions by Kristen Luke (Article)

Managing human capital is complex. If you run a smaller firm, wearing multiple hats is the norm. One person might act as your senior advisor, associate advisor, operations manager and client service specialist. This makes it especially difficult to create job descriptions and run your firm as efficiently and effectively as possible.

2015-12-08 00:00:00 How to Focus Your Practice on Millenials by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I receive a lot of questions about marketing to the next generation and working with millennials. For this week’s column, I sought input from a successful financial advisor who is a millennial and focuses on them in his own business. Read on for some millennial advice from Eric Roberge, founder of Beyond Your Hammock.

2015-12-08 00:00:00 Stop Qualifying Your Prospects by Dan Solin (Article)

Your process of “qualifying” prospects may be your firm’s version of a sales-prevention team.

2015-12-08 00:00:00 Why Team Bonuses Hurt Performance by Dan Richards (Article)

Recent research questions the thinking on the kind of staff you should hire and how to motivate them. Indeed, it suggests that traditional bonuses based on overall profitability are counterproductive.

2015-12-08 00:00:00 An End-of-Year Marketing Checklist by Crystal Butler (Article)

While you are scrambling to finish the last quarter’s tasks that may have gotten lost in the wrapping paper, I want to make sure you do not forget anything that will make 2016 your best year ever. Here is a checklist to make your marketing is as impactful as possible.

2015-12-08 00:00:00 Respect the Auto Sales Surge by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Cars and light trucks – SUVs, minivans, and pick-ups – have been a key bright spot in the economy the past few years, particularly with tepid growth in overall manufacturing caused by weak foreign economies and a stronger dollar. The pace seen in September, October, and November marks the first time in history that auto sales have exceeded an 18 million annual rate in three consecutive months.

2015-12-08 00:00:00 On My Radar: Beauty or the Beast by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

“The economy is like a machine. At the most fundamental level it is a relatively simple machine. But many people don’t understand it – or they don’t agree on how it works – and this has led to a lot of needless economic suffering…

2015-12-08 00:00:00 Investing Without the Solace of Central Bank Support by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses the impact of less central bank actions and financial conditions outside the U.S. on investors.

2015-12-08 00:00:00 An Evolving Investment Landscape May Benefit Equities by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Equity markets were volatile last week, losing ground early before rebounding. Sentiment soured over a more modest easing announcement than expected by the European Central Bank (ECB). OPEC’s decision to leave oil production unchanged triggered a drop in energy prices, which also acted as a drag on equities. Additionally, a weak manufacturing report contributed to the gloomy tone. However, a strong jobs report on Friday seemed to pave the way for the Fed to raise rates this month and allowed equity prices to rally strongly.

2015-12-08 00:00:00 U.S. Consumer: A Credit Comeback? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Increased borrowing by consumers may help boost U.S. growth—and influence future Federal Reserve policy moves.

2015-12-08 00:00:00 Fed’s Rocket Ship Turns Hoverboard by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Over the past year, while the U.S. economy has continually missed expectations, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen has assured all who could stay awake during her press conferences that it was strong enough to withstand tighter monetary policy. In delivering months of mildly tough talk (with nothing in the way of action), Yellen began stressing that WHEN the Fed would finally raise rates (for the first time in almost a decade) was not nearly as important as how fast and how high the increases would be once they started.

2015-12-08 00:00:00 Want High Income? Time to Expand Your Horizons by Gershon Distenfeld of AllianceBernstein

As we look ahead to 2016, we still see attractive opportunities for investors who need their portfolios to deliver a high level of income. CCC-rated corporate bonds are not one of them.

2015-12-08 00:00:00 Extending the Cycle by Erik Knutzen of Neuberger Berman

At our most recent (fourth-quarter) Asset Allocation Committee meeting, perhaps the single most important issue we considered was whether the then-fresh decline of risk assets indicated a needed bull market correction, or something far more serious. Our analysis suggested short-term weakness, but for a while, the noise around China’s devaluation, Federal Reserve policy and concern about emerging markets and commodity prices had many investors very worried.

2015-12-08 00:00:00 No Pain No Gain: 2016 May Require Tolerance for Volatility by Burt White of LPL Financial

Gains in 2016 may require tolerance for volatility. Stocks historically have offered a tradeoff of higher return for higher risk, the gain of more upside than high-quality bonds versus the pain of market volatility and losses. For the last few years, U.S. stock markets provided below-average pain, while still providing strong returns. Between October 2011 and July 2015, the S&P 500 Index went nearly four years without a “correction” of more than 10%, while climbing an average of 20% a year.

2015-12-08 00:00:00 The Evolution of IS by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

An IS affiliate downed a Russian flight in October. In November, IS-affiliated terrorists launched a series of attacks in Paris. These two events suggest a significant change in IS’s behavior. Prior to the Paris attacks, IS appeared focused on building a caliphate in Syria and Iraq. The shift to terrorist acts suggests a new strategy. In this report, we recap the strategies radical jihadists have employed against the West, highlighting the differences between al Qaeda and IS.

2015-12-08 00:00:00 Rate Watch by (Article)

Interest rate changes may affect closed-end fund performance in the fourth quarter of 2015, says Cara Esser of Morningstar.

2015-12-08 00:00:00 US Bond Market Week in Review: Is the Fed Getting Inflation Wrong? Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

Chairperson Yellen offered her assessment of the US economy in a speech to Economic Club of Washington. First, the good news. Growth, while moderate, is still positive, printing at 2%-2.5% for the first three quarters of 2015. And real final domestic purchases were over 3% in the 3Q. This tells us that consumers continue to spend and businesses are investing.

2015-12-07 00:00:00 Global Equity Income: 2016 Outlook by (Article)

In this latest video update, Alex Crooke, Head of Global Equity Income discusses the challenges 2015 brought to investors. Crooke notes that many of the same issues will remain in 2016, however, he believes the clouds will clear for the second half of 2016.

2015-12-07 00:00:00 Rates Will Rise. Markets Won’t by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

The November payrolls reported 211,000. That's enough for a mid-month rate rise of about 25bps. The Fed wants to raise rates. They believe employment is at equilibrium and inflation under control. But neither is correct. To repeat: employment growth in the post 2009 period has been way below past cycles and with an expanding work population. So either people don't want to work, are aging or the U.S. job machine is broken.

2015-12-07 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review: Where's the Participation? Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

For the first time in 36 years, the manufacturing sector is contracting; the ISM manufacturing index printed at 48.6. New orders dropped 4 points to 48.9 while production decreased 3.7 points to 49.2. Only 5 of 18 industries expanded.

2015-12-07 00:00:00 No Fireworks from the ECB as Draghi Plays It Cool by David Zahn of Franklin Templeton Investments

{Mario) Draghi and his governing council colleagues wanted to avoid rocking the boat too much, preferring instead to keep things moving and to show that they were prepared to act.

2015-12-07 00:00:00 2015: Growth Counter-Cyclical Kind Of Year by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

When we look at the broader stock market, we like to break out the 10 economic sectors into five smaller groups: growth counter-cyclicals (health care, consumer staples), defensive counter-cyclicals (telecom, utilities), early cyclicals (consumer discretionary), late cyclicals (energy, materials, industrials) and hyper cyclicals (financials, information technology).

2015-12-07 00:00:00 Why You Shouldn’t Fear a Fed Rate Hike by Ashish Shah of AllianceBernstein

The Federal Reserve appears ready to raise interest rates next week. Bond investors fear that could pummel their portfolios. We’re not so sure—and we think moving to the sidelines now is a bad idea.

2015-12-07 00:00:00 More Money Has Been Lost Reaching for Yield than at the Point of a Gun by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

A schizophrenic week, indeed, with a ~10 point loss for the S&P 500 (SPX/2091.69) on Monday followed by a 22 point pop on Tuesday and then 23 point decline on Wednesday and 30 point loss on Thursday, capped by Friday’s 42 point rally.

2015-12-07 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review: Why Are We Growing So Slowly? Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

Why is the world economy growing below trend? That seems to be the central question economists are asking since the Chinese market intervention over the summer.

2015-12-07 00:00:00 When Inequality Kills by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

This week, Angus Deaton will deservedly receive the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics “for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare.” Soon after the award was announced in October, Deaton published some startling research with Ann Case – findings that are at least as newsworthy as the Nobel ceremony.

2015-12-07 00:00:00 Gamma Trading: Why Big Market Swings Can Be Good News by Jason Hill, David O’Donohue of Calamos Investments

When it comes to your investment portfolio, volatility can be an unsettling word. For strategies that utilize convertible arbitrage though, market volatility can be a welcomed phenomenon, as we may be able to profit from it through what is referred to as gamma trading. In a convertible arbitrage strategy, we are buying convertible bonds and selling short shares of the underlying stock as a hedge. If the stock rises, we will lose money on the shares we are short but we will make money on the bonds we own as they appreciate in value.

2015-12-07 00:00:00 Who Will Dominate the Retirement Advice Business? by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

In the way Amazon dominates the book-selling business, a financial-service provider will emerge as the leading provider of retirement-income strategies. Here is how to assemble a full business model and my predictions about which companies have the best chance to take over.

2015-12-07 00:00:00 Jeremy Siegel’s 2016 Forecast for Stocks by Robert Huebscher (Article)

In this interview, Wharton professor and stock market historian Jeremy Siegel gives his predictions for the stock market in 2016.

2015-12-07 00:00:00 Four Key Reasons to Consider Market Neutral Investing by Kenneth Masse of Invesco Blog

The market downturn and ensuing volatility in the third quarter of 2015 is a timely reminder about the benefits of diversifying your portfolio with investment strategies that are expected to exhibit little-to-no correlation with the broad equity and bond markets.

2015-12-06 00:00:00 You Have Questions, I Have Answers by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Rather than dive deeply into a single topic today, I will weigh in on some of the week’s top financial stories. I recently did a webinar debate with my friend Frank Trotter, hosted by Robert Huebscher of Advisor Perspectives, on whether the Fed should raise rates in December. I argued they should, for reasons I’ve written about before, so we won’t go into that. But we did get a number of incisive, timely questions during and after the webinar. I will try to answer most of them in this letter.

2015-12-06 00:00:00 From Risk to Guarded Expectation of Recession by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

In the presence of obscene valuations, deteriorating market internals, widening credit spreads, and tepid economic activity on the most historically reliable measures, we presently observe the same essential syndrome of risk factors that allowed us to accurately anticipate the 2000-2002 market collapse and recession, as well as the 2007-2009 global financial crisis. Emphatically, a return to risk-seeking behavior among investors, as evidenced by a clear improvement in market internals across a broad range of individual stocks, industries, sectors and security types (including debt securities

2015-12-05 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Aside from the upcoming FOMC meeting, there do not appear to be many strong impediments to further gains by year-end for US equities. Three scenarios seem possible. One: a breakout higher now is likely to be a failed move, especially if it occurs prior to the December 16 FOMC meeting. Two: If seasonality drops the market ahead of the FOMC, there is likely to attractive upside into year-end. Three: The most frustrating scenario would be if stocks chop up and down both into and following the FOMC meeting; unfortunately, that has most often been the case at other times the Fed was initiating rat

2015-12-05 00:00:00 Sweden Declares War on Cash, Punishes Savers with Negative Interest Ratesy Market Summary by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Among the endangered species in Sweden are the gray wolf, European otter—and cash. Back in June, I shared with you the story of how, in 1661, the Scandinavian monarchy became the first country in the world to issue paper money. (It was an unmitigated disaster, by the way.) Now it might be the first to ban it altogether.

2015-12-05 00:00:00 Oil Hits a New Low by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Oil prices remain at very low levels, defying the expectations of many analysts.

2015-12-04 00:00:00 A Vote of Confidence for the RMB by Wei Zhang of Matthews Asia

On November 30, 2015, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced its decision to add the Chinese renminbi (RMB) to the basket of currencies that make up the Special Drawing Right (SDR). The IMF SDR basket inclusion criteria—last updated in 2000—requires that the SDR basket comprise currencies whose exports of goods and services had the largest value over a five-year period, and have been determined by the IMF to be “freely usable.” The Chinese RMB has long met the first criteria of a currency whose exports of goods and services play a central role in global trade.

2015-12-04 00:00:00 Filling the Void in QDIA Selection by Glenn Dial of Allianz Global Investors

With a growing chorus of voices asking the DOL to help fiduciaries pick better default options—plus a tough new report from a government watchdog group—Glenn Dial, Head of Retirement Strategy in the US with Allianz Global Investors, previews a new tool that can factor demographics into optimized glidepath selection.

2015-12-04 00:00:00 The U.S. Economy will Grow Moderately in 2015 Q4 by Robert Lamy of The Forecasting Advisor

Each month, the U.S. Institute for Supply Management (ISM) conducts a survey on the state of the manufacturing and non-manufacturing industries of the U.S. economy and releases data for the previous month. The data are closely followed by the financial media, economists, and wealth portfolio managers as they provide the earliest reading on the state of the economy.

2015-12-04 00:00:00 The December 16th Fed Tightening - Preemptive to a Fault by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

Barring an outright decline in November nonfarm payrolls, the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will raise its policy interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point on December 16. I submit that this tightening will go down in annals of Fed history as one of the most preemptive, if not, the most preemptive. I say this because the December 16th tightening will occur as a U.S. economy, short of full employment, already is losing momentum with no discernible signs of inflationary pressures.

2015-12-04 00:00:00 Correlation Among Stocks Has Fallen As Volatility Once Again Wanes by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

If there is one thing that can be counted on in the stock market, it is when volatility spikes correlations among stocks spike as well.

2015-12-04 00:00:00 New Paths to More Consistent Equity Alpha by Dianne Lob, Nelson Yu of AllianceBernstein

Every investor approaches the equity market with a different goal—and faces a wide array of portfolios to choose from. Our research suggests that high-conviction equity strategies can be combined to achieve more consistent outcomes with better risk-adjusted returns.

2015-12-04 00:00:00 Fixed income in 2016 — late cycle reality and an increase in opportunities by (Article)

In this latest video update, John Pattullo, Co-Head of Retail Fixed Income, provides an assessment of the key lessons learned so far in 2015 and his outlook for the credit markets in 2016. He believes 2016 is likely to be shaped by two dominant investment themes: a continuing focus on where we are in the credit cycle, and ongoing reregulation of the banking industry. Pattullo expects to see better value emerging and more interesting credits in the market. Therefore, he believes that there is more opportunity in the forthcoming 12 months.

2015-12-04 00:00:00 From Brutish to a Brouhaha: Shifting Winds and the Demographic Payback by Michael Aked of Research Affiliates

Continued pension reform inaction combined with a falling worker-to-retiree support ratio is leading to an inevitable economic and social clash between employees, employers, and their governments.

2015-12-03 00:00:00 Malaysia’s Crisis of Confidence by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

While fiscal prudence and stronger commodity prices should help the country, one could argue that Malaysia will need to restore the confidence of its people in its government and of foreign investors in its markets to truly get back on track.

2015-12-03 00:00:00 The Dollar’s Run May Just Be Getting Started by Eric Busch of GaveKal Capital

As the dollar continues to move to multi-year highs, we are reminded that very few market moves matter as much as what happens to the reserve currency of the world. We have noted several times that a stronger dollar tends to be associated with lower profit margins (but higher US equity multiples), lower commodity prices, and lower emerging market equity prices.

2015-12-03 00:00:00 Japan’s Demographic Challenges Dampen Growth by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments

Demographics have played—and continue to play—a key role in holding back Japan’s growth performance. Japan’s population keeps aging at a rapid pace.

2015-12-03 00:00:00 This Chinese Sector Continues to Score by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Over the summer the Chinese market experienced a major hiccup, causing concern that many Asian industries would be slow, or unable to recover. Since the June collapse, however, there is one sector that continues to score with investors, both here and overseas – sportswear.

2015-12-03 00:00:00 Why Am I Paying High Capital Gains When Market Returns Are So Low? by Paul Robertson, Tara Thompson Popernik of AllianceBernstein

This year, like last, US investors may find themselves in the disconcerting situation of facing significant net taxable capital gains, although the stock market is up only modestly for the year to date. How could this happen?

2015-12-03 00:00:00 High Yield, High Opportunity by Andrew Jessop, Anna Dragesic of PIMCO

Valuations have improved and growth should keep defaults low outside of the energy and commodities sectors.

2015-12-03 00:00:00 Safety First: Model Portfolios for the Coming Volatile Year by Chuck Self of iSectors

2016 will likely be a “Jekyll and Hyde” market. As financial advisors meet with their clients at or around the beginning of the new year, they should be mindful of these economic and market trends.

2015-12-03 00:00:00 Understanding Active Share: Dispelling Misconceptions by Jon Eggins of Russell Investments

Jon Eggins begins a four-part conversation about understanding active share by dispelling a couple key misconceptions about its usefulness.

2015-12-03 00:00:00 Breaking News! by Bill Gross of Janus Capital Group

Tired of reading about the Kardashians? Sick of egocentric politicians? Disgusted with endless war in the Middle East? Getting bored reading these monthly Outlooks? (not that bored or you wouldn’t be reading this). Here’s some “breaking news” that I find really interesting and I hope you will too. It’s a recent summary of some things that scientists have discovered over the last few decades. Prepare to be amazed.

2015-12-03 00:00:00 Quantitative Easing: Draghi and the ECB Opt for Moderate Approach by Wouter Sturkenboom of Russell Investments

So the divergence of central banks continues. On Dec. 3 the European Central Bank (ECB) took the widely anticipated step of providing more stimulus to the European economy. It’s the first move in a December pas de deux that we expect will include a hike in U.S. interest rates after the Dec. 15-16 meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s (the Fed) Federal Open Market Committee.

2015-12-02 00:00:00 2016 Market Outlook: 14 Experts On What To Watch by Orla O'Brien of Loomis Sayles

What’s in store for global markets in 2016? We asked analysts, strategists and traders across Loomis Sayles to pinpoint trends and potential trouble spots for the markets next year.

2015-12-02 00:00:00 Eerie Similarities To Those Before 2000 "Dotcom" Bear Market by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

In the period leading up to the recession and bear market of late 2000-2002, the stock market was led by four large tech stocks: Microsoft, Dell, Cisco and Intel – the so-called “Four Horsemen.” These stocks continued to surge in 1999 and early 2000 even though much of the rest of the market was underperforming or moving lower. A severe bear market followed.

2015-12-02 00:00:00 Black Friday for Gold, Too? by Avi Gilburt of

As many were running out shopping on Black Friday for what they viewed as the “deals of the year,” I sat in my office contemplating the precious metals. And, it made me think about human nature.

2015-12-02 00:00:00 Yuan Becomes Reserve Currency by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

This post is a follow-up of sorts to one I wrote a couple of weeks ago, “U.S. Dollar Still Failing to Collapse.” As expected, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) decided to add (as of next October) the Chinese currency to the list of reserve currencies. Also as expected, the world is not ending just yet.

2015-12-02 00:00:00 Historical Rates Impact Common Stocks by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Time and coincidence often cloud our own perception. Consider interest rates. Baby Boomers and Generation Xers became adults (25 or older) between 1965 and 2005. During that period, these adults witnessed an aberration in the history of interest rates. They saw moments of monumental highs (20%) and levels consistently above historical norms. The chart below shows that long and short-term Interest rates in the United States have spent most of the last 400 years in a range between 3% and 6%.

2015-12-02 00:00:00 Benchmarking Is A Losing Bet by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Sam Ro, via Business Insider, wrote a very interesting piece last week discussing the "roller-coaster ride stock market investors must be willing to endure."

2015-12-02 00:00:00 Can Small Caps Rebound? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

One 2015 surprise: A stronger dollar hasn’t led to small-cap outperformance. Russ explains why and what this means for the small-cap tilt heading into 2016.

2015-12-02 00:00:00 Richard Russell by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a strategy report titled “Friends.” In that report I scribed, “Regrettably, too many of my friends’, and stock market icons’, stories have been lost forever. One of the best writers I ever knew on the Street of Dreams was my friend Barton Biggs (Morgan Stanley). . . . Other deceased notables include: Alan “Ace” Greenberg (Bear Stearns), Henry Singleton (Teledyne), Muriel Siebert, Marty Zweig . . . well, you get the idea.” Today, it is with great sadness that I report another icon passed away last week when Dow Theorist Richard Russell left us.

2015-12-02 00:00:00 Plodding Along? A Discussion of Today’s Global Economy by Richard Clarida, Joachim Fels of PIMCO

This year has seen the global economy continue along a path of modest overall trend growth, but the path has been anything but clear, due to the complexities of oil prices, central bank policies and developments in China. In this interview, Richard Clarida, global strategic advisor, and Joachim Fels, global economic advisor, discuss essential questions surrounding the world’s major economies.

2015-12-02 00:00:00 The Great Policy Divergence by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

Over the next few weeks, the US Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates, while the European Central Bank doubles down on monetary stimulus. Although both central banks are pursuing legitimate domestic agendas, there are few mechanisms to manage the international repercussions of this policy disparity.

2015-12-01 00:00:00 Getting Smart About Beta by Sponsored Content from Invesco (Article)

Due to its simplicity, market-cap weighting has long been a popular means of calculating the value of market indexes. But as an investment strategy, market-cap weighting has limitations – frequently resulting in outsized proportions of overvalued stocks, and less-than-optimal exposure to undervalued stocks. Smart beta solutions seek to expand investors’ options by providing exposure to objective, rules-based methodologies that harvest returns from specific investment factors or deliver broad market exposure through alternative weighting strategies.

2015-12-01 00:00:00 The Problem with a “Culture of Niceness” by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We all get along in our firm, and that’s the problem. Issues go unresolved because no one wants to rock the boat. People don’t raise their concerns because our firm leader is the consummate “nice guy.” How do I bring issues up without being the bad guy?

2015-12-01 00:00:00 How to Build a COI Network by Kristen Luke (Article)

How do you find good COIs with whom you can trade referrals? Follow these steps to create a powerful COI network:

2015-12-01 00:00:00 Advisors Need a Fresh Look at Reverse Mortgages by Wade D. Pfau (Article)

Through inertia and stubbornness, old ideas die slowly. Financial advisors maintain a dismal view about reverse mortgages. However, much has changed in just the past few years. Revisit your outdated thinking with an open mind about a tool that is on the cusp of more widespread use.

2015-12-01 00:00:00 How to Get the Attention of Wealthy Prospects by Dan Richards (Article)

Given today’s competing demands for attention, it’s never been harder to get in front of affluent prospects. But here’s is one statistic that will get you in front of wealthy investors...

2015-12-01 00:00:00 Is the Bond Index Broken? by Michael Edesess (Article)

Several criticisms – I counted three – have been leveled at the AGG bond index recently. I explored these critiques in a wide-ranging conversation with John C. Bogle, renowned founder of The Vanguard Group. My conclusion is that two of these three criticisms are inconsequential or mistaken while the third is meaningful and significant.

2015-12-01 00:00:00 US Bond Market Week in Review: Diverging Oil Price Predictions and Rising Junk Yields, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

One of the central debates occurring within the Fed regards the causation of current inflation weakness. Some, like Fed President Bullard and Chairman Yellen argue low oil prices are solely responsible for the weakness. Ohers like President Brainard and Chicago Fed President Evans see a more nuanced picture involving declining international trade negatively impacting a wide swath of commodity prices. Regardless, this week various organizations published stories to support and counter each argument. As for oil prices, Goldman Sachs sees oil prices at $20 in the next 12 months.

2015-12-01 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Will the Fed be Data Dependent? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

Back from a quiet, holiday-shortened week, market participants face an avalanche of data and plenty of FedSpeak. This is an irresistible combination for pundits, who will parse each economic report with emphasis on what it might mean for the Fed. In light of many Fed promises, they will all be asking: Will the Fed really be data dependent?

2015-12-01 00:00:00 Reasons to Stick with a Pro-Growth Investment Stance by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. markets were relatively quiet last week due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Economic data were generally positive and investors seemed less concerned about increasing evidence that the Federal Reserve will raise rates at its policy meeting in December. The S&P 500 Index was up fractionally for the week. Smaller capitalization stocks outperformed, as did the consumer staples and energy sectors. Outside of the United States, Chinese stocks sold off sharply on Friday as investors grew nervous about policymakers’ latest attempts to regulate the Chinese brokerage industry.

2015-12-01 00:00:00 Expect Strong Christmas Spending by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

We are watching Christmas season sales data very carefully, but we also warn investors that the early data are not very useful. No matter what initial readings show, the underlying fundamentals look relatively strong.

2015-12-01 00:00:00 Politics and Performance: Does Control of the White House Really Matter? by David Carroll of Cleary Gull

The standard response is that the market favors Republican candidates due to their more business-friendly posture favoring lower taxes and less regulation. History, however, is on the side of the Democrats. Since 1945, the average annual gain of the S&P 500 under a Democratic president was 9.7%. Whereas, under a Republican in the White House, the average annual return was only 6.7%. What gives?

2015-12-01 00:00:00 Follow the Spending by Andy Fleming of Heartland Advisors

Year-over-year global trade growth, as measured in U.S. dollars, has turned negative for the first time in more than six years. While those predicting a recession have jumped on this bandwagon, a closer look at how Americans are spending money tells a different story. Consumer spending is up a healthy 6.9% since the 2007 pre-recession levels, yet those dollars are being spent in different areas. While we’d welcome an uptick in global trade, we believe without it, investors can still profit by following the spending.

2015-12-01 00:00:00 A Tipping Point for TIPS? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Global Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses the case for Treasury Inflation Protected Securities in the current environment.

2015-12-01 00:00:00 Are we celebrating the Christmas eve of 2007 or 2004? by Josh Wong of Atlas Asset Management

It’s been seven years since the last great financial crisis in 2008. For those of us who remembered, 2007 was going nowhere, being at the tail-end of a bull market cycle. It had its own mini-crash in Aug (down over 9%), quickly rallied back up to break new highs (barely), before plunging 10% again in Nov. It finally ended the year up 3.5% (sounds familiar?).

2015-12-01 00:00:00 This Chart is Too Ugly for Comfort by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

It’s quite easy to get carried away with the drawing of conclusions based on a few technical chart patterns (and we are not doing that here!), but this chart is just too ugly to at least go unmentioned. What we’re looking at is the percent of stocks in our own Gavekal Capital International DM Americas Index that are at least 10% off of their 200-day high.

2015-12-01 00:00:00 Cutting Your Losses? With High-Yield ETFs, Maybe It’s Time by Gershon Distenfeld of AllianceBernstein

If you bought a high-yield exchange-traded fund (ETF) over the past two years and still own it, you’ve probably lost money. But don’t fret. This might be an ideal time to change course.

2015-12-01 00:00:00 Devil Inside, Redux: Another Look at the Variety of U.S. Market Valuation Metrics by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

I’ve written many times about equity market valuation being both in the eye of the beholder and a function of the chosen indicator. Even the most common valuation metric—the price/earnings (P/E) ratio—has many derivations. The table in this report is a summary of most of the common (and somewhat less common) valuation metrics, and a subjective assessment of whether they are sending an inexpensive or expensive message about the stock market presently.

2015-11-30 00:00:00 Introducing iRetire™ by BlackRock® by (Article)

Introducing iRetire™ by BlackRock®. A whole new way to help start closing the gap to the income your clients really want in retirement. See what makes it different.

2015-11-30 00:00:00 Europe’s Barbarians Inside the Gate by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

For Europe, solidarity begins at home. That means supporting aggregate demand and pro-growth reforms to ensure a more resilient recovery of jobs and incomes – and thereby beating back the populists and nationalists currently gaining ground throughout the continent.

2015-11-30 00:00:00 Millennials, Too by (Article)

The Millennial segment of younger investors may find attractive qualities in closed-end funds, say Anne Kritzmire of Nuveen and Amy Charles of Raymond James.

2015-11-30 00:00:00 US Equity And Economic Review: Moderate Growth and Declining Earnings, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The BEA issued its second GDP report last week, increasing the 3Q GDP estimate to 2.1%. Real gross domestic purchases – a measure of strictly domestic demand – increased 2.8% Y/Y.

2015-11-30 00:00:00 What Is the Credit Cycle Telling Us About 2016? by Tony Wong of Invesco Blog

As investors anticipate the beginning of a new year, we at Invesco Fixed Income are anticipating a new phase in the credit cycle for several bond asset classes. In this post, I will highlight a few areas where we’re seeing substantial changes in asset classes’ fundamentals or operating environment. We believe these areas could influence the broader market in 2016.

2015-11-30 00:00:00 Rarefied Air: Valuations and Subsequent Market Returns by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The atmosphere is getting thin up here, and every ounce counts triple when you're climbing in rarefied air. While near-term market dynamics are more likely to be impacted by Friday’s employment report than any other factor, our broad view remains that stocks are in the late-stage top formation of the second most extreme episode of equity market overvaluation in U.S. history, second only to the 2000 peak, and already beyond the 1929, 1937, 1972, and 2007 episodes, not to mention lesser extremes across history.

2015-11-30 00:00:00 We'll Always Have Paris by Zachary Karabell of Envestnet

The past weeks are a stark reminder of the risks that we live with in the world today. Such times trigger multiple questions, and their answers may be more vital than how we invest. Nonetheless, how we plan and invest for our futures is of core importance.

2015-11-30 00:00:00 A Silver Lining in China’s Clouds by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein

China’s new Five-Year Plan reinforces the government’s pro-growth and reformist credentials. While this may not be enough in itself to reassure worried investors, we see some fundamental trends which provide encouragement for the country’s economic outlook in 2016.

2015-11-30 00:00:00 Trade Signals: Rich Man, Poor Man by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Overall, from a trading perspective, I am now with a neutral view on equities. Our CMG NDR Momentum Index (my favorite measure) which looks at momentum and market breadth remains in a sell signal. However, the weekly 13-week vs. 34-week moving average has just turned bullish on the market. The markets are generally stronger November through April. There is a strong seasonal tailwind.

2015-11-30 00:00:00 Bond Rally Ahead? by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

Are bonds about to rally? Our money flow model, based on hedge fund positioning, suggests lower yields ahead. This seems awkward going into a well advertised Fed tightening. But why argue with the message of the market? "Sell the rumor, buy the news" might easily apply.

2015-11-30 00:00:00 Consumption in China: From Commodities to Karaoke by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

China isn’t only a consumer of raw commodities—its growing middle class has been exerting formidable purchasing power and spawning new domestic industries that are of keen interest to us as investors, including cosmetics, entertainment (cinemas, music) and more.

2015-11-28 00:00:00 Time to Bring Active Back into a Portfolio? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

The value proposition of active management simply hasn't materialized in recent years. However, this could be changing. Russ explains.

2015-11-27 00:00:00 Exploring the Mysteries of Productivity by Byron Wien of Blackstone

Thousands of jobs in manufacturing and services have been eliminated by technology. This has resulted in favorable productivity figures over the last fifty years and sent profit margins to an all-time high, allowed the stock market to recover and increased the perception of inequality. Both corporate profitability and the standard of living are tied to productivity. If productivity is being properly measured and is, in fact slowing, it will have a profound impact on the future outlook for the economy and the financial markets.

2015-11-27 00:00:00 Diversification: A Hedge Against Market Uncertainty by Jeff Hussey of Russell Investments

Global CIO Jeff Hussey takes a look at three key diversification strategies to help hedge against volatility in 2015 and beyond.

2015-11-27 00:00:00 Why Argentina's New Leader Is Good for Latin America and Global Investors by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This week, Argentina said no, gracias to further leftist rule when it elected conservative businessman and two-term Buenos Aires mayor Mauricio Macri to succeed Cristina Fernández de Kirchner as president. It was an upset victory for the people of Argentina, who have seen their once-prosperous nation deteriorate under decades of Marxist policies. It was also a strong win for investors around the globe. Not since Narendra Modi's election last year has a leader's entry on the world stage inspired such bullishness.

2015-11-27 00:00:00 Thanksgiving amid the Threats by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

For today, in this week’s letter, I’m going to let other people do most of the talking. I gave you my own thoughts on the Paris attacks and Europe’s future last week in “The Economic Impact of Evil.” Today I’ll share some of the most interesting post-Paris analysis that has crossed my path over the last two weeks.

2015-11-25 00:00:00 Surveying The Commodity Carnage by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

Commodities and commodity stocks have been a disaster in recent years, but fortunately one that our Group Selection (GS) Scores managed to avoid. Underperformance in both the Energy and Materials sectors during the last 12 months in particular (Chart 1) is so severe that any contrarian with a pulse probably can’t help but take a peek. We’ll admit the wreckage is beginning to look interesting, and—what with our cautious stance on the stock market—it would be fun to be bullish about something. But both our GS Scores and our intuition suggest it’s still too early.

2015-11-25 00:00:00 Chasing Performance with ETFs by Chris Brightman, Feifei Li, Xi Liu of Research Affiliates

ETF providers respond to investors’ preference for strong recent performance by launching new funds with hot strategies. Our research reveals a striking pattern of post-launch performance.

2015-11-25 00:00:00 Happy Holidays for Risk Assets by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Risk assets—particularly high-yield bonds and bank loans—are well positioned to enjoy a prosperous road ahead.

2015-11-25 00:00:00 China’s Macro Disconnect by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

China has been highly successful in transforming the industrial structure of its economy from manufacturing to services, but it has made far less progress in boosting private consumption. The country now has no choice but to address the causes of households' high precautionary saving and low discretionary spending.

2015-11-25 00:00:00 Innovation and Scotch Tape by Tony Scherrer, CFA of Smead Capital Management

In business and economics, a “first-mover advantage” is defined as the benefit accrued to a company whose product is the first to enter a market. These products often create or define an entirely new market opportunity that the world hadn’t known before. Some “first-mover” examples have created very attractive long-duration opportunities. EBAY (EBAY), a company we own in our portfolios, was the first online auction service. It has maintained leadership in that area for the last two decades.

2015-11-25 00:00:00 To Be Continued … the Fed Drama and Its Implications by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

The Fed has strung investors along for quite a while in anticipation of the first rate increase in nearly a decade. What would happen if low rates were to become a permanent fixture of the investment landscape?

2015-11-25 00:00:00 Technically Speaking: The Real Value Of Cash by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

With the "inmates running the asylum" during a holiday-shortened trading week, the upward bias to the market is set to continue.

2015-11-25 00:00:00 Mario Draghi: Economic Man of the Year by Carl Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

With December just around the corner, awards for full-year achievement are beginning to come out. Sport, politics and the arts are recognizing those who reached the highest heights in 2015.

2015-11-25 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: What are the Best Year-End Investments? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

There is a lot of data to be reported in only three full trading days, but it does not rate to signal important economic changes. I expect plenty of participants to take the week off and even more will leave after the first hour on Wednesday. The punditry still has pages and air time to fill, despite the lack of fresh news.

2015-11-25 00:00:00 The World Is Looking More & More Deflationary by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Consumer prices are running well below the 2% inflation target of central banks across the developed world. While central bankers continue to say they expect inflation to return to 2% or thereabouts in the medium-term, there is no evidence of that.

2015-11-25 00:00:00 Managing a Portfolio of Premier Businesses by (Article)

Portfolio Managers Lauren Romeo and Steven McBoyle share the lessons they've learned from working with Chuck Royce and how they work together to build the portfolio of premier businesses in Royce Premier Fund.

2015-11-25 00:00:00 What Makes This Growth Fund Unique? by (Article)

Portfolio Manager Chip Skinner describes the approach that he and assistant portfolio manager Carl Brown are using in Royce Smaller-Companies Growth Fund. Our version of a growth portfolio, the Fund uses a distinctive Growth at a Reasonable Price (“GARP”) approach to look for long-term growth opportunities.

2015-11-25 00:00:00 How Should an Asset Allocator Think About The Royce Funds Today? by (Article)

Portfolio Manager Steve Lipper talks with Co-CIO Francis Gannon about why an important ingredient in any recipe for asset allocation is measured by one’s view of the economy. This is why in The Royce Funds, we not only emphasize consistency, discipline, and risk awareness in how we operate, but also offer distinctive strategies designed to perform differently in different market environments.

2015-11-24 00:00:00 The Investment Portfolio of the Future by Bob Veres (Article)

I envision a world where advisors are vetting a growing number of nontraditional investments for their clients.

2015-11-24 00:00:00 How to Develop a Growth Game Plan by Kristen Luke (Article)

Growth. When you’re a financial planning or wealth management firm, how do you do it right? From implementing a precise, uniform sales process to creating an annual marketing strategy, you need something – a game plan – that shows how you should grow and when you’ve actually succeeded.

2015-11-24 00:00:00 How Male Advisors Should Dress to Win Clients by Dan Solin (Article)

I have found the single most significant factor in increasing my clients’ closing ratio has been their willingness to substantially upgrade their wardrobe. In this article, I will discuss my experience with men. Next week, I will discuss dress for women.

2015-11-24 00:00:00 Action-Oriented Teambuilding by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We want to do a teambuilding activity for our advisory firm. We get along reasonably well, but we are always passing one another in the hallways on our way to our next meeting or phone call. I run the firm, and I’d really like to get everyone engaged in an activity that would be fun but also meaningful. Do you have any ideas?

2015-11-24 00:00:00 Reflections on Four Decades of Economic Forecasting by Harald B. Malmgren (Article)

Timeworn economic forecasting methodologies on which we rely -- whether prepared by governments, central banks or private economists -- are gradually becoming less relevant and reliable.

2015-11-24 00:00:00 The Surprise Inside the Surprise Index by Michael Lebowitz (Article)

Appreciation for the multitude of messages provided by Citigroup’s Citi Surprise Index allows investors to stay a step ahead of the economic models that Wall Street, and -- by default -- most investors, rely heavily on to forecast market levels and securities prices.

2015-11-24 00:00:00 Why Advisors Should Use Deferred-Income Annuities by Michael Finke (Article)

I will show that an eminently effective way to fund retirement is through a deferred-income annuity, particularly if it is purchased through an IRA as a qualified longevity annuity contract (QLAC). The advantages of purchasing a QLAC include the ability to avoid RMDs.

2015-11-24 00:00:00 Crowdfunding a College Education by Roger Michaud of Franklin Templeton Investments

I would suggest that you probably already have a pool of family or friends who would be willing to help finance your child’s college education with a monetary gift this holiday season that could last much longer than this year’s hottest gadget or game.

2015-11-24 00:00:00 Understanding the Two Chinas by Stuart Rae, Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein

Our view that China may be heading for a mild cyclical upswing next year needs to be set against the background of the broader economy, which is changing rapidly. We think that it makes sense to view the economy as consisting of two parts: old and new.

2015-11-24 00:00:00 r*=New Neutral by Richard Clarida of PIMCO

The Federal Reserve’s baseline view of a rate-hike trajectory is consistent with PIMCO’s New Neutral thesis about the neutral policy rate.

2015-11-24 00:00:00 A Warm Pineapple for Wall Street by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Last week's stock rally seems to point to a shift to more positive sentiment as markets warm to the idea of a possible December rate hike, says Kristina Hooper, US Investment Strategist for Allianz Global Investors. That said, don't dole out the goodwill just yet, there's more data to come.

2015-11-24 00:00:00 Why Investors Shouldn't Wait for Rate Hikes by Dr. Brian Jacobsen, CFA of Wells Fargo Asset Management

Don’t let “waiting on the Fed” postpone when you realign your portfolio. The markets have already priced in an interest-rate hike. Learning about how the markets moved before and after past rate increases can help investors.

2015-11-24 00:00:00 Giving Thanks! by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

If the US were in the middle of an economic boom, like in the mid-1980s or late-1990s, it would be very easy to be thankful in the week ahead. Instead, a cornucopia of complaints seems to accompany what has been a plodding economic recovery, what we call the Plow Horse Economy.

2015-11-24 00:00:00 The Back-and-Forth Continues as Equities Gain Ground by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities climbed sharply last week, with the S&P 500 Index advancing 3.3%, essentially erasing losses from the prior week.1 Somewhat surprisingly, investors did not focus on the terrorist attacks in Paris, paying more attention to the positives. The October Federal Reserve minutes seemed to strike the right balance between raising expectations for a December rate liftoff and maintaining a measured pace. Merger and acquisition headlines were also in the news and there were some bright spots on the corporate earnings calendar.

2015-11-24 00:00:00 What Investors Should Know About China's Stock Market Rally by Weili Jasmine Huang of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

China’s government owns a significant share of companies which they need to unwind, and this is going to hang over the stock market in the months and years to come. We expect China’s economy will slow as it transforms from an industrial, manufacturing economy to a consumption-driven, service-focused market. Companies that can take advantage of economic and demographic changes while contending with environmental and social issues will survive and flourish.

2015-11-24 00:00:00 State Estate Taxes: Planning for Uncertainty by Kevin Duncan of Fiduciary Trust Company International

Prior to 2001 most states imposed an estate tax based upon the Internal Revenue Code Section 2011 Credit for State Death Taxes. The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (“EGTRRA”) repealed the credit effective for 2005, which effectively repealed any state estate tax that was tied to the credit. The states’ legislative response to EGTRRA was divided. Many states took no action and allowed their estate tax to become dormant.

2015-11-24 00:00:00 Putin and Flight 9268 by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

On October 31, Russian Flight 9268 took off from Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, en route to St. Petersburg, Russia. Within 25 minutes, the aircraft had reached its cruising altitude and disappeared from radar over central Sinai. Shortly thereafter, airplane debris was reported over the area. All 224 passengers and crew were lost, making it the worst Russian civilian air disaster in history. In this report, we examine the potential causes of this event. Given that a terrorist group may be the culprit, we discuss the most likely perpetrator and analyze how Russian President Putin will likely react.

2015-11-23 00:00:00 The Three Towers by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

All three major central banks held policy meetings in October and recently published minutes. Here’s what they said.

2015-11-23 00:00:00 Dispersion Dynamics by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Two types of dispersion are increasingly apparent in market dynamics here. The first type of dispersion is between leading measures of economic activity and lagging ones. The second is dispersion in market internals, particularly observable in a continued narrowing of leadership to a handful of “winner-take-all” stocks, while broader measures of market action across individual stocks, industries, sectors, and credit spreads show persistent divergence that suggests increasing risk-aversion among investors.

2015-11-23 00:00:00 Is Crude Oil Set to Go the way of Copper, Lumber and Gold on a Breakout of the USD? by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

WTI crude oil is at an interesting junction currently. As we write, the USD is on the precipice of a major breakout while WTI crude is just a few percent away from the its late-August lows. Meanwhile, the other most cyclically inclined commodities (copper, lumber) have already breached their earlier lows and the Baltic Dry Index is sitting right at its low.

2015-11-23 00:00:00 US Equities: Revenue Is King in 2016 by James Tierney, Jr of AllianceBernstein

US markets are facing complex conditions. Stocks have been volatile. An interest-rate hike looms. Corporate profit margins have likely peaked. So what’s the right investing strategy for 2016?

2015-11-23 00:00:00 The Long-Term Investing Impact of the Paris Attacks by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ explains how the tragedy in Paris could impact the global economy and markets going forward.

2015-11-23 00:00:00 Quantitative Tightening by Ritesh Jain, Abhishek Sonthalia of Tata Asset Management

In the last 15 years, emerging economy central banks have been busy accumulating forex reserves to build a buffer against external shocks after having learnt their lessons in the Asian financial crisis, adding more than $10tn in this period. The swing in global foreign exchange reserves is one key measure of the global liquidity tap flow. However, we are witnessing a reversal of reserve accumulation, something last seen at the height of the global financial crisis for a brief while.

2015-11-23 00:00:00 Asian Market Update by (Article)

China’s evolving economic conditions may affect Asian market CEF strategies, says Rennie McConnochie of Aberdeen Asset Management.

2015-11-23 00:00:00 The U.S. Consumer: What Are Their Latest Spending Trends? by Mari Shor of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

Consumers are increasingly spending on experiences over things, while spending on durables continues to take share from non-durables. Traditional retailers are likely to remain under pressure for the foreseeable future although there are several categories which are bucking the trend. Given these pronounced shifts in consumer discretionary spend, it is increasingly important to identify categories and brands that are poised to outperform.

2015-11-23 00:00:00 Forecasting Q3 GDP 2nd Estimate: Gazing Into the Crystal Ball by Doug Short (Article)

The big economic number tomorrow will be the Q3 Second Estimate for GDP. The volatile first two quarters are behind us with their real annualized rates of 0.6% in Q1 and 3.9% in Q2, and the Advance Estimate for Q3 came in at 1.5%. What do economists see in their collective crystal ball for Q3 Second Estimate? Let's take a look at the latest GDP forecasts from the latest Wall Street Journal survey of economists conducted earlier this month.

2015-11-23 00:00:00 Beyond the Benchmark: Tracking Error Versus Active Share by Rob Stabler of Invesco Blog

Active share, a tool for demonstrating how a fund’s portfolio differs from its respective benchmark, has been a common term among active investors over the last few years. Tracking error, which has a much longer history, is often regarded as another tool that does the same job. But the differences between the two measures affect how Invesco’s Global Opportunities investment team views their effectiveness and usefulness for investors.

2015-11-23 00:00:00 Forecasting Exchange Rates by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Currency forecasting is inherently difficult. Getting monetary policy right can help in the short-term, but beyond three months, you can’t do any better than a random walk. That aside, the strong dollar (along with softer global economic growth) has played a major role in the slowdown in U.S. corporate profits this year. What can we expect for 2016?

2015-11-23 00:00:00 On My Radar: Global Recession a High Probability by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

“I have long made the claim that the transnational nature of Europe cannot be sustained. The divergent economic interests of EU countries, some with unemployment over 20 percent, some with it under 5 percent, meant that it was impossible for all of them to live not only under the same monetary regime, but under the same trade regime, which we cannot call free trade with agriculture, among other things, being protected. This would lead to a focus on national interest and on a resurrected nation-state.” -George Friedman

2015-11-23 00:00:00 We'll Always Have Paris by (Article)

The past weeks' events are stark reminders of the risks we all face today. This month, we assess whether passive investing strategies and robo-advisors are equipped to handle the unpredictability of chaos and crisis and remember that, "We'll always have Paris".

2015-11-22 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review; Bearish Tenor is Growing, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The news continues to move in a bearish direction. Although the UK and Australia are in decent economic shape, neither country is setting growth records. And on the bearish side, Mario Draghi stated the EU recovery is weak and may need additional stimulus while Japan entered a technical recession for the second time in two years. And all this is occurring at time when the global growth juggernaut of China is slowing. Overall, the scales appear to be more and more tipped in a bearish direction.

2015-11-22 00:00:00 US Equity And Economic Review: A Narrowing Rally, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The Conference Board reported the LEIs and CEIs this week: LEIs increased .6% while CEIs rose .2%. The only negative LEI component was the ISM manufacturing new orders index, which subtracted .05% from the total number. But two other leading manufacturing numbers were positive. Perhaps best of all, the average workweek of production workers added to the number. Three of four CEI components expanded; only industrial production contracted.

