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

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2014-11-27 Five Things To Ponder: Tryptophan Induced Coma by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

As we prepare for the annual food fest, and post-Thanksgiving tryptophan-induced food coma; I thought this weekend's reading list should be a bit of a smorgasbord of interesting topics to stimulate your brain cells between naps and football.

2014-11-27 Pick and Mix: Fresh Ideas for Diversifying Bond Exposure by John Taylor of AllianceBernstein

Policy backdrops and growth trajectories around the world are showing increasing signs of divergence. Yet many bond investors continue to congregate in a few selected pockets of the fixed income universe. In our view, it’s a perfect time to reconsider diversification tactics.

2014-11-27 Oil Price Won’t Stay Low Forever by Kevin Simms and Jeremy Taylor of AllianceBernstein

If US$80 oil is sustained for a year or more, we think the impact on investment will be significant and the seeds of a future spike in oil prices will have been sown. In our view, it’s only a matter of time before the market begins to recognize this—and starts to push up oil prices again.

2014-11-26 The Tortoise and the ECB by Harley Bassman of PIMCO

It is curious that the ECB continues to slumber while the eurozone’s trading partners move steadily ahead. While not a certainty, it seems highly unlikely that the ECB will indefinitely allow its main trading partners to competitively devalue versus the euro. And since there is no reason to reinvent the wheel, Europe’s policymakers will likely unveil a familiar-looking and expansive QE policy designed to accelerate asset velocity and, in turn, reflate their equity market.

2014-11-26 Median Household Income Down Last 15 Years - Why? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

One of the most puzzling questions in economics today is why did median household income peak in 1999 and has yet to recover? Most analysts cite the fact that we had two serious recessions in the space of a decade, including the financial crisis of 2008-2009.

2014-11-26 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

Someone observed recently that the holidays are starting late this year, as the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is shorter than usual. You could have fooled me; judging by store displays and TV advertising, the commercial side of the season is already two months old.

2014-11-26 With Oil and Gold Prices Depressed, Halliburton and Osisko Play Defense by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Digestion of the acquired company often takes a while, during which time the buyer tends to experience a short-term slowdown. Its stock typically falls because, among other reasons, it must pay a premium for the acquisition.

2014-11-26 Global Economic Perspective: November by Christopher Molumphy, Michael Materasso, Roger Bayston, Michael Hasenstab & John Beck of Franklin Templeton Investments

Steady improvements in US employment and relatively good economic growth figures mean that debate over when the US Federal Reserve (Fed) will begin to tighten policy continues to be the order of the day. US job growth increased at a fairly brisk pace in October, and numbers for the previous two months (already good) were revised higher. Since the start of 2014, US employers have added more than 220,000 workers on average each month, which should be sufficient to sustain economic momentum after an initial reading showed annualized gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 3.5% in the third quarter

2014-11-26 2014 U.S. Midterms: A Win for Stocks? by Zachary Karabell of Envestnet

With the 2014 U.S. midterm elections behind us, investors wonder what the political gridlock will mean for the markets. If we consider historical trends and recent earnings, we could actually see a prolonged bull equity market.

2014-11-25 Current Opportunities Built from Short-Term Headwinds by (Article)

As bottom-up stock pickers who pay close attention to risk and valuation, we often see negative headlines as an opportunity to reevaluate our holdings and build our exposure to companies with long-term value at attractive entry points. Portfolio Manager Lauren Romeo provides her perspective on macro headwinds and how they affect our investment approach.

2014-11-25 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.

2014-11-25 Gross versus Gundlach: Who Has More Skill? by Robert Huebscher (Article)

If rocket science has a counterpart in financial analysis, it is in the quantitative analytics from companies like Boston-based Northfield Information Services. Last week, I spoke with Dan di Bartolomeo, founder and CEO, to see if he could detect skill or luck among the two biggest fixed-income managers: Bill Gross, when he managed the PIMCO Total Return Fund (PTTRX), and Jeffrey Gundlach, manager of the DoubleLine Total Return Fund (DBLTX).

2014-11-25 The Dangers of Euphoria in Real Estate Investments by Keith Jurow (Article)

There is widespread consensus that the real estate crisis is over. Because of this complacency, wealth management firms and RIAs widely believe that you do not need to talk about risks at all.

2014-11-25 The Flaws in the Dollar Indices by Marianne Brunet (Article)

According to the most widely recognized data series, the value of the dollar has declined by approximately 20% over the last half century. Critics of federal policy claim this is proof of systematic "dollar debasement," engineered through quantitative easing and the Fed's mandate to maintain a baseline level of inflation. But that data series is incomplete, and once it is corrected, the 20% decline shrinks considerably.

2014-11-25 Five Steps to Networking Success by Dan Richards (Article)

Few things are more frustrating than when the time you spend networking with prospective clients produces no results. But I will share some good news: A few simple steps to rethink your expectations and change your approach will dramatically improve the outcome from networking activity.

2014-11-25 The Elusive Goal of Success by Daniel Solin (Article)

There's no shortage of information on the subject of success. The problem is defining what success means to you.

2014-11-25 How to Visually Illustrate the Fiduciary Obligation to Clients by Seaborn Hall (Article)

Industry and legal experts have described the fiduciary obligation as complex, simple, elusive, atomistic, and contradictory. It is like the parable of the six blind men describing the elephant: how you see it depends on your vantage point. Deriving a flexible, easily explained definition of the fiduciary obligation is a challenge.

2014-11-25 Aging Clients and Dementia by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We are worried a client of ours might be in the early stages of dementia. How do we address this issue sensitively and most effectively?

2014-11-25 Fed "Mystified" Why Millennials Still Live at Home; My Answer May Surprise You by Mike "Mish" Shedlock of Sitka Pacific

A New York Fed research paper wonders What’s Keeping Millennials at Home? Is it Debt, Jobs, or Housing?

2014-11-25 Active Investing: Opportunity in Gold by Tim Gramatovich of AdvisorShares

As active managers, we embrace both a top down and bottom up investment philosophy as we look for opportunities for investment. One such potential opportunity we are seeing from more of a top down, thematic approach is in gold.

2014-11-25 Why Can’t Investing Be as Simple as Going from Here to There? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

After traveling more than 20,000 miles over the last month, my mind is overflowing with strong impressions gained from my travels. The richness of the culture, the beauty of the lands, and the friendliness of the people in Australia and New Zealand cannot be overstated. As Americans, we tend to think of ourselves as the youngest kid on the block with a freshness and youthfulness that puts Europe’s stodginess to shame. Yet “down under” there is a land as big as the USA with a history half as long and economies just in the earliest stages of expansion.

2014-11-25 Real Estate is Having a Moment by Christopher Gannatti of WisdomTree

Looking at equity market, one theme this year is that the U.S. has been outperforming global markets, both developed international and emerging markets. However, looking within the U.S., real estate has performed particularly well.

2014-11-25 Reflections on the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Part 2 by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Last week, we began our two-part series on the fall of the Berlin Wall with an examination of the end of Marxism. In this report, we will examine the rest of the important consequences from the fall of the Berlin Wall. These are: the Collapse of the U.S.S.R., the Onset of the U.S. Unipolar Moment, and the Impact of German Unification. We will conclude our comments with potential market ramifications.

2014-11-25 Middle East/Africa: Regional Economic Review - Q3 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Despite continuing geopolitical tensions and subdued oil prices, the Middle East and Africa region had a largely positive third quarter. South Africa, the largest economy in this region, saw its labor problems diminish while Egypt reported a string of encouraging data, signaling that it is steadily recovering from a long phase of political and economic turbulence.

2014-11-25 Developed Europe: Regional Economic Review - Q3 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Developed Europe remained bogged down by deflationary conditions all through the third quarter. Annual inflation in the region’s 18-member single-currency bloc, the Euro-zone, slipped from 0.4 percent in July to 0.3 percent in September, its lowest level since October 2009.

2014-11-25 Where's Waldo Global Treasury Bond Style by Team of GaveKal Capital

In case some of our readers aren't familiar with the popular picture book/game series entitled Where's Waldo, here's a quick run down of how it works. Basically, the object is to find an inconspicuously dressed Waldo among a throng of people in endless settings ranging from a sports stadium to the Egyptian pyramids and everything in between. Finding Waldo isn't as easy as it sounds as he tends to blend in quite well with his surroundings.

2014-11-25 In Energy Revolution, Bond Investors Must Keep Their Heads by Ivan Rudolph-Shabinsky, Petter Stensland of AllianceBernstein

A surge in capital expenditures and leverage in the energy industry could end badly for some companies and their creditors. While select opportunities exist, we think bond investors should think carefully before they blindly bankroll today’s North American energy revolution.

2014-11-25 Jeremy Siegel - Fair Value for the S&P 500 is 2,300 by Robert Huebscher (Article)

During the post-financial crisis period, no person has been more accurate at forecasting U.S. equity market returns than Jeremy Siegel, the Russell E. Palmer Professor of Finance at the Wharton School. In this year's interview, he explains why the fair value of the S&P 500 is 11% higher than its valuation today.

2014-11-25 What is Artificial Pricing? by Bob Andres of Andres Capital Management

After the sharp plunge in U.S. 10-year Treasury yields on the morning of October 15, 2015, Bob sent us a few articles which blamed the quick v-shaped price movement on the new breed of algorithmic traders often referred to as High-Frequency Traders (HFTs). The robots were at it again. They were scraping headlines; focused on speed and execution; artificially pricing the Treasury market. A herd mentality amongst the machines was blamed to which Geoff replied, “Why doesn’t someone write an algorithm to arbitrage algorithmic trading, and what do these people mean by artificial pricing

2014-11-25 3 Things to Think About, Including the Disconnect between Data And Surveys by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Last Friday, I discussed the growing gap between economic reports particularly when they measure the same basic areas of the overall economy. For example, how can the Markit Manufacturing PMI Index be negative for three months while the ISM PMI has surged higher during the same period. Both cannot be right.

