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

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2015-10-27 00:00:00 sale-cheat-point-blank-indonesia-all-of-country by WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/SesepuhDestroyer (Article)


2015-10-13 00:00:00 FlexShares SKOR by Shundrawn Thomas, Head of Funds and Managed Accounts Group, Northern Trust (Article)

See how SKOR supports investors’ search for income with forward-looking corporate credit scoring.

2015-10-12 00:00:00 Anticipating the 2016 Cost of Living Adjustment for Social Security by Doug Short (Article)

Summary: Tomorrow the Social Security Administration will announce the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2016. A forecast based on data so far is a COLA of 0%. Let's take a look at how the COLA has fared across time.

2015-10-09 00:00:00 Treasury Snapshot: 10-Year Yield is Back to Its January 2nd Close by Doug Short (Article)

The yield on the 10-year note closed on January 2nd at 2.12%. It hit its year-to-date low of 1.68% a month later and its YTD closing high of 2.50% on June 10th. It closed yesterday back at that January 2nd 2.12%.

2015-10-08 00:00:00 New Jobless Claims: Better Than Expected by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Today's seasonally adjusted 263K new claims was better than the forecast of 274K. The four-week moving average is at 267,500, down from last week's 270,500, which is 1,500 above its interim low set eight weeks ago.

2015-10-08 00:00:00 China and the Fed by Dr. Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

The third quarter of 2015 was marked by significant losses in capital values and an increase in volatility. The S&P 500 lost 7.55% in the quarter and 6.71% year-to-date; NASDAQ dropped 7.77% quarterly and 2.26% for the year; Dow Jones Industrial average declined 8.15% in the quarter and 8.68% year-to-date. The VIX fear measure closed the quarter at 24.50, an increase of 42.6% since the beginning of the quarter and 37.7% since the beginning of the year.

2015-10-08 00:00:00 Rainmakers by Rick Lear of Lear Investment Management

The onslaught of financial events in the past several months created massive confusion and uncertainty in the global financial markets. Much of the confusion revolves around economic factors - interest rates, currency, energy prices and growth policy. Several economic factors are influenced by policy makers and central banks. Our goal this month is to slice through the confusion and find direction for the remaining months of 2015.

2015-10-08 00:00:00 Done in By Biases? by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Howard Gold had a post at MarketWatch noting research that shows baby boomers have too much in equities relative to when they would be likely to retire. He talks about this being poor asset allocation strategy, that it plays into some behavioral finance issues, says that many people need to admit they can’t manage their own money and concludes that everyone should put their 401k money into the target date fund in their 401k most suited to their intended retirement date.

2015-10-08 00:00:00 Chart of the Week: Is It Time to Enjoy High Equity Risk Premiums? by Richard Skaggs, Craig Burelle of Loomis Sayles

The global average equity risk premium (ERP)–is 6.5%.This is good news for equity investors. With current low inflation across developed markets, the expected return from a portfolio of equities appears very attractive because earnings retention plus dividend yield is far above the sovereign bond yields, and also far above inflation in most markets.

2015-10-08 00:00:00 Third Quarter 2015 Newsletter - Corrected Market! by Jim Tillar, Steve Wenstrup of Tillar-Wenstrup Advisors

The US stock market finally succumbed to selling pressure that has been affecting financial markets across the globe. For over a year volatility has been a feature of the world's currency, credit and commodity markets. In addition, many world stock markets have been in correction mode, especially emerging markets. Financial markets are interconnected so as poor economic news piled up last quarter all stock markets headed lower.

2015-10-08 00:00:00 Technically Speaking: The Real Correction Is Still Coming by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

In last week's update, I discussed the short-term oversold condition that existed at that time. To wit: "As you will notice, the reflexive rally, and subsequent failure, have tracked the original predictions very closely up to the point. With the market once again very oversold on a short-term basis, it is likely that the markets could manage a weak rally attempt over the next few days."

2015-10-08 00:00:00 September Jobs & Manufacturing Reports Disappoint Again by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

As is becoming increasingly frequent, we will touch on several bases today, given that there’s so much going on these days. (Speaking of bases, How ‘bout them Texas Rangers!!) Hitting several topics in a single E-Letter makes it more interesting and fast-paced for me, and I hope the same is true for you. After all, YOU are what this is all about. That’s why I always value your input, positive or negative, so much.

2015-10-08 00:00:00 Dot-Communism by Robert Stimpson of Oak Associates

In this commentary, Portfolio Manager Robert Stimpson discusses the effect the sharp correction in Chinese equities, the unwinding of the commodity supercycle, and the Federal Reserve’s decision to delay interest rate increases have had on US markets. Whether China’s own equity market China Syndrome will cause lasting damage to global markets - or simply a short-term spike in volatility and poor investor sentiment - is difficult to assess. Underlying fundamentals continue to suggest that corporate earnings are strong.

2015-10-08 00:00:00 Why Are You So Angry? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Mass layoffs are being announced. The U.S., Central America, South American countries, etc. are all economic disasters. Major currencies are falling and raw materials companies are seeing huge order reductions around the world. Plant production has been reduced to 66% in the first half of 2015; there are fields of idle construction equipment that China is not buying. Look for Korea to dump products into the U.S. Wholesale raw sugar prices dropped from $0.36/pound to $0.11/pound leaving Brazilian sugar cane companies ready to file for Chapter 11.

2015-10-08 00:00:00 Can Central Banks Help Push Stocks Higher? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

As the fourth quarter kicks off, investors are once again hoping monetary policy will help push stocks higher.

2015-10-08 00:00:00 A Very British Recovery by Mike Amey of PIMCO

The UK appears to be experiencing a typical British recovery, but needs further improvement to tolerate rising interest rates.

2015-10-08 00:00:00 Global Market Outlook: Potential Currency Opportunities for Investors by Rob Balkema of Russell Investments

Rob Balkema takes a look at what potential currency opportunities for investors may be out there in light of Russell Investments’ recent quarterly outlook.

2015-10-07 00:00:00 What Would It Take for the Prime U.S. Workforce to Fully Recover? by Doug Short (Article)

The reaction in the popular financial press to last week's Employment Report for September followed the usual pattern of hyper-reaction to the monthly data points. The unemployment rate was unchanged, but the number of new nonfarm jobs (a relatively volatile number subject to extensive revisions) disappointed expectations. The popular consensus was that the low number of new jobs will dissuade the Fed from a rate hike this year.

2015-10-07 00:00:00 Household Incomes Across Time: The Divergence at the Top by Doug Short (Article)

Among the most interesting of the long-term economic indicators we track is the Census Bureau's annual data on the mean (average) household income received by each fifth (quintile) and top 5 percent. See our latest update here. A conspicuous pattern in the series is the widening of the spread in income growth that started during the 1980s.

2015-10-07 00:00:00 Investing Through Volatility: Finding Opportunities in a Slow-Growth Environment by John Calamos, Sr. of Calamos Investments

We continue to believe the U.S. stock market is in a reset period, as investors contemplate the prospect of slowing global economic growth, mixed messages from the Fed (potential tightening) and the continued easing from other central banks (Japan, China and the ECB). Market participants seem concerned about the central banks’ inability to manufacture inflation after several years of near-zero interest rates. These concerns have resulted in higher volatility, catching many investors off guard.

2015-10-07 00:00:00 Putin and Syria by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Last month, Russia moved a significant amount of military hardware into areas of Syria controlled by the Assad regime. The action caught the Obama administration by surprise and raises questions about what Russian President Putin is trying to accomplish. In this report, we will examine Russia’s short-term geostrategic goals and the tactics Putin is using to achieve these aims. As always, we will conclude with potential market ramifications.

2015-10-07 00:00:00 Where's the Capital Spending Recovery? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Companies, awash in cash, remain reluctant to invest in new plants and equipment. That could hamper long-term U.S. economic growth.

2015-10-07 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: What is Behind the Recent Market Volatility? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

The recent market volatility has led to a lot of head scratching. Even the Pundit-in-Chief seems to be struggling to make his daily morning and evening observations fit with observed reality. With a light economic calendar and earnings reports just getting started market observers will be asking: What’s the cause of the market volatility?

2015-10-07 00:00:00 On My Radar: Defaults Will Breach the Historical High Next Year – The Fed is the “Wild Card” by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

“The Fed is the “wild card” that has the power to determine how quickly the current credit cycle ends.” – Ed Altman

2015-10-07 00:00:00 Recession Probability Models - October 2015 by Ted Kavadas of StratX, LLC

There are a variety of economic models that are supposed to predict the probabilities of recession. While I don’t agree with the methodologies employed or probabilities of impending economic weakness as depicted by the following two models, I think the results of these models should be monitored.

2015-10-07 00:00:00 As Growth Slows, Markets Seek Comfort in Old Friends by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses the slowing global growth picture, and the implications of an even longer spell of low rates.

2015-10-07 00:00:00 A Brief Interpretation/Psycho-Analysis of the Market's Action Friday and Today by Jeremy Boynton of Laureate Wealth Management

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics released a fairly horrible payroll report early this past Friday morning. The methodology for collecting this data is an iterative process, which means that prior month estimates are continually being revised as more data is collected. Accordingly, Friday’s report contained the first full month estimate of September’s payroll data along with updated revisions for prior months.

2015-10-07 00:00:00 Mom and Investment Underdogs by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

I was talking with a friend the other day about troubles in his family. At one point he remarked, “A mother is only as happy as her saddest child.” It’s a saying that has been attributed to Jackie Kennedy (and that is certainly understandable), but I think it goes much further back in time. My wife said her mother used to say it when she was growing up.

2015-10-07 00:00:00 Innovation and Investment in “short-termist” America by Robert McConnaughey of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

The aggregate decision-making around capital allocation would appear to continue to support a strong global competitive position for U.S. companies. Leading American companies are making long-term investments and investors are giving the most compelling of them a lot of credit for those long-term choices. While many continue to underestimate the power of American innovative strengths, the speed of disruptive new developments will only increase the cost to those who do so.

2015-10-07 00:00:00 The French Exception? by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

A healthy French economy would do wonders to help lift the eurozone out of its malaise and could provide an example to countries everywhere of how inclusive capitalism can work. But that assumes that the government will embrace the structural reforms that France’s economy so desperately needs.

2015-10-06 00:00:00 S&P 500 Snapshot: Five-Day Rally Ends by Doug Short (Article)

Global markets had a good day today. The Nikkei rose 1.0% and the Euro STOXX 50 was up a comparable 0.93%. In contrast, our benchmark S&P 500 vacillated at the open, traded in the shallow red and then sold off to its -0.76% mid-day low. It spent the rest of the day grinding in a narrow range above the intraday low and closed with a trimmed loss of -0.36%, snapping its 5-day rally. The index is now down 3.84% for the year and 7.08% off its record close on May 21.

2015-10-06 00:00:00 US Corporate Bond Spreads Continue To Widen by Eric Busch of GaveKal Capital

Spreads are on the move in the bond market, especially for lower credit bonds. The spread between the Bank Of America/Merrill Lynch US High Yield index and 10-year treasuries has widened out to 623 basis points which is the largest spread since June 2012. It’s not just junk bonds that are making multi-year highs in spreads, however. The spread between BAA and 10-year treasuries is the widest since July 2012 and the spread between BAA and junk is the widest since September 2012.

2015-10-06 00:00:00 Global Bonds: To Hedge or Not to Hedge? by Scott DiMaggio, Alison Martier of AllianceBernstein

With US rates poised to rise, there’s never been a better time to reposition into global bonds as your core mandate. But when you do, it’s crucial to fully hedge against currencies—an asset class nearly twice as risky as fixed income.

2015-10-06 00:00:00 Money Glut: More to Come, Still Effective by Joachim Fels of PIMCO

Given global lowflation pressures, the central-bank-fueled money glut is likely to increase further before year-end.

2015-10-06 00:00:00 Employment, GDP, and the Fed by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The September Employment Report was disappointing, but not horrible. Some of the recent softening in the pace of job growth may reflect seasonal issues. Stronger seasonal hiring in May and June should naturally lead to more seasonal layoffs in August and September. That is unlikely the only explanation. Concerns about global growth and financial market volatility may have made firms, especially smaller firms, reluctant to hire. Estimate of 3Q15 GDP have been declining, while underlying domestic demand have remained strong.

2015-10-06 00:00:00 Failure to Launch by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The popular belief that the U.S. economy has been steadily recovering has endured months of disappointing data without losing much of its appeal. A deep bench of excuses, ranging from the weather to the Chinese economy, has been called on to justify why the economy hasn't built up any noticeable steam, and why the Fed has failed to move rates off zero, where they have been for seven years. But the downright dismal September jobs report that was released last Friday may prove to be the flashing red beacon that even the most skilled apologists can't explain away.

2015-10-06 00:00:00 Under Pressure: Earnings Recession Warning; Economic Recession Watch by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Many of the questions I’ve been getting recently at client events are around earnings, and whether the expected move into negative territory for earnings growth is a signal of a pending economic recession.

2015-10-06 00:00:00 Equity Outlook Fourth Quarter 2015 by Neuberger Berman Asset Allocation Committee of Neuberger Berman

The Committee upgraded our view on U.S. large cap equities following the recent correction, and maintained a slightly overweight view on European equities. Our view on MLPs has also improved following a challenging year.

2015-10-06 00:00:00 August Trade Deficit at $48.3 Billion by Jill Mislinksi (Article)

The 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.

2015-10-06 00:00:00 Demographic Trends for the 50-and-Older Work Force by Doug Short (Article)

Note: This commentary has been updated with the latest numbers from last week's Employment Report.

This is not the scenario that would have been envisioned a generation ago for the "Golden Years" of retirement. Consider: Today nearly one in three of the 65-69 cohort and about one in five of the 70-74 cohort are in the labor force.

2015-10-06 00:00:00 A Look at Long-Term Trends in Employment by Age Group by Doug Short (Article)

The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) is a simple computation: You take the Civilian Labor Force (people age 16 and over employed or seeking employment) and divide it by the Civilian Noninstitutional Population (those 16 and over not in the military and or committed to an institution). The result is the participation rate expressed as a percent.

2015-10-05 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.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 Multiple Jobholders: Two Decades of Trends as of September by Doug Short (Article)

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

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

2015-10-05 00:00:00 Rethinking 'Safe Haven' Assets in a Multi-Asset Portfolio by Sponsored Content from Invesco (Article)

• Correlations have risen between perceived ‘safe haven’ assets and equities • Volatility has been a positive performer in falling equity markets, and we see it as a diversification tool in multi-asset portfolios • We look for areas where we think the markets' implied relative risk is an opportunity

2015-10-05 00:00:00 Describing Liquid Alts: Multi-Alternative by Michael Breitenbach of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

The multi-alternative fund sector attempts to achieve returns through exposure to an aggregated portfolio of different alternative investment strategies. Although some index providers use the multi-alternative label to describe a wide swath of investing strategies, the term probably is most accurately attached to liquid alternative funds of funds, funds utilizing multiple submanagers, and statistical factor replication strategies.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review For Sep. 28-Oct 2; The Bull Needs Stronger Earnings, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

This week’s economic news was mostly positive. Manufacturing is still expanding and consumers are still spending, especially on durable goods. But the stronger dollar and weaker international environment are clearly taking their toll, as the ISM is just barely in expansionary territory. The markets are in somewhat precarious shape as we enter earnings season; they remain expensive and therefore need to see topline revenue growth. Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be coming.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 Provise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group

The 3rd quarter is now behind us and the major indexes did not fare well through the dog days of the summer. For the quarter the S&P 500 was down 6.44%, the DJIA was down even more at 6.91%, the Russell 2000 was down 11.92%, and the MSCI EAFE index was down 10.23%. The Barclays Aggregate Bond Index was able to post a small gain of 1.23%. Year to date the indexes are -5.29%, -6.88%, -7.73%, -5.28% and +1.13% respectively. As disappointing as these benchmark returns were, a look behind the scenes reveals an even more somber picture.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 The Looming Risk in the Bond Market by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Lack of bond-market liquidity has been the focus of recent reporting in the financial media. But one of the first to warn about that danger was Michael Aronstein, who said last week that the risks are clearer than ever. Mutual fund investors face the greatest peril.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 Does Wells Fargo Add Value for Investors? by Larry Swedroe (Article)

Assets in actively managed mutual funds have been a consistent source of revenue growth for Wall Street banks. But would investors have been better off in passively managed funds? I’ll answer that question for Wells Fargo and then for the group consisting of the four largest banks.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 China: Policy and Fundamentals Converge by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein

We recently commented on the improving trends in China’s property industry. It’s not widely understood, however, how the country’s various economic reforms are combining to create a base for future growth. A case in point concerns the property sector and capital market liberalization.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 The Case for Gold to Protect Clients’ Wealth Shorting the Federal Reserve by Michael Lebowitz (Article)

This article presents the case for an asset that will help managers protect their clients and uphold their fiduciary duty owed to them. I’ll explain why gold is a powerful hedge that will protect your clients’ wealth, but first I’ll look at the history of trade and currencies and how gold evolved to become a global store of wealth.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 How Google’s Innovation Formula Can Fuel Your Growth by Dan Richards (Article)

In today’s results-driven world, many CEOs focus on hitting short-term profit targets. But not Eric Schmidt. In the book, How Google Works, he outlined the model that allowed the company to meet ambitious goals while simultaneously positioning itself for success down the road. Here’s what advisors can learn from his approach.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 How to Define Your Service Model by Brooke Mease (Article)

What I’ve discovered through developing client-service models for many advisory firms is that you need to start by determining who you enjoy serving and then build out your service model based on the needs of those specific clients.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 The Keys to Finding New Prospects by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Can I find prospects without cold calling or running an advertisement, both of which are time consuming and expensive?

2015-10-05 00:00:00 A Growing Risk of Recession by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

With the S&P 500 within about 8% of its highest level in history, with historically reliable valuation measures at obscene levels, implying near-zero 10-12 year S&P 500 nominal total returns; with an extended period of extreme overvalued, overbought, overbullish conditions replaced by deterioration in market internals that signal a clear shift toward risk-aversion among investors; with credit spreads on low-grade debt blowing out to multi-year highs; and with leading economic measures deteriorating rapidly...

2015-10-05 00:00:00 An All-Market Approach to Investing in China by William Yuen of Invesco Blog

As China transitions from a manufacturing-driven economy to a consumer-led one, the Chinese investment universe has expanded. Historically, global investors have chosen to invest in Chinese equities via Hong Kong stock exchanges. But with China gradually opening its capital markets to global investors, and more Chinese enterprises successfully listing overseas, the investment options and opportunities have increased significantly. In this changing investment landscape, we are seeing a growing trend toward investors adopting an all-market approach to investing in China.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 When Obfuscation Backfires by Dan Solin (Article)

Many advisors face with troublesome questions from prospects. Sometimes these questions go into the technical aspects of investing. How you answer these questions can determine whether you are successful in converting a prospect into a client.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 Evaluating Sustainable Competitive Advantages: Entry and Exit Barriers by Baijnath Ramraika, CFA and Prashant Trivedi, CFA (Article)

This article is the first in a series discussing an assessment process for existence or absence of sustainable competitive advantages. In this article, we discuss the basic building blocks of an investment process designed to identify high-quality businesses: the entry and exit barriers.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 September 2015 Market Commentary by Joe Becker, Adam Schenck, Jeff Greco of Milliman Financial Risk Management

In the second half of Q3, higher volatility was the rule rather than the exception as markets wrestled with the implications of a global economy in flux.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 The Bull Market Still Lives by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Stock market corrections (usually defined as 10% pullbacks) are hard to understand. Often they happen in the midst of long-term bull markets. But why? Is it like getting the flu? Is it just emotion? Or, are corrections a necessary cleansing out of excess optimism? Our answer: we don't really know.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 Advisor Outreach by (Article)

The Closed-End Fund Association holds “advisor summits” across the country to help advisors learn more about CEFs, says Michael Hedstrom of CEFA.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 The Labor Market Conditions Index for September: At the Flatline by Doug Short (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 September data came in at 0, down from 1.2 in August. Negative revisions were made to the previous three months: -0.1 in July to 0.7 in June, -0.7 in July and -0.9 in August.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 US Bond Market Week in Review; Did the Window Close, Edition? by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

A rate hike of at least 25 basis points was a done deal a few months ago. But recent global and domestic events have greatly lowered that possibility. It began with the Chinese equity sell-off followed by the surprise yuan devaluation. Recent Chinese manufacturing weakness adds to the mix. Although some recent US news has been positive, continued price weakness, lower industrial production and a recent employment slowdown show the US is not immune to the slowing international environment.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 Jobs Down, Bonds Up by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

We had truly bad job numbers this week. The rate of new jobs created came in at 142,000, way below expectations. It is true that the BEA often revises these numbers up but that tends to be in an upswing. We are not in an upswing.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 U.S. Economic Growth Slowed Sharply in 2015 Q3 by Robert Lamy of The Forecasting Advisor

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

2015-10-05 00:00:00 Key Themes for the Fourth Quarter and 2016 by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Since the Great Recession, the global economy has grown sporadically at a below-trend pace. This is unlikely to change in the short-term, but we expect ongoing improvement, led by growth in the United States.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 Green Shoots in China? by Nick Niziolek of Calamos Investments

Over the next weeks, there will be a great deal more data for us to evaluate, including foreign reserves data on October 6. Signs of stabilization in foreign reserves and savings deposits would point to a reduced risk of capital flight, which would give us more confidence in a gradual depreciation of the renminbi. We’ll also be watching for mid-month data on imports. If these green shoots begin to take hold and the markets can become comfortable that a hard landing is off the table for the near term, we wouldn’t rule out a fourth quarter rally in Chinese and global equity markets.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 ISM Non-Manufacturing: September Growth Continues to Slow by Doug Short (Article)

Today the Institute for Supply Management published its latest Non-Manufacturing Report. The headline NMI Composite Index is at 56.9 percent, down 2.1 percent from last month's 59.0 percent. Today's number came in below the forecast of 57.5 percent.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 Baby Boomer Employment Across Time by Doug Short (Article)

The 20th century Baby Boom was one of the most powerful demographic events in the history of the United States. We've created a series of charts to show seven age cohorts of the employed population from 1948 to the present. What we see is essentially the "Boomer Bulge" in employment across time. Those born between 1946 and 1964 continue to grow the employment of the two oldest cohorts. It will be interesting to see how long those two trends continue.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 Ratio of Part-Time Employed Remains Higher Than the Pre-Recession Levels by Doug Short (Article)

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

2015-10-04 00:00:00 Recession Watch by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

If recovery from a banking crisis can take ten years and we are only seven years in, I expect (barring aliens) that we have a few more years to go. A slow, muddle-through recovery may not be exciting – but it’s better than the alternatives. As I noted at the beginning, I am quite worried about the possibility of a recession in our slow-growth, barely limping along at stall speed economy.

2015-10-03 00:00:00 World Markets Weekend Update: A Mixed Bag by Doug Short (Article)

It was a mixed bag this week for major world stock markets with four of the eight indexes on our world watch list posting gains and four posting losses. How is 2015 stacking up for our gang of eight? From their respective 2015 highs, rounded to a percent: S&P 500 -8%, SENSEX -12%, FTSE -14%, Nikkei -15%, CAC 40 -15%, DAX -24%, Hang Seng - 24% and Shanghai -41%.

2015-10-03 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review for Sept. 28-Oct.2; Japan Flashing Yellow, Edition by Urban Carmel of Hale Stewart

Overall, the tone of news continues to lean negative. China continues to slow. Japan is clearly having problems regaining momentum after last year’s sales tax increase and Canada just missed being in a technical recession. The EU and UK are growing moderately, but not impressively. And it appears even the US is starting to import some of the global weakness.

2015-10-03 00:00:00 The 10 Most Competitive Countries in the World by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

No new countries have entered or exited this exalted list, and there was very little rank-shuffling. For the seventh consecutive year, Switzerland is the most competitive country. For the fifth straight year, Singapore is number two. The U.S. comes in at number three for the second year. And so on.

2015-10-03 00:00:00 The U.S. Starts a Challenging Fiscal Year by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The budget battles that rage at this point on the calendar illustrate the myopia and dysfunction of the American legislative process.

2015-10-03 00:00:00 Better Times are Ahead by Byron Wien of Blackstone

The best recent period for investing in equities may have been 1982–1999, but I still think reasonable risk-adjusted returns for equities are likely in the years ahead, and that Treasurys and high-quality corporate bonds are less attractive.

2015-10-03 00:00:00 Treasury Yields: A Long-Term Perspective by Doug Short (Article)

Let's have a look at a long-term perspective on Treasury yields. The chart here shows the 10-Year Constant Maturity yield since 1962 along with the Federal Funds Rate (FFR) and inflation. The range has been astonishing. The stagflation that set in after the 1973 Oil Embargo was finally ended after Paul Volcker raised the FFR to 20.06%.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 ECRI Weekly Leading Index: "Pursuing the Purple Squirrel" by Doug Short (Article)

ECRI's latest weekly data point shows a decline from the previous week, but more interesting is the company's latest publicly available commentary published yesterday: "Pursuing the Purple Squirrel". It features an additional dimension to the weak data in the September Employment report with a striking analysis of the trend in JOLTS Hires minus Openings.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 The Big Four Economic Indicators: September Nonfarm Employment by Doug Short (Article)

Note: This commentary has been updated to include Nonfarm Employment for September. As the adjacent thumbnail of the past year illustrates, Nonfarm Employment remains in its upward trend despite today's disappointing report of only 142K new nonfarm jobs in September and the fact that the previous two months were revised downward. Nevertheless, the uptrend remains in play, if somewhat slower.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 World CPI Proxy Breaks Below 1% by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

There’s been a lot of of deflationary data recently (see here, here and here). The plunge in our simple World CPI proxy to the lowest level since October 2009 doesn’t really catch us off guard. The fact that one third of the 33 countries in our proxy are currently are seeing year-over-year declines in consumer prices is a bit eye-opening, however. Switzerland is leading the deflationary wave as Swiss consumer prices are down -1.4% year-over-year, more than they were at any point during the financial crisis. The year-over-year decline is the largest on record since 1959 for Switzerland.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 India Issues Its First Sovereign Gold Coin… to Curb Gold Imports October 1, 2015 by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Gold tends not to leave India once it enters. As the world’s largest importer, the country consumes massive quantities of the yellow metal—it’s on track to take in 900 tonnes of the stuff this year—where it remains in private families’ coffers, mostly in the form of jewelry and decorative heirlooms. It’s estimated that less than 10 percent of all Indian gold demand is in bars and coins.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 When Markets Get Volatile, You’ve Got Options by Josh Lisser, Ben Sklar of AllianceBernstein

Last month’s simultaneous volatility spike and stock downturn were unpleasant surprises for investors. But in the spirit of making lemons into lemonade, we see them as reminders to think broadly about downside protection.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 Master Limited Partnerships: Where To Next? by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) have seen sharp declines this year, underperforming not only broad equity markets but also other income-producing assets such as utility stocks and real estate investment trusts.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 The Middle East Meltdown and Global Risk by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

With the US on the way to achieving energy independence, there is a risk that America and its Western allies will consider the Middle East less strategically important than they did in the past. Wishful thinking should not cloud policy judgment: a burning Middle East can destabilize the world in many ways.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 Are Buybacks an Oasis or a Mirage? by Chris Brightman, Vitali Kalesnik, Mark Clements of Research Affiliates

Over the last few years, buybacks have swept through the U.S. equity market like a Saharan sirocco. But have stockholders benefited? A tally of the new issuance during the period answers the question.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 The 80/20 Rule Is Crushing The Economy by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

In business, the 80/20 rule states that 80% of your business will come from 20% of your customers. In an economy that is more than 2/3rds driven by consumption, such an imbalance of the "have" and "have not's" impedes real economic growth.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 The Real Burden of Low Interest Rates by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

Almost the entire world is concerned about the high levels of debt, should interest rates begin to rise again, but we are not. Don't get us wrong; a meaningful increase in debt service burdens could do substantial damage to a global economy so loaded with debt. We just don't think it is going to happen. Economic growth and inflation are likely to stay comparatively low for many years to come, and so are interest rates, but that raises another question. What damage can very low interest rates for an extended period of time actually be expected to do?

2015-10-02 00:00:00 Designing a Dividend Growth Portfolio for a Specific Retirement Yield Objective: Part 1 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Managing an investment portfolio is a very personal matter. Consequently, the most important consideration is to design a portfolio that meets your own unique goals, objectives and risk tolerances. Everyone is different, and consequently, every investment portfolio can and should be appropriately different as well. Stated more straightforwardly, I do not believe in cookie-cutter or one-size-fits-all approaches to portfolio design.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 China Looks to the US for Chinese Equity Strategy, WaveFront Capital Landmark Partnership by Team of WaveFront Capital Management

In a groundbreaking agreement, WaveFront Capital Management, a US-based investment manager chaired by renowned economist Dr. Burton Malkiel, is pleased to announce that it has entered into a joint venture with Shanghai-based Fortune SGAM Fund Management Co., Ltd. to sub-advise a China-focused equity strategy on behalf Chinese investors.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 Upgrade Your Investment Approach and Put Some Fears to Rest by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

Markets are inherently risky so some volatility is no reason to feel uneasy – unless it’s a signal that your investment approach is not well suited to manage through important changes in conditions.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 Postcard from Huallywood by Sharat Shroff of Matthews Asia

First came Hollywood, then India’s Bollywood. Now, China’s Jiangsu province is hoping Huallywood will be the next film production site to make international waves. As a prime example of the China’s steady migration toward services-led growth, Wuxi studios—developed on the site of a former iron and steel factory—is trying to attract college students and independent artists.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 The Trans-Pacific Free-Trade Charade by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

As negotiators and ministers from the US and 11 other Pacific Rim countries meet in Atlanta in an effort to finalize the details of the sweeping new Trans-Pacific Partnership, some sober analysis is warranted. The biggest regional trade and investment agreement in history is not what it seems.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 Market Valuation, Inflation and Treasury Yields: Clues from the Past by Doug Short (Article)

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

But these are different times.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 August Median Household Income at Post-Recession High by Doug Short (Article)

The Sentier Research monthly median household income data series is now available for August. The nominal median household income was up $576 month-over-month and up $$2,753 year-over-year. That's an increase of 1.0% MoM and a 5.2% YoY increase. Adjusted for inflation, the latest income was up $615 MoM and up $2,637 YoY. The real numbers equate to 1.1% MoM and a 5.0% YoY increase.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 September New Jobs Fall Below Forecast; July and August Were Revised Downward by Doug Short (Article)

Today's report of 142K new nonfarm jobs in September was substantially below the forecast of 203K. To make matters worse, July and August nonfarm payrolls were revised downward by 22K and 59K for a total of -81K. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.1%.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 Market Remains Overvalued, But Off Its Interim High by Doug Short (Article)

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

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

2015-10-02 00:00:00 Crestmont Market Valuation Update by Doug Short (Article)

Quick take: Based on the September S&P 500 average of daily closes, the Crestmont P/E is 80% above its arithmetic mean and at the 96th percentile of this fourteen-plus-decade monthly metric.

2015-10-02 00:00:00 The Civilian Labor Force, Unemployment Claims and the Business Cycle by Doug Short (Article)

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

2015-10-01 00:00:00 Light Vehicle Sales Per Capita: A Look at the Long-Term Trend by Doug Short (Article)

For the past few years we've been following a couple of transportation metrics: Vehicle Miles Traveled and Gasoline Volume Sales. For both series we focus on the population adjusted data. Let's now do something similar with the Light Vehicle Sales report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. This data series stretches back to January 1976. Since that first data point, the Civilian Noninstitutional Population Age 16 and Over (i.e., driving age not in the military or an inmate) has risen 62.2%.

2015-10-01 00:00:00 Investments that Pay when Korean Workaholics Play by Sammy Suzuki of AllianceBernstein

The notoriously workaholic South Koreans are starting to kick back and take life a bit easier—and it’s already fostering brisk growth across a wide swath of consumer-centric businesses. Investors, take note.

2015-10-01 00:00:00 Small, but Noticeable Divergence Opening Up Between EM and DM by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

We certainly haven’t been shy about identifying the rout in EM stocks and the very emotional selloff that took place in August. At the time we showed that the emotion at the August low was commensurate with the 2011 and 2008-2009 panics, both of which happened to be good buy spots for EM stocks.

2015-10-01 00:00:00 A Fragile Transition Supported by (Further) Policy Accommodation by Adam Bowe, Isaac Meng, Tadashi Kakuchi of PIMCO

n the following interview, Portfolio Managers Adam Bowe, Isaac Meng and Tadashi Kakuchi discuss conclusions from PIMCO’s quarterly Cyclical Forum, in which the company’s investment professionals debated the outlook for global economies and markets. They share our views on economies and investment implications across the Asia-Pacific region over the next 12 months.

2015-10-01 00:00:00 Have Commodities Bottomed? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Though commodities have been the worst performing asset class of 2015, Russ explains why it’s still too early to call a bottom.

2015-10-01 00:00:00 Say Goodbye To The 4% Rule? by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Wade Pfau has a white paper posted at FA Mag that pretty much blows up the 4% (retirement withdrawal rate) rule or attempts to anyway. Pfau lists several different factors for why 4% may prove to be too optimistic going forward including longer life spans (the 4% rule was originally conceived with a 30 year retirement and now 40 years may make more sense), the prospect for lower equity market returns (which may or may not happen) and historically low interest rates which we know we have but who knows how long they will remain low and various fees related to investing.

2015-10-01 00:00:00 How Income Planning Can Help Clients Navigate the Future by Patty Quinn McAuley of Clark Capital Management Group

As our industry begins to address the income needs of the aging baby boomer population, arming clients with a personalized roadmap can help them stay on the right track to reach their desired outcomes. An income plan can bridge the gap between the investment plan and the actual execution of it, helping clients truly understand how their money will work for them.

2015-10-01 00:00:00 Standing Out in a Crowd: The Advisor Difference by Sam Ushio of Russell Investments

In today’s competitive landscape, how might one best show case the advisor difference in financial planning? Sam Ushio offers some ideas.

2015-10-01 00:00:00 It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over by Burt White of LPL Financial

Yogi Berra passed away last week at the age of 90. One of the greatest baseball players of all time, Berra was probably known more for his funny sayings (so-called “Yogi-isms”) than he was for his impressive career as a New York Yankee that lasted from 1946 until 1963 and included 3 MVP awards and 10 World Series championships. Some of these Yogi-isms are relevant for investors, including: 1) it ain’t over ‘til it’s over, 2) déjà vu all over again, and 3) the future ain’t what it used to be. Berra also famously once said, “Make a game plan you can stick to…unless it’s not w

2015-10-01 00:00:00 Recent Volatility Signals a Market in Transition by Chuck Royce, Francis Gannon of The Royce Funds

CEO Chuck Royce and Co-CIO Francis Gannon talk about why they believe the decline for equities in 3Q15 is part of the market transitioning back to more historically typical performance patterns, why a rate hike could be positive for small-caps and stocks as a whole, how history reveals the importance of discipline, the necessity of diversification within the small-cap asset class, and more.

2015-10-01 00:00:00 Is the Stock Market Cheap? by Doug Short (Article)

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

2015-10-01 00:00:00 Regression to Trend: A New Look at Long-Term Market Performance by Doug Short (Article)

Quick take: At the end of September the inflation-adjusted S&P 500 index price was 77% above its long-term trend, a decline from 84% the previous month.

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

2015-10-01 00:00:00 A Look at Secular Bull and Bear Markets by Doug Short (Article)

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

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

2015-10-01 00:00:00 The Q Ratio and Market Valuation: September Update by Doug Short (Article)

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

2015-10-01 00:00:00 ISM Manufacturing Index: Lowest Reading Since May 2013 by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Today the Institute for Supply Management published its monthly Manufacturing Report for September. The latest headline PMI was 50.2 percent, a decrease of 0.9% from the previous month and below the forecast of 50.6. This was the 33rd consecutive month of expansion.

2015-09-30 00:00:00 Anticipating the Employment Report for August: ADP Number 6K Above Forecast 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 September estimate of 200K new nonfarm private employment jobs from ADP, an increase over August's 186K, which is a downward revision from 190K.

2015-09-30 00:00:00 Liquid Alternatives: Considerations for Portfolio Implementation by Justin Blesy, Ashish Tiwari of PIMCO

Since the financial crisis, investors have poured nearly half a trillion dollars into liquid alternative strategies – typically mutual funds and ETFs that deploy non-traditional strategies once reserved for large institutional investors.i These vehicles offer the potential for diversification, downside risk mitigation and attractive risk-adjusted returns with the transparency and daily liquidity many investors desire. Liquid alternatives have been a democratizing force for investors, and we believe today’s market environment arguably has only made them more attractive.

2015-09-30 00:00:00 Forget “Active vs. Passive”: It’s All About Factors by Adam Butler, Michael Philbrick, Rodrigo Gordillo of ReSolve Asset Management

We just love a good debate, and there seems to be quite a heated debate at the moment about the relative utility of passive versus active investing. Perhaps this debate is as timeless as investment management itself, but a flurry of recent studies may have finally armed passive advocates with enough ammunition to settle the argument once and for all.

2015-09-30 00:00:00 Playing the Odds or Trying to Beat the Odds? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Our firm is built around the core principle of always seeking to put the odds on the side of our clients’ investment success. And yet ...

2015-09-30 00:00:00 El Niño Update by Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

Meteorologists have been calling for an El Niño event since last year. Current forecasts place the likelihood of an El Niño this winter at over 90%. Water temperatures in the Pacific, one of the first signs of a looming El Niño, have measured much higher than normal. In fact, water temperatures have been on par with the most severe El Niño event from the past 30 years. This report looks at how an El Niño develops and its possible climate, economic and geopolitical effects on the global economy. As always, we outline the potential investment implications of this event.

2015-09-30 00:00:00 Active Versus Passive – Understanding the Debate – Part 3 by Charles Batchelor of Cleary Gull

Last season, the Green Bay Packers started the season 1-2. Some fans panicked, to put it mildly. Conspiracy theories surfaced for why Green Bay’s quarterback Aaron Rodgers didn’t seem to be playing well and most people formed an opinion on who was to blame. It was at this point, following the team’s second loss, Rodgers found himself being peppered with questions from reporters attempting to figure out what was “wrong” with him and/or the team. Rodgers’ response was, “R…E…L…A…X.”

2015-09-30 00:00:00 Speaker Boehner Readies Final Sellout As Debt Ceiling Debacle Looms by Stefan Gleason of Money Metals Exchange

It's campaign season, and that means non-stop media coverage of candidate polls, quips, gaffes, tweets, emails, controversies, lies, and scandals. It all makes for a good soap opera. Unfortunately, it's almost all irrelevant in the big picture.

2015-09-30 00:00:00 The Economy Surges Higher, But Is It For Real? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today we look at last Friday’s better than expected final report on 2Q GDP, which was revised from 3.7% to 3.9%. Best of all, this increase was largely due to increased consumer spending which accounts for almost 70% of GDP. Following the paltry 0.6% increase in GDP in the 1Q, this means the economy grew by 2.25% in the first half of this year.

2015-09-30 00:00:00 Boston Is The 3rd City To Pass Previous Home Price High-Water Market by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index for July was released this morning and showed that we have a new city that is making all-time house price highs. Boston home prices, which had a 1.1% month-over-month gain and is now 4.29% higher year-over-year, are now 80 bps higher than the peak price in 2005. Boston joins Denver (+22.1% over the peak) and Dallas (+21.3% over the peak) as the only cities out of the 20 cities that S&P/Case-Shiller HPI tracks that have surpassed housing bubble price highs.

2015-09-30 00:00:00 Choose Wisely: Six Tips for Selecting Alternative Managers by Marc Gamsin, Greg Outcalt of AllianceBernstein

Alternative investments have delivered over the long term, but individual strategies can be as different as the day is long. We have some ideas on how to cut through the clutter.

2015-09-30 00:00:00 How to Deal With Continued Volatility by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Investors should expect the current high volatility regime to persist. Russ explains how to contend with the rocky road ahead.

2015-09-30 00:00:00 Faint or Feint?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

“Janet’s faint causes stocks to feint.” Friday began with a surprise Zip-a-Dee-Doo Dah resignation from House Speaker John Boehner, Janet’s soothing words from the night before, some good earnings announcements, higher crude oil and world market prices, a stronger U.S. dollar, all combined with our expected upward revision to 2Q15’s GDP (+3.9%). Most importantly, there were very positive improvements in the entrails of the GDP revision.

2015-09-30 00:00:00 Moving Averages: September Month-End Update by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Valid until the market close on September 30, 2015

The S&P 500 closed September with a monthly loss of 2.64%. All three S&P 500 MAs and four of the five Ivy Portfolio ETF MAs are signaling "Cash". In the table, monthly closes that are within 2% of a signal are highlighted in yellow.

2015-09-29 00:00:00 Consumer Confidence Improved Moderately in September by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The latest Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index was released this morning based on data collected through September 17. The headline number of 103.0 was a slight improvement from the August final reading of 101.3, a downward revision of August's initial 101.5. Today's number was above the forecast of 96.1.

2015-09-29 00:00:00 A Shutdown Would Be Positive by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Sometimes, news really is important. The Pope’s visit to the U.S. was big, but the resignation of House Speaker John Boehner, effective October 30, was huge.

2015-09-29 00:00:00 Annual Outlook by Mary Ellen Stanek of Baird Advisors

In an environment of low rates and heightened uncertainty, the U.S. has experienced sub-par growth during this economic cycle relative to past expansions. But compared to the rest of the world, the U.S. has been a strong performer. And even with only moderate growth, the U.S. economy has experienced healthy job creation – 11 million jobs since the bottom of the recession, 3 million created last year, the highest since 1999, and 2.5 million this year.

2015-09-29 00:00:00 Why Data, Not Lipreading, Hold Key to Liftoff by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

US Investment Strategist Kristina Hooper says that despite the market's confusion over a cacophony of Fed voices, it's critical not to lose confidence in what the Fed has been stating all along: Data will dictate its decision on rates.

2015-09-29 00:00:00 A Call for Quality as Volatility Turns Up the Volume by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Global Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses why volatility is likely to remain elevated, and how investors should manage the risks in their portfolio.

2015-09-29 00:00:00 On My Radar: It’s Déjà vu All Over Again by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

What scares me, or what worries me, is what the next downturn in the economy looks like, with asset prices where they are and a lesser ability of central banks to ease monetary policy.” – Ray Dalio with Bloomberg’s Tom Keene

2015-09-29 00:00:00 The High Yield Market: A Look at Past Recessions by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

The Fed interest rate decision came and went with relatively little market reaction. They pushed out an increase in rates, citing concerns about global economic conditions. Like many, we do share their concerns about the global economy, as we expect that it will result in muted growth here at home (and as we have noted in prior writings over the past several months, we’d expect that muted growth to ultimately result in a very moderate move in rates). But some market participants are voicing concerns that this global weakness will lead to a U.S. recession.

2015-09-29 00:00:00 What’s the Market's Biggest Risk? by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

When meeting with clients throughout the country, investors ask if we are worried about various well-vetted and well-known negatives. The list includes what the Federal Reserve Board might or might not do, China's slowdown, emerging market struggles, plummeting commodities, dollar strength and the uncertainty over who will become President of the U.S. in 2017. We think investors are really asking us, “what’s the market’s biggest risk?”

2015-09-29 00:00:00 In 2015, Volatility from a Phantom Rate Hike by Tony Crescenzi of PIMCO

Many investors are familiar with the adage, “they don’t ring a bell,” to warn when it is time to get in or out of an investment. Well, sometimes they do, or so the famed scientist Ivan Pavlov would likely contend. The physiologist trained dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell, having conditioned them to associate the bell with the delivery of food. Pavlov discovered that he didn’t actually have to deliver the food to get the canines to salivate in anticipation.

2015-09-29 00:00:00 Home Price Rose 5% Year-over-Year in July; Growth is Mostly in the West by Doug Short (Article)

With this morning's release of the July S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price we learned that seasonally adjusted home prices for the benchmark 20-city index were down fractionally month over month for the third consecutive month at -0.2%. However, the year-over-year change has hovered between 4.9% and 5% for six months. Price growth, we're told, is mostly in the west.

2015-09-29 00:00:00 Moving Averages: Month-End Preview by Jill Mislinksi (Article)

Here is an advance preview of the monthly moving averages we track after the close of the last business day of the month. At this point, before the open on the last day of the month, all three S&P 500 strategies are signaling "cash" -- unchanged from last month's signals. Four of the five Ivy Portfolio ETFs - Vanguard REIT Index ETF (VNQ), PowerShares DB Commodity Index Tracking (DBC), and Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF (VEU), and Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI) - are signaling "cash", identical to last month's quadruple cash signal.

2015-09-29 00:00:00 Intuit Small Business Index: Remains Stagnant 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.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Weekly Gasoline Price Update: Regular and Premium Essentially Unchanged, WTIC Down 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 remained the same and Premium went down by one cent. WTIC went down from last week to $44.43, a $2.53 decrease from the previous week. According to, California has the highest average price for Regular at $2.98 with Los Angeles averaging $3.12. South Carolina has the cheapest at $1.95.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Credit Markets' Undeniable Signal by (Article)

In this latest video update, Jenna Barnard, CFA, Co-Head of Retail Fixed Income, provides an update on the signals from credit markets, both in high yield and investment grade. With much of the media focused on if and when the US Federal Reserve will begin raising rates, an important phenomenon has gone unnoticed – the bear market and credit spreads in bond markets.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Staley Cates on Why Active Management Wins in the Long Term by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Staley Cates is president and chief investment officer of Southeastern Asset Management, manager of the Longleaf funds. In this interview, he says, “the passive movement is not just a big trend. It is a bubble.” He explains why passive investing has made it hard for value investors to outperform.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 The ABCs of Impact Investing by John Appleby (Article)

Impact investing is a small but growing segment of the financial landscape. It is coming to the fore as individual investors seek to “do good while doing good.” Groups from wealthy entrepreneurs to the G8, the UN and the Pope are talking about the subject. Here’s what advisors need to know if they want to serve clients who strive for “impact” with their investing.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Helping Wholesalers Sell Effectively by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Wholesalers are supposed to be product pushers. Lately our firm is making us learn skills to build better relationships. How can I push back professionally on this idea? Spending time learning something that isn’t going to help me is a waste.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 The DOL’s Fiduciary Rule: What We Can Learn from the U.K. by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

The DOL’s proposed fiduciary rule has led to a furious debate over whether low- and middle-income Americans will be deprived of financial advice. Three years ago the U.K. made similar changes affecting the delivery of financial advice, and those changes were studied in detail. I’ll assess what we can learn from the British studies and give my views on additional steps the U.S. should take to improve financial outcomes.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Valuations Not Only Mean-Revert; They Mean-Invert by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Risk-seeking among investors can often defer the immediate consequences of extreme valuations, while vertical losses can suddenly emerge when extreme overvaluation is joined by increasing risk-aversion among investors (as evidenced by deterioration in broad market internals). In any event, investors should expect market overvaluation or undervaluation to be reliably “worked off” within a period of about 12 years, on average.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Discount Fallout by (Article)

Persistent wide discounts have led to fewer new closed-end fund launches, among other trends, says Cara Esser of Morningstar.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Strengthen Your Core by Scott DiMaggio, Alison Martier of AllianceBernstein

Core bond investors tend to have a strong “home bias.” But our research shows that global bonds have offered comparable historical returns and considerably lower volatility than local markets over the long term. In addition, a global approach offers protection when local rates climb.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 The PCE Price Index Remain Below Target by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The Personal Income and Outlays report for August was published this morning by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The latest Headline PCE price index year-over-year (YoY) rate is 0.33%, up fractionally from a revised 0.31% the previous month. The latest Core PCE index (less Food and Energy) at 1.31% is little changed from the previous month's 1.25% YoY.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Nearing Normalization / Shutdown Shuffle – Part 2 by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Fed Chair Janet Yellen downplayed concerns about the rest of the world and indicated that she was among the majority of Fed officials expected to raise short-term interest rates this year. Meanwhile, while John Boehner’s resignation as House Speaker may signal an agreement on the budget, Congress has moved further away from future compromise.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Two Measures of Inflation and Fed Policy by Doug Short (Article)

The BEA's Personal Consumption Expenditures Chain-type Price Index for August shows core inflation below the Federal Reserve's 2% long-term target at 1.31%. The latest Core Consumer Price Index release, also data through August, is higher at 1.83%. The Fed is on record as using Core PCE data for its primary inflation gauge.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Is China “Fixed”? Short Answer: Financial Markets Say No by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

The rally in stocks off of the August low has in some respects alleviated worst case fears about the fate of the Chinese economy. After all, in hindsight it is pretty clear that the selloff was driven by a simultaneous rerating of Chinese growth expectations by market participants combined with the possibility of higher short rates in the US to boot. These fears resulted in vast under performance of growth sensitive asset prices throughout the correction and then a sharp rally in those assets in the days following its terminus.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 The Hidden Cost of Zero Interest Rate Policies by Laurence B. Siegel and Thomas S. Coleman (Article)

Zero interest rates are a massive transfer of wealth from investors and savers to governments and other borrowers around the world. We’ll show how big the scale of the transfer is.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 How Charity Leadership Deepens Client Bonds by Dan Richards (Article)

Many advisors volunteer in their communities, quietly and anonymously as a matter of personal choice. But recent conversations with advisors show that over a period of time, letting clients know about your involvement with the right charity sends a hugely positive message that deepens bonds.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Will global weakness drag down the U.S. economy? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

The recent Fed non-decision on interest rates increased worries about global economic weakness. Trading in commodity markets underscores a widespread perception of a potential recession. The week ahead is packed with fresh economic data, including the most important reports. The punditry will be asking: Will the U.S. economy succumb to global weakness?

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Describing Liquid Alts: Global Macro and Tactical Asset-Allocation Strategies by Michael Breitenbach of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

Several types of strategy groups invest across multiple asset classes, dynamically adjusting relative exposures at the discretion of the manager. Two commonly offered dynamic asset-allocation strategies are tactical and global macro.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Cars, Drugs and Risk by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

Last week, two company stories showed that markets are not always about GDP, growth, inflation and macro economic indicators people (including us) like to talk about. First, Volkswagen (mission statement “…to offer… safe and environmentally sound vehicles”) admitted that well, yes, it had duped emission testers with some clever software. VW employs half a million people and accounts for 4% of the German stock market.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Equities May Remain Trendless Until More Clarity Emerges by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Sentiment was negative for most of last week, as investors focused on continued uncertainty over Federal Reserve policy, slowing growth in China and emerging markets and ongoing weakness in commodities. Stock prices bounced on Friday following comments from Fed Chair Janet Yellen that a rate increase was looking more likely in 2015. Nevertheless, equities finished in negative territory, with the S&P 500 Index falling 1.4%. The health care, materials and industrials sectors came under pressure, while utilities, consumer staples and financials finished higher.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Private Sector and Investors Have a Role in Promoting the Sustainable Development Goals by John Streur of Calvert Investments

With more than 150 world leaders expected to attend this weekend’s United Nations Sustainable Development Summit, including President Barack Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Pope Francis, it is clear that we have achieved a new level of global commitment to a sustainable development agenda.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 The Sino-American Codependency Trap by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

Trapped in the dynamic of codependency, the US-China relationship has become fraught with friction and finger pointing. Indeed, the just-concluded summit between Barack Obama and Xi Jinping did little to dispel the possibility of a painful rupture in bilateral ties.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Regional Fed Manufacturing Overview: September by Jill Mislinski (Article)

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

2015-09-28 00:00:00 The ‘It’s Not You, It’s Me’ Lesson for Advisors by Dan Solin (Article)

In a classic Seinfeld episode, George attempts to end a relationship by telling his partner, “It’s not you; it’s me.” George thinks he invented that phrase, but the concept of whether to focus on yourself or the other person has been the subject of academic research, and those findings carry an important lesson for advisors.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 The Big Four Economic Indicators: Real Personal Income for August by Doug Short (Article)

Personal Income (excluding Transfer Receipts) in August rose 0.35% and is up 4.1% year-over-year. When we adjust for inflation using the BEA's PCE Price Index, Real Personal Income (excluding Transfer Receipts) rose 0.34%. The real number is up 3.77% year-over-year. Real PI less TR is one of those indicators that warrants adjustment for population growth to understand the long-term trends.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 August Pending Home Sales Down, But Remain at Healthy Level by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Earlier today the National Association of Realtors released the August data for their Pending Home Sales Index. "Pending home sales retreated in August but remained at a healthy level of activity and have now risen year-over-year for 12 consecutive months, according to the National Association of Realtors®. A modest increase in the West was offset by declines in all other regions."

2015-09-28 00:00:00 August Real Disposable Income Per Capita Rose 0.31% by Doug Short (Article)

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

The August nominal 0.28% month-over-month increase in disposable income remains unchanged when we adjust for inflation. The year-over-year metrics are 2.83% nominal and 2.49% real.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Dallas Fed Manufacturing Outlook Remains Weak by Jill Mislinski (Article)

This morning we got the most recent Dallas Fed Manufacturing Outlook. The latest index came in at -9.5, a 6 point increase from last month's -15.8. The forecast was for a reading of -9.5.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Exploiting Market Inefficiencies by (Article)

While relatively more volatile than some of our other products and larger-cap peers, Bill Hench attempts to manage risk in his fund by utilizing four distinct investment themes that each focus, first and foremost, on valuation and a company's ability to turn around its business.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 FlexShares Quality Dividend Suite by Shundrawn Thomas, Head of Funds and Managed Accounts Group, Northern Trust (Article)

See how FlexShares addresses investors’ search for income through its Quality Dividend Suite.

2015-09-28 00:00:00 Fed Bolsters Investment Grade Bond Issuance by Jacob Habibi, Mike Hyman, Matt Brill of Invesco Blog

Barring an external shock that sends global risk assets lower, the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) decision to keep interest rates unchanged while lowering its projected pace of future rate hikes is likely to support a continuation of the heavy pace of new corporate bond issuance and merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the US investment grade (IG) market.

2015-09-26 00:00:00 Rebuilding the Asylum System by George Soros of Project Syndicate

European leaders emerged from yet another summit this week, having made only modest progress towards definitively addressing a refugee crisis that has caused enormous human suffering and shaken the EU to its core. The time for partial measures is long past; a comprehensive plan is needed.

2015-09-26 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review: The Commodity Super-Cycle Explained, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

Despite recent financial turmoil, no one has provided a concise explanation of the commodity super-cycle, one of the primary macro-economic forces causing recent volatility. That is, until now. In a September 21 speech, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz offered the following explanation:”

2015-09-26 00:00:00 Balloons in Search of Needles by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

It would be hard to miss an analogy to the stock market. Everything’s peaceful and calm, you’re drinking some fabulous wine, eating some fantastic fresh game and fish, looking at all the beautiful animals as you drift easily with the current. Anybody can steer the boat in a bull market. Until the rapids hit and the bottom falls out.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Staying Level-Headed in the Face of Fed Uncertainty by John Calamos, Sr. of Calamos Investments

As we know, uncertainty about the Fed’s plans for raising short-term rates remains a key driver of market volatility. It’s understandable that investors are afraid to be in the markets and at the same time, afraid to be out. Whenever rates do rise (probably before the end of the year), there’s every reason to expect continued heightened equity market volatility. Even so, I view a more normal interest-rate environment as long-term positive—for the economy and for the equity market.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Developed Europe: Economy Trends Update July 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

Euro-zone Sustains Recovery on the Back of Robust Growth in Italy, Export Surge in Germany

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Bear Market Coming? Bear Market Here? by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

If your strategy involves taking defensive action around a breach of the 200 day moving average (DMA) you probably should have taken some action by now as the S&P 500 has been below that trend line for about a month.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 What's Ahead For Interest Rates? by Steve Rumsey of Optimus Advisory Group

Why is the Fed still hesitating to raise rates? Here are some possible answers

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Goals-Based Asset Allocation in an Era of Financial Repression by Thomas Shively of Eaton Vance

Goals-based asset allocation seeks to align our total portfolio, including financial and nonfinancial assets, with our personal goals and our human way of thinking about risk.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 How TARP Created Trump by Brian Wesbury of First Trust Advisors

Back in 2008, rather than fix mark-to-market accounting, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulsen, Federal Reserve Board Chair Ben Bernanke, and other members of the financial market crisis team, chose to use a government-funded bazooka. A $700 billion bank bailout named The Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Stop and Savor by Michael Kayes of Willingdon Wealth Management

Pausing, amidst any difficult journey, can lead to a new perspective, and just the potential for a new perspective, is a hopeful thought. So, let’s pause and savor, for a moment, the potential...

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Mutually Inclusive by Fred Ingham, Ian Haas, of Neuberger Berman

A quiet revolution is happening in hedge funds. Investors continue to allocate to the asset class, but the way they are allocating is changing, while its investor base is growing broader and becoming more inclusive.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 In Search of the Phillips Curve by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Macroeconomics students spend a good bit of class time learning about the Phillips curve, and it is probably etched permanently in their minds. The Phillips curve suggests that there is an inverse relationship between inflation and unemployment in the short run.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 How NOT to Wipe Out with Momentum by Chris Brightman, Vitali Kalesnik, Engin Kose of Research Affiliates

Enabled by modern technology, investors can now enhance a pure value strategy by using momentum to improve timing, measuring quality to avoid value traps, and diversifying active bets into less efficiently priced small stocks.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

The first drop in equities was more than a month ago, yet price has not come within even 2% of the original low since then. Despite this, bearish sentiment continues to rise as if new lows were being formed. This is a strong positive. The infamous month of October arrives this week: volatility is likely to remain high, but our view is the risk/reward of buying sell-offs is very attractive on a year-end basis.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Michigan Consumer Sentiment: Up Slightly from Preliminary Reading by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The University of Michigan Final Consumer Sentiment for September came in at 87.2, an increase from the 85.7 Preliminary reading. had forecast 86.7 for the September Final.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Visit to Cradle of Innovation and Entrepreneurship by Rahul Gupta of Matthews Asia

There is a lot of optimism around Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the San Francisco Bay Area, and rightly so. India is expected to add more than 100 million employable workforce to the global labor pool in the next decade. The country needs to find many engines of growth to provide employment opportunities to its population. Mr. Modi understands this very well—hence his slogan “Make in India.” The Prime Minister shown his acumen in understanding productivity the technology industry can unleash, and his upcoming visit to Silicon Valley’s cradle of innovation and entrepr

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Are the Bulls Regaining Their Footing? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

Uncertainty surrounding the Federal Reserve continues after its punt of rate hikes at its most recent meeting. But as the market gets more clarity on monetary policy and given a still-growing US economy, the bull market should slowly reestablish itself, albeit with bouts of volatility. Further support should come from global growth in areas that are net beneficiaries of the plunge in commodity prices.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 How Will These Leaders of 4 Billion People Change the World? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This week the U.S. played host to three prominent and illustrious leaders to billions of people: Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pope Francis. Among them, they lead—either politically or spiritually—nearly 4 billion people worldwide, more than half of everyone living on the planet right now.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Market Cap to GDP: The Buffett Valuation Indicator Hovers in Levitation Mode by Doug Short (Article)

With today's release of the Third Estimate for Q2 GDP, we now have an updated look at the popular "Buffett Indicator" -- the ratio of corporate equities to GDP. The indicator has been hovering just over 2 standard deviations above its mean. The current reading is 123.6%, which is off its 126.8% interim high in Q1 of this year.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Vehicle Miles Traveled: A New Look at Our Evolving Behavior by Doug Short (Article)

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

"Travel on all roads and streets changed by 4.2% (11.4 billion vehicle miles) for July 2015 as compared with July 2014." The less volatile 12-month moving average is up 0.37% month-over-month and 3.16% year-over-year. If we factor in population growth, the 12-month MA of the civilian population-adjusted data (age 16-and-over) is a smaller change, up 0.28% month-over-month and up only 1.98% year-over-year.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Visualizing GDP: A Closer Look Inside the Q2 Third Estimate by Doug Short (Article)

The chart below is a way to visualize real GDP change since 2007. It uses a stacked column chart to segment the four major components of GDP with a dashed line overlay to show the sum of the four, which is real GDP itself. Here is the latest overview from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Q2 GDP Third Estimate at 3.9%, An Upward Adjustment from 3.7% by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The Third Estimate for Q2 GDP, to one decimal, came in at 3.9 percent, an increase from the 3.7 percent Second Estimate. Today's number was slightly better than most mainstream estimates, with and both expecting no change.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Q2 GDP Per Capita at 3.2% for Third Estimate by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The Second Estimate for Q2 GDP, to one decimal, came in at 3.9 percent, up from the 3.7 percent of the Second Estimate. But with a per-capita adjustment, the data series is currently at 3.2 percent (3.22 percent to two decimal places). The 10-year moving average illustrates that US economic growth has slowed dramatically since the last recession.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Gliding Along Better with Bond Diversifiers by Daniel Loewy, Christopher Nikolich of AllianceBernstein

Will the Fed start raising interest rates in October, December or next year? It should make no difference to building a successful target-date glide path for the next decade and beyond.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 The Case for Credit by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

Three reasons why the outlook for developed credit markets remains constructive.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 NYSE Margin Debt Declines Again In August by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Margin debt declined by nearly $14 billion in August bringing the two-month decline to $31.5 billion. This is the largest two-month decline since, you guessed it, September 2011. Margin debt is now approximately $34 billion off the high made in April.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Yes, and No by John Canally of LPL Financial

The title of this commentary is our answer to the question: Does the Fed know something we don’t know? Many market participants and pundits were asking this question late last week after the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) policymaking arm, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), decided not to raise interest rates at the conclusion of its two-day policy meeting on Thursday, September 17, 2015. Market participants were asking the question although they had priced in just a 30% chance of a rate hike prior to the meeting.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 Chart of the Week: Chinese Construction & Land Acquisition Falling by Joseph Taylor of Loomis Sayles

Over the last 10 years, the Chinese economy was drugged into growth through excessive amounts of investment. At its peak, capital expenditure made up 48% of GDP, an unprecedented level, and in my view, represented a massive misallocation of capital. Slowing levels of investment (mostly construction) have driven declines in related areas, including commodities, machinery and cement production.

2015-09-25 00:00:00 China, Commodities, and Crisis: What’s Next for Emerging Markets by Zachary Karabell of Envestnet

China’s growth story fueled global markets for years, and the recent market rout raises concerns that the spigot may be tapping out. But is it really? Emerging markets, currently out of favor with investors, are showing signs of domestic economic growth driven by an expanding middle class. Could these economies, along with China, re-emerge as bright spots in the global markets?

2015-09-24 00:00:00 Chicago Fed: Economic Growth Slowed in August by Jill Mislinski (Article)

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

2015-09-24 00:00:00 August Durable Goods: Down 2%, Core Goods Flat at 0.0% by Doug Short (Article)

The Advance Report on Manufacturers’ Shipments, Inventories and Orders released today gives us a first look at the August durable goods numbers. The latest new orders headline number at -2.0 percent was spot on the estimate. This series is down -2.3 percent year-over-year (YoY). If we exclude transportation, "core" durable goods came in at 0.0 percent month-over-month (MoM), a tick below the estimate of 0.1 percent. However, the core measure is down -3.9 percent YoY.