2015-11-22 00:00:00 US Bond Market Week in Review: Why is the Long End Selling Off, Edition? by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

For the bond market, the release of the Fed minutes was this week’s biggest news. The Fed described employment positively. They also noted personal consumption expenditures and capital expenditures were “solid.” Housing was mixed, but continued to show a general, slow recovery. Industrial production was weak, but largely due to the strong dollar and weak international environment. As for inflation, they noted that overall CPI was weak, but expected it to rise with oil and import prices over the next 12-18 months. As for rates, the Fed felt the next hike would be in December:

2015-11-22 00:00:00 The Economic Impact of Evil by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Terrorism is global. So is the economy. We can’t separate them. I’m sure you have spent time reading about the reaction to the terrorist attacks in Paris. I have been reading and thinking a great deal about the effects of recent events on the European Union. Much of what I’ve read seems to miss what I think is the larger context and what may be the real longer-term economic and geopolitical implications of these attacks.

2015-11-21 00:00:00 What We’re Paying Attention to Following the Paris Attacks by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

A week ago today, 129 lives were brutally cut short when assailants affiliated with the terrorist group ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, stormed Paris in a series of coordinated attacks. Along with the rest of the world, we were shocked and saddened as the tragic news unfolded, worsening as the night progressed. Our thoughts are with the victims’ families and friends.

2015-11-21 00:00:00 Lessons from Australia and New Zealand on Debt, Immigration, and Food by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The arc traced by Australian and New Zealand home prices is a source of broad concern. Property values in Sydney, in particular, have risen by 50% over the past 5 years. Observers from near and far fret that the line between fair value and market excess was crossed some time ago.

2015-11-21 00:00:00 Realism Returns by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

Stocks have pulled back after their rip higher in October, which we believe is healthy and in keeping with our expectation of continued volatility. The US economic picture is mixed, but the recent robust labor report boosted the odds of a December Fed rate hike. Finally, while difficult to think about financial matters in the face of such horrific events as the Paris attack, the resilience of both people and economies around the world should give us all hope for the future.

2015-11-21 00:00:00 Is Active Share Losing Its Luster? by Dianne Lob, Nelson Yu of Alliance Bernstein

Investors are starting to think twice about active share. It’s about time. While active share is important, our research shows that it is just one of several ways for skilled equity portfolios to express high conviction.

2015-11-21 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

The trend is up: equities ended the week about 1% from their highs. Breadth is improving and outperformance from small caps will further bolster participation. Sentiment remains a tailwind, especially for US equities. There's no compelling short term edge, but further upside into year end remains the most likely outcome. Equities have a tendency to give a good entry on weakness during the next 6 weeks; that would likely provide attractive upside potential into year-end.

2015-11-20 00:00:00 Stop “QE” Insanity by Don Schreiber, Jr of WBI Investments

In response to the 2008 Financial Crisis, governments around the world led by the U.S. Federal Reserve developed a series of monetary policy tools to try to stabilize the financial system. The two primary policy tools they have employed are a zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) and quantitative easing (QE). We believe that these policies have created a high-risk paradigm for investors who have come to believe that easy monetary policy can drive asset prices higher, forever.

2015-11-20 00:00:00 Waiting for the Fed by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

The inverse correlation between stocks and high-quality bonds failed to hold over the past week, after holding for October 2015, suggesting other forces are at work. The answer to the bond market’s indifference to risk asset performance may lie in market fixation over a possible Federal Reserve (Fed) rate hike in December 2015. According to fed fund futures pricing, market expectations for the timing of the Fed’s first rate were essentially unchanged, with the probability of a December rate hike marginally lower on the week to 64% from 70%.

2015-11-20 00:00:00 International Equity Commentary: October 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

International equity prices rebounded strongly during the month of October as fears about a further growth slowdown in China faded and the U.S. Federal Reserve appeared willing to delay its rate hike until early next year. While exports from the country remain weak, domestic demand in China has so far remained resilient.

2015-11-20 00:00:00 The Truths And Myths of Buybacks by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

It's true that corporations buying their own shares (buybacks) have helped push asset prices higher. But much of what is believed about buybacks is a myth. There is much more to share appreciation than buybacks. EPS growth is overwhelmingly driven by higher profits, not share reduction. Buybacks are not a result of ZIRP or QE. Companies are not, as a whole, under investing in manufacturing or R&D or other sources of future growth because of buybacks.

2015-11-20 00:00:00 Keystone Pipeline Suffers Rejection Syndrome by Ryan McGrail of Loomis Sayles

Originally proposed in 2005, TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline would have transported over 800,000 barrels per day of crude oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries.

2015-11-20 00:00:00 The Case for Active Equity Management by Paul Doyle of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

The growth of passively managed funds adds to market inefficiency by increasing the prevalence of price indiscriminate buyers and sellers. This can create inefficiencies that active managers can exploit. Weakening global liquidity means that there will no longer be a rising tide of liquidity that lifts all boats, and dispersions in the returns offered by individual stocks are likely to increase.

2015-11-20 00:00:00 Provise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group

In a rare display of compromise and cooperation in Washington, Congress passed the Bipartisanship Budget Act of 2015 which settled the budget battles for the next two years and raised the debt ceiling until the spring of 2017. It adds $80 billion to the budget during that time, split evenly between defense and social programs. It also repeals the auto enrollment provision under ObamaCare and limits the Medicare Part B premium increase to a maximum of 15% which was set to go up as much as 50% for some.

2015-11-20 00:00:00 Muni Investors Want Liquidity Plus Diversity by Guy Davidson of AllianceBernstein

The municipal market is no different than other markets when it comes to liquidity: they’re liquid until suddenly they aren’t. Investors must assess their need for liquidity to navigate such challenges.

2015-11-20 00:00:00 5 World Currencies That Are Closely Tied to Commodities by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

For more than a year now, commodity prices have been under pressure from the strong U.S. dollar and slowing global demand. This has made a huge dent in the balance sheet of many net exporters of resources, in turn weakening their currencies.

2015-11-20 00:00:00 Southern Company: Invest While the Yield Is Still High by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

In consideration of today’s low interest rate environment, fixed income securities offer little in the way of return. Moreover, the safety characteristics normally associated with fixed income are also potentially upside down. Since early 1982, the interest rates available with fixed income have been in a continuous freefall. This has presented both good and bad news for the conservative investor desirous of a high and safe income stream on their portfolios.

2015-11-20 00:00:00 South Korea 2.0 by Michael Oh of Matthews Asia

Some key differences between Korea’s older companies and its newer “2.0 firms.” include their target demographics, regional reach and branding tied to rising interests in Korean pop culture, or K-pop. Whereas the products of Korea’s more traditional and longer-standing exporters were geared toward developed economies, its newer cultural exports are a hit with more developing countries. This month Asia Insight explores such cultural exports, including those from industries as travel & leisure and entertainment, which are growing even faster than Korea’s overall export growth.

2015-11-20 00:00:00 If Factor Returns Are Predictable, Why Is There an Investor Return Gap? by Jason Hsu of Research Affiliates

In the latest piece from Research Affiliates, vice-chairman and co-founder Jason Hsu looks at how substantial evidence supports cyclicality in factor returns, making them predictable. Evidence also exists that indicates investors aren't fully benefiting from this insight due to behavioral biases. But contrarian investors practicing countercyclical timing can benefit.

2015-11-20 00:00:00 Navigating the Energy Landscape by Will Nasgovitz of Heartland Advisors

More than 12 months into the oil slump, the picture for Energy remains unsettled. A mismatch between supply and demand is making for a stubborn bear market in Energy. Tighter lending standards may create a solution to oversupply. Low costs, greater efficiency, and strong balance sheets are likely to be make or break factors for Energy companies. Here is a look at issues, pockets of optimism, and possible approaches to the volatile group.

2015-11-19 00:00:00 Gundlach – The Scariest Indicator in the World by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Those Federal Reserve governors who intend to vote for an increase in rates at their December meeting need to take a close look at some of the charts Jeffrey Gundlach presented on Tuesday. One chart – which Gundlach called his “scariest” – carried a particularly ominous signal for the global economy.

2015-11-19 00:00:00 Political Turmoil in Portugal by Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

Portugal held parliamentary elections in which the incumbent center-right Social Democratic Party received the most votes but fell short of an outright majority. The president tasked the party with forming a government. However, the center-left opposition party and some far-left parties have formed a coalition, together garnering a majority of votes and currently awaiting presidential approval to form a government and take control from the center-right party. This week, we look at Portugal’s current political environment, election results, change in coalition powers and path going forward.

2015-11-19 00:00:00 Friends by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

“Friends” . . . except in this case I am not referring to the 1994 TV sitcom, but the true friends I have met over the past 45 years in this business. I thought about this theme two weeks ago as I was sitting in Bobby Van’s, across from the NYSE, listening to great stories from my friend Art Cashin and Eric Kaufman (captain of the sagacious VE Capital), and other members of Friends of Fermentation (FOF). As I listened to Arthur, I could not shake the feeling that these classic Wall Street stories need to be scribed lest they be lost forever.

2015-11-19 00:00:00 Global Economic Perspective: November by Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group of Franklin Templeton Investments

While China’s manufacturing sector—which drove China’s rise to its place as the world’s second-largest economy—has been losing steam, it is being supplanted by a domestic, consumer-led economy propelled by a rising middle class with growing income. Other Asian countries are on a similar trajectory.

2015-11-19 00:00:00 Looking at the Financial Advisory Business of Tomorrow by Tim Noonan of Russell Investments

Tim Noonan looks at three key trends that are shaping the financial advisory businesses of tomorrow.

2015-11-19 00:00:00 The Commodity Roller Coaster by Carmen Reinhart of Project Syndicate

The details may change, but the global commodity super-cycle follows a familiar pattern. The question now is: Has the ongoing commodity-price downturn run its course, or will the recent break soon be giving way to another drop?

2015-11-19 00:00:00 Tragedy In Paris by Burt White of LPL Financial

Our thoughts are with the victims of Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris. Events like this stir up many powerful emotions, including anger, fear, sadness, confusion, and regret, and these emotions are not easily suppressed. It is difficult to shift our attention away from this tragedy and toward the financial markets in times like this, but it is our responsibility to do so. Here we look at the potential stock market impact of Friday’s tragedy.

2015-11-19 00:00:00 Economy Is Improving, Yet Most Americans Are Pessimistic by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today we tackle several issues. We start with the fact that several new surveys show that most Americans remain pessimistic about the economy and the direction the country is headed. This is despite the fact that the economy has been growing for the last five years, the unemployment rate is the lowest in seven years and the stock market has more than tripled since 2009.

2015-11-19 00:00:00 The Worst Recovery Ever? For Part-Time Jobs by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Mark Twain has been attributed with saying “If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're misinformed.” And given the media’s portrayal of the job market recovery over the past six-and-a-half years, we can see where he was coming from.

2015-11-19 00:00:00 Newsletter Volume 8, No. 5 - November 2015 by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz / Foldes Financial Wealth Management

AMAZING AND VERY COOL! From my friend Peter: The French restaurant «Le Petit Chef» (The Little Chef) came up with an original way to entertain guests while waiting for their orders — using a projector on the ceiling, animation appears on the table.

2015-11-18 00:00:00 The Dollar Is Peaking Out To A 146-Month High by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

It took about a year of consolidation but it looks like the dollar could be on the verge of another breakout higher. After trading in a fairly tight range since the beginning of this year, the nominal trade-weighted dollar (major currencies) has poked out to its highest level since 9/4/2003.

2015-11-18 00:00:00 Are You Being Paid for Emerging-Market Risk? by Shamaila Khan of AllianceBernstein

When it comes to emerging-market (EM) bonds, clients often ask us if they’re being adequately compensated for their risk. It’s a fair question, but answering it isn’t as easy as many people think.

2015-11-18 00:00:00 The Enormous Long-Term Cost of Holding Cash by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Many Americans are placing a disproportionate amount of their savings in cash. Russ explains the perils of this excessive conservatism.

2015-11-18 00:00:00 Drilling for Oil on Wall Street by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

As long-duration common stock owners and investors, we focus on our bottoms-up stock picking and seek to analyze the micro-economics of each industry involved. However, the importance of oil prices to the economy of the U.S. and its effect on inflation helps determine the intrinsic value of our companies. While we currently own no energy companies in our portfolio, we would like to pause and see what the rhymes of history can tell us about the circumstances of today.

2015-11-18 00:00:00 3 Things: Retail-Less, Buybacks, EBITDA by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

The perennial hopes of a strong retail shopping season are once again upon us. As always, the National Retail Federation (NRF) is kicking of the season with their always cheerful holiday forecast.

2015-11-18 00:00:00 European Union Challenged from Right and Left by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

The heinous ISIS attack in Paris is a game changer in Europe. In addition to the horrific amount of individual casualties, the attack has also threatened severe damage to the long term survivability of the European Union as a political entity. Based on the unpopularity and unfeasibility of immigration controls under the EU's Schengen Plan, the events have opened up the Union to renewed attacks from the right, just as its support from the left is crumbling as a result of opposition to EU-mandated fiscal austerity. This two-front onslaught may be too much for the Union to endure.

2015-11-18 00:00:00 Crowdfunding or Crowdphishing? by Robert Shiller of Project Syndicate

After deliberating for more than three years, the US Securities and Exchange Commission has issued final rules on crowdfunding. Unfortunately, the new regulatory framework still falls far short of what’s needed to boost online funding platforms worldwide.

2015-11-18 00:00:00 Why Reforms Are Sparking Growth in These Two Regions by Jeff Everett, Dale Winner, Venk Lal of Wells Fargo Asset Management

In the U.S., we see other countries’ economic developments play out in news snapshots or opinion pieces—often focusing on short-term data or what’s perceived to be wrong. But here’s what the headlines may not be telling you: Non-U.S. regions from Asia to Europe are home to economic comebacks and companies that are growing their earnings. Let’s take a closer look at developments in Japan and Italy and then contrast the risk/reward dynamic with the current market environment in the U.S.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 Stop Wasting Your Dollars on Marketing: Develop a Strategy by Mandy Fisher (Article)

If you are not strategic about the dollars spent on your marketing efforts, you will truly be wasting both your time and your money.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 How to Conduct a 360-Degree Performance Assessment by Kristen Luke (Article)

I’ve found that when advisory firm employees do well, they shouldn’t need a performance review. But they need something that sets expectations and encourages constant improvement.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 Improving Team Effectiveness When You’re Not a “Coach” by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Why can’t the newer generation of advisors learn the way we did, at the “school of hard knocks”? I think we are creating a generation that needs constant input and teaching.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 Can the Free Market Protect Consumers? by Michael Edesess (Article)

A new book, Phishing for Phools, by Nobelists George Akerlof and Robert Shiller – respectively, authors of the phrases “market for lemons” and “irrational exuberance” – says that the exact same free-market process that Adam Smith lauded for doing a great job of satisfying mutual self-interests, also incentivizes scamming.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 Do The SEI Funds Add Value for Investors? by Larry Swedroe (Article)

The previous installment in my series evaluating the performance of the market’s most prominent actively managed mutual fund families focused on Russell, one of the largest players in the world of investment consulting (where firms provide guidance to pension plans and other institutional investors, as well as to investment advisors, on picking the best active managers). Today, we’ll turn our attention to Russell’s largest competitor in the consulting field, SEI.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 A Simple Step to Stay Positive in Tough Markets by Dan Richards (Article)

The key to motivation has nothing to do with bonuses or stock options, but rather stems from something that will surprise you.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 The Price You Pay for Being Self-Unaware by Dan Solin (Article)

Without self-awareness, you can’t be compassionate, understanding or kind. Without compassion, understanding and kindness, you will find it very difficult to convert prospects into clients.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 The Paris Attacks by Bob Veres (Article)

Here is a letter you can send to clients in response to the Paris attacks.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 Gundlach – The Psychology of a Rate Hike by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The consensus is building for a Fed rate hike in December. But how the market will react is far less certain. According to Jeffrey Gundlach, that will depend on the context in which the Fed takes action.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 A New Challenge to Factor-Based Investing by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Disciples of factor-based investing need to respond to a new challenge. According to Mark Kritzman, investors will be better served by a strategy based solely on allocating to asset classes.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 Market Focus: Finding Value in the MLP Misfortune by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

The brutal selloff in the energy sector has produced a good deal of collateral damage, even among businesses that seemingly have little to do with the price of crude oil.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 Equities Decline, But Long-Term Trends Look Positive by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities came under pressure last week, with the S&P 500 Index falling 3.6%, its largest pullback since late August. A number of issues contributed to the decline, including valuation concerns driven by the recent price rally and struggling earnings. Some negative earnings results from department stores and ongoing unease over Fed policy also contributed to souring sentiment. For the week, utilities was the only sector to advance, while energy, technology and consumer discretionary led the way lower.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 How to Kill a Unicorn by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

The market was strange last week. No real direction in credit or equities. The Fed turned from mildly dovish to decidedly hawkish with several Governors advocating the December rate rise. It's like watching a debate team convince themselves that they are absolutely right, so let’s do it right? All with me? There were also announcements of new Fed governors. Next year’s voters are more hawkish which means we’ll hear less about “one and done” and more about stepped increases through 2016.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 Yield: One Commodity That’s Still Hot by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses investors’ quest for ample sources of income

2015-11-17 00:00:00 Rising Rates? How About Some Inflation First? by Jeffrey Baker of HiddenLevers

Some pundits have expressed surprise the Fed did not raise rates in September, citing low unemployment and improving GDP numbers as evidence the Fed has gone too far with its dovish policies. Unfortunately, many market commentators gloss over the relationship between interest rates and inflation. HiddenLevers examined the effects of inflation in our End of Inflation webinar, and we have summarized some of our takeaways below.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: What is the Message from Falling Commodity Prices? by Jeffrey Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

Attention quickly shifted from the perceived strength in the monthly employment report to the stock market decline. While some blamed this on the expectation of higher interest rates, there was also plenty of focus on the commodity markets. I expect this interest to continue in the week ahead.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 Sustaining a Foundation, Stepping Up as Fiduciaries by Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

Establishing a foundation can be a great way to pursue charitable objectives, but it often brings a host of fiduciary responsibilities that donors may feel ill-equipped to handle. In this hypothetical case study, a couple of entrepreneurs sought our advice on asset allocation.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 Wave of Sorrow: Will the Horrors in Paris Keep the Fed on Hold? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

It’s always with a heavy heart that we, as analysts with responsibilities to our investors, attempt to divine the implications for markets of past and present terrorist attacks. The horrific events of Friday in Paris are yet again a reminder of the fragility of what we so often take for granted. Our prayers go out to all those impacted by such a senseless set of acts.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 Fed Up by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The agonizing over whether the Fed will begin raising short-term interest rates is unlikely to end soon. A 25-basis-point increase shouldn’t have much of an impact on the economy, especially if the Fed makes it clear that it intends to go slow with further rate hikes. However, the financial markets believe this to be a big deal. So it is. Fed officials have continued to signal that it “may be appropriate” to start in December, but they have also continued to signal that this is not a done deal.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 For Japan, When GDP is so Close to the Zero Line, Inventories are the Dominant Swing Factor by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

So Japan’s economy is back in technical recession…for the fourth time in five years (first chart). It’s likely that this unfortunate reality will be met with additional monetary ease, but that is a discussion for another day. Here we’d just like to make a very simple observation: when your GDP growth runs close to the zero bound, as it has in Japan, the inventory factor can be the make or break variable.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 Gasoline and Coffee Fuel Our Daily Lives. Can Commodities Also Fuel Our Investment Portfolios? by Bransby Whitton, Klaus Thuerbach, Kate Botting of PIMCO

Commodities are a tangible part of our daily lives. They are the food we eat, the energy that powers our cars and heats our homes, the metals that go into our electrical wiring and our jewelry. Yet investing in commodities can seem elusive.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 Why We Believe Emerging-Markets Stocks are Attractive by Rajat Jain of Litman Gregory

There is certainly no arguing that over the short term, investing in emerging-markets stocks can be a bumpy ride. This is especially true if you invested in the asset class during the crisis-prone years of the late 1990s and early 2000s. When asked why we believe in investing in the asset class, we point to our overarching belief that emerging markets' macroeconomic fundamentals are much better now than they were during those crisis-prone years. In this update, we provide further background on our analysis.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 Are We Heading into a Rising Rate Environment? Historically, High Yield Bonds Have Done Well by Steve Rumsey of Optimus Advisory Group

As the Federal Reserve inches closer to raising interest rates, many fixed income investors are becoming increasingly worried about an expected negative impact on their portfolios. With cash rates at zero and the stock market looking tenuous at best, conservative investors have no place to go other than to look for the areas of the bond market that might survive a series of Fed rate hikes.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 Undeniable Truths about Precious Metals (Don't Forget These...) by Clint Siegner of Money Metals Exchange

From first to worst. Gold and silver were the best assets to own during the first decade of this century. During this second decade... not so much. Precious metals bulls have endured 4 years of prices drifting lower punctuated by periodic smash-downs and the occasional false-breakout.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 How Male Advisors Should Dress to Win Clients by Dan Solin (Article)

I have found the single most significant factor in increasing my clients’ closing ratio has been their willingness to substantially upgrade their wardrobe. In this article, I will discuss my experience with men. Next week, I will discuss dress for women.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 ETF Trading: Understanding ETF Liquidity by Sponsored Content from FlexShares ETFs (Article)

As you determine which ETFs best meet your clients’ needs and objectives, bear in mind ETF liquidity and trading. This will help you better maximize opportunities and optimize trades at the best possible price in order to gain potentially higher total returns.

2015-11-16 00:00:00 Volatility Takes Center Stage in 2015 by Clas Olsson of Invesco Blog

Looking back over the last three to four years, global market performance has been driven mainly by quantitative easing, with little to no profit growth internationally. This, in turn, has led to significant multiple expansion. Market leadership has been driven by defensive stocks, such as consumer staples, as pricing power and emerging market demand for products and services helped them sustain growth.

2015-11-16 00:00:00 A December Rate Hike Would Not Be the Fed's First Act of Tightening by Alex Christensen of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

Investors preparing for the shock on risk-on assets as a result of Fed tightening may be surprised to realize that they have already been feeling these shocks. The impact of a single 25 basis point hike as a part of a slow, years-long rate-rise cycle will likely be modest compared to the impact of the end of QE3. Now that panic has retreated following August and September’s volatility, the view that a rate hike is not a death knell for portfolios, whether risky or not, is emerging once again.

2015-11-16 00:00:00 Are Emerging Markets Turning a Corner? by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

We consider many of the factors driving recent volatility in emerging markets to be temporary in nature and compounded by typically low summer liquidity—thus we believe we have grounds to be optimistic longer term.

2015-11-16 00:00:00 How to Invest in a Slowing China World by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

The obvious question is then how one positions their portfolio in a world where China is on a structurally slowing growth trajectory. In an effort to not over-complicate things, let’s look at China from the 30,000 foot view. From this perspective we observe two things that will unfold over the next decade.

2015-11-16 00:00:00 Could High-Yield ETFs Be the New CDOs? by Ashish Shah of AllianceBernstein

Passive management strategies in high yield promote lax lending standards and sketchy supply, much as they did during the pre crisis CDO boom. For investors, this could mean lower credit quality and a higher probability of default.

2015-11-16 00:00:00 The Bubble Right In Front Of Our Faces by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Investors have a habit of pointing to past bubbles as if they have actually learned something, even when they are in the midst of another one.

2015-11-16 00:00:00 Little League Trophies by Doug MacKay, Bill Hoover of Broadleaf Partners

The financial markets have worn many masks this year. Like a ping pong ball, wide and powerful swings from Fed pronouncements, movements in the dollar, and the price of oil have contributed to violent and swift changes in mood. Perception and reality are almost entirely a function of macroeconomic news, but for the very brief period in time each quarter when company specific news arrives in the form of earnings season.

2015-11-16 00:00:00 Currency Wars - What Will Break the Cycle? by Brian Hess of Loomis Sayles

The term “currency war" may sound like sensationalism. But the series of competitive devaluations in global currency markets over the past several years have essentially created a series of global currency battles.

2015-11-16 00:00:00 Covered-Call CEFs by (Article)

In periods of market volatility, income-oriented investors may want to consider covered-call closed-end funds, says Stephen Minar of BlackRock.

2015-11-16 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review: It's A Revenue Recession, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

Last week, Fed President Rosengren offered his analysis of the US economy: Many headlines have focused on real GDP growing at only 1.5 percent in the third quarter. However, I would like to share with you a measure that focuses on domestic demand – real final sales to domestic purchasers. This statistic is similar to GDP, but excludes fluctuations in inventories and net exports. This leaves consumption, investment, and government spending – in sum, a measure that tries to capture the underlying strength in domestic demand.

2015-11-16 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

After rising 6 weeks in a row, equities fell hard this week. SPY has returned to the bottom of its former trading range. NDX, which is leading, closed an important open gap that should now provide initial support. So far, no foul for either. A number of studies suggest an upside edge in the short term. Overall, however, risk is rising, as the market now has a potentially bearish technical pattern that it didn't have in August.

2015-11-16 00:00:00 On My Radar: Poking At The Beehive by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

“The European Central Bank is likely to continue negative rates, extend and enlarge QE, and acquire more balance sheet assets over time. ECB policy influences other nearby non-euro jurisdictions. Essentially, all short-term interest rates of higher-credit-grade and mid-grade countries in Europe are negative, and the policy of negative rates is spreading as the rates go even lower (more negative).” – David Kotok

2015-11-16 00:00:00 Henderson releases the 8th edition of the Henderson Global Dividend Study by (Article)

Henderson’s Jane Shoemake, Investment Director of Global Equity Income, presents the 8th edition of the Henderson Global Dividend Study. Henderson Global Dividend Study is a quarterly report analyzing dividend trends from around the world. The study examines dividends paid every quarter by the 1,200 largest firms by market capitalization. In the latest edition, we saw an increase of 2% in global dividend growth for the quarter after nearly three quarters of consecutive declines.

2015-11-16 00:00:00 Asset Matters: How Goals-Based Allocation Drives Portfolio Positioning by Matthew Rubin of Neuberger Berman

When we work with clients to design a customized portfolio, we need to understand their most fundamental goals.

2015-11-14 00:00:00 The Gig Economy Is the New Normal by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

It’s not just Uber driving or AirBnB. There are literally scores of websites and apps where you can advertise your services, get temporary or part-time work, and do so from anywhere you happen to be. Some “gigs” actually pay pretty good money, but they are for people with specialized skills who prefer to live a somewhat different lifestyle than the typical 9-to-5’er does.

2015-11-13 00:00:00 Celgene: A Primer on Growth Stock Value Investing (GARP): Part 2 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This article is the second in a two-part series on applying the principles of value investing. In part 1 found here my primary focus was on the benefits of investing in fundamentally strong dividend growth stocks when they are out of favor, and therefore, undervalued as a result. In this part 2, I will be turning my attention to determining the fair value of growth stocks. Although the underlying principles of value investing apply, assessing the fair value of a true growth stock differs greatly from valuing a dividend paying company.

2015-11-13 00:00:00 Germany’s Responsibility to Europe by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Since 2008, Europe has lurched from one crisis to another. One country emerged as the figurehead for Europe during this time, leading international discussions and fighting to keep the single currency area united.

2015-11-13 00:00:00 ECRI Weekly Leading Index: "The Case of the Wage Inflation Deception" by Jill Mislinski of Advisor Perspectives (

ECRI's latest weekly data point shows a slight decrease from the previous week's number and their latest feature commentary published earlier this week highlights the issue of wage inflation deception.

2015-11-13 00:00:00 A New Era Begins, and Not Just for China by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein

As we approach the end of 2016, we’re increasingly of the view that we’re nearing the end of one investment era and the beginning of another. We expect this global trend to be positive for China, but it might have a downside for some risk assets.

2015-11-13 00:00:00 The Bullish Case for Aussie Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

There’s a gold bear market here in North America, where the yellow metal has plunged to a six-year low of $1,083 per ounce on the strong U.S. dollar. But when priced in the weaker Aussie dollar, the precious metal is sitting at $1,520. As recently as last month, it touched $1,642.

2015-11-13 00:00:00 APViewpoint Events presents: A Live Debate: Should the Fed Raise Interest Rates? by APViewpoint (Article)

Two industry thought leaders face off on the most contentious economic issue confronting advisors and investors today: the Fed’s stance on interest rates. In this live, Munk-style debate moderated by Larry Siegel, John and Frank will take opposing sides.John and Frank will answer attendees’ questions during the webinar and will also be available to continue the discussion on APViewpoint. Attendees can also vote on the proposition both before and after the debate. Results for both votes will be compared to determine the “winner.”

2015-11-13 00:00:00 A Rare Do-Over for Equity Investors? by Jay Leopold of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

While the market may still rally to new highs, the late August free fall in stock prices and spike in volatility served as a wake-up call for investors. In the past ten weeks, major equity indices have recovered virtually all the losses experienced during the August swoon. The recent rally gives investors a second opportunity to position their portfolio for an important inflection point in monetary policy as the Fed likely starts raising interest rates.

2015-11-13 00:00:00 How Fast and How High by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

We do not believe last week’s sell-off is the start of a spike in interest rates. In fact, the spike may have already occurred with the 10-year Treasury yield higher by nearly 0.4% since October 14, 2015. The 30-year Treasury yield has also undergone a significant adjustment [Figure 1]. Yields on both 10- and 30-year benchmark Treasury yields have broken above the September highs and are within striking distance of 2015 highs of 2.5% and 3.2%, respectively. From a technical perspective, a breach above these levels would be needed to sustain a breakout to new yield highs.

2015-11-13 00:00:00 Gasoline and Coffee Fuel Our Daily Lives. Can Commodities Also Fuel Our Investment Portfolios? by Bransby Whitton, Klaus Thuerbach, Kate Botting of PIMCO

Commodities are a tangible part of our daily lives. They are the food we eat, the energy that powers our cars and heats our homes, the metals that go into our electrical wiring and our jewelry. Yet investing in commodities can seem elusive.

2015-11-13 00:00:00 Do You Believe that China is “Fixed” as Copper Plunges to New Lows? by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

The last two days have been met with the usual monthly slue of Chinese economic statistics including retail sales (+10.4% YoY), auto sales (+11.8% YoY), industrial production (+5.6 YoY), fixed asset (infrastructure) investment (+10.1% YoY), and bank loans (+15.6% YoY), among others.

2015-11-13 00:00:00 A Decisive Monetary Policy Approach Is About More Than Economics by John Beck of Franklin Templeton Investments

With monetary policy divergence between the developed world’s three most influential central banks set to continue, it seems clear to us that the need for a decisiveness of approach extends beyond a simple economic argument.

2015-11-13 00:00:00 Making the Most of a 401(k) Account by Anne Bucciarelli of AllianceBernstein

Taking advantage of your employer’s retirement savings plan is one of the most powerful and effective tools available to investors planning for retirement. But be wary of “setting and forgetting” the amount you contribute each year: It may not be enough to meet your goals.

2015-11-13 00:00:00 The Shadow Rate Casts Gloom by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Nearly 92% of economists surveyed this week by the Wall Street Journal expect that our eight-year experiment with unprecedented monetary easing from the Federal Reserve will come to an end at the next Fed meeting in December. Since we have had the monetary wind at our back for so many years, at least a few have begun to question our ability to make economic and financial gains against actual headwinds. But in reality, the tightening cycle that the forecasters are waiting for actually started last year. Sadly, the markets and the economy are already showing an inability to handle it.

2015-11-13 00:00:00 Life in a No Growth World and the Impact on Interest Rates by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

The recent Fed decision seems to provide no more clarity: they left the opening for a December hike but didn’t specifically commit to making a move then. So the question remains, when will the Fed begin raising rates and by how much? It is clear they want to start increasing rates in order to give themselves some flexibility if they need it down the road, all the while fulfilling their dual mandate. However, it seems the “data” for our “data dependent” Fed isn’t getting better globally.

2015-11-13 00:00:00 It's the Domestic Spending; Stupid by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Washington DC is out of control. In Orwellian Newspeak, we hear liberals say tax cuts, “cost too much,” but deficit spending is an “investment.” If GOP politicians reduce spending growth from already inflated forecasts, they call it a “‘conservative’ spending cut.” And, politicians from both sides of the aisle pat themselves on the back for “working so hard” to reduce the deficit when it’s really the US taxpayer that provided the muscle. Surging tax receipts have lowered deficits in recent years, not fiscal discipline.

2015-11-13 00:00:00 Americas: Economy Trends Update October 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

The fall in energy and commodity prices continues to drive the divergent economic trends in the U.S. and other countries in the region. While the low fuel costs have supported the ongoing healthy U.S. economic expansion, the resource exporting countries in the region continue to struggle. Brazil remains in an economic recession even as political controversies have worsened the outlook for the country. The recent downgrades by the credit rating agencies have led to significant capital outflows from Brazil, making it difficult for domestic corporations to finance growth.

2015-11-12 00:00:00 On Why Emerging Market Funds Are Ill Equipped to Capitalize on a Rebalancing China by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

We’ve hashed out the arguments for a persistently slowing China in this blog many times, so we won’t go there again today. Instead, we want to focus on a different aspect of the slowing China reality: the fact that most investment products that focus on emerging markets are overweight exactly the wrong economic sectors. In the scenario of a slowing and rebalancing China, the areas of the economy that are likely to benefit the most are different from the areas that gained from the infrastructure build out since 2000.

2015-11-12 00:00:00 2 Investing Implications of Higher US Rates by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Real U.S. rates have been climbing, while rates are falling in much of the rest of the world. As Russ explains, this divergence has a number of implications for investors.

2015-11-12 00:00:00 How to Fly in Turbulent Emerging Markets by Sammy Suzuki of AllianceBernstein

Emerging markets may be stormier these days, but they’re still brimming with opportunities. You just need to know how to find them. That’s going to take some skillful piloting—and highly sensitive downside-risk radar.

2015-11-12 00:00:00 The End of Fiscal Obstruction by Joachim Fels of PIMCO

Fiscal policy in the U.S., eurozone and Japan looks set to become (mildly) supportive for growth.

2015-11-12 00:00:00 Taking Grounders In Spring Training by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

If there’s one thing that all of ‘the greats’ throughout history have in common, it’s a mastery of the fundamentals. Grammy award winning singers warm their voices up before every performance and Hall Of Fame baseball players take grounders every spring training. Unfortunately, investors continue to focus on noise instead of the basics of investing.

2015-11-12 00:00:00 Are We at a Market Peak? by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

The question that seems to be occurring to more and more people is, “Are we at a market peak?” It has been a multiyear bull market, stock prices have tripled from the base, profit margins have been at record highs for years, and now interest rates are going up. It’s not a crazy thought.

2015-11-12 00:00:00 Growth Will Pick Up by Carl Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

At first blush, the economy’s growth rate in the third quarter (+1.5%) suggests a significant slowing of activity after its solid performance in the second quarter. However, doubts should be set aside, as it was largely a reduction in inventories that held back overall gross domestic product (GDP) growth. In fact, final sales remained strong. Headline growth should pick up as firms increase inventories in the quarters ahead.

2015-11-12 00:00:00 I May Be Making a “Bottom” Call Soon by Avi Gilburt of

For the last 4 years, we have heard most analysts and pundits call the end to the metals correction, only to see the market head lower. And, many of them have done so many times. However, if the market takes a direct route to the lower levels we have been targeting for the last several years then I may finally be calling the bottom myself for the first time. While I will still be looking for “confirmation” with a 5 wave structure off those lows to be more certain, I am going to be viewing the next lower lows as potentially ending this 4+ year correction.

2015-11-12 00:00:00 A Wooden Horse Full of Acorns? by Gary Stroik of WBI Investments

Today’s investor doesn’t have to look far to find someone predicting dire consequences just around the bend. Forecasts of impending doom have been around a long time. According to legend, Cassandra was a Trojan princess cursed by the god Apollo with the ability to see the future, but to have no one believe her.

2015-11-12 00:00:00 Myopia & Market Function by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

The Wall Street Journal posted an article written by Shlomo Benartzi who is a professor at UCLA specializing in behavioral finance. The article primarily focuses on the behavioral problems, like myopic loss aversion, that can arise when investors check their account balances or the prices of their holdings which thanks to technology has become increasingly more convenient to do.

2015-11-12 00:00:00 3 Unusual Aspects of the Current Market by (Article)

Co-CIO Francis Gannon talks about how abnormally high returns are unsustainable, why the fundamental laws of capitalism will once again reward profitable companies, and how investor preferences for lower quality and more speculative growth over the past several years have given the kinds of companies we want to own for the long term favorable valuations.

2015-11-12 00:00:00 Will Rate Increases Impact Investing in Dividend-Paying Companies? by (Article)

Portfolio Manager Jay Kaplan talks about why he believes a rise in interest rates won't have as high an impact on those strategies that seek long-term total return as opposed to those that mostly focus on high yield.

2015-11-11 00:00:00 It's Groundhog Day for the Markets by Mark Burgess of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

The likelihood of subdued economic growth means that interest rates will be lower for longer. There will no longer be a rising tide of U.S.-led QE that lifts all boats. We think that a selective approach in equities will pay off as investors focus more on valuations and fundamentals.

2015-11-11 00:00:00 High Yield Energy: Paths of Valuation and Correlated Effects by David Kleinberg of Universal Orbit

An observer may rightly state the bull case for oil and related investment thesis is not one of prescience but only precarious sentiment. True a simple wager on the directional valuation of commodity pricing may set the course, perhaps even amplified by modest use of leverage. In the Energy sector, valuating macroeconomic drivers consistent with the permutations of effects on corporate performance is measurable in degree though often variable in the most desired performance metric—timing.

2015-11-11 00:00:00 Is the Selloff in High-Yield Bonds Warranted? by Jon Adams, John Boritzke, Sandy Lincoln, Alan Schwartz, Lowell Yura of BMO Global Asset Management

The commentary reviews the patterns in the high-yield market over the past few years, particularly how investors have fled the asset class in light of various expected crises, which turned out to be unwarranted. BMO GAM believes investors are once again overestimating default risks, evidenced currently by fears of a global growth scare spurring high yield outflows. Some may feel these outflows and default risks imply a recession is nigh, but the MAST team feels our economy is a long ways off from signaling such an event.

2015-11-11 00:00:00 What To Expect From The Stock Market in 2016 by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

3Q financials have been predictably poor, and 4Q won't be much better. All else equal, 2016 should see a return to growth as the impact from lower oil and a higher dollar may become negligible. Especially for their rate of growth, S&P valuations are high. Even if sales and EPS growth start to pick up, valuations are likely to remain a considerable headwind to equity appreciation in 2016.

2015-11-11 00:00:00 Global Earnings Update: Europe and Japan Coming up Short by Burt White of LPL Financial

Earnings overseas have generally not kept up with the U.S. We spend a lot of time dissecting earnings season in the U.S. because we believe earnings are the single biggest driver of stock prices over the long run. But earnings are not just important for U.S. stocks, they are also important for stocks overseas. This week we provide an earnings update in Europe and Japan, where results thus far have mostly fallen short of those in the U.S.

2015-11-11 00:00:00 The 2016 Outlook: 3 Important Issues by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

I’m working on my 2016 outlook right now—yes, a couple of months before it actually gets here—and am struggling to focus on what will be most important. Developing an idea about the future requires first identifying the most important issues, then making some decisions about how they are likely to evolve, and finally trying to tie them all together.

2015-11-11 00:00:00 U.S. Debt To Hit $20 Trillion, Poverty Remains Rampant by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

As long-time clients and readers are well aware, the explosion in our national debt has been one of my continuing themes over the last 30+ years, under both Republican and Democrat presidents. So today’s discussion is not a political issue, and it should worry us all.

2015-11-11 00:00:00 Technically Speaking: Short-Term Bull Or Bearish Top by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Over the last couple of weeks, I have discussed the entrance of the markets into the seasonally strong period of the year and the potential to increase equity exposure in portfolios on a "short-term" basis.

2015-11-11 00:00:00 ETFs: Before You Buy, Read the Warning Label by Peter Kraus of AllianceBernstein

We don’t hate ETFs. In fact, we use them ourselves and are considering managing client assets in the active ETF space. When used properly, these instruments can be a useful component in a well-diversified portfolio. But ETFs aren’t perfect, and relying heavily on them without understanding their imperfections is risky.

2015-11-11 00:00:00 Financial Festival by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

I first met Minyanville’s Todd Harrison more than 10 years ago. Subsequently the first “Minyans in the Mountains” confab was held in Crested Butte, Colorado. Todd’s Minyanville idea was to create a financial community whose participants would bond over the years and share investment themes, strategy, and investment ideas. Minyanville also tried to advance the financial education of children. The “glue” that seemed to tether everyone together was dubbed “The Buzz and Banter” where all of us could contribute to the ongoing financial blog.

2015-11-10 00:00:00 Intuit Small Business Index: Up Fractionally by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The latest Intuit Small Business Employment Index (SBI) came out this morning, which measures employment in firms with fewer than 20 employees with data going back to 2007. The real-time data comes directly from Intuit software, not from surveys, and is the only source of monthly data on small business revenues, expenses, and payroll data. It allows for a much earlier read on the health of small businesses.

2015-11-10 00:00:00 Do Growth Stocks Still Have Room to Run? by Robert McConnaughey of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

While growth and value stocks have historically traded off leadership roles, we do not think that a decisive shift towards value is in the works. We think that investing in competitively advantaged innovators is extremely important and that the best defense against potentially disruptive changes is to invest in them. While we are always interested in value investing opportunities, we see the overall picture as continuing to favor truly innovative growth.

2015-11-10 00:00:00 Higher Rates, Higher Stocks by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

What’s happened over the past few weeks is not supposed to happen, at least if you use traditional academic-style discount models to assess the stock market. Whether you prefer a dividend discount model or an earnings discount model, both say higher interest rates should reduce the value of equities.

2015-11-10 00:00:00 Sticking with Your Asset Allocation by Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

An investment plan will work only if an investor has the emotional fortitude to stick with it. That’s easier said than done, particularly with a more aggressive portfolio, when market conditions are rough.

2015-11-10 00:00:00 Digesting the Implications of Higher Rates by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses the implications of higher rates for investors.

2015-11-10 00:00:00 Managing Fixed Income in a Changing Interest Rate Environment by Patty Quinn McAuley of Clark Capital Management Group

Tired of the constant chatter about where interest rates are headed and what will happen when they finally rise? We’ve compiled the following five ideas for positioning your clients’ bond portfolios to capture opportunities and navigate risks in fixed income — regardless of where rates go.

2015-11-10 00:00:00 Japan: The Quest for Growth and Inflation by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments

Abenomics [in Japan] constitutes a true regime change and has already had a significant impact—but the road to sustainably higher growth and inflation is still long.

2015-11-10 00:00:00 U.S. Rates, ECB Asset Purchases Driving Euro Lower by Jennifer Thomson of GaveKal Capital

The euro fell 3 cents last week– a significant decline, certainly, but not the most extreme weekly drop witnessed so far this year: Most of the fuss associated with the rapid retreat of the euro can be attributed to the level of the currency in relation to important levels of recent support.

2015-11-10 00:00:00 Retired Investors: Apply a Value Investing Strategy and Earn More Income and Higher Returns by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Value investing produces safe, powerful long-term results, but it is often misunderstood. This is why most of the greatest investors that have ever lived have employed some form of value investing as an integral part of their overall stock investing strategy. However, the term, concept or strategy called value investing does not necessarily universally apply. Like many financial terms and concepts, there are many nuances that pertain to the general concept of investing for value in common stocks.

2015-11-10 00:00:00 The Job Market and the Fed by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The October Employment Report was stronger than expected, but should be seen in its proper context. That is, while October’s payroll gain far exceeded forecasts, it followed softer figures in August and September. The three-month average was moderate. Financial market participants believe that the report makes a December 16 rate hike a lot more likely. However, the Fed had already been signaling that such a move was likely.

2015-11-10 00:00:00 Can Brazil Bounce Back? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

While the government finally is promoting reform efforts, the nation’s economic and political troubles are likely to stick around.

2015-11-10 00:00:00 Every Rose Has its Thorn(s) by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

On the tail of a bright jobs report, the likelihood that the FOMC will raise rates in December seems more clear, say Kristina Hooper. However, not everything is picture-perfect as the dollar is strong, global demand is waning and energy prices remain low.

2015-11-10 00:00:00 Access the latest research from mutual fund thought leaders by Advisor Perspectives (Article)

Access research from the fund industry as soon as it is available. We curate the most relevant research reports from top analysts and firms, and we write a one-paragraph abstract with a link to read the full report. This is a free service from Advisor Perspectives, the parent company of dshort.

2015-11-09 00:00:00 Remember Greece? Neither Does the Market. by Tere Alvarez Canida, Alan Habacht, William Canida, Scott Kimball, Daniela Mardarovici of BMO Global Asset Management

Global conditions are absolutely impacting the U.S. markets in known and established manners, but the Fed’s recent introduction of the language confused markets away from a perception of Fed support to one of Fed fear. The resulting move to wider in spreads, which was largely undifferentiated by issuer, caused the past quarter to be a very difficult one for investors. Looking forward, that undiscerning move in spreads has afforded the opportunity to purchase potentially mispriced assets in anticipation of a return to rationality.

2015-11-09 00:00:00 Reeling In Small-Cap Alpha by Vitali Kalesnik, Noah Beck of Research Affiliates

Small size alone does not guarantee excess return, but implementing an outperforming strategy, such as value or momentum, in the universe of small company stocks increases alpha-producing opportunities.

2015-11-09 00:00:00 Social Security Shock: Backroom Budget Deal Bans Two Loopholes by Tom Rowley of Invesco Blog

Two weeks ago, “things that go bump in the night” included two Social Security claiming strategies that got bumped from most retirement planning when the Senate passed a last-minute budget deal in the predawn hours of Friday, Oct. 30. There were none of the usual preliminaries: no hearings, no legislation, no grandstanding by proponents and opponents, no discussion in the financial media. It was simply a done deal, sealed and delivered, when President Barack Obama signed the bill into law last Monday to keep the government afloat.

2015-11-09 00:00:00 Risk-On Risk-Off vs Qualitative Market Environments by Kristi Henderson of AdvisorShares

A “Risk-on Risk-off” environment exists when prices fluctuate relative to investors’ tolerance for risk. In this environment, stocks and sectors tend to be highly correlated. Volatility is often higher during these times as a result of investor uncertainty, similar to what we’ve seen in recent months. Many investors decide to go “all-in” or “all-out”, often through buying or selling an index. Indexes are simple to trade and their market cap weighting is appealing during fearful times.

2015-11-09 00:00:00 US Bond Market Week in Review: It Looks Like They'll Hike, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

Despite the persistence of low inflation, the Fed will probably raise rates in December. This begs the question, why? A Bloomberg article last week provides the answer.

2015-11-09 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: What Will Higher Interest Rates Mean for Financial Markets? by Jeffrey Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

Friday’s employment report, rightly or wrongly, confirmed expectations for a December shift in Fed policy. There will be a parade of Fed speakers. We can expect daily discussion about the implications. The punditry will be asking: What will higher rates mean for financial markets?

2015-11-09 00:00:00 Really? Our Best Shot? by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

We finally got the Nonfarm Payroll number we wanted: 271,000 new jobs in October, the highest of the year and the lowest unemployment rate since April 2008. The market now puts the probability of a December rate rise at 75%, which is where it was in August. The 10-Year Treasury note climbed 10bps to 2.32% and the 2-Year by 8bps to its highest level all year. Another sign was the fall in long-term unemployment.

2015-11-09 00:00:00 America’s Education Bubble by Mohamed A. El-Erian of Project Syndicate

If not handled carefully, the pursuit of an important social goal can sometimes have serious economic and financial consequences. America’s effort to expand access to student loans – a fundamentally good initiative, aimed at enabling more people to pursue higher education – may turn out to be one such case.

