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2016-05-05 00:00:00 A Closer Look at the Yesterday's ADP Employment Report by Doug Short (Article)

In yesterday's ADP employment report we got a March estimate of 156K new nonfarm private employment jobs, April estimate of 156K new nonfarm private employment jobs from ADP, a decrease from March's 194K, which was a downward revision from 200K. The popular spin on this indicator is as a preview to the monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But the ADP report includes a wealth of information that's worth exploring in more detail.

2016-05-04 00:00:00 Anticipating April Employment: ADP Disappoints at 156K by Doug Short (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 April estimate of 156K new nonfarm private employment jobs from ADP, a decrease from March's 194K, which was a downward revision from 200K.

2016-05-04 00:00:00 March Trade Deficit Down 6.5B from Revised February 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.

2016-05-04 00:00:00 ISM Non-Manufacturing: PMI Growth Continues at Slightly Faster Rate by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Today the Institute for Supply Management published its latest Non-Manufacturing Report. The headline NMI Composite Index is at 55.7 percent, up 1.2 percent from last month's seasonally adjusted 54.5 percent. Today's number came in above the forecast of 54.7 percent.

2016-05-04 00:00:00 The Geopolitics of Helicopter Money: Part 1 by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Since 2008, developed economy central banks have been implementing unconventional policy measures. Although they likely prevented deeper financial calamity, the central banks’ actions have not led to strong economic recovery. One remaining policy virtually guaranteed to lift inflation and would likely boost growth is to use monetary policy to directly fund fiscal spending, called “monetary funded fiscal spending” (MFFS) and often referred to as “helicopter money.” However, it’s a potentially dangerous policy appropriate only in the most extreme circumstances. In Part 1, we describe MFFS and barriers to its use.

2016-05-04 00:00:00 Green Shoots in China Promising, But Temporary by Aimee Kaye of Loomis Sayles

We’ve seen some favorable headlines from China recently, including better-than-expected industrial activity. But the ‘green shoots’ we see in the Chinese economy are not likely to persist and I expect softness to resume in June or July.

2016-05-04 00:00:00 Misbehavioral Finance: Countering Emotional Investment Decisions by T.P. Enders, Vince Tiseo of Goldman Sachs Asset Management

Today’s concerns over the uneven state of the global economy, the direction of interest rates, and the price of oil – to name just a few current issues -- create a risk that emotions may unduly influence investment decisions. In our view, short-term market events and the emotions they can trigger should not drive investment choices. But how, exactly, can these factors be acknowledged while maintaining a proper focus on long-term goals and long-term investment strategies? For financial professionals, we believe today’s environment demands a renewed focus on “softer” skills such as managing behavior. Here are five common behavioral biases we often see in the marketplace as well as potential solutions we often discuss with clients.

2016-05-04 00:00:00 Is Sell in May Just a Cliche? by Burt White of LPL Financial

“Sell in May and go away” is probably the most widely cited cliché in stock market history. May is upon us, which every year sparks a barrage of Wall Street commentaries, media stories, and investor questions about the popular stock market adage. This week we tackle this widely cited seasonal pattern, but with a couple of twists thrown in to add some new perspective.

2016-05-04 00:00:00 Warren Buffett on Hyperactivity by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Long term readers are familiar with our ownership of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) shares, as well as our undying respect for Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger. They have few peers among the best stock pickers and capital allocators in U.S. history, as measured by the returns on Berkshire Hathaway over the last 51 years. On April 30, 2016, faithful shareholders gathered as Mr. Buffett and Mr. Munger shared copious and wise advice at the 2016 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting. Ironically, almost every topic was connected to hyperactivity. We attended the meeting, and came away with some thoughts that are somewhat contrarian, including some of his views we found disappointing.

2016-05-04 00:00:00 90% Of Americans Are Worse Off Today Than In 1970s by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today we will focus on a recent study from the Levy Economics Institute which found that 90% of Americans were worse off financially in 2015 than at any time since the early 1970s. Furthermore, for the vast majority of Americans, the nation’s economy is in a prolonged period of stagnation, worse even than that of Japan.

2016-05-04 00:00:00 Recession Probability Models - May 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.

2016-05-04 00:00:00 Charts That Matter: May 2016 by Ritesh Jain, Abhishek Sonthalia of Tata Asset Management

This is the 5th edition of the monthly “Charts That Matter” (CTM) series. The CTM series only gets interesting with every subsequent month! This edition I have begun with a chart on how “currency in the hands of public” is surging even in a low inflationary and positive real interest rate environment. This is very counter intuitive.

2016-05-04 00:00:00 2 Painstaking Reasons the Market can expect a Midlife Crisis by Greg Silberman of Atlanta Capital Group

In our last market note (How to Unleash a Dragon) we commented that a rally in March was expected given the degree of selling in January and part of February. The magnitude and breadth of the rebound has surprised us but short covering rallies are normally quite breathtaking.

2016-05-04 00:00:00 Changing the Filter as Oil Prices Bottom by Rajeev Eyunni, Lily Zheng, Stephen Wei of AllianceBernstein

The recent bottoming in oil prices has brought some relief to equity markets. But the business landscape for energy-producing and -consuming industries has changed dramatically. What course should investors follow?

2016-05-04 00:00:00 Canada’s Monetary Policy Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Ed Devlin of PIMCO

Understanding a central bank’s reaction function to volatile financial and commodity markets can help investors navigate an uncertain environment.

2016-05-04 00:00:00 The Power of a Consensus Glide Path by Philip Murphy of S&P Dow Jones Indices

Some who follow target date fund (TDF) performance have taken note that lately, the S&P Target Date Index Series has outperformed many TDFs. In most historical periods, index performance was middle of the pack. However, 2015 was an exception, as shown in Report 2 of our Year-End 2015 Target Date Scorecard. Every vintage of the S&P Target Date Index Series produced total returns that were close to, or better than, those of funds in the 90th percentile of the target date mutual fund universe.

2016-05-04 00:00:00 To Correctly Predict the Fed's Policy Path, Watch This by Rick Rieder of BlackRock

To accurately gauge when the central bank will likely hike again, Rick Rieder explains two factors you'll want to pay close attention to.

2016-05-03 00:00:00 S&P 500 Snapshot: Erasing Yesterday's Gain by Doug Short (Article)

Yesterday, the first market day of the proverbial "sell in May" strategy, saw a 0.78% gain, but the second day of May trading erased the gain with a 0.87% loss. Today was light on economic news, with the big economic event of the week coming on Friday with the release of the April employment report. The popular financial press pointed to larger than expected contraction in China's Caixin Manufacturing PMI, a diffusion index that has contracted for the past 21 months. The S&P 500 plunged at the open and sold off to its late morning -1.28% intraday low.

2016-05-03 00:00:00 Market Cap to GDP: An Updated Look at the Buffett Valuation Indicator by Doug Short (Article)

With last week's release of the Advance Estimate of Q1 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 113.0%, down from 119.4% for Q4 of last year. It is off its 130.9% interim high in Q1 of 2105 year and below the +2SD.

2016-05-03 00:00:00 Light Vehicle Sales Per Capita: Our Latest Look at the Long-Term Trend by Jill Mislinski (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 63%.

2016-05-03 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.

2016-05-03 00:00:00 Tips to Avoid Presentation Disasters (Part 4) by Dan Solin (Article)

In my previous articles, I’ve given advice on how to dress and use gestures to give an effective presentation. But the underlying key to being a great speaker is not to focus on yourself; it is to anticipate what the audience wants from you – and give it to them. Here’s how to do that.

2016-05-03 00:00:00 Last Week’s Top APViewpoint Conversations by Marianne Brunet (Article)

Here is what happened in the most-followed conversations on APViewpoint last week.

2016-05-03 00:00:00 Reevaluating Your Investment Philosophy by Teresa Riccobuono (Article)

Many advisors use the beginning of a new quarter as a time to review their investment choices, sometimes called a “pick list.” If you fall into this group, consider including a review of your investment philosophy as part of the overall process.

2016-05-03 00:00:00 Stockbroker Economics and the Value of Diversification by John Coumarianos (Article)

The English journalist and economist Andrew Smithers has called “stockbroker economics” the belief that all news is good news and stocks are always cheap. Advisors recognize the fallacy of that logic and rely on diversification to counter the inevitable asset-class volatility that markets deliver. But, according to many forecasts – including those from GMO – virtually all asset classes are likely to perform poorly over the next decade.

2016-05-03 00:00:00 Managing Stress Overload by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I can’t take much more of the negativity and abuse here. Please do not recommend that I speak to HR. Is there anything I can do or say to these people who are being so abusive?

2016-05-03 00:00:00 Does T. Rowe Price Add Value for Investors? by Larry Swedroe (Article)

With approximately $600 billion under management, T. Rowe Price has been entrusted with the assets of countless investors over its nearly 80-year history. Its eponymous founder popularized the concept of active management through growth-stock investing. I will examine whether the firm’s funds have historically added value for investors relative to a passive benchmark.

2016-05-03 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.

2016-05-03 00:00:00 State of Affairs of the Chinese Corporate Sector – Part 1 by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

The Chinese economic situation has been firmly out of the limelight for the better part of three months now as the country’s fiscal kitchen sinking has shown obvious signs of ramping into gear. If the world’s investors and economy watchers have breathed a collective sigh of relief, the Chinese corporate sector must be partying like it’s 1999 because Chinese businesses were headed strait off a cliff.

2016-05-03 00:00:00 Who Wants Pie? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Productivity growth is perhaps the single most important factor in the economy. Increased output per worker facilitates improvements in the standard of living over time. It’s how our children have a better future. It also helps support corporate profits. What to make then of the current situation, where productivity growth has slowed to a crawl in the U.S. and around the world? Will there be enough pie to go around?

2016-05-03 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.

2016-05-03 00:00:00 Emerging Markets Should Go for the Gold by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

For some time, rich countries have argued that it is in everyone’s collective interest to demonetize gold. But there is a good case to be made that a shift in emerging markets toward accumulating gold would help the international financial system function more smoothly and benefit everyone.

2016-05-03 00:00:00 How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bond by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Low yields, potential volatility: Why even hold bonds? Russ explains the crucial role they still play in a portfolio.

2016-05-03 00:00:00 Why $19 Trillion In Debt IS A Problem by Lance Roberts of Real Investment Advice

According to the World Economic Forum, the United States has achieved a new TOP 10 ranking. Tell us what we’ve won Bob.

2016-05-03 00:00:00 Active Managers Can’t Jump by Brian Massey of Mar Vista Investment Partners

In streetball parlance, active managers have thrown up enough bricks to host a masons’ convention. Marking the worst relative quarter since 1998, less than one-in-five large cap managers, and only 6% of large cap growth managers, outperformed the S&P 500® Index in the first quarter of 2016. We don’t put much weight on just three months of performance data but, despite what Mark Twain writes, statistics don’t lie: fewer than one-quarter of managers outperform their benchmarks over the long-term. With such disappointing outcomes, the economic value of our profession will remain in question and cheap beta will look relatively attractive.

2016-05-03 00:00:00 Abnormalities in the New Normal by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

Certain investment dynamics are behaving very differently post the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. Understanding these changes are important as they can provide opportunities for investors. In this month's Absolute Return Letter, we will look at the impact of some of these 'abnormalities' and how investors can profit from them. Enjoy the read.

2016-05-03 00:00:00 Market Remains Overvalued, Up 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

2016-05-02 00:00:00 Weekly Gasoline Price Update: Regular and Premium, WTIC Highest Since November 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 up eight cents each from last week and at their highest levels since November. According to, California has the highest average price for Regular at $2.80 and San Francisco is averaging $2.94. Oklahoma has the cheapest at $1.95. The WTIC end of day spot price closed at 44.78, up 2.14 from last week.

2016-05-02 00:00:00 Is the Stock Market Cheap? by Doug Short (Article)

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

2016-05-02 00:00:00 Regression to Trend: A New Look at Long-Term Market Performance by Doug Short (Article)

Quick take: At the end of April the inflation-adjusted S&P 500 index price was 83% above its long-term trend, an increase from 79% 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.

2016-05-02 00:00:00 A Perspective on 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, 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.

2016-05-02 00:00:00 The Q Ratio and Market Valuation: April Update by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Note: We've posted an update to incorporate data through the end of April.

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.

2016-05-02 00:00:00 ISM Manufacturing Index: Continued Expansion in April by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Today the Institute for Supply Management published its monthly Manufacturing Report for April. The latest headline PMI was 50.8 percent, a decrease of 1.0 percent from the previous month and below the forecast of 51.4.

2016-05-02 00:00:00 "Justified" Consequences by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Market conditions continue to be characterized by the likelihood of extremely poor long-term and full-cycle outcomes, with expected 10-12 year estimated S&P 500 nominal total returns in the 0-2% range, negative expected real returns on both horizons, and the continued likelihood of a 40-55% interim market loss over the completion of the current cycle; a decline that would represent only a typical run-of-the-mill cycle completion, based on valuation measures most tightly related with actual subsequent market returns across history.

2016-05-02 00:00:00 Muni CEFs “Intriguing” by (Article)

Municipal bond CEFs may pose an “intriguing” opportunity for investors aware of potential risks, says Stephen Fox of Nuveen Investments.

2016-05-02 00:00:00 The Bank of Japan Leaves Monetary Policy Unchanged by Sean Connery of Invesco

The Bank of Japan (BoJ) announced at its April 28 policy meeting that it would keep monetary policy unchanged. Invesco Fixed Income has been inclined to think that the BoJ would wait. It was only in January that it eased policy last, and we had anticipated that it would want to fully assess the impact of those actions before easing further. Furthermore, the recent increase in oil prices and weakening in the yen may have bought the central bank some additional thinking time. However, recent polls indicated that many non-Japanese investors had expected easing.

2016-05-02 00:00:00 Metals Don’t Reflect Chinese Demand Growth by Jodie Gunzberg of S&P Dow Jones Indices

After China reported year-over-year first-quarter growth that showed signs of improvement, it overpowered negative news of the Doha oil production meeting failure and sent commodities rallying. Investors’ attention quickly shifted from oil to the other economically sensitive sector, industrial metals.

2016-05-02 00:00:00 Finding Opportunities in Today's Municipal Bond Market by James Dearborn of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

James Dearborn, head of municipal bond investments and senior portfolio manager at Columbia Threadneedle, discusses today’s muni bond market and where he sees opportunities for tax-sensitive investors.

2016-05-02 00:00:00 Diversification Pays While Low Inflation Stays by Brad Tank of Neuberger Berman

Neither rising rates nor rising defaults would spell the end of opportunistic, diversified fixed income. There is one piece of conventional wisdom you may have heard in recent years. It says that opportunistic fixed income investors have been forced into high yield and emerging market debt because conventional bond yields have been so low, and that “chasing yield” like this always ends badly.

2016-05-02 00:00:00 On My Radar: He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

He sure feels like he’s heavy.  From The Wall Street Journal this morning, “U.S. Growth Starts Year in Familiar Rut.”  “A sharp pullback in business investment and weak global demand dragged down an already-lackluster U.S. economy in the opening months of 2016, the latest setback in a bumpy expansion entering its seventh year.”  That marked the economy’s worst performance in two years.

2016-05-02 00:00:00 Are Investors in Europe Stuck in Bonderland? by John Taylor of AllianceBernstein

Like Alice when she fell down the rabbit hole, Europe’s bond investors find themselves in “curiouser and curiouser” terrain. That’s because souped-up ECB bond-buying is creating confusing new oddities—plus potential risks and opportunities.

2016-05-02 00:00:00 Altitude Adjustment: Investing During a Period of Lower Returns and Higher Volatility by Mihir Worah, Geraldine Sundstrom of PIMCO

It can be difficult to adjust to the end of a good run. For years following the financial crisis of 2008, investors benefited from a rally in financial markets facilitated in part by expansionary policies of the Federal Reserve and other central banks around the globe.

2016-05-02 00:00:00 I Think Icahn by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Last Thursday was session 53 in the “buying stampede” and it was going along swimmingly. Well, I guess the surprise “no stimulus” announcement out of Japan caused an early morning stutter-step, but the equity markets seemed to stabilize after a somewhat weak opening. In fact it caused one market wizard to comment, “I love this market. Bad earnings can't take it down. Remember, the move most people least expect is the DJIA going right through all of that overhead supply and making all-time new highs. I'm in the minority camp, expecting major new highs. Buy in May and don't go away!”

2016-05-02 00:00:00 Market Thoughts for May 2016 by (Article)

Following a strong March, markets suffered a pullback in early April after analysts cut forecasts for first-quarter earnings growth and worries about the economy resurfaced. Though markets recovered, we were left wondering: was the pullback a sign of things to come, or will we see markets continue to move along? Brad McMillan, Commonwealth Financial Network’s chief investment officer, looks at how ongoing strength in job and income growth, expansion in the manufacturing sector, and other factors could lead to a fruitful spring. Follow Brad at

2016-05-02 00:00:00 3 Ways You Can Reduce Retirement Readiness Risk by Chuck Self of iSectors

Since we just finished tax time (or filed an extension to delay facing the reckoning until October), it is a good time to review your tax-advantaged retirement accounts. Whether you have five or 35 years until think you will retire, you will want to make progress to full retirement readiness.

2016-05-02 00:00:00 Apple vs The Fed by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Honest question: How much time does the Apple Inc. Board of Directors spend debating whether the Federal Reserve will hike rates once or twice more in 2016? We don’t really know the answer, but we would guess the best answer is zero.

2016-05-02 00:00:00 The Global Growth Funk by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

The IMF and others have recently revised downward their forecasts for the global economy – yet again. Little wonder: The world economy has few bright spots, with both actual and potential output growth declining in advanced and emerging economies alike.

2016-05-02 00:00:00 The Economy and Earnings Should Strengthen Later This Year by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Equity markets fell last week, with the S&P 500 Index declining 1.2%. Monetary policy was in focus. The Federal Reserve meeting generated debate about the timing of the next rate hike and the Bank of Japan surprisingly failed to move rates even further into negative territory. Earnings were generally weak, while a fall in the value of the dollar led to another rally in commodity prices.

2016-05-02 00:00:00 Municipal Bond Premiums: Separating Fact from Fiction by Jonathan Rocafort, Christopher Harshman, Evan Rourke of Eaton Vance

4 important facts to consider when buying premium bonds.

2016-05-02 00:00:00 Relationships Are Complicated: Crude Oil and US Equities by Craig Burelle of Loomis Sayles

Over the last 30 years, the correlation between crude oil prices and the US equity market has been essentially zero. In the first quarter of this year, the correlation rose to 0.58.

2016-05-02 00:00:00 Crestmont Market Valuation Update by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Quick take: Based on the April S&P 500 average of daily closes, the Crestmont P/E is 90% above its arithmetic mean and at the 97th percentile of this fourteen-plus-decade monthly metric.

2016-05-01 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Equities fell this week, led by an 11% drop in the US's largest stock, Apple. For the first time since the February low, the near-term trend in SPY is weak: the current set up normally leads SPY, through price and time, to its 50-dma and lower Bollinger Band, both currently about 3% lower. Overall, breadth, sentiment, macro, commodities and seasonality support higher equities prices in the week(s) ahead. The month of May typically starts strong and the NDX has been down 7 days in a row: combined, these suggest a positive start to the week is likely.

2016-05-01 00:00:00 Silver Wheaton: The Ultimate Streaming Service by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

As the only pure silver mining company, Silver Wheaton couldn’t have been founded during a more opportune time. The commodities boom was still young. I remember that when the idea was shared with me, what I found most attractive was that it had virtually no competition. Franco-Nevada, which had been acquired by Newmont in 2001, wouldn’t be spun off for three more years. It was a no-brainer to put capital in this new endeavor.

2016-05-01 00:00:00 The Plaza Accord Cannot be Reincarnated by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Thirty-one years ago, the finance ministers from Japan, France, West Germany, Britain and the United States met to synchronize economic policy in support of global objectives. The “Plaza Accord” set the stage for significant shifts in world markets.

2016-05-01 00:00:00 Great Expectations! by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

Expectations and inflection points matter in investing, often more so than the overall level of any given data set. The besting of low expectations has helped stocks to move higher, but the bar has been raised so we continue to suggest a neutral allocation toward U.S. stocks. Globally, currency moves have played a large part in determining stock market action, and some calming in the currency markets could help stabilize global markets.

2016-05-01 00:00:00 Delta Force by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Today we are going to explore how demographic change impacts growth.

2016-04-30 00:00:00 World Markets Weekend Update: The Global Rally Loses Ground by Doug Short (Article)

The global rally in equities reversed and lost ground last week. All eight indexes on our watch list were negative for the week, and the average of the eight was a disappointing -2.18%. The range was considerable, from China's top-performing Shanghai Composite, down less than a percent to the Japan's Nikkei, down over five percent.

2016-04-29 00:00:00 Michigan Consumer Sentiment: April Final Continues Slow Decline by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The University of Michigan Final Consumer Sentiment for April came in at 89.0, a 2.0 point decrease from the 91.0 March Final reading. had forecast 90.0.

2016-04-29 00:00:00 ECRI Weekly Leading Index: WLI Up 0.3 From Last Week, WLIg Up 1.0 by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Today's release of the publicly available data from ECRI (Economic Cycle Research Institute) puts its Weekly Leading Index (WLI) at 135.5, up 0.3 from the previous week. The company's Weekly Leading Index annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at 4.5, an increase of 1.0 from the previous week, and well off its interim low of -4.7 in January of last year. Year-over-year the indicator is now at 0.95%, up from 0.74% the previous week, and in positive territory for the fifth consecutive week.

2016-04-29 00:00:00 Best Stock Market Indicator Update by Jill Mislinski (Article)

According to this system, the market is now tradable and a signal to to enter and continue long trading. The OEXA200R is at 74%, and two of three secondary indicators are positive.

2016-04-29 00:00:00 The Core PCE Price Index Drops in March by Doug Short (Article)

The Personal Income and Outlays report for March was published this morning by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The latest Headline PCE price index year-over-year (YoY) rate is 0.82%, down from the previous month's upwardly revised 0.96%. The latest YoY Core PCE index (less Food and Energy) came in at 1.56%, down from the previous month's upwardly revised 1.72%.

2016-04-29 00:00:00 Two Measures of Inflation and Fed Policy by Doug Short (Article)

The BEA's Personal Consumption Expenditures Chain-type Price Index for March, released yesterday, shows core inflation below the Federal Reserve's 2% long-term target at 1.56%, down from its February reading of 1.72%, which was the highest since late 2012. The most recent Core Consumer Price Index release, also data through March, is higher at 2.19%. The Fed is on record as using Core PCE data for its primary inflation gauge.

2016-04-29 00:00:00 Regional Fed Manufacturing Overview: April Still Negative, but Continuing to Climb 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. The average of the five for April is -3.2, up from last month's -7.8.

2016-04-29 00:00:00 The Big Four Economic Indicators: Real Personal Income for March by Doug Short (Article)

Personal Income (excluding Transfer Receipts) in March rose 0.38% and is up 4.3% year-over-year. When we adjust for inflation using the BEA's PCE Price Index, Real Personal Income (excluding Transfer Receipts) rose 0.33%. The real number is up 3.5% year-over-year. Real PI less TR is one of those indicators that warrants adjustment for population growth to understand the long-term trends.

2016-04-29 00:00:00 Moving Averages: April Month-End Update by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Valid until the market close on May 31, 2016

The S&P 500 closed April with a monthly gain of 0.27% after a gain of 6.6% last month. All three S&P 500 MAs are signaling "invested" and all five Ivy Portfolio ETF MAs are signaling "invested". In the table, monthly closes that are within 2% of a signal are highlighted in yellow.

2016-04-29 00:00:00 Drivers of Oil Prices Prove Slippery to Grasp by Charles Wilson, PhD of Thornburg Investment Management

Currency movements more than a failed "freeze" deal explain volatility in crude prices. But energy market fundamentals will ultimately determine price levels more than currency effects.

2016-04-29 00:00:00 Is a Bear Market Looming? by Erik Ristuben of Russell Investments

Chief Investment Strategist Erik Ristuben looks at the fundamentals of what could trigger a bear market.

2016-04-29 00:00:00 U.S. Presidential Election Brings Key Economic Issues into Focus by Derek Hamilton of Ivy Investments

The 2016 U.S. presidential election. has drawn more potential candidates, more controversy and perhaps more media coverage than any election in modern U.S. history. It also has been said that this year’s presidential contest is the most important of our time.* The same argument could be made from an economic perspective.

2016-04-29 00:00:00 The Evolution of the “Hussman Chart” by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

Last week, among several other illustrations of popular investment misconceptions, I included a version of what I will call the “Hussman Chart.” I suggested that if you did not understand the chart, you shouldn’t be using it for your investment decisions. My main point was that people blindly accept conclusions from intelligent sources who use sophisticated methods. Of the are dozens of possible illustrations, I included the Hussman Chart.

2016-04-29 00:00:00 Fiscal Stimulus? Check Your Portfolio’s Inflation Beta by Vadim Zlotnikov of AllianceBernstein

With negative interest rates unlikely to ignite global growth, the debate will soon shift to expansionary fiscal policy. Investors should consider how a potential inflation recovery could impact their portfolios.

2016-04-29 00:00:00 How India Is Stepping Out of China’s Shadow by Sukumar Rajah of Franklin Templeton Investments

A combination of a growing middle class and increased commercialization of the rural sector (and ultimately infrastructure) could potentially set the stage for increased urbanization in years to come.

2016-04-29 00:00:00 Fantasy Island: The Unexpected Consequences of High Profits by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

Although high profits can certainly help an economy, persistently high profits can be a sign of reduced competition and an impaired ability to grow.

2016-04-29 00:00:00 Allocating to “Liquid Alternatives” – The Importance of Correlation by Equiinox Funds (Article)

The 60% / 40% allocation to stocks and bonds has long been viewed as a useful benchmark for diversification, albeit naïve, by many investors. In our latest insight, we apply historical data and explore the individual impact that nine CTA (managed futures program) allocations could have had on an investor’s portfolio (overall return, volatility, risk, drawdown, and correlation).

2016-04-29 00:00:00 The Nominees Come into Greater Focus by Andrew Friedman of The Washington Update

The unanimity of result in the “Acela” state primaries brings the presidential nominations into greater focus.

2016-04-29 00:00:00 5 Charts From April’s Consumer Confidence Report by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Headline consumer confidence was a bit softer in April. The Consumer Confidence Index fell to 94.2 from 96.2 in March. This was below expectations of 95.8. The weakness in the report came from the expectations component as it fell by 4.3. The present situation component actually rose by 1.6.

2016-04-29 00:00:00 China: Still the World’s Number One Heavy Metal Rock Star by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

There’s a lot to unpack here, but I’ll say upfront that Cornerstone’s analysis is directly in line with our own, especially where the purchasing managers’ index (PMI) is concerned. China’s March PMI reading, at 49.7, was not only at its highest since February 2015 but it also crossed above its three-month moving average—a clear bullish signal, as I explained in-depth in January.

2016-04-29 00:00:00 Key Environmental Metrics for Investors: It’s not Just Carbon by Neil McIndoe of S&P Dow Jones Indices

Emissions of carbon dioxide and the other greenhouse gasses are often foremost in people’s minds when they consider environmental risk. This is understandable as, if we continue on our current path, we are set for four degrees Celsius of warming by 2100, compared with pre-industrial levels. Expected consequences include the flooding of coastal cities, irreversible loss of biodiversity, severe heat waves, and high-intensity tropical cyclones. 2016 has seen Arctic sea ice at its lowest seasonal maximum in satellite records, so warming is already having significant impacts.

2016-04-29 00:00:00 Dealing with Volatility by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

There has been much concern over market turmoil recently, which begs the question: how do investors deal with volatility? Robert Horrocks, PhD, CIO and Portfolio Manager, discusses how volatility is managed at Matthews Asia.

2016-04-29 00:00:00 Rethinking Investment Returns & How Math Impacts Results by Swan Global Investments (Article)

Do investors really understand the math behind investment returns? Many investors make their investment decisions based upon emotions like fear and greed. They do not understand the math that drives successful long-term results and why this is important. Understanding the core mathematical principles driving investment returns can help investors make better investment decisions. The paper will focus on four core, interconnected mathematical principles, all of which are instrumental to achieving better investment results over time: 1. The importance and power of compounding 2. The value of avoiding large losses 3. The importance of variance drain 4. The importance of a non-normal distribution of returns These core principles are often overlooked, ignored, or misunderstood by investors and will be explored in this paper for the purpose of strengthening the decision-making process. There are a lot of misconceptions amongst investors as it relates to equity investment returns, hedged equity returns, and the math behind them. The goal of this paper is to establish that certain mathematical principles support the usage of a hedged equity approach over other traditional equity approaches for long-term investment growth.

2016-04-29 00:00:00 Chicago PMI Down in April by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The latest Chicago Purchasing Manager's Index, or the Chicago Business Barometer, decreased in April to a value of 50.4 from last month's 53.6. Values lower than 50.0 indicate contracting manufacturing activity.

2016-04-29 00:00:00 March Real Disposable Income Per Capita Rises Again by Doug Short (Article)

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

At two decimal places, the nominal 0.31% month-over-month increase in disposable income comes in at 0.26% when we adjust for inflation. The year-over-year metrics are 3.20% nominal and 2.35% real.

2016-04-28 00:00:00 New Jobless Claims: Up 9K, 60th Week Below 300K by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Today's seasonally adjusted 257K new claims, up 9K from last week's revised 248K, was better than the forecast of 260K. The four-week moving average is at 256,000, down from last week's 260,750.

2016-04-28 00:00:00 Visualizing GDP: An Inside Look at the Q1 Advance Estimate by Doug Short (Article)

The accompanying chart 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.

2016-04-28 00:00:00 Moving Averages: Month-End Preview by Jill Mislinski (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 close on the last day of the month, all three S&P 500 strategies are signaling "invested" — unchanged from last month's triple "invested" signal. All five Ivy Portfolio ETFs — Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI),Vanguard FTSE All-World (VEU), iShares' Barclays 7-10 Year Treasury (IEF), PowerShares DB (DBC) and Vanguard REIT Index ETF (VNQ), — are signaling "invested", a change from last month's triple invested signal.

2016-04-28 00:00:00 Q1 GDP Advance Estimate at 0.5%, Worse Than Mainstream Forecasts by Doug Short (Article)

The Advance Estimate for Q1 GDP, to one decimal, came in at 0.5 percent, down from the 1.4 percent in Q4 of 2015. Today's number was worse than most mainstream estimates, with forecasting 0.7 percent and the consensus at 0.9 percent. The latest Atlanta Fed GDPNow forecast (on April 27) was 0.6 percent.

2016-04-28 00:00:00 A Gold Revaluation Could Transform Your Financial Status – Overnight by David Smith of Money Metals Exchange

As we move through 2016, the Horsemen of the geopolitical, economic, and social apocalypse are on the march.

2016-04-28 00:00:00 Pinnacle’s Q2 Market Review by Rick Vollaro of Pinnacle Advisory Group

The beginning of 2016 started in an emotional frenzy, as world markets dropped sharply out of the gates on fears of a sputtering world economy, plummeting commodity prices, a stubbornly hawkish Federal Reserve, and a decelerating earnings backdrop. The violence of the move in January was stunning, and by early February the number of world markets that had fallen more than 20% from their highs clearly argued that a bear market across the globe was taking place.

2016-04-28 00:00:00 Managing Debt in an Overleveraged World by Michael Spence of Project Syndicate

In the years since the 2008 global financial crisis, austerity and balance-sheet repair have been the watchwords of the global economy. And yet today, more than ever, debt is fueling concern about growth prospects worldwide.

2016-04-28 00:00:00 Fed Nudges Toward a June Rate Hike by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

As we said back in March, mark your calendars for a rate hike on June 15. Today’s statement from the Federal Reserve signals that it intends to raise rates by 25 basis points at the next meeting, consistent with the projections it made in March that it would raise rates twice in 2016.

2016-04-28 00:00:00 Quarterly Strategy Update: The End of Ricardian Growth? by Steven Vannelli of GaveKal Capital

This quarter, we explore the hypothesis that the modern era of Ricardian growth has ended. We further explore what this means for asset allocation and which types of stocks in particular should do well in this Ricardian hangover.

2016-04-28 00:00:00 Special edition: Can you trust investment research? by Jeffrey Briskin (Article)

Investment strategy research has become a cottage industry, with hundreds of studies published every year claiming that actively managed strategies, from factor-based investing to market timing, have greater potential to generate alpha. Those claims are usually based on backtesting performance over various market timeframes. Campbell Harvey views most of this research with a high degree of skepticism.

2016-04-28 00:00:00 Welcome to the Pale Gray Dot by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

In February 1990, the Voyager 1 space probe reached the outer edge of our solar system. NASA commanded it to take a last image of Earth from 3.7 billion miles away. The planet is only a small speck from that distance.

2016-04-28 00:00:00 Concerned About Inflation? Consider This Approach by Dr. Brian Jacobsen, CFA, CFP® of Wells Fargo Asset Management

If you want to safeguard your portfolio against eventual inflation, here’s a tip: Don’t automatically think TIPS, or Treasuries. Consider this option instead.

2016-04-28 00:00:00 3 Prime Suspects in the Slow Economic Recovery by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that lower government spending has been a big factor in the slow U.S. economic recovery. But it’s not the only culprit. Today, we'll take a look at three major headwinds to economic growth and whether they're likely to continue going forward.

2016-04-28 00:00:00 Margins: Mean-Reversion Works by Doug Ramsey of The Leuthold Group

We’ve said this before but it bears repeating. Operating (EBIT) margins failed to reach previous cycle highs and came under pressure only three years into the current economic recovery—evidence that the gravitational forces of capitalism remain in effect. Net margins remain above average mainly because interest expense remains low—a benefit that’s set to wear off following the last three years’ corporate borrowing binge.

2016-04-28 00:00:00 The Philly Fed ADS Business Conditions Index Update 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.

2016-04-28 00:00:00 Q1 GDP Per Capita Advance Estimate Goes Negative at -0.3% by Doug Short (Article)

The Advance Estimate for Q1 GDP, to one decimal, came in at 0.5 percent, down from the the 1.4 percent of Q4 2015. But with a per-capita adjustment, the data series is currently negative at -0.3 percent. The 10-year moving average illustrates that US economic growth has slowed dramatically since the last recession.

2016-04-28 00:00:00 March Real Median Household Income Inches Upward by Doug Short (Article)

The Sentier Research median household income data for March, released this morning, came in at $57,263. The nominal median declined $134 month-over-month and is up $2,950 year-over-year. That's an increase of 0.2% MoM and 5.4% YoY. Adjusted for inflation, the latest income was up $83 MoM but and $2,475 YoY. The real numbers equate to increases of 0.1% MoM and 4.5% YoY.

2016-04-28 00:00:00 Kansas City Fed Survey: Activity Declined Modestly, but Expectations Improved by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The latest index came in at -4.0, which indicates declining activity while the future outlook jumped to 10.0 from last month. Here is a snapshot of the complete Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Survey.

2016-04-28 00:00:00 RecessionAlert Weekly Leading Index: Slowly Increasing by Jill Mislinski (Article)

RecessionAlert has launched an alternative to ECRI's Weekly Leading Index Growth indicator (WLIg). The Weekly Leading Economic Index (WLEI) uses fifty different time series from these categories: Corporate Bond Composite, Treasury Bond Composite, Stock Market Composite, Labor Market Composite, Credit Market Composite. The latest index comes in at 0.8.

2016-04-28 00:00:00 NYSE Margin Debt Increased in March by Doug Short (Article)

Note: The NYSE has released new data for margin debt, now available through March. 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 up 2.3% month-over-month, reversing trend of the previous three months, but it is well off its all-time high in April of last year. Here is an overlay of margin debt and the S&P 500 adjusted for inflation.

2016-04-27 00:00:00 The Impeachment Proceedings of Dilma Rousseff by Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

Brazil’s lower house recently voted to impeach President Dilma Rousseff. The process now moves to the Senate, which is expected to vote in the next few weeks. For almost a year, Rousseff’s opposition has been trying to impeach her for allegedly manipulating the government budget in 2014. A Senate majority vote to impeach could remove her from power, installing her vice president, Michel Temer, as president. This week we look at the circumstances that have led to the Brazilian presidential impeachment proceedings, Brazil’s recent political history and its economic development.

2016-04-27 00:00:00 Technically Speaking: Time To Sell Oil/Energy? by Lance Roberts of Real Investment Advice

Over the last several weeks, in both the daily blog and weekly newsletter, I have been laying out the technical case for a breakout above the downtrend. As I stated, while such a breakout would demand a subsequent increase in equity risk in portfolios, I didn’t like it.

2016-04-27 00:00:00 Second-Longest Bull Market Ever, Yet Investors Remain Skittish by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

If the US stock markets don’t collapse between now and Friday, this will be the second-longest bull market on record. Really. The current bull market began in March 2009 and will have lasted for 2,608 days (7.2 years) on Friday. If so, it will top the former second-longest bull market which ran from 1949 to 1956 (2,607 days). That’s quite impressive.

2016-04-27 00:00:00 FOMC Faqs: When Doves Cry? by John Canally of LPL Financial

As the third of eight Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings of 2016 approaches later this week, the market and the Federal Reserve (Fed) again remain deeply divided over the timing and pace of Fed rate hikes.

2016-04-27 00:00:00 Global Economic Outlook - April 2016 by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

If you had somehow fallen asleep last New Year’s Eve and awoken on March 31, you might not have realized that you’d slept through the first quarter. Economic prospects and market levels were little changed from point to point.

2016-04-27 00:00:00 Has The Miner’s Correction Finally Begun? by Avi Gilburt of

While the GDX did not strike its upside resistance, it may have come close enough to consider it having topped. The question now is how do we view the coming “correction.”

2016-04-27 00:00:00 Good News in Newspapers? by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

On March 10, 2000, two wonderful things happened. Tribune Corporation offered $95 cash for each share of Times Mirror Corporation and, in retrospect, the Tech Bubble burst. At the time, we had avoided technology for valuation reasons and saw value names like Times Mirror begging for shareholders. We had the feeling that the prior two years of purgatory for value investors might be ending. It was truly good news.

2016-04-27 00:00:00 Gold More Productive Than Cash?! by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Is gold, often scoffed at as being an unproductive asset, more productive than cash? If so, what does it mean for asset allocation?

2016-04-27 00:00:00 Why the Manufacturing Recession Still Matters by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

The U.S. economy continues to grow (albeit at a snail’s pace), but Russ discusses why investors ignore the manufacturing recession at their peril.

2016-04-27 00:00:00 A Better Way to Manage Risks by Thomas Zimmerer, Patrick Bastian of Allianz Global Investors

A recent series of financial shocks has raised questions about some fundamental risk-management strategies—particularly diversification. Tactical asset allocation is one answer, says Allianz Global Investor’s Multi Asset team, but dynamic risk mitigation may be more viable.