2015-09-24 00:00:00 The "Real" Goods on the August Durable Goods Data by Doug Short (Article)

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

2015-09-24 00:00:00 Gasoline Volume Sales and our Changing Culture by Doug Short (Article)

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

2015-09-24 00:00:00 It’s Not Easy by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital Management

In 2011, as I was putting the finishing touches on my book The Most Important Thing, I was fortunate to have one of my occasional lunches with Charlie Munger. As it ended and I got up to go, he said something about investing that I keep going back to: “It’s not supposed to be easy. Anyone who finds it easy is stupid.”

2015-09-24 00:00:00 Understanding the CFNAI Components by Jill Mislinksi (Article)

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

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

2015-09-24 00:00:00 New Home Sales at Interim High of 552K by Doug Short (Article)

This morning's release of the August New Home Sales from the Census Bureau at 552K surprised general expectations, and the previous month was revised upward by 15K. The forecast was for 515K.

2015-09-24 00:00:00 Kansas City Fed Survey: Manufacturing Declined Moderately in September by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Survey business conditions indicator measures activity in the following states: Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wyoming, western Missouri, and northern New Mexico. The latest index came in at -8, which indicates slowing activity. Here is a snapshot of the complete Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Survey. The three-month moving average, which helps us visualize trends, is at its lowest level since mid-2009.

2015-09-24 00:00:00 Saved by Zero? by Bill Gross of Janus Capital Group

So the Fed has chosen to hold off on their goal of normalizing interest rates and the ECB has countered with the threat of extending their scheduled QE with more checks and more negative interest rates and the investment community wonders how long can this keep goin’ on. For a long time I suppose, as evidenced by history at least.

2015-09-24 00:00:00 The Bear Case: "Before And After" by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

While our gut instincts and quantitative disciplines aren’t always in agreement, that conflict doesn’t exist today. The evidence comes down decisively in the “bear market” camp. The action leading up to the S&P 500 bull market high of May 21st traced out a “textbook” top in many ways.

2015-09-24 00:00:00 One Year, Three Lessons by David Katz of Larch Lane Advisors

As the category of liquid alts funds has exploded this year with numerous launches, there has been a healthy dose of skepticism about the products and the true ability to perform well in down markets. The following article from David Katz, who is President and COO of Larch Lane Advisors LLC, which is a leader in early stage hedge fund investing. The firm formed a joint venture with Rothschild Asset Management to manage the Rothschild Larch Lane Alternatives Fund.

2015-09-24 00:00:00 Is Another Bear Market Ahead? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ updates his outlook for U.S. stocks in 2015 and beyond.

2015-09-24 00:00:00 The Liquidity Crunch—It’s About Supply and Demand by Douglas Peebles, Ashish Shah of AllianceBernstein

Investors fear that new banking regulations are drying up bond market liquidity. But this overlooks several market trends that are making the liquidity situation worse and that could deepen—or even trigger—the next financial crisis.

2015-09-24 00:00:00 Deja Vu All Over Again for the Stock Market Correction? by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

In remembering the late, great Yogi Berra, we can’t help but associate one of our all time favorite Berraisms with the current stock market environment as compared with that of late 2011. From our perspective it looks and feels like deja vu all over again. Most of our readers probably vividly remember the panic that ensued over the 2011 government shut down and the then large negative revision to US GDP that sent US stocks down nearly 20% in a waterfall type decline.

2015-09-24 00:00:00 Thank Serendipity, but Don’t Depend on It by Glenn Dial of Allianz Global Investors

Many Americans caught a lucky break when it came to retirement preparation, but they can't afford to be complacent.

2015-09-24 00:00:00 Fed Implications by Burt White of LPL Financial

The Federal Reserve’s (Fed) decision not to raise interest rates at its September 17 policy meeting was undoubtedly the biggest event of last week. Although not a big surprise, besides Donald Trump (and perhaps China), the Fed is all that anyone is talking about these days. This week we share some of our perspective on what the Fed’s decision may mean for the stock market and offer some investment ideas.

2015-09-24 00:00:00 Global Economic Forecast: An Inflection Point, Not a Turning Point by Andrew Pease of Russell Investments

Andrew Pease delves into Russell’s global economic forecast for the coming quarter.

2015-09-24 00:00:00 Reaction to Fed Announcement: A Shift to High Quality by (Article)

In this latest video update, Michelle Picard, CFA, Portfolio Manager, provides an outlook on the remainder of the year and notes she was not surprised by the Fed's decision to leave interest rates unchanged. She still believes that the Fed will increase rates before year end. With a US interest rates hike on the horizon, an increase in market volatility and slow growth, Picard explains why she believes we are entering a high quality market.

2015-09-23 00:00:00 Median Home Price and Salary Required in 27 Major Cities by Doug Short (Article)

Tim Manni, the Managing Editor at, features a periodic update entitled "The Salary You Must Earn to Buy a Home in 27 Metros". The key question is:

"How much salary do you need to earn in order to afford the principal and interest payments on a median-priced home in your metro area?"

2015-09-23 00:00:00 Median Household Income Growth: Deflating the American Dream by Doug Short (Article)

What is the single best indicator of the American Dream? Many would point to household income growth. The Census Bureau has now published some selected annual household income data in a new report: "Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014". Last year the median (middle) household income was $53,657 — a 0.13% year-over-year increase that shrinks to -1.48% when adjusted for inflation. Let's put the new release into a larger historical context.

2015-09-23 00:00:00 Brace Yourself: Our Latest Look at Student Debt by Doug Short (Article)

College Tuition and Fees constitute one of the biggest threats to our economic outlook. Here is a chart of data from the relevant Consumer Price Index sub-component reaching back to 1978, the earliest year Uncle Sam provides a breakout for College Tuition and Fees. As an interesting sidebar, we've thrown in the increase in the cost of purchasing a new car as well as the more substantial increase for the broader category of medical care, both of which pale in comparison.

2015-09-23 00:00:00 Shake Portfolios up after a Market Shakedown by Dr. Brian Jacobsen, John Manley of Wells Fargo Asset Management

Dr. Brian Jacobsen, CFA, and John Manley, CFA look at the history of previous corrections to determine what cap sizes, styles, and sectors performed best in the medium to long term after a correction.

2015-09-23 00:00:00 With the Fed Holding, an Opportunity to Make Moves by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Global Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses how the recent selloff has made some parts of the market look attractive.

2015-09-23 00:00:00 Does a Quarter Point Really Matter? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Actually, on at least one aspect of the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) seemingly inevitable move to hike interest rates, there is considerable agreement: The first 0.25%, or 0.50%, or even 0.75% move(s) in the federal funds rate will not make a material difference to US and global economies.

2015-09-23 00:00:00 Government Taxi Bubble Causes Credit Union Failure by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Since the financial crisis, we have been inundated with the idea that the private sector is to blame for the misery that has befallen the American public. Countless politicians have appeared on TV or hit the campaign trail and the message is always the same; greed caused the great recession and the only solution is to trust the government more. Very seldom do we hear that government might have helped cause the housing bubble and the bank failures that resulted.

2015-09-23 00:00:00 On The Fed, Deflation, Government Shutdown & The Moon by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Once again this week, we touch on a variety of topics that piqued my interest over the last week. We begin with some further analysis of the Fed’s controversial decision to hold interest rates near zero last Thursday.

2015-09-23 00:00:00 Sticking with Equities when Volatility Strikes by Kent Hargis, Chris Marx, Sammy Suzuki of AllianceBernstein

Does recent market turbulence increase the chances of higher volatility in the months ahead? Our research says yes. But don’t ditch an allocation to equities—instead think about how to stay invested while reducing risk.

2015-09-23 00:00:00 Balancing Risks and Opportunities in the Multi-Speed World by Richard Clarida, Andrew Balls of PIMCO

Read our global economic outlook for the near term and implications for asset classes.

2015-09-23 00:00:00 Designing the Common Stock Portion of Your Retirement Portfolio: Concentrated or Diversified Part 3 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Designing the common stock portion of your retirement portfolio is very challenging. For starters, there is no absolutely perfect or even best way to design a stock portfolio. However, there are many effective strategies that have produced successful long-term results. The key to success is to find and implement the strategy that best fits your own unique goals, objectives, needs, and most importantly - risk tolerances.

2015-09-23 00:00:00 Logical Song: What to Make of Record Buybacks by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

A common question I’ve been getting at client events lately is about stock buybacks and the effect they’re having on earnings-per-share (EPS); as well as what they say about the economy overall and investor/business psychology.

2015-09-22 00:00:00 FHFA House Price Index Up 0.6% in July 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 July, up 0.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous month. Year-over-year the index is up 5.7% (nonseasonally adjusted). had forecast a 0.4 percent MoM increase.

2015-09-22 00:00:00 Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Slowed in September by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Today the Richmond Fed Manufacturing Composite Index dropped 5 points -5 from last month's 0. had forecast an increase to 4. Because of the highly volatile nature of this index, we include a 3-month moving average to facilitate the identification of trends, now at 2.5, still indicating expansion.

2015-09-22 00:00:00 Median Household Purchasing Power for the 50 States and DC by Doug Short (Article)

Last week we posted an update on the median household income by the 50 states and DC based on the Current Population Survey, a joint undertaking of the Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics, which includes annual data from 1984 to 2014. Let's now look at the actual purchasing power of those median incomes. For this adjustment we're using the "C2ER Cost of Living Index" produced by C2ER, the Council for Community and Economic Research.

2015-09-22 00:00:00 Middle-East / Africa: Economy Trends Update: July 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

During the second quarter and July, the countries under our coverage in the Middle East and Africa region continued to battle global macroeconomic problems and, in some cases, hurdles specific to their own economies. The largest among these countries, resource-rich South Africa, struggled to boost growth amid the downturn in the global commodities market and a power shortage at home.

2015-09-22 00:00:00 On My Radar: “Dammit Janet” by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Whatever you can do, or dream you can… begin it; boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

2015-09-22 00:00:00 The Uber-Dove vs Black Swans by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

You couldn’t have missed it. Only stages full of GOP presidential candidates or the Super Bowl have ever had more media attention. Yes, we are talking about the Federal Reserve’s thundering announcement on Thursday – of nothing. The Fed decided to keep interest rates at zero, for at least the next few months, after holding them near zero for over six years.

2015-09-22 00:00:00 Activate Your Portfolio by Edward Perkin of Eaton Vance

As the bull market ages and bouts of extreme volatility return, now may be the time for actively managed equity strategies.

2015-09-22 00:00:00 The Unique Benefits of Mortgage-Backed Securities by Jason Mandinach of PIMCO

MBS have potential to outperform U.S. Treasuries with high liquidity and low correlation to risk assets.

2015-09-22 00:00:00 Meet Jeremy Corbyn by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

On September 12, Jeremy Corbyn, a longtime Member of Parliament, was elected as the new leader of the UK’s Labour Party. In this report, we begin with a short biography of Corbyn followed by a description of how he won his party’s leadership role. With this background, we explore Corbyn’s long held policy positions and their potential impact on UK policy. We offer our reflections on Corbyn’s win, including an examination within the context of other political developments in the West. As always, we conclude with potential market ramifications.

2015-09-22 00:00:00 US High Yield: Energy Is Lagging, but Consumers Are Set to Spend by Scott Roberts and Rahim Shad of Invesco Blog

Weak commodity prices have made this year’s US high yield story a “tale of two markets.” Year-to-date returns for the overall high yield market were a meager three basis points (0.03%) through Aug. 31. However, if you peel back energy and metals and mining, the rest of the asset class delivered a respectable 2.6% total return over the same period.

2015-09-22 00:00:00 Equity Funds: What You Should Know about Flows by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Current trends support the notion that U.S. stock valuations are far from overstretched. Prices up, prices down—the trends in mutual fund flows seem to continue unaltered. Money flows out of domestic U.S. equities and into foreign equities, hybrid funds, and bonds, regardless of how low yields fall or how well or poorly the stock market does.

2015-09-22 00:00:00 Are we About to see a Big Time Rally in the Long Bond? by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

During this cycle the positioning of commercial traders (the smart money) has been a crystal ball for players in the treasury market. Every peak in long bond rates since 2010 has been associated with commercial traders net long options and futures contracts on said instrument. At a net long positioning of about 34,000 contracts, the commercials are the most long the long bond since the end of 2013 before the 30-year treasury bond yield fell from 4% to about 2.2% over the course of 13 months.

2015-09-22 00:00:00 Clean Power Plan: Lights Out for Coal? by John Kohli of Franklin Templeton Investments

As investors, we have found that in general, the most forward-looking utilities have already started reducing emissions by using less coal power and more sources of renewable energy.

2015-09-22 00:00:00 Market Segments to Consider While the Fed Holds by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

After last week’s Fed news, investors may want to review their exposure to these two market segments.

2015-09-22 00:00:00 Go Opposite to Hysteria by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Going against the panic plunge of August 24th was pretty easy, especially if you heeded the market’s warning message in early July that Mr. Market was going into a period of contraction. The ensuing post August 24th “throwback rally” was also pretty easy to anticipate. From there, however, things have become much more difficult.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 Existing-Home Sales Dip in August by Jill Mislinski (Article)

This morning's release of the August Existing-Home Sales shows a dip after three consecutive months of gains to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.31 million units from a slight downward revision of 5.58 million in July (previously 5.59 million). The consensus was for 5.51 million. The latest number represents a 4.8% decrease from the previous month and a 6.2% increase year-over-year.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review For Sept. 14-18; Weak 3Q Numbers On the Horizon, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The U.S.’ immunity to international economic weakness continues. In their latest policy statement, the Fed once again described U.S. growth as “moderate.” With the exception of industrial production, this week’s economic releases confirm that assessment.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Has the Fed Assumed a Third Mandate? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

Despite many signs of economic improvement, the Fed chose to maintain policy accommodation at emergency levels. In a week that is light on data and long on speeches, this news will be enough to keep Fed policy at the forefront.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 Describing Liquid Alts: Arbitrage strategies by Michael Breitenbach of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

Arbitrage strategies attempt to take advantage of price discrepancies between related securities by offsetting long and short positions in economically linked instruments. Merger arbitrage, for example, typically entails buying the stock of a takeover candidate and shorting the acquiring company.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 Refugees and Reform in Europe by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

Europe’s refugee crisis is a historic challenge that offers historic opportunities. The question is whether Europe’s politicians – who have failed to deliver on far less complicated issues over which they had a lot more control – can seize the moment.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 When an Easy Fed Doesn't Help Stocks (and When It Does) by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Investors who wonder why the stock market failed to advance on the Fed’s decision to leave interest rates unchanged would do well to understand that the market is following a script that has played out repeatedly across a century of market history. The short explanation is straightforward. When investors are risk-seeking (which we infer from the behavior of market internals), Fed easing tends to be very favorable for the stock market, because risk-free, low-interest liquidity is a hot potato to risk-seeking speculators.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 No rate change. Now what? by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

It is rarely a good moment when the Fed makes the Today show. It’s usually too esoteric a subject first thing in the morning. Most people, including us, thought they would raise rates for the first time since June 2006 by around 25bp. They did not. Here’s why and, more important, what it means for your investments.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 Federal Reserve Kicks the Can on Interest Rates by Christopher Molumphy of Franklin Templeton Investments

We were a little disappointed the Fed didn’t take action, primarily because we think the longer the Fed stays on hold the longer we will have uncertainty in the marketplace.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 Rising Rates Got You Down? by Scott DiMaggio, Alison Martier of AllianceBernstein

The Fed may have left well enough alone for now, but in our view it won’t leave the pot to simmer much longer. US interest rates are going to rise, almost surely before the year is out. Thankfully, diverging interest-rate cycles around the globe offer hope—and opportunity—for US investors.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 Do Your Marketing Materials Pass the 10-Second Test? by Dan Richards (Article)

A conversation with a successful advisor highlighted the biggest pothole in developing marketing materials; whether a brochure, a website or a presentation to prospects, focusing on similarities rather than differences will make you fail to stand out.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 Nearing Normalization / Shutdown Shuffle by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The key line that was added to the Fed’s policy statement suggests a sharper focus on what’s happening in the rest of the world, but let’s be clear. The Fed is not reacting to overseas developments per se, but to what shifting global economic and financial conditions mean for the U.S. economy. In focusing on the Fed’s decision to delay policy normalization, investors have ignored the increased risk of a government shutdown.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 Communication Lessons from Donald Trump by Dan Solin (Article)

In a previous article, I discussed the lessons that advisors could learn from the non-verbal behavior of Donald Trump. Today, I will examine his communication skills and ways advisors can benefit from emulating them.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 How to Answer the Question “Whom Do I Serve?” by Kristen Luke (Article)

To solve the problem of not clearly defining the clients you work with, I use a Client Profile Worksheet. This tool will organize and answer two key questions: Whom are you going to serve, and what are their financial needs and concerns? In other words, which clients do you really want to help?

2015-09-21 00:00:00 A Disaster-Preparedness Checklist by Teresa Riccobuono (Article)

Whether man-made or an act of nature, all businesses should be prepared for the unexpected. Here is a list of tips to consider to be sure you, your employees, your business and your clients are prepared and protected.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 Applying the Sales Effectiveness Model to Your Firm by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Over the years I have had the chance to work with countless financial advisory firms to help them increase their growth. While most do not want to “sell,” they would like additional assets coming in the door! This week’s column gives a peek into the assessment process I use.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 Long Duration Muni Bond CEFs by (Article)

Long duration municipal bond closed-end funds may be worth considering for your income portfolio, says Mike Taggart of Nuveen Investments.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 Equities Fall After the Fed Fails to Raise Rates by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities were little changed last week, with the S&P 500 declining 0.1%. Stocks posted gains early in the week before falling on Thursday and Friday after the Federal Reserve announced it would hold rates steady. For the week, utilities, consumer staples and health care outperformed, while materials, telecommunications and financials came under pressure.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 How to Generate Alpha without Selecting Superior Funds by Bob Veres (Article)

In Part I of my series on active investment management, I described two types of research that attempted to help advisors uncover above-average talent: identifying conditions where you are more likely to find outperformers, and better ways to identify above-average managers. As it turns out, there’s a third possibility. Instead of identifying superior funds, you identify superior combinations of funds – which, of course, includes a fund-selection process, but then takes it one step further.

2015-09-21 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

2015-09-19 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review For Sep. 14-18; Asian Slowdown, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

Analysts’ recent adjustments lowering global growth projections are in line with recent events; China’s economy continues slowing. This lowers commodity prices, which decreases economic growth of commodity exporting countries. Hence, the primary causation of Australia’s below trend growth and Japan’s weaker economic performance. The US is somewhat immune; Chinese trade accounts for a fraction of US GDP, limiting the impact. The EU is a bit more exposed, due to their increased reliance on trade.

2015-09-19 00:00:00 Here Are Two Ways Investors Can Take Advantage of the Fed's Uncertainty by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Although interest rates could still be hiked in one of the two remaining times the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets this year, I’m inclined to think they’ll stay near zero until at least 2016. The decision is a welcome one for both gold demand and new home purchases. When rates rise, gold becomes less attractive for some investors, who are encouraged to exchange their no-yielding gold for income-producing assets.

2015-09-19 00:00:00 Upon Further Review: More Reflections on the Fed by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The Federal Reserve has typically downplayed market expectations of inflation. These indicators emerge from trading in Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS), which can be influenced by many things.

2015-09-19 00:00:00 Groundhog Day at the Fed by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Every dictator knows that a continuous state of emergency is the best means to justify tyrannical policies. The trick is to keep the emergency from breeding so much paranoia that routine activities come to a halt. It's best to make the threat external, intangible and ultimately, unverifiable. In Orwell's 1984 the preferred mantra was "We've always been at war with Eurasia," even though everyone knew it wasn't true. In its rate decision this week the Fed adopted a similar approach and conjured up an external threat to maintain a policy that is becoming increasingly absurd.

2015-09-19 00:00:00 Annual Outlook Address by Mary Ellen Stanek of Baird Advisors

The uncertainty caused by speculating on when the Fed will raise rates is almost worse that the move itself. We think the Fed needs to forecast where the U.S. economy will be in terms of full employment and inflation a year or two down the road given the long and variable lags of the impact of their policy changes. We think they have been too optimistic in terms of the expected growth of the economy.

2015-09-19 00:00:00 Merkel Opens the Gates by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

This is all well and good for nations like Germany that need immigrants, but much of Europe is really not in need of new workers, given their present severe unemployment problems. Not to mention that in those countries budgets are already strained and taking on the task of housing tens of thousands of immigrants and refugees is not cheap.

2015-09-18 00:00:00 Household Net Worth: The "Real" Story by Doug Short (Article)

Let's take a long-term view of household net worth from the latest Z.1 release. A quick glance at the complete data series shows a distinct bubble in net worth that peaked in Q4 2007 with a trough in Q1 2009, the same quarter the stock market bottomed. The latest Fed balance sheet shows a total net worth that is 55.7% above the 2009 trough and 26.1% above the 2007 peak and at an all-time high. The nominal Q1 net worth is up 0.8% from the previous quarter and up 4.7% year over year.

2015-09-18 00:00:00 Median Household Income by State: A New Look at the Data by Doug Short (Article)

The Census Bureau's annual household income reports for 2014 is now available. We've now compiled a few tables for the 50 states and DC based on the Current Population Survey, a joint undertaking of the Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics, which includes annual data from 1984 to 2014. The details are fascinating.

First, some context. The median US income in 2014 was $53,657, up from $22,415 in 1984 -- a 139.4% rise over the 30-year time frame.

2015-09-18 00:00:00 Conference Board Leading Economic Index Sees Fractional Increase in August by Doug Short (Article)

The Latest Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for August is now available. The index increased 0.1 percent from a revised 123.6 to today's 123.7. The latest indicator value came in below the 0.2 percent forecast by

2015-09-18 00:00:00 A Fed Move Could Be Good News for Emerging Markets by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

If in coming months the Fed feels confident enough in the US economy to raise interest rates, it could be viewed as positive news for emerging markets, particularly those with export ties that benefit from a strengthening US economy.

2015-09-18 00:00:00 Looking At A Decade Of US Equity Valuations by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Expensive stocks can always get more expensive and cheap stocks can always be cheaper. Consequently, making short-term market calls based on valuations is a fool’s errand. However, valuations end up always mattering in the long-run even if they are usually usurped in the short-run by investor sentiment. Therefore, we thought it would be a worthy exercise to take a look at how US equity valuations by industry group look today relative to the past decade.

2015-09-18 00:00:00 Are “Chinese Whispers” Distorting Your View? by Stuart Rae, John Lin, Hayden Briscoe, Anthony Chan of AllianceBernstein

Renewed anxiety about China’s economic performance appears to be at odds with the fact that the country’s growth has been declining for years. How much of the recent nervousness is based on an outdated view of China’s policy direction?

2015-09-18 00:00:00 When Doves Cry … Yeah! Fed Punts and Keeps Rates Unchanged by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The Fed opted to stall on raising rates for the first time since 2006; primarily citing global turmoil and still-restrained inflation for its decision. In addition, the accompanying Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) statement was not as hawkish as many expected (meaning, those who had been expecting no hike, were also expecting a more hawkish statement).

2015-09-18 00:00:00 Fed Leaves Interest Rates Unchanged: 4 Insights from Loomis Sayles by Orla O'Brien of Loomis Sayles

The FOMC signaled that plans for interest rate normalization are deferred but not yet derailed. It's difficult to categorize this outcome as a genuine surprise. While the rate decision and accompanying policy statement were no doubt dovish relative to expectations, the so called 'dot plot' reveals that the median Fed member sees that interest rate normalization, once begun, is expected to proceed at the same pace as was expected in June.

2015-09-18 00:00:00 Japan Then and Now by Kenichi Amaki of Matthews Asia

Late in 2006, Matthews Asia was wrapping up a special report titled “Japan Reawakens.” The timing of that AsiaNow publication, just ahead of the Global Financial Crisis, was unfortunate to say the least. With the ensuing economic turmoil, Japan fell asleep again, sliding off the radar screens of many investors. But as interest in Japan has more recently re-emerged, I thought it would be important for us to take a look back and consider what we previously published. Has Japan evolved the way we had envisioned? What’s changed and what hasn’t?

2015-09-18 00:00:00 Should Emerging Market Investors Fight the Fed? by Burt White of LPL Financial

Emerging market stocks have not won much lately, but the Fed may be a winnable fight. The Federal Reserve, which announces its policy decision on September 17, 2015, is on the verge of starting a rate hike cycle for the first time in more than 10 years. We have previously written that the start of Fed rate hikes has not marked an impending end to bull markets for U.S. stocks (despite the popular Wall Street adage “don’t fight the Fed.”) In reality, the first rate hike has told us we are about halfway through the cycle as discussed in our Weekly Market Commentary of August 25, 2014.

2015-09-18 00:00:00 Yellen Flinches by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

It is long past time for the Federal Reserve to start raising short-term rates. The unemployment rate is already very close to the Fed’s (new, lower) long-term projection of 4.9% and set to fall further in the next year, even if the Fed had already started lifting rates. Nominal GDP growth – real GDP growth plus inflation – is up at a 4.1% annual rate in the past two years, slightly exceeding the Fed’s long-run projection of 4% growth.

2015-09-18 00:00:00 The Fed Holds by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) concluded its meeting today with no change in interest rates.

2015-09-18 00:00:00 The China Syndrome: Lessons from the A-Shares Bubble by Jason Hsu of Research Affiliates

The rapid rise and sharp decline of the A-shares market represents a massive redistribution of wealth, especially painful to uninformed investors who bought hot stocks near the peak. What should the Chinese government do now?

2015-09-18 00:00:00 Municipal High Yield: Do Outflows Indicate Increased Opportunity? by James Iselin, S. Blake Miller of Neuberger Berman

It may seem counterintuitive, but recent investment outflows may have contributed to return potential within the municipal high yield marketplace.

2015-09-18 00:00:00 Why the Fed Kept Rates ‘Lower for Longer’ Yet Again by Kristina Hooper, Steve Malin, Greg Meier of Allianz Global Investors

As a divided FOMC continues sitting on its collective hands, we’ve analyzed what’s going on behind the scenes and outlined the investment implications of the Fed’s latest inaction. Read the new report from Allianz Global Investors’ US Capital Markets & Strategy team.

2015-09-18 00:00:00 Secular Trends in Residential Building Permits and Housing Starts by Doug Short (Article)

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

2015-09-17 00:00:00 U.S. Household Incomes: A 47-Year Perspective by Doug Short (Article)

The Census Bureau has now released its annual report household income data for 2014. This update features an analysis of the quintile breakdown of data from 1967 through 2014 along with the statistics for the top 5%.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 Median Household Incomes by Age Bracket: 1967-2014 by Doug Short (Article)

Earlier today we updated our commentary on household income distribution to include the Census Bureau's release of the 2014 annual data. Our focus was on arithmetic mean (average) household incomes by quintile (and the top 5%) over the 46-year history of this data series. The analysis offered some fascinating insights into U.S. household incomes. But the classification misses the implications of age for income. Households are by no means locked into the same quintile over time.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 The Philly Fed ADS Business Conditions Index by Jill Mislinski (Article)

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

2015-09-17 00:00:00 Should You Actually Worry About Gold Confiscation? by Guy Christopher of Money Metals Exchange

Most gold owners are familiar with worries of forced government gold confiscation – that one day black-ops shock teams will toss homes to find that stash of coins and bars.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 How Much, How Far, How Fast, Not When? by John Canally of LPL Financial

The policymaking arm of the Federal Reserve (Fed), the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), will hold its sixth of eight meetings of the year this week. On Thursday, September 17, 2015, at the conclusion of the two-day meeting, the FOMC will release a statement and a new economic and interest rate forecast. In addition, Fed Chair Janet Yellen will conduct her third post-FOMC meeting press conference of the year.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 Provise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group

Speculation abounds about whether the Fed will raise interest rates for the first time since June 2006. Yes, it was almost a decade ago. Hard to believe that would have ever happened, but it has.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 More Volatility on U.S. Horizon Has Sights Turning to Asia by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

After weeks of struggling, global equities stabilized last week. In the U.S., the S&P 500 Index rose 2.08% to 1,961, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 2.05% to 16,433, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index advanced an even stronger 2.97% to end the week at 4,822. Meanwhile, the yield on the 10-year Treasury rose from 2.13% to 2.19%, as its price correspondingly fell.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 Tracking the Market with Social Media by Blair Jensen of Trade Followers

I’m finally starting to see some signs of hope on the Twitter stream for the S&P 500 Index (SPX). Last week’s rally lifted daily sentiment readings for the most part, and the strong rally on Tuesday resulted in a positive daily print in momentum. This shows a bit of hope, but the negative readings during the rest of the week indicate traders are uncertain. 7 day momentum is still in a clear downtrend even though price has been mostly rising since the first of the month. This suggests that there is still a lot of fear for lower prices.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 Economic Surprises Are Turning Back Over In The US by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

The Citi Economic Surprise Index for the US is at two-month low and squarely back in negative territory. The US has spent almost the entire year not meeting expectations.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 To Mortgage or Not to Mortgage? That Is the Question by Anne Bucciarelli, Tara Thompson Popernik of AllianceBernstein

For wealthy people, the main question when buying a home is often whether to mortgage it. If you’re sitting on a large sum of cash or liquid assets, you can choose whether to pay for the house outright, or just use cash for the down payment and take a mortgage out on the home. You may find our answer surprising.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 Empirical Finance: Meeting Fiduciary Standards Through Skepticism, not Cynicism by Adam Butler, Michael Philbrick, Rodrigo Gordillo of ReSolve Asset Management

Michael Edesses is out with a scathing article lambasting the field of empirical finance. He draws inspiration from Harvey, Liu and Zhu’s (HLZ) recent article, entitled “…and the Cross Section of Expected Returns”, but extends HLZ’s conclusions to an absurd limit. In this article, we discuss why we embrace the framework of healthy skepticism described by HLZ, but in the context of a more optimistic and constructive view of empirical finance.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 Fraud, Fools, and Financial Markets by Robert Shiller of Project Syndicate

Adam Smith famously wrote of the “invisible hand,” by which individuals’ pursuit of self-interest in free, competitive markets advances the interest of society as a whole. But, because we can be manipulated, deceived, or even just passively tempted, free markets also persuade us to buy things that are good neither for us nor for society.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 Global Equity Income Themes: Two Key Themes by (Article)

In this latest video update, Ben Lofthouse, CFA, Co-Portfolio Manager of the Global Equity Income Fund, provides a global dividend update and shares key takeaways from the latest Henderson Global Dividend Study. He also discusses two strategic themes in the Fund’s strategy, telecommunications and corporate restructuring, as well as two stock picks that motivate him.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 Choosing Common Stocks That Make Sense for Your Retirement Portfolio: Part 2 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Choosing the most appropriate stocks for the common stock portion of your retirement portfolio is vitally important. In part 1 of this series found here I presented the 6 broad categories of stocks (businesses) that renowned mutual fund manager Peter Lynch presented in his best-selling book "One Up On Wall Street." I contend that the 6 categories that Peter Lynch wrote about establish a solid foundation of understanding of what’s generally available in the common stock universe.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 Fed Keeps Interest Rates Near Zero a Little Longer by Paul Eitelman of Russell Investments

Paul Eitelman delves into today’s Fed announcement on interest rates. What might it mean for the U.S. economic growth outlook?

2015-09-17 00:00:00 New Residential Housing Starts Below August Forecast by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have now published their findings for August new residential housing starts. The latest reading of 1.12M was below the forecast of 1.17M.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 Does a Higher Retirement Bogey Call for a Different Club? by Jeff Middleswart of Ranger International

Recent research suggests the rule of thumb 4% distribution rate is far too high. If true, savers may want to consider adding dividend paying stocks to their portfolios.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 New Residential Building Permits: Up 40K in August by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have now published their findings for August new residential building permits. The latest reading of 1.170M was better than the forecast of 1.160M.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 Philly Fed Business Outlook: General Activity Index Goes Negative by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The latest gauge of General Activity came in at -6.0, down significantly from last month's 8.3. The 3-month moving average came in at 2.7, down from 9.7 last month. Since this is a diffusion index, negative readings indicate contraction, positive ones indicate expansion. The Six-Month Outlook was up at 44, versus the previous month's 43.1.

2015-09-17 00:00:00 NYSE Margin Debt Declines Again by Doug Short (Article)

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

The NYSE margin debt data is about a month old when it is published. The latest debt level is down 2.7% month-over-month and 5.2% off its real (inflation-adjusted) record high in April.

2015-09-16 00:00:00 The Big Four Economic Indicators: August Real Retail Sales Continue to Show Growth by Doug Short (Article)

Nominal Retail Sales in August rose 0.2%, and the previous month was revised upward from 0.6% to 0.7%. Real Retail Sales, calculated with the seasonally adjusted Consumer Price Index, came in at 0.3% month-over-month (rounded from 0.26%). The chart below gives us a close look at the monthly data points in this series since the end of the last recession in mid-2009. The linear regression helps us identify variance from the trend.

2015-09-16 00:00:00 Inflation: A Monthly X-Ray View by Jill Mislinski (Article)

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

2015-09-16 00:00:00 Understanding Secular Trends in Inflation by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (CPI-U) released this morning puts the year-over-year inflation rate at 0.20%. It is substantially below the 3.82% average since the end of the Second World War and its 10-year moving average, now at 2.09%.

2015-09-16 00:00:00 August Consumer Price Index: Year-over-Year Core Remains at 1.8% by Doug Short (Article)

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the August CPI data this morning. The year-over-year unadjusted Headline CPI came in at 0.20%, little changed from 0.17% the previous month. Year-over-year Core CPI (ex Food and Energy) came in at 1.83%, essentially unchanged from the previous month's 1.80%. Here is the introduction from the BLS summary, which leads with the seasonally adjusted monthly data:

2015-09-16 00:00:00 Deconstructing the Consumer Price Index: Inside the Consumer Price Index by Jill Mislinski (Article)

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

2015-09-16 00:00:00 Correlations Have Spiked In The US, Less So Around The World by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

The correlation between US stocks and the MSCI World Index has once again spiked as volatility has increased. In the chart below, we show 20-day, 65-day, and 200-day rolling correlation between US stocks and the MSCI World Index. The 20-day correlation has increased to 0.82 which is the highest level since 9/7/2011 and it surpasses any level hit during the financial crisis.

2015-09-16 00:00:00 New Study: We're Nowhere Near Peak Coal Use in China and India by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Resource investors, take note: By 2025, just 10 years from now, energy consumption in Asia will increase a whopping 31 percent. A whole two-thirds of that demand, driven largely by China and India, will be for fossil fuels, most notably coal.

2015-09-16 00:00:00 Don’t Submit to Market Distortions by Sharon Fay of AllianceBernstein

After years of steadily rising markets, distortions have become embedded in the landscape. We believe there are several large market imbalances that investors may be exposed to in passive portfolios today.

2015-09-16 00:00:00 Where Will Crude Oil Go From Here? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

While recent oil price movements have been extraordinary, Russ explains why crude oil should remain range bound going forward.

2015-09-16 00:00:00 It’s Someone Else’s Money by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Indeed, due to expensive valuations, lack of revenue/earnings growth, slow GDP, China, politics, etc., the stock market had been in a virtual stalemate paralysis until the middle of July, having crossed above/below “go” so many times the only way to make money was to erect a toll gate at “go” (think the game Monopoly). And no wonder, frustration has reigned through the first six months of the year.

2015-09-16 00:00:00 Stock Market Indicator Alert by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

On Friday our Classic strategy’s timing signal switched to a sell. This is the first time in two years that both its high risk and timing components have aligned to create a sell signal.

2015-09-16 00:00:00 Duration Issues Related to Seasoned Residential Mortgage Backed Securities by AlphaCentric Advisors LLC and Garrison Point Capital, LLC of AlphaCentric Funds

Fixed income practitioners traditionally think of duration as a security’s first-order sensitivity to changes in interest rates. Thus, a duration of X years equates – roughly – to a change in price of X% for every 100bp move in rates. And since the discounting formula for bond prices has this “rate” factor in the denominator, an increase in rates represents a decrease in the bond’s price, and vice-versa. Simple, right? Maybe not!

2015-09-16 00:00:00 September 2015 Economic Update by Team of Cambridge Advisors

In August, stocks started out trading within the range they had traded in for most of the year. Mid-month, investors were shaken when stocks stumbled and posted their worst monthly decline since August 2011.

2015-09-16 00:00:00 The Fed's Dilemma by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The U.S. Federal Reserve’s rate rise history reveals a familiar dilemma—previous delays led to inflated asset prices and recessions.

2015-09-16 00:00:00 The Age of Bobby Fischer by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

The new Hollywood movie “Pawn Sacrifice” depicts the Cold War match between the tormented chess prodigy and Russian world champion Boris Spassky. It also makes one wonder whether a creative genius like Fischer, deeply troubled yet supremely functional at the chessboard, would be able to exist in today’s unforgiving online world.

2015-09-16 00:00:00 Technically Speaking: DeJa Vu All Over Again by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

In yesterday's missive "It All Comes Down To This," I discussed the upcoming Federal Reserve meeting and the expectation that the Fed once again delays hiking rates due to global economic and market weakness. With markets oversold on a short-term basis combined with a spike in volatility and bearish sentiment, a "punt" by the FOMC will likely spark a short-term rally in the market. Such an outcome would NOT be surprising by any means since the market has rallied the week of an FOMC "no hike" meeting since 2013.

2015-09-16 00:00:00 Will She or Won’t She . . . Raise Rates, That Is? by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

The big news this week is the Federal Reserve’s rate-setting meeting tomorrow and Thursday. This is one of eight meetings held each year, approximately every six weeks. The remaining ones in 2015 are in October and December. The reason this matters is because, once again, the Fed has to decide whether to start raising rates or not. I have argued before that, economically, it doesn’t really matter that much, but from an investor confidence perspective—and thus for the markets—it does.

2015-09-16 00:00:00 China, Commodities, and Crisis: What's Next for Emerging Markets? by (Article)

China’s growth fueled global markets for years, and recent events raise concerns about other emerging markets, heavily dependent on Chinese demand and already out of favor with investors. This month, we consider "China, Commodities, and Crisis: What’s Next for Emerging Markets?"

2015-09-16 00:00:00 NAHB Housing Market Index: Highest in 10 Years 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.

2015-09-15 00:00:00 The Big Four Economic Indicators: August Industrial Production Was Worse than Expected by Doug Short (Article)

Today's report on Industrial Production for August shows a month-over-month decline of 0.4 percent (0.38 percent to two decimal places), which is below the consensus of a 0.2 percent decrease. The August headline number shows a disappointing reversal of the July bounce. The indicator is up only 0.91% year-over-year.

2015-09-15 00:00:00 The Nazrudin Project – Bending the Profession Since 1995 by Richard Vodra, JD (Article)

The financial planning profession is only a few decades old, and is continuing to discover how it can best serve its clients. This is the story of one group and its process that has had an outsized impact for change over the last 20 years.

2015-09-15 00:00:00 Be Face-To-Face Without Being In-Person by Crystal Butler (Article)

I’ve summarized some tools that can help you achieve a face-to-face meeting even if you aren’t necessarily in-person.

2015-09-15 00:00:00 The Seven Words that Transform Conversations by Dan Richards (Article)

Seven words will shape the outcome when you talk to clients and prospects – seven words when clients start talking, seven words after they answer all your questions and seven words before you present recommendations.

2015-09-15 00:00:00 When Efforts to Persuade Backfire by Dan Solin (Article)

How do you deal with arguments contrary to your position? Do you ignore them? Do you dismiss them as spurious and not worthy of discussion? Do you address them and deal with them in a serious and analytical manner?

2015-09-15 00:00:00 Gundlach on Donald Trump, China and Fed Policy by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Despite grabbing most of the headlines and leading in many of the polls, Donald Trump is not expected to win the Republican nomination. But Jeffrey Gundlach said that Trump has done the electorate a “big favor by bringing up issues that have been conveniently buried for quite some time.”

2015-09-15 00:00:00 On My Radar: Valuations, Forward Returns and Recession by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Of the nine market declines associated with recessions that started with valuations above the mean, the average decline was -42.8%. Of the four declines that began with valuations below the mean, the average was -19.9%”– Doug Short

2015-09-15 00:00:00 Stuck in the Middle with You by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Unless you have been asleep on the floor for the last six weeks, you’ve noticed that the U.S. stock market has gone down. Even before stocks sold off in August, the average common stock had been performing poorly relative to the S&P 500 Index. In August, the market officially declined more than 10% from peak to trough. An anthem for situations like this comes from the one-hit wonder, Stealers Wheel, who penned the song “Stuck in the Middle with You.”

2015-09-15 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: To Hike, or not to Hike? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

After many years of standing pat on interest rates, there is finally a genuine chance of a shift in Fed policy. The punditry will be asking: To hike, or not to hike?

2015-09-15 00:00:00 We Aren't Getting by with a Little Help from the Fed by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

Long term investors would do well to avoid getting caught up in the guessing game of when the Fed will raise interest rates. Economic theory and empirical evidence both point to the reality that there is precious little the Fed can do sustainably improve economic outcomes. Instead, it is far better to keep an eye on income and investment.

2015-09-15 00:00:00 China: Double, Double Toil and Trouble/Fire Burn, and Cauldron Bubble? by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

Many argue that China’s economy is descending into policy chaos and a witches’ brew, otherwise known as a hard landing. But perhaps tellingly, even during the recent A-share fall, Chinese consumers seemed to shrug off the drama and continued to spend. China’s recent economic developments can be seen as stumbles along the path toward growth rates that are continuing to decelerate (but are still quite fast) from an economy that is increasingly “rebalanced.” This latest issue of Sinology explores the thinking behind this non-consensus conclusion.

2015-09-15 00:00:00 FOMC Preview: First, Do No Harm by Carl Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

Next week’s meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is one of the more highly anticipated central bank sessions in years. A couple of months ago, the policy decision that will emerge next Thursday afternoon seemed clear.

2015-09-15 00:00:00 Describing Liquid Alts: Risk Parity by Michael Breitenbach of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

The risk-parity portfolio technique offers an alternative portfolio construction methodology to heuristic rules such as “60/40” and traditional quantitative portfolio construction techniques such as mean-variance optimization. Proponents of risk-parity portfolios argue that the traditional 60/40 allocation historically has exposed investors disproportionately to equity market risk and that volatility in these historical returns has been driven primarily by variation in equity market prices.

2015-09-15 00:00:00 The Fed: More Noise Than Meaning by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Get on with it already! Don’t get us wrong, we know this is the “Super Bowl” for business journalism (anyone have tix to the ESPN party?), but raising rates from 1/8th to 3/8ths of 1%, after six years of economic recovery should be a no-brainer. Our suggestion: spend the week analyzing companies and investment products. Don’t get sucked into the idea that there is some genius trading strategy for how to deal with this. That’s right; ignore it. Don’t read the statement and don’t watch the press conference.

2015-09-15 00:00:00 Market Unease May Continue for Some Time by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Markets calmed last week relative to recent turmoil, but investor sentiment remains fragile. The focus on Federal Reserve policy, weakness in China and concerns about economic growth continued to drive sentiment. The S&P 500 Index gained 2.1%, commodities were flat and bond yields rose. Technology and health care posted the best results, while energy lagged.

2015-09-15 00:00:00 Active Versus Passive – Understanding the Debate Part 2: Passive Investing by Charles Batchelor of Cleary Gull

In this next post, I’m going to focus on passive investments and passive investing. If it looks like I just repeated myself, I didn’t. Passive investments are much different than following a passive investment strategy for portfolio management. As a reminder, a passive investment is a style of management where a predetermined basket of securities are purchased and automatic adjustments are made with no personal judgement or forecasting.

2015-09-15 00:00:00 Checking China's Real Crisis by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The unwinding of China’s property boom will weigh on its economy and finances, but the consequences shouldn’t be dire.

2015-09-15 00:00:00 Empire State Manufacturing Remains at Lowest Levels by Jill Mislinski (Article)

This morning we got the latest Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The diffusion index for General Business Conditions at -14.7 (-14.67 to two decimals) shows a slight edge up from last month's -14.9, which signals a decline in activity.This is the lowest level since 2009. The forecast was for a reading of -0.75.

2015-09-15 00:00:00 Retail Sales: August Retail Sales Show Growth, But a Bit Shy of Expectations by Doug Short (Article)

The Census Bureau's Advance Retail Sales Report released this morning shows that seasonally adjusted sales in August increased 0.2% month-over-month and 2.2% year-over-year. Core Retail Sales (ex Autos) came in at 0.1% MoM and 1.2% YoY. The forecasts were 0.3% for Headline Sales and 0.2% for Core Sales.

2015-09-15 00:00:00 FlexShares MBSD by Shundrawn Thomas, Head of Funds and Managed Accounts Group, Northern Trust (Article)

See how MBSD seeks incremental yield potential and fixed income diversification through fixed rate, U.S. agency mortgage backed securities.

2015-09-14 00:00:00 The Beauty of Truth and the Beast of Dogma by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

When you examine historical data and estimate actual correlations and effect sizes, the dogmatic belief that the Fed can “fine tune” anything in the economy is utter hogwash. Truth, on the other hand, is beautiful. Economic relationships that are supported in real-world data are a sight to behold.

2015-09-14 00:00:00 What We’re Doing to Manage Liquidity Risk by Douglas Peebles, Ashish Shah of AllianceBernstein

In our last post, we urged investors to vet potential asset managers to make sure they understand the bond liquidity crunch. It’s only fair, then, to explain what we’re doing to manage liquidity risk.

2015-09-14 00:00:00 Early Cyclicals Moved to New Relative Highs During Recent Market Turmoil by Jennifer Thomson of GaveKal Capital

Regular readers are familiar with our reliance on ‘baskets’ of stocks in order to gain a high-level perspective on general market trends.

2015-09-14 00:00:00 Investing for Income: Meeting the Challenges of a Low Yield Environment by Paul Reisz, Tina Adatia, Tanya Sanwal of PIMCO

For many investors, generating a high and sustainable income stream is challenging in the current secular landscape, which PIMCO calls The New Neutral. Over the next three to five years, we expect to see global economies converging to modest trend growth rates as central banks are constrained to set policy rates at levels well below those that prevailed before the financial crisis.

2015-09-14 00:00:00 Are You Investing in Tomorrow's Dividend Growers? by Clint Harris of Invesco Blog

Some 420 companies in the S&P 500 Index pay dividends. If you own a fund that invests in dividend-paying companies, it’s critical for you to understand your fund’s selection criteria. Does it look for increasing dividends? Stable dividends? High dividend yields? These differences can matter greatly to your results.

2015-09-14 00:00:00 Designing the Appropriate Common Stock Retirement Portfolio: Stock Selection Options Part 1 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

What is the best way to design or construct a common stock portfolio? This is a question I am often asked and my short answer is always the same - it depends. The truth is, there is no perfect method or strategy for designing a stock portfolio that is right for every individual investor. However, there are principles of sound investing that every investor can follow and apply when designing a common stock portfolio that’s just right for them.

2015-09-14 00:00:00 How Do I Leave My Legacy as an Advisor? by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

What’s the best way to go about securing my legacy but not letting clients think I am jumping ship soon?

2015-09-14 00:00:00 China, the Fed, and Bond Yields by Scott Brown of Raymond James

An initial increase in short-term interest rates is apparently still on the table at this week’s Fed policy meeting, but it’s more likely that we’ll see a delay. That may not ease the stock market’s concerns, as officials are expected to remain committed to raising rates at some point in the near future.

2015-09-14 00:00:00 Debt, Taxes and Politics: A Perspective on Federal Tax History by Doug Short (Article)

With the focus on the Federal Reserve and conflicting expectations of a September rate hike, let's take a long look back at federal debt and taxes.

The first chart is a snapshot of federal debt with government forecasts through 2018.

2015-09-14 00:00:00 Schwab Market Perspective: Now What? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”—Mike Tyson. We don’t often quote Mike Tyson, but his words resonate lately. Investors are wondering what to do—buy the dips, sell the rallies, or sit tight? First, investment decisions should never be made on emotion, which tends to dominate at times like this. It can be difficult to stomach moves such as we’ve seen recently. But investors who have an investing plan in place should indeed just sit there, let things calm down, and continue with the plan already put in place.

2015-09-14 00:00:00 A Turn of the Tide Revisited by Martin Pring of Pring Turner Capital Group

US equities reached a major inflexion point in the year 2000. It was historic because it represented both a secular and primary reversal. A primary trend revolves around the business cycle and typically lasts 2-3 years, whereas a secular one lasts much longer and embraces several cycles. Our objective here is to revisit an article published earlier this year in which we pointed out some ominous signs for US equities. At that time some trend reversal signals, such as negative long-term moving average crossovers, were required as confirmation.

2015-09-14 00:00:00 CEF Investor Trends by (Article)

Institutional investors have increased their activity in the closed-end fund market, says analyst Maury Fertig of Relative Value Partners.

2015-09-12 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review For Sept. 7-11 by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

There has been a slight but important shift in news coverage over the last few months. It started with the wild gyrations of the Chinese stock market, which, in retrospect, granted journalists permission to write more negative stories about the global economy. Since then, we’re seen more discussion about EM capital flight, the fiscal troubles of Brazil and the potential issues related to Russia. The news is hardly catastrophic; it simply represents the natural ripples flowing out from China’s attempt to change its economic model and the potential Fed rate hike coming down the pike.

2015-09-12 00:00:00 Life Is Uncertain and So Are Interest Rates by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Right now, a lot of investors are wondering about the uncertainty of rising interest rates—the causes, effects and possible ramifications. Many people have been saying for weeks and months now that a rate hike is imminent and that September is the anticipated takeoff. I’ve been skeptical of this, and now a chart from highly-respected market analyst Jeff deGraaf confirms my skepticism.

2015-09-12 00:00:00 Active Versus Passive – Understanding the Debate by Charles Batchelor of Cleary Gull

The purpose of this series of blog posts is not to add to the already massive number of studies, whitepapers, presentations, academic papers, blogs, etc. that attempt to prove which overriding type of investment product, “active” or “passive,” is “better.” Furthermore, I am not going to give you my opinion on which product type is superior. Rather, my primary goals are to better define what is being debated, spend time on what I do not believe has been discussed nearly enough during the “active vs. passive” debate.

2015-09-12 00:00:00 The Case for (Carefully Selected) High Yield by Chad Gunther of Ivy Investment Management Company

The second half of summer has challenged high-yield fixed income investors with volatility fueled by developments on a number of fronts. That volatility, however, may have created some potential opportunities. Chad Gunther, portfolio manager of Ivy High Income Fund, shares his views.

2015-09-12 00:00:00 Earnings Surprises...Are You Kidding Me? by Frank Caruso, Vincent Dupont, Adam Yee of Alliance Bernstein

In the game called the quarterly earnings season, positive surprises have become so commonplace among US large-cap stocks that they’ve nearly lost all meaning. We wonder why investors keep playing along.

2015-09-12 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

It's never perfect in equity markets; when price patterns and breadth look healthy, sentiment is overly bullish and further appreciation becomes limited. When price falls, the price pattern looks scary and breadth looks terrible but sentiment becomes too bearish. These are when longer term lows form. More likely than not, that is where equity markets are now.

2015-09-12 00:00:00 Needed at the Fed: An Inverse Volcker by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

I believe the Federal Open Market Committee should hike rates ASAP. A number of very astute analysts and Fed observers agree with me. On the other hand, an equal-sized army of similarly smart analysts think they should not. It seems to me this recovery is getting long in the tooth. The Fed needs to give itself some room to stimulate when the economy turns down again. As it stands now, their only weapons are to take interest rates negative or to resume quantitative easing. We don’t want either of those.

2015-09-11 00:00:00 Beige Book: Windo on Main Street by John Canally of LPL Financial

The latest Beige Book suggests that the U.S. economy is still growing at or above its long-term trend, indicating that some of the “transitory factors” that held the U.S. economy back in the first quarter of 2015 have faded. Comments also indicate that concern over China’s impact on the U.S. economy has increased and that some upward pressure on wages is beginning to emerge.

2015-09-11 00:00:00 Closed End Funds versus Exchange Traded Funds by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

There are currently a number of fund-based options available to investors looking for yield. In addition to traditional open-ended mutual funds, investors are also turning toward closed end funds (CEFs) and exchange traded funds (ETFs) to generate yield, including in the high yield bond market. Both CEFs and ETFs have continuous trading and pricing throughout the day, making them very liquid options for investors. While CEFs tend to be actively managed, there are both index-based options and actively managed options in the ETF space.

2015-09-11 00:00:00 Character Traits of the Great Investor Sir John Templeton by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

There is a great advantage in living with a psychologist. When the world seems to be acting irrationally, or when a fear of loss takes hold of my mind, the psychologist couch, which in my case is conveniently located in my living room, serves a purpose well beyond the Sunday afternoon nap. It is where I can hear soothing words such as: “You have been through this time and time again.” “You have prepared for this, and you have explained to all of your clients that this can happen.” “This too will pass.”

2015-09-11 00:00:00 Housing: A Secular Opportunity? by Adam Peck of Heartland Advisors

Low interest rates, demographics, and a solid economy should provide staying power to a resurgent housing market. We are finding opportunities to capitalize on growth in the area while diversifying idiosyncratic risks in our portfolios.

2015-09-11 00:00:00 Solon’s Warning by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets is a book by written by Nassim Taleb that discusses the fallibility of human knowledge. Taleb’s main premise is that modern humans are mostly unaware of the existence of “randomness,” believing that random outcomes are non-random. Randomness is the lack of a pattern, or predictability, in events; a random sequence of events that has no order and does not follow an intelligible pattern.

2015-09-11 00:00:00 An Expert’s Guide to Market Volatility by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ shares three themes that have emerged from his conversations with numerous clients following the market drama in recent weeks.

2015-09-11 00:00:00 Put Your Bond Manager to the Liquidity Test by Douglas Peebles, Ashish Shah of AllianceBernstein

Bond market liquidity is drying up—something every investor and financial advisor should take seriously. But liquidity risk can also provide an additional source of returns. The trick is knowing how to manage it.

2015-09-11 00:00:00 8 Iconic American Companies that Have Been Hurt by the Strong Dollar by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Since July 2014, the U.S. dollar has advanced more than 20 percent against other world currencies. To many, having a strong currency might sound like a good thing, and in many respects it is. The dollar’s relative strength is a reflection of the U.S. economy, which continues to improve since the financial crisis.

2015-09-11 00:00:00 Global Economic Perspective: September by Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group of Franklin Templeton Investments

While the [US] Fed is facing an extremely delicate task ... it is still our belief that the US economy remains sufficiently strong to be able to bear a gradual increase in short-term rates in the coming months.

2015-09-11 00:00:00 Deflationary Tailwinds In US Import/Export Prices by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

A strong dollar is very prevalent in today’s import and export price release. Import prices have declined by -11.4% year-over-year which is the largest decline since 9/2009. If we go back as far as the data exists (1983),the current decline is the largest on record outside of the financial crisis. Excluding fuels, import prices have declined by just over 3% which again is the largest decline since 10/2009. The decline in import prices looks like it has a ways to run as well. The dollar has gained over 16% over the past year.

2015-09-11 00:00:00 Protecting Against Inflation In a Deflationary World by Steven Malin Ph.D. of Allianz Global Investors

Powerful global deflationary forces will continue to put downward pressure on the prices of inputs and outputs for months, if not years, to come. Even if the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England raise policy interest rates over the months ahead, inflation risk premiums built into market interest rates will remain small. In the absence of strong wage increases, unprecedented global growth in the supply of resources and outputs relative to demand will linger—and inflation will remain constrained.

2015-09-11 00:00:00 Next Generation Thinking: Insights by (Article)

How can advisors reach millennials more effectively? Look to T. Rowe Price for insights.

2015-09-11 00:00:00 Producer Price Index: Flat for the Month, Down -0.7% for the Year by Doug Short (Article)

Today's release of the August Producer Price Index (PPI) for Final Demand came in at 0.0% month-over-month seasonally adjusted, down from 0.2% in July. It is down -0.7% year-over-year, the seventh consecutive month of YoY shrinkage. Core Final Demand (less food and energy) came in at 0.3% MoM for the third consecutive month and is up 0.0% YoY. The forecasts were for -0.1% headline and 0.1% core.

2015-09-10 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review for Aug 31-Sept. 4 by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The Federal Reserve released the latest Beige Book on Wednesday which showed a modestly expanding economy. While construction, aerospace and the auto industry led to manufacturing growth, cheap imported substitutes and the strong dollar continue providing headwinds. Retail, tourism and service sectors reported moderate growth. Housing sales and construction continue growing, but low inventory is driving prices higher. The imminent Fed rate increase is pulling some projects forward. The overall trend of loan growth and declining delinquencies continues.

2015-09-10 00:00:00 Describing Liquid Alts: Alternative-Asset Beta (FX, Commodities, MLPs and beyond) by Michael Breitenbach of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

The alternative-asset beta family of related liquid alternative strategies invests in alternative assets such as foreign exchange, commodities, and energy infrastructure. Ideally, these investments will provide attractive risk-adjusted returns that are uncorrelated with traditional equity and fixed-income markets.

2015-09-10 00:00:00 U.S. Labor: The Fear of Wages by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Not only are U.S. employment costs accelerating but also worker output per hour is decelerating. Could this spur inflation concerns at the U.S. Federal Reserve?

2015-09-10 00:00:00 Uncertainty = Opportunity® by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

While market volatility is currently making front-page headlines in the media, we argue that investors must look past the noise and objectively focus on the fundamentals. Before you decide on a drastic asset allocation shift, learn what opportunities we see in these uncertain markets.

2015-09-10 00:00:00 Did you miss it? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

As kids in Michigan head back to school today, I’m sure many students are asking, “What happened to summer? Did I miss it?” When I was that age, it always seemed like the school year was so long and that summer just flew by. Because the last week before Labor Day is one of the most popular vacation weeks, many investors were probably only vaguely aware of the financial market actions last week. With the extreme market swings of the previous week, they doubtless just wanted to lie down on a sandy beach, soak up some end-of-summer rays, and read some diverting summer fiction.

2015-09-10 00:00:00 The U.S. Economy Is Not Holding Back the Fed by Carl Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

The Federal Reserve’s rate-setting committee meets next week, and there is more uneasiness than usual surrounding the event. Much has changed in the past few weeks, and the Fed’s likely course of action is being examined from a multitude of angles.

2015-09-10 00:00:00 Consulting Our Technical Playbook by Burt White of LPL Financial

When markets are tough, emotions can take over. The natural emotional response to sharp stock market declines is to sell. In periods like these, especially when the media sensationalize every gloomy angle as they tend to do, an objective look at the data can be reassuring and help us make better investment decisions.

2015-09-10 00:00:00 What Might Tax Liability Mean to You? by Frank Pape of Russell Investments

Understanding tax liability and being able to explain it to your clients can be important. Frank Pape provides ways to be more tax aware.

2015-09-10 00:00:00 The August Employment Report and the Fed by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The August employment figures were mixed. Payrolls rose less than anticipated, but with an upward revision to the two previous months. The unemployment rate fell more than expected, while average hourly earnings ticked a little higher than anticipated – providing the Fed’s hawks some ammunition in arguing for a September 17 rate hike. The Fed is not going to react to any one economic report, but the jobs data fall in line with the broader range of indictors that suggest that slack is being reduced.

2015-09-10 00:00:00 Analysts Haven’t Been this Negative on Emerging Markets Since... by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

In simple terms, everyone has moved to the same side of the boat when it comes to expectations about the prospects of emerging market stocks. Not since the financial crisis nadir in stock prices have analysts of EM stocks been so bearish and quick to rerate expectations. Yet, amid all this negativity, there arises a fantastic opportunity for investors of EM stocks. As the famous Warren Buffet axiom states, “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful”. To say that analysts are fearful would be an understatement.

2015-09-10 00:00:00 Some Facts Regarding Today's Changing Home Buyer by John Burns of John Burns Real Estate Consulting

Let me summarize for you some of the key findings from an NAR report on home buyer and seller generational trends. So often, useful facts get lost in big reports.

2015-09-10 00:00:00 Why All the Hoopla over 25 Basis Points? by Dr. Brian Jacobsen of Wells Fargo Asset Management

Should the Federal Reserve hike rates at their next meeting? Take a look at the case for and against, with Dr. Brian Jacobsen, CFA, CFP®, of Wells Fargo Asset Management.

2015-09-10 00:00:00 Equity Valuations, Recessions and Stock Market Declines by Doug Short (Article)

Note from Doug: In response to a request, I've updated the data in this article through the August month-end numbers.

Earlier this year I had a fascinating conversation with Neile Wolfe, of Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC. Based on the underlying data in the adjacent chart, Neile made some cogent observations about the historical relationships between equity valuations, recessions and market prices:

2015-09-09 00:00:00 Job Openings & Labor Turnover: The Latest Clues to the Business Cycle by Jill Mislinski (Article)

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

2015-09-09 00:00:00 Competing with the Alpha and the Omega by Cole Smead, CFA of Smead Capital Management

In the Bible, Jesus said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” While Jesus infers that he is at both the beginning and the end of time, we as investors can only operate in the present with a knowledge of what has come before. To better understand today's commodity market circumstances, we believe investors should examine the herd mentality and the psychological backing that may lead to contrarian investment opportunities.

2015-09-09 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Time to Revise Year-End Market Estimates? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

Sometimes the calendar dictates the agenda. The Labor Day weekend marks the official end of a summer that was eventful for markets. The punditry will be asking: What is your (revised) EOY target for stocks?

2015-09-09 00:00:00 Everything's Not Bad by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Have you noticed? Everything’s bad these days. On February 25, 2015, the Washington Post wonkblog posted a piece titled “Why rising wages might be bad news.” Last week, on September 1st, after another strong month of car and truck sales, the Wall Street Journal published a story “The Bad News in Strong Car Sales.”

2015-09-09 00:00:00 Markets Remain in Turmoil, but Should Stabilize Eventually by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Global equity markets fell last week with the S&P 500 Index down 3.4% and some non-U.S. markets declining even more. The sell-off is a continuing reflection of the ongoing turmoil that started a few weeks ago when China devalued its currency on August 11.

2015-09-09 00:00:00 Immigration: A Political and Economic Issue by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Donald Trump has successfully placed immigration at the center of the U.S. Presidential election. But while the issue is still largely a debating point in the United States, it has quickly and violently become a life and death issue for the European Union, which is in the midst of the most significant immigration and refugee crisis since the Second World War.

2015-09-09 00:00:00 Technically Speaking: A Sucker's Rally? by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

In last week's technical review "The Mark Of A Bear," I stated: "The Bulls have remained firmly in charge of the markets as the reach for returns exceeded the grasp of the underlying risk. It now seems that has changed. For the first time since 2007, as we see initial markings of a potential bear market cycle." The problem in stating that we MAY be seeing the initial markings of a potential bear market cycle is that individuals assume this means the markets will crash immediately. When such an outcome does not occur, the analysis is presumed wrong.