2015-11-09 00:00:00 Psychological Whiplash by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Investors have experienced a great deal of whiplash in recent months. After a rapid but relatively contained retreat in August and September, the stock market has rebounded to within 2% of its May record high. Only weeks ago, investors were concerned about economic deterioration. As of Friday, strength in nonfarm payrolls has suddenly convinced investors that a December rate hike by the Fed is all but certain.

2015-11-09 00:00:00 CEF Market Update by (Article)

As relatively wide discounts persist, the closed-end fund market presents potential opportunities to investors, says John Cole Scott of CEF Advisors.

2015-11-09 00:00:00 Why Active Management Failed in 2014 by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Active management failed miserably in 2014. Was it because managers were less skillful or because there were fewer opportunities to outperform? Michael Mauboussin’s research provides the answer.

2015-11-09 00:00:00 Emerging Markets Winners and Losers: Q3 2015 by Jackie Lafferty of Loomis Sayles

Investor risk aversion battered emerging market (EM) assets during the third quarter. Local currency and hard currency markets both posted negative gains and EM equities posted double digit losses.

2015-11-09 00:00:00 On My Radar: Resolve To Keep Happy by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

“U.S. interest rates are already zero. Japanese interest rates are zero also. European interest rates are negative. All of these central banks have printed trillions of dollars in their respective currencies under various QE programs. They are at the point where they simply cannot print trillions more without risking political backlash or the collapse of confidence in their currencies.” – James Rickards

2015-11-09 00:00:00 Lessons from Guiding Blind Triathletes by Dan Solin (Article)

At a conference I recently attended, I was listening to a talk by Caroline Gaynor, an associate at Dimensional Fund Advisors. Gaynor is an Ironman triathlete, which is impressive. But Gaynor’s ability to complete those grueling events was the least impressive part of her presentation. She also serves as a guide during races for blind athletes.

2015-11-09 00:00:00 The Most Critical Planning Assumption – and How to Choose it by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Compared to the popular approach of assuming a point estimate for the equity-risk premium, an approach that admits we don’t know what number is may seem counterintuitive. But what has been truly crazy is assuming we know a precise number when the evidence clearly indicates that we don’t.

2015-11-09 00:00:00 Matching Your Sales Approach to Your Target Market by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Sometimes, prospects are referred to us and they just want to get going. Our paced process irritates them. Should we change our process to match the audience, or match our process to the right people?

2015-11-09 00:00:00 Business Planning Beyond the Numbers by Teresa Riccobuono (Article)

It's the time of year to develop a 2016 business plan. Many advisors believe the business plan consists solely of revenue, new-client acquisition and acquiring new assets. But there is much more than just a few numbers.

2015-11-09 00:00:00 How to Describe What Makes Your Firm Different by Kristen Luke (Article)

How do you differentiate yourself from your competition? The answer is not just in your marketing, which simply conveys the message of how you are different. You do so by drawing on all areas of your business.

2015-11-09 00:00:00 Resisting the Chase: Reimagining Liquidity and Diversification by Douglas A. Dachille and Mark G. Alexandridis (Article)

Mutual fund bond investors have reached an unwelcome crossroads. With interest rates at historic lows, they have spent much of their post-crisis existence cautiously ascending the risk ladder in search of yield. While the liquid alternative space has been touted as fertile ground for diversification and non-correlated returns, it has fallen short of delivering the kind of liquidity and diversification today’s retail investor really needs.

2015-11-07 00:00:00 Get Ready for Commodity Liftoff: Global Manufacturing Just Made a HUGE Move! by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

As Donald Trump might say: This is going to be huge.

2015-11-07 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Equities have risen strongly after the first sell off of more than 10% in 3 years. They are doing so into the seasonally strongest months of the year for equities. Sentiment has not yet become overly bullish. Macro is supportive. Normally, this combination would be a set up for higher prices ahead. That said, after a 12% gain in one month, the normal pattern is for at least a minor retrace. Post-NFP and into the often soft mid-month period, that pattern might well be next.

2015-11-07 00:00:00 Bad News Is Good News, Once Again by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Central banks’ aversion to any downturn should support the current rebound in risk assets through the end of the year.

2015-11-07 00:00:00 The October Jobs Report Gives the Fed a Green Light by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The first Friday of each month is filled with tension for those in my line of work. The U.S. employment data, arguably the most important international economic release that we receive, comes out on those days.

2015-11-07 00:00:00 The Markets’ Teddy Bear by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

The sharp market gains seen over the last month are unlikely to persist at the same pace, and investors should be prepared for more volatility. Uncertainty about interest rates will persist, but the US economy continues to chug along at a decent, although not robust, pace. Similarly, global growth seems to be perking up, and helping to stymie predictions of an impending global recession. There are still pressures on global growth, but we believe the upside surprise potential in Europe should benefit stocks in that region.

2015-11-07 00:00:00 Want High-Yield Exposure? Forget About ETFs by Gershon Distenfeld of Alliance Bernstein

Have a short-term view on high yield? Maybe an exchange-traded fund (ETF) is right for you. But if you want long-term exposure to this market, ETFs are a terrible choice.

2015-11-07 00:00:00 Crime in the Jobs Report by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

In today’s letter, we are going to look briefly at the latest employment numbers. Then we’ll explore some of the deeper, less understood facets of the employment data. For some of you this may be a lot of detail, but for those of us who think about employment (and you should, as it is THE ultimate driver for your business and investments), understanding how the numbers work and what they mean is important.

2015-11-06 00:00:00 What's in your wallet: The case for cash? by David Robertson, CFA of Arete Asset Management

Several factors have contributed to the lowly status of cash. An important one has been a core tenet of investment theory that indicates higher returns accrue from assets with higher levels of risk.

2015-11-06 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl R. Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

The weekly commentary is a review of current activity in global financial markets, with an emphasis on the U.S. fixed income market.

2015-11-06 00:00:00 Raymond James Equity Research by Andrew Adams of Raymond James

2015-11-06 00:00:00 The Defaults Ahead by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

Much has been made about the outlook for defaults in the high yield market. Many have speculated that we are at the beginning of a big upturn in that default cycle and thus, this market should be avoided. While this makes for good headlines, the projections we’ve seen, and our own expectations, don’t add up to a big uptick in default rates. Yes default rates will likely increase, but remain below historical averages for the high yield market.

2015-11-06 00:00:00 Quarterly Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital

In 2008, most investors were driving a fast car down a country road at night with no headlights. They ignored widening credit spreads and kept their allocation to risk assets too high. Value investors bought financial securities because they seemed cheap relative to book value, and neglected to size the position with any consideration to the idea that these entities had so much financial leverage, a bad quarter could entirely wipe out equity value.

2015-11-06 00:00:00 A Step in China's Economic Journey by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

We emerge from the recent Chinese Communist Party Plenum with sketches of a new “five-year-plan.” Hurrah! There is always much fanfare around these events—not least in the investment community. We will no doubt hear the sentiment that China is a policy-driven stock market and so all the short-term traders are keen to see which sectors and industries are in favor. Then begins the game of who might get a subsidy, a contract or beneficial regulation.

2015-11-06 00:00:00 Prepare for a More Volatile Market Now by Harin de Silva of Analytic Investors, Sub-Advisor of 361 Capital

Q&A with Harin de Silva, President of Analytic Investors. He has seen his share of market selloffs over the years. Yet, with the end of the latest bull market likely nearing, he’s not worried about increased volatility—and investors don’t have to be either, he says.

2015-11-06 00:00:00 Portfolio Risk: It’s More Complicated Than You Think by Harin de Silva of Analytic Investors, Sub-Advisor of 361 Capital

2015-11-05 00:00:00 Third Quarter Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

Risk management is not simply a step in the investment process. It is an all-encompassing, ongoing activity, and a frame of mind. Every action we take when structuring our portfolios starts with the questions: “How can this go wrong? What is the downside? What don’t we know that could hurt us?” John Paul Jones was correct – risk is a necessary component of progress, but we can use all the tools at our disposal (including history) to quantify it. Unlike Han Solo, we want to assess the odds to the best of our ability.

2015-11-05 00:00:00 U.S. Economic Growth will Strengthen in 2015 Q4 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 for the previous month. The data are closely followed by economists, portfolio wealth managers, and the financial media as they provide the earliest reading on the current state of the economy.

2015-11-05 00:00:00 Does 60/40 Need To Evolve? by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares did a quick post on the evolution of the 60/40 portfolio with the catalyst being that the bond portion may not be able to do what it has always done (‘always done’ is of course subjective) with interest rates being so low. If interest rates ever rise or otherwise normalize then it will be a different experience for most investors and despite advisers’ best efforts there will still be clients who struggle emotionally with it.

2015-11-05 00:00:00 EU Migrant Crisis: Focus on Hungary by Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

It is fairly evident that the EU was not prepared to deal with the current magnitude of migrant movement into the region. This crisis presents a political dilemma for Europe and may lead to the re-establishment of border controls, intensify internal schisms over the extent of sovereign/EU authority and possibly sow the seeds of the dissolution of the EU. This week, we look at how Hungary is handling the migrant crisis and what its actions may signal for other European countries. We start with Hungary’s history, which has shaped it into a country that often directs a changing tide for Europe.

2015-11-05 00:00:00 Are We In The Final Run To Lower Lows – Or Will The Market Offer Another Fake Out? by Avi Gilburt of

The only reason someone believes the rest of the market is delusional is because the market is moving in the opposite manner in which they believe the market should move. And, anyone that thinks we need to listen to what the Fed says in order to understand the appropriate directional moves of the metals market was clearly not listening to the Fed in 2012-2015, or was simply on the wrong side of the market.

2015-11-05 00:00:00 Are We In The Final Run To Lower Lows – Or Will The Market Offer Another Fake Out? by Avi Gilburt of

The only reason someone believes the rest of the market is delusional is because the market is moving in the opposite manner in which they believe the market should move. And, anyone that thinks we need to listen to what the Fed says in order to understand the appropriate directional moves of the metals market was clearly not listening to the Fed in 2012-2015, or was simply on the wrong side of the market.

2015-11-05 00:00:00 The Defaults Ahead by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares/Peritus Asset Management

Much has been made about the outlook for defaults in the high yield market. Many have speculated that we are at the beginning of a big upturn in that default cycle and thus, this market should be avoided. While this makes for good headlines, the projections we’ve seen, and our own expectations, don’t add up to a big uptick in default rates. Yes default rates will likely increase, but remain below historical averages for the high yield market.

2015-11-05 00:00:00 Despite emerging market declines, long-term outlook bright by John Kearney of Cedar Hill Associates

While emerging market equities were among the strongest-performing assets in the wake of the global recession, their returns have languished over the last few years, underperforming domestic and international developed markets. Below, Senior Research Analyst John Kearney explains the recent challenges affecting emerging markets and why Cedar Hill believes this asset class should continue to have a spot in client portfolios.

2015-11-05 00:00:00 Getting a Mortgage is Harder Than Ever by Dmitri Rabin of Loomis Sayles

There’s an important debate bubbling among investors and policy-makers: have residential mortgage lending standards tightened too much for too long in the post-crisis period?

2015-11-04 00:00:00 We’ve Only Just Begun by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Common stock investors are looking at an economic recovery in the U.S., which has not been interrupted by recession since 2009, and a stock market advance with temporary declines only in 2010, 2011 and in the summer this year. Since the declines in price have been something less than 20%, market participants assume that both the economic expansion and the bull market in U.S. stocks are “long in the tooth.”

2015-11-04 00:00:00 Disappearing Options to Claim Social Security—For Some by Gail Buckner of Franklin Templeton Investments

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 eliminates two claiming strategies that enable a married couple to increase the total amount they could receive from Social Security. These strategies are known as 'file and suspend' and 'file and restrict.

2015-11-04 00:00:00 The Big W?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

This morning we revisit the “big W,” except in this case we are referring to the big “W”-shaped chart pattern left by the bottoming process often discussed in these missives.

2015-11-04 00:00:00 QE’s Creeping Communism by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Most economists and investors readily acknowledge that the current period of central bank activism, characterized by extended bouts of quantitative easing and zero percent interest rates, is a newly-blazed trail in economic history. And while these policies strike some as counterintuitive, open-ended, and unimaginably expensive, most express comfort that our extremely educated, data-dependent, central bankers have a pretty good idea as to where the trail is going and how to keep the wagons together during the journey.

2015-11-04 00:00:00 December: Did the Fed Open the Door Wider for a Hike? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) issued a more hawkish statement last week alongside its decision to keep interest rates unchanged. The forward guidance section of the statement was worded (emphasis mine) to focus on "whether it will be appropriate to raise the target range at the next meeting." And although it waxed more dovish on employment, it dropped the line from the prior meeting’s statement about global developments, which the FOMC had specifically cited as a reason to hold rates steady in September.

2015-11-04 00:00:00 Next Time You Think of Emerging Markets, Think of Dividends by Anthony Cragg, Stephen Kinney of Wells Fargo Asset Management

Emerging markets aren’t only a source of a portfolio’s exposure to growth (and volatility); they can be a great source of more reliable dividend income as well.

2015-11-04 00:00:00 It’s the Zero Bound Yield Curve, Stupid! by Bill Gross of Janus Capital Group

I have been increasingly suspicious since late 2011 that Sir Thomas Gresham (1519-1579) may be the modern John Maynard Keynes. I said as much in a Financial Times op-ed when I wrote in December of that year, that the famous “Gresham’s Law” needs a corollary. Not only does “bad money drive out good money” but “cheap money” may do harm as well. Just as Newtonian physics breaks down, and Einsteinian theories prevail at the speed of light, so too might easy money, which has invariably led to stronger economic recoveries, now fail to stimulate growth close to the zero bound.

2015-11-04 00:00:00 Recession Probability Models - November 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. Please note that each of these models is updated regularly, and the results of these – as well as other recession models – can fluctuate significantly.

2015-11-04 00:00:00 Relative Yield by (Article)

Two potentially attractive features of closed-end funds are relative yield and asset pool stability, says Stephen Minar of BlackRock.

2015-11-04 00:00:00 Four Characteristics of a 'Winning Advisor' by Tim Noonan of Russell Investments

As he travels around the world talking to investors, Tim Noonan sees four key elements again and again that help advisors build successful practices.

2015-11-04 00:00:00 The Marginal Productivity of Chinese Debt Has Gone From Bad to Much Worse – Not Good for the Rabal by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

Taking the Chinese GDP statistics at face value (an increasingly big assumption these days) we point out a rather ominous scenario which seems to be developing in the productivity dynamics of Chinese debt-financed growth. Basically the amount of growth that each new unit of credit produces is plunging to levels not seen since 2009-2010 when the Chinese unleashed the largest GDP adjusted stimulus program in the world.

2015-11-03 00:00:00 Three Keys for Advisors When Implementing Alternatives by Sponsored Content from Invesco (Article)

• For almost 25 years, I’ve worked with financial advisors regarding the use of alternative investments. • I’ve found three common traits among advisors who have the greatest success, i.e., satisfied clients who understand their investments and their results.

2015-11-03 00:00:00 Lessons from the Field: Asking Questions by Dan Solin (Article)

A critical component of my science-based protocol for converting prospects into clients is an emphasis on asking questions. One of the lessons I have learned from coaching many advisors is that, like sound investing, this is easy to state but difficult to implement.

2015-11-03 00:00:00 Matching Employee Style to Firm Culture by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We keep churning through administrative staff who tells us our environment is too fast paced and too intense. We keep adding new clients, and our clients are demanding. Our partners thrive on the fast changing nature of what we do, so I don’t see it changing. How do we find the right people to keep up with us, or how do we slow the partners down so they stop burning out staff?

2015-11-03 00:00:00 How to Build a Unique Value Proposition by Kristen Luke (Article)

This unique exercise will help you develop a value proposition that defines your company and catches the eye of future clients.

2015-11-03 00:00:00 Global Growth Should Strengthen Next Year, Lifting Equities by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Markets were mixed last week, but the S&P 500 Index was up 0.2%, posting its fifth consecutive weekly gain. Last week’s highlight was Wednesday’s Federal Reserve meeting. The central bank left rates unchanged, but indicated the possibility of an increase in December. Corporate earnings were also in the news, with several companies posting positive results. The health care sector made a notable turnaround to become the best performing last week while utilities lagged.

2015-11-03 00:00:00 Light This Candle by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

The US stock market reminds us of Alan Shepard in 1961. Exasperated by the long wait in his Mercury Spacecraft “Freedom 7” while NASA engineers fiddled, he said, “Why don’t you fix your little problem and light this candle?” They finally did and he became the first American to go into space.

2015-11-03 00:00:00 On My Radar: Defending Diversification by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

“Whatever the form of risk and risk measurement one uses, the important thing to know is that diversification reduces risk and can be used to reduce risks without reducing returns.” – Ray Dalio

2015-11-03 00:00:00 ‘Rocktober’ for US Stocks by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

While October has been a robust month for the US market, this positive position may begin to wane, says US Investment Strategist Kristina Hooper. That said, even if stocks run into earnings challenges and economic data stays bland, it’s still important to stay in the game.

2015-11-03 00:00:00 No trends. No friends. by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

We’ve said this many times before, but this is a good time to remember diversification.

2015-11-03 00:00:00 El Niño: Winds of Change for Commodity Prices? by Andrea DiCenso of Loomis Sayles

An endless number of factors can influence commodity prices. The headlines this year are focused on the global weather pattern known as El Niño and its potential to impact all areas of the commodity complex.

2015-11-03 00:00:00 Making the Connection: Getting Workers into Target-Date Funds by Richard Davies of AllianceBernstein

“If you build it…” will they come? DC plan sponsors can take heart that automatically enrolling participants in QDIAs, like target-date funds, is a move that most workers will welcome.

2015-11-03 00:00:00 Tech Stocks: Brace for a Bursting Bubble? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Any potential downturn in the tech sector might cause pain for some investors, but it likely would pose little danger to the overall U.S. economy.

2015-11-03 00:00:00 6 Reasons To Be Bullish (or Not) On Stocks by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

In between inspecting my kids candy cache for "safety reasons," which is parent code for eating the Snickers bars, I read an interesting piece by Simon Constable via U.S. News.

2015-11-03 00:00:00 Henderson Geneva: Investment Process & Portfolio Construction by (Article)

?In this latest video update, Scott Priebe, Portfolio Manager, provides an overview on Henderson Geneva’s investment process and portfolio construction. He explains the team’s threefold investment process for analyzing companies, which includes a bottom-up qualitative and quantitative assessment, complemented by a top-down economic and investment outlook. Priebe walks through portfolio construction from the initial position size to why the team would trim and or sell a company.

2015-11-03 00:00:00 Central Bank Divergence Returns by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Global Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses the impact of the return of divergent central bank policies on stocks and bonds.

2015-11-02 00:00:00 Should FIFAA Be Red-Carded? by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

No, I haven’t gone bonkers – the focus of the Absolute Return Letter has not all of a sudden switched to football. Nor have I lost the ability to spell correctly, although I am sure that there are one or two like-minded readers out there who would also like to see the rear side of Sepp Blatter one final time.

2015-11-02 00:00:00 How European Insurance Portfolios Can Benefit From Alternatives by Tom Collier, Matthieu Louanges, Jeroen Van Bezoouen of PIMCO

Adding alternatives may not only make economic sense, but it also has the potential to improve European insurers’ return on capital.

2015-11-02 00:00:00 The Fed’s Communication Breakdown by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

Nothing describes the US Federal Reserve’s current communication policy better than the old saying that a camel is a horse designed by committee. Indeed, the Fed’s communication strategy is a mess, and cleaning it up is far more important than the exact timing of its decision to exit near-zero interest rates.

2015-11-02 00:00:00 Robert Merton on the Promise of Reverse Mortgages and the Peril of Target-Date Funds by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Target-date funds are an exceptionally bad way to save for retirement, according to Robert Merton. But, he said, reverse mortgages are a powerful – yet largely untapped – tool for retirees to improve their standard of living.

2015-11-02 00:00:00 Do The Russell Funds Add Value for Investors? by Larry Swedroe (Article)

My series evaluating the performance of the market’s most prominent actively managed mutual fund families continues with an in-depth analysis of the Russell family of funds.

2015-11-02 00:00:00 Last Gasp Saloon by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Historically, when the stock market has deteriorated internally following a recent period of overvalued, overbought, overbullish conditions, we know that market outcomes have been negative on average. But what if the S&P 500 Index falls below its 200-day moving average, and then recovers above it again? Doesn’t that recovery signal a resumption of the bull market? The answer largely depends on market internals.

2015-11-02 00:00:00 Ryan Takes Speaker’s Chair As One Deadline Remains by Andrew Friedman of The Washington Update

Last week was an uncharacteristically busy one in Washington. The White House and Congress – led by outgoing Speaker Boehner – reached an agreement on aggregate government spending through 2017. The agreement includes a corresponding increase in the nation’s debt limit, eliminating talk of a government default during the election season. With the budget deal passed, Boehner departed, leaving the Speaker’s chair to Paul Ryan.

2015-11-02 00:00:00 Bank Is not a Four-Letter Word by Jeremy Javidi of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

Since the Great Recession, banks have been a dirty word used by politicians and other pundits. However, banks play an important role in the economy. The pace of interest rate normalization will be slow and long, which should lead to an acceleration of credit, which will create a cycle of economic expansion. Our investment in commercial banks has been a welcome source of alpha, and we continue to be optimistic on the forward fundamentals for the U.S. economy and U.S. lenders.

2015-11-02 00:00:00 Chuck Royce on the Current State of the Small-Cap Market by (Article)

The small-cap market finished 3Q15 with a double-digit decline, in many ways similar to the correction investors saw around this same time last year. CEO Chuck Royce sits down with Co-CIO Francis Gannon to discuss why he believes corrections are a sign of healthy market behavior, the importance of risk management in the small-cap space, and why he thinks a new market cycle will favor companies with earnings.

2015-11-02 00:00:00 Small Stars Can Shine Bright by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

We have found that as an asset class, emerging-market small cap is one of the most widely misunderstood and underutilized among investors. It is often perceived to be a place to avoid in times of uncertainty, but we see things differently.

2015-11-02 00:00:00 In China and Brazil, Macro Headwinds Reveal Stock Opportunities by Mark Jason of Invesco Blog

The third quarter was one of the most difficult quarters I can remember for Asia and Latin America, as stocks and currencies tumbled. However, markets can change quickly, and the Invesco International and Global Growth team believes the fall in valuations has made our markets more attractive for long-term investors now than they were just three months ago.

2015-11-02 00:00:00 Economic Review and Outlook by John Calamos, John Hillenbrand, David Kalis, Nick Niziolek, Eli Pars of Calamos Investments

The third quarter proved difficult for investors as apprehension about slowing global growth and monetary and fiscal policies converged. Volatility soared while equities declined sharply and commodities plummeted. Heading into the final months of the year, our positioning is cautious but reflects our view that the markets offer many opportunities, particularly among growth-oriented equities and convertibles, along with high yield.

2015-11-02 00:00:00 Are Your Client Reports Brand-boosters or Brand-busters? by Joyce Walsh (Article)

The next time you are creating reports and presentations, follow these seven tried-and-true design tips to give your clients a comfortable reading experience that underscores the message you want to convey.

2015-11-02 00:00:00 Only the Data Can Stop a December Fed Rate Hike by Scott Brown of Raymond James

As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee left short-term interest rates unchanged last week. However, the wording of the policy statement was decidedly hawkish, suggesting (contrary to market expectations) that officials are leaning toward a move on December 16. GDP growth wasn’t especially brisk in the third quarter, but that was due largely to slower inventory growth. Domestic demand remained strong, but monthly figures suggest a loss of momentum heading toward 4Q15. Ultimately, the Fed’s decision will remain data-dependent and there are many reports between now and then.

2015-11-02 00:00:00 Curve Ball - Is the Yield Curve Still a Dependable Signal? by Michael Lebowitz (Article)

Although traditional yield-curve analysis does not predict a recession, other equally persuasive indicators do.

2015-11-01 00:00:00 US Bond Market Week in Review: Using Last Year's Model For This Year's Problem, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The problems inherent in the Fed’s reasoning makes it look more and more that they’re using last year’s ideas for this year’s problems. It appears more and more that central bankers need to drastically rethink their models and assumptions.

2015-11-01 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review: Where's the Revenue Growth? Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

If the SPYs hit a record high, I don’t see it lasting, barring a change in the underlying fundamentals.

2015-11-01 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review: It's A Brave New Policy World, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

From a policy perspective, the decline in Chinese demand and the relative over-supply of commodities within China adds downward pressure to a variety of commodities. This situation is likely to continue.

2015-11-01 00:00:00 Your Own Personal Inflation Rate by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

This week’s letter is all about how we create the sausage that is called inflation. The Fed has a target of 2% inflation. Aren’t we almost there at +1.9% CPI? Not really, as the Fed uses something called the PCE, and it is barely at +1.3%. Which is different again from other measures of inflation. Confused? Hopefully, we can make sense of inflation today and have some fun along the way with crazy government statistics.

2015-10-30 00:00:00 Apples and Oranges: A Random Portfolio Case Study by Adam Butler, Michael Philbrick, Rodrigo Gordillo of ReSolve Asset Management

This article was motivated by a provocative discussion with a thoughtful RIA. Let’s call him Harry. Harry expressed some disappointment with the performance of Global Tactical Asset Allocation (GTAA) strategies over the past few years relative to some popular tactical U.S. sector rotation funds.

2015-10-30 00:00:00 Uncertainties Holding the Market Hostage by Byron Wien of Blackstone

Before August 11, the popular perception was that the United States economy was growing at about a 2% annual rate and the Standard & Poor’s was locked in a trading range between 2040 and 2125. After the Chinese revalued the renminbi by 2%, the trading range was lowered to 1875–2025. Perhaps the key reason for the equity market’s inability to work its way higher is the belief that earnings for the index are likely to be flat in 2015 compared with last year (the view that we are in an earnings recession). The strong dollar and lower oil prices have contributed to this situation.

2015-10-30 00:00:00 The Fed Surprises Again—But with a Treat, Not a Trick by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

As I wrote on Monday, no one expected anything of substance from the Federal Reserve. But, once again, the Fed surprised us. The September meeting was a trick, when it chose not to raise rates. But the October meeting looks like it may end up being a treat. I don’t mean in a policy way (rates remained unchanged, as expected). Instead, the Fed has very explicitly ruled out economic risks to the extent that a rate increase for December—which most had written off—is back on the table.

2015-10-30 00:00:00 Not At All Inventory Corrections Happen In Recessions by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

As we had suspected in our latest quarterly conference call, economic growth in the 3Q was feeling worse than it was due to a reduction in inventories. Final sales of domestic product remained pretty strong as it contributed 3% to real GDP. Change in private inventories pulled down real GDP by -1.4%. Inventories dragged down real GDP by the most since in any quarter since 4Q2012.

2015-10-30 00:00:00 REITs and Rates: Dancing to Different Beats by Eric Franco, Ajit Ketkar of AllianceBernstein

Recent volatility in equity markets has added appeal to US REITs, with their generous dividends and cash flows. But could a US rate hike upset the picture? Probably not as much as you think.

2015-10-30 00:00:00 Henderson Geneva: Overview & Investment Philosophy by (Article)

In this latest video update, Michelle Picard, CFA, Portfolio Manager, provides an overview on Henderson Geneva’s history and the investment team. Picard highlights the time-tested investment philosophy where the team engages in bottom-up, fundamental analysis to identify high quality companies. Further, she explains why she believes investing in such proven, high quality companies can lead to competitive returns with below average risk over the market cycle.

2015-10-30 00:00:00 Have Commodities Reached an Inflection Point? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This week the Federal Reserve announced that it would delay the interest rate liftoff yet again, but while everyone seems concerned about nominal rates—the federal funds rate, in this case—real rates have already risen about 5 percent since August 2011. This “invisible” rate hike is much more impactful to commodity prices and emerging markets than a nominal rate hike, which is simply the “tip of the iceberg.”

2015-10-30 00:00:00 In Defense of 2% by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The October release of the consumer price index (CPI) is used to set cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security recipients.

2015-10-30 00:00:00 Currency Risk, still an Afterthought? by Anton An of Matthews Asia

Foreign exchange concerns were once an afterthought for equity investors. But the recent slowdown in emerging markets, and the potential for the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, makes it even more critical for investors to examine currency exposure throughout corporate financial statements.

2015-10-30 00:00:00 ECRI Weekly Leading Index: "Flagging Family Fortunes" by Jill Mislinski of Advisor Perspectives (

ECRI's latest weekly data point shows a fractional decrease from the previous week and their latest feature commentary published earlier this week highlights the declining median household income over the last couple of decades.

2015-10-30 00:00:00 A Better Bond Blueprint? by John Taylor of Alliance Bernstein

Bond strategies based on benchmark indices have big limitations and could expose investors to an unattractive mix of investment risks. Is there a better blueprint for global bond investors?

2015-10-29 00:00:00 The Weather Will Change for MLPs by David Chiaro of Eagle Global Advisors

The advantages and competitiveness of North American shale assets will only grow over time and we expect production to resume its increase at some point. We believe the recent sell off in MLPs is due to forced selling and a typical equity market cascade and overshoot, which has created a potentially attractive opportunity for investors to allocate to the asset class. Adapting Mark Twain to the MLP market, the reports of its demise are greatly exaggerated.

2015-10-29 00:00:00 Fixed Income Outlook October 2015: Is China Really That Important? by Carl Kaufman, Simon Lee, Bradley Kane of Osterweis Capital Management

Negative sentiment permeated the stock and bond markets this quarter, with August taking September’s usual honor as the worst month of the year, so far, for stocks. In particular, concerns about China weighed on the markets, and the Federal Reserve (Fed) Governors fanned these fears with comments at the September Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, when they voted to hold the federal funds rate steady.

2015-10-29 00:00:00 It's Darkest Before the Dawn – but Is the Time Now 1am or 5am? by Tim Guinness, Will Riley, Jonathan Waghorn of Guinness Atkinson Asset Management

It has been a pretty brutal summer for the energy markets. Brent oil fell from $65 in May to below $40, and the MSCI World Energy Index was down around 25% over the same period, leaving energy as the worst performing sector year-to-date and the most out-of-favour among all the portfolio manager surveys that we see. Long-dated Brent oil has also fallen; having started the year at $78 and traded in a fairly tight $75-$80 range until the end of June, it fell to a low point of just over $60, over 40% off its highs last year.

2015-10-29 00:00:00 China & Fed Lift-Off Dominate Market Trends - Why? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Is it just me, or does it seem like the global markets are preoccupied with two things: China’s economy and when the Federal Reserve will raise US interest rates? Sure, there are other things going on, but these two topics seem to be driving the financial markets more than any others this year.

2015-10-29 00:00:00 Back To Bodie And The 10/90 Portfolio? by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

I wanted to follow up on several different ideas including one from quite a few years ago but they all tie together. First up is replacement rates in terms of figuring out how much to plan on for retirement. The Wall Street Journal had an article that says research calls into question the “venerable 80% rule” and there was also a companion piece at ThinkAdvisor. So first I always thought the rule of thumb was actually 70% but either way.

2015-10-29 00:00:00 The Upside Potential in Buying Some Puerto Rico’s Bonds Now by Robert Kane of BondView

Puerto Rico’s municipal bonds have crashed just like Greek bonds did three years ago. Puerto Rico issues hundreds of different types of bonds. They shouldn’t be viewed as a homogeneous h?oard??. They have varying degrees of credit quality and risks. Some are insured. Many have become mispriced because of the company they keep and are trading at a steep discount to face value.

2015-10-29 00:00:00 Europe’s Politics of Dystopia by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

The recent victory of the conservative Law and Justice party in Poland confirms a recent trend in Europe: the rise of illiberal state capitalism, led by populist right-wing authoritarians. Failure to act decisively now will lead to the eventual failure of the EU and the rise of dystopian nationalist regimes.

2015-10-29 00:00:00 On U.S. Growth: Near-Term Concern, Long-Term Optimism by Dr. Brian Jacobsen, CFA, and John Manley, CFA of Wells Fargo Asset Management

The global economic landscape raises near-term concern, but long-term optimism. Wells Fargo’s Dr. Brian Jacobsen, CFA, and John Manley, CFA discuss growth obstacles and prospects, as well as portfolio positioning.

2015-10-29 00:00:00 Corporate Beige Book by Burt White of LPL Financial

According to our new Corporate Beige Book, China has been a popular subject of discussion among corporate management teams this earnings season. Similar to the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) Beige Book, a qualitative assessment of the U.S. economy and each of the 12 Fed districts, conference call transcripts for third quarter 2015 company earnings reports can be used to create a Corporate Beige Book—a window into corporate America.

2015-10-29 00:00:00 Fed Sets Stage For December Rate Hike by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Today’s statement from the Federal Reserve sets the stage for a December rate hike. The key issue is whether the next two reports on the labor market, the one coming out late next week and the one released in early December, show a reacceleration in jobs gains or continued drops in the unemployment rate. At present, we expect both, which suggests the Fed will start a long-awaited series of rate hikes in December.

2015-10-29 00:00:00 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary: September 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices declined further in September, as fears about slower global economic growth persisted. External trade data from China was weaker than expected and accentuated investor concerns that the world’s second largest economy could miss current growth targets. Nevertheless, retail sales in China continued to expand at a healthy pace in August as the central bank’s interest rate cuts and other policy measures lifted domestic consumer sentiment.

2015-10-29 00:00:00 Will Gold Soar with EU QE? by Avi Gilburt of

I am amazed at how investors have such short memories. Yet, it probably explains why the the public makes the same mistakes over and over when it comes to investing. When QE3 was announced in 2012, everyone cried in unison “gold is going to the moon.” However, we, at, cried “short it like there is no tomorrow.” And, now, as silver has lost as much as 75% of its value, we clearly understand that QE did not have the effect the market believed it would have on metals.

2015-10-29 00:00:00 Income and the Interest Rate Game by Gene Tannuzzo of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

An investment strategy based purely on guessing where interest rates are headed is destined to miss the mark. We still expect the Fed to raise rates soon (but probably not in October) and we think longer term rates should drift higher (but we wouldn’t want to bet the farm on that). Investors should focus on areas of the bond market that offer attractive income relative to the risk, and retain the flexibility to adjust that positioning as the market evolves.

2015-10-29 00:00:00 World prognosis (1 of 3): US & UK by (Article)

In this first segment of a three part “world prognosis” series of videos, Bill McQuaker, Co-Head of Multi-Asset, assesses the responses of the US and UK authorities as they attempt to re-establish ‘normality’ in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis and explores the longer term implications for investors.

2015-10-29 00:00:00 World prognosis (2 of 3): Japan & Europe by (Article)

?In this second segment of a three part “world prognosis” series of videos, Bill McQuaker, Co-Head of Multi-Asset, discusses the European and Japanese responses to the global financial crisis and how policy intervention has proven positive for investors.

2015-10-29 00:00:00 Equity Investment Outlook October 2015: Global Growth Scare: Is it Warranted? by John Osterweis, Matt Berler of Osterweis Capital Management

During the third quarter, global markets were roiled by heightened investor uncertainty and downright fear that China’s slowing economic growth might tip the global economy into recession. The selling pressure that took hold in mid-August had all the elements of a mini panic. The only assets that held their value or posted gains were cash and investment grade bonds. The further out one looked on the risk spectrum, the worse the decline.

2015-10-29 00:00:00 World prognosis (3 of 3): Emerging Markets by (Article)

?In this third and final video in the “world prognosis” series, Bill McQuaker, Co-Head of Multi-Asset, assesses the state of emerging markets, the effect of QE and why their prospects may be pivotal to the overall health of the global economy. McQuaker discusses how the impact of an unbalanced Chinese economy is being felt globally and what’s next for emerging markets.

2015-10-29 00:00:00 Seeing the Forest for the Trees: The Role of Investment Yield in a Portfolio by Marc Odo of Swan Global Investments

Chasing Investment Yield or Total Return - How investors may be missing the big picture when chasing yield from fixed income in a low yield world.

2015-10-29 00:00:00 Multi-Asset Model Portfolio Investing: The Evolution Continues by Mark Eibel of Russell Investments

Mark Eibel takes a look at just how far has multi-asset model portfolio investing has come in the last 30 years.

2015-10-28 00:00:00 Student Loan Debt: A Closer Look by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Many reports on student loan debt over the last decade have focused on the rapid growth of educational debt per student. Here we examine loan debt through current costs of undergraduate education and enrollment, and student aid over time.

2015-10-28 00:00:00 The Wrong War for Central Banking by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

Fixated on inflation targeting in a world without inflation, central banks have lost their way. With benchmark interest rates stuck at the dreaded zero bound, monetary policy has been transformed from an agent of price stability into an engine of financial instability.

2015-10-28 00:00:00 The Inherent Problem Of Eternal Bullishness by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

This past weekend, Akin Oyedele penned an article via Business Insider entitled "I went to a seminar with one of the world's largest banks and almost everything said there was really bearish." Akin seems genuinely shocked the data suggests economic growth may not be on the cusp of surging and stocks might fail to deliver double-digit returns. However, since I was long ago excised by the media for allowing the "data to speak," let me clarify, for both you and Akin, why HSBC is likely correct in their analysis.

2015-10-28 00:00:00 4Q 2015 Outlook: Key Issues Have Not Changed Much This Year by Michael Avery, Cynthia Prince-Fox, Chace Brundige of Ivy Investment Management Company

As the final quarter of 2015 begins, we are reminded of several topics of focus from the start of the year: concerns that global central bankers are stuck with their current monetary policies because the global economy now depends on them; market acceptance that higher U.S. interest rates are inevitable, even if they rise only slightly; and favorable prospects for U.S. consumers, who benefit from a stronger labor market and lower energy prices. If the topics sound familiar now, it is because little has changed in these areas while global risks have increased for several reasons.

2015-10-28 00:00:00 Six Key Signals for the U.S. Economy by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Good news and bad news: Here are four reasons why an economic downturn now is unlikely—and two reasons why a sudden pickup is equally unlikely.

2015-10-28 00:00:00 The Obama Doctrine: Moneyball America by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Over the past three years, we have witnessed what appears to be a steady erosion of American power. In this report, we will examine President Obama’s foreign policy, using the construct of Ian Bremmer’s recent book, Superpower. After discussing President Obama’s foreign policy and the potential effects, we will examine how the next president may shift from the current policy. As always, we will conclude with potential market ramifications.

2015-10-28 00:00:00 Good Earnings and Bad Ceiling by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

The world’s most persuasive central banker, Mario Draghi of the European Central Bank (ECB) , announced no rate changes last week. The overnight rate remains where it was a year ago, at -0.2%. Yes a negative rate. It is not alone. The Swiss overnight rate is around -0.74% and the US Treasury recently issued one month bills at 0% (it is not allowed to sell bills at negative rates). But the Euro area has a bad combination of low growth at around 0.4%, low inflation of -0.1%, unemployment over 10% and a larger current account surplus than China, Japan or Saudi Arabia.

2015-10-28 00:00:00 In the Know: What’s Ailing Biotech? by Evan McCulloch of Franklin Templeton Investments

Even if Hillary Clinton’s prescription plan, as we currently understand it, did ultimately pass, in my view the impact would be very manageable for the (biotech) sector.

2015-10-28 00:00:00 On Mutual Fund Liquidity, SEC Headed in Right Direction by Ashish Shah of AllianceBernstein

Investors trust open-ended mutual funds because they promise easy entry and exit. We think proposed new liquidity rules should help fund managers deliver on that promise.

2015-10-28 00:00:00 Under the Tuscan Sun by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Obviously we are back, back from two weeks in Tuscany with 32 of our best and dearest friends. The group included industrialists, the heads of European operations for two of the largest clothing/shoe companies in the world, an L.A.-based reality TV producer, tax attorneys, the CEO of a large title insurance company . . . well, you get the idea.

2015-10-28 00:00:00 Schwab Market Perspective: Bulls, Bears…and Hippos? by Liz Ann Sonders Brad Sorensen Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

When trying to describe our view of the market, we realized that bullish and bearish were quite limiting and could cause confusion. Bullish, for example, could mean anything from skyrocketing markets to very modest gains—one word, very different environments. So, we are introducing a new animal descriptor that should more accurately describe our view of the stock market—the hippo. While not initially obvious, we think this is the perfect descriptor, and who doesn’t love hippos?

2015-10-28 00:00:00 On My Radar: I’m Rooting For Ray by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

There is a great deal of research around investor behavior. For example, our brains notice when a group provides an answer that is different from ours, the disparity is unpleasant. For many, aligning with the group is more rewarding for the brain than being independent and correct.

2015-10-28 00:00:00 Time to Buy Value Stocks? by Alan Hartley of Black Cypress Capital Management

The third quarter is now on the books and it was an ugly one for stocks. The S&P 500 fell 6.4% while the Russell 1000 Value, arguably one of the best indices to benchmark “value” stock performance, was down 8.4%.

2015-10-28 00:00:00 Is Now a Good Time to Buy REITs? by Wilson Magee of Franklin Templeton Investments

Investors in US REIT stocks may use a variety of valuation methodologies in making investment decisions, but we think one of the most important of those considers the underlying value of properties using transactional evidence in the real estate investment market itself.

2015-10-27 00:00:00 Alternate Payment Models: Why the Healthcare Industry Will Never Look the Same by Walter Colsman of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

The Center for Medicare Services has launched several pilot projects that explore alternative payment models with the goal of reducing healthcare cost while improving quality. CMS is already moving towards requiring bundled payments for certain procedures. These programs will move from pilots and voluntary programs to mandatory payment schemes in the future. Hospitals, doctor groups, and post-acute care providers are scrambling to position themselves for this new world, and investors must be aware that there will be clear winners and losers.

2015-10-27 00:00:00 Conditions Remain Uneven, but Equities Again Charge Higher by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Equity markets climbed for the third consecutive week, with the S&P 500 Index gaining 2.1%.1 Much of the strength came from additional signs of easing from the European and Chinese central banks. Corporate earnings were mixed, with some health care and retail industries coming under pressure, while the technology sector provided impressive results. Overall, however, the majority of companies reported better-than-expected earnings results, which added to improved market sentiment.

2015-10-27 00:00:00 Conviction Adds Clarity in Complex Markets by Sharon Fay, Dianne Lob, Nelson Yu of AllianceBernstein

It’s never easy to know exactly how an active manager generates returns in complex equity markets. High-conviction strategies can provide greater transparency about the sources of returns—and help create more consistent equity outcomes.

2015-10-27 00:00:00 Gross Domestic Product by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The Bureau of Economic Analysis will report its initial estimate of third quarter growth on Thursday. There’s always plenty of uncertainty in the advance estimate. The BEA does not have a complete picture and will have to make some assumptions about foreign trade and inventories in September. These figures will be revised, perhaps a lot, which is why it is more important to focus on the story behind the numbers.

2015-10-27 00:00:00 Tread Carefully Even as Stocks Run by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Global Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses the trend towards differentiation in the equity market, and where he sees opportunities.

2015-10-27 00:00:00 Housing Starts – the Story Is Multi-Family Rentals by Andrew Melnick of The BPV Family of Funds

Earlier this month, the September housing report showed starts increased 6.5% M-O-M compared to consensus estimates of about 1.5%. Interestingly, this report also shows single-family starts increased only 0.3% M-O-M compared to 17.0% for multi-family starts. And multi-family starts also increased nearly 15% on a year-to-date basis compared to 11% for single-family homes.

2015-10-27 00:00:00 Will Voters Force Lawmakers to Loosen the Purse Strings? by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

With stocks soaring after Mario “Whatever It Takes” Draghi’s latest comments, it’s clear markets still like easy money from central banks, says US Investment Strategist Kristina Hooper. But fiscal stimulus induces spending more directly—and voters might start demanding it.

2015-10-27 00:00:00 The Labor Market Mystery by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

The most important economic report of the next couple of weeks is not the GDP report on Thursday, which, as we said last week, is likely to show mediocre real growth of 1.5%. Strip out inventories, trade, and government and “core” real GDP growth should be around 3.5%.

2015-10-27 00:00:00 The Fed's Dilemma by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The U.S. Federal Reserve’s rate rise history reveals a familiar dilemma—previous delays led to inflated asset prices and recessions.

2015-10-27 00:00:00 FlexShares Tilted Indexing Suite by Shundrawn Thomas, Head of Funds and Managed Accounts Group, Northern Trust (Article)

See how FlexShares? trio of tilted index funds gives you the power of investing in the entire global stock market.

2015-10-26 00:00:00 How Market Cycles Are Completed by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Wide market cycles have been a central feature of the stock market across history. Even a run-of-the-mill bear market decline typically wipes out more than half the gain of the preceding bull market.

2015-10-26 00:00:00 Estate-Planning Basics by Anne Bucciarelli, Heather George of AllianceBernstein

Having a will or life insurance may not be strictly necessary if you are only responsible for yourself. But if you have children or other dependents, these are crucial matters to take care of right away.

2015-10-26 00:00:00 Why Inflation Is Lower Than You Think by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Financial pundits routinely claim that inflation is much higher than the reported statistics. We hear, for example, that food prices have risen much faster than the roughly 1.5% increase in the CPI over the past several years. Viewed over the longer term, however, inflation is far lower than reflected in the published data.

2015-10-26 00:00:00 Retirees: I Did Not Buy IBM to Sell, It’s About The Dividend Income Stupid by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

There are many investing strategies and principles that retired investors can utilize to reduce the risk associated with investing in equities (stocks) for their retirement portfolios. Choosing to invest in the highest quality stocks your mind can conceive sits at the top of the list. There are many components that investors can analyze and examine to determine whether a company is high quality or not.

2015-10-26 00:00:00 What Do Today’s Stock Prices Imply for Future Returns? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Has the U.S. bull market run its course? Russ and an investment strategist on his team, Terry Simpson, look at various valuation metrics to assess the outlook for stock returns.

2015-10-26 00:00:00 How to Get Valuable Feedback from Prospects Who Say “No” by Dan Solin (Article)

Is there a way to obtain valuable information from prospects who either were on the fence or had decided to hire another firm? I came up with the following process for doing so. It’s worked remarkably well, and has had some unintended collateral benefits.

2015-10-26 00:00:00 Q: Is the Chinese Rate Cut a Silver Bullet? A: No! by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

Today the Peoples Bank of China cut the benchmark interest rate by .25% and lowered banks’ reserve requirements by .5%. The measure is supposed to spur growth and make life a little easier on debt-ridden Chinese companies. In the immediate term it may give a slight boost to the economy, but there is no chance this measure, or others like it, will keep the Chinese economy from slowing much further in the years ahead. Let us explain.

2015-10-26 00:00:00 How to Build a Vision Statement That Guides and Inspires by Kristen Luke (Article)

You would not get into a cab without knowing your destination. Employees and partners are no different. A clear, concise vision statement will remove the fear and confusion of working without a purpose, and inspire your team and allies to move toward one, unified objective.

2015-10-26 00:00:00 Five Tips for Making Better Hires by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Our last three hires have been disastrous. I don’t know if it is my own bad choices or the hires themselves, but the time I spend trying to fix and negotiate is wasted time from other things I could be doing for clients. Is there a secret to making better choices in the hiring process?