2016-04-27 00:00:00 Boring Ol' TIPS - Not So Boring Now by Elaine Kan of Loomis Sayles

TIPS seem to be en vogue. Why the interest in this relatively unexciting, high-quality asset class? Some of the recent attention can be attributed to strong TIPS performance so far this year versus last year. But I also suspect that forward-looking investors are intrigued by the asset class as they keep a close eye on some looming market changes.

2016-04-27 00:00:00 Value Comeback? by Burt White of LPL Financial

Value stocks have staged a comeback versus growth after a long losing streak. Based on the Russell 1000 style indexes, growth has outpaced value for the better part of the last decade. Other than the period between April 2012 and July 2013, it’s been all growth all the time since 2006.

2016-04-27 00:00:00 The US Auto Industry: Have Sales Peaked? by Steven Bocamazo of Loomis Sayles

Since the massive restructuring of the US auto industry in 2009, sales have increased by two-thirds to more than 17 million units. However, after six consecutive years of growth, it looks like sales in the US auto industry may have peaked.

2016-04-27 00:00:00 Pending Home Sales Increased Slightly in March, Highest in Almost a Year by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Today the National Association of Realtors released the March data for their Pending Home Sales Index. According to the National Association of Realtors®, "Pending home sales increased slightly in March for the second consecutive month and reached their highest level in almost a year."

2016-04-26 00:00:00 Consumer Confidence Declined Moderately in April by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The latest Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index was released this morning based on data collected through April 14. The headline number of 94.2, was a decrease from the March final reading of 96.1, which is a downward revision from 96.2. Today's number was below the forecast of 96.0.

2016-04-26 00:00:00 Home Prices Rose 5.3% Year-over-Year in February by Jill Mislinski (Article)

With today's release of the February S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price we learned that seasonally adjusted home prices for the benchmark 20-city index were up 0.7% month over month. The seasonally adjusted year-over-year change has hovered between 4.8% and 5.7% for the last twelve months.

2016-04-26 00:00:00 Durable Goods Orders Again Disappoint by Doug Short (Article)

The Advance Report on Manufacturers’ Shipments, Inventories and Orders released today gives us a first look at the March durable goods numbers. The latest new orders number at 0.8% month-over-month (MoM) was below to the estimate of 1.8%. This series is down 2.5% year-over-year (YoY). If we exclude transportation, "core" durable goods came in at -0.2% MoM, which was below the estimate of 0.5%. The core measure is down 1.4% YoY.

2016-04-26 00:00:00 The "Real" Goods on the March Durable Goods Data by Doug Short (Article)

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

2016-04-26 00:00:00 How to Google Your Business Name by Crystal Butler (Article)

Everyone has “Googled” prospective employees, friends and significant others. But have you Googled your own business? If not, you should! In fact, this should be a task done at least weekly.

2016-04-26 00:00:00 Tips to Avoid Presentation Disasters (Part 3) by Dan Solin (Article)

In this, the third installment in my series of articles on this topic, I’ll confess to a costly mistake I made early in my speaking career. But first, let me offer two tips that are easy to implement when you deliver a presentation.

2016-04-26 00:00:00 The Portfolio Management Assumptions that Harm Clients by Scott MacKillop (Article)

Far too often, advisors accept beliefs and practices that are detrimental to the financial wellbeing of clients. By reexamining them, you can achieve better outcomes for your clients.

2016-04-26 00:00:00 Ian Bremmer: The Big-Picture Trends Investors Should Watch by Adam Jared Apt (Article)

International affairs always matter to U.S. investors, but recent changes in U.S. attitudes toward foreign policy, accompanying events and policy changes abroad are unsettling our assumptions to a greater extent than at any time since the end of the Cold War. It was therefore timely that the Boston Security Analysts Society featured, as the speaker at its annual Market Dinner in March, Ian Bremmer.

2016-04-26 00:00:00 Bruce Greenwald: The Crisis Bigger than Global Warming by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Manufacturing is dying on a global basis, according to Bruce Greenwald, and its collapse will mean the demise of economies – like China – that are highly dependent on exported goods. Contrary to what Robert Gordon and others have contended, productivity is growing in the manufacturing sector – roughly twice as fast as the demand for those products. If third-world countries don’t adjust their economies to reflect this reality, Greenwald said it would be a “crisis greater than global warming.”

2016-04-26 00:00:00 When Financial Advisory Partners Don’t Get Along by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

My firm’s partners have heated discussions with the doors open. They badmouth each other to us, which is extremely uncomfortable. Should we run for the door and find other opportunities as quickly as possible?

2016-04-26 00:00:00 Equity Investment Outlook April 2016 by John Osterweis, Matt Berler of Osterweis Capital Management

During the first quarter, global markets experienced exceptional volatility. Markets began their nose dive on the first day of trading this year as investors worried about deflationary trends, turmoil in credit markets and the possibility of a global recession. Then, in mid-February, a rebound in oil markets and new data suggesting stronger than expected U.S. growth caused sentiment to reverse and markets to recover. We believe that similar ambivalence and mood swings will persist for some time. Odds seem to favor an extended period of sub-par economic growth both in the U.S. and around the world.

2016-04-26 00:00:00 Should You Hedge Your Foreign Currency Exposure? by Remy Briand of MSCI

The volatility of currency has ticked up in recent years as a combination of monetary policy and currency wars fuel swings in the foreign exchange market. That leaves managers of global equity portfolios with a dilemma: disregard the volatility and leave their exposure to foreign currency unhedged, or apply fully hedged strategies that can prove costly over time.

2016-04-26 00:00:00 OPEC and the Ash Heap of History by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Almost twenty-five years ago, President Reagan went to the British House of Commons and said “freedom and democracy will leave Marxism and Leninism on the ash heap of history.” Reagan chose his words carefully, using a phrase – the ash heap of history – very similar to the one used by the Russian Communist revolutionary Leon Trotsky against his political enemies. Within a decade, the Berlin Wall was no more and neither was the Soviet Union.

2016-04-26 00:00:00 On My Radar: Glut – The U.S. Economy… in the Age of Oversupply by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Today, my plan was to highlight two of my favorite analysts, Dr. Lacy Hunt and Dr. Gary Shilling.  But that plan has changed and importantly, I believe, what I share this week can give us a better understanding of the structural issues we face.  And how they might be fixed.  Listening to Bloomberg’s Tom Keene early this week, I stood quiet as he interviewed Daniel Alpert.

2016-04-26 00:00:00 Market Cycles and Portfolio Positioning by Team of Litman Gregory

The post-financial-crisis period has been dominated by a few very strong market trends. It is important to view these for what we believe they are—cycles that will eventually turn and may be in the process of turning. In this commentary, we discuss the concept of cycles as well as several very specific cycles we’ve experienced in recent years.

2016-04-26 00:00:00 It’s Waayyy Too Early to Take Profits on Gold & Silver by Clint Siegner of Money Metals Exchange

It was no fun investing in precious metals for most of 2011-2015, but the past few months have sure been a blast for buy-and-hold investors. Silver prices are up 22.5% year to date, and gold isn’t far behind.

2016-04-26 00:00:00 Sell in May And Buy Back Higher In November by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

The "summer months" start next week. The period from May through October is known as the "worst 6 months" of the year for stocks. True, the probability of a truly bad month is higher and the probability of a really great stretch of months is lower during the summer than in the winter. But, overall, the expected return over the next 6 months is positive: median returns in winter and summer since 1970 are nearly the same. You might very well sell in May and buy back higher in November.

2016-04-26 00:00:00 Colombia’s Tourism Turnaround by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

If Colombia’s government is able to resolve its budget issues without resorting to burdensome taxation, while moving privatization efforts forward to fund infrastructure developments, we think the future could be very bright for this beautiful nation.

2016-04-26 00:00:00 Budget Deficit Fears by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Just when you thought all the fear-mongering had subsided, the national debt has resurfaced as a topic in this year’s presidential race. Yes, the deficit is large. No, it is not a problem. However, there some concerns about the longer run.

2016-04-26 00:00:00 Sign O’ the Times: Sell in May and Go Away? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

As most readers know, I always title my reports with a fitting song title. Sadly, this year I’ve opted to choose one to honor a fallen music legend, like David Bowie and Glen Frey. This week, it’s an ode to the late-great Prince—a life gone too soon.

2016-04-26 00:00:00 What Capital Cycles Mean for Investment Performance by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Study an industry and you will observe that it follows a prescribed capital cycle. As prices rise, firms invest to expand production capacity; inevitably, overcapacity results and drives prices down. Investors understand the capital cycle, according to Edward Chancellor, but don’t always heed it. If they did, they would have averted market crashes, such as those following the dot-com and real-estate bubbles.

2016-04-26 00:00:00 Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Continued Expansion in April by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Today the Richmond Fed Manufacturing Composite Index fell 8 points to 14 from last month's 22. had forecast 11.0. Because of the highly volatile nature of this index, we include a 3-month moving average to facilitate the identification of trends, now at 10.7, indicating expansion.

2016-04-25 00:00:00 Vehicle Miles Traveled: Another 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 February.

"Travel on all roads and streets changed by 5.6% (12.4 billion vehicle miles) for February 2016 as compared with February 2015." The less volatile 12-month moving average was up 0.39% month-over-month and 3.0% year-over-year. If we factor in population growth, the 12-month MA of the civilian population-adjusted data (age 16-and-over) is up 0.32% month-over-month and up 1.9% year-over-year.

2016-04-25 00:00:00 The ECB Remains Focused on Its Targets by Rob Waldner of Invesco Blog

The European Central Bank (ECB) surprised markets once again on April 21 with the timing of some important announcements and also the scope of its bond purchasing program. While the ECB kept all three of its policy interest rates on hold — as expected — and the size of its asset purchase program unchanged at EUR80 billion a month, ECB President Mario Draghi provided new details in a news conference on the implementation of the bank’s program and on the scope of what assets it can buy. At a high level, Draghi summarized by saying that the ECB’s monetary policies are working, but they need time to be more effective.

2016-04-25 00:00:00 Who’s Afraid of a Carbon Tax? by Tim Edwards of S&P Dow Jones Indices

As far as equity investors might experience them, the risks of a potential “carbon tax” are more easily fathomed than the rewards. Emissions data are available for most large companies and – taking basic assumptions on the likely form of taxation – we can easily examine which market segments face the greater risks.

2016-04-25 00:00:00 CEF Market Update by (Article)

The CEF market experienced a “roller coaster ride” in the first quarter of 2016 and may see more volatility ahead, industry professionals say.

2016-04-25 00:00:00 The Structural Shift In The US Commercial Paper Market by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

The 2008 financial crisis may have forever changed the US commercial paper market. Not only is the total amount of commercial paper outstanding still 50% less than its peak it 2007, the internal composition of the commercial paper market has changed dramatically as well.

2016-04-25 00:00:00 U.S. Housing Shines Bright in Global Economy by Daniel Hyman, Emmanuel Sharef of PIMCO

Demographics and new housing starts suggest that the U.S. could face a shortage in the near future.

2016-04-25 00:00:00 All That Fun for Nothing! by Jeffrey Knight of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

In sideways market environment marked by large price swings, investors need a way to navigate the round trip of drawdowns followed by recoveries. Broad diversification is the best tool investors have to influence the efficiency of their portfolios. The combination of milder downside capture and stronger upside capture holds the key to avoiding an investment result no better than “all that fun for nothing.”

2016-04-25 00:00:00 Cash Flow: An Equalizing Force in Analysis by Colin McWey of Heartland Advisors

When evaluating companies with different debt loads or from divergent sectors, cash flow analysis may be an excellent place to start.

2016-04-25 00:00:00 America’s Trade Deficit Begins at Home by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

Thanks to fear mongering on the US presidential campaign trail, the trade debate and its impact on American workers is being distorted at both ends of the political spectrum. What the candidates won’t tell voters is that the trade deficit and the pressures it places on hard-pressed middle-class workers stem from domestic policies.

2016-04-25 00:00:00 Wait Until You Get a Pitch Right Where You Want It! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

One of the most successful investors in history received the only A+ from Professor Benjamin Graham (of Graham and Dodd “Security Analysis” fame) at Columbia: the chairman and chief executive officer at Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., which traded as low as $38 per share in the early 1970s and now trades around $219,000 per share. If you haven’t guessed who by now, it’s Warren Buffett. How does he do it?

2016-04-25 00:00:00 Earnings Remain Key to Equity Forecast by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Equities climbed yet again last week, with the S&P 500 Index rising 0.5%. Corporate earnings were mixed, and the biggest market story was ongoing strength in commodities, particularly oil and metals. Bank stocks rallied strongly for a second week, while defensive market segments struggled to keep pace.

2016-04-25 00:00:00 Confusion Reigns by Carl Kaufman, Simon Lee, Bradley Kane of Osterweis Capital Management

Osterweis Capital Management Fixed Income Outlook April 2016

2016-04-25 00:00:00 March New Home Sales Fell 1.5% Month-over-Month by Doug Short (Article)

This morning's release of the March New Home Sales from the Census Bureau came in at 511K, down 1.5% month-over-month. Revisions were made to the previous three months reflecting a net gain of 23K. The forecast was for 520K.

2016-04-25 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 equity 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.

2016-04-25 00:00:00 Dallas Fed Manufacturing Outlook: Factory Activity Rose by Jill Mislinski (Article)

This morning the Dallas Fed released its Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey (TMOS) for April. Factory activity posted a modest increase. However, the latest general business activity index "held steady at -13.9, its 16th straight negative reading."

2016-04-24 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

SPY made a new all-time high this week. The short and long term trend is higher. Despite a gain of 16% over the past 10 weeks, the majority of evidence indicates that investors largely remain skeptical and defensive. That, together with strong breadth, implies that higher highs still lie ahead. Shorter term, SPY is back to where it failed, repeatedly, to go higher in the spring, summer and fall of 2015. In the best scenario, attaining and then holding significant gains will likely take time.

2016-04-24 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%.

2016-04-24 00:00:00 Can Stocks (finally) Set a New Record? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

We have been taking profits on stocks that hit targets and replacing with new selections. There are many candidates, and we go shopping on dips. We classify stocks three ways: (1) Aggressive upside, but plenty of risk. You need to buy a basket, not a single stock; (2) Great companies with great prospects, currently undervalued, but with potential catalysts. (3) Stodgy, conservative names without a lot of upside. Great candidates for enhancing dividend yield by selling near-term calls. Thinking about opportunities in this way is a good method for the individual investor.

2016-04-24 00:00:00 Lessons From The Iron Law of Equilibrium by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The worst market declines typically emerge from conditions where value-conscious investors have been defensive for quite some time, and where trend-following speculators have been rewarded for quite some time.

2016-04-23 00:00:00 China: Still the World’s Number One Heavy Metal Rock Star by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

China’s appetite for metals—gold, silver, copper, iron ore and more—is growing, another sign that the Asian giant is in turnaround mode.

2016-04-23 00:00:00 Echoes of 1999: The Tech Bubble and the "Asian Flu" by Rob Arnott of Research Affiliates

Four market conditions now parallel the extremes last experienced in December 1998, setting up 1999 as the first year in a decade of outperformance by inflation-fighting and diversifying assets. Now is the time to rotate into these unloved asset classes.

2016-04-23 00:00:00 The Sorry State of the States by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

In a broader sense, though, we are all living through an ongoing fiscal nightmare. The budget news at the Federal level is troubling enough, as we discussed in February.

2016-04-23 00:00:00 Dividend Boost from Korea by Michael Han of Matthews Asia

With President Park Geun-hye leading the way, South Korea has received the domestic investment boost it’s needed. This week, Portfolio Manager Michael Han explains what has led to the improvement of Korea’s corporate governance and why he’s optimistic about its future.

2016-04-22 00:00:00 Decision Days: Key Data Points to Watch for in the Week Ahead by Greg Meier of Allianz Global Investors

All eyes are on the Bank of Japan and the Fed as policymakers are set to meet next week—bringing monetary decisions to the forefront for global investors, says US Investment Strategist Greg Meier.

2016-04-22 00:00:00 Mixed Messages From Municipals by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

Low yields coupled with fair valuations send a mixed message from the municipal bond market. The shift from a challenging seasonal period to a more favorable one provides another. The passage of April 15, or April 18 as is the case this year, marks not only the tax deadline but also the end of a challenging seasonal period for municipal bonds. Tax-related selling can often pressure municipal prices as soon as the start of March, but lackluster performance in both stock and bond markets in 2015 limited capital gains that might result in municipal bond sales.

2016-04-22 00:00:00 Unnaturally Negative Interest Rates by David Blitzer of S&P Dow Jones Indices

Negative interest rates – you pay for the privilege of keeping your money in the bank – are current monetary policy in Japan and some European countries. Negative interest rates pose questions: Are they here?

2016-04-22 00:00:00 The Post-Crisis Economy’s Long Debt Hangover by Carmen Reinhart of Project Syndicate

With the largest economies, nearly eight years after the global financial crisis, burdened by high and rising levels of public and private debts, it is baffling that comprehensive restructuring does not figure prominently among policymakers' options. Indeed, at last week's G-20 meeting, debt was the proverbial elephant in the room.

2016-04-22 00:00:00 Thinking Broadly About Emerging Markets by Raman Aylur Subramanian of MSCI

The recent uptick in emerging market equities has left investors to wonder whether the gains might continue and to think anew about how to approach the segment. An emerging markets composite index has tended over time to capture diversified returns across multiple countries without adding additional risk, Raman Aylur Subramanian, MSCI's head of equity applied research, explains in his latest post.

2016-04-22 00:00:00 Global Economic Perspective: April by Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group® of Franklin Templeton Investments

We have some apprehension about the more dovish stance taken by the US Federal Reserve, which in our view may place too great a focus on global factors, despite a relatively tight US labor market and some indications of a pickup in core inflation.

2016-04-22 00:00:00 Relative Volatility Springs Higher by Jennifer Thomson of GaveKal Capital

If we take the differential between volatility in the Stoxx 600 (Europe) versus that of the S&P 500 (United States) as a proxy for relative levels of market fear, it might be useful to note that it broke to an all-time high on Monday–surpassing levels reached in 2011 and last year.

2016-04-22 00:00:00 Earth Day Spotlights Responsible Investing Evolution by Linda Giuliano of AllianceBernstein

As Earth Day celebrations shift into high gear this week, it’s a good time for investors to think about the environment too. Start by mapping out the trade-offs of different approaches to responsible investing.

2016-04-22 00:00:00 Rumpelstiltskin at the Fed by Harley Bassman of PIMCO

Though it seems incredibly farfetched, a massive Fed gold purchase program could echo a Depression-era effort that effectively boosted the U.S. economy.

2016-04-22 00:00:00 Why Today's Bond Environment Is Different (in 4 Charts) by Rick Rieder of BlackRock

Over the last seven years—as central banks have rolled out more quantitative easing programs and moved benchmark interest rates below, or close to, zero—global fixed income markets have dramatically changed. Here’s a quick look at four charts showing just a few of the interrelated ways the fixed income landscape is different today.

2016-04-22 00:00:00 Time for Debt Reduction in Greece by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

With Greece's cash balances severely stressed, another round of contentious discussions with its creditors has begun. The only way to escape this vicious cycle, and enable Greece finally to leave its troubles behind, is to stop kicking the can down the road and agree to a credible debt-reduction program.

2016-04-22 00:00:00 The DOL Had Their Say. What next for Advisors? by Sam Ushio of Russell Investments

The DOL’s new “fiduciary” rule is just the latest factor shifting the competitive landscape within the advisory industry. Here more from one of our experts, Sam Ushio on other factors that can help keep an advisory business competitive.

2016-04-22 00:00:00 The Conference Board's Leading Economic Index Adjusted for Population Growth by Doug Short (Article)

The Conference Board's Leading Economic Index (LEI), which we report on monthly, is a composite of ten indicators that stretches back to 1959. Over that multi-decade time frame, the US population has increased by about 84 percent. What would the LEI tell us about our economy if we adjusted the data for population growth?

2016-04-22 00:00:00 ECRI Weekly Leading Index: WLI Up 1.0 From Last Week by Jill Mislinski of Advisor Perspectives (

Today's release of the publicly available data from ECRI (Economic Cycle Research Institute) puts its Weekly Leading Index (WLI) at 135.2, up 1.0 from the previous week. The company's Weekly Leading Index annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at 3.5, an increase of 1.0 from the previous week, and well off its interim low of -4.7 in January of last year. Year-over-year the indicator is now at 0.75%, up from 0.53% the previous week, and in positive territory for the fourth consecutive week.

2016-04-22 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

2016-04-21 00:00:00 Chicago Fed: Economic Growth Below Average in March by Jill Mislinski (Article)

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

2016-04-21 00:00:00 Following the Money in EM Currency Markets by John Canally of LPL Financial

Emerging markets (EM) tantalize investors with the prospects of higher returns; yet the key to these returns may be the value of the U.S. dollar. Currency movements impact all aspects of international investing, starting with the basic impact of adjusting gains for the change in currency value when determining total returns. However, changes in currency also impact areas like corporate earnings, the ability to repay debts, and the overall economic health of the country. These impacts are greater for EM investments, where currencies are more volatile and countries are more economically dependent on trade.

2016-04-21 00:00:00 How Did South African Active Managers Perform in 2015? by Daniel Ung of S&P Dow Jones Indices

In 2015, equity markets in South Africa were turbulent amid falling commodity prices and the depreciation of the South African rand. Political uncertainty surrounding the appointment of the country’s finance minister and the lowering of the country’s debt rating by leading rating agencies also contributed to the lackluster performance of equities.

2016-04-21 00:00:00 Strong and Comprehensive Oversight the Best Remedy for Puerto Rico’s Fiscal Ills by John Miller of Nuveen Asset Management

Puerto Rico’s recent enactment of a controversial debt moratorium statute ahead of large debt service payments due in May and July is evidence the territory’s fiscal crisis is coming to a head. We believe an orderly, fair and transparent resolution to the situation in Puerto Rico is best for all bondholders, the broader municipal market and the people of Puerto Rico. This is best accomplished through Congressional intervention in the form of a strong oversight board, a framework that encourages negotiation between Puerto Rico and creditors and a process for the renegotiation of all of the Commonwealth’s obligations.

2016-04-21 00:00:00 How to Unleash a Dragon by Greg Silberman of Atlanta Capital Group

Over the last 12 to 18 months our strategy had shifted to one of capital preservation versus capital growth. We had perceived mounting macro headwinds that, in our estimation, shifted probabilities towards a pending equity bear market as opposed to a continuation of this historically long bull market. We executed this strategy by selling our losers, emerging markets & energy for example, raising cash levels and other bear market exposures.

2016-04-21 00:00:00 Corporate Management: Discerning Opportunities and Risks in Asian Credit by Raja Mukherji of PIMCO

The annual movement of wildlife across the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem in Africa is one of the greatest spectacles in the natural world. The horizon fills with wildebeest, zebra, eland and gazelle migrating for fresh grass, tracked by Africa’s great predators.

2016-04-21 00:00:00 Oil-Price Pessimism May Be Presenting Opportunities by Fred Fromm of Franklin Templeton Investments

Although investors’ overall sentiment toward commodities and natural resources equities improved in the latter half of the first quarter, they seemed to generally remain skeptical that commodity markets were on the mend. We see this scenario as potentially laying the groundwork for further gains going forward.

2016-04-21 00:00:00 The Metal Ratios Are An Ominous Sign For US Inflation Trends by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

The gold/silver ratio recently took out 2009 highs and the gold/copper ratio is at its highest level since 2009. This is a negative signal that US inflation, using CPI, could be headed for another leg lower. Since 2008, the gold/silver ratio has had a -73% correlation to the year-over-year change in US CPI (with a 2-quarter forward lag for the gold/silver ratio) . So as the gold/silver ratio increases, the year-over-year change in the CPI tends to fall.

2016-04-21 00:00:00 Financial Matters: It Pays to Dig Deep by Steve Hussey of AllianceBernstein

Europe’s banks are once again under pressure. This sector-wide weakness is opening up selective buying opportunities—as long as investors understand that the bank bond rulebook is changing.

2016-04-21 00:00:00 ETFs … They Aren’t Your Father’s Oldsmobile by Vern Sumnicht of iSectors

For 12 years, we used active asset management, that is, professional money managers and/or actively managed mutual funds. After the bear market in 2000, we became more and more dissatisfied with the cost and performance of professional money managers. After much research….

2016-04-21 00:00:00 April Market Outlook Update by Jim McDonald of Northern Trust

The renewed appetite for risk assets continued during the last month, maintaining the strong rally after global equities registered a 20% decline from their highs on February 11. After triggering risk aversion in January, the news out of China is beginning to show some positive effects from their multi-pronged policy approach. The markets have also been supported by more realistic utterances from the Federal Reserve. Not only has the full committee reduced their expectations closer to the market, Fed Chair Janet Yellen has gained some ground in convincing investors that she's in control of policy making at the Fed.

2016-04-21 00:00:00 The Employment Boom Is Pretty Much Here by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

For well over a year, I’ve been saying that job growth is not quite in a boom, but you can see one from here. After all that time, I think that we’ve largely arrived.

2016-04-21 00:00:00 Can Emerging Market Equities Work in a Rising U.S. Interest-Rate Environment? by Charles Wilson of Thornburg Investment Management

Rising U.S. interest-rates aren't the headwind for emerging markets many expect. It depends on where you start.

2016-04-21 00:00:00 FHFA House Price Index Up 0.4% in February 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 February, up 0.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous month and is at its nominal peak. Year-over-year the index is up 5.6% (nonseasonally adjusted).

2016-04-21 00:00:00 Gasoline Volume Sales and our Changing Culture by Jill Mislinski (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-February, are now available. However, despite the lag, this report offers an interesting perspective on fascinating aspects of the US economy. Gasoline prices and increases in fuel efficiency are important factors, but there are also some significant demographic and cultural dynamics in this data series.

2016-04-21 00:00:00 Conference Board Leading Economic Index: Increase in March by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The Latest Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for March is now available. The index increased 0.2 percent to 123.4 from February's revised 123.1 and revisions were made to four of the last six months. The latest indicator value came in below the 0.4 percent forecast by

2016-04-21 00:00:00 Philly Fed Manufacturing Index: No Improvement in April by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The latest Manufacturing Index came in at -1.6, down from last month's 12.4. The 3-month moving average came in at 2.7, up from 2.0 last month. Since this is a diffusion index, negative readings indicate contraction, positive ones indicate expansion. The Six-Month Outlook was up at 42.2, versus the previous month's 28.8.

2016-04-20 00:00:00 Treasury Snapshot: Four Months and Counting Since the Fed's Rate Hike by Doug Short (Article)

Let's take a closer look at US Treasuries since the Fed's December rate hike decision, the first increase in a decade. The yield on the 10-year note ended the day yesterday at 1.79%, which is at the lower end of the year-to-date range of 1.68% to 2.25%. The yield on the 2-year note closed yesterday at 0.77%, below its 1.09% interim high set the last week of 2015.

2016-04-20 00:00:00 The Newest Threat to Robo Advisors by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Today’s financial planning tools, including the new generation of “robo” advisors, have profound shortcomings, according to Dan diBartolomeo. DiBartolomeo says that the technology most advisors use suffers from serious problems – from prescribing a costly regimen of ongoing portfolio rebalancing to failing to incorporate a holistic balance sheet of assets and liabilities – and these problems are unwittingly depleting their clients’ assets.

2016-04-20 00:00:00 Negative Interest Rates: Powerful Out-Of-The-Box Thinking or Insanity? by Wendy Stojadinovic of Cleary Gull

The fight against currency appreciation and deflation explains negative short term rates, but what explains why longer term bonds have negative yields?

2016-04-20 00:00:00 Taking Stock After the Rally by Burt White of LPL Financial

Stocks have had quite a nice run. Since the February 11, 2016 lows the S&P 500 has gained 14%. The rally has been driven by many factors?—?chief among them, better U.S. economic data, higher oil prices, the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) slower rate hike timetable, increased confidence in China, and more stimulus from overseas central banks. These factors have enabled stocks to trade more on fundamentals than fear, and have pushed the S&P 500 to just 2.4% below its all-time high. Here we assess the likelihood that the rally continues from this point forward, and, if so, how much further it might have to go.

2016-04-20 00:00:00 Global Long/Short Team Perspectives by Michael Grant of Calamos Investments

We don’t see recent data as supporting an apocalyptic view of the U.S. economy. To the contrary, the healing has been substantial and 2016 may ultimately be viewed as another global slowdown, excluding the U.S. And as the economies outside the U.S. eventually recover, this should restart the cycle of earnings growth. This is why stronger global GDP is the necessary underpinning for equities to break sustainably higher.

2016-04-20 00:00:00 The Unprecedented Real Estate Bubble In China by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Most economists and financial writers agree that the US has the strongest economy among the developed nations, even though we’re only growing at about 2%. Despite the slow growth, most don’t believe we are facing a recession anytime soon. However, most economists and financial writers also agree that a serious external shock could quickly throw the US economy into a recession and take most of the rest of the world with it.

2016-04-20 00:00:00 More Bullish Signals by Avi Gilburt of

I believe the market action over the past week was quite significant due to the break out we experienced in silver. This latest action provides further support for the potential that a long term bottom has been struck in this complex.

2016-04-20 00:00:00 When Should I Exercise My Company Stock Options? by Richard Weaver, Anne Bucciarelli of AllianceBernstein

In a recent post, we addressed the planning enigma that company stock grants pose for corporate executives and other employees. Non-qualified stock option grants pose an even trickier problem. In our view, it can only be solved by actively managing the options. Here’s why.

2016-04-20 00:00:00 Factor Investing: Good in Theory, Difficult in Practice by Haran Karunakaran, Joe Steidl of PIMCO

Although factor investing can potentially deliver a return above that of the broader equity market, poor implementation can lead to unexpected outcomes.

2016-04-20 00:00:00 9 Fairly Valued Mid-Cap Consumer Discretionary Dividend Growth Stocks: Part 2B by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Mid-cap stocks are often overlooked by investors and not widely covered on Wall Street or many financial websites and blogs. However, I consider it a mistake because there are many mid-size companies that are attractive long-term investment opportunities.

2016-04-20 00:00:00 Visualizing The Sales Growth Slowdown Since 2008 by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

One way that we like to visualize growth rates is by drawing trend growth trend lines. By this we mean we extrapolate various compound annual growth rates (2%, 4%, 6%, etc.) and plot it them against level statistics (in this case total sales). We index everything to 1oo at the beginning of the chart and by doing this, we can see what the CAGR is for the entire period plotted in the chart as well as when growth rates either accelerated or decelerated during certain years.

2016-04-20 00:00:00 The New All-Time High in SPY That Was Considered Impossible by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

SPY made a new all-time high on Tuesday despite falling margin debt, the end of QE, negative household fund flows, flat profit growth and a host of other reasons. In other words, exactly as a rationale and objective investor should have expected.

2016-04-20 00:00:00 Existing-Home Sales Bounce Back in March by Jill Mislinski (Article)

This morning's release of the March Existing-Home Sales bounced back from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.33 million units from 5.07 million in February. The consensus was for 5.30 million. The latest number represents a 5.1% increase from the previous month and a 1.5% increase year-over-year.

2016-04-20 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.

2016-04-19 00:00:00 Understanding Today’s Affluent by First Clearing, LLC (Article)

Only 21% of affluent clients report their advisors have expressed interest in working with their children.(1) Build a relationship of trust by getting to know the entire family. Learn how to better engage affluent clients. Become First Clearing empowered. (1)Source: The Oechsli Institute First Clearing, LLC is a registered broker-dealer and non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company. For broker-dealer and financial professionals only. First Clearing does not provide services to the general public. 0416-02445

2016-04-19 00:00:00 Gundlach’s Bond Market Outlook (and a Warning for Junk Bonds) by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The first third of 2016 has been good for bond investors, but don’t expect that performance to continue for the remainder of the year, according to Jeffrey Gundlach. It has left many sectors of the bond market overvalued. In particular, junk bond investors should be wary of pending defaults and lower recovery rates.

2016-04-19 00:00:00 Social Security Taxation and Roth Conversion by John Walton, PhD, PE (Article)

Prior to age 70.5, when RMDs begin, clients should consider converting all or a portion of their 401K/403B/IRA savings into a Roth IRA.

2016-04-19 00:00:00 When Your Employer Doesn’t Support Success by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

What if you are a person who really wants to succeed, but you are stuck in a financial services firm that doesn’t allow you to do so? My employer doesn’t support success. In many cases, the system deters it.

2016-04-19 00:00:00 What Should You Say About the DOL’s Ways? by Wendy Cook (Article)

We should think of the DOL ruling as a modest victory for investors, and that, by and large, we should communicate it as such.

2016-04-19 00:00:00 Tips to Avoid Presentation Disasters (Part 2) by Dan Solin (Article)

Here are two more suggestions for giving a powerful presentation and avoiding the disasters I often see inflicted on undeserving audiences.

2016-04-19 00:00:00 How Do You Measure Which Retirement Income Strategy Is Best? by Michael Kitces (Article)

In framing different retirement income strategies – and the trade-offs they entail – it’s important to scrutinize the measuring stick used to evaluate the outcomes. The best retirement income strategy will depend on whether you measure based on wealth, spending, probabilities of success, magnitudes of failure or utility functions that weigh both the upside and downside risks!

2016-04-19 00:00:00 Permanently High Plateaus Have Poor Precedents by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Speculators seem willing to imagine that the Fed has created a permanently high plateau, but historically-informed investors should know better.

2016-04-19 00:00:00 The Great American Economic Growth Myth by Lance Roberts of Real Investment Advice

Since the end of the financial crisis, economists, analysts, and the Federal Reserve have continued to predict a return to higher levels of economic growth. As I showed in my discussion of the Fed’s forecasts, these predictions have continued to fall short of reality.

2016-04-19 00:00:00 On My Radar: First, Do No Harm by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

My 18-year-old son, Matthew, came to me asking about how the economy works.  This summer he will be an intern and task one prior to his start date is to read “How the Economic Machine Works.”  There is much we can learn from history and it makes sense to study the research from some of the brightest amongst us.  From there, he and I will begin a dialogue.

2016-04-19 00:00:00 Invest In Asia, Health Care To Reduce Your Correlation To Oil by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

We have written about the historically high current correlation between oil prices and stock prices several times recently (see here and here). Correlation between oil prices and stock prices continues to increase as the 65-day correlation and 200-day correlation are once again making new highs going back to 1980.

2016-04-19 00:00:00 Why One Analyst Believes Gold Could Hit $3,000 an Ounce by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

After finishing its best quarter in 30 years, gold extended its gains, rising more than 17.2 percent year-to-date to become the best performing asset class among other commodities, U.S. Treasury bonds and major world currencies and equity indices.

2016-04-19 00:00:00 The Fed, the Dollar, and Trade Activity by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Financial markets have some tendency to over-react to news and the increased globalization of financial markets means that things can now get out of hand a lot more quickly on a global scale. Minor shifts in the Fed policy outlook have had a large impact on exchange rates. The strengthening of the dollar has had an outsized impact on commodity prices. However, shifts in the financial markets can themselves have important effects on economic conditions. It’s enough to make your head spin.

2016-04-19 00:00:00 Expect Economic and Market Improvements Later in 2016 by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

The uneven market uptrend in place since mid-February resumed last week, with the S&P 500 Index climbing 1.7%. The primary catalyst appeared to be better-than-expected corporate earnings results in the still-early reporting season, particularly from the banking sector. As a result, bank stocks performed particularly well, rising 7% last week, marking the best weekly gain in over four years. Investors also focused on better economic data coming from China and ongoing evidence that the U.S. economy is growing slowly.

2016-04-19 00:00:00 First Quarter 2016 Economic & Capital Market Summary by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

If you are following the presidential election process, you might conclude that the U.S. economy is in crisis and that we are nearing the brink of catastrophe. On both sides of the isle, Democratic and Republic candidates have built messages to the voters that the economy is in decline and that they have solutions to fix it. Yet, the Federal Reserve, which is our loudest voice right now on the outlook for the health of the economy is saying that everything is okay. What should we believe?

2016-04-19 00:00:00 This Should End Talk of a Hard Landing by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

A modest credit stimulus and a housing market rebound led to a pick-up in investment and industrial activity during the first quarter of the year, and while that should end talk of a hard landing, the gradual deceleration of China’s economic growth will continue. Growth is driven increasingly by consumption and services as rebalancing proceeds, and that part of the economy—the largest part—continues to offer opportunities for investors.

2016-04-19 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Time to Sell the News? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

The economic calendar is moderate. Fed Heads are mostly on the bench. The Doho oil conference (combining OPEC and non-OPEC producers) will be the first major news for the week ahead. Markets have already anticipated the outcome, just as they have the trend of first- quarter earnings. It is a classic test of the theme: Is it time to sell the news?

2016-04-19 00:00:00 Nagorno-Karabakh by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In early April, fighting erupted in the region around Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed area within Azerbaijan but controlled by Armenia. This region is considered one of the world’s “frozen conflicts,” experiencing periodic unrest. In this report, we discuss the history and geopolitics of the Caucasus region. We examine how the three nations in the area—Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia—have evolved, and how the three larger surrounding powers—Iran, Russia and Turkey—affect the region. Finally, we discuss why this conflict could become a concern for the world, especially the U.S.

2016-04-19 00:00:00 Return on Equity: A Compelling Case for Investors by Jensen Investment Management (Article)

At Jensen, we believe that Return on Equity (ROE) is a very useful criterion for identifying companies that have the potential to provide attractive returns over long periods of time. Our experience and research suggest that our requirement of consistently high Return on Equity results in a universe of high-quality, profitable companies that are able to generate returns above their costs of capital in a variety of circumstances and economic environments. Further, we believe that this universe produces companies with sustainable competitive advantages, strong growth potential and stocks with a lower beta relative to broad market indices.

2016-04-19 00:00:00 Baseball and Investing: The Hunt for the Best Pure Hitters by Cole Smead of Smead Capital Management

“It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time.” ? A. Bartlett Giamatti

2016-04-19 00:00:00 New Residential Housing Starts in March Worse 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 March new residential housing starts. The latest reading of 1.089M was below the forecast of 1.170M.

2016-04-19 00:00:00 New Residential Building Permits: March Disappoints Forecast by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have now published their findings for March new residential building permits. The latest reading of 1.086M was below the forecast of 1.200M.

2016-04-18 00:00:00 Global Emerging Markets: Headwinds and Tailwinds by Irina Miklavchich of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

Global growth looks increasingly sluggish. Countries that are not dependent on commodity exports are well-positioned to benefit from domestic-led growth. We expect sustainable growth from Eastern Europe, Mexico and India.

2016-04-18 00:00:00 Income Ideas by (Article)

Rejecting “pessimistic” outlooks on the economy, portfolio manager Christopher Kilpatrick of Western Asset shares income ideas for CEF investors.

2016-04-18 00:00:00 The Fed’s Clock Just Struck Thirteen by TCW (Article)

When the Fed decided to misalign rates with economic reality, did anyone there ask what the consequences of an artificial expansion would be? As we prepare for the end of the current cycle, it is critical for fixed income investors to understand how various segments of the bond market will behave in a period of deleveraging.