2014-11-25 Monetary Policy Outlook by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The minutes of the October 28-29 Federal Open Market Committee meeting suggested that there is still no consensus opinion among senior officials regarding when the Fed will begin raising short-term interest rates. There is strong agreement that monetary policy moves will be data-dependent.

2014-11-25 Thanksgiving Recipe by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Begin with a turkey “chilling” in a sink for a few hours. Mix in the Bank of Japan’s “shock and awe” announcement of a week ago. Add the U.S. unemployment claims that are at a 14-year low and stir well, include housing prices that are better by +6%, fold in the Leading Economic Indicators advancing by 7%, the ECB announcement by Draghi about a “bazooka” of Quantitative Easing (QE), and the Thanksgiving dinner result . . . new highs for equity prices!

2014-11-24 Finding Small-Cap Opportunities in Technology and Energy by (Article)

Despite the recent correction for small-caps, we have been finding compelling opportunities in those areas of the market not always discussed in the headlines. Portfolio Manager Jim Stoeffel sits down with Co-Chief Investment Officer Francis Gannon to talk about investment ideas that play on current trends but may be particularly interesting to value-oriented investors.

2014-11-24 On the Verge of Chaos by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

In this week’s letter we’re going to explore some of the ramifications of the currency war that Japan is precipitating. It is more than just Germany, Korea, and China having issues and needing to contemplate their own competitive devaluations. If the yen goes too far too fast, there will be geopolitical repercussions far beyond the obvious first-order connections.

2014-11-24 A Most Important Distinction by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Quantitative easing only “works” to the extent that default-free, low interest liquidity is viewed as an inferior holding. When investor psychology shifts toward increasing risk aversion – which we can reasonably measure through the uniformity or dispersion of market internals, the variation of credit spreads between risky and safe debt, and investor sponsorship as reflected in price-volume behavior – default-free, low interest liquidity is no longer considered inferior. It’s actually desirable, so creating more of the stuff is not supportive to stock prices.

2014-11-24 Experts Weigh In On Solving Retirement by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

There were a couple of very interesting retirement articles posted last week that are worth pointing out. The first on was from the LA Times and focused on research and comments on the research from Alicia Munnell from the Boston College Center for Retirement Research which, cutting to the chase, concludes most people will not have the retirement they hope for in financial terms.

2014-11-24 Japan Dips into Recession as “Japan, Inc.” Profits Set New Highs by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

When investors buy Japanese equities, they don’t really buy a slice of that economy; they buy shares in corporations that operate both in Japan and around the world. “Japan, Inc.” (i.e., Japanese corporations) is showing a profit picture that differs dramatically from the country’s economic growth rate.

2014-11-24 Supportive Outlook for Credit Conditions in Europe by John Pattullo (Article)

The market backdrop in Europe remains familiar; low economic growth, low inflation, relatively low defaults and volatility with the odd spike. This environment is attractive for corporate bond investing. Seasonals will soon start to kick in, helping credit markets to rally into Christmas and the early months of the new year. However, going forward bouts of volatility should be expected. This year alone there have been two volatility spikes; a 'valuation shakeout' in August and a 'position shakeout' in October. John Pattullo explains what lay behind each event.

2014-11-24 When 'Buy and Hold' Works, And When It Doesn't by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Imagine if you had invested in the S&P 500 in 1984 and held through the tech bubble and crash and then through the financial crisis and its recovery. How would you have done over those 30 years? As it turns out, very well. On a real basis (meaning, inflation-adjusted), your holdings would have appreciated by over 400%. A $100,000 investment in 1984 would now be worth more than $500,000.

2014-11-24 International Equity Commentary: October 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

International equity prices saw large price swings during the month of October as fears about slower global growth led to an appreciable decline during the first two weeks. Equity prices recovered subsequently as better than expected U.S. economic data helped allay global growth fears.

2014-11-24 Global Economic Overview: October 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Regional growth trends diverged further during the month of October as data from the U.S. and China were positive, while activity in the Euro-zone remained subdued. The U.S. economy expanded faster than expected during the third quarter, helped by higher government spending.

2014-11-24 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary: October 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices turned volatile during October as concerns about weak global growth and the impending close of bond purchases by the U.S. Federal Reserve unnerved investors. Still, some of the large emerging markets in Asia rebounded strongly during the second half of the month.

2014-11-24 Risk Parity: Comparing the Objections With Reality - Part 2 by Scott Wolle, Michael McHugh, David Gluch of Invesco Blog

As the use of risk parity has grown, so have criticisms against the approach. In this blog series, I look at objections I’ve heard about risk parity, and explain why we believe they do not apply to our risk-parity approach - the Invesco Balanced-Risk Allocation strategy.

2014-11-24 Time to Look at Long Credit? by Mohit Mittal of PIMCO

?Tactical decisions regarding the scaling of an LDI allocation cannot be based solely on Treasury market dynamics. Given recent underperformance of long credit relative to intermediate credit, LDI investors should consider increasing long credit exposure. A structured approach that combines rigorous top-down macroeconomic-analysis to take views on duration and credit sectors with equally thorough bottom-up credit research to identify companies where fundamentals are improving may deliver alpha that can help clients reduce their funding mismatch over time.

2014-11-24 Equities Benefit as U.S. Growth Solidifies by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

The dominant news story last week was President Obama’s announcement of new executive actions on immigration policy, but investors chose to look past any political risks and focused on the positives. Specifically, markets reacted well to signs that the European Central Bank would expand its monetary easing and to a surprise interest rate cut in China.

2014-11-24 You Thought QE Was Over? by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

A couple of weeks ago in the weekly newsletter I discussed the series of events behind the decline of the market in October and the subsequent surge.

2014-11-24 Let's Finally Fix The CBO by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

If they came back today, the Founders of the United States wouldn’t recognize the government they created 225 years ago. They put safeguards in place – separation of powers, a bicameral legislature and reserved powers for the states – to prevent it from growing so large.

2014-11-24 The Clock is Ticking in Switzerland by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

For most of my career in international investing, I had always placed a great deal of faith in Switzerland's financial markets. In recent years, however, as the Swiss government has sought to hitch its wagon to the flailing euro currency and kowtow increasingly to U.S.-based financial requirements, this faith has been shaken.

2014-11-23 China’s Monetary-Policy Surprise by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

In economic policy, as in most other areas, actions speak louder than words. By cutting its policy benchmark interest rates, the People’s Bank of China has underscored the tactical focus of Chinese government’s stabilization policy: it aims to set a floor of around 7% on GDP growth.

2014-11-23 Weighing the Week Ahead: Are Investors Too Complacent? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

There is no investment edge from repeating what you read in the morning paper. Here was my list – still worth watching: Geo-political that is not on the current radar – a true black swan. An increase in the PCE index that was not accompanied by strong economic growth. Wage increases that were not accompanied by strong economic growth. Declining profit margins that were not accompanied by strong economic growth and increased revenues. An increase in the chances for a business cycle peak (the official definition of a recession). Remote at this point. An increase in financial stress t

2014-11-22 Solar Energy Powers Record Silver Demand by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Silver demand in the fabrication of solar panels is set to outpace photography, if it hasn’t already done so.

2014-11-22 A Surprising Volatility Hedge by Heidi Richardson of BlackRock

Halloween has come and gone, but the bout of volatility in October is still haunting many investors.

2014-11-22 Rolling Along…For Now by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

We remain optimistic that US stocks will likely continue to move higher, but warn against getting overly complacent as a pullback is always a possibility. The US economy is improving, the Fed is erring on the side of dovishness, and both corporate and consumer confidence are growing. The fall in oil should be a net positive for the US and global economy, and we are in a traditionally seasonally positive time of the year for equities. Global economies remain weak, but we are seeing a glimmer of hope from stepped up responses from foreign central banks.

2014-11-22 2015 Is Shaping Up to Be a "Turkey" of a Year for the U.S. Economy and Stock Market by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian

As U.S. thin-air credit growth is on track to slow in 2015, thin-air credit growth in the eurozone and in Japan is likely to accelerate as the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan step up their QE programs. These foreign QE programs could indirectly stimulate U.S. exports. But the dominant factor affecting the U.S. economy in 2015 will be below-normal growth in U.S. thin-air credit. So, as you gather your family around you on Thursday, November 27, to give thanks for our bountiful 2014 economic harvest, bear in mind that next year’s harvest is likely to be a “turkey”

2014-11-22 A Tale of Two Worlds by Doug MacKay and Bill Hoover of Broadleaf Partners

We are in a Tale of Two Worlds. One world’s success is highly dependent on the outlook for oil and other commodities, while the other’s is far less exposed and perhaps even a beneficiary of a more bearish climate. Commodity dependent countries like Russia, Saudi Arabia, China and Australia are hurt by falling oil prices, weak global demand and new sources of supply, while the United States, with a far larger consumer driven economy, experiences an overall net benefit, as perhaps seen in earnings from the likes of Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Lowe’s in recent days.