2015-10-26 00:00:00 The Changing Dynamics of Eurozone Inflation by Andrew Bosomworth of PIMCO

Europe’s sovereign debt crisis and its governments’ responses to it have changed the relationship between inflation and economic slack in a way that is causing inflation to undershoot the ECB’s forecast.

2015-10-26 00:00:00 Dan Fuss: Rates Will Rise (and so will taxes) by Robert Huebscher (Article)

If there truly were a “bond king,” it would not be Bill Gross or Jeffrey Gundlach. It would be Dan Fuss, whose tenure in the fixed-income markets has spanned more than half a century. In a talk last week, Fuss warned investors to expect higher interest rates along with higher taxes.

2015-10-26 00:00:00 Global Banks – Who Is Swimming Naked? by Julian Wellesley of Loomis Sayles

The outlook for most large banks around the world remains favorable, and one reason is that many global banks have been reporting unusually low non-performing loan disposal costs for a couple of years. Why? A financial crisis, like the one we had in 2008, is often followed by a period of low loan growth. But there are some early warning signs of trouble brewing out there.

2015-10-26 00:00:00 Digital India by Sudarshan Murthy of Matthews Asia

During Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Silicon Valley, he promoted his “Digital India” project, which aspires to provide easy access to a digital infrastructure for all of India. This is no small feat considering about 40% of the population still lacks access to proper sanitation. How feasible are these goals?

2015-10-26 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Will the Fed Put the Brakes on the Breakout? by Jeffrey Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

The week ahead is loaded with data reports and earnings news. The FOMC has another meeting and rate decision. It occurs in the context of a nice stock rebound. The punditry will be asking: Will the Fed put the brakes on the breakout?

2015-10-26 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review: Analysts Converge, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

Normally, analysts’ projections diverge somewhat around a statistical norm. That is, it’s usual for a group of 40 analysts to project the upcoming quarterly GDP growth rate between 1% and 3%. Currently, however, there is a fair degree of uniformity among analysts regarding the outlook. And that’s not a good sign.

2015-10-26 00:00:00 Global Bonds by (Article)

Income-oriented investors pursuing higher yield may want to consider closed-end funds with global bonds and “think broadly,” says Tim Palmer of Nuveen Investments.

2015-10-26 00:00:00 Preparing for Stormy Markets by Tracy Fielder of Invesco Blog

It’s the heart of hurricane season, and here on the coast, every tropical weather system brings with it a flood of speculation: Will this turn into a major storm? When will it make landfall? Where will it hit?

2015-10-24 00:00:00 Someone Is Spending Your Pension Money by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

We are going to talk about the slow-motion train wreck now taking shape in pension funds that is going to put pressure on many people who think they have retirement covered. Please feel free to forward this to those who might be expecting their pension funds to cover them for the next 30 or 40 years. Cutting to the chase, US pension funds are seriously underfunded and may need an extra $10 trillion in 20 years. This is a somewhat controversial letter, but I like to think I’m being realistic. Or at least I’m trying.

2015-10-23 00:00:00 A Bond-Free Portfolio: Why Cash Should Replace Bonds to Reduce Risk and Improve Returns by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

In a recent interview, Howard Marks, the great investor and co-chairman of Oaktree Capital, quoted the original Dr. Doom, Henry Kaufman, who once said “There are two kinds of people who lose money: those who know nothing and those who know everything.” Those of us who are selling investment services, whether portfolio management or investment products, have a tremendous ability to locate or create research that rationalizes our approach to building and maintaining a portfolio.

2015-10-23 00:00:00 If the Buck Stops Here by Colin McWey of Heartland Advisors

If the dollar continues to weaken, it could provide support for some attractively valued cyclical areas of the market.

2015-10-23 00:00:00 Global Growth Forecast - Q4 (Infographic) by Rick Harrell of Loomis Sayles

The global economy is in the midst of a major rebalancing, and many themes we have tracked since the start of the year intensified during the third quarter. Every quarter, we update our forecast map. Read on for our global highlights.

2015-10-23 00:00:00 Momentum Strategies: Knowing When to Leave the Party by Scott Bennett of Russell Investments

Understanding how momentum may help to diversify a portfolio is a lot like knowing when to leave a party: it helps to have a clear eyed partner who understands trends and their potential impact.

2015-10-23 00:00:00 Indexing the Past by Bob Rice of Neuberger Berman

Today’s financial world disputes many of the most basic assumptions of yesteryear’s investing “truths.” Globalization, the rise of a “winner take all” digital economy and markets led by policymakers have redrawn the investing map in profound ways.

2015-10-23 00:00:00 The SP-500 200-day average “Goodbye Kiss” by Dwaine Van Vuuren of

The SP-500 today has met back with its 200-day moving average after spending a “protracted period” of 46 trading days below it. Contrary to popular belief, history since 1972 shows this to be a bearish event, with more downside likely.

2015-10-23 00:00:00 Fixed Income Perspective: Fed Challenges and EM Dynamics by (Article)

In this latest video update, Phil Apel, CFA, Head of Fixed Income, James McAlevey, CFA, Portfolio Manager, Steve Drew, Head of Emerging Market Credit and Stephen Thariyan, Global Head of Credit examine recent market volatility and share their views on what it means for investors going forward. Apel comments on the drivers of volatility and contrasting returns in market sub sectors. McAlevey and Drew discuss the sensitivity that the Fed and emerging markets have felt with recent market volatility, while Thariyan highlights where to find value in the credit markets.

2015-10-23 00:00:00 The Seven Biggest Lies Told (and Believed) about Gold by Guy Christopher of Money Metals Exchange

It’s hard to say which lie about gold is the biggest whopper. Many widely held beliefs about gold are lies – propaganda hammered home to have us believe the only true measure of wealth is government-issued debt.

2015-10-23 00:00:00 Liquidity Premiums In High Yield Investing by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

There is no denying that liquidity has become a well-publicized concern in today’s high yield market, with much focus specifically on high yield ETFs. With the post financial crisis regulation that has curtailed market making activity by the large investment banks and dealer inventory, liquidity has decreased and volatility increased. However, we believe that arguments that liquidity concerns within the ETF space will lead to the high yield market’s demise are overblown.

2015-10-23 00:00:00 Global Economic Perspective: October by Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group of Franklin Templeton Investments

Overall, while there are plenty of ‘problem children’ in the emerging-market space, there are undoubtedly assets and currencies being beaten down by broad-brush assessments of economic prospects that merit renewed attention.

2015-10-23 00:00:00 The “Oprah Effect” and Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Many short sellers of Weight Watchers no doubt felt too down to look in the mirror this week after company stock unexpectedly ballooned nearly 170 percent. You can thank (or blame) Oprah.

2015-10-23 00:00:00 Clean Power Plan May Mean More Green for Investors by Thomas Socha of AllianceBernstein

The Obama administration recently introduced its Clean Power Plan, which aims to combat US climate change. This groundbreaking project will clean the air and transform how we generate power. Will investors breathe easier as well?

2015-10-23 00:00:00 Inspiration from the World of Sports by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital Management

An angle on the investing/sports analogy has occurred to me: an investment career can feel like a basketball or football game with an unlimited number of quarters. We may be nearing December 31 with a substantial year-to-date return or a big lead over our benchmarks or competitors, but when January 1 rolls around, we have to tackle another year. Our record isn’t finalized until we leave the playing field for good. Or as Yogi Berra put it, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” It was Yogi’s passing in late September that inspired this memo.

2015-10-23 00:00:00 Follow the Leaders: Learning from ETFs, BCA and the New PM by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending an intensive daylong ETF conference in Austin, just up the road from our office in San Antonio. Hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, the conference was designed for institutional investors.

2015-10-23 00:00:00 Can Household Finances Be Saved? by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

While the data suggest that Americans may be saving more than we thought, most aren’t saving nearly enough.

2015-10-22 00:00:00 India: Interest Rates, Inflation and Manufacturing Ambitions by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

We have high hopes for India’s future, so we remain quite interested in India and continue to seek out investment bargains there. We are looking to diversify our exposure to Indian equities through a mix of commodities-oriented, export-oriented and domestic companies.

2015-10-22 00:00:00 How Knowledge Investments Translate Into Superior Profitability by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Regular readers are by now well versed in our belief that companies that invest in more knowledge assets, or intangible assets, than their peers leads to a sustainable competitive advantage that manifests itself in superior margins and profitability. We call these knowledge intensive companies Knowledge Leaders. For those that are not as familiar, please check out our three part series for the academic foundation and the real-time application of the Knowledge Effect.

2015-10-22 00:00:00 For Business Sellers, Timing Is Key to Maximizing Charitable Gifts by Brian Wodar of AllianceBernstein

More and more often, when US entrepreneurs sell their companies, they heed Albert Einstein’s advice: “The value of a man resides in what he gives.” While it’s great that so many sellers want to give back to their communities, it’s unfortunate that many wait too long to maximize the impact of their gifts.

2015-10-22 00:00:00 Tracking the Market with Social Media by Blair Jensen of Trade Followers

Last week the market broke through the September high which was the first level of minor resistance on the Twitter stream. Now there are two major resistance levels in the way for the S&P 500 Index (SPX). 2040 was the breaking point of a sideways range during the first of the year. It is now getting the most tweets which makes it major resistance. Just above that is 2060 where the 200 day moving average comes into play. At the least we should expect some consolidation in the 2040 to 2060 area. This would be healthy for the market to shake out some weak holders.

2015-10-22 00:00:00 Four Strategies for Navigating the Equity Environment Ahead by Andrew Pyne of PIMCO

Recent market turmoil suggests we could be at a turning point for equities. After several years of high returns and low volatility as the market rebounded off the lows of 2009, supported by unprecedented monetary policies, investors are faced with broadly full valuations, global growth that is still uneven and the prospect of rising rates in the U.S. In this environment we suggest four simple approaches that could enhance returns while potentially reducing risk.

2015-10-22 00:00:00 Is It Time To Get Bullish Or Bearish Of Metals And Miners? by Avi Gilburt of

In our everyday lives, we are so focused on finding the best prices for anything we want to purchase. We expend a significant amount of effort into finding the “deal” on televisions, cars, jewelry, furniture, or anything else that carries a high price tag.

2015-10-22 00:00:00 Global Economic Outlook - October 2015 by Carl Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore, Victoria Marklew, Ieisha Montgomery, Marshall Birkey, Ben Trinder of Northern Trust

It has been a challenging interval for the world economy. The summer saw challenges in Greece, heightened uncertainty over China and renewed concern over emerging markets. At its recent meetings, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) further downgraded its outlook for global growth.

2015-10-22 00:00:00 Earnings Vs. Revenue: What to Look for This Earnings Season by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

I have talked about valuations quite a bit recently, and, as I have noted, they are certainly important. Valuations, however, are largely subjective and change over time; there is little you can do to manage or react to them.

2015-10-22 00:00:00 Why Have the Markets Been so Volatile Recently? by Wendy Stojadinovic of Cleary Gull

U.S., European and Japanese central banks have all been running with easy monetary policies for years and all have engaged in quantitative easing (QE). We are seeing growth in all three countries, with the U.S. doing the best, as a result. However, QE tends to lead to currency depreciation, which is difficult to see when everyone is doing it.

2015-10-22 00:00:00 Time to Buy Gold? by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

After a bruising four-year decline, gold is showing nascent signs of strength. But it has not yet triggered a major buy signal.

2015-10-22 00:00:00 The US Bond Market: A Welcome "Nonstory" During August's Turmoil by Payson Swaffield of Eaton Vance

Overall, the bond market functioned relatively well in the risk-off month of August – it did its job in reflecting relative value among sectors.

2015-10-22 00:00:00 Black Ice: Low-Volatility Investing in Theory and Practice by Feifei Li, Engin Kose of Research Affiliates

Equity investors have endured two extreme market downturns since the turn of the century. The broad U.S. market, represented by the S&P 500 Index, fell by 44% in the aftermath of the dot-com bubble and 51% in the great recession. These devastating experiences reawakened institutional and individual investors to the downside of market volatility and, for a while, prompted great interest in low-volatility investing.

2015-10-22 00:00:00 Better Together: The PMC ActivePassive Portfolios by (Article)

In this video for The PMC Spotlight, portfolio manager Tim Murphy talks about the merits of both active and passive management, and how both styles work together within the PMC ActivePassive Portfolios.

2015-10-22 00:00:00 Reshuffling the Deck in the Mideast by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

The U.S. presence in the Middle East, which for years provided some control over one of the world’s most volatile regions, appears to have dissolved into chaos. By removing Saddam Hussein from power, the U.S. removed his tyrannical but stabilizing hand from the powder keg that always existed in the poorly designed nation state of Iraq. Rather than attempting to repair the damage, President Obama appears intent on leaving what he terms “a quagmire.”

2015-10-21 00:00:00 Forecasting Q3 GDP: Gazing Into the Crystal Ball by Doug Short (Article)

The big economic number next week will be the Q3 Advance Estimate for GDP on Thursday the 29th at 8:30 AM ET. With the volatile first two quarters behind us with their real annualized rates of 0.6% in Q1 and 3.9% in Q2, what do economists see in their collective crystal ball for Q3 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.

2015-10-21 00:00:00 What "Misery" Can Tell Us About The Economy by Bill Barker of Motley Fool Funds

Despite the recent market swoon, Bill Barker argues that the economy is holding up well by historical standards.

2015-10-21 00:00:00 The TPP by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

On October 6, trade negotiators announced a final agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a multilateral trade deal between 12 Pacific Rim nations in both the eastern and western hemispheres. In this report, we will begin by discussing the nations involved. We will examine some of the details of the treaty. An analysis of the geopolitics will follow along with a look at specific political factors surrounding the treaty. As always, we will conclude with potential market ramifications.

2015-10-21 00:00:00 U.S. Labor: A Slow-Working Recovery by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The pace of improvement is nowhere near as rapid as in past rebounds. Here’s a look behind the numbers.

2015-10-21 00:00:00 An Important Rebalancing Milestone by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

Third quarter macroeconomic data shows that Chinese consumers shrugged off the A-share market fall, with a small acceleration in spending. While many headlines may declare that China’s 6.9% GDP growth was the slowest since 2009, it should be noted that this pace of growth was on a base that is about 300% bigger than it was a decade ago (when GDP growth was 10%), meaning that the incremental expansion in China’s economy this year is about 60% bigger than it was back in the day.

2015-10-21 00:00:00 Five Bad Reasons For The Fed To Raise Rates Now And One Good Reason Not To by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

A couple of days before the September 16-17 FOMC meeting, I happened to be listening to the NPR program, “On Point”, the subject of which was the appropriateness of a Fed policy interest rate increase at that time. Of the guests on the show, the principal advocate of Fed “lift-off” was a William Cohan, who had written an August 28 New York Times op-ed entitled “Show Some Spine, Federal Reserve”.

2015-10-21 00:00:00 Income Seekers by (Article)

What attracts most investors to closed-end funds is the potential for regular monthly income, says Amy Charles of Raymond James.

2015-10-21 00:00:00 Third-Quarter Earnings Report: Industrial Worries by Tom West of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

Lower energy prices are not a noticeable tailwind for industrial companies close to contraction in the North American energy sector. It is hard to picture enough good news this quarter to cause a significant change in sentiment for stocks in the industrial sector. The rest of this year may be tough in industrials, and 2016 may not be that great either, but I think we can avoid more dire scenarios.

2015-10-21 00:00:00 Contentiousness Du Jour by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

John Templeton started his investment career in 1939 by buying every stock on the New York Stock Exchange trading under a dollar. He argued that you wanted to buy securities at what he called, “the point of maximum pessimism.” Still reeling from the depression and with war looming in Europe, he certainly found a point of pessimism. Additionally, he noted that “If you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, it is probably too late.”

2015-10-21 00:00:00 On My Radar: Lucy, Charlie Brown and the Fed by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

All over the world, all eyes are zeroed in on the Fed. No pun intended.

2015-10-21 00:00:00 Yieldcos or Yieldnos? by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

A little over a year ago we looked at a new income vehicle called a yieldco which was highlighted in Barron’s. Over the weekend Barron’s provided an update on the still small niche and basically they’ve had a rough go in the last three or four months although I should note that for the six months prior they were white hot. Along the way GlobalX listed a fund that tracks the space and although not charted below it has also gone down considerably in the last few months.

2015-10-21 00:00:00 With Stocks on Shaky Ground, a Promising Ballast in Bonds by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Global Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses the emergence of the return of longer-duration bonds as a potential hedge to equities.

2015-10-20 00:00:00 Chart Toppers: Diversification, China and the Fed’s Dual Mandate by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

From time to time, instead of diving into a singular topic in these reports, I am going to do a“Chart Toppers” review, where I share some of the more interesting and relevant charts I’ve put together or seen on a variety of topics.

2015-10-20 00:00:00 Moving a Little Too Fast by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

The markets remain Fed led. The theme this week was that we will not see a rate increase until 2016. Why? Well, Federal Reserve board members rarely speak with uniformity. But on Monday, a closed day for the bond market, Governor Brainard delivered a stinging rebuff to the “December, when the economy is at full employment” position with a clear description of the asymmetric risk of lifting rates too soon versus too late.

2015-10-20 00:00:00 'Relentless Rise' in Home Prices Helping Consumers by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Although the Fed cited low inflation as a big reason it didn't raise rates, the housing market is showing continued pricing strength, says US Investment Strategist Kristina Hooper. Higher equity levels and a chance to refinance should mean extra spending money for consumers.

2015-10-20 00:00:00 Risk-Adjusted Return: A Better Small-Cap Measure by Stephen Grant of Value Line Funds

For most investors, the first step in evaluating a mutual fund is to look at its historical performance despite mutual fund disclosure that “past performance is no guarantee of future results.” The second step likely would be to look at a fund’s rating by a financial data company such as Morningstar or Lipper, but these ratings are primarily derived from past performance, so the investor returns to square one.

2015-10-20 00:00:00 Soft Headline, Solid Fundamentals by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

The most important part of the quarterly GDP reports is not the headline number. Instead, we like to focus on the underlying trend and what the details of the report mean for future growth.

2015-10-20 00:00:00 Connecting with the Internet of Things by Grant Bowers, JP Scandalios of Franklin Templeton Investments

We now see a trend where smart devices can connect to one another and share data, allowing them to perform new and exciting tasks. We believe the explosion of such connected devices will significantly change the way individuals and businesses operate on a daily basis.

2015-10-20 00:00:00 Will Gold Finish 2015 with a Gain? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

After its stellar performance last week, gold might do something it hasn’t done since 2012—that is, end the year in positive territory. You can see past returns for yourself in our perennially popular Periodic Table of Commodities Return.

2015-10-20 00:00:00 Four Takeaways on Alternative Opportunities Today by Marc Gamsin, Greg Outcalt of AllianceBernstein

Dispersion among asset classes and individual stocks and bonds will likely increase, and that’s only one trend reshaping the landscape and redefining alternative investing opportunities. Here are four things investors should consider.

2015-10-20 00:00:00 European Deleveraging Continues: Alternatives Investment Themes for 2016 by Joshua Anderson of PIMCO

With European bank deleveraging expected to continue for the foreseeable future, there are several developing opportunities to look to take advantage of.

2015-10-20 00:00:00 Why Job Productivity Numbers are a Good Economic Indicator by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Current readings of this important, but often ignored, U.S. economic number suggest a more difficult macro landscape ahead. Russ explains.

2015-10-20 00:00:00 Back to the Present by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

On Wednesday of this week (10/21/15), residents of Hill Valley, California are warned to be on the lookout for a flying DeLorean driven by a guy in a white lab coat with crazy hair, and a squeaky-voiced “teen” wearing several layers of out-of-style clothes. If these two are spotted, it is HIGHLY advised that you do not interact with them at all, as doing so could ultimately unravel the very fabric of the space-time continuum. More specifically, whatever you do, please refrain from relinquishing any copy of the Gray’s Sports Almanac (1950-2000 Edition) that you may possess.

2015-10-19 00:00:00 New TLAC Guidance Could Have Positive Implications for US Banking Sector by Jacob Habibi of Invesco Blog

The Financial Stability Board (FSB), an international body of banking regulators founded to promote global financial stability, on Sept. 25 confirmed that it would release its final proposal for minimum levels of “total loss absorbing capacity” (TLAC) required for globally systemically important financial institutions, or G-SIFIs, by the G20 Summit this November.

2015-10-19 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Can Strong Housing Data Give An "All Clear" Signal for the U.S. Economy? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

It is a very unusual week for data, with many of the major housing reports on tap and not much else. China’s GDP will be a big story over the weekend, and important earnings news will continue. Despite this, pundits will turn their attention to housing, asking: Can a housing rebound signal “all clear” for the U.S. economy?

2015-10-19 00:00:00 The Hinge by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

One of the central themes I’ve emphasized over the past year is the critical importance of using market internals as a gauge of investor risk-seeking and risk-aversion. Over the long-term, investment returns are driven by valuations – particularly on a 10-12 year horizon. Over shorter horizons, and more limited portions of the market cycle, the primary driver of investment returns is the preference of investors to seek or avoid risk.

2015-10-19 00:00:00 Where to Look for Outperforming Active Managers by Bob Veres (Article)

Not all stock-pickers are winners, and winning funds tend to be scattered all over the various sectors of the market. Is there a way to analyze the different segments of the global opportunity set, and determine the best places to look for those outperforming managers?

2015-10-19 00:00:00 Foreigners Are Once Again Accumulating US Corporate Bonds by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

An under appreciated consequence of the financial crisis is the fact that foreigners became net sellers of US corporate bonds for an unprecedented 7 years. It is unprecedented because from 1984 to 2008, the one-year moving average of net purchases of US corporate bonds by private foreigners never even dipped into negative territory.

2015-10-19 00:00:00 Investing for Impact: A Brief Guide for the Perplexed by Travis Allen, Anne Bucciarelli of AllianceBernstein

Discussions about investment strategies that take values or ethical principles into account can be confusing. Several different terms are used, often interchangeably; in fact, they may be converging. Here’s a brief guide that highlights a few key issues.

2015-10-19 00:00:00 Household Incomes: The Value of Higher Education by Doug Short (Article)

What is the value of education for household income? The Census Bureau's annual survey data for 2014 published last month gives us some interesting insights into this question. The median income for all households with a householder age 25 and older was $55,283. The chart below shows the median annual household income for nine cohorts by educational attainment. We've rounded the data points to the nearest $100, e.g. $55.3K for all households.

2015-10-19 00:00:00 The Best Way to Reinvest Your Dividends for Retirement by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Reinvesting your dividends received from high-quality dividend growth stocks is a great, relatively conservative and proven way to build wealth over the long term. This is especially true and appropriate for investors in the accumulation phase that are planning for future retirement. Accumulating additional shares of dividend growth stocks can, and will, provide an increasing and eventually larger stream of income available at retirement when income is needed most.

2015-10-19 00:00:00 3 Recession Signposts to Watch by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Worried the U.S. is on the cusp of another recession? Russ shares the economic indicators worth paying attention to.

2015-10-19 00:00:00 The Budget and the Debt Ceiling by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Treasury reported a $439 billion budget deficit for the fiscal year ending in September. That sounds like a lot, but it’s 2.4% of GDP, below the average of the last few decades. However, that’s nothing to celebrate, as the retirement of the baby-boom generation will boost entitlement spending in the decades to come. There’s plenty of time to solve that problem, but the federal debt ceiling is a more immediate concern. Congress has just two weeks to work out a deal.

2015-10-19 00:00:00 Venerated Voices™ for Q3 of 2015 by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Here are our Venerated Voices awards for articles published in the third quarter 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.

2015-10-19 00:00:00 The Rally Continues, but Equities Appear Stuck in a Trading Range by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Equity markets continued to advance last week, with the S&P 500 Index climbing 0.9%. Third quarter earnings results were mixed, and investors focused on stabilization in China and the upside of the Federal Reserve holding rates steady. The utilities sector was the best-performing, while industrials lagged.

2015-10-19 00:00:00 A Reason to Smile by Dan Solin (Article)

Before I started coaching other financial advisors, I never paid much attention to smiling. If something amused me, I smiled. Otherwise, I didn’t. I certainly didn’t understand the science behind smiling or the impact a smile has on others.

2015-10-19 00:00:00 Third Avenue Management Defends Its Pursuit of Alpha by Larry Swedroe (Article)

Bloomberg TV recently invited me onto their new show, Bloomberg GO, for a short debate on active versus passive investing with David Barse, the CEO of Third Avenue Management. Barse stated his funds had been able to beat their index benchmark. Let’s go to our trusty videotape to see if Third Avenue has, in fact, been delivering alpha.

2015-10-19 00:00:00 Holiday Marketing Ideas for Advisors by Crystal Butler (Article)

It’s the perfect time of year to let clients know how appreciative you are for their business. I’ve summarized some of my favorite ways you can show your clients that you care.

2015-10-19 00:00:00 Is it Worth the Effort to Improve Your Referral Skills? by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We have yet another coach working with our advisory firm to help us with referrals. As it is, I get more referrals than anyone on our seven-person team, but I am forced to participate in these activities. Is there a way for me to gracefully back out of this coaching or explain to him why I don’t think I need to participate?

2015-10-18 00:00:00 The “Age” Age by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

As I mentioned in last week’s letter, I traveled to San Francisco last Monday with my friend Patrick Cox, who writes our Transformational Technology Alert newsletter. We had dinner with Dr. Mike West of Biotime and then spent the next morning at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. Pat and I decided we would jointly report on what we learned.

2015-10-17 00:00:00 Charting the Market's Course by Burt White, Jeffrey Buchbinder of LPL Financial

This week we highlight seven key charts to watch that may determine the stock market’s near-term direction. The charts cover a wide range of topics including manufacturing sentiment, earnings, oil, and high-yield bonds. We believe these charts can help investors navigate the market’s course for the balance of 2015 and into 2016.

2015-10-17 00:00:00 Third Quarter 2015 Economic & Capital Market Summary by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

On the one hand, the domestic economic story is playing out pretty much as we had thought. Economic growth is muddling along in the 2% area. The unemployment rate is low, but job growth is still limited to service sector jobs which pay lower wages. Inflation is barely rising as commodity prices continue to plunge and wage growth has been flat. The Federal Reserve is poised to raise interest rates, but has deferred making the first increase in over nine years under pressure from global economies who fear that an increase in short term interest rates will impair the fragile global growth.

2015-10-17 00:00:00 Is Reserve Bank of India ignoring household inflation expectations? by Ritesh Jain, Abhishek Sonthalia of Tata Asset Management

Inflation expectations has played an important role in the monetary policy framework of RBI governor Raghuram Rajan. But this seems to be changing; in its interest rate easing path, RBI has cut policy rates twice on high and rising household inflaitonary expectations including the 50 bps bazooka rate cut which Dr. Rajan delivered in his last monetary policy meeting in September 2015. Is the RBI abandoning inflationary expectations in its monetary policy framework?

2015-10-17 00:00:00 ProVise Bullets by ProVise Team of ProVise Management Group

The Republicans in Congress are struggling to find unity. First, the party’s division and very vocal tea party members influenced the Speaker to not only resign, but to leave Congress itself. Although Congress has now passed a bill to keep funding the government until December 11th without an amendment defunding Planned Parenthood, this battle is far from over. In December, Congress will not only have to focus on funding the government, but also will need to address raising the debt ceiling. Do not plan on these issues going away. They will continue to hang over Congress, the election, and t

2015-10-17 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Equities have risen 8% off their lows. Price is now near the prior trading range from which the waterfall collapse began in August. It would be normal to see selling pressure increase, as trapped longs finally achieve breakeven. But fund managers are overweight cash; they’ll want to be more fully invested before year-end. Upward momentum is therefore likely to prevail in the months ahead.

2015-10-17 00:00:00 Three Banks, One Message by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

Central Banks struggle to make sense of it all. The big three (The Fed, the European Central Bank or ECB and the Bank of Japan) released minutes last week. Japan’s QE is equivalent to 15% of GDP. Even QE3 in the US rarely exceeded 6%, but it at least moved the economy forward. The Japanese economy is stuck at around 0.9% growth. So they left rates at 0.1%.

2015-10-17 00:00:00 Asia Lens on Global ESG by Vivek Tanneeru of Matthews Asia

For Asia’s vast, newly minted middle classes, quality of life issues are increasingly becoming front and center. Governments and regulators are increasingly tackling Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues and taking these problems more seriously. For investors looking to make investment decisions based upon ESG factors, Asia represents one of the best opportunities to gain exposure to companies that can make a long-term difference to the region and the world.

2015-10-17 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

Wealth Has Different Effects in Different Places; Our Good Fortune with Health Care Costs May Soon End; The Nobel Prize Rewards Digging into the Details

2015-10-17 00:00:00 Will Gold Finish 2015 with a Gain? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

After its stellar performance this week, gold might do something it hasn’t done since 2012—that is, end the year in positive territory. You can see past returns for yourself in our perennially popular Periodic Table of Commodities Return.

2015-10-16 00:00:00 US Monetary Policy: It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again by Brooks Ritchey of Franklin Templeton Investments

Is maintaining a zero interest rate policy in the United Sates today a good idea, or is not raising rates doing more harm than its intended good? I suppose that depends on perspective and opinion.

2015-10-16 00:00:00 The Slowdown In Global Trade In 6 Charts by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

The last two US recessions have severely damaged the growth rate in global trade. In each case, the trend growth rate of trade since 1991 (which is when the CPB World Trade Monitor data begins) was effectively cut by at least a percent. Emerging markets have helped to keep global trade afloat especially relative to developed markets, however, even in emerging markets we have seen a step down in the growth rate of trade.

2015-10-16 00:00:00 Eyeing Up the Infrastructure Investment Opportunity by Gerry Jennings of AllianceBernstein

There’s intense demand for capital to build and modernize the world’s infrastructure. That’s good news for investors, but accessing the opportunities isn’t a straightforward proposition.

2015-10-16 00:00:00 Retirees: The Risks, Dangers and Advantages of Reaching For Yield: Part 2B by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

There is an undeniable fact that differentiates investing when in retirement versus investing while you are still working. When you are employed, you are working for your money. However, once a person truly enters their retirement years, the situation reverses itself. When in retirement you begin the stage in your life where your money must work for you. In my opinion, this changes the investing dynamic considerably.

2015-10-16 00:00:00 How NOT to Wipe Out with Momentum by Chris Brightman, Vitali Kalesnik, Engin Kose of Research Affiliates

Momentum investors are like the surfers we watch from beaches along the Pacific coast. Both must catch a wave. Both attempt to ride it as it breaks. But the ability to glide away smoothly before being caught inside the inevitable crash(ing wave) that follows is what determines success.

2015-10-16 00:00:00 Zero Yields & The Debt Ceiling by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

The Treasury issued new three-month Treasury bills (T-bills) at 0% yield at auction last week and is on pace to do so again on October 13, 2015. Zero percent T-bill yields, or even lower, are not new, but 0% prevailing at an auction is unusual and made media headlines.

2015-10-16 00:00:00 Whence Volatility? by Edward Perkin of Eaton Vance

We believe that a confluence of factors – not just concerns about China and Fed policy – has led to the sudden, sustained jump in volatility in recent weeks.

2015-10-16 00:00:00 Why There’s a Disconnect Between Economic Data and Performance by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Recent weak economic data have confirmed everyone’s worst fears: The global economy is indeed decelerating. Yet risky assets have been advancing. Russ explains why and whether this can continue.

2015-10-16 00:00:00 Tocqueville Gold Strategy Investor Letter Third Quarter 2015 by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

Financial market turmoil has been what was needed to rekindle investment interest in gold, as we have argued in our investor letters this year. The onset of a bear market is what we envisioned in making this statement. A preliminary glimpse of what is what is needed to turn the tide for the gold market occurred in the 3rd quarter with a sharp decline in all global equity markets. On a year to date basis, most of the leading stock market averages are now in the red.

2015-10-16 00:00:00 Looking for Enduring Franchises by (Article)

Royce Premier Fund seeks quality-oriented companies, those with a proven ability to compound wealth over long periods of time, structural advantages within their industry, and high, consistently strong returns on invested capital.

2015-10-16 00:00:00 Gain Exposure to Opportunities in the Global Financial Industry by (Article)

CEO and Portfolio Manager Chuck Royce talks about taking a non-traditional approach to investing in financials and how we try to benefit from both secular trends and our own insights as asset managers.

2015-10-16 00:00:00 Fixed Income: Confronting the Seven Year Itch by (Article)

In this latest video update, John Pattullo, Co-Head of Retail Fixed Income, notes that credit markets have followed a pattern recently, with spreads reaching a low point every seven years. Pattullo examines the tightening financial conditions in the US and what this means in terms of sector positioning. He explains where value is re-emerging following the market shakeout and why this cycle is more favorable for bank bondholders.

2015-10-16 00:00:00 Market Overview Q315 by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

Turmoil in the third quarter signaled some important changes that are going to require investors adopt new playbooks in order to succeed.

2015-10-16 00:00:00 Hoisington Quarterly Review and Outlook – 3Q2015 by Van Hoisington, Lacy Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

Future business activity will reflect two economic realities: 1) the over-indebted state of the U.S. economy and the world; and 2) the inability of the Federal Reserve to initiate policies to promote growth in this environment.

2015-10-15 00:00:00 There Will be No 2016 Social Security COLA by Doug Short (Article)

With this morning's release of the inflation numbers for September on Thursday, the government can officially state the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2016. If there were an adjustment, it would become effective with benefits payable for December but received by beneficiaries in January. But now that we can calculate the YoY average inflation for Q3, which was -0.4%, we know there will be no 2016 adjustment. This is only the third time in COLA history of no adjustment. The other two years were 2010 and 2011.

2015-10-15 00:00:00 South Africa’s Sporting and Economic Scorecard by Johan Meyer of Franklin Templeton Investments

Dubbed the “rainbow nation” after the end of apartheid in 1994, South Africa had much to be hopeful about. In 2010, it achieved heightened recognition among investors when it became the fifth member of the “BRICS” grouping of emerging market economies, along with Brazil, Russia, India and China. While its economy and demographics differ from other BRIC countries, it has one thing in common with Brazil, Russia and China: It has hosted major global sporting events over the years. South Africa hosted the FIFA World Cup five years ago, and it hosted and won the Rugby World Cup 20 years ago

2015-10-15 00:00:00 A New Leadership Group in Europe? by Jennifer Thomson of GaveKal Capital

Year-to-date, the best performing sectors in developed Europe have been Consumer Discretionary (10.94%), Consumer Staples (10.78%), and Health Care (7.83%).

2015-10-15 00:00:00 Liquidity Risk: What Bond Managers Aren’t Getting Right by Douglas Peebles, Ashish Shah of AllianceBernstein

Remember the story of the blind men and the elephant? One grabs the tail, another, the trunk, another, a tusk—yet nobody knows what the animal looks like. Liquidity risk is like that elephant. It’s easy to misunderstand—and mismanage.

2015-10-15 00:00:00 83 Attractive Dividend Growth Stocks for Your Retirement Portfolios: Part 2A by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

I recently completed a 3 part series of articles offered to assist retired investors in designing the equity portion of their retirement portfolios. In part 1 of this series found here I presented Peter Lynch’s 6 broad categories of stocks (businesses) that he wrote about in his best-selling book “One Up On Wall Street.” The primary objective of this first article was simply to provide the reader a general idea of the various categories of common stocks that were generally available to choose among.

2015-10-15 00:00:00 Is it Time to “Buy” Inflation? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

While there's little evidence that inflation is going to come roaring back anytime soon, current estimates may be too low. Russ explains.

2015-10-15 00:00:00 Squiggly Line Cartoons by Andrew Adams of Raymond James

In last Thursday’s Morning Tack, Jeff Saut referenced an opinion piece on MarketWatch that was essentially the literary equivalent of someone shooing away a stray dog. The author scoffed at the recent Dow Theory sell signal and laid out several reasons why he believed it to be wrong in this case. And I have no problem with that; we have, after all, also decided to ignore it for now because of the extreme circumstances it took to provide such a signal.

2015-10-15 00:00:00 3rd Quarter Commentary by John Prichard, Miles Yourman of Knightsbridge Asset Management

The third quarter produced the worst return for the S&P 500 Index in four years, wiping out the prior year’s gains. Peak to trough declines from 2014-15 index highs to recent lows were even greater.

2015-10-15 00:00:00 Under the Credit Microscope: Methods of Shorting Corporate Bonds by Neuberger Berman Long Short Credit Team of Neuberger Berman

Approaches that are commonly employed in shorting a single corporate bond

2015-10-15 00:00:00 Gauging Global Growth: An Update for 2015 & 2016 by John Canally of LPL Financial

The market continues to expect that global gross domestic product (GDP) growth will accelerate in 2015 (3.0%), 2016 (3.4%), and 2017 (3.4%) from 2014’s 2.0% pace, aided by lower oil prices and stimulus from two of the three leading central banks in the world.

2015-10-14 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review: Will the Rebound Last, Edition? by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The main US news this week was not economic, but political: Kevin McCarthy withdrew his bid to become Speaker of the House. As of this writing, several candidates have announced their desire to seek the position, but there is no clear front-runner. This couldn’t happen at a worse time: within the next 60 days, the debt ceiling must be raised and Congress must vote on a budget. And the leadership vacuum is occurring when 3Q US growth is projected to be weak.

2015-10-14 00:00:00 Emerging Market Debt: An End to the Agony? by Jim Cielinski of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

Capitulation by many EMD investors has created opportunities in many of the more resilient countries. We favor countries moving down the reform path and where there is significant impetus to reign in excessive government spending. Valuations have reached the extremes that allow a selective approach to EM to now represent a key part of an income-oriented portfolio.

2015-10-14 00:00:00 Signs of Healing in the Markets Are Slowly Starting to Appear by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Signs of economic stabilization in China and improvements in commodity markets helped U.S. equities recover some ground last week. Diminishing concerns over the delay in Federal Reserve rate hikes also aided sentiment. For the week, the S&P 500 Index jumped 3.3%, with the energy, materials and industrials sectors leading the way. Health care, in contrast, struggled.

2015-10-14 00:00:00 Air Pockets! by Sam Stewart of Wasatch Funds

Global Stock Prices Dropped on Headline Concerns. But What Were the Underlying Causes? And Where Are the Opportunities?

2015-10-14 00:00:00 Catalonia, a New State within Europe? by Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

“Catalonia, a new state within Europe” is the slogan of the pro-independence movement in the Spanish region of Catalonia. The federal government has made it clear that it will not hold secession negotiations and, in fact, even holding an independence referendum is considered unconstitutional. This week, we look at the separatist movement in Catalonia, starting with a brief overview of the region’s history and politics. We explore the probability of independence, the potential future relationship between the region and the central government, and the roles of the EU and the Eurozone.

2015-10-14 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Earnings recession coming? Does it matter? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

Despite a full slate of data, continuing international events, Washington maneuvering, and a possible record in Fed speeches, a new subject will command attention this week: Will there be an earnings recession, and should we worry?

2015-10-14 00:00:00 Three Ways to Help Reduce Capital Gains on Investments by Frank Pape of Russell Investments

Frank Pape provides simple ways to be more tax aware with help understanding capital gains and how they may impact investments.

2015-10-14 00:00:00 Fear Mongering in The High Yield Market by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

There have recently been a few high profile investors that have spoken out against the high yield market, with Carl Icahn among the more vocal. While Icahn may have an agenda or perhaps a short trade in high yield, it is peculiar that he is so vocal against high yield bonds, calling it a bubble, when many of his equity purchases also are high yield issuers, not to mention his Icahn Enterprises is an issuer of high yield bonds.

2015-10-14 00:00:00 Upcoming Debt Ceiling Fight Could Get Really Ugly by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Here we go again – another debt ceiling battle will play out between now and November 5 when the Treasury says it will run out of “extraordinary measures” to fund the government without exceeding the current debt limit of just over $18 trillion. If the debt ceiling is not increased, the US government will default on its debt.

2015-10-14 00:00:00 Is the Sky Really Falling? by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

While most investors remain hesitant to make a move, the recent market correction created a great entry for savvy investors. One must ask themselves if this is the beginning of the end or merely a bump in the road of a continued bull market.

2015-10-14 00:00:00 Gaps, Growth and Headwinds by Richard Clarida of PIMCO

Global growth is uninspiring. The global economy plods along with aggregate GDP growth of around 3 per cent to 3.5 per cent and similar levels of inflation. This has been true for the past several years and many expect it to continue for at least the next couple. This is partly because trend growth rates in major economies appear to have slowed from the pre-crisis pace. But slow growth is not just a supply-side condition.

2015-10-14 00:00:00 Fed Action: Low and Slow by James Herrell of AdvisorShares

In what may at first seem to be a counterintuitive reaction, stocks did not immediately rise when the Fed made the decision to leave rates unchanged at their September meeting. Aren’t low interest rates a positive for the market?

2015-10-13 00:00:00 Household Incomes: The Decline of the "Middle Class" by Doug Short (Article)

The median household is the statistical center of the Middle Class. In terms of income, this class has not fared well in recent decades. Let's take a closer look at a troubling aspect of the Census Bureau's latest annual household income data, issued last month. In this update we'll focus on the growing gap between the median (middle) and mean (average) household incomes across the complete time frame of the Census Bureau's annual reporting, which began in 1967, to the release last month of the annual data for 2014.

2015-10-13 00:00:00 US Bond Market Week in Review: When Doves Cry, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The latest Fed Minutes noted the US is still in fairly good shape. The US consumer continues spending, unemployment is low, retail sales are expanding moderately, and purchases of durables goods (vehicles and houses) are positive. The primary negative is weak wage growth. But the strong dollar, weak overseas economies and slowdown in the oil patch is hurting the manufacturing sector.

2015-10-13 00:00:00 Beware the Allure of One Data Point by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

The stock market continued cheering the bad-news September jobs report last week, glossing over other glum headlines in the hopes it would nix a 2015 rate hike. US Investment Strategist Kristina Hooper says investors shouldn’t make the same leap of logic.

2015-10-13 00:00:00 3Q 2015 Smead Capital Management Quarterly Newsletter: The Red, Green, and Beige Room by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

One of the great investing books of the last 40 years was David Dreman’s, Contrarian Investment Strategy. He started it by telling of a hypothetical gaming casino with two separate, but adjoining, rooms: the red room and the green room. The red room was packed with people and excitement and almost every day someone hit a huge jackpot setting the building on fire with electricity. Every seat was packed, others waited their turn to play and the anticipation was palpable.

2015-10-13 00:00:00 Governments’ Self-Disruption Challenge by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

One of the most difficult challenges facing Western governments today is to enable and channel the transformative – and self-empowering – forces of technological innovation. They will not succeed unless they become more open to creative destruction, allowing not only tools and procedures, but also mindsets, to be upgraded.

2015-10-13 00:00:00 Stocks Push Higher, But Earnings May Be a Roadblock by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Global Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses the catalysts for last week's stock rally, the specter of weak earnings ahead, and asset classes we favor.

2015-10-13 00:00:00 4 Warnings And Why You Should Pay Attention by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

When I was growing up my father, probably much like yours, had pearls of wisdom that he would drop along the way. It wasn't until much later in life that I learned that such knowledge did not come from books, but through experience.

2015-10-13 00:00:00 The Fed DID NOT Save the Economy by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Last week the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) opinion page published a piece by former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. The title was “How the Fed Saved the Economy.”

2015-10-13 00:00:00 5 Things to Know Now by David Ginther of Ivy Investment Management Company

The last four major oil cycles have one thing in common: Falling prices, increasing demand, and pressure on supply. Growing demand and declining supply then tend to push prices higher.

2015-10-13 00:00:00 U.S. Economy: Have We Defused the Debt Bomb? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Governments, businesses, and consumers have had some success in deleveraging since the 2008–09 financial crisis, but the improvement has been uneven.

2015-10-13 00:00:00 FlexShares SKOR by Shundrawn Thomas, Head of Funds and Managed Accounts Group, Northern Trust (Article)

See how SKOR supports investors’ search for income with forward-looking corporate credit scoring.

2015-10-12 00:00:00 Rx for Capex: Hospitals Benefit from Recent Trends by Juliet Ellis of Invesco Blog

No matter the industry, the Invesco small-cap team’s stock selection process is bottom-up, but some ideas lead us to others. Experience in health care through more than one cycle is leading Invesco Small Cap Equity Fund into stocks we expect will benefit as this cycle unfolds.

2015-10-12 00:00:00 Bank Loans: 3 Key Things You Should Know by Cheryl Stober of Loomis Sayles

Many characteristics make bank loans stand out from their fixed income peers, but here are three key factors we believe everyone should know about bank loan investing.

2015-10-12 00:00:00 How to Create a Client-Experience Calendar by Rob Pascual (Article)

The most successful financial advisory firms have one thing in common: They offer an extraordinary client experience. That is a direct result of relentless attention to detail and design. It happens on a consistent basis when your firm has systematized almost every aspect of its operation.

2015-10-12 00:00:00 Dealing with Bad Decisions in a Big Company by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I see the problems that arise when we take bad business. Most of the time, it is obvious from the outset that it will cause us trouble, but everyone is trying to meet the numbers. Why don’t the leaders of our company see the problems that these divisions cause?

2015-10-12 00:00:00 Alternative Strategies by (Article)

Investors looking for more diversification may want to consider CEFs with alternative strategies, says Larry Antonatos of Brookfield Investment Management.

2015-10-12 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review: Now the IMF Lowers Growth Projections, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

This week, it was the IMFs turn to downgrade their global growth projections, which they did on October 6: The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook (WEO) foresees lower global growth compared to last year, with modest pickup in advanced economies and a slowing in emerging markets, primarily reflecting weakness in some large emerging economies and oil-exporting countries.

2015-10-12 00:00:00 Smart Beta 2.0: A Disruptive Innovation by Steven Vannelli of GaveKal Capital

At the beginning of every major disruptive innovation, fear, uncertainty and doubt reign supreme. Consumers are fearful of the unknown, uncertain of the benefits and doubt the durability of the innovation. But, in the end, fear, uncertainty and doubt give way to confidence, understanding and acceptance. The fund management industry is on the cusp of a major disruptive innovation.

2015-10-12 00:00:00 Despite Recent Downturn, Healthcare is the Investment of the Decade by Andrew Stotz of A. Stotz Investment Research

World equity markets are trading at a high 2015E* 15 times price-to-earnings (PE), led by highly priced United States (US) stocks at about 2015E* 17 times PE. However, uncertainty has risen after recent shocks in Asia, particularly in China.

2015-10-12 00:00:00 China is Not Collapsing by Anatole Kaletsky of Project Syndicate

One question has dominated the IMF’s annual meeting this year in Peru: Will China’s economic downturn trigger a new financial crisis just as the world is putting the last one to bed? But the assumption underlying that question – that China is now the global economy’s weakest link – is highly suspect.

2015-10-12 00:00:00 Describing Liquid Alts Common Requirements under the Investment Company Act of 1940 by Michael Breitenbach of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

Liquid alternative mutual funds have become a popular investment category, but they are not easily described by a single label. “Liquid alts” tend to exhibit risk, return, and regulatory characteristics unique to particular strategies.

2015-10-12 00:00:00 Is the Biotech Pullback a Buying Opportunity? by Aaron Reames of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

Fundamentally, the outlook for biotech is as strong as ever. Drug price controls are unlikely to happen for the next decade despite the political rhetoric. Political pressure combined with crowded quant positions and fund liquidations have created buying opportunities in biotech.