2016-04-18 00:00:00 Emerging Markets Q1 2016 Recap: A Turn in Fortunes by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

The first-quarter of the year was marked by a turn in fortunes for emerging markets overall, which saw many investors return to the asset class after a challenging 2015.

2016-04-18 00:00:00 The Market Has Been Favoring High P/E Stocks by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Over the past one and three months, the factor with the highest correlation to developed world stocks (out of 24 total factors) has been price to earnings. It has had an 93% correlation over the past month, an 85% correlation over the past three months and and a 90% correlation over the past year (good for 4th highest factor correlation).

2016-04-18 00:00:00 Negative Rates May Be Positive for Gold by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

As 2015 came to a close, most investors believed that 2016 would be a year dominated by a series of Fed rate hikes. That conviction solidified in mid-October when comments from multiple Fed officials convinced many that prior hints that the Fed would stay at zero percent rates had been false alarms. The Fed delivered on its promise in mid-December by actually raising rates by 25 basis points. Based on this, gold declined by 10% from October 14 to the end of the year, nearly matching its six year low. Many on Wall Street thought the declines would continue into 2016. They were decidedly wrong.

2016-04-18 00:00:00 The Market Pendulum by Joseph Amato of Neuberger Berman

Can 2016 earnings justify today’s valuations? Traditionally, equity people are supposed to be more optimistic than bond people, but I am prepared to buck the stereotype just a little as we enter day four of the Q1 earnings season.

2016-04-18 00:00:00 Healthcare Stocks Can Heal from Pricing Scares by James Tierney, Jr. of AllianceBernstein

Fears of price controls for drugs and the crisis at Valeant Pharmaceuticals have infected the US healthcare sector. But we believe that the sector isn’t fatally ill and that investors can still find companies that offer solid growth potential.

2016-04-18 00:00:00 March CPI Report: Valuations Matter by Jeremie Banet of PIMCO

The March report on the U.S. Consumer Price Index didn’t paint the rosy picture some were expecting. Headline CPI year-over-year was 0.9% versus the expected 1% and core CPI ticked lower to 2.2% for the 12 months ended March, down from 2.3% in February. Despite this March surprise, we believe Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) can weather much more before they underperform nominal Treasuries.

2016-04-18 00:00:00 Shad Rowe by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

For years, when I was living in Virginia, I attended the annual Shad Planking. This morning, however, I am not referring to Virginia’s “Shad Planking,” but rather my friend Frederick “Shad” Rowe, captain of the Dallas-based money management firm Greenbrier Partners. Back in the 1970s/1980s I used to read Shad’s sage comments in Forbes Magazine, but regrettably he is no longer a contributor. He now writes an insightful letter to investors in his partnership every month, which I very much look forward to. This month’s letter was no exception.

2016-04-18 00:00:00 Finding a New Balance with Alternatives by Lowell Yura, Kristina Kalebich, Kristi Hanson, John Lennox of BMO Global Asset Management

The paper makes the case for incorporating alternatives in traditional 60/40 portfolios. BMO GAM points to a shift in the 60/40 paradigm, explaining the expected strong bond returns are unlikely in our current low yield environment. To compensate, the firm urges investors to incorporate alternatives into their portfolios for optimum diversification.

2016-04-18 00:00:00 A Tale of Two Markets: Dividend, Low Volatility and Quality Factors Earn Top Spots in Q1 2016 by Nick Kalivas of Invesco Blog

The first quarter of 2016 has come to a close, and what a period it was. The past quarter’s returns were a clear testament to the power of factor investing, and provide further evidence that smart beta strategies can add value to a diversified portfolio.

2016-04-18 00:00:00 The Q1 Curse Strikes Again by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Remember the recession of 2011, or 2014, or 2015? Each of those years started out with either a contraction or anemic first quarter economic growth. But despite these slowdowns, the US economy didn’t fall into recession. Instead, it was just more Plow Horse growth.

2016-04-18 00:00:00 The Dividends of a Quality and Growth Factor Approach by WisdomTree (Article)

While quality can be measured in a variety of ways, we think that the broad themes of earnings consistency or growth, low debt and high return on equity are common threads to many different approaches. We’ve seen that, over time, focusing on quality—whether through MSCI’s approach or through Fama and French’s looking at operating profitability—has generated outperformance over different periods.

2016-04-18 00:00:00 NAHB Housing Market Index: Third Flat Month by Jill Mislinski (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.

2016-04-15 00:00:00 Staying the Course by Kenneth Lowe of Matthews Asia

This is an era in which central bankers influence markets to an ever greater degree, high debt levels need to be dealt with, greater fiscal policy may become more commonplace and liberalization in Asia must continue apace to ensure that the region’s prior 20 years of solid economic and institutional development is continued into the next 20. But how do investors continue to strive to find those companies that can deliver, and potentially even further enhance, their positioning during such challenging times?

2016-04-15 00:00:00 Should I Keep My Company Stock? by Richard Weaver, Anne Bucciarelli of AllianceBernstein

If you’re a corporate executive or other employee of a public company, a meaningful part of your compensation may come in the form of company stock or stock options. You may also have a chance to invest part of your cash compensation in company stock. What should you do?

2016-04-15 00:00:00 Knowledge Leader Spotlight: Microchip Technology by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

One of the most innovative group of companies in the stock market are semiconductor companies. On average, semiconductor companies invest 16.9% of its sales on research and development as well as another 3.5% of its sales on firm specific resources. From an R&D perspective, semiconductors invests the third most if its sales on innovation behind just biotechnology and application software.

2016-04-15 00:00:00 ECRI Weekly Leading Index: WLI Up 1.0 From Last Week by Jill Mislinski of Advisor Perspectives (

The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at 2.5, an increase of 1.0 from the previous week's revised level, and well off its interim low of -4.7 last February. The YoY is now at 0.53%, an increase of 0.21, and in positive territory for the third consecutive week.

2016-04-15 00:00:00 Active Share: What Investors Need to Know by James Barber of Russell Investments

Chief Investment Officer, Equities James Barber reviews the key points investors need to know about active share as part of an investment strategy.

2016-04-15 00:00:00 The Soft and Frustrating Middle by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

Patience and discipline. Those are the two words to commit to memory in the face of the current environment. A sluggish expansion and a cautious corporate environment leads us to have a neutral view on equities, which means investors should stick with their longer-term objectives and remain committed to their plan. There are glimmers of hope domestically and globally with strong U.S. job growth and U.S. and global manufacturing looking better.

2016-04-15 00:00:00 The Pros and Cons of the “Gig Economy” by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The “gig economy” is terribly difficult to measure. Claims about its size vary widely; the consensus is that employment of this kind remains very modest, but it appears to be growing rapidly.

2016-04-15 00:00:00 If You’re Not Following this Energy Trend, You’re Being Left in the Dust by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This week our office was visited by my friend, investor and author Gianni Kovacevic, who is at the halfway point of a cross-country book tour to promote the latest edition of “My Electrician Drives a Porsche?” As part of the tour, he’s driving a Tesla Model S from Boston to Palo Alto, California—Tesla’s hometown—to demonstrate the potential of green energy and spread his message that “the future is now.”

2016-04-15 00:00:00 What Condition My Condition Is In by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

In this week’s letter we will take a quick look at the condition of a slowing global economy (the IMF just downgraded its own forecast this last week). Then we’ll grapple with a Plan B scenario, because I have a confession of sorts: I am not entirely optimistic that Congress and the new president can get their act together, so I offer a proposal from former Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn as to what we, the people, can do to actually change the country’s direction without having to depend on a Congress that may prove dysfunctional. Again.

2016-04-15 00:00:00 The Big Four Economic Indicators: March Industrial Production Sinks Deeper into Recession by Doug Short (Article)

Today's report on Industrial Production for March shows a month-over-month decline of 0.6 percent (-0.59 percent to two decimal places), which was significantly worse than the consensus of a 0.1 percent decline. The previous month's -0.5 percent decline was revised downward to -0.6 percent.

2016-04-15 00:00:00 Empire State Manufacturing: Highest Level in More Than a Year by Jill Mislinski (Article)

This morning we got the latest Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The diffusion index for General Business Conditions at 9.6 (9.56 to two decimals) shows a significant increase from last month's 0.62, and signals an increase in activity. This is the highest level for this reading for this indicator in a year. The forecast was for a reading of 2.21.

2016-04-15 00:00:00 Digital Technology’s Impact on Investment Decisions by Shlomo Benartzi of Allianz Global Investors

In this digital age, people have instant access to their investment accounts and can monitor markets on a whim. In a new paper, Shlomo Benartzi Chief Behavioral Economist of the Allianz Global Investors Center for Behavioral Finance, discusses how "monitoring frequency" can increase loss aversion and affect investment decisions.

2016-04-15 00:00:00 Four Emerging Markets Topics Investors Should Watch by Anthony Cragg of Wells Fargo Asset Management

International markets posed several challenges for investors in early 2016. But if you look past the headlines, you’ll see pockets of opportunity. Here are four international developments that we think investors should focus on: China’s continuing transition from investment-led growth; dividends becoming more important in a slower-growth world; India’s economy showing growth and resilience; and Brazil’s political and economic situations remaining challenged.

2016-04-14 00:00:00 The Big Four Economic Indicators: March Real Retail Sales Fell 0.4% by Doug Short (Article)

Note: With the release of this morning's Consumer Price Index, we've updated this commentary to include the Real Retail Sales data for March.

Nominal March sales declined 0.3%. Real Retail Sales, calculated with the seasonally adjusted Consumer Price Index, declined -0.4% month-over-month ( -0.39% to two decimal places). The chart 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.

2016-04-14 00:00:00 Inflation: An X-Ray View of the Components 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.

2016-04-14 00:00:00 A Long-Term Look at Inflation by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (CPI-U) released today puts the year-over-year inflation rate at 0.85%. It is substantially below the 3.80% average since the end of the Second World War and its 10-year moving average, now at 1.90%.

2016-04-14 00:00:00 March Consumer Price Index: Both Headline and Core Unadjusted Inflation Decline by Doug Short (Article)

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the March CPI data this morning. The year-over-year nonseasonally adjusted Headline CPI came in at 0.85%, down from 1.02% the previous month. Year-over-year Core CPI (ex Food and Energy) came in at 2.19%, down slightly from the previous month's 2.33%.

2016-04-14 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 illustrates the components of the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers, the CPI-U.

2016-04-14 00:00:00 Only 1 Industry Group Is Trading Below 1x Book Value by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Financials have been pretty beaten up in 2016. The worst performing developed world industry group YTD have been the banks. Banks have fallen by over 16% (in USD) YTD. Of the five worst performing industry groups, three are from the financial sector. Surprisingly, the best performing industry group is also from the financial sector: real estate. As is usually the case, the only upside to poor performance is current valuations are becoming cheap, at least on a relative basis.

2016-04-14 00:00:00 In the Know: DOL Expands Fiduciary Definition by Yaqub Ahmed of Franklin Templeton Investments

The intent of the DOL’s new rule is, in its words, to enhance consumer protection and ensure that advisors and financial institutions put their clients’ best interests first. These are principles we can all support.

2016-04-14 00:00:00 Spring Awakening by Jerome Schneider of PIMCO

In a volatile market environment, investors may look to cash alternatives in their effort to add stability to portfolios.

2016-04-14 00:00:00 Mid-Cap Dividend Growth Stocks by Sector: Part 2A Regional Banks by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

In part 1 of this series on fairly valued mid-cap investment opportunities I primarily focused on non-dividend paying growth oriented mid-caps. In part 2 of this series I turned my focus to finding fairly valued dividend paying mid-caps. However, as I was evaluating dividend paying mid-caps in the S&P 400 mid-cap index, it became clear to me that the differences between dividend paying mid-caps were more important than the similarities. Therefore, I have grouped the dividend paying mid-caps I found into 3 separate offerings focusing on sectors. In this, part 2A, I will be exclusively covering fairly valued mid-sized regional banks.

2016-04-14 00:00:00 What’s Wrong With Negative Rates? by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

One reason for the lingering effects of the 2008 financial crisis is central banks' continued reliance on a flawed economic model. As long as policymakers focus on interest rates instead of on the flow of credit, the problem of deficient aggregate demand is unlikely to be resolved.

2016-04-14 00:00:00 Homeownership No Longer Has Tax Savings by John Burns of John Burns Real Estate Consulting

We believe we have found one of the primary reasons why entry-level home buying has not recovered—and why homeownership has been plunging.

2016-04-14 00:00:00 This Time Isn't Different by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

At RBA, our extensive research on cycles suggest markets rarely deviate from history and that fundamentals, not noise, drive stocks. Therefore, we remind everyone that this time isn’t different.

2016-04-14 00:00:00 The Winter of Discontent by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The Winter of 2015-2016, which came to an end a few weeks ago, has been officially designated as the mildest in the U.S. in 121 years according to NOAA. While this fact will certainly add a major talking point in the global warming debate, it should also be front and center in the current economic discussion. The fact that it isn't is testament to the blatantly self-serving manner in which economic cheerleaders blame the weather when it's convenient, but ignore it when it's not.

2016-04-14 00:00:00 Gauging Global Growth by John Canally of LPL Financial

As U.S. corporations begin to report their results for the recently completed first quarter of 2016, global growth will likely take center stage among investors. While comments from corporate managements on business conditions in Europe, Japan, China, and other emerging markets will be closely watched, those comments may be overshadowed. This week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will publish the spring edition of its World Economic Outlook publication.

2016-04-14 00:00:00 Fund Managers' Current Asset Allocation by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

At the panic low in equities in February, fund managers' cash was at the highest level since 2001, higher than at any time during the 2008-09 bear market. Global allocations to equities had fallen from 40% overweight to only 5% in just two months. Since then, equities around the world have risen an average of 14%. Despite this, investors remain defensive. Over the past month, cash balances have risen and allocations to equities have declined. This supports higher equity prices in the month(s) ahead.

2016-04-14 00:00:00 Potential Earnings Improvements Remain a Critical Catalyst by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Equity markets retreated last week amid multiple crosscurrents as the S&P 500 Index fell 1.2%. Currency and commodity markets were in focus. The soaring value of the yen complicated the Bank of Japan’s interest rate decisions, while oil prices rose sharply on expectations for improved global economic growth and a possibility of production cuts. Investors also focused on the regulatory environment, as the Treasury Department rolled out restrictive rules governing corporate inversions.

2016-04-14 00:00:00 State of the States by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

With the deadline approaching, taxes are front and center in the minds of investors. No one likes paying taxes, but they are of utmost importance to the financial well-being of state and local governments. Higher tax revenue has been a key driver of improving (in most cases) state and local government credit quality metrics by firming the financial standing of municipal government debt issuers. However, growth in state and local government tax revenue may be poised to slow, lessening the positive impact behind municipal credit quality.

2016-04-14 00:00:00 True Value Wins in the End by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

Value investing, first defined by Benjamin Graham and David Dodd in their book Security Analysis, published in 1934, has a long and storied history. Since this original introduction during the Great Depression, thousands of individual and institutional investors have accepted the ideas presented by Graham and Dodd as the “intelligent” way to invest your excess funds.

2016-04-14 00:00:00 Negative Rates Are Dangerous to Your Wealth by Chris Brightman of Research Affiliates

Recently enacted NIRP in several major developed economies means not only lower current yields but also lower expected returns—and thus lower accumulated wealth—for investors investing in these markets.

2016-04-14 00:00:00 The Times Are a--Changin' by Team of PIMCO

Dovish comments and actions by central banks, including the Federal Reserve, helped sustain the market’s rally. Fundamentals still indicated tepid growth even as global risk appetite built further through the course of the month. March highlighted that shifts in political trends could feature prominently in the remainder of the year.

2016-04-14 00:00:00 The Challenge of Re-Entry by François Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

If you sell when the market no longer represents “value”, when do you buy back?

2016-04-13 00:00:00 Producer Price Index: A 0.1% MoM Fall in March by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Today's release of the March Producer Price Index (PPI) for Final Demand came in at -0.1% month-over-month seasonally adjusted, up from -0.2% in February. It is at -0.1% year-over-year, down from 0.0% in February. Core Final Demand (less food and energy) came in at -0.1% MoM, down from 0.0% the previous month and is up 1.0% YoY. The forecasts were for 0.2% headline and 0.1% core.

2016-04-13 00:00:00 March Retail Sales Were a Major Disappointment by Doug Short (Article)

The Census Bureau's Advance Retail Sales Report released this morning shows that seasonally adjusted sales in March unexpectedly contracted. Headline sales came in at -0.3% month-over-month, which was substantially below the 0.1% increase forecast by Headline sales are up only 1.7% year-over-year. Core Retail Sales (ex Autos) were up 0.2% MoM, but that was below the forecast of a 0.4% increase.

2016-04-13 00:00:00 Emerging Market Earnings: Is the Tide Turning? by Burt White of LPL Financial

After disappointing investors last year, emerging market earnings forecasts may finally be consistent with what can be delivered. Emerging markets (EM) have underperformed U.S. markets since the summer of 2011. The reasons are numerous, including concerns about the Chinese economy (the largest and most important among EM), the strength of the U.S. dollar, and the decline in commodity prices, just to name a few.

2016-04-13 00:00:00 Intergenerational Forgetfulness by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Recent candidates have made foreign policy statements that signal significant change, displaying ignorance about why current policies are in place and what could occur if they are radically changed. We believe these calls are the result of “intergenerational forgetfulness.” When policymakers implement an initial policy, they tell their successors why such policies were deployed. Eventually, younger policymakers reverse course, only to discover later why the original policy was made. We examine the increasing disenchantment with current policy as an example of intergenerational forgetfulness.

2016-04-13 00:00:00 Emerging Nations Continue To See Huge Capital Outflows by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

If you are wondering why the global economy struggled last year and so far this year, one only has to look at the trend in capital flows of emerging nations. After decades of positive capital inflows to most emerging economies, that trend has reversed sharply in the last few years.

2016-04-13 00:00:00 Puerto Rico's Debt Crisis: Much Ado About Not Much by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

Per a reader's request, today we'll talk about the impact of the current debt crisis in Puerto Rico. Not only is this a major issue for the Puerto Ricans and their investors, but it also sheds light on how similar crises are likely to play out in the future.

2016-04-13 00:00:00 Can Non-Traded REITs Survive the New SEC and DOL Rules? by Jean-Michel Wasterlain of CAPFUNDR

Non-traded REITs have certainly seen their share of hard times recently. First, there was industry leader American Realty Capital going down in flames after getting investigated by the FBI and SEC for accounting fraud. Then in February the FBI raided United Development Funding after hedge fund manager Kyle Bass accused it of running a Ponzi scheme and shorted one of its listed REITs (other UDF REITs are non-listed). Now new SEC and DOL (Dept. of Labor) rules designed to protect investors are coming into effect, and they will make the distribution of non-traded REITs through traditional broker channels much more difficult.

2016-04-13 00:00:00 Looking Forward - My View on Multinationals by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

The current election season has been filled with a cross-current of emotion. Anti-Wall Street, protectionist and populist campaigns appear to be the overwhelming themes in trying to persuade the electorate. Additionally, there has been significant friction between the public and private sectors as we are “seeing a tidal wave of corporate merger rejections.”

2016-04-13 00:00:00 Moderately Constrained by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

The Barron’s cover story was an interview with Bill Gross from PIM….er I mean Janus that was titled Why Interest Rates Must Rise. The why they must rise part of the article focused on Gross’ perceptions of the many consequences of ZIRP and NIRP including the effect on retirees, pensions being able to match their portfolios with their liabilities, as well as how insurance companies oversee their pools of capital.

2016-04-13 00:00:00 Alpha or Assets? — Factor Alpha vs. Smart Beta by Patrick O'Shaughnessy of O'Shaughnessy Asset Management

More and more investors are buying “factor”-based strategies, which invest using measures like valuation and low volatility. However, the most popular strategies are applying factors the wrong way. We believe that strategies should be built for alpha, not scale—but the asset management industry has gone in the opposite direction.

2016-04-13 00:00:00 Final DOL Fiduciary Rule by Andy Friedman of The Washington Update

Last week, the Department of Labor issued much-anticipated final rules that impose a fiduciary duty on financial advisors to the extent they recommend investments for their clients’ IRA accounts. These final rules represent a significant improvement over the proposed rules DOL issued last year, although some fundamental concerns remain to be worked out.

2016-04-13 00:00:00 Can the U.S. consumer continue to hold up the world? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Consumer spending is critical to the economy, yet remains sluggish. Russ Koesterich discusses why that may be the case for some time to come.

2016-04-13 00:00:00 On My Radar: A Powerful and Reliable Determinant of Long-Term Investment Return by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

In my view, the bet today comes down to this: you believe the Fed can hold the market up (aka “the Fed Put”), you believe politicians can accomplish structural reform and you believe that the same holds true in Europe, China and Japan.  Essentially, “whatever it takes” wins.  Alternatively, you believe that extremely high equity market valuations matter, excessive debt is problematic and that it is ultimately impossible for central bankers, try as they might, to repeal economic business cycles.

2016-04-13 00:00:00 Wise Beginnings and Foolish Endings: 1Q 2016 Newsletter by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

The media and most major stock market strategists have been talking lately about beginnings and endings. The S&P 500 Index just celebrated the seventh anniversary of it taking off from its bear market lows on March 10, 2009. We enjoy watching many experts who didn’t participate in the more than tripling of the S&P 500 Index over those seven years comment and make dire predictions about the future. When it comes to negative nabobs, there must be some pretty good money in being the “boy who cried wolf” or the “blind squirrel that finds an occasional nut.”

2016-04-13 00:00:00 Hoisington Quarterly Review and Outlook – 1Q2016 by Van R. Hoisington and Lacy H. Hunt, Ph.D. of Hoisington Investment Management

The prospects for the Treasury bond market remain bright for patient investors who operate with a multi-year investment horizon. As we have written many times, numerous factors can cause intermittent increases in yields, but the domestic and global economic environments remain too weak for yields to remain elevated.

2016-04-12 00:00:00 NFIB: Small Business Survey at Two Year Low by Doug Short (Article)

The latest issue of the NFIB Small Business Economic Trends is out today. The headline number for March came in at 92.6, down 0.3 from the previous month's 92.9. The index is at the 16th percentile in this series. Today's number came in below the forecast of a rise to 93.9.

2016-04-12 00:00:00 Equity Valuations, Recessions and Stock Market Declines by Doug Short (Article)

Note: In response to an email, I've updated the data in this article through the March month-end numbers and at the launch of the Q1 2016 earnings season.

Last 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:

2016-04-12 00:00:00 Do International Actively Managed Small-Cap Funds Add Value? by Larry Swedroe (Article)

One frequently hears active managers claim that they avoid the large-cap U.S. market because it’s too hard to find undervalued stocks. By that reasoning, actively managed small-cap international funds should be alpha-generating powerhouses. Let’s see if that’s true.

2016-04-12 00:00:00 Three Tips to Avoid Presentation Disasters by Dan Solin (Article)

I give a lot of presentations and attend many conferences where I have the opportunity to hear talks given by a diverse group of speakers. I’m still honing my presentation skills, but here are three tips to avoid the big mistakes I often see.

2016-04-12 00:00:00 Phyllis Borzi, Savior of Tax Deferral by Kerry Pechter (Article)

Now that the DOL has issued the final version of its much-anticipated “fiduciary rule,” let’s pause to ponder the meaning of what Phyllis Borzi, the assistant secretary for employee benefits security at the DOL, and her legal team have done.

2016-04-12 00:00:00 Increasing Your Influence with Prospects and Clients by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I am not a very influential person. I vacillate between being too forceful and not pushing hard enough with prospects and clients. Are some people naturally good at influencing while others, like me, just have to work with what they have?

2016-04-12 00:00:00 A 40-Step Plan to Bring on a New Client by Teresa Riccobuono (Article)

Yes, my new client on-boarding process includes 40 steps. There’s no need to describe all 40 today. But I will share some of the less standard steps, so you can decide if you would like to incorporate any of them into your on-boarding process.

2016-04-12 00:00:00 Venerated Voices™ 2016 Q1 Rankings by Jill Mislinski (Article)

We announce our Venerated Voices™ awards for articles published in the first quarter of 2016. 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.

2016-04-12 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Will Earnings Spark a Big Move in Stocks? by Jeffrey Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

The economic calendar is moderate. Fed Heads are out in force. More significant is the start of “earnings season.” There is always speculation about earnings, but this time is special. I expect a focus on the question: Will earnings spark a break in the trading range for stocks?

2016-04-12 00:00:00 What Tools Does the Fed Have Left? Part 3: Helicopter Money by Ben Bernanke of Brookings Institute

“Let us suppose now that one day a helicopter flies over this community and drops an additional $1,000 in bills from the sky, which is, of course, hastily collected by members of the community. Let us suppose further that everyone is convinced that this is a unique event which will never be repeated." (Milton Friedman, “The Optimum Quantity of Money,” 1969)

2016-04-12 00:00:00 What the PE Ratio Tells About the Direction of the Sensex by Ritesh Jain of Tata Asset Management

In a bid to generate wealth from the Equity markets, investors study and use several valuation techniques, both fundamental and technical. Valuations are looked at through the prism of cash flows, earnings, corporate governance, return ratios, debt equity proportion and so on. Within these, the most primary valuation tool used by investors is the Price Earnings (P/E) ratio. I am pleased to share our research on P/E ratio’s predictive power with respect to Sensex returns.

2016-04-12 00:00:00 Technically Speaking: Bull Versus Bear Case by Lance Roberts of Real Investment Advice

As the trumpets sound to signal the start of earnings season, the battle between fundamentals and “hope” begins. Despite weakening earnings, which on an as reported basis are far worse than the rather manipulated “operating” levels currently suggest, the bulls have remained steadfast in their belief that prices are on a one-way trip higher.

2016-04-12 00:00:00 Looking for Growth in the Right Places by Dan Roarty, James Tierney, Jr. of AllianceBernstein

When the market is fixated on short-term macroeconomic trends, investors should think differently. Look for companies and industries that benefit from distinctive long-term growth trends and that aren’t held hostage by a country’s macroeconomic fortunes.

2016-04-12 00:00:00 Expecting Mixed Economic Data by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The broad range of data suggests that the U.S. economy slowed in the first quarter. It’s more likely that this is merely “a slow patch” than the start of a more substantial downturn (not gonna use the r-word). The mixed nature of the economic data allows one to make any particular argument one wants and the noise is likely to add to market volatility in the near term.

2016-04-12 00:00:00 A Stronger Yen Is Positive For Gold, US Inflation Expectations by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Since the financial crisis, a stronger yen has generally been associated with rising inflation and inflation expectations in the United States. The US is a very important export market for Japan as 18% of all Japanese exports are sent to the US. Over approximately the past four years, a weaker yen has kept US import prices about 2-3% lower than they otherwise would have been. However, this dynamic looks like it is shifting again. Our models project that the recent strengthening of the yen will increase US import prices from Japan by about 2% over the next six months.

2016-04-12 00:00:00 Currency Wars: Fed, Brexit, and Yuan Crisis Potential by Jeffrey Baker of HiddenLevers

Thus far, 2016 has shaped up to be an unprecedented year. The old guard of the Republican party has been usurped and a socialist insurgency has taken hold within the Democratic electorate. For the first time since the late 1930s, populist politics are in vogue, taking hold in both major political parties.

2016-04-12 00:00:00 Surging Mining Stocks Point to Big Move Ahead in Gold and Silver by Stefan Gleason of Money Metals Exchange

Spring has sprung for precious metals mining stocks.The HUI gold stocks index surged 6.2% on Monday to close at a 14-month high. The HUI chart shows a strong base was built from last summer through this January, and from that base a new bull market has begun.

2016-04-12 00:00:00 ZIRPs and NIRPs and Unintended Consequences by Brooks Ritchey of Franklin Templeton Investments

There are countless examples in history, some more hubristic than others, in which man’s efforts to address a problem or control a system have resulted in miserable failure?regardless of best-laid plans or intentions.

2016-04-11 00:00:00 Energy Bonds: Finding the Silver Lining in Credit Downgrades by Bixby Stewart of Invesco Blog

Several highly punitive credit downgrades of higher-quality energy companies surprised the investment grade bond market recently, with some downgrades representing cuts of four to five notches. But Invesco Fixed Income believes there may be a silver lining to these downgrades: Together with low commodity prices, these moves may be driving a positive shift toward more prudent corporate balance sheet management, largely in favor of creditors. While commodity price volatility, an oversupplied oil market and broader macroeconomic uncertainty cause us to be very cautious about investing in energy-related credit, we believe such volatility and change in corporate behavior may create unique opportunities for active investment managers.

2016-04-11 00:00:00 Rounding the Bubble's Edge by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The single most important quality that investors can have, at present, is the ability to maintain a historically-informed perspective amid countless voices chanting “this time is different” and arguing that long-term investment returns have no relationship to the price that one pays.

2016-04-11 00:00:00 Another Macro Reason To Expect More Cyclical Underperformance by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Yesterday, Bryce correctly pointed out the tight relationship between interest rates and stock market leadership that has persisted for the past decade. As interest rates fall, cyclical stocks have tended to underperform while counter-cyclical stocks have tended to outperform. We would like to add another macro data point that has had a very close correlation to stock market leadership over the past decade: changes in China’s Forex reserves.

2016-04-11 00:00:00 Yen Trouble. Bond Rally. by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

Last week started slow. But then stumbled. The stock market realized that i) earnings are not going to be great ii) that the Fed’s “low rates for longer” message means “low growth for longer” and iii) international markets wrestled with what zero bound means. U.S. stocks were flat, the Japanese market fell 6% and U.S. long Treasuries were up 1.5%.

2016-04-11 00:00:00 Canadian View by (Article)

For CEF Investors, there’s a “world of opportunity” to consider outside the U.S., says Jonathan Morgan, President and CIO, Canadian General Investments.

2016-04-11 00:00:00 Bringing Europe’s Migration Crisis Under Control by George Soros of Project Syndicate

The EU’s first expulsion of refugees has exposed the fundamental flaws in its new migration policy. While the forcible return of asylum-seekers to Turkey has caught the world’s attention, an equally troubling issue has hardly been discussed: the underfunding of Europe’s response to the crisis.

2016-04-11 00:00:00 Oil, the Dollar, Rates: Three Stars Align by Brad Tank of Neuberger Berman

Lower dollar, higher oil could improve prospects for 2016 earnings.

2016-04-11 00:00:00 European Bank Regulation: Expect a Shift by Joshua Anderson of PIMCO

Regulatory uncertainty will create opportunities for private capital as banks retrench from some lending markets.

2016-04-11 00:00:00 What Will Drive the Next Emerging-Market Supercycle? by Sammy Suzuki of AllianceBernstein

After lagging for years, emerging equities are back in the winner’s corner. Investors are wondering if the stocks are nearing a durable turn for the better. It’s worth thinking about how the next upcycle may unfold.

2016-04-11 00:00:00 Never on a Friday by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

“Never on a Friday” is one of the mantras that has served me well over the years. Long time readers of these letters know its meaning. To wit, when the equity markets are involved in a pullback attempt they rarely bottom on a Friday. Nope, they tend to give participants time over the weekend to brood about their losses, tell their wives they can no longer buy the new Mercedes Benz (which makes for a pretty tense weekend), and consequently return to The Street of Dreams on Monday/Tuesday in “sell mode.” That sequence typically leads to the phrase “Turning Tuesday” implying the market bottoms either late in Monday’s trading session, or early the next day.

2016-04-11 00:00:00 The Bears Get Excited Again by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Since March 9, 2009, stock market bears have used every negative piece of economic data to argue their case. Last week they were hyperventilating over first quarter real GDP growth estimates. After recent inventory data, the Atlanta Fed GDPNow Model said annualized growth will be just 0.1% in Q1. It could be zero, or even negative.

2016-04-11 00:00:00 Where Are We Now? Looking for Value in Emerging Markets After the Recent Rally by Charles Wilson of Thornburg Investment Management

After a rough start to the year the MSCI Emerging Markets Index is up sharply – What's next?

2016-04-11 00:00:00 Recession: Your Time is Gonna Come … But Not Yet by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Two events recently triggered renewed concerns about a U.S. economic recession. The first was the continued deterioration in Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow model—now down to only 0.1% for expected first quarter real gross domestic product (GDP) growth, after being as high as 2.7% in early February. The second was the pronouncement of a pending “very massive recession” by presidential candidate Donald Trump. Shortly after the latter I tweeted that there was little indication we were headed into a “very massive recession,” and boy did that elicit a very massive response from fellow tweeters. Many agreed that a severe recession was unlikely; but at least as many took the Trump side of the argument—with much “passion” I might add.

2016-04-11 00:00:00 In Volatile Times, a Case for Quality Investing by Dr. Brian Jacobsen, CFA, CFP® and Jo Lee, CFA of Wells Fargo Asset Management

We conducted research on how five investment styles have performed during volatile periods throughout history. Here’s why we’re making a case for the quality investing style.

2016-04-10 00:00:00 Open Letter to the President, Part Five by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Without significant changes in tax and incentive structures, the US will almost assuredly enter a recession within the next few years. Then, if we lose tax revenues only to the extent we did in the last couple of recessions, we’ll be saddled with a deficit of over $1.3 trillion, and the deficit won’t fall below $1 trillion as far out as the eye can see, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

2016-04-09 00:00:00 Mile-High Merger: Alaska Airlines Buys Virgin America, Expanding Market Reach by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The $2.6 billion deal, awaiting shareholder approval in June, would create the fifth-largest U.S. airline by traffic and result in a much more competitive player, especially on the West Coast. (Alaska is based in Seattle, Virgin in San Francisco.) According to the Wall Street Journal, Alaska’s annual revenue could grow 27 percent because of the deal.

2016-04-09 00:00:00 Should Central Banks Call in the Helicopters? by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

For the past eight years, major central banks used unconventional monetary policies to promote economic growth and lift inflation. But success is incomplete on these fronts, and there is an active debate about whether forward guidance, negative interest rates and quantitative easing (QE) remain potent. It may be time for “helicopter money.”

2016-04-08 00:00:00 Challenges Remain for Asia's Economies by Luke Spajic, Tadashi Kakuchi, Adam Bowe of PIMCO

Complicated growth and policy environments in China and Japan create challenges for the region.

2016-04-08 00:00:00 Be on the Right Side of Change by Frank Caruso, Dan Roarty of AllianceBernstein

Companies are having a much harder time producing earnings growth. Those that are positioned on the right side of change should be better placed to increase profits—and deliver investment returns—in a growth-constrained world.

2016-04-08 00:00:00 Tech Innovations: Best in Two Decades? by JP Scandalios of Franklin Templeton Investments

The volatility we have seen this year hasn’t dampened our outlook for tech companies. In fact, in my 20+ years researching technology stocks I haven’t seen a more robust period of innovation than we’re experiencing today.

2016-04-08 00:00:00 On Interest Rates and Stock Market Leadership by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

One of the biggest questions equity investors are facing right now is whether to stay defensive or to turn up the cyclical heat on any pullback.

2016-04-08 00:00:00 Market Overview Q116: Out with the Old by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

Increasingly connected global financial markets and persistently interventionist central bank policies not only make the investment landscape more difficult to navigate, but demand fresh thinking about how to invest.

2016-04-08 00:00:00 Active vs. Passive Money Management by Baird’s Asset Manager Research of Robert W. Baird

Exploring the costs and benefits of two alternative investment approaches.

2016-04-08 00:00:00 Rapid Pace of Change in Many Economic Sectors Creating Investment Challenges, Opportunities by Kim Scott of Ivy Funds

In this commentary, Kim Scott, portfolio manager of the Ivy Mid Cap Growth Fund, discusses how the rapid pace of change currently in motion in many economic sectors is creating investment challenges and opportunities.

2016-04-08 00:00:00 Driving in the Slow Lane, for Now by Carl Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

After a turbulent start, the first quarter ended on a calmer note. There were moments when the U.S. economy appeared to defy expectations, and there were moments when the outlook was not rosy. On net, forward momentum remains in place.

2016-04-08 00:00:00 A Tale of Two Halves by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

The first quarter of 2016 is in the record books and for most, including bond investors, it was a tale of two halves. During the first six weeks of the year, domestic economic concerns, worries over the state of China’s economy, and a near 30% decline in the price of oil sparked a strong Treasury rally that drove high-quality bond yields lower—not just in the U.S., but globally as well. Then the last six weeks of the quarter saw a shift for lower-rated bonds, thanks to improving economic data and market-friendly central bank actions. Through all the ups and downs, it was a strong quarter for bond performance; however, we don’t expect this strength to repeat over the remainder of the year.

2016-04-08 00:00:00 Five Unique Themes by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

RBA’s disciplined investment process tends to lead to differentiated positioning within our portfolios. Our focus on profit cycles, liquidity, and sentiment has once again led us to some distinctive investment themes.

2016-04-08 00:00:00 Preparing for Rising Medical Costs in Retirement - 2016 by Andrew Friedman, Jeff Bush of Eaton Vance

The Affordable Care Act (commonly known as the “ACA” or “Obamacare”) has had a significant effect on retiree health care costs and retirement planning, and those effects are likely only to increase in the years ahead. People nearing or in retirement need to understand the extent to which their medical expenses are likely to increase, and steps they can take now to help ensure they will be able to afford medical care after they retire.

2016-04-08 00:00:00 Global Outlook – Q2: A Multi-Asset Solutions PM Weighs-In by Doug Gordon of Russell Investments

Doug Gordon takes a look at his team may take advantage of the market insights in our strategists’ Global Market Outlook – Q2 Update.

2016-04-08 00:00:00 ECRI Weekly Leading Index: WLI Up 0.2 From Last Week, Still Positive by Jill Mislinski of Advisor Perspectives (

The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at 1.6, an increase of 0.9 from the previous week, and well off its interim low of -4.7 last February. The YoY is now at 0.42%, an increase of 0.27, and in positive territory for the second consecutive week.

2016-04-08 00:00:00 Not Your Father's Dividend Stocks by Edward Perkin of Eaton Vance

Dividend investing ain’t what it used to be. What’s the best approach in today’s market?

2016-04-08 00:00:00 A Glimpse into North Korea by Colin Dishington, of Matthews Asia

During a recent visit to Asia, I took the opportunity to join a tour to the notorious demilitarized zone that separates North and South Korea. The “DMZ” as it is more commonly referred to, is 4 kilometers wide and has served as a buffer zone between the two states since the Korean War Armistice Agreement of 1953.

2016-04-07 00:00:00 2016 Commercial Real Estate Outlook by Peter Nielsen of Saturna Capital

Encouraging fundamentals and positive developments in broadly-used sector classifications and US tax structure bode well for Real Estate in 2016.

2016-04-07 00:00:00 Stocks Climbed In March Amid Subtle Signs of Budding Inflation by Joe Becker, Adam Schenck, Jeff Greco of Milliman Financial Risk Management

Global equity markets sprang into action in March, notching a monthly return ranking among the top 10 in the last 10 years. The price of oil finished the month higher as the US dollar continued its descent.