2014-11-22 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Mixed fortunes drive the outlook for holiday spending; The Fed and Bank of England are working harder to achieve consensus; The dollar has a long way to strengthen before it impairs U.S. growth

2014-11-22 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Doug Short

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 133.2, up from the previous week's 132.0. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at -2.4, down from -2.9 the previous week. ECRI's latest public statements have focused on Japan. The website now features a November 17th response to the announcement of Japan's Fourth Recession Since 2008.

2014-11-21 Emerging Markets Opportunity Still Emerging by Burt White of LPL Financial

We believe emerging markets (EM) fundamental conditions are set for improvement in 2015, based on our outlooks for economic growth, earnings, and policy. Valuations are compelling and EM may be situated to recapture some of their relative losses from a technical perspective, particularly in Asian markets. However, somewhat mixed fundamental and technical pictures suggest a better opportunity may be forthcoming

2014-11-21 3 Things Worth Thinking About, Including the Message from Commodities by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Following the October swoon, stocks have vaulted to all-time highs. As I discussed previously in "Sentiment Is Off The Charts Bullish," there have only been few occasions where investors have felt so "giddy" about the financial markets. Such periods of exuberance have never ended well for investors as they were deluded by near-term "greed" which blinded them to the building risks.

2014-11-21 Gold Gets Physical by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

Its happening again – the gold cost of carry as defined by the one month gold forward rate has swung sharply into negative territory. This means that an investor is able to earn a positive carry from owning gold. This is unusual for gold markets and a relatively rare occurrence – the more common scenario is that because of the storage costs associated with gold, an investor would expect to have to pay a cost of carry to hold gold. Prior to the instance in July 2013, the last time that gold forward rates went negative was in November of 2008.

2014-11-21 If German Yields Break To New Lows, European Cyclicals Will Likely Follow by Team of GaveKal Capital

European cyclicals continue to be the weakest segment of developed global equity markets, and there doesn't appear to be much sign of that changing. We refer to the extremely strong relationship between German 10 year bond yields and the relative performance of European cyclical sectors.

2014-11-21 The Right Fit: Global Bonds and DC Plans by Alison Martier of AllianceBernstein

At a time when US defined contribution plans are seeking to control risk and enhance returns, hedged global bonds can improve outcomes for participants and sponsors. But how do plans incorporate global bonds in core menus and target-date funds?

2014-11-21 The Implications of Easing by Mark Mobius, Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments

Just as the US Federal Reserve (Fed) announced the conclusion of its long-running quantitative easing (QE) program, the Bank of Japan surprised markets by announcing the expansion of its own easing regime. Mark Mobius, Executive Chairman, Templeton Emerging Markets Group, and Michael Hasenstab, Chief Investment Officer, Global Bonds, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group®, weigh in on the implications of these central bank actions, as well as current European Central Bank (ECB) policy, and what they could mean for investors on both the equity and fixed income side.

2014-11-21 Is Your Portfolio Truly Diversified? by Eric Stein of Eaton Vance

In this Insight, Eric Stein, co-director of Eaton Vance Global Income Group, discusses the potential benefits of absolute return strategies, what they invest in and the role they can play in investor portfolios.

2014-11-21 Asia's Deepening Capital Markets by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

The drivers of economic growth, the region's small- and medium-sized enterprises, are finally gaining access to capital through alternative funding sources outside of just banks. Retail investors are accessing increasingly diverse products in which to store their savings and build wealth. Institutions are demanding long-dated assets to match their liabilities? Are we finally seeing more stable local demand in Asia's local capital markets?

2014-11-21 Still A Winning Hand by Scott Mather, Mark Kiesel, Mihir Worah of PIMCO

The U.S. is finally enjoying a self-sustaining economic recovery, but slow global growth remains a concern and financial markets are bouncing up and down by the day. So what exactly does this U.S. recovery mean for investors?

2014-11-21 Falling Gas Prices Fuel Holiday Cheer by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Rising equities and falling prices at the pump will bring holiday cheer, but be aware of potential headwinds as we head into 2015.

2014-11-20 Buyer Beware: Nowhere To Hide by John Del Vecchio of AdvisorShares

The price/sales ratio is often used as a valuation metric in the place of earnings because of the common belief that revenues are harder to manipulate than earnings. In my book, What’s Behind the Numbers? (McGraw-Hill, 2012), I debunk that theory and outline many ways that management teams can aggressively manage the top-line. Nevertheless, the price/sales ratio is useful because there are fewer inputs, such as reserves, tax issues, share buybacks, and recurring charges, than earnings that can be used to manage the reported results.

2014-11-20 Outlook 2015: European Equities by Rory Bateman of Schroders Investment Management

Monetary policy remains loose in Europe but governments could do more to boost demand. Meanwhile, the weaker euro and stronger banking sector should help support European equities in the coming year.

2014-11-20 The Abenomics Death Spiral by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

As Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe has turned his country into a petri dish of Keynesian ideas, the trajectory of Japan’s economy has much to teach us about the wisdom of those policies. And although the warning sirens are blasting at the highest volumes imaginable, few economists can hear the alarm.

2014-11-20 Will $2.50 Gasoline Catalyze U.S. Consumer Stocks? by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

A great deal has been written about how lower gasoline prices could stimulate discretionary purchases in the United States. RBOB gasoline futures peaked on June 20, 2014 at $3.12 per gallon and closed on November the 14th at $2.04. Those in the bearish camp like Randall Forsyth at Barron’s argue that lower oil and gas prices will negate and ruin the economic benefit of the oil boom.

2014-11-20 Hiring Good Managers Is Hard? Ha! Try Keeping Them by John West, Amie Ko of Research Affiliates

Because the likelihood of hiring equity managers who will outperform the market is remote, it is sensible for investors to monitor their actively managed funds. But placing underperforming managers "on watch" might not be the best policy.

2014-11-20 Japanese Recession and the Referendum on Abenomics by Team of Northern Trust

Early this week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that he will delay to April 2017 from October 2015 the next phase of his country’s consumption tax hike. In addition, he dissolved the lower house of Parliament and announced that elections will be held on December 14.

2014-11-20 Flows Potential: Fund Managers Remain Under-Weight Japan by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

The recent bout of aggressive monetary policy easing by the Bank of Japan (BOJ), combined with the direct purchases of equities by the Japanese Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), has brought on a new period of positive sentiment toward Japanese equities.

2014-11-20 The "Other" Problem for Bond Investors by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

For a while now, my firm and I have been devout in alerting our clients and blog subscribers to the issues that will confront them as investors if/when the more than three decades of generally falling U.S. interest rates reverses itself. But what if they don’t rise much for a while, and instead stay around where they are?

2014-11-20 The U.S. Labor Market - Show Me the Money by Marie Schofield of Columbia Management

The U.S. labor market data has improved in the last six months now that many measures have reached cyclical highs. For the Federal Reserve though, this is not enough. They want to see this data feed through to a broader rise in incomes and wages, and ultimately spending. This will be necessary to bend the economic trajectory toward sustainably higher growth.

2014-11-20 Muni CEFs Featuring John Cole Scott by (Article)

After last year’s difficulties, closed-end funds with municipal bonds now appear relatively attractive for discount-seeking investors, says John Cole Scott of CEF Advisors.

2014-11-19 U.S. Congress: 10 Post-Election Moves to Watch by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Amid the big changes in the U.S. capital, here are the potential legislative actions that could influence financial markets.

2014-11-19 A Yield Play Without Any Yield? by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

On Friday a recently launched IPO fell about 15% on an earnings report that was poorly received by markets leaving the stock down 39% since its first day of trading in June. Naming names becomes difficult for compliance reasons but as a hint it is an infrastructure name and you would probably need to read the name two or three times to figure out the word.

2014-11-19 Global Economy Worsening, But America is on Top by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

With President Obama making controversial moves on several fronts this month, it is tempting to go all politics this week. The president is threatening to grant defacto amnesty to five or six million illegal aliens, via Executive Order, even though he knows this is unpopular among the American people. It’s as if he’s in full denial regarding the landslide midterm election results.

2014-11-19 Next 12 Month Sales Estimates For MSCI North America Lowest Since 2009 by Team of GaveKal Capital

Last week we looked at how sales growth estimates for the next fiscal year are now negative for five of the 10 MSCI World Index sectors. Today, we are again looking at estimates but this time from a forward 12-month perspective. Sales for the MSCI World Index are only expected to grow by 3% over the next 12 months according to estimates (blue line below). This is about 2% lower than expected in July. EPS for the MSCI World Index are expected to grow by 9% over the next 12 months which is about 1.5% lower than expected in July.

2014-11-19 Indonesian Optimism by Tek Khoan Ong of Franklin Templeton Investments

Southeast Asia represents one of the fastest-growing regions in the world today, and is one that we are excited about as investors. The Templeton Emerging Markets Group held our semiannual analyst conference in Jakarta in September, and one of the key reasons for choosing that location was to observe and discuss the changes and challenges on the ground with the new regime of President Joko Widodo. I’ve invited my colleague Tek Khoan Ong to pen some thoughts on the outlook and investment opportunities in Indonesia today.

2014-11-19 Ben Bernanke: Too Big to Fail by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

I shared the stage at Schwab’s IMPACT conference recently with former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke (a goose-bumpy experience). He was remarkably funny; but also firm in his views about the merits of the Fed’s extraordinary efforts to stem the tide of the financial crisis. Notably, he strongly pushed back on the notion that QE is an inflation accident waiting to happen.

2014-11-19 Credit Markets Signaling Near-Term Caution by Chris Puplava of PFS Group

Since the S&P 500 bottomed at 1820 on October 15th, it is up roughly 12.5% and has seen only 6 down days in the last month. According to trading desks, steady growth in the U.S. and China, better-than-feared European economic data, and accommodative global central banks are the main causes for driving the market higher. Other bullish supports are an increase in foreign buying of U.S. equities and corporate buybacks.