2015-10-12 00:00:00 Not The Time To Be Bubble-Tolerant by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

One of the important investment distinctions brought out by the speculative episode of recent years is the difference between the behavior of an overvalued market when investors are risk-seeking, and the behavior of an overvalued market when investors shift to risk aversion. The time to be tolerant of bubbles is when the uniformity of market internals provides clear evidence of risk-seeking among investors.

2015-10-12 00:00:00 Hedging or Cross Hedging? It Makes a Difference by Scott DiMaggio, Alison Martier of AllianceBernstein

We recently wrote that currency hedging is critical for core bond investors. But not all hedging is created equal. Cross hedging is not the same strategy. Even though it can look deceptively similar, it will not deliver the same results to the investor’s “volatility” bottom line.

2015-10-12 00:00:00 Money Printing Lessons from the French Revolution by Michael Lebowitz (Article)

The events leading up the French Revolution are likely unfamiliar to most. Yet money printing and a debauched French currency played no small part in this history. The story is not a forecast for what may happen, but a powerful reminder of what has repeatedly happened in the past.

2015-10-12 00:00:00 Why the Finance Industry is Destroying America’s Economy by Michael Edesess (Article)

According to a Harvard study, the percentage of GDP attributable to the financial industry tripled from 1950 to the 2000s. The percentage attributable to asset management alone increased by more than a factor of ten just since 1980. Has any of this increase improved the services rendered by the financial services industry to the real economy? If it hasn’t, why not? If the increase in activity has in fact been harmful rather than beneficial, what can be done about it?

2015-10-12 00:00:00 Bob Zenouzi Discusses Delaware’s Dividend Income Fund by Robert Huebscher (Article)

In this interview, Bob Zenouzi, manager of the Delaware Dividend Income Fund (DDIAX), discusses how he strives to provide investors with a yield that is competitive with fixed income, while achieving a premium yield to equities with better downside protection.

2015-10-12 00:00:00 Why Data Doesn’t Persuade Prospects or Clients by Dan Solin (Article)

I had a remarkable experience last week. I used only statistical data to persuade a reader of my books. More often, however, there are far better ways to influence and gain the trust of a prospect or client.

2015-10-10 00:00:00 How these 12 TPP Nations Could Forever Change Global Growth by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The current members include Canada, the United States, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.After nearly seven years of negotiations, the TPP promises to deliver unprecedented free and fair global trade among the 12 participant nations.

2015-10-10 00:00:00 Europe's Immigrants May Solve Native Problems by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The aging of Europe's postwar generation has placed the working-age population on a downward trajectory.

2015-10-10 00:00:00 The Failure of Politics by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

Sometimes, I really hate being right. A few weeks ago, I wrote that the Washington, DC, political environment had deteriorated and that the current go-round on the debt ceiling was likely to be even more contentious than the last one, two years ago. Sure enough, with the resignation of Speaker John Boehner—and the withdrawal yesterday of his heir apparent—the House appears ungovernable. Without some type of Republican internal agreement on at least whom to elect as speaker, it’s hard to see any resolution to the debt ceiling debate, which is likely going to hit in the next couple of week

2015-10-10 00:00:00 Not Making it in India by Siddharth Bhargava of Matthews Asia

Despite all the lip service Indian authorities give to policy reform, some smaller textile manufacturers in India still find the country’s business challenges not worth the effort. Lured by the speed and ease of setting up business abroad in countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam, their incentive to stay has diminished.

2015-10-10 00:00:00 Fourth Quarter Comeback? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

A disappointing year to this point for the US stock market has a chance to end on a better note, with good seasonality and a still-growing economy as supports. Consumers are in good shape, the Fed remains accommodative, and the much-larger service side of the US economy is still healthy. But Fed uncertainty, Congressional budget battles, and Chinese growth concerns will remain as headwinds and will likely contribute to continued bouts of volatility. Across the pond, the European fight against deflation appears to be working, although more QE may be needed, to the potential benefit of Europe/

2015-10-10 00:00:00 Unhealthy, Not Wealthy, and Far from Wise by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

In this week’s letter we’re going to take another look at healthcare trends. Healthcare is roughly 20% of the economy and every bit as impactful as the energy and food sectors.

2015-10-09 00:00:00 A Lens on Latin America by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

We think the manner in which Brazil’s government institutes reforms to utilize its resources most effectively will be key to its economic transformation. Within the next three to five years we could see tremendous changes—if the will is there.

2015-10-09 00:00:00 Unemployment Claims Pointing To Further Economic Expansion by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

We have been on the hunt for economic data that indicates that the US may be on the cusp of a recession. So far in our journey, outside of the manufacturing sector which accounts for only about 12% of the US economy, the data seems to indicate that there is further expansion ahead. While it is just one data point, initial unemployment claims seems to be one of the strongest indications that a recession is not imminent.

2015-10-09 00:00:00 Hasenstab Sees Once-in-a-Multi-Decade Opportunities by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments

There are a handful of countries that are being caught up in the current market turmoil that we think are the diamonds in the rough—multi-decade opportunities, once-in-the-history of some of these countries—opportunities.

2015-10-09 00:00:00 Happily Ever After: Lifetime Income in DC Plans Shouldn’t Be a Fairy Tale by Daniel Loewy, Christopher Nikolich of AllianceBernstein

One of the big risks in retirement saving and spending is a problem most people would like to have: a long life. But funding an extended “happily ever after” isn’t easy.

2015-10-09 00:00:00 The ECB’s ABS Purchases – Catalyst or Dud? by Felix Blomenkamp of PIMCO

Given the limited scope and focus of its ABS purchases, the ECB has not yet revived Europe’s lackluster ABS market.

2015-10-09 00:00:00 Q3 — a Stark Reminder Why Portfolio Resilience Matters by Jeffrey Knight of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

Now is a good time to review strategies for improving overall portfolio efficiency and reducing or truncating downside risk. There are several strategies that are particularly well-suited for truncating downside risk. The third quarter reminds us that thinking about stability and resilience can be just as important as thinking about opportunity and profit.

2015-10-09 00:00:00 Earnings Preview by Burt White of LPL Financial

Third quarter earnings season will potentially look a lot like the second quarter. This quarter’s earnings preview could almost be a copy and paste of the second quarter preview: It looks like we will get meager earnings growth, if we get any at all. The media will again tout earnings recession, which we discussed on April 6, 2015. The big headwinds from energy sector weakness and a strong U.S. dollar remain. And the big overseas worries are again unlikely to have much impact on earnings overall, as business conditions in the U.S.?—?outside of the energy sector?—?are pretty good.

2015-10-09 00:00:00 Facts and Fear by Carl Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

The economic headlines have been somewhat disappointing over the past few weeks. First, the Federal Reserve failed to raise interest rates in September, partly out of fear that global conditions were eroding. Congress seems headed for another senseless impasse over the debt ceiling. Emerging markets are feeling added pressure. And some think the U.S. job engine has shifted into a lower gear.

2015-10-09 00:00:00 Investing versus Flipping by Chris Brightman of Research Affiliates

Newport Beach may be known as home to PIMCO (and, of course, Research Affiliates). Locally, however, the business of Newport Beach is real estate finance. Many of my local friends have made a bundle in recent years flipping houses in Orange County (the OC). I have also purchased some houses over recent years, but as an investment rather than as a flip. In this article, I explain the difference between investing and speculating by sharing my personal experience investing in residential real estate.

2015-10-09 00:00:00 The Hidden Debt Burden of Emerging Markets by Carmen Reinhart of Project Syndicate

As central bankers and finance ministers gather for the IMF’s annual meetings in Lima, the emerging world is rife with symptoms of increasing economic vulnerability. Some of those symptoms, like slowing growth, are obvious and quantifiable; others, however, are dangerous partly because they are difficult to discern.

2015-10-08 00:00:00 China and the Fed by Dr. Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

The third quarter of 2015 was marked by significant losses in capital values and an increase in volatility. The S&P 500 lost 7.55% in the quarter and 6.71% year-to-date; NASDAQ dropped 7.77% quarterly and 2.26% for the year; Dow Jones Industrial average declined 8.15% in the quarter and 8.68% year-to-date. The VIX fear measure closed the quarter at 24.50, an increase of 42.6% since the beginning of the quarter and 37.7% since the beginning of the year.

2015-10-08 00:00:00 Rainmakers by Rick Lear of Lear Investment Management

The onslaught of financial events in the past several months created massive confusion and uncertainty in the global financial markets. Much of the confusion revolves around economic factors - interest rates, currency, energy prices and growth policy. Several economic factors are influenced by policy makers and central banks. Our goal this month is to slice through the confusion and find direction for the remaining months of 2015.

2015-10-08 00:00:00 Done in By Biases? by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Howard Gold had a post at MarketWatch noting research that shows baby boomers have too much in equities relative to when they would be likely to retire. He talks about this being poor asset allocation strategy, that it plays into some behavioral finance issues, says that many people need to admit they can’t manage their own money and concludes that everyone should put their 401k money into the target date fund in their 401k most suited to their intended retirement date.

2015-10-08 00:00:00 Chart of the Week: Is It Time to Enjoy High Equity Risk Premiums? by Richard Skaggs, Craig Burelle of Loomis Sayles

The global average equity risk premium (ERP)–is 6.5%.This is good news for equity investors. With current low inflation across developed markets, the expected return from a portfolio of equities appears very attractive because earnings retention plus dividend yield is far above the sovereign bond yields, and also far above inflation in most markets.

2015-10-08 00:00:00 Third Quarter 2015 Newsletter - Corrected Market! by Jim Tillar, Steve Wenstrup of Tillar-Wenstrup Advisors

The US stock market finally succumbed to selling pressure that has been affecting financial markets across the globe. For over a year volatility has been a feature of the world's currency, credit and commodity markets. In addition, many world stock markets have been in correction mode, especially emerging markets. Financial markets are interconnected so as poor economic news piled up last quarter all stock markets headed lower.

2015-10-08 00:00:00 Technically Speaking: The Real Correction Is Still Coming by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

In last week's update, I discussed the short-term oversold condition that existed at that time. To wit: "As you will notice, the reflexive rally, and subsequent failure, have tracked the original predictions very closely up to the point. With the market once again very oversold on a short-term basis, it is likely that the markets could manage a weak rally attempt over the next few days."

2015-10-08 00:00:00 September Jobs & Manufacturing Reports Disappoint Again by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

As is becoming increasingly frequent, we will touch on several bases today, given that there’s so much going on these days. (Speaking of bases, How ‘bout them Texas Rangers!!) Hitting several topics in a single E-Letter makes it more interesting and fast-paced for me, and I hope the same is true for you. After all, YOU are what this is all about. That’s why I always value your input, positive or negative, so much.

2015-10-08 00:00:00 Dot-Communism by Robert Stimpson of Oak Associates

In this commentary, Portfolio Manager Robert Stimpson discusses the effect the sharp correction in Chinese equities, the unwinding of the commodity supercycle, and the Federal Reserve’s decision to delay interest rate increases have had on US markets. Whether China’s own equity market China Syndrome will cause lasting damage to global markets - or simply a short-term spike in volatility and poor investor sentiment - is difficult to assess. Underlying fundamentals continue to suggest that corporate earnings are strong.

2015-10-08 00:00:00 Why Are You So Angry? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Mass layoffs are being announced. The U.S., Central America, South American countries, etc. are all economic disasters. Major currencies are falling and raw materials companies are seeing huge order reductions around the world. Plant production has been reduced to 66% in the first half of 2015; there are fields of idle construction equipment that China is not buying. Look for Korea to dump products into the U.S. Wholesale raw sugar prices dropped from $0.36/pound to $0.11/pound leaving Brazilian sugar cane companies ready to file for Chapter 11.

2015-10-08 00:00:00 Can Central Banks Help Push Stocks Higher? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

As the fourth quarter kicks off, investors are once again hoping monetary policy will help push stocks higher.

2015-10-08 00:00:00 A Very British Recovery by Mike Amey of PIMCO

The UK appears to be experiencing a typical British recovery, but needs further improvement to tolerate rising interest rates.

2015-10-08 00:00:00 Global Market Outlook: Potential Currency Opportunities for Investors by Rob Balkema of Russell Investments

Rob Balkema takes a look at what potential currency opportunities for investors may be out there in light of Russell Investments’ recent quarterly outlook.

2015-10-07 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 we track is the Census Bureau's annual data on the mean (average) household income received by each fifth (quintile) and top 5 percent. See our latest update here. A conspicuous pattern in the series is the widening of the spread in income growth that started during the 1980s.

2015-10-07 00:00:00 Investing Through Volatility: Finding Opportunities in a Slow-Growth Environment by John Calamos, Sr. of Calamos Investments

We continue to believe the U.S. stock market is in a reset period, as investors contemplate the prospect of slowing global economic growth, mixed messages from the Fed (potential tightening) and the continued easing from other central banks (Japan, China and the ECB). Market participants seem concerned about the central banks’ inability to manufacture inflation after several years of near-zero interest rates. These concerns have resulted in higher volatility, catching many investors off guard.

2015-10-07 00:00:00 Putin and Syria by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Last month, Russia moved a significant amount of military hardware into areas of Syria controlled by the Assad regime. The action caught the Obama administration by surprise and raises questions about what Russian President Putin is trying to accomplish. In this report, we will examine Russia’s short-term geostrategic goals and the tactics Putin is using to achieve these aims. As always, we will conclude with potential market ramifications.

2015-10-07 00:00:00 Where's the Capital Spending Recovery? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Companies, awash in cash, remain reluctant to invest in new plants and equipment. That could hamper long-term U.S. economic growth.

2015-10-07 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: What is Behind the Recent Market Volatility? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

The recent market volatility has led to a lot of head scratching. Even the Pundit-in-Chief seems to be struggling to make his daily morning and evening observations fit with observed reality. With a light economic calendar and earnings reports just getting started market observers will be asking: What’s the cause of the market volatility?

2015-10-07 00:00:00 On My Radar: Defaults Will Breach the Historical High Next Year – The Fed is the “Wild Card” by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

“The Fed is the “wild card” that has the power to determine how quickly the current credit cycle ends.” – Ed Altman

2015-10-07 00:00:00 Recession Probability Models - October 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.

2015-10-07 00:00:00 As Growth Slows, Markets Seek Comfort in Old Friends by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses the slowing global growth picture, and the implications of an even longer spell of low rates.

2015-10-07 00:00:00 A Brief Interpretation/Psycho-Analysis of the Market's Action Friday and Today by Jeremy Boynton of Laureate Wealth Management

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics released a fairly horrible payroll report early this past Friday morning. The methodology for collecting this data is an iterative process, which means that prior month estimates are continually being revised as more data is collected. Accordingly, Friday’s report contained the first full month estimate of September’s payroll data along with updated revisions for prior months.

2015-10-07 00:00:00 Mom and Investment Underdogs by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

I was talking with a friend the other day about troubles in his family. At one point he remarked, “A mother is only as happy as her saddest child.” It’s a saying that has been attributed to Jackie Kennedy (and that is certainly understandable), but I think it goes much further back in time. My wife said her mother used to say it when she was growing up.

2015-10-07 00:00:00 Innovation and Investment in “short-termist” America by Robert McConnaughey of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

The aggregate decision-making around capital allocation would appear to continue to support a strong global competitive position for U.S. companies. Leading American companies are making long-term investments and investors are giving the most compelling of them a lot of credit for those long-term choices. While many continue to underestimate the power of American innovative strengths, the speed of disruptive new developments will only increase the cost to those who do so.

2015-10-07 00:00:00 The French Exception? by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

A healthy French economy would do wonders to help lift the eurozone out of its malaise and could provide an example to countries everywhere of how inclusive capitalism can work. But that assumes that the government will embrace the structural reforms that France’s economy so desperately needs.

2015-10-06 00:00:00 US Corporate Bond Spreads Continue To Widen by Eric Busch of GaveKal Capital

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

2015-10-06 00:00:00 Global Bonds: To Hedge or Not to Hedge? by Scott DiMaggio, Alison Martier of AllianceBernstein

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

2015-10-06 00:00:00 Money Glut: More to Come, Still Effective by Joachim Fels of PIMCO

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

2015-10-06 00:00:00 Employment, GDP, and the Fed by Scott Brown of Raymond James

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

2015-10-06 00:00:00 Failure to Launch by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

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

2015-10-06 00:00:00 Under Pressure: Earnings Recession Warning; Economic Recession Watch by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

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

2015-10-06 00:00:00 Equity Outlook Fourth Quarter 2015 by Neuberger Berman Asset Allocation Committee of Neuberger Berman

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

2015-10-05 00:00:00 Rethinking 'Safe Haven' Assets in a Multi-Asset Portfolio by Sponsored Content from Invesco (Article)

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

2015-10-05 00:00:00 Describing Liquid Alts: Multi-Alternative by Michael Breitenbach of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

The multi-alternative fund sector attempts to achieve returns through exposure to an aggregated portfolio of different alternative investment strategies. Although some index providers use the multi-alternative label to describe a wide swath of investing strategies, the term probably is most accurately attached to liquid alternative funds of funds, funds utilizing multiple submanagers, and statistical factor replication strategies.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review For Sep. 28-Oct 2; The Bull Needs Stronger Earnings, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

This week’s economic news was mostly positive. Manufacturing is still expanding and consumers are still spending, especially on durable goods. But the stronger dollar and weaker international environment are clearly taking their toll, as the ISM is just barely in expansionary territory. The markets are in somewhat precarious shape as we enter earnings season; they remain expensive and therefore need to see topline revenue growth. Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be coming.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 Provise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group

The 3rd quarter is now behind us and the major indexes did not fare well through the dog days of the summer. For the quarter the S&P 500 was down 6.44%, the DJIA was down even more at 6.91%, the Russell 2000 was down 11.92%, and the MSCI EAFE index was down 10.23%. The Barclays Aggregate Bond Index was able to post a small gain of 1.23%. Year to date the indexes are -5.29%, -6.88%, -7.73%, -5.28% and +1.13% respectively. As disappointing as these benchmark returns were, a look behind the scenes reveals an even more somber picture.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 The Looming Risk in the Bond Market by Robert Huebscher (Article)

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

2015-10-05 00:00:00 Does Wells Fargo Add Value for Investors? by Larry Swedroe (Article)

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

2015-10-05 00:00:00 China: Policy and Fundamentals Converge by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein

We recently commented on the improving trends in China’s property industry. It’s not widely understood, however, how the country’s various economic reforms are combining to create a base for future growth. A case in point concerns the property sector and capital market liberalization.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 The Case for Gold to Protect Clients’ Wealth Shorting the Federal Reserve by Michael Lebowitz (Article)

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

2015-10-05 00:00:00 How Google’s Innovation Formula Can Fuel Your Growth by Dan Richards (Article)

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

2015-10-05 00:00:00 How to Define Your Service Model by Brooke Mease (Article)

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

2015-10-05 00:00:00 The Keys to Finding New Prospects by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

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

2015-10-05 00:00:00 A Growing Risk of Recession by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

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

2015-10-05 00:00:00 An All-Market Approach to Investing in China by William Yuen of Invesco Blog

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

2015-10-05 00:00:00 When Obfuscation Backfires by Dan Solin (Article)

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

2015-10-05 00:00:00 Evaluating Sustainable Competitive Advantages: Entry and Exit Barriers by Baijnath Ramraika, CFA and Prashant Trivedi, CFA (Article)

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

2015-10-05 00:00:00 September 2015 Market Commentary by Joe Becker, Adam Schenck, Jeff Greco of Milliman Financial Risk Management

In the second half of Q3, higher volatility was the rule rather than the exception as markets wrestled with the implications of a global economy in flux.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 The Bull Market Still Lives by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Stock market corrections (usually defined as 10% pullbacks) are hard to understand. Often they happen in the midst of long-term bull markets. But why? Is it like getting the flu? Is it just emotion? Or, are corrections a necessary cleansing out of excess optimism? Our answer: we don't really know.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 Advisor Outreach by (Article)

The Closed-End Fund Association holds “advisor summits” across the country to help advisors learn more about CEFs, says Michael Hedstrom of CEFA.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 US Bond Market Week in Review; Did the Window Close, Edition? by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

A rate hike of at least 25 basis points was a done deal a few months ago. But recent global and domestic events have greatly lowered that possibility. It began with the Chinese equity sell-off followed by the surprise yuan devaluation. Recent Chinese manufacturing weakness adds to the mix. Although some recent US news has been positive, continued price weakness, lower industrial production and a recent employment slowdown show the US is not immune to the slowing international environment.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 Jobs Down, Bonds Up by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

We had truly bad job numbers this week. The rate of new jobs created came in at 142,000, way below expectations. It is true that the BEA often revises these numbers up but that tends to be in an upswing. We are not in an upswing.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 U.S. Economic Growth Slowed Sharply in 2015 Q3 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 for the previous month. The data are closely followed by economists, portfolio wealth managers, and the financial media as they provide the earliest reading on the current state of the economy.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 Key Themes for the Fourth Quarter and 2016 by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Since the Great Recession, the global economy has grown sporadically at a below-trend pace. This is unlikely to change in the short-term, but we expect ongoing improvement, led by growth in the United States.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 Green Shoots in China? by Nick Niziolek of Calamos Investments

Over the next weeks, there will be a great deal more data for us to evaluate, including foreign reserves data on October 6. Signs of stabilization in foreign reserves and savings deposits would point to a reduced risk of capital flight, which would give us more confidence in a gradual depreciation of the renminbi. We’ll also be watching for mid-month data on imports. If these green shoots begin to take hold and the markets can become comfortable that a hard landing is off the table for the near term, we wouldn’t rule out a fourth quarter rally in Chinese and global equity markets.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 Baby Boomer Employment Across Time by Doug Short (Article)

The 20th century Baby Boom was one of the most powerful demographic events in the history of the United States. We've created a series of charts to show seven age cohorts of the employed population from 1948 to the present. What we see is essentially the "Boomer Bulge" in employment across time. Those born between 1946 and 1964 continue to grow the employment of the two oldest cohorts. It will be interesting to see how long those two trends continue.

2015-10-04 00:00:00 Recession Watch by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

If recovery from a banking crisis can take ten years and we are only seven years in, I expect (barring aliens) that we have a few more years to go. A slow, muddle-through recovery may not be exciting – but it’s better than the alternatives. As I noted at the beginning, I am quite worried about the possibility of a recession in our slow-growth, barely limping along at stall speed economy.

2015-10-03 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review for Sept. 28-Oct.2; Japan Flashing Yellow, Edition by Urban Carmel of Hale Stewart

Overall, the tone of news continues to lean negative. China continues to slow. Japan is clearly having problems regaining momentum after last year’s sales tax increase and Canada just missed being in a technical recession. The EU and UK are growing moderately, but not impressively. And it appears even the US is starting to import some of the global weakness.

2015-10-03 00:00:00 The 10 Most Competitive Countries in the World by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

No new countries have entered or exited this exalted list, and there was very little rank-shuffling. For the seventh consecutive year, Switzerland is the most competitive country. For the fifth straight year, Singapore is number two. The U.S. comes in at number three for the second year. And so on.

2015-10-03 00:00:00 The U.S. Starts a Challenging Fiscal Year by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The budget battles that rage at this point on the calendar illustrate the myopia and dysfunction of the American legislative process.

2015-10-03 00:00:00 Better Times are Ahead by Byron Wien of Blackstone

The best recent period for investing in equities may have been 1982–1999, but I still think reasonable risk-adjusted returns for equities are likely in the years ahead, and that Treasurys and high-quality corporate bonds are less attractive.

2015-10-03 00:00:00 Treasury Yields: A Long-Term Perspective by Doug Short (Article)

Let's have a look at a long-term perspective on Treasury yields. The chart here shows the 10-Year Constant Maturity yield since 1962 along with the Federal Funds Rate (FFR) and inflation. The range has been astonishing. The stagflation that set in after the 1973 Oil Embargo was finally ended after Paul Volcker raised the FFR to 20.06%.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 World CPI Proxy Breaks Below 1% by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

There’s been a lot of of deflationary data recently (see here, here and here). The plunge in our simple World CPI proxy to the lowest level since October 2009 doesn’t really catch us off guard. The fact that one third of the 33 countries in our proxy are currently are seeing year-over-year declines in consumer prices is a bit eye-opening, however. Switzerland is leading the deflationary wave as Swiss consumer prices are down -1.4% year-over-year, more than they were at any point during the financial crisis. The year-over-year decline is the largest on record since 1959 for Switzerland.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 India Issues Its First Sovereign Gold Coin… to Curb Gold Imports October 1, 2015 by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Gold tends not to leave India once it enters. As the world’s largest importer, the country consumes massive quantities of the yellow metal—it’s on track to take in 900 tonnes of the stuff this year—where it remains in private families’ coffers, mostly in the form of jewelry and decorative heirlooms. It’s estimated that less than 10 percent of all Indian gold demand is in bars and coins.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 When Markets Get Volatile, You’ve Got Options by Josh Lisser, Ben Sklar of AllianceBernstein

Last month’s simultaneous volatility spike and stock downturn were unpleasant surprises for investors. But in the spirit of making lemons into lemonade, we see them as reminders to think broadly about downside protection.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 Master Limited Partnerships: Where To Next? by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) have seen sharp declines this year, underperforming not only broad equity markets but also other income-producing assets such as utility stocks and real estate investment trusts.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 The Middle East Meltdown and Global Risk by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

With the US on the way to achieving energy independence, there is a risk that America and its Western allies will consider the Middle East less strategically important than they did in the past. Wishful thinking should not cloud policy judgment: a burning Middle East can destabilize the world in many ways.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 Are Buybacks an Oasis or a Mirage? by Chris Brightman, Vitali Kalesnik, Mark Clements of Research Affiliates

Over the last few years, buybacks have swept through the U.S. equity market like a Saharan sirocco. But have stockholders benefited? A tally of the new issuance during the period answers the question.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 The 80/20 Rule Is Crushing The Economy by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

In business, the 80/20 rule states that 80% of your business will come from 20% of your customers. In an economy that is more than 2/3rds driven by consumption, such an imbalance of the "have" and "have not's" impedes real economic growth.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 The Real Burden of Low Interest Rates by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

Almost the entire world is concerned about the high levels of debt, should interest rates begin to rise again, but we are not. Don't get us wrong; a meaningful increase in debt service burdens could do substantial damage to a global economy so loaded with debt. We just don't think it is going to happen. Economic growth and inflation are likely to stay comparatively low for many years to come, and so are interest rates, but that raises another question. What damage can very low interest rates for an extended period of time actually be expected to do?

2015-10-02 00:00:00 Designing a Dividend Growth Portfolio for a Specific Retirement Yield Objective: Part 1 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Managing an investment portfolio is a very personal matter. Consequently, the most important consideration is to design a portfolio that meets your own unique goals, objectives and risk tolerances. Everyone is different, and consequently, every investment portfolio can and should be appropriately different as well. Stated more straightforwardly, I do not believe in cookie-cutter or one-size-fits-all approaches to portfolio design.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 China Looks to the US for Chinese Equity Strategy, WaveFront Capital Landmark Partnership by Team of WaveFront Capital Management

In a groundbreaking agreement, WaveFront Capital Management, a US-based investment manager chaired by renowned economist Dr. Burton Malkiel, is pleased to announce that it has entered into a joint venture with Shanghai-based Fortune SGAM Fund Management Co., Ltd. to sub-advise a China-focused equity strategy on behalf Chinese investors.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 Upgrade Your Investment Approach and Put Some Fears to Rest by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

Markets are inherently risky so some volatility is no reason to feel uneasy – unless it’s a signal that your investment approach is not well suited to manage through important changes in conditions.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 Postcard from Huallywood by Sharat Shroff of Matthews Asia

First came Hollywood, then India’s Bollywood. Now, China’s Jiangsu province is hoping Huallywood will be the next film production site to make international waves. As a prime example of the China’s steady migration toward services-led growth, Wuxi studios—developed on the site of a former iron and steel factory—is trying to attract college students and independent artists.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 The Trans-Pacific Free-Trade Charade by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

As negotiators and ministers from the US and 11 other Pacific Rim countries meet in Atlanta in an effort to finalize the details of the sweeping new Trans-Pacific Partnership, some sober analysis is warranted. The biggest regional trade and investment agreement in history is not what it seems.

2015-10-01 00:00:00 Investments that Pay when Korean Workaholics Play by Sammy Suzuki of AllianceBernstein

The notoriously workaholic South Koreans are starting to kick back and take life a bit easier—and it’s already fostering brisk growth across a wide swath of consumer-centric businesses. Investors, take note.

2015-10-01 00:00:00 Small, but Noticeable Divergence Opening Up Between EM and DM by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

We certainly haven’t been shy about identifying the rout in EM stocks and the very emotional selloff that took place in August. At the time we showed that the emotion at the August low was commensurate with the 2011 and 2008-2009 panics, both of which happened to be good buy spots for EM stocks.

2015-10-01 00:00:00 A Fragile Transition Supported by (Further) Policy Accommodation by Adam Bowe, Isaac Meng, Tadashi Kakuchi of PIMCO

n the following interview, Portfolio Managers Adam Bowe, Isaac Meng and Tadashi Kakuchi discuss conclusions from PIMCO’s quarterly Cyclical Forum, in which the company’s investment professionals debated the outlook for global economies and markets. They share our views on economies and investment implications across the Asia-Pacific region over the next 12 months.

2015-10-01 00:00:00 Have Commodities Bottomed? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Though commodities have been the worst performing asset class of 2015, Russ explains why it’s still too early to call a bottom.

2015-10-01 00:00:00 Say Goodbye To The 4% Rule? by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Wade Pfau has a white paper posted at FA Mag that pretty much blows up the 4% (retirement withdrawal rate) rule or attempts to anyway. Pfau lists several different factors for why 4% may prove to be too optimistic going forward including longer life spans (the 4% rule was originally conceived with a 30 year retirement and now 40 years may make more sense), the prospect for lower equity market returns (which may or may not happen) and historically low interest rates which we know we have but who knows how long they will remain low and various fees related to investing.

2015-10-01 00:00:00 How Income Planning Can Help Clients Navigate the Future by Patty Quinn McAuley of Clark Capital Management Group

As our industry begins to address the income needs of the aging baby boomer population, arming clients with a personalized roadmap can help them stay on the right track to reach their desired outcomes. An income plan can bridge the gap between the investment plan and the actual execution of it, helping clients truly understand how their money will work for them.

2015-10-01 00:00:00 Standing Out in a Crowd: The Advisor Difference by Sam Ushio of Russell Investments

In today’s competitive landscape, how might one best show case the advisor difference in financial planning? Sam Ushio offers some ideas.

2015-10-01 00:00:00 It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over by Burt White of LPL Financial

Yogi Berra passed away last week at the age of 90. One of the greatest baseball players of all time, Berra was probably known more for his funny sayings (so-called “Yogi-isms”) than he was for his impressive career as a New York Yankee that lasted from 1946 until 1963 and included 3 MVP awards and 10 World Series championships. Some of these Yogi-isms are relevant for investors, including: 1) it ain’t over ‘til it’s over, 2) déjà vu all over again, and 3) the future ain’t what it used to be. Berra also famously once said, “Make a game plan you can stick to…unless it’s not w

2015-10-01 00:00:00 Recent Volatility Signals a Market in Transition by Chuck Royce, Francis Gannon of The Royce Funds

CEO Chuck Royce and Co-CIO Francis Gannon talk about why they believe the decline for equities in 3Q15 is part of the market transitioning back to more historically typical performance patterns, why a rate hike could be positive for small-caps and stocks as a whole, how history reveals the importance of discipline, the necessity of diversification within the small-cap asset class, and more.

2015-10-01 00:00:00 About by (Article)

2015-09-30 00:00:00 Liquid Alternatives: Considerations for Portfolio Implementation by Justin Blesy, Ashish Tiwari of PIMCO

Since the financial crisis, investors have poured nearly half a trillion dollars into liquid alternative strategies – typically mutual funds and ETFs that deploy non-traditional strategies once reserved for large institutional investors.i These vehicles offer the potential for diversification, downside risk mitigation and attractive risk-adjusted returns with the transparency and daily liquidity many investors desire. Liquid alternatives have been a democratizing force for investors, and we believe today’s market environment arguably has only made them more attractive.

2015-09-30 00:00:00 Forget “Active vs. Passive”: It’s All About Factors by Adam Butler, Michael Philbrick, Rodrigo Gordillo of ReSolve Asset Management

We just love a good debate, and there seems to be quite a heated debate at the moment about the relative utility of passive versus active investing. Perhaps this debate is as timeless as investment management itself, but a flurry of recent studies may have finally armed passive advocates with enough ammunition to settle the argument once and for all.

2015-09-30 00:00:00 Playing the Odds or Trying to Beat the Odds? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Our firm is built around the core principle of always seeking to put the odds on the side of our clients’ investment success. And yet ...

2015-09-30 00:00:00 El Niño Update by Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

Meteorologists have been calling for an El Niño event since last year. Current forecasts place the likelihood of an El Niño this winter at over 90%. Water temperatures in the Pacific, one of the first signs of a looming El Niño, have measured much higher than normal. In fact, water temperatures have been on par with the most severe El Niño event from the past 30 years. This report looks at how an El Niño develops and its possible climate, economic and geopolitical effects on the global economy. As always, we outline the potential investment implications of this event.

2015-09-30 00:00:00 Active Versus Passive – Understanding the Debate – Part 3 by Charles Batchelor of Cleary Gull

Last season, the Green Bay Packers started the season 1-2. Some fans panicked, to put it mildly. Conspiracy theories surfaced for why Green Bay’s quarterback Aaron Rodgers didn’t seem to be playing well and most people formed an opinion on who was to blame. It was at this point, following the team’s second loss, Rodgers found himself being peppered with questions from reporters attempting to figure out what was “wrong” with him and/or the team. Rodgers’ response was, “R…E…L…A…X.”

2015-09-30 00:00:00 Speaker Boehner Readies Final Sellout As Debt Ceiling Debacle Looms by Stefan Gleason of Money Metals Exchange

It's campaign season, and that means non-stop media coverage of candidate polls, quips, gaffes, tweets, emails, controversies, lies, and scandals. It all makes for a good soap opera. Unfortunately, it's almost all irrelevant in the big picture.

2015-09-30 00:00:00 The Economy Surges Higher, But Is It For Real? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today we look at last Friday’s better than expected final report on 2Q GDP, which was revised from 3.7% to 3.9%. Best of all, this increase was largely due to increased consumer spending which accounts for almost 70% of GDP. Following the paltry 0.6% increase in GDP in the 1Q, this means the economy grew by 2.25% in the first half of this year.

2015-09-30 00:00:00 Boston Is The 3rd City To Pass Previous Home Price High-Water Market by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index for July was released this morning and showed that we have a new city that is making all-time house price highs. Boston home prices, which had a 1.1% month-over-month gain and is now 4.29% higher year-over-year, are now 80 bps higher than the peak price in 2005. Boston joins Denver (+22.1% over the peak) and Dallas (+21.3% over the peak) as the only cities out of the 20 cities that S&P/Case-Shiller HPI tracks that have surpassed housing bubble price highs.

2015-09-30 00:00:00 Choose Wisely: Six Tips for Selecting Alternative Managers by Marc Gamsin, Greg Outcalt of AllianceBernstein

Alternative investments have delivered over the long term, but individual strategies can be as different as the day is long. We have some ideas on how to cut through the clutter.

2015-09-30 00:00:00 How to Deal With Continued Volatility by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Investors should expect the current high volatility regime to persist. Russ explains how to contend with the rocky road ahead.

2015-09-30 00:00:00 Faint or Feint?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

“Janet’s faint causes stocks to feint.” Friday began with a surprise Zip-a-Dee-Doo Dah resignation from House Speaker John Boehner, Janet’s soothing words from the night before, some good earnings announcements, higher crude oil and world market prices, a stronger U.S. dollar, all combined with our expected upward revision to 2Q15’s GDP (+3.9%). Most importantly, there were very positive improvements in the entrails of the GDP revision.

2015-09-29 00:00:00 A Shutdown Would Be Positive by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Sometimes, news really is important. The Pope’s visit to the U.S. was big, but the resignation of House Speaker John Boehner, effective October 30, was huge.

2015-09-29 00:00:00 Annual Outlook by Mary Ellen Stanek of Baird Advisors

In an environment of low rates and heightened uncertainty, the U.S. has experienced sub-par growth during this economic cycle relative to past expansions. But compared to the rest of the world, the U.S. has been a strong performer. And even with only moderate growth, the U.S. economy has experienced healthy job creation – 11 million jobs since the bottom of the recession, 3 million created last year, the highest since 1999, and 2.5 million this year.

2015-09-29 00:00:00 Why Data, Not Lipreading, Hold Key to Liftoff by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

US Investment Strategist Kristina Hooper says that despite the market's confusion over a cacophony of Fed voices, it's critical not to lose confidence in what the Fed has been stating all along: Data will dictate its decision on rates.

2015-09-29 00:00:00 A Call for Quality as Volatility Turns Up the Volume by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Global Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses why volatility is likely to remain elevated, and how investors should manage the risks in their portfolio.

2015-09-29 00:00:00 On My Radar: It’s Déjà vu All Over Again by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

What scares me, or what worries me, is what the next downturn in the economy looks like, with asset prices where they are and a lesser ability of central banks to ease monetary policy.” – Ray Dalio with Bloomberg’s Tom Keene

2015-09-29 00:00:00 The High Yield Market: A Look at Past Recessions by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

The Fed interest rate decision came and went with relatively little market reaction. They pushed out an increase in rates, citing concerns about global economic conditions. Like many, we do share their concerns about the global economy, as we expect that it will result in muted growth here at home (and as we have noted in prior writings over the past several months, we’d expect that muted growth to ultimately result in a very moderate move in rates). But some market participants are voicing concerns that this global weakness will lead to a U.S. recession.

2015-09-29 00:00:00 What’s the Market's Biggest Risk? by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

When meeting with clients throughout the country, investors ask if we are worried about various well-vetted and well-known negatives. The list includes what the Federal Reserve Board might or might not do, China's slowdown, emerging market struggles, plummeting commodities, dollar strength and the uncertainty over who will become President of the U.S. in 2017. We think investors are really asking us, “what’s the market’s biggest risk?”

2015-09-29 00:00:00 In 2015, Volatility from a Phantom Rate Hike by Tony Crescenzi of PIMCO

Many investors are familiar with the adage, “they don’t ring a bell,” to warn when it is time to get in or out of an investment. Well, sometimes they do, or so the famed scientist Ivan Pavlov would likely contend. The physiologist trained dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell, having conditioned them to associate the bell with the delivery of food. Pavlov discovered that he didn’t actually have to deliver the food to get the canines to salivate in anticipation.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Credit Markets' Undeniable Signal by (Article)

In this latest video update, Jenna Barnard, CFA, Co-Head of Retail Fixed Income, provides an update on the signals from credit markets, both in high yield and investment grade. With much of the media focused on if and when the US Federal Reserve will begin raising rates, an important phenomenon has gone unnoticed – the bear market and credit spreads in bond markets.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Staley Cates on Why Active Management Wins in the Long Term by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Staley Cates is president and chief investment officer of Southeastern Asset Management, manager of the Longleaf funds. In this interview, he says, “the passive movement is not just a big trend. It is a bubble.” He explains why passive investing has made it hard for value investors to outperform.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 The ABCs of Impact Investing by John Appleby (Article)

Impact investing is a small but growing segment of the financial landscape. It is coming to the fore as individual investors seek to “do good while doing good.” Groups from wealthy entrepreneurs to the G8, the UN and the Pope are talking about the subject. Here’s what advisors need to know if they want to serve clients who strive for “impact” with their investing.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Helping Wholesalers Sell Effectively by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Wholesalers are supposed to be product pushers. Lately our firm is making us learn skills to build better relationships. How can I push back professionally on this idea? Spending time learning something that isn’t going to help me is a waste.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 The DOL’s Fiduciary Rule: What We Can Learn from the U.K. by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

The DOL’s proposed fiduciary rule has led to a furious debate over whether low- and middle-income Americans will be deprived of financial advice. Three years ago the U.K. made similar changes affecting the delivery of financial advice, and those changes were studied in detail. I’ll assess what we can learn from the British studies and give my views on additional steps the U.S. should take to improve financial outcomes.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Valuations Not Only Mean-Revert; They Mean-Invert by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Risk-seeking among investors can often defer the immediate consequences of extreme valuations, while vertical losses can suddenly emerge when extreme overvaluation is joined by increasing risk-aversion among investors (as evidenced by deterioration in broad market internals). In any event, investors should expect market overvaluation or undervaluation to be reliably “worked off” within a period of about 12 years, on average.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Discount Fallout by (Article)

Persistent wide discounts have led to fewer new closed-end fund launches, among other trends, says Cara Esser of Morningstar.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Strengthen Your Core by Scott DiMaggio, Alison Martier of AllianceBernstein

Core bond investors tend to have a strong “home bias.” But our research shows that global bonds have offered comparable historical returns and considerably lower volatility than local markets over the long term. In addition, a global approach offers protection when local rates climb.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Nearing Normalization / Shutdown Shuffle – Part 2 by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Fed Chair Janet Yellen downplayed concerns about the rest of the world and indicated that she was among the majority of Fed officials expected to raise short-term interest rates this year. Meanwhile, while John Boehner’s resignation as House Speaker may signal an agreement on the budget, Congress has moved further away from future compromise.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Is China “Fixed”? Short Answer: Financial Markets Say No by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

The rally in stocks off of the August low has in some respects alleviated worst case fears about the fate of the Chinese economy. After all, in hindsight it is pretty clear that the selloff was driven by a simultaneous rerating of Chinese growth expectations by market participants combined with the possibility of higher short rates in the US to boot. These fears resulted in vast under performance of growth sensitive asset prices throughout the correction and then a sharp rally in those assets in the days following its terminus.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 The Hidden Cost of Zero Interest Rate Policies by Laurence B. Siegel and Thomas S. Coleman (Article)

Zero interest rates are a massive transfer of wealth from investors and savers to governments and other borrowers around the world. We’ll show how big the scale of the transfer is.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 How Charity Leadership Deepens Client Bonds by Dan Richards (Article)

Many advisors volunteer in their communities, quietly and anonymously as a matter of personal choice. But recent conversations with advisors show that over a period of time, letting clients know about your involvement with the right charity sends a hugely positive message that deepens bonds.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Will global weakness drag down the U.S. economy? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

The recent Fed non-decision on interest rates increased worries about global economic weakness. Trading in commodity markets underscores a widespread perception of a potential recession. The week ahead is packed with fresh economic data, including the most important reports. The punditry will be asking: Will the U.S. economy succumb to global weakness?

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Describing Liquid Alts: Global Macro and Tactical Asset-Allocation Strategies by Michael Breitenbach of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

Several types of strategy groups invest across multiple asset classes, dynamically adjusting relative exposures at the discretion of the manager. Two commonly offered dynamic asset-allocation strategies are tactical and global macro.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Cars, Drugs and Risk by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

Last week, two company stories showed that markets are not always about GDP, growth, inflation and macro economic indicators people (including us) like to talk about. First, Volkswagen (mission statement “…to offer… safe and environmentally sound vehicles”) admitted that well, yes, it had duped emission testers with some clever software. VW employs half a million people and accounts for 4% of the German stock market.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Equities May Remain Trendless Until More Clarity Emerges by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Sentiment was negative for most of last week, as investors focused on continued uncertainty over Federal Reserve policy, slowing growth in China and emerging markets and ongoing weakness in commodities. Stock prices bounced on Friday following comments from Fed Chair Janet Yellen that a rate increase was looking more likely in 2015. Nevertheless, equities finished in negative territory, with the S&P 500 Index falling 1.4%. The health care, materials and industrials sectors came under pressure, while utilities, consumer staples and financials finished higher.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Private Sector and Investors Have a Role in Promoting the Sustainable Development Goals by John Streur of Calvert Investments

With more than 150 world leaders expected to attend this weekend’s United Nations Sustainable Development Summit, including President Barack Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Pope Francis, it is clear that we have achieved a new level of global commitment to a sustainable development agenda.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 The Sino-American Codependency Trap by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

Trapped in the dynamic of codependency, the US-China relationship has become fraught with friction and finger pointing. Indeed, the just-concluded summit between Barack Obama and Xi Jinping did little to dispel the possibility of a painful rupture in bilateral ties.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 The ‘It’s Not You, It’s Me’ Lesson for Advisors by Dan Solin (Article)

In a classic Seinfeld episode, George attempts to end a relationship by telling his partner, “It’s not you; it’s me.” George thinks he invented that phrase, but the concept of whether to focus on yourself or the other person has been the subject of academic research, and those findings carry an important lesson for advisors.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Exploiting Market Inefficiencies by (Article)

While relatively more volatile than some of our other products and larger-cap peers, Bill Hench attempts to manage risk in his fund by utilizing four distinct investment themes that each focus, first and foremost, on valuation and a company's ability to turn around its business.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 FlexShares Quality Dividend Suite by Shundrawn Thomas, Head of Funds and Managed Accounts Group, Northern Trust (Article)

See how FlexShares addresses investors’ search for income through its Quality Dividend Suite.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Fed Bolsters Investment Grade Bond Issuance by Jacob Habibi, Mike Hyman, Matt Brill of Invesco Blog

Barring an external shock that sends global risk assets lower, the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) decision to keep interest rates unchanged while lowering its projected pace of future rate hikes is likely to support a continuation of the heavy pace of new corporate bond issuance and merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the US investment grade (IG) market.

2015-09-26 00:00:00 Rebuilding the Asylum System by George Soros of Project Syndicate

European leaders emerged from yet another summit this week, having made only modest progress towards definitively addressing a refugee crisis that has caused enormous human suffering and shaken the EU to its core. The time for partial measures is long past; a comprehensive plan is needed.

2015-09-26 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review: The Commodity Super-Cycle Explained, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

Despite recent financial turmoil, no one has provided a concise explanation of the commodity super-cycle, one of the primary macro-economic forces causing recent volatility. That is, until now. In a September 21 speech, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz offered the following explanation:”

2015-09-26 00:00:00 Balloons in Search of Needles by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

It would be hard to miss an analogy to the stock market. Everything’s peaceful and calm, you’re drinking some fabulous wine, eating some fantastic fresh game and fish, looking at all the beautiful animals as you drift easily with the current. Anybody can steer the boat in a bull market. Until the rapids hit and the bottom falls out.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Staying Level-Headed in the Face of Fed Uncertainty by John Calamos, Sr. of Calamos Investments

As we know, uncertainty about the Fed’s plans for raising short-term rates remains a key driver of market volatility. It’s understandable that investors are afraid to be in the markets and at the same time, afraid to be out. Whenever rates do rise (probably before the end of the year), there’s every reason to expect continued heightened equity market volatility. Even so, I view a more normal interest-rate environment as long-term positive—for the economy and for the equity market.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Developed Europe: Economy Trends Update July 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

Euro-zone Sustains Recovery on the Back of Robust Growth in Italy, Export Surge in Germany

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Bear Market Coming? Bear Market Here? by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

If your strategy involves taking defensive action around a breach of the 200 day moving average (DMA) you probably should have taken some action by now as the S&P 500 has been below that trend line for about a month.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 What's Ahead For Interest Rates? by Steve Rumsey of Optimus Advisory Group

Why is the Fed still hesitating to raise rates? Here are some possible answers

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Goals-Based Asset Allocation in an Era of Financial Repression by Thomas Shively of Eaton Vance

Goals-based asset allocation seeks to align our total portfolio, including financial and nonfinancial assets, with our personal goals and our human way of thinking about risk.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 How TARP Created Trump by Brian Wesbury of First Trust Advisors

Back in 2008, rather than fix mark-to-market accounting, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulsen, Federal Reserve Board Chair Ben Bernanke, and other members of the financial market crisis team, chose to use a government-funded bazooka. A $700 billion bank bailout named The Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Stop and Savor by Michael Kayes of Willingdon Wealth Management

Pausing, amidst any difficult journey, can lead to a new perspective, and just the potential for a new perspective, is a hopeful thought. So, let’s pause and savor, for a moment, the potential...