2016-04-07 00:00:00 The Economic Outlook and the Fed by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The first quarter’s market action was driving by the escalation of fear and the ebbing of that fear, ending with expectations of “more of the same” – that is, mixed but moderate economic growth and a very gradual pace of Fed tightening.

2016-04-07 00:00:00 There Just Isn’t A Clear Sign Which Way The Dollar Is Headed Right Now by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

We usually like to blog about trends that seem pretty clear when one dives into the data. However, a big issue in the market that we are grappling with right now doesn’t seem to have a clear trend. That issue is the US dollar. The dollar’s rise since 2011, but especially in 2014, brought the reserve currency of the world to the forefront of most investors minds. A rising dollar is usually bad news for EM stocks, US corporate profits, and commodity prices. Therefore, if the dollar’s bull run has ended there are major ramifications for securities around the world.

2016-04-07 00:00:00 You’ll Fall in Love with these Dividend Growth Stocks by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Last week I shared with you the Commerce Departments’ news that fourth-quarter corporate profits, while still at record highs, sank at their fastest pace since the same period in 2008.

2016-04-07 00:00:00 What a Reversal! by Martin Atkin, Matthew Palazzolo of AllianceBernstein

Stock markets around the world rallied strongly in March, continuing the rebound that began on February 12. In the US and emerging markets, the rebound has wiped out the deep losses from the first six weeks of the year, to deliver positive returns for the quarter.

2016-04-07 00:00:00 Harnessing Value in Dislocated Credit by Sai Devabhaktuni of PIMCO

Market volatility, diminishing liquidity and credit imbalances combine to create mispricings and attractive opportunities in leveraged finance.

2016-04-07 00:00:00 A Statistic About the US Economy That May Surprise You by Rick Rieder of BlackRock

Rick Rieder shares one widely-ignored sign that the U.S. economy has actually been operating at a very high level in recent years.

2016-04-07 00:00:00 10 Mid-Size Stocks for Large-Size Gains: Part 1 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Small and mid-sized companies are often overlooked by many or even most investors. That’s unfortunate, because there are many excellent investment opportunities that can be found in these equity classes. However, an argument could be made that between the small and mid-cap equity classes, the best and perhaps less risky investment opportunities are found in mid-caps.

2016-04-07 00:00:00 A Blogger Looks At 50 by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Ten years ago I wrote a post called A Blogger Looks At 40 which was a play on words of the Jimmy Buffett song A Pirate Looks At 40 (long story short, that post is no longer on the internet). Recently, I turned 50 which like other round numbers can be a good time to review and assess where you are in life.

2016-04-07 00:00:00 Anti-Trade America? by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

The rise of anti-trade populism in the US presidential election campaign portends a dangerous retreat from the country's role in world affairs. In the name of reducing inequality at home, candidates in both parties would stymie the aspirations of hundreds of millions of people in the developing world to join the middle class.

2016-04-06 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 March. The unemployment remained at 5.0% and the number of new nonfarm jobs (a relatively volatile number subject to extensive revisions) was at to 215K with February's number revised upward by 3K.

2016-04-06 00:00:00 90% Psychological, 10% Logical by Sam Stewart of Wasatch Funds

So here we are with very modest global economic growth, seemingly excessive gains in stocks over the past several years, potentially flawed monetary policies around the world, and mediocre readings on the sentiment indicators I follow. Although this may sound like a prescription for flat—or possibly even falling—stock prices going forward, I continue to be the “nervous bull” that I’ve been for quite a few years.

2016-04-06 00:00:00 Q1 2016 Earnings Preview: No More Excuses by Burt White of LPL Financial

First quarter earnings results will not be very exciting, but the earnings trajectory may be at a trough. We would love to say that this earnings season, which begins on April 11, 2016 (unofficially), will bring better results than recent quarters, but that appears very unlikely.

2016-04-06 00:00:00 U.S. Real GDP Growth Was Very Weak 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.

2016-04-06 00:00:00 Portfolio Management: Which Risks to Take by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

At Smead Capital Management, we make it a practice of constantly reviewing our discipline of stock selection and portfolio management. Like a sports agent compares athletes, one of the ways we do this is to follow competitors with proven track records of success. Many portfolio managers of U.S. large-cap equity funds have had a very difficult time during the last several years in the U.S. stock market. The market has been especially harsh on many high-conviction, long-duration portfolio disciplines lately. What do history and current circumstances teach us about our stock picking discipline?

2016-04-06 00:00:00 South Africa's Great Challenges, and Greater Opportunities by Pablo Echavarria of Thornburg Investment Management

South Africa faces a myriad of challenges. Government missteps slow the pace of progress, which nonetheless is being made, setting the stage for growing investment opportunities.

2016-04-06 00:00:00 New DOL Rule Pending: What to Expect by Jean-David Larson of Russell Investments

The DOL will be announcing its new rule for fiduciaries, financial planners and institutional investors tomorrow. Jean-David Larson weighs in on what to expect.

2016-04-06 00:00:00 Corrective Action Continues – But, A Rally May Still Be Seen by Avi Gilburt of

have said many times before that trying to track every twist and turn within corrective action is like trying to throw Jell-O for distance . . . you just won’t be able to get it all.

2016-04-06 00:00:00 Fed's Janet Yellen Does An About-Face On Interest Rates by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

On Tuesday of last week, Fed Chair Janet Yellen delivered a surprising speech at the Economic Club of New York. Back in December, the Fed raised short-term interest rates for the first time in over eight years and told us to expect four more hikes in the Fed Funds rate in 2016.

2016-04-06 00:00:00 Recession Probability Models - April 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.

2016-04-06 00:00:00 A White Knuckle Ride by Dr. Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

Market Perspectives Q1 2016: A White Knuckle Ride

2016-04-06 00:00:00 Small-Caps Shift in a Wild Quarter by Francis Gannon of The Royce Funds

In a volatile quarter full of downs and ups, equity returns wound up close to where we started in 2016. Underlying these unremarkable results was the real story—the leadership shift to small-cap value.

2016-04-06 00:00:00 What You Need To Know About High-Yield Bonds by (Article)

Depending on your view of future economic growth and interest rates, high-yield bond funds may present an opportunity for your income-oriented portfolio needs, says portfolio manager Christopher Kilpatrick of Western Asset.

2016-04-06 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.

2016-04-05 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 February, is now available. 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, while the BLS began tracking JOLTS in December 2000. Nevertheless, there are some clear JOLTS correlations with the most recent business cycle trends.

2016-04-05 00:00:00 Data-Driven Marketing Breaks through the Online Crowd by Mandy Fisher (Article)

It is tough for advisors to be heard and it takes more than a platform to rise above the noise. With 90% of businesses marketing online today, the solution is to use data-driven marketing to break-through the crowd.

2016-04-05 00:00:00 How to Identify and Overcome the Limits to Your Success by Bob Veres (Article)

Confronted by a client who balks at a high fee or by a team member whose performance is imperfect, many advisors react by assuming that the problem is their own. One’s fees are lowered and the employee’s job description is remade. But this mindset exposes a lack of self-awareness, according to Stephanie Bogan. Instead, she says that by recognizing your inherent predispositions you can be on a “limitless” path to success.

2016-04-05 00:00:00 Using Fixed SPIAs and Investments to Create an Inflation-Adjusted Income Stream by Luke F. Delorme (Article)

I consider various return and inflation assumptions to determine an appropriate allocation between bonds and stocks that would enable annual inflation adjustments for fixed SPIAs.

2016-04-05 00:00:00 The Assumption that Costs You Clients by Dan Solin (Article)

As advisors, we’ve been trained to understand how incorrect assumptions can devastate one’s chances of achieving a successful retirement. That’s true in financial planning – and it’s even more important in your interactions with clients. Indeed, there’s one assumption that can instantly cost you a client relationship.

2016-04-05 00:00:00 Six Ways a Marketing Consultant Can Help You by Crystal Butler (Article)

Rather than just “getting it done” or pushing your marketing efforts to the bottom of the to-do list, you might hire a consultant to help you do what you set out to do: keep your current clients happy and get new ones. Here are six reasons why.

2016-04-05 00:00:00 Managing a Stressed Out Team by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Our advisory firm is booming, and we are benefiting from the market ups and downs in a big way. Our strategies are perfect for what’s happening. But my team is stressed. People are working 14-hour days. We can’t keep up. Everyone is jumping down one another’s throats.

2016-04-05 00:00:00 A Value Fund with a Long-Term Success Record by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Tim Hartch has been a co-manager of the BBH Global Core Select fund (BBGRX) since inception and has also co-managed the BBH Core Select fund (BBTEX) since October 2005. I spoke with Tim about his management philosophy and how he has been able to outperform his benchmark over a long time period.

2016-04-05 00:00:00 Brazil’s Olympic Ambitions by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

It’s important to remember that Brazil is still in the early stages of developing a viable political and economic structure, and these types of transitions aren’t always smooth.

2016-04-05 00:00:00 Mideast Exports Have Completely Collapsed Over The Past 18 Months by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

The value of exports out of Africa and the Mideast, according to CPB World Trade Monitor, have absolutely collapsed over the past 18 months. In USD terms, the value of exports (volume * price) have fallen by over 59% since July 2014. This is greater than the the peak to trough fall during the Asian Financial Crisis (43%), the 2000 Tech Bust (29%) or during the Global Financial Crisis (51%).

2016-04-05 00:00:00 A Recipe for Lower Volatility in High Yield by Gershon Distenfeld, Ivan Rudolph-Shabinsky of AllianceBernstein

“He who doesn’t risk never gets to drink champagne.” As investors, we can all relate to this Russian proverb. But in choppy markets, big risks can be hard to stomach. A low-volatility strategy can help.

2016-04-05 00:00:00 Actively Managing the Evolution in the Insurance Industry by Robert Young of PIMCO

How are insurance companies adapting to low returns, industry consolidation and new regulations?

2016-04-05 00:00:00 Is the Fed on the Right Track? by Rick Rieder of BlackRock

BlackRock’s Rick Rieder explores whether Fed caution is appropriate for today’s economic environment.

2016-04-05 00:00:00 The Philosophy of Tops by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Most of the time when I drudge up “The Philosophy of Tops” it is to warn of a pending market “top.” The operative line from Justin’s quip is, “One rule about tops is not that they provide this or that signal, but that they come before anyone is ready.” Manifestly, “[tops] come before anyone is ready!” But, currently EVERYONE is ready, either calling for a market “top,” or a continuation of the trading range market. I see very few of us who are suggesting that we remain in a secular bull market, and in bull markets most of the surprises come on the upside.

2016-04-05 00:00:00 Don't Short the Participation Rate! by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Last Friday was an interesting day. For years now, the US has consistently added jobs and the unemployment rate has steadily fallen. But, the Pouting Pundits of Pessimism keep arguing that a falling unemployment rate is only because of weak growth in the labor force.

2016-04-05 00:00:00 Fed Watching For Dummies: Credit Spreads Are Driving Monetary Policy by Mark Ungewitter of Mark Ungewitter Research

On March 29th, Janet Yellen outlined three factors warranting a new, dovish bias: energy prices, currency dislocations, and global equity turmoil. While all of this makes perfect sense, we think the real driver of FOMC policy is corporate credit. In recent months, the price ratio of Baa-to-Aaa U.S. bonds has deteriorated to levels not seen since June 2010 and July 2012.

2016-04-05 00:00:00 Torrid Quarter. All Well. by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

Finally. The end of a torrid quarter. What seems like a news filled quarter boiled down.

2016-04-05 00:00:00 China's Economy Is Transforming; It Just Needs Time by Anthony Cragg, Stephen Kinney of Wells Fargo Asset Management

China’s service sector could be a major growth catalyst. In our view, all the country needs is time.

2016-04-05 00:00:00 Greater Gradualism for the Greater Good by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

The case for financial repression remains self-evident based on Fed Chair Yellen’s dovish comments last week, says US Investment Strategist Kristina Hooper. In this environment, investors need to be vigilant about the potential for higher inflation.

2016-04-05 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Is the Fed Too Optimistic? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

The calendar continues in something of an alternating mode. Last week had plenty of important data; this week has little. Instead we get multiple speeches from Fed Presidents and Governors and the release of the last FOMC minutes. Little data plus lots of Fed news is a natural draw for the punditry. This week they will be asking: Is the Fed too optimistic?

2016-04-05 00:00:00 India’s Central Bank cuts key policy rate by 25bps by Ritesh Jain, Raghupathi Acharya of Tata Asset Management

India’s central bank, The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) lowered its repurchase rate by 25 basis points to 6.5% from 6.75% on expected grounds. The RBI also narrowed the policy corridor (repo and reverse repo spread) to 50bps from 100bps. In addition, the central bank also announced changes to the liquidity framework while maintaining its forecast for Gross Value Added (GVA) growth and retail inflation unchanged at 7.6% & 5% respectively for FY2016-17.

2016-04-05 00:00:00 Is Trump’s “Recession Warning” Really All Wrong? by Lance Roberts of Real Investment Advice

Over the weekend, Donald Trump, in an interview with the Washington Post, stated that economic conditions are so perilous that the country is headed for a “very massive recession” and that “it’s a terrible time right now” to invest in the stock market.

2016-04-05 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.

2016-04-04 00:00:00 Multiple Jobholders: Two Decades of Trends as of March 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 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.

2016-04-04 00:00:00 Inside Information - March 2016 by Bob Veres (Article)

This is a complimentary issue of Bob Veres' Inside Information. The lead article defines the robo-advisor challenge as nothing more than the next evolution of professional software—I call it Software 2.0—with intelligent built-in capabilities. The article looks at how the venture capitalists who funded the robo-platforms identified three significant weaknesses in the advisor profession they hoped to disrupt. As it turns out, instead of disrupting us, they did us all a big favor. By exposing certain weaknesses, the venture capitalists showed us several ways to increase your top-line revenues without any additional labor from you or your staff.

2016-04-04 00:00:00 The Labor Market Conditions Index for March 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 March data came in at -2.1, up from a revised -2.5 in February. Extensive revisions were made to the entire series, including 6 out of the last 12 months.

2016-04-04 00:00:00 Industrial Production: Those Ugly Annual Benchmark Revisions and the Heightened Risk of Recession by Doug Short (Article)

The big economic news on Friday was the Department of Labor's Employment Report for March. The mainstream press focused on two numbers: the 215K new jobs and the 5% unemployment rate. Over the next few days we'll dig in a bit deeper to look at some of the underlying employment demographics, which in many ways give a greater understanding of employment conditions. But the much more significant economic news on Friday was the Federal Reserve's noon release of the disturbingly negative annual benchmark revisions to Industrial Production.

2016-04-04 00:00:00 Has the ACA Achieved its Goal of Significantly Increasing Enrollment While Making Healthcare Coverag by Glenn Doody of S&P Dow Jones Indices

In this blog post, Glenn Doody discusses whether the 25%+ increase in new membership related to the Affordable Health Care Act helped to achieve its goal of significantly increasing enrollment while making healthcare coverage more affordable.

2016-04-04 00:00:00 Short-Term Narratives vs. Long-Term Fundamentals by Jay Leopold of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

In the short run, simple narratives can form to explain changes in security prices and complex market movements. These narratives can contribute to market volatility — the 30% plunge in oil prices in the first quarter of 2016 was viewed as evidence that global growth was weakening.This year’s market swings have created an opportunity for investors to reassess their portfolio positioning, ensuring it matches their long-term risk and return objectives.

2016-04-04 00:00:00 Fire Suppression by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The danger of constant fire suppression is that it fosters the illusion that the entire forest is a controllable object, while actually weakening its capacity for resilience. Likewise, the danger of relentless Fed intervention is that it fosters the illusion that the financial markets are under the tight control of monetary policy, while encouraging malinvestment that amplifies the severity of the ultimate consequences. Nothing has been learned from 2000-2002 and 2007-2009, when even persistent and aggressive easing was incapable of holding back the inevitable collapse of malinvestment. The market plunges that completed those market cycles essentially represented the mass recognition by investors that they had badly miscalculated. Each successive bubble encourages them to forget that lesson.

2016-04-04 00:00:00 Our April 2016 Market Commentary by Adam Jordan of Paul R. Ried Financial Group

It has been quite an interesting start to the year. After falling nearly 10% on continued worries of a global slowdown, the market (as measured by the S&P 500) rallied strongly and is now essentially flat for the year.

2016-04-04 00:00:00 Charts That Matter: Fifth Edition – April 2016 by Ritesh Jain, Abhishek Sonthalia of Tata Asset Management

This is the 5th edition of the monthly “Charts That Matter” series. We are going through dynamic times and such periods of volatility often throw up some very interesting perspectives. For example, take the example of how India stands to benefit from low crude prices. Im pretty sure we all know the benefits. But did you know that India’s inward remittances dipped 7.4% YoY in 3Q FY16 which has been the worst performing quarter since Mar-09? The correlation between crude prices and inward remittances to India is quite strong; actually stronger than I anticipated until I plotted the graph myself.

2016-04-04 00:00:00 Markets to Investors: It’s ‘Time In,’ Not ‘Timing’ by Erik Knutzen of Neuberger Berman

The old adage says that “time in the market” is more important than “timing the market.” Anyone who needed a reminder of that truth got it in spades during the first quarter of 2016. Who would have thought, on the dark morning of February 12 with the S&P 500 Index down more than 10%, that U.S. equities would finish the quarter up 0.8%?

2016-04-04 00:00:00 On My Radar: Fed Stuck Between Three Rocks and a Hard Place by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

“Now these monetary institutions are expected to continue producing miracles. But their ability to repeatedly pull new rabbits out of their policy hats has been stretched to an increasingly unsustainable degree.” -Mohamed A. El-Erian, The Only Game in Town

2016-04-04 00:00:00 Change Factor by (Article)

The broader investment arena may be changing more rapidly than the CEF market, but change remains an important factor for investors, says Jon Diorio, Managing Director, BlackRock.

2016-04-04 00:00:00 Market Thoughts for April 2016 by (Article)

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth Financial Network’s chief investment officer, discusses the markets and economy in March. After two bad months, things appear to be moving in the right direction, as markets were up about 7 percent across the board, and even foreign markets fared well. What happened to cause this reversal? From a rebound in oil prices, to a moderating dollar, to reasonably strong economic fundamentals, Brad explains how these factors have supported consumer confidence and what we might expect going forward. Follow Brad at

2016-04-04 00:00:00 The Positives Outweigh the Negatives for the U.S. Economy by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

The U.S. equity rally resumed last week with the S&P 500 Index climbing 1.8%. Although expectations for the upcoming corporate earnings season are low, investors chose to focus on the positives. Specifically, investors reacted to dovish comments made by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen in her speech at the Economics Club of New York, which counteracted some more hawkish comments made by Fed officials the previous week. Other asset classes came under pressure, including commodities and oil, causing some skepticism about the recent rebound. The oil sell-off was due to heightened doubts about the ability of major producers to formalize a production freeze agreement.

2016-04-04 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.

2016-04-02 00:00:00 55 Years of Income and Home Values by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Many are tracking the economic plight of younger generations and their reluctance, or rather inability, to buy a home. We decided to take a look at the long-term trends in the cost of living and the associated home prices.

2016-04-02 00:00:00 Unconventional Monetary Policy on Stilts by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

With most advanced economies experiencing anemic recoveries from the 2008 financial crisis, their central banks have been forced to move from conventional monetary policy – reducing policy rates via open-market purchases of short-term government bonds – to a range of unconventional policies. And now they are poised to do so again.

2016-04-02 00:00:00 New Study Cites Big Errors In Government's GDP Reports by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

An in-depth analysis by CNBC of the government's reports on gross domestic product suggests large and persistent errors that should give investors, business executives and policymakers pause in relying on the data for key decisions.

2016-04-02 00:00:00 Gold Had Its Best Quarter in a Generation. So Where Are the Investors? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

he last time gold had a quarter this strong, Ronald Reagan was a year into his second term as president, the Soviet Union was taking its final gasp and the U.S. was still reeling from the Challenger explosion. Year-to-date, the yellow metal has risen 16.5 percent, its best three-month performance since 1986, mostly on fears of negative interest rates and other global central bank policies.

2016-04-02 00:00:00 First Quarter Odds and Ends by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Four months after terrorist attacks struck the streets of Paris, Europe was hit again, at its heart – Brussels. The sophistication of the attacks amid tightened security has once again raised questions around intelligence-sharing across Europe’s borders, and added fuel to the migration debate.

2016-04-02 00:00:00 What a Quarter! What’s Next? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

The first quarter was the proverbial roller coaster, with stocks experiencing extreme volatility, but ultimately ending up back where they started. We continue to believe U.S. stocks are in a secular bull market; but in a more mature phase which will be dotted with volatility and pullbacks. Corporate earnings likely need to recover before stocks can move demonstrably higher. More clarity from the Fed and a better political environment would help, but both seem unlikely in the near term. However, a more dovish tone from the Fed has aided in some recent dollar weakening, which has boosted emerging markets’ performance. While it is an encouraging development, stay disciplined and diversified as we watch to see if global growth can improve.

2016-04-02 00:00:00 Open Letter to the Next President, Part 4 by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Today we are going to look at what the next president might do in response to recession – and possibly even to prevent a recession. I actually think a positive path can be found, but following it will take an enormous political effort and a big shift in the current environment of noncooperation.

2016-04-01 00:00:00 The Big Four Economic Indicators: March Nonfarm Employment by Doug Short (Article)

Note: This commentary has been updated to include this morning's release of Nonfarm Employment for March. As the adjacent thumbnail of the past year illustrates, Nonfarm Employment remains in its upward trend. The March report of 215K new jobs was above expectations ( was looking for 205K), and the February number was revised upward by 3K.

2016-04-01 00:00:00 A Different Take on Brexit by Team of Absolute Return Partners

With 2 1/2 months to go before the Brexit referendum it is anybody's guess what the outcome will be. In this month's Absolute Return Letter we take the rare opportunity to comment on a political event. Regardless of where you reside, the result is likely to be important for you. Like most things in life, the choices are not black and white. Enjoy the read.

2016-04-01 00:00:00 Taiwan's New Status Quo by Tiffany Hsiao of Matthews Asia

During the first decade of her political career, Taiwan’s President-elect Tsai Ing-wen essentially maintained bipartisanship between the pro-unification Kuomintang (KMT) party and its rival Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). But now her election win to Taiwan’s top post sends a strong message to Beijing that cross-strait affairs may not be as smooth as they have been under KMT rule.

2016-04-01 00:00:00 April Fools in March by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific

It may be almost impossible to underestimate the gullibility of professional Fed watchers. At least Lucy van Pelt needed to place an actual football on the ground to fool poor Charlie Brown. But in today's high stakes game of Federal Reserve mind reading, the Fed doesn't even have to make a halfway convincing bluff to make the markets look foolish.

2016-04-01 00:00:00 Managed Futures During Equity “Crises”– An Update by Equinox Funds (Article)

The managed futures asset class has acquired a reputation among investors for providing what is known as "crisis alpha" – the ability to generate returns at a time of market crisis. This brief insight reviews the historical performance of equities and managed futures during times of crisis, including the most recent example, December 2015 – January 2016.

2016-04-01 00:00:00 Bold, Confident and WRONG: Why You Should Ignore Expert Forecasts by Adam Butler of ReSolve Asset Management

If you read the paper, watch the news, and listen to investment experts you are doing it all wrong. There are no market wizards; the emperors have no clothes; most people are ‘swimming naked’. The following paragraphs offer abundant and incontrovertible evidence condemning expert judgment for the great sham it really is. We also offer some practical ways to cope with the terrifying reality that no one is in control.

2016-04-01 00:00:00 Driving in Neutral by Team of Neuberger Berman

So far, 2016 has been characterized by stomach churning swerves in market direction with little actual change in levels.

2016-04-01 00:00:00 Real and Alternative Assets Outlook Second Quarter 2016 by Team of Neuberger Berman

Despite challenges, we maintained a slightly overweight view on lower volatility and directional hedge funds; meanwhile certain areas within private debt appear attractive.

2016-04-01 00:00:00 Fixed Income Outlook Second Quarter 2016 by Team of Neuberger Berman

High yield, particularly short-duration issues and higher-rated credits, remains in favor given current prevailing yields and the outlook for credit quality.

2016-04-01 00:00:00 Equity Outlook Second Quarter 2016 by Team of Neuberger Berman

Global equities—particularly those in developed markets outside the U.S.—may provide more opportunities over the coming 12 months.

2016-04-01 00:00:00 Wages Are Rising: Good News for Workers, the Economy … and the Fed by Richard Clarida of PIMCO

The recovery from the Great Recession of 2007–2009 has returned to the pattern of past cycles in which labor’s share of national income begins to rise. A challenge the Fed will face as it tries to engineer a “dovish” rate hike cycle is that investors, households and firms tend to associate Fed rate hike cycles with Fed efforts to reduce or limit inflation. But the Fed wants higher inflation from today’s levels, so it will not be inclined to run a hawkish policy that would prevent it. In the Fed’s current model, holding constant expected inflation, the only way to get inflation moving up to its 2% target is for the unemployment rate to be pushed below NAIRU (the non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment).

2016-04-01 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).

2016-04-01 00:00:00 How I found Gold in White Water Rapids by Greg Silberman of Atlanta Capital Group

The question of Gold as an investment intrigues me! Nobody it seems is ambivalent to the shiny yellow metal. Either you Hate it! In which case you may be in the camp of a barbarous relic. Or you Love it? In which case you may be a crackpot doomsayer preparing for War against the government. Is there not a middle road when it comes to Gold? Would a smart investor not recognize that in all things investing there is a season? And isn’t it possible that Golds season may just have arrived?

2016-04-01 00:00:00 Wrestling with Negative Interest Rates by Byron Wien of Blackstone

I have long thought that negative interest rates didn’t make sense, but monetarists argue that they are just low interest rates carried further. The theory is that if consumers and corporations have to pay a price to store their cash at banks, they will go out and spend and invest, but it is not clear that is what happens when deposit rates fall below zero. What is clear is that the outcomes vary by the size and importance of the central bank involved. In any case, the effects seem to be more temporary than long-lasting. Perhaps more worthy of examination are the reasons behind the negative rates and what these conditions mean for the long-term economic performance of countries and regions and returns in their financial markets.

2016-04-01 00:00:00 March New Jobs Better Than Forecast at 215K by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Today's report of 215K new nonfarm jobs in March was higher than the forecast of 205K. February's nonfarm payrolls was revised upward by a 3K. The unemployment rate was little changed, up 0.1% to 5.0%.

2016-04-01 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.

2016-03-31 00:00:00 March Employment Report Preview by John Canally of LPL Financial

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor will release its always widely anticipated Employment Situation report for March 2016 on Friday, April 1, 2016.

2016-03-31 00:00:00 The Rise of the Machines—Volatility’s Back by Bob Rice of Neuberger Berman

The markets had a great run until last August—years of rising prices across nearly every asset class. Unfortunately, long-term investing doesn’t stay that easy.

2016-03-31 00:00:00 Emerging Markets Update: Is Now the Time for Emerging Markets? by Roger Edgley, Ajay Krishnan, Andrey Kutuzov, Scott Thomas, Matthew Dreith of Wasatch Funds

Why emerging-market stocks have generally performed poorly over the last five years—and why selectively chosen emerging-market businesses are now attractive in our view. We outline catalysts that could lead to sustainable advances in certain EM stocks and discuss the “new reality” that the opportunity set for truly great emerging-market investments has narrowed. This opportunity set includes high-quality growth companies in Internet technologies, health care, business-process innovation, and products and services for the expanding middle-class consumer segments in emerging markets.

2016-03-31 00:00:00 The Teleology of Smart Beta by Craig Lazzara of S&P Dow Jones Indices

In this blog post, Craig Lazzara discusses the growth of assets tracking factor indices and how it goes hand-in-hand with the evaluating and promoting Smart Beta funds.

2016-03-31 00:00:00 Five Reasons Emerging Markets Assets Have Rebounded by Ashok Bhatia of Wells Fargo Asset Management

Emerging markets debt and currencies had a rough 2015. Wells Fargo’s Ashok Bhatia examines the reasons behind the 2016 rally and assesses whether the rebound is here to stay.

2016-03-31 00:00:00 Momentum Finally Reaches Extreme Lows– When’s the Rally? by Jennifer Thomson of GaveKal Capital

Stocks in pretty much every region and sector are stuck in persistently negative momentum configurations, as defined by the low percent of issues with a 50-day moving average above that of the 200-day moving average.

2016-03-31 00:00:00 Is Economic Growth in Its Final Innings? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The start of baseball season is still several days away, but a recent survey conducted by Bank of America Merrill Lynch found that 59 percent of U.S. fund managers believe the current stretch of economic growth is in its “final innings.” This is the highest reading since the financial crisis in 2008.

2016-03-31 00:00:00 Oil: Paving the Road to Recovery by Vinod Chathlani of AllianceBernstein

Oil began its calamitous slide in mid-2014, and there’s been a lot of speculation since then about when—and how quickly—it will recover. By analyzing past oil cycles and their drivers, we can understand what the signs of a sustainable rally might be.

2016-03-31 00:00:00 Dynamite Comes in Small Packages: 10 Small Caps for Explosive Returns by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Investing in small-cap stocks is not for everyone. My definition of small-cap is a company whose market is $5 billion or less. However, for those brave souls that are willing to assume a little more risk, they can, under the right conditions, be a very profitable choice. Nevertheless, and in the general sense, small caps offer both advantages and disadvantages that I believe should be clearly understood before utilizing this asset class.

2016-03-31 00:00:00 High Yield Market Technicals by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

As we start to see the high yield market gain some footing, it is important to note the improved market technicals, mainly fund flows and primary market issuance. For the week ending March 16th, we saw high yield retail funds take in another $1.7 bil, making it the fifth consecutive week of inflows.

2016-03-31 00:00:00 A Flat Market Year-To-Date by Jack Rivkin of Altegris Advisors

The noise of the first three months of the year was hard to avoid, and the liquidity trap led to some investors selling at the wrong time. Jack Rivkin, CEO of Altegris Advisors, points out that had investors avoided the noise, they’d see that the equity market has actually been flat YTD.

2016-03-31 00:00:00 Best March For Commodities In 10 Years by Jodie Gunzberg of S&P Dow Jones Indices

In this blog post, Jodie Gunzberg discusses March’s historically big commodity return, which is the biggest since March 2006.

2016-03-31 00:00:00 Indexing the Brexit by Kevin Horan of S&P Dow Jones Indices

In this blog post, Kevin Horan discusses the indexing of the Brexit and what can be observed about it from S&P Dow Jones Indices.

2016-03-31 00:00:00 3 Things: Fed Levitation, Employment, Savings Rate by Lance Roberts of Real Investment Advice

What is going on at the Federal Reserve? On Tuesday, Janet Yellen comes out and announces that despite inflation being on the rise and employment below 5%, she is not going to raise the Fed Funds rate 4-times this year, nor even two times this year, but rather most likely none. Of course, this “one and done” scenario is what I suggested back in December following the first rate hike given the ongoing deterioration in the underlying economic backdrop.

2016-03-31 00:00:00 Staying dynamic: Multi-asset investing in 2016 by Brian Meath of Russell Investments

According to Russell Investments’ strategists, volatility is here to stay in 2016. For investors looking to achieve long-term outcomes, taking a dynamic, multi-asset approach may be one of the keys to success.

2016-03-31 00:00:00 Arnott on All Asset March 2016 by Robert Arnott of PIMCO

Rob Arnott, head of Research Affiliates, shares his firm’s market insights and allocation strategies for PIMCO All Asset strategies.

2016-03-31 00:00:00 The Archetypes of American Foreign Policy: A Reprise by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In this report, we briefly describe and discuss the four archetypes of American foreign policy as detailed in Walter Russell Meade’s book, Special Providence. By using these archetypes of American foreign policy, one can more easily anticipate how a candidate might act if they were to occupy the Oval Office. With presidential elections less than eight months away, I hope this discussion will assist readers in examining the candidates and their potential foreign policy positions, using these archetypes as a guide. The report concludes with my characterization of the current leading candidates.

2016-03-31 00:00:00 Are Valuations Relevant to Low Volatility Investors? by Nick Kalivas of Invesco Blog

It’s an age-old adage: buy low and sell high. This mantra is typically seen as a recipe for success in stock market investing, particularly among value investors. In order to determine whether or not a stock is cheap, many value investors use fundamental ratios, such as price-earnings, price-to-book and price-to-sales. Low multiples are taken as an opportunity to buy, while high multiples are seen as an opportunity to sell. Following this line of reasoning, value investors typically shy away from stocks that appear expensive based on valuation ratios, and are drawn to stocks that appear cheap.

2016-03-31 00:00:00 A Preview of the March Employment Report by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

Despite all the signs of an economic slowdown in recent months, one thing has just kept going: the job market. Month after month, employers have kept hiring and kept expanding the demand for labor.

2016-03-30 00:00:00 Weekly Heating Oil Price Update: US Average Unchanged, Last Update of Season by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The latest price for home heating oil nationwide is $2.13 per gallon, unchanged from last week. This season, heating oil prices on average have dropped 29 cents per gallon in the US. With winter at a close, we are at the end of the heating oil season. This year's winter was warmer than average and saw a continued drop in heating oil prices, but with a slight uptick toward the season close. The end-of-season jump in prices reflects the crude oil uptick we've seen recently.

2016-03-30 00:00:00 NTM Sales Estimates Are On The Rise, Longer Outlook Not As Positive by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Analysts have become more optimistic regarding sales growth over the next year while tampering their excitement for sales growth in the period 12-24 months from now. Median next 12 month (NTM) sales growth estimates have nearly doubled since the beginning of the year.

2016-03-30 00:00:00 Considering Alternative Investments? First, Know What You Want by Richard Brink of AllianceBernstein

Alternative investments have an impressive long-term track record, but different strategies can perform in different ways—especially when markets are volatile. It’s critical to know what you want from an alternative strategy before you buy.

2016-03-30 00:00:00 Passive-Aggressive: Index Funds and Risk in European Bond Benchmarks by Scott Spalding, Andrew Bosoworth of PIMCO

In our view, using a bond index fund today exposes portfolios to greater interest rate risk without commensurate compensation in the form of yield.

2016-03-30 00:00:00 Dividends’ True Contribution to Total Return May Surprise You by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

In recent years, dividends’ contribution to total return has been one of the most heavily-studied topics in the investment world. Several conclusions about the contribution that dividends make to total return have been claimed. However, these conclusions vary greatly. I have seen studies claiming that 90% of returns are attributed to dividends, several claiming 50% or more, and others arguing for a 30% contribution. Ironically, they all seem to be correct depending on the data-sets and/or timeframes being measured.

2016-03-30 00:00:00 Echo: Are Stocks Getting Back in Cycle? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The stock market has familiar cycles dating back to at least the 1960s. The visual below (and the accompanying detailed set of tables below that) highlights these cycles and their direction. Each box in the graphic below shows the median return and duration for the seven of these cycles we’ve seen since 1968; but also the return and duration for the most recent phase of the current cycle. The cycles utilize the bull and bear market definitions pioneered by Ned Davis Research (NDR), which are more nuanced than the simple +20%/-20% traditional definition.

2016-03-30 00:00:00 Can House Prices Keep Rising? by David Blitzer of S&P Dow Jones Indices

In this blog post, David Blitzer discusses the prices of existing homes, how quickly they are rising and assesses the possibility of a stop in light of questions about the availability of financing.

2016-03-30 00:00:00 Fed Credibility Dwindles, Pension Funding Crisis Looms by Clint Siegner of Money Metals Exchange

Fed officials jawbone the markets and spread disinformation. They figure it’s part of their job as central planners. It’s not enough to pull the levers and twist the knobs on interest rates, the money supply, and asset prices. They also use propaganda to manage investor psychology. It’s all smoke and mirrors.

2016-03-30 00:00:00 Market's March Madness by Burt White of LPL Financial

The NCAA Men’s College Basketball Final Four is set. North Carolina, Oklahoma, Syracuse, and Villanova are headed to Houston, TX to determine this year’s hoops national champion. In that spirit, we share our own Final Four for the stock market this year: China, earnings, the Federal Reserve (Fed), and oil. Stock market investors may not storm the court at the end of this year, but we do continue to expect mid-single-digit total returns for the S&P 500 in 2016 based on our assessment of our “Final Four.”

2016-03-30 00:00:00 Toll Bridge Stocks: Don't Just Do Something, Sit There by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

The floating bridge, which crosses from Seattle on one side of Lake Washington to Bellevue on the other, has been rebuilt and is almost completed. To finance the new bridge, a toll has been placed on its use. The other bridge, the I-90 bridge, requires no toll but takes you much farther out of your way. It is also jammed by cars wishing to avoid the toll. As a result, the floating bridge is a much more attractive option when traveling to Bellevue because there is less worry about losing time to traffic jams.

2016-03-30 00:00:00 The New Core: Diversification Based Investing by Legg Mason Global Asset Management (Article)

Diversification matters, especially in turbulent markets. But there are many ways to approach diversification -- more than many investors realize. QS Investors' Diversification-Based Investing spreads risk across countries and sectors to capture the potential of easily-overlooked market segments, while limiting exposure to potentially damaging forces.

2016-03-30 00:00:00 Do You Believe in Central Bank Magic? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Markets have rallied from their lows in February, but do the conditions justify the rally? Russ discusses how central banks have cast a spell yet again, but can the magic continue?

2016-03-29 00:00:00 Are DIAs Better Than SPIAs – Maybe Not? by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Deferred-income annuities (DIAs) have been receiving favorable press based on claims that they generate greater retirement income than traditional single-premium immediate annuities (SPIAs). DIAs have also been promoted by the Treasury Department, which has introduced new rules to facilitate their use. But I’ll present a contrarian view and demonstrate that retirement strategies built on SPIAs can outperform those that utilize DIAs.

2016-03-29 00:00:00 The Power of Dressing Appropriately by Dan Solin (Article)

Whenever I write about the impact of clothes on an advisor’s ability to gather more assets, I note that I’m not a fashion expert. I’m simply conveying the results of peer-reviewed studies. Because the conclusions of those studies are often at odds with commonly held beliefs, advisors will be surprised to learn how impactful their dress can be on the growth of their practice.

2016-03-29 00:00:00 Successful Networking for Introverts by Teresa Riccobuono (Article)

Networking is an often feared, but impactful way to generate new leads. For advisors, the most common networking opportunity is a meeting, such as one organized by the Chamber of Commerce. Here’s how to successfully “work” the room – even if you don’t like networking.

2016-03-29 00:00:00 Evolution or Extinction: The Future of Mutual Fund Wholesalers by Jeff Briskin (Article)

While the Internet has made it easier for fund companies to communicate with advisors, it has also caused an information overload that, ironically, is making it more difficult for wholesalers to deliver value to advisors. Wholesalers, who once saw their mission as delivering a polished pitchbook and touting fund performance, are losing ground to those who are able to craft a message based on an intimate understanding of the needs of advisors and their clients.