2015-09-09 00:00:00 On The Economy, Inflation, China & Odds For Fed Liftoff by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The investment markets remain fixated on whether the Fed will hike interest rates for the first time in almost a decade on September 17. Stock market volatility spiked in late August and so far this month, with most global equity markets in “correction” territory. It remains to be seen if the latest stock market chaos will cause the Fed to delay lift-off until December or later.

2015-09-09 00:00:00 China Deserves More Credit than Blame by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein

The visit to the US later this month by China’s President Xi Jinping comes at a politically sensitive time, with volatility in China’s markets—widely attributed to the effect of policy decisions—rippling globally. In our view, however, China deserves more credit than blame for its recent actions.

2015-09-09 00:00:00 A Time to Take Stock – and Advantage of Pockets of Value by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Another week, another selloff. Stocks tumbled again last week with the S&P 500 Index falling 3.37% to 1,921 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average declining 3.25% to 16,102. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index struggled as well, down 3.00% to 4,683. Meanwhile, bond yields were relatively unchanged, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury slipping from 2.18% to 2.13%, as its price correspondingly rose.

2015-09-09 00:00:00 Dividend & Income Builder Celebrates 3-Year with 5 Stars by (Article)

Ben Lofthouse, Co-Portfolio Manager of the Dividend & Income Builder Fund, provides an update on the Fund’s performance and positioning and notes its recent 5-star Morningstar rating. Ben comments that the biggest driver of the Fund’s performance has been stock selection; they have seen improving economic growth from a low base in the US, UK and Europe. Ben notes they’ve seen good dividend growth; the team continues to focus on dividend growth and cash flow generation. The team believes they are well-positioned for medium term capital growth and importantly, income growth.

2015-09-09 00:00:00 Newsletter - September 2015 by Harold Evensky, of Evensky & Katz / Foldes Financial Wealth Management

Harold Evensky's quarterly letter to his readers.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 NFIB: Small Business Index Up 0.5 in August by Jill Mislinski (Article)

The latest issue of the NFIB Small Business Economic Trends is out today. The update for August came in at 95.9, only a 0.5 point increase from the previous month. The index is now at the 29th percentile in this series. The forecast was for 96.0.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 Making Sense of Market Volatility by Sponsored Content from Invesco (Article)

• On Aug. 21, the Dow Jones Industrial Average entered a correction and reminded investors what volatility looks like. • Several Invesco senior investment leaders discuss their views of market volatility. • They share how it affects, or doesn’t affect, the opportunities they see.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 Does Morgan Stanley Add Value For Investors? by Larry Swedroe (Article)

In the latest 10-year period, only 38% of Morgan Stanley’s mutual funds outperformed their analyst-assigned benchmarks. Thus, while the fees these funds have generated are among the few consistent bright spots of growth on Wall Street, there is still a question for investors: Have these actively managed mutual funds been good investment choices?

2015-09-08 00:00:00 The Dramatic Return from Tailoring Your Message by Dan Richards (Article)

My research over the past year identified four broad categories of key qualities that investors look for from their advisors. And the recent experience of one advisor shows that tailoring your approach to focus on the hot buttons for each individual client and prospect makes your overall communication much more efficient and effective.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 That Was Not a Crash by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

To call the recent market retreat a “crash” is an offense to informed discussion of the financial markets. It was merely an air-pocket of the sort that typically emerges once overvalued, overbought, overbullish conditions are joined with deterioration in market internals. It was probably just a start.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 Largest Driver of Performance Over the Last Month? Beta by Jennifer Thomson of GaveKal Capital

As part of our treasure trove of data and tables, we rely on our factor scoring model to tell us the most important elements that have affected performance over various time periods and in different regions. For developed markets (DM), the most influential factor over the last week and month (coming in 2nd over the last year and 5th over the last three months) has been beta.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 Rising Rates and the Case for Leveraged Loans by Mark Boyadjian, Reema Agarwal of Franklin Templeton Investments

For certain investors—in particular pension funds and insurance companies that tend to follow a more cautious investment strategy—the extended period of record or near-record low US interest rates has been a thorn in the side.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 Betting on Japan, Inc.’s Recovery by Vadim Zlotnikov of AllianceBernstein

Japanese stocks have outperformed the past few years, and we don’t think their run is over. Policies to improve profitability, capital use and productivity should provide a stronger foundation for further gains.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 Navigating Divergent Global ILB Markets: Why Are UK Index-Linked Gilts Persistently Overvalued? by Mihir Worah, Mike Amey, Berdibek Ahmedov of PIMCO

Current extremely low and negative real yields on UK index-linked gilts, particularly for long-dated bonds, do not appear to have any fundamental justifications.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 The 2 Keys to the Magic Formula for Long-Term Investment Success by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Investing in anything comes with a degree of uncertainty because all investing returns happen in the future. And even though the future is unpredictable, the future is what everyone that invests is investing for. These realities present important challenges that every investor must face and deal with in order to succeed.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 Curb Your Mind by Rick Lear of Lear Investment Management

With the recent events in China and Greece causing volatility in the global markets, we think it is more important than ever to take a moment to reflect on how capital markets function. People trade stocks; and an understanding of the human thought processes is at the foundation of markets. The recent gyration of the world’s markets reminds us how quickly greed can turn to fear and how investors can begin to make mistakes. We find that heightened emotions often lead to mistakes that can be easily avoided.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 Investment Grade Bonds Power Explosion in M&A by Jacob Habibi of Invesco Blog

New bond issuance in the US investment grade (IG) market has exploded in 2015 as companies look to finance mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and Invesco Fixed Income sees no signs of this trend slowing down through the end of the year.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 ETFs: “Like Handing an Arsonist a Match” by Mark Oelschlager of Oak Associates

The popularity of ETFs has grown among market participants who, in the aftermath of the financial crisis, want to be able to reduce market exposure or shift between sectors when they sense danger/opportunity. The recent correction has brought to light the role of ETFs in the market, and the volume statistics are mind-boggling. Innovation is generally good, but like many things in life, there is a downside, and we would argue the downside to using ETFs to engage in frequent portfolio repositioning is particularly steep.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 On My Radar: A Bumpy Ride? How Bumpy? And For How Long? by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Volatility and uncertainty are nothing new in financial markets. QE4 may right the ship but that is the bet. No guarantees in this game.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 CEF Investors by (Article)

Longtime investment analyst Maury Fertig of Relative Value Partners describes what he sees as three types of closed-end fund investors.

2015-09-07 00:00:00 Fed Up with the Fed by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

Every August, central bankers and financiers from around the world meet in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This year, the participants were greeted by a large group of mostly young people, who were there not so much to protest as to emphasize to the assembled policymakers that what they do affects ordinary citizens, not just financiers.

2015-09-07 00:00:00 Think Like an Actuary to Become a Better Advisor by Ken Steiner (Article)

Developing a reasonable spending budget for clients who are near or in retirement is an actuarial problem. As such, it requires an actuarial solution. But, you don’t need to be an actuary to solve your client’s problem.

2015-09-07 00:00:00 The First Step in Launching a Firm-wide Marketing Strategy by Kristen Luke (Article)

In order for a firm to grow and succeed beyond its owner’s capabilities, marketing and business development must become a company-wide responsibility. Here’s a process to make that happen.

2015-09-07 00:00:00 How to Get More Out of High-Performing Advisors by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I have two high-performing advisors in my firm. They find “new” money from existing clients all the time, and they get referrals without having to ask for them. But I need them to take these skills and sell more aggressively.

2015-09-07 00:00:00 What Litigators Can Teach You about Building Your Practice by Dan Solin (Article)

Your prospect holds the cards. You need to persuade her to entrust you with her assets. There are powerful similarities to the situation faced by a litigator standing before a judge. Here’s some research from the legal field that shows how advisors can be more persuasive.

2015-09-06 00:00:00 Muddling Through Shanghai by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

China is in transition, a transition that was clearly telegraphed if you have been paying attention. Our recent book on China (A Great Leap Forward?) clearly laid out this new path. Today we are going to talk about this precarious, difficult transition, which may impose profound impacts on much of the rest of the world. This transition is going to change the way global trade has worked in the past. There will be winners and losers.

2015-09-05 00:00:00 The Art of Capital Flight by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

For emerging-market investors, art has become a critical tool for moving and hiding wealth, which has been a major factor in the spectacular rise in auction prices of the last several years. So, with emerging-market economies from Russia to Brazil mired in recession, and China slowing rapidly, is the art bubble about to burst?

2015-09-05 00:00:00 Meet QT; QE's Evil Twin by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

There is a growing sense across the financial spectrum that the world is about to turn some type of economic page. Unfortunately no one in the mainstream is too sure what the last chapter was about, and fewer still have any clue as to what the next chapter will bring. There is some agreement however, that the age of ever easing monetary policy in the U.S. will be ending at the same time that the Chinese economy (that had powered the commodity and emerging market booms) will be finally running out of gas.

2015-09-04 00:00:00 A Hall of Fame Client by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

Over two or three decades, money-management has changed in the same way that medicine and law, for example, have changed. What used to be professions have become businesses, for the sake of cost-cutting, pooling of resources, growth, and operational leverage. In the process, whereas the main goal of professionals used to be to excel at the services they provided, with growth being ancillary, that goal has now been relegated to a spot behind the pressure to “meet the figures.”

2015-09-04 00:00:00 Here’s Your Guide to What the Influencers Are Saying about Commodities by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

A few legendary influencers in investing are making huge bets right now on commodities, an area that’s faced—and continues to face—some pretty strong headwinds. What are we to make of this?

2015-09-04 00:00:00 Unpopularity Contest by Herbert and Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

With central banks focused on growth and generating inflation, and their pedals to the metal, we believe the ultimate outcome will be inflationary growth, or even stagflation. But, inevitably, a boost for depressed commodities and the depressed share prices of their currently unpopular producers. A particular opportunity when the correction phase ends and the bull market resumes. Time to be contrarian. And patient value investors should clearly be rewarded.

2015-09-04 00:00:00 Heading into the Labor Day Weekend by Doug MacKay and Bill Hoover of Broadleaf Partners

As we head into the extended Labor Day Weekend, we thought it would be a good idea to share some quick thoughts on the continued volatility in the global stock markets, including our own. In addition to our own long weekend, the markets in China will also reopen on Tuesday, after being closed for their holidays the past two days.

2015-09-04 00:00:00 Will Unsettled Markets Unsettle the Federal Reserve? by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The question of how events in the Far East will affect the Fed has come up frequently in recent conversations. At the outset, it should be noted that central banks do not center their policies on the levels of asset markets or the level of volatility.

2015-09-04 00:00:00 Unfazed by the Turmoil by Byron Wien of Blackstone

Overall, my sense of this year’s lunches is that the participants were still basically optimistic, as they generally are. I wonder if there were something big and negative brewing out there, whether the group would be able to anticipate it.

2015-09-04 00:00:00 China Sets its Sights on Life Sciences by Jerry C. Shih of Matthews Asia

China is a market too large to be ignored—this has long been a saying among those considering doing business in the country. But increasingly, multinational corporations see China as a hub of nascent innovation. China’s evolving pharmaceutical landscape and the government’s pro-innovation policies are driving indigenous innovation in its life sciences. Asia Insight explores China’s path in this arena.

2015-09-04 00:00:00 ECRI Weekly Leading Index: "Cheap Labor" by Jill Mislinski of Advisor Perspectives (

ECRI's latest article argues that the improvement in employment is illusory and a misleading indicator of the labor market. The jobs recovery since the Great Recession has been spearheaded by cheap labor.

2015-09-04 00:00:00 China Deserves More Credit than Blame by Hayden Briscoe of Alliance Bernstein

The visit to the US later this month by China’s President Xi Jinping comes at a politically sensitive time, with volatility in China’s markets—widely attributed to the effect of policy decisions—rippling globally. In our view, however, China deserves more credit than blame for its recent actions.

2015-09-04 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review For Aug. 31-Sept. 4 by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The potential negative impact of China’s slowdown is sinking into policy maker’s decision making process and trader’s analysis. Money is flowing from emerging to developed economies; emerging markets and currencies are underperformers relative to developed markets. The potential for China to export deflation is being discussed. And central bankers are acknowledging the slowdown by lowering growth forecasts and opening speculating about additional monetary stimulus. As we leave the summer doldrums and enter the last four months of trading, the environment has clearly changed.

2015-09-04 00:00:00 FlexShares GQRE ETF by Shundrawn Thomas, Head of Funds and Managed Accounts Group, Northern Trust (Article)

See how GQRE combines quality, value and momentum in a diversified real estate equity portfolio.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 12 Questions for a 12% Correction by Burt White of LPL Financial

The recent market downdraft and related uncertainty in China have led to many investor questions. The strong 6.5% rebound in the S&P 500 over the last three trading sessions (August 26, 27, 28, 2015) has cut the S&P 500’s losses from the 2015 peak (2130 on May 21, 2015) to 6.7%. In response to the S&P 500’s recent 12% correction?—?the first decline of more than 10% since 2011?—?we answer 12 investor questions. Bottom line, we do not expect the latest correction and China uncertainty to lead to the end of the U.S. economic expansion or the end of the six-and-a-half-year old bull

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Is a China Economic Crisis on the Horizon? by Erik Ristuben of Russell Investments

Chief Investment Strategist Erik Ristuben looks at the factors at play in a possible China economic crisis.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Commodities, China and Currencies Oh My! by Rudolph-Riad Younes of R Squared Capital Management

Recent market events confirm our big picture view. We are and have been bearish on commodities and emerging markets. The spike in commodity prices during the so-called supercycle and the ZIRP (zero interest rate period) in the U.S. created irrationally exuberant conditions in many emerging markets. We are moving from a virtuous circle to a vicious cycle.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Inflation - It Will Get Worse by Chun Wang of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

The dollar real effective exchange rate and the 10-year real yield are great proxies for monetary conditions. Stronger dollar and higher real yields are both indications of tighter monetary conditions. Unfortunately, this is what is happening right now. In other words, the markets are doing the tightening job for the Fed. This is why we think the Fed would be much better off postponing the rate hike.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Weight of the Evidence Argues for Caution by William Delwiche of Robert W. Baird & Co.

At this point, cycle lows for the popular averages may well be in place. This is not yet supported by the weight of the evidence, however. Simply put, risks remain elevated and it is too early to sound an all clear.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Another Government Shutdown? by Andy Friedman of The Washington Update

Congress returns from recess next week facing a month-end deadline to fund government operations for the next fiscal year. I’m concerned we could be looking at a reprise of 2013.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Look Out Below? by Jim McDonald of Northern Trust

Are we experiencing a healthy correction or something more? After a long-period of relative calm, risk assets sold off meaningfully in response to global growth concerns. Our Chief Investment Strategist analyzes the fundamental picture in the wake of the recent downturn and what investors should do now.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Market Worries, Real and Imagined by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Financial market participants were beset with a number of worries in August. However, as a general theme, investors often worry about things they shouldn’t worry about and don’t worry about the things that they should worry about.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Searching for Sustainable Growth in Malaysia by Dilip Badlani of The Royce Funds

As an active manager with a value orientation, Portfolio Manager Dilip Badlani seeks to locate inexpensive companies helmed by management teams that have demonstrated an ability to consistently execute plans to grow their business irrespective of economic conditions. Though not without its challenges, Malaysia's history of perseverance makes it an attractive market for disciplined and patient investors.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Inflation, the Fed, and the Big Picture by Carmen Reinhart of Project Syndicate

Inflation was the theme of this year’s international conference of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. But, while policymakers are right to prepare for future risks to price stability, they did not place these concerns in the context of recent inflation developments at the global level – or within historical perspective.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 The Next Financial Crisis May Be Already Unfolding by Stefan Gleason of Money Metals Exchange

Is an epic financial meltdown about to commence? Predictions that a crash will occur in the fall of 2015 have been gaining traction. They are bolstered by some of the market events of this summer, which suggest that something big is indeed unfolding.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Defensive Expectations by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Last week there was an article in the WSJ noting the performance struggles of one of the larger liquid alternative mutual funds. I am not going to link to the article or name the fund because any fund can do very well, attract a lot of assets, then do poorly and lose the assets which is the arc of this fund’s story but instead want to focus on avoid that sort of loop or at least recognizing the potential for that sort of loop so that no one is surprised if/when it happens.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 A Sharp Slowing in U.S. Economic Growth is Projected For 2015 Q3 by Robert Lamy of The Forecasting Advisor

At the start of each month, the U.S. Institute for Supply Management (ISM) releases data on the state of the manufacturing and non-manufacturing industries of the U.S. economy. The data are closely followed by economists, stock market brokers and the media as they provide the earliest reading on the current state of the economy.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Portfolio Strategy: China September 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

The current global market volatility has made some investors skittish and, presumably, many are contemplating curtailing the equity exposure in their portfolios. But before throwing in the towel, they will do well to ask themselves: Who is buying all the stocks amid this selloff?

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Recession Probability Models - September 2015 by Ted Kavadas of StratX, LLC

There are a variety of economic models that are supposed to predict the probabilities of recession. While I don’t agree with the methodologies employed or probabilities of impending economic weakness as depicted by the following two models, I think the results of these models should be monitored.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Vietnam-EU Agreement: A Good Deal for Southeast Asia by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

As investors in Vietnamese stocks, the primary constraint we face is one of liquidity and limited choices in which to invest, but we are hopeful that will soon change. Vietnam has had a fast-growing economy, and we have found good companies there, including some that are state-owned.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 The Many Uses of Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Gold’s many qualities make it one of the most coveted metals in the world. Not only can it be beautifully shaped and sculpted, the yellow metal also conducts electricity, doesn’t tarnish and is biocompatible (meaning it’s not harmful to our tissue). These qualities make it the metal of choice in a wide variety of industries, including dentistry and medicine, electrical engineering, construction and aerospace manufacturing.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Time to Ditch the Bond Benchmark? by John Taylor of AllianceBernstein

Bond indices’ limitations as investable strategies are evident when taking a closer look at a key proxy for global investment-grade bonds—the global aggregate index.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Remember This Isn’t 2008 by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

After a seesaw week for stocks, Russ Koesterich explains why it's important to maintain perspective.

2015-09-02 00:00:00 The Earbud Stock Market by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

The earbud is nothing new, but it seems to be everywhere. The first implication of wearing earbuds is the solitary nature it creates. People signal through earbuds that they want to be left alone. Second, earbuds represent a willingness to disengage from the moment—a willful non-participation in society. This seems true in a world that is tied at the hip to technology and dominated by the largest population group between 20 and 36 years of age. This seems even truer for the markets, which greatly matters to long-duration stock owners like us.

2015-09-02 00:00:00 Provise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group

There is a big debate within the financial services industry regarding who should be required to be a fiduciary. Basically a fiduciary puts their clients’ interests ahead of their own, a philosophy ProVise has espoused since our founding in the mid-80s. The Department of Labor has proposed a rule which would require ALL who give advice on retirement plans to do so at a fiduciary standard of care.

2015-09-02 00:00:00 Keeping Firm Perspective as Markets Gyrate by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Global Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses why it is important to maintain perspective amidst the recent volatility, and how the selloff has created some areas of value.

2015-09-02 00:00:00 Equities Endure Intense Volatility, but the Bull Market Survives by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities experienced extreme volatility last week. Prices plummeted on Monday morning due to concerns over slowing growth in China as well as uncertainty surrounding Federal Reserve policy. The sell-off was likely exacerbated by trading halts, liquidity pressures and systematic investing programs. Markets recovered later in the week as investors viewed conditions as oversold, and as oil and other commodity prices stabilized and advanced. For the week, the S&P 500 Index gained 1.0%. The energy, technology and consumer discretionary sectors led the way while utilities sold off sharply.

2015-09-02 00:00:00 Bremmer’s Choices by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Last week, we wrote our first formal book review as a Weekly Geopolitical Report. The book, Superpower: Three Choices for America’s Role in the World, is a recently published book by Ian Bremmer in which he discusses three models for American foreign policy. In our closing comments last week, we promised to take a deeper look at Bremmer’s foreign policy models to examine their costs and benefits. In this report, we analyze his three models of exercising the superpower role, Indispensable America, Independent America and Moneyball America, and discuss which model is the most likely choice.

2015-09-02 00:00:00 The Smartphone Banking Revolution: Leaders of the Pack by Julian Wellesley of Loomis Sayles

By 2020 it is projected that 70% of the world’s population will own a smartphone - 1.2 billion smartphones were sold worldwide last year alone. Users increasingly rely on their smartphones for conducting a variety of daily activities including banking transactions. As retail banks respond to this shift toward mobile reliance, winners and losers are quickly emerging in the internet and app-based banking space.

2015-09-02 00:00:00 Fear the Talking Fed by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Kristina Hooper discusses the confusion created by Fed officials' public comments and how they stir up higher volatility—and more moaning and groaning among investors.

2015-09-02 00:00:00 Market Reset, Not Recession by John Calamos of Calamos Investments

In our view: Neither the U.S. or global economy is headed for recession; instead, we are seeing a market reset that is not entirely unexpected. Markets are likely to be extremely choppy over these next months, and we may see additional corrections. Over the near term, energy and commodity prices will remain volatile, with global interest rates and currency turmoil adding to the headwinds. Market dislocations are providing us with select opportunities to establish and build positions in fundamentally strong companies, worldwide—including in emerging markets.

2015-09-02 00:00:00 With Further Market Declines Likely, Keep the Long Run in Mind by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

August was the worst month for U.S. markets in more than three years, so say the headlines. I suspect it was also the worst month in at least that long for many international markets as well. And, as today’s numbers show us, we aren’t done yet. As I write this, U.S. markets are down about 2.5 percent, and European markets closed down around 3 percent.

2015-09-02 00:00:00 A Case for Active Investing in Low Volatility Equity by David Corris, Jason Hans, Jay Kaufman, Ernesto Ramos of BMO Global Asset Management

Low volatility equity strategies have become an increasingly popular solution in the investor toolbox. This is largely the result of an increasing awareness of the low volatility anomaly, a growing use of lower volatility seeking smart-beta strategies, and a greater appreciation of the damage caused by large portfolio drawdowns.

2015-09-02 00:00:00 Is "New Normal" Enough to Grow China's Economy? by Jerry Zhang of Wells Fargo Asset Management

Jerry Zhang, Ph.D., CFA, explores the economic underpinnings that can spark growth in China—and, in turn, present investing opportunities for growth seekers.

2015-09-02 00:00:00 August 2015 Commentary by Joe Becker of Milliman Financial Risk Management

As August wound down and families enjoyed the last few lazy days of summer, financial markets clearly had another idea in mind. After trading in a relatively tight range for most of the summer, the last two weeks of August were marked by volatility, the likes of which haven’t been seen since 2011. We attribute this heightened volatility to the confluence of global macro conditions with technical factors.

2015-09-01 00:00:00 China and the U.S. Stock Market by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

Now that things seem to have calmed down a bit, it’s a good time to discuss why the past week has been so turbulent. The usual explanations—the Chinese currency devaluation and stock market crash—are certainly valid, but there’s more to the story. Let's take a closer look at the connection between the news from China and U.S. stock prices.

2015-09-01 00:00:00 Oil Prices: The Drill Is Gone by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The nuclear deal with Iran is not yet settled, but it definitely points to, among many other things, lower oil prices. Once sanctions lift, Iran, desperate for cash, will sell all the oil it can, increasing global supplies and likely driving down prices. This one-time supply surge will, no doubt, take a while to have its full effect, until mid-2016 in all likelihood, but thereafter, slowdowns in production elsewhere in the world, including shale and tar sands in North America, should again begin to put upward pressure on the global price of crude.

2015-09-01 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: What Are the Lessons from the Market Turmoil? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

Dramatic events reset agendas. People re-evaluate probabilities about what is possible as well as the personal implications. Because the recent market story is so big and so fresh the week will start with the punditry asking: What are the lessons from the market turmoil?

2015-09-01 00:00:00 Investors Should Not "Buy the Dip" Because Macro and Market Risks Remain Elevated by Don Schreiber, Jr. of WBI Shares

The global market meltdown is turning into a rout as investors who ignored the warning signs of overvaluation, weakening earnings/revenue trends, and deteriorating internal market dynamics may now be heading for the exits. As advisors and investors try to rationalize asset allocation and equity market exposure, they may deem it appropriate to stick with investments in countries with the strongest economies. Reasoning, stronger eco-markets should behave better than markets in countries with economies under pressure.

2015-09-01 00:00:00 Risk Is Like the Air We Breathe by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

A couple of months ago I wrote an article about how risk, like death and taxes, is always with us. That was written as the market made new all-time highs, and I wanted to make it clear that such highs did not mean that risk was absent. Risk is always with us—like the air we breathe.

2015-09-01 00:00:00 Near-Term Headwinds Offer Attractive Buying Opportunities by (Article)

With many companies in more economically sensitive sectors of the small-cap market poised for incremental margin expansion and accelerated earnings growth as the U.S. economy continues down the path of normalization, Portfolio Managers Steven McBoyle and Lauren Romeo are trying to take advantage of current headwinds that should ultimately reverse with more robust economic growth.

2015-09-01 00:00:00 U.S. Small-Caps: A Look Forward and a Look Back by (Article)

While we have recently witnessed extraordinary runs from certain sectors of the small-cap market, Portfolio Manager Bill Hench believes a rally for many stocks in the small-cap universe, especially those more closely tied to domestic GDP, is still in the offing.

2015-09-01 00:00:00 The Swing of the Pendulum: A Snapshot of the Market by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

In the beginning of the year, I had written a prediction that developed markets would outperform developing (or emerging) markets for 2015. While the prediction may be correct, it has yet to be profitable. Nevertheless, I am encouraged as we approach the end of the year that we will move much closer to positive territory. When we encounter significant volatility in markets, it is always important to separate fact from fiction.

2015-09-01 00:00:00 Five Reasons Now is the Time to Hold Equities by Steven Vannelli of GaveKal Capital

After the recent correction, many investors are asking how to respond in their portfolios. I’m recommending clients hold on to equity exposure, even consider increasing it. Below, I run through my case.

2015-09-01 00:00:00 Understanding Fair Valuation: A Common Sense Approach To Long-Term Investing Success by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

In order to understand what the intrinsic value or fair value of a common stock is, you must think like a long-term business owner and not like a stock trader. Additionally, you must think like a business owner that has no intention of selling their business. Put another way, your business generates your livelihood. Therefore, your primary focus and attention is on answering the question: how’s business?

2015-09-01 00:00:00 Is a Recession Coming? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ Koesterich explains why fears of an imminent U.S. recession may be overblown.

2015-09-01 00:00:00 DeVoe’s Unprovable but Highly Probable Theories by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

I don’t claim to be an economist, although I do have a degree in economics. Fortunately, I have forgotten most of the economics I learned at university. Also fortunate is that I work with one of the best economists on Wall Street in the form of Scott Brown, Ph.D., but I digress. For the past few months I have been suggesting the economy was doing better, which has brought about cat calls from many of the negative nabobs. My sense has been that GDP was growing by at least 3%.

2015-09-01 00:00:00 Market Volatility by (Article)

Recent market volatility has led to wider discounts for many closed-end funds, says Mike Taggart of Nuveen Investments.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 Henderson Global Dividend Study - Edition 7 by (Article)

The Henderson Global Dividend Study (HGDS) is a long-term study into global dividend trends, and is the first of its kind. It is a measure of progress that global firms are making in paying their investors an income on their capital. It analyses dividends paid every quarter by the 1,200 largest firms by market capitalization.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 Making Sense of Market Volatility by Karen Dunn Kelley of Invesco Blog

On Aug. 21, the Dow Jones Industrial Average entered a correction, falling 10% from its most recent peak, and reminded investors what volatility looks like after almost four correction-free years. While volatility exposes weaknesses in the market, in my opinion it also reveals the strength of high conviction managers who are skillfully navigating the market. Active management and smart beta strategies seek to surpass the “market averages” offered by traditional benchmarks, providing the potential not only for higher returns, but also for a smoother ride.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 The Active-Passive Debate Revisited by Bob Veres (Article)

Asset flows to passively managed funds are surging. But, as often happens, advisors are embracing a trend just as debunking information is arriving in the marketplace. New research is showing that selecting above-average active funds may not be the impossible task that the academic research has suggested.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 Are Investors Overexposed to Non-Guaranteed RMBS? by Keith Jurow (Article)

Let’s look at some recent data that shows the extent of the delinquencies in non-guaranteed mortgages with a focus on the most exposed large metro areas. We’ll then examine the implications for advisors whose clients own funds, ETFs or REITs that own that debt.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 Vinson Walden on the Thornburg Global Opportunities Fund by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Vinson Walden is the co-portfolio manager, along with Brian McMahon, of the Thornburg Global Opportunities Fund (THOAX). Within Morningstar’s World Stock category, THOAX ranked among the top-performing funds over the last one, three and five years. I spoke with Vin about how he constructs the fund and his outlook for the future.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 Dealing with Quirky Markets and Nervous Clients by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Unsettled markets are creating unsettled clients. We are being proactive, but I wonder whether being proactive tells clients that there is a problem. We can’t say, “There is nothing to worry about” without creating a concern that there IS in fact something to worry about.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 Grade Yourself on August’s Moment of Truth by Dan Richards (Article)

Moments of truth occur when clients make judgments about their advisors. Exactly such a moment came in mid-August as clients read alarming headlines about “plunging markets” and “market routs.” Here’s a way to assess how you handled that moment.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 How to Handle an Initial Inquiry from a Prospect by Dan Solin (Article)

Here’s a jaw-dropping case of how two attorneys failed when I made an initial inquiry, followed by my recommendations for how advisors should handle similar situations.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 If You Need to Reduce Risk, Do it Now by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

The single most important thing for investors to understand here is how current market conditions differ from those that existed through the majority of the market advance of recent years. The difference isn’t valuations. On measures that are best correlated with actual subsequent 10-year S&P 500 total returns, the market has advanced from strenuous, to extreme, to obscene overvaluation, largely without consequence. The difference is that investor risk-preferences have shifted from risk-seeking to risk-aversion.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 Tracking the Market with Social Media by Blair Jensen of Trade Followers

Over the past several weeks I’ve been chronicling the change in sentiment on the Twitter stream as it lead the market lower. In early July sentiment turned from bullish to neutral. By the end of the month sentiment had clearly turned bearish evidenced by both momentum and the rise in the number of bearish stocks. As the market traded sideways in early August sentiment continued to show mostly bearish readings then made an attempt to rise back above zero. That attempt failed and we watched the S&P 500 Index (SPX) fall hard as market participants panicked.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 On My Radar: We Didn’t Start The Fire by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Risk is high. For equity exposure, hedge or raise cash on rallies and let your tactical and alternative strategies follow their processes. Put in place the processes. Now is the time.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 Markets Volatile, Economy Fine by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

As you woke up this morning, US stock market futures were down again. They say it’s because the Chinese stock market fell, and in spite of this every summary of Fed intentions that we read suggests a rate hike this year (possibly in September) is still very much on the table.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 Stay Calm and Carry On by Kenneth Kim of EQIS Capital

As most everyone is aware, the markets have been highly volatile, and mostly down, during these past few days. Everyone seems to be pointing fingers at China’s slowing economy as the cause. Before joining EQIS, I was a professor of finance at Renmin University in Beijing, China for many years. Recognized as one of the top 15 economists* in China, and a frequent economic commentator on the Chinese economy on China’s only English-language national television station, I can speak about, and address, this current market condition that places blame on China.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 Managed Futures - Describing Liquid Alts by Michael Breitenbach of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

Managed futures strategies date back several decades to the emergence of commodity trading advisors, which were first formally defined as a structure by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Act of 1974 (CFTC). This type of strategy is also often offered through commodity pool operator vehicles, which are a similar and inter-related designation also primarily regulated by the CFTC.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 Dog Days Are Over: What a Week! by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Volatility … and the volatility of volatility … hit record levels last week. We believe this is just a correction; not the beginning of a new bear market. Weeks like last week provide valuable lessons for investors about crowd psychology and the benefits of diversification and rebalancing.

2015-08-30 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Waterfall events like the current one tend to most often reverberate into the weeks ahead. Indices will often jump 10% or more higher and also attempt to retest the lows. Volatility will likely remain elevated for several months. But the fall in equity prices, which has knocked investor sentiment to its knees, opens up an attractive risk/reward opportunity for investors. Further weakness, which is quite possible, is an opportunity to accumulate with an eye toward year-end. However, a quick, uncorrected rally in the next week or two would likely fail.

2015-08-30 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review For August 24-28 by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The strongest news of the week was the upward revision of 2Q GDP from 2.3% to 3.7% (Q/Q). All sectors contributed. Personal consumption expenditures increased 3.1% with contributions from durable goods purchases (+8.2%) and non-durable goods (+4.1%). Residential construction increased 7.8% while non-residential was up 3.1%. Equipment was down .4%, but this can be attributed to oil sector’s weakness. Finally, exports increased 5.2%. Overall, this report was very encouraging, especially considering 1Q weakness.

2015-08-30 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review For August 24-28 by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The fundamentals overall are slightly positive because they give companies an environment where they can grow top line revenue. The problem is most companies are just barely doing so. Even excluding the energy sector, top line revenue was only up 1.1% last quarter. Yes, it’s positive, which is obviously better than the alternative. But with market is already pricey; a 1.1% revenue increase doesn’t add a lot of upside room.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 China’s Currency Devaluation by Team of Wasatch Funds

After years of small-scale strengthening against the U.S. dollar, the coordinated devaluation of the Chinese yuan has come when China’s economy is seeing more signs of weakness. In our view, it’s hard to believe that the recent devaluation of the yuan will significantly help the Chinese economy. In addition, relative to the last several years, the yuan is still strong against the euro and the yen. This raises the question: Is there more devaluation to come?

2015-08-28 00:00:00 Why This Time Could Be Different by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

In yesterday's post, I discussed the current correction within the context of previous "bull market" corrections. Specifically, the corrections in 1987, 1998, 2010 and 2011. However, today, I want to look at the current correction in the context of previous starts to "bear markets" and subsequent recessions.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 Doodles from an Eventful Summer by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

This month's Absolute Return Letter is a little different. It was a very eventful summer with many incidents impacting financial markets and we have compiled all these topics into one letter. China is, not surprisingly, a core subject. If the Chinese economy is slowing (and it is), we don't think China is in for a hard landing. If anyone is in the near term - and this may surprise you - we think the U.S. and the euro zone are far more likely candidates.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 Don't Panic: Putting Market Turbulence in Context by Tom Fahey of Loomis Sayles

Sharp declines in China’s equity markets have heightened fears about the country’s economic prognosis and what it might mean for global growth. While concerns center on the emerging markets, the tumult has spilled across global financial markets. Our advice: don’t panic.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 Are You a "Ben Graham Defensive Investor"? by Charles Aram of Research Affiliates

Benjamin Graham’s well-reasoned, rules-based approach to security analysis remains, after more than 80 years, a cornerstone for building a strong, long-term investment program to meet investors’ financial goals.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 Forget the Sept. '15 Fed Tightening -- There Has Been a Stealth Tightening Since Sept. '14 by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

The late, great Milton Friedman used to preach that you don’t assess the degree of monetary policy restriction or accommodation by the level and movement of interest rates but rather by the behavior of monetary quantities. For Friedman, the monetary quantity by which he judged the stance of monetary policy was some definition of the money supply – currency and some of the deposit liabilities of the banking system.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 On Market Corrections, and Keeping a Calm Head by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Despite recent market volatility, we consider the long-term outlook for China’s market and economy to be good. We don’t view this recent correction as the start of any sort of economic or market collapse underway, and it doesn’t change our view on investing there.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 Feeling Old Yet? Incoming College Freshmen Have Always Known Google by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

I use Google every day, and yet I still marvel at how amazing a tool it is. Part of this amazement stems from the fact that most of my life was spent in the dark ages before the search giant changed human knowledge forever. I appreciate it in a way 19th-century, transcontinental travelers must have appreciated steam locomotives’ ability to shave days and weeks from their covered-wagon travel time. Except Google is more like a rocket ship than a locomotive.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 12 Attractive Fast-Growing Dividend Growth Stocks for High Total Return by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

The current market environment is presenting many challenges to the conservative retired investor in need of current income. Interest rates are near all-time lows and the valuations of many blue-chip dividend growth stocks have become extended. Consequently, it is becoming very difficult to find quality investment opportunities that can provide safety through sound valuation, attractive yield and the potential to fight inflation.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 Cheap Oil and Global Growth by Anatole Kaletsky of Project Syndicate

The standard explanation is weak Chinese demand, with the oil-price collapse widely regarded as a portent of recession, either in China or for the entire global economy. But this is almost certainly wrong: On all recent occasions when the oil price was halved, faster global growth followed.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 What’s Holding Back the U.S. Consumer by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Since the recession ended, U.S. real household consumption has remained well below the historical average. Russ Koesterich explains why it’s likely to remain that way.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 Who Ate Joe’s Retirement Money? Sequence Risk and its Insidious Drag on Retirement Wealth by Peter Chiappinelli, Ram Thirukkonda of GMO

Defined Contribution (DC) plan participants are haunted by an invisible risk called sequence risk (sometimes called sequence-of-returns or path dependency risk), that is, getting the “right” returns but in the “wrong” order. Sequence risk in the retirement phase has been studied extensively. Sadly, not as much attention has been paid to sequence risk during the accumulation phase, but it is equally important.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 How Long Do Stock Market Corrections Last? by Dr. Brian Jacobsen of Wells Fargo Asset Management

All stock market corrections are different, but some follow patterns. The current pattern looks more like 2011 than 1998, with some significant economic differences.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 Panic Is Not a Strategy—Nor Is Greed by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Admittedly, the development of a long-term strategic asset allocation plan isn't the hard part—it's sticking to it that often becomes the real challenge. Adding to underperforming asset classes and trimming outperforming asset classes goes against the emotions of fear and greed that often drive investment decision making. But if we learn from our mistakes, use our brains over our hearts and look to our portfolios as rebalancing guides, we can expect a more successful investing future and maybe even get a free lunch along the way.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 Times Like This by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

Times like this in the markets can be unsettling. We are accustomed to dealing with risk, or at least familiar with “normal” market swings from year to year. But when there is a sudden abrupt fall in markets, investors are often left to wonder “What is going on?” Are we seeing a repeat of 1997? 2013? Matthews Asia’s Chief Investment Officer Robert Horrocks, PhD, offers his views on recent developments, drawing from historical context but also noting the instances in which history can be misleading.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 Schwab’s Perspective on Recent Market Volatility by Team of Charles Schwab

Global markets may have swung wildly in recent days, but we think the recent selloff in stocks and commodities is not a sign of imminent global recession. However, it may prompt the Federal Reserve (Fed) to postpone raising U.S. interest rates for a while longer. In the meantime, the basics of successful investing remain the same: Sticking to your long-term investment plan and maintaining a well-diversified portfolio should help you weather the market storm.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 If China Lands Hard, It Won’t Be Alone by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The news from China has been volatile and disconcerting. There is a general sense that the carnage would be far worse if not for active intervention from Chinese authorities.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 Weapons of Economic Misdirection by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

This week’s letter will deal with the problems of determining what GDP really is, and I’ll throw in a few quick remarks on what the recent GDP revision means for the Fed and whether they’ll raise rates.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 China’s Economy Is Undergoing a Huge Transformation That No One’s Talking About by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Misconception and exaggeration are circling China’s economy right now like a flock of hungry buzzards. If you listen only to the popular media, you might believe that the Asian giant is teetering on the brink of economic disaster, with the Shanghai Composite Index’s recent correction and devaluation of the renminbi held up as “proof.”

2015-08-27 00:00:00 Investors Should Cheer A Higher Federal Funds Rate by Eric Busch of GaveKal Capital

With rocky equity markets and concerns about economic growth in China, there seems to be a growing chorus in the market calling for the Fed to hold off on raising rates in September. In fact, many are now saying (hoping?) that the Fed holds off raising rates until 2016. Bill Dudley, president of the New York Fed, came out today saying that the case to raise rates is “less compelling” than it was just a few weeks ago.

2015-08-27 00:00:00 Solidifying a Case for Liquid Alternatives by David Saunders of Franklin Templeton Investments

Skeptics may be surprised to learn that the majority of hedge fund managers focus on providing capital appreciation with lower volatility than the broad markets.

2015-08-27 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: The Start of Something Big? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

The big market decline has the attention of everyone, even those who do not closely follow the markets. The week will start with the punditry will be asking: Is the market decline the start of something big?

2015-08-27 00:00:00 Tracking the Market with Social Media by Blair Jensen of Trade Followers

As I’ve been highlighting over the past several weeks, 2040 on the S&P 500 Index (SPX) was a crucial support level. It garnered more tweets from market participants than any other level over the past several months. With everyone watching 2040 as support it made it likely that any break of that level would result in increased selling. Last week I warned that on a breach “selling will likely accelerate”. 2040 broke and we got the expected result. I must say that I was surprised by a 3% down day on Friday though.

2015-08-27 00:00:00 Market Update by Michael Kayes of Willingdon Wealth Management

On Wednesday, August 19th the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 17,348.73. It closed Monday, August 24th at 15,872.82, a drop of 8.5% in three trading days. Today, volatility spiked with the market falling over 1,000 points early in the day, then rallying almost back to even before closing down 586.53 points or 3.56% for the day.

2015-08-27 00:00:00 Special Provise Bullet by Team of ProVise Management Group

The uncertainty concerning the Chinese economy, which escalated following the sudden devaluation of the Yuan, has raised the specter of a global slowdown and set world stock markets into a tailspin.

2015-08-27 00:00:00 Superpower by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Our subject is a new book titled Superpower: Three Choices for America’s Role in the World, by Ian Bremmer, a political scientist who writes often on geopolitical issues. At some point, the US will need to select a workable foreign policy for the post-Cold War era and determine how to handle the superpower role. In this report, we review Bremmer’s book, starting with his premise that no president since the fall of the Berlin Wall has developed a coherent foreign policy.

2015-08-27 00:00:00 Sharp Selloff by Mark Oelschlager of Oak Associates

In a matter of a week the stock market has gone from historically low volatility to historically high volatility. The good news is that, in our estimation, the current events are not enough to throw the US economy into recession. The nature of a selloff can be quite informative as to its meaning or duration, and there are many signs that this correction may be ephemeral and that stocks may bounce back.

2015-08-27 00:00:00 Trying to Restore Order by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

It has been an unsettling month for the financial markets. The challenges faced by China, which have been amplified by inconsistent responses from policy makers, have heightened uncertainty.

2015-08-27 00:00:00 Global Market Chaos Amidst Worries About China, Etc. by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

There is so much to write about today it’s hard to know where to start. Equity markets around the world are plunging on worries about China, a possible Fed interest rate hike next month, the worsening bear market in commodities, economic and currency weakness in emerging markets, etc., etc.

2015-08-27 00:00:00 What Value are Credit Ratings? by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

If there was any question about it, the financial crisis of 2008 demonstrated to us all just how flawed the ratings process is, where AAA debt was suddenly in default and highly rated companies all of a sudden required bailouts seemingly overnight. However in the aftermath, while there have been efforts to reduce our reliance on ratings, it has also become clear that changing the ratings process is exceedingly difficult, if not impossible. They are ingrained in our system and ingrained in the way many people and institutions invest.

2015-08-27 00:00:00 Should You Adjust? by Jim Tillar, Steve Wenstrup of Tillar-Wenstrup Advisors

Is it time for a correction? That is the question that has been on the mind of many investors for some time now. Those who have ridden the wave since the ugly market bottom of March 2009 can afford to be worried as they weathered an uncertain recovery in the market and have generally seen their assets grow quite well. Unfortunately the fires of gloom were hot after the financial crisis with the media fanning the flames of pessimism. Therefore many late arrivers to the market may still be struggling to reestablish their previous portfolio values.

2015-08-27 00:00:00 A Financial Early-Warning System by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

Recent market volatility – in emerging and developed economies alike – is showing once again how badly ratings agencies and investors can err in assessing countries’ economic and financial vulnerabilities. More than ever, the world needs an early-warning system for financial tsunamis.

2015-08-27 00:00:00 ESG Investing – do managers invest consistently? by Veronique Botton of Russell Investments

Veronique Botton takes a look at Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing and examines if managers who have tilts towards ESG investing today might have the same tilts tomorrow.

2015-08-26 00:00:00 Days of Yesteryear by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

“Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. From out of the past come the thundering hoof-beats of the great horse Silver. A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty ‘Hi-Yo Silver’ the Lone Ranger rides again” . . . except in this case we are not referring to the iconic radio/TV show, The Long Ranger as played by Clayton Moore, but last October. I awoke early on October 15, 2014, looking for more news on what had caused the 18 session bone-crushing decline.

2015-08-26 00:00:00 I Own Southern Company and AGL Resources – Now What Do I Do? by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Utility stocks are generally low-growth high-yield investments. As I will soon illustrate, both Southern Company (SO) and AGL Resources Inc (GAS) neatly fall into that category. These low-growth and above- average dividend yield characteristics have led me to only invest in utility stocks when two important conditions are met.

2015-08-26 00:00:00 A Macro View of Recent Market Volatility by Michael Hasenstab and Sonal Desai of Franklin Templeton Investments

When we look at how much market panic there has been, you’d be under the impression China is headed full-speed into full-blown recession. That is not our call. We expect moderation in China’s growth and continue to see it as healthy.

2015-08-26 00:00:00 China Commentary by John Calamos: Market Reset, Not Recession by John Calamos Sr. of Calamos Investments

The global market selloff of these past days has tested the mettle of many investors—particularly as the turmoil has followed an unusual period earlier this year, where equities delivered healthy advances with very little volatility. While we’ve gone on record saying that we expected volatility to persist (including in our most recent Outlook), we have been surprised by how severe the downturn has been. However, experience teaches that there can be many opportunities in volatile markets.

2015-08-26 00:00:00 What Investors Must Know About China by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

The latest story scaring investors witless (TM OldProf Euphemism) is the collapse of the Chinese economy. It has become an element of Wall Street Truthiness. The Chinese are lying about their data, masking the true story. “All of the data” support this according to the commentators, led by pundit-in-chief Jim Cramer and the rest of the gang at CNBC. How about some much-needed objectivity?

2015-08-26 00:00:00 As Market Fears Grow, Stay Focused on the Long Term by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

One bad day doesn’t make a bear market. Two bad days, however, and the prospect of more to come, may well signal one.

2015-08-26 00:00:00 Inspecting the Fed's Policy Toolkit by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

A Federal Reserve research report recommends deploying current policy for future crises. Is that really such a good idea?

2015-08-26 00:00:00 Markets Crashing, Gold Rising by Clint Siegner of Money Metals Exchange

U.S. Investors are on edge following last week’s and today’s sell-off in stocks around the globe. The carnage impacted equity markets in Asia, Europe, and the U.S. Interestingly, the U.S. dollar also weakened. And bonds and gold are getting most of the safe-haven buying.

2015-08-26 00:00:00 Why a 500-Point Sell-off Isn’t “Massive” by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

While I was training early this morning, I was forced to endure two hours of CNBC’s seemingly permanent headline across the bottom of the screen that screamed that the markets were heading for a “massive sell off.” At the time, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were down about 500 points. When the markets opened at 9:30, the Dow did open down about 500 points (thereafter it actually was down about 1,000 points) before bouncing back to its opening levels.

2015-08-26 00:00:00 A Painful but Healthy Adjustment for Risk Assets by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The source of the current market correction is the massive misalignment of exchange rates, which finds its roots in quantitative easing.

2015-08-26 00:00:00 Earnings Voids and the Emergence of Plausible Risk by Doug MacKay, Bill Hoover of Broadleaf Partners

We had put the finishing touches on a market update celebrating our first ten years in business, but were rudely interrupted by the first violence in the markets we’ve seen in nearly a year. Yes, a year.

2015-08-26 00:00:00 Turning an Oxymoron into an Opportunity by François Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

For my part, I feel in total harmony with the contrarian and value disciplines that have guided my investments for 40 years. At the same time, I also claim (and aim) to be a long-term investor. Yet, almost from the start of my career, I have had the somewhat uncomfortable feeling that, in practice, these claims may be contradictory.

2015-08-25 00:00:00 Building Corridors to the Future in Pakistan by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

We have been investing in Pakistan for a number of years, and see it as an overlooked investment destination with very attractive valuations due to negative macro sentiment.

2015-08-25 00:00:00 US Stock Market Internals Update – New Lows Are Spiking by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

With another a significant down day in the works, its worth remembering that these stats are as of the close on Friday. The main takeaway is while there has been some deterioration in the US stock market, we are nowhere near what happened in 2011. Let’s take a look at some stats, like what Bryce did with EM stocks on Friday, and compare current levels to 2011.

2015-08-25 00:00:00 Get Real! Offsetting Inflation Risks in Your Glide Path by Daniel Loewy, Christopher Nikolich of AllianceBernstein

We’ve had a remarkable 30-year run of declining interest rates and modest inflation. As a result, few target-date glide paths were constructed with any inflation protection. We think it’s time to act.

2015-08-25 00:00:00 Finding Value in the Selloff Rubble by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses the catalysts for the brutal equity selloff and its key takeaway for long-term investors.

2015-08-25 00:00:00 China and the Submerging Market Outlook by Scott Brown of Raymond James

China’s economic slowdown may not be much of a direct drag on U.S. growth. While U.S. exporters will have a tougher time, the drop in commodity prices should help consumers and domestic producers. However, the country’s difficulties need to be considered in the broader view of emerging market troubles.

2015-08-25 00:00:00 The Fed Is Spooking the Markets Not China by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Fasten your seat belts, this ride is getting interesting. Last week the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 1,000 points, notching its worst weekly performance in four years. The sell-off took the Dow Jones down more than 10% from its peak valuations, thereby constituting the first official correction in four years. One third of all S&P 500 companies are already in bear market territory, having declined more than 20% from their peaks. Scarier still, the selling intensified as the week drew to a close, with the Dow losing 530 points on Friday, after falling 350 points on Thursday.

2015-08-25 00:00:00 Why markets are down….but not out by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

Wasps, traffic, reruns, back to school, shark sightings and market corrections. August is fast losing its laid back reputation. The S&P 500 is down around 4.5% for the month and 6.2% from May’s all time highs.

2015-08-25 00:00:00 The Correction May Not Be Over, but the Bull Market Should Persist by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

The S&P 500 Index fell 5.7% last week, its biggest weekly pullback since September 2011. Equities have been under pressure for some time, and it appears that investors finally gave in.

2015-08-25 00:00:00 This Correction is Technical, Not Fundamental by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

The only people more giddy with anticipation are the stock market pundits looking for The Big Short – II. It’s an eagerly anticipated sequel of the Panic of 2008. The S&P 500 is tumbling again today, more than 10% below the peak in May.

2015-08-25 00:00:00 On My Radar: An Optimist Sees The Opportunity In Every Difficulty by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill

2015-08-25 00:00:00 China’s Complexity Problem by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

There are many moving parts – economic, social, and geopolitical – in China’s daunting transition to what its leaders call a moderately well-off society, and the ultimate challenge may lie in managing the exceedingly complex interplay among them. Is China’s leadership up to the task, or has it bitten off more than it can chew?

2015-08-24 00:00:00 Risk Turns Risky: Unpleasant Skew, Scale Dilation, and Broken Lines by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Over the years, I’ve observed that overvalued, overbought, overbullish market conditions have historically been accompanied by what I call “unpleasant skew” – a succession of small but persistent marginal new highs, followed by a vertical collapse in which weeks or months of gains are wiped out in a handful of sessions.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 Don’t Expect A Turnaround In Your Favorite Energy ETF Anytime Soon by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

By far the largest energy ETF is the Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE). It’s a market cap weighted energy ETF that tracks the energy sector in the S&P 500. Since its a market cap weighted ETF, it is very top heavy as it is dominated by Exxon Mobil and Chevron. As of yesterday, Exxon Mobil account for 16.15% and Chevron accounts for 11.68% of XLE. Overall, the top five holdings account account for 44.2% of the entire ETF.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 There’s No Free Lunch with Structured Notes by Seth Masters, Richard Weaver, John McLaughlin of AllianceBernstein

For yield-hungry investors, the lure of structured notes may seem difficult to resist. However, our analysis shows that the promise of safe, outsized yields shouldn’t be swallowed whole.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 September Swoon Ahead? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ explains why investors may want to exercise caution next month.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 Equities: Enhancing Your Small Cap Allocation by Laura Schlockman, Steve Jones of PIMCO

Our New Neutral outlook is generally supportive of equities: Low discount rates, recovering but muted inflation and a drawn-out business cycle argue for positive equity performance. However, full valuations and uneven growth suggest returns may be significantly lower than long-term averages. This means that capturing equity alpha will be critical for investors to meet their return objectives.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review For August 17-22 by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

For the last several months, I have expressed three concerns regarding the markets. The high current and forward PEs of the major averages were the first. This was followed by the declining top line revenue of the S&P 500 companies. And third were deteriorating market technicals; a weakening advance/decline line, fewer stocks participating in rallies and various averages (the transports, IWCs and IWMs) declining. All of those factors came home to roost this week as the markets sold-off in a fairly sharp manner.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 The Use and Abuse of Dividend Strategies by Robert J. Martorana (Article)

I will look at the underlying justification for a dividend-based strategy and at how the most popular funds have performed recently. I will then discuss the criteria that investors should use to construct the best dividend-oriented portfolio, and which mutual fund best meets those criteria.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Strong downward momentum usually has follow through. US indices are mostly within a few percent of significant support levels. The selling this week registered noteworthy extremes in breadth, volatility and sentiment. Friday probably will not mark the low, but risk/reward over the next month looks favorable.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 Getting Advisors to Recognize Bad Behavior by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I have an advisor who is boisterous and pushy. My administrative team does everything to avoid him. I know he doesn’t mean to be so aggressive, but no matter what I say to him, he laughs it off and makes it out like I am the problem.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 Options and Volatility Strategies -- Describing Liquid Alts by Michael Breitenbach of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

Some equity funds may add option hedges in an effort to dampen portfolio volatility, generate alpha, and reduce tail risk. Option hedges provide a vehicle for potential alpha, allowing tactical managers to express multi-dimensional views on security price, volatility, and time. Systematic option strategies—which include covered-call, collar, put-writing, and more-complicated strategies—allow managers to potentially exploit the nonlinear characteristics of option payoffs to shape the return distribution.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 Do John Hancock Funds Add Value for Investors? by Larry Swedroe (Article)

John Hancock ranked second on Barron’s annual list of best-performing mutual fund families for the latest 10-year period. How did its performance compare to that of two popular passively managed fund companies?

2015-08-24 00:00:00 Recent Market Volatility by Lane Jones of Evensky & Katz / Foldes Financial Wealth Management

Given the recent volatility in world stock markets, you are no doubt concerned and wondering whether we're entering a period of extended declines. We don't know the answer to this question; no one does. We do know that making investment decisions based upon short-term news is rarely a winning strategy. In times like this it's important to remember your investments are designed to carry you through decades not days. It's important to stay focused on the long-term.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 How an “Abundance Mentality” Drives Top Advisors by Dan Richards (Article)

Hard work, talent and luck drive top advisors. But research from Wharton’s top-rated faculty member shows there’s another quality high on the list.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 Is Diversification Working? by (Article)

It can be tempting to second guess diversification when the headline news showcases only one segment of the market that performed particularly well. In this video for The PMC Spotlight, Tim Clift, Chief Investment Strategist, explains why investors shouldn’t be dismayed when their diversified portfolios can’t keep up with narrow asset class leadership.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 A Different Perspective on Market Valuations by Michael Lebowitz (Article)

How fast must annual EPS grow over the next five years to normalize the current CAPE 10 with its historic average?

2015-08-24 00:00:00 Strategies to Convert More Prospects by Dan Solin (Article)

Evidence-based advisors are no match for the media’s steady drumbeat of misinformation. As a consequence, they need to be especially skilled at persuasive techniques grounded in peer-reviewed data, which will permit them to convert more prospects into clients. Here is a research-backed strategy to accomplish that goal.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 CEF IPO Perspective by (Article)

The initial public offering (IPO) process for launching new closed-end funds may be evolving to attract more investors, says John Cole Scott of CEF Advisors.

2015-08-22 00:00:00 Playing the Chinese Trump Card by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Donald Trump wants to “rein in” China. Exactly how will anybody rein in anything if we tumble into another global recession, when it will be every country for itself? Not even Donald Trump knows how to make trouble on that scale.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 Testing Today’s Analyst Ratings by Jennifer Thomson of GaveKal Capital

Regular readers are familiar with the extensive fundamental screening process that we employ in our hunt for the world’s most knowledge-intensive companies, as well as the relative strength point-and-figure technical charting element of our process. Now and then, it is interesting to ‘test’ changes in analyst ratings of various stocks that we can see in our universe in order to see how viable those assessments are from a purely technical standpoint.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 Shrugging Along by Brooks Ritchey of Franklin Templeton Investments

From our point of view, trying to predict market declines or rallies is not as important as preparing for incipient shocks smartly and strategically; it is about being vigilant.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 These Billionaire Investors Just Made Massive Bets on Gold and Airlines by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

I always advise investors to follow the smart money, and two people high on the list are Stanley Druckenmiller and Warren Buffett. Second-quarter regulatory filings show that Stanley Druckenmiller, the famed hedge fund manager, just placed more than $323 million of his own money into a gold ETF, at a time when sentiment toward the yellow metal is in the basement. Meanwhile, Buffett announced this week that Berkshire Hathaway is purchasing aircraft parts supplier Precision Castparts for $32 billion.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 Can Indian Equities Regain Their Mojo? by Laurent Saltiel, Jia Zhang of AllianceBernstein

Indian equities’ post-election rally last year fizzled out quickly. But we believe that lower interest rates—despite a looming US rate hike—may soon unlock their value, offering solace for investors reeling from the recent Chinese sell-off.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 In Today’s Overheated Market Control Risk in Your Retirement Portfolios with Sound Valuation by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Investing money in anything is never without risk. When investing in liquid investments, prices can and do fluctuate daily. Importantly, all liquid investments can fluctuate in price, and that includes both stocks and bonds. I mention this because price volatility, especially when investing in common stocks, represents one of the biggest risks that investors focus on, some to the point of obsession.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 The Paradox of Chasing Returns, Part 2 by Kyle Vogel of AdvisorShares

In part one, we looked at the statistics of how difficult it was for hedge fund managers to consistently outperform the universe average. In part two, we wanted to examine the consistency of a hedge fund’s1 performance as its assets grow. We took the HFRI Equity Hedge Fund universe and looked at individual managers’ assets and returns during a recent period. The dataset includes funds reporting at any point between August 2008 to March 2015.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 Developed Asia Pacific: Economy Trends Update July 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

After a slump in consumer spending had raised concerns of an economic slowdown in Japan recently, there was a welcome uptick in indicators such as manufacturing activity and exports. However, slowing growth in China, a major trading partner, is widely expected to have a bearing on the economy in the near future. Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Australia left interest rates unchanged in its recent review as expected, thanks to subdued inflation, a stabilizing job market, and early signs of a pick-up in business investment.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 Gold Glimmers as Global Market Fear Grips Investors by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Gold this week broke above its 50-day moving average as a fresh round of negative news from around the globe rekindled investors’ interest in the yellow metal as a safe haven. The Fear Trade, it seems, is in full force.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 Today's Market Action: S&P 500 and Dow more than down 3% by Jeremy Boynton of Laureate Wealth Management

What is causing the market to drop so significantly? The answer in one word: China.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 Was the Euro a Good Idea? by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The creation of the euro was done for political reasons; as long as it is politically less costly for its members than the alternatives, the euro is here to stay.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 Is a Stronger U.S. Dollar Really Bad News? Three Myths about Emerging Markets by Michele Mazzoleni of Research Affiliates

A strengthening U.S. dollar threatens emerging market economies—owes its plausibility to three myths. Let’s examine them.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 Pressure Mounts on China to Act by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Weak manufacturing data out of China indicate that its policymakers will have to act drastically to reverse its decline.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 International Economic Week In Review For Aug. 17-22 by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The most important overarching story of the week was the emerging market capital flight, which is occurring at startling pace.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 Schwab’s Perspective on Recent Market Volatility by Team of Charles Schwab

Global financial markets endured their worst week of the year this past week amid concerns over slowing economic growth and currency woes in China and other emerging markets, among other reasons. At times like these it is easy to start thinking short term, but keep in mind that the foundations of investing success are well established (have a plan, keep a close eye on expenses, stay diversified, and make sure your portfolio composition is lined up with your tolerance for risk and the timetable for when you’ll need to start drawing down the portfolio).

2015-08-20 00:00:00 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary: July 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices declined further in July, as concerns about slower growth in China as well as lower energy and commodity prices hurt investor optimism. Chinese equity markets, which had seen significant gains over the last one year, corrected despite the government’s efforts to stabilize the market.

2015-08-20 00:00:00 The Paradox of Chasing Returns, Part 1 by Kurt Voldeng of AdvisorShares

Our firm often cites a paradox in the hedge fund industry: hedge fund of funds lag the mean hedge fund return. Represented below, the HFRI Fund Weighted Composite Index is composed of individual hedge funds of all types that are equally weighted while the HFRI Fund of Funds Composite Index is a separate index composed of equally weighted funds of hedge funds.

2015-08-20 00:00:00 Population Growth & Productivity Headed in Wrong Direction by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today we’ll focus on some longer-term economic data which shows, unfortunately, that the US economy is in a multi-decade slide that will be very difficult to reverse. Population growth and worker productivity – the keys to sustained economic growth – are both in decline, trends that are not likely to change anytime soon.

2015-08-20 00:00:00 Why Rising Interest Rates Aren’t Necessarily a Harbinger of Trouble for EMs by Nick Niziolek, Todd Speed of Calamos Investments

In “Why Rising Interest Rates Aren’t Necessarily a Harbinger of Trouble for EMs,” VP and Portfolio Specialist Todd Speed, along with Nick Niziolek, explains why fiscal and economic reforms by many emerging markets support our view that many EMs may be less vulnerable to an eventual rise in U.S. short-term interest rates.

2015-08-20 00:00:00 Why We Believe the Eurozone is a Land of Opportunity by Robert Sharpe, Mike Jolin of Heartland Advisors

After years of unattractive valuations and outlook, Europe appears to be poised for a change. Here are some reasons we think there are plenty of opportunities in the region.

2015-08-20 00:00:00 Commodities: A Crude Awakening by Jim McDonald of Northern Trust

Commodities investors face numerous short-term challenges – falling demand, falling prices and a strong dollar – but this may present long-term opportunities for patient investors. Our Chief Investment Strategist, Jim McDonald, explains in his latest Investment Strategy Commentary: Commodities – A Crude Awakening.

2015-08-20 00:00:00 Summer Quartet by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

Music from four players continues to influence events in the bond market this summer: the Federal Reserve (Fed), China, oil prices, and the U.S. dollar. The music from these four players has led to a mixed response in the bond market: disturbing for short-term securities, melodic for long-term bonds.

2015-08-20 00:00:00 Global Energy: Adapting to New Realities by Suken Patel of Diamond Hill Capital Management, Inc.

The recent slide in oil prices is symptomatic of large fundamental shifts taking place across the energy sector. The current volatility is nothing new to oil markets as their self-correcting nature has frequently resulted in a sequence of deep boom and bust cycles. While we can anticipate and prepare for these cycles, much like with earthquakes, the timing and consequences can still be surprising. In times like these, maintaining a long-term perspective is essential to place current events in the proper context.