2014-11-19 Examining the Divergence between Equities and Credit by Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

Over the last year, U.S. equities rallied, and credit spread generally tightened. However, in recent months, this winning formula has started to diverge. Concerns about global growth, potential changes in monetary policy and uncertainty from geopolitical risk weighed on investor sentiment.

2014-11-19 A Mixed Bag, But Optimistic on the Consumer by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Inflation-adjusted consumer spending growth, 70% of Gross Domestic Product, rose at a lackluster 1.8% annual rate in the advance estimate for 3Q14. That figure is likely to be revised higher, but the pace is expected to remain disappointing relative to job growth (this year, we are on track to post the largest increase in jobs since 2005). The main restraint on spending appears to be the weak trend in average wages. Until the job market tightens a lot more, we’re unlikely to see a significant pickup in wage growth.

2014-11-19 Crude Oil? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

“Integrity,” Webster’s dictionary defines it as, “The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.” Recently the voters of America sent the D.C. crowd a message that they want “integrity” back in government. Consequently, I viewed the midterm election as a “turning point.” And, a turning point approaches on December 21st of this year. That’s when the Winter Solstice arrives.

2014-11-19 Investment Implications for UK DC Schemes in Light of Tax and Regulatory Changes by William Allport of PIMCO

With greater flexibility and choices available to DC savers in the latter stages of their career, we believe DC schemes need to reconsider their traditional pre-retirement approach to providing low-risk, income-orientated and pre-retirement investment portfolios. The primary immediate challenge for UK DC schemes is navigating the need for capital stability versus a portfolio that can generate a sustainable income stream for DC savers in retirement.

2014-11-18 Why the Way You Work Destroys Productivity by Dan Richards (Article)

Research from brain science has highlighted four ways that our work routines sabotage productivity and identified four ways to increase our efficiency and effectiveness.

2014-11-18 A Touching Way to Increase AUM by Daniel Solin (Article)

Nonverbal signals play a bigger role than you think in increasing your AUM. What you wear, your body language and "touching" have a meaningful impact on how prospects perceive you - within seconds of initial contact.

2014-11-18 A Process to Get Things Done! by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Our firm has many new projects underway. Our owner expects us to finish everything quickly while still managing client accounts. How do we communicate that we are working hard and take these projects seriously but that we can't do everything at once?

2014-11-18 Deflation Fears Are A Distraction by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

No matter what happens these days, deep fears, driven by breathless newscasters, take things to the extreme. As a result, slight gains in inflation create forecasts of “hyper-inflation,” while slowing or low inflation leads to fears of “deflation.”

2014-11-18 Creativity, Corporatism, and Crowds by Robert Shiller of Project Syndicate

Ultimately, economic progress depends not on saving and the accumulation of capital, but on creativity. That is why fear of “secular stagnation” in today’s advanced economies has many wondering how creativity can be spurred.

2014-11-18 Has Europe’s Recovery Story Turned Back a Page? by Heather Arnold of Franklin Templeton Investments

The European economy at large had been moving forward in the wake of the 2007­–2009 global financial crisis and subsequent sovereign debt crisis, spurred by European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi’s pledge to do “whatever it takes” to save the euro in 2012 and the implementation of austerity measures in the eurozone periphery. In recent months, the recovery seemed to have stalled, with some countries, including the eurozone’s engine of growth- Germany - flirting with recession.

2014-11-18 Tinkering with the Core Bond Recipe by Alison Martier of AllianceBernstein

This is the time of year when, in almost every American household, the tinkerer in the family eyes the recipe box. Certain venerable traditions will make it to the Thanksgiving table intact. A cousin or an in-law is sure to bring an entirely new dish. And some traditional plates could use some freshening up. That’s the case with core fixed income.

2014-11-18 Is This Purgatory, Or Is It Hell? by Ben Inker of GMO

GMO is often accused of being a “glass half empty” investor, and I admit that in a year that has seen the S&P 500 rise 8.3%, MSCI All-Country World rise 3.7%, and the Barclays U.S. Aggregate rise 4.1% through the third quarter, the words “Purgatory” and “Hell” are unlikely to come to mind to most investors when opening their brokerage statements. It has been a dull year, perhaps, but certainly not a hellish one. So what is bringing Danteesque visions of damnation into our slightly warped minds?

2014-11-18 Bubble Watch Update by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

As you may remember, the January Rule serves as a kind of barometer for the behavior of the market in the coming year. Historically, when January was down, the rest of the year had over twice the declines than one would expect randomly, far more mediocre months, and a very sub average return. But it is far from perfect and it had the unusual problem this year of bumping into the positive signal from the Presidential third year, which started for us on October 1.

2014-11-18 The Beginning of the End of the Fossil Fuel Revolution (From Golden Goose to Cooked Goose) by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

The quality of modern life owes almost everything to the existence of fossil fuels, a massive store of dense energy that for 200 years had become steadily cheaper as a fraction of income. Under that stimulus, the global economy grew ever larger, more complex, more inter-related and, I believe, more fragile. Then around the year 2000 the costs of finding oil start to rise at over 10% a year, and with the global economy growing at only 4% oil starts to fall behind in affordability.

2014-11-18 Putin’s World: Why Russia’s Showdown with the West Will Worsen by Vitaliy Katsenelson of Investment Management Associates

I grew up hating America. I lived in the Soviet Union and was a child of the cold war. That hate went away in 1989, though, when the Berlin Wall fell and the cold war ended. By the time I left Russia in 1991, the year the Soviet Union collapsed, America was a country that Russians looked up to and wanted to emulate. Twenty-three years later, a new version of cold war is back, though we Americans haven't realized it yet

2014-11-18 How AQR's New Fund Adds Value - An Alternative Approach to Alternatives: Investing with Style by Larry Swedroe (Article)

The conventional justification for alternative investments has been their ability to effectively diversify against core equity and fixed-income allocations. But, in many cases, the empirical data doesn't support that view. A new fund provides a different way to obtain returns from sources that have low to negative correlation to stocks and bonds, as well as each other - an alternative to alternative investment vehicles.

2014-11-18 Why the Risk-Reduction Benefits of Bond Ladders Have Been Overstated by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Proponents of bond ladders argue that they will significantly improve the security of financial plans. Others contend that the risk reduction benefits are merely a mirage. I side with the latter view and will explain why.

2014-11-17 The Hypocritical Assertions of CFP Lobbyists CFP Lobbying Organization Calls Out RIAs by John H. Robinson (Article)

Recently released research from the Financial Planning Coalition is likely generating the desired attention its media-savvy crafters intended, but an informed reading of the materials reveals a campaign that is at odds with the ethical preaching of its three member organizations.

2014-11-17 Capital Allocation and Risk Management by (Article)

Companies with little or no debt on their balance sheets can focus on capital allocation decisions that help the business to grow and/or return free cash back to shareholders. Especially during uncertain periods, a low-debt balance sheet also helps us to assess risk, which is crucial in the small-cap universe, where companies are often fragile.

2014-11-17 Navigating the Credit Markets by Bob Andres of Andres Capital Management

Both the corporate and municipal bond markets continue to be shrouded in decades old business practices, provincial in nature and unfamiliar to many independent advisors and retail investors.

2014-11-17 Tracking the Market with Social Media by Blair Jensen of Trade Followers

The Trade Followers Twitter Momentum indicator for the S&P 500 Index (SPX) continued to drift this week as the market posted a small gain. It is attempting to turn down, but lack of confidence from the bears on Twitter is holding 7 day momentum up. The StockTwits indicator moved up into what is normally an overbought condition that has caused the market to pause in the past. Both streams are indicating that we should see some consolidation or sideways movement over the next week.

2014-11-17 When Will Value Come Back Into Favor? by Will Nasgovitz, Ted Baszler, Dave Fondrie of Heartland Advisors

An investment style may be inherently biased toward one part of a market cycle. Understanding that fact can help investors stay the course when faced with superficially inferior results during an unfavorable portion of the cycle.

2014-11-17 These Go to Eleven by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

We have entered an environment in which extraordinarily thin risk premiums have been joined in recent weeks by a subtle shift toward increasing risk aversion. Present conditions couple every essential component of historically extreme and vulnerable market environments. The market has been dodging boomerangs, not bullets, and they are likely to come back harder for it.

2014-11-17 On My Radar: Stocks Remain Richly Valued by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Shortly after each month end (after the most recent reported earnings numbers are posted), I like to run through a few of my favorite valuation charts to gauge level, asses risk and to get a sense for what the probable forward return may be. Fortunately, there is a great deal of historical data that can help us.

2014-11-17 Risk Parity: Comparing the Objections With Reality – Part 1 by Scott Wolle, Michael McHugh, David Gluch of Invesco Blog

Over the last several years, risk parity has gained prominence as a general asset allocation approach as well as a specific strategy. Rising adoption rates of the approach have invited scrutiny from both practitioners and academics. We agree with some of the challenges identified by critics and have addressed them over time through our research agenda. Others, however, either do not apply to our version of risk parity or, at least to our knowledge, the approach in general.

2014-11-17 U.S. Economy: The Disconnect between Reality and Perception by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

American sentiment remains weak despite encouraging improvement in economic fundamentals. We think sluggish growth in wages plays a major part in keeping optimism at bay.