2016-03-29 00:00:00 How to Sustain Behavioral Changes by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Every time I make a commitment to do something differently, I fall back into bad habits. I am motivated, but I am not successful. This is a vicious cycle because once I am not successful, I feel less motivated. I’d appreciate any tips on how to make behavioral changes work for me.

2016-03-29 00:00:00 Brazil's Political Drama Intensifies as Dilma is Implicated, Lula Charged by Charles Roth of Thornburg Investment Management

Protests for Dilma's impeachment grow, sparking rallies in Brazilian asset prices. But much political and economic uncertainty remains.

2016-03-29 00:00:00 Real Estate Gets Its GICS by Team of Neuberger Berman

A dedicated sector classification gives real estate securities the recognition they deserve.

2016-03-29 00:00:00 Rumors of the Industrial Sector's Demise Are Greatly Exaggerated by Alex Christensen of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

Outside of struggling oil companies, the U.S. industrial sector has a moderately positive outlook — a far cry from the popular narrative of recession. An improving industrial sector would pave the way for the Fed to raise rates faster than the market is currently expecting. As encouraging data keeps rolling in, we think market worries over an industrial recession will evaporate.

2016-03-29 00:00:00 China’s Economic Identity Crisis by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

This year's China Development Forum highlighted the authorities' new emphasis on supply-side reforms. The problem is that this approach could overwhelm the shift to a consumer-led growth model that the country desperately needs.

2016-03-29 00:00:00 Beyond Measure: The Costs of Terrorism by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

The horrific terrorist attacks of the past week suggest that terrorism is likely to play a more prominent role in the investment landscape, leading to increased volatility for stocks as well as possibly oil prices, writes US Investment Strategist Kristina Hooper.

2016-03-29 00:00:00 How Much Risk Are You Taking in Your Fixed-Income Portfolio? by David Klug of Wells Fargo Asset Management

Low interest rates have left many investors stretching for additional yield. That means they may have taken on more risks in their portfolio than they intended. Now is a good time to check in on fixed-income portfolio allocations to make sure the level of risk is what the investor expected and doesn’t conflict with or over-amplify other risks in the portfolio. One way to do so is to make sure core fixed-income investments aren’t carrying more high-yield exposure or bigger macro bets than the investor intended. We believe these types of exposure are better served by more targeted and intentional allocations, not as a key part of core portfolios.

2016-03-29 00:00:00 The Brexit Muddle by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

In the UK, the question of whether to remain in the EU is dominating the media, boardroom discussions, and dinner conversations. While slogans and soundbites tend to capture most of the attention, deeper issues in play leave the outcome of the June 23 referendum subject to a high degree of uncertainty.

2016-03-29 00:00:00 The Détente Agreement by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

“Corporate sector metrics have been disappointing of late… Companies are scaling back expenditures of all kinds (capital expenditures, hiring, and inventory-builds, for example), as their top-line revenues and earnings decelerate. Though first-quarter numbers may come in better than beaten-down forecasts, firms are finding that top line revenues are still hard to grow significantly.” Rick Rieder, Head of Global Fixed Income, BlackRock

2016-03-29 00:00:00 A Golden Opportunity? by Steve Land of Franklin Templeton Investments

We continue to see attractive investment opportunities in gold and precious metals equities, with many companies trading well below what it would cost to build their existing mines today. We believe many gold companies are also well-positioned to survive a weak price environment.

2016-03-29 00:00:00 Looking for Value in High Yield? Avoid ETFs. by Gershon Distenfeld of AllianceBernstein

Are high-yield bonds cheap today? Relative to history, yes. But they’re not all alike. That’s why using a passive exchange-traded fund (ETF) to tap into the market can be costly.

2016-03-29 00:00:00 Can Manufacturing Jobs Come Back? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The leading presidential candidates of both parties have pledged to bring manufacturing jobs back to America. It’s unclear exactly how this will be done or even whether it can be done. However, the sentiment has hit a nerve with many voters. The more important problem will be to figure out where the economy is headed over the long term and how to prepare the workforce for the future.

2016-03-28 00:00:00 Certain European Bank CoCos Still Offer Opportunities by Ian Centis of Invesco Blog

European banks’ contingent convertible (CoCo) junior subordinated Additional Tier 1 securities — the junior subordinated subset of the CoCo family — suffered a significant sell-off in January and February from which they have only partly recovered. However, Invesco Fixed Income believes the investment thesis for this asset class remains intact, especially following the European Central Bank’s (ECB) constructive actions announced on March 10.

2016-03-28 00:00:00 Global Outlook by (Article)

When diversifying your portfolio, fund correlation may be an important consideration, says John Cole Scott, CIO, CEF Advisors.

2016-03-28 00:00:00 Pre-1965 Silver Pocket Change Provides Investors With an Economic Future by Guy Christopher of Money Metals Exchange

Among all the choices you have for gold and silver bullion, genuinely historic metal is still around at reasonable prices. The runaway classic is ninety-percent U.S. silver coinage.

2016-03-28 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Can Markets Finally Celebrate Good News? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

The data calendar continues in something of an alternating mode. This week we have a concentration of the important economic releases. We also have daily appearances by Fed members. This provides a daily opportunity for pundits to interpret the news: Can markets finally celebrate good news?

2016-03-28 00:00:00 Open Letter to the Next President, Part 3 by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Today we continue my series of open letters to the presidential candidates. In the meantime, we’ve drawn a little closer to knowing whom the two major parties will nominate. A few people are vowing to consider minor parties, too.

2016-03-28 00:00:00 Indian Government Sovereign Paper - the Search for Carry Ends Here by Ritesh Jain of Tata Asset Management

Investors need to look at the INR and Indian sovereign G-sec through a fresh pair of lens. Last year, in a major monetary policy overhaul, RBI adopted inflation targeting as a guide to its monetary policy for the first time. India is among the few EM countries in the world with inflation targeting as a monetary policy tool. Inflation targeting will mean that the INR’s depreciation will not be as severe as in the past which will leave more carry in the hands of the investors.

2016-03-28 00:00:00 US Needs Sensible Debt Financing by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Instead of imposing strict fiduciary rules on Wall Street, banks, investment houses, and financial advisors, the government should apply similar rules to the managers of the federal debt. This is particularly true because unlike the private sector – which faces tough market competition every day – the debt managers at the Treasury Department have a monopoly.

2016-03-28 00:00:00 Equity Markets: A Pause that Refreshes? by Joseph Amato of Neuberger Berman

Geopolitical events have been occupying the attention of investors, but without much effect on markets.

2016-03-28 00:00:00 Conditions Are Improving, but Investors Remain Skeptical by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities snapped their five-week winning streak and dropped slightly in a holiday-shortened trading week as the S&P 500 Index fell 0.7%. The news was dominated by the terrorist attacks in Brussels, but outside of a short-lived move to safe-haven assets, the horrific events appear to have had limited market impact. Instead, investors appeared to have taken a step back in response to some more hawkish comments from Federal Reserve officials and a sense that the strong rally since mid-February may have been overdone.

2016-03-28 00:00:00 Chinese Non-Performing Loans – How Bad Can They Get? by Julian Wellesley of Loomis Sayles

The main contributor to China’s economic slowdown is its manufacturing sector, which is suffering due to overcapacity and lower global demand for Chinese products. While these conditions have tempered local bank loan growth substantially, there doesn’t seem to be any significant increase in banks reporting non-performing loans (NPL). That is surprising…NPLs typically rise in a country when the economy weakens after a period of very high loan growth.

2016-03-28 00:00:00 Terrror, Debt And Valuation by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

The market took a rest last week. Some of it was pure exhaustion from the prior week’s data. Some of it was positioning, and trader absenteeism ahead of the Easter break in most countries. And some was shock at the horrific actions in Brussels. As of Thursday’s close, the market broke its fifth straight week of gains to close more or less flat. Still, that's up around 10% from February lows and other markets; for example, U.S. Small Cap and Emerging Markets, up by even more.

2016-03-28 00:00:00 Run-Of-The-Mill Outcomes vs. Worst-Case Scenarios by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

With the S&P 500 Index at the same level it set in early-November 2014, and the broad NYSE Composite Index unchanged since October 2013, the stock market continues to trace out a massive arc that is likely to be recognized, in hindsight, as the top formation of the third financial bubble in 16 years. The chart below shows monthly bars for the S&P 500 since 1995. It's difficult to imagine that the current situation will end well, but it's quite easy to lose a full-cycle perspective when so much focus is placed on day-to-day fluctuations.

2016-03-28 00:00:00 Panic? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

The markets (any market) are seldom surprised by shocking events. But during those rare instances when the market is caught by a surprise a panic may result. My own definition of a panic is this: A panic is a collapse (triggered by fear and unforeseen circumstances) which causes the price of the item to fall precipitously within a short span of time. That’s a loose definition but it will do.

2016-03-28 00:00:00 A Comeback for Value: Pessimism Paves the Way by ClearBridge Investments (Article)

Despite downbeat news about global growth and recent earnings, we believe the time to invest in value stocks has seldom been better. In our new white paper, we discuss how periods like this one, marked by fears of recession and lowered expectations, are part of the market's healing process and create a positive environment for a renaissance in value investing.

2016-03-28 00:00:00 The Best Time to Accumulate Long Credit Bonds May Be Now by PIMCO (Article)

Waiting until interest rates increase may not be the optimal strategy to acquire long credit bonds for plan sponsors concerned about potentially rising rates. Instead, these plan sponsors should consider buying long credit bonds now, while hedging the associated duration risk until rates rise to more comfortable levels. In doing so, investors could potentially earn an attractive yield on duration-hedged portfolios, realize compelling returns on investment grade fixed income portfolios, simplify the operational process of extending duration when rates do rise and improve credit-spread match relative to liabilities.

2016-03-27 00:00:00 25 Years of Investing in Asia by Robert Horrocks, Sharat Shroff of Matthews Asia

Matthews Asia has reached a milestone in its history—25 years of investing in Asia. What have been the biggest challenges? What lessons have been learned? This month’s Asia Insight features Robert Horrocks, PhD, and Sharat Shroff, CFA, who share their thoughts on the investing disciplines they have formed in the two decades since Asia has evolved from “interesting but obscure” to a frontline asset class.

2016-03-27 00:00:00 The Fed's Spring Surprise by John Canally of LPL Financial

As 2016 began and 2015 ended, global financial markets faced plenty of uncertainty in the wake of the first rate hike by the Federal Reserve (Fed) in nearly nine years. Although the rate hike was well anticipated and priced in by many market participants, the Fed’s move forced markets to focus on imbalances in the global economy and financial markets that had been simmering for years. The fears about how (and when, if ever) those imbalances would be resolved led to an extreme bout of financial market volatility over the first few months of 2016.

2016-03-27 00:00:00 Interest Rates: Lower for Longer, or Faster and Farther? by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

Two of the big economic stories—interest rates and the stock market—came together in the aftermath of the most recent Federal Reserve meeting. The Fed opted to keep rates where they are (not a surprise), but the statement and Janet Yellen’s press conference were unexpectedly dovish, suggesting that rates are likely to stay much lower than the Fed had previously indicated. The expectation dropped from four increases in 2016 to just two, which surprised and encouraged the stock market. The Fed makes an unexpected reversal (and then reverses again) The Fed's announcement came despite

2016-03-27 00:00:00 Investment Outlook Update: Market Volatility is Here to Stay by Andrew Pease of Russell Investments

Russell Investments’ Global Market Outlook quarterly looks at global economies through the lens of value, cycle and sentiment to help investors see what might be ahead.

2016-03-27 00:00:00 Has the Affordable Care Act Achieved its Goal of Significantly Increasing Enrollment by Glenn Doody of S&P Dow Jones Indices

In this blog post, Glenn Doody discusses whether the Affordable Car Act has achieved its goal of significantly increasing enrollment while making healthcare coverage more affordable.

2016-03-27 00:00:00 Here’s the Cost of Global Terrorism by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

We were saddened this week to hear that at least 30 people were killed and many dozens more injured in ISIS-related suicide bombings that targeted an airport and train station in Brussels. The Belgian and European Union capital joins Paris, San Bernardino, Ankara, Jakarta and too many other cities in the past year alone that have come under fire from the Islamic terrorist group.

2016-03-27 00:00:00 What Tools Does the Fed Have Left? Part 2: Targeting Longer-Term Interest Rates by Ben Bernanke of Brookings Institute

Although the U.S. economy appears to be on a positive trajectory, history suggests that at some time in the next few years we may again face a slowdown, with a weakening job market and possibly declining inflation. Given that the historically low level of short-term interest rates is likely to limit the scope for conventional rate cuts, how would the Federal Reserve respond?

2016-03-27 00:00:00 The Collision of Aspiration and Reality in India by Carl Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

As China falters somewhat, India has become the world’s new economic darling. Hopes of residents and global investors are lofty, but reality suggests a cautiously optimistic stance.

2016-03-27 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Equities fell for the first time in six weeks. The intermediate-term uptrend remains healthy, but some minor short-term weakness has crept in. SPY could be setting up a trading range between 200 and 206: fading extremes at these levels is probably the set up going forward. Equities are entering a buyback blackout period, but these have had no consistent bias (positive or negative) in the past. April starts Friday: over the past 10 and 20 years, April has been one of the most consistently positive months of the year for stocks.

2016-03-26 00:00:00 Don't Let the Name Fool You by Hardy Zhu of Matthews Asia

Why is it tough to rely on the usual screening metrics when it comes to China’s A-share market? Research Analyst Hardy Zhu offers an in-depth analysis.

2016-03-24 00:00:00 Challenges and Opportunities Facing Brazilian Companies by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Brazil has great potential to improve its economic standing, but we aren’t alone in stating that policies need to change. We can’t predict when this will happen, so investors there need to be patient.

2016-03-24 00:00:00 The Market Is At An Inflection Point…Is Leadership Changing? by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

2016 has been a rough year for health care as we have noted in several recent blog posts (see here and here). On an equal-weighted basis, the US health care sector is off over 8% this year while no other sector is down more than 4%. Given that health care has been the undeniable equity leader over the past four years, is this a sign that equity leadership is finally changing? Maybe.

2016-03-24 00:00:00 Is the ECB Flying Toward Helicopter Money? by Darren Williams of AllianceBernstein

In recent weeks, the European Central Bank (ECB) has talked openly about helicopter money, price-level targeting and debt monetization. None of these are imminent. But against a backdrop of high debt and weak growth, further steps into experimental monetary policy terrain look inevitable.

2016-03-24 00:00:00 Two Down – Two to Go by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The Federal Reserve’s years-long campaign to sheepishly back away from its own policy forecasts continued in earnest last week when it officially reduced the four expected 2016 quarter point hikes, suggested back in December, to just two.

2016-03-24 00:00:00 Long-Term Underperformance of European Active Management Continues to Play out in the Active Versus by Daniel Ung of S&P Dow Jones Indices

In this blog post, Daniel Ung discusses European Active Management, how it is continuing on its long-term track of underperformance and how this is playing out in the ongoing active versus passive debate.

2016-03-24 00:00:00 As Western Europe Struggles with Growth, Central Europe Sets a Good Pace by Inbok Song of Thornburg Investment Management

Growth in four of the region's main economies is tracking above 3%, while balance sheet and fiscal profiles have improved.

2016-03-24 00:00:00 Tips Tailwind by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

High-quality bonds broadly have enjoyed a good start to 2016, but Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) have particularly benefited recently and, last week, received an added tailwind from the Federal Reserve (Fed).

2016-03-24 00:00:00 The Velocity of Money: Safe at Any Speed? by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

Recently, concerns about the velocity of money have resurfaced. Several readers have asked whether declining money velocity presages a crash, a recession, or something equally bad. It’s a fair question. As with many such issues, though, we’ve been down this road before several years ago. Low money velocity didn’t mean problems then, and it shouldn’t mean problems now.

2016-03-24 00:00:00 Growth Investing in Times of Market Volatility by Value Line Funds (Article)

With the frequency of market corrections increasing throughout 2015 and 2016, many investors may be dismayed by the volatile nature of high-flying growth stocks. While, by definition, growth stocks have faster earnings growth and, therefore, higher valuations, certain growth companies can offer less price volatility and smoother returns over time, resulting in a more consistent pattern of growth. Historically, many of these steady growth stocks have outperformed peers over the long term. In a more volatile market, we believe investors benefit by further refining the degree of volatility

2016-03-24 00:00:00 The Wild West of 2016 by Pacific Funds (Article)

At Pacific Funds, we believe diversification will be a cornerstone to a successful outcome in 2016. Read our asset allocation experts’ outlook on various asset classes and which investment themes demand our focus throughout the year.

2016-03-24 00:00:00 The Value of Value by Brandon Thomas of Envestnet

Value investing as an investment strategy has existed for at least 100 years, and likely for centuries (if not millennia). At its core, value investing is a fairly straightforward strategy: Investors seek to buy an asset when its price is perceived to be “cheap” relative to measures of fundamental value.

2016-03-24 00:00:00 U.S. Inflation: The Expectations Game by Michele Mazzoleni of Research Affiliates

The Fed’s inflation model relies heavily on consumer and market-based expectations, both notoriously poor predictors. We propose an alternative bottom-up approach that analyzes the components of CPI, and arrive at a forecast very close to the Fed’s target rate.

2016-03-24 00:00:00 Monetary Madness: How Inflation Risk Changes the Game by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

Inflation risk is not well understood and once it is, it changes the “game” of investing.

2016-03-24 00:00:00 ECRI Weekly Leading Index: WLI Up 0.6 From Last Week, Fifth Week of Increases by Jill Mislinski of Advisor Perspectives (

The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at -0.7, an increase of 1.3 from the previous week, and well off its interim low of -4.7 last February. The YoY is now at -0.18%, an increase of 0.54, but still in negative territory.

2016-03-23 00:00:00 This Worrisome Trend Could Influence Interest Rate Policy by Rick Rieder of BlackRock

BlackRock’s Rick Rieder believes there are several factors behind the Federal Reserve’s decision to not raise its benchmark rate, but highlights one particular trend to keep an eye on.

2016-03-23 00:00:00 Europe - Not Enough Growth by Burt White of LPL Financial

Forecasts for European corporate earnings have become increasingly pessimistic. Analysts have reduced calendar year 2016 expectations to just under 3% earnings per share (EPS) growth, currently from nearly 20% as of the end of September 2015. Even though European stock prices have declined, the collapse in growth expectations suggests that these markets are still fairly valued; few, if any, bargains have been created. Recent aggressive monetary policy by the European Central Bank (ECB) may have boosted stock prices, but the implications for corporate earnings are much less certain.

2016-03-23 00:00:00 Some Surprising Advantages to Owning Gold and Silver Coins by Everett Millman of Gainsville Coins

Precious metals are traditionally seen as a hedge against inflation. Many investors include bullion in their portfolio as a way to prepare for tough economic times. Beyond these tried-and-true strategies, this expert perspective explores the potential advantages offered by legal tender gold and silver coins in terms of investing and avoiding transfer fees when banking abroad. These considerations are especially pertinent amid the global economic slowdown, political turmoil, and softening foreign bank stocks due to negative interest-rate policies (NIRP).

2016-03-23 00:00:00 A More Accommodative Fed by Christopher Molumphy of Franklin Templeton Investments

While market consensus currently seems unconcerned about inflation, we know this could change quickly. Longer term, we certainly think higher-than-anticipated US inflation is a potential risk.

2016-03-23 00:00:00 Stocks Have Swung From Short-Term Oversold In January To Overbought Today by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Stocks have swung from being very oversold in January to overbought today. 82% of developed market stocks are trading above its 50-day moving average. Back on January 20th, only 6% of stocks were trading above its 50-day moving average. DM stocks are as overbought today as they have been at any point in over two years (since October 2013).

2016-03-23 00:00:00 Mixed Economic Data Supports Gold and Short-Term Munis by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

A batch of mixed economic data was released this week and last that underlines continued strength among U.S. businesses and manufacturers. But consumer confidence still seems to be held back by the global slowdown, central bank policy concerns and other factors. This suggests investors should remain cautious and might want to consider assets that have demonstrated an ability to preserve capital in times of uncertainty—gold and short-term municipal bonds among them.

2016-03-23 00:00:00 In This Election Cycle, Will Investors Be Winners or Losers? by (Article)

In the midst of election mania, it can be difficult to make any meaningful investment decisions given the stinging rhetoric and policy promises and platforms presented to us. Watch the video below, and then read the full commentary.

2016-03-23 00:00:00 Can You Earn Superior Returns? by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

I recently dusted off the Moto Guzzi and took a little ride to Alpharetta, Georgia. It was a perfect day for a motorcycle ride, at least for me. It was 60 degrees, sunny, and the wind was to my back. Covered from head to toe in full protective gear that my family calls the “power ranger suit,” I was neither cold nor hot. I was in a state of pure enjoyment.

2016-03-23 00:00:00 Wednesday Twofer by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

A twofer with this post. First is an update on the market which has been dancing back and forth around its 200 day moving average (DMA). I said back in August that I thought a bear market had started and I still believe that to be the case.

2016-03-23 00:00:00 Calmer C's Ahead? by Joachim Fels, Andrew Balls of PIMCO

China, Commodities and Central Banks Dominate the Global Outlook. Read our global economic outlook for the near term and implications for asset classes.

2016-03-23 00:00:00 The Stock Market as Monetary Policy Junkie: Quantifying the Fed’s Impact on the S&P 500 by James Montier, Philip Pilkington of GMO

In a new white paper, James Montier and Philip Pilkington of GMO's asset allocation team examine one of the stated goals that the Fed has been pursuing since the Global Financial Crisis: raising asset prices. They note that it does not seem to be the lowering of rates that has caused any asset price increase, but rather the "influence that the FOMC announcements have on market sentiment or 'animal spirits'."

2016-03-23 00:00:00 Do Actively Managed Small-Cap Funds Add Value? by Larry Swedroe (Article)

Active managers often contend that the market for small-cap stocks is less informationally efficient, thus allowing them to uncover mispriced securities and generate alpha. I will evaluate whether that claim is true.

2016-03-22 00:00:00 China’s Incompatible Goals by Carmen Reinhart of Project Syndicate

China’s commitment to prop up its currency appears to be incompatible with its recent turn toward more accommodative monetary policies. The country will undoubtedly find it easier if it allows the renminbi to float sometime soon, rather than waiting until a full-fledged confidence crisis forces its hand.

2016-03-22 00:00:00 Why Firms Pay for Services they Don’t Need by Matt Lynch (Article)

Nobody wants to get a bill for services they didn’t need or purchase. But that’s what’s happening – unwittingly – to advisors as the vendors that supply them expand their service offerings.

2016-03-22 00:00:00 How to Develop Team Bonds by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I have done a great job of hiring individuals who espouse our values, but when they get together as a group, they don’t gel. Indeed, some of them actively dislike one another. What can I do to encourage more harmony?

2016-03-22 00:00:00 How Contested Conventions Will Affect Summer Market Volatility by Seaborn Hall (Article)

A multiple-vote contested convention has not occurred in most of our lifetimes and because of that is little understood. Some claim that Donald Trump does not have a clear path to the Republican nomination. Depending who you ask, Hillary Clinton will be indicted, mired in scandal or not by the end of May. The uncertainty of contested conventions will contribute to summer market volatility. Let’s look at the convention process, delegate math and the most likely scenarios.

2016-03-22 00:00:00 The Knowledge Deficit that Costs You Clients and Assets by Dan Solin (Article)

I’m often struck by the differences between coaching firms in investing and coaching them in converting prospects into clients, two subjects I have written about and studied carefully. Almost everything that can be said about both topics has been written, yet advisors have a knowledge deficit about the science of persuasion.

2016-03-22 00:00:00 ”Truthiness,” “Mathiness” and the Costs they Impose on Your Clients’ Assets by Michael Edesess (Article)

The comedian Stephen Colbert coined the word “truthiness” to mean something that “feels right in the gut” but lacks empirical or theoretical support. Its counterpart in the realm of finance is “mathiness,” where academicians or marketers present seemingly rigorous mathematical proofs of assertions that, upon closer inspection, have little or no basis in reality. If the investment products you use rely on mathiness and not provable math, you and your clients will ultimately pay a price.

2016-03-22 00:00:00 Evidence From Bank Stocks That This Is Still A Counter-Trend Rally by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

The S&P 500 is within spitting distance (about 4%) of the all-time high set back in May. The rally over the past five weeks has been impressive. The S&P 500 has gained nearly 11% since February 10th. So is this the start of a new bull market or a counter trend rally within a correction or bear market?

2016-03-22 00:00:00 A Dovish Fed? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The financial markets reacted strongly to the Fed policy statement. However, the announcement, the Fed’s revised economic projections, and Yellen’s press conference contained absolutely no surprises (at least for anybody paying attention).

2016-03-22 00:00:00 Money Misperceptions by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

1 – The Panic of 2008 was not caused by tight monetary policy. 2 – Zero percent interest rate policy (ZIRP) and Quantitative Easing (QE) did not save the US or global economies. 3 – Monetary policy in the US is getting looser as the Fed hikes rates, and, 4 – negative interest rates in Japan and Europe are not working.

2016-03-22 00:00:00 The Fed's Disappearing Act by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

A busy last week for economic data, most of it good. The S&P 500 rose for the fifth straight week. The broad market is now up 12% in little over a month, up 2% year to date but still down 2% for the last twelve months. Emerging Markets, bonds, treasuries, TIPS and U.S. Small Company stocks are all positive of the year.

2016-03-22 00:00:00 The Russian Withdrawal by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

On March 14, Russian President Vladimir Putin surprised the world with an announcement of the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria. The move was unexpected and has raised questions as to whether Russia will really pull its forces out of Syria, and if so, why? In this report, we will examine Russia's initial decision to place forces in Syria and discuss if Putin really means to remove his troops from the country. We will examine what might have prompted the decision to announce the withdrawal and, as always, discuss the market implications of the decision.

2016-03-22 00:00:00 The Central Bank as Helicopter Parent by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

In the absence of expansionary fiscal policies, many countries have relied solely on monetary policy. As central banks consider new and experimental tools, US Investment Strategist Kristina Hooper says "helicopter money" stands out.

2016-03-22 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: What’s Up with Housing? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

Once again, this week’s economic calendar is very light. There will be plenty of political news and daily doses of FedSpeak. Despite the political stories, I expect the punditry to be asking: What is happening with housing?

2016-03-22 00:00:00 Why Oil Index Investors Should Be Flying High by Jodie Gunzberg of S&P Dow Jones Indices

In this blog post, Jodie Gunzberg discusses how hedging against an oil price rise is a choice rooted in managing risk; an equation that any shareholder can end up on the wrong side of.

2016-03-21 00:00:00 4 Reversals in the Market by (Article)

Royce Co-CIO Francis Gannon talks about the significance of four clear reversals in the market that have occurred within the past six months. How will the changing environment impact active investors?

2016-03-21 00:00:00 Think Positive: Three Reasons We’re Unlikely to See Negative Interest Rate Policy in the US by Laurie Brignac of Invesco Blog

There has been fresh speculation that the US Federal Reserve (Fed) might implement a negative interest rate policy (NIRP) in its quest to boost the economy. While negative interest rates are not a new phenomenon, we’ll explain three main reasons why Invesco Fixed Income believes this scenario is highly unlikely in the short to medium term.

2016-03-21 00:00:00 This Chart Shows Earnings, Not Valuations or the Fed, Might Spoil the Party by John Manley of Wells Fargo Asset Management

In this piece we’ll explore data showing that earnings, not valuations or the Fed, might spoil the party. For many years I have believed that three things were largely responsible for significant movements in the equity markets: the policy of the Federal Reserve (Fed), the level of valuation, and the path of earnings expectations. I still believe this and feel reasonably comfortable with two of these factors. However, the path of earnings expectations is worrying me more as the year progresses.

2016-03-21 00:00:00 It's All About the Central Banks by Jeremy Boynton of Laureate Wealth Management

The stock market has now climbed back to break-even for the year. This after a roughly 10% decline thru mid-February (as measured by the Dow Jones or S&P 500). Will the rally continue? My suspicion is yes --- in the near term. But the more important (and more interesting) question might be --- why? In this commentary, I will attempt to answer that question. By way of background, I’d like to start with a re-print of some thoughts I have shared in a prior commentary. But first a brief hint to the eventual answer: it has everything to do with the monetary policies of the most important central

2016-03-21 00:00:00 Global Outlook by (Article)

European equities appear attractive to US investors, says Rennie McConnochie, Head of Global Banks, Aberdeen Asset Management.

2016-03-21 00:00:00 Extinction Burst by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

When a given behavior stops being reinforced, one might expect the behavior to be abandoned. Instead, and particularly when no substitute behavior is available, you’ll actually see an initial “extinction burst” - a nearly frantic increase in the frequency and the intensity of the behavior. Consider central bankers.

2016-03-21 00:00:00 Looking for Yield in All the Right Places: A Post-FOMC Playblook by Gene Tannuzzo of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

The Fed took out an insurance policy in order to stay on a rate hiking path. A shallower path of rate hikes should temporarily ease pressure on the U.S. dollar and help improve financial conditions. Bond investors should take cues from the TIPS and credit markets. The Fed wants to see tighter credit spreads and higher inflation expectations before raising rates much more. We view investment-grade corporate bonds and commercial mortgage-backed securities as attractive sources of income in this environment.

2016-03-21 00:00:00 Central Banks Just Pulled Back from the Abyss by Brad Tank of Neuberger Berman

A spiral into deeper negative rates is off the table for now.

2016-03-21 00:00:00 On My Radar: The Fallacy of Overlooking Secondary Consequences by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

It is the fallacy of overlooking secondary consequences that is keeping me up at night. Try telling that one to your spouse.

2016-03-21 00:00:00 7-Deadly Investing Sins by Lance Roberts of Real Investment Advice

If you were raised in a religious household, or were sent to a Catholic school, you have heard of the seven deadly sins. These transgressions — wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony — are human tendencies that, if not overcome, can lead to other sins and a path straight to the netherworld. In the investing world, these same seven deadly sins apply. These “behaviors,” just like in life, lead to poor investing outcomes. Therefore, to be a better investor, we must recognize these “moral transgressions” and learn how to overcome them.

2016-03-21 00:00:00 Dovish Monetary Policy Signs Push Risk Assets Higher by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

The macro backdrop remained positive for risk assets last week. The Federal Reserve issued a surprisingly dovish statement, oil prices continued to climb and the crowded long-dollar trade unwound further. As a result, the S&P 500 Index climbed 1.4% and moved into positive territory for the year.

2016-03-21 00:00:00 Scared of Defaults? Don’t Worry, There’s a Bright Side by Gershon Distenfeld of AllianceBernstein

It’s hard to talk about high-yield bonds today without addressing defaults. So here’s our take on the matter: Default rates will rise over the next few years. But don’t fret: returns are likely to rise, too.

2016-03-21 00:00:00 An Ugly Deleveraging by Andrew Bosomworth of PIMCO

For the European Central Bank to orchestrate a beautiful deleveraging, the economy needs the right mix of growth and inflation.

2016-03-21 00:00:00 Ian McAvity by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

“When times get tough, economic nationalism and protectionism tends to rise because it is always easier to blame someone else for self-inflicted problems.”. . . Ian McAvity

2016-03-21 00:00:00 Growth Investing in Times of Market Volatility by Team of Value Line Funds

With the frequency of market corrections increasing throughout 2015 and 2016, many investors may be dismayed by the volatile nature of high-flying growth stocks. While, by definition, growth stocks have faster earnings growth and, therefore, higher valuations, certain growth companies can offer less price volatility and smoother returns over time, resulting in a more consistent pattern of growth. Historically, many of these steady growth stocks have outperformed peers over the long term.

2016-03-21 00:00:00 Fees at a Crossroads: Adopting an advisory fee model that reflects your true value. by SEI (Article)

Our industry is at a crossroads, and you may feel like your business is in the crosshairs. Can you justify an ongoing AUM fee when automated solutions are driving costs down, or should you take a new look at your value proposition? Maybe it’s time to determine whether a different kind of pricing makes more sense for you and your clients—a model that pays you for the true value you provide: your advice. Download this important report to learn more.

2016-03-21 00:00:00 Open Letter to the Next President, Part 2 by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Today we’ll continue our world tour with more advice for the next president.

2016-03-19 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Equities rose for a fifth week in a row. In many important ways, the current uptrend does not fit the profile of a bear market rally. That means that further gains lie ahead and a return to the February low is unlikely. On a shorter timeframe, there are several compelling reasons to expect a retracement of recent gains in the days ahead.

2016-03-19 00:00:00 Has Brazil Bottomed? by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Last year when I visited Brazil I was cautiously optimistic, and returning again this year, I remain so. We were expecting problems, but we were encouraged to see some signs of change taking place and are hopeful that as host of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games this year, Brazil will have the opportunity to shine. People find it difficult to believe the situation will turn around in a downtrodden market like Brazil, but we have found that, in general, the time of maximum pessimism marks the time when a bottom is near, and that’s the time we want to be investing.

2016-03-19 00:00:00 What tools does the Fed have left? Part 1: Negative interest rates by Ben S. Bernanke of Brookings Institute

The Fed is not out of ammunition, and monetary policy could help cushion a possible future slowdown. That said, there are signs that monetary policy in the United States and other industrial countries is reaching its limits, which makes it even more important that the collective response to a slowdown involve other policies—particularly fiscal policy. A balanced monetary-fiscal response would both be more effective and also reduce the need to use unconventional monetary tools.

2016-03-19 00:00:00 Rising Global Taxes and Regulations (Indirect Taxation) Are Chipping Away at the Benefits of Low Int by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Compliance and regulation measures have intensified from the financial sector to the food industry, from the U.S. all the way to Brazil. Many CEOs of banks, as well as brokers that I have spoken with recently, have lamented on the financial burden of excessive regulation and the indirect taxation that comes along with this rise in rules on steroids. Regulations are fueled with good intentions; however, the unexpected consequences like slow global growth need to be adjusted.

2016-03-19 00:00:00 The Economy and the Election by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The number one question I have been asked during the first quarter is: what will the American election mean for the economy?

2016-03-18 00:00:00 Why Alternatives, Why Now? by Team of Litman Gregory

U.S. stocks. and core bonds currently look unattractive relative to their return-generation and risk-reduction roles in our portfolios, leading us to research and invest in alternative strategies that we see as more compelling on a risk/return basis.

2016-03-18 00:00:00 Pharma's Cousin, Biotech, Is Showing Some Major Topping Signs by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Yesterday, Jennifer asked is Valeant Pharmaceuticals the proverbial canary in the coal mine for the pharma industry? She came to the conclusion that the outlook for pharmaceutical stocks is certainly not as optimistic as it was six months ago. If the pharma’s outlook is less optimistic than biotech’s outlook is downright pessimistic.

2016-03-18 00:00:00 In the Know: Clean Power Plan Faces Supreme Challenge by John Kohli of Franklin Templeton Investments

With or without a federal mandate to cut carbon dioxide emissions, carbon reductions are happening throughout the industry for economic reasons. Low natural gas prices and low-cost renewables are driving investment decisions away from higher-carbon sources of energy.

2016-03-18 00:00:00 China’s Low-Key Growth Plan May Pack a Punch by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein

For most investors, China’s formal announcement of its 2016 economic and fiscal targets was a non-event, because officials had already released many key points publicly. In our view, however, the plan could be a game-changer.

2016-03-18 00:00:00 Schwab Market Perspective: Sigh of Relief by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

Beaten down areas of the market have staged a nice turnaround. Stocks have moved well off the lows and the S&P 500 is now within shouting distance of the flatline for the year. Areas of the market that were some of the hardest hit—such as materials, energy and financials—have posted some of the best gains over the past month.

2016-03-18 00:00:00 Fed Is Desperately Seeking… Inflation? by Kristina Hooper, Steve Malin, Greg Meier of Allianz Global Investors

The FOMC showed patience by holding rates steady at their last meeting, says Allianz Global Investors US Capital Markets Research and Strategy Team, but stubbornly low inflation persists. Investors should watch a range of inflation measures for clues about the next hike.

2016-03-18 00:00:00 ECRI Weekly Leading Index: WLI Up 1.0 From Last Week by Jill Mislinski of Advisor Perspectives (

The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at -2.3, an increase of 1.3 from the previous week, and well off its interim low of -4.7 last February. The YoY is now at -0.69%, in negative territory for the majority of the last 52 weeks.

2016-03-18 00:00:00 Biggest Commodity Comeback Ever by Jodie Gunzberg of S&P Dow Jones Indices

In this blog post, Jodie Gunzberg discusses the first time positive return of the S&P GSCI, year-to-date.

2016-03-18 00:00:00 Take Your Eye off the Ball by David Dali of Matthews Asia

When searching for arguments supporting the rationale for market stabilization, it is interesting to draw parallels with other periods of market stress. Asia Weekly explores.

2016-03-18 00:00:00 Diversifying with Alts by Provasi Capital Partners (Article)

Constructing portfolios that may reduce volatility and fear-based selling.

2016-03-18 00:00:00 Financial Turning Points: New Money, Old Habits by Morningstar, Inc. (Article)

People who come into money need good advice to turn their money into wealth. For advisors, breaking down bad habits and demonstrating the need for early career financial planning can cement client relationships and build the trust that’s crucial to every advisory relationship. Download Morningstar’s paper to get started.

2016-03-18 00:00:00 8 Steps Toward a Tech-Savvy Practice by Morningstar, Inc (Article)

Your technology affects how you find the best investments for clients, build strategic portfolio recommendations, and create proposals to win new business. But with so many available platforms and providers, how do you find the systems that best fit your practice? Download Morningstar’s free guide to take the next step toward a tech-savvy practice.

2016-03-18 00:00:00 Active Share: The Truth About Core-Satellite Investing by Leola Ross of Russell Investments

In the last of our four-part series, two of Russell Investments’ experts continue a conversation on active share, this time looking at core-satellite investing.

2016-03-18 00:00:00 The Real Reason Markets Are Volatile by Rick Rieder of BlackRock

After years of relative calm, market volatility has picked up over the past year. Rick Rieder explains why, disproving two popular explanations.

2016-03-18 00:00:00 Health Care Pricing Dynamics by Igor Golalic of Diamond Hill Capital Management, Inc.

The health care industry is in the business of saving people’s lives. That is the implicit expectation in commercial and social contracts the industry has with other parties. For the benefit of the services it provides, the industry is afforded a payment that should reward it for the risks and the costs entailed in delivering that benefit. That payment is ultimately a function of demand and supply, which should meet in the long run at the marginal cost of production.

2016-03-18 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.

2016-03-17 00:00:00 Five Decades of Middle Class Wages: March 2016 Update by Jill Mislinski (Article)

We've updated this series to include the yesterday's release of the Consumer Price Index as the deflator and the final March monthly update. The initial update was based on a linear extrapolation of the CPI. The latest hypothetical annual earnings are at $35,924, down 13.2% from 44 years ago.

2016-03-17 00:00:00 Is High Yield Fixed Income Still Attractively Priced? by Bob Collie of Russell Investments

Russell Investments’ cycle-value-sentiment framework for market analysis implies that high yield fixed income currently offers an attractive opportunity.