2015-08-20 00:00:00 Chasing Yield: Is Sustainable Income a Better Way? by Brian Meath of Russell Investments

Looking at the dangers and opportunities of yield-seeking investing, Brian Meath explains an alternative approach: sustainable income.

2015-08-20 00:00:00 Unattractive ‘Glamour Stocks’ Lead the Way in Asia Pacific by Brent Bates of Invesco Blog

Economic growth continues to decelerate across the Asia Pacific region. Domestic economies have not been robust enough to offset weakness in commodities and exports, and both revenue and earnings expectations were adjusted downward by 1% during the second quarter. Because growth is scarce, investors have been crowding into the highest-growth and highest-quality stocks; within Asia and Japan, this group of stocks is now trading at the highest premium to the rest of the market that we’ve seen in the past 20 years.

2015-08-20 00:00:00 All Bubbles Are Different by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

If stock market bubbles are driven by speculation, greed, and emotional biases – the valuations and fundamentals are simply a reflection of those emotions. In other words, bubbles can exist even at times when valuations and fundamentals might argue otherwise.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 APViewpoint Presents Global Macro Outlook: The Real Vision Perspective from Grant Williams and Raoul by APViewpoint (Article)

A live, CFP/IMCA CE-eligible webinar presented by APViewpoint on Tuesday, August 25, at 4:15 pm ET. The major strengthening of the US dollar is changing the global investment landscape. In this live Q&A session conducted by Advisor Perspectives CEO Robert Huebscher, Real Vision founders Grant Williams and Raoul Pal will discuss key macroeconomic drivers of asset price movements in international markets, focusing on how advisors can help their clients profit from opportunities created by favorable U.S. currency rates.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Five Decades of Middle Class Wages: August 2015 Update by Jill Mislinski (Article)

We've updated this series to include the today's release of the Consumer Price Index as the deflator and the final July monthly update. The initial update was based on a linear extrapolation of the CPI. The latest hypothetical annual earnings are at $35,402, down 14.6% from 42 years ago.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Global Economic Perspective: August by Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group of Franklin Templeton Investments

We believe sound headline job creation figures point to rate increases by a [US] Fed that would like to begin to ‘normalize’ monetary policy when possible. The US economy is no longer in the emergency room, as it was in December 2008.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Is the Chinese Yuan Undervalued or Overvalued? by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

Almost all of the recent analysis surrounding China’s recent currency fluctuation takes for granted that China just joined the global currency war by engaging in competitive devaluation in an effort to spur exports and thus growth. We offer a different take, that the recent move that in effect loosens up control over the peg (slightly) is more a measure of ongoing reform than of competitive devaluation. Indeed, one of the hallmarks of a liberalized financial system is that prices are determined by market forces rather than a central bank or other government entity.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Why Care About Commodity Stocks? by Henry D'Auria, Michelle Dunstan of AllianceBernstein

Commodities haven’t been kind to investors in recent years. But we believe that shifting the frame of reference away from underlying price trends of metals and raw materials can reveal surprising opportunities in select commodity stocks.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Crossover Bonds: Catching the Rising Stars by Hozef Arif, Michael Brownell of PIMCO

Many investors seeking yield in the current low interest rate environment are reluctant to take on high risk. Corporate crossover bonds, which straddle the line between the investment grade and high yield bond markets, may offer a solution.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Signs of a Struggling Economy? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

For many investors, China’s surprise devaluation of its currency reinforced global growth fears. Russ puts the move in context, and explains why to expect more volatility ahead.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 The One Percent by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

I don’t need to defend Mr. Landry. Mr. Landry does just fine on his own. But coming from me – someone who is my own biggest critic as well as a critic of Wall Street – you best realize that Mr. Landry is in the top 1% of people on Wall Street. He is clear, he is concise, and he is right more than he is wrong. AND more importantly, when he is wrong he doesn’t just sit there and fight the tape. He adjusts unlike [many] of the bonehead strategists on Wall Street; stop reading and listening to him at your own risk.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Global Economic Overview: July 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

While some of the emerging economies continue to face slow growth from lower commodity exports, the outlook for most developed economies has brightened in recent months. The U.S. slowdown during the first half of this year was not as bad as thought earlier, while economic trends from the Eurozone remain stable. Helped by sustained labor market gains, U.S. consumer sentiment is picking up again and should help aggregate growth during the second half of the year.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review For August 10-14 by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

Retail sales increased .6% M/M. But this statistic has shown some weakness over the last year: The best news in the report was the 6.9% Y/Y increase in auto sales. But over the last 12 readings, 6 have either been negative or 0%. And some of the increases have been small, totaling .4% and .5%. While the .6% was OK, this data series continues to point to a US consumer who is a bit more concerned about the overall economic situation, to the point where he is slowing his purchases.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Donald and Bernie by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In this report, we recap the economic and political factors that led us to conclude in previous reports from last year that the next presidential cycle could be unusually significant. From there, we look at the unlikely rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders and what their success thus far signals about the electorate and the next presidential election. Finally, we analyze their potential impact on the election, including the possibility that each might mount an extra-party candidacy. As always, we conclude with market ramifications.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Fundamental Truths by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

When policymakers tell you one thing and the data tell you something different, heed the data. Markets that are in the midst of transition do not behave according to script, despite the best efforts of policymakers to script them. Last week, China loosened control of its currency, resulting in its biggest one-day loss in two decades, compounded by additional losses over the following days. As of this writing, the renminbi (RMB) has depreciated by close to 3 percent since the start of last week.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Strong Dollar: A Headwind for Trade by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

A stronger U.S. currency likely will continue to weigh on exports and boost imports. What does this mean for future U.S. growth?

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Are MLPs Still a Good Investment? by Alan Cole, Chris Engelman of Cedar Hill Associates

Despite continuing to deliver solid earnings and dividend distribution growth, the prices of many Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) have declined by about 20% over the past year. Here, President Alan Cole and Managing Director Chris Engelman discuss why MLP prices have been under pressure, as well as the steps Cedar Hill takes when investments like these fall out of favor to determine whether to hold, exit or add to the investment.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 One man’s weed... by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

I spent time at the Woodward Dream Cruise this week in my brother Charlie’s 1985 Ford Mustang convertible (his first new car which he bought and has maintained since that year). I think the Cruise is the largest annual assemblage of classic cars on the planet. What a great time for anyone who enjoys historical vehicles and the memories they bring back, especially here in the Motor City.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Time is on Your Side, Yes it is by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Business Insider and Barry Ritholtz both had posts in the last few days contributing to the same big idea that time is a valuable asset not just in and of itself but also as part of a financial plan and an investment strategy.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Why the Yuan Devaluation Does Not Erode China’s Long-Term Investment Potential by Nick Niziolek of Calamos Investments

In his blog post, titled “Why the Yuan Devaluation Does Not Erode China’s Long-Term Investment Potential,” SVP and Senior Co-Portfolio Manager Nick Niziolek discusses the opportunities the Calamos team sees in China.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Security Valuation: What Can Microsoft and Walmart Teach Us about Amazon? by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

While most investors and the media consider the merits of Amazon’s workplace environment, we at Smead Capital Management would like to think about the purpose of owning a business and how today’s stock market chooses to price securities. In our case, we choose to analyze companies as if we were buying the whole business at current quotes, not just a small part. We think about Amazon the way we think about all companies—being the receiver of the future profits and free-cash flows.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Technically Speaking: The Bull/Bear Conundrum by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

In March of this year, I wrote an article entitled "Think Like A Bear, Invest Like A Bull" in which I discussed the importance of not letting personal emotional biases derail your investment strategy and discipline.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 The Hour of Your Day that Matters Most by Dan Richards (Article)

Three decisions drive productivity: how you start your day, how you end your day and what you do in between. Advisors who have given careful thought to these questions have seen big improvements in productivity.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 What New Advisors Need to Succeed by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Our newer advisors – while credentialed – are not experienced. We can’t put them in front of our large clients. But because they have credentials behind them, they think that doing analysis or behind-the-scenes client work is beneath them. How do we explain that doing the time in analysis is important and does require a high level of expertise on its own?

2015-08-18 00:00:00 Why You Shouldn’t Trust Most Financial Research by Michael Edesess and Kwok L. Tsui (Article)

Most claimed research findings in financial economics are likely false, according to a recently published paper. I’ll explain how those researchers arrived at that conclusion by looking at the ongoing search for factors that influence investment returns.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 15 Ways to Make Investment Reports Easier to Read by Joyce Walsh (Article)

You put on your best outfit for client and marketing meetings. Your offices are well appointed, reflecting the professional culture of your firm. Then you pass the presentation materials around. The font is quirky and informal. In places it’s too small for some clients to read comfortably. With the flip of a page, your chance of making a positive first impression is lost.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 The Most Important Success Factors by Bob Veres (Article)

What are the most important success factors that you should have in order to achieve your business and personal goals (whatever they may be) and in what order?

2015-08-18 00:00:00 How Business Friendly Is Your State? by Doug Short (Article) has now published its fourth annual Small Business Friendliness Survey, with responses from nearly 18,000 businesses in the United States. The objective is to rate their state and city governments across a broad range of policy factors.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 Lessons from Donald Trump to Grow Your Practice by Dan Solin (Article)

Trump’s non-verbal behavior can be emulated to win the trust and confidence of clients and prospects.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 Global Manufacturing Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Industrial production in the US in July surprised to the upside in the release today. IP rose 0.6% MoM (June was revised slightly lower, however) and is 1.3% higher YoY.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 China’s Currency Moves by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

The recent action in China’s stock market and its currency has caused a heightened attention to Chinese government policy decisions. All this attention certainly demonstrates how important China has become within the global economy at large.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 No Contest: In High Yield, Active Funds Beat ETFs by Gershon Distenfeld of AllianceBernstein

Investors have been rushing into high-yield exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for years. But have they been getting their money’s worth? A look at the performance numbers offers a clear answer,“No.”

2015-08-18 00:00:00 What Rising Volatility Means For Momentum by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

While momentum exposure may add to returns over the long term, Russ explains what a regime of rising volatility suggests for the the shorter term.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 China, the Fed, and Commodity Prices by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, moved to allow its exchange rate to be determined by market forces. After two sharp declines in the yuan, the PBOC apparently had had enough and declared that the currency adjustment was “basically completed.” The news from China added to uncertainty about what the Fed will do in September. Concerns about the pace of global growth have put downward pressure on commodity prices, which may keep the Fed on hold.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 International Equity Commentary: July 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

International equity prices were mostly unchanged during the month of July as gains in Europe were offset by losses in Asia and select other markets such as Canada. Further improvement in economic trends from the Euro-zone and the tentative agreement to provide additional financial support to Greece brightened investor sentiment in the region.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Price action in US equities is weak. Two potential opportunities to kick off a rally failed this week. Despite this, short term sentiment and seasonality support a move to the upper end of the range. Ultimately, lower lows are still ahead over the coming weeks.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review For Aug. 10-14 by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

This weekend was my summer vacation, when I (try) to completely unplug from news, internet and other variety of my daily routine. I was pretty successful at the task, although I did keep up with general events thanks to CNN. With the exception of China’s devaluation, there was little meaningful economic news, making my catch-up column a bit easier. But perhaps more importantly, when I returned I was struck just how little things had really changed in a 7 day period.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 Long/Short Equity and Equity Market Neutral – Describing Liquid Alts by Michael Breitenbach of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

Equity long/short strategies construct portfolios consisting of both long and short positions in equity securities and equity-linked derivatives but maintain an overall long bias with significant positive correlation to the overall equity market.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 Financial System Healing by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Every month, the National Association of Realtors reports on existing home sales, which are closings on previously-owned homes. These sales have been doing very well lately, up in four of the past five months and up almost 10% from a year ago. We expect further gains when the next report comes out Thursday morning.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 China’s Currency Moves Spark Volatility and Uncertainty by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities endured high levels of volatility last week, dropping sharply in the first few days of trading before recovering to end the week slightly higher. The main focus was China’s surprising decision to devalue the yuan, which raised concerns about a weaker global growth backdrop, deflationary trends, the prospects of a currency war and what the move would mean for the U.S. Federal Reserve and U.S. monetary policy.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 China Surprise by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

Ouch! August is often a month of surprises. In 2011, the S&P 500 lost nearly 7% at the height of the European debt crisis (yes, it’s been going on that long). In 2013, the NASDAQ closed for three hours sending stocks into a mini tailspin. This week’s “I didn’t see that coming” was the devaluation of the Chinese renminbi by nearly 3%.

2015-08-17 00:00:00 Why I'm an Advisor with Rand Spero by (Article)

Rand Spero, president of Massachusetts-based Street Smart Financial, discusses the personal reasons that led him to become a fee-only planner.

2015-08-17 00:00:00 A Study of Real Real Returns Now in its Third Decade by Team of Thornburg Investment Management

If generals always fight the last war, investors all too often chase past performance and mistime the market. Despite the age-old admonition to buy low and sell high, few actually do, to the detriment of their portfolios and wealth. Why? No one wants to be the first to the party or the last to leave. Yet upswings in one asset class may not be all that apparent until well under way. By the time many market analysts and financial media notice, relative valuations may already have reached lofty levels. Loathe to miss out, investors pile in anyway, hoping there may be some steam left.

2015-08-17 00:00:00 Chinese Yuan Depreciates Further: What is the Endgame? by Rob Waldner of Invesco Blog

After China’s surprise devaluation of the yuan by 1.9% last Tuesday, the Chinese currency was devalued by another 1.6% on Wednesday. Policymakers appear to be following a pattern of setting the daily fix, which sets the center point for trading during that day, with reference to the market price at the close of the previous day. Invesco Fixed Income believes that further devaluations are likely as the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the country’s central bank, acquiesces to market pressure and price movements over time.

2015-08-17 00:00:00 Debt-Financed Buybacks Have Quietly Placed Investors On Margin by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

When corporations and even developing countries experience debt crises, one of the primary means of restructuring is the debt-equity swap. This sort of transaction involves canceling out debt of the company or government in return for equity of the company, or privatization of some of the assets of the country. Corporate debt-equity swaps typically result in severe dilution of the equity claims of existing shareholders, and in some cases, can wipe those claims out as creditors take control of the company.

2015-08-17 00:00:00 ‘Rough Year’ For CEFs by (Article)

Concerns on multiple fronts have led to wider discounts in the CEF market this year, says Maury Fertig of Relative Value Partners

2015-08-17 00:00:00 You Worked to Have It... Now Work to Keep It by Guy Christopher of Money Metals Exchange

Some folks had good news about gold over the past few weeks, and some had bad news. The good news is a treasure hunter working the waters off the Florida coastline with a metal detector found a million bucks worth of gold coins and chains from a 300-year-old wrecked Spanish galleon. Under U.S. salvage laws, he'll keep 80% of what he found.

2015-08-17 00:00:00 Charts for the Beach 2015 by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

We’ve put together five of our favorite non-consensus charts that are perfect reading material for a sunny day at the beach.

2015-08-17 00:00:00 On My Radar: China’s Surprise – Power To The Dollar by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

“Something is deeply wrong if an economy is not growing, because it means these natural processes are impeded. That is why around the world, since the Dark Ages, lack of growth has been a signal of political oppression or instability. Absent such sickness, growth occurs.”– Adam Posen, “Debate: The Case for Slower Growth”

2015-08-17 00:00:00 Emerging Europe: Economy Trends Update July 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

The resolution of the Greek imbroglio dominated the news during the quarter, highlighting the crisis of confidence for the Euro-zone. The resolution of the Greek crisis and its third bailout deal is beneficial for countries such as Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, which depend on the euro-zone for most of their exports. Meanwhile, big oil exporter Russia benefited during the second quarter as energy prices increased moderately despite the Ukraine crisis and the ongoing economic sanctions that continue to cloud the outlook for the economy.

2015-08-17 00:00:00 Big Data Analytics: Investing in Technology Themes by Paul Meeks of Saturna Capital

With big data analytics we can quickly and efficiently comb through a mammoth store of data for many business insights that just keep coming.

2015-08-17 00:00:00 Commodity Prices vs. Corporate Earnings by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

Will collapsing commodity prices clobber U.S. earnings? In six out of seven cases since 1970, commodity crashes exceeding 20% year-over-year have corresponded with earnings contractions exceeding 10% year-over-year. The lone exception occurred in 1998 when earnings decelerated to zero growth without actually contracting.

2015-08-17 00:00:00 Structured Notes: Read the Fine Print by Seth Masters, Richard Weaver, John McLaughlin of AllianceBernstein

Structured notes have gained in popularity, but investors would be wise to read the fine print carefully. Our research indicates that these complex instruments rarely live up to their intriguing claims.

2015-08-17 00:00:00 Why High Yield Still Has a Role to Play by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ Koesterich and an investment strategist on his team, Terry Simpson, weigh in on the case for including high yield in a portfolio.

2015-08-14 00:00:00 On the Winners and Losers of the Great Chinese Rebalance by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

Change can be hard, but change can also be good. At this very moment we are living through one of the largest and potentially destabilizing periods of economic change in the last century. It is the mirror image and reversal of the last great economic paradigm shift. It is China’s shift from an investment driven growth model to a consumption driven growth model. For some it is painful. For others who are correctly positioned it is extremely lucrative. It is affecting all of us whether we know it or not. But most of all, it is inevitable.

2015-08-14 00:00:00 Happy 80th Birthday, Social Security! Here’s to Many More by Gail Buckner of Franklin Templeton Investments

Americans are worried about whether they can count on Social Security—both today and in the future. I believe Congress needs to act sooner rather than later.

2015-08-14 00:00:00 Will a Democrat Win the White House in 2016? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

He might be leading in the polls right now, but Donald Trump is unlikely to be elected president in 2016, if a time-tested election forecast turns out to be accurate.

2015-08-14 00:00:00 The US Federal Reserve’s Brakes Do Work by Wayne Godlin of AllianceBernstein

Over the past three decades, the Federal Reserve has raised the official short-term rate when the US economy has shown signs of overheating. When the Fed moves, savvy bond investors also move—toward opportunity.

2015-08-14 00:00:00 Your Economics (and Market Structure) Summer Reading List by Jeff Hussey of Russell Investments

Global CIO Jeff Hussey offers an economics summer reading list (plus one book on market structure).

2015-08-14 00:00:00 Oil’s New Normal by Mohamed A. El-Erian of Project Syndicate

At the end of the day, no swing producer controls the fate of today’s oil prices. A sustained price recovery requires a healthier global economy that combines faster inclusive growth and greater financial stability.

2015-08-14 00:00:00 Should You Take Some Off The Table? by Jim Tillar, Steve Wenstrup of Tillar-Wenstrup Advisors

Is it time for a correction? That is the question that has been on the mind of many investors for some time now. Those who have ridden the wave since the ugly market bottom of March 2009 can afford to be worried as they weathered an uncertain recovery in the market and have generally seen their assets grow quite well. Unfortunately the fires of gloom were hot after the financial crisis with the media fanning the flames of pessimism. Therefore many late arrivers to the market may still be struggling to reestablish their previous portfolio values.

2015-08-14 00:00:00 Investing with the Slowskys: Appreciating the Value of Expertise, Analysis, and Judgment by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

News bits and data items with obvious implications are ever present but get discounted by the market very quickly. Only deeper, “slow traveling ideas” provide long term investors with a chance of realizing superior results.

2015-08-14 00:00:00 An Unsentimental Approach to Finding Value by Brad Evans of Heartland Advisors

Sentiment has been a driving force for investor returns the past few years, but we believe a focus on valuations, management and balance sheets is still the surest path to superior performance over a full market cycle.

2015-08-14 00:00:00 The Shot Not Heard Around the World by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

China’s recent move to devalue the yuan has sent shock waves through the global financial markets and has convinced most observers that a new front in the global currency wars has begun. The move has caused...

2015-08-14 00:00:00 China Not Immune to Contagious Quantitative Easing and Massive Printing of Cheap Money by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

First it was the U.S. Federal Reserve. Then, in 2013, Japan launched what became known as Abenomics. The European Central Bank (ECB) followed suit in 2014. And now the People’s Bank of China has joined the parade. All of them in some way stimulated economic growth by initiating monetary quantitative easing (QE) programs.

2015-08-14 00:00:00 The High Yield ETFs: Market Size, Money Flows, and Liquidity by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

The entire U.S. fixed income market (municipals, Treasuries, mortgages, corporates, federal agency bonds, money market, and asset back securities) totals $39.2 trillion. Of this, corporate credit is about $8 trillion. The high yield bond market is a growing piece of that corporate debt piece, now at $1.8 trillion, and accounts for over 20% of total corporate bonds outstanding. If you add in high yield floating rate loans, that total high yield debt number moves to over 30% of corporate debt.

2015-08-14 00:00:00 China Breaks into a New Range by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

For some time, analysts have suspected that China’s economic performance was trending well below targeted levels. The equity market correction that began earlier this summer seemed to confirm these concerns; only a substantial amount of official intervention prevented an outright crash. Now we can add exchange-rate uncertainty to the list of things that China will have to manage very carefully.

2015-08-14 00:00:00 China Currency Devaluation Update by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

What are the factors that prompted Chinese authorities to recently devalue the renminbi? Matthews Asia Portfolio Manager Teresa Kong, CFA, examines the lead up and implications of this development.

2015-08-14 00:00:00 Three Steps to "Good Enough" - In Praise of Simplicity, Common Sense, and Stubbornness by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

The plain truth is that in the practice of investment, “good enough,” combined with a solid dose of common sense, usually beats precision and faith in mathematical models. So, if a careful analysis has given us a “good enough” idea of a company’s worth, we can assume that its market-traded shares will fluctuate – sometimes wildly – around that fundamental value. And that may be the value investor’s salvation.

2015-08-14 00:00:00 Riding the Energy Wave to the Future by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Today I’ll tell you about some big shifts in the energy industry. These shifts are about as positive as can be, unless you need high oil prices to run your country. In the long run, these changes are bullish for the whole world, which I think this will surprise many of you. And though we’ve been used to thinking about energy and technology as two different facets of modern life, today they are inextricably linked.

2015-08-14 00:00:00 The Tortoise Wins Again? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

The narrow trading range for US stocks continues, but there are some concerning signs such as seasonality and technical issues that make us a bit more cautious in the near term. We don’t think the bull market is in danger of ending, but there could certainly be a pullback and we don’t believe investors need to be in a great hurry to put money to work. In the immediate aftermath, China’s move on its currency rattled markets, but we don’t think it’s the start of a currency war, and hope that this is part of a herky-jerky path to freer markets.

2015-08-13 00:00:00 Exit from Wonderland: Change Is Now on the Horizon by Ed Easterling of Crestmont Research

Many investors and advisors are unsure about the current financial market environment. They have been wrestling with how to weight equities and whether to include alternative investments. Although equities have performed well in recent years, many alternatives have lagged expectations. This should not be surprising: the financial world is operating just as the Fed has intended.

2015-08-13 00:00:00 Putting Adaptability to Work by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

In our last post we looked at the importance of adaptability to overcome obstacles that impede retirement plans. This may also turn out to be especially important for portfolio management going forward, more so than in the past.

2015-08-13 00:00:00 Yellen Labor Dashboard Reaches Target by Dwaine Van Vuuren of

Shortly after taking up office, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen used her “jobs data dashboard” to justify the Fed’s easy money policies and to argue there’s still considerable slack in the labor market five years after the recession’s end. Seven of the nine gauges on this dashboard had not recovered to levels reached before the last recession, reinforcing her belief that the economy would need “extraordinary support” from the Federal Reserve for “some time to come.”

2015-08-13 00:00:00 Americas: Economy Trends Update -- July 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

Even as the U.S. is recovering from stagnant growth during the initial months of the year, most other economies in the Americas region are struggling with slow growth. Prices of oil and other commodities have dipped again after a short recovery, restricting the ability of governments to increase spending. Many countries in the region depend on revenues from exports of energy and other commodities for financing a substantial part of their budgets.

2015-08-13 00:00:00 3 Things: Freight, Deflation, No Hike by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

We often look at broad measures of the economy to determine its current state. However, we can often receive clues about where the economy may be headed by looking at data that feeds into the broader measures. Exports, imports, wage growth, commodity prices, etc. all have very important ties to the health of the consumer which is critical to an economy that is nearly 70% driven by their consumption.

2015-08-13 00:00:00 What We Can Learn by Going Back to School by Burt White of LPL Financial

The summer has flown by and some children are already going back to school this week. The back to school shopping session is considered the second most important selling season for retailers (after the Christmas/winter holidays), which we think is a good reason to check in on the health of the U.S. consumer and provide our latest thoughts on the consumer discretionary sector. Expectations for this season are low, but several consumer spending tailwinds suggest the sector may be poised to outperform over the rest of the 2015.

2015-08-13 00:00:00 Recession?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

We begin this morning’s strategy report with the aforementioned quote from the business manager of a large commercial sprinkler company, which has 700+ plus contractors nationwide, because his comments are always a good “window” on the economy. To be sure, nothing really big is ever built without a sprinkler system. I also include said quote because there has been much talk over the past few months of slowing economic statistics telegraphing an impending recession.

2015-08-13 00:00:00 No Solace in Small Caps by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

In an effort to mitigate the impact of a stronger dollar, many investors have been favoring small-cap stocks. However, this strategy hasn’t provided much benefit year-to-date. Russ explains why.

2015-08-13 00:00:00 Was Warren Buffett a True Value Investor When He Bought Precision Castparts? by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

When I first got interested in investing in common stocks some 50 years ago, I thought it would be wise to research and then study the investing behaviors and philosophies of the recognized investor greats. My efforts first led me to Ben Graham, and from there to many other famous value investors such as Philip Fisher, Walter Schloss, William J. Ruane, Irving Kahn, Peter Lynch, and of course the venerable and perhaps most famous of all, Warren Buffett.

2015-08-13 00:00:00 How Smart Should Smart Beta Be? by Vadim Zlotnikov of AllianceBernstein

Smart beta strategies are growing in popularity, and investors have a lot of forms to choose from. One key question to ask is: How proactive should smart beta be in avoiding unintended risks?

2015-08-12 00:00:00 Watch the Retirement Risk Gap by Glenn Dial of Allianz Global Investors

Choosing the right glide path isn't just about getting the most return for a certain level of risk anymore, writes Glenn Dial, Head of US Retirement Strategy at Allianz Global Investors. There's a sizeable disparity between what retirement savers are willing to do and what's needed to hit their goals.

2015-08-12 00:00:00 Emerging Markets Winners and Losers: Q2 2015 by Jackie Lafferty of Loomis Sayles

Following positive performance in the first quarter, emerging markets (EM) came under pressure from macroeconomic factors in the second quarter, resulting in mixed returns for the asset class.

2015-08-12 00:00:00 Turkey’s Predicament by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

It is our view that over the next few decades Turkey is well positioned to return to its status as a dominant regional power; however, the situation is much less clear in the near term. Turkey has been trying to run a foreign policy of having “no problems” with its neighbors. This stance has become impossible to maintain. Unfortunately for President Erdogan, Turkey is encircled by instability and is struggling to develop a response.

2015-08-12 00:00:00 Walls are Not Perfect by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

I spent part of this summer on a family vacation in four of the six nations that were once republics of the socialist state of Yugoslavia. Many have asked me “Why,” and I simply replied that I had heard it was beautiful and had always wanted to go there. It didn’t hurt that my barber of 40 years and my employer during law school, Marv Esch, a congressman from Ann Arbor, MI, were both of Yugoslavian heritage.

2015-08-12 00:00:00 Global Economic Slowdown - Implications For US Stocks by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The global economy is rolling over to the downside for the most part. The question is, will this global slowdown take the US economy down with it? While no one knows for sure, that possibility simply cannot be ruled out. If the softening in the global economy leads to a slowdown in the US, that will almost certainly result in a weakening of our stock markets.

2015-08-12 00:00:00 High Yield Default Outlook by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

With the energy markets once again taking a turn downward, we are seeing concern for the high yield market again escalating and talk of a spike in default rates heating up. Yes, the energy industry does make up a large portion of the high yield market, in fact the largest industry holding within the space at about 14-17% depending on the index used. We do expect defaults to increase in this industry.

2015-08-12 00:00:00 A Framework for Handicapping the Presidential Candidates by Andy Friedman of The Washington Update

Last week, a total of seventeen Republican presidential candidates engaged in the first debates of the nascent presidential campaign. We are not here to pick winners and losers at this very early stage. (We do predict, though, that Donald Trump will be but a memory when the convention rolls around next summer – unless he chooses to run as an Independent, in which case he likely will cost the Republicans the election.) Instead, my colleague Jeff Bush and I want to provide a framework for evaluating the candidates going forward.

2015-08-12 00:00:00 What You Need to Know About Silver Supply and Premiums by Clint Siegner of Money Metals Exchange

Lower precious metals prices on Wall Street aren't necessarily bringing lower prices on Main Street. The retail market for gold and silver coins, bars, and rounds has been swamped with high demand since mid June. Both the U.S. Mint and the Royal Canadian Mint continue to run into serious issues keeping up with retail silver coin demand.

2015-08-12 00:00:00 Iran: Open for Business? by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

We think relief from economic sanctions could accelerate Iran’s growth rate by removing barriers to the nation’s oil exports, bringing in more foreign capital, and ending the isolation of its banks from the global financial system.

2015-08-12 00:00:00 The Dollar Is Marching Higher Again And This Has Consequences by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

The real trade-weighted USD exchange rate (using a narrow and a broad definition) moved to 12.5-year highs in July after the exchange rate moved above March’s level. The more timely nominal trade-weighted USD exchange is basically at March’s high level as of 8/7 and given the currency moves of the last couple of days should be breaking out to a new multi-year high over the next several days.

2015-08-12 00:00:00 10 Dividend Growth Stocks for Your Retirement Portfolios Aggregate Yield 4.3%: Part 2 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

After an exhaustive search of the dividend growth stock universe I identified 20 dividend growth stocks that I felt were currently worthy of consideration for retirement portfolios based on valuation. In part 1 of this 2-part series found here I discussed the current level of the S&P 500, and offered some important principles about valuation. Additionally, I offered the first group of 10 of what I consider the highest quality members of the 20 screened research candidates I uncovered.

2015-08-11 00:00:00 Did Barron’s Number-One Ranked Fund Family Add Value for Its Investors? by Larry Swedroe (Article)

If any actively managed fund family were able to deliver superior results, surely it would be the one chosen by Barron’s as its top performer during the last decade. Thus, we clearly should expect to see Waddell & Reed’s funds outperform relative to passively managed alternatives.

2015-08-11 00:00:00 Why You Should Allocate to Value over Growth by John Alberg and Michael Seckler (Article)

The state of this current cycle supports a decision to move capital away from growth-oriented strategies and into value-focused investments.

2015-08-11 00:00:00 The Hidden Cost of Ignoring Evidence by Dan Solin (Article)

An advisor recently told me that he lost a large client to another firm. This advisor said he had carefully explained the benefits of evidence-based investing to the prospect and thought he had made a convincing case. The losing advisor was distraught and confused. He wanted to know if I could help him understand how the prospect could make such an “irrational” decision.

2015-08-11 00:00:00 New Ideas for Client Segmentation by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We’re struggling to decide which factor should determine our categories for client segmentation. Do we base it purely on asset size? Or do we do a profitability analysis? One of my advisors wants to categorize by “irritation factor;” those clients who call too much and ask for the world without paying for it would drop to the bottom of the list first.

2015-08-11 00:00:00 The Message that Wins Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

As an advisor, you want to deliver a message that sets you apart and makes prospects walk away wanting to work with you. But many advisors go wrong by focusing on their backgrounds, credentials, firms, processes and teams.

2015-08-11 00:00:00 Bank Hybrids Bloom Globally—with Subtle Variations by Matthew Minnetian, Shrut Vakil of AllianceBernstein

The market for financial hybrid securities is growing as banks worldwide implement stringent new capital rules. But not all hybrids are alike, so investors can’t afford to take a one-size-fits-all approach.

2015-08-11 00:00:00 Commodities Remain a Valuable Portfolio Allocation by Bransby Whittion, Klaus Thuerbach, Kate Botting of PIMCO

While the last few years of commodity returns are not an aberration, they are also not the norm.

2015-08-11 00:00:00 Less Household Debt Brightens the Future by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The prudent household deleveraging may keep the overall pace of economic growth slower, but it nonetheless has many favorable implications for the future.

2015-08-11 00:00:00 The Idolatry of Interest Rates Part II: Financial Heresy by James Montier, Ben Inker of GMO

In many ways this is perhaps my most personal essay, not because I’m about to share some deep and dark personal revelation (I can almost hear the collective sigh of relief), but rather because this essay reflects my views and mine alone. Others at GMO should not be tarred with the brush of my beliefs, and I have no doubt that many will disavow any association with the views I express here. In fact, my colleague Ben Inker’s “rebuttal” follows this piece.

2015-08-11 00:00:00 The Curious Case of Dollar Strength by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

U.S. equities finished in the red last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.79% to 17,373, the S&P 500 Index slipped 1.28% to 2,077 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 1.66% to close the week at 5,043. Meanwhile, the yield on the 10-year Treasury fell from 2.20% to 2.17%, as its price correspondingly rose.

2015-08-11 00:00:00 The July Employment Report by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Job growth remained strong in July. The average monthly gain for May, June, and July was 235,000, or 2.82 million at an annual rate. To remain in line with population growth, we need to add about 1.4 million jobs per year. Slack in the job market is being reduced, but a considerable amount remains. How much? The Fed has to consider the pace and plan ahead.

2015-08-11 00:00:00 Video Didn’t Kill the Radio Star by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

The longer we are in the investment business, the more skeptical we become about the investment crowd’s ability to identify which innovative companies are truly disrupting competing companies. Last week (August 7th of 2015) a sharp correction occurred in the prices of television and other media stocks, seemingly based on concerns that Netflix and other internet-based streaming services would “kill” the TV business. As long-duration common stock pickers who hold media securities, we got to thinking about long-term changes in media.

2015-08-10 00:00:00 An Alternative Asset Class You May Take for Granted, Part 2 by Darin Turner of Invesco Blog

Infrastructure is an integral part of your daily life. You drive on it, depend on it for electricity and water, and use it to communicate on your cell phone. But have you considered investing in it? Infrastructure investment can offer several potential benefits to an overall portfolio.

2015-08-10 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review For Aug. 3-7 by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The week started off poorly with the Chinese PMI dropping from 49.4 to 47.8. The overall trend for this indicator is clearly lower.

2015-08-10 00:00:00 Thin Slices from the Top of a Bubble by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

“You need to know very little to find the underlying signature of a complex phenomenon…. This is the gift of training and expertise – the ability to extract an enormous amount of meaningful information from the very thinnest slice of experience.” Malcolm Gladwell, Blink

2015-08-10 00:00:00 Down Gaps Have Doubled In the Last Month by Jennifer Thomson of GaveKal Capital

One of many market internal indicators that we use– the number of stocks that are gapping lower at the open of trading– is signaling an increase in emotional selling behavior over the last month or so, quickly jumping from 1,000 to 2,000 (blue line, axis inverted) for the MSCI World Index. While this move is not without precedent, the historic correlation between an increase in down gaps and a decline in the market warrants attention– especially in light of how quickly the number of down gaps can accelerate as market prices decline.

2015-08-10 00:00:00 The Emerging Markets Best Positioned to Withstand a Fed Hike by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ explains why not all emerging markets are created equal when it comes to weathering capital outflows associated with higher U.S. interest rates.

2015-08-10 00:00:00 CEF Market Size by (Article)

In terms of the sheer number of funds, the CEF market is shrinking, says analyst Jason Kephart of Morningstar.

2015-08-10 00:00:00 Investing Lessons from Baseball’s Active Managers by James Tierney, Jr. of AllianceBernstein

As the popularity of passive investing continues to gain momentum, take pause to think about a lesson from baseball. The question is: what kind of equity lineup creates a winning team?

2015-08-10 00:00:00 Sentiment Should Eventually Improve, Lifting Equities by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Investors remained focused on Federal Reserve policy last week. Economic data continue to be mixed, but suggest that Fed action should occur sooner rather than later.

2015-08-10 00:00:00 IMF Can't End Dollar's Reign by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Ever since Quantitative Easing began, a group of so-called Monetarist/Austrian thinkers have predicted “hyper-inflation” and the demise of the dollar as the world’s “reserve currency.”

2015-08-10 00:00:00 Is the Small-Cap Market Out of Joint? by Chuck Royce, Chris Clark, Francis Gannon of The Royce Funds

While results for most stocks in the first half were decidedly bullish, the primary drivers of performance continue to be unsettling—especially for those with an active, risk-conscious approach who’ve lagged in an environment that has often shown favor to highly levered, non-earning, and more speculative businesses. The question is—when will the speculative bubble burst?

2015-08-10 00:00:00 On My Radar: Margin Debt, Valuations and Vacation by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.” – Mark Twain

2015-08-10 00:00:00 Trends in the Teenage Workforce by Doug Short (Article)

Last month CNN Money featured an article with the optimistic and intriguing title "More American teens are getting jobs. That's good for everyone." After reading the article, we revised one of our monthly charts on Labor Force Participation to include the age 16-19 cohort -- one we elsewhere combine with the 20-24 year-olds. The first chart below features the three-month moving averages of the non-seasonally adjusted participation rates to better highlight the trends.

2015-08-07 00:00:00 Recession Probability Models - August 2015 by Ted Kavadas of StratX, LLC

There are a variety of economic models that are supposed to predict the probabilities of recession. While I don’t agree with the methodologies employed or probabilities of impending economic weakness as depicted by the following two models, I think the results of these models should be monitored.

2015-08-07 00:00:00 China’s Secret Gold Hoarding Strategy by Stefan Gleason of Money Metals Exchange

China’s recent stock market gyrations have some analysts now calling China the biggest bubble in history. But those who write off China because of market volatility are missing a more important long-term trend of Chinese geopolitical and monetary ascendancy. That trend shows no signs of abating.

2015-08-07 00:00:00 Why Isn’t The American Consumer More Optimistic? by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

The financial crisis has had a lasting effect on the psyche of the American consumer. Personal consumption expenditures (SAAR) are an impressive $2.1 TRILLION higher than the peak in 2008. And on a longer view, the dip in PCE during the financial crisis can be seen but it hasn’t fundamentally altered the slope of the series.

2015-08-07 00:00:00 Fundamentals and Policy Keep RMB Afloat by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein

Even before the recent correction in China’s A-Shares market, a number of investors had expressed skepticism about our positive outlook for the renminbi (RMB). Some even saw a devaluation as a possibility. For a variety of reasons, we continue to see the currency appreciating.

2015-08-07 00:00:00 What Airlines Can Teach the Energy Sector about Adversity by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

If you’ve studied psychology, and specifically behavioral finance, you might be familiar with the concept of adversity quotient (AQ), which measures how well someone is able to face and cope with, well, adversity. It looks at how we use the tools given to us in order to survive and recover from setbacks.

2015-08-07 00:00:00 In Europe the Winners Remain Unchanged by John Bennett, Head of European Equities (Article)

John Bennett, Head of European Equities at Henderson, discusses the value opportunities created by the Greek crisis, whether the recovery in Europe is sustainable and who may be the potential winners. He also reviews the pharmaceuticals sector and discusses whether he believes that quality growth stocks are now over-priced.

2015-08-07 00:00:00 Closing the Sausage Factory by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Anything you do attracts bureaucratic oversight now. We may laugh at “helicopter parents” hovering over their children at school, but we all have a helicopter government looking over our shoulders at work.

2015-08-07 00:00:00 Gold Holds Its Own Against These Media Darlings by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

A recent Bloomberg article points out that the gold rout has cost China and Russia $5.4 billion, an amount that would sound colossal were it not for the fact that U.S. media companies such as Disney and Viacom collectively lost over $60 billion for shareholders in as little as two days this week. Below are the weekly losses for just a handful of those companies. Compared to many other asset classes, gold has held up well, even after factoring in its price decline.

2015-08-07 00:00:00 Is the United States Insulated from China’s Economic Distress? by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The Chinese economic slowdown, following decades of spectacular growth, is more than noticeable now. Also, the world is watching the recent turbulence in Chinese equity markets closely. These developments have triggered many questions. We address the most popular query in our inbox: What are the potential spillovers to the United States from weaker growth in China?

2015-08-07 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review For August 3-7 by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The ISM’s US manufacturing number decreased from 53.5 to 52.7, but remained above the key 50 level. New orders and production continued their lengthy periods of expansion. 11 of 18 industries grew. The anecdotal comments are interesting:

2015-08-07 00:00:00 Keep Your Powder Dry by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Reports of ongoing global market volatility are taking a toll on consumer confidence. However, compelling opportunities await patient investors.

2015-08-07 00:00:00 20 Dividend Growth Stocks To Buy Today For Your Retirement Portfolios: Part 1 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Assuming an equal investment in each of the 20 research candidates provides an average aggregate dividend yield of 3.66%. Although each candidate was primarily suggested based on the merit of fair or attractive valuation, the 10 research candidates in this article was primarily focused on quality. In part 2, the 10 candidates presented were focused primarily on either yield or total return.

2015-08-07 00:00:00 What Kind of "Improvement" Does the Fed Want? by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

If GDP growth only averages 2.0% in the Second Half (which I think is likely), then 2015 growth will only be about 1.7% annually. Given that the Fed didn't raise rates in 2012, 2013, and 2014, when growth was well north of 2%, why would they do so now? Yet Wall Street and the media stubbornly cling to the notion that 3% growth and rate hikes are just around the corner. Old notions die hard, and this one has taken on a life of its own.

2015-08-06 00:00:00 Caveat Emptor (“Let the buyer beware”) of Index Funds by Gary Stroik of WBI Investments

Imagine a very nice family living in a very nice neighborhood in an especially beautiful and very nice home. They have lived there for a little over seven years now, and have been very happy. A few years ago they invested in finishing the basement, turning it into a beautiful family space with an entertainment center, exercise equipment, and separate room for the furnace and hot water heater. They even added a pair of sump pumps to protect their investment. Because their home made up a big part of their family wealth, they paid for homeowners’ insurance every month.

2015-08-06 00:00:00 Global Growth Forecast - Q3 (Infographic) by Rick Harrell of Loomis Sayles

Every quarter, we update our forecast map. What's different this time? We have shaved our US GDP forecast down to 2.3% from 2.9%, mostly on account of weaker exports, a strong dollar and the decline in oil prices. In emerging markets, we still believe Asia Pacific is currently a bright spot - but we expect China to slow further as easing measures fail to gain traction.

2015-08-06 00:00:00 3 Warnings For Market Bulls by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

3 Things: Major strategist sees bull market coming to an end in 4-6 months, Tom McClellan sends a warning and M&A activity is sounding an alarm.

2015-08-06 00:00:00 Clear Evidence that Demand for ETFs is High and that Appetite is Being Met by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

We all read about it in the news, but ETFs really are becoming the preferred investment vehicle for the investing public. The evidence is clear; both in terms of number of funds and net assets ETF growth is outpacing mutual fund growth by a wide margin.

2015-08-06 00:00:00 Do Your Alternative Investments Have the Right Fit? by Richard Brink, Christine Johnson of AllianceBernstein

Investors who chose alternatives for downside protection in recent years have been frustrated with their performance. We think the problems were an unfavorable market environment and the unique challenges of manager selection for alternatives.

2015-08-06 00:00:00 The Three Gluts by Joachim Fels of PIMCO

While the global savings glut is likely the main secular force behind the global environment of low growth, lowflation and low interest rates, both the oil glut and the money glut should help lift demand growth, inflation and thus interest rates from their current depressed levels over the cyclical horizon.

2015-08-06 00:00:00 The Euro Isn't Dead by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

While the world can count dozens of important currencies, when it comes to top line financial and investment discussions, the currency marketplace really comes down to a one-on-one cage match between the two top contenders: the U.S. Dollar and the Euro.

2015-08-06 00:00:00 Productivity Puzzle by John Canally of LPL Financial

All eyes are on jobs this week. The U.S. Department of Labor’s July Employment Situation report (due August 7, 2015) will likely show that the U.S. economy created 225,000 jobs in July 2015, close to the average job creation over the past 12 months (245,000) according to the consensus of economists polled by Bloomberg News.

2015-08-06 00:00:00 Fed’s Higher Rates May Have a Muted Impact on REITs by Boris Pialloux of Master Income ETF

The impact on Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) could be muted as strong fundamentals and the use of fixed rate debt may continue to bolster free cash flows and dividends. Additionally, Cap rates (a key denominator to estimate underlying net asset values) may be less sensitive to short-term rate increases than long-term rate trends.

2015-08-06 00:00:00 ISM Data for July Point to Stronger U.S. Economic Growth in 2015 Q3 by Robert Lamy of The Forecasting Advisor

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

2015-08-06 00:00:00 Is Chevron Cheap? by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

The performance of energy stocks is clearly related to the price of oil. The attached chart, based on thirty years of data, compares the price of Chevron (relative to the broad market) with the inflation-adjusted price of crude oil.

2015-08-06 00:00:00 Dog Days by Brian Andrew of Cleary Gull

As we enter the lazy days of August, historically one of the worst months for stock market performance, we are likely to experience increased market volatility, gyrating interest rates on every piece of economic data and low volume. August tends to be a month without much conviction as the number of investors in the market wanes due to summer vacations. It is generally a low volume, volatile and not usually positive performance month.

2015-08-06 00:00:00 America in the Way by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

Today, developing countries and emerging markets say to the US and others: If you will not keep your promises on development aid, at least get out of the way and let us create an international economic architecture that works for the poor. Not surprisingly, the US is doing whatever it can to thwart such efforts.

2015-08-06 00:00:00 Are Frontier Markets the Emerging Markets of Tomorrow? by Mike DuCharme of Russell Investments

Russell Investments’ Mike DuCharme examines investment opportunities in frontier markets.

2015-08-05 00:00:00 How to Navigate Today’s Bond Markets by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Bond markets today present investors with multiple challenges, including lower yields and more risk than in the past. In this environment, these bond funds are worth considering, explains Russ.

2015-08-05 00:00:00 UK House Prices Are Booming– But Their Homebuilders Are Not Knowledge Leaders by Jennifer Thomson of GaveKal Capital

Data released today showed yet another increase in house prices in the UK, albeit at a slower rate than most of last year.

2015-08-05 00:00:00 Investment Silver Demand Draining COMEX Vaults by Clint Siegner of Money Metals Exchange

If there are words to characterize the precious metals markets for July, it would be “divergences” and “shortages.” There was heavy selling in the leveraged futures market and extraordinary buying demand and shortages in physical coins, rounds, and bars.

2015-08-05 00:00:00 Reflections on the Iran Deal by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Last month, the P5+1 and Iran concluded negotiations on a nuclear deal. In this report, we will offer some reflections on the agreement, including why it occurred, and the major reason why the U.S. negotiated this agreement and the underlying issues. As always, we will conclude with market ramifications.

2015-08-05 00:00:00 What, No More Bubble Wrap?! by Michael Kayes of Willingdon Wealth Management

I’ve been a bit troubled lately as I toil away researching and contemplating the state of and future prospects for the markets. For example, I recently learned that Charlotte-based manufacturer, Sealed Air Corporation, had developed a lighter, more economical packaging material to replace bubble wrap. While I applaud the technological advancement, I am saddened by the demise of such a fun product to handle.

2015-08-05 00:00:00 Market Review by Rick Vollaro of Pinnacle Advisory Group

The summer heat has finally arrived, and it’s naturally coincided with lower volume markets that are prone to the rumor mill and news flow. The second quarter of 2015 was choppy, but included some reversals in behavior across asset classes. Domestic equity markets bounced around in a flat range, while broad emerging equity markets declined slightly on the quarter.

2015-08-05 00:00:00 Investors Traveling a Mountainous Road? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Now’s the time when many of us are off enjoying a well-earned summer vacation. This week I was remembering one of my favorites that occurred a few years ago. It was great; we hosted a family reunion in a large, rented house on Big Bear Lake in Southern California with spectacular weather and scenery.

2015-08-05 00:00:00 "Renter Nation" - US Homeownership Hits 48-Year Low by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The government’s Census Bureau reported last week that the US homeownership rate fell to the lowest level in the last 48 years. It is indeed a sad awakening that the level of home ownership is now the lowest since 1967.

2015-08-05 00:00:00 The Case for Hedge Fund Strategies in a Rising-Rate Environment by Dr. Sudhir Krishnamurthi, Ronald van der Wouden, Kenneth LaPlace of Wells Fargo Asset Management

Dr. Sudhir Krishnamurthi, Ronald van der Wouden, and Kenneth LaPlace from The Rock Creek Group, LP explain why hedge funds may outperform traditional fixed-income investments in a rising-rate environment.

2015-08-05 00:00:00 Earnings Update: Corporate Resilience by Burt White of LPL Financial

Once again, earnings season highlights corporate America’s resilience. Investors were braced for an earnings decline in the second quarter of 2015 but will almost certainly end up with another quarterly earnings gain despite the significant drags from the oil downturn and strong U.S. dollar, largely thanks to effective cost controls that have propped up profit margins. With more than two-thirds of S&P 500 companies having reported second quarter 2015 results, we provide an earnings update.

2015-08-04 00:00:00 Concerned About Interest Rates Rising? Consider Convertibles by Sponsored Content from Invesco (Article)

  • Convertible securities uniquely combine equity and bond features.
  • In my view, convertibles are attractive today due to their historical performance during rising interest rate periods.
  • I examine asset class performance during each of the last 10 periods of US rising interest rates.

2015-08-04 00:00:00 Why Bond Funds Don’t Belong in Retirement Portfolios by Wade Pfau (Article)

Income annuities provide payments precisely matched to a client’s longevity while stocks provide opportunities for greater investment growth. The question remains whether clients should hold bond funds in their retirement income portfolio.

2015-08-04 00:00:00 Five Small Changes that Boost Productivity by Dan Richards (Article)

Every advisor would like to get more done in less time – and many look to moving to a paperless office and to other breakthroughs in technology in order to do just that. But a recent conversation with an advisor reminded me that to increase your productivity, it’s the small changes that matter.

2015-08-04 00:00:00 The Investment Opportunity from Share Buybacks by Michael Lebowitz (Article)

Clear-headed reason shows that unless one is an executive whose compensation is tied to metrics influenced by the effects of share buybacks, there are few instances that support this use of corporate resources. Indeed, shrewd investors can profit at the expense of companies that have aggressively bought back shares.

2015-08-04 00:00:00 What Drives Risk Tolerance by Daniel Solin (Article)

To be a successful advisor, you need to understand how risk affects the decisions investors make and what you can do to make those decisions more objective and responsible. Demonstrating value at a time when investments are becoming more of a commodity is a popular topic in advisor-industry circles.

2015-08-04 00:00:00 When Employees Become Owners by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I hired a team member a couple of years ago who was very seasoned with an excellent background and a track record of success. He arrived, and all of a sudden he wasn’t motivated, didn’t return client calls in a timely fashion and had no fire in the belly. He wants ownership, but I need to see motivation to give it.

2015-08-04 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Will Soft Economic Data Confirm the Commodity Price Message? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

Recent weeks have emphasized markets (especially declining commodity prices) as a read on the economy. This week’s full slate of data will provide a reality check on that interpretation.

2015-08-04 00:00:00 Reasons to Stay with an Equity-Focused Investment Stance by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

A number of issues garnered attention last week, including falling oil prices, a sell-off in Chinese equities, ongoing corporate deal activity and mixed economic and earnings data.

2015-08-04 00:00:00 Even Garth Can't Argue About Liftoff by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Plow On, Garth! Time for Liftoff, Wayne! The first report on Q2 real GDP showed Plow Horse annualized growth of 2.3%, exactly the same as the average growth rate in the past year. Now that’s the definition of a Plow Horse report.

2015-08-04 00:00:00 A New Deal for Debt Overhangs? by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

The IMF’s acknowledgement that Greece’s debt is unsustainable could prove to be a watershed moment for the global financial system. Clearly, heterodox policies to deal with high debt burdens need to be taken more seriously, even in some advanced countries.

2015-08-04 00:00:00 On My Radar: The Fed – Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Now look at them yo-yo’s that’s the way you do it.You play the guitar on the M.T.V. That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it. Money for nothin’ and your chicks for free.” Money For Nothing – Dire Straits

2015-08-04 00:00:00 The B-Side of Capital Preservation by Jerome Schneider of PIMCO

Vinyl single records have two sides: The A-side is always the well-known hit song by the musician, and the other, called the “B-side,” is often a lesser known (or unknown) work. When it comes to cash management, the hit song on the A-side – “Capital Preservation Is King” – has been played over and over since the financial crisis.

2015-08-04 00:00:00 China: Are You Missing The Opportunities In The Market Noise? by Team of Thomas White International

In March, spring was upon the Chinese equity markets — they soared with the promise of a summer of good cheer and bounty. But come June, the markets plunged, just as dramatically as they had surged less than two months back. And now, with the sell-off continuing, many investors are wondering if it is indeed the beginning of a long period of hibernation for Chinese stocks.

2015-08-04 00:00:00 Why to Expect More Volatility Ahead by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

While stocks rebounded last week, Russ explains why the good times may not last for long.

2015-08-04 00:00:00 Update on Puerto Rico as Aug. 1 Debt Deadline Missed by Rafael Costas, Sheila Amoroso of Franklin Templeton Investments

In our opinion, the governor’s wishes to restructure Puerto Rico’s debt will likely be very difficult—and expensive—to realize.

2015-08-04 00:00:00 It’s What You Learn After You Know It All That Counts by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Some of y’all know that I spent years working as the Director of Research and Director of Capital Markets for a Baltimore-based brokerage firm. Accordingly, I met a number of professional sports folks through the law firm Shapiro & Olander, which at the time were the attorneys of choice for a lot of professional athletes, as well as the firm I used for our investment banking department’s legal counsel. One of the folks I met was O’s manager Earl Weaver.

2015-08-04 00:00:00 Is This A Defensive-Led Market? Or A Knowledge-Led Market? by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Much has been made of the fact that defensive sectors, or counter-cyclicals as we prefer to call them, have been leading the market higher. This is very much out of the norm for a bull market, even for a cyclical bull market within a structural bear market, as cyclicals tend to lead equity markets higher while counter-cyclicals help investors play defense when the market breaks lower.

2015-08-04 00:00:00 Niche Marketing with Cathy Curtis by (Article)

Cathy Curtis, president and founder of California-based Curtis Financial Planning, discusses how she built a successful practice targeted to women in transition.

2015-08-04 00:00:00 China’s Command Economy: The Gift That Keeps on Giving by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

With Beijing being selected to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, we at Smead Capital took a moment to reflect on China. We concluded that posturing against China’s attempt to defy business cycles could be one of the best decisions we have made and could be the gift that keeps on giving. Warren Buffett once observed that you get to make approximately 20 major business decisions in your life. As long-duration common stock pickers, we think what you avoid can be just as important as what you select.

2015-08-03 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review: Weaker Breadth Indicators, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The Fed’s policy statement was the main economic event this week; its opening paragraph began, “Growth in household spending has been moderate and the housing sector has shown additional improvement; however, business fixed investment and net exports stayed soft.”

2015-08-03 00:00:00 A Look at Reported Results, and Subsequent Price Performance by Jennifer Thomson of GaveKal Capital

With slightly more than half of the constituents in the MSCI World Index having reported 2Q results, we thought it would be useful to take a look at the trend in sales and earnings so far. In the developed world, about 54% of those companies that have reported sales results have surprised positively, led by the Health Care and Financials sectors. The most negative sales surprises have been concentrated in the Consumer Staples, Materials, and Industrials sectors.

2015-08-03 00:00:00 Mortgages: Don’t Be Fooled by the Averages by Michael Canter, Matthew Bass of AllianceBernstein

US mortgages today have little in common with the risky loans made before the housing crisis. But some market participants aren’t treating them all that differently. We think that’s a mistake—and an opportunity.

2015-08-03 00:00:00 GDP, the ECI, and the FOMC by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Following Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s monetary policy testimony in mid-July, the odds of a September rate hike seemed about even. That doesn’t mean that the Fed’s decision would be a toss-up at the time of the meeting. When the September 16-17 policy meeting rolls around, it should be pretty clear what the Fed will do (or not do). Rather, that policy outlook reflected the uncertainty in the economic data that would arrive between now and the September FOMC meeting. However, just two weeks later, the evidence is pointing to a likely delay.

2015-08-03 00:00:00 Schwab Market Perspective: The Calm Between the Storms by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

Peak earnings season is behind us, Greece is not in imminent danger of exiting the euro, Europeans have headed out on vacation and the US Congress won’t be far behind. After a volatile start, the US market appears to be settling into a more typical summer pattern—for now.

2015-08-03 00:00:00 Retired Investors Don’t Buy Bonds Until? by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

The primary attractions supporting investing in bonds or other fixed income instruments have traditionally been high income and safety. People invest their principal in bonds and receive a stated interest rate (coupon) over the life of the bond and are given the promise of having their principal returned at maturity. Under normal times, bonds would typically pay a higher rate of interest than the dividend rate on stocks. Consequently, bonds have acquired the reputation as low risk and high income instruments.

2015-08-03 00:00:00 A Bad Equilibrium & How Speculative Distortion Ends by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

In economics, we often describe “equilibrium” as a condition where demand is equal to supply. Textbooks usually depict this as a single point where a demand curve and a supply curve intersect, and all is right with the world.

2015-08-03 00:00:00 Bridging the Gap in Global Infrastructure Funding, Part 1 by Darin Turner of Invesco Blog

Infrastructure is the backbone of every economy, providing essential public services such as water supply, energy and mobility. And for investors, infrastructure also has the potential to provide unique benefits.

2015-08-03 00:00:00 The End of U.S. Sovereign Debt as a Near Perfect Protection Asset by Michael Winchell of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

For the past 30 years, the paradigm portfolio holding 60-percent stocks and 40-percent government debt seemed to exhibit a reasonable mix of both growth and protection, being a simple allocation the market beta of two very liquid asset classes with low (occasionally negative) correlation.

2015-08-03 00:00:00 Tax-Sensitive Ideas by (Article)

Beyond municipal bond funds, tax-sensitive closed-end fund investors may want to consider MLP and covered call funds, says John Cole Scott of CEF Advisors.

2015-08-03 00:00:00 5 Reasons August May Take Investors for a Ride by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

The dog days of summer haven’t been too favorable for the stock market, historically, and this year could be more of the same. But a temporary pullback might be a buy signal, writes Kristina Hooper, US Investment Strategist for Allianz Global Investors.

2015-08-02 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review: Emerging Market Exodus, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

One of the biggest stories to emerge has been the decline in Emerging Market Currencies. The IMF noted this in their latest World Economic Outlook.

2015-08-02 00:00:00 Is Now the Time to be Bearish on China? by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

One of the world’s largest hedge funds has turned bearish on China, arguing that the recent stock market correction means ‘‘there are now no safe places to invest’’ in that country. I disagree. I respect Bridgewater as an investment house and their views require serious attention. But I think it worthwhile to explain some areas where my views differ.

2015-08-02 00:00:00 Fear of the Fed Is Rising by Carl Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore, Ben Trinder of Northern Trust

My youngest daughter has an acute case of arachnophobia; even the tiniest spider sets her off. When a daddy longlegs appeared in the bathroom of a vacation home we were renting, she covered herself in the shower curtain and ran straight out the front door. It’s gotten so bad that the mere mention of a spider upsets her; the fear is almost worse than the reality

2015-08-02 00:00:00 China's Dilemma: Is it 1987 or 1929? by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

If Chinese policymakers don’t alter course soon, the current Chinese equity market correction could turn into a stock market plunge similar to what happened in the United States in 1929.

2015-08-02 00:00:00 What’s Next For The Dollar? by Doug Ramsey of The Leuthold Group

The U.S. Dollar Index has recovered about half the losses from a two-month, -7% setback from the 12-year peak it established in March. We expect continued dollar strength over the next year as monetary policies in the rest of the developed world remain even looser than in the United States.

2015-08-02 00:00:00 More Evidence of China Slowing Permeating Asia – 7/31/2015 by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

In today’s edition we highlight just a few data points: the South Korea Business Survey Index making a new low, Japan consumption expenditure having a very weak month, and Japan CPI headed back toward zero. The slowing of the biggest economy in Asia is really having a noticeable impact on the region.

2015-08-02 00:00:00 Europe: Back to Business by Philippe Brugere-Trelat of Franklin Templeton Investments

The main very positive consequence of the Greek rescue agreement—even if nobody in Greece or in the eurozone at large seems to like it—is that Greece appears to be staying in the eurozone and the construct has been safeguarded.

2015-08-02 00:00:00 When China Stopped Acting Chinese by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Much of the world is focused on what is happening in Greece and Europe. A lot of people are paying attention to the Middle East and geopolitics. These are significant concerns, for sure; but what has been happening in China the past few months has more far-reaching global investment implications than Europe or the Middle East do. Most people are aware of the amazing run-up in the Shanghai stock index and the recent “crash.” The government intervened and for a time has halted the rapid drop in the markets.

2015-08-01 00:00:00 Gold on Sale, Says the Rational Investor by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The leveraged gold futures derivatives market is knocking down the precious metal, yet in massive contrast, this drop has ignited a shopping frenzy according to gold coin dealers. I spoke with several friends and industry experts this week who confirmed the record sales numbers for the month. In fact, American Gold Eagle sales reached 161,500 ounces in July, the highest monthly figure since April 2013. What gives?

2015-07-31 00:00:00 Aligning Beliefs: 7 Tenets of Russell Investments Target Date Funds by John Greves of Russell Investments

Russell Investments’ John Greves examines 7 tenets in constructing target date funds.

2015-07-31 00:00:00 The Danger in "Debalancing" by John West, Brandon Kunz, Amie Ko of Research Affiliates

Eat a balanced diet. Drilled into our brains since preschool, this advice falls squarely in the “duh, everybody knows that” camp. But it’s not just kids who need reminding. Parents and grandparents, as role models and dietary enforcers, do too. Common sense alone tells us this universally applicable dictum is the right way to eat. Different foods have different nutritional and caloric values. If we eat a wide variety of food groups, or as a five-year-old child is taught, “Eat a rainbow,” good nutrition is likely to take care of itself.

2015-07-31 00:00:00 Say A Little Prayer by Bill Gross of Janus Capital Group

I’m not what you would call a “prayerful” type of guy. Even at 30,000 feet, when the air gets rough, I never invoke the “God” word, settling instead for promising myself that if I ever get back to terra firma, I will never fly again, which I promptly forget days or even hours later. It’s not that I’m a non-believer in prayer’s ultimate destination, but more of a cynical take on why the Lord would hand out party favors to everyone that asked, or to those that asked most intently.

2015-07-31 00:00:00 3 Questions to Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself by Adam Butler, Michael Philbrick, Rodrigo Gordillo of BPG & Associates

A few simple questions one should ask oneself before making any decisions in public markets.

2015-07-31 00:00:00 September Hike Still on the Table by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

No one expected the Federal Reserve to make any changes to monetary policy at today’s meeting and there were no surprises.