2014-11-17 Economic Data Continues to Impress, Driving Equities Higher by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Once again, a combination of solid economic data, decent earnings results and receding fears of global deflation pushed stock prices higher. The S&P 500 Index rose for a fourth consecutive week, gaining 0.4%. The telecommunications and technology sectors showed particular strength while utilities and energy lagged.

2014-11-17 Morningstar Responds to Our Analysis of its Ratings by Jon Hale (Article)

Morningstar's director of manager research responds to Robert Huebscher's article, A First Look at Morningstar's Analyst Ratings, which appeared last week.

2014-11-16 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

SPX, DJIA and RUT ended the week nearly unchanged from last week. NDX, which was unchanged last week, gained 1.5%. It's hard to say trend is not bullish: SPX, DJIA and NDX all made new highs intra-week; RUT briefly traded above its early September high before closing lower.

2014-11-16 Weighing the Week Ahead: Time to Buy Commodities? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

It may not be the exact bottom for energy stocks, but they are among the cheapest on a P/E basis. There is a lot of bad future news in current commodity prices, so the risk/reward balance has shifted. Many seem to start with the commodity prices and infer future economic weakness. This method is unreliable with a lot of false signals. I prefer to begin with economic data and then find the most attractive stocks. I provide more detail in Circular Reasoning about Commodities, including why I favor ESV and FCX.

2014-11-15 Reality Check by Bob Rodriquez of FPA Funds

As many of you know, and for those of you who don’t, I’ve been a harsh critic of the fiscal and monetary policies that have been deployed these past several years. Since returning from my 2010 sabbatical in 2011, I’ve been very cautious about capital deployment, as many of my successors will confirm. In light of the stock market’s astounding rise since 2009 and five years of near zero short-term rates, I’ve reassessed and challenged my basic fundamental understanding of how the financial markets operate.

2014-11-15 U.S. Economy: The Disconnect between Reality and Perception by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

American sentiment remains weak despite encouraging improvement in economic fundamentals. We think sluggish growth in wages plays a major part in keeping optimism at bay.

2014-11-15 Explore and Discover the Winners When Gas Prices Fall by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil for December delivery is currently priced at $75 per barrel, Brent for January delivery at $78 per barrel. Many investors, publications and news sources focus only on the drawbacks to falling oil and gas prices-don't get me wrong, there are many-but today we're going to give the spotlight to the biggest winners and beneficiaries.

2014-11-15 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Falling oil prices produce gain... and pain; Brazil's post-election challenges; The Fed may seek to overshoot its inflation target

2014-11-15 Volatility and “Risk” by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

Volatility has seemed to be the trend in markets over the past couple months. It was just a few weeks ago that we saw equity markets getting crushed, only to roar back and actually finish up for the month of October and back near all-time highs. It makes no sense to us that investors have no problem dealing with volatility in stocks, “investing for the long run,” as the stock market has historically gone up, but with the high yield asset class, we often see the “risk on” or “risk off” mentality, meaning investors think they should either be fully invested

2014-11-15 Where You Finish Could Depend on Where You Start by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

It helps to be aware of the many possible outcomes and adjust your strategy to sync with the current record price highs in this popular market benchmark. Doing so can help you be more successful, regardless of what the next five years may bring. In this sense, it is not where you finish, its where you start.

2014-11-15 Hard to Hit Two Targets at Once: The ECB ABS Asset Purchase Programme by Felix Blomenkamp of PIMCO

We believe that reviving the asset-backed securities (ABS) market is a better near-term goal, and the primary target of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) buying programme should be the new issuance market. Sizeable purchases by the ECB in the European ABS market carry the possible risks of crowding out established investors and suppressing interest in this asset class. By not crowding out existing investors while making the asset class more attractive to issuers and investors alike, the ECB has an opportunity to reach its ultimate goal to spur lending.

2014-11-14 High-Yield Bonds & Oil Prices by Team of LPL Financial

The decline in oil prices and its impact on the high-yield market has been cited as a concern for investors. This week we stay on the topic of high-yield bonds and take a closer look at the potential impact of oil prices on the high-yield bond market and whether recent concerns are justified.

2014-11-14 Investment Update – October 2014 by James Klein of Meritage Portfolio Management

Coming off a strong second quarter, stocks turned in a mixed performance for the three months ending September 30. The fundamental backdrop for stocks remained relatively stable, with interest rates drifting slightly lower and generally supportive news flow around corporate earnings, economic growth, inflation and Fed policy. While this familiar combination of factors has been hospitable for stocks, this past quarter reflected a growing unease about the prospects of further upside.

2014-11-14 Contemplating Stocks without QE by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Some influences on the stock market are casual, subtle or open to interpretation, but the catalyst behind the current stock market rally really shouldn't be controversial. As far as stocks go, we have lived by QE. The only question now is, whether we will die without it.

2014-11-14 Global Investing: Are Foreign Stocks Attractive? by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

One of today’s most glaring inter-market divergences is the relative performance of US versus non-US equities. For dollar-based investors, non-US stocks have underperformed US stocks by a whopping 40% over the past five years. But are foreign stocks attractive at current prices? And if so, how much of my portfolio should I allocate abroad?

2014-11-14 Mean-Reverting Profits and Other Things Worth Thinking About by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Earlier this week I discussed the growing detachment between the stock market and the "real" underlying economy. One of the areas I touched on was corporate earnings that have been elevated by an immense amount of accounting gimmackry, cost cutting, and productivity increases. The problem, as I stated, is that historically earnings have grown 6% peak-to-peak before a reversion. Notice, I said peak-to-peak. The issue is that the majority of analysts now estimate that earnings will rise unabated for the next five years.

2014-11-14 How the Long Bond Stole the Trophy by Gibson Smith of Janus Capital Group

The aggressive bet many investors made on long-end rates in 2014 was the equivalent of betting on a Hail Mary pass to win the game. It has been rewarding, but is it repeatable? Probably not. Janus Fixed Income CIO Gibson Smith reflects on why he believes consistency beats the long shot, in sports and in investing.

2014-11-14 Tired of Being Scared Yet? by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Bull markets are based on climbing the proverbial “wall of worry”, and this cycle has been no different. We have consistently argued over the past five years that the current bull market could be one of the biggest of our careers. Both investors and corporations continue to act conservatively because of the uncertainty caused by a litany of issues. Uncertainty is typically the engine of bull markets.

2014-11-14 Bad #Deflation by Keith McCullough of Hedgeye Risk Management

Obviously times, technologies, and mostly everything other than the Old Wall have changed. But the very basic difference between what I’ll call good vs. bad #deflation has not.

2014-11-13 The October Employment Report by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The headline figures from the September jobs report were better than expected. However, the details were more consistent with moderate growth and a continued high degree of slack. Fed officials aren’t going to jump to any conclusions.

2014-11-13 Dash Dash...Dot Dot by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

“Dash, Dash ... Dot, Dot” is all about Morse Code where the “dash” is three times the duration of the “dot.” According to Wikipedia, “Each character (letter or numeral) is represented by a unique sequence of dots and dashes. Each dot or dash is followed by a short silence, equal to the dot duration.

2014-11-13 Municipal Market Perspectives by Team of SMC Fixed Income Management

The most surprising and impressive asset class performance has been generated by long-term municipal bonds. Most pundits were calling for negative market performance again this year following the sharp 2013 sell-off; no one we know of (ourselves included) foresaw the stellar returns achieved through the year’s first ten months.

2014-11-13 "Late Cycle" Markets by Jim Tillar, Steve Wenstrup of Tillar-Wenstrup

Late in the summer we sold several fully valued stock positions and kept the proceeds in cash. We had trouble finding attractively valued alternatives, were alarmed about the falling prices in everything except large capitalization US stocks, and worried about the high degree of optimism in the stock market.

2014-11-13 Portfolio Effects of Holding Gold in Yen Terms by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

Last week in “Gold in Yen – Calm in the Eye if the Storm” we focused on the factors behind the significant outperformance of gold priced in yen versus gold priced in dollars, identifying the strength of the dollar as the primary factor pushing down the price of gold in dollars. While on the currency side, the strength of dollar resulted in significant weakness in the YEN/USD FX rate.

2014-11-13 The ETF Trader Interview Series: Ken Dolan, Jefferies & Company by David Abner of WisdomTree

In this edition, Dave Abner, Head of Capital Markets at WisdomTree, speaks with Ken Dolan, Senior Vice President on the ETF trading desk at Jefferies & Company, Inc. Ken joined the desk in 2011 after spending nine years at LaBranche & Co. as a Managing Director and Head of ETF Trading. In addition to his ETF trading experience, Ken has nine years of trading experience across equities, fixed income and emerging markets at Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and Lehman Brothers. He received a BS from Providence College and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

2014-11-12 Oil Prices: Good News by the Barrel by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Ignore the pessimists. Declining petroleum prices likely will give an overall boost to the U.S. economy.

2014-11-12 Our Investment Beliefs by Chris Brightman, Jonathan Treussard, Jim Masturzo of Research Affiliates

The public launch of Research Affiliates’ interactive Asset Allocation website this month gives us an opportunity to describe the investment beliefs underlying our models, expected returns, and investment strategies. To be clear, our beliefs are constructs that help us make sense of the capital markets.

2014-11-12 Ramifications of Republican Romp by Robert McConnaughey of Columbia Management

In our recent midterm election preview, we said that Republicans were likely to gain control of the Senate in a close contest; we also laid out some possible implications of such a win. As it turns out, we did not give the Republican momentum enough credit, as election night turned out to be a clear victory for the GOP across the board.