2016-03-17 00:00:00 Rates Hikes on the Way by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Mark your calendars for a rate hike on June 15. Although the Federal Reserve cut its estimate of the most likely path for interest rates this year, it still projected two rate hikes for later this year, which suggests one hike in June and then one at the end of the year after the election.

2016-03-17 00:00:00 Is Valeant the Pharmaceuticals’ Proverbial Canary? by Jennifer Thomson of GaveKal Capital

Yesterday’s headline-making news that Canadian pharmaceutical company Valeant is in a bit of a precarious situation produced a 50% drop in the stock and some serious relative underperformance in our point-and-figure charting.

2016-03-17 00:00:00 Puerto Rico Bonds: Restructure Needed by Guy Davidson, John Ceffalio of AllianceBernstein

A year ago, many people asked us if Puerto Rico’s debt was a good investment. Our answer now, as it was then, is “no.” For investors with strategies that can include high yield, it’s “not yet.”

2016-03-17 00:00:00 Fear…Not? by Team of PIMCO

The fears that had cast a pall over January weighed on the markets in early February as well, but sentiment improved sharply as the month progressed. Encouraging U.S. economic data contributed to an improvement in global risk appetite. Investors marveled at yet another V-shaped trajectory in the markets in February, but concerns still lingered.

2016-03-17 00:00:00 Five-Year Outlook: Make Headwinds Your Tailwinds by BMO Global Asset Management of BMO Global Asset Management

This outlook report informs BMO GAM’s longer-term strategic portfolio allocations and has been distilled into three possible scenarios expected to dominate the global economy over the next three to five years. The report helps drive BMO GAM’s investment strategies and often plays a role in guiding active global asset allocation opportunities across the firm’s global investment centers. The firm’s primary case calls for a broadening of U.S.-led global growth into key geographies, particularly Europe and Japan.

2016-03-17 00:00:00 FOMC FAQS: All About the Dots by John Canally of LPL Financial

The Fed holds its second of eight FOMC meetings of 2016 this Tuesday and Wednesday, March 15–16, 2016. The FOMC’s “dot plots” are likely to be at the center of attention. Fed Chair Yellen’s first post-FOMC meeting press conference of 2016 provides an opportunity for the Fed to add color to its view of the economy, inflation, and financial market volatility.

2016-03-17 00:00:00 Seven: Happy Anniversary Bull Market (?) by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Last week we celebrated the seventh anniversary of the U.S. bull market, which commenced on March 9, 2009 and has since generated a total return for the S&P 500 of 247%. The traditional gift for the seventh anniversary is copper, which is fitting since the strong rally many “risk-on” assets have staged since U.S. stocks bottomed on February 11, has been accompanied (driven?) by a surge in commodities, including copper and more importantly oil.

2016-03-16 00:00:00 In Search of the Low Volatility Anomaly by Fei Mei Chan of S&P Dow Jones Indices

In this blog post, Fei Mei Chan discusses the very popularized “Low Volatility Anomaly” and how it diverges from conventional finance theory.

2016-03-16 00:00:00 Will Eight be Great for the Bull? by Burt White of LPL Financial

The bull market turns seven. Last Wednesday, on March 9, 2016, the bull market officially celebrated its seventh birthday. During that seven-year period, the S&P 500 nearly tripled, gaining 194% in price and producing a total return of 241%. Although our expectations for the stock market in 2016 are for only modest S&P 500 gains, we do not see the warning signs that have signaled the end of past bull markets and would not be surprised at all if the current bull market celebrates its eighth birthday one year from now.

2016-03-16 00:00:00 Global Stakes for the Brexit Vote by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

On February 20th, UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the 'in/out EU referendum' he had promised in the campaign for the last parliamentary vote would finally take place on June 23rd. The outcome of the long-promised vote could have a tremendous impact not merely on the future of Mr. Cameron and his coalition but on the economic future of Great Britain and much of the world, including the European Union (EU) and the United States. It's arguable that the referendum will be the most significant vote the world will see between now and the U.S. presidential ballots in November.

2016-03-16 00:00:00 Will The Fed Raise Rates Tomorrow? Probably Not by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The Federal Reserve’s policy setting body, the Fed Open Market Committee (FOMC), is meeting today and tomorrow, and there is widespread speculation over whether or not the Committee will vote to raise the Fed Funds rate a second time since lift-off in December.

2016-03-16 00:00:00 The Apple Problem by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In December, Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife attacked a San Bernardino county facility, killing 14 people and injuring 22 others. The FBI discovered an Apple iPhone that was used by Farook but owned by the county. The encryption built into the device prevented authorities from accessing its data. The government has sued Apple to circumvent its security, but Apple has refused. We discuss the attack, compare and contrast the legal positions of both parties, and frame the issue using the U.S. Constitution, examining the tensions between the Bill of Rights and the conflicts presented by wartime.

2016-03-16 00:00:00 Market Assumptions Are Wrong Again by Avi Gilburt of

This past week, much was written about expectations regarding the ECB actions. The wide consensus was that the Euro was going to tank and the metals would tank with the Euro. However, that is not exactly what we saw.

2016-03-16 00:00:00 Changing Political Trends: The U.S. and Europe by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

The news here in the U.S. is all about the election. In Europe, it’s all about the migrant crisis and the politics surrounding it, at both the national and EU levels.

2016-03-16 00:00:00 Outlook: Peak Dollar? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Is the dollar's seemingly relentless rise in recent years coming to an end? What are the implications not only for the greenback, but other currencies and markets around the world?

2016-03-16 00:00:00 Global House Prices: Hints of Housing Bubbles by Dmitri Rabin of Loomis Sayles

Over the last 25 years, home prices across a number of major economies have risen faster than local income or inflation levels. Real home prices across these nations are up an average of 25% compared to 1990. In addition, home price-to-rent ratios are also far higher than their long-term averages.

2016-03-16 00:00:00 The War on Liquidity by Ashish Shah, Douglas Peebles of AllianceBernstein

As policymakers try to support the real economy and protect the banking system, they’re unwittingly conducting a war on market liquidity. We think this ensures they won’t achieve either of their stated goals.

2016-03-16 00:00:00 The Conference by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Last week, we watched a 2012 interview with Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive. Bezos noted that he was frequently asked what he thought was going to change in the next ten years. His response was that the more important question would be “What is not going to change in the next ten years?”

2016-03-15 00:00:00 Gundlach’s Warning for “Risk Assets” by Robert Huebscher (Article)

So-called “risk assets” – securities, like equities, that offer the greatest opportunity for returns but the highest exposure to risk – are priced at levels that are eminently unattractive, according to Jeffrey Gundlach. Indeed, he said that investors in risk assets should expect returns of only 2% versus potential losses of 20% – an ominous 10-to-1 tradeoff.

2016-03-15 00:00:00 How to Create an Effective Introductory Packet by Teresa Riccobuono (Article)

An impactful information packet is an easy and effective way to gain an advantage over your competition. It is especially valuable when working with centers-of-influence (COIs).

2016-03-15 00:00:00 The Little-Known Effect that Converts Prospects by Dan Solin (Article)

Nothing is more frustrating than finally getting the opportunity to discuss the merit of your services, but failing to persuade that prospect to retain you. This frustration is compounded when prospects stubbornly adhere to beliefs that you know are incorrect. Understanding the little-known “McGurk Effect” will allow you to overcome these failures.

2016-03-15 00:00:00 Managing the Risks and Opportunities of Stock Concentration by Tim Kochis (Article)

Almost every investor is aware of concentration as an important investment issue and that every financial advisor recognizes the need to be able to respond to the concerns investors have about it. Virtually every book on investing describes the risks of concentrated wealth and identifies at least a few techniques for dealing with it – as a problem. Very few treat concentration as a potential opportunity.

2016-03-15 00:00:00 A Market Valuation Gauge That Works by Theodore Wong (Article)

In my previous article, I examined many popular metrics that show that U.S. equities have been overvalued for over 20 years. The conventional explanation is that the overvaluation and its unusually long duration is a statistical outlier. But until the anomaly is better understood, naively equating the lack of mean reversion with overvaluation will lead to ill-advised investment strategies.

2016-03-15 00:00:00 Teaching the Next Generation How to Sell by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

As the years roll on, more advisors consider retirement, but they don’t have a strong plan to keep their legacy going. The aging of the industry is a real concern, and my firm is often called on to train the next generation. For this week’s column, I have excerpted from my book on sales for financial advisors.

2016-03-15 00:00:00 A Strategy that has Successfully Hedged Equity Exposure by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Randy Swan is president and CEO of Swan Global Investments and its portfolio manager. Since its inception in 1997 through February 29, 2016, the return for his strategy has been 8.38%, versus 6.23% for the S&P 500, and 6.26% for a balanced index of 60% S&P 500 and 40% Barclays US Aggregate Bond.

2016-03-15 00:00:00 Why I Love Christmas In My Bathing Suit by Greg Silberman of Atlanta Capital Group

In our 2016 Market Forecast we postulated that this would finally be the year of rising interest rates! So far this forecast is a bust with the 10-year rate dropping precipitously to a (panic) low of 1.57% in February. Our thinking has been that Government Bonds would be the recipient of any flight to safety during an equity market sell-off which is indeed how things have worked out -- so far.

2016-03-15 00:00:00 Equities Advance Again, But Risks Lurk on the Horizon by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Equities posted a fourth consecutive week of gains for the first time since last November. The S&P 500 Index was up 1.2% due in part to yet another increase in oil prices and a positive reaction to the European Central Bank’s policy easing announcement.

2016-03-15 00:00:00 The Chart Every 25-Year-Old Should Ignore by Lance Roberts of Real Investment Advice

There are two primary reasons Millennials aren’t saving like they should. The first is the lack of money to save, the second is the lack of trust in Wall Street. A recent post from JP Morgan, via Andy Kiersz, got me to thinking on this issue.

2016-03-15 00:00:00 An Early Spring by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

Markets ended last week firmer. The S&P 500 traded 2,000, roughly where it was fourteen months ago but up 7% from February lows. Nearly all markets experienced a bounce from just four weeks ago: Small Caps were up 11%, Emerging Markets up 9% and REITS up 8%. Why?

2016-03-15 00:00:00 Is Russia’s National Character Authoritarian? by Robert Shiller of Project Syndicate

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and the public’s acquiescence in direct government control of news media have many people wondering if Russians are predisposed to authoritarianism. But survey evidence counsel caution about drawing conclusions about national character from isolated events.

2016-03-15 00:00:00 Don't Fear Consumer Debt by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

For decades, the issue of debt has often dominated discussions of economics. It’s especially true these days with a $19 trillion federal debt and the fact that home loans were at the heart of the Panic of 2008. Lately, some analysts have fretted about student loans and many think economic growth in this recovery has been driven by borrowing.

2016-03-15 00:00:00 China's Neighbors to Millions of New Free-spending Tourists: "Ni Hao!" by Ben Kirby of Thornburg Investment Management

With more disposable income than ever before, Chinese tourists are venturing abroad in ever-greater numbers, many on shopping sprees.

2016-03-15 00:00:00 When Markets are Quiet—Too Quiet by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich suggests that, given the uneven pace of global growth, there is a potential for a return of volatility.

2016-03-15 00:00:00 Is the U.S. Heading Toward Recession? by Marie Schofield of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

Higher recession risks will center on a further slowdown of economic momentum and continued tightening of financial and credit conditions. Any weakness in job growth and consumption will signal the expansion is at extreme risk and hopefully prompt the Fed to delay hiking rates. While there is little near-term risk of recession, that risk is likely to grow later this year and into 2017.

2016-03-15 00:00:00 An Open Letter to the Next President by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

As the entire world is painfully aware, it is election year in the United States. I realize the images my non-American friends see may not inspire confidence. Our process is messy in the best of circumstances, and this year we are not at our best.

2016-03-15 00:00:00 Newsletter - March 2016 by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz / Foldes Financial Wealth Management

Harold Evensky's quarterly letter to his readers.

2016-03-15 00:00:00 Political Punching Bags by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

The United States has one of the most successful biotech/pharmaceutical industries and arguably the premier banking institutions in the world. During the current presidential race, populist politicians on both sides of the aisle have gained a great deal of popularity by turning these two industries into political punching bags.

2016-03-14 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Equities rose the fourth week in a row, led by continued strength in oil. SPY has now rallied 11% and is back above a key support level and its 200-dma. Breadth momentum during this rebound has been stronger than nearly every bear market rally in the past 16 years. Moreover, despite the large gains, investors remain mostly skeptical. Turbulence during the upcoming March OpX week would be normal, but this week is seasonally bullish. Below, we outline what to look for before assuming the rally has come to an end.

2016-03-14 00:00:00 Did Oil Prices Just Find a Bottom? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

On a global scale, oil production is finally dropping—and that’s constructive for prices. In a report released today, the International Energy Agency (IEA) writes that “prices might have bottomed out,” citing a February decline in both OPEC and non-OPEC output and hopes of U.S. dollar weakness.Although I’m cautious, the current recovery is in line with oil’s seasonality trends for the five- and 15-year periods, which show that prices have risen between March and the beginning of the busy summer travel season.

2016-03-14 00:00:00 The ECB’s Race Against Time by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Buffeted first by the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and then by the sovereign debt crisis two years later, the eurozone has struggled to restore prosperity. Real gross domestic product (GDP) has still not recovered to the level recorded eight years ago, and growth has been uneven.

2016-03-14 00:00:00 Bearishness Is Strictly For Informed Optimists by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The completion of every market cycle in history has taken the most reliable equity valuation measures toward or below their historical norms - levels associated with subsequent total returns approaching 10% annually. That includes two cycle completions since 2000, as well as cycles prior to 1960 when interest rates regularly hovered near present levels. After an unusually extended speculative half-cycle, we doubt that the completion of the present cycle will be any different. It has taken the third speculative bubble in 16 years to bring the nominal total return of the S&P 500 since March 2000

2016-03-14 00:00:00 NIRP -- No Need to Go There by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

Despite the success of QE by the Fed in stimulating growth in US nominal domestic demand, many a talking twerp is discussing the necessity of NIRP to bring the US economy out of its next recession. First, why worry about the next US recession when there is none on the horizon? Second, if QE worked to help get the US economy out of its worst recession since the early 1930s, why don’t you think it will work in producing a recovery from the next US recession, whenever it may come?

2016-03-14 00:00:00 PSN Top Guns Q4 2015 - Federal Reserve Finally Makes a Move by Ryan Nauman of Informa Investment Solutions

After a less-than-stellar third quarter, U.S. stocks had a nice rebound in the fourth quarter to close out 2015. The broad U.S. equity market, measured by the Russell 3000 index, finished the fourth quarter with a 6.27% gain. In October, strong domestic macroeconomic data and continued low interest rates fueled performance. Momentum slowed by the end of the quarter as the Federal Reserve finally increased interest rates to 0.25% and oil hit an eleven-year low.

2016-03-14 00:00:00 Volatility, Short- and Long-Term by Craig Lazzara of S&P Dow Jones Indices

The Financial Times highlighted a study of market volatility suggesting that return and volatility are inversely related — that “the correct response to an increase in volatility…is to exit the market.” This is certainly true in the short run, as the table below confirms.

2016-03-14 00:00:00 Senior Floating Rate Loans Provide Income and Value by Richard Gardiner, Ing-Chea Ang of Neuberger Berman

While equity volatility at the start of the year prompted handwringing among many investors, one of the most vexing issues in the current environment is in the fixed income market.

2016-03-14 00:00:00 Why We Think Mexico Is a Standout in Latin America by Mark Mobius, Rodolfo Ramos Cevallos of Franklin Templeton Investments

While oil is meaningful to the Mexican government in terms of revenues, Mexico’s reliance on oil is considerably less than is commonly believed.

2016-03-14 00:00:00 On The Statistical Significance of the Knowledge Factor by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

Over the last week or so we’ve been highlighting how factor investing is not as cut and dry as advertised. The traditional simple factors (value, size, momentum, quality, low volatility) sometimes work and sometimes don’t so investors are left to make educated guesses about which factors will work in any given year.

2016-03-14 00:00:00 Global Economic Perspective: March by Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group of Franklin Templeton Investments

We regard the greater stability in commodity prices, along with a lessening of volatility in financial markets, as welcome, and believe it should provide a more stable platform for the global economy, where growth remains acceptable, if lower than desirable.

2016-03-14 00:00:00 It’s Time to Rethink Your Social Security Claiming Strategy by Robert Dietz of AllianceBernstein

Retirees in the US can control when they begin to receive Social Security benefits, but a recent rule change has narrowed the options for married couples. Now is the time to reevaluate your plan. You may be among the lucky few who can still claim benefits under the old rules, if you act before April 29.

2016-03-14 00:00:00 Which is Best-Investing For Income or Total Return: Part 2 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

There is a long running feud between investors who believe in investing for total return versus those who believe in investing for current income. Both camps are fervent advocates of their respective beliefs, and there seems to be no feasible middle ground or compromise. Unfortunately, I believe that the dogmatic positions of both groups create a roadblock to investing enlightenment. In truth, there are valid arguments supporting both sides of these hotly-debated subjects. On the other hand, there are also valid arguments supporting investing for income over total return, and vice versa.

2016-03-14 00:00:00 Turn, Turn, Turn by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The story goes that tighter Fed policy has strengthened the dollar, the stronger dollar has led to lower prices of oil and other commodities, and the drop in oil prices contributed to stock market weakness in January and February. However, stock market movements cannot be attributed wholly to the price of oil, the price of oil cannot by tied completely to the dollar, and the dollar’s strength has not been due entirely to monetary policy. Examining these links more closely may provide some insight into where we are heading in the months ahead.

2016-03-14 00:00:00 The Power of Mid-Caps: Investing in a "Sweet Spot" of the Market by Hennessy Funds (Article)

This white paper discusses the merits of mid-caps and examines their historical outperformance and favorable risk attributes. As profit growth for large companies is crimped by the strong U.S. Dollar, and a period of slower growth may be approaching, the cyclical case for earnings-resilient, domestic-oriented mid-cap stocks appears strong.

2016-03-14 00:00:00 On My Radar: The Draghi Bazooka by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Last week’s mention of the great Art Cashin sent a number of emails my way. The one that touched me most was from Richard who worked for Paine Webber from 1974 to 1987. Back then every broker had a small speaker on his or her desk. We in the industry know it as the “squawk” box.

2016-03-14 00:00:00 Volatility View by (Article)

Market volatility has created potential opportunities for CEF investors, says Brian Buehring, Managing Director, Portfolio Specialist, Nuveen Investments.

2016-03-11 00:00:00 China's Trilemma—and a Possible Solution by Ben Bernanke of Brookings Institute

China’s central banker, Zhou Xiaochuan of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), and other top Chinese officials recently launched a communications offensive to persuade markets and foreign policymakers that no significant devaluation of the Chinese currency is planned.[1] Is the no-devaluation strategy a good one for China? If it is, what does China need to do to make its exchange-rate commitments credible?

2016-03-11 00:00:00 Is Your Asset Allocation in Line with Your Goals? by Brian Jacobsen of Wells Fargo Asset Management

After 2016’s volatile start, investors may be asking: What do I do now? Dr. Brian Jacobsen, CFA walks through a four-step plan to get investors’ asset allocations back in line with their long-term financial goals. For planned expenditures, think cash. For life’s unexpected costs, think low volatility. For long-term goals and returning to proper allocation, consider this three-bucket strategy and approach to dollar cost averaging.

2016-03-11 00:00:00 ECB Stimulus: A Desperate Move? by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

I wrote the other day about the next crisis and why it might well come from Europe. The news from the European Central Bank this morning reinforces my convictions. Although markets seem to be cheering the announcement of more stimulus, to me it looks like one more sign of increasing systemic stress.

2016-03-11 00:00:00 ECB Makes a Bold Move to Boost Growth by Rob Waldner, Mark Nash, Nicholas Wall of Invesco Blog

New monetary stimulus measures announced today by the European Central Bank (ECB) represent a bold move, in our view, and should be positive for riskier European assets, such as credit assets.

2016-03-11 00:00:00 An Alternative View on Volatility by Brooks Ritchey of Franklin Templeton Investments

Based on our current economic outlook, with financial markets still coming to terms with, among other issues, China’s slowing growth rate and uncertainty about global interest rates, we anticipate volatility will be around for some time—and may even escalate.

2016-03-11 00:00:00 What Goes UP in EMEA as ECB Assets Rise? by Jennifer Thomson of GaveKal Capital

Ahead of tomorrow’s monetary policy meeting at the ECB, a majority of respondents expect both a cut in interest rates and an increase in the amount of monthly purchases in the Public Sector Purchase Program (PSPP) that began about a year ago. Speculation that markets may be disappointed should not come as a surprise, however.

2016-03-11 00:00:00 This Election Year Could Have a “YUGE” Effect on Markets by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Ready or not, here they come. Only four months remain before we find out who the next presidential nominees will be and a mere eight months before we elect one of them to lead the world’s largest economy. That means there’s no better time than now to start thinking about how this whole process could affect your investments—and how to prepare.

2016-03-11 00:00:00 ECB Delivers Big Package with Muddled Message by Darren Williams of AllianceBernstein

Who’d be a central banker? Last December, European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi was widely criticized for leading markets up the garden path and delivering a lukewarm package of stimulus measures.

2016-03-11 00:00:00 What to Trust? Measuring the Chinese Economy by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

The structure of China’s economy has changed so much over the past decade that investors need to reconsider the best metrics for assessing its growth.

2016-03-11 00:00:00 The Fear Factor in Global Markets by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

The phenomenal market volatility of the past year owes much to genuine risks and uncertainties about factors such as Chinese growth, European banks, and the oil glut. Yet, from a macroeconomic perspective, the fundamentals are just not that bad.

2016-03-11 00:00:00 ECRI Weekly Leading Index: WLI Up 1.7 From Last Week by Jill Mislinski of Advisor Perspectives (

The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at -3.1, an increase of 0.4 from the previous week, and well off its interim low of -4.7 last February. The YoY is now at -0.91%, in negative territory for the majority of the last 52 weeks.

2016-03-11 00:00:00 The Fed's Financial Accounts: What Is Uncle Sam's Largest Asset? by Doug Short (Article)

Pop Quiz! Without recourse to your text, your notes or a Google search, what line item is the largest asset in Uncle Sam's financial accounts?

  • A) U.S. Official Reserve Assets
  • B) Total Mortgages
  • C) Taxes Receivable
  • D) Student Loans

2016-03-10 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 at an all-time high -- 58.9% above the 2009 trough and 28.3% above the 2007 peak. The nominal Q3 net worth is up 1.9% from the previous quarter and 3.1% year-over-year.

2016-03-10 00:00:00 Secular Trends in Employment: Goods Producing Versus Services Providing by Doug Short (Article)

The Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics has monthly data on employment by industry categories reaching back to 1939. At the highest level, all jobs are divided into two categories: Service-Providing Industries and Goods Producing Industries. The adjacent chart illustrates the ratio of the two categories since 1939.

2016-03-10 00:00:00 China's Transparency Challenges by Ben Bernanke, Peter Olson of Brookings Institute

At the recent G20 gathering in Shanghai, three Chinese leaders—Premier Li Keqiang, People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan, and Finance Minister Lou Jiwei—reassured attendees that the Chinese government had the monetary and fiscal tools as well as the know-how to guide the economy through its current challenges.

2016-03-10 00:00:00 Let’s Talk Politics by Brian Andrew of Johnson Bank

Last week we met with a number of customers and prospective customers to discuss markets and the economy. During the Q&A session a question was asked regarding the presidential election and its impact on markets. A great question, especially during such an interesting election cycle!

2016-03-10 00:00:00 No You Don't Need $20 Million to Retire by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Americans are facing serious problems accumulating reasonably sized nest eggs for their retirements. Depending on which articles you read, Americans might be having trouble accumulating any nest egg for the future. There are so many stats from so many sources lacking consistency in terms of groups studied and data collection methods that I think they lack value in terms of trying to understand specific numbers. But there can be no doubt that collectively we are horribly under saved for the future.

2016-03-10 00:00:00 The National Debt Tops $19 Trillion - 106% Of GDP by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

On Monday, February 1, the Treasury Department announced that America’s national debt had topped $19 trillion for the first time ever – and no one seemed to notice. That’s more than $58,000 for every person living in the US today, including children. When President Obama took office in January 2009 the national debt was at $10.6 trillion; since then the debt has soared by $8.4 trillion during his seven years in the White House — a record pace that the Congressional Budget Office says is likely to continue.

2016-03-10 00:00:00 Is the Perfect Storm Over for Markets? by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

So far this year, financial markets around the world have been navigating a perfect storm – that is, a violent disruption fueled by an unusual amalgamation of smaller disturbances. The spike in volatility of financial markets is the direct result of three distinct factors.

2016-03-10 00:00:00 TARP Was a Mistake, Not a Success by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Today marks the seventh anniversary of the market bottom in 2009. Government claims that the Troubled Asset Relief Program, TARP for short, has been a massive success, saving the economy and generating $65 billion in government profits in the process.

2016-03-10 00:00:00 The Gold Bull Market Is Back… Will It Last? by Stefan Gleason of Money Metals Exchange

The gold bull is back. After trending downward for more than four years, gold prices have broken out to the upside with a gain of more than 20% off their December lows.

2016-03-10 00:00:00 Borrowing from Peter to Pay Paul by Bradford Evans of Heartland Advisors

Companies that boosted earnings per share through financial engineering may feel an extra pinch as credit markets tighten.

2016-03-10 00:00:00 High Yield Improvement Trend Appears Entrenched by Matthew Past of BTS Asset Management

The most important indicators for high-yield bond prices are the sector’s own price trends. At present, technical indicators strongly suggest a continuation of the high-yield bond strength that began in mid-February as the flight-to-quality urge faded. In addition to technical price trends, several backdrop indicators also suggest a favorable outlook for high-yield bonds, including GDP, oil, and the dollar.

2016-03-10 00:00:00 The Resilient Economy by Carl Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

A Headwinds from China, market turbulence and soft economic reports cast doubt about the strength of U.S. economic fundamentals as 2016 began. But the most recent data provide evidence to the contrary.

2016-03-10 00:00:00 What You Need to Know About Municipal Bonds by (Article)

Before investing in municipal bonds, know where you want to be on the yield curve and the credit spectrum, and whether your client is subject to AMT, says John Miller, Co-Head of Fixed Income, Nuveen Investments.

2016-03-09 00:00:00 Only One Industry Group Has Positive Performance YTD In Both EM & DM by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

There hasn’t been very many places to hide in the equity market in 2016. The median developed market (DM) stock is down 2.98% YTD and the median emerging market (EM) stock is down 2.05% YTD, in USD, respectively. In fact, only the energy industry group has had positive performance in both the EM (5.78%) and DM (0.42%). Overall, out of 48 combined DM and EM industry groups, only 11 have had positive performance so far this year.

2016-03-09 00:00:00 Investing When You’re Young and Time’s on Your Side by Anne Bucciarelli, Ashley Velategui of AllianceBernstein

You’ve made a commitment to sock away money for your retirement. But how should you allocate the funds? Here are some trade-offs to consider.

2016-03-09 00:00:00 A Banana?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

When Herb Stein, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Gerald Ford administration, was admonished by his boss not to use the word "recession" to describe a recession, he complied, reluctantly. "From now on," he told a group of economic reporters, "I won't use the word recession. I'll say 'banana.' When I say banana, think 'recession'. I think we must be wary of the risks of a banana."

2016-03-09 00:00:00 Peddling Fiction, Ignoring Fact by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

In his seventh, and final, State of the Union address this January, President Obama, clearly looking to bolster his legacy as the president who vanquished the Great Recession, boldly asserted that...

2016-03-09 00:00:00 The Art and Science of Claiming Social Security Benefits by Sharon Appelman of Neuberger Berman

New rules about how you can claim Social Security benefits will take effect on April 30 as a result of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. The changes are intended to close perceived loopholes in the system that gave rise to popular strategies for maximizing benefits that potentially were worth thousands of dollars in additional income each year. Importantly for some soon-to-be retirees, taking advantage of one commonly used option—the file-and-suspend strategy—requires action soon.

2016-03-09 00:00:00 Beige Book: Window on Main Street by John Canally of LPL Financial

The latest Beige Book suggests that the U.S. economy is still growing near its long-term trend, but that the drag from a stronger dollar and weaker energy prices, along with the slowdown in emerging market (EM) economies—most notably China,?are still having a major impact on the manufacturing sector. In addition, our analysis of the Beige Book confirms that there has been some spillover of weakness from the energy and manufacturing sectors to other parts of the economy in recent months.

2016-03-09 00:00:00 Easing May Not Ease High Debt Levels by Stefan Hofrichter of Allianz Global Investors

Chief Economist Stefan Hofrichter says public debt levels are already so high across the globe, growth stimulus needs to come from a different place: changes to monetary policy and structural reforms.

2016-03-09 00:00:00 The Stock Market: Reasons for Optimism by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

As the market creeps back up, investors may be inclined to doubt the recovery. After all, there must have been a reason for the pullback we just saw. Couldn’t stocks drop again for the very same reason?

2016-03-09 00:00:00 On My Radar: Stick With the Drill – Stay Wary, Alert and Very, Very Nimble by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

I was in Florida this week attending the 32nd Annual Chicago Board of Options Exchange (CBOE) Risk Management Conference. Attendees were mostly asset managers and larger pension and endowment managers. Several comments stood out to me; particularly the one above from Paul R.T. Johnson, Jr., Board Member of the State University Retirement System. “42% funded?” He added that the good news is that his is the most funded of all the states. Yikes.

2016-03-09 00:00:00 Defaults Are on the Rise by Jason Giordano of S&P Dow Jones Indices

In this blog post, Jason Giordano discusses the March rebalancing of the S&P U.S. Distressed High Yield Corporate Bond Index.

2016-03-08 00:00:00 Can Accurate Forecasting be Learned? by Michael Edesess (Article)

Forecasting the financial markets is incredibly difficult, despite what the pundits on CNBC would have us believe. Indeed, Philip Tetlock has documented the overwhelming futility of such efforts in his research. But what if some rare individuals are truly prescient forecasters? What can we learn from how those people think? That is the subject of Tetlock’s newest book.

2016-03-08 00:00:00 Why Monte Carlo Analysis is Optimistically Biased by James Lear (Article)

Monte Carlo (MC) analysis is the most common tool planners employ when projecting clients’ finances, yet it contains an inherent optimistic bias that has largely, if not completely, gone unnoticed. This article outlines why bias exists in MC, provides two cases that demonstrate the potential impact of MC bias and describes the factors that influence the degree of bias.

2016-03-08 00:00:00 Is the Market Overvalued or are the Measuring Gauges Broken? by Theodore Wong (Article)

It is remarkable that market-top calls have enticed many advisors and analysts to fully embrace the CAPE ratio as their crystal ball to foretell the future of the stock market. Such faith, as I will demonstrate, is misguided.

2016-03-08 00:00:00 Bob Doll on His 2016 Predictions by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Bob Doll is a senior portfolio manager and chief equity strategist at Nuveen Asset Management, and prior to that held similar roles at Blackrock, Merrill Lynch Investment Managers and Oppenheimer Funds, Inc. We spoke with Bob to get an update on his 2016 predictions for the financial markets.

2016-03-08 00:00:00 Economies of Scale: An Analytical Framework for Assessment of A Firm’s Competitive Advantage by Baijnath Ramraika, CFA and Prashant K. Trivedi, CFA (Article)

In our previous article in our series on sustainable competitive advantages, we identified six distinct sources of competitive advantages. This article focuses on one of those sources: economies of scale.

2016-03-08 00:00:00 A New Approach to Fee Negotiations by Dan Solin (Article)

It’s a rare advisor who has not been confronted with resistance to fees. Indeed, in an article in The Wall Street Journal, Jonathan Clements says that the time has come to end the 1% of AUM fee rate. Recent research reveals a tactic that advisors can use to lower their fees – without sacrificing revenue in the long run.

2016-03-08 00:00:00 Setting the Right Expectations for the Next Generation of Advisors by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

The younger CFPs and CFAs I’m meeting don’t seem interested in working 15-hour days. They don’t want to pay dues before they are given the keys to my kingdom. Is there a secret formula to igniting the passion and interest of these younger folks?

2016-03-08 00:00:00 Growth Is the Answer to Everything by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

In this business we spend a lot of time thinking about problems. What if we could wave a magic wand and make them all go away? Maybe we can.

2016-03-08 00:00:00 No Rebound Yet by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

The fast cycle phase of markets continued last week. As of Friday morning, and so before the employment numbers, the market was up 3% on the week, up 9% from recent lows but still down 2.5% year to date. Here’s what caught our eye.

2016-03-08 00:00:00 New Gold Bull Market Now Official; Breaking Point in Paper Gold? by Clint Siegner of Money Metals Exchange

Gold officially entered a bull market in last week’s trading with prices gaining more than 20% from their December lows. The silver price also put on some very nice gains, but the price needs to reach about $16.40 before watchers can make the same claim.

2016-03-08 00:00:00 When Helping Hurts: What More Can Monetary Policy Accomplish? by Joe Becker, Adam Schenck, Jeff Greco of Milliman Financial Risk Management

Global markets in February followed a path similar to the one they followed in January: selling off through mid-month, only to recover in the second half. Global rates continued their descent, reflecting increased skepticism over the prospects for global growth.

2016-03-08 00:00:00 Beware Trade-Recession Scare Story by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Friday’s robust report on job growth ought to put the nail in the coffin on recent fears about a recession. Payrolls rose 242,000 and civilian employment, an alternative measure of jobs that includes small business start-ups, increased 530,000. In the past year, these two measures are both up approximately 2.7 million. Obviously, we’re not in a recession.

2016-03-08 00:00:00 TIPS and Value Step Up as Stocks March Ahead by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses the case for TIPS and value stocks as more evidence of stabilization in the U.S. economy appears.

2016-03-08 00:00:00 Can China Change Its Growth Model? by Charles Wilson of Thornburg Investment Management

The transition to consumption-led from investment-driven growth, and the shift away from the one-child policy will help.

2016-03-08 00:00:00 Recession Probability Models - March 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.

2016-03-08 00:00:00 The Iranian Elections by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

On February 26, Iran held two elections, one for parliament and the other for the Council of Experts. The former is Iran’s legislative body, and the latter is the part of government that monitors the Supreme Leader and selects his replacement if he dies, becomes incapacitated or is removed. Since the 1979 revolution, Iran has not held these two elections simultaneously. The results favored moderate candidates and rejected the most hardline factions. In this report, we discuss the structure of the Iranian government, examine the results of the elections and analyze their impact.

2016-03-08 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: What Does the Election Mean for Financial Markets? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

Last week’s economic calendar was the biggest of the year and this week’s is the lightest. In the absence of important economic news and earnings, where will financial media turn to fill that space and time? The Presidential election campaign is providing a lot of zest as well as a little substance. I expect financial pundits to be asking: What Does the Election Mean for Financial Markets?

2016-03-07 00:00:00 A Continued Undertone of Risk-Aversion by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Last week, the most historically reliable equity valuation measures we identify (having correlations of over 90% with actual subsequent 10-12 year S&P 500 total returns) advanced to more than double their reliable historical norms. When valuations have been near those historical norms, the S&P 500 has generally followed with average nominal total returns of about 10% annually. In contrast, current valuations are associated with expected 10-12 year total returns of about zero, with negative expected returns on both horizons after inflation.

2016-03-07 00:00:00 U.S. vs. The World by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The recent economic data reports have continued to reflect the mix of global softness and domestic strength. The economy has continued to add jobs at a relatively strong pace in early 2016, although the real test for the job market will come over the next few months. The job market is getting tighter and, despite a dip in hourly earnings, wage trends are higher. January trade data, overshadowed by the employment report, suggest a larger drag on GDP growth in 1Q16, but the consumer should carry us through into the second half of the year.

2016-03-07 00:00:00 2 Sectors To Consider by (Article)

CEF investors may want to consider the taxable income and covered call sectors, says Stephen Minar, Vice President, BlackRock.

2016-03-07 00:00:00 Is Factor Investing Really a Reliable Strategy? For the Knowledge Factor it is! by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

It’s become common knowledge now that factor investing “works”, but are the most widely used factors really that reliable on a year to year basis? As it turns out, no, they are not reliable on a year to year basis…that is for every common simple factor like value, size, minimum volatility, quality, or momentum. But the Super Factor – the Knowledge Factor – bucks the trend.

2016-03-07 00:00:00 March: In Like a Lamb, Out Like a Lion? by Joseph Amato of Neuberger Berman

In the old days, they said that when March comes in like a lamb it goes out like a lion. The proverb is rooted in the reality that, in the northern hemisphere at least, this month’s weather tends to be changeable and unpredictable—volatile, as we might say in the investing industry. At this time of year, winter and spring contend with one another like bears and bulls in financial markets. When it comes to the seasons, however, we may suffer the odd gale, but we know the days will lengthen, the air will warm. The markets are not so easy to forecast.

2016-03-07 00:00:00 No One Ever Grew Wealth Being Scared by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Current volatility seems to present a great opportunity for investors to better position themselves for growth rather than remain fearful wallflowers. No one ever grew wealth sitting out the dance.

2016-03-07 00:00:00 Our Three Favorite Picks in Taxable Fixed Income by Katherine Nuss of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

Volatility has presented us with an opportunity to purchase structured products such as commercial mortgage-backed securities at much more attractive valuations. Risk premiums on investment-grade corporates are now well wide of historical average and approaching levels historically observed during recessions. While we still view high yield as an attractive investment alternative, we do not believe this is the time to stretch for return or reach for yield by adding significant risk to the portfolio.

2016-03-07 00:00:00 Tuning Out the White Noise in High Yield by Gershon Distenfeld of AllianceBernstein

The sound and fury surrounding high yield these days can make it hard for investors to hear themselves think. It’s time to turn down the volume. Here are four things to keep in mind.

2016-03-07 00:00:00 Analyzing Earnings As Of Q4 2015 by Lance Roberts of Real Investment Advice

With the 97.8% of fourth quarter earnings reports for the S&P 500 now in, I can update my quarterly analysis of earnings and estimate trends through the 4th quarter of 2015.

2016-03-07 00:00:00 Equity Prices Advance Again as Negative Signals Diminish by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

The “risk-on” trend continued last week, helped mainly by stronger U.S. economic data, heightened expectations for more European Central Bank stimulus and additional stabilization in oil prices. High yield spreads fell and equities rose, with the S&P 500 Index climbing 2.7%. Over the past three weeks, U.S. stocks have nearly recovered all of the ground they lost earlier in the year.

2016-03-07 00:00:00 Market in Free Fall by Don Schreiber of WBI Investments

Since the beginning of 2016, investors have awakened to the limits of central banking monetary policy to increase faltering worldwide economic growth. It appears, the global central bank experiment of zero interest rate policy and quantitative easing over the past seven years has not built a sustainable economic recovery.