2015-07-31 00:00:00 China’s Stock Market Plunges Again (But Not to Worry) by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

It turns out that China’s stock market remains a market after all, despite the Chinese government’s best efforts. Prices on the Shanghai Composite Index fell 8.5 percent on Monday and another 1.7 percent Tuesday, stripping away more than half of the gain since the last bottom.

2015-07-31 00:00:00 Is The Fed Now looking At A December Lift Off? by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

One of the data releases that has gained more attention recently than what it has historically received is the quarterly Employment Cost Index (ECI). With focus moving to not just job growth, but wage growth as well, the ECI index is a data point that Fed watchers are watching to guess what the Fed’s next move is going to be. Unfortunately for those that were wanting a September lift-off, the ECI thoroughly underwhelmed during the second quarter.

2015-07-31 00:00:00 Why the Dollar’s Strength Can Continue by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Though currency market volatility is likely to continue, Russ sees the greenback continuing to move higher for these reasons.

2015-07-30 00:00:00 Opportunities in International Equity Markets by Matthew Beesley, CFA, Head of Global Equities (Article)

Matthew Beesley, CFA, Head of Global Equities, provides an update on the International Select Equity Fund’s strategy and overall market outlook for the second half of 2015. Beesley comments on how well positioned the international markets appear to be relative to the challenges that the US may be facing soon. Further, he notes that he is finding significant opportunities in both European and Japanese markets while having an increased interest in the Emerging Markets.

2015-07-30 00:00:00 In Defense of Varoufakis by Mohamed A. El-Erian of Project Syndicate

Greeks and other Europeans may fault Yanis Varoufakis, Greece's former finance minister, for pursuing his agenda with too little politesse while in office. But the essence of that agenda was – and remains – largely correct.

2015-07-30 00:00:00 Solomon's Long Duration Investment Wisdom by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Storm clouds seem to build by the day. Many investors have an ongoing love affair with a few large-cap and more futuristic companies, yet they have corrected the prices of any stock with disappointing earnings or an attachment to the production of commodities.

2015-07-30 00:00:00 How Hemlines Affect The Market by Tyler Howard of Saturna Capital

George Taylor's "Hemline Index Theory" has persisted since 1926, but is it true? If you search long enough, or mine enough data, you are bound to find correlations that, while statistically robust, have no meaningful explanatory power.

2015-07-30 00:00:00 Money Market Reform: Reflections on This Critical Inflection Point for Cash Liquidity Investing by Jerome Schneider of PIMCO

On July 23 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) formally approved additional reforms for money market funds. These changes will directly impact institutional investors and definitively alter the dynamics of liquidity markets.

2015-07-30 00:00:00 A Midyear Look at Global Real Estate by Ivy Global Real Estate Team of Ivy Investment Management Company

There are many drivers of recent short-term price changes for publicly traded real estate companies in the current market environment. These include changes in the market’s outlook for economic growth, for interest rate movements, for central bank actions and even the issues surrounding Greece and Ukraine.

2015-07-30 00:00:00 Minimum Wage Hikes: Fast Food for Thought by James Tierney, Jr. of AllianceBernstein

The minimum wage is rising across the US, and fast-food companies are feeling the pinch. In our view, watching how companies cope reinforces the importance of a selective approach to stockpicking.

2015-07-30 00:00:00 Greece and China: The New Not Ready For Primetime Players by Chris Richey of Neosho Capital

A paper on the present Greek and Chinese capital market crises, which have their roots in policies carefully crafted over the past two decades meant to bring about the integration of their respective economies into that of the wider world.

2015-07-30 00:00:00 U.S. Dollar Still Stands Tall by Burt White of LPL Financial

The U.S. dollar remains strong, defying some skeptics. As has been the case since late 2008 when the Federal Reserve (Fed) began its quantitative easing (QE) program, there has been a great deal of concern recently among some market participants that the dollar is on the verge of a significant decline. Although the dollar may have lost some market share relative to other global currencies in recent decades, it remains the dominant global currency (often referred to as a reserve currency) and we expect it to remain so for the foreseeable future.

2015-07-30 00:00:00 Rising Rates: Threat or Opportunity by Eric Stein, Andrew Szczurowski of Eaton Vance

Investors should take an active approach to duration management and favor assets that have historically benefited from a rising rate environment.

2015-07-30 00:00:00 Is it Time to Buy Commodities? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ Koesterich explains what's behind the recent commodity rout and whether it represents an opportunity for investors.

2015-07-30 00:00:00 Are US Middle-Class Incomes Really Stagnating? by Martin Feldstein of Project Syndicate

The challenge of raising the incomes of middle-class families has emerged as an important focus of the unfolding US presidential election campaign. Unfortunately, the political debate is distorted by misleading statistics that grossly understate how well middle-income families have actually done over the past few decades.

2015-07-30 00:00:00 When the Fed Begins to Tighten, Quality Stocks Matter by Jeff Moser of Wells Fargo Asset Management

The Federal Reserve has finally signaled its intent to raise (or normalize) interest rates. The question for investors now is what sort of companies stand to benefit the most, as Fed stimulus exits the system? Low-quality stocks benefited from a long cycle of Fed accommodation, but the potential for tighter monetary policy could mean investors should look to higher-quality stocks instead. In a potentially rising-interest-rate environment, investors should look for these five indications of quality.

2015-07-29 00:00:00 Millennials and the Labor Force: A Look at the Trends by Jill Mislinski (Article)

We have added Millennials to our series of employment demographics. The general consensus is that the Millennial cohort consists of people born between the early 1980s to the early 2000s. In this study we will focus on the Bureau of Labor Statistics data for the those born between 1981 and 2000.

2015-07-29 00:00:00 Inflation Deniers Emboldened by Gold's Struggles by Clint Siegner of Money Metals Exchange

The vultures are circling. Precious metals bulls, laid flat by gold and silver prices dropping for the 5th week in a row, are watching deflationists such as Harry Dent and the financial media squawk about the imminent demise of precious metals.

2015-07-29 00:00:00 Equities, Dividends & Rising Interest Rates by Guinness Atkinson Investment Team of Guinness Atkinson Asset Management

With interest rates at generational lows and what is likely an improving US economy, it is natural to contemplate or even worry about the possibil- ity of rising interest rates. Common perception is that rising interest rate environments are generally not favorable to equities and income oriented in- vestments. This is certainly true for bonds1 whose prices move directly and inversely with changes in interest rates. But is it true for equities in general and for dividend paying stocks in particular?

2015-07-29 00:00:00 Some Overseas Markets May Prove More Resilient by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ explains why he believes European and Japanese equities can continue to outperform U.S. stocks.

2015-07-29 00:00:00 Price-Insensitive Sellers by Ben Inker of GMO

In a new quarterly letter to GMO's institutional clients, co-head of asset allocation Ben Inker examines the impact on a range of global asset classes of "price-insensitive market participants" who may "buy assets for reasons other than the expected returns those assets may deliver."

2015-07-29 00:00:00 Ten Quick Topics to Ruin Your Summer by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

Chief investment strategist Jeremy Grantham reviews "10 topics that really matter, at least in my opinion. They can all be viewed as problems: potential threats to our well-being"

2015-07-29 00:00:00 China's Stock Market: Can Beijing Keep It Steady? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The Chinese economy likely will sustain a pace of growth strong enough to stabilize stock prices.

2015-07-29 00:00:00 Laudato Sí by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Last week, the Vatican held a meeting of the mayors of some of the world’s largest cities to discuss climate change. This meeting was part of Pope Francis’s efforts to add to the discussion of climate change, which was the subject of a recent encyclical, Laudato Sí. In this report, we will begin with our position on climate change, discuss the encyclical and try to measure its potential impact on the direction of climate change policy. As always, we will conclude with market ramifications.

2015-07-29 00:00:00 Embrace, Don’t Fear, Illiquid Asset ETFs by Richard Bernstein of Richards Bernstein Advisors

Our research suggests that while many are fearful of the unknown, investors should embrace, not fear, illiquid asset ETFs.

2015-07-29 00:00:00 Diversify and Conquer: Enhancing Equities in Your Glide Path by Daniel Loewy, Christopher Nikolich of AllianceBernstein

Equities take a lead role in any target-date glide path because they’re the most reliable engine for investment growth. But even that engine could use some help in the future.

2015-07-29 00:00:00 Thursday's GDP Report May Hold Big Surprises by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The next few days should be an interesting time in the markets. The Fed Open Market Committee (FOMC) is meeting today and tomorrow and will release its latest policy statement at the conclusion of the meeting. While it is not expected that the Committee will vote to raise the Fed Funds rate at tomorrow’s meeting, Fed Chair Janet Yellen has been talking hawkishly about a rate hike of late.

2015-07-29 00:00:00 Next Generation Thinking: Saving by (Article)

How can advisors help millennials save for retirement? Look to T. Rowe Price for insights.

2015-07-29 00:00:00 Next Generation Thinking: Investing by (Article)

How can advisors help millennials invest for retirement? Look to T. Rowe Price for insights.

2015-07-29 00:00:00 Next Generation Thinking: Engagement by (Article)

How can advisors engage and motivate millennials? Look to T. Rowe Price for insights.

2015-07-28 00:00:00 Are Managed-Payout Funds Better than Annuities? by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Managed-payout funds promise to meet retirees’ need for sustainable lifetime income without relying on annuities. To see whether this promise can be fulfilled, I’ll answer three questions: What’s the best design for such funds? How do they compare to annuities? Can retirees do even better by combining managed-payout funds and annuities?

2015-07-28 00:00:00 Should You Dress Down for Client Meetings? by Dan Richards (Article)

In a previous article, Dan Solin pointed to research on how performance improves if people dress in a more professional fashion. But my recent conversations with advisors and clients suggest that while dressing up can have a positive impact, you can overdo it. In fact, in some cases it makes more sense to dress down.

2015-07-28 00:00:00 Late-Cycle Warnings from the M&A Market by David Schawel (Article)

Are we nearing the end of the equity bull market? An ominous signal is coming from recent activity in the M&A market.

2015-07-28 00:00:00 Why Most Quantitative Investing and Trading Systems Fail by Baijnath Ramraika, Prashant Trivedi (Article)

Most, if not all, quantitative systems are designed by selecting factors that were present in successful investments/trades over a selected back-test period. That process, however, too often results in strategies that fail to produce results that are as successful as in the historical data. Here’s why.

2015-07-28 00:00:00 The Positive Use of Negativity Bias by Daniel Solin (Article)

In an article last week, I discussed how an understanding of three behavioral biases (in-group, confirmation and illusion-of-control bias) can help you gather more assets. Today, I will tackle another prevalent bias – negativity bias – and provide suggestions for how to use knowledge of its effects to your advantage.

2015-07-28 00:00:00 Why High Performing Individuals Fall Apart in a Team by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I have hired the best individual contributors anyone could find. Individually, they are strong performers, but they trip over one another whenever they have to agree on ways to meet client needs. Are there incentives or punishments I can dole out to change this dynamic?

2015-07-28 00:00:00 Is The Biotech Bull Market Still Intact? by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Biogen’s $85 (or 22%) drop on Friday has put a spotlight on the biotechnology sub-industry as a whole. And rightfully so, as biotech has been the best performing sub-industry in the United States over the past four years (as always, this data is on an equal-weighted basis). Biogen, which was the third largest biotech stock by market cap before the drop and is now the fifth largest, has generally been a stock market leader. Whenever leadership begins to turnover that is usually an important signal for the market. So has biotech run its course?

2015-07-28 00:00:00 Is Sovereign Debt Sacrosanct? by Paul DeNoon of AllianceBernstein

Many governments face large and seemingly insurmountable levels of debt. Headline mainstays Greece, Ukraine and Puerto Rico have recently been the subjects of debate over the necessity or suitability of receiving debt relief. Other governments may soon find themselves under the same spotlight.

2015-07-28 00:00:00 Greed and Genius?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Greed is always hard to measure. Certainly we have seen some signs of it in the Big Bio-Bubble and the new issue market.

2015-07-28 00:00:00 When Will We Ever Learn? by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Life is full of irony. When I was in school, I hated history. It was boring. It was pointless. How was reading about a bunch of dead people ever going to be useful in life? Today, I consume everything I can find on history. Particularly, financial history. Ironic.

2015-07-28 00:00:00 The Song Remains the Same? Higher Rates Don’t Typically Kill Bull Markets by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Because we don’t anticipate any fireworks—or even notable news—out of the July Federal Reserve meeting, we are not publishing a dedicated report on the meeting or the accompanying statement. However, we are keenly aware of the attention on the Fed and the likelihood it begins raising short-term term interest rates this year. Our view remains that September is the most likely month, barring any significant change in the trajectory of job growth in the next two months.

2015-07-28 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: What is the Message of the Market? by Jeffrey Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

As I have noted for the last two weeks, this earnings season carries a special significance. It provides an alternative to the official data on the economy.

2015-07-28 00:00:00 Equities Retreat, but Long-Term Prospects Should Improve by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

At the beginning of July, it became clear that Greece and European policymakers would come to at least a temporary debt agreement. Since that time, U.S. equity prices jumped, with the S&P 500 Index climbing more than 4% by the beginning of last week.

2015-07-28 00:00:00 Active, Passive and Personal by Patty Quinn McAuley of Clark Capital Management Group

Jack Bogle telling investors to sit tight and buy low-cost index funds is a little bit like the FDA telling Americans to eat right and exercise to stay healthy. In theory it sounds right but in practice, well… some of us could use a more active approach.

2015-07-28 00:00:00 Home Ownership Drops to a New Interim Low by Doug Short (Article)

As residential real estate prices rise, home ownership continues to decline. The Census Bureau has now released its latest quarterly report with data through Q2. Here is a snapshot of the nonseasonally adjusted series with a 4-quarter moving average to highlight the trend.

2015-07-28 00:00:00 What Volatility Really Means by Greg Tournant of Allianz Global Investors

Despite predictions of a jump in 2015, the VIX has historically shown the ability to stay lower than many believe possible. Greg Tournant, CIO US Structured Products at Allianz Global Investors, explains the root causes and implications of volatility in today’s market environment.

2015-07-28 00:00:00 GDP Rebounds in Q2 by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

The US economy rebounded in the second quarter from the supposed decline in real GDP in Q1. We say “supposed decline” in Q1 because the government has had persistent problems seasonally adjusting GDP, tending to underestimate growth in the first quarter each year while overestimating growth in the middle two quarters.

2015-07-27 00:00:00 See How NFRA Is Built by (Article)

NFRA supports exposure to utilities, transportation and energy, plus communications and government outsourced holdings.

2015-07-27 00:00:00 The Active-Passive Debate with Rand Spero by (Article)

Rand Spero, an advisor and president of Massachusetts-based Street Smart Financial, discusses how he decides when to use actively managed funds instead of passive indices.

2015-07-27 00:00:00 The New Role of the Financial Advisor by John Diehl, Senior Vice President, Strategic Markets Hartford Funds (Article)

“The New Role of the Financial Advisor” explores key drivers for decision making in the financial services business and what differentiates one advisor from another. John Diehl discusses how investment performance has become an expected competency and sheds light on what today’s client expects.

2015-07-27 00:00:00 Screens vs. Windows: Why Choosing a Fund Manager Requires Both by Tracy Fielder of Invesco Blog

Choosing the right fund manager is an important decision for investors, and many rely on data screens to help them sift through mountains of performance numbers. But screens alone don’t tell you the whole story. To get a clear view of how a fund might fit into your portfolio, you also need a window into the mind of the manager.

2015-07-27 00:00:00 Forecasting Q2 GDP: Gazing Into the Crystal Ball by Doug Short (Article)

The big economic number this week will be the Q2 Advance Estimate for GDP on Thursday at 8:30 AM ET. With the Q1 GDP of -0.2% behind us, what do economists see in their collective crystal ball for Q2 of 2015? Let's take a look at the latest GDP forecasts from the latest Wall Street Journal survey of economists conducted earlier this month.

2015-07-27 00:00:00 CEF Product Perspective by (Article)

With a look at time horizons, active management and alternative investments, Kimberly Flynn of Nuveen shares a CEF product perspective.

2015-07-27 00:00:00 Global Equity Income Fund, Quarterly Review and Outlook by Job Curtis, Director of Global Equity Income (Article)

Job Curtis, Director of Global Equity Income, provides a portfolio and economic update for the Henderson Global Equity Income Fund (HFQAX). Broadly speaking, with growth picking up in Europe and well established in the US, he believes the outlook for equity markets is reasonably good. There is plenty of dividend yield out there and we are able to find companies with a combination of dividend yield and dividend growth.

2015-07-27 00:00:00 On My Radar: Grantham, HY and the Cyclical Bear in Gold by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

If you’re young, take the whack [and] if you’re old, pray for the Fed to keep going.”– Jeremy Grantham

2015-07-27 00:00:00 The Nuclear Deal is Mostly about Oil by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

The recent nuclear non-proliferation agreement between Iran and the U.S. has created a firestorm debate in the Middle East and both sides of the Atlantic. While the deal is supposedly all about nuclear power and nuclear bombs, its practical implications are all about oil. But the conclusions we should make about its impact on the energy sector are far from clear. A ratification of the deal would allow Iran to make lucrative long term production and distribution contracts with foreign energy firms.

2015-07-26 00:00:00 Mid-Year Update: A Look at the High Yield Market by Tim Gramatovich of AdvisorShares

I have seen every cycle since 1985 and while this cycle which began in 2009 has not been without a few warts, it has also been very different and far more conservative than many of these prior cycles. The majority of issuance was and continues to be for refinancing activity. This lowers interest expense and improves credit metrics for companies. Case in point, as noted below, high yield interest coverage (cash flow, or earnings before interest taxes, depreciation and amortization divided by interest expense) has steadily improved and at the highest levels we have seen over the past 15 years.

2015-07-26 00:00:00 Chugging Along by John Osterweis, Matt Berler of Osterweis Capital Management

Sitting down to write this quarter’s Outlook we feel a bit sheepish. Despite all the headlines and drama around the world (e.g., Greece, Mid-East turmoil, China stock market bubble), not much has changed in our outlook for the U.S. economy or the U.S. financial markets. The U.S. economy appears to have rebounded in the second quarter from the first quarter swoon.

2015-07-26 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review: Transports Still Concerning, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The Conference Board released the leading and coincident indicators, both of which provide an excellent summation of current and future activity.

2015-07-26 00:00:00 European Drama Hasn’t Derailed US Growth by Ed Perks of Franklin Templeton Investments

We believe headwinds to growth have been easing and what the current leg of the US expansion has perhaps lacked in intensity may very well be made up for by a transition to a more durable or lengthy expansion.

2015-07-26 00:00:00 Memorize This, Earn a Dollar by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

As a kid growing up in the 1960’s, I earned my allowance the usual way; cutting grass and raking leaves. When there was no grass to cut or other work to do, my parents – who deeply valued education – would give us things to commit to memory. I figure I squeezed more than 30 bucks out of memorizing the multiplication tables up to 12. My brothers were better at memorizing poetry, but I was pretty good at song lyrics, which put me in good position to learn the words to countless 70's songs (e.g. "This really blew my mind.

2015-07-25 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review: IMF Lowers Growth Projections, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

At the macro level, the IMF lowered their global growth outlook. The first quarter slowdown in the developed world (largely the US but to a lesser extent Canada) led to decreased 2H15 projections, while the commodity slowdown will negatively impact the developing world. As further evidence of this, note that Latin American currencies are broadly selling off. Low inflation gives central banks plenty of policy room. The wild cards continue to be the cumulative impact of the Chinese slowdown along with certain geopolitical factors such as the Middle East turmoil and Greek situation.

2015-07-25 00:00:00 3 Reasons Why Gold Isn’t Behaving Like Gold Right Now by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The last time the metal descended this quickly was 18 months ago, on January 6, 2014, when someone brought a massive gold sell order on the market before retracting it in a high-frequency trading tactic called “quote stuffing.”

2015-07-25 00:00:00 Asia Insight: Online to Offline—The Great Technology Migration by Michael Oh of Matthews Asia

Asia has demonstrated an uncanny ability to leapfrog certain technological developments, making much quicker transitions to new technologies than Western countries: jumping from fixed line to wireless communications and moving away from desktop devices to mobile devices. Now, the latest interesting instance of technology leapfrogging that is happening in Asia is dubbed “Online-to-Offline,” commerce, or O2—an e-commerce model that combines offline opportunities with online platforms. Asia Insight explores.

2015-07-25 00:00:00 Should We Offer More Help to Homeowners? by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

• Should We Offer More Help to Homeowners? • The Dodd-Frank Act Observes Its Fifth Anniversary • Canada Looks South for Economic Support

2015-07-25 00:00:00 Let’s Put Some Context To This Stock Buyback Craze by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

According to this CNBC article, “twenty percent of the S&P 500 have reduced their share count by 4% year-over-year in each of the last five five quarters” with the trend continuing in the second quarter. There are plenty of large buyback programs being undertaken by large-cap companies such as Intel and McDonalds and in that CNBC article they also mention Apple as a company joining the “buy back monsters” such as IBM and Exxon Mobile. However, for the market as a whole, is this time really all that different?

2015-07-25 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

What looked like the promising start of a new uptrend reversed hard this week. There's a plausible scenario for SPX to fall under 1980 in the weeks ahead. Most of the indices ended the week oversold and on support. For now, it's reasonable to assume that the multi-month trading range pattern will predominate, but a bigger correction very likely still lies ahead.

2015-07-24 00:00:00 Parsing Puerto Rico by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

Puerto Rico municipal bond prices continue to reflect a significant probability of a potential default or debt restructuring. Puerto Rican difficulties are coming to a head: The commonwealth is suffering through a recession that began in 2006, a severe cash crunch has increased the prospects of a missed bond payment, and a greater than forecast budget deficit means that revenue fell short again and more cost reductions are needed.

2015-07-24 00:00:00 The Rise of the Renminbi: Will China’s Yuan Become a Global Reserve Currency? by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Reserve currency status and RMB internationalization could confer a number of significant benefits on China, including potentially lowering borrowing costs and facilitating overseas expansion by Chinese companies.

2015-07-24 00:00:00 Can We All Stop Being Surprised By Company Earnings “Surprises” by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

According to the FT, S&P 500 earnings are on track to decline by about 2.6% year-over-year which is actually about 2% better than what analysts were expecting at the end of June. So this is turning out to be a better earnings season than must expected? Not really. This is just a continuation of the game where consensus expectations are moved lower and lower until companies can, you guessed it, “surprise” to the upside.

2015-07-24 00:00:00 Is Social Security on Life Support? by Gail Buckner of Franklin Templeton Investments

The benefit of securing your future by building your own financial nest egg goes without saying, but developing a Social Security strategy can be a key part of the equation that can help lead to a less stressful future.

2015-07-24 00:00:00 Does Your Muni Bond Fund Own Puerto Rico’s Bad Debt? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

While the media and investors are focused on Greece, Puerto Rico is having a debt meltdown of its own. The U.S. territory owes lenders over $70 billion, $5.4 billion of which is due in the next 12 months. But without some form of debt restructuring, says Governor Alejandro García Padilla, it will be unable to meet its obligations. Countless municipal bond fund investors—many of them unaware they have exposure to the Caribbean island—could be affected.

2015-07-24 00:00:00 Market Timing Is Not Appropriate for Retired Investors by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Any discussion on the appropriateness of any “investment” strategy should start with a discussion on the important differences between investing versus speculating. Although these are radically different concepts, it is all too common in finance jargon to ubiquitously reference all financial activity as investing, even when speculating would be the more precise term. I believe it is vitally important for people to understand the distinctions between investing and speculating, and it’s even more important to be cognizant of which you are engaging in.

2015-07-24 00:00:00 Do Transport Stocks Signal a U.S. Selloff? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ Koesterich and an investment strategist on his team, Kurt Reiman, explain what the recent divergence between Dow Transports and Dow Industrials signals for the broader market.

2015-07-24 00:00:00 Is Gold Dead? by Treesdale Partners of AdvisorShares

Gold hit $1080 per ounce Sunday night which was the lowest price level since February 2010. Gold in U.S. dollar (USD) terms has a three-year annualized return of -11.1%. It is no wonder that money managers currently carry the smallest net long positions in gold.

2015-07-24 00:00:00 Don’t Let the Noise Keep You Up at Night by Carl Kaufman, Simon Lee, Bradley Kane of Osterweis Capital Management

Three subjects have concerned the markets recently: a Greek debt default and possible exit from the European Union (Grexit), the Federal Reserve’s (the Fed’s) normalization of interest rate policy and potential bond market illiquidity following a rise in interest rates. The first two are binary outcomes, which have been debated in the marketplace for years. While discussing these possible outcomes ad nauseam may be a palliative to some, in our view it doesn’t really provide much meaningful, incremental information until more definitive actions are taken.

2015-07-24 00:00:00 Sector Insights-Financial Services by Mark Dawson of Rainier Investment Management

The financial services sector is unique. Unlike other sectors, it is essentially the lifeblood of the economy. When it’s healthy, it provides businesses and consumers with access to the credit, capital and investments that are vital to a healthy and growing U.S. economy. But when it’s sick, as we saw during the financial crisis in 2008, it can weaken the whole system. Severely damaged in 2008, the U.S. financial system - in particular banks - have been healing. Now is a good time to seek out investment opportunities in financial stocks.

2015-07-24 00:00:00 Dark Clouds Clearing by Byron Wien of Blackstone

We are at a point when various macroeconomic events could have a significant impact on the financial markets. Here are my thoughts on recent events in Greece, the Iran negotiations, China and the United States.

2015-07-24 00:00:00 Europe: Running on Borrowed Time by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Rather than wander deep into the weeds looking at financial indications, however, we are going to explore what I think is a very significant nonfinancial factor that will impact the future of Europe. If it was just money, then Prodi would be right – they could just create new economic policy instruments, whatever the heck those might be. But what we’ve been seeing these last few months is symptomatic of a far deeper problem than can be addressed with just a few trillion euros, give or take.

2015-07-23 00:00:00 Tocqueville Gold Strategy Investor Letter: Q2 2015 by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

What is required to restore investor interest in gold? In our opinion, a prolonged bout of financial-market adversity would suffice. After all, the cornerstone of coordinated central-bank policy since 2008 has been the levitation of financial assets via Zero Interest-Rate Policy (ZIRP) and Quantitative Easing (QE) by forcing investors into risky assets. We believe that nothing would serve better to undermine confidence in central bankers than a bear market in bonds and equities. The roof above the dollar gold price has been built brick by brick from confidence in central bankers.

2015-07-23 00:00:00 Are MLPs Waiting for Godot? by David Chiaro of Eagle Global Advisors

Like the absurdist play where two characters Vladimir and Estragon wait for a mysterious Godot who never shows up, investors in MLPs continue to wait for definitive answers to the "big questions" facing MLPs: when will interest rates rise and what will happen with future oil production and prices?

2015-07-23 00:00:00 Mid-Year Market Outlook - July 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

At the end of 2014, “why international?” was the prevailing investor sentiment. After all, foreign stocks had lagged U.S. equities yet again, underperforming four out of the five years between 2010 and 2014. The consensus outlook was that U.S. markets would outperform their foreign peers in any case, and so, would it really serve any purpose to hold international equities in a portfolio? Many investors followed the crowd.

2015-07-23 00:00:00 Summer Quarterly Commentary by John Prichard, Miles Yourman of Knightsbridge Asset Management

Greece is much in the headlines again. As we stated in our Spring 2013 letter, “The European debt crisis will not be over until either: 1) the debt goes away (read: default or substantial inflation) or 2) these governments start producing actual surpluses with which to pay the debt down.” So far, every subsequent deal has failed to produce either of these two scenarios, and so each time news media builds up another weekend summit or referendum, the running joke around here is, “Don’t worry, it will all be resolved this weekend.”

2015-07-23 00:00:00 Mid-Year Outlook: Global Economy Likely to Withstand China, Greece by John Calamos, Sr. of Calamos Investments

The global markets and economy should be able to move higher for the remainder of the year, with accommodative monetary policy and well-contained inflation providing tailwinds. The U.S. looks set to extend its not-too-hot, not-too-cold recovery, while Japan is benefiting from stimulus and pro-market reforms. Although economic conditions in Europe remain fragile and uneven, growth looks to be accelerating overall, and we believe the European Union has the tools to prevent a broader Europe contagion should the Greek bailout resolution fall apart.

2015-07-22 00:00:00 The BOJ’s Policy: What’s Next, More Easing? Or Something Else? by Tomoya Masanao of PIMCO

Investors are now debating what the next step will be for the Bank of Japan. It is a dramatic turn, isn’t it? Earlier this year, the consensus view was that the BOJ would move forward with additional easing – the question was ‘when’, not ‘if’.

2015-07-22 00:00:00 Why the Greek Deal Will Work by Anatole Kaletsky of Project Syndicate

Most economists and political commentators believe that the latest Greek bailout was little more than an analgesic. It will dull the pain for a while, but the euro’s problems will metastasize, with a dismal prognosis for the single currency and perhaps the EU as a whole. But the conventional wisdom is likely to be proved wrong.

2015-07-22 00:00:00 Corporate Earnings Outlook: Why Are Expectations so Low? by Tom West of Columbia Threadneedle

Corporate reporting for the second calendar quarter started last week with a lead group of early reporters. Looking forward to the body of earnings season, I think results are likely to be, on average, a bit soft. And despite valuations that are on the high side relative to history, it just doesn’t seem that expectations are that high. In many industries, investors seem willing to accept that better results are shimmering out in the future, provided management teams can make a good case for what they are doing to position the company for that future.

2015-07-22 00:00:00 July 2015 Economic Update by Robert Cron of Bronfman E.L. Rothschild

The U.S. economy continues to plod its way forward at a slow and steady pace. Short-term setbacks seem to be the norm, but a general sense of an improving economy is seen through many sectors. The focus on month-to-month indicators has been de-emphasized recently by the scale of global headlines that seems to be driving markets and investor sentiment. Having a steady economic backdrop is very helpful during a period of global challenges.

2015-07-22 00:00:00 Selling (and buying) the Invisible by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

No matter what profession or stage of your career you may be in, everyone is ultimately “selling something.” Whether a teacher, a lawyer, a physician, a plumber, or a high school student applying to colleges, we are all salespeople in one way or the other.

2015-07-22 00:00:00 Mid-Year Commodities Update: Is It Time To Buy? by Saurabh Lele of Loomis Sayles

Commodities have been falling, mainly due to concerns over the Chinese stock market crash, economic turmoil in Greece and the recent Iran nuclear deal. So could this be a good time to buy commodities? Not all of them. Here’s my updated forecast.

2015-07-22 00:00:00 Are Stocks Overvalued? A Survey of Equity Valuation Models by Chris Brightman of Research Affiliates

In the latest piece from Research Affiliates, Chris Brightman, Chief Investment Officer, revisits the most commonly used equity valuation tools, comparing their respective strengths and weaknesses—and no metric is without its shortcomings. He explains Research Affiliates' approach to valuation, combining both absolute value and relative value. No matter the measurement, U.S. equity prices are high and long-term expected returns are low.

2015-07-22 00:00:00 Quarterly Review and Outlook Second Quarter 2015 by Van Hoisington, Lacy Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

From the cyclical monthly high in interest rates in the 1990-91 recession through June of this year, the 30-year Treasury bond yield has dropped from 9% to 3%. This massive decline in long rates was hardly smooth with nine significant backups.

2015-07-22 00:00:00 Currencies Depend on Faith, Gold Doesn’t by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

In his July 17th Blog, Let's Get Real About Gold, author and Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Zweig likened investor interest in gold with the "Pet Rock" craze of the 1970's, when consumers became convinced that a rock in a box would provide continuous companionship, elevate their social standing, and give them something hip to talk about at parties. Zweig asserts that investor faith in gold, which he argues is just another inert mineral with good marketing, is similarly irrational, and has kept people from putting money in the much more lucrative stock market.

2015-07-22 00:00:00 Who's Right - Commodities Or Fed? by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

I have been suggesting for quite some time that the Federal Reserve is stuck in a "liquidity trap" which makes it very difficult for monetary policy to be effective. More importantly, beginning in January of this year, I have suggested that the Fed is being forced to choose between the "lesser of two evils."

2015-07-22 00:00:00 Bond Market Liquidity: Don’t Confuse Investment Risk With Systemic Risk by Douglas Hodge of PIMCO

It is not surprising that the subject of bond market liquidity has come under increasing focus among regulators, investors and the media. While banks are now better capitalized, the combination of post-crisis capital and liquidity regulations and a lower return environment has made them less able and less inclined to function as market makers. Although bank-oriented regulation has made the system more resilient and less levered, it has also had the practical effect of reducing liquidity in markets that have historically relied on banks to support trading, such as in the corporate bond market.

2015-07-22 00:00:00 Global Economic Outlook by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Economists and the financial markets have been almost exclusively focused on events in Greece and China over the past several months. These situations merited attention but pushed more-positive economic developments into the background.

2015-07-22 00:00:00 The Upside to Low Liquidity Bond Markets by Multisector Full Discretion Team of Loomis Sayles

As structural and cyclical factors reduce bond market liquidity, the Multisector Full Discretion team explains how they are positioning portfolios.

2015-07-22 00:00:00 Bottom Pick These Commodity ETFs At Your Own Risk by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Last week Bryce highlighted that commodities continue to get decimated and this post prompted a question: should the contrarian investors out there start taking a closer look at commodities? The short answer is investors are much better off keeping their capital in the equity market rather than trying to scoop up a few commodity ETFs.

2015-07-22 00:00:00 Interpreting Active Share by Jon Eggins of Russell Investments

Russell Investments’ Jon Eggins looks at misconceptions around active share.

2015-07-21 00:00:00 Do The Gabelli Funds Add Value for Investors? by Larry Swedroe (Article)

Mario Gabelli is one of the highest paid executives in America, having earned $88.5 million in 2014 – more than the leaders of all other publicly traded asset-management firms. But have the investors in his mutual funds been as richly compensated when compared to what they would have earned in comparable, passively managed funds?

2015-07-21 00:00:00 New Research to Make Meetings More Productive by Dan Richards (Article)

All advisors want their meetings to be productive – resulting in deeper relationships and buy-in to your recommendations from clients, open conversations with prospects about their needs and honest discussions about how you can help. An email from an advisor last week pointed to research from commercial pilots and surgeons that can make your meetings a better use of your time.

2015-07-21 00:00:00 The Opportunity in Municipal Closed-End Funds The Value in the 9th Inning of the Great Bond Rally by Michael Lebowitz (Article)

For the last five years, bond market experts have unfailingly and wrongly predicted a rise in interest rates. If the current rate-hike fears prove unfounded again, municipal-backed closed-end funds (M-CEFs) is an asset subclass likely to perform well. Here are eight such funds to consider.

2015-07-21 00:00:00 How to Use a Prospect’s Biases to Your Advantage by Daniel Solin (Article)

Jiu-jitsu is a gentle art. Instead of meeting force with greater force, skilled practitioners use their opponent’s force against them. Advisors can learn a lot from this principle.

2015-07-21 00:00:00 What is the Best Portfolio Size for Value Investing? by John Alberg and Michael Seckler (Article)

Many traditional value investors have concentrated portfolios of less than 50 names. Many index funds that tilt toward value factors have portfolios that consist of hundreds of names. This begs the question: What is the best portfolio size for value investing?

2015-07-21 00:00:00 Intergenerational Wealth Transfer – How to Preserve Your Family’s Hard Work by Cary Williams (Article)

Money, religion and politics – the trifecta of inappropriate discussion topics that destroy dinner party conversations. But what about family issues? When client families discuss what they want to achieve with their wealth, equally unsettling themes may arise.

2015-07-21 00:00:00 Four Principles for Proven Success on Social Media by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

In last week’s article, I discussed the need for advisors to use social media effectively. This brought a number of follow-up questions. This week’s column provides guidelines for navigating the often-murky waters of social-media marketing.

2015-07-21 00:00:00 U.S. Housing: Building Strength by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Even with an expected rise in interest rates, the sector should see a faster pace of growth—not enough, however, to give a major boost to the overall economy.

2015-07-21 00:00:00 Very Weak Strong Closes by Jennifer Thomson of GaveKal Capital

Earlier this year, we took an in depth look at our Strong Close and Weak Close Indicators (details here). An updated look at those charts reveals the number of strong closes for the S&P 500 has continued to decline since the beginning of the year and is currently at levels not seen since 2012.

2015-07-21 00:00:00 Searching for Natural Hedges Against Interest-Rate Risk by Eric Takaha of Franklin Templeton Investments

We have found that historically over time, interest-rate moves don’t often play as large of a role in a broadly diversified fixed income portfolio as one might think.

2015-07-21 00:00:00 Secular Outlook: Implications for Asia-Pacific Investors? by Eric Mogelof, Alan Isenberg of PIMCO

We hope you have had the opportunity to review the summary from our secular forum in May: “The New Neutral Revisited,” written by PIMCO’s Group CIO Dan Ivascyn, Global Fixed Income CIO Andrew Balls an?d Global Strategic Advisor Rich Clarida. In this analysis, the authors identify the six key themes that emerged from our discussion, as well as six risks.

2015-07-21 00:00:00 Jobs, Inflation, and Wage Pressures by Scott Brown of Raymond James

In her monetary policy testimony to Congress, Fed Chair Janet Yellen made it clear that the central bank remains on track to begin raising short-term interest rates later this year. However, she gave herself an out, indicating that Federal Reserve officials’ projections of the federal funds rate are “based on the anticipated path of the economy, not statements of intent to raise rates at any particular time.”

2015-07-21 00:00:00 Markets Show Life While Consumers Hold Back by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Global Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses why consumer spending remains sluggish, and what it means for the market.

2015-07-21 00:00:00 Jason Zweig Is Wrong About Gold by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Jason Zweig’s latest post is titled Let’s Be Honest About Gold: It’s A Pet Rock and attempts to debunk most of the reasons people own gold but oddly skips over the one I believe to be most important and is still wholly intact.

2015-07-21 00:00:00 The Four Totally Bad Bear Recoveries: Where Is Today's Market? by Doug Short (Article)

This chart series features an overlay of the Four Bad Bears in U.S. history since the market peak in 1929. They are:

  1. The Crash of 1929
  2. The Oil Embargo of 1973
  3. The 2000 Tech Bubble bust and,
  4. The Financial Bubble and Crisis.

2015-07-20 00:00:00 Two-Tier Markets, Full-Cycle Investing, and the Benefits and Costs of Defense by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

“The Nifty Fifty appeared to rise up from the ocean; it was as though all of the U.S. but Nebraska had sunk into the sea. The two-tier market really consisted of one tier and a lot of rubble down below. What held the Nifty Fifty up? The same thing that held up tulip-bulb prices long ago in Holland - popular delusions and the madness of crowds. The delusion was that these companies were so good that it didn't matter what you paid for them; their inexorable growth would bail you out.” Forbes Magazine during the 50% market collapse of 1973-74

2015-07-20 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review For the Week of July 13-17; Earnings Season Begins, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The Federal Reserve issued two important documents last week: the Beige Book and Chairperson Yellen’s latest Congressional testimony. The Beige Book was largely positive. Non-financial service growth is moderate. Real estate is growing and the employment picture was generally positive. Strong demand for autos sales helped increase consumer spending. The only negative was manufacturing which was uneven due to the strong dollar and weak energy sector.

2015-07-20 00:00:00 On My Radar: Black Widow Returns by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

“When it does happen, it’s usually not the first-derivative event that people are caught off guard by. They’re caught off guard by the second, third and fourth derivative events. It’s ‘Oh yeah, when interest rates go up, that happens.”– Gary Cohn, Goldman Sachs’ President and COO

2015-07-20 00:00:00 Iranian Oil to Fuel Further Price Drop? by Norman MacDonald of Invesco Blog

As part of the intensely negotiated nuclear agreement with Iran announced on July 14, Western financial and economic sanctions in place since 2011, including an oil embargo imposed on Iran by the US and the European Union, will be lifted. With a deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in the rearview mirror, observers are questioning the return of Iranian oil to the world market: When will it happen, and how much will it be?

2015-07-20 00:00:00 Release the Condor! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, there was an advertising company trying to come up with a video commercial to introduce Buick’s new car. After a number of the ad company’s proposals were turned down, they came up with the idea of the car cruising on a road down the side of a mountain with an eagle superimposed flying over it. Buick loved it! There was, however, one problem; you cannot capture, or tame, an eagle. Therefore it was decided to use a condor.

2015-07-20 00:00:00 Muni CEFs & Interest Rates by (Article)

With a potential interest rate hike looming, John Cole Scott of CEF Advisors shares a perspective for investors in national municipal bond CEFs.

2015-07-20 00:00:00 Equities Rise as the Focus Returns to Fundamentals by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities experienced their largest one-week gain since late March last week, with the S&P 500 Index rising 2.4%. Much of the gain came from an easing of Greece’s debt problems and a calming of volatility in China’s equity market. In both cases, policymakers achieved some breathing room, but fundamental issues remain. Greece must still engage in some serious structural reforms and the Chinese economy is still experiencing a significant slowdown.

2015-07-20 00:00:00 Shopping for Bargains in Russian Retailers by Henry D'Auria, Justin Moreau of AllianceBernstein

Russian equities are among the cheapest in the world amid political and economic controversy. Yet investors might be surprised to discover that the rapidly developing retail industry offers undervalued opportunities with attractive return potential.

2015-07-20 00:00:00 Tax Cuts on the Horizon by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

The one key reason for being bullish on equities the past several years has been valuation. Stocks are cheap based on profits and interest rates.

2015-07-20 00:00:00 Understanding “Liquidity” by Payson Swaffield of Eaton Vance

In the U.S., the consumer economy is strengthening, while the industrial economy continues to struggle. What does it mean for equities?

2015-07-20 00:00:00 5 Reasons Puerto Rico Is in Debt Trouble by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Kristina Hooper, US Investment Strategist for Allianz Global Investors, breaks down the key drivers that have led to a mounting debt crisis in Puerto Rico—one that, in some ways, rivals what has happened in Greece.

2015-07-19 00:00:00 Imperial Germany by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Last week, we analyzed the Greek/Eurozone negotiations using game theory as an explanatory tool. In this report, we will review the basic geopolitics of Europe, the political response and the evolution of the Eurozone. Using this background, we will examine Germany’s actions in the most recent Greek crisis. As always, we will conclude with market ramifications.

2015-07-19 00:00:00 How US Equity Valuations Have Changed Since 2008 by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

The average price to cash flow multiple for a US equity is currently 16.9x. However, as is always the case in a diversified market, the range of valuation multiples varies quite a bit if we break out companies by industry group. The cheapest industry group is utilities currently trading at 7x cash flow. Only two other industries, energy and telecom, are trading below 10x cash flow. On the other end of the spectrum, four companies are trading above 20x cash flow and one, pharma, biotech and life sciences, are trading above 30x.

2015-07-17 00:00:00 More Evidence of China Slowing Permeating Asia – 7/16/2015 by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

Yesterday saw a few more weaker data points out of Australia and South Korea that are worthy of mention. Namely, Australian consumer confidence dropped again to around the lowest it’s been since 2009 and South Korea unemployment remained at its cycle highs. No matter what the top line China GDP number was, there is no doubt that China is on a structurally slower growth trajectory and this is most definitely affecting its closest neighbors.

2015-07-17 00:00:00 Eurozone Looks to Heal Its Greek Crisis Rifts by David Zahn of Franklin Templeton Investments

Bringing eurozone countries closer together will be the focus of the region’s leaders for the next couple of years. So, if we have another crisis in the region, hopefully this drawn-out, painful scenario isn’t repeated.

2015-07-17 00:00:00 How Much Bond Duration Could You Endure? by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

In my most recent article titled “Designing a Retirement Portfolio That’s Just Right for You” I opined that a retirement portfolio should be designed to meet the individual investor’s specific goals, objectives and risk tolerances. I also suggested that the highest total return is not always the best approach because if the investor needs income to live off of, a focus on a consistent rising income stream makes more sense.

2015-07-17 00:00:00 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group

In just a few short days, the comment period will close on a controversial proposal proffered by the Department of Labor (DOL) which would require virtually all financial advisors to adhere to a fiduciary standard of care when giving clients or prospective clients advice on their retirement plans, including IRAs. Ironically, most Americans believe that the advice that their financial advisor provides is already held to this high standard.

2015-07-17 00:00:00 Tracking the Market with Social Media by Blair Jensen of Trade Followers

I’m starting to see signs that market participants on Twitter are turning from bullish to neutral. This is the first sign of longer term weakness from the Twitter stream that I’ve seen since mid to late 2012. Before the strong rally that started in late 2012 it was common for 7 day momentum to stay below zero for extended periods of time as traders were accustom to periodic corrections. The lack of a decline greater than 10% in since then has kept 7 day momentum mostly above zero with a few small dips that quickly reverse higher. It seems that we’ve all been conditioned to buy the dip.

2015-07-17 00:00:00 The Future is Already Here by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

A good idea of what the future will look like for bond investors is already here. The three-year average annualized total return of the Barclays Aggregate Bond Index, a broad measure of high-quality bond performance, stood at a very modest 1.8% at the end of June 2015. This is an average return, and shorter-term returns have been both higher and lower over the past three years, but it provides an approximation of what investors may expect over a longer time frame.

2015-07-17 00:00:00 Is This the Big One? What to Do in a Financial Crisis by Zachary Karabell of Envestnet

Events in Greece, China’s massive market sell-off, and the temporary shutdown of the NYSE remind us that change and crisis shift the narrative of what today holds and the future portends. Investors may at first want to run for the exit, but the wiser choice may be to stand calmly and let the storm pass.

2015-07-17 00:00:00 Schwab Market Perspective: Slow Summer?! by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

Summer is supposed to be a time of slow trading, light news, and an opportunity for vacations. But the past several weeks have been anything but slow. Greece—a country representing 0.38% of the world economy based on gross domestic product (GDP), has dominated attention; China’s recent stock market plunge also dented sentiment among US investors. It’s meant the “running to stand still” characteristic of this year’s first half is persistent. In fact, the first half of the year saw the S&P 500 trade in its narrowest range in history.

2015-07-17 00:00:00 Crude Oil Is the Best-Performing Commodity of 2015 So Far by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The widest expansion this year was made by none other than crude oil, the worst-performing commodity of 2014. As of June 30, oil posted gains of over 11 percent, rising to $59.47 per barrel. After falling more than 50 percent since last summer, though, it had little else to go but up. That oil claimed the top spot just highlights the reality that commodities are in a depressed state right now.

2015-07-17 00:00:00 Will the Selloff in China Hurt the Global Economy? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

Russ explains why volatility in China's stock market is unlikely to have a material impact on either the global or Chinese economy.

2015-07-17 00:00:00 Europe Needs to Form a More-Perfect Union by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Mario Draghi, ECB president, observed this week that Europe is an imperfect union. Flaws and gaps in treaties must be filled by trust among members. Having failed to follow the dictates of past bailout programs, the Greeks lost the trust of their eurozone partners and will now be subject to very close fiscal oversight.

2015-07-17 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review: Kicking the Greek Can Down the Road, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

Obviously, the big news this week was the Greek deal. This only delayed the inevitable. The plan calls for additional austerity measures, which have been completely ineffective. Greek unemployment is over 25%; the economy is in the middle of a depression, and the debt/GDP ratio increased from 105% in 2008 to 177% currently. The country will simply continue on this path for the foreseeable future, leading to another inevitable conflict with the lending troika. The ECB also issued its policy statement this week, which kept rates unchanged.

2015-07-17 00:00:00 Northern Trust Perspective by Jim McDonald of Northern Trust

Last month we said that the odds favored some sort of “kick the can down the road” agreement between Greece and its creditors, and it looks like that may be coming to pass. While there’s still much work to be done, the tone of the current agreement seems focused on avoiding a euro exit and debt write-downs, while ignoring growth-oriented policies. With the hard decisions yet again put off for another day, this should be euro-weakening, all else equal.

2015-07-17 00:00:00 China's Rebalancing Continues by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

The rebalancing of China’s economy continued in the second quarter of this year, as services and consumer spending drove more growth than industry and construction. The inevitable deceleration of most year-on-year (YoY) growth rates also continued, but a booming stock market provided a temporary lift to headline GDP growth.

2015-07-17 00:00:00 ECRI Weekly Leading Index: "Recoveries Remain Resilient" by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (

ECRI currently features an article suggesting that concern over negative trend growth is no reason to panic. Recession is not imminent as we are not yet in a "window of vulnerability." The article also discusses Spain's recent cyclical upturn and warns that one shouldn't assume that a cyclical upturn also means positive long-term trend growth. The overall message is not to "fret about recession just yet".

2015-07-17 00:00:00 Productivity and Modern-Day Horse Manure by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

What exactly do we mean by this “productivity” word? I’ve given this a good deal of thought lately, and I plan to explore it in my newsletters over the next few months. As you will see, productivity growth has both a positive side and a very negative side.

2015-07-17 00:00:00 If the Fed Raises Policy Interest Rates in 2015, It's Likely to Be One and Done by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

Last week, Fed Chairperson Yellen indicated that the Fed was likely to raise its policy interest rates sometime before year end. Given the behavior of the sum of commercial bank credit and depository institution reserves at the Fed in the past three quarters, it is a mystery to me why the Fed would be contemplating a policy interest rate increase at this juncture. But if this is something the Fed just has to get out of its system, then the first increase is unlikely to be followed by a second interest rate increase for some time.

2015-07-16 00:00:00 U.S. Economy Slouches toward Recession as Eurozone Crisis Widens by Stefan Gleason of Money Metals Exchange

Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen may have missed her window of opportunity to raise interest rates. The economic data no longer paint a picture of even a tepid recovery. Since the start of the year, key indicators for the economy began pointing toward recession.

2015-07-16 00:00:00 Sometimes Waterfalls Aren’t Beautiful by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Over 25 years ago I took my family (my wife, Pat, and two sons, Michael and David) to the big island of Hawaii. It was a dream comes true. We’d been to Honolulu, Kauai, and Maui, but not to the Big Island. Our family spent two weeks in a car circumnavigating the isle on our own. It was a joy not to be forgotten. Early on in our trip, it became apparent that the major island attractions (after the live volcano that is) were the waterfalls. We seemed to race from one waterfall to another as we circled the island.

2015-07-16 00:00:00 Market Overview Q215 by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

Massive interventions by central banks over the last several years have created a “game of Chicken” that has fundamentally changed investing into an exercise that more closely resembles gambling. Until the game resolves investors will do well to recognize this “game” as largely unwinnable and await better opportunities later.

2015-07-16 00:00:00 How Environmental Factors Affect Airlines’ Cost Structures by Kim Nguyen-Taylor and Mauricio Agudelo of Calvert Investment Management

The airline industry exemplifies the materiality of sector-specific environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors on credit drivers of spread performance. We remain bullish on the industry and we will look to opportunistically increase exposure in certain fixed-income investments in the near term. We continue to favor newer deals that are backed by younger, more energy-efficient and modern fleets. We believe the impact of these environmental factors on an airline company’s bottom line is quite direct.

2015-07-16 00:00:00 Q2 Earnings Preview by Burt White of LPL Financial

Q2 earnings season could potentially look a lot like Q1. The Thomson-tracked consensus is calling for a 3% year-over-year decline in S&P 500 earnings for the second quarter, dragged down once again by the energy sector and a strong U.S. dollar.

2015-07-16 00:00:00 Quarterly Letter – July 2015 by Ron Muhlenkamp, Jeff Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Company, Inc.

Ron and Jeff Muhlenkamp discuss their observations of domestic and global economic activity and the impact it has on the markets.

2015-07-16 00:00:00 A Close Look at Trends in Employment for 13 Age Groups by Doug Short (Article)

The columns in the adjacent chart are arranged by age group from left to right. Teen employment is down 56% while at the opposite end, employment of the 75+ age group is up 121%. The stair steps in between are a clear indication of the aging workforce over this time frame.

2015-07-16 00:00:00 China: Searching for a New Equilibrium by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments

Overall, based on our detailed analysis, we believe China will remain on course … while the economy shifts toward consumption, services and higher value-added manufacturing. This could have important implications for the global economy.

2015-07-16 00:00:00 Balancing Your Bond Portfolio’s Risk and Reward by Alison Martier of AllianceBernstein

Most participants in our Global Income Study told us they wanted income to be high and stable. We think it’s possible to build a bond portfolio that strikes a balance between both—provided investors are willing to take some risk to do it.

2015-07-16 00:00:00 Navigating Market Signals in Multi-Asset Portfolios by Rob Balkema of Russell Investments

Russell Investments’ Rob Balkema provides insights on how a portfolio manager looking at Japan might use market signals to manage multi-asset class funds.

2015-07-16 00:00:00 Five Portfolio Moves for the Second Half by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

After a relatively calm few months, market volatility is back. In recent weeks, stocks have swung between ups and downs, as investors have attempted to digest the latest news out of Greece, the recent bear market in China and the growing likelihood that the Federal Reserve (Fed) will hold off on raising rates until after its September meeting.

2015-07-15 00:00:00 The Mirage of the Financial Singularity by Robert Shiller of Project Syndicate

Many economists and financial-market observers seem to believe that we are approaching the point when even Warren Buffett would be better off leaving all investment decisions to a computer program. How, then, would they explain the recent plunge in China's stock market?

2015-07-15 00:00:00 The National Debt Is Over $18 Trillion, Not $13 Trillion by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

In June, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its annual “Long-Term Budget Outlook” which concluded yet again that the trajectory of US federal debt is “unsustainable” and will lead to an unprecedented debt crisis in the years ahead.

2015-07-15 00:00:00 Become Like Water My Friend by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

I used to love watching the History Channel. Back in the good ole days (which actually weren’t too long ago), it would feature real historical content like documentaries, mini-series, and regular programs dedicated to some of the most interesting moments in which human beings have participated. When nothing else seemed to be on the other 300 stations, I could at least count on the History Channel to help kill a few minutes without killing my brain cells in the process.

2015-07-15 00:00:00 Volatile Estimates in Europe by Jennifer Thomson of GaveKal Capital

Changes in sales and earnings estimates have historically ranked fairly high in our factor analysis– a methodology we employ to gauge which variables have the greatest influence on/ correlation with moves in the overall market.

2015-07-15 00:00:00 China’s Market Correction in Three Easy Charts by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The sheer size and importance of China’s equity markets cannot be overstated. Second in size only to the New York Stock Exchange, the combined value of the Asian country’s stock markets is $14 trillion and change. Or at least it was, before they fell 30 percent, wiping away nearly $2 trillion in value. To put this in perspective, the gross domestic product (GDP) of debt-troubled Greece is around $200 billion.

2015-07-15 00:00:00 Tempering Turbulence Along the Glide Path by Daniel Loewy, Christopher Nikolich of AllianceBernstein

Target-date glide paths essentially operate on autopilot. But with greater volatility always popping up on the radar screen, even the best of glide paths can benefit from some tactical maneuvering.

2015-07-15 00:00:00 Greek Games: An Update by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

We update our views on the Greek situation using game theory as a theoretical construct. We used a similar construct in an earlier report on Greece but, in light of the referendum and subsequent negotiations, we believe that further clarification is necessary. And so, we will review the “game of chicken,” which we believe best describes this situation. We will then discuss in detail the particular aspects of this game and why it leads to rash and aggressive behaviors in participants.

2015-07-15 00:00:00 How Socialism Destroyed Puerto Rico, and How Capitalism Can Save It by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

While Greece is now dominating the debt default stage, the real tragedy is playing out much closer to home, with the downward spiral of Puerto Rico. As in Greece, the Puerto Rican economy has been destroyed by its...

2015-07-15 00:00:00 Trying to Profit from Low Expectations by (Article)

Portfolio Manager Jay Kaplan talks about how he manages risk, the advantages of knowing a company's history well, where he is currently finding value in the small-cap market, portfolio positioning, and more.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 GTAA Delivers Solid Returns at Lower Risk. Period. by Adam Butler, Michael Philbrick, Rodrigo Gordillo of BPG & Associates

We recently came across a couple of articles making the sensational claim that TAA is nothing more than a repackaged and dressed-up version of market timing. Both articles – and others, we’ve subsequently learned – point to a Morningstar study showing that TAA has underperformed the Vanguard U.S. 60/40 balanced fund over the past few years. We have several problems with the original study and the referencing posts, but it all boils down to these points of difference.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 Greece: Chaos or Orderly Resolution? by Brent Schutte of BMO Global Asset Management

Greece has found itself in dire financial straits for the last few years (its first bailout was back in 2010), but the situation has become critical in recent weeks. The impetus for this was the election in January 2015 of a radical left government that wished to reopen negotiations with creditors. Much of the response and commentary that we have seen from European politicians and central bankers has been political posturing that has masked the harsh reality: without significant debt restructuring, Greece will never be able to pay back its debts.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 Make Plan Success a Priority for the CFO by Glenn Dial of Allianz Global Investors

Targeting chief financial officers can help advisors get more plan participants to achieve financial wellness, justify their value to plan sponsors and win new business. But you have to speak their language and show them the numbers.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 Our Bipolar Economy by Edward Perkin of Eaton Vance

In the U.S., the consumer economy is strengthening, while the industrial economy continues to struggle. What does it mean for equities?

2015-07-14 00:00:00 Millennial Prosperity by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Many media organizations and smart money managers are postulating that today’s 22-35 year old age group (millennials) might be the first generation since World War II to not marry, have children, buy cars and buy houses at high enough percentages to help us fully recover from the financial meltdown of 2007-09.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 Common Sense Trumps Smart Beta by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

Every few years or so the powerful money men of Wall Street come up with a new idea they believe will lead to unimaginable wealth for their clients and themselves. These ideas often stem from rigorous statistical studies which attempt to confirm that a particular idea offers better than average returns to investors. Of course, in the world of academia, any believable idea originally promoted by one researcher will quickly be followed by additional research from academics around the world expanding on, reinforcing, or contradicting the original study.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 Pursuing Yield in a Low-Return Environment by (Article)

Eric Foster of Tennessee-based PYA Waltham Capital discusses which asset classes and funds he uses for retirees seeking income-driven solutions.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 An Update on China from Charlie Awdry by (Article)

Charlie Awdry, Investment Manager in Henderson’s Asia ex Japan equities team, discusses the recent volatility we are seeing in Chinese equity markets. With shares being suspended from trading and further government action expected, this downturn in Chinese equities is causing nervousness among investors in the retail investor dominated Chinese markets.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 Fees vs. Commissions: Why An Old Debate Is New Again by Bob Veres (Article)

Robo-advisors are forcing us to revisit the ancient fees versus commissions debate. New data and new circumstances have changed the debate in powerful ways.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 Gundlach v. Yellen: Will the Fed Raise Rates? by Robert Huebscher (Article)

On Friday, Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen said that the nine-year wait for an interest-rate increase would likely end this year. Three days earlier, though, Jeffrey Gundlach said that a rate increase this year is unlikely, given the mix of bad news and uncertainty in the world markets. Which view prevails will be the focus of bond market participants in the months ahead.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 Olympic Training Techniques that Win Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

Over the past 50 years, advances in training techniques have transformed what it takes for high level athletes to compete. But the application of some of these breakthroughs isn’t just limited to sports. Here’s how a former college athlete who works as a financial advisor used mental training techniques to grow her network and prospect effectively.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 Knowing When to Sell Real Estate Investments by Keith Jurow (Article)

For nearly five years, I have offered compelling analysis that the so-called real estate recovery is an illusion. While this evidence has been largely ignored by Wall Street and the pundits, those who heeded my advice in an earlier article to sell certain REITs (VNO, GGP, SPG) and the ETF IYR fared well.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 Venerated Voices™ Ranks Economic and Market Commentaries Most Read by Financial Advisors by Advisor Perspectives (Article)

Advisor Perspectives, a leading publisher serving financial advisors and the financial advisory community, has announced its Venerated Voices™ awards for commentaries published in Q2 of 2015.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 Innovation – Too Much, or Too Little of a Good Thing? by Michael Lebowitz (Article)

New innovations save us a lot of time and effort but, believe it or not, they do little to generate sustainable economic growth. Sustainable economic growth depends on productivity. Despite these new innovations, domestic productivity is flat lining.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 How to Understand Neuroscience to Gather More Assets by Daniel Solin (Article)

Brokers are largely successful in selling inferior or conflicted services because they have superior sales skills. Bridge this gap and level the playing field by understanding the role that neuroscience plays in the decision-making process.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 How Likely is Hyperinflation in the U.S? Part Two by Seaborn Hall (Article)

My previous article covered hyperinflation's history, process, effects, definition, types and causes. Part Two answers the questions of how to gauge the likelihood of hyperinflation in the U.S., what the emerging dangers are, how it might happen here and how to prepare if it does.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 Can Social Media Lead to New Prospects? by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We should be getting more from social media. We all have LinkedIn accounts. We have a Twitter account for the firm, and we regularly post articles and ideas. None of this leads to new business. What can we do to generate prospects from our social media activities?

2015-07-14 00:00:00 Correlation Among Stocks, Especially In Europe, Have Shot Higher by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Over the past several weeks, correlations among stocks have been increasing which makes it increasingly difficult for stock pickers to outperform. The most dramatic example of this is happening in Europe.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 Putting the Greece Deal in Context by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Now that Greece and its creditors have reached a tentative deal, Russ discusses the two investing themes that are likely to dominate the second half of 2015.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 The View from the Fed by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will give her semiannual monetary policy testimony to Congress this week. In the past, this has been an important event for the financial markets. However, Fed communication is a lot more open these days. For example, we have the forecasts of senior Fed officials and the minutes of the June policy meeting in hand. However, there is still scope for financial market participants to learn a bit more.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 Perspectives on China by Nick Niziolek of Calamos Investments

There are considerable opportunities in China for disciplined, fundamentally driven investors. China’s medium- and longer-term secular tailwinds remain intact. Our team continues to encourage investors to look past the short-term noise and remain focused on the longer-term potential. The economic transition that China is attempting is incredibly challenging. Right now, Chinese regulators have taken a kitchen-sink approach. While it hasn’t achieved the desired effect, it affirms the depth of China’s commitment to stabilize its markets.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 Risks from China Overtake Concerns About Greece by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equity volatility spiked last week, driven by escalating concerns over Greece’s debt problems and a sharp volatility in Chinese equities. The Chinese stock market experienced a dramatic sell-off in recent weeks before staging a comeback toward the end of last week. Early last week, the possibility of additional Greek defaults and a potential messy exit from the eurozone intensified. By the end of the week, however, Greek officials and policymakers seemed to be approaching an agreement.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 Greece: Four Fateful Factors by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

While we await the disposition of Greece’s latest fiscal rescue, here are the issues that could influence the nation’s future—bailout or no.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Will Falling Earnings Sink the Stock Market? by Jeffrey Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

There is special interest in 2nd quarter earnings both as a read on the economy and trends in costs and margins. Ordinarily the focus would be Fed Chair Yellen’s House testimony on Wednesday and the reprise on Thursday. She has stated her viewpoint so frequently – rate hike possible, data dependent, expecting better growth – that a surprise is unlikely.

2015-07-13 00:00:00 FlexShares Tilted Indexing Suite by (Article)

See how our trio of tilted index funds gives you the power of investing in the entire global stock market.