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Mutually Inclusive by Fred Ingham, Ian Haas, of Neuberger Berman

A quiet revolution is happening in hedge funds. Investors continue to allocate to the asset class, but the way they are allocating is changing, while its investor base is growing broader and becoming more inclusive.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 In Search of the Phillips Curve by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Macroeconomics students spend a good bit of class time learning about the Phillips curve, and it is probably etched permanently in their minds. The Phillips curve suggests that there is an inverse relationship between inflation and unemployment in the short run.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 How NOT to Wipe Out with Momentum by Chris Brightman, Vitali Kalesnik, Engin Kose of Research Affiliates

Enabled by modern technology, investors can now enhance a pure value strategy by using momentum to improve timing, measuring quality to avoid value traps, and diversifying active bets into less efficiently priced small stocks.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

The first drop in equities was more than a month ago, yet price has not come within even 2% of the original low since then. Despite this, bearish sentiment continues to rise as if new lows were being formed. This is a strong positive. The infamous month of October arrives this week: volatility is likely to remain high, but our view is the risk/reward of buying sell-offs is very attractive on a year-end basis.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Visit to Cradle of Innovation and Entrepreneurship by Rahul Gupta of Matthews Asia

There is a lot of optimism around Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the San Francisco Bay Area, and rightly so. India is expected to add more than 100 million employable workforce to the global labor pool in the next decade. The country needs to find many engines of growth to provide employment opportunities to its population. Mr. Modi understands this very well—hence his slogan “Make in India.” The Prime Minister shown his acumen in understanding productivity the technology industry can unleash, and his upcoming visit to Silicon Valley’s cradle of innovation and entrepr

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Are the Bulls Regaining Their Footing? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

Uncertainty surrounding the Federal Reserve continues after its punt of rate hikes at its most recent meeting. But as the market gets more clarity on monetary policy and given a still-growing US economy, the bull market should slowly reestablish itself, albeit with bouts of volatility. Further support should come from global growth in areas that are net beneficiaries of the plunge in commodity prices.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 How Will These Leaders of 4 Billion People Change the World? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This week the U.S. played host to three prominent and illustrious leaders to billions of people: Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pope Francis. Among them, they lead—either politically or spiritually—nearly 4 billion people worldwide, more than half of everyone living on the planet right now.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Gliding Along Better with Bond Diversifiers by Daniel Loewy, Christopher Nikolich of AllianceBernstein

Will the Fed start raising interest rates in October, December or next year? It should make no difference to building a successful target-date glide path for the next decade and beyond.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 The Case for Credit by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

Three reasons why the outlook for developed credit markets remains constructive.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 NYSE Margin Debt Declines Again In August by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Margin debt declined by nearly $14 billion in August bringing the two-month decline to $31.5 billion. This is the largest two-month decline since, you guessed it, September 2011. Margin debt is now approximately $34 billion off the high made in April.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Yes, and No by John Canally of LPL Financial

The title of this commentary is our answer to the question: Does the Fed know something we don’t know? Many market participants and pundits were asking this question late last week after the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) policymaking arm, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), decided not to raise interest rates at the conclusion of its two-day policy meeting on Thursday, September 17, 2015. Market participants were asking the question although they had priced in just a 30% chance of a rate hike prior to the meeting.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Chart of the Week: Chinese Construction & Land Acquisition Falling by Joseph Taylor of Loomis Sayles

Over the last 10 years, the Chinese economy was drugged into growth through excessive amounts of investment. At its peak, capital expenditure made up 48% of GDP, an unprecedented level, and in my view, represented a massive misallocation of capital. Slowing levels of investment (mostly construction) have driven declines in related areas, including commodities, machinery and cement production.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 China, Commodities, and Crisis: What’s Next for Emerging Markets by Zachary Karabell of Envestnet

China’s growth story fueled global markets for years, and the recent market rout raises concerns that the spigot may be tapping out. But is it really? Emerging markets, currently out of favor with investors, are showing signs of domestic economic growth driven by an expanding middle class. Could these economies, along with China, re-emerge as bright spots in the global markets?

2015-09-24 00:00:00 It’s Not Easy by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital Management

In 2011, as I was putting the finishing touches on my book The Most Important Thing, I was fortunate to have one of my occasional lunches with Charlie Munger. As it ended and I got up to go, he said something about investing that I keep going back to: “It’s not supposed to be easy. Anyone who finds it easy is stupid.”

2015-09-24 00:00:00 Saved by Zero? by Bill Gross of Janus Capital Group

So the Fed has chosen to hold off on their goal of normalizing interest rates and the ECB has countered with the threat of extending their scheduled QE with more checks and more negative interest rates and the investment community wonders how long can this keep goin’ on. For a long time I suppose, as evidenced by history at least.

2015-09-24 00:00:00 The Bear Case: "Before And After" by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

While our gut instincts and quantitative disciplines aren’t always in agreement, that conflict doesn’t exist today. The evidence comes down decisively in the “bear market” camp. The action leading up to the S&P 500 bull market high of May 21st traced out a “textbook” top in many ways.

2015-09-24 00:00:00 One Year, Three Lessons by David Katz of Larch Lane Advisors

As the category of liquid alts funds has exploded this year with numerous launches, there has been a healthy dose of skepticism about the products and the true ability to perform well in down markets. The following article from David Katz, who is President and COO of Larch Lane Advisors LLC, which is a leader in early stage hedge fund investing. The firm formed a joint venture with Rothschild Asset Management to manage the Rothschild Larch Lane Alternatives Fund.

2015-09-24 00:00:00 Is Another Bear Market Ahead? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ updates his outlook for U.S. stocks in 2015 and beyond.

2015-09-24 00:00:00 The Liquidity Crunch—It’s About Supply and Demand by Douglas Peebles, Ashish Shah of AllianceBernstein

Investors fear that new banking regulations are drying up bond market liquidity. But this overlooks several market trends that are making the liquidity situation worse and that could deepen—or even trigger—the next financial crisis.

2015-09-24 00:00:00 Deja Vu All Over Again for the Stock Market Correction? by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

In remembering the late, great Yogi Berra, we can’t help but associate one of our all time favorite Berraisms with the current stock market environment as compared with that of late 2011. From our perspective it looks and feels like deja vu all over again. Most of our readers probably vividly remember the panic that ensued over the 2011 government shut down and the then large negative revision to US GDP that sent US stocks down nearly 20% in a waterfall type decline.

2015-09-24 00:00:00 Thank Serendipity, but Don’t Depend on It by Glenn Dial of Allianz Global Investors

Many Americans caught a lucky break when it came to retirement preparation, but they can't afford to be complacent.

2015-09-24 00:00:00 Fed Implications by Burt White of LPL Financial

The Federal Reserve’s (Fed) decision not to raise interest rates at its September 17 policy meeting was undoubtedly the biggest event of last week. Although not a big surprise, besides Donald Trump (and perhaps China), the Fed is all that anyone is talking about these days. This week we share some of our perspective on what the Fed’s decision may mean for the stock market and offer some investment ideas.

2015-09-24 00:00:00 Global Economic Forecast: An Inflection Point, Not a Turning Point by Andrew Pease of Russell Investments

Andrew Pease delves into Russell’s global economic forecast for the coming quarter.

2015-09-24 00:00:00 Reaction to Fed Announcement: A Shift to High Quality by (Article)

In this latest video update, Michelle Picard, CFA, Portfolio Manager, provides an outlook on the remainder of the year and notes she was not surprised by the Fed's decision to leave interest rates unchanged. She still believes that the Fed will increase rates before year end. With a US interest rates hike on the horizon, an increase in market volatility and slow growth, Picard explains why she believes we are entering a high quality market.

2015-09-23 00:00:00 Median Home Price and Salary Required in 27 Major Cities by Doug Short (Article)

Tim Manni, the Managing Editor at, features a periodic update entitled "The Salary You Must Earn to Buy a Home in 27 Metros". The key question is:

"How much salary do you need to earn in order to afford the principal and interest payments on a median-priced home in your metro area?"

2015-09-23 00:00:00 Median Household Income Growth: Deflating the American Dream by Doug Short (Article)

What is the single best indicator of the American Dream? Many would point to household income growth. The Census Bureau has now published some selected annual household income data in a new report: "Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014". Last year the median (middle) household income was $53,657 — a 0.13% year-over-year increase that shrinks to -1.48% when adjusted for inflation. Let's put the new release into a larger historical context.

2015-09-23 00:00:00 Shake Portfolios up after a Market Shakedown by Dr. Brian Jacobsen, John Manley of Wells Fargo Asset Management

Dr. Brian Jacobsen, CFA, and John Manley, CFA look at the history of previous corrections to determine what cap sizes, styles, and sectors performed best in the medium to long term after a correction.

2015-09-23 00:00:00 With the Fed Holding, an Opportunity to Make Moves by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Global Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses how the recent selloff has made some parts of the market look attractive.

2015-09-23 00:00:00 Does a Quarter Point Really Matter? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Actually, on at least one aspect of the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) seemingly inevitable move to hike interest rates, there is considerable agreement: The first 0.25%, or 0.50%, or even 0.75% move(s) in the federal funds rate will not make a material difference to US and global economies.

2015-09-23 00:00:00 Government Taxi Bubble Causes Credit Union Failure by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Since the financial crisis, we have been inundated with the idea that the private sector is to blame for the misery that has befallen the American public. Countless politicians have appeared on TV or hit the campaign trail and the message is always the same; greed caused the great recession and the only solution is to trust the government more. Very seldom do we hear that government might have helped cause the housing bubble and the bank failures that resulted.

2015-09-23 00:00:00 On The Fed, Deflation, Government Shutdown & The Moon by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Once again this week, we touch on a variety of topics that piqued my interest over the last week. We begin with some further analysis of the Fed’s controversial decision to hold interest rates near zero last Thursday.

2015-09-23 00:00:00 Sticking with Equities when Volatility Strikes by Kent Hargis, Chris Marx, Sammy Suzuki of AllianceBernstein

Does recent market turbulence increase the chances of higher volatility in the months ahead? Our research says yes. But don’t ditch an allocation to equities—instead think about how to stay invested while reducing risk.

2015-09-23 00:00:00 Balancing Risks and Opportunities in the Multi-Speed World by Richard Clarida, Andrew Balls of PIMCO

Read our global economic outlook for the near term and implications for asset classes.

2015-09-23 00:00:00 Designing the Common Stock Portion of Your Retirement Portfolio: Concentrated or Diversified Part 3 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Designing the common stock portion of your retirement portfolio is very challenging. For starters, there is no absolutely perfect or even best way to design a stock portfolio. However, there are many effective strategies that have produced successful long-term results. The key to success is to find and implement the strategy that best fits your own unique goals, objectives, needs, and most importantly - risk tolerances.

2015-09-23 00:00:00 Logical Song: What to Make of Record Buybacks by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

A common question I’ve been getting at client events lately is about stock buybacks and the effect they’re having on earnings-per-share (EPS); as well as what they say about the economy overall and investor/business psychology.

2015-09-22 00:00:00 Median Household Purchasing Power for the 50 States and DC by Doug Short (Article)

Last week we posted an update on the median household income by the 50 states and DC based on the Current Population Survey, a joint undertaking of the Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics, which includes annual data from 1984 to 2014. Let's now look at the actual purchasing power of those median incomes. For this adjustment we're using the "C2ER Cost of Living Index" produced by C2ER, the Council for Community and Economic Research.

2015-09-22 00:00:00 Middle-East / Africa: Economy Trends Update: July 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

During the second quarter and July, the countries under our coverage in the Middle East and Africa region continued to battle global macroeconomic problems and, in some cases, hurdles specific to their own economies. The largest among these countries, resource-rich South Africa, struggled to boost growth amid the downturn in the global commodities market and a power shortage at home.

2015-09-22 00:00:00 On My Radar: “Dammit Janet” by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Whatever you can do, or dream you can… begin it; boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

2015-09-22 00:00:00 The Uber-Dove vs Black Swans by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

You couldn’t have missed it. Only stages full of GOP presidential candidates or the Super Bowl have ever had more media attention. Yes, we are talking about the Federal Reserve’s thundering announcement on Thursday – of nothing. The Fed decided to keep interest rates at zero, for at least the next few months, after holding them near zero for over six years.

2015-09-22 00:00:00 Activate Your Portfolio by Edward Perkin of Eaton Vance

As the bull market ages and bouts of extreme volatility return, now may be the time for actively managed equity strategies.

2015-09-22 00:00:00 The Unique Benefits of Mortgage-Backed Securities by Jason Mandinach of PIMCO

MBS have potential to outperform U.S. Treasuries with high liquidity and low correlation to risk assets.

2015-09-22 00:00:00 Meet Jeremy Corbyn by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

On September 12, Jeremy Corbyn, a longtime Member of Parliament, was elected as the new leader of the UK’s Labour Party. In this report, we begin with a short biography of Corbyn followed by a description of how he won his party’s leadership role. With this background, we explore Corbyn’s long held policy positions and their potential impact on UK policy. We offer our reflections on Corbyn’s win, including an examination within the context of other political developments in the West. As always, we conclude with potential market ramifications.

2015-09-22 00:00:00 US High Yield: Energy Is Lagging, but Consumers Are Set to Spend by Scott Roberts and Rahim Shad of Invesco Blog

Weak commodity prices have made this year’s US high yield story a “tale of two markets.” Year-to-date returns for the overall high yield market were a meager three basis points (0.03%) through Aug. 31. However, if you peel back energy and metals and mining, the rest of the asset class delivered a respectable 2.6% total return over the same period.

2015-09-22 00:00:00 Equity Funds: What You Should Know about Flows by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Current trends support the notion that U.S. stock valuations are far from overstretched. Prices up, prices down—the trends in mutual fund flows seem to continue unaltered. Money flows out of domestic U.S. equities and into foreign equities, hybrid funds, and bonds, regardless of how low yields fall or how well or poorly the stock market does.

2015-09-22 00:00:00 Are we About to see a Big Time Rally in the Long Bond? by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

During this cycle the positioning of commercial traders (the smart money) has been a crystal ball for players in the treasury market. Every peak in long bond rates since 2010 has been associated with commercial traders net long options and futures contracts on said instrument. At a net long positioning of about 34,000 contracts, the commercials are the most long the long bond since the end of 2013 before the 30-year treasury bond yield fell from 4% to about 2.2% over the course of 13 months.

2015-09-22 00:00:00 Clean Power Plan: Lights Out for Coal? by John Kohli of Franklin Templeton Investments

As investors, we have found that in general, the most forward-looking utilities have already started reducing emissions by using less coal power and more sources of renewable energy.

2015-09-22 00:00:00 Market Segments to Consider While the Fed Holds by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

After last week’s Fed news, investors may want to review their exposure to these two market segments.

2015-09-22 00:00:00 Go Opposite to Hysteria by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Going against the panic plunge of August 24th was pretty easy, especially if you heeded the market’s warning message in early July that Mr. Market was going into a period of contraction. The ensuing post August 24th “throwback rally” was also pretty easy to anticipate. From there, however, things have become much more difficult.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review For Sept. 14-18; Weak 3Q Numbers On the Horizon, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The U.S.’ immunity to international economic weakness continues. In their latest policy statement, the Fed once again described U.S. growth as “moderate.” With the exception of industrial production, this week’s economic releases confirm that assessment.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Has the Fed Assumed a Third Mandate? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

Despite many signs of economic improvement, the Fed chose to maintain policy accommodation at emergency levels. In a week that is light on data and long on speeches, this news will be enough to keep Fed policy at the forefront.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 Describing Liquid Alts: Arbitrage strategies by Michael Breitenbach of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

Arbitrage strategies attempt to take advantage of price discrepancies between related securities by offsetting long and short positions in economically linked instruments. Merger arbitrage, for example, typically entails buying the stock of a takeover candidate and shorting the acquiring company.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 Refugees and Reform in Europe by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

Europe’s refugee crisis is a historic challenge that offers historic opportunities. The question is whether Europe’s politicians – who have failed to deliver on far less complicated issues over which they had a lot more control – can seize the moment.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 When an Easy Fed Doesn't Help Stocks (and When It Does) by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Investors who wonder why the stock market failed to advance on the Fed’s decision to leave interest rates unchanged would do well to understand that the market is following a script that has played out repeatedly across a century of market history. The short explanation is straightforward. When investors are risk-seeking (which we infer from the behavior of market internals), Fed easing tends to be very favorable for the stock market, because risk-free, low-interest liquidity is a hot potato to risk-seeking speculators.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 No rate change. Now what? by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

It is rarely a good moment when the Fed makes the Today show. It’s usually too esoteric a subject first thing in the morning. Most people, including us, thought they would raise rates for the first time since June 2006 by around 25bp. They did not. Here’s why and, more important, what it means for your investments.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 Federal Reserve Kicks the Can on Interest Rates by Christopher Molumphy of Franklin Templeton Investments

We were a little disappointed the Fed didn’t take action, primarily because we think the longer the Fed stays on hold the longer we will have uncertainty in the marketplace.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 Rising Rates Got You Down? by Scott DiMaggio, Alison Martier of AllianceBernstein

The Fed may have left well enough alone for now, but in our view it won’t leave the pot to simmer much longer. US interest rates are going to rise, almost surely before the year is out. Thankfully, diverging interest-rate cycles around the globe offer hope—and opportunity—for US investors.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 Do Your Marketing Materials Pass the 10-Second Test? by Dan Richards (Article)

A conversation with a successful advisor highlighted the biggest pothole in developing marketing materials; whether a brochure, a website or a presentation to prospects, focusing on similarities rather than differences will make you fail to stand out.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 Nearing Normalization / Shutdown Shuffle by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The key line that was added to the Fed’s policy statement suggests a sharper focus on what’s happening in the rest of the world, but let’s be clear. The Fed is not reacting to overseas developments per se, but to what shifting global economic and financial conditions mean for the U.S. economy. In focusing on the Fed’s decision to delay policy normalization, investors have ignored the increased risk of a government shutdown.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 Communication Lessons from Donald Trump by Dan Solin (Article)

In a previous article, I discussed the lessons that advisors could learn from the non-verbal behavior of Donald Trump. Today, I will examine his communication skills and ways advisors can benefit from emulating them.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 How to Answer the Question “Whom Do I Serve?” by Kristen Luke (Article)

To solve the problem of not clearly defining the clients you work with, I use a Client Profile Worksheet. This tool will organize and answer two key questions: Whom are you going to serve, and what are their financial needs and concerns? In other words, which clients do you really want to help?

2015-09-21 00:00:00 A Disaster-Preparedness Checklist by Teresa Riccobuono (Article)

Whether man-made or an act of nature, all businesses should be prepared for the unexpected. Here is a list of tips to consider to be sure you, your employees, your business and your clients are prepared and protected.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 Applying the Sales Effectiveness Model to Your Firm by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Over the years I have had the chance to work with countless financial advisory firms to help them increase their growth. While most do not want to “sell,” they would like additional assets coming in the door! This week’s column gives a peek into the assessment process I use.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 Long Duration Muni Bond CEFs by (Article)

Long duration municipal bond closed-end funds may be worth considering for your income portfolio, says Mike Taggart of Nuveen Investments.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 Equities Fall After the Fed Fails to Raise Rates by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities were little changed last week, with the S&P 500 declining 0.1%. Stocks posted gains early in the week before falling on Thursday and Friday after the Federal Reserve announced it would hold rates steady. For the week, utilities, consumer staples and health care outperformed, while materials, telecommunications and financials came under pressure.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 How to Generate Alpha without Selecting Superior Funds by Bob Veres (Article)

In Part I of my series on active investment management, I described two types of research that attempted to help advisors uncover above-average talent: identifying conditions where you are more likely to find outperformers, and better ways to identify above-average managers. As it turns out, there’s a third possibility. Instead of identifying superior funds, you identify superior combinations of funds – which, of course, includes a fund-selection process, but then takes it one step further.

2015-09-19 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review For Sep. 14-18; Asian Slowdown, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

Analysts’ recent adjustments lowering global growth projections are in line with recent events; China’s economy continues slowing. This lowers commodity prices, which decreases economic growth of commodity exporting countries. Hence, the primary causation of Australia’s below trend growth and Japan’s weaker economic performance. The US is somewhat immune; Chinese trade accounts for a fraction of US GDP, limiting the impact. The EU is a bit more exposed, due to their increased reliance on trade.

2015-09-19 00:00:00 Here Are Two Ways Investors Can Take Advantage of the Fed's Uncertainty by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Although interest rates could still be hiked in one of the two remaining times the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets this year, I’m inclined to think they’ll stay near zero until at least 2016. The decision is a welcome one for both gold demand and new home purchases. When rates rise, gold becomes less attractive for some investors, who are encouraged to exchange their no-yielding gold for income-producing assets.

2015-09-19 00:00:00 Upon Further Review: More Reflections on the Fed by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The Federal Reserve has typically downplayed market expectations of inflation. These indicators emerge from trading in Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS), which can be influenced by many things.

2015-09-19 00:00:00 Groundhog Day at the Fed by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Every dictator knows that a continuous state of emergency is the best means to justify tyrannical policies. The trick is to keep the emergency from breeding so much paranoia that routine activities come to a halt. It's best to make the threat external, intangible and ultimately, unverifiable. In Orwell's 1984 the preferred mantra was "We've always been at war with Eurasia," even though everyone knew it wasn't true. In its rate decision this week the Fed adopted a similar approach and conjured up an external threat to maintain a policy that is becoming increasingly absurd.

2015-09-19 00:00:00 Annual Outlook Address by Mary Ellen Stanek of Baird Advisors

The uncertainty caused by speculating on when the Fed will raise rates is almost worse that the move itself. We think the Fed needs to forecast where the U.S. economy will be in terms of full employment and inflation a year or two down the road given the long and variable lags of the impact of their policy changes. We think they have been too optimistic in terms of the expected growth of the economy.

2015-09-19 00:00:00 Merkel Opens the Gates by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

This is all well and good for nations like Germany that need immigrants, but much of Europe is really not in need of new workers, given their present severe unemployment problems. Not to mention that in those countries budgets are already strained and taking on the task of housing tens of thousands of immigrants and refugees is not cheap.

2015-09-18 00:00:00 Median Household Income by State: A New Look at the Data by Doug Short (Article)

The Census Bureau's annual household income reports for 2014 is now available. We've now compiled a few tables for the 50 states and DC based on the Current Population Survey, a joint undertaking of the Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics, which includes annual data from 1984 to 2014. The details are fascinating.

First, some context. The median US income in 2014 was $53,657, up from $22,415 in 1984 -- a 139.4% rise over the 30-year time frame.

2015-09-18 00:00:00 A Fed Move Could Be Good News for Emerging Markets by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

If in coming months the Fed feels confident enough in the US economy to raise interest rates, it could be viewed as positive news for emerging markets, particularly those with export ties that benefit from a strengthening US economy.

2015-09-18 00:00:00 Looking At A Decade Of US Equity Valuations by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Expensive stocks can always get more expensive and cheap stocks can always be cheaper. Consequently, making short-term market calls based on valuations is a fool’s errand. However, valuations end up always mattering in the long-run even if they are usually usurped in the short-run by investor sentiment. Therefore, we thought it would be a worthy exercise to take a look at how US equity valuations by industry group look today relative to the past decade.

2015-09-18 00:00:00 Are “Chinese Whispers” Distorting Your View? by Stuart Rae, John Lin, Hayden Briscoe, Anthony Chan of AllianceBernstein

Renewed anxiety about China’s economic performance appears to be at odds with the fact that the country’s growth has been declining for years. How much of the recent nervousness is based on an outdated view of China’s policy direction?

2015-09-18 00:00:00 When Doves Cry … Yeah! Fed Punts and Keeps Rates Unchanged by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The Fed opted to stall on raising rates for the first time since 2006; primarily citing global turmoil and still-restrained inflation for its decision. In addition, the accompanying Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) statement was not as hawkish as many expected (meaning, those who had been expecting no hike, were also expecting a more hawkish statement).

2015-09-18 00:00:00 Fed Leaves Interest Rates Unchanged: 4 Insights from Loomis Sayles by Orla O'Brien of Loomis Sayles

The FOMC signaled that plans for interest rate normalization are deferred but not yet derailed. It's difficult to categorize this outcome as a genuine surprise. While the rate decision and accompanying policy statement were no doubt dovish relative to expectations, the so called 'dot plot' reveals that the median Fed member sees that interest rate normalization, once begun, is expected to proceed at the same pace as was expected in June.

2015-09-18 00:00:00 Japan Then and Now by Kenichi Amaki of Matthews Asia

Late in 2006, Matthews Asia was wrapping up a special report titled “Japan Reawakens.” The timing of that AsiaNow publication, just ahead of the Global Financial Crisis, was unfortunate to say the least. With the ensuing economic turmoil, Japan fell asleep again, sliding off the radar screens of many investors. But as interest in Japan has more recently re-emerged, I thought it would be important for us to take a look back and consider what we previously published. Has Japan evolved the way we had envisioned? What’s changed and what hasn’t?

2015-09-18 00:00:00 Should Emerging Market Investors Fight the Fed? by Burt White of LPL Financial

Emerging market stocks have not won much lately, but the Fed may be a winnable fight. The Federal Reserve, which announces its policy decision on September 17, 2015, is on the verge of starting a rate hike cycle for the first time in more than 10 years. We have previously written that the start of Fed rate hikes has not marked an impending end to bull markets for U.S. stocks (despite the popular Wall Street adage “don’t fight the Fed.”) In reality, the first rate hike has told us we are about halfway through the cycle as discussed in our Weekly Market Commentary of August 25, 2014.

2015-09-18 00:00:00 Yellen Flinches by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

It is long past time for the Federal Reserve to start raising short-term rates. The unemployment rate is already very close to the Fed’s (new, lower) long-term projection of 4.9% and set to fall further in the next year, even if the Fed had already started lifting rates. Nominal GDP growth – real GDP growth plus inflation – is up at a 4.1% annual rate in the past two years, slightly exceeding the Fed’s long-run projection of 4% growth.

2015-09-18 00:00:00 The Fed Holds by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) concluded its meeting today with no change in interest rates.

2015-09-18 00:00:00 The China Syndrome: Lessons from the A-Shares Bubble by Jason Hsu of Research Affiliates

The rapid rise and sharp decline of the A-shares market represents a massive redistribution of wealth, especially painful to uninformed investors who bought hot stocks near the peak. What should the Chinese government do now?

2015-09-18 00:00:00 Municipal High Yield: Do Outflows Indicate Increased Opportunity? by James Iselin, S. Blake Miller of Neuberger Berman

It may seem counterintuitive, but recent investment outflows may have contributed to return potential within the municipal high yield marketplace.

2015-09-18 00:00:00 Why the Fed Kept Rates ‘Lower for Longer’ Yet Again by Kristina Hooper, Steve Malin, Greg Meier of Allianz Global Investors

As a divided FOMC continues sitting on its collective hands, we’ve analyzed what’s going on behind the scenes and outlined the investment implications of the Fed’s latest inaction. Read the new report from Allianz Global Investors’ US Capital Markets & Strategy team.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 U.S. Household Incomes: A 47-Year Perspective by Doug Short (Article)

The Census Bureau has now released its annual report household income data for 2014. This update features an analysis of the quintile breakdown of data from 1967 through 2014 along with the statistics for the top 5%.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 Median Household Incomes by Age Bracket: 1967-2014 by Doug Short (Article)

Earlier today we updated our commentary on household income distribution to include the Census Bureau's release of the 2014 annual data. Our focus was on arithmetic mean (average) household incomes by quintile (and the top 5%) over the 46-year history of this data series. The analysis offered some fascinating insights into U.S. household incomes. But the classification misses the implications of age for income. Households are by no means locked into the same quintile over time.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 Should You Actually Worry About Gold Confiscation? by Guy Christopher of Money Metals Exchange

Most gold owners are familiar with worries of forced government gold confiscation – that one day black-ops shock teams will toss homes to find that stash of coins and bars.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 How Much, How Far, How Fast, Not When? by John Canally of LPL Financial

The policymaking arm of the Federal Reserve (Fed), the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), will hold its sixth of eight meetings of the year this week. On Thursday, September 17, 2015, at the conclusion of the two-day meeting, the FOMC will release a statement and a new economic and interest rate forecast. In addition, Fed Chair Janet Yellen will conduct her third post-FOMC meeting press conference of the year.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 Provise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group

Speculation abounds about whether the Fed will raise interest rates for the first time since June 2006. Yes, it was almost a decade ago. Hard to believe that would have ever happened, but it has.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 More Volatility on U.S. Horizon Has Sights Turning to Asia by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

After weeks of struggling, global equities stabilized last week. In the U.S., the S&P 500 Index rose 2.08% to 1,961, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 2.05% to 16,433, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index advanced an even stronger 2.97% to end the week at 4,822. Meanwhile, the yield on the 10-year Treasury rose from 2.13% to 2.19%, as its price correspondingly fell.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 Tracking the Market with Social Media by Blair Jensen of Trade Followers

I’m finally starting to see some signs of hope on the Twitter stream for the S&P 500 Index (SPX). Last week’s rally lifted daily sentiment readings for the most part, and the strong rally on Tuesday resulted in a positive daily print in momentum. This shows a bit of hope, but the negative readings during the rest of the week indicate traders are uncertain. 7 day momentum is still in a clear downtrend even though price has been mostly rising since the first of the month. This suggests that there is still a lot of fear for lower prices.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 Economic Surprises Are Turning Back Over In The US by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

The Citi Economic Surprise Index for the US is at two-month low and squarely back in negative territory. The US has spent almost the entire year not meeting expectations.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 To Mortgage or Not to Mortgage? That Is the Question by Anne Bucciarelli, Tara Thompson Popernik of AllianceBernstein

For wealthy people, the main question when buying a home is often whether to mortgage it. If you’re sitting on a large sum of cash or liquid assets, you can choose whether to pay for the house outright, or just use cash for the down payment and take a mortgage out on the home. You may find our answer surprising.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 Empirical Finance: Meeting Fiduciary Standards Through Skepticism, not Cynicism by Adam Butler, Michael Philbrick, Rodrigo Gordillo of ReSolve Asset Management

Michael Edesses is out with a scathing article lambasting the field of empirical finance. He draws inspiration from Harvey, Liu and Zhu’s (HLZ) recent article, entitled “…and the Cross Section of Expected Returns”, but extends HLZ’s conclusions to an absurd limit. In this article, we discuss why we embrace the framework of healthy skepticism described by HLZ, but in the context of a more optimistic and constructive view of empirical finance.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 Fraud, Fools, and Financial Markets by Robert Shiller of Project Syndicate

Adam Smith famously wrote of the “invisible hand,” by which individuals’ pursuit of self-interest in free, competitive markets advances the interest of society as a whole. But, because we can be manipulated, deceived, or even just passively tempted, free markets also persuade us to buy things that are good neither for us nor for society.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 Global Equity Income Themes: Two Key Themes by (Article)

In this latest video update, Ben Lofthouse, CFA, Co-Portfolio Manager of the Global Equity Income Fund, provides a global dividend update and shares key takeaways from the latest Henderson Global Dividend Study. He also discusses two strategic themes in the Fund’s strategy, telecommunications and corporate restructuring, as well as two stock picks that motivate him.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 Choosing Common Stocks That Make Sense for Your Retirement Portfolio: Part 2 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Choosing the most appropriate stocks for the common stock portion of your retirement portfolio is vitally important. In part 1 of this series found here I presented the 6 broad categories of stocks (businesses) that renowned mutual fund manager Peter Lynch presented in his best-selling book "One Up On Wall Street." I contend that the 6 categories that Peter Lynch wrote about establish a solid foundation of understanding of what’s generally available in the common stock universe.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 Fed Keeps Interest Rates Near Zero a Little Longer by Paul Eitelman of Russell Investments

Paul Eitelman delves into today’s Fed announcement on interest rates. What might it mean for the U.S. economic growth outlook?

2015-09-17 00:00:00 Does a Higher Retirement Bogey Call for a Different Club? by Jeff Middleswart of Ranger International

Recent research suggests the rule of thumb 4% distribution rate is far too high. If true, savers may want to consider adding dividend paying stocks to their portfolios.

2015-09-16 00:00:00 Correlations Have Spiked In The US, Less So Around The World by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

The correlation between US stocks and the MSCI World Index has once again spiked as volatility has increased. In the chart below, we show 20-day, 65-day, and 200-day rolling correlation between US stocks and the MSCI World Index. The 20-day correlation has increased to 0.82 which is the highest level since 9/7/2011 and it surpasses any level hit during the financial crisis.

2015-09-16 00:00:00 New Study: We're Nowhere Near Peak Coal Use in China and India by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Resource investors, take note: By 2025, just 10 years from now, energy consumption in Asia will increase a whopping 31 percent. A whole two-thirds of that demand, driven largely by China and India, will be for fossil fuels, most notably coal.

2015-09-16 00:00:00 Don’t Submit to Market Distortions by Sharon Fay of AllianceBernstein

After years of steadily rising markets, distortions have become embedded in the landscape. We believe there are several large market imbalances that investors may be exposed to in passive portfolios today.

2015-09-16 00:00:00 Where Will Crude Oil Go From Here? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

While recent oil price movements have been extraordinary, Russ explains why crude oil should remain range bound going forward.

2015-09-16 00:00:00 It’s Someone Else’s Money by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Indeed, due to expensive valuations, lack of revenue/earnings growth, slow GDP, China, politics, etc., the stock market had been in a virtual stalemate paralysis until the middle of July, having crossed above/below “go” so many times the only way to make money was to erect a toll gate at “go” (think the game Monopoly). And no wonder, frustration has reigned through the first six months of the year.

2015-09-16 00:00:00 Stock Market Indicator Alert by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

On Friday our Classic strategy’s timing signal switched to a sell. This is the first time in two years that both its high risk and timing components have aligned to create a sell signal.

2015-09-16 00:00:00 Duration Issues Related to Seasoned Residential Mortgage Backed Securities by AlphaCentric Advisors LLC and Garrison Point Capital, LLC of AlphaCentric Funds

Fixed income practitioners traditionally think of duration as a security’s first-order sensitivity to changes in interest rates. Thus, a duration of X years equates – roughly – to a change in price of X% for every 100bp move in rates. And since the discounting formula for bond prices has this “rate” factor in the denominator, an increase in rates represents a decrease in the bond’s price, and vice-versa. Simple, right? Maybe not!

2015-09-16 00:00:00 September 2015 Economic Update by Team of Cambridge Advisors

In August, stocks started out trading within the range they had traded in for most of the year. Mid-month, investors were shaken when stocks stumbled and posted their worst monthly decline since August 2011.

2015-09-16 00:00:00 The Fed's Dilemma by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The U.S. Federal Reserve’s rate rise history reveals a familiar dilemma—previous delays led to inflated asset prices and recessions.

2015-09-16 00:00:00 The Age of Bobby Fischer by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

The new Hollywood movie “Pawn Sacrifice” depicts the Cold War match between the tormented chess prodigy and Russian world champion Boris Spassky. It also makes one wonder whether a creative genius like Fischer, deeply troubled yet supremely functional at the chessboard, would be able to exist in today’s unforgiving online world.

2015-09-16 00:00:00 Technically Speaking: DeJa Vu All Over Again by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

In yesterday's missive "It All Comes Down To This," I discussed the upcoming Federal Reserve meeting and the expectation that the Fed once again delays hiking rates due to global economic and market weakness. With markets oversold on a short-term basis combined with a spike in volatility and bearish sentiment, a "punt" by the FOMC will likely spark a short-term rally in the market. Such an outcome would NOT be surprising by any means since the market has rallied the week of an FOMC "no hike" meeting since 2013.

2015-09-16 00:00:00 Will She or Won’t She . . . Raise Rates, That Is? by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

The big news this week is the Federal Reserve’s rate-setting meeting tomorrow and Thursday. This is one of eight meetings held each year, approximately every six weeks. The remaining ones in 2015 are in October and December. The reason this matters is because, once again, the Fed has to decide whether to start raising rates or not. I have argued before that, economically, it doesn’t really matter that much, but from an investor confidence perspective—and thus for the markets—it does.

2015-09-16 00:00:00 China, Commodities, and Crisis: What's Next for Emerging Markets? by (Article)

China’s growth fueled global markets for years, and recent events raise concerns about other emerging markets, heavily dependent on Chinese demand and already out of favor with investors. This month, we consider "China, Commodities, and Crisis: What’s Next for Emerging Markets?"

2015-09-15 00:00:00 The Nazrudin Project – Bending the Profession Since 1995 by Richard Vodra, JD (Article)

The financial planning profession is only a few decades old, and is continuing to discover how it can best serve its clients. This is the story of one group and its process that has had an outsized impact for change over the last 20 years.

2015-09-15 00:00:00 Be Face-To-Face Without Being In-Person by Crystal Butler (Article)

I’ve summarized some tools that can help you achieve a face-to-face meeting even if you aren’t necessarily in-person.

2015-09-15 00:00:00 The Seven Words that Transform Conversations by Dan Richards (Article)

Seven words will shape the outcome when you talk to clients and prospects – seven words when clients start talking, seven words after they answer all your questions and seven words before you present recommendations.

2015-09-15 00:00:00 When Efforts to Persuade Backfire by Dan Solin (Article)

How do you deal with arguments contrary to your position? Do you ignore them? Do you dismiss them as spurious and not worthy of discussion? Do you address them and deal with them in a serious and analytical manner?

2015-09-15 00:00:00 Gundlach on Donald Trump, China and Fed Policy by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Despite grabbing most of the headlines and leading in many of the polls, Donald Trump is not expected to win the Republican nomination. But Jeffrey Gundlach said that Trump has done the electorate a “big favor by bringing up issues that have been conveniently buried for quite some time.”

2015-09-15 00:00:00 On My Radar: Valuations, Forward Returns and Recession by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Of the nine market declines associated with recessions that started with valuations above the mean, the average decline was -42.8%. Of the four declines that began with valuations below the mean, the average was -19.9%”– Doug Short

2015-09-15 00:00:00 Stuck in the Middle with You by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Unless you have been asleep on the floor for the last six weeks, you’ve noticed that the U.S. stock market has gone down. Even before stocks sold off in August, the average common stock had been performing poorly relative to the S&P 500 Index. In August, the market officially declined more than 10% from peak to trough. An anthem for situations like this comes from the one-hit wonder, Stealers Wheel, who penned the song “Stuck in the Middle with You.”

2015-09-15 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: To Hike, or not to Hike? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

After many years of standing pat on interest rates, there is finally a genuine chance of a shift in Fed policy. The punditry will be asking: To hike, or not to hike?

2015-09-15 00:00:00 We Aren't Getting by with a Little Help from the Fed by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

Long term investors would do well to avoid getting caught up in the guessing game of when the Fed will raise interest rates. Economic theory and empirical evidence both point to the reality that there is precious little the Fed can do sustainably improve economic outcomes. Instead, it is far better to keep an eye on income and investment.

2015-09-15 00:00:00 China: Double, Double Toil and Trouble/Fire Burn, and Cauldron Bubble? by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

Many argue that China’s economy is descending into policy chaos and a witches’ brew, otherwise known as a hard landing. But perhaps tellingly, even during the recent A-share fall, Chinese consumers seemed to shrug off the drama and continued to spend. China’s recent economic developments can be seen as stumbles along the path toward growth rates that are continuing to decelerate (but are still quite fast) from an economy that is increasingly “rebalanced.” This latest issue of Sinology explores the thinking behind this non-consensus conclusion.

2015-09-15 00:00:00 FOMC Preview: First, Do No Harm by Carl Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

Next week’s meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is one of the more highly anticipated central bank sessions in years. A couple of months ago, the policy decision that will emerge next Thursday afternoon seemed clear.

2015-09-15 00:00:00 Describing Liquid Alts: Risk Parity by Michael Breitenbach of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

The risk-parity portfolio technique offers an alternative portfolio construction methodology to heuristic rules such as “60/40” and traditional quantitative portfolio construction techniques such as mean-variance optimization. Proponents of risk-parity portfolios argue that the traditional 60/40 allocation historically has exposed investors disproportionately to equity market risk and that volatility in these historical returns has been driven primarily by variation in equity market prices.

2015-09-15 00:00:00 The Fed: More Noise Than Meaning by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Get on with it already! Don’t get us wrong, we know this is the “Super Bowl” for business journalism (anyone have tix to the ESPN party?), but raising rates from 1/8th to 3/8ths of 1%, after six years of economic recovery should be a no-brainer. Our suggestion: spend the week analyzing companies and investment products. Don’t get sucked into the idea that there is some genius trading strategy for how to deal with this. That’s right; ignore it. Don’t read the statement and don’t watch the press conference.

2015-09-15 00:00:00 Market Unease May Continue for Some Time by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Markets calmed last week relative to recent turmoil, but investor sentiment remains fragile. The focus on Federal Reserve policy, weakness in China and concerns about economic growth continued to drive sentiment. The S&P 500 Index gained 2.1%, commodities were flat and bond yields rose. Technology and health care posted the best results, while energy lagged.

2015-09-15 00:00:00 Active Versus Passive – Understanding the Debate Part 2: Passive Investing by Charles Batchelor of Cleary Gull

In this next post, I’m going to focus on passive investments and passive investing. If it looks like I just repeated myself, I didn’t. Passive investments are much different than following a passive investment strategy for portfolio management. As a reminder, a passive investment is a style of management where a predetermined basket of securities are purchased and automatic adjustments are made with no personal judgement or forecasting.

2015-09-15 00:00:00 Checking China's Real Crisis by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The unwinding of China’s property boom will weigh on its economy and finances, but the consequences shouldn’t be dire.

2015-09-15 00:00:00 FlexShares MBSD by Shundrawn Thomas, Head of Funds and Managed Accounts Group, Northern Trust (Article)

See how MBSD seeks incremental yield potential and fixed income diversification through fixed rate, U.S. agency mortgage backed securities.

2015-09-14 00:00:00 The Beauty of Truth and the Beast of Dogma by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

When you examine historical data and estimate actual correlations and effect sizes, the dogmatic belief that the Fed can “fine tune” anything in the economy is utter hogwash. Truth, on the other hand, is beautiful. Economic relationships that are supported in real-world data are a sight to behold.

2015-09-14 00:00:00 What We’re Doing to Manage Liquidity Risk by Douglas Peebles, Ashish Shah of AllianceBernstein

In our last post, we urged investors to vet potential asset managers to make sure they understand the bond liquidity crunch. It’s only fair, then, to explain what we’re doing to manage liquidity risk.

2015-09-14 00:00:00 Early Cyclicals Moved to New Relative Highs During Recent Market Turmoil by Jennifer Thomson of GaveKal Capital

Regular readers are familiar with our reliance on ‘baskets’ of stocks in order to gain a high-level perspective on general market trends.

2015-09-14 00:00:00 Investing for Income: Meeting the Challenges of a Low Yield Environment by Paul Reisz, Tina Adatia, Tanya Sanwal of PIMCO

For many investors, generating a high and sustainable income stream is challenging in the current secular landscape, which PIMCO calls The New Neutral. Over the next three to five years, we expect to see global economies converging to modest trend growth rates as central banks are constrained to set policy rates at levels well below those that prevailed before the financial crisis.

2015-09-14 00:00:00 Are You Investing in Tomorrow's Dividend Growers? by Clint Harris of Invesco Blog

Some 420 companies in the S&P 500 Index pay dividends. If you own a fund that invests in dividend-paying companies, it’s critical for you to understand your fund’s selection criteria. Does it look for increasing dividends? Stable dividends? High dividend yields? These differences can matter greatly to your results.

2015-09-14 00:00:00 Designing the Appropriate Common Stock Retirement Portfolio: Stock Selection Options Part 1 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

What is the best way to design or construct a common stock portfolio? This is a question I am often asked and my short answer is always the same - it depends. The truth is, there is no perfect method or strategy for designing a stock portfolio that is right for every individual investor. However, there are principles of sound investing that every investor can follow and apply when designing a common stock portfolio that’s just right for them.

2015-09-14 00:00:00 How Do I Leave My Legacy as an Advisor? by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

What’s the best way to go about securing my legacy but not letting clients think I am jumping ship soon?

2015-09-14 00:00:00 China, the Fed, and Bond Yields by Scott Brown of Raymond James

An initial increase in short-term interest rates is apparently still on the table at this week’s Fed policy meeting, but it’s more likely that we’ll see a delay. That may not ease the stock market’s concerns, as officials are expected to remain committed to raising rates at some point in the near future.

2015-09-14 00:00:00 Debt, Taxes and Politics: A Perspective on Federal Tax History by Doug Short (Article)

With the focus on the Federal Reserve and conflicting expectations of a September rate hike, let's take a long look back at federal debt and taxes.

The first chart is a snapshot of federal debt with government forecasts through 2018.

2015-09-14 00:00:00 Schwab Market Perspective: Now What? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”—Mike Tyson. We don’t often quote Mike Tyson, but his words resonate lately. Investors are wondering what to do—buy the dips, sell the rallies, or sit tight? First, investment decisions should never be made on emotion, which tends to dominate at times like this. It can be difficult to stomach moves such as we’ve seen recently. But investors who have an investing plan in place should indeed just sit there, let things calm down, and continue with the plan already put in place.

2015-09-14 00:00:00 A Turn of the Tide Revisited by Martin Pring of Pring Turner Capital Group

US equities reached a major inflexion point in the year 2000. It was historic because it represented both a secular and primary reversal. A primary trend revolves around the business cycle and typically lasts 2-3 years, whereas a secular one lasts much longer and embraces several cycles. Our objective here is to revisit an article published earlier this year in which we pointed out some ominous signs for US equities. At that time some trend reversal signals, such as negative long-term moving average crossovers, were required as confirmation.

2015-09-14 00:00:00 CEF Investor Trends by (Article)

Institutional investors have increased their activity in the closed-end fund market, says analyst Maury Fertig of Relative Value Partners.

2015-09-12 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review For Sept. 7-11 by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

There has been a slight but important shift in news coverage over the last few months. It started with the wild gyrations of the Chinese stock market, which, in retrospect, granted journalists permission to write more negative stories about the global economy. Since then, we’re seen more discussion about EM capital flight, the fiscal troubles of Brazil and the potential issues related to Russia. The news is hardly catastrophic; it simply represents the natural ripples flowing out from China’s attempt to change its economic model and the potential Fed rate hike coming down the pike.