2016-03-06 00:00:00 Economic Risk Factor Update: March 2016 by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

Once again, it’s time for our monthly update on risk factors that have proven to be good indicators of economic trouble ahead. After flashing a yellow light for the last several months, the change in consumer confidence indicator has declined even further, moving closer to the worry zone. Some signs of weakness are also appearing in other areas, such as the yield curve indicator.

2016-03-06 00:00:00 The Healthcare Dichotomy by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

The issue of runaway healthcare costs has been at the forefront of American politics for over a decade. We have all heard horror stories from the insured and uninsured alike: $1000 visits to the emergency room, $3000 MRIs, even trips to the pediatrician can give us sticker shock these days. To make matters worse, the accelerating retirement of the baby boomers promises to continue, if not exacerbate, this trend.

2016-03-06 00:00:00 The “Gasoline Dividend” May Not Be That Powerful by Carl Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

The price of gas has again burst through a threshold once thought unapproachable. This time, though, the invisible line was at $2 per gallon. But happily, we breached it on the downside.

2016-03-06 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

SPY has now rallied 10%, back to a level that was major support throughout most of 2015. It would be easy to say that the rally ends here, but strong breadth, persistent investor pessimism and strength in other asset classes suggest that further upside ultimately lies ahead. That said, by the end of the week, the advance showed several signs of being overextended; weakness early next week would be normal. In fact, if equities continue with an uncorrected rally, those gains are likely to be given back in the weeks ahead.

2016-03-06 00:00:00 To Jumpstart Its Economy, China Embraces… Reaganomics? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Chinese President Xi Jinping is about to tell millions of government workers: “You’re fired.”

2016-03-06 00:00:00 Myths to Ignore in Emerging Markets by Sammy Suzuki of AllianceBernstein

Investors are fleeing emerging equities en masse. We think they need a new playbook. Great investments can still be found across the developing world—just not in the usual places.

2016-03-06 00:00:00 Schwab Market Perspective: Neutral Does Not Mean Boring by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

There are two ways to get to a neutral color: 1) just pick the boring beige that we’re all familiar with, or 2) mix a bunch of wild colors together and end up with an altogether bland sort of color—vastly different inputs but relatively the same result. Recently, stocks have resembled the latter scenario as stock indexes have moved out of correction territory but have remained quite volatile, with triple-digit Dow moves more common than not.

2016-03-06 00:00:00 Markets Are Short-term Overbought, Especially Cyclicals, Yet Breadth is Tepid by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

It’s become common knowledge now that factor investing “works”, but are the most widely used factors really that reliable on a year to year basis? As it turns out, no, they are not reliable on a year to year basis…that is for every common simple factor like value, size, minimum volatility, quality, or momentum.But the Super Factor – the Knowledge Factor – bucks the trend.

2016-03-04 00:00:00 Charts That Matter: Fourth Edition by Ritesh Jain and Abhishek Sonthalia of Tata Asset Management

This is the fourth edition of my monthly ‘Charts That Matter’ (CTM) series. As with the previous editions, I have tried to present analysis beyond what we do on a daily basis. For example, did you know that as per the World Bank, the Indian government’s Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) is the largest social security and public works programme in the world, providing social security net to 15% of India’s population.

2016-03-04 00:00:00 Time to Move by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

PIMCO believes now is the right time for investors to consider a move into higher-quality credit as well as select high yield and bank loan sectors.

2016-03-04 00:00:00 Greetings from the Cold by Charles Aram, Jonathan Treussard of Research Affiliates

The value-oriented investor, still in the throes of a long harsh winter, should be heartened in the knowledge that summer will inevitably arrive on the predictable warm breeze of mean-reverting valuations.

2016-03-04 00:00:00 There’s Been An “Anti-Dollar” Movement In The Market Recently by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Part of our investment work is understanding what has or hasn’t been driving the market recently. We quantify this by regressing various valuation, fundamental, estimate, and correlation factors against the market over 1-day, 1-week, 1-month, 3-month and 1-year time periods. Over the past year, North American stocks that have had the lowest correlation to the USD have had terrible performance. The decile of stocks with the lowest correlation to the dollar are down nearly 22% over the past year. What’s interesting is we have seen this relationship completely reverse over the past month.

2016-03-04 00:00:00 China Throws Open Its Bond Market by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein

China has reminded investors that there’s more to the country than worrisome economic indicators by announcing a significant step in the opening up of its domestic interbank bond market. The move has positive implications for capital flows and the strength of the currency.

2016-03-04 00:00:00 3 Different ETF Strategies for Your Portfolio by Team of BlackRock

With today’s market volatility, you’ll want to be more nimble with your investment mix. We explore how you can use “passive” ETFs in an active way.

2016-03-04 00:00:00 A Walk in the Woods: Evaluating Investment Strategies for the Long Haul by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

Investing is like hiking in many respects and when you are in it for the long haul, it helps to have the right gear and to adapt to the environment.

2016-03-04 00:00:00 2015 Capital Gains: Low Returns Did Not Equal Low Taxes by Frank Pape of Russell Investments

Frank Pape discusses 2015 Capital Gains

2016-03-04 00:00:00 RIP Central Banks: Examining Negative Rate Scenarios by Jeffrey Baker of HiddenLevers

Beneath the turmoil in emerging markets and commodities, global central banks have resorted to unprecedented measures to stoke growth. Interest rates in Japan and parts of Europe are now negative, with Japanese 10 year bonds recently yielding 0%! Despite central banks' best efforts, increasing growth has been close to impossible. Long terms changes to the global economy have made central bankers increasingly irrelevant and sowed the seeds for deflation and slow growth.

2016-03-04 00:00:00 ECRI Weekly Leading Index: WLI Unchanged From Last Week by Jill Mislinski of Advisor Perspectives (

The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at -3.5, a decrease of 0.1 from the previous week, and well off its interim low of -4.7 last February . The YoY is now at -0.82%, in negative territory for the majority of the last 52 weeks.

2016-03-04 00:00:00 Cashless in Beijing by Julia Zhu of Matthews Asia

How far can you get in urban China carrying just plastic and e-wallet mobile apps? Asia Weekly explores.

2016-03-03 00:00:00 An International Perspective by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

International factors can help explain the relative resilience of longer-term bonds from mid-February to the start of March. Since Treasury yields bottomed on February 11, 2016, the 2-year Treasury yield has increased by 0.15% compared with a more muted 0.09% rise in the 10-year Treasury yield. The relative resilience of longer-term .

2016-03-03 00:00:00 The Recession of 2020 by Joachim Fels of PIMCO

A U.S. recession this year is much less likely than a recession in, say, 2020.

2016-03-03 00:00:00 Why Do So Many Companies Trade At Many Multiples Of Book Value? by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

In the United States, nearly half of all companies (48.15%) trade over 3x book value. And if you break out valuations and look at just the more consumer oriented sectors (consumer discretionary, consumer staples, health care, and information technology) then the percentage of stocks that trade at a book value multiple of over three times increases to 66.77%. For those hardcore value investors that look for company’s trading below 1x book value, its very slim picking out there.

2016-03-03 00:00:00 Gold Is Crushing It So Far this Year by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This is an exciting time for gold. After another annual loss in 2015, its fourth year in a row, the precious metal has plotted a new course, one that has ferried it to the lead position among all other major asset classes in 2016.

2016-03-03 00:00:00 High Yield: The Comeback Kid by Gershon Distenfeld of AllianceBernstein

How swift will this recovery be? The US high-yield market has suffered nine peak-to-trough losses greater than 5% in the last 17 years. On average, investors recovered their losses in only four months—and sometimes as few as two. Following the longest and largest drawdown, which lasted 19 months and reached –35%, investors who stayed in the high-yield market earned back 55% in just eight months.

2016-03-03 00:00:00 U.S. Real GDP is Projected to Post a Slight Decline 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.

2016-03-03 00:00:00 Good Times Bad Times…and Lots in Between by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

In the world of investing, apocalyptic scenarios abound. You can fit the extreme optimists in a thimble. We sit somewhere in the middle—having had a neutral rating on U.S. stocks since the beginning of 2015. It’s certainly more adrenaline-inducing to have a high-conviction extreme view, but investing is typically more gray than it is black or white. But admit it—you are often more intrigued by the apocalyptic scenario.

2016-03-03 00:00:00 Dividends Don’t Drive Total Return They Contribute To It: Part 1 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

I believe there is a critical piece of investment wisdom that all investors in common stocks should possess. Every common stock investor should have a clear understanding of where and how long-term common stock returns are generated or come from. When an investor does not possess this knowledge, they can be easily led towards drawing erroneous conclusions about their portfolios and/or the individual stocks that they own. Knowledge is power, and the knowledge of where and how long-term stock returns are generated is incredibly enlightening.

2016-03-03 00:00:00 What You Need to Know About Closed End Funds by (Article)

Allen Webb, a portfolio specialist at RiverNorth Capital Management, says when it comes to closed-end funds it's important to "know what you own."

2016-03-03 00:00:00 Investment Opportunities Are Slowly Emerging in Asia Pacific Markets by Brent Bates of Invesco Blog

Virtually all Asia Pacific countries and sectors are experiencing negative earnings revisions, with return on capital falling to decade lows, a weak export environment and lackluster domestic economies. In this environment, investors have sought the highest-growth and highest-quality companies irrespective of valuation. Because the Invesco International and Global Growth team is not willing to buy at any price, we have been priced out of many of businesses we believe are attractive. But we see signs that this is starting to turn in certain areas.

2016-03-03 00:00:00 Look Beyond the Headlines: China's Services Sectors Continue to Grow by John Natale of Wells Fargo Asset Management

China’s economic health is one of the key questions facing investors. The country’s economic growth rate has indeed slowed, edging beneath 7% in 2015 for the first time since the first quarter of 2009. However, investors should note that China’s growth rate remains higher than most other major economies, and its consumer and service sectors are rising drivers of its GDP. Three emerging markets portfolio managers—Dale Winner, Anthony Cragg, and Jerry Zhang—offer their views on investing in China.

2016-03-02 00:00:00 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Letter: Cheap and Wonderful by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

At Smead Capital Management, we have great respect for the most successful long-duration investors. Warren Buffett is among those investors. He gives the public access to his thinking in his annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder letter. In his recent 2015 letter, he reminded readers of a few of the things that should matter most to investors. We at Smead Capital Management like to buy wonderful companies at cheap prices. Buffet’s letter dwells on the need for businesses to be cheap in a wise way. He also reviews what makes a company “wonderful.”

2016-03-02 00:00:00 The Coming Home Equity Line of Credit Crisis by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

A crisis is brewing in the Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) market. HELOCs became all the rage back in the bubble-era years from late 2004 to early 2008 when home prices were skyrocketing. Millions of homeowners couldn’t resist the temptation to borrow against their rapidly increasing home equity, and banks and mortgage lenders were all too happy to accommodate.

2016-03-02 00:00:00 Brexit by Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

Despite the EU’s founding premise that members should seek an ever closer union, the U.K. is questioning the net benefits of its membership. Following a recent increase in public opinion asking to separate from the EU, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron set a referendum on membership for June 23. Cameron supports remaining in the EU; however, several other highly visible members of the Conservative Party have stepped out in support of leaving the EU. In this week’s report, we will take a look at the main factors leading to the call for Brexit and their impact on the economy and the markets.

2016-03-02 00:00:00 Can Silver See A Lower Low Without Gold and GDX? by Avi Gilburt of

In short, the answer to the question in the title is “yes.” And, since we have different pattern potentials in the different segments of the market, we may have to analyze them separately this week.

2016-03-02 00:00:00 Nothing Recedes Like Recession by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Recent economic data reports have been mixed, but generally consistent with moderate economic growth in the near term. That won’t stop investors from worrying. The overall theme of domestic strength vs. global softness is going to continue. However, there are likely to be some important issues in the job market and dilemma for Fed policy in the months ahead.

2016-03-02 00:00:00 China’s Loan Spike May Not Be a Red Flag by Hayden Briscoe, Anthony Chan of AllianceBernstein

Lending in China has jumped massively, startling already rattled investors and intensifying fears that the country’s financial system could be close to collapse. While these concerns are understandable, we think they may be overdone and based on a too-simplistic assessment of the risks.

2016-03-02 00:00:00 Why Europe Is Wrong to Ignore the Threat of Brexit by David Zahn of Franklin Templeton Investments

Many European investors seem to think this so-called 'Brexit' decision is an issue that will only affect the United Kingdom. We think they’re mistaken and that Brexit has significant implications for investment markets in Europe as a whole.

2016-03-02 00:00:00 4 Scary Stock Tops To Avoid by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Company: Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Sector: Health Care Sub-Industry: Biotechnology Key Valuation Metrics: Price to Cash Flow (P/CF): 30.2x Price to Earnings (P/E): 63.2x Price to Book Value (P/BV): 11x Normalized P/CF (5-year trailing): 78.2x Normalized P/E: 98.5x Normalized P/B: 19.3x ...

2016-03-02 00:00:00 The Slinky US Consumer by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Bolstered by job and wage gains but still somewhat tentative, US Investment Strategist Kristina Hooper says US consumers have been less like a tightly coiled spring and more like a Slinky—which moves slowly only to compress and uncoil once again.

2016-03-02 00:00:00 Mexico's Economic Stewards Take Market By Surprise by Pablo Echavarria, CFA of Thornburg Investment Management

Monetary and fiscal measures tighten financial conditions, but the short-term pain bolsters sound economic fundamentals longer-term.

2016-03-02 00:00:00 If Only We Could Blame China by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

“When you combine ignorance and leverage, you get some pretty interesting results.” Warren Buffett. One thing we are exceptionally good at in the West is to blame China for pretty much anything that goes haywire. If you believe various commentators, it is all China’s fault that global equity markets have caught a serious cold more recently and, before that, China was blamed for the extraordinary weakness in industrial commodity prices.

2016-03-02 00:00:00 Trump’s Ascendancy Explained by Andrew Friedman of The Washington Update

Like other pundits, we thought Donald Trump could not win the Republican nomination for president. But we also have said for many months that, if Trump is still going strong on March 1 (Super Tuesday), then the calculus will be much different. We are now at that juncture, and it indeed appears it will be difficult to derail Trump’s quest.

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

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth Financial Network’s chief investment officer, discusses the markets and economy in February, which was turning out to be a scary month before a late rally left the market flat. Why did the pullback happen, what caused the recovery, and what does the future hold? From fears about the global economy, to signs of resurgence in consumer spending and income, Brad offers his thoughts on the macro environment and suggests that maybe we aren’t facing as much downside risk as we were just a few months ago. Follow Brad at

2016-03-01 00:00:00 Our Survey Results: How Good are Advisors at Their Own Financial Planning? by Bob Veres (Article)

Do advisors have a financial plan for themselves – like the ones they prepare for their clients? Are they financially prepared to retire? Do they take the same degree of risk in their investments as they do for clients? My extensive survey revealed some surprising – and even disturbing – results. As a bonus, we now have hard data showing who advisors want as the next president.

2016-03-01 00:00:00 The Three Keys to Transform Your Productivity by Crystal Butler (Article)

Here are three keys to improve your productivity and ensure that important tasks get done when they should.

2016-03-01 00:00:00 Four Big Mistakes Hurting Your Firm’s Growth by Damian Ornani (Article)

Growth for an RIA usually means boosting assets under management and/or client count. However, this presents a problem for the diligent RIA: How do you responsibly grow your firm without jeopardizing quality – and, with it, the existing client relationships you cherish? The answers could fill volumes. Avoiding these four big mistakes is a crucial start to grow while maintaining quality.

2016-03-01 00:00:00 Are “Pitchbooks” Outdated? by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Do we still need a traditional pitchbook? Our new marketing person is spending a lot of time revamping ours. We do a lot of questioning rather than pitching, and we use our iPads to show prospects and clients information. The pitchbook seems like an outdated method of communicating.

2016-03-01 00:00:00 Three Tips for Landing Your Next Big Referral by John Ruhlin (Article)

How do you make those meaningful connections? From giving the right gifts to crafting pleasant surprises, there are many ways to do it. Here are some of the tricks that I’ve learned along the way.

2016-03-01 00:00:00 The Powerful Combination That Will Increase Your AUM by Dan Solin (Article)

Many advisors do not emphasize the right skills to persuade prospects to become clients. They focus on increasing their technical expertise, and they ignore two factors of equal or greater importance.

2016-03-01 00:00:00 How Client Communication Converts Prospects by Dan Richards (Article)

One large team of advisors ramped up its contact level with clients and saw a big payoff in satisfaction, retention and growth in client assets as a result. Chances are that you won’t be able to replicate everything that this team did, but their experience provides some important lessons for every advisor on what it takes to convert clients today.

2016-03-01 00:00:00 By the Side of the Road by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

A man lived by the side of the road and sold hot dogs. He was hard of hearing, so he had no radio. He had trouble with his eyes, so he had no newspapers, but he sold hot dogs. He put up a sign on the highway, telling how good they were. He stood by the side of the road and cried, ‘Buy a hot dog, mister’ and people bought.

2016-03-01 00:00:00 Currency Mayhem by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

With both the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of Japan moving to a Negative Interest Rate Policy (NIRP), conventional wisdom says the US dollar will continue to strengthen. After all, the Fed is tightening while everyone else seems to be working overtime to ease policy.

2016-03-01 00:00:00 Can Policy Evolution Be a Shot in the Arm for Hedge Funds? by Marc Gamsin, Jeff Bennett of AllianceBernstein

Hedge fund returns lagged during the multiyear rally in US equities, as capital markets rode a wave of unprecedented monetary easing. But the impact of policy changes could mean changing fortunes for alternatives.

2016-03-01 00:00:00 The Dangers of Populist Protectionism by Robert McConnaughey of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

There is a real and rising risk that political reactions to today’s economic anxiety will be counterproductive to global prosperity. Abruptly imposing trade barriers would be a wrenching shock to growth. It would also likely be met with retaliation from other trade partners. We must watch developments on this front, seeking to position our capital towards problem-solving innovation, whether from technological advance or wise government stewardship.

2016-03-01 00:00:00 Looking For, But Failing To Find, An Expansion In New Highs by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

We have had a nice little bounce in the equity market over the past two and half weeks. Since making a multi-year low on 2/11, our GKCI United States Index has rallied by nearly 7%. From the May 2015 peak to the February trough, the index fell by almost 16%. So has the latest rally kicked the equity market correction to curb and have equity markets entered into a new bull phase? Unfortunately, one of the more reliable market internal data points is indicating to us that there is probably further downside ahead in the short-term for investors.

2016-03-01 00:00:00 Conviction in Volatile Markets: The Value of Loans Across the Credit Cycle by Scott Page, Craig Russ, Christopher Remington of Eaton Vance

The case for loans as a strategic fixed-income allocation has been proven across many credit cycles.

2016-03-01 00:00:00 Why Are All The "Oil Dividends" Missing? Where Have They Gone? by Chuck Self of iSectors

The advance release of the U.S. 4th quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) numbers was disappointing. After running at a 4%+ pace in the middle of 2014 and between 2% and 4% earlier last year, the fourth quarter 2015 GDP rose only 0.7%. Household consumption growth fell and non-residential business fixed investment declined after rising earlier in the year. Government spending has recovered but that was the only bright spot in the report.

2016-03-01 00:00:00 Finding Yield: Difficult, but Not Impossible by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses areas of the market that offer opportunities in the search for yield.

2016-03-01 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Can a Rebounding Economy Support Stock Prices? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

This week’s economic calendar is loaded with all of the most important data. In addition, Super Tuesday might provide a defining event to the political campaign. Oil remains volatile, and Fed Speakers are on the loose. Despite the political stories, I expect the punditry to be asking: Can the strengthening U.S. economy support the rebound in stocks?

2016-03-01 00:00:00 India: 2016-17 Union Budget - A Budget for the Real Economy by Ritesh Jain, Abhishek Sonthalia of Tata Asset Management

India’s Finance Minister, Mr. Arun Jaitley presented the 2016-17 Union Budget yesterday where he chose macro stability over short term growth tactics, earning credibility on fiscal discipline and empowering the bottom of the pyramid. The budget clearly outlined the government’s thrust on the rural economy while taxing urban and the top of the pyramid consumption. This is a budget for the masses not the classes! It was about credibility and character, presented amidst heightened global volatility and economic upheaval.

2016-03-01 00:00:00 The Investing Implications of Negative Interest Rates by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock's Russ Koesterich and investment strategist Terry Simpson explain how negative interest rates may impact various asset classes.

2016-03-01 00:00:00 Brexit, Banks and Opportunity by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

Stocks eked out a small gain last week (as of pre-open Friday). We’re now up 6% from the market lows we saw two weeks ago. The S&P 500 has settled into a trading range of 1850-1950. The news flow was mixed. Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela and a few others agreed to “freeze” oil at current production. Trouble is, “current” production is at an all time high. Iran refused to stand by any agreement and the Saudi Oil Minister casually remarked they are prepared to see oil at $20 bbl. Well, maybe. Here’s what else caught our attention.

2016-03-01 00:00:00 Too Soon for March Madness? by John Canally of LPL Financial

As we enter March, market participants are already looking ahead to the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) next Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. While the meeting isn’t until March 15–16, 2016, markets are already trying to decipher how the widening disconnect between what the Fed plans to do with the fed funds rate and what the market thinks the Fed will do will be resolved.

2016-03-01 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.

2016-03-01 00:00:00 Does GMO Add Value for Investors? by Larry Swedroe (Article)

GMO is one of the most highly regarded fund families in the world, and investors have entrusted them with over $100 billion in assets. But is there any statistical evidence that the firm has been able to add significant value versus a passive index fund?

2016-02-29 00:00:00 Ed Hyman: The Next Recession is Five to Six Years Away by Jeffrey Briskin (Article)

The U.S. economy is showing signs of weakness, but the next recession is five to six years away, according to Ed Hyman, the chairman of Evercore ISI, a global economic research and investment banking advisory firm.

2016-02-29 00:00:00 Is Gold Entering a New Bull Market? by Mark Ungewitter of Mark Ungewitter Research

In my annual outlook, I highlighted several big-picture indicators that might corroborate the next bull market in gold bullion. Here’s another market-based indicator which is likely to provide the next important clue.

2016-02-29 00:00:00 Brexit: Boost or Bust? by Leigh Harrison of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

A post-Brexit U.K. would arguably find trade with Europe harder and more costly, resulting in reduced economic growth. Given that 75% of the U.K. market’s earnings base is outside the U.K. a weak currency may substantially offset the impact on investment and business confidence. Brexit is likely to have the biggest impact on banks, retailing, domestic earnings, other financials, insurance and property.

2016-02-29 00:00:00 The Presidential Election and the Market by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

I don’t normally write about politics. Although it’s an essential part of market and economic analysis, the connections are indirect and take time to show up, making daily or even monthly commentary not very relevant.

2016-02-29 00:00:00 Muni Outlook: “Broadly Stable” by (Article)

Municipal bonds currently offer a “broadly stable” asset class that may appeal to CEF investors, says John Miller, Co-Head of Fixed Income, Nuveen Investments.

2016-02-29 00:00:00 EM Stocks Are Just Plain Cheap by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Regardless of the valuation metric one chooses to look at it, the story is the same: EM stocks are cheap. EM stocks have fallen so far that 2009 valuation lows are starting to be challenged. Case in point, on a price to cash flow basis EM stocks are trading at lower multiple today than they were in 2009 (granted just a hair lower). This is important because EM stocks are doing a better job than ever in creating free cash flow. The GKCI EM Index is currently trading at a juicy 11.82% free cash flow yield.

2016-02-29 00:00:00 Five Questions Canadian Investors Are Asking by Scott DiMaggio, Erin Bigley of AllianceBernstein

From concerns about market liquidity to investing in clean energy, we answer the questions Canadian bond investors have been asking.

2016-02-29 00:00:00 On My Radar: Expect More Money Printing by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

“Time to put 25% to 30% of your wealth in cash.” – Mohammed El-Erian

2016-02-29 00:00:00 Politics and Your Portfolio by Erik Knutzen of Neuberger Berman

Tomorrow is “Super Tuesday” here in the U.S. Last week, all the talk in Europe was about “Brexit.” These newspaper buzzwords rarely figure in investors’ strategy meetings. But a new specter is haunting markets: the specter of political risk.

2016-02-29 00:00:00 2016 May Be a Frustrating Year for Both Bulls and Bears by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities climbed for a second straight week, with the S&P 500 Index rising 1.6%. Investors took solace in a renewed climb in oil prices and a sense that the United States was unlikely to enter a recession.

2016-02-29 00:00:00 Buffett’s Fallacy – 2% Growth & Future Prosperity by Lance Roberts of Real Investment Advice

Warren Buffett, in his latest annual letter to shareholders, took aim at the idea that 2% real economic growth wasn’t sufficient to create economic prosperity for future generations was wrong.

2016-02-29 00:00:00 As Equity Markets Normalize, Alternative Strategies May Be Worth Considering by Walter Davis of Invesco Blog

As the equity market normalizes, I believe alternative investments can be helpful to investors. That’s because alternatives have a history of outperforming equities during periods of stock market weakness.

2016-02-28 00:00:00 China’s Volatile Growth by Michael Spence of Project Syndicate

Uncertainty about China’s economic prospects is roiling global markets – not least because so many questions are so difficult to answer. In fact, China’s trajectory has become almost impossible to anticipate, owing to the confusing – if not conflicting – signals being sent by policymakers.

2016-02-28 00:00:00 ZIRP & NIRP: Killing Retirement As We Know It by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

The zero interest rate and now negative interest rate policies of our central banks are gumming up the global retirement machinery. The Federal Reserve and other central banks have spent so many years subsidizing debt and punishing savings that it is now extremely difficult to guarantee future income streams at a reasonable present cost. And future income streams are the very heart and soul of retirement. Without adequate future income streams, retirement as we know it today is off the table.

2016-02-26 00:00:00 Look What’s Happening to Gold Priced in OTHER Currencies [Wow…] by David Smith of Money Metals Exchange

At the close of market on the Wednesday this essay was written, the price of one troy ounce of gold was US$1,229. A troy ounce of silver was trading at US$15.25.

2016-02-26 00:00:00 Evaluating the Brexit Threat by Darren Williams of AllianceBernstein

Britain’s debate on staying in the European Union has moved into overdrive, weighing heavily on the pound. If Britain does vote to leave, the impact on the UK economy could be profound—and felt well beyond its borders.

2016-02-26 00:00:00 Is Facebook a Screaming Buy Or Sell? by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This article is directed to the individual investor concerned with achieving the highest possible total return. The highest total return will typically come from a true growth stock simply because a faster growing company is worth more than a slower growing company past, present and future. On the other hand, for that statement to be true, a high rate of earnings growth must be consistently achieved. Generating and sustaining a high rate of earnings growth is the tricky part, because although there are a few companies capable of generating higher earnings growth rates, they are rare.

2016-02-26 00:00:00 India: What Makes it Unique? by Sunil Asnani of Matthews Asia

The latest GDP figures of 7.3% year-over-year in India indicate growth is outpacing that of China, and affirms its spot as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. With its vast population and the rapid changes taking place, some liken today’s India to China 20 years ago. We think this comparison is too shallow and does not tell the entire story. India’s evolution has been very different from the rest of the developing world. Here are five aspects unique to the Indian economy.

2016-02-26 00:00:00 Breaking: Golden Cross for Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Today, gold experienced a “golden cross,” a technical indicator that occurs when an asset’s 50-day moving average crosses above its 200-day moving average. It’s the first such movement in nearly two years and is a sign that gold might have further to climb.

2016-02-26 00:00:00 Low Vol: A Little Goes a Long Way by Chris Bennett of S&P Dow Jones Indices

In this blog post, Chris Bennett discuss the low volatility anomaly and the large tracking error the S&P 500 Low Volatility Index has experienced relative to the S&P 500.

2016-02-26 00:00:00 China Faces Capital Punishment by Carl Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore | of Northern Trust

The Chinese are presently giving a lot of consideration to gaps in a different kind of barrier, one that restricts the flow of money instead of people. Despite a system of controls, capital has left the country in significant amounts, pressuring Chinese markets and the Chinese currency.

2016-02-26 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Equities gained nearly 2% for the second week in a row. SPY has now rallied to 197, the lower end of the target range we set in early February. If this is just a countertrend rally within a bear market, then risk/reward is now marginal. Despite the steep gains in recent weeks, investor pessimism persists: it would be remarkable if the rally ended without even a hint of FOMO (fear of missing out). Breadth also suggests further upside in the weeks ahead. Meanwhile, recent macro data strongly refutes the notion that economic weakness is the root cause for the fall in equities.

2016-02-26 00:00:00 Competition and Cooperation: Balancing Family and Firm Models in Family Businesses by Robert Holton of Cleary Gull

Families and business ownership can intersect in fascinatingly complex ways. How family and business leaders think about family dynamics and corporate objectives may influence decisions more than what they think about. In short, the mental model of this crucial intersection matters. Research around how successful families build successful companies recognizes the push and pull of these different interests. There is even an entire industry of consultants working with family owned businesses to overcome these challenges…

2016-02-26 00:00:00 EM Stocks Are Just Plain Cheap by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Regardless of the valuation metric one chooses to look at it, the story is the same: EM stocks are cheap. EM stocks have fallen so far that 2009 valuation lows are starting to be challenged. Case in point, on a price to cash flow basis EM stocks are trading at lower multiple today than they were in 2009 (granted just a hair lower). This is important because EM stocks are doing a better job than ever in creating free cash flow. The GKCI EM Index is currently trading at a juicy 11.82% free cash flow yield.

2016-02-26 00:00:00 How Well Do You Know High Yield? by Gershon Distenfeld of AllianceBernstein

While it may initially seem counterintuitive, the high-yield market’s quick rebound rate after downturns actually makes sense. Its consistent, high income makes it among the most resilient asset classes.

2016-02-26 00:00:00 Whose QE Was it, Anyway? by Carmen Reinhart of Project Syndicate

Years before the 2008 financial crisis, foreign central banks’ ownership of US Treasuries began to catch up with – and then overtake – the Federal Reserve’s share. Indeed, tighter liquidity conditions and increased volatility in financial markets are the byproduct of the reversal in this long cycle of foreign purchases.

2016-02-26 00:00:00 ECRI Weekly Leading Index: WLI Up Slightly From Last Week by Jill Mislinski of Advisor Perspectives (

The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at -3.4, a decrease of 0.3 from the previous week, and well off its interim low of -4.7 last February . The YoY is now at -0.86%, in negative territory for the majority of the last 52 weeks.

2016-02-25 00:00:00 The Red Tour: Nanchang to Fuzhou by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

My team and I recently completed a multi-city tour of China, mainly via high-speed rail. We’ve explored cities including Shenzhen, Nanning, Guiyang, Changsha and Wuhan, searching for potential investment opportunities and seeing the economic conditions in China first-hand. This last stop on our tour offers a look at Nanchang and Fuzhou in southeastern China.

2016-02-25 00:00:00 Avoiding Unnecessary Risks In Firefighting & Investing by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Over the President’s Day weekend, I saw a big chunk of the movie Backdraft. This is the 1991 firefighting movie with Kurt Russell, Billy Baldwin and Robert De Niro. I was not involved with firefighting back then, so I don’t know how unrealistic the fire ground scenes were, but I can tell you that firefighting has changed dramatically versus how it was portrayed in the movie.

2016-02-25 00:00:00 When Momentum Loses its Mojo by Andrew Fleming of Heartland Advisors

Chasing momentum stocks may be doubling down on an investing mistake.

2016-02-25 00:00:00 Arnott on All Asset February 2016 by Rob Arnott, Christopher Brightman of PIMCO

Rob Arnott, head of Research Affiliates, and Christopher Brightman, Research Affiliates’ Chief Investment Officer, share their firm’s market insights and allocation strategies for PIMCO All Asset funds.

2016-02-25 00:00:00 An Escalating War on Cash by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

On February 16th, The Washington Post printed the article, "It's time to kill the $100 bill." This came on the heels of a CNNMoney item, the day before, entitled "Death of the 500 euro bill getting closer." The former cited a recent Harvard Kennedy School working paper, No. 52 by Senior Fellow Peter Sands, concluding that the abolition of high denomination notes would help deter "tax evasion, financial crime, terrorist finance and corruption."

2016-02-25 00:00:00 U.S. Recession Talk is Premature by Multi-Asset Solutions Team of BMO Global Asset Management

The recent commentary from the Multi-Asset Solutions Team at BMO Global Asset Management discusses all the commotion surrounding a potential recession. Business confidence has suffered overall, given the strong dollar, declining export demand and outright collapse of many commodity prices.

2016-02-25 00:00:00 Emotional Selling Has Nearly Tripled So Far This Year by Jennifer Thompson of GaveKal Capital

Down gaps in developed world stocks have risen three-fold since the beginning of the year– indicating an increase in emotional selling the likes of which we have not seen since 2011.

2016-02-25 00:00:00 The Missing Muni Market Story by Rafael Costas of Franklin Templeton Investments

In 2015, the municipal bond market benefited from the favorable combination of three positive influences that have historically driven performance: supply, demand and credit quality. We see these positive influences likely to continue in 2016.

2016-02-25 00:00:00 The Value of Low Active Share Managers by Jon Eggins of Russell Investments

Jon Eggins & Leola Ross continue a four-part conversation about understanding active share and, in this post, discussing the value of low active share managers

2016-02-25 00:00:00 Opportunities in Adversity: The Dollar by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

In yesterday’s post, we discussed how the common perception of the oil price decline is significantly out of line with reality. It is just this kind of mismatch that has, historically, created opportunities. Another mismatch situation—with the dollar—offers similar potential.

2016-02-25 00:00:00 Analyzing Despair; Restoring Hope by Byron Wien of Blackstone

While I began this year with a cautious view of the financial markets, I did not expect the swift market declines that we have all experienced. At one point, the Standard & Poor’s 500 was down 10% year-to-date. The recent weakness is clearly supported by some serious economic problems which I will explore. My conclusion, however, is that we will not endure either a bear market or a recession this year, and I will try to defend that position in the course of this essay.

2016-02-24 00:00:00 From Headwind to Tailwind? by John Canally of LPL Financial

Since the middle of 2014—as markets prepared for the start of Federal Reserve (Fed) interest rate hikes and more easing from the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of Japan (BOJ)—the U.S. dollar has been on a near historic run higher versus the currencies of major U.S. trading partners. I

2016-02-24 00:00:00 Smart beta: Are we outsmarting ourselves? by Jeff Middleswart of Ranger International

There is a risk the popularity of smart beta has increased the valuations of certain types of stocks. These new higher valuations may subvert the premise that such characteristics lead to superior performance.

2016-02-24 00:00:00 The 2016 Election: An Update by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Two years ago we wrote a series on the 2016 election where we suggested rising discontent among the electorate could increase the odds of a president that turns the US away from the superpower role. Some of these trends have come to pass and the underlying cause of discord we identified appear to be the driving force in the current political turmoil.

2016-02-24 00:00:00 Debt vs Growth: Correlation or Causation by Lance Roberts of Real Investment Advice

Recently, my article on weak economic underpinnings led to an interesting exchange, via Twitter, with Steve Chapman regarding debt and the impact on economic growth.

2016-02-24 00:00:00 The Waiting is the Hardest Part by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

During my college years, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers rose to prominence. Over the decades to come, Tom proved that he is an American original singer and songwriter. One of his top hits, “The Waiting,” provides very good advice to common stock investors (even though he was picking among women rather than stocks).

2016-02-24 00:00:00 Opportunities in Adversity: Oil by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

Following up on last week’s post about real risks and the opportunities that could arise from them, let’s take a look at the energy industry. With oil prices dropping to multiyear lows, companies and countries struggling to stay in business and pay their bills, and new suppliers like Iran reentering the market, the industry has been in better shape.

2016-02-24 00:00:00 The Bullish Case: A Mental Exercise by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

Our quantitative tools have delivered an emphatic bear warning, and we are subjectively convinced the message is correct. But it’s precisely these times when our conviction level is highest that we find it helpful to entertain the other side of the investment argument. We won’t back off our bear market call unless our model does, but we don’t want overplay our hand, either. The charts and tables herein are the ones we find the most challenging (even frightening) to our bearish stance—the ones that appear during those fitful nights when we worry, “What could go right?”

2016-02-24 00:00:00 Advice for Riding This Market's Rocky Rebound by Dr. Brian Jacobsen, CFA, CFP of Wells Fargo Asset Management

Where should you be positioned in a rocky market rebound? History shows that volatility that occurred during rebounds from corrections was almost always worse than volatility that occurred before. Investors need to consider the fact that—while waiting in cash positions can be comfortable—it can also be costly if you miss out on buying opportunities. Wells Fargo Asset Management’s Dr. Brian Jacobsen offers insights on portfolio positioning, looking at factors such as market capitalization and sector.

2016-02-24 00:00:00 Constructing a Balanced Portfolio by Litman Gregory Research Team of Litman Gregory

We often write about how our tactical asset allocation investment process seeks to use shorter-term market price volatility to our long-term advantage. Of course, while it is easy enough to say volatility creates opportunity, the reality is that volatility can be stressful and painful when you are actually experiencing it in your portfolio.

2016-02-24 00:00:00 Why Are Stocks and Oil Prices Moving in Tandem? by Sonu Varghese of Convex Capital Management, LLC

Are stocks up or down this week? It seems that is dependent on whether oil prices are up or down.

2016-02-24 00:00:00 Gold Now? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Gold never changes; it's the world around it that does. Why is it that we see a renewed interest in gold now? And more importantly, should investors buy this precious metal?

2016-02-24 00:00:00 The Great Recession Scare of 2016 by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

While choppy markets require a strong stomach, they historically hold the most value.

2016-02-23 00:00:00 Euro On the Move? by Jennifer Thomson of GaveKal Capital

Financial news outlets are abuzz with today’s sharp decline in the British Pound.

2016-02-23 00:00:00 This Is Not 2008 by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments

The risk aversion across emerging markets appears to have reached a maximum state of unwarranted pessimism, in our view, and we see a vast set of valuation opportunities amid the volatility.

2016-02-23 00:00:00 Monopoly Is Going Cashless. Could We Be Next? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Nearly everyone can recall playing Monopoly as a child, and for many, the game served as their first exposure to handling different denominations of cash. It was exhilarating to have someone land on your Park Place property, complete with hotel, and in turn receive a fistful of $50s and $100s.

2016-02-23 00:00:00 The Escalating War on Cash and What It Means for Metals. by Clint Siegner of Money Metals Exchange

Government bureaucrats, central bankers, and Wall Street executives all have their own reasons for hating the cash in your wallet. So, no surprise, they are working closely together to rid you of it.

2016-02-23 00:00:00 Have Currencies Around the World Overshot Fair Value? by Roger Edgley, Ajay Krishnan, Andrey Kutuzov, Scott Thomas, Matt Dreith of Wasatch Funds

We think there’s a case to be made that most emerging-market currencies, along with some developed-market currencies, have seriously overshot in their weakness against the U.S. dollar. A reversal of this trend would be very positive for emerging-market investors. Moreover, we believe such a reversal of the five-year trend may have already started or may be close at hand.