2015-07-13 00:00:00 Greece and the King of Asteroid 325 (and The One Lesson to Learn Before a Market Crash) by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Last week, the price of Greek government debt soared on hopes of an 11th hour stick-save bailout by the European Union. Unfortunately, that price jump still left Greek bonds priced to reflect a default probability of 100% at every maturity. The jump only reflected an increase in the amount that bondholders evidently expect to recover in default, raising the implied recovery rate from the recent low near 30% to something closer to 50%. Put another way, the bond market has fully priced in the likelihood of a default coupled with a major haircut on Greek debt.

2015-07-13 00:00:00 The Invisible Hand Clobbers the Shanghai Market – And the State Intervenes by Joseph Taylor of Loomis Sayles

Anything that goes up as fast as the Chinese stock market was bound to correct. The Shanghai Composite Index value doubled over the last seven months (December 2014 – July 2015) and the rise was not based on brightening fundamentals (the Chinese economy has been slowing for more than a year.)

2015-07-13 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review For the Week of July 6-10: The Fed Speaks, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

Aside from two Federal Reserve releases, the only major news announcement was the ISM services index, which printed a very strong 56% headline number. New orders were a bullish 58.3 while employment was 52.7.

2015-07-13 00:00:00 54% of All EM Stocks Are In A Bear Market Even As The MSCI EM Index Is Off Only 7% by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Two weeks ago we noted how more stocks than you might think are in a correction. At that time, 42% of the constituents in MSCI World Index were at least 10% off its 200-day high. As of yesterday, that number has increased to 57%.

2015-07-13 00:00:00 The Black Widow Returns by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Strategies based on stretching for yield have a long history of surprising investors with unanticipated risks.

2015-07-13 00:00:00 CEF Discounts by (Article)

Historically wide discounts present potential opportunity to CEF investors seeking income and “alpha,” says Bryn Torkelson of Matisse.

2015-07-13 00:00:00 On My Radar: High Probability of a Global Recession by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Economists have a number of different ways to measure over and under valuation. Most measures currently show an overvalued equity market. Let’s just say the market is expensively priced.

2015-07-13 00:00:00 Politicians Should Stop Giving Investment Advice by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

For the past six years, the conventional wisdom has predicted the end of the world. On the left, they say “Tea Party austerity” is a catastrophe and an “income divide” spells doom. On the right, the election of President Obama made collapse inevitable. Anything and everything that could be spun negatively, has been.

2015-07-12 00:00:00 ECRI Weekly Leading Index Continues With Little to No Change by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (

ECRI's most recent article suggests that wage inflation does not support the case for a rate increase. "The recent rise in wage inflation, having become an obvious fact, is increasingly being used to support the case for rate hikes – including by Fed Chairman Janet Yellen, who now sees these “tentative signs of stronger wage growth” as a harbinger of inflation."

2015-07-12 00:00:00 The June Unemployment Rate Fell to 5.3%, but ... by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

The simultaneous decline in the unemployment rate and the labor force participation rate is consistent with the notion that the unemployment fell because people dropped out of the labor force due to discouragement over poor job prospects. So, recork the champagne, right? Wrong.

2015-07-11 00:00:00 It’s Not Over Till the Fat Lady Goes on a P/E Diet by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

The answer to the seemingly arcane question of whether we are in a secular bull or bear market makes a great difference in the proper positioning of your portfolios. And getting it wrong can have serious consequences.

2015-07-11 00:00:00 Global Investors: You Should Be Paying Attention to this Economic Indicator by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In addition to our own macro models, BCA Research , a highly respected independent research company, pointed out that PMIs in developing economies have plunged to new lows. The International Monetary Fund also revised downward its global growth forecast for 2015. On this account, bad news is good news, as central bankers are scrambling to stimulate economic growth.

2015-07-11 00:00:00 Signs the U.S. Recovery is Solid by Rick Rieder of BlackRock Investment Management

Rick Rieder dispels pessimistic evaluations of the U.S. economy, explaining why the U.S. recovery is actually stronger than headline data would have you believe.

2015-07-11 00:00:00 Themes from the First Half of 2015 and Questions for the Second Half by Carl Tannenbaum 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.

2015-07-11 00:00:00 China Market Update by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

China’s equity markets have steadily declined for weeks, raising a torrent of questions and concerns. Given that China accounts for more global growth than the U.S., Europe and Japan combined, this week Andy Rothman, Investment Strategist at Matthews Asia, answers some of your most pressing questions.

2015-07-11 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review for July 6-10; It's all Greek to Me, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

Greece is obviously the big story of the week. As of this writing, it appears a compromise might be in play. But this is a very fluid situation, so that could change within an hour. Several weeks ago, I noted that given the massively high unemployment rate and GDP contraction, there is little left for Greece to cut without becoming a failed state. Be that as it may, it appears even more cuts are coming.

2015-07-10 00:00:00 Story of China Still Intact Despite Market Downturn by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

In my view, the bottom line regarding the recent correction in China’s markets is essentially a story of too much euphoria and a natural correction.

2015-07-10 00:00:00 More Evidence of China Slowing Permeating Asia by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

Yesterday and today were host to a few more macro data points all signaling basically the same thing – a synchronized slowdown in Asia which appears to be driven by China. In the five charts below we show that Chinese CPI remains anemic while PPI just made a new cycle low, Australian unemployment ticked up, Japanese bank loans appear to be topping/rolling over, the Japanese economy watchers survey is rolling over, and Japanese machinery orders excluding ships keeps weakening.

2015-07-10 00:00:00 Greece’s Precarious Position by Norman Boersma, Cindy Sweeting, Heather Arnold of Franklin Templeton Investments

Given how fluid this situation is currently, attempting to assign probabilities to a Greek exit scenario remains a moving target on a daily basis.

2015-07-10 00:00:00 China Has Tools to Manage Stock Sell-Off by Anthony Chan, Stuart Rae of AllianceBernstein

Chinese equities are undergoing a sharp correction, and the volatility could last for some time. But we think policymakers have both the tools and the resolve to support the broader Chinese economy.

2015-07-10 00:00:00 Volatility as an ‘Opportunity Class’ by Rick Chan of PIMCO

Is volatility an asset class? It’s a question we often debate, internally and with clients. There’s no simple answer. Either way, though, it’s an academic point that matters less than our belief that volatility is an “opportunity class” – one with a variety of tactical and macro implications.

2015-07-10 00:00:00 China Market Update by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

China’s equity markets have been in steady decline for several weeks, raising a lot of questions about the potential impact on the world’s second-largest economy. Given that China accounts for more global growth than the U.S., Europe and Japan combined, this is an important topic for investors.

2015-07-10 00:00:00 Millennials Lead: Today’s Largest Generation Will Impact U.S. Economy and Markets by Michael Avery, Philip Sanders of Ivy Investment Management Company

When thinking of the U.S. millennial generation, many of us may imagine a carefree teenager. In reality, the leading edge of the Millennials is in its mid-thirties and establishing careers and families. They are establishing homes, settling down and engaging in decisions about how to spend and invest their money. We think the rise of the Millennials is likely to have a significant effect on the economy and provide a catalyst for new investment opportunities.

2015-07-10 00:00:00 What Do High-Yield Maturities Tell Us About Timing the Credit Cycle? Another Take on the Wall by Ara Lovitt of GMO

Not only did the maturity wall tell investors to be complacent right before the market was about to sell off, it told investors to be more cautious just as the market was about to rebound. The point is not that debt maturities are irrelevant. Rather, based on the experience of the last three credit cycles, there seems to have been much larger forces at work that ultimately caused the cycle to turn. From the perspective of an investor trying to formulate a high-yield outlook, it seems to GMO that focusing too much on the maturity wall is probably unhelpful.

2015-07-10 00:00:00 Is This the Big One? What to Do in a Financial Crisis by (Article)

If it seems we've focused on crises for years, that's because we have. Are the events of the past few weeks simply another temporary shock to the global financial system, or indicative of something much bigger?

2015-07-10 00:00:00 Greek Referendum: Definitive Vote Ushers in Further Uncertainty by Rob Waldner, Mark Nash of Invesco Blog

Greek voters sent a definitive message Sunday, July 5. They said “no” to further austerity measures required for additional bailout aid from the European Union (EU). In a 60/40 vote, Greek voters rejected EU reforms and entitlement cuts required for a new EU funding program. But according to exit polls, the referendum did not appear to be a vote to leave the euro.

2015-07-10 00:00:00 Designing a Retirement Portfolio That’s Just Right For You by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

No one knows your own personal financial situation better than you do. Every individual possesses their own unique investment goals, objectives, needs and risk tolerances. At first glance this may seem simple and straightforward to the point of stating the obvious. However, I contend that the reality that individuals have different financial situations, goals and objectives is profoundly important as it relates to designing an appropriate retirement investment portfolio.

2015-07-09 00:00:00 Greece Playbook by Burt White of LPL Financial

Greece’s critical referendum took place this weekend and the Greek people resoundingly voted “no”?—?rejecting the latest bailout deal from creditors. The referendum result, which some interpreted as a vote to exit the Eurozone, throws Greece’s future in the currency union firmly in doubt. The unexpected result has led to a roughly 2% decline in the broad European indexes but only a modest decline in the S&P 500 (as of 3 p.m. ET today, July 6, 2015). The negative market reaction in Europe is not surprising, given polls heading into the weekend suggested a vote for the bailout was

2015-07-09 00:00:00 Greece: Closer to the Brink by Carl Tannenbaum, Victoria Marklew of Northern Trust

Greek voters declared an overwhelming “no” on Sunday – by a margin of 61% to 39%. Whether they were rejecting the notion of reform for aid or perceived German bullying is not clear, but the message to the rest of Europe was clear.

2015-07-09 00:00:00 China Reveals The Perils Of Leverage by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

I have, on more than one occasion, discussed the surging levels of margin debt in the U.S. markets. These discussions were met by opposing points of view suggesting that margin debt doesn't matter.

2015-07-09 00:00:00 Range-Bound ?? by Jim Tillar, Steve Wenstrup of Tillar-Wenstrup Advisors

In spite of an increase in daily volatility the stock market has been stuck in a tight trading range this year. There has been a lot of huffing and puffing with markets going nowhere until very recently. Many stock indices were down for the quarter, some only positive due to their dividends and have returned less than 2% in 2015. The biggest action was a reversal in interest rates as investors anticipated the Fed raising interest rates later this year.

2015-07-09 00:00:00 While Attention Has Been On China, EM Latin America Keeps Taking It On The Chin by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

EM Latin America stocks are by far the worst performing stocks in the world this year. So even though all eyes are on China at the moment, as Bryce recently pointed out, the Chinese stock market doesn’t matter much for non-Chinese investors.

2015-07-09 00:00:00 Five Questions on Risk in Concentrated Equities Today by Mark Phelps, Dev Chakrabarti of AllianceBernstein

As equity markets cope with fresh volatility from China to Europe, managing risk is a top priority. In our view, concentrated portfolios stand up to scrutiny on risk—even in today’s complex market conditions.

2015-07-09 00:00:00 Opportunity Set in Private Lending to Remain Robust by John Howe of Old Hill Partners

The U.S. economic environment continues to be ideal for asset-backed lending, according to a new research report from Old Hill Partners Inc.

2015-07-09 00:00:00 CIO Newsletter by Ritesh Jain of Tata Asset Management

In this edition of my newsletter, I have tried to address one of the most common questions that investors have been asking me these days; what to make of the noise surrounding us and how India is placed to weather this volatility. Let me tell you, it's not going to be a smooth ride. In the last 6 months, there has been too much going on worldwide.

2015-07-09 00:00:00 The Greek Crisis Takes a New Turn by Toby Nangle, Martin Harvey of Columbia Threadneedle

Talks between Greece and its creditors collapsed over the weekend. The Greek government has called a referendum on July 5 to accept or reject its creditors' terms — a move almost universally considered to be a poll on the continued membership of the euro area. The timing of this latest turn may have taken many by surprise, but like watching a slow-motion train wreck, few could say they didn’t see it coming.

2015-07-09 00:00:00 The Active - Passive Debate with Cathy Curtis by (Article)

Cathy Curtis, a California-based fee-only planner, discusses where the active-passive debate is heading and which asset classes are better suited for active management.

2015-07-08 00:00:00 How We View the Big Picture by Team of Litman Gregory

We are regularly asked for our take on the broad macroeconomic topics of the day. Two of the more noteworthy big-picture subjects we have been asked about recently are the Greek debt crisis and the timing of the U.S. Federal Reserve rate hike. In most cases, we don’t believe we have new insights to add beyond the reams of commentary these topics typically inspire, and given the dynamic nature of these two topics, it is quite possible that new information will unfold as we publish this or shortly thereafter.

2015-07-08 00:00:00 With High-Yield ETFs, Costs Can Be Hidden by Gershon Distenfeld of AllianceBernstein

More and more investors see exchange-traded funds (ETFs) as an easy and inexpensive way to tap into the high-yield market. We have some friendly advice for them: look again.

2015-07-08 00:00:00 More of the Same by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The U.S. economic data reports have remained mixed, consistent with a moderately strong pace of growth in the near term. The June jobs data suggest that a September Fed rate hike may be a closer call than thought earlier. Meanwhile, Greece’s economy is in tatters. The country has to face the burden of further austerity or the chaos of a euro exit.

2015-07-08 00:00:00 The Fed After the "No" by John Canally of LPL Financial

The “no” vote in the Greek referendum on July 5, 2015, will potentially raise the level of economic and financial market volatility in the coming weeks as global investors assess the market and economic risks associated with an increasingly likely Greek exit (Grexit) from the Eurozone and from the Eurozone’s common currency, the euro.

2015-07-08 00:00:00 Shareholder Activism Continues to Attract Assets and Boost Activity by Francis Gallagher, Peter Drippé of Visium Funds

While shareholder activism has been maligned in the past by the corporate world as a way to reap short-term gains at the expense of long-term shareholders, the practice is now enjoying an increasingly positive reputation. This change in perception is based on the beneficial long-term results of activist campaigns and the current view of activists as champions of shareholder value. Accordingly, the recent performance of activist-related investments, as well as their role in providing low-correlated returns has drawn significant interest from the institutional investment world.

2015-07-08 00:00:00 The Futility of Retirement Calculators by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

USA Today syndicated a post from Motley Fool that did a good job taking down the concept of retirement calculators. The two big points made were that these calculators make an assumption based on people needing a percentage of their pre-retirement income, which does not take into account the particulars of individual circumstances, and that the calculators often overlook other sources of income including, in some cases Social Security.

2015-07-07 00:00:00 Climate Change Lessons for Your Portfolio by Michael Edesess (Article)

Here’s an argument that sheds light not only on the climate change problem, but also on the problem of investing a portfolio. The analogy is not a stretch. It may even tell us as much about the solution to a long-standing investment conundrum as it does about the response to climate change.

2015-07-07 00:00:00 Funds Gone Mild The Role of Cash in Value Managers’ Performance by John Coumarianos (Article)

While many well-known value funds have been poor performers lately, their long-term records remain excellent. Their cash positions have, in part, caused their recent underperformance, but cash has also fueled their longer-term outperformance.

2015-07-07 00:00:00 A First-Half Letter to Clients: Robert Shiller on the Valuation Quandary by Dan Richards (Article)

Since 2008, I have posted a template for a client letter each quarter as a starting point for advisors who want to send clients an overview of the period that just ended and some thoughts looking forward. This quarter’s letter addresses one of today’s most taxing questions for advisors and investors alike: How to deal with the quandary presented by today’s valuation levels on U.S. stocks.

2015-07-07 00:00:00 Why Neuroscience Trumps Investing Expertise in Gathering AUM by Daniel Solin (Article)

To convert more prospects into clients and grow your assets under management, a basic understanding of neuroscience is critical.

2015-07-07 00:00:00 Are We in a Bull Market? Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!1 by Baijnath Ramraika, Prashant Trivedi (Article)

Investors and speculators have taken up a near-religious conviction in the demi-god status of central bankers. Will these central bankers continue to enjoy their god-like status indefinitely or will they disappoint their followers?

2015-07-07 00:00:00 The Client-Savvy Colors That Make Presentations More Effective by Joyce Walsh (Article)

Your client reports and marketing presentations are arguably the most public face of your practice. How they look and the colors you choose affect the way clients and prospects respond to the information you want to convey.

2015-07-07 00:00:00 Making Investment Strategies Interesting by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We are reworking fact sheets for a number of our specialty investment products. As we read them, we see that we use the same terminology and ideas over and over again. How can we make this aspect of our offering more compelling?

2015-07-07 00:00:00 Asia Better Positioned to Handle a Hike by Sponsored Content from Invesco (Article)

It’s no surprise investors are concerned about whether a Fed rate hike will cause a replay of 2013’s taper tantrum meltdown in Asia. In our view, Asian markets are better positioned today to withstand short-term deterioration in global sentiment when the Fed decides to hike rates.

2015-07-07 00:00:00 Update on Greece by Henderson Global Investors of Henderson Global Investors

What happens next in Greece? The immediate impact of the referendum will be to greatly intensify financial and economic pressures in Greece. Now without a bailout, Greece will struggle to find the cash to pay for pensions and public sector wages. The government’s only option may be to make these payments in some form of IOUs in the weeks ahead.

2015-07-07 00:00:00 Jobs Take Backseat to Greece’s Austerity Vote by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Kristina Hooper, US Investment Strategist for Allianz Global Investors, dissects the June employment report and the investment implications of a deepening debt crisis in Greece, which is likely to spur higher volatility and renewed contagion fears.

2015-07-07 00:00:00 Predicting The Future Is Difficult by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Predictions of the future are indeed very difficult, and yet individuals are challenged every day with doing precisely that. For traders, it is what the market, or a particular investment, will do in the next few minutes to days. For longer-term investors, those predictions move out to months or years.

2015-07-07 00:00:00 The Summer Solstice and Mid-Year Thoughts by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Reflecting on the first half of 2015, while littered with geopolitical events, shows very little upside progress for the S&P 500 (SPX/2076.78). In fact, my notes of more than 50 years show no other time when the SPX was never up or down more than 3.5% year-to-date (YTD).

2015-07-07 00:00:00 Does Greece Pose a Threat to Global Markets? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ explains why the situation in Greece likely doesn’t pose a longer-term threat to the global economy or financial markets.

2015-07-07 00:00:00 Big Door Opens to Smaller Chinese Companies by Liliana Castillo Dearth of AllianceBernstein

Structural changes in Chinese stock markets are opening up an entire world of smaller-cap stocks to foreign investors. But with valuations high and profitability low, make sure you know what you’re buying before diving in.

2015-07-07 00:00:00 On My Radar: Walking Into A Trap by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

“If more respected investors had warned about the market in ’07, we might have avoided the crisis in ’08. I think the public is walking into a trap again…” -Carl Icahn via Twitter June 24, 2015

2015-07-07 00:00:00 Earning an Illiquidity Premium in Private Credit by Joshua Anderson, Tom Collier of PIMCO

With low yields and tight spreads prevalent in traditional liquid fixed income markets, many institutional investors are considering whether higher returns are available by assuming credit risk in private or illiquid form. We believe this type of alternative credit strategy may enhance portfolio returns, but investors should be extremely judicious when giving up liquidity, particularly today.

2015-07-07 00:00:00 Economic Outlook by (Article)

Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust shares an optimistic view of the US economy, jobs, and financial markets that may bode well for investors.

2015-07-07 00:00:00 Staring into an Abyss by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

With a resounding "NO" vote on the Greek referendum to accept the terms of Europe's proposed "bailout", market pundits are out in force talking about the coming turmoil. I think investors and policymakers alike would be wise to step back and put this unexpected outcome into perspective for the long term.

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

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

2015-07-07 00:00:00 Where’s Warren? by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

The conspicuously dressed children’s book character, Waldo, who dons a striped shirt and hat, is hard to miss, unless he’s in strange places or bizarre geographic settings. Similarly, Warren Buffett is often hard to miss. Yet every now and then, some bizarre market event happens, and we must ask, where’s Warren?

2015-07-07 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Will FedSpeak Interrupt the Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

In one sense, the week ahead should be a quiet, dull semi-vacation. As Nat King Cole explained, the Lazy-Hazy-Crazy days of summer – pretzels, beer, and bikinis that never got wet. It is the lull before earnings and includes a light economic calendar. Will the A-Team need to return from the beach because of Greece? Or will it be a quiet week, disturbed only by an avalanche of FedSpeak and consequent punditry? One way or another, I think we will (finally) put the Greek drama behind us and resume the familiar debate about the Fed.

2015-07-07 00:00:00 Emerging-Market Stocks: Back on the Map by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

After the volatility of the past few years, conditions once again appear favorable for this asset class.

2015-07-07 00:00:00 A Greek Play by Dr. Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

The second quarter of 2015 experienced heightened bond market volatility in anticipation of the Fed’s first rate increase as well as international equity volatility involving Greek debt and Chinese equities. Despite whipsawed volatility, the major domestic and international equity indices ended close to where they started.

2015-07-07 00:00:00 Are You Really Keeping Your Eye on the Ball? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

I was playing catch with my great-nephew, Bryson, over the weekend. He is just two years old and is a charmer. As we tossed the ball back and forth, he caught it and threw it back on target more times than he missed.

2015-07-07 00:00:00 China’s Stock Markets Imploded In June - Why? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

While the mainstream media has been obsessed with Greece over the last month or so, there has been scant attention paid to the fact that China’s high-flying stock markets unexpectedly have plummeted in June and were down around 30% through the end of last week.

2015-07-07 00:00:00 Historical Stock Market Analysis by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

According to our work, the US stock market is currently in the longest running cyclical bull market that has ever taken place in a structural bear market. We are currently in the 6th year of the cyclical bull market. No other cyclical bull in a structural bear has ever made it past five years (the prior longest was from October 2002 – October 2007).

2015-07-06 00:00:00 Judging the Future at a Speculative Peak by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

With valuations still extreme and deterioration in market action continuing to indicate a shift toward risk-aversion among investors, we are less concerned about specific factors such as Greece than about much more general pressures that threaten to force an upward spike in compressed risk-premiums. We’ve often noted that a market collapse is nothing other than that phenomenon: razor-thin risk premiums that are then pressed abruptly to higher levels.

2015-07-06 00:00:00 Why Chinese Stocks are in a Bear Market and it Doesn’t Matter by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

Chinese stocks are down a cool 30% from their high less than one month ago, but it matters little to most investors.

2015-07-06 00:00:00 Exporting the “Bacon Genie” and Other Reasons to Be Bullish by Brooks Ritchey of Franklin Templeton Investments

From “Bacon Genies” to “Snuggies,” there’s little doubting Americans have a thirst for consumer goods, even those that don’t always appear to serve much practical purpose. Brooks Ritchey, Senior Managing Director at K2 Advisors®, Franklin Templeton Solutions®, explores how an evolving consumer culture is spreading throughout the globe, and how he and his team are positioning their portfolios with these types of macro considerations in mind.

2015-07-06 00:00:00 Greece: Thinking the Unthinkable by Darren Williams of AllianceBernstein

Yesterday’s referendum has pushed Greece closer to euro-area exit, which would plunge the region into uncharted waters. But policymakers have powerful tools to combat contagion and prevent a Greek accident from triggering a wider recession.

2015-07-06 00:00:00 The Best Way to Judge Past Performance: Part Two by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

On virtually every financial website on the planet there is a never-ending daily stream of stock tips and recommendations. Consequently, the investing public is literally flooded with information and advice regarding what stock to buy today or not to buy. Some of what is offered is supported by factual information and logic, but unfortunately, much of what is offered is merely based on the opinion of the author. This presents quite a challenge to the prudent prospective investor seeking sound advice or guidance.

2015-07-06 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review For the Week of June 29-July3; Some Weakness Technical Emerging by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The biggest news last week was the employment report, which contained a headline number (223,000) a bit weaker than we’ve gotten used to. But, there is a very reasonable explanation.

2015-07-06 00:00:00 The Big Picture by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The past four years or so have been extremely frustrating for investors like me who have structured their portfolios around the belief that the current experiments in central bank stimulus, the anti-business drift in Washington, and America's mediocre economy and unresolved debt issues would push down the value of the dollar, push up commodity prices, and favor assets in economies with relatively low debt levels and higher GDP growth. But since the beginning of 2011, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has rallied 67% while the rest of the world has been largely stuck in the mud.

2015-07-06 00:00:00 Strategic Income: Positioning & Opportunities by (Article)

John Pattullo, Co-Head of Retail Fixed Income, discusses the Strategic Income Fund’s positioning and the current market environment. He notes the macro environment remains benign with some volatility spikes which can provide opportunities. John adds the deflation scare is broadly out of the way and Europe now in a better place with some growth coming through, which is encouraging.

2015-07-06 00:00:00 U.S. Stock Market: Should You Be Worried? by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

Yesterday wasn’t a good day for the stock market—anywhere. When I wrote yesterday’s post, the U.S. markets were only off by a bit. But the drop later in the day looked like it might be a bad sign; at a little over 2 percent, it was the largest one-day dip in some time.

2015-07-06 00:00:00 What does the Outcome of the Greek Referendum Mean? by John Greenwood of Invesco Blog

On Sunday, July 5, the Greek people had to choose in a referendum between Scylla and Charybdis: voting “Yes” if they were willing to accept the demands of their creditors and “No” if they rejected those proposals. The outcome was that approximately 61% voted “No” and 39% voted “Yes” in a turnout of 62% (6.16 million people out of 9.86 million registered voters).

2015-07-04 00:00:00 A Week of Unseen Things by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

We Americans are celebrating our Independence Day this weekend. The news our ancestors read on this day in 1776 wasn’t so great – but the US survived its rough start. China, Puerto Rico, and Greece will survive, too. But the decisions their government make, just like the ones our fledgling government made all those years ago, will make a great deal of difference. Let’s get past the gloom and doom to see if we can find some good news.

2015-07-03 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review For June 29-July 30; Greece and Canada Creating Problems, Edit by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

Greece is obviously the big wild card going into next week. And while the damage appears to be contained for now, there is no guarantee we won't see a negative feedback loop filter out into the market and EU economy. Canada's four months of GDP contraction are also getting a bit concerning. Even though we knew this was coming, it's still a most unwelcome development. However, other economies are at least holding their own for now.

2015-07-02 00:00:00 Investor Outlook: Trends are Looking Neutral by Andrew Pease of Russell Investments

Russell Investments’ Andrew Pease highlights insights from the investment strategists’ latest investor outlook and explains what may be in store for investors next quarter.

2015-07-02 00:00:00 All That Crap About Not Panicking? by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

It is still true. As I write this post Monday after the close there is still a lot of uncertainty on how Greece will precisely play out. Markets were down on Monday of course, right now the S&P 500 is at 2057 right around where it started the year and is flirting with its 200 day moving average.

2015-07-02 00:00:00 Investors Take Shelter as Greek Referendum Nears by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

American industrialist J. Paul Getty once said: “If you owe the bank $100, that’s your problem. If you owe the bank $100 million, that’s the bank’s problem.” And when the amount is $1.73 billion, it’s everyone’s problem. Greece is officially in arrears for missing its scheduled payment Tuesday to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Expecting this, American stocks had their largest one-day drop of 2015 on Monday. Market volatility, as measured by the VIX, spiked sharply.

2015-07-02 00:00:00 US Participation Rate Drops To October 1977 Levels by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

At first glance, the most eye-opening stat in the latest monthly employment report is the fall in the participation rate from 62.9% to 62.6%. This latest level is the lowest level since October 1977.

2015-07-02 00:00:00 Eurozone Contagion Fears Flare as Greek Crisis Enters Crucial Phase by David Zahn of Franklin Templeton Investments

Whatever the outcome of the Greek referendum on Sunday (July 5), the result is likely to mean more uncertainty and possibly pain for the people of Greece. So far, according to David Zahn, head of European Fixed Income, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group, the economic fallout of the crisis appears to be mostly contained within Greece, and the likelihood of longer-term contagion to other eurozone economies seems to be limited.

2015-07-02 00:00:00 Looking for Income in All the Right Places by Morgan Harting, Martin Atkin of AllianceBernstein

Investors and advisors know they can’t depend solely on the old standbys—bonds, high-dividend stocks and cash—to produce income today, and they’re ready to try a new approach. But which one?

2015-07-02 00:00:00 Greek Default is Everyone’s Fault by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

We do not expect widespread global contagion, but reducing the risk of this outcome will require renewed cooperation between Greece and its creditors. They created the problem together, and neither side can claim the high ground. It is about time that they came back down to earth and worked this thing out.

2015-07-02 00:00:00 The Business Cycle—Middle-Aged or Elderly? by Erik Knutzen of Neuberger Berman

When it comes to the duration of the business cycle, 50 is the new 40. Much the way that better diet, health care and exercise have helped double life expectancy over the past century, central banks have prolonged the current expansion using new elixirs such as zero interest rates and quantitative easing. At 72 months, the business cycle has well surpassed the 58.4-month average of the modern era and is now more than twice the length of the pre-WWII average.

2015-07-02 00:00:00 California’s Drought Won’t Affect Its Municipal Debt by Daryl Clements, John Ceffalio of Alliance Bernstein

California has endured four years of severe drought, raising fears of economic hardship and reduced revenues at water authorities. We don’t think the state will run out of water—or money to pay its debts.

2015-07-02 00:00:00 Home of the Free, Land of the Entrepreneur by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Where else but in America can a startup such as Uber be valued at $50 billion, higher than 80 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 Index, only six years after its founding? Where else but in America can someone reach billionaire status by inventing a new type of hosiery, as Sara Blakely did with Spanx? Before her now-ubiquitous undergarments were worn by women—and now men—all over the globe, Blakely was so broke that she had to write her own patent without the help of an attorney.

2015-07-02 00:00:00 Why the Greek Bailout Failed by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

As the crisis in Greek demonstrates, imposing structural reforms from outside a country is unlikely to succeed without the willingness of a capable government. If a bailout program requires a wholesale change in a country’s economic model, moving swiftly to write down outstanding debts may be the more sensible option.

2015-07-01 00:00:00 The 1982 Playbook by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

When the stock market exploded to the upside after March 10th of 2009, I turned to my colleagues and said, "It's time to get out the 1982 playbook." The last deep recession with well-above 10% unemployment was in 1982 and stocks had suffered from numerous bear markets. Stocks took off in anticipation of an enduring economic recovery and it paid to believe in its longevity and the positive long-duration effect it would have on stock prices.

2015-07-01 00:00:00 The Smartest Man is Wild about Innovation by Byron Wien of Blackstone

For the past fifteen years I have written annually about a person I have come to call “The Smartest Man in Europe.” For new readers, he is a finance person in his 80’s who has built his reputation by identifying important trend changes early and putting serious money behind his conclusions. Descended from a mercantile family that operated canteens selling food and weather protection along the Silk Route, he was educated in Europe, trained in New York and returned home to take advantage of the wealth-creating opportunities resulting from the post-war recovery.

2015-07-01 00:00:00 The 2015 Mid-Year Geopolitical Outlook by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

As is our custom, at mid-year, we update our geopolitical outlook for the rest of the year. This report is less a series of predictions as it is a list of potential geopolitical issues that we believe will dominate the international situation into year’s end. 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.

2015-07-01 00:00:00 Greece Firestorm Won't Stifle Consumer Comeback by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Investors should expect more volatility in the stock market and larger flows into US Treasuries this week given the increased likelihood of a Grexit. Rather than hide, investors could view this crisis as a buying opportunity—a chance to position their portfolios for the second half of 2015. Over the longer term, fundamentals like job creation and a healthier consumer play a far more important role.

2015-07-01 00:00:00 Investing in Lake Wobegon: Where all the returns are above average by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

The implicit assumption of many funds is that returns will be attractive over the investor's time horizon. Increasingly, this assumption appears to be invalid and many long term investors would be better served by taking an "absolute return" approach to investing.

2015-07-01 00:00:00 Stuck in the Middle with You by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

I’ve always loved music and have tried to work it into my columns every once in a while. After writing an article centered on Passenger’s Let her go last week, I was not looking to do another one so soon. Still, when I saw the following chart on the State of the Markets blog this morning, the song title just popped into my head.

2015-07-01 00:00:00 The Whole Story: Factors + Asset Classes by Jason Hsu of Research Affiliates

Every year we invite some of the investment industry’s most creative thinkers to speak about their work at the Research Affiliates’ Advisory Panel conference. Along with Nobel laureates Vernon Smith and Harry Markowitz, the speakers at our 14th annual meeting included Campbell Harvey, Richard Roll, Andrew Karolyi, Bradford Cornell, Andrew Ang, Charles Gave, Tim Jenkinson, and our very own Rob Arnott. The richness of the speakers’ presentations beggars any attempt to summarize them; I’ll limit myself to the points I found most intriguing and illuminating.

2015-07-01 00:00:00 Greek Contagion Fears Likely Overblown by Gary Black of Calamos Investments

We remain bullish on global equities despite the expected near-term volatility, as we believe the Greek situation will be resolved in a manner that the markets will view constructively. Although the Greek debt drama has veered off script over the past few days, we believe investors have overdiscounted the impact of Greece defaulting on its IMF loan. We expect volatility will stay high in the run up to the Greek austerity referendum scheduled for July 5.

2015-07-01 00:00:00 The Greek Saga Escalates by Carl Tannenbaum, Victoria Marklew of Northern Trust

The situation in Greece has taken some unexpected turns over the past several days, commanding the lion’s share of the market’s attention ever since. Following are answers to the questions we are being asked most frequently about the situation.

2015-07-01 00:00:00 Epic Uncertainty: Markets React to Greek Debt Crisis by Laura Sarlo of Loomis Sayles

It's a tense standoff between Greece and its international creditors. Unless both sides dramatically return to the negotiating table, Greece looks set to default on its €1.5 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan payment on June 30.

2015-07-01 00:00:00 Data Dependence Is Not a Monetary Policy, But Are the Dots? by Richard Clarida of PIMCO

At its June meeting, the Fed emphasized data dependence in setting monetary policy. Although a data-dependent Fed is one that appears to retain a great deal of optionality on the timing and pace of future rate moves, data dependence itself is not a monetary policy. The Fed’s reaction function to evolving data will likely determine the path of policy normalization. The “dot plot” provides some insight, but the dots alone don’t tell us how policy will play out if the macro data evolve differently from the baseline.

2015-07-01 00:00:00 A Return to Fundamentals? by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

June was a very eventful month, in particular here in Europe. Greece went from bad to worse, and the Greek people have now been asked to vote on their own destiny in a referendum scheduled for Sunday 5 July, which we expect to return in a 'Yes' vote. However, Greece is not the only subject in the July Absolute Return Letter. Financial markets have in many ways behaved oddly since the near meltdown in 2008. The objective of this month's letter is to look at whether we are finally beginning to see some sort of normalisation - as in a return to the conditions we had prior to 2008...

2015-07-01 00:00:00 More Volatility: A Positive Environment for Active Managers by Chuck Royce, Francis Gannon of The Royce Funds

Dating from the year-to-date low for the 10-Year Treasury on January 30 through the end of the first half, we have observed promising signs that the market may be taking greater strides toward normalization. CEO Chuck Royce and Co-CIO Francis Gannon discuss how higher rates might benefit bottom-up stock pickers, the potential for quality companies to regain leadership as volatility increases, the possible consequences of global economic recovery for both domestic and non-U.S. small-cap stocks, and the favorable landscape for consumers and its effect on our portfolio positioning.

2015-07-01 00:00:00 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group

Okay, so where did the last six months go? Hard to believe that half of 2015 is gone and even harder to believe that we have a presidential election coming up in “only” 16 months. Of course, with all the candidates coming out, especially on the Republican side, it is going to be an interesting 10-12 months while the primaries play out.

2015-07-01 00:00:00 Obamacare Upheld Again: Consequences for Business Owners and Investors by Andy Friedman of The Washington Update

Last week the Supreme Court ruled that all qualifying Americans are entitled to receive subsidies to purchase health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, regardless of where in the country they live.

2015-07-01 00:00:00 Growth Matters by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

We have found that companies in the consumer or retail space with a high market share can benefit from rising consumption and GDP per capita. These investments are particularly attractive if profit margins can be improved.

2015-07-01 00:00:00 Greece and Puerto Rico Spark Global Volatility by K. Sean Clark of Clark Capital Management Group

More than five years after first entering investors’ view, the Greek drama has again hit center stage and has investors fretting about a market collapse.

2015-07-01 00:00:00 Greece: Weighing the Risks by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

It seems Greece has chosen default and capital controls. Even so, Athens can still cut a deal that would relieve both. Either way, it will remain unclear for a while whether the country stays in the common currency. In some respects, this situation is entirely manageable. That fact has fostered a dangerous complacency, for in other respects, this situation carries considerable risk—for the eurozone, for European finance in general, and for global finance.

2015-06-30 00:00:00 Can American Funds Sustain Its Outperformance? by Larry Swedroe (Article)

Among actively managed funds, American Funds has a reputation for providing investor-friendly, low-cost products with sustained records of outperformance. But has it outperformed comparable funds from Vanguard and Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA)? If so, should investors expect its funds to maintain their edge?

2015-06-30 00:00:00 Evaluating Investments versus Insurance in Retirement by Wade Pfau (Article)

In the past, I’ve described two fundamentally different philosophies for retirement-income planning: probability-based and safety-first. Those philosophies diverge on the critical issue of where an individual must place their trust: in the risk/reward tradeoffs of an equity portfolio, or on the contractual guarantee of insurance products. Here’s how to overcome that challenge and integrate the two approaches in a retirement plan.

2015-06-30 00:00:00 Three Responses When a Prospect Already has an Advisor by Dan Richards (Article)

Advisors often run into prospects who already have an advisor in place. Here are three hot buttons to engage those who already have an advisor.

2015-06-30 00:00:00 The Epiphany that Changed Everything by Daniel Solin (Article)

Every time I coach a group of advisors, I invariably learn something new in the process. Here is how my time working with practitioners led to an epiphany that changed the focus of my coaching – and drove better results for my clients.

2015-06-30 00:00:00 Dealing with a Difficult Partner by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Our advisory business is going very well. The better it goes, the less involved my business partner becomes. She will come in late, leave early and generally be disruptive when she is here. God forbid I say anything and she bursts into tears. What can I do?

2015-06-30 00:00:00 Stop Ignoring Millennials: They’re The Future of Your Company by Lauren Hong (Article)

Millennials are bucking trends day-in and day-out. As of 2013, they’re officially the largest, most diverse generation in the U.S. As a financial advisor, you cannot ignore them. Here’s how to include millennials in your marketing plan.

2015-06-30 00:00:00 A Case Study for Using Life Settlements by Stephen Terrell (Article)

I recently sat down with one financial advisor who truly believes that life settlements serve a great purpose for the right client in the right situation. And his case study is emblematic of how these transactions, which enable a senior to sell a life insurance policy for immediate cash, can be an appropriate option for the right client.

2015-06-30 00:00:00 S&P 500 Suffers First 2% Down Day Since End of 2014 by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

Today was no doubt a risk off day for the markets. There was persistent selling pressure in stocks worldwide with the S&P 500 down 2.09%, but international indexes down quite a bit more. Given that today was the first 2% down day since December 18th, 2014 and October 10th, 2014 before that, we thought we’d highlight the utter lack of volatility in these markets since the end of 2011.

2015-06-30 00:00:00 In the Know: Fed Policy and Fixed Income by Roger Bayston of Franklin Templeton Investments

As fixed income investors, we have to build more tools and use different types of tools when managing our portfolios, allowing ourselves to remain more liquid in some of our short-term investments in order to keep what we believe to be a prudent level of risk given the changes in liquidity in the marketplace.

2015-06-30 00:00:00 Greek Moves Test ECB Resolve on Europe by Darren Williams of AllianceBernstein

Greece’s five-year debt crisis is escalating fast. A default on the IMF now looks almost certain and the country is taking a big step toward a possible exit from the euro area. What really matters now, though, is the impact on other countries—and how the ECB will respond.

2015-06-30 00:00:00 Greece Isn’t the Only Problem U.S. Stocks Face by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Several factors are dampening investor sentiment, including Greece and an emerging bear market in China. However, for U.S. markets, a longer-term problem may be one closer to home. Russ explains.

2015-06-30 00:00:00 An Important Week for Economic Data by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Fed officials have signaled that monetary policy decisions will be data-dependent. Hence, financial market participants will closely examine upcoming economic reports. Data are expected to remain consistent with an improving economy and an initial increase in short-term interest rates by the end of the year.

2015-06-30 00:00:00 Independence Day?: “Greferendum” on July 5 Rocks Markets by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

“Greferendum”… the new “it” word of the day. In the United States, we celebrate Independence Day on July 4; but investors today are more interested in whether the following day will mark an independence day for Greece. As last week came to a close, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras walked away from talks with his country’s creditors and announced a referendum scheduled for July 5.

2015-06-30 00:00:00 It Never Rains in California by Bill Gross of Janus Capital Group

Ted Cruz recently suggested praying for rain in Texas, and apparently someone did a few weeks ago, producing a deluge resembling a modern day Noah’s Ark of sorts. California’s Governor Brown on the other hand, has taken a more secular approach. He believes that Mammon, not God, bears responsibility for the Golden State’s record drought and that I, we, all of us simple folk should cut back water usage by a minimum of 25%.

2015-06-30 00:00:00 The Joy Of Portfolio Boredom by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Last week I stumbled across an article that favorably critiqued an alternative-strategy ETF for being boring which is its objective. “Boring” is not the stated objective in the prospectus but terms like market neutral, absolute return, low correlation to equities and some others really are about boredom. You can judge for yourself whether a given fund that is supposed to be boring is indeed boring as not every fund will deliver on its stated objective.

2015-06-30 00:00:00 A Mid-Year Assessment of Our Ten Predictions by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

We have described 2015 as the year when investors transition from disbelief to belief, or from skepticism to optimism. Sir John Templeton coined the phrase, “Bull markets are born on pessimism, grow on skepticism, mature on optimism and die on euphoria.” We believe we are entering the “optimism” phase.

2015-06-30 00:00:00 Ignore Greece by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Don’t let anyone tell you Greece is sticking up for its "dignity" by fighting “austerity.” The current Greek government is sticking up for socialism by fighting reality.

2015-06-30 00:00:00 Flexible Indexing: A Nontraditional Approach by Shundrawn Thomas, Northern Trust Asset Management, Head of Funds and Managed Accounts (Article)

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

2015-06-29 00:00:00 Floating-Rate Loan Investors: Clairvoyant or Missing Out? by Scott Page, Craig Russ, Christopher Remington of Eaton Vance

In a rising rate environment, we put floating-rate loans high on the list of fixed-income investment classes likely to perform well in 2015.

2015-06-29 00:00:00 Durable Returns, Transient Returns by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Over the course of three speculative bubbles in the past 15 years, I’ve often made the distinction between “durable” investment returns and transient ones. At any point in time, the cumulative long-term return of the stock market equals the gain that investors can reasonably assume will be durable (in that it is unlikely to be surrendered in the future), plus whatever market gain investors should assume will be entirely wiped out over the course of the present or future market cycles. As it turns out, those two components can be identified with surprising accuracy.

2015-06-29 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review For the Week of June 22-26; Getting Ready For a Move Higher? Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

First quarter economic data was largely bearish, as confirmed by last week’s third revision to GDP data. While the .2% decrease was better than the -.7% in the second revision, it was still negative.

2015-06-29 00:00:00 Don’t be Surprised - Speech to CFA Society of Chicago by Stephen Romick of FPA Funds

I’m reminded of a gentleman who discovers a genie in a bottle. Granted one wish only – apparently even genies have pricing power – the man asks for peace in the Middle East. The genie backs away and says, “That’s way too difficult. Give me something easier.” The man ponders his options and asks the genie instead, to help him pick a good mutual fund. The genie quickly responds, “Let me get to work on the Middle East.”

2015-06-29 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Greek Ripples or Economic Fireworks? by Jeffrey Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

The elements are in place for a week of fireworks. Barring some unlikely last-minute news, we are expecting a Greek bank holiday and capital controls on Monday, followed by one of the biggest weeks of the year for economic data, all crammed into a holiday shortened week. Will it be…

2015-06-29 00:00:00 Emerging Markets After the Fed Hikes Rates by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

The prospect that the US Federal Reserve will start exiting zero policy rates later this year has fueled growing fear of volatility in emerging economies’ currency, bond, and stock markets. But, with a few exceptions lacking systemic importance, widespread distress and crises need not occur.

2015-06-29 00:00:00 Europe’s Attack on Greek Democracy by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

The rising crescendo of bickering and acrimony within Europe might seem to outsiders to be the inevitable result of the bitter endgame playing out between Greece and its creditors. In fact, European leaders are finally beginning to reveal the true nature of the ongoing debt dispute, and the answer is not pleasant.

2015-06-29 00:00:00 On My Radar: Buffett Burgers and The Hallelujah Chorus by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

"People are habitually guided by the rear-view mirror and, for the most part, by the vistas immediately behind them.”– Warren Buffett

2015-06-29 00:00:00 Newsletter - June 2015 by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz

Ever hear of Noah? I hadn’t until I read an article in Institutional Investors. It turns our Noah is a NYSE-listed wealth management firm – a Chinese wealth management firm. It employs 779 relationship managers in 94 offices in 64 cities throughout China! Not only that, it was founded and managed by Chairman and CEO Wang Jingbo, a young woman! I remember hearing a lot about a “New Era” in the ’90s. That story fizzled, but I believe this story is about a real New Era. It’s a risky time to be myopic with a home country bias in investing.

2015-06-29 00:00:00 "Debt Gone Wild" - Debt Funded Stock Buybacks Soar by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

I penned an article recently discussing the many measures that corporations have used in recent years to "beat" Wall Street estimates. Of course, the beating of Wall Street estimates, so adamantly adored by mainstream media, always ignores the fact that estimates are continually reduced so that companies to "beat" them. This is the equivalent of moving the "target to the arrow."

2015-06-29 00:00:00 Grantham: Stocks Will Continue Upward until the Election by Justin Kermond of Advisor Perspectives

Jeremy Grantham says equity valuations are heading toward the “two-sigma” level that is the requisite threshold for a true bubble. At some point – which is not imminent – he says a “trigger” will precipitate the reversion back to mean levels. The market will continue to deliver positive returns until the next election, according to Grantham.

2015-06-29 00:00:00 CEF Market Update by (Article)

Discounts widened in the CEF market in the first half of 2015, creating potential opportunities for investors, says Cara Esser of Morningstar.

2015-06-29 00:00:00 Trouble with Zero by (Article)

Carl Tannenbaum, the chief economist for Northern Trust, discusses the risks the Fed faces if it relaxes its zero-interest-rate policy, as well as the risks it will face if it delays a rate increase.

2015-06-29 00:00:00 Grantham: Stocks Will Continue Upward until the Election by Justin Kermond (Article)

Jeremy Grantham says equity valuations are heading toward the “two-sigma” level that is the requisite threshold for a true bubble. At some point – which is not imminent – he says a “trigger” will precipitate the reversion back to mean levels. The market will continue to deliver positive returns until the next election, according to Grantham.

2015-06-29 00:00:00 Sallie Krawcheck’s Solution to the Retirement Crisis by Justin Kermond (Article)

Sallie Krawcheck is a woman with a cause. She has a solution to the retirement crisis and a strategy for advisors to grow their female client bases.

2015-06-27 00:00:00 Shoot the Dog and Sell the Farm by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

The Greek situation is presently caught in those two bubbles on the bottom. European leaders held summit meetings this week to consider new breakthrough concessions offered by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Let the champagne flow. Except those concessions were rejected, and the Greeks rejected the counteroffer as of this afternoon. But it’s not quite midnight yet.

2015-06-27 00:00:00 $8 Trillion Alternative Energy Boom Is a Win for Copper by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

As the world’s population continues to grow, and as more people in developing and emerging countries gain access to electricity, the role alternative energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal play should skyrocket. Between now and 2040, a massive $8 trillion will be spent globally on renewables, about two thirds of all energy spending, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Solar power alone is expected to draw $3.7 trillion.

2015-06-27 00:00:00 ECRI Weekly Leading Index: Little to No Change by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (

ECRI's most recent article suggests that wage inflation does not support the case for a rate increase. "The recent rise in wage inflation, having become an obvious fact, is increasingly being used to support the case for rate hikes – including by Fed Chairman Janet Yellen, who now sees these “tentative signs of stronger wage growth” as a harbinger of inflation."

2015-06-27 00:00:00 The Most Likely Outcome for Greece by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

Russ provides his short- and long-term outlook for Greece, explaining why the country will likely continue to be a source of headline risk for the foreseeable future.

2015-06-27 00:00:00 High Drama for the Hellenic Republic by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Hard realities and hardened positions are combining to create a dangerous game of financial chicken between Greece and its creditors. We can only hope they avoid a headlong collision that could create a lot of collateral damage.

2015-06-27 00:00:00 Is The Decline in the Euro Over? by Jennifer Thomson of GaveKal Capital

Though downward pressure on the EUR/USD exchange rate has eased a bit since April, we can’t yet say for certain that the trend has reversed. We will be watching these charts, in particular, for any clues as conditions in the Eurozone evolve over the coming weeks.

2015-06-27 00:00:00 Not Too Hot… by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

Despite the narrow range for US stocks this year, things can change quickly. We believe volatility will pick up over the next several months as we head toward the Fed’s initial rate hike. Across the pond, the best we may be able to hope for with regard to Greece is another “kick-the-can” solution. But any potential damage should be relatively contained due to the work done in the Eurozone over the past five years.

2015-06-26 00:00:00 Shelter from the Storm in Europe by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

To secure a prosperous future, Europe must confront three distinct challenges: the Greek crisis, Russia’s incursion in Ukraine, and the rise of populist political parties. While Europe could address each of these challenges individually with relatively little risk, all three must be addressed simultaneously.

2015-06-26 00:00:00 Time to Consider Municipal High Yield? by David Jurca of Russell Investments

David Jurca explains why investors may want to consider municipal high yield to help manage taxes, especially since it can offer strong tax equivalent yields at a historically attractive level of volatility.

2015-06-26 00:00:00 International Economic Week In Review For the Week of June 22-26; More Good News, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

It appears more and more likely that Japan has shaken off the negative impact of the sales tax hike from a year ago. The EU appears to be growing. Australia, while still growing at a ~2% clip, is feeling the negative impact of the commodity bear market. The US has shaken off the weak 1Q number.

2015-06-26 00:00:00 India's Structural Challenges by Sudarshan Murthy of Matthews Asia

India is in need of sweeping reforms in order to realize the full power of its entrepreneurial talent and to ensure social improvements for its poor and middle class. Despite some encouraging efforts, the Modi government may need significant time to carry out such reforms, as its many public institutions are still a far cry from being considered inclusive—meaning they lack such attributes as well-defined property ownership rights, flexible labor policies and all-encompassing political representation.

2015-06-25 00:00:00 US GDP Growth Over Time by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

When the first estimate for US GDP was release, we showed how the long-term growth rate of the US economy has been steadily falling for decades. We highlighted this by looking at the 10-year annualized percentage change in nominal and real GDP.

2015-06-25 00:00:00 Unconstrained Global Investing in an Extraordinary Monetary Policy Enviornment by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments

As we see it, it is only a matter of time before US wages start to rise to levels where inflation is triggered. Using the Fed’s own estimates, we are quite close to what’s considered to be full employment. To us, this does not justify 0% interest rates.

2015-06-25 00:00:00 Gaining Greater Lift in Your Glide Path by Daniel Loewy, Christopher Nikolich of AllianceBernstein

Target-date funds have always promoted the mantra of diversification (“don’t put all your eggs in one basket”). Now it’s time to preach—and practice—an even wider diversification strategy.

2015-06-25 00:00:00 Outrunning the Bear: Pension Strategy in a Low Return World by Jared Gross of PIMCO

Pension investors often seek to meet two conflicting objectives: delivering high absolute returns and managing risk relative to liabilities. Unfortunately, this approach has not produced the desired result because the strong absolute performance of risk assets has been eclipsed by even-faster growth in liabilities. With the era of surging liability values most likely behind us, a realistic goal today may be a relative one: outperforming the value of liabilities, by a smaller margin perhaps, but with more diversification and less risk.

2015-06-25 00:00:00 Take Shareholder Yield With a Grain of Salt by Jeff Middleswart of Ranger International

A valuation measure called “shareholder yield” has gained credence among investors of late. While shareholder yield may be a one of many useful valuation measures, we caution against overemphasizing the metric. We are particularly concerned that the measure is indifferent to whether cash flow is spent on dividends or share buybacks, the latter being a questionable allocation of capital in our view.

2015-06-25 00:00:00 Global Investing is Changing by Richard Bernstein of Eaton Vance

International investing was easy for U.S.-based investors for many years because the U.S. dollar was either declining in value or was stable. U.S. dollar-based investors’ non-US equity and fixed-income returns were generally enhanced by the falling dollar so that U.S. investors actually tended to outperform the local currency benchmarks. Of course, investment managers took credit for the resulting “alpha” despite that out performance was more likely attributable to currency than to asset selection.

2015-06-25 00:00:00 Spectacular Bid, On the Grand Stage by Michael Kayes of Willingdon Wealth Management

Comparisons are central to our society, impacting just about everything we do. Does the current economic environment measure up?

2015-06-25 00:00:00 Batteries Not Included: Midyear Stock Market Outlook by Burt White, Jeffrey Buchbinder of LPL Financial

Expect the bull market to continue through 2015. In the stock market, 2015 has felt like déjà vu. In 2014, the year began with a tough first quarter and finished strong. After a weak start to the year, we believe that corporate America will provide a much needed boost for the second half and 2015 may also finish strong?—?providing the seventh year of positive returns, in the 5?–?9% range we forecast.

2015-06-25 00:00:00 Diversification: A Better Way to Avoid Portfolio Gridlock by Tracy Fielder of Invesco Blog

Every morning as I drive into the office, I see my fellow commuters darting from lane to lane, trying to choose the fastest one. The problem is, traffic in the “fast” lane inevitably slows down as cars crowd into it, and the slower lanes suddenly become the place to be. So in the long run, despite their risky maneuvers, these drivers don’t usually get much farther ahead than anybody else.

2015-06-25 00:00:00 Yields Skyrocket! Really? by Brian Andrew of Cleary Gull

It is hard to pick up a paper, read an investment blog (mine excluded), or listen to a financial news program without hearing about the global bond market rout. Yields (interest rates) on government bonds in the U.S. and Europe have been on the rise and the financial media is trying to whip everyone into a frenzy about it. Here is why I think you should be celebrating rather than worrying.

2015-06-25 00:00:00 Building for the Future: Infrastructure in Emerging Markets by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Emerging economies in general have experienced stronger economic growth trends than developed markets over the past decade, a trend that I expect to continue. That growth, combined with rising populations and a trend toward urbanization, requires more infrastructure.

2015-06-25 00:00:00 Uncertainty Now; Opportunity Later: 2015 Economic & Stock Market Outlook, Mid-Year Update by Bruce Bittles, William Delwiche of Robert W. Baird & Co.

The message at mid-year is caution now, but opportunity later. It is not difficult to envision a more constructive environment as we move through the second half. If and when the Fed finally raises rates, conviction in a gradual tightening process could raise Fed policy back to bullish, and better seasonal patterns (and perhaps improved momentum) could be in store in the fourth quarter. On the other hand, a quick return of investor optimism and/or further breadth deterioration could add downside pressure in the near term.

2015-06-25 00:00:00 Inflation Outlook: Approaching Target by Mihir Worah of PIMCO

Over the next three to five years, PIMCO expects the global economy will continue along a New Neutral path in which major economies tend to drift along at modest growth rates. At our annual Secular Forum last month, our global investment professionals rigorously debated the longer-term, or secular, outlook for the global economy and markets, and the broad conclusions we reached are detailed in “The New Neutral Revisited.”

2015-06-25 00:00:00 Invest in Tomorrow Today by Lewis Piantedosi, Yana Barton of Eaton Vance

In our view, some of the most attractive equity opportunities these days are tied to several compelling megatrends that are likely to persist over the coming years in the technology, healthcare and consumer sectors.

2015-06-25 00:00:00 The Market Continues to Vote for Japan Over Europe by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

Despite Japanese stocks outperforming European stocks by 7% YTD and 14% over the last year, the investment community has continued to basically ignore Japan in the commentary we read. But, for those who have been overweight Japan it has been a good ride.

2015-06-25 00:00:00 “Ye Of Little Faith” What Has It Cost You? Part 1 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

I believe that one of the most important attributes that a successful investor must possess is optimism. Any serious student of financial history would recognize and acknowledge that economically speaking, things are good much more often than they are bad.

2015-06-24 00:00:00 America, China, and the Productivity Paradox by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

As American and Chinese leaders meet for their annual Strategic Dialogue, they need not look far to find a shared challenge. Both are now victims of the “productivity paradox”: huge investments in information technology and Internet-enabled goods and services have been accompanied by slower growth in output per worker.

2015-06-24 00:00:00 The Hot Debate Over 4% Growth In The Economy by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Former Florida governor and GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush formally announced his campaign on June 15 with a promise that, if elected president, he would return the nation to 4% economic growth.

2015-06-24 00:00:00 Putting the Pieces Together: Midyear Economic Outlook by John Canally Jr. of LPL Financial

We continue to expect that the U.S. economy will expand at a rate of 3% or slightly higher over the remainder of 2015, once economic conditions recover from yet another harsh winter—and other transitory factors—that held back growth in the early part of 2015. This forecast matches the average growth rate over the past 50 years, and is based on contributions from consumer spending, business capital spending, and housing, which are poised to advance at historically average or better growth rates in 2015. Net exports and the government sector should trail be hind.

2015-06-24 00:00:00 Handicapping Bubbles and Shocks by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Kristina Hooper, US Investment Strategist for Allianz Global Investors, explains the results of the 2015 Allianz Global Investors RiskMonitor Survey, a global study of prevailing views on portfolio construction, asset allocation and risk among a cross-section of institutional investors.

2015-06-23 00:00:00 The Inventor of Behavioral Finance Looks Back by Laurence Siegel (Article)

Behavioral finance is one of the great discoveries of our time, and the University of Chicago professor and investment manager Richard Thaler is one of its principal discoverers. Misbehaving is Thaler’s personal account of his discoveries, which influence the way assets are managed, policy is conducted and economic theory is understood and taught.

2015-06-23 00:00:00 Richard Thaler’s “Misbehaving” and Implications for Investors and Advisors by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Richard Thaler is out with a new book, Misbehaving, tracing his career in behavioral economics. It offers an appealing combination of entertaining writing and serious discussion of the many areas he has researched. The book is a natural complement to Daniel Kahneman’s classic, Thinking, Fast and Slow. I’ll briefly compare these two books and then address what Thaler’s work says about two issues particularly important to financial advisors.

2015-06-23 00:00:00 How Small Mistakes Can Boost Your Credibility by Dan Richards (Article)

An advisor struggled to convert meetings with prospects into clients. Then he began describing how he’d helped existing clients in a way that made him more credible and sincere.

2015-06-23 00:00:00 How to Answer the Toughest Question Prospects Will Ask by Daniel Solin (Article)

Here's the question advisors have the most difficulty answering; and how you should answer it.

2015-06-23 00:00:00 How Likely is Hyperinflation in the U.S? Part One by Seaborn Hall (Article)

Since the great financial crisis, perhaps the most talked about scenario for the next crisis to hit the U.S. has been hyperinflation due to high levels of Treasury debt and Federal Reserve Bank liabilities. Fortunately, the logic that produces this chain of events is specious.

2015-06-23 00:00:00 The Quest for Clear Communication by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I have a great support staff. I cringe, however, when I read some of their email responses to client inquiries. How do I coach them for clearer communication?

2015-06-23 00:00:00 Looking Beyond the Babble over Bubbles by Serena Perin Vinton of Franklin Templeton Investments

Longer term, we do not think an increase in interest rates would necessarily be a negative for equity markets, particularly because a return to normal rates would be regarded as a sign of the Fed's confidence in the strength of the US economy and its belief that the economy could stand on its own.

2015-06-23 00:00:00 Equities Gather Momentum on Positive Indicators by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished higher last week as the S&P 500 increased 0.8%, recording its highest weekly gain since April. The dovish message from Wednesday’s FOMC announcement boosted markets. Contagion from Greece appears relatively contained. The sell-off in equities in China did not impact global markets. The health care, consumer staples and utilities sectors rallied. Financials lagged as banking lost momentum and energy underperformed.

2015-06-23 00:00:00 Pickles?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

I have been traveling a lot recently and this week will be no exception as I am in Victoria, British Columbia currently and am leaving for Vancouver tomorrow. While traveling is exciting and educational, it is also exhausting. Moreover, sleeping in strange beds doesn’t help the exhaustion factor. To be sure, I often find myself suffering from dyssomnia in a fitful sleep accompanied by some pretty strange dreams.

2015-06-23 00:00:00 Stocks Are Still Cheap by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

You know those TV shows – the ones about ice trucking, fishing in Alaska, or digging for gold. They’re made to bring out these interesting jobs, but also the danger. They leave you hanging, and break for commercial, just when the truck starts to slide on a bridge, or just when a huge wave is approaching.

2015-06-23 00:00:00 What Do Rising Interest Rates Mean for the Housing Market? by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

Today, I want to revisit a post I wrote just over two years ago. I’ve updated some of the data, but the concerns and the conclusions remain timely. In keeping with one of my recurring themes, this is also an example of how rising interest rates won’t mark the end of the world but, rather, a return to a more normal environment.

2015-06-23 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: What Does the Greek Crisis Mean for Financial Markets? by Jeffrey Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

The calendar shows a fair amount of economic data in the coming week, but attention is likely to be focused abroad. After many years (some would say decades) of percolating, the issue of Greece and the Eurozone is coming to a conclusion.

2015-06-23 00:00:00 Cyber Security and Terrorism: Case Studies by Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

This week we will look at two case studies of cyber attacks aimed at sovereign nations, the Estonian cyber attacks in 2007 that spanned three weeks and the multi-faceted attacks in Georgia in 2008. We will then look at the current state of international cyber attack research, readiness and cooperation. We have had the pleasure of talking to the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Center of Excellence about their work and will communicate their vision and challenges.

2015-06-23 00:00:00 Central Banks Still Hold the Keys by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

U.S. stocks and bonds were cheered last week by soothing comments from the Federal Reserve. For better or for worse, says BlackRock Global Chief Investment Strategist, Russ Koesterich, the world's central banks continue to drive market swings.

2015-06-23 00:00:00 In Investing, Have You Learned How to Let Her Go? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Whenever I’m in the car nowadays I’m always listening to satellite radio. I, like probably you, vowed I’d never pay for radio … but the constant barrage of commercials on free radio, plus the fact that Sirius comes free the first year I own my car, helped to overcome my resistance.

2015-06-23 00:00:00 Stocks: A Wary Good Sign for Bulls by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Even amid a multiyear market advance, retail equity investors remain cautious. Here’s why that could actually help extend the rally.