2014-11-12 Four Questions on Investors’ Minds Today by Chris Engelman of Cedar Hill Associates

From the strengthening U.S. dollar to Bill Gross’ departure from Pimco, a few common questions have been coming up in Cedar Hill’s meetings with clients during the past few months. In this article, Managing Director Chris Engelman shares the firm’s thoughts on these timely issues.

2014-11-12 Retirement Saving Crisis is Worse Than We Thought by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Each year Wells Fargo & Company conducts a survey of middle-class Americans of various ages to see how they are faring with saving for retirement. The results of the 2014 survey were just made public late last month. I will summarize them for you below. Let me warn you in advance – they are not pretty!

2014-11-12 When Oil Prices Dip, Unexpected Winners Emerge by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

A stronger dollar is one of the reasons that oil prices are low, which serves many energy-importing economies in Asia while weighing on large oil-producing nations.

2014-11-12 Is Levering Bonds a Loser’s Game Today? by Michael DePalma, Arnab Nilim of AllianceBernstein

Multi-asset strategies like risk parity owe much of their popularity to their ability to navigate the global financial crisis. Lately, critics have cited levered bond returns as the driver—and as a looming headwind. We think they’re missing a key point.

2014-11-12 October’s Market Ups and Downs Put Into Perspective by Ed Perks, Don Taylor, Peter Langerman of Franklin Templeton Investments

Global equity markets went on a rollercoaster ride in October, although given the cauldron of global issues that were brewing for some time and the month’s history of big moves, it shouldn’t be all that shocking many investors got spooked. While much of the media focused on the short-term panic, long-term investors used such pullbacks to search for bargains.

2014-11-12 4Q Tax Selling Featuring Ken Fincher by (Article)

Seasonal “tax selling” may present opportunity to closed-end fund investors looking for potential bargains, says Ken Fincher of First Trust Advisors.

2014-11-11 A First Look at Morningstar's Analyst Ratings by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Overwhelming academic evidence documents the difficulty in distinguishing skill from luck among actively managed mutual funds. Despite this fact, many vendors have attempted to identify those that will beat their benchmarks and deliver excess risk-adjusted returns. Noteworthy among those vendors is Morningstar, which offers forward-looking "analyst ratings." We've evaluated the predictive ability of the first vintage of those ratings, which were published three years ago.

2014-11-11 Why Jeremy Grantham is Right about Corporate Profit Margins by Baijnath Ramraika, CFA® and Prashant Trivedi, CFA® (Article)

As U.S. corporate profit margins have made it to record highs, a debate has raged between those who place their hopes on a new paradigm of sustained high profits and those who believe in capitalism's efficiency and the tendency of margins to revert to the mean. We show that an often-cited explanation for the new paradigm - that the U.S. economy is more service-focused - lacks empirical support.

2014-11-11 How to Get Clients to Open Your Emails by Dan Richards (Article)

It's imperative that your clients and prospects open and read your e-mails. But with escalating volumes, people are drowning in email, leading to steep declines in open rates and readerships. Here's the latest research on how to get your email read.

2014-11-11 Use Oxytocin to Gather More AUM by Daniel Solin (Article)

While competency is critical to your success, understanding how prospects make decisions is more important. Understanding the role of a chemical compound produced by your brain - oxytocin - will give you a tool to emotionally connect with prospects.

2014-11-11 Nine Tips for Great Performance Reviews by Andrea Schlapia (Article)

Here are nine actions managers can take to encourage and motivate employees during performance reviews.

2014-11-11 Qualifying Made Easier by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I have so many leads that sometimes I can't manage them all in one day. My biggest problem is that when I do follow up and generate interest, only a small portion open an account. Where am I making a mistake?

2014-11-11 The Last Argument of Central Banks by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

In this week’s letter I have for you a brief essay on the topic of deflation. Depending on your view, you might find some of my thoughts controversial, but I will try to make my case clear, at least. Please note this is the 30,000-foot view and is nowhere close to definitive.

2014-11-11 Early Freeze Could Derail Economic Growth Forecasts by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

This past August I discussed the potential for the market to rise to 2100 along with "5-risks" to that forecast. One of those risks related to the "Polar Vortex" that shut down economic activity across much of the northern part of the economy.

2014-11-11 One year in: I’m doubling down on investment discipline by Jeff Hussey of Russell Investments

Since assuming the role of Global CIO here at Russell Investments one year ago, I have been met by one inescapable truth again and again: Discipline matters!

2014-11-11 Capital Raising in the MLP Sector Remains Active by David Chiaro of Eagle Global Advisors

We continue to see evidence that underpins our long term positive outlook on MLPs and midstream energy infrastructure companies. The need for new midstream infrastructure remains significant and announcements of large projects continue to be made. New export markets for U.S. hydrocarbons continue to develop and offer new profit opportunities for MLPs.

2014-11-11 The Continuation of QE by Bob Andres of Andres Capital Management

October 30, 2014 ended the third and final round of Quantitative Easing. Right? The announcement was couched in a hyperlinked document at the end of the FOMC statement. Those who made it through the statement and still felt like reading, realized that the end of QE was not as finalized as one may have expected.

2014-11-11 The Return of the Dollar by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

The recent dollar rally, the result of genuine economic progress and divergent policy developments, could contribute to the “rebalancing” that has long eluded the global economy. But that outcome is far from guaranteed.

2014-11-11 Switzerland: Vote Yes on Gold Initiative by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

On November 30th, the Swiss are voting whether to amend their country’s constitution on an initiative entitled ‘Save our Swiss Gold.’ The Swiss gold initiative appears widely misunderstood, both inside and outside of Switzerland. We discuss implications for gold, the Swiss franc and Switzerland as a whole.

2014-11-11 Factors: An Essential Part of Any Nutritious Portfolio by Adam Butler, Mike Philbrick, Rodrigo Gordillo of Dundee Goodman Private Wealth

We recently posted a piece on factor investing so we were thrilled to have an opportunity to see Dr. Andrew Ang and Don Raymond discuss factor investing at a seminar in Toronto last week.

2014-11-11 The Opportunity in Japan is Not Over by Christopher Gannatti, of WisdomTree

We believe that the ultimate success of Abenomics will be judged over a period of multiple years, and while certain actions—especially those from the Bank of Japan—have been significant, others, like structural “third arrow” reforms, will take time.

2014-11-11 The 5 E’s for Equity Investors by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

As we move closer to the end of 2014, there are some key considerations that will wield significant influence over the stock market, writes Kristina Hooper.

2014-11-10 Maintaining a Consistent Portfolio Approach by (Article)

Maintaining a consistent portfolio approach—even during times when our style of investing may fall out of favor with the market—is a critical element of the Royce philosophy.

2014-11-10 Countering Three Investor Biases by Shundrawn Thomas, Head of Funds and Managed Accounts, Northern Trust Asset Management (Article)

Shundrawn Thomas discusses strategies to counter common investor biases around concentration of risk, compensation for risk, and explicit versus implicit costs.

2014-11-10 Buyer Beware: Jobs? WHAT Jobs?! by John Del Vecchio of AdvisorShares

While many market observers debate whether quantitative easing (QE) “worked” the general consensus appears to be that the lower unemployment rate is a positive result of the Federal Reserve’s policies. Recently the unemployment rate hit 5.9%, the lowest since 2008. However, in our view, that is highly misleading with respect to the effectiveness of QE. The chart below shows the labor force participation rate as well as the percentage of people employed relative to the population.

2014-11-10 Dollar, China and Brazil In The Short Or Medium Term by Sebastiao Buck Tocalino of SBTCapital Clube de Investimento

The Dollar Index is approaching two important and converging barriers for its recent uptrend. The Shanghai Composite Index is also bordering the top of its channel. Brazil lost a good chance at recent elections to recycle its unsuccessful policies and government. But technical analysis may show some relief for optimism in Brazilian stocks and the EWZ ETF.

2014-11-10 Eurozone 2015 Economic & Capital Market Outlook by Gregory Hahn, Marco Carvajal of Winthrop Capital Management

Five years after the financial crisis, the Eurozone is facing major challenges in restoring economic growth. The Eurozone is faced with numerous structural problems, high unemployment, excess capacity, stagnant wages, slow banking reform, declining manufacturing, low level of capital investment and the uncertainty of Russian foreign policy. The result is that member countries are struggling to comply with the original terms of the European Union and running budget deficits in order to stimulate growth within their countries.

2014-11-10 Ebola and Inequality by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

The Ebola crisis reminds us, once again, of the downside of globalization. And, though governments may not do a perfect job in addressing such crises, one of the reasons that they have not done as well as we would hope is that we have underfunded the relevant agencies at the national and global level.

2014-11-10 Change Is In The Air by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

While many flay away, trying to figure out the meaning of last week’s GOP wave election, it seems simple. The government has tried for more than five years to turn a Plow Horse economy into a Race Horse, and failed. Yes, the economy is growing and creating jobs, but living standards are growing slowly, or not at all, for many.

2014-11-10 Tracking the Market with Social Media by Blair Jensen of Trade Followers

The Trade Followers Momentum indicator for the S&P 500 Index (SPX) has been drifting sideways over the past few weeks. This drift comes near levels that have often meant some consolidation in price is warranted. However, traders on Twitter are now tweeting higher price targets. This gives the market a chance to drift to the 2040 or 2050 area while 7 day Twitter and StockTwits momentum move up into overbought readings.