2015-09-12 00:00:00 Life Is Uncertain and So Are Interest Rates by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Right now, a lot of investors are wondering about the uncertainty of rising interest rates—the causes, effects and possible ramifications. Many people have been saying for weeks and months now that a rate hike is imminent and that September is the anticipated takeoff. I’ve been skeptical of this, and now a chart from highly-respected market analyst Jeff deGraaf confirms my skepticism.

2015-09-12 00:00:00 Active Versus Passive – Understanding the Debate by Charles Batchelor of Cleary Gull

The purpose of this series of blog posts is not to add to the already massive number of studies, whitepapers, presentations, academic papers, blogs, etc. that attempt to prove which overriding type of investment product, “active” or “passive,” is “better.” Furthermore, I am not going to give you my opinion on which product type is superior. Rather, my primary goals are to better define what is being debated, spend time on what I do not believe has been discussed nearly enough during the “active vs. passive” debate.

2015-09-12 00:00:00 The Case for (Carefully Selected) High Yield by Chad Gunther of Ivy Investment Management Company

The second half of summer has challenged high-yield fixed income investors with volatility fueled by developments on a number of fronts. That volatility, however, may have created some potential opportunities. Chad Gunther, portfolio manager of Ivy High Income Fund, shares his views.

2015-09-12 00:00:00 Earnings Surprises...Are You Kidding Me? by Frank Caruso, Vincent Dupont, Adam Yee of Alliance Bernstein

In the game called the quarterly earnings season, positive surprises have become so commonplace among US large-cap stocks that they’ve nearly lost all meaning. We wonder why investors keep playing along.

2015-09-12 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

It's never perfect in equity markets; when price patterns and breadth look healthy, sentiment is overly bullish and further appreciation becomes limited. When price falls, the price pattern looks scary and breadth looks terrible but sentiment becomes too bearish. These are when longer term lows form. More likely than not, that is where equity markets are now.

2015-09-12 00:00:00 Needed at the Fed: An Inverse Volcker by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

I believe the Federal Open Market Committee should hike rates ASAP. A number of very astute analysts and Fed observers agree with me. On the other hand, an equal-sized army of similarly smart analysts think they should not. It seems to me this recovery is getting long in the tooth. The Fed needs to give itself some room to stimulate when the economy turns down again. As it stands now, their only weapons are to take interest rates negative or to resume quantitative easing. We don’t want either of those.

2015-09-11 00:00:00 Beige Book: Windo on Main Street by John Canally of LPL Financial

The latest Beige Book suggests that the U.S. economy is still growing at or above its long-term trend, indicating that some of the “transitory factors” that held the U.S. economy back in the first quarter of 2015 have faded. Comments also indicate that concern over China’s impact on the U.S. economy has increased and that some upward pressure on wages is beginning to emerge.

2015-09-11 00:00:00 Closed End Funds versus Exchange Traded Funds by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

There are currently a number of fund-based options available to investors looking for yield. In addition to traditional open-ended mutual funds, investors are also turning toward closed end funds (CEFs) and exchange traded funds (ETFs) to generate yield, including in the high yield bond market. Both CEFs and ETFs have continuous trading and pricing throughout the day, making them very liquid options for investors. While CEFs tend to be actively managed, there are both index-based options and actively managed options in the ETF space.

2015-09-11 00:00:00 Character Traits of the Great Investor Sir John Templeton by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

There is a great advantage in living with a psychologist. When the world seems to be acting irrationally, or when a fear of loss takes hold of my mind, the psychologist couch, which in my case is conveniently located in my living room, serves a purpose well beyond the Sunday afternoon nap. It is where I can hear soothing words such as: “You have been through this time and time again.” “You have prepared for this, and you have explained to all of your clients that this can happen.” “This too will pass.”

2015-09-11 00:00:00 Housing: A Secular Opportunity? by Adam Peck of Heartland Advisors

Low interest rates, demographics, and a solid economy should provide staying power to a resurgent housing market. We are finding opportunities to capitalize on growth in the area while diversifying idiosyncratic risks in our portfolios.

2015-09-11 00:00:00 Solon’s Warning by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets is a book by written by Nassim Taleb that discusses the fallibility of human knowledge. Taleb’s main premise is that modern humans are mostly unaware of the existence of “randomness,” believing that random outcomes are non-random. Randomness is the lack of a pattern, or predictability, in events; a random sequence of events that has no order and does not follow an intelligible pattern.

2015-09-11 00:00:00 An Expert’s Guide to Market Volatility by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ shares three themes that have emerged from his conversations with numerous clients following the market drama in recent weeks.

2015-09-11 00:00:00 Put Your Bond Manager to the Liquidity Test by Douglas Peebles, Ashish Shah of AllianceBernstein

Bond market liquidity is drying up—something every investor and financial advisor should take seriously. But liquidity risk can also provide an additional source of returns. The trick is knowing how to manage it.

2015-09-11 00:00:00 8 Iconic American Companies that Have Been Hurt by the Strong Dollar by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Since July 2014, the U.S. dollar has advanced more than 20 percent against other world currencies. To many, having a strong currency might sound like a good thing, and in many respects it is. The dollar’s relative strength is a reflection of the U.S. economy, which continues to improve since the financial crisis.

2015-09-11 00:00:00 Global Economic Perspective: September by Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group of Franklin Templeton Investments

While the [US] Fed is facing an extremely delicate task ... it is still our belief that the US economy remains sufficiently strong to be able to bear a gradual increase in short-term rates in the coming months.

2015-09-11 00:00:00 Deflationary Tailwinds In US Import/Export Prices by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

A strong dollar is very prevalent in today’s import and export price release. Import prices have declined by -11.4% year-over-year which is the largest decline since 9/2009. If we go back as far as the data exists (1983),the current decline is the largest on record outside of the financial crisis. Excluding fuels, import prices have declined by just over 3% which again is the largest decline since 10/2009. The decline in import prices looks like it has a ways to run as well. The dollar has gained over 16% over the past year.

2015-09-11 00:00:00 Protecting Against Inflation In a Deflationary World by Steven Malin Ph.D. of Allianz Global Investors

Powerful global deflationary forces will continue to put downward pressure on the prices of inputs and outputs for months, if not years, to come. Even if the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England raise policy interest rates over the months ahead, inflation risk premiums built into market interest rates will remain small. In the absence of strong wage increases, unprecedented global growth in the supply of resources and outputs relative to demand will linger—and inflation will remain constrained.

2015-09-11 00:00:00 Next Generation Thinking: Insights by (Article)

How can advisors reach millennials more effectively? Look to T. Rowe Price for insights.

2015-09-10 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review for Aug 31-Sept. 4 by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The Federal Reserve released the latest Beige Book on Wednesday which showed a modestly expanding economy. While construction, aerospace and the auto industry led to manufacturing growth, cheap imported substitutes and the strong dollar continue providing headwinds. Retail, tourism and service sectors reported moderate growth. Housing sales and construction continue growing, but low inventory is driving prices higher. The imminent Fed rate increase is pulling some projects forward. The overall trend of loan growth and declining delinquencies continues.

2015-09-10 00:00:00 Describing Liquid Alts: Alternative-Asset Beta (FX, Commodities, MLPs and beyond) by Michael Breitenbach of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

The alternative-asset beta family of related liquid alternative strategies invests in alternative assets such as foreign exchange, commodities, and energy infrastructure. Ideally, these investments will provide attractive risk-adjusted returns that are uncorrelated with traditional equity and fixed-income markets.

2015-09-10 00:00:00 U.S. Labor: The Fear of Wages by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Not only are U.S. employment costs accelerating but also worker output per hour is decelerating. Could this spur inflation concerns at the U.S. Federal Reserve?

2015-09-10 00:00:00 Uncertainty = Opportunity® by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

While market volatility is currently making front-page headlines in the media, we argue that investors must look past the noise and objectively focus on the fundamentals. Before you decide on a drastic asset allocation shift, learn what opportunities we see in these uncertain markets.

2015-09-10 00:00:00 Did you miss it? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

As kids in Michigan head back to school today, I’m sure many students are asking, “What happened to summer? Did I miss it?” When I was that age, it always seemed like the school year was so long and that summer just flew by. Because the last week before Labor Day is one of the most popular vacation weeks, many investors were probably only vaguely aware of the financial market actions last week. With the extreme market swings of the previous week, they doubtless just wanted to lie down on a sandy beach, soak up some end-of-summer rays, and read some diverting summer fiction.

2015-09-10 00:00:00 The U.S. Economy Is Not Holding Back the Fed by Carl Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

The Federal Reserve’s rate-setting committee meets next week, and there is more uneasiness than usual surrounding the event. Much has changed in the past few weeks, and the Fed’s likely course of action is being examined from a multitude of angles.

2015-09-10 00:00:00 Consulting Our Technical Playbook by Burt White of LPL Financial

When markets are tough, emotions can take over. The natural emotional response to sharp stock market declines is to sell. In periods like these, especially when the media sensationalize every gloomy angle as they tend to do, an objective look at the data can be reassuring and help us make better investment decisions.

2015-09-10 00:00:00 What Might Tax Liability Mean to You? by Frank Pape of Russell Investments

Understanding tax liability and being able to explain it to your clients can be important. Frank Pape provides ways to be more tax aware.

2015-09-10 00:00:00 The August Employment Report and the Fed by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The August employment figures were mixed. Payrolls rose less than anticipated, but with an upward revision to the two previous months. The unemployment rate fell more than expected, while average hourly earnings ticked a little higher than anticipated – providing the Fed’s hawks some ammunition in arguing for a September 17 rate hike. The Fed is not going to react to any one economic report, but the jobs data fall in line with the broader range of indictors that suggest that slack is being reduced.

2015-09-10 00:00:00 Analysts Haven’t Been this Negative on Emerging Markets Since... by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

In simple terms, everyone has moved to the same side of the boat when it comes to expectations about the prospects of emerging market stocks. Not since the financial crisis nadir in stock prices have analysts of EM stocks been so bearish and quick to rerate expectations. Yet, amid all this negativity, there arises a fantastic opportunity for investors of EM stocks. As the famous Warren Buffet axiom states, “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful”. To say that analysts are fearful would be an understatement.

2015-09-10 00:00:00 Some Facts Regarding Today's Changing Home Buyer by John Burns of John Burns Real Estate Consulting

Let me summarize for you some of the key findings from an NAR report on home buyer and seller generational trends. So often, useful facts get lost in big reports.

2015-09-10 00:00:00 Why All the Hoopla over 25 Basis Points? by Dr. Brian Jacobsen of Wells Fargo Asset Management

Should the Federal Reserve hike rates at their next meeting? Take a look at the case for and against, with Dr. Brian Jacobsen, CFA, CFP®, of Wells Fargo Asset Management.

2015-09-10 00:00:00 Equity Valuations, Recessions and Stock Market Declines by Doug Short (Article)

Note from Doug: In response to a request, I've updated the data in this article through the August month-end numbers.

Earlier this year 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:

2015-09-09 00:00:00 Competing with the Alpha and the Omega by Cole Smead, CFA of Smead Capital Management

In the Bible, Jesus said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” While Jesus infers that he is at both the beginning and the end of time, we as investors can only operate in the present with a knowledge of what has come before. To better understand today's commodity market circumstances, we believe investors should examine the herd mentality and the psychological backing that may lead to contrarian investment opportunities.

2015-09-09 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Time to Revise Year-End Market Estimates? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

Sometimes the calendar dictates the agenda. The Labor Day weekend marks the official end of a summer that was eventful for markets. The punditry will be asking: What is your (revised) EOY target for stocks?

2015-09-09 00:00:00 Everything's Not Bad by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Have you noticed? Everything’s bad these days. On February 25, 2015, the Washington Post wonkblog posted a piece titled “Why rising wages might be bad news.” Last week, on September 1st, after another strong month of car and truck sales, the Wall Street Journal published a story “The Bad News in Strong Car Sales.”

2015-09-09 00:00:00 Markets Remain in Turmoil, but Should Stabilize Eventually by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Global equity markets fell last week with the S&P 500 Index down 3.4% and some non-U.S. markets declining even more. The sell-off is a continuing reflection of the ongoing turmoil that started a few weeks ago when China devalued its currency on August 11.

2015-09-09 00:00:00 Immigration: A Political and Economic Issue by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Donald Trump has successfully placed immigration at the center of the U.S. Presidential election. But while the issue is still largely a debating point in the United States, it has quickly and violently become a life and death issue for the European Union, which is in the midst of the most significant immigration and refugee crisis since the Second World War.

2015-09-09 00:00:00 Technically Speaking: A Sucker's Rally? by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

In last week's technical review "The Mark Of A Bear," I stated: "The Bulls have remained firmly in charge of the markets as the reach for returns exceeded the grasp of the underlying risk. It now seems that has changed. For the first time since 2007, as we see initial markings of a potential bear market cycle." The problem in stating that we MAY be seeing the initial markings of a potential bear market cycle is that individuals assume this means the markets will crash immediately. When such an outcome does not occur, the analysis is presumed wrong.

2015-09-09 00:00:00 On The Economy, Inflation, China & Odds For Fed Liftoff by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The investment markets remain fixated on whether the Fed will hike interest rates for the first time in almost a decade on September 17. Stock market volatility spiked in late August and so far this month, with most global equity markets in “correction” territory. It remains to be seen if the latest stock market chaos will cause the Fed to delay lift-off until December or later.

2015-09-09 00:00:00 China Deserves More Credit than Blame by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein

The visit to the US later this month by China’s President Xi Jinping comes at a politically sensitive time, with volatility in China’s markets—widely attributed to the effect of policy decisions—rippling globally. In our view, however, China deserves more credit than blame for its recent actions.

2015-09-09 00:00:00 A Time to Take Stock – and Advantage of Pockets of Value by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Another week, another selloff. Stocks tumbled again last week with the S&P 500 Index falling 3.37% to 1,921 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average declining 3.25% to 16,102. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index struggled as well, down 3.00% to 4,683. Meanwhile, bond yields were relatively unchanged, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury slipping from 2.18% to 2.13%, as its price correspondingly rose.

2015-09-09 00:00:00 Dividend & Income Builder Celebrates 3-Year with 5 Stars by (Article)

Ben Lofthouse, Co-Portfolio Manager of the Dividend & Income Builder Fund, provides an update on the Fund’s performance and positioning and notes its recent 5-star Morningstar rating. Ben comments that the biggest driver of the Fund’s performance has been stock selection; they have seen improving economic growth from a low base in the US, UK and Europe. Ben notes they’ve seen good dividend growth; the team continues to focus on dividend growth and cash flow generation. The team believes they are well-positioned for medium term capital growth and importantly, income growth.

2015-09-09 00:00:00 Newsletter - September 2015 by Harold Evensky, of Evensky & Katz / Foldes Financial Wealth Management

Harold Evensky's quarterly letter to his readers.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 Making Sense of Market Volatility by Sponsored Content from Invesco (Article)

• On Aug. 21, the Dow Jones Industrial Average entered a correction and reminded investors what volatility looks like. • Several Invesco senior investment leaders discuss their views of market volatility. • They share how it affects, or doesn’t affect, the opportunities they see.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 Does Morgan Stanley Add Value For Investors? by Larry Swedroe (Article)

In the latest 10-year period, only 38% of Morgan Stanley’s mutual funds outperformed their analyst-assigned benchmarks. Thus, while the fees these funds have generated are among the few consistent bright spots of growth on Wall Street, there is still a question for investors: Have these actively managed mutual funds been good investment choices?

2015-09-08 00:00:00 The Dramatic Return from Tailoring Your Message by Dan Richards (Article)

My research over the past year identified four broad categories of key qualities that investors look for from their advisors. And the recent experience of one advisor shows that tailoring your approach to focus on the hot buttons for each individual client and prospect makes your overall communication much more efficient and effective.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 That Was Not a Crash by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

To call the recent market retreat a “crash” is an offense to informed discussion of the financial markets. It was merely an air-pocket of the sort that typically emerges once overvalued, overbought, overbullish conditions are joined with deterioration in market internals. It was probably just a start.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 Largest Driver of Performance Over the Last Month? Beta by Jennifer Thomson of GaveKal Capital

As part of our treasure trove of data and tables, we rely on our factor scoring model to tell us the most important elements that have affected performance over various time periods and in different regions. For developed markets (DM), the most influential factor over the last week and month (coming in 2nd over the last year and 5th over the last three months) has been beta.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 Rising Rates and the Case for Leveraged Loans by Mark Boyadjian, Reema Agarwal of Franklin Templeton Investments

For certain investors—in particular pension funds and insurance companies that tend to follow a more cautious investment strategy—the extended period of record or near-record low US interest rates has been a thorn in the side.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 Betting on Japan, Inc.’s Recovery by Vadim Zlotnikov of AllianceBernstein

Japanese stocks have outperformed the past few years, and we don’t think their run is over. Policies to improve profitability, capital use and productivity should provide a stronger foundation for further gains.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 Navigating Divergent Global ILB Markets: Why Are UK Index-Linked Gilts Persistently Overvalued? by Mihir Worah, Mike Amey, Berdibek Ahmedov of PIMCO

Current extremely low and negative real yields on UK index-linked gilts, particularly for long-dated bonds, do not appear to have any fundamental justifications.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 The 2 Keys to the Magic Formula for Long-Term Investment Success by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Investing in anything comes with a degree of uncertainty because all investing returns happen in the future. And even though the future is unpredictable, the future is what everyone that invests is investing for. These realities present important challenges that every investor must face and deal with in order to succeed.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 Curb Your Mind by Rick Lear of Lear Investment Management

With the recent events in China and Greece causing volatility in the global markets, we think it is more important than ever to take a moment to reflect on how capital markets function. People trade stocks; and an understanding of the human thought processes is at the foundation of markets. The recent gyration of the world’s markets reminds us how quickly greed can turn to fear and how investors can begin to make mistakes. We find that heightened emotions often lead to mistakes that can be easily avoided.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 Investment Grade Bonds Power Explosion in M&A by Jacob Habibi of Invesco Blog

New bond issuance in the US investment grade (IG) market has exploded in 2015 as companies look to finance mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and Invesco Fixed Income sees no signs of this trend slowing down through the end of the year.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 ETFs: “Like Handing an Arsonist a Match” by Mark Oelschlager of Oak Associates

The popularity of ETFs has grown among market participants who, in the aftermath of the financial crisis, want to be able to reduce market exposure or shift between sectors when they sense danger/opportunity. The recent correction has brought to light the role of ETFs in the market, and the volume statistics are mind-boggling. Innovation is generally good, but like many things in life, there is a downside, and we would argue the downside to using ETFs to engage in frequent portfolio repositioning is particularly steep.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 On My Radar: A Bumpy Ride? How Bumpy? And For How Long? by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Volatility and uncertainty are nothing new in financial markets. QE4 may right the ship but that is the bet. No guarantees in this game.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 CEF Investors by (Article)

Longtime investment analyst Maury Fertig of Relative Value Partners describes what he sees as three types of closed-end fund investors.

2015-09-07 00:00:00 Fed Up with the Fed by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

Every August, central bankers and financiers from around the world meet in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This year, the participants were greeted by a large group of mostly young people, who were there not so much to protest as to emphasize to the assembled policymakers that what they do affects ordinary citizens, not just financiers.

2015-09-07 00:00:00 Think Like an Actuary to Become a Better Advisor by Ken Steiner (Article)

Developing a reasonable spending budget for clients who are near or in retirement is an actuarial problem. As such, it requires an actuarial solution. But, you don’t need to be an actuary to solve your client’s problem.

2015-09-07 00:00:00 The First Step in Launching a Firm-wide Marketing Strategy by Kristen Luke (Article)

In order for a firm to grow and succeed beyond its owner’s capabilities, marketing and business development must become a company-wide responsibility. Here’s a process to make that happen.

2015-09-07 00:00:00 How to Get More Out of High-Performing Advisors by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I have two high-performing advisors in my firm. They find “new” money from existing clients all the time, and they get referrals without having to ask for them. But I need them to take these skills and sell more aggressively.

2015-09-07 00:00:00 What Litigators Can Teach You about Building Your Practice by Dan Solin (Article)

Your prospect holds the cards. You need to persuade her to entrust you with her assets. There are powerful similarities to the situation faced by a litigator standing before a judge. Here’s some research from the legal field that shows how advisors can be more persuasive.

2015-09-06 00:00:00 Muddling Through Shanghai by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

China is in transition, a transition that was clearly telegraphed if you have been paying attention. Our recent book on China (A Great Leap Forward?) clearly laid out this new path. Today we are going to talk about this precarious, difficult transition, which may impose profound impacts on much of the rest of the world. This transition is going to change the way global trade has worked in the past. There will be winners and losers.

2015-09-05 00:00:00 The Art of Capital Flight by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

For emerging-market investors, art has become a critical tool for moving and hiding wealth, which has been a major factor in the spectacular rise in auction prices of the last several years. So, with emerging-market economies from Russia to Brazil mired in recession, and China slowing rapidly, is the art bubble about to burst?

2015-09-05 00:00:00 Meet QT; QE's Evil Twin by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

There is a growing sense across the financial spectrum that the world is about to turn some type of economic page. Unfortunately no one in the mainstream is too sure what the last chapter was about, and fewer still have any clue as to what the next chapter will bring. There is some agreement however, that the age of ever easing monetary policy in the U.S. will be ending at the same time that the Chinese economy (that had powered the commodity and emerging market booms) will be finally running out of gas.

2015-09-04 00:00:00 A Hall of Fame Client by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

Over two or three decades, money-management has changed in the same way that medicine and law, for example, have changed. What used to be professions have become businesses, for the sake of cost-cutting, pooling of resources, growth, and operational leverage. In the process, whereas the main goal of professionals used to be to excel at the services they provided, with growth being ancillary, that goal has now been relegated to a spot behind the pressure to “meet the figures.”

2015-09-04 00:00:00 Here’s Your Guide to What the Influencers Are Saying about Commodities by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

A few legendary influencers in investing are making huge bets right now on commodities, an area that’s faced—and continues to face—some pretty strong headwinds. What are we to make of this?

2015-09-04 00:00:00 Unpopularity Contest by Herbert and Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

With central banks focused on growth and generating inflation, and their pedals to the metal, we believe the ultimate outcome will be inflationary growth, or even stagflation. But, inevitably, a boost for depressed commodities and the depressed share prices of their currently unpopular producers. A particular opportunity when the correction phase ends and the bull market resumes. Time to be contrarian. And patient value investors should clearly be rewarded.

2015-09-04 00:00:00 Heading into the Labor Day Weekend by Doug MacKay and Bill Hoover of Broadleaf Partners

As we head into the extended Labor Day Weekend, we thought it would be a good idea to share some quick thoughts on the continued volatility in the global stock markets, including our own. In addition to our own long weekend, the markets in China will also reopen on Tuesday, after being closed for their holidays the past two days.

2015-09-04 00:00:00 Will Unsettled Markets Unsettle the Federal Reserve? by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The question of how events in the Far East will affect the Fed has come up frequently in recent conversations. At the outset, it should be noted that central banks do not center their policies on the levels of asset markets or the level of volatility.

2015-09-04 00:00:00 Unfazed by the Turmoil by Byron Wien of Blackstone

Overall, my sense of this year’s lunches is that the participants were still basically optimistic, as they generally are. I wonder if there were something big and negative brewing out there, whether the group would be able to anticipate it.

2015-09-04 00:00:00 China Sets its Sights on Life Sciences by Jerry C. Shih of Matthews Asia

China is a market too large to be ignored—this has long been a saying among those considering doing business in the country. But increasingly, multinational corporations see China as a hub of nascent innovation. China’s evolving pharmaceutical landscape and the government’s pro-innovation policies are driving indigenous innovation in its life sciences. Asia Insight explores China’s path in this arena.

2015-09-04 00:00:00 ECRI Weekly Leading Index: "Cheap Labor" by Jill Mislinski of Advisor Perspectives (

ECRI's latest article argues that the improvement in employment is illusory and a misleading indicator of the labor market. The jobs recovery since the Great Recession has been spearheaded by cheap labor.

2015-09-04 00:00:00 China Deserves More Credit than Blame by Hayden Briscoe of Alliance Bernstein

The visit to the US later this month by China’s President Xi Jinping comes at a politically sensitive time, with volatility in China’s markets—widely attributed to the effect of policy decisions—rippling globally. In our view, however, China deserves more credit than blame for its recent actions.

2015-09-04 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review For Aug. 31-Sept. 4 by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The potential negative impact of China’s slowdown is sinking into policy maker’s decision making process and trader’s analysis. Money is flowing from emerging to developed economies; emerging markets and currencies are underperformers relative to developed markets. The potential for China to export deflation is being discussed. And central bankers are acknowledging the slowdown by lowering growth forecasts and opening speculating about additional monetary stimulus. As we leave the summer doldrums and enter the last four months of trading, the environment has clearly changed.

2015-09-04 00:00:00 FlexShares GQRE ETF by Shundrawn Thomas, Head of Funds and Managed Accounts Group, Northern Trust (Article)

See how GQRE combines quality, value and momentum in a diversified real estate equity portfolio.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 12 Questions for a 12% Correction by Burt White of LPL Financial

The recent market downdraft and related uncertainty in China have led to many investor questions. The strong 6.5% rebound in the S&P 500 over the last three trading sessions (August 26, 27, 28, 2015) has cut the S&P 500’s losses from the 2015 peak (2130 on May 21, 2015) to 6.7%. In response to the S&P 500’s recent 12% correction?—?the first decline of more than 10% since 2011?—?we answer 12 investor questions. Bottom line, we do not expect the latest correction and China uncertainty to lead to the end of the U.S. economic expansion or the end of the six-and-a-half-year old bull

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Is a China Economic Crisis on the Horizon? by Erik Ristuben of Russell Investments

Chief Investment Strategist Erik Ristuben looks at the factors at play in a possible China economic crisis.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Commodities, China and Currencies Oh My! by Rudolph-Riad Younes of R Squared Capital Management

Recent market events confirm our big picture view. We are and have been bearish on commodities and emerging markets. The spike in commodity prices during the so-called supercycle and the ZIRP (zero interest rate period) in the U.S. created irrationally exuberant conditions in many emerging markets. We are moving from a virtuous circle to a vicious cycle.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Inflation - It Will Get Worse by Chun Wang of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

The dollar real effective exchange rate and the 10-year real yield are great proxies for monetary conditions. Stronger dollar and higher real yields are both indications of tighter monetary conditions. Unfortunately, this is what is happening right now. In other words, the markets are doing the tightening job for the Fed. This is why we think the Fed would be much better off postponing the rate hike.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Weight of the Evidence Argues for Caution by William Delwiche of Robert W. Baird & Co.

At this point, cycle lows for the popular averages may well be in place. This is not yet supported by the weight of the evidence, however. Simply put, risks remain elevated and it is too early to sound an all clear.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Another Government Shutdown? by Andy Friedman of The Washington Update

Congress returns from recess next week facing a month-end deadline to fund government operations for the next fiscal year. I’m concerned we could be looking at a reprise of 2013.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Look Out Below? by Jim McDonald of Northern Trust

Are we experiencing a healthy correction or something more? After a long-period of relative calm, risk assets sold off meaningfully in response to global growth concerns. Our Chief Investment Strategist analyzes the fundamental picture in the wake of the recent downturn and what investors should do now.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Market Worries, Real and Imagined by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Financial market participants were beset with a number of worries in August. However, as a general theme, investors often worry about things they shouldn’t worry about and don’t worry about the things that they should worry about.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Searching for Sustainable Growth in Malaysia by Dilip Badlani of The Royce Funds

As an active manager with a value orientation, Portfolio Manager Dilip Badlani seeks to locate inexpensive companies helmed by management teams that have demonstrated an ability to consistently execute plans to grow their business irrespective of economic conditions. Though not without its challenges, Malaysia's history of perseverance makes it an attractive market for disciplined and patient investors.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Inflation, the Fed, and the Big Picture by Carmen Reinhart of Project Syndicate

Inflation was the theme of this year’s international conference of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. But, while policymakers are right to prepare for future risks to price stability, they did not place these concerns in the context of recent inflation developments at the global level – or within historical perspective.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 The Next Financial Crisis May Be Already Unfolding by Stefan Gleason of Money Metals Exchange

Is an epic financial meltdown about to commence? Predictions that a crash will occur in the fall of 2015 have been gaining traction. They are bolstered by some of the market events of this summer, which suggest that something big is indeed unfolding.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Defensive Expectations by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Last week there was an article in the WSJ noting the performance struggles of one of the larger liquid alternative mutual funds. I am not going to link to the article or name the fund because any fund can do very well, attract a lot of assets, then do poorly and lose the assets which is the arc of this fund’s story but instead want to focus on avoid that sort of loop or at least recognizing the potential for that sort of loop so that no one is surprised if/when it happens.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 A Sharp Slowing in U.S. Economic Growth is Projected For 2015 Q3 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.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Portfolio Strategy: China September 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

The current global market volatility has made some investors skittish and, presumably, many are contemplating curtailing the equity exposure in their portfolios. But before throwing in the towel, they will do well to ask themselves: Who is buying all the stocks amid this selloff?

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Recession Probability Models - September 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.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Vietnam-EU Agreement: A Good Deal for Southeast Asia by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

As investors in Vietnamese stocks, the primary constraint we face is one of liquidity and limited choices in which to invest, but we are hopeful that will soon change. Vietnam has had a fast-growing economy, and we have found good companies there, including some that are state-owned.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 The Many Uses of Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Gold’s many qualities make it one of the most coveted metals in the world. Not only can it be beautifully shaped and sculpted, the yellow metal also conducts electricity, doesn’t tarnish and is biocompatible (meaning it’s not harmful to our tissue). These qualities make it the metal of choice in a wide variety of industries, including dentistry and medicine, electrical engineering, construction and aerospace manufacturing.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Time to Ditch the Bond Benchmark? by John Taylor of AllianceBernstein

Bond indices’ limitations as investable strategies are evident when taking a closer look at a key proxy for global investment-grade bonds—the global aggregate index.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Remember This Isn’t 2008 by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

After a seesaw week for stocks, Russ Koesterich explains why it's important to maintain perspective.

2015-09-02 00:00:00 The Earbud Stock Market by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

The earbud is nothing new, but it seems to be everywhere. The first implication of wearing earbuds is the solitary nature it creates. People signal through earbuds that they want to be left alone. Second, earbuds represent a willingness to disengage from the moment—a willful non-participation in society. This seems true in a world that is tied at the hip to technology and dominated by the largest population group between 20 and 36 years of age. This seems even truer for the markets, which greatly matters to long-duration stock owners like us.

2015-09-02 00:00:00 Provise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group

There is a big debate within the financial services industry regarding who should be required to be a fiduciary. Basically a fiduciary puts their clients’ interests ahead of their own, a philosophy ProVise has espoused since our founding in the mid-80s. The Department of Labor has proposed a rule which would require ALL who give advice on retirement plans to do so at a fiduciary standard of care.

2015-09-02 00:00:00 Keeping Firm Perspective as Markets Gyrate by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Global Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses why it is important to maintain perspective amidst the recent volatility, and how the selloff has created some areas of value.

2015-09-02 00:00:00 Equities Endure Intense Volatility, but the Bull Market Survives by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities experienced extreme volatility last week. Prices plummeted on Monday morning due to concerns over slowing growth in China as well as uncertainty surrounding Federal Reserve policy. The sell-off was likely exacerbated by trading halts, liquidity pressures and systematic investing programs. Markets recovered later in the week as investors viewed conditions as oversold, and as oil and other commodity prices stabilized and advanced. For the week, the S&P 500 Index gained 1.0%. The energy, technology and consumer discretionary sectors led the way while utilities sold off sharply.

2015-09-02 00:00:00 Bremmer’s Choices by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Last week, we wrote our first formal book review as a Weekly Geopolitical Report. The book, Superpower: Three Choices for America’s Role in the World, is a recently published book by Ian Bremmer in which he discusses three models for American foreign policy. In our closing comments last week, we promised to take a deeper look at Bremmer’s foreign policy models to examine their costs and benefits. In this report, we analyze his three models of exercising the superpower role, Indispensable America, Independent America and Moneyball America, and discuss which model is the most likely choice.

2015-09-02 00:00:00 The Smartphone Banking Revolution: Leaders of the Pack by Julian Wellesley of Loomis Sayles

By 2020 it is projected that 70% of the world’s population will own a smartphone - 1.2 billion smartphones were sold worldwide last year alone. Users increasingly rely on their smartphones for conducting a variety of daily activities including banking transactions. As retail banks respond to this shift toward mobile reliance, winners and losers are quickly emerging in the internet and app-based banking space.

2015-09-02 00:00:00 Fear the Talking Fed by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Kristina Hooper discusses the confusion created by Fed officials' public comments and how they stir up higher volatility—and more moaning and groaning among investors.

2015-09-02 00:00:00 Market Reset, Not Recession by John Calamos of Calamos Investments

In our view: Neither the U.S. or global economy is headed for recession; instead, we are seeing a market reset that is not entirely unexpected. Markets are likely to be extremely choppy over these next months, and we may see additional corrections. Over the near term, energy and commodity prices will remain volatile, with global interest rates and currency turmoil adding to the headwinds. Market dislocations are providing us with select opportunities to establish and build positions in fundamentally strong companies, worldwide—including in emerging markets.

2015-09-02 00:00:00 With Further Market Declines Likely, Keep the Long Run in Mind by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

August was the worst month for U.S. markets in more than three years, so say the headlines. I suspect it was also the worst month in at least that long for many international markets as well. And, as today’s numbers show us, we aren’t done yet. As I write this, U.S. markets are down about 2.5 percent, and European markets closed down around 3 percent.

2015-09-02 00:00:00 A Case for Active Investing in Low Volatility Equity by David Corris, Jason Hans, Jay Kaufman, Ernesto Ramos of BMO Global Asset Management

Low volatility equity strategies have become an increasingly popular solution in the investor toolbox. This is largely the result of an increasing awareness of the low volatility anomaly, a growing use of lower volatility seeking smart-beta strategies, and a greater appreciation of the damage caused by large portfolio drawdowns.

2015-09-02 00:00:00 Is "New Normal" Enough to Grow China's Economy? by Jerry Zhang of Wells Fargo Asset Management

Jerry Zhang, Ph.D., CFA, explores the economic underpinnings that can spark growth in China—and, in turn, present investing opportunities for growth seekers.

2015-09-02 00:00:00 August 2015 Commentary by Joe Becker of Milliman Financial Risk Management

As August wound down and families enjoyed the last few lazy days of summer, financial markets clearly had another idea in mind. After trading in a relatively tight range for most of the summer, the last two weeks of August were marked by volatility, the likes of which haven’t been seen since 2011. We attribute this heightened volatility to the confluence of global macro conditions with technical factors.

2015-09-01 00:00:00 China and the U.S. Stock Market by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

Now that things seem to have calmed down a bit, it’s a good time to discuss why the past week has been so turbulent. The usual explanations—the Chinese currency devaluation and stock market crash—are certainly valid, but there’s more to the story. Let's take a closer look at the connection between the news from China and U.S. stock prices.

2015-09-01 00:00:00 Oil Prices: The Drill Is Gone by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The nuclear deal with Iran is not yet settled, but it definitely points to, among many other things, lower oil prices. Once sanctions lift, Iran, desperate for cash, will sell all the oil it can, increasing global supplies and likely driving down prices. This one-time supply surge will, no doubt, take a while to have its full effect, until mid-2016 in all likelihood, but thereafter, slowdowns in production elsewhere in the world, including shale and tar sands in North America, should again begin to put upward pressure on the global price of crude.

2015-09-01 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: What Are the Lessons from the Market Turmoil? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

Dramatic events reset agendas. People re-evaluate probabilities about what is possible as well as the personal implications. Because the recent market story is so big and so fresh the week will start with the punditry asking: What are the lessons from the market turmoil?

2015-09-01 00:00:00 Investors Should Not "Buy the Dip" Because Macro and Market Risks Remain Elevated by Don Schreiber, Jr. of WBI Shares

The global market meltdown is turning into a rout as investors who ignored the warning signs of overvaluation, weakening earnings/revenue trends, and deteriorating internal market dynamics may now be heading for the exits. As advisors and investors try to rationalize asset allocation and equity market exposure, they may deem it appropriate to stick with investments in countries with the strongest economies. Reasoning, stronger eco-markets should behave better than markets in countries with economies under pressure.

2015-09-01 00:00:00 Risk Is Like the Air We Breathe by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

A couple of months ago I wrote an article about how risk, like death and taxes, is always with us. That was written as the market made new all-time highs, and I wanted to make it clear that such highs did not mean that risk was absent. Risk is always with us—like the air we breathe.

2015-09-01 00:00:00 Near-Term Headwinds Offer Attractive Buying Opportunities by (Article)

With many companies in more economically sensitive sectors of the small-cap market poised for incremental margin expansion and accelerated earnings growth as the U.S. economy continues down the path of normalization, Portfolio Managers Steven McBoyle and Lauren Romeo are trying to take advantage of current headwinds that should ultimately reverse with more robust economic growth.

2015-09-01 00:00:00 U.S. Small-Caps: A Look Forward and a Look Back by (Article)

While we have recently witnessed extraordinary runs from certain sectors of the small-cap market, Portfolio Manager Bill Hench believes a rally for many stocks in the small-cap universe, especially those more closely tied to domestic GDP, is still in the offing.

2015-09-01 00:00:00 The Swing of the Pendulum: A Snapshot of the Market by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

In the beginning of the year, I had written a prediction that developed markets would outperform developing (or emerging) markets for 2015. While the prediction may be correct, it has yet to be profitable. Nevertheless, I am encouraged as we approach the end of the year that we will move much closer to positive territory. When we encounter significant volatility in markets, it is always important to separate fact from fiction.

2015-09-01 00:00:00 Five Reasons Now is the Time to Hold Equities by Steven Vannelli of GaveKal Capital

After the recent correction, many investors are asking how to respond in their portfolios. I’m recommending clients hold on to equity exposure, even consider increasing it. Below, I run through my case.

2015-09-01 00:00:00 Understanding Fair Valuation: A Common Sense Approach To Long-Term Investing Success by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

In order to understand what the intrinsic value or fair value of a common stock is, you must think like a long-term business owner and not like a stock trader. Additionally, you must think like a business owner that has no intention of selling their business. Put another way, your business generates your livelihood. Therefore, your primary focus and attention is on answering the question: how’s business?

2015-09-01 00:00:00 Is a Recession Coming? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ Koesterich explains why fears of an imminent U.S. recession may be overblown.

2015-09-01 00:00:00 DeVoe’s Unprovable but Highly Probable Theories by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

I don’t claim to be an economist, although I do have a degree in economics. Fortunately, I have forgotten most of the economics I learned at university. Also fortunate is that I work with one of the best economists on Wall Street in the form of Scott Brown, Ph.D., but I digress. For the past few months I have been suggesting the economy was doing better, which has brought about cat calls from many of the negative nabobs. My sense has been that GDP was growing by at least 3%.

2015-09-01 00:00:00 Market Volatility by (Article)

Recent market volatility has led to wider discounts for many closed-end funds, says Mike Taggart of Nuveen Investments.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 Henderson Global Dividend Study - Edition 7 by (Article)

The Henderson Global Dividend Study (HGDS) is a long-term study into global dividend trends, and is the first of its kind. It is a measure of progress that global firms are making in paying their investors an income on their capital. It analyses dividends paid every quarter by the 1,200 largest firms by market capitalization.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 Making Sense of Market Volatility by Karen Dunn Kelley of Invesco Blog

On Aug. 21, the Dow Jones Industrial Average entered a correction, falling 10% from its most recent peak, and reminded investors what volatility looks like after almost four correction-free years. While volatility exposes weaknesses in the market, in my opinion it also reveals the strength of high conviction managers who are skillfully navigating the market. Active management and smart beta strategies seek to surpass the “market averages” offered by traditional benchmarks, providing the potential not only for higher returns, but also for a smoother ride.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 The Active-Passive Debate Revisited by Bob Veres (Article)

Asset flows to passively managed funds are surging. But, as often happens, advisors are embracing a trend just as debunking information is arriving in the marketplace. New research is showing that selecting above-average active funds may not be the impossible task that the academic research has suggested.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 Are Investors Overexposed to Non-Guaranteed RMBS? by Keith Jurow (Article)

Let’s look at some recent data that shows the extent of the delinquencies in non-guaranteed mortgages with a focus on the most exposed large metro areas. We’ll then examine the implications for advisors whose clients own funds, ETFs or REITs that own that debt.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 Vinson Walden on the Thornburg Global Opportunities Fund by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Vinson Walden is the co-portfolio manager, along with Brian McMahon, of the Thornburg Global Opportunities Fund (THOAX). Within Morningstar’s World Stock category, THOAX ranked among the top-performing funds over the last one, three and five years. I spoke with Vin about how he constructs the fund and his outlook for the future.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 Dealing with Quirky Markets and Nervous Clients by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Unsettled markets are creating unsettled clients. We are being proactive, but I wonder whether being proactive tells clients that there is a problem. We can’t say, “There is nothing to worry about” without creating a concern that there IS in fact something to worry about.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 Grade Yourself on August’s Moment of Truth by Dan Richards (Article)

Moments of truth occur when clients make judgments about their advisors. Exactly such a moment came in mid-August as clients read alarming headlines about “plunging markets” and “market routs.” Here’s a way to assess how you handled that moment.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 How to Handle an Initial Inquiry from a Prospect by Dan Solin (Article)

Here’s a jaw-dropping case of how two attorneys failed when I made an initial inquiry, followed by my recommendations for how advisors should handle similar situations.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 If You Need to Reduce Risk, Do it Now by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

The single most important thing for investors to understand here is how current market conditions differ from those that existed through the majority of the market advance of recent years. The difference isn’t valuations. On measures that are best correlated with actual subsequent 10-year S&P 500 total returns, the market has advanced from strenuous, to extreme, to obscene overvaluation, largely without consequence. The difference is that investor risk-preferences have shifted from risk-seeking to risk-aversion.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 Tracking the Market with Social Media by Blair Jensen of Trade Followers

Over the past several weeks I’ve been chronicling the change in sentiment on the Twitter stream as it lead the market lower. In early July sentiment turned from bullish to neutral. By the end of the month sentiment had clearly turned bearish evidenced by both momentum and the rise in the number of bearish stocks. As the market traded sideways in early August sentiment continued to show mostly bearish readings then made an attempt to rise back above zero. That attempt failed and we watched the S&P 500 Index (SPX) fall hard as market participants panicked.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 On My Radar: We Didn’t Start The Fire by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Risk is high. For equity exposure, hedge or raise cash on rallies and let your tactical and alternative strategies follow their processes. Put in place the processes. Now is the time.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 Markets Volatile, Economy Fine by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

As you woke up this morning, US stock market futures were down again. They say it’s because the Chinese stock market fell, and in spite of this every summary of Fed intentions that we read suggests a rate hike this year (possibly in September) is still very much on the table.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 Stay Calm and Carry On by Kenneth Kim of EQIS Capital

As most everyone is aware, the markets have been highly volatile, and mostly down, during these past few days. Everyone seems to be pointing fingers at China’s slowing economy as the cause. Before joining EQIS, I was a professor of finance at Renmin University in Beijing, China for many years. Recognized as one of the top 15 economists* in China, and a frequent economic commentator on the Chinese economy on China’s only English-language national television station, I can speak about, and address, this current market condition that places blame on China.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 Managed Futures - Describing Liquid Alts by Michael Breitenbach of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

Managed futures strategies date back several decades to the emergence of commodity trading advisors, which were first formally defined as a structure by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Act of 1974 (CFTC). This type of strategy is also often offered through commodity pool operator vehicles, which are a similar and inter-related designation also primarily regulated by the CFTC.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 Dog Days Are Over: What a Week! by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Volatility … and the volatility of volatility … hit record levels last week. We believe this is just a correction; not the beginning of a new bear market. Weeks like last week provide valuable lessons for investors about crowd psychology and the benefits of diversification and rebalancing.

2015-08-30 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Waterfall events like the current one tend to most often reverberate into the weeks ahead. Indices will often jump 10% or more higher and also attempt to retest the lows. Volatility will likely remain elevated for several months. But the fall in equity prices, which has knocked investor sentiment to its knees, opens up an attractive risk/reward opportunity for investors. Further weakness, which is quite possible, is an opportunity to accumulate with an eye toward year-end. However, a quick, uncorrected rally in the next week or two would likely fail.

2015-08-30 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review For August 24-28 by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The strongest news of the week was the upward revision of 2Q GDP from 2.3% to 3.7% (Q/Q). All sectors contributed. Personal consumption expenditures increased 3.1% with contributions from durable goods purchases (+8.2%) and non-durable goods (+4.1%). Residential construction increased 7.8% while non-residential was up 3.1%. Equipment was down .4%, but this can be attributed to oil sector’s weakness. Finally, exports increased 5.2%. Overall, this report was very encouraging, especially considering 1Q weakness.

2015-08-30 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review For August 24-28 by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The fundamentals overall are slightly positive because they give companies an environment where they can grow top line revenue. The problem is most companies are just barely doing so. Even excluding the energy sector, top line revenue was only up 1.1% last quarter. Yes, it’s positive, which is obviously better than the alternative. But with market is already pricey; a 1.1% revenue increase doesn’t add a lot of upside room.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 China’s Currency Devaluation by Team of Wasatch Funds

After years of small-scale strengthening against the U.S. dollar, the coordinated devaluation of the Chinese yuan has come when China’s economy is seeing more signs of weakness. In our view, it’s hard to believe that the recent devaluation of the yuan will significantly help the Chinese economy. In addition, relative to the last several years, the yuan is still strong against the euro and the yen. This raises the question: Is there more devaluation to come?