2015-06-23 00:00:00 Why VBINX is the Wrong Benchmark For Global Tactical Asset Allocation Strategies by Adam Butler, Michael Philbrick, Rodrigo Gordillo of BPG & Associates

We recently came across a couple of articles making the sensational claim that TAA is nothing more than a repackaged and dressed-up version of market timing. Both articles – and others, we’ve subsequently learned – point to a Morningstar study showing that TAA has underperformed the Vanguard U.S. 60/40 balanced fund over the past few years.

2015-06-23 00:00:00 Getting More from Low Market Volatility by Alex Barenboym of AllianceBernstein

Stocks still seem attractive, but it’s important to guard against a potential spike in market volatility. Today’s low-volatility environment happens to be a good time to shop for downside protection.

2015-06-23 00:00:00 Are Staples and Health Care Poised for More Outperformance? by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

Today’s cyclical jolt aside, it appears from glancing at relative performance charts of growth counter-cyclicals (our code wording for the Consumer Staples and Health Care Sectors) that they could be poised for a relative performance breakout.

2015-06-22 00:00:00 Growth Or Value Leadership Depends on Fed Policy by Steven Vannelli of GaveKal Capital

The last few years have been good for growth stocks, but I think there is another observation underneath the surface as well. Growth and value leadership has pivoted on Fed policy the last five years.

2015-06-22 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review For the Week of June 15-19; Better News But Still A Touch Slog by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

Let’s start by looking at the leading indicators which were up .7. The breadth of the LEIs was very positive; there were no negative numbers while only 1 (the average work week) was 0.0.

2015-06-22 00:00:00 Greek Drama: Act 2 by Chris Brightman, Shane Shepherd of Research Affiliates

The old saying, “You can’t squeeze blood from a stone,” vividly describes the futility of trying to extract more resources from something than it has to give. The expectations the Greeks have for renegotiating their debts requires them to do exactly this, squeeze blood from a stone. Only by increasing tax collections can Greece reverse the painful reduction in government spending, services, and employment known as austerity.

2015-06-22 00:00:00 Greece Implications for Global Carry by Alexander Giryavets of Dynamika Capital L.L.C.

At least some large money managers have been seriously concerned about possible Greece implications for global asset dynamics. We briefly present one counter-intuitive and contrarian point of view on possible Greece implications for Global Carry and possible hedges and tail-hedges based on recently emerged link of Global Carry and Dollar.

2015-06-22 00:00:00 A Chinese Swap Meet by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

The new local bond swap program of China’s Communist Party is its latest effort to manage debt. It aims both to make the amount and structure of local government debt more transparent, and to reduce the financing burden of local government debt. Could this be considered a version of quantitative easing or a bailout? Could it lead to local government defaults?

2015-06-22 00:00:00 Global Review and Equity Commentary: May 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

The decline in U.S. economic activity during the first quarter was more than earlier estimates, and appears to have weakened business sentiment in other parts of the world. Most of the fall in U.S. aggregate output was due to temporary factors such as adverse weather and port disruptions that led to delayed export shipments. The stronger dollar also reduced the earnings growth of large U.S. corporations with a global footprint.

2015-06-22 00:00:00 Quantifying Risk by Bhavik Kothari of Diamond Hill Capital Management, Inc.

We view risk as the permanent loss of capital, and we manage risk to minimize the chances of a permanent loss of capital. In our view, risk generally falls into three broad categories – valuation risk (price that you pay), balance sheet risk (financial leverage) and business risk. While important, we believe that valuation and balance sheet risk can be mitigated through a disciplined investment process. Business risk, on the other hand, is more complex and covers many facets including competition, regulation, management execution, and capital allocation.

2015-06-22 00:00:00 All Their Eggs in Janet's Basket by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The financial markets are establishing an extreme that we expect investors will remember for the remainder of history, joining other memorable peers that include 1906, 1929, 1937, 1966, 1972, 2000 and 2007. The failure to recognize this moment as historic is largely because investors have been urged to believe things that aren’t true, have never been true, and can be demonstrated to be untrue across a century of history.

2015-06-22 00:00:00 CEFs in a Portfolio by (Article)

Analyst Alex Reiss of Stifel shares a perspective on the role closed-end funds may play in a long-term investment portfolio.

2015-06-22 00:00:00 On My Radar: Three-Way Asset Strategy by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

“The probability of loss is no more measurable than the probability of rain. It can be modeled, and it can be estimated (and by experts pretty well), but it cannot be known.”– Howard Marks, Chairman, Oaktree Capital

2015-06-22 00:00:00 Why Higher Rates Could Be Good News for Consumers by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Many investors worry about the impact rising interest rates could have on financial markets. It is easy to forget there is an upside: Some consumers will gain from more income and be able to spend more.

2015-06-22 00:00:00 Clarifying the Fed Policy Outlook by Scott Brown of Raymond James

There was nothing unexpected in the Fed’s monetary policy statement or in the revised economic projections of senior officials. Chair Yellen covered no new ground in her press conference. However, many investors appear to be unsure of the monetary policy outlook and the implications for the financial markets. So, to clear things up...

2015-06-22 00:00:00 Why It’s Time to Stop Reading About Robo Advisors by Patty Quinn McAuley of Clark Capital Management Group

Rather than just reading about the robos from third party sources, it’s important to do some first-hand research for yourself to truly understand the value proposition of online automated financial advice platforms.

2015-06-20 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review: Pretty Darn Positive, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

As with any Fed week, this week’s news was dominated by the Federal Reserve’s policy announcement. But, after 2:15 EST on Wednesday, everybody realized nothing had changed; the Fed was still waiting for better unemployment numbers and higher inflation. In other words, the dovish stance persisted. Other US news was mixed. News from Europe was positive; the EU and UK continue expanding, the latter solidly so. Finally, Japan (finally) appears to have gotten over the sales tax problems.

2015-06-20 00:00:00 Public Pensions: Live and Let Die by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

I am not sure if my heart was ever that much of an open book, but I like to think I’m still relatively young. Nevertheless, I must admit that sometimes I want to “give in and cry.” This is especially so when I look at our nation’s public pension funds.

2015-06-19 00:00:00 How to Play the Fed’s Big News Day by Kristina Hooper, Steve Malin, Greg Meier of Allianz Global Investors

Although the FOMC tried hard not to make headlines, there’s still plenty to parse in its latest communications. Bonds are likely to exhibit more volatility as we near liftoff, which is likely to happen in September. And based on the Fed’s “dots” forecast, we may even see two rate hikes in 2015.

2015-06-19 00:00:00 Global Economic Perspective: June by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

In spite of lingering concerns about Greece’s fate, the European economy would appear to have hit a sweet spot marked by steadily improving growth and inflation figures along with declining unemployment.

2015-06-19 00:00:00 Gold in the Age of Soaring Debt by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Ever wonder how much gold has ever been exhumed in the history of the world? The GFMS Gold Survey estimates that the total amount is approximately 183,600 tonnes, or 5.9 billion ounces. If we take that figure and multiply it by the closing price on June 16, $1,181 per ounce, we find that the value of all gold comes within a nugget’s throw of $7 trillion.

2015-06-19 00:00:00 The Perils of Low Liquidity and High Leverage by Michael DePalma of AllianceBernstein

Diversify. It’s a cardinal rule of sound investing. But what’s an investor to do when a well-diversified portfolio won’t protect him? It’s time to start thinking about an answer.

2015-06-19 00:00:00 4 Healthcare REITs For A Healthier Retirement Portfolio by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

To be considered prudent investors we must recognize and accept the undeniable reality that all true investing is done in future time. Consequently, the key to long-term investment success is to forecast the future as accurately as we possibly can. Of course, we must simultaneously recognize and accept that forecasting the future can only be accomplished within a reasonable degree of accuracy. Forecasting the future, and investing for that matter, can never be a game of perfect. Nevertheless, our investing success will ultimately be achieved based on how good our forecasts turn out to be.

2015-06-19 00:00:00 Joining the Dots: Fed Keeps Rates Unchanged While Lowering “Dots” by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) kept the fed funds rate unchanged from its 0-0.25% range, where it’s been since 2008. The decision was unanimous. The Fed did raise its assessment of the economy and labor market, which reinforces the view—shared by us—that the Fed will begin hiking rates in September, barring a significant change in the trajectory of the economy, jobs or inflation. It would be the first interest rate increase in almost 10 years.

2015-06-19 00:00:00 Lies, Damned Lies and Equity Skew? by Jason Goldberg of PIMCO

Equity skew, which at its most basic purports to measure the difference in the value of stock options with different strike prices, is one of the most used (and abused) sentiment measures in the equity options market. While skew measures can occasionally offer valuable information on the flows within equity derivatives, they can also be highly misleading.

2015-06-19 00:00:00 Europe in the Next Five Years by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

Yesterday, I talked about several major trends that are poised to at least pause (and quite possibly reverse) over the next couple of decades. One major area we didn’t discuss is Europe, which is likely to see more change in the next 5 years than it has in the past 20.

2015-06-19 00:00:00 25 Things I Wish I Learned Before I Opened My First Brokerage Account by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Brett Arends had a great post about what he wished he’d learned before graduating high school. It was a great mix of financial nuggets, points about not wasting time or money and some other generally sound ideas. With a nod to Arends; things people should know about finance and investing before they start and should be reminded of every so often as they go along.

2015-06-19 00:00:00 Gold and Health Care Stocks Get a Clean Bill of Health by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Even though the Federal Reserve announced this week that it would wait a little longer to raise rates, spooked investors fled to gold bullion, helping to drive prices above $1,200 an ounce. It was the greatest single-session surge by percentage in nearly a month and a half for the yellow metal, widely seen as a safe-haven investment. As I told MarketWatch yesterday, $1,200 is an important threshold for gold miners because it helps increase profitability and spur production.

2015-06-19 00:00:00 Federal Reserve, Abenomics, Trans-Pacific Partnership by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Central banks around the world have held interest rates at or near zero for quite a while. This action was justified in the wake of the financial crisis. But there are those who think that zero, in this setting, has become a dangerous concept.

2015-06-19 00:00:00 Rising Rates Don’t Spell Doom for GRATs by Tara Thompson Popernik of AllianceBernstein

Do higher interest rates really mean the end of the golden years for grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs)? The Wall Street Journal took this view in an article published on June 15, but we think GRATs can still play a major role in estate planning for wealthy families as rates rise—if they are structured right.

2015-06-19 00:00:00 The "Uncle Drew" Stock Market by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Headline stock indexes (S&P 500, Dow, Nasdaq) continue to trade near all-time highs, and sport gaudy 5-year returns. These indexes have averaged more than 15% a year each since this time in 2010. The problem is, some investors think this is a reflection of the entire investment universe. Far from it.

2015-06-19 00:00:00 Connecting the Dots by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

A stream of positive data supports a September rate hike, but summer storms loom on the horizon.

2015-06-19 00:00:00 Northern Trust Perspective by Jim McDonald of Northern Trust

While we expect U.S. growth to see some improvement from the slow start to the year, we think optimists are likely to be disappointed at the overall pace of growth. The U.S. economy has averaged 2.2% growth since the financial crisis, and we don't see a material acceleration during the near-to-intermediate term. The prospect of a pending increase in the Fed funds rate has contributed to a rise in interest rates and strengthening of the dollar, both of which serve as a constraint on growth. We also don't see much upside to the U.S. economy through materially better growth outside the U.S.

2015-06-19 00:00:00 ECRI: "Shifting Patterns in Recessions and Recoveries" by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (

ECRI's most recent article presents slides and notes from ECRI's Lakshman Achuthan talk at the Madrid Fund Forum conference. He discussed the relationship between lower trend growth and recessions. "ECRI believes that minimally we're returning to a period of more frequent recessions, as we saw in much of the twentieth century....Going back to at least the 1970s, growth has been stair-stepping down during each successive expansion."

2015-06-18 00:00:00 Peter Lynch on Today by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Peter Lynch was one of the most successful stock pickers of all time. From 1977-1990, he managed the Fidelity Magellan fund and produced returns of 29.2% per year, besting the S&P 500 Index returns of 15.8%. The Magellan fund grew from $18 million to $19 billion in assets during that time period. What Lynch said about market timing and investor sentiment appears very useful to long-duration common stock owners like us.

2015-06-18 00:00:00 Stock Markets Have Stalled Since March – Now What? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

I get asked fairly frequently what I think about the stock markets and specifically, whether I believe this unprecedented bull market can continue. My typical answer is, I don’t have a clue. I don’t understand how a country that has increased its national debt from $10.6 trillion in January 2009 (when President Obama took office) to over $18 trillion in January of this year could see its major stock markets more than double during the same period.

2015-06-18 00:00:00 When Diversification Leads You To Higher Returns by Rajat Dhar of Cogent Advisory

It is the well-known fact that diversification reduces the portfolio risk. This article, however does not cover this topic, as it has been widely discussed and deliberated upon. This article presents a case where diversification within a single sector across different scrips actually lead to the phenomenal increase in the portfolio returns. This case becomes all the more important, when we have investors sitting on the ESOPs, whose vesting period is over; and hence so not uncover the actual potential of the of Portfolio Management.

2015-06-18 00:00:00 Stop the Fed?! by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

We are concerned the Fed causes both economic and political stability to deteriorate. And, no, this is not about discouraging the Fed to hike rates. This analysis is about pointing out that the road to hell may be paved with the best of intentions. For the economy to prosper, we need a re-thinking not just at the Fed, but also with some Fed critics. Let me elaborate...

2015-06-18 00:00:00 Picking U.S. Energy, Housing and Other Credit Sectors for the Long Haul by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

Persistent trends in economies around the world are providing opportunities for focused, long-term investors in the credit markets. Mark Kiesel, Chief Investment Officer Global Credit, discusses promising themes PIMCO sees over the next three to five years, including the U.S. energy revolution, the rising Asian consumer, the ramifications of global banking regulation and latent demand in the U.S. housing market. PIMCO’s global investment professionals gathered in May at our annual Secular Forum to discuss our long-term, or secular, views of economies and markets around the world.

2015-06-18 00:00:00 How to Find an Investment Manager Who Has the “X” Factor by Erik Ristuben of Russell Investments

The world offers no shortage of competent investment managers. Erik Ristuben explains how might you find those that seem to be “rock stars” and outperform others.

2015-06-18 00:00:00 Concerned About Rising Interest Rates? Consider These Four Alternative Investments by Walter Davis of Invesco Blog

As I travel across the country meeting with financial advisors and their clients, a common concern I hear voiced is “how can I position my portfolio for when the inevitable happens and interest rates start to rise?” In response, I state that certain types of alternative investments are well suited to help prepare portfolios for rising interest rates in the future, while also potentially adding value in the present.

2015-06-18 00:00:00 Sell The Rumor, Buy The News by Robert Kleinschmidt of Tocqueville Asset Management

Investors have been selling the rumors lately, inverting the old adage. Rumors of a Greek default and a Fed rate hike have sent investors panicking for the nearest exits. But, will they buy the news? Who knows, but they should.

2015-06-18 00:00:00 Who Would Have Guessed? Russia is the Best Performing, and Cheapest, Country Index YTD by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Raise your hand if you thought Russia would be the best performing country index through roughly the first half of 2015? I imagine there aren’t too many digital hands up right now…

2015-06-17 00:00:00 WSJ Economists' June Forecasts for 10-Year Yields and the Fed Funds Rate by Doug Short (Article)

This afternoon the Fed will release the FOMC Minutes for its May meeting followed by Chair Yellen's press conference. In advance of the Fed information, let's take a quick look at a couple of items in the June Wall Street Journal survey of economists, starting with where the Federal Reserve is headed with the Fed Funds Rate, which is currently holding steady at 13 percent.

2015-06-17 00:00:00 Stocks: Keep Your Eye on the Bull by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Since the equity rally of the past few years has brought most stock indexes to new highs, investors increasingly have expressed skepticism about the possibility of future gains. It is an understandable concern—but it also is misplaced. Stocks still carry attractive valuations, if not as attractive as in past years, and so have ample ability to continue to rise, even if, as expected, the economy only lumbers along the shallow recovery path it has traveled to date.

2015-06-17 00:00:00 Corporate Tax Reform: Should You Care? by Edward Perkin of Eaton Vance

Taking all of the current tax reform efforts together, we conclude that while nothing is imminent, global corporate tax rates are likely to converge over time.

2015-06-17 00:00:00 Double Trouble for Investors? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

When I think of doubles, on the positive side I think of my years of playing doubles tennis, Miguel Cabrera winning a Tigers game with one, Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Double Trouble band, and even those commercial spots that started in 1959. You know the ones I’m talking about – the Doublemint® gum commercials.

2015-06-17 00:00:00 An Alternative to Gandhi by Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

India’s Prime Minister Modi recently made comments praising Veer Savarkar, Indian independence fighter and father of the Hindu nationalist radicalism movement. This week, we will look at the resurgence of the Hindu nationalist movement. We will start by briefly describing the political history of independent India, looking at Gandhi and Savarkar’s conflicting ideals. Next, we will look at contemporary politics and explore the Hindu movement and its likely forms under Modi’s rule. As always, we will conclude with market ramifications, both within India and for international markets.

2015-06-17 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: A Market Message for the Fed? by Jeffrey Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

While few expect a change in Fed policy at this week’s FOMC meeting, it will still be the center of attention. With last week’s interest rate jump, I expect the theme to be: Is the market sending the Fed a message?

2015-06-17 00:00:00 Geopolitics Will Trump Economics in Greece by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Based on the continued failure of the negotiating parties to make any substantive progress in the talks over Greek debt payments, the financial world is tied up in knots over a possible Greek exit from the European Union. The uncertainty has manifested in both high and low finance, with a sharp sell-off in bonds, particularly EU and Greek government debt, and heightened retail withdrawals from Greek banks as depositors become wary of capital controls that would be imposed in the case of an exit. All concerned parties should likely breathe easier.

2015-06-17 00:00:00 Need Income? Let’s Talk by Alison Martier of AllianceBernstein

Investors and their advisors know how tough it is to generate income in today’s low-interest-rate world. Forthright and frequent conversation about how far they’re willing to go to boost returns can help.

2015-06-17 00:00:00 Rescue Me by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

“Rescue Me” is a song sung by Fontella Bass in 1965. The song’s refrain is “Come on, baby, and rescue me. Come on, baby, and rescue me,” a refrain that currently needs to be played on the Street of Dreams.

2015-06-17 00:00:00 GDP Forecasts: The Latest from the WSJ Economists and the Fed by Doug Short (Article)

Earlier this month the Wall Street Journal did its monthly survey of economists on a variety of economic metrics, including of course GDP. Sixty-six of the 72 economists solicited participated. Here is a look at the range of forecasts for 2015 annual GDP. We've calculated the median (middle), mean (average) and mode (most frequent). We've also documented the range of Fed forecasts in today's projections.

2015-06-17 00:00:00 Managing Risk by Investing in Dividend-Paying Stocks by (Article)

Small-cap is an asset class that has historically been associated with increased volatility. We have always believed that dividends, plentiful in the small-cap space, can help mitigate some of that risk. But what are we looking for in the dividend-paying companies in which we invest? Portfolio Manager Jay Kaplan and Co-CIO Francis Gannon discuss.

2015-06-17 00:00:00 Looking for Long-Term Growth by (Article)

Royce Smaller-Companies Growth Fund (formerly Royce Value Plus Fund) looks for growth at a reasonable price. Portfolio Managers Chip Skinner and Carl Brown discuss their criteria and the themes in which they're currently interested.

2015-06-17 00:00:00 Concentrated Funds: Benefits of a Focused Approach by Stephen Grant, Cindy Starke of Value Line Funds

Since Value Line Funds launched its first mutual fund in 1950, the investment industry has evolved considerably. To meet the needs of today’s investor, the fund family line-up has retooled in recent years, including re-branding two equity funds as concentrated portfolios of 30-50 positions. In this paper, we highlight research demonstrating the benefits of the focused approach provided by concentrated funds.

2015-06-16 00:00:00 Are Grantham and Hussman Correct About Valuations? by Larry Swedroe (Article)

For several years, well-respected financial experts such as Jeremy Grantham and John Hussman have been cautioning investors that the market, specifically the S&P 500, is vastly overvalued. Their warnings are based on the Shiller CAPE 10-year ratio compared to its long-term average. Their warnings should be taken with more than a few grains of salt.

2015-06-16 00:00:00 Gundlach: Rising Rates and Summer Insects by Robert Huebscher (Article)

You should never ask summer insects about ice, according to the Chinese philosopher Chuang Zhu, because they are bound by a single season. In the same way, many investors have never experienced a period of increasing rates. One who has, however, is Jeffrey Gundlach, who offered his forecast for rates and the one sector of the bond market that is most vulnerable.

2015-06-16 00:00:00 The Seven Dumbest Mistakes I Made as an Advisor by Robert J. Martorana (Article)

After 30 years in the advisory business, I’ve made plenty of mistakes. It is my hope that this article will help others avoid following in my errant footsteps.

2015-06-16 00:00:00 How the Wall Street Journal Can Help You Land Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

A financial advisor dramatically increased her closing rate after using a seven-question checklist from the Wall Street Journal to help prospects frame their decision making process to select an advisor.

2015-06-16 00:00:00 The Role of the Human-Touch in a Numbers Business by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

One of our clients is getting great returns but complaining more than ever. How do we get him to see the benefit of what we are doing?

2015-06-16 00:00:00 How to Use Color to Make an Impact by Daniel Solin (Article)

Most firms have marketing materials available on their websites and in hard copy. And every advisor communicates with clients via email and through periodic performance reports. I have yet, however, to meet an advisor who pays the same attention to these materials as they do to their clothes or the way their office is appointed.

2015-06-16 00:00:00 The Fed Policy Outlook: Connecting the Dots by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Policywise, not much is expected out of this week’s meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee. The FOMC is unlikely to provide a clear signal on the precise timing of the initial increase in short-term interest rates. However, there should be plenty of information in the Fed’s revised economic projections and in Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s press conference.

2015-06-16 00:00:00 One Step Closer to Normal by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

The recent spike in interest rates, and corresponding drop in bond prices, has left longer-term U.S. bonds looking more reasonable. But will there be more rate volatility?

2015-06-16 00:00:00 Mortgage Rates At 35-Week High But Purchase Applications Picking Up by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, for the week ending June 5th, 30-year fixed rate mortgages are the priciest they have been since October 3rd. Granted, at just 4.28%, 30-year fixed rates are historically very low but are 41 basis points higher than the low for the year.

2015-06-16 00:00:00 High Yield Bonds: Rates and Returns by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

With a number of data points over the past month, including Friday’s better than expected jobs report, pushing the expectations for a September rate hike higher, concerns about the impact of interest rates on various asset classes is heating up. It is important to keep in mind that if and when “rates” do rise, we are talking about the Federal Funds Rate which we expect will primarily impact the short end of the yield curve, and less so those 5-year to 10-year maturities that relate more to the high yield market.

2015-06-16 00:00:00 Take an Opportunistic Approach to the Municipal Market by Adam Weigold of Eaton Vance

The municipal market is vast: approximately 60,000 different issuers, over one million CUSIPs and about $3.7 trillion outstanding. Navigating this disparate universe is tremendously difficult for individual investors and their advisors.

2015-06-16 00:00:00 The Market for “Lemons": A Lesson for Dividend Investors by Chris Brightman, Vitali Kalesnik, Engin Kose of Research Affiliates

Central banks the world over are buying high-quality bonds, thereby removing them from the market and forcing savers to find alternative strategies to meet their income needs. In this environment of financial repression and near-zero interest rates, dividend-yield (or equity income) investing has become increasingly popular. Investors are understandably reallocating their portfolios from lower yielding bonds to higher yielding equities. But in selecting equities with a high dividend yield, investors should be aware of the risk of concentrating their portfolios in low-quality companies.

2015-06-16 00:00:00 Fed Will Kick The Can, But Shouldn't by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Wednesday – the day people have been talking about for months – is fast approaching. The Federal Reserve will announce its policy decision on Wednesday and futures markets don’t expect any change. Nonetheless, that’s a forecast of what the Fed will do, not what it should do. We think the US economy is long past the point where short-term interest rates should be held at zero.

2015-06-16 00:00:00 Rate Hikes: Investor Risk Perceptions and Historical Context by Matthew Pasts of BTS Asset Management

During a recent quarterly webcast for financial advisors, we asked the audience about their clients’ biggest concerns for the remainder of 2015. The four options were: - Losing money on their equity allocations; - Not earning enough income; - Not keeping up with the stock market; - Losing money on their fixed income allocations. Of these, “losing money on their equity allocations” was by far the most popular response, at just under 40%. In our view, bond market risks are greater than many people realize.

2015-06-16 00:00:00 Mid-Year Investment Outlook: 10 Experts on What to Watch by Orla O'Brien of Loomis Sayles

We spoke with 10 Loomis Sayles investment experts about the most pressing issues and provocative investment themes for the remainder of 2015. What are they watching? Read on for their insights.

2015-06-16 00:00:00 Stay with Equities, but Prepare for Turbulence by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities were up fractionally last week, with the S&P 500 Index up 0.1% as seven out of ten sectors traded higher. Strong retail sales figures kept the focus on the Federal Reserve and the prospect of higher interest rates. Concerns over Greece’s debt problems pushed volatility levels higher. The banking industry performed well, while cyclical areas of the market such as transportation lagged.

2015-06-16 00:00:00 Rising Rates and the Rebirth of Global Stockpicking by John Remmert, Donald Hubert of Franklin Templeton Investments

Once the efforts of various central banks start to bear fruit and the global economy becomes healthier, we expect to see a potential reduction in the pursuit of unconventional monetary policies. That should enable equity markets to return to what we view as a more rational level of behavior.

2015-06-16 00:00:00 June 2015 Newsletter - How's Your Temperament? by Jim Tillar and Steve Wenstrup of Tillar-Wenstrup Advisors

Markets have been churning but not really going anywhere for a while. Convincing arguments can be made that both stocks and bonds are pricey. While this doesn't mean prices will go down in the near term it does mean returns in some future periods may be more modest. It's a frustrating environment that makes investors impatient and a great time to discuss a key characteristic needed to be successful at investing.

2015-06-16 00:00:00 The Earnings Season "Scandal" by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Just like the hit series "Scandal" in which a political "fixer" delves into the manipulation, deceit and obfuscation that prevails in the dark corners of Washington, D.C., so to has Wall Street's earnings. From time to time, I analyze the previous quarters earnings for the S&P 500 to reveal the "quality" of earnings rather than the "quantity" as focused on by Wall Street. One of the most interesting data points continues to the be the extremely low level of "top line" revenue growth as compared to an explosion of the bottom line earnings per share.

2015-06-15 00:00:00 Retail Sales Bounce? by Alexander Giryavets of Dynamika Capital L.L.C.

It appears this May is one of those lucky Mays when Retail Sales enjoy 2% up year-over-year seasonality adjustment without which they would have been dismal. Looking at pattern of May seasonal adjustments over the last 25 years it appears that this happened before. Interestingly, though, April plus May seasonality adjustment is twice as large as it ever been before.

2015-06-15 00:00:00 Sales Estimates Still Falling by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

Over the past six months, only one out 24 global industries has experienced a positive tailwind to its FY1 sales estimate. That lone industry: diversified financials. Diversified financials FY1 sales estimate has increased by 3.5%, on an equal-weighted, USD basis, over the past six months. The other 23 industries have all seen its FY1 sales estimate fall over the past six months with energy taking the biggest beating (-21%). Over the past month, zero industry have experienced increasing FY1 sales revisions and FY1 sales estimates have fallen on average by 0.8%.

2015-06-15 00:00:00 Two Pillars Support US Growth: Consumers and Corporates by Grant Bowers of Franklin Templeton Investments

While we believe the current strength in the dollar will likely persist going forward, we don’t see it as a meaningful detractor from earnings growth for many companies over the long term.

2015-06-15 00:00:00 Worried About Rising Rates? Go Global by Alison Martier of AllianceBernstein

US-only bond investors are affected by one business cycle, one yield curve, one monetary policy. As long as interest rates were falling, that was good. But it doesn’t sound so good now.

2015-06-15 00:00:00 Bank Loans & High Yield: Conscious Uncoupling is Not Just for Celebrities by Cheryl Stober of Loomis Sayles

We have long believed that the bank loan market, as represented by the S&P/LSTA Leveraged Loan Index ("All Loans"), can be thought of as a true combination of high-quality loan risk and high yield bond risk.

2015-06-15 00:00:00 Don’t Follow The News? More Like Don’t Overreact To The News by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Tadas Viskanta has a great blog post up titled Make More By Doing (and listening) Less. The general tone of the article is the extent to which investors too frequently are influenced by stock market media enough that they make changes to their portfolio that end up being the wrong thing to have done.

2015-06-15 00:00:00 Luxury Spending in China by Winnie Chwang of Matthews Asia

Over the past decade, conspicuous consumption has been seen across China and Hong Kong, emerging as a natural by-product of an economy experiencing rapidly rising levels of affluence. Across China, there have been stories of unbelievable extravagance, from diamond-studded smartphone cases to gold-plated sport cars and replicas of homes that resemble the White House. However, these days of excessive spending in China may already have waned. Asia Weekly explores.

2015-06-15 00:00:00 A Rule of Law for Sovereign Debt by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

To avoid economic and political instability, governments sometimes need to restructure their debts. But, in the absence of an international rule of law for doing so, the world pays a higher price than it should: a poorly functioning debt market, marked by unnecessary strife and costly delays in addressing problems when they arise.

2015-06-15 00:00:00 Credit Spreads Do Not Predict The Stock Market by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

We keep hearing that deteriorating credit spreads are heralding an important stock market top. The chart below, covering nearly a century of market data, does not support this view. While it’s true that credit spreads have widened in 2015, this condition has occurred frequently during healthy bull markets. There are too many false positives to justify a negative outlook based on this indicator.

2015-06-15 00:00:00 Is the European Insurance Sector in a State of Emergency? by Matthieu Louanges of PIMCO

Europe’s insurance industry has responded to profound challenges with a high degree of agility and innovation on both sides of their balance sheets.

2015-06-15 00:00:00 June Economic Update by John Richards of Bronfman E.L. Rothschild

A drop in exports, poor weather, and shipping yard difficulties led the U.S. economy back into negative territory after GDP was revised downward to -0.7%. Many economists believe this is a similar situation to what we saw in 2014 with a drop in GDP during the first quarter, and a subsequent rebound in the following quarters. However, the strong dollar effect has continued into April and May and will continue to provide a headwind for GDP. The preference by consumers to save additional earnings instead of spend is also putting downward pressure on growth.

2015-06-15 00:00:00 On My Radar: Watch Out For Minus Two by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are: hard work, stick-to-itiveness, and common sense.”– Thomas Edison

2015-06-15 00:00:00 Bonds: Can’t Live With Them, but How Do You Live Without Them? by Joe Becker of Milliman Financial Risk Management

For generations of investors, conventional wisdom regarding managing portfolio risk relied on the cardinal rule of diversification. In its simplest form, this meant holding high quality bonds in an attempt to generate income, and offset volatility and drawdowns in the stock market.

2015-06-15 00:00:00 Muni CEFs by (Article)

For “tax-driven” investors, closed-end funds featuring municipal bonds may provide an attractive opportunity, says John Cole Scott of CEF Advisors.

2015-06-14 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review For the Week of June 8-12; Yes, the Rally Is Getting Long In the Tooth by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

Although there were few economic numbers this week, what was released was positive. Retail sales bounced back and the JOLTs survey continued to show an improving labor market. But additional signs of stock market topping emerged. Ideally, the market still needs an expanding economy that translates into higher revenue growth rather than margin expansion to move meaningfully higher.

2015-06-14 00:00:00 The People’s Republic of Debt by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Among the most important questions for all investors and businessmen is, how will China manage its future and the problems it faces? There are many problems, some of them monumental – and at the same time there is an amazing amount of opportunity and potential. Understanding the challenges and deciphering the likely outcomes is itself an immense challenge.

2015-06-14 00:00:00 When You Look Back On This Moment In History by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

There are moments in time when durable history is made; history that others observe much later, shaking their heads, at a loss to understand how the events that followed could not have been obvious at the time. When you look back on this moment in history, remember these things. When you look back on this moment in history, remember that spectacular extremes in reliable valuation measures already told you how the story would end.

2015-06-14 00:00:00 The War On Cash: Why Now? by Charles Hugh Smith of Peak Prosperity

Why are governments suddenly so keen to ban physical cash? The answer appears to be that the banks and government authorities are anticipating bail-ins, steeply negative interest rates and hefty fees on cash, and they want to close any opening regular depositors might have to escape these forms of officially sanctioned theft. The escape from bail-ins and fees on cash deposits is physical cash, and hence the sudden flurry of calls to eliminate cash as a relic of a bygone age—that is, an age when commoners had some way to safeguard their money from bail-ins and bankers’ control.

2015-06-12 00:00:00 Breaking from the Gold Standard Had Disastrous Consequences by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

About 100 years ago, in his testimony before Congress, banking giant J.P. Morgan famously stated: “Gold is money, and nothing else.” At the time, this was true in every sense of the word “money,” as the U.S. was still on the gold standard.

2015-06-12 00:00:00 It Pays to Be Choosy in Emerging Markets by Morgan Harting of AllianceBernstein

Emerging equities remain rich in return opportunity, in our view. But as their recent whiplash behavior illustrates, capitalizing on this potential will require far greater selectivity than it did in the past.

2015-06-12 00:00:00 What The Great Recession Taught Me About Dividend Growth Investing by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Ever since I first got interested in investing in stocks circa 1965 I have been confronted with a constant and persistent admonition about the next pending market crash. In those early days I contributed much of the negativity toward stocks to a lingering overhang from the Great Depression. Many of the people I was talking with had been literally traumatized by stern warnings from their parents or grandparents about the risk of investing in the stock market. Stocks were too risky for prudent people to invest in and serious money should never be invested there.

2015-06-12 00:00:00 What’s Really Behind the Sluggish Economic Recovery by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ Koesterich explains why we’re not seeing a more convincing U.S. recovery.

2015-06-12 00:00:00 The Right Food Fight by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

The question of the extent to which governments should regulate or tax addictive behavior has long framed public debate about alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and other goods and services. And now, in the US – arguably the mother of global consumer culture – the debate has turned toward the fight against the epidemic of childhood obesity.

2015-06-12 00:00:00 Why a U.S. Jobs Report May Matter to You by Andrew Pease of Russell Investments

Andrew Pease explains what the different numbers within the latest monthly U.S. jobs report mean for investors, regardless of where their investments are currently allocated.

2015-06-12 00:00:00 Fixed income update: rate rise headwinds and value opportunities by (Article)

Fixed income markets have faced challenging conditions of late. The belief that the US Federal Reserve may raise rates this year led to a re-pricing at the more interest rate-sensitive, longer maturity end of many bond markets. Henderson’s Fixed Income team had, however, broadly repositioned in anticipation and portfolios tended to benefit as a result. In this video, Phil Apel, Head of Fixed Income, looks at the market backdrop, while Stephen Thariyan, Global Head of Credit, and Colin Fleury, Head of Secured Credit, explain where they have found value in the corporate bond…

2015-06-12 00:00:00 Alternative Investing: Two Ways to Mitigate Manager Risk by Walter Davis of Invesco Blog

Mitigating manager risk involves two things: 1. Conducting due diligence on the manager before investing. This helps increase an investor’s chances of selecting a successful manager. 2. Diversifying across multiple managers. This step helps reduce manager risk by diversifying across multiple managers.

2015-06-12 00:00:00 U.S. Economy Turns on the Afterburners-Is a Rate Hike Next? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

So when will rates be raised again? Next Wednesday the world will tune in to see if Fed Chair Janet Yellen can answer that question. Though it's anyone's guess what she'll say, there's no denying that many of the economic indicators the Fed is keeping an eye on have sharply improved lately.

2015-06-12 00:00:00 Against this Rosy Backdrop by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

While bonds are still reasonably valued, yields have risen more than expected and seasonals appear to have turned against equities.

2015-06-12 00:00:00 Are We Mismeasuring the Economy? by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The problem may not be with growth but rather the way we measure it.

2015-06-12 00:00:00 The Current Sideways Trading Pattern Could Go On Much Longer by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Long periods where the S&P trades sideways in a range is not unusual. There have been at least 15 similar situations in the past 35 years, about one every two years. Some of these have lasted as long as two years. Most of these have resolved with the S&P moving higher. We've been in a trading range for 7 months; settle in, this could go on much longer.

2015-06-12 00:00:00 How Investors Are Positioned Heading Into Mid-Year by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

The latest data from the Federal Reserve and ICI, a company that measures equity money flows, show that US households have been aggressively adding to their equity exposure and reducing their cash. As the bull market has matured and investor confidence has increased, money has increasingly flowed to foreign equity markets, especially in 2015.

2015-06-12 00:00:00 Competitive Dynamics in the US Fund Management Industry by Steven Vannelli of GaveKal Capital

ETF Trends reported the other day that total ETF assets under management are expected to double by 2020, translating into roughly $740 billion per year of flows into ETFs (link to story here). If we look at just equity related ETFs, the growth dynamic is easy to see.

2015-06-12 00:00:00 Retired With Money To Invest? Consider Playing Defense With Utilities by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Prudent investors might consider investing in fairly valued utility stocks if they need income, and if they are concerned about safety and capital preservation. Utility stocks can also serve as a viable alternative for parking cash. This last point is especially relevant when the valuations of other equity options are extended as they are today.

2015-06-12 00:00:00 Luxury Spending in China by Winnie Chwang of Matthews Asia

Over the past decade, conspicuous consumption has been seen across China and Hong Kong, emerging as a natural by-product of an economy experiencing rapidly rising levels of affluence. Across China, there have been stories of unbelievable extravagance, from diamond-studded smartphone cases to gold-plated sport cars and replicas of homes that resemble the White House. However, these days of excessive spending in China may already have waned. Asia Weekly explores.

2015-06-12 00:00:00 ECRI: "Trend Real GDP Growth Is Converging to 1% a Year" by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (

ECRI's most recent article offers a compelling analysis of the relationship between GDP and two key factors: productivity and the labor force: "With productivity growth and potential labor force growth both averaging 1/2% a year, trend real GDP growth is converging to 1% a year."

2015-06-12 00:00:00 Tug of War by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

The current stalemate in the US market could continue for some time, with bouts of volatility and pullbacks expected as the market anticipates the initial rate hike. Be prepared by staying diversified and consider buying protection, but we would view such an event as the pause that refreshes and help set up the next sustainable bull run. Investors should also look overseas as the aggressive stimulus measures being taken by the ECB appear to be beneficially impacting the economy, and may help equities perform better in the coming months.

2015-06-11 00:00:00 Risky Business: Single-Manager Target-Date Funds by Daniel J. Loewy, Christopher Nikolich of AllianceBernstein

Target-date funds are the only big pool of assets overseen by fiduciaries that typically rely on single-manager solutions. Best practices—and our research—suggest a multi-manager approach is better.

2015-06-11 00:00:00 Stock Picks in the European Technology Sector by Steven Vannelli of GaveKal Capital

For the last five years the European technology sector has been locked in a trading range relative to the MSCI All Country World Index (USD). Recently, however, European technology stocks have been performing quite well. On an equal weighted basis, they have been the second best performing group in Europe year-to-date.

2015-06-11 00:00:00 Staying Grounded as Rates Drift Higher by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Global Chief Investment Strategist, Russ Koesterich, considers ways to ride out this change in the rate regime.

2015-06-11 00:00:00 Using Investment Manager Styles to Navigate Markets by Brian Andrew of Cleary Gull

Investment manager styles, like markets, move in cycles. So as investment advisors, we try to identify where we are in the market cycle to choose the best managers. Decision making should not be binary – “I like the market or I don’t like the market,” with a resulting buy or sell decision. In downturns, the normal reaction is to sell out of the market rather than looking at how to stay in the market and become more defensive. In fact, being out of the market negatively impacts results over time.

2015-06-11 00:00:00 Global Investing is Changing by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

The global investing landscape is changing and your portfolio should as well. A strong US dollar can have significant consequences for US dollar-based investors' foreign exposure and now is the time to consider the impact currency can have in a global portfolio.

2015-06-11 00:00:00 The Market for 'Lemons': A Lesson for Dividend Investors by Chris Brightman, Vitali Kalesnik, Engin Kose of Research Affiliates

Central banks the world over are buying high-quality bonds, thereby removing them from the market and forcing savers to find alternative strategies to meet their income needs. In this environment of financial repression and near-zero interest rates, dividend-yield (or equity income) investing has become increasingly popular. Investors are understandably reallocating their portfolios from lower yielding bonds to higher yielding equities. But in selecting equities with a high dividend yield, investors should be aware of the risk of concentrating their portfolios in low-quality companies.

2015-06-11 00:00:00 IMF Urges Fed Not To Raise Interest Rates Until 2016 by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

On Thursday of last week, the International Monetary Fund downgraded its forecast for US economic growth this year from 3.1% earlier in the year to only 2.5% now. That is not surprising in light of the mainly disappointing economic reports we’ve seen recently, and other forecasters have been revising their estimates lower as well.

2015-06-11 00:00:00 When Following the Herd is Risky, Where is the Safety? by Zachary Karabell of Envestnet

Risk and safety. Safety and risk. In investing, as in life, balancing both is an ongoing challenge. We know intuitively that all of either one or the other rarely yields the results we want, but finding the right mix is easier said than done.

2015-06-11 00:00:00 Developed Europe: Economy Trends Update April 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

After ending the year 2014 on a positive note, the Developed Europe economies gained further momentum in the early months of 2015. Between January and March, the region’s 19-country single currency bloc, the Euro-zone, expanded its GDP 0.4 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2014 and 1 percent from the year-ago period, recording its fastest pace of growth in nearly two years. Economists and commentators though had expected GDP to increase 0.5 percent for the quarter and 1.1 percent on an annual basis.

2015-06-11 00:00:00 Do Rising Rates Mean Falling Stocks? by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

Yesterday, I saw an interesting doom-and-gloom piece on rising rates, which claimed that rate increases typically sink the stock market and that we could potentially expect a crash in the near future.

2015-06-11 00:00:00 The Knowledge Effect: Excess Returns of Highly Innovative Companies by Steven Vannelli, Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital

What drives stock returns? Answering this question has been a goal of investors ever since Harry Markowitz introduced his Modern Portfolio Theory in the 1950s. Later, William Sharpe’s Capital Asset Pricing Model illustrated that the market itself is the first and foremost element in explaining a stock’s performance. However, empirical research over the past several decades has identified many other effects beyond simply the market that exhibit a strong explanatory power of stock returns.

2015-06-10 00:00:00 Low Valuations Tough to Come By, Wherever You Look by Jennifer Thomson of GaveKal Capital

It is no secret that, whichever way we look at valuations, we think stocks are expensive. One of the more unique methodologies we employ to get a sense of where equity valuations are is to look at them grouped according to ‘buckets’ designated by pertinent levels.

2015-06-10 00:00:00 Places to Consider Riding out the Rate Regime Change by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

With some of the classic safe havens currently providing little protection, Russ shares two stock sectors to consider as rates drift higher.

2015-06-10 00:00:00 Bears Gather Around the Goldilocks Eurozone by David Zahn of Franklin Templeton Investments

The eurozone is currently offering what we would regard as an ideal environment to generate growth, so we’d certainly be slightly concerned if the economy there was not growing.

2015-06-10 00:00:00 Energizing Returns From Dividend Stocks by Greg Powell of AllianceBernstein

Dividend cuts make unsettling headline news for income-seeking investors. But we believe that focusing on which companies will cut or raise dividends is a diversion from the search for stronger returns in a diversified equity income portfolio.

2015-06-10 00:00:00 5 Investing Myths by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

One of the biggest myths perpetrated by Wall Street on investors is showing individuals the following chart and telling them over the “long-term” the stock market has generated a 10% annualized total return. The statement is not entirely false.

2015-06-10 00:00:00 Jobs, Consumer Spending, Gasoline, and the Fed by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Job growth was stronger than expected in May, although figures may have been inflated a bit by the seasonal adjustment. Still, the strong job gains over the last year and the drop in gasoline prices have failed to boost consumer spending as anticipated. Following this week’s retail sales report, we may better understand why. This may have some impact on the outlook for monetary policy, but Fed officials will want to see a lot more economic data before pulling the trigger.

2015-06-10 00:00:00 U.S. Stands Out Amid Global Sluggishness by Scott Mather of PIMCO

A year ago, PIMCO said the world was in The New Neutral, as the path to recovery dragged on years after the financial crisis. Last month, at our annual Secular Forum in which our global investment professionals gathered to discuss our long-term outlook, we affirmed that thesis, and we recently published “The New Neutral Revisited” detailing and updating our views. Scott Mather, Chief Investment Officer U.S. Core Strategies, discusses how the outlook for the U.S. differs, to a degree, from other large economies.

2015-06-09 00:00:00 Can We Recover from the Public Debt Crisis? Of Course We Can by Laurence Siegel (Article)

Is the world facing a public-debt crisis, or is too much debt just another headache we will muddle through? How can investors distinguish between countries that are likely to default or otherwise injure debtholders, such as through high inflation, and those that will resolve their debt problems and emerge stronger? How can countries deal with high and rising levels of debt and return their finances to a sound footing?

2015-06-09 00:00:00 In Defense of ‘Smart Beta’ by Keith Goddard (Article)

In a recent article, Why Smart Beta is Really Dumb, Michael Edesess encouraged investors to be skeptical of the growing number of factor-based investment strategies being marketed under the moniker of "smart beta." While I applaud Edesess' call for skepticism, I am compelled to play the role of public defender and cross-examine his accusations.

2015-06-09 00:00:00 Six Words that Impress Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

We'd all like people to view us in a positive light. But few advisors take consistent advantage of six simple words that can get clients to view them more favorably.

2015-06-09 00:00:00 The Surprising Reason You Lose Business by Daniel Solin (Article)

You have a meeting with an important prospect, and you believe you have demonstrated that you are ideally suited and should be retained. You leave the meeting confident that you have won over the prospect. Subsequently, the prospect contacts you with the disappointing news; she has decided to go in another direction. What happened?

2015-06-09 00:00:00 Managing Multi-Tasking and Meeting Mania by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I can't say if I have clinical attention-deficit disorder, but I feel like I do most days. I find myself listening with half an ear on conference calls, and I don't always give my full attention to conversations with clients. I realize I'm doing this, but I can't stop. There are so many demands on my time that I sometimes think if I don't multi-task, I can't keep up with all of it.

2015-06-09 00:00:00 The Importance of Knowing Your Ideal Client by Teresa Riccobuono (Article)

When I start working with a client, one of the first things they want me to do is help them develop a personalized marketing plan. To set the foundation for that plan, we first must determine their ideal client.

2015-06-09 00:00:00 Four Reasons Why We Do Not Hedge Against Currency Volatility by Sponsored Content from Invesco (Article)

Currency volatility has continued to be a clear theme so far in 2015. Our International Growth strategy doesn't hedge for currency exposure, and never has. In essence, the team is much more concerned with what company managements are doing than central bankers.

2015-06-09 00:00:00 Me, Lord Marlboro, and the Dow?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Holy cow, somebody must have slipped American Pharaoh a “sugar cube” last Saturday as horse and jockey (Victor Espinoza) made the turn into the withering stretch at Belmont Park and pulled away from the rest of the pack. Hopefully, somebody will feed a “sugar cube” to the stock market this week because it certainly needs it.

2015-06-09 00:00:00 Does It Make My Portfolio Better? by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Cliff Asness posted a commentary a few days ago that includes the following; One of the most basic lessons of investing is to think about how each investment impacts your overall portfolio not just its characteristics stand alone. You don’t evaluate your other investment options based on, “Would I trade my whole portfolio for this?” but rather on, “Does it make my portfolio better?”

2015-06-09 00:00:00 AMT doesn’t have to stand for “add more tax” by Cindy Clemson, Tom Metzold of Eaton Vance

Muni bonds exempt from Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) may help impacted investors.

2015-06-09 00:00:00 Don't Deny The Jobs Recovery by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

You would think that after 63 straight months of growth in private sector payrolls, the longest streak since the 1930s, everyone would agree that the job-market recovery is for real. But, that ain’t the case. A quick Google search still uncovers a whole bunch of pessimistic appraisals of jobs and the economy.

2015-06-09 00:00:00 U.S. Consumer: Nay, Big Spender by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The Great Recession of 2008–09 seems to have fundamentally changed the American consumer. For at least 30 years prior to that economic and financial upheaval, households in this country could only be described as financially aggressive. They spent freely, accrued debt at a rapid pace, and relegated savings to the status of an afterthought. In so doing, they helped propel rapid overall economic growth.

2015-06-09 00:00:00 Precision in Your Retirement Short Game by Glenn Dial of Allianz Global Investors

Getting the asset allocation right as plan participants close in on retirement is critical, writes Glenn Dial, Head of US Retirement Strategy at Allianz Global Investors. And professional advice can help them find that pinpoint accuracy.

2015-06-09 00:00:00 China’s Roaring Market by Edmund Harriss of Guinness Atkinson Asset Management

Chinese stock markets have roared in the past year, since May 2014. The Chinese government has announced a $40 billion “Silk Road” fund to build a network of railways and air links to bring China and Central Asia closer together; China launched the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank in October 2014, and since then there has been a rush to join, not only from China’s neighbors, but also five of the G7 leading economies.

2015-06-09 00:00:00 The Punch Bowl Stays by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

It is well known that I don’t think much of the ability of government officials to correctly forecast much of anything. Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke have made famously clueless predictions with respect to stock and housing bubbles, and rank and file Fed economists have consistently overestimated the strength of the economy ever since their forecasts became public in 2008.

2015-06-09 00:00:00 The Importance of FIFA by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Swiss authorities recently arrested several top officials affiliated with FIFA on various charges, mostly related to corruption. The ongoing investigation continues to unfold, so we will not spend much time on arrests or new charges. Instead, we offer a short overview of the arrests and the election and resignation of FIFA President Blatter, discussing FIFA’s structure and how the organization is prone to corruption. We follow this discussion with the most important part of the report, the extension of U.S. law enforcement into the international realm as a function of the superpower role.

2015-06-09 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 at a pace that is at or above its long-term trend, indicating that some of the “transitory factors” that held the U.S. economy back in the first quarter of 2015 have faded and that some upward pressure on wages is beginning to emerge. Overall, the Beige Book described the economy as expanding at a “modest or moderate” pace in most districts. In general, optimism regarding the economic outlook far outweighed pessimism throughout the Beige Book, as it has for the past two years or so.

2015-06-09 00:00:00 Developments in the Reform of China’s State-Owned Enterprises by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Investors’ interest in China’s SOEs has no doubt been piqued by guidance from sources close to the government that reform plans foreshadowed in the government’s November 2013 program could soon begin to assume more concrete shape, helping drive the recent gains in the Shanghai and Hong Kong share markets.

2015-06-08 00:00:00 CEF Leverage by (Article)

Leverage may increase a closed-end fund’s income, and also add to its volatility, says Chris Larsen of Legg Mason.

2015-06-08 00:00:00 Why Stocks are Not "Cheap Relative to Bonds" by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

One of the constant refrains we hear at present is that while stocks may be richly valued on an absolute basis, they are “cheap relative to bonds.” At least one professor recently told students that valuations are meaningless because the P/E on cash is 100. Technically, with T-bill yields at just 0.01%, the P/E on cash is more like 10,000, but let’s not quibble. Using simple P/E ratios or inverted interest rates as a standard of value only makes sense if you have no appreciation for how securities are valued.

2015-06-08 00:00:00 Global Tactical Asset Allocation is More than Just Market Timing by Adam Butler, Michael Philbrick, Rodrigo Gordillo of BPG & Associates

In Part 1 of this series we explored why quality TAA strategies do not rely on ‘expert’ market calls, noting that the terms ‘discretionary’ and ‘tactical’ ought not to be viewed as two sides of the same coin. Rather, the best tactical managers increasingly use systematic approaches to harvest persistent risk premia from factors such as ‘value’ and ‘momentum.’ This article will show why investors should not equate TAA with market timing.

2015-06-08 00:00:00 Is the Air Getting Thin for Japanese Stocks? by Katsuaki Ogata, Masahide Ooka of AllianceBernstein

The rapid surge of Japanese equities in recent years has left many investors worried that they may have missed the bus. We believe big changes underway can support further profitability improvements and push the market higher.

2015-06-08 00:00:00 The Quiet Financial Revolution Begins by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

Steadily and indisputably, the financial services industry – with which we all interact, whether as borrowers, savers, investors, or regulators – has embarked on a multiyear transformation. This process, slow at first, has been driven by the combined impact of two sets of factors.

2015-06-08 00:00:00 On My Radar: “Shine Your Light Bright” by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Today, let’s take a look at the current state of inflation and the direction of interest rates and peek at a few processes that may help us better navigate the rough waters ahead. My gut says it will be the bond market that jerks the Fed’s chain. We’ll see.

2015-06-08 00:00:00 As the Economy Grows, Bonds Struggle and Equities Tread Water by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. economic data last week seemed to confirm that the country is rebounding from a weak first quarter. Manufacturing, construction, sales figures and the labor market all showed signs of improvement.

2015-06-08 00:00:00 Middle East/Africa: Economy Trends Update -- April 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

The five economies under our coverage in the Middle East and Africa region did not see any noteworthy change in their economic situations during early 2015. Soon after overcoming a long phase of industrial unrest, South Arica faced another crisis in the form of a massive power shortage. The Israeli economy slowed to a more modest pace of growth after its surge in the previous quarter while Egypt continued to benefit from low oil prices and reform initiatives by its government.

2015-06-08 00:00:00 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economy Trends Update -- April 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

During the first quarter, news from emerging Asia was dominated by the deep slowdown in China and its adverse impact on a host of other Asian economies, such as South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, and Taiwan. In other developments, India grew faster than China, Korea saw a large decline in its exports, and Indonesia struggled to jumpstart its economy.

2015-06-08 00:00:00 Risk Revisited Again by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital Management

In April 2014, I had good results with Dare to Be Great II, starting from the base established in an earlier memo (Dare to Be Great, September 2006) and adding new thoughts that had occurred to me in the intervening years. Also in 2006 I wrote Risk, my first memo devoted entirely to this key subject. My thinking continued to develop, causing me to dedicate three chapters to risk among the twenty in my book The Most Important Thing. This memo adds to what I’ve previously written on the topic.

2015-06-08 00:00:00 June is Out… But 2015 Lift-off Still On by Steven Vannelli of GaveKal Capital

Looking at Fed Funds futures contracts, it would appear that the fixed income market has ruled out a June rate hike but is coming back to the idea of a 2015 lift-off. Currently June fed funds future are spot on the current effective fed funds rate of 13bps. In the chart below, we plot the current effective fed funds rate, the rate implied by the June 2015 fed funds futures contract and the 10 year US Treasury Bond. Since the June contract rate and the current rate are the same, it suggests the markets have completely moved past a June rate increase.

2015-06-08 00:00:00 Billions and Billions Pour into India and China by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

It’s been a little over a year since Narendra Modi took office in India, and so far the results have been mostly positive for the South Asian country and the surrounding region. Among other achievements, Modi’s government has managed to enact important policy reforms, increase public investments in infrastructure, lower food inflation and generally open India up to business on a global scale.

2015-06-08 00:00:00 My Top 3 Fabulous Pharma Stocks by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

I am a fervent believer that investment decisions should be made based on the relative merits of each individual investment under consideration. However, my anecdotal observations and experience suggests that many investors do not embrace that approach. This is especially true regarding investment decisions on common stocks. Instead of focusing on the opportunities and valuations available from select individual businesses, many investors are obsessed, and I allege blinded by generalized views or beliefs about the overall market and/or the economy.

2015-06-07 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review For the Week of June 1-5; Are the Weekly Charts Topping Out? Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

The Federal Reserve released the latest Beige Book, which offered the following overview of the economy.

2015-06-07 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

US equities have refused to become either oversold or overbought during the past several months. They are now down two weeks in a row and at point similar to where there has recently been a bounce higher. Failure to do so now would mark a change in character for this rangebound market. Ultimately, the washout low probably still lies ahead.

2015-06-06 00:00:00 Thoughts from the Frontline: Cleaning Out the Attic by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

My goal is to present a simple outline of the policies we need to pursue as a country in order to get us back to 3–4% annual GDP growth.

2015-06-05 00:00:00 China Reforms Create a New Muni Market by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein

Are you an optimist or a pessimist? These days, news about China seems to be mainly good or mainly bad. The market and media response to China’s local-government debt swap programme shows why maintaining a balanced view is essential.

2015-06-05 00:00:00 10 Reasons Why Growth Stocks Can Be Appropriate for Retired Investors by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

In recent weeks I received several questions and comments from readers regarding my views on the appropriateness of investing in growth stocks in retirement portfolios. Additionally, and on a related topic, I have also come across numerous discussions, sometimes quite heated, about whether it’s best to invest for total return or growth of dividend income. Consequently, I thought it would be interesting to share my views and provide my perspectives on both the appropriateness of growth stocks, and/or whether it’s best to invest for total return or income growth.

2015-06-05 00:00:00 It’s Japan, not Europe, that Continues to Lead in 2015 by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

Despite the popular news media focusing all their attention on European reflation, Draghi’s QE, Grexit or no Grexit, etc, the real story for investors remains in the seemingly forgotten Japan. Indeed, year to date Japan has outperformed Europe by more than 7% in USD terms and Portugal and Italy are the only two developed market countries to have outperformed Japan. Put another way, the largest stock markets in Europe have all underperformed Japan by a wide margin.

2015-06-05 00:00:00 Europe’s Last Act? by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

Greece has met its creditors’ demands far more than halfway. Yet Germany and Greece’s other creditors continue to demand that the country sign on to a program that has proven to be a failure, and that few economists ever thought could, would, or should be implemented.

2015-06-05 00:00:00 Recovery Rallies, Is Six Years Enough by Craig Callahan of ICON Advisers, Inc.

Contrary to the bearish headlines, we at ICON believe that we are in the midst of a long-term recovery. With our valuation methodology as our guide, we believe there is enough value in the market to sustain a continued recovery. Furthermore, as we saw with the post 1987 market recovery, bull markets can last longer than 6 years. We believe there is still room for market growth in the current environment.

2015-06-05 00:00:00 ThinkBonds: who is buying a strong US dollar? by (Article)

The US dollar has seen a substantial rise over the last nine months. In this video we explain why we think it will remain at elevated levels and examine what this means for investors. The accepted argument for the strength of the US dollar has been economic divergence between the US and other regions, subsequently leading to a divergence in central bank policy. However, while the US economy is clearly stronger and moving at a faster pace than many peers, the likelihood of positive growth surprises elsewhere is increasing.

2015-06-05 00:00:00 Bond Tug-of-War by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

The bond market tried to end the month of May on a high note but did not quite make the mark. The last 10 days of May 2015 witnessed fairly steady improvement in high-quality bond prices after a difficult five weeks, but it was still not enough to offset losses for the month. The broad Barclays Aggregate Bond Index still finished 0.24% lower in May and posted consecutive monthly declines for the first time since the last two months of 2013.

2015-06-05 00:00:00 Tracking the Market with Social Media by Blair Jensen of Trade Followers

Last week the Twitter stream warned of a choppy market or a short term top. This week I’m starting to see signs of chasing by market participants. The daily momentum indicator that tracks sentiment for the S&P 500 index (SPX) on the Twitter stream is being whipped back and forth with fairly large prints (greater than +13 or less than -13). This is causing 7 day momentum to rise rapidly when the market climbs then fall rapidly when the market declines. This pattern usually indicates chasing by traders and adds instability to the market due to the indecision and quick flip flops in positions.

2015-06-05 00:00:00 Two Sides of Risk Management by Michael Armitage of Milliman Financial Risk Management

Investment returns have always found a natural place in the spotlight. But volatility, and the impact it can have on a portfolio, is only now getting the attention it deserves.

2015-06-05 00:00:00 America Is Woefully Unprepared for Retirement by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Solutions are elusive. We cannot turn back the clock and increase our saving rates or invest with the benefit of hindsight. But from here forward, we need to take a hard look at the structure of public and private retirement systems and reinforce financial literacy among beneficiaries.

2015-06-05 00:00:00 Employment, Wages and Housing Leading The Economy Higher by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

The majority of US economic data points to strength. Employment growth is the best since the 1990s. Wages and compensation are growing at the highest rates since the recession ended. And housing, both new construction and sales, are the best in 8 years. The overall economic trend remains positive.

2015-06-05 00:00:00 The Fed will Strike Out by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

It has been said that the most difficult thing to do in sports is to hit a Major League fastball. A small object coming toward you at 95 miles per hour, with the potential to dart down, sideways or toward your skull is certainly a skill that few can master. And many excellent athletes train all their lives, reach the Major Leagues and find out even they can’t do it. And as that sport gets more scientific, strikeout rates are rising at an alarming rate. More complexity is being thrown toward hitters and even the best in the business find it more difficult than their predecessors.

2015-06-05 00:00:00 Billions and Billions Pour into India and China by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

It’s been a little over a year since Narendra Modi took office in India, and so far the results have been mostly positive for the South Asian country and the surrounding region. Among other achievements, Modi’s government has managed to enact important policy reforms, increase public investments in infrastructure, lower food inflation and generally open India up to business on a global scale.

2015-06-05 00:00:00 Is the Yuan the New Greenback? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

Given the expanding role of China's currency in international trade and finance, Russ weighs in with his outlook for the yuan.

2015-06-05 00:00:00 Those Were the Days, My Friend by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian

Although I believe that the nature of the cause of the last recession, a financial crisis, is the principal factor accounting for the relative weakness of the current economic expansion, I also believe that the trend rate of growth of U.S. real GDP in the decades to come will be less than that in the preceding decades. The primary reason for this is related to demographics. A secondary reason is that the credit excesses that preceded the last recession will not be allowed to occur again for some time.

2015-06-04 00:00:00 Emerging Market Currencies: All About That Base by Esty Dwek of Loomis Sayles

The case for investing in emerging local currency debt over the long haul is well-documented: as developing countries improve productivity, their economies globalize and their currencies appreciate.But this is a long-term theory and the current reality may differ somewhat. Indeed, amid the current US dollar strength, many US dollar investors have been disappointed by EM local debt returns -- which have fallen more than 5% each year of the last two years. But what happens if we look at emerging market (EM) local debt returns through the lenses of different currencies?

2015-06-04 00:00:00 Strong Demand for Chicago Bonds Shows It’s No Detroit by Stephanie Larosiliere, John Loch of Invesco Blog

Moody’s Investors Service recently downgraded Chicago’s $8.1 billion of outstanding general obligation (GO) debt two notches to Ba1, officially putting the bonds in the “junk” rating category, after a May 8 ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court struck down a law overhauling state employee and teacher pensions, narrowing the city’s options for curbing growth in its unfunded pension liabilities.

2015-06-04 00:00:00 Knowledge Leaders Continued Their Outperformance In May by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

Highly innovative companies outperformed again in May, continuing a streak that has been going on for quite awhile now. Whether in the developed markets or emerging markets, Knowledge Leaders have outperformed the broad DM and EM benchmarks over the last month, quarter, YTD, 1-year and since the inception of our Gavekal Knowledge Leaders Indexes.