2014-11-10 Do the Lessons of History No Longer Apply? by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Without permanent changes in the way the world works, on valuation measures that are best correlated with actual subsequent market returns, stocks are wickedly overvalued here. Meanwhile, the stock market re-established overvalued, overbought, overbullish conditions last week that mirror some of the most precarious points in the historical record such as 1929, 1937, 1974, 1987, 2000 and 2007. Notably, that syndrome is now coupled with continued evidence of a subtle shift toward more risk-averse investor psychology, primarily reflected by internal dispersion and widening credit spreads.

2014-11-10 Three Reasons Why Commodity-Related Debt May Hold Value Under Pressure by Kathleen Gaffney of Eaton Vance

In this timely Insight, Kathleen Gaffney discusses how a flexible multisector bond strategy can be a great way to gain exposure to, and take advantage of, potential value opportunities in hard-hit commodity related debt.

2014-11-10 Emerging Markets Trends: What’s Negative for One Market May Boost Another by Steve Cao of Invesco Blog

Economic conditions have continued to deteriorate in emerging markets, and corporate earnings forecasts have fallen. Overall, emerging markets were down 4.3% in the third quarter, underperforming the developed world. In the midst of this negative news, however, we’re seeing a few bright spots start to emerge, and we’ve been able to add holdings that, in our view, became mispriced during market volatility.

2014-11-09 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

It's hard to argue that the price action of US equities is not bullish. SPX and DJIA ended the week at new highs. NDX stayed near the new highs it made last week, apparently digesting its gains. NDX was flat for the week while SPX and DJIA added another 1%. This is mostly reflected at the sector level as well. Financials, technology, industrials and transports are cyclical leaders all making new highs this week. But what is curious is that the market is being led more by defensives. Staples, utilities and healthcare are also at new highs. Since the September 19 top, SPX has added 1%, but defen

2014-11-08 And the Winner is…Investors? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

The pullback seen in October is now just a memory and stock indexes are again pushing into record territory. Seasonality and the election cycle are lining up with still solid earnings growth and an expanding economy to help support further gains. Complacency is a risk but we continue to believe the trend in US stocks is higher.

2014-11-07 Knowing What You Can't Know, Knowing What You Don't Know, and Staying Disciplined in Your Investment by Team of Litman Gregory

In our investment analysis and decision-making, we try to focus on what is knowable with a reasonable degree of certainty or within a reasonable range of outcomes. We also recognize the importance of staying within our circle of competency, which means not investing in things we don't fully understand. And while our investment discipline requires us to adapt and change our views if the facts and circumstances change, it also protects us against getting swept up in the short-term noise and emotions of the markets.

2014-11-07 Japanese Equities Look Better and Better by Nick Niziolek of Calamos Investments

Based on an intersection of bottom-up and top-down criteria, we've become increasingly constructive on Japan's equity market over recent months. Last week, the BOJ made a surprise announcement that it would increase its monetary target by ¥80 trillion and also purchase stock assets. Also significant was the BOJ's statement that it would consider buying exchange traded funds that track the Nikkei 400 Index, which should promote higher dividends, buybacks, and/or capex spending-all positive for equity markets and potentially for Japan's economy as well.

2014-11-07 It's The Economy, and They're Not Stupid by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The sharp rebuke to the Obama administration delivered by the mid-term elections should not be construed as an endorsement of the GOP, which remains as unpopular as ever. Rather, as has been the case in the last few election cycles, voter revolts have hinged on continued dissatisfaction with the strength of the economy and the diminishing financial prospects of ordinary citizens.

2014-11-07 Retirement Planning: Millennials vs. Boomers by Noah Beck of Research Affiliates

Rob Arnott and Lillian Wu recently wrote that young workers are more likely than older ones to lose their jobs in an economic downturn.They are also prone to draw on their 401(k) plan to meet basic living expenses while they are unemployed. Given these facts, the early-phase concentration in equities—whose market prices are roughly correlated with the business cycle—makes target-date funds inordinately risky for young investors. In this article, Noah Beck considers TDFs in the broader context of workers’ total assets, including their own human capital.

2014-11-07 Central Planners Are In A State of Panic by Chris Martenson, PeakProsperity.com of PeakProsperity.com

By the time a central bank is behaving as recklessly as Japan, it's time to edge towards the exit, because the chance of a flash fire in the building has grown uncomfortably high. That is, instead of providing comfort, these most recent moves should invoke greater worry for those of us alert enough to see them for what they are: acts of panic:

2014-11-07 Election Impact on Oil by Tim Gramatovich of AdvisorShares

The tally is in and it was a very bad evening for the Democratic party. Senate races in Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia and a host of other States went red. Alaska is still to be determined (likely Republican) and Louisiana is slated for a run off. All told, it looks likely the Republicans have garnered a solid majority in the Senate (up to 53-54 seats) and the biggest majority in the House (over 246 seats and counting) since Truman 60 years ago. This certainly seems to have surpassed the nightmare scenario envisioned by the Dems. While the markets may enjoy a honeymoon rally, it always fades.

2014-11-07 Gold in Yen – Calm in the Eye of a Storm by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

Since the beginning of August there has been a striking divergence in the relative performance of gold priced in US dollars versus gold priced in yen. Gold in yen has outperformed its dollar cousin by just over 10% over a period of three months. In fact year-to-date gold priced in yen has returned +5.3% with a 10.7% annualized standard deviation while gold in dollars has returned -2.6% with a 12.5% annualized standard deviation.

2014-11-07 Reconsidering Asia's Currencies by Gerald Hwang of Matthews Asia

The Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-1998 looms like a ghost over any attention to Asian currency risk. But what new considerations are needed now? Given the robust performance of the region’s currencies since 1999, Portfolio Manager Gerald Hwang, CFA, explores this topic in a modern context that takes into account the diverse monetary systems, business cycles and development stages of Asia’s economies.

2014-11-07 Building a Database of Quality Businesses by (Article)

Small-cap equities form the largest domestic equity universe, accounting for approximately 80% of all publicly traded companies in the U.S. In such a large and diverse space, how do we attempt to identify companies with the quality characteristics we typically seek? Portfolio Manager Steven McBoyle explains how we uncover and monitor businesses within our chosen asset class based on three key investment tenets and careful due diligence.

2014-11-07 The ETF Trader Interview Series: Aaron Kehoe, Cantor Fitzgerald by Anita Rausch of WisdomTree

In this edition, Anita Rausch, Director of Capital Markets, speaks with Aaron Kehoe, Managing Director and Head of Fixed Income ETF trading at Cantor Fitzgerald. Aaron joined Cantor in September 2013 and focuses primarily on managing and trading the firm’s book of fixed income ETFs. In addition, Aaron was instrumental in the product launches of many new fixed income ETFs and all senior loan ETFs.

2014-11-07 There is No U.S. Bear Stock Market in Sight by Robert Lamy of The Forecasting Advisor

After increasing by 15.5% between February 3rd, 2014 and September 18th, 2014, the U.S stock market began to decline on September 19th and during the following four weeks. The S&P 500 price index fell by 7.4% during that period and stood on October 15th at its lowest level in six months. This was the fourteenth correction of the index since the start of the current bull market in April 2009. The decline was followed by a strong rebound during the past three weeks.

2014-11-07 5 Things To Ponder: GOP Takes Control by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

This past Tuesday the conservative Republican candidates garnered a resounding victory over their Democratic challengers in even some of the "bluest" states. The message that was sent by voters was quite clear: "The real economy sucks."

2014-11-07 Quarterly Letter by Ron Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Company

My first draft of this letter, which I wrote three weeks ago began with: Europe has not solved its problems; Nor has Japan; Nor has China; Nor has the U.S. The rest of that draft is now obsolete. Since mid-September, several items have changed-some economic, some market-related, some psychological.

2014-11-07 Weekly Market Summary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The mid-term elections: A new cast faces old problems; Japan: Kuroda's Halloween surprise; The U.S. has very solid job growth but not much wage growth

2014-11-07 The Investing Evolution: How We Got Here by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

One of the main themes of the Schwab Impact conference was the urgency the industry feels to go beyond traditional asset allocation. I could not agree more with that concept. But as for the execution of it, I see what I have seen so many times before…a good idea to help investors, which the industry then bludgeons to death with complexity, excessive fees and a bunch of me-too products. I will devote much more space in this blog to this in the coming weeks and months.

2014-11-07 Winners and Losers of the Dollar’s Recent Ascent by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

The dollar recent rally can be attributed to a number of factors including a relatively solid U.S. economy, diverging central bank policies (the U.S. is preparing to tighten while the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan are easing), and long-term changes in trade flows, particularly around the energy sector. We expect most of these trends to continue, and here are three key implications of a rising dollar.

2014-11-07 'Risk On' for Now by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

U.S. high-yield bonds, leveraged credit, and equities will likely outperform in the coming months, but there are obstacles ahead.

2014-11-06 Whither the Consumer? Taxation Impacts by Stephen Roseman of Calamos Investments

We believe the U.S. consumer is in a better position to spend this year. Our confidence reflects: 1. Recent non-farm employment numbers were near all-time highs. 2. Home values have largely recovered to their pre-crisis highs. 3. While volatility has been top of mind these past weeks, consumers have benefited from a five-and-a-half-year bull market. 4. Consumer confidence, highly correlated to consumer spending, has been rising, steadily but choppily, since the 2009 bottom. In this post, we look at impacts of taxation on the consumer landscape.

2014-11-06 Will Rates Rise, Stay Steady or Fall Further? by Steve Rumsey of Optimus Advisory Group

As interest rates fell over the past 30 years, bond investors enjoyed substantial gains due to the subsequent rise in bond prices.