2016-02-23 00:00:00 The Fed's Nightmare Scenario by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Operating under the mistaken belief that a modest dose of inflation is either a prerequisite for, or a by-product of, economic growth, the nation’s top economists have been assuring us for quite some time that inflation will stay very low until the currently mediocre economy finally catches fire. As a result, they believe that the low inflation of the past few months has frustrated Federal Reserve policy makers, who have been supposedly chomping at the bit to keep hiking rates in order to restore confidence in the present and to build the ability to cut rates in the future if the nation were

2016-02-23 00:00:00 The Direct Credits Society? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Come with me, and Mr. Peabody, in the “Wabac Machine” (Wabac) to a place from a time long ago and galaxy far, far away. It was during the Great Depression in this country (1929 – 1939) when Lawsonomy was proposed by Alfred Lawson. I recalled Lawsonomy while listening to Bernie Sanders over the weekend, who sounds amazingly like Alfred Lawson. Lawson (1869 – 1954) was a man who believed in giving everything in the world to everybody.

2016-02-23 00:00:00 High Yield: Could the 2008 Crisis Repeat Itself? by Gershon Distenfeld of AllianceBernstein

Does the recent stress in high yield mean we’re headed for another financial crisis? We don’t think so. The probability of anything happening in markets is never zero. But in this case, it’s pretty close.

2016-02-23 00:00:00 Margin of Safety by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffett, Seth Klarman, John Templeton, Howard Marks, John Neff, Walter Schloss, Max Heine, Michael Price, Peter Lynch, Wilbur Ross, and many other investment managers created wealth for themselves and their clients based on the belief that the market price for an investment will, at times, vary substantially from the intrinsic value of the investment.

2016-02-23 00:00:00 On My Radar: Ray Dalio and Hussman’s Big “W” by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

“If zero or negative interest rates actually fixed what’s broken in the economy, we’d all be living in Paradise after seven years of zero interest rates.” – Charles Hugh Smith

2016-02-23 00:00:00 Less Than Zero by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

In the 1985 novel Less Than Zero, the characters seem intent on a race to the bottom. So too is the current predicament of the world’s central banks, according to US Investment Strategist Kristina Hooper. Some have adopted negative interest rates with others set to follow down below zero.

2016-02-23 00:00:00 No Longer to the Rescue by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses the implications of a less potent Federal Reserve and other challenges facing investors.

2016-02-22 00:00:00 Are Markets Returning to 'Normal' Behavior? by Scott Wolle of Invesco Blog

The Invesco Global Asset Allocation team doesn’t consider double-digit declines in equity markets to be normal. However, we do see three “typical” characteristics that have returned to the markets over the last few months, characteristics that we believe bode well for a global asset allocation approach.

2016-02-22 00:00:00 The Pre-IPO Investment Opportunity in a Down Market by Alex Wang, Kaylock Yam of EquityZen

Investing in a down market is tricky – not necessarily because it is fundamentally more difficult than investing in an up market, but because, in many ways, making long investments after a correction goes against our human nature. Even novice investors know the mantra, “Buy low, sell high”, but where do you put your money without feeling the fear if the market goes down again the next day, week, or month? In this post, we discuss the opportunity presented by private company investments in a down market.

2016-02-22 00:00:00 Envestnet Advisor Portal by (Article)

The Envestnet advisor portal delivers applications that integrate with high efficiency all the advisor’s client-focused efforts, reducing the time spent on administrative, “back-office” tasks. By leveraging our Advisor Suite of tools, advisors can access robust software solutions to enhance their daily practice of managing wealth. Watch the video to learn more.

2016-02-22 00:00:00 Some Not-So-Obvious Items to Include in Your Year-In-Review Letter by Teresa Riccobuono (Article)

It's not too late to send a letter recapping 2015. Here's some important information for you to include.

2016-02-22 00:00:00 How to Stay Focused on New Revenue Activities by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

The less motivated others are to help, the less enthused I am. I like the kick that comes from closing new business and seeing our numbers grow but I don’t think I can keep it up for 10 more months if no one else is helping me out.

2016-02-22 00:00:00 Will HELOCs Trigger a Banking Crisis? by Keith Jurow (Article)

After disregarding the looming home equity line of credit (HELOC) disaster for several years, Wall Street and media pundits have finally taken notice. Homeowners with HELOCs will soon see them convert to fully amortizing loans and will face a huge increase in their monthly payment. Banks have not set aside adequate reserves to cover a HELOC-driven crisis, which would impact even those investors in broadly diversified index funds.

2016-02-22 00:00:00 New Research to Convert Prospects to Clients by Dan Solin (Article)

It’s a cold, snowy day in the Midwest. I have just been introduced to 200 or so hearty souls who braved the elements to hear me speak about investing. As I stand up and survey the crowd, my anxiety level increases. But not for the reasons you may think. Indeed, understanding why this happens will help you gain the trust of prospects – particularly when you first meet them.

2016-02-22 00:00:00 A Value Fund That Doesn’t Respect the Style Box by John Coumarianos (Article)

Staking a permanent geographical claim to a part of the style box can be detrimental to a fund’s performance. Being geographically flexible, on the other hand, can be helpful. Recently, for example, avoiding energy exposure and gaining exposure to sectors normally found outside of the value managers’ typical habitats have been a boon for 27-month old value fund, DoubleLine Shiller Enhanced CAPE (DSEEX).

2016-02-22 00:00:00 A Conversation with Mohamed A. El-Erian by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)

In this interview, Mohamed El-Erian discusses the role of the Fed vis-à-vis fiscal policy and how advisors should construct portfolios under the present monetary-policy regime.

2016-02-22 00:00:00 This Time is Different: A Look at the State of Emerging Market Debt by Charles Wilson of Thornburg Investment Management

Lessons learned during the Asian financial crisis helped emerging economies properly prepare for today's currency volatility and drive future growth.

2016-02-22 00:00:00 Who Cares If You're out of Ammo When You Only Fire Blanks? by Colin Moore of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

Central banks have been aiming at growth and inflation targets for several years now without hitting them. The real issue that investors should be worried about is whether government policy can match the boldness of monetary policy. Without bold action on taxation, education, infrastructure, immigration and regulation, the policy actions of central banks will be the equivalent of firing blanks.

2016-02-22 00:00:00 An Ocean Divides European and U.S. Banks by Brad Tank of Neuberger Berman

We believe U.S. banks are well-capitalized, well-managed and good value.

2016-02-22 00:00:00 CEF Market Update by (Article)

Discount levels present potential opportunity in the currently challenging closed-end fund market, says Allen Webb of RiverNorth Capital Management.

2016-02-22 00:00:00 Signs of Hope Emerge, but Pessimism Remains High by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Equity prices soared higher last week around the globe. In the United States, the S&P 500 Index climbed 2.9%, and gains in Europe and Asia were even higher. However, U.S. stocks continue to lead the pack year to date. At least some of the gains can be attributed to an oversold bounce and overly negative sentiment. Relative stability in oil prices and in China, along with decent economic and earnings data, helped as well.

2016-02-22 00:00:00 Self-Sabotage by Cliff Stanton, Jeremy Frank of 361 Capital

The field of Behavioral Finance has contributed greatly to our understanding of how investors make decisions. Unfortunately, many of the findings from this growing body of work have confirmed that investors routinely make sub-optimal decisions. What we know is that investors routinely chase performance; buying high and selling low. This cycle repeats itself to the point that the typical investor barely keeps up with inflation.

2016-02-22 00:00:00 Velocity May Be Picking Up by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

One of the reasons the current economic expansion has been a Plow Horse rather than a Race Horse is the lack of monetary velocity, which is how fast money circulates through the economy.

2016-02-22 00:00:00 A Better Week but Traders Have the Upper Hand by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

A short week and, with China closed the prior week, we thought markets may regroup. And they did. The U.S. market rose around 4%, U.S. small caps by 5% and major international markets by around 4%. We don’t usually like to show weekly market moves...there's a high signal to noise ratio, but here it is.

2016-02-22 00:00:00 Six Questions on Emerging-Equity Turmoil by Laurent Saltiel, Sergey Davalchenko of AllianceBernstein

It’s been a terrible start to the year for emerging-market equities. But by maintaining perspective on long-term trends, investors can gain the comfort to stick with developing stocks, in our view.

2016-02-22 00:00:00 What to Worry About by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Global financial markets were unexpectedly volatile in January and there have been few signs of calm in February. Some of the worries are real; others imagined or overdone. It’s difficult for investors to slice through the noise. There is genuine concern that market fear could become self-fulfilling, and while the expectation is that the U.S. economy will muddle through and avoid a recession this year, the risks are tilted to the downside and policy options to counter a downturn are limited.

2016-02-22 00:00:00 The Fed Prepares to Dive by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

This week’s letter has two parts. The first deals with some of the practical aspects of negative rates and what the Fed is really signaling. The second part, which is somewhat philosophical, deals with why the Fed will institute negative rates during the next recession. This letter is longer than usual, but I think it’s important to understand why we will see negative rates in the world’s reserve currency (and the currency in which most global trade is conducted). This policy trend is truly a foray into unexplored territory.

2016-02-21 00:00:00 Speculative Half-Cycles Tend To Be Completed Badly by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

If market internals were to improve markedly (we’re nowhere near that outcome at present), the immediacy of our downside concerns would ease significantly. Here and now, a measurable spike in financial stress has occurred despite an S&P 500 that is still within 10% of its all-time high, but in the context of wicked overvaluation, poor market internals, and weakness in leading economic data. All of those, as I observed at both the 2000 and 2007 peaks, are features that have historically been associated with market collapses. Present conditions don’t imply the forecast of a market crash. But

2016-02-20 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Equities followed through on last week's reversal, gaining 3-4%. Importantly, the rally came on unusually positive breadth: this has a strong propensity to push equity prices higher in the weeks ahead. Further upside also seems likely given extremes in investor pessimism, with fund manager cash levels rising to a 14 year high this month. Aside from the unpredictable path of oil, the biggest watch out is volatility.

2016-02-20 00:00:00 No Brexit by Anatole Kaletsky of Project Syndicate

Among the multiple existential challenges facing the European Union this year – refugees, populist politics, German-inspired austerity, government bankruptcy in Greece and perhaps Portugal – one crisis is well on its way to resolution. Britain will not vote in June's referendum to leave the EU.

2016-02-20 00:00:00 Monopoly Is Going Cashless. Could We Be Next? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Hasbro Gaming just released an “Ultimate Banking” version of the popular board game Monopoly that nixes the funny money in favor of play credit cards and an electronic scanner.

2016-02-20 00:00:00 The Relationship Between Stocks and Oil Prices by Ben S. Bernanke of Brookings Institute

In this post we first confirm the positive correlation between stocks and oil prices, noting that it is not just a recent phenomenon. We then investigate the hypothesis that underlying changes in aggregate demand explain the oil-stocks relationship. We find that an underlying demand factor does account for much of the positive relationship, and that if, in addition, we account for shifts in market risk preferences, we can explain still more.

2016-02-19 00:00:00 Do a Grouch a Favor by Colin Moore of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

Investors should consider rebalancing their portfolios away from trying to maximize return in favor of maximizing consistency of the return. I would also strongly favor strategies that aim to directly manage the volatility of a portfolio rather than the return. While such strategies may result in lower projected returns, investors who employ them are more likely to achieve those returns because lower volatility goes hand in hand with staying invested.

2016-02-19 00:00:00 Oil Gains This Big Only Happen Around Bottoms by Jodie Gunzberg of S&P Dow Jones Indices

The S&P GSCI (WTI) Crude Oil posted a 3-day gain of 14.4% ending Feb. 17, 2016. This is the biggest 3-day gain in about 6 months for the index, and gains of this magnitude have only happened near oil bottoms.

2016-02-19 00:00:00 Wuhan: China’s Travel Hub by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

News and entertainment I saw in China indicated to me that political changes are coming hard and fast.

2016-02-19 00:00:00 How to Find Killer Stocks Amongst the Carnage by Greg Silberman of Atlanta Capital Group

The weekly S&P500 chart is indicating the market is making lower highs and lower lows. Whether we believe it or not, the market trend has changed decisively from up to down until further notice. Certainly the courage of our convictions will be challenged by a spectacular short covering rally, but don’t’ be deceived, we are in correction mode at best or a dreaded bear market at worst.

2016-02-19 00:00:00 Global Economic Perspective: February by Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group of Franklin Templeton Investments

The impact of China’s rebalancing is likely to remain a headwind, particularly for countries that have relied on its appetite for raw materials. But this is likely to be counterbalanced by the continuation of the various accommodative monetary policies that are in place around the world.

2016-02-19 00:00:00 Checking Vital Signs of European Banks by Tawhid Ali, Philippos Philippides of AllianceBernstein

European banks are once again facing fears of a meltdown. While current risks require careful scrutiny, a thorough checkup suggests that relatively healthy lenders can be found in the market today.

2016-02-19 00:00:00 Why Investors Have Reason to Be Optimistic by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

In the midst of the recent market gloom, Russ takes a step back and considers a few reasons for optimism.

2016-02-19 00:00:00 Retired Dividend Growth Investors: Sleep Soundly by Embracing Survivorship Bias by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Before investing in any common stock I believe it’s imperative to know as much about the business behind the stock as you possibly can. However, there are only so many businesses that an individual investor can know anything about. On the US stock exchanges alone, there are approximately 20,000 individual companies to choose from. Therefore, logic would dictate that every individual investor needs a process or system for separating the wheat from the chaff.

2016-02-19 00:00:00 2016 Investment and Market Outlook by Vern Sumnicht of iSectors

In the famous words of Warren Buffet, “be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy when others are fearful,” I think it would be easy to argue that investors are fearful, and therefore, they should be greedy (or buying stocks, not selling them). Currently, it seems as though oil prices are linked at the hip to the stock market.

2016-02-19 00:00:00 Royce Opportunity Fund Review and Outlook by (Article)

Portfolio Manager Bill Hench looks at the factors that impacted Royce Opportunity Fund in 2015, and explains why he is optimistic about this broadly diverse, deep value portfolio for 2016.

2016-02-19 00:00:00 Finding Growth in Asia by David Dali of Matthews Asia

Where can investors find a reasonable investable theme? One thematic idea that I find fairly convincing is that Asia stands out in a world of low economic growth—especially emerging Asia—but, how you access that growth matters. This month, Matthews Asia Client Portfolio Strategist David Dali explores how to tap the growth opportunities within Asia.

2016-02-19 00:00:00 Window Still Open on Social Security Rules Changes by Tiffany Rovaina of Bronfman E.L. Rothschild

It is important to note that file and suspend will remain available for those who reach full retirement age (66) prior to the law taking effect May 1, 2016. For those who were born on or before January 1, 1954, a group that was in effect grandfathered under the law, restricted application will remain available for an additional four years in its current form. Even with the pending changes, there are still strategies available to maximize Social Security benefits for these two populations, including those who have been divorced.

2016-02-19 00:00:00 How Can "Smart Beta" Go Horribly Wrong? by Rob Arnott, Noah Beck, Vitali Kalesnik, John West of Research Affiliates

If investors don’t wise up soon that rising valuations are responsible for most of the “alpha” produced by smart beta, the inevitable mean reversion to historical valuation norms threatens to unleash a smart beta crash.

2016-02-19 00:00:00 More About Negative Interest Rates by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

My post the other day about negative interest rates in Japan sparked some questions from readers, so let’s dig a bit deeper. (We’ll return to our analysis of global risks and opportunities next week.) This actually isn’t a new topic. My own discussions of negative rates go back to mid-2014, when the European Central Bank first introduced them. In a sign of how quickly strange things get normalized, I didn't comment on negative rates again until a year ago. Although I wouldn’t say that negative rates are now normal, there’s no question that they’re much less abnormal than they used

2016-02-19 00:00:00 dshort Chart of the Week: Deconstructing the Consumer Price Index by (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. This pie chart illustrates the components of the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers, the CPI-U.

2016-02-19 00:00:00 The British Question by Carl Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

The relationship between the United Kingdom and European Union (EU) has historically been complex. A significant amount of the British public view EU laws as burdensome, object to inward migration, and take issue with U.K. funds contributing to EU budgets.

2016-02-19 00:00:00 Schwab Market Perspective: Confidence is Key by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

There are many words that could be used to describe the first six weeks of 2016 with regard to stock performance but given that this is a family publication we’ll stick with frustrating. There have been rebounds, including the latest fierce recovery which has taken US stocks out of correction mode; but a lot of confidence has been shattered. These are the times that can make or break an investing plan. Our long-held mantra is that panic is not an investing strategy and that investing should always be a disciplined process over time; never about decisions at moments in time.

2016-02-18 00:00:00 Data-Driven Perspective on a Rough Start to 2016 by Burt White of LPL Financial

It has been a rough start to 2016 for the stock market. In fact, it’s been one of the worst starts to a year in the history of the S&P 500. This week we look at how stocks have done historically after other similarly bad starts, compare current fundamental and technical conditions to prior bear market lows, and discuss some potential catalysts that could help turn stocks around. While recession odds have risen (we place the odds at about 30%), we do not expect the S&P 500, down 12.5% from 2015 highs, to enter a bear market.

2016-02-18 00:00:00 Market Perspectives on High Yield & Liquidity by Kenneth Johnson of Loomis Sayles

High yield bonds are experiencing larger price fluctuations given the low-liquidity environment and lower dealer inventories; the recent drawdown appears to be creating value in the sector.

2016-02-18 00:00:00 Marc Faber on Cashless Society Insanity and Why Wall Street Hates Gold by Mike Gleason of Money Metals Exchange

It is my privilege now to be joined by a man who needs little introduction, Marc Faber; editor and publisher of The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report. Dr. Faber has frequently appeared on financial shows across the globe and he's a well-known Austrian school economist, and an investment adviser.

2016-02-18 00:00:00 US Industrial Production Starts 2016 On The Right Foot by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Industrial production in January increased by a very unexpected 0.9% in January. This was well above expectations as analysts were expecting a 0.4% MoM increase according to Bloomberg. Industrial production was helped by a 2.8% increase in vehicle production. So while the overall year-over-year change in industrial production is still negative at -0.7%, the manufacturing portion of industrial production is increasing again and is 1.23% higher than a year ago.

2016-02-18 00:00:00 Airlines Start Their Engines as Scheduled Service Returns to Cuba by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

For millions of tourists every year, Las Vegas is the premiere travel destination for luxury hotels, glitzy nightclubs and extravagant casinos. But for a time, hordes of high-rolling American celebrities and affluent vacationers were beckoned also by the sultry nightlife of Havana, Cuba. Dozens of regularly scheduled flights by the day carried pleasure-seekers from Miami to the glittering shores of the Cuban capital.

2016-02-18 00:00:00 Confronting Big Fears About Smaller Stocks by James MacGregor, Bruce Aronow, Samantha Lau, Shri Singhvi of AllianceBernstein

Smaller US stocks were hit harder than their large-cap peers during the January sell-off. We think the harsh treatment is unwarranted and a strong recovery could be in the cards when risk appetite returns.

2016-02-18 00:00:00 Dune by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Maybe instead of titling this morning’s report “Dune” I should have titled it “Doom” because it has been the worst stock market start to a new year EVER (Chart 1). The 31 session “selling stampede” (as of last Thursday) has fostered fear among investors. Fear we are headed for a recession. Fear because it is indeed the worst start of the year ever. Fear because there was no Santa Rally.

2016-02-18 00:00:00 Asia-Pacific: A Broader Investment Landscape in 2016 by Eric Mogelof of PIMCO

In the turbulent market environment, five longer-term investment trends stand out for 2016. It has been a turbulent year for Asia’s financial markets. In the following interview, Eric Mogelof, head of Asia-Pacific at PIMCO, puts events in perspective and discusses investment trends in the region for the year ahead.

2016-02-18 00:00:00 How Extreme It Is by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

The 10-year Treasury yield has fallen by 0.6% over the past six weeks, a very rare occurrence. Going back 20 years, such a noteworthy yield decline over such a short period of time has occurred only 2% of the time since February 1996. Figure 1 illustrates not only the rarity of such large yield declines, but also the significant events that pushed high-quality bond prices higher and yields lower. Recessions or global crises are the most frequent catalyst, although the current episode has no single driver. China growth fears, oil prices, sluggish U.S. economic growth, and most recently, bank cr

2016-02-18 00:00:00 Closing Developing Countries’ Capital Drain by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

Developing countries are bracing for a major slowdown this year. And what is important to bear in mind is that the slowdown in China and the deep recessions in the Russian Federation and Brazil only explain part of the broad falloff in growth.

2016-02-18 00:00:00 Central Banking Goes Negative by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

In what could well be a final act of desperation, central banks are abdicating effective control of the economies they have been entrusted to manage. Indeed, the shift to negative rates will only compound the risks of financial instability and set the stage for the next crisis.

2016-02-18 00:00:00 New Stock Market Crash is Inevitable by Wim Gommen of US Markets

Every stage of production, or any company or other human invention goes through a process called transformation. Transitions are social transformation processes, which involve at least one generation. In this article I will use on the basis of such a transition, where we stand with our current society and that a new stock market crash is inevitable.

2016-02-18 00:00:00 5 Core Beliefs for Investing and Risk Management by Michael Thomas of Russell Investments

CIO, Americas Institutional Michael Thomas discusses five key beliefs about investing and risk management for institutional investors today.

2016-02-17 00:00:00 No Sign of Recession in the Data by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

So far this year, the S&P 500 is down around 9% and has been down as much as 10.5%, a garden variety correction. But some pessimistic pundits, analysts, and investors are treating the correction as a harbinger of the recession they’ve predicted multiple times before, ever since the economy started to recover in mid-2009.

2016-02-17 00:00:00 5 Myths About the Recent Decline in the Stock Markets by Jim Atkinson of Guinness Atkinson Funds

The financial news in early 2016 hasn’t been good. When we say the news hasn’t been good what we really mean is that the news media has been hyperbolic in their treatment of the weak market. Here are a few of the adjectives used to describe market activity: nightmarish, plunged, dive, rocked, plummeted. And this is just from a single article! Yes, we know the market is down and frankly we’re not happy about it. But…

2016-02-17 00:00:00 Submerging Markets by Mark Oelschlager of Oak Associates

It has been a dreadful start to the year for stocks, with the S&P 500 Index down more than 10% as we write this. As is usually the case, this correction is being driven by concerns about a slowing economy. The emerging markets and the commodity sectors are the primary culprits this time, and the fear is that the weakness in those areas will spill over into the broader US economy.

2016-02-17 00:00:00 Global Stock Index In Bear Market - What To Do Now by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The plunge in global equity prices that has accelerated this year continued last week. Investors around the world are worried and as usual, many are bailing out of their buy-and-hold strategies. This is nothing new, unfortunately.

2016-02-17 00:00:00 Can the Metals Continue Their Strength to Prove Bullish Again? by Avi Gilburt of

This past week, I had an experience which was quite interesting. As many of you know, I write for Market Watch, and sometimes will post an article about precious metals. Over the last few years, I have been told that my gold articles have been some of the most well read articles published on Marketwatch. In fact, an article I wrote last year on gold was read by hundreds of thousands of people.

2016-02-17 00:00:00 Seeking Solid Ground While Markets Rumble by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses the headwinds facing stocks, and how investors should proceed going forward.

2016-02-17 00:00:00 2016 Already Offering a Rocky Ride by Willie Delwiche of Robert W. Baird

After several years of muted volatility, the January roller coaster in the stock market caught many investors off guard. Coming into the year, we thought 2016 held the potential to see an uptick in volatility, but had expected the usually strong seasonal tailwinds to delay significant weakness until after the first quarter.

2016-02-17 00:00:00 5 Reasons to Keep Calm and Stay Diversified by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Recent market turmoil underscores the necessity of active management and the ability to take advantage of volatility. US Investment Strategist Kristina Hooper says this is not a time to move to cash, but to take a longer-term view—with confidence—through periods of tumult.

2016-02-17 00:00:00 The Case for Surge Funding by George Soros of Project Syndicate

Epidemiologists know that spending a large amount of money up front can be far more effective than spending the same amount over several years. The same approach must be applied to the migrant crisis, where large investments are needed to avert an epidemic of fear, hatred, and radicalization.

2016-02-17 00:00:00 Pure Style Eliminates the Muddle in the Middle by Shaun Wurzbach of S&P Dow Jones Indices

In this blog post targeted to advisors, Shaun Wurzbach compares the characteristics of the S&P Style Indices with the S&P Pure Style Indices that many overlook. While the construction of the S&P Style Indices leads to a “muddle in the middle,” 172 overlapping stocks, the S&P Pure Style indices seek to create style baskets without any stock overlap.

2016-02-16 00:00:00 Skip the Speculation: What Would a Fiduciary Do? by Tom Rowley of Invesco Blog

W-2s are out, marking the heart of the IRA season, when more business is traditionally done than at any other time of year. And where does this occasion find many financial advisors (FAs)? They could be speculating endlessly about what the imminent Department of Labor (DOL) fiduciary rule may mean for IRAs. (Please see my earlier blog post, IRA opportunity knocks, despite DOL fiduciary rule). Truth be told, though, nobody knows or will know until the final version of the rule is released, likely in mid-March. In the interim, however, IRA opportunity is knocking loudly.

2016-02-16 00:00:00 Common Mistakes Most Investors Make by Lance Roberts of Real Investment Advice

Individuals are consistently promised that investing in the financial markets is the only way to financial success. After all, it’s so easy. Financial pundits across the country state the one simply buys a basket of mutual funds and they will make 8, 10 or 12% a year.

2016-02-16 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

The move into the perceived safe havens of treasuries and gold in 2016 appears to have reached a point of short-term exhaustion. That trend might resume, but odds suggest a pause is ahead. If optimism reached a peak in safe havens, pessimism likely reached a trough for equities. None of this will matter if oil and equities continue to be highly correlated and oil is unable to stop falling. A strong 2-day rally still left oil lower than it was on Tuesday. Unlike last week, equities now have a bottom to trade against.

2016-02-16 00:00:00 Assessing the Risk of a US Economic Recession by Joseph Carson of AllianceBernstein

The severe equity sell-off has raised concerns of recession in the US economy. Continued market disorder would pose a risk to the expansion at some point, but key indicators today suggest the growth cycle is still on track.

2016-02-16 00:00:00 Be A Proactive Investor by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

During volatile times in the market, like what we have been experiencing since May, it’s difficult to see through the disparaging news headlines (Oil is Collapsing! Bear Market in Stocks! US Is In A Recession!) and not to lose sight of the forest for the trees.

2016-02-16 00:00:00 When Sideways Is Good by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

You know how it is when you take a reflex test? A doctor thwacks you on the knee and 400 milliseconds later you involuntarily react. You can try it here. Markets are on the same track these days and, as we wrote a back in January, news comes in and there’s a spontaneous reaction.

2016-02-16 00:00:00 2016 Outlook: A Slow and Gradual Fed is Nothing for Municipal Investors to Fear by David Hammer, Sean McCarthy of PIMCO

The combination of continued U.S. growth, muted global inflationary pressures and gradual Fed tightening bodes well.

2016-02-16 00:00:00 On My Radar: What We See Working by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Let’s begin today with the argument that we are in a long-term “secular” bull market regime and look at a few stats. There have been four secular bull periods dating back to 1921 (1921-1929, 1942-1951, 1982-2000 and 2009-present). Within those four secular bull market periods, there have been eight short-term “cyclical” bear market periods.

2016-02-16 00:00:00 A Recession Remains Unlikely Despite Market Turmoil by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Equity prices fell again last week, with the S&P 500 Index dropping 2.6% despite a significant bounce on Friday. Investors continued to focus on downside risks and fears of slowing growth. Rising concerns over central banks adopting zero or negative interest rate policies also detracted from market sentiment, drove confidence lower and resulted in a sharp sell-off in banking sector stocks.

2016-02-15 00:00:00 Warning with a Capital "W" by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

When a widely-identified support level gives way at rich valuations, in an environment where poor market internals convey a shift toward risk-aversion among investors, the break can behave as a common trigger for concerted attempts to exit.

2016-02-15 00:00:00 Eight Core Ideas to Guide Retirement Income Planning by Wade D. Pfau (Article)

Eight key messages and themes have underscored my writing and research. Those guidelines serve as a manifesto for my approach to retirement income planning.

2016-02-15 00:00:00 The New Rules for Client Communication by Dan Richards (Article)

When it comes to communicating with clients, the world has fundamentally changed over the past 20 years. Despite that, many advisors still operate by the old rules that defined the industry. Going forward, the hard truth is that only those advisors who adopt new methods of client communication will prosper.

2016-02-15 00:00:00 Don’t Count on Your Message to Persuade Prospects by Dan Solin (Article)

I once represented a woman whose farm had been contaminated by oil that leaked from huge tanks across the highway from her property. Opposing counsel was far more experienced in this kind of litigation. But I learned that outcome of the case itself had less to do with the facts than how I conducted myself – a lesson that applies when advisors present to prospects.

2016-02-15 00:00:00 Why the Fed Can’t Tell When a Recession Starts by Harald B. Malmgren (Article)

The Fed’s FOMC finally raised its target rate of interest by 0.25% at the end of last year. But by the time it met again on January 27, widespread public controversy had emerged over whether it had made an historic mistake. Driving that purported mistake were systemic problems that prevented the Fed obtaining reliable and timely data upon which to base its decisions.

2016-02-15 00:00:00 Thornburg Investment Management: Our Unique Investment Approach by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Thornburg Investment Management’s first equity fund, the Thornburg Value Fund, has returned 6.80% since its inception in 1995, versus 5.23% for the S&P 500. On February 8, I spoke with Bill Fries, who is in the process of transitioning to senior advisor this year, Connor Browne, the manager of the Value Fund and who was mentored by Bill when he managed that fund and Jason Brady, president, CEO and the head of global fixed income.

2016-02-15 00:00:00 A Checklist to Make Your Office Stand Out by Teresa Riccobuono (Article)

Although personal appearance is what is most often thought of when discussing first impressions, how your office looks matters just as much.

2016-02-15 00:00:00 When You Fear an Employee by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Our office manager is not working out. My team wants me to fire her, but I am afraid of a lawsuit. She is so aggressive that I believe she would do something to damage our firm during an exit.

2016-02-15 00:00:00 Emotional Knowledge is Key to Investment Success by Brandon H. VanLandingham of Perissos Private Wealth Management, LLC

It is not the smartest people that succeed in investing it is the investors that are mentally prepared and mentally tough that succeed over long periods of time. We have all heard that investors tend to sell when they should be buying and buying when they should be selling. I believe emotions are the single largest factor that inhibit investors from living out their investment and retirement dreams. Understanding the degree to which biases affect a person’s decision is a first step, striving to conquer these biases is a life long journey.

2016-02-15 00:00:00 Fund Selection by (Article)

When selecting a closed-end fund, investors need to be mindful of potential risks, including interest rates and volatility, says Ken Fincher of First Trust Advisors.

2016-02-14 00:00:00 A Bear Market for Most Global Indexes by Doug Short (Article)

The traditional definitions of a "market correction" and a "bear market" are 10% and 20% declines, respectively. All eight indexes on our global watch list have been in correction territory, and as of the end of last week, seven of the eight had dropped into bear territory. The S&P 500 is the one outlier. It has been hovering in the correction zone since January 13th. The UK's FTSE 100 is a near outlier. It dropped below 20% on February 9th, but after three days of bear stigma, it rallied to a 19.7% decline on Friday.

2016-02-14 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review: Data Points To Continued Weak Growth, Not Recession, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

Most major economies are OK. Yes, there are potential issues related to emerging market weakness bleeding into larger, advanced economies. But, as of this writing, we’re still in a slow, grinding growth.

2016-02-14 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review: The Data Points To A Slowdown, Not A Recession, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The economy experienced a similar slowdown in the mid-1980s, which did not prove fatal to continued growth. Currently, there are two reasons why the current slowdown will not lead to a recession: the housing market is still improving and consumers not only are in better financial shape but are also (finally) seeing a pick-up in earnings.

2016-02-14 00:00:00 US Bond Market Week in Review: Treasuries Continue to Rally, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The Treasury market sees weak growth over the next 6-12 months.

2016-02-14 00:00:00 What are the Biggest Market Worries? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

The economic calendar is again light in a holiday-shortened week. There are a variety of important news items, but no dominant theme. I expect the punditry to seize the opportunity by asking, "What are the biggest market worries?"

2016-02-12 00:00:00 APViewpoint Events presents: Taking the Fiduciary High Ground by APViewpoint (Article)

Presenter: Blaine Aikin
Monday, February 22, 4:00 pm ET

Regulation seeks to protect the public; professional advisors seek to serve the public. In this session, Blaine will help advisors understand how the "big picture" can make a big difference when it comes to successfully managing their regulatory and professional obligations. Blaine will answer attendees' questions during the webinar and will also be available to continue the discussion on APViewpoint.

2016-02-12 00:00:00 What Do Claims Claim? by John Canally of LPL Financial

Recession fears in the financial markets are mounting, and we have raised the odds of recession from around 10?–?15% at the start of the year to approximately 30% today.

2016-02-12 00:00:00 Why the Federal Reserve Always "Happens" to Be Wrong. by Stefan Gleason of Money Metals Exchange

The Federal Reserve Board finds itself back in a quandary of its own making. When Fed chair Janet Yellen pushed through an interest rate hike this past December, she confidently cited an "economy performing well and expected to continue to do so."

2016-02-12 00:00:00 What the Heck Is Going On in the Markets? by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

When I woke up this morning, I checked the markets as I usually do, and my first thought was—paraphrased—what the heck? What happened last night to drive Asian and particularly European markets down that hard?

2016-02-12 00:00:00 Is a Bright Spot Emerging in the Global Equity Markets? by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

The question on everyone’s mind is how deep is this going to go? The honest truth is that no one knows, but we are starting to spot a glimmer of hope among an unlikely group that suggests that the world is in fact NOT going to hell in a hand basket. That group is the probably the most hated group of stocks in the world: emerging markets.

2016-02-12 00:00:00 European Banks: Fear and Potential by Tawhid Ali, Philippos Philippides of AllianceBernstein

Shares of European banks were very volatile this week and have fallen sharply year to date. But with the financial sector looking much healthier than a few years ago, we think fears of a dividend collapse may be overdone.

2016-02-12 00:00:00 Negative Interest Rate Policies May Be Part of the Problem by Scott Mather of PIMCO

Investors may see these experimental policy moves as damaging to financial and economic stability.

2016-02-12 00:00:00 Why It’s a Mistake To Be Raising Cash In This Market by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

It appears that I have become caught up in a spirited discussion regarding holding cash in investment portfolios. However, I believe that my position on this important subject is being misrepresented. Therefore, I felt compelled to offer this article for clarification of my true position and beliefs on the utilization of cash in portfolios.

2016-02-12 00:00:00 CoCos Are a No-Go for Calamos by Eli Pars of Calamos Investments

Contingent convertible bonds (“CoCos”) have been in the news lately. And not in a good way. As several European banks have reported poor earnings recently, investors have become concerned again about banks. Cocos have been ground zero for those fears.

2016-02-12 00:00:00 How to Ballast a Portfolio with Bonds by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ and investment strategist Terry Simpson explain how to ballast a portfolio using fixed income, traditional “safe-haven” Treasuries not included.

2016-02-12 00:00:00 How to Profit from the Oil Price Fall by Lee Robinson of Altana Wealth

In February of last year, I wrote my quarterly piece on profiting from oil. The article is shown on the following page. Oil at the time was hovering just above $50. The December 2020 future was trading around $70. The average price that could be locked in by oil traders over 5 years was therefore around $60. We predicted we would see oil in the 20’s and fast forward to 2016 and oil has fallen to below $30 having been as low as $27 with the forwards at $47 and the average 5 year price now at $38.

2016-02-12 00:00:00 The Moneyball of Quality Investing by Vitali Kalesnik, Engin Kose of Research Affiliates

Quality, unlike value, is not a separate factor. But value investing conditioned upon well-chosen quality indicators is a powerful investment strategy.

2016-02-12 00:00:00 This is a Correction, Not a Recession by Brian Wesbury of First Trust Advisors

With the S&P 500 down 10.5% through February 11th, questions about the health of the economy seem to intensify daily. The concerns typically go something like this: If the financial markets are a predictor of where the economy is headed, has the plow horse finally lost traction? Is a recession looming?

2016-02-12 00:00:00 Inflation: Dead, or Just Forgotten? by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments

We believe that widespread underestimation of future inflation, together with the prospective normalization in the relationship between long-term interest rates and nominal GDP growth, sets the stage for a significant correction in Treasury yields.

2016-02-12 00:00:00 Lost in Translation by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

The imposition of negative rates on Japan’s bank reserves recently caught the market by surprise. Teresa Kong, CFA, Portfolio Manager, explores the possible implications of this new interest rate policy for Japan and the rest of Asia.

2016-02-12 00:00:00 Trump: We’re Getting Railed by High Taxes and Regulations by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

It’s not the first time Trump has made a wild claim, but in this case he’s right, by one very important measure—the corporate statutory tax rate. Since 1990, this rate has hovered around 39 percent, making it the highest among OECD nations, and for the largest GDP in the world.

2016-02-12 00:00:00 Predicting Recession by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Economic surveys are reflecting a higher possibility that a recession could begin in the next 12 months.

2016-02-12 00:00:00 Are Unicorns for Real? by Lee Robinson of Altana Wealth

The world is a rapidly changing place. We see lots of disruption with many losers and winners. For asset owners, spotting and removing those stocks and bonds that could fall 80-100% is just as important as finding those new winners. Arguably the former is much easier than the latter.

2016-02-12 00:00:00 How Will Low Oil Prices Affect Municipal Bonds? by Cooper J. Howard and Rob Williams of Charles Schwab

We suggest using caution if you're considering investing in bonds issued by a municipality that relies heavily on the oil-and-gas industry—such as areas in Texas and Oklahoma, parts of Wyoming, and western Pennsylvania. We don't believe low oil prices will lead to widespread defaults, but an extended period of low oil prices could lead to ratings downgrades and lower prices for outstanding bonds.

2016-02-12 00:00:00 A Shopping List for Bargain Hunters by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

While stocks overall still aren't cheap, investors looking to bargain hunt may be pleased to know there are certain segments of the market worth considering. BlackRock's Russ Koesterich explains.

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 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.

2016-02-09 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.

2016-02-08 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?

2016-02-07 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 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 $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 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.

2016-02-04 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

2016-01-27 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 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.

2016-01-25 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.

2016-01-24 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.

2016-01-22 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 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.

2016-01-21 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.

2016-01-20 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 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.

2016-01-19 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.

2016-01-17 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 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.

2016-01-14 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 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 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.

2016-01-01 00:00:00 S&P 500 Snapshot by Doug Short (Article)

The link for this frequent update has changed to this URL: Please change your bookmarks accordingly.

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

2015-12-28 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.

2015-12-15 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.

2015-12-12 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 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 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 wro