2015-06-04 00:00:00 Why Oil Price Rally Isn’t a Surprise, but Iron Ore’s Price Should Stay Low by Tucker Scott of Franklin Templeton Investments

While oil has dealt with a relatively recent increase in supply, iron ore has been suffering through a long-term glut. And, based on our analysis of future supply/demand trends, we expect the abundance of iron ore to continue—and possibly increase.

2015-06-04 00:00:00 These Self-Made Billionaires Prove Piketty Wrong about Wealth by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Many of us are aware that 400 billionaires appear on Forbes’ list of the wealthiest Americans. But if you had to guess what percentage of them is self-made, what would you say? A quarter? A third?

2015-06-04 00:00:00 Emerging-Market Stocks for Flywheel Fashionistas by Sammy Suzuki of AllianceBernstein

The passion for gym-to-street fashion has gone global, and shows no sign of losing vitality. It’s also keeping business humming for a network of yarn spinners, fabric mills and sneaker makers across emerging Asia.

2015-06-04 00:00:00 Recession Probability Models - June 2015 by Ted Kavadas of StratX, LLC

There are a variety of economic models that are supposed to predict the probabilities of recession. While I don’t agree with the methodologies employed or probabilities of impending economic weakness as depicted by the following two models, I think the results of these models should be monitored.

2015-06-04 00:00:00 Policy Myths: Reconnecting Investors with Useful Insights by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

There is a great deal of useful investment research that can help make investors better off. Too often, however, it is misinterpreted or misapplied in ways that prevent investors from realizing the benefits. The role of asset allocation in the investment process is one notable example.

2015-06-04 00:00:00 U.S. Oil Production Dynamics: Now and To Come by Tim Gramatovich of AdvisorShares

In our last commentary (“Energy Markets: There Will be Winners and Losers), we gave our current thoughts on long-term US oil production and the vulnerable sub-sectors within the energy industry. So far this year, US production has been resilient even with rig counts falling over 50% from their highs and capex budgets being slashed

2015-06-04 00:00:00 China in the Spotlight by Eswarie Subrahmanyam Balan of WisdomTree

While 2014 was a challenging year for emerging markets, the story in 2015 has been substantially different so far. At a country level, both China and Russia have been primary contributors to this recovery.

2015-06-04 00:00:00 Can a Slow-Growth Environment Create Opportunities? by (Article)

Portfolio Manager Bill Hench on areas of the small-cap consumer market that he currently finds attractive, using volatility to purchase stocks at highly attractive prices, the effect a rise in rates might have on some of his holdings, and more.

2015-06-04 00:00:00 Positioned for Increased Consumer Spending by (Article)

Portfolio Managers Chip Skinner and Carl Brown on the potential benefits of current U.S. economic conditions and the investment opportunities they are creating.

2015-06-03 00:00:00 Global Tactical Asset Allocation: Just the Facts (Part 1) by Adam Butler, Michael Philbrick, Rodrigo Gordillo of BPG & Associates

We recently came across a couple of articles making the sensational claim that TAA is nothing more than a repackaged and dressed-up version of market timing. Both articles – and others, we’ve subsequently learned – point to a Morningstar study showing that TAA has underperformed the Vanguard U.S. 60/40 balanced fund over the past few years.

2015-06-03 00:00:00 Faded Photographs: Obituary Of The Bull Market by Doug Ramsey of The Leuthold Group

We’re always impressed with those lengthy, and unnaturally eloquent, obituaries that pop up online within minutes of the passing of an elderly celebrity or public figure. Such an exercise might be fun when applied to another subject, specifically, the cyclical bull market in stocks (b. 2009—d. 20XX). How will today’s bull market be viewed through the eventual clarity and objectivity of hindsight? We’ve pulled together several still frames…to maximize the effect, run each page through a fax machine to produce the nicely faded, black-and-white images that might accompany an obituary.

2015-06-03 00:00:00 Frank Sinatra on the Reinvestment of Unrealized Gains by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

In the song, “That’s Life,” Frank Sinatra tells us everything we need to know about the process of creating wealth in the stock market. We believe a little known component of creating that wealth lies in the reinvestment of unrealized gains in long duration common stock ownership.

2015-06-03 00:00:00 Our $1.3 Trillion Government-Assisted Student Loan Crisis by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

I have been wanting to address our exploding student loan crisis for over a year now, but the topic didn’t seem to fit into the normal themes I tackle. Yet in fact, it does: It represents just one more financial/debt crisis facing our country that will surely impact the economy and the investment markets at some point.

2015-06-03 00:00:00 Greenbriar Gleanings by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

I always look forward to reading Frederick “Shad” Rowe’s monthly investment letter to his partners. Shad founded Greenbrier Partners, Ltd. In 1985 and has captained the investment fund ever since. He is known as one of the best “stock pickers” on Wall Street, a moniker that is well deserved.

2015-06-03 00:00:00 No Quarter: GDP Goes Into Reverse Again by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Although last week was shortened by the Memorial Day holiday, it was busy on the economic front. Last in, first out: The expected downward revision to first quarter real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) brought it into negative territory, for a reading of -0.7%—albeit better than the -0.9% consensus expectation. More on that in a minute.

2015-06-03 00:00:00 Global Carry Mechanics and Derailment by Alexander Giryavets of Dynamika Capital L.L.C.

Global Carry (a.k.a. Risk Parity) appears to be derailed, as we cautioned in February. We observe how that happened and how Global Carry is singularly linked to Bund and US Dollar. We also refresh and reflect on our US Leading Indicator and SPX fair value.

2015-06-03 00:00:00 Are You a Carousel or Coaster Investor? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Historically, in the Midwest and Northeast, Memorial Day weekend has been the kickoff for amusement park re-openings. From rollercoasters to merry-go-rounds, the plunges and whirls begin in earnest with the unofficial beginning of summer.

2015-06-02 00:00:00 Does JPMorgan Chase Add Value For Investors? by Larry Swedroe (Article)

J.P. Morgan Asset Management has more than $318 billion in assets under management in mutual funds. But the question remains: Have their funds been adding value for investors, or has the firm itself been the real beneficiary?

2015-06-02 00:00:00 Should You Have More Fun at Work? by Dan Richards (Article)

A growing body of research suggests that creating a culture of having fun at work will attract and retain employees and increase motivation and productivity.

2015-06-02 00:00:00 Why the Housing Market Collapse is Set to Resume by Keith Jurow (Article)

New home sales are still at one-third the level of the bubble years. Existing home sales have never come close to peak-year levels. Let me explain why the housing collapse is ready to resume in earnest.

2015-06-02 00:00:00 Why Emotions and Bias Trump Facts by Daniel Solin (Article)

This interesting article on the role emotions play in making sales revealed some fascinating insights that savvy advisors can utilize.

2015-06-02 00:00:00 Is 3D Printing Following the Railway's Tracks? by Marianne Brunet (Article)

The British Railway Mania of the 1840s is considered the greatest technology hype in history. Although railroad developments were instrumental to the U.K.'s Industrial Revolution, investors ultimately overvalued the technology because they underestimated the costs associated with it. Given the growing excitement around 3D printing, is it possible that we are in for another "hype-cycle"?

2015-06-02 00:00:00 Why Decades-Old Quantitative Strategies Still Work Today by John Reese (Article)

Successful strategies continue to work long after they are created and revealed. In fact, the "guru strategy" I base on Benjamin Graham's Defensive Investor approach is one of the top-performing models on my research website despite the fact that Graham published it 65 years ago.

2015-06-02 00:00:00 How to Make Effective Sales Calls by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I don't like making sales calls. Why would someone want to talk to me? What can I do to arrange the time and focus?

2015-06-02 00:00:00 CEFs As Complement by (Article)

Closed-end funds may be a smart way for financial advisors to complement existing portfolio strategies, says Stephen Fox of Nuveen Investments.

2015-06-02 00:00:00 State of Emerging Markets: All About Those [Central] Banks by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Moving into the second quarter of 2015 and beyond, we believe a complex global background appears broadly favorable for emerging markets.

2015-06-02 00:00:00 Is ECB QE Beginning to Appear in the Data? by Team of GaveKal Capital

In addition to PMI data released today, preliminary figures for German Consumer Prices also came out– with a surprise to the upside.

2015-06-02 00:00:00 Where to Look for Yield in a Low-Yield World by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ Koesterich discusses where to look for yield in today's “low-for-long" interest rate environment.

2015-06-02 00:00:00 Profit of Doom? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

In its 2nd estimate of 1Q15 GDP growth, the Bureau of Economic Analysis published its preliminary estimate of corporate profits. No surprise, profits fell sharply in the quarter, reflecting the impact of a stronger dollar, adverse weather, and possibly statistical noise and seasonal adjustment issues. Profits are a key driver of new hiring and capital spending. Looking ahead, a lot will depend on currency market developments.

2015-06-02 00:00:00 Economic and Earnings Growth Appear Poised to Move Higher by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities were fairly volatile last week as investors focused on potential Federal Reserve action and concerns over Greece’s debt problems resurfaced. Merger and acquisition activity also gathered headlines in the technology and health care sectors.

2015-06-02 00:00:00 Working In Retirement Is A Hope? by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

In this scenario their nest egg increases significantly and their monthly expense goes down a fair bit and keep in mind Wheelhaus is very expensive in this realm. There is a resort in Wilson, WY that has a bunch of these from Wheelhaus, we’ve seen them first hand which is how I know about it at all and they are stunning so this sort of downsizing does not have to mean a double wide trailer at ground zero for some future tornado.

2015-06-02 00:00:00 Greece: An Update by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In February, we reported on the situation in Greece. Over the past few months, there has been no resolution to Greece’s debt problem, despite numerous deadlines and meetings. In our earlier report, we framed the conflict between Greece and the EU in terms of game theory. In this report, we will begin by recapping our earlier analysis. Using this framework, we will discuss how a third option has evolved which will likely force PM Tsipras to acquiesce to the EU. As always, we will conclude with potential market ramifications.

2015-06-02 00:00:00 The Fed: What Could Accelerate "Liftoff"? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Data signaling nascent U.S. wage inflation could figure into the timing of interest-rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve, even if growth in the broader economy remains slow.

2015-06-02 00:00:00 The Envestnet Edge by (Article)

With so many portfolios seeking shelter in bonds and funds constantly flowing out of equities, could the investor herd actually be reversing the areas of the markets where "safety" and "risk" reside? This month, we ask, "When Following the Herd is Risky, Where is the Safety?”

2015-06-02 00:00:00 Are Bond Investors Crying Wolf? by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

Since we last wrote to you there has been quite a dramatic increase in interest rates in most markets and in Germany in particular. In this letter we look into whether this is the beginning of something much bigger. For those of you with too little time on your hands we conclude that it is NOT. Economic growth will stay low for many years to come, and central banks have no intention of suddenly flooding the bond market with sell orders.

2015-06-02 00:00:00 Is the Stock Market Cheap? by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (

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

2015-06-02 00:00:00 June Gloom Doesn't Mean Doom by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Kristina Hooper says bucking the conventional wisdom on summer swoons in the stock market may be a smart play, regardless of when the Fed decides to raise interest rates.

2015-06-01 00:00:00 Three Reasons Why We Like Brazil’s Prospects by Mark Jason of Invesco Blog

Strong headwinds in Brazil have recently blown its stock market off course. In the first quarter of 2015, Brazilian equities fell more than 15% in US dollar terms, as measured by the Bovespa Index. While current forecasts do not see these storms abating any time soon, our team finds reasons for optimism over the long term.

2015-06-01 00:00:00 US Corporate Profit Margins Are Coming Back Down To Earth by Team of GaveKal Capital

Today wasn’t the best day for US economic releases. The 2nd revision of 1Q GDP was (unsurprisingly) revised down from 0.2% to -0.7%. The release that caught our eye, however, was the initial release of corporate profits in the US for the first quarter.

2015-06-01 00:00:00 Stocks Still Have Some Room to Grow by Vadim Zlotnikov of AllianceBernstein

Stocks have been on a pretty strong run in recent years, and some investors are nervous that the market could run out of steam. We think there’s still more upside potential.

2015-06-01 00:00:00 Advice to New Graduates: Three Suggestions & One Iron-Clad Rule by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ shares his top advice for new graduates, including his favorite maxim for a successful career.

2015-06-01 00:00:00 Oil Prices: 4 Factors to Watch as Iran Increases Energy Exports by Saurabh Lele of Loomis Sayles

Iran eagerly awaits the opportunity to escalate its oil exports. A final agreement on the country's nuclear capabilities is expected this summer: sanctions will start to be peeled back and Iran will be able to increase production. Within 12 -18 months, they will likely be producing an additional one million barrels per day. It’s also likely that Saudi Arabia, now producing well above its quota, will be called on by OPEC members to reduce its production in order to accommodate Iran's higher output.

2015-06-01 00:00:00 Case for International Growth over Value Remains Strong by Team of Calamos Investments

We continue to believe investors should favor growth over value, given fundamentals, valuations and secular opportunities. International growth equities have generated higher revenue and earnings growth and delivered better capital efficiency, as reflected in a higher return on invested capital (ROIC) relative to value. Also, growth is inexpensive vs. value; growth companies are positioned to benefit from secular tailwinds; and international growth is underrepresented in stock assets.

2015-06-01 00:00:00 US Conundrum by Alexander Giryavets of Dynamika Capital L.L.C.

We observe that the US Conundrum Thesis is still in place with Global Business Cycle ongoing deceleration, European Subcycle recovery and Asian Subcycle muddling through.

2015-06-01 00:00:00 Understanding The Next 10-Years Of Low Returns by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Research Affiliates, in their May newsletter, discussed the importance of "secular stagnation" and a coming decade of low returns. How low you ask? How about 1% kind of low?

2015-06-01 00:00:00 Prick Up Your Ears, People Of The World! by Sebastiao Buck Tocalino of SBTCapital Clube de Investimento

I used to draw a lot when I was growing up. My thoughts would travel on overdrive while I sketched to the sound of classic rock on vinyl. It was introspective, but very entertaining.

2015-06-01 00:00:00 On My Radar: Inflation and The Big (Bigger) Short by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

"Negative-yield bonds now account for some €1.5 trillion of debt issued by governments in the euro area, equivalent to almost 30% of the total outstanding. Many expect even more of the global bond market to fall into negative yield territory. Half of all government bonds in the world today yield less than 1%.”– John Mauldin

2015-06-01 00:00:00 U.S. Core Fixed Income Performance at a Crossroad by Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

In recent weeks, longer-term borrowing costs around the world have started to rise rapidly. As a result, long only investors are now sitting on losses in their bond portfolios for the first time in 2015. This can be psychologically significant.

2015-05-31 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review For the Week of May 25-29; Can't Hold Onto New Highs, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

Clearly, this expansion has matured. Corporate after-tax earnings are slowing while the combination of the strong dollar and oil price drop is hurting industrial expansion. The lack of stimulus from the oil dividend indicates consumers still aren’t very confident, even though they have more money to spend and unemployment is nearing “full” employment levels. The markets continue to have problems holding onto new highs, which means traders are at minimum cautious about future growth prospects.

2015-05-31 00:00:00 The Liquidity Time Bomb by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

Advanced countries’ central banks have managed to keep interest rates low, reduce the volatility of bond markets, and lift many asset prices. But a series of recent shocks suggests that macro liquidity has become linked with severe market illiquidity.

2015-05-31 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

The trend in US equities remains higher. But momentum is very weak and breadth suggests the uptrend is running on fumes. This is the set up as we enter June, one of the weakest months of the year for equities.

2015-05-31 00:00:00 Behold the Power of Buybacks and Dividends by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Buybacks and dividends. The mere mention of either one is often enough to make some investors’ hearts race with excitement and embolden them with confidence that company management is being a better steward of capital.

2015-05-31 00:00:00 Reflections From a Whirlwind Tour of Asia by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Reflections From a Whirlwind Tour of Asia; Roads and Ports are Pathways to U.S. Prosperity

2015-05-31 00:00:00 When Paper Wealth Vanishes by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

As in equal or lesser speculative bubbles across history, there’s a common delusion that elevated stock prices represent wealth to their holders. That is a fallacy, and we can hardly believe that given the collapses that followed the 2000 and 2007 extremes, investors (and even Fed policymakers) would again fall for that fallacy so readily. The actual wealth is in the cash flows that are ultimately delivered into the hands of shareholders over time.

2015-05-31 00:00:00 The S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq Since Their 2000 Highs by Doug Short (Article)

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

2015-05-29 00:00:00 Capital Sigma: The Sum of the Various Sources of Advisor-Created Value by Jianan Du, Yinsi Qi, Brandon Thomas, Janis Zvingelis of Envestnet

An ongoing debate among investment advisors and their clients centers on value: creating it, preserving it, and perpetuating it. Each faces a different challenge: Advisors are tasked with delivering worth to their clients, and clients need to understand what they can expect for the dollars they spend.

2015-05-29 00:00:00 Three Keys Why Retired Investors Should Put Maximum Focus and Weight On Dividends by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

In today’s low interest rate environment, prudent long-term investors, especially those in retirement, are best served by putting maximum weight and focus on dividends. There are important reasons why I support this position, and those reasons will be the focal point of this article. However, putting maximum weight and focus on dividends does not simultaneously mean at the exclusion of other important fundamental metrics.

2015-05-29 00:00:00 Can China Handle Political Satire? by Patricia Huang of Matthews Asia

Comic entertainment in China is taking some turns. But exactly what topics one can poke fun at is still a bit murky in this authoritarian state. Is China ready for political satire? Asia Weekly explores.

2015-05-29 00:00:00 Evolving Infrastructure Investing – Broader, Deeper, Global by Shundrawn Thomas, Northern Trust Asset Management, Head of Funds and Managed Accounts (Article)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Official recession calls are the responsibility of the NBER Business Cycle Dating Committee, which is understandably vague about the specific indicators on which they base their decisions. This committee statement is about as close as they get to identifying their method.There is, however, a general belief that there are four big indicators that the committee weighs heavily in their cycle identification process. We are now tracking each of the four at the following individual links:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find career opportunities for firms that seek to add financial advisors and planners to their staff. Read more to find out how to post opportunities at your firm.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harold Evensky presents his quarterly newsletter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gauging foreign demand for U.S. bonds, Treasuries in particular, is a constant source of attention for bond investors, with foreign ownership of outstanding U.S. Treasuries remaining fairly constant at approximately 50% over the past few years.

2015-04-27 00:00:00 Airlines Report on Q1 Earnings by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

A recent Deutsche Bank report projects a total airline industry first-quarter pretax profit of $3.5 billion, up from $700 million this time last year—a 400-percent improvement.

2015-04-27 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Time for an Upside Breakout? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

We have the makings of a volatility cocktail! It is a huge week for economic data. It is the heart of earnings season, with Apple’s report leading off the week. The Fed has a two-day meeting culminating with a policy announcement. Global economic threats continue. Which of these will be the theme?

2015-04-27 00:00:00 Significant Slip—or Just a Blip—in Emerging Markets’ Foreign Exchange Reserves? by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

For those looking to invest in emerging markets, a steady growth in foreign exchange reserves—in many cases to higher levels than in most developed markets—has been a positive talking point for the past two decades. This reserve build-up has allowed emerging markets to be dominant buyers of US and European debt. However, a general decline in emerging market foreign reserves last year now has pundits pondering whether there is danger of more significant slippage with potentially ominous market implications.

2015-04-27 00:00:00 Revisions Have Improved But Can It Last? by Team of GaveKal Capital

The percent of stocks in the MSCI World Index that have had positive EPS revisions compared to six months ago currently stands at 45%. Over the past 7+ years, the average level of this statistic is 56%. So it currently stands below average levels but encouragingly it has improved from a low of 30% set on January 14th.

2015-04-27 00:00:00 Growth Is Becoming More Valuable by Frank Caruso, Christopher Kotowicz of AllianceBernstein

Precious gems, Old Masters artwork and certain brands of scotch: scarcity makes them more desirable and adds to their value. The same can be said of organic growth. As the economic cycle matures, we expect the stocks of companies that have it—and can maintain it—to become increasingly prized.

2015-04-27 00:00:00 Time to Love Emerging Markets Again? by (Article)

45-year industry veteran, Tom White, CIO of Thomas White International, returns to offer his thoughts on what he feels are the most promising emerging markets for this year and beyond. He also explains why investors worried about a repeat of the ‘2013 taper tantrum’ may be missing the big picture.

2015-04-27 00:00:00 On My Radar: Recession Watch – Keep an Eye on This Chart by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Understanding when a recession might begin is important to our long-term financial health. Why? The stock market declines approximately 40% during recessions.

2015-04-27 00:00:00 Investment Trends Shaping Our Industry’s Future by Patty Quinn McAuley of Clark Capital Management Group

I attended iShares Connect in New York last week, a conference focused on bringing together industry leaders in the ETF space. Attendees heard from a variety of investment experts and thought leaders and had an open dialogue about where our industry is headed.

2015-04-27 00:00:00 Where's the Hyper-Inflation? by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

If we had a dollar for every time we’ve heard about the threat of hyperinflation, we’d probably have enough money to never worry about it.

2015-04-26 00:00:00 US Equity and Economic Review For the Week of April 20-24: Is This Another False Break-Out?, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

After a series of first quarter economic disappointments, last week’s financial news provided much needed ammunition for optimism. The latest new and existing home sales numbers indicated the housing market is healing while the slight uptick in durable goods orders stopped that data series’ recent set of declines. The markets rallied as a result, printing at or close to new highs. The market’s technical picture, however, is still unconvincing; the SPYs chart looks like a short term top while the Transports and Dow’s failure to confirm the QQQ’s recent advance adds to the caution.

2015-04-26 00:00:00 The Third and Final Transformation of Monetary Policy by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

My good friend Dr. Woody Brock makes the case that an unintended consequence of QE is that the Federal Reserve’s normal transmission of monetary policy through periodic changes in the fed funds rate has been vitiated. He contends that soon we will no longer care about the fed funds rate and will be focused on other sets of rates.

2015-04-25 00:00:00 Why International Diversification Matters Today by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

The tendency of U.S. investors to invest close to home is understandable, but it’s not optimal. Russ has three reasons why international diversification matters now more than ever for U.S. investors.

2015-04-25 00:00:00 Sustaining The New Highs in Equities Might Prove Difficult by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

New price highs are usually bullish as all investors are in a profitable position and not in need of selling. We don't like to be cautionary when price is bullish, but the reality is that prior moves to new highs have failed in the past year and several measures of breadth, sentiment and volatility suggest that is likely to be the case again now.

2015-04-24 00:00:00 Searching for Clarity Among the Dots by Carl Kaufman, Simon Lee, Bradley Kane of Osterweis Capital Management

In 1886 Georges Seurat finished his most famous painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. Seurat used a new technique, Pointillism, in which small dots of color are applied to the canvas to express an image. More recently, Janet Yellen and the Federal Open Market Committee (the FOMC) updated their own version of Pointillism to express an image called the dot plot – a graphical representation of each FOMC member’s forecast of future federal funds (fed funds) rates.

2015-04-24 00:00:00 BofA Is Confusing Liquidity Fueled And Secular Bull Markets by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Over the past couple of years, there has been a growing chorus of individuals claiming that the financial markets have finally shaken the shackles of the secular bear market that began at the turn of the century. This, of course, suggests that the markets have now begun the next long-term secular bull market.

2015-04-24 00:00:00 Going Fast or Going Far by Michael Kayes of Willingdon Wealth Management

The college basketball season ended in historic fashion recently with two iconic coaches reaching new pinnacles in their profession. Coach K at Duke won his fifth national championship moving him past legendary Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp into second place all-time. Meanwhile, on the women's side, Geno Auriemma led Connecticut to its 3rd consecutive title, and 10th overall under his reign.

2015-04-24 00:00:00 Asian Markets Host Potential for Long Term Growth by (Article)

In this latest video update, Sanjeev Lakhani, CFA, Co-Portfolio Manager of the International Select Equity Fund, highlights a recent trip to Asia and discusses why India, Indonesia, China and Japan offer long term growth. Historically, China has been a difficult market to invest in, however, there do appear to be signs that it is changing. India and Indonesia both have reform-minded leaders who plan to invest in their countries infrastructure. India has reduced its account deficient and has benefited from low oil prices.

2015-04-24 00:00:00 Global Divergence, the Federal Reserve and the Impact on U.S. Insurers by David Braun, Scott Millimet of PIMCO

Insurance publication SNL Financial recently sat down with members of PIMCO’s Financial Institutions Group to discuss PIMCO’s latest views on global divergence, the Federal Reserve and the impact on U.S. insurers in their investment portfolio positioning.

2015-04-24 00:00:00 China's First SOE Default: More to Come? by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

A power equipment maker just became China’s first state-owned company to default on domestic debt. Is this a strategic move by the central government to further liberalize its capital markets, and to reform its state-owned enterprises?

2015-04-24 00:00:00 The Right Tool For The Job of Active Management by Team of GaveKal Capital

Market-cap weighted indexes such as the MSCI global equity indexes are commonly used reference points for investment benchmarking. In these indexes, the market cap of the top 10% of the stocks is generally 50% of the market cap of the index.

2015-04-24 00:00:00 Global Economic Perspective: April by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

Given the example set by US equity markets after the Fed stepped in to buy government debt in two successive QE programs, investors appear convinced that the rally in European financial markets has considerably longer to run.

2015-04-24 00:00:00 Sine of the Times by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Powerful secular and fundamental forces at work signal that the risk to U.S. interest rates remains to the downside.

2015-04-24 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary: The Eurozone Is Seeing Green Shoots but Isn’t Out of the Woods by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The Eurozone Is Seeing Green Shoots but Isn't Out of the Woods; Gauging a Country's Potential for Growth; The Trans-Pacific Partnership Might Actually Happen

2015-04-24 00:00:00 Stand and Deliver: Will the US Economy Rebound as Expected in the Second Quarter? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

Most market watchers are blaming another bad winter for this year’s rough start, and they’re assuming a strong second-quarter rebound. One obscure economic statistic calls that view into question.

2015-04-24 00:00:00 Attractively Valued Ameriprise Financial: a Long-Term Total Return Opportunity Raises Dividend 16% by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Ameriprise slightly missed their earnings estimates for the first quarter of fiscal 2015, and the stock has dropped over 3%. However, their return on equity increased to a record high 23.1 % and operating earnings were up 7%. Management appears to remain confident about the future as evidenced by the raising of their quarterly dividend 16% to $0.67 per share. Consequently, I consider the recent weakness an excellent opportunity for long-term oriented investors desirous of earning an above-average total return.

2015-04-24 00:00:00 Schwab Market Perspective: Heads, Bulls Win; Tails, Bears Lose? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

The bears can’t seem to grab hold of this market, but that doesn’t mean full-speed ahead for the bulls either. Grinding generally higher with increased volatility seems to be the course for now, but the possibility of a correction still exists. Diversification, discipline and patience is required. International equity exposure should be part of most investors’ portfolios, to a level commiserate with risk tolerance. European risks related to Greece seem to have lessened, while the Chinese stock market doesn’t appear grossly overvalued, although a pullback from the recent run is possi

2015-04-23 00:00:00 U.S. Consumers Gaining Ground by John Osterweis, Matt Berler of Osterweis Capital Management

In early 2015 global financial markets continued to be buoyed by a combination of low interest rates, central bank liquidity and positive, albeit modest, economic growth. For some time we have been talking about the "Goldilocks" backdrop of slow growth, low inflation and low interest rates that has been very rewarding for financial assets.

2015-04-23 00:00:00 Tax Receipts Flash Economic Warning Sign by Lance Roberts of STA Wealth Management

With "tax day" now firmly behind us, it is expected that 2015 will show a record level of tax collections. This is a good thing, right? Maybe not.

2015-04-23 00:00:00 Could Aflac’s Contentiousness Spell Wealth Creation? by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

At Smead Capital Management, we like to combine the qualitative aspects of a meritorious company with the temporary contentiousness of deeply out-of-favor psychology. We have found in our research that using qualitative attributes alone can be very expensive. Additionally, we feel that just buying stocks off of the out-of-favor junk pile can lead you to bankruptcy court if the companies fail to turnaround.

2015-04-23 00:00:00 Meandering Continues for Silver & Gold by Avi Gilburt of

While the metals continue to meander, I still remain bullish over the next few months, and bearish into later this year. And, yes, I still believe that lower lows will be seen, as the final lows to the 3+ year correction have not yet been seen.

2015-04-23 00:00:00 Where Banks Are Performing Well In The World by Team of GaveKal Capital

There is an old belief that when bank stocks are doing well, the economy must be doing well also. With this in mind, we decided to take a look how the banking sectors have performed in seven different countries: USA, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Japan, China, Brazil.

2015-04-23 00:00:00 Emerging Markets Winners and Losers: Q1 2015 by Jackie Lafferty of Loomis Sayles

2015 kicked off with a rocky start for emerging markets: pending US rate hikes, falling commodity prices, quantitative easing in Europe, and idiosyncratic country risks all soured investor sentiment and caused the US dollar to soar. This led to substantial weakness in emerging market (EM) foreign exchange, pummeling US-based investors in many local currency bond markets. Despite that pain, EM credit performed well, and along with EM sovereign debt, posted positive gains.

2015-04-23 00:00:00 To Hedge or Not To Hedge by Treesdale Partners of AdvisorShares

There have been several blogposts on the merits of buying currency hedged ETFs for foreign equity exposure versus unhedged exposure. The arguments against unhedged ETFs are weak and often false, like “the companies hedge their currency exposure already”.

2015-04-23 00:00:00 Lower Oil Prices Have Varied Effect on Municipal Bond Market by Stephanie Larosiliere of Invesco

The decline in oil prices since the summer of 2014 continued throughout the first quarter, as oil supply surpassed demand and we saw substantial price declines. This is of particular interest to municipal bond investors, as many US state and local budgets have a substantial dependence on oil production and exploration revenue, and lower oil prices can influence economic growth and inflation, which can affect Treasury and municipal yields.

2015-04-22 00:00:00 Sizing Up Small Caps by Burt White of LPL Financial

The Russell 2000 Index hit a fresh all-time high last week (on tax day, April 15, 2015) and has outpaced large caps by 205 basis points (2.05%) year to date. Although valuations are on the high side, the factors that have driven recent small cap strength, in our view, remain largely intact. Small cap technicals appear bullish, with positive relative strength and an upward sloping 40-week moving average.

2015-04-22 00:00:00 Bill’s “Short of a Lifetime” by Alexander Giryavets of Dynamika Capital L.L.C.

According to Bill Gross “German 10yr Bunds = The short of a lifetime.” We just wanted to make it clear that the Bunds were perfectly co-moving with the Global Carry over the last six years and the Global Carry is the major source of returns behind US equities, bonds, the Risk Parity portfolios, and 60/40 for that matter.

2015-04-22 00:00:00 Gimme Shelter: The U.S. Dollar Trade and Its Risks by Michele Mazzoleni of Research Affiliates

By selling foreign currencies to take advantage of the dollar’s appreciation, U.S. investors are increasing their exposure to the risk of an economic slowdown at home.

2015-04-22 00:00:00 How Organization Promotes Successful Outcomes by Patty Quinn McAuley of Clark Capital Management Group

By delivering a realistic road map to clients, illustrating their financial future, you can help them remain confident and on course toward successful outcomes.

2015-04-22 00:00:00 Is Volatility Making a Comeback in Europe? by Team of GaveKal Capital

Having fallen from the recent highs earlier this year, various metrics of volatility in Europe have risen abruptly in the last few days-- especially when viewed in the context of a rather subdued VIX (a measure of expected market volatility conveyed by S&P 500 options prices; represented by the light blue line below).

2015-04-22 00:00:00 Is Greece Nearing the End of the Road? by Darren Williams of AllianceBernstein

Greece and its euro-area partners have yet to reach a deal to secure long-delayed bailout funds. Without these funds, Greece could run out of money in a matter of weeks, raising the real prospect of a default on payments due to its official creditors.

2015-04-22 00:00:00 One Silver Lining of Slower Global Growth by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ explains why today’s economic environment, characterized by monetary stimulus meant to combat slower-than-expected economic growth, is helping many of the large, global financial firms.

2015-04-22 00:00:00 Uncertainty by Scott Brown of Raymond James

We live in an uncertain world. Policymakers have to sift through a wide range of data, much of which is subject to statistical error and measurement difficulties. Financial market participants deal with much of the same data, but also have to account for the uncertainty in how policymakers will interpret the data and respond. There are longer-term questions, which won’t be resolved anytime soon. So where do we stand now?

2015-04-22 00:00:00 Activity Versus Inactivity by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Plainly there are times for investors/traders to be active. But there are also times for them to be inactive, despite the trait of human nature to be “active;” and, for the past few months inactivity has been the best overall strategy.

2015-04-22 00:00:00 House of the Rising Sun: Is Housing Staging a Turn for the Better? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Economic data has been mixed-to-weak over the past few months; but some of the housing-related data has perked up and could be a bright spot for the economy in the medium-term. Some recent highlights include single-unit permits, pending and new home sales, mortgage applications, building materials sales, anecdotal strength via the Fed’s Beige Book, and the well-watched Housing Market Index (HMI), put out by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

2015-04-22 00:00:00 Four Bad Bears: Some Comments from Bob Bronson by Doug Short (Article)

Earlier today I received an email from my friend Bob Bronson of Bronson Capital Markets Research. Bob offered some comments on the latest update in my periodic overview of bear market recoveries:

2015-04-21 00:00:00 The Best Asset Allocation for Retirees by David Blanchett (Article)

In this article, I determine the optimal glide path for retirees using varying initial bond yields and stock market valuations.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 Should Leveraged ETFs Be Held for Long Horizons? by C. Thomas Howard, Lambert Bunker and David Stock (Article)

There are numerous misconceptions and emotions surrounding the use of leveraged ETFs. This article provides a simple and clear explanation of how these instruments can be used to enhance portfolio returns over longer term investment horizons. We show that commonly used 2x ETFs have delivered the expected return over multi-year time horizons.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 How to Attract Top Talent by Dan Richards (Article)

How should you recruit and motivate top-performing support staff?

2015-04-21 00:00:00 Success Is Within Your Control by Daniel Solin (Article)

You may be skeptical of the expression, "The harder I work, the luckier I get." But empirical evidence says it's true. While we often look with envy at people who get a "lucky break", the reality is that the vast majority of those people worked long and hard before they achieved success.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 Closing the Retirement Gender Gap by Jeff Briskin (Article)

New research shows how a lack of "retirement readiness" puts many women at risk of financial hardship during their retirement years, especially since most will outlive their spouses.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 When Lead Advisors Are Not Mentors by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I am working to establish a training program that would match a newer advisor with one of our more seasoned ones. So far, this has been a disaster. The lead advisors treat the newer people like administrative staff. How do I teach my lead advisors to be better mentors?

2015-04-21 00:00:00 Profit Margins - Is the Ladder Starting to Snap? by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Since mid-2014, the broad market as measured by the NYSE Composite has been in a broad sideways distribution pattern, with an increasing tendency in recent months for advances to occur on weaker volume and declines to follow on a pickup in volume. While capitalization-weighted indices have done somewhat better since mid-2014, the S&P 500 Index is unchanged since late-December.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 Roller Coaster Quarter by Jim Tillar and Steve Wenstrup of Tillar-Wenstrup Advisors

Volatility continues to be the theme for stocks. The S&P 500 was down big in January, rallied even bigger in February and went down again in March ending the quarter up 0.95%. The real action was in Europe where stocks clocked double-digit returns.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 Rear-View Mirror Shows Ugly Q1 by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

We know Plow Horses don’t have rearview mirrors, but economists do. So, let’s not beat around the bush: the economy barely grew last quarter. Right now, we’re forecasting that real GDP expanded at a 0.7% annual rate in Q1.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 Social Security & Portfolio Withdrawals; It’s Complicated by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

The Wall Street Journal ran a blog post that outlined Michael Kitces’ argument for delaying Social Security which can be summed up by saying it should be thought of it as an asset in a portfolio so by waiting, the value of your asset grows.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 Can Lumber Be Worth It's Weight in Gold? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Well, maybe not literally. But figuratively-speaking, one can make the case. And two very bright, young investment advisors have done just that.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 U.S. Budget: The Fiscal and Political Calculations by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

A compromise budget from the House and Senate will not affect U.S. revenues and spending—but it may help Republicans frame key policy debates ahead of the 2016 election.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 Pregnant Pause by Adam Bowe and Robert Mead of PIMCO

After re-engaging policy support in February following an 18-month hiatus, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) wrong-footed many in the market by keeping policy on hold in the two subsequent board meetings. So was February's decision a "one-and-done" policy event or the start of a more aggressive easing cycle?

2015-04-21 00:00:00 QE: The Silver Lining of Slower Growth by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Stocks struggled last week amid more evidence that economic growth is not accelerating as expected. In the United States, the S&P 500 Index fell 0.99% to 2,081, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1.28% to 17,826, and the Nasdaq Composite Index lost 1.30% to close the week at 4,931.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 The AIIB by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

China has founded the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to compete with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. The U.S. has opposed the creation of this bank but, despite administration opposition, 57 nations have joined. A chorus of commentators have suggested that the founding of this bank may mark the end of U.S. hegemony. In this report, we describe the AIIB, including its members and capitalization. Next, we cover the conventional wisdom surrounding the bank, and follow up with our analysis of the real impact of the bank. We conclude with potential market ramifications.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 Stay Patient Against the Consensus Trade of 2015 by Kathleen Gaffney and Matt Hildebrandt of Eaton Vance

When making moves that are against a crowded trade, does it pay to be a patient, opportunistic income investor?

2015-04-21 00:00:00 Something To Keep In Mind During Earnings Season... by Team of GaveKal Capital

As we enter the heart of the S&P 500 1Q earnings season, and the CNBCs of the world focus on the number of companies that (surprise) beat earnings expectations once again, remember this fact: earnings expectations have been beaten down over the past six months. Let's take a quick tour of the developed world to illustrate this point.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 Good Things To Life by Brian Andrew of Cleary Gull

Last Thursday, General Electric announced that they were selling a $26 billion real estate portfolio and substantially reducing the size of their financing arm, GE Capital. This announcement has a number of broader implications beyond GE’s own company and stock price. It may be an indication of what large multi-national companies must do at this point in the market cycle to show earnings growth.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 The Charge Of The Monetary Light Brigade - Neosho Capital On The European Central Bank And Negative by Chris Richey of Neosho Capital

A paper on European Monetary Easing, which we feel is a well-meaning, but misguided effort, to solve demographic, cultural, and political problems with massive monetary manipulations of exchange rates and securities markets.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 GE's Restructuring Pleases Investors and Avoids Other Risks by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

On April 10, General Electric, which for 123 years has been one of America's best known and most highly respected companies, announced a radical return to its basic industrial roots. After years of disappointing share performance, and a campaign of criticism by frustrated investors, Chief Executive Jeff Immelt decided to spin off most of its $500 billion GE Capital arm which, if taken as a stand-alone company, would have been the seventh largest bank in the U.S.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 Has The US Dollar Topped Out, Or Headed Much Higher? by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The US dollar’s value has been on a tear since last summer, with the greenback’s value surging more than 20% against a basket of major foreign currencies.

2015-04-20 00:00:00 Alternative Investing: Why Manager Skill is Crucial to Results by Walter Davis of Invesco

A key attribute of alternative investments is that alternative managers are typically given considerable freedom in how they invest. This freedom means that manager selection, an important consideration for all investors, becomes particularly crucial when investing in alternatives.

2015-04-20 00:00:00 Is Brazil The Next BRIC To Ride EM Equity Wave? by Team of GaveKal Capital

On an equal-weighted, USD basis, Russia is up 46% year-to-date, by far the best performing country in the MSCI All-Country World Index. Coming in second, is China which is up 29%. India is the 14th best performing country (8.2%). The lone man out is Brazil which is the fifth WORST performing country year-to-date, one of only 10 countries posting a negative return year-to-date (-7%).

2015-04-20 00:00:00 Afraid of Rising Rates? Don’t Be. by Ashish Shah and Ivan Rudolph-Shabinsky of AllianceBernstein

Sometime this year, the Federal Reserve will probably raise interest rates for the first time in more than half a decade. That makes bond investors nervous. But it shouldn’t. Those who keep their cool may find that higher rates can work to their advantage.

2015-04-20 00:00:00 Pockets of Value in the Stock Market by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Given the headwinds facing U.S. stocks, investors may want to consider tilting their stock portfolios toward these sectors and geographies offering relative value.

2015-04-20 00:00:00 On My Radar: The Speech at Lost Tree Club by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

You and I are in a tough business. It is based on probabilities and involves imperfection. The mismatch between customer expectations and practical reality is challenging. Art Cashin said, That to survive 50 years in this business, you learn that the first thing you do when you enter a room is look for the exit sign. It is with this thinking that I also share a great piece on investing and risk from Ned Davis.

2015-04-20 00:00:00 Market Rules to Remember by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

A few years ago, I participated in a panel discussion at the 50th Annual Contrary Opinion Forum in Vermont. One of my fellow panelists, Walter Deemer of Deemer Technical Research Inc., has been a cornerstone of institutional market strategy since the early 1960’s and is this year’s recipient of the MTA’s prestigious annual award.

2015-04-20 00:00:00 Picking Stocks in the Tech Sector by Chaitanya Yaramada of Robert W. Baird & Co.

Technology is an important sector for growth portfolios - it carries a significant weight in major growth benchmarks, and more importantly, tends to be a ripe area for stock picking. The technology sector represents nearly 15% of the Russell Midcap Growth benchmark and 24% of the Russell 3000 Growth benchmark. The percentage is even higher when including Internet stocks that are categorized into the Consumer Discretionary sector.

2015-04-20 00:00:00 Drags on the Economy and Earnings Should Slowly Fade by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Investors focused on the negatives last week, including some disappointing U.S. economic data and growing concerns over what will happen with Greece’s debt problems.

2015-04-20 00:00:00 Emerging Europe: Economy Trends Update – April 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

With the exception of energy exporter Russia, economic conditions appear to have taken a turn for the better in emerging Europe.

2015-04-20 00:00:00 Thoughts from the Frontline: Half a Bubble Off Dead Center by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Central banks, in their valiant, unceasing efforts to restore liquidity and growth, have unleashed numerous unintended consequences that are beginning to show up in earnest. Today we are going to review the well-meaning behavior of central banks for clues about our near future.

2015-04-19 00:00:00 US Equity And Economic Review For the Week of April 13-17; False Break-Out Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

After consolidating since the beginning of March, it appeared that SPYs broke out on Wednesday. It was a false break-out. Wednesday’s daily candle was weak, with a small body and high shadow. Rather than continuing the move higher, Thursday printed a similar candle. The markets gapped lower on Friday, sending the daily chart back into its previous consolidation pattern. Several weak economic numbers contributed to the markets sell-off, including industrial production, further weakness in retail sales and increasing negativity in the LEIs components.

2015-04-19 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: A Geopolitical Risk to U.S. Stocks? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

I expect the supposed worries of Friday to prove unwarranted – an idea supported by late-day Friday trading. The real focus will quickly turn to earnings and housing data.

2015-04-18 00:00:00 Today's NFP Miss Means Little For Equities and The Economy by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Failed sell offs lead to failed rallies. This has been the recurrent pattern for the past four months. There is unlikely to be a sustained move higher until there is a more complete sell off lower. Risk remains to the downside.

2015-04-17 00:00:00 The Labor Market Recovery’s Missing Ingredient by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Why are so few Americans participating in the labor market even as jobs become more plentiful? Russ explains, noting two implications for investors.

2015-04-17 00:00:00 Hoisington Quarterly Review and Outlook – First Quarter 2015 by Lacy Hunt and Van Hoisington of Hoisington Investment Management

Over the more than two thousand years of economic history, a clear record emerges regarding the relationship between the level of indebtedness of a nation and its resultant pace of economic activity. The once flourishing and powerful Mesopotamian, Roman and Bourbon dynasties, as well as the British empire, ultimately lost their great economic vigor due to the inability to prosper under crushing debt levels.

2015-04-17 00:00:00 Irrational Expectations by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

Do we have irrational expectations for the Chinese economy? On the one hand, we asked China to restructure and rebalance its economy, and it has delivered. It shrunk its state sector, and privately owned firms now account for more than 80% of employment and almost all new job creation. Almost all prices are set by the market. Investment growth is slowing and consumption is now the engine of economic expansion. China’s service sector is now larger than its manufacturing and construction sectors.

2015-04-17 00:00:00 Who will get caught skinny-dipping? by Edward Perkin of Eaton Vance

More than six years into a bull market for all major asset classes, are there any true investment bargains left?

2015-04-17 00:00:00 Are Commodities And EM Stocks Becoming Less Sensitive To The Dollar? by Team of GaveKal Capital

Are commodities becoming less sensitive to changes in the USD? The surge in the dollar has negatively affected commodities somewhat but not nearly as much as one might have expected given that the real trade-weighted dollar is 19% higher than it was in July. Commodities are about 19% lower during this time. However, when the dollar surged by 14% in 2008, commodities fell by 39%.

2015-04-17 00:00:00 Key Themes for Navigating Credit Markets in Alternatives Strategies by Joshua Anderson of PIMCO

Against a backdrop of low volatility and tight spreads, 2014 turned out to be a challenging year for many alternative investors as they watched their trades become crowded, and reverse quickly when expected returns were not realized. One such example was the positioning among investors in advance of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) Asset Quality Review announcement; many had increased their exposure in anticipation of a tightening of European bank-related securities.

2015-04-17 00:00:00 Greek Drama Extends Its Run by David Zahn of Franklin Templeton Investments

Greece’s debt problems have retaken center stage, as payment deadlines approach and negotiations with creditors continue. The money-strapped country and Syriza, its radical left-wing ruling party, are back in the headlines and on the minds of investors, as predictions that Greece could leave the eurozone abound. David Zahn, head of European Fixed Income, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group®, offers his perspective on Greece’s dramatic debt saga, as well as the orderly beginning of the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing program.

2015-04-17 00:00:00 Sharpen Your Pencils: Why Low Rates Challenge Traditional Security Analysis Methods by Edward Talisse of Chelsea Global Advisors

Now that we are dealing with near-zero, and in certain instances, negative short-term interest rates, is it worth retaining the highly cherished Sharpe Ratio as a tool of investment performance? Measuring and ranking the intersection of risk and reward is a foundational principle of investment management, first introduced by Noble Laureate William F. Sharpe back in 1966.

2015-04-17 00:00:00 Junior Mining Companies Have Taken a Senior Role by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

For the past decade, junior mining companies have outperformed senior miners at finding new mineral deposits and generating wealth for investors.

2015-04-17 00:00:00 Mr. Valuation Disagrees with Henry Blodget: "It's a Market of Stocks" is not a Meaningless Phrase by Chuck Carnevale of FAST Graphs

The meaningful phrase “it’s a market of stocks, not a stock market” stands as a continuous reminder to me to focus on what’s important while ignoring what’s not. Since I do not invest in the entire market, I spend no time worrying about it. Instead, I spent all my time and effort evaluating the specific investments that I am actually invested in.

2015-04-17 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary: Countries Can’t Devalue Their Way to Prosperity by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Countries Can't Devalue Their Way to Prosperity; Central Banks Are Doing Some Interesting Rebalancing; Paying for the Energy Dividend

2015-04-17 00:00:00 Two Job Markets by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

We have written in the past about U-6, which in addition to being a very large shrimp (it’s a code that means 6 shrimp to a pound), is one of the government’s measures of unemployment. Specifically, it includes not only the traditional definition of unemployed (which the government calls U-3) but also those who are working but “under-employed." These may be people who are working multiple jobs, taking jobs that are below their level of experience, or those who have been unemployed for a long time. None of these people are included in the “headline” employment figures you hear about o

2015-04-16 00:00:00 REIT CEFs by (Article)

Closed-end funds focusing on Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITS) offer potentially attractive exposure to a huge asset class, says Mark McAllister of ClearBridge Investments.

2015-04-16 00:00:00 Q1 Review by (Article)

Closed-end funds got off to a strong start in Q1 2015 and senior loan funds reversed a trend, says Mike Taggart of Nuveen Investments.

2015-04-16 00:00:00 Global Business Cycle Deceleration and US Conundrum by Alexander Giryavets of Dynamika Capital L.L.C.

The Global Business Cycle is decelerating while the regional Asian and European Subcycles are recovering. This poses the US between a hammer and a hard place as it gets hurt by each single one of them. Will it get crushed or stand strong in this global interplay?

2015-04-16 00:00:00 Three Portfolio Moves to Consider Now by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

While the first quarter largely played to script, there were a few surprises. Russ explains, noting three portfolio moves to consider as the second quarter kicks off.

2015-04-16 00:00:00 Stock Market Boom and Crash: Cause and Effect by Wim Grommen of Transfer Solutions

This article explains, based on transition properties, why a stock market boom occurs during the acceleration phase of a transition, inevitably followed by a stock market crash in the stabilization phase of a transition.

2015-04-16 00:00:00 A New Way Forward for Nigeria? by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Perhaps the biggest long-term challenge for Nigeria going forward is to develop government leadership that will be intent on economic development and utilizing the country’s resources to develop infrastructure.

2015-04-16 00:00:00 Can The Marriage of Two Knowledge Followers Produce a Knowledge Leader? by Team of GaveKal Capital

Most of our readers are familiar with our process that seeks to identify what we refer to as Knowledge Leaders or, quite simply, companies that consistently invest in knowledge-intensive activities such as research & development, advertising, and employee training. Common attributes of knowledge leaders include, but are not limited to, less volatile earnings and sales growth, lower adjusted ROE, and a larger stock of intangible capital on their balance sheets.

2015-04-16 00:00:00 Finding Value in Declining Commodity Prices by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

I’m going to begin with a bit of good news. Below is our China Region Fund (USCOX). As you can see, not only has it broken above its 50- and 200-day moving averages, but it’s also trading at four-year highs. And since this chart was created early last week, the fund has climbed even higher, to $9.53 as of this writing.

2015-04-16 00:00:00 Counting on Cash in Cloudy Equity Markets by David Dalgas of AllianceBernstein

Equity markets are digesting mixed signals in early 2015, from the divergence of monetary policies, shifting economic growth patterns and currency volatility. Instead of worrying about deciphering these trends, we think investors should focus on individual company cash flows in order to identify companies with strong long-term return potential.

2015-04-16 00:00:00 Implications of a Fed Funds Rate Hike on Asian Securities by Gerald Hwang of Matthews Asia

The prospect of a higher U.S. federal funds rate can make U.S. cash and short duration Treasurys look more attractive vs. risky assets. The effect of higher U.S. short rates is felt across all asset classes, regardless of the pattern of cash flows or currency of denomination. We can expect some market reallocation out of risky assets and into risk-free assets. But why does the market seem to fear a wholesale shift out of risky assets and why might that view be unjustified? In the second installment of a two-part series, Matthews Asia Portfolio Manager Gerald Hwang, CFA, examines the ways in wh

2015-04-16 00:00:00 The Unexpected Ripple Effect of New Bank Capital Requirements by Libby Cantrill, William G. De Leon, Tracey Jordal, Courtney A. Walker of PIMCO

In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, lawmakers and regulators promulgated sweeping regulations that sought to reduce systemic risk and promote market stability.

2015-04-16 00:00:00 Gauging Global Growth: An Update For 2015 & 2016 by John Canally of LPL Financial

Global growth is likely to be a recurring theme for investors this week. The health of the global economy and key regions (U.S., Eurozone, Japan, China, etc.) is likely to get plenty of attention from corporate managements as they discuss Q1 2015 results and provide guidance for the rest of the year. In addition, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will release the spring 2015 edition of its widely read World Economic Outlook on Tuesday, April 14, 2015, and China will release its Q1 2015 gross domestic product (GDP) that same day.

2015-04-16 00:00:00 1Q 2015 Newsletter: Eliminating the Confusion about Active Equity Management by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

There are a great number of bright mathematicians out there who can explain almost everything in common stock selection and portfolio management. One well-known student of the arena is Michael Mauboussin, a Managing Director at Credit Suisse, who recently published a challenging piece of research seeking to explain how difficult it was last year (2014) for mutual funds to beat the S&P 500 Index. In reviewing his analysis, we are reminded that calling stock picking and portfolio management “active management” has done the investment marketplace a huge disservice.

2015-04-15 00:00:00 Market Overview Q115 by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

One consequence of loose monetary policy and financial repression is that market participants stop “making judgments for themselves” which exacerbates procyclical behavior. At the same time, high levels of debt weaken the ability of the economic and financial systems to absorb shocks which creates a fragile situation. Although this environment is difficult for almost all investors, it will favor those who can think and act independently.

2015-04-15 00:00:00 Emerging Markets of Tomorrow by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

This week Professor Siegel and Jeremy Schwartz chatted with Gavin Serkin, Emerging Markets (EM) Editor at Bloomberg News. They also spoke to Worth Wray, Chief Strategist at Mauldin Economics, whose current focus is also on EM and the implications of a stronger U.S. dollar.

2015-04-15 00:00:00 Bank Loans Are the Tortoise, Not the Hare by Cheryl Stober of Loomis Sayles

The global financial crisis did not change the nature of bank loans. Bank loans were specifically designed by bankers to resist the forces that drive volatility in most other asset classes. Bankers designed bank loans to reduce the volatility that comes along with changes in interest rates and company values, so they insisted that loans have floating coupons and that they be senior and secured.

2015-04-15 00:00:00 China Finally Stops Fighting the Stock Market by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Although China's economy has been leading the world in annualized growth since the days that mobile phones had retractable antennas, there have always been some aspects of the country's commercial and financial system that loudly broadcast the underlying illogic of a Communist Party's firm control of burgeoning capitalism. China's stock markets were one such venue where things just didn't add up...literally.

2015-04-15 00:00:00 Despite Volatility, Global Economy Looks Stronger by Hank Herrmann of Ivy Investment Management Company

So far this year, the financial markets have given us a volatile ride. But it’s a ride that has left us just about where we started. It’s not exactly that nothing happened, of course, but the S&P 500 Index ended the first quarter essentially flat. The volatility stems largely from two things: since January we’ve seen a steep decline in energy prices and a sharp rally in the dollar.

2015-04-15 00:00:00 The Long-Term Outlook: Secular Stagnation or Not? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The good news is that the output gap, the difference between real Gross Domestic Product and its potential, has narrowed. The bad news is that’s largely because potential GDP has declined. The big question now is whether the economy is on a permanently lower track. The answer is not so clear.

2015-04-15 00:00:00 Managing Risk by Jeffery Saut of Raymond James

Most people acknowledge that losses will happen regardless of the type of business venture. A light bulb manufacturer knows that two out of three hundred bulbs will break. A fruit dealer knows that two out of one hundred apples will rot. Losses per se don’t bother them; unexpected losses and losing on balance does. Acknowledging that losses are part of business is one thing; taking and accepting those losses in the markets is something else entirely. In the markets, people tend to have difficulty actively taking losses. This is because all losses are treated as failure; in every other area o

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Gundlach - The Bond Market is at a Pivotal Point by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Jeffrey Gundlach turned defensive on the U.S. bond market at the end of January, almost precisely when yields were at their lowest point. Whether his outlook changes hinges on the direction of the 30-year bond and if it retests its low yield of 2.45%.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Ukraine: Mass Corporate Debt Restructuring Looks Likely by Sponsored Content from Invesco (Article)

Ukraine's biggest economic problem is its deep recession. We expect gross domestic product to contract by about 7% this year, as the conflict with Russia has devastated Ukraine's vital industrial corridor in the east, interest rates and inflation are soaring, and its currency teeters on collapse.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 New Research: Reverse Mortgages, SPIAs and Retirement Income by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Retirees need longevity protection and additional funds. Annuities and reverse mortgages can meet those needs. While annuities have been researched extensively, reverse mortgages haven't received as much attention. We need research on how to fit these two products together in overall retirement plans. I'll launch that effort here.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 The Key to Attracting New Clients: Be Less Available by Dan Richards (Article)

Whether in booking appointments with prospects, getting key clients to come to events or winning over referrals, communicating a sense of limited supply helps you achieve your goals.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Stock Market Returns - The GDP Growth Rate Myth by Baijnath Ramraika, CFA® (Article)

The idea that nominal equity market returns approximate the country's GDP growth rate is historically uninformed and intellectually dishonest. If there were any merit to the idea that equity market returns should approximate GDP growth rate, we would see this in a tight relationship between the two variables across countries. But we don't.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Why Women Advisors are Judged Differently by Daniel Solin (Article)

Are women advisors perceived differently than their male counterparts? If so, what can we do about it?

2015-04-14 00:00:00 The Words to Avoid in Marketing Your Firm by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Are there key phrases and terms we should stay away from in our firm's marketing message?

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Tocqueville Gold Strategy Investor Letter by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

John Hathaway, manager of the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), looks back at the performance of gold over the first quarter, noting that "Gold and gold mining shares appear to be as contrarian today as in 1999, before a decade?plus run in which bullion rose nearly seven?fold in US dollar terms."

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Not-So-Great Expectations: Why Real Interest Rates Won’t Soar by Shane Shepherd of Research Affiliates

In a recent piece from Research Affiliates, Shane Shepherd, Senior Vice President, Head of Macro Research, looks at the consensus on interest rates: they are set to fly. But if, as Research Affiliates expects, savings accelerate and real GDP grows slowly, then interest rates won’t rise very much anytime soon.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Expect Further Divergence in Emerging Market Economies by Michael Gomez, Lupin Rahman of PIMCO

Each quarter, PIMCO investment professionals from around the world gather in Newport Beach to discuss the firm’s outlook for the global economy and financial markets. In the following interview, portfolio managers Michael Gomez and Lupin Rahman discuss PIMCO’s cyclical outlook for the emerging markets (EM).

2015-04-14 00:00:00 U.S. Labor: A Not-So-Great Participation Rate by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The percentage of Americans either working or looking for work is lower than pre-recession levels. Here’s what it could mean for the economy—and Fed policy.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 The Case for Not Currency Hedging Foreign Equity Investments: A U.S. Investor’s Perspective by Catherine LeGraw of GMO

In a new white paper, Catherine LeGraw of GMO's asset allocation team explains GMO's approach to currency hedging, a topic which has gained relevance as the U.S. dollar has strengthened.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Bear Market Hibernation End is Nearing by Sean Butson of DC Capital Management

The S&P 500 continues to be overvalued and has become more so over the last 6 months. Based on 7 different valuation metrics, future 10 year compound annual returns are likely to be only about 6% vs. 9%-10% historically. While we are not expecting an imminent bear market, the specter of FED rate increases likely does indicate the beginning of the end of the current bull, as 12 out of 14 S&P 500 declines of at least 15% over the last 60 years have occurred within 3 years of FED tightening.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 China: New Year, New Opportunity? by Burt White of LPL Financial

China will release its first quarter 2015 gross domestic product (GDP) report this week on April 14, 2015, with the market expecting a 7% year-over-year increase. Regardless of whether China hits that target, its stock market has already been positive so far this year. In this year of the goat in 2015, global investors have not been sheepish about buying Chinese stocks, powering the Shanghai Composite 25% higher so far in 2015 amid prospects for more monetary stimulus and policy reforms.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Where's the Remote? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

The panic would set in as soon as Dad would bellow “Where’s the clicker?” Everyone had to move. Cushions on chairs and sofas would be quickly tossed aside. Hands would stretch and scramble among the stale crumbs in the creases underneath in search of the elusive foe. Failure was not an option. There would be no TV that night until Dad’s hands grasp the clicker once more.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 The Active/Passive Debate: Others Weigh In by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

In the most recent AdvisorShares Alpha Call Josh Brown and Michael Batnick from Ritholtz Wealth Management discussed at length the importance finding the right strategy and then taking the time to understand the strengths and weaknesses of whatever you decide is the right strategy.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 The Iran Framework by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

On April 2, the P5+1 and Iran announced a framework to deal with Iran’s nuclear program. The framework is a roadmap to establishing a final agreement in June and could be a major step toward delaying Iran’s entry into the “nuclear club.” This report begins with a short history of Iran’s nuclear program. Next, we review the details of the framework and address the broader policy issues surrounding Iran’s nuclear program. An analysis of the real issue, regional hegemony, follows along with a review of the political factors of the deal. We conclude with the potential market effects.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Stocks: The Great Wealth Non-Equalizer by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Just recently, published a very interesting article entitle "Stock Market Is America's Great Wealth Equalizer." While I am sure the author is well-intentioned, it is a very misguided article in its assumptions.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Waiting for the Right Pitch by John Loesch, CFA of Diamond Hill Capital Management, Inc.

Patience is a virtue, both in life and in investing. As a long-term investor in a short-term focused world (and a father of three young children), I know that remaining patient is not always easy. At Diamond Hill, we keep the advice of both Warren Buffett and legendary hitter Ted Williams in mind and try to wait for the “right pitch.”

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Yield Curve Flattening and Volatility LIkely to Continue in 2015 by Payson Swaffield of Eaton Vance

In the first quarter of 2015, we continued to see a trend toward a flatter yield curve, shaped by rising rates at the short end and a relatively tethered long end, against the backdrop of higher volatility.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Second Quarter Market Commentary 2015 by The CCR Wealth Management Investment Committee of CCR Wealth Management

Over a year ago in our January 2014 Outlook commentary, we cited European markets as attractively priced relative to the US equity markets. Most market observers at the time were expecting a nascent recovery from the 2012 EU recession to get a boost from the European Central Bank (ECB). We even boosted our non-US developed market (and European-specific) allocation—though cautiously—in anticipation. Please note that we still think these markets are most attractively valued.

2015-04-13 00:00:00 Liquid Alternative Strategies as Mutual Funds by Michael Winchell of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

The recent growth of mutual funds offering a wide array of liquid alternative strategies has raised questions among many advisors about the possible drawbacks of attempting alternative strategies within a 1940 Act vehicle.

2015-04-13 00:00:00 Asia’s Multilateralism by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

In March, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Italy joined more than 30 other countries as founding members of the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which will do what existing institutional arrangements cannot: help Asia meet its massive infrastructure needs. So why has the US sought to undermine the effort?

2015-04-13 00:00:00 Top 10 Considerations for June to September Liftoff by Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

One of the top stories of 2015 so far has been the anticipated liftoff from the zero bound interest rate target of the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed). As market forecasters continue to debate June vs. September, we share some observations from previous hiking cycles to guide your views.

2015-04-13 00:00:00 On My Radar: High Valuations = Low Forward Returns by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination. – Jimmy Dean”

2015-04-13 00:00:00 Global Economic Risks Remain but Appear to Be Diminishing by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Investors reacted to a range of data and news last week that included a further digesting of the relatively weak March jobs data, ongoing merger and acquisition news, signs of weakening corporate earnings and further evidence of upward pressure on wages. Amid all of the crosscurrents, U.S. equities finished higher, with the S&P 500 Index gaining 1.7%.1 Most international markets advanced as well, while Treasury yields and the U.S. dollar rose.1 Industrials, health care and energy stocks led the way while telecommunications, utilities and financials lagged.

2015-04-13 00:00:00 How Much Lower Can The 30-Year Treasury Yield Go? by Team of GaveKal Capital

Three weeks ago we mentioned how Fed assets were finally declining on a quarterly basis. Since then we h