2015-08-28 00:00:00 Why This Time Could Be Different by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

In yesterday's post, I discussed the current correction within the context of previous "bull market" corrections. Specifically, the corrections in 1987, 1998, 2010 and 2011. However, today, I want to look at the current correction in the context of previous starts to "bear markets" and subsequent recessions.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 Doodles from an Eventful Summer by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

This month's Absolute Return Letter is a little different. It was a very eventful summer with many incidents impacting financial markets and we have compiled all these topics into one letter. China is, not surprisingly, a core subject. If the Chinese economy is slowing (and it is), we don't think China is in for a hard landing. If anyone is in the near term - and this may surprise you - we think the U.S. and the euro zone are far more likely candidates.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 Don't Panic: Putting Market Turbulence in Context by Tom Fahey of Loomis Sayles

Sharp declines in China’s equity markets have heightened fears about the country’s economic prognosis and what it might mean for global growth. While concerns center on the emerging markets, the tumult has spilled across global financial markets. Our advice: don’t panic.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 Are You a "Ben Graham Defensive Investor"? by Charles Aram of Research Affiliates

Benjamin Graham’s well-reasoned, rules-based approach to security analysis remains, after more than 80 years, a cornerstone for building a strong, long-term investment program to meet investors’ financial goals.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 Forget the Sept. '15 Fed Tightening -- There Has Been a Stealth Tightening Since Sept. '14 by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

The late, great Milton Friedman used to preach that you don’t assess the degree of monetary policy restriction or accommodation by the level and movement of interest rates but rather by the behavior of monetary quantities. For Friedman, the monetary quantity by which he judged the stance of monetary policy was some definition of the money supply – currency and some of the deposit liabilities of the banking system.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 On Market Corrections, and Keeping a Calm Head by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Despite recent market volatility, we consider the long-term outlook for China’s market and economy to be good. We don’t view this recent correction as the start of any sort of economic or market collapse underway, and it doesn’t change our view on investing there.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 Feeling Old Yet? Incoming College Freshmen Have Always Known Google by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

I use Google every day, and yet I still marvel at how amazing a tool it is. Part of this amazement stems from the fact that most of my life was spent in the dark ages before the search giant changed human knowledge forever. I appreciate it in a way 19th-century, transcontinental travelers must have appreciated steam locomotives’ ability to shave days and weeks from their covered-wagon travel time. Except Google is more like a rocket ship than a locomotive.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 12 Attractive Fast-Growing Dividend Growth Stocks for High Total Return by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

The current market environment is presenting many challenges to the conservative retired investor in need of current income. Interest rates are near all-time lows and the valuations of many blue-chip dividend growth stocks have become extended. Consequently, it is becoming very difficult to find quality investment opportunities that can provide safety through sound valuation, attractive yield and the potential to fight inflation.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 Cheap Oil and Global Growth by Anatole Kaletsky of Project Syndicate

The standard explanation is weak Chinese demand, with the oil-price collapse widely regarded as a portent of recession, either in China or for the entire global economy. But this is almost certainly wrong: On all recent occasions when the oil price was halved, faster global growth followed.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 What’s Holding Back the U.S. Consumer by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Since the recession ended, U.S. real household consumption has remained well below the historical average. Russ Koesterich explains why it’s likely to remain that way.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 Who Ate Joe’s Retirement Money? Sequence Risk and its Insidious Drag on Retirement Wealth by Peter Chiappinelli, Ram Thirukkonda of GMO

Defined Contribution (DC) plan participants are haunted by an invisible risk called sequence risk (sometimes called sequence-of-returns or path dependency risk), that is, getting the “right” returns but in the “wrong” order. Sequence risk in the retirement phase has been studied extensively. Sadly, not as much attention has been paid to sequence risk during the accumulation phase, but it is equally important.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 How Long Do Stock Market Corrections Last? by Dr. Brian Jacobsen of Wells Fargo Asset Management

All stock market corrections are different, but some follow patterns. The current pattern looks more like 2011 than 1998, with some significant economic differences.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 Panic Is Not a Strategy—Nor Is Greed by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Admittedly, the development of a long-term strategic asset allocation plan isn't the hard part—it's sticking to it that often becomes the real challenge. Adding to underperforming asset classes and trimming outperforming asset classes goes against the emotions of fear and greed that often drive investment decision making. But if we learn from our mistakes, use our brains over our hearts and look to our portfolios as rebalancing guides, we can expect a more successful investing future and maybe even get a free lunch along the way.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 Times Like This by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

Times like this in the markets can be unsettling. We are accustomed to dealing with risk, or at least familiar with “normal” market swings from year to year. But when there is a sudden abrupt fall in markets, investors are often left to wonder “What is going on?” Are we seeing a repeat of 1997? 2013? Matthews Asia’s Chief Investment Officer Robert Horrocks, PhD, offers his views on recent developments, drawing from historical context but also noting the instances in which history can be misleading.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 Schwab’s Perspective on Recent Market Volatility by Team of Charles Schwab

Global markets may have swung wildly in recent days, but we think the recent selloff in stocks and commodities is not a sign of imminent global recession. However, it may prompt the Federal Reserve (Fed) to postpone raising U.S. interest rates for a while longer. In the meantime, the basics of successful investing remain the same: Sticking to your long-term investment plan and maintaining a well-diversified portfolio should help you weather the market storm.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 If China Lands Hard, It Won’t Be Alone by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The news from China has been volatile and disconcerting. There is a general sense that the carnage would be far worse if not for active intervention from Chinese authorities.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 Weapons of Economic Misdirection by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

This week’s letter will deal with the problems of determining what GDP really is, and I’ll throw in a few quick remarks on what the recent GDP revision means for the Fed and whether they’ll raise rates.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 China’s Economy Is Undergoing a Huge Transformation That No One’s Talking About by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Misconception and exaggeration are circling China’s economy right now like a flock of hungry buzzards. If you listen only to the popular media, you might believe that the Asian giant is teetering on the brink of economic disaster, with the Shanghai Composite Index’s recent correction and devaluation of the renminbi held up as “proof.”

2015-08-27 00:00:00 Investors Should Cheer A Higher Federal Funds Rate by Eric Busch of GaveKal Capital

With rocky equity markets and concerns about economic growth in China, there seems to be a growing chorus in the market calling for the Fed to hold off on raising rates in September. In fact, many are now saying (hoping?) that the Fed holds off raising rates until 2016. Bill Dudley, president of the New York Fed, came out today saying that the case to raise rates is “less compelling” than it was just a few weeks ago.

2015-08-27 00:00:00 Solidifying a Case for Liquid Alternatives by David Saunders of Franklin Templeton Investments

Skeptics may be surprised to learn that the majority of hedge fund managers focus on providing capital appreciation with lower volatility than the broad markets.

2015-08-27 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: The Start of Something Big? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

The big market decline has the attention of everyone, even those who do not closely follow the markets. The week will start with the punditry will be asking: Is the market decline the start of something big?

2015-08-27 00:00:00 Tracking the Market with Social Media by Blair Jensen of Trade Followers

As I’ve been highlighting over the past several weeks, 2040 on the S&P 500 Index (SPX) was a crucial support level. It garnered more tweets from market participants than any other level over the past several months. With everyone watching 2040 as support it made it likely that any break of that level would result in increased selling. Last week I warned that on a breach “selling will likely accelerate”. 2040 broke and we got the expected result. I must say that I was surprised by a 3% down day on Friday though.

2015-08-27 00:00:00 Market Update by Michael Kayes of Willingdon Wealth Management

On Wednesday, August 19th the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 17,348.73. It closed Monday, August 24th at 15,872.82, a drop of 8.5% in three trading days. Today, volatility spiked with the market falling over 1,000 points early in the day, then rallying almost back to even before closing down 586.53 points or 3.56% for the day.

2015-08-27 00:00:00 Special Provise Bullet by Team of ProVise Management Group

The uncertainty concerning the Chinese economy, which escalated following the sudden devaluation of the Yuan, has raised the specter of a global slowdown and set world stock markets into a tailspin.

2015-08-27 00:00:00 Superpower by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Our subject is a new book titled Superpower: Three Choices for America’s Role in the World, by Ian Bremmer, a political scientist who writes often on geopolitical issues. At some point, the US will need to select a workable foreign policy for the post-Cold War era and determine how to handle the superpower role. In this report, we review Bremmer’s book, starting with his premise that no president since the fall of the Berlin Wall has developed a coherent foreign policy.

2015-08-27 00:00:00 Sharp Selloff by Mark Oelschlager of Oak Associates

In a matter of a week the stock market has gone from historically low volatility to historically high volatility. The good news is that, in our estimation, the current events are not enough to throw the US economy into recession. The nature of a selloff can be quite informative as to its meaning or duration, and there are many signs that this correction may be ephemeral and that stocks may bounce back.

2015-08-27 00:00:00 Trying to Restore Order by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

It has been an unsettling month for the financial markets. The challenges faced by China, which have been amplified by inconsistent responses from policy makers, have heightened uncertainty.

2015-08-27 00:00:00 Global Market Chaos Amidst Worries About China, Etc. by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

There is so much to write about today it’s hard to know where to start. Equity markets around the world are plunging on worries about China, a possible Fed interest rate hike next month, the worsening bear market in commodities, economic and currency weakness in emerging markets, etc., etc.

2015-08-27 00:00:00 What Value are Credit Ratings? by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

If there was any question about it, the financial crisis of 2008 demonstrated to us all just how flawed the ratings process is, where AAA debt was suddenly in default and highly rated companies all of a sudden required bailouts seemingly overnight. However in the aftermath, while there have been efforts to reduce our reliance on ratings, it has also become clear that changing the ratings process is exceedingly difficult, if not impossible. They are ingrained in our system and ingrained in the way many people and institutions invest.

2015-08-27 00:00:00 Should You Adjust? by Jim Tillar, Steve Wenstrup of Tillar-Wenstrup Advisors

Is it time for a correction? That is the question that has been on the mind of many investors for some time now. Those who have ridden the wave since the ugly market bottom of March 2009 can afford to be worried as they weathered an uncertain recovery in the market and have generally seen their assets grow quite well. Unfortunately the fires of gloom were hot after the financial crisis with the media fanning the flames of pessimism. Therefore many late arrivers to the market may still be struggling to reestablish their previous portfolio values.

2015-08-27 00:00:00 A Financial Early-Warning System by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

Recent market volatility – in emerging and developed economies alike – is showing once again how badly ratings agencies and investors can err in assessing countries’ economic and financial vulnerabilities. More than ever, the world needs an early-warning system for financial tsunamis.

2015-08-27 00:00:00 ESG Investing – do managers invest consistently? by Veronique Botton of Russell Investments

Veronique Botton takes a look at Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing and examines if managers who have tilts towards ESG investing today might have the same tilts tomorrow.

2015-08-26 00:00:00 Days of Yesteryear by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

“Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. From out of the past come the thundering hoof-beats of the great horse Silver. A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty ‘Hi-Yo Silver’ the Lone Ranger rides again” . . . except in this case we are not referring to the iconic radio/TV show, The Long Ranger as played by Clayton Moore, but last October. I awoke early on October 15, 2014, looking for more news on what had caused the 18 session bone-crushing decline.

2015-08-26 00:00:00 I Own Southern Company and AGL Resources – Now What Do I Do? by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Utility stocks are generally low-growth high-yield investments. As I will soon illustrate, both Southern Company (SO) and AGL Resources Inc (GAS) neatly fall into that category. These low-growth and above- average dividend yield characteristics have led me to only invest in utility stocks when two important conditions are met.

2015-08-26 00:00:00 A Macro View of Recent Market Volatility by Michael Hasenstab and Sonal Desai of Franklin Templeton Investments

When we look at how much market panic there has been, you’d be under the impression China is headed full-speed into full-blown recession. That is not our call. We expect moderation in China’s growth and continue to see it as healthy.

2015-08-26 00:00:00 China Commentary by John Calamos: Market Reset, Not Recession by John Calamos Sr. of Calamos Investments

The global market selloff of these past days has tested the mettle of many investors—particularly as the turmoil has followed an unusual period earlier this year, where equities delivered healthy advances with very little volatility. While we’ve gone on record saying that we expected volatility to persist (including in our most recent Outlook), we have been surprised by how severe the downturn has been. However, experience teaches that there can be many opportunities in volatile markets.

2015-08-26 00:00:00 What Investors Must Know About China by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

The latest story scaring investors witless (TM OldProf Euphemism) is the collapse of the Chinese economy. It has become an element of Wall Street Truthiness. The Chinese are lying about their data, masking the true story. “All of the data” support this according to the commentators, led by pundit-in-chief Jim Cramer and the rest of the gang at CNBC. How about some much-needed objectivity?

2015-08-26 00:00:00 As Market Fears Grow, Stay Focused on the Long Term by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

One bad day doesn’t make a bear market. Two bad days, however, and the prospect of more to come, may well signal one.

2015-08-26 00:00:00 Inspecting the Fed's Policy Toolkit by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

A Federal Reserve research report recommends deploying current policy for future crises. Is that really such a good idea?

2015-08-26 00:00:00 Markets Crashing, Gold Rising by Clint Siegner of Money Metals Exchange

U.S. Investors are on edge following last week’s and today’s sell-off in stocks around the globe. The carnage impacted equity markets in Asia, Europe, and the U.S. Interestingly, the U.S. dollar also weakened. And bonds and gold are getting most of the safe-haven buying.

2015-08-26 00:00:00 Why a 500-Point Sell-off Isn’t “Massive” by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

While I was training early this morning, I was forced to endure two hours of CNBC’s seemingly permanent headline across the bottom of the screen that screamed that the markets were heading for a “massive sell off.” At the time, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were down about 500 points. When the markets opened at 9:30, the Dow did open down about 500 points (thereafter it actually was down about 1,000 points) before bouncing back to its opening levels.

2015-08-26 00:00:00 A Painful but Healthy Adjustment for Risk Assets by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The source of the current market correction is the massive misalignment of exchange rates, which finds its roots in quantitative easing.

2015-08-26 00:00:00 Earnings Voids and the Emergence of Plausible Risk by Doug MacKay, Bill Hoover of Broadleaf Partners

We had put the finishing touches on a market update celebrating our first ten years in business, but were rudely interrupted by the first violence in the markets we’ve seen in nearly a year. Yes, a year.

2015-08-26 00:00:00 Turning an Oxymoron into an Opportunity by François Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

For my part, I feel in total harmony with the contrarian and value disciplines that have guided my investments for 40 years. At the same time, I also claim (and aim) to be a long-term investor. Yet, almost from the start of my career, I have had the somewhat uncomfortable feeling that, in practice, these claims may be contradictory.

2015-08-25 00:00:00 Building Corridors to the Future in Pakistan by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

We have been investing in Pakistan for a number of years, and see it as an overlooked investment destination with very attractive valuations due to negative macro sentiment.

2015-08-25 00:00:00 US Stock Market Internals Update – New Lows Are Spiking by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

With another a significant down day in the works, its worth remembering that these stats are as of the close on Friday. The main takeaway is while there has been some deterioration in the US stock market, we are nowhere near what happened in 2011. Let’s take a look at some stats, like what Bryce did with EM stocks on Friday, and compare current levels to 2011.

2015-08-25 00:00:00 Get Real! Offsetting Inflation Risks in Your Glide Path by Daniel Loewy, Christopher Nikolich of AllianceBernstein

We’ve had a remarkable 30-year run of declining interest rates and modest inflation. As a result, few target-date glide paths were constructed with any inflation protection. We think it’s time to act.

2015-08-25 00:00:00 Finding Value in the Selloff Rubble by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses the catalysts for the brutal equity selloff and its key takeaway for long-term investors.

2015-08-25 00:00:00 China and the Submerging Market Outlook by Scott Brown of Raymond James

China’s economic slowdown may not be much of a direct drag on U.S. growth. While U.S. exporters will have a tougher time, the drop in commodity prices should help consumers and domestic producers. However, the country’s difficulties need to be considered in the broader view of emerging market troubles.

2015-08-25 00:00:00 The Fed Is Spooking the Markets Not China by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Fasten your seat belts, this ride is getting interesting. Last week the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 1,000 points, notching its worst weekly performance in four years. The sell-off took the Dow Jones down more than 10% from its peak valuations, thereby constituting the first official correction in four years. One third of all S&P 500 companies are already in bear market territory, having declined more than 20% from their peaks. Scarier still, the selling intensified as the week drew to a close, with the Dow losing 530 points on Friday, after falling 350 points on Thursday.

2015-08-25 00:00:00 Why markets are down….but not out by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

Wasps, traffic, reruns, back to school, shark sightings and market corrections. August is fast losing its laid back reputation. The S&P 500 is down around 4.5% for the month and 6.2% from May’s all time highs.

2015-08-25 00:00:00 The Correction May Not Be Over, but the Bull Market Should Persist by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

The S&P 500 Index fell 5.7% last week, its biggest weekly pullback since September 2011. Equities have been under pressure for some time, and it appears that investors finally gave in.

2015-08-25 00:00:00 This Correction is Technical, Not Fundamental by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

The only people more giddy with anticipation are the stock market pundits looking for The Big Short – II. It’s an eagerly anticipated sequel of the Panic of 2008. The S&P 500 is tumbling again today, more than 10% below the peak in May.

2015-08-25 00:00:00 On My Radar: An Optimist Sees The Opportunity In Every Difficulty by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill

2015-08-25 00:00:00 China’s Complexity Problem by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

There are many moving parts – economic, social, and geopolitical – in China’s daunting transition to what its leaders call a moderately well-off society, and the ultimate challenge may lie in managing the exceedingly complex interplay among them. Is China’s leadership up to the task, or has it bitten off more than it can chew?

2015-08-24 00:00:00 Risk Turns Risky: Unpleasant Skew, Scale Dilation, and Broken Lines by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Over the years, I’ve observed that overvalued, overbought, overbullish market conditions have historically been accompanied by what I call “unpleasant skew” – a succession of small but persistent marginal new highs, followed by a vertical collapse in which weeks or months of gains are wiped out in a handful of sessions.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 Don’t Expect A Turnaround In Your Favorite Energy ETF Anytime Soon by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

By far the largest energy ETF is the Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE). It’s a market cap weighted energy ETF that tracks the energy sector in the S&P 500. Since its a market cap weighted ETF, it is very top heavy as it is dominated by Exxon Mobil and Chevron. As of yesterday, Exxon Mobil account for 16.15% and Chevron accounts for 11.68% of XLE. Overall, the top five holdings account account for 44.2% of the entire ETF.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 There’s No Free Lunch with Structured Notes by Seth Masters, Richard Weaver, John McLaughlin of AllianceBernstein

For yield-hungry investors, the lure of structured notes may seem difficult to resist. However, our analysis shows that the promise of safe, outsized yields shouldn’t be swallowed whole.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 September Swoon Ahead? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ explains why investors may want to exercise caution next month.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 Equities: Enhancing Your Small Cap Allocation by Laura Schlockman, Steve Jones of PIMCO

Our New Neutral outlook is generally supportive of equities: Low discount rates, recovering but muted inflation and a drawn-out business cycle argue for positive equity performance. However, full valuations and uneven growth suggest returns may be significantly lower than long-term averages. This means that capturing equity alpha will be critical for investors to meet their return objectives.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review For August 17-22 by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

For the last several months, I have expressed three concerns regarding the markets. The high current and forward PEs of the major averages were the first. This was followed by the declining top line revenue of the S&P 500 companies. And third were deteriorating market technicals; a weakening advance/decline line, fewer stocks participating in rallies and various averages (the transports, IWCs and IWMs) declining. All of those factors came home to roost this week as the markets sold-off in a fairly sharp manner.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 The Use and Abuse of Dividend Strategies by Robert J. Martorana (Article)

I will look at the underlying justification for a dividend-based strategy and at how the most popular funds have performed recently. I will then discuss the criteria that investors should use to construct the best dividend-oriented portfolio, and which mutual fund best meets those criteria.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Strong downward momentum usually has follow through. US indices are mostly within a few percent of significant support levels. The selling this week registered noteworthy extremes in breadth, volatility and sentiment. Friday probably will not mark the low, but risk/reward over the next month looks favorable.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 Getting Advisors to Recognize Bad Behavior by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I have an advisor who is boisterous and pushy. My administrative team does everything to avoid him. I know he doesn’t mean to be so aggressive, but no matter what I say to him, he laughs it off and makes it out like I am the problem.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 Options and Volatility Strategies -- Describing Liquid Alts by Michael Breitenbach of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

Some equity funds may add option hedges in an effort to dampen portfolio volatility, generate alpha, and reduce tail risk. Option hedges provide a vehicle for potential alpha, allowing tactical managers to express multi-dimensional views on security price, volatility, and time. Systematic option strategies—which include covered-call, collar, put-writing, and more-complicated strategies—allow managers to potentially exploit the nonlinear characteristics of option payoffs to shape the return distribution.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 Do John Hancock Funds Add Value for Investors? by Larry Swedroe (Article)

John Hancock ranked second on Barron’s annual list of best-performing mutual fund families for the latest 10-year period. How did its performance compare to that of two popular passively managed fund companies?

2015-08-24 00:00:00 Recent Market Volatility by Lane Jones of Evensky & Katz / Foldes Financial Wealth Management

Given the recent volatility in world stock markets, you are no doubt concerned and wondering whether we're entering a period of extended declines. We don't know the answer to this question; no one does. We do know that making investment decisions based upon short-term news is rarely a winning strategy. In times like this it's important to remember your investments are designed to carry you through decades not days. It's important to stay focused on the long-term.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 How an “Abundance Mentality” Drives Top Advisors by Dan Richards (Article)

Hard work, talent and luck drive top advisors. But research from Wharton’s top-rated faculty member shows there’s another quality high on the list.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 Is Diversification Working? by (Article)

It can be tempting to second guess diversification when the headline news showcases only one segment of the market that performed particularly well. In this video for The PMC Spotlight, Tim Clift, Chief Investment Strategist, explains why investors shouldn’t be dismayed when their diversified portfolios can’t keep up with narrow asset class leadership.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 A Different Perspective on Market Valuations by Michael Lebowitz (Article)

How fast must annual EPS grow over the next five years to normalize the current CAPE 10 with its historic average?

2015-08-24 00:00:00 Strategies to Convert More Prospects by Dan Solin (Article)

Evidence-based advisors are no match for the media’s steady drumbeat of misinformation. As a consequence, they need to be especially skilled at persuasive techniques grounded in peer-reviewed data, which will permit them to convert more prospects into clients. Here is a research-backed strategy to accomplish that goal.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 CEF IPO Perspective by (Article)

The initial public offering (IPO) process for launching new closed-end funds may be evolving to attract more investors, says John Cole Scott of CEF Advisors.

2015-08-22 00:00:00 Playing the Chinese Trump Card by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Donald Trump wants to “rein in” China. Exactly how will anybody rein in anything if we tumble into another global recession, when it will be every country for itself? Not even Donald Trump knows how to make trouble on that scale.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 Testing Today’s Analyst Ratings by Jennifer Thomson of GaveKal Capital

Regular readers are familiar with the extensive fundamental screening process that we employ in our hunt for the world’s most knowledge-intensive companies, as well as the relative strength point-and-figure technical charting element of our process. Now and then, it is interesting to ‘test’ changes in analyst ratings of various stocks that we can see in our universe in order to see how viable those assessments are from a purely technical standpoint.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 Shrugging Along by Brooks Ritchey of Franklin Templeton Investments

From our point of view, trying to predict market declines or rallies is not as important as preparing for incipient shocks smartly and strategically; it is about being vigilant.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 These Billionaire Investors Just Made Massive Bets on Gold and Airlines by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

I always advise investors to follow the smart money, and two people high on the list are Stanley Druckenmiller and Warren Buffett. Second-quarter regulatory filings show that Stanley Druckenmiller, the famed hedge fund manager, just placed more than $323 million of his own money into a gold ETF, at a time when sentiment toward the yellow metal is in the basement. Meanwhile, Buffett announced this week that Berkshire Hathaway is purchasing aircraft parts supplier Precision Castparts for $32 billion.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 Can Indian Equities Regain Their Mojo? by Laurent Saltiel, Jia Zhang of AllianceBernstein

Indian equities’ post-election rally last year fizzled out quickly. But we believe that lower interest rates—despite a looming US rate hike—may soon unlock their value, offering solace for investors reeling from the recent Chinese sell-off.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 In Today’s Overheated Market Control Risk in Your Retirement Portfolios with Sound Valuation by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Investing money in anything is never without risk. When investing in liquid investments, prices can and do fluctuate daily. Importantly, all liquid investments can fluctuate in price, and that includes both stocks and bonds. I mention this because price volatility, especially when investing in common stocks, represents one of the biggest risks that investors focus on, some to the point of obsession.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 The Paradox of Chasing Returns, Part 2 by Kyle Vogel of AdvisorShares

In part one, we looked at the statistics of how difficult it was for hedge fund managers to consistently outperform the universe average. In part two, we wanted to examine the consistency of a hedge fund’s1 performance as its assets grow. We took the HFRI Equity Hedge Fund universe and looked at individual managers’ assets and returns during a recent period. The dataset includes funds reporting at any point between August 2008 to March 2015.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 Developed Asia Pacific: Economy Trends Update July 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

After a slump in consumer spending had raised concerns of an economic slowdown in Japan recently, there was a welcome uptick in indicators such as manufacturing activity and exports. However, slowing growth in China, a major trading partner, is widely expected to have a bearing on the economy in the near future. Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Australia left interest rates unchanged in its recent review as expected, thanks to subdued inflation, a stabilizing job market, and early signs of a pick-up in business investment.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 Gold Glimmers as Global Market Fear Grips Investors by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Gold this week broke above its 50-day moving average as a fresh round of negative news from around the globe rekindled investors’ interest in the yellow metal as a safe haven. The Fear Trade, it seems, is in full force.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 Today's Market Action: S&P 500 and Dow more than down 3% by Jeremy Boynton of Laureate Wealth Management

What is causing the market to drop so significantly? The answer in one word: China.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 Was the Euro a Good Idea? by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The creation of the euro was done for political reasons; as long as it is politically less costly for its members than the alternatives, the euro is here to stay.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 Is a Stronger U.S. Dollar Really Bad News? Three Myths about Emerging Markets by Michele Mazzoleni of Research Affiliates

A strengthening U.S. dollar threatens emerging market economies—owes its plausibility to three myths. Let’s examine them.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 Pressure Mounts on China to Act by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Weak manufacturing data out of China indicate that its policymakers will have to act drastically to reverse its decline.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 International Economic Week In Review For Aug. 17-22 by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The most important overarching story of the week was the emerging market capital flight, which is occurring at startling pace.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 Schwab’s Perspective on Recent Market Volatility by Team of Charles Schwab

Global financial markets endured their worst week of the year this past week amid concerns over slowing economic growth and currency woes in China and other emerging markets, among other reasons. At times like these it is easy to start thinking short term, but keep in mind that the foundations of investing success are well established (have a plan, keep a close eye on expenses, stay diversified, and make sure your portfolio composition is lined up with your tolerance for risk and the timetable for when you’ll need to start drawing down the portfolio).

2015-08-20 00:00:00 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary: July 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices declined further in July, as concerns about slower growth in China as well as lower energy and commodity prices hurt investor optimism. Chinese equity markets, which had seen significant gains over the last one year, corrected despite the government’s efforts to stabilize the market.

2015-08-20 00:00:00 The Paradox of Chasing Returns, Part 1 by Kurt Voldeng of AdvisorShares

Our firm often cites a paradox in the hedge fund industry: hedge fund of funds lag the mean hedge fund return. Represented below, the HFRI Fund Weighted Composite Index is composed of individual hedge funds of all types that are equally weighted while the HFRI Fund of Funds Composite Index is a separate index composed of equally weighted funds of hedge funds.

2015-08-20 00:00:00 Population Growth & Productivity Headed in Wrong Direction by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today we’ll focus on some longer-term economic data which shows, unfortunately, that the US economy is in a multi-decade slide that will be very difficult to reverse. Population growth and worker productivity – the keys to sustained economic growth – are both in decline, trends that are not likely to change anytime soon.

2015-08-20 00:00:00 Why Rising Interest Rates Aren’t Necessarily a Harbinger of Trouble for EMs by Nick Niziolek, Todd Speed of Calamos Investments

In “Why Rising Interest Rates Aren’t Necessarily a Harbinger of Trouble for EMs,” VP and Portfolio Specialist Todd Speed, along with Nick Niziolek, explains why fiscal and economic reforms by many emerging markets support our view that many EMs may be less vulnerable to an eventual rise in U.S. short-term interest rates.

2015-08-20 00:00:00 Why We Believe the Eurozone is a Land of Opportunity by Robert Sharpe, Mike Jolin of Heartland Advisors

After years of unattractive valuations and outlook, Europe appears to be poised for a change. Here are some reasons we think there are plenty of opportunities in the region.

2015-08-20 00:00:00 Commodities: A Crude Awakening by Jim McDonald of Northern Trust

Commodities investors face numerous short-term challenges – falling demand, falling prices and a strong dollar – but this may present long-term opportunities for patient investors. Our Chief Investment Strategist, Jim McDonald, explains in his latest Investment Strategy Commentary: Commodities – A Crude Awakening.

2015-08-20 00:00:00 Summer Quartet by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

Music from four players continues to influence events in the bond market this summer: the Federal Reserve (Fed), China, oil prices, and the U.S. dollar. The music from these four players has led to a mixed response in the bond market: disturbing for short-term securities, melodic for long-term bonds.

2015-08-20 00:00:00 Global Energy: Adapting to New Realities by Suken Patel of Diamond Hill Capital Management, Inc.

The recent slide in oil prices is symptomatic of large fundamental shifts taking place across the energy sector. The current volatility is nothing new to oil markets as their self-correcting nature has frequently resulted in a sequence of deep boom and bust cycles. While we can anticipate and prepare for these cycles, much like with earthquakes, the timing and consequences can still be surprising. In times like these, maintaining a long-term perspective is essential to place current events in the proper context.

2015-08-20 00:00:00 Chasing Yield: Is Sustainable Income a Better Way? by Brian Meath of Russell Investments

Looking at the dangers and opportunities of yield-seeking investing, Brian Meath explains an alternative approach: sustainable income.

2015-08-20 00:00:00 Unattractive ‘Glamour Stocks’ Lead the Way in Asia Pacific by Brent Bates of Invesco Blog

Economic growth continues to decelerate across the Asia Pacific region. Domestic economies have not been robust enough to offset weakness in commodities and exports, and both revenue and earnings expectations were adjusted downward by 1% during the second quarter. Because growth is scarce, investors have been crowding into the highest-growth and highest-quality stocks; within Asia and Japan, this group of stocks is now trading at the highest premium to the rest of the market that we’ve seen in the past 20 years.

2015-08-20 00:00:00 All Bubbles Are Different by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

If stock market bubbles are driven by speculation, greed, and emotional biases – the valuations and fundamentals are simply a reflection of those emotions. In other words, bubbles can exist even at times when valuations and fundamentals might argue otherwise.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Five Decades of Middle Class Wages: August 2015 Update by Jill Mislinski (Article)

We've updated this series to include the today's release of the Consumer Price Index as the deflator and the final July monthly update. The initial update was based on a linear extrapolation of the CPI. The latest hypothetical annual earnings are at $35,402, down 14.6% from 42 years ago.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Global Economic Perspective: August by Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group of Franklin Templeton Investments

We believe sound headline job creation figures point to rate increases by a [US] Fed that would like to begin to ‘normalize’ monetary policy when possible. The US economy is no longer in the emergency room, as it was in December 2008.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Is the Chinese Yuan Undervalued or Overvalued? by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

Almost all of the recent analysis surrounding China’s recent currency fluctuation takes for granted that China just joined the global currency war by engaging in competitive devaluation in an effort to spur exports and thus growth. We offer a different take, that the recent move that in effect loosens up control over the peg (slightly) is more a measure of ongoing reform than of competitive devaluation. Indeed, one of the hallmarks of a liberalized financial system is that prices are determined by market forces rather than a central bank or other government entity.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Why Care About Commodity Stocks? by Henry D'Auria, Michelle Dunstan of AllianceBernstein

Commodities haven’t been kind to investors in recent years. But we believe that shifting the frame of reference away from underlying price trends of metals and raw materials can reveal surprising opportunities in select commodity stocks.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Crossover Bonds: Catching the Rising Stars by Hozef Arif, Michael Brownell of PIMCO

Many investors seeking yield in the current low interest rate environment are reluctant to take on high risk. Corporate crossover bonds, which straddle the line between the investment grade and high yield bond markets, may offer a solution.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Signs of a Struggling Economy? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

For many investors, China’s surprise devaluation of its currency reinforced global growth fears. Russ puts the move in context, and explains why to expect more volatility ahead.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 The One Percent by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

I don’t need to defend Mr. Landry. Mr. Landry does just fine on his own. But coming from me – someone who is my own biggest critic as well as a critic of Wall Street – you best realize that Mr. Landry is in the top 1% of people on Wall Street. He is clear, he is concise, and he is right more than he is wrong. AND more importantly, when he is wrong he doesn’t just sit there and fight the tape. He adjusts unlike [many] of the bonehead strategists on Wall Street; stop reading and listening to him at your own risk.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Global Economic Overview: July 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

While some of the emerging economies continue to face slow growth from lower commodity exports, the outlook for most developed economies has brightened in recent months. The U.S. slowdown during the first half of this year was not as bad as thought earlier, while economic trends from the Eurozone remain stable. Helped by sustained labor market gains, U.S. consumer sentiment is picking up again and should help aggregate growth during the second half of the year.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review For August 10-14 by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

Retail sales increased .6% M/M. But this statistic has shown some weakness over the last year: The best news in the report was the 6.9% Y/Y increase in auto sales. But over the last 12 readings, 6 have either been negative or 0%. And some of the increases have been small, totaling .4% and .5%. While the .6% was OK, this data series continues to point to a US consumer who is a bit more concerned about the overall economic situation, to the point where he is slowing his purchases.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Donald and Bernie by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In this report, we recap the economic and political factors that led us to conclude in previous reports from last year that the next presidential cycle could be unusually significant. From there, we look at the unlikely rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders and what their success thus far signals about the electorate and the next presidential election. Finally, we analyze their potential impact on the election, including the possibility that each might mount an extra-party candidacy. As always, we conclude with market ramifications.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Fundamental Truths by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

When policymakers tell you one thing and the data tell you something different, heed the data. Markets that are in the midst of transition do not behave according to script, despite the best efforts of policymakers to script them. Last week, China loosened control of its currency, resulting in its biggest one-day loss in two decades, compounded by additional losses over the following days. As of this writing, the renminbi (RMB) has depreciated by close to 3 percent since the start of last week.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Strong Dollar: A Headwind for Trade by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

A stronger U.S. currency likely will continue to weigh on exports and boost imports. What does this mean for future U.S. growth?

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Are MLPs Still a Good Investment? by Alan Cole, Chris Engelman of Cedar Hill Associates

Despite continuing to deliver solid earnings and dividend distribution growth, the prices of many Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) have declined by about 20% over the past year. Here, President Alan Cole and Managing Director Chris Engelman discuss why MLP prices have been under pressure, as well as the steps Cedar Hill takes when investments like these fall out of favor to determine whether to hold, exit or add to the investment.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 One man’s weed... by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

I spent time at the Woodward Dream Cruise this week in my brother Charlie’s 1985 Ford Mustang convertible (his first new car which he bought and has maintained since that year). I think the Cruise is the largest annual assemblage of classic cars on the planet. What a great time for anyone who enjoys historical vehicles and the memories they bring back, especially here in the Motor City.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Time is on Your Side, Yes it is by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Business Insider and Barry Ritholtz both had posts in the last few days contributing to the same big idea that time is a valuable asset not just in and of itself but also as part of a financial plan and an investment strategy.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Why the Yuan Devaluation Does Not Erode China’s Long-Term Investment Potential by Nick Niziolek of Calamos Investments

In his blog post, titled “Why the Yuan Devaluation Does Not Erode China’s Long-Term Investment Potential,” SVP and Senior Co-Portfolio Manager Nick Niziolek discusses the opportunities the Calamos team sees in China.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Security Valuation: What Can Microsoft and Walmart Teach Us about Amazon? by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

While most investors and the media consider the merits of Amazon’s workplace environment, we at Smead Capital Management would like to think about the purpose of owning a business and how today’s stock market chooses to price securities. In our case, we choose to analyze companies as if we were buying the whole business at current quotes, not just a small part. We think about Amazon the way we think about all companies—being the receiver of the future profits and free-cash flows.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Technically Speaking: The Bull/Bear Conundrum by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

In March of this year, I wrote an article entitled "Think Like A Bear, Invest Like A Bull" in which I discussed the importance of not letting personal emotional biases derail your investment strategy and discipline.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 The Hour of Your Day that Matters Most by Dan Richards (Article)

Three decisions drive productivity: how you start your day, how you end your day and what you do in between. Advisors who have given careful thought to these questions have seen big improvements in productivity.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 What New Advisors Need to Succeed by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Our newer advisors – while credentialed – are not experienced. We can’t put them in front of our large clients. But because they have credentials behind them, they think that doing analysis or behind-the-scenes client work is beneath them. How do we explain that doing the time in analysis is important and does require a high level of expertise on its own?

2015-08-18 00:00:00 Why You Shouldn’t Trust Most Financial Research by Michael Edesess and Kwok L. Tsui (Article)

Most claimed research findings in financial economics are likely false, according to a recently published paper. I’ll explain how those researchers arrived at that conclusion by looking at the ongoing search for factors that influence investment returns.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 15 Ways to Make Investment Reports Easier to Read by Joyce Walsh (Article)

You put on your best outfit for client and marketing meetings. Your offices are well appointed, reflecting the professional culture of your firm. Then you pass the presentation materials around. The font is quirky and informal. In places it’s too small for some clients to read comfortably. With the flip of a page, your chance of making a positive first impression is lost.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 The Most Important Success Factors by Bob Veres (Article)

What are the most important success factors that you should have in order to achieve your business and personal goals (whatever they may be) and in what order?

2015-08-18 00:00:00 How Business Friendly Is Your State? by Doug Short (Article) has now published its fourth annual Small Business Friendliness Survey, with responses from nearly 18,000 businesses in the United States. The objective is to rate their state and city governments across a broad range of policy factors.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 Lessons from Donald Trump to Grow Your Practice by Dan Solin (Article)

Trump’s non-verbal behavior can be emulated to win the trust and confidence of clients and prospects.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 Global Manufacturing Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Industrial production in the US in July surprised to the upside in the release today. IP rose 0.6% MoM (June was revised slightly lower, however) and is 1.3% higher YoY.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 China’s Currency Moves by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

The recent action in China’s stock market and its currency has caused a heightened attention to Chinese government policy decisions. All this attention certainly demonstrates how important China has become within the global economy at large.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 No Contest: In High Yield, Active Funds Beat ETFs by Gershon Distenfeld of AllianceBernstein

Investors have been rushing into high-yield exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for years. But have they been getting their money’s worth? A look at the performance numbers offers a clear answer,“No.”

2015-08-18 00:00:00 What Rising Volatility Means For Momentum by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

While momentum exposure may add to returns over the long term, Russ explains what a regime of rising volatility suggests for the the shorter term.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 China, the Fed, and Commodity Prices by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, moved to allow its exchange rate to be determined by market forces. After two sharp declines in the yuan, the PBOC apparently had had enough and declared that the currency adjustment was “basically completed.” The news from China added to uncertainty about what the Fed will do in September. Concerns about the pace of global growth have put downward pressure on commodity prices, which may keep the Fed on hold.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 International Equity Commentary: July 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

International equity prices were mostly unchanged during the month of July as gains in Europe were offset by losses in Asia and select other markets such as Canada. Further improvement in economic trends from the Euro-zone and the tentative agreement to provide additional financial support to Greece brightened investor sentiment in the region.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Price action in US equities is weak. Two potential opportunities to kick off a rally failed this week. Despite this, short term sentiment and seasonality support a move to the upper end of the range. Ultimately, lower lows are still ahead over the coming weeks.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review For Aug. 10-14 by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

This weekend was my summer vacation, when I (try) to completely unplug from news, internet and other variety of my daily routine. I was pretty successful at the task, although I did keep up with general events thanks to CNN. With the exception of China’s devaluation, there was little meaningful economic news, making my catch-up column a bit easier. But perhaps more importantly, when I returned I was struck just how little things had really changed in a 7 day period.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 Long/Short Equity and Equity Market Neutral – Describing Liquid Alts by Michael Breitenbach of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

Equity long/short strategies construct portfolios consisting of both long and short positions in equity securities and equity-linked derivatives but maintain an overall long bias with significant positive correlation to the overall equity market.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 Financial System Healing by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Every month, the National Association of Realtors reports on existing home sales, which are closings on previously-owned homes. These sales have been doing very well lately, up in four of the past five months and up almost 10% from a year ago. We expect further gains when the next report comes out Thursday morning.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 China’s Currency Moves Spark Volatility and Uncertainty by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities endured high levels of volatility last week, dropping sharply in the first few days of trading before recovering to end the week slightly higher. The main focus was China’s surprising decision to devalue the yuan, which raised concerns about a weaker global growth backdrop, deflationary trends, the prospects of a currency war and what the move would mean for the U.S. Federal Reserve and U.S. monetary policy.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 China Surprise by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

Ouch! August is often a month of surprises. In 2011, the S&P 500 lost nearly 7% at the height of the European debt crisis (yes, it’s been going on that long). In 2013, the NASDAQ closed for three hours sending stocks into a mini tailspin. This week’s “I didn’t see that coming” was the devaluation of the Chinese renminbi by nearly 3%.

2015-08-17 00:00:00 Why I'm an Advisor with Rand Spero by (Article)

Rand Spero, president of Massachusetts-based Street Smart Financial, discusses the personal reasons that led him to become a fee-only planner.

2015-08-17 00:00:00 A Study of Real Real Returns Now in its Third Decade by Team of Thornburg Investment Management

If generals always fight the last war, investors all too often chase past performance and mistime the market. Despite the age-old admonition to buy low and sell high, few actually do, to the detriment of their portfolios and wealth. Why? No one wants to be the first to the party or the last to leave. Yet upswings in one asset class may not be all that apparent until well under way. By the time many market analysts and financial media notice, relative valuations may already have reached lofty levels. Loathe to miss out, investors pile in anyway, hoping there may be some steam left.

2015-08-17 00:00:00 Chinese Yuan Depreciates Further: What is the Endgame? by Rob Waldner of Invesco Blog

After China’s surprise devaluation of the yuan by 1.9% last Tuesday, the Chinese currency was devalued by another 1.6% on Wednesday. Policymakers appear to be following a pattern of setting the daily fix, which sets the center point for trading during that day, with reference to the market price at the close of the previous day. Invesco Fixed Income believes that further devaluations are likely as the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the country’s central bank, acquiesces to market pressure and price movements over time.

2015-08-17 00:00:00 Debt-Financed Buybacks Have Quietly Placed Investors On Margin by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

When corporations and even developing countries experience debt crises, one of the primary means of restructuring is the debt-equity swap. This sort of transaction involves canceling out debt of the company or government in return for equity of the company, or privatization of some of the assets of the country. Corporate debt-equity swaps typically result in severe dilution of the equity claims of existing shareholders, and in some cases, can wipe those claims out as creditors take control of the company.

2015-08-17 00:00:00 ‘Rough Year’ For CEFs by (Article)

Concerns on multiple fronts have led to wider discounts in the CEF market this year, says Maury Fertig of Relative Value Partners

2015-08-17 00:00:00 You Worked to Have It... Now Work to Keep It by Guy Christopher of Money Metals Exchange

Some folks had good news about gold over the past few weeks, and some had bad news. The good news is a treasure hunter working the waters off the Florida coastline with a metal detector found a million bucks worth of gold coins and chains from a 300-year-old wrecked Spanish galleon. Under U.S. salvage laws, he'll keep 80% of what he found.

2015-08-17 00:00:00 Charts for the Beach 2015 by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

We’ve put together five of our favorite non-consensus charts that are perfect reading material for a sunny day at the beach.

2015-08-17 00:00:00 On My Radar: China’s Surprise – Power To The Dollar by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

“Something is deeply wrong if an economy is not growing, because it means these natural processes are impeded. That is why around the world, since the Dark Ages, lack of growth has been a signal of political oppression or instability. Absent such sickness, growth occurs.”– Adam Posen, “Debate: The Case for Slower Growth”

2015-08-17 00:00:00 Emerging Europe: Economy Trends Update July 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

The resolution of the Greek imbroglio dominated the news during the quarter, highlighting the crisis of confidence for the Euro-zone. The resolution of the Greek crisis and its third bailout deal is beneficial for countries such as Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, which depend on the euro-zone for most of their exports. Meanwhile, big oil exporter Russia benefited during the second quarter as energy prices increased moderately despite the Ukraine crisis and the ongoing economic sanctions that continue to cloud the outlook for the economy.

2015-08-17 00:00:00 Big Data Analytics: Investing in Technology Themes by Paul Meeks of Saturna Capital

With big data analytics we can quickly and efficiently comb through a mammoth store of data for many business insights that just keep coming.

2015-08-17 00:00:00 Commodity Prices vs. Corporate Earnings by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

Will collapsing commodity prices clobber U.S. earnings? In six out of seven cases since 1970, commodity crashes exceeding 20% year-over-year have corresponded with earnings contractions exceeding 10% year-over-year. The lone exception occurred in 1998 when earnings decelerated to zero growth without actually contracting.

2015-08-17 00:00:00 Structured Notes: Read the Fine Print by Seth Masters, Richard Weaver, John McLaughlin of AllianceBernstein

Structured notes have gained in popularity, but investors would be wise to read the fine print carefully. Our research indicates that these complex instruments rarely live up to their intriguing claims.

2015-08-17 00:00:00 Why High Yield Still Has a Role to Play by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ Koesterich and an investment strategist on his team, Terry Simpson, weigh in on the case for including high yield in a portfolio.

2015-08-14 00:00:00 On the Winners and Losers of the Great Chinese Rebalance by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

Change can be hard, but change can also be good. At this very moment we are living through one of the largest and potentially destabilizing periods of economic change in the last century. It is the mirror image and reversal of the last great economic paradigm shift. It is China’s shift from an investment driven growth model to a consumption driven growth model. For some it is painful. For others who are correctly positioned it is extremely lucrative. It is affecting all of us whether we know it or not. But most of all, it is inevitable.

2015-08-14 00:00:00 Happy 80th Birthday, Social Security! Here’s to Many More by Gail Buckner of Franklin Templeton Investments

Americans are worried about whether they can count on Social Security—both today and in the future. I believe Congress needs to act sooner rather than later.

2015-08-14 00:00:00 Will a Democrat Win the White House in 2016? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

He might be leading in the polls right now, but Donald Trump is unlikely to be elected president in 2016, if a time-tested election forecast turns out to be accurate.

2015-08-14 00:00:00 The US Federal Reserve’s Brakes Do Work by Wayne Godlin of AllianceBernstein

Over the past three decades, the Federal Reserve has raised the official short-term rate when the US economy has shown signs of overheating. When the Fed moves, savvy bond investors also move—toward opportunity.

2015-08-14 00:00:00 Your Economics (and Market Structure) Summer Reading List by Jeff Hussey of Russell Investments

Global CIO Jeff Hussey offers an economics summer reading list (plus one book on market structure).

2015-08-14 00:00:00 Oil’s New Normal by Mohamed A. El-Erian of Project Syndicate

At the end of the day, no swing producer controls the fate of today’s oil prices. A sustained price recovery requires a healthier global economy that combines faster inclusive growth and greater financial stability.

2015-08-14 00:00:00 Should You Take Some Off The Table? by Jim Tillar, Steve Wenstrup of Tillar-Wenstrup Advisors

Is it time for a correction? That is the question that has been on the mind of many investors for some time now. Those who have ridden the wave since the ugly market bottom of March 2009 can afford to be worried as they weathered an uncertain recovery in the market and have generally seen their assets grow quite well. Unfortunately the fires of gloom were hot after the financial crisis with the media fanning the flames of pessimism. Therefore many late arrivers to the market may still be struggling to reestablish their previous portfolio values.

2015-08-14 00:00:00 Investing with the Slowskys: Appreciating the Value of Expertise, Analysis, and Judgment by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

News bits and data items with obvious implications are ever present but get discounted by the market very quickly. Only deeper, “slow traveling ideas” provide long term investors with a chance of realizing superior results.

2015-08-14 00:00:00 An Unsentimental Approach to Finding Value by Brad Evans of Heartland Advisors

Sentiment has been a driving force for investor returns the past few years, but we believe a focus on valuations, management and balance sheets is still the surest path to superior performance over a full market cycle.

2015-08-14 00:00:00 The Shot Not Heard Around the World by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

China’s recent move to devalue the yuan has sent shock waves through the global financial markets and has convinced most observers that a new front in the global currency wars has begun. The move