2014-11-06 When Volatility Rises, So Have Active Management Relative Results by Team of The Royce Funds

For many investors, volatility is often synonymous with risk. We as value investors (and risk managers), on the other hand, have always viewed volatility as a crucial component of active stock selection. In our latest Royce Research piece, we explore the relationship between low- and high-volatility environments and the relative performance of active managers versus their respective benchmarks during these periods. This deep dive is especially important in a market that has recently seen more volatility and its largest correction in almost three years.

2014-11-06 ISM Data Point to Strong GDP Growth in Q4 by Robert Lamy of The Forecasting Advisor

At the start of each month, the U.S. Institute for Supply Management (ISM) released data on the state of the manufacturing and non-manufacturing industries of the U.S. economy. The data are closely followed by economists, stock market brokers, and the media as they provide the earliest reading on the current state of the economy.

2014-11-06 Believing Anything by Keith McCullough of Hedgeye Risk Management

For those of you who didn’t know that Cockburn was a British journalist and proponent of communism , now you know. His aforementioned quote was cited by Jim Rickards at the beginning of an excellent chapter titled “Prophesy” in The Death of Money.

2014-11-06 A Republican Congress Awaits – But First the Lame Duck Session by Andy Friedman of The Washington Update

Destiny became reality in the midterm elections as the Republicans gained a majority of the Senate and widened their lead in the House to historic proportions. The Republicans now must decide the mix of confrontation and collaboration that will define their leadership. Due to variations in beliefs and campaigning strategies, the rank-and-file members of the two chambers might see this ideal mix differently. A new update discusses the dynamics surrounding the election and enumerates the items Congress must address in the lame duck session taking place in December.

2014-11-06 Emerging Europe: Regional Economic Review - Q3 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

While Russia has been experiencing a slowdown for quite some time, the new round of sanctions imposed by the West has hit the economy even harder.

2014-11-06 Global Economic Overview: September 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Global economic growth concerns resurfaced during the month of September, as data from the Euro-zone suggested that select large counties yet again face recession. Even Germany, the bulwark that shielded the common currency area during the fiscal crisis, has slowed down as subdued external demand has taken a toll on exports.

2014-11-06 What Stimulus Overseas could mean for U.S. Investors by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Could the end of easy money in the United States be the beginning of even more stimulus everywhere else? Russ explains.

2014-11-06 3 Things Worth Thinking About, Including the Odds of a Sucker’s Rally by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Each week in my weekly newsletter I do a complete overview on major markets, sectors and other market areas such as interest rates, gold and oil. I bring this up because the recent melt-down in oil and energy related stocks is something that I warned about in early August of this year.

2014-11-05 Japan's Kaput?! by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Japan’s economy is down but not yet out. The world’s third largest economy won’t go quietly. Both these statements are merely my opinion, but if you believe there’s a risk that I’m right, you may want to pay attention to what the implications may be.

2014-11-05 QE Worked, But Not As Advertised by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

Last week the Federal Reserve announced the end of its bond-buying program, which has been running with only brief interruptions for the last six years. Besides its ultimate size and duration, the striking thing about the Fed’s experiment with quantitative easing (QE) is that there is still not a firm consensus on exactly how it worked. Academic economists will be busy with this question for years. But from a bond investor’s point of view, there’s enough evidence to make a few tentative conclusions.

2014-11-05 Hong Kong: Looking at Commercial Rental Prices and Automotive Demand by Dilip Badlani of The Royce Funds

Hong Kong is a very important market to Royce's international efforts, though its economy has seen a significant slowdown over the past several years. Royce International Micro-Cap Fund Portfolio Manager Dilip Badlani discusses why he returned after having recently visited earlier in the year and what he learned from his meetings with company management teams.

2014-11-05 What a Rising Dollar Means for Your Stock Portfolio by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

Typically, if a company’s home currency is weakening compared to the currency where the company’s sales are generated, this will have a positive effect on sales and profitability, and if the home currency is strengthening, it could negatively impact sales and profitability.

2014-11-05 Recession Probability Models - November 2014 by Ted Kavadas of StratX, LLC

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

2014-11-05 A Look behind the GDP Numbers: The Search for Organic Growth by Bob Andres of Andres Capital Management

As with many investors, we looked anxiously to the U.S. GDP release on Thursday morning after viewing the FOMC statement on Wednesday. When the headline number for GDP came out at the top range of the forecast at 3.5%, we began to ask ourselves whether the analysts projecting 3% inflation by year end may actually be on to something. However, upon reading the report, we became less enthralled with the prospect of above trend growth, which would signal rising inflation.

2014-11-05 CEF Snapshot Featuring Cara Esser by (Article)

Closed-end funds run by “rock star” managers have both advantages and disadvantages to consider, says Cara Esser of Morningstar.

2014-11-04 The Six Biggest Washington Myths by Justin Kermond (Article)

If you think Washington is hopelessly broken or that the Federal Reserve is bitterly divided between hawks and doves, you're wrong, according to Greg Valliere. These were two of six common assertions Valliere challenged in a talk last week.

2014-11-04 Why Advisors Can't Find Skillful Active Managers by Michael A. Ervolini (Article)

Despite years of wrangling over skill versus luck, no one really knows much about skill, and that is at the heart of the problem.

2014-11-04 Martin Wolf on the Financial Crisis: The Fire Next Time by Michael Edesess (Article)

If you think the global financial crisis of 2007-2009 was a one-time event caused by lax regulation and a financial industry run riot, then Financial Times chief economics commentator Martin Wolf has some bad news for you. Wolf, one of the world's most respected economists, says these circumstances were only part of its proximate cause and that the financial crisis was the inevitable product of the global economic system. If that system does not undergo radical change, says Wolf, financial crises may keep on recurring until the world economic order collapses.

2014-11-04 How to Get Prospects off the Fence by Dan Richards (Article)

Today's column outlines four ways to get prospects off the fence.

2014-11-04 The Critical Importance of Evidence-Based Persuasion by Daniel Solin (Article)

The disconnect between the rigorous, peer-reviewed data we require before making investment recommendations and the lack of comparable data when converting prospects into clients is an anomaly worthy of discussion.

2014-11-04 Identifying and Communicating Your Key Differentiators by Kristen Luke (Article)

Let's look at how advisors can communicate the ways in which they are different - a common struggle for many firms.

2014-11-04 Four Keys to Making Your Partnership Work by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

My partner and I merged our practices about a year ago. It seemed like a great idea that would take us to the next level, but I've become frustrated with some of his ideas and work habits. We still get along but the tension is growing. I'm starting to think this merger was a mistake.

2014-11-04 It's Time to Shift from Pink to Purple by Sponsored Content from Transamerica (Article)

With the end of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, we turn our attention to National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month and National Caregiver Month in November. Throughout the month, the New Age of Advice will feature blog posts with insights about Alzheimer's designed to help advisors gain a better understanding of this devastating disease.

2014-11-04 Black Dog: Are Plunging Oil Prices a Positive or a Negative? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The bear market in oil prices is largely a positive for the consumption-oriented US economy, but there are caveats. Oil's plunge is more a function of increased supply and the stronger US dollar than it is of weaker global demand. Oddly, many investors are worried about the stock market because of oil's plunge; but history suggests otherwise.

2014-11-04 Cameron Uses EU Fine to Bolster Support by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Last week, the unelected European Commission demanded that the United Kingdom pay an additional $2.8 billion to fund the European Union. The new charges resulted from the fact that the British economy had grown faster than had been expected in the past year. The demand sparked outrage from Great Britain's Prime Minister, David Cameron, and media, particularly as France and Germany would receive rebates, financed largely by the new funds being demanded from the UK.

2014-11-04 The Race by Brian Andrew of Cleary Gull

While some may wish for a Democratically controlled Congress because we have a Democrat in the White House, the reality is that some dysfunction between Congress and the Administration is welcome by markets. Near-term, many believe that the regulatory environment created by a Democratic Senate and Administration creates uncertainty and restricts corporate growth. While that may be true, it is hard to argue with the stock market returns over the last several years. The reality is that markets appreciate some dysfunction in Washington.

2014-11-04 Bear Markets, Corrections, and Benchmarks by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

Since the last day of 1926 through today, the S&P 500 has had a total of eight bear markets. This is assuming a bear market is one with a decline of 20% or more. Since it has been eighty-five years since the first of these great bear markets, and five since the bottom of the last one, it might be interesting to see some details on each. Let’s take a trip down memory lane.

2014-11-04 Outrunning the Bear: An Active Managers Survival Guide by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Two long-time friends go up in the mountains on a hunting trip. At 4:30 A.M. of the second day, one of the men wakes up at one end of the tent to find his buddy dressing and putting on his running shoes at the other end. He asks him what he is doing. His friend says, “There is a bear outside our tent.” The other guy exclaims, “You can’t outrun a bear!” His friend replies, “I don’t have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you.”

2014-11-04 Snail Trail Vortex by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

The world is undergoing a radical shift towards lower economic growth at the moment. Some of the dynamics driving growth down are structural in nature (e.g. demographics), and even the most extreme monetary or fiscal policy will not change that. We are in for a period of lower, but still positive, global growth whether we like it or not. Despite the somewhat muted outlook, we continue to expect significant regional variations in growth and therefore also in interest rates and equity returns.

2014-11-04 Double Dose of Stimulus Sending Japan Stocks Up, Yen Down by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

On October 31, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) unleashed a surprise round of further stimulus to its monetary policies. This additional monetary easing occurred the same week that the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) completed its monetary policy program, showing a transition in global central bank accommodation leadership.

2014-11-04 The Macro Playbook by Darius Dale of Hedgeye Risk Management

The Hedgeye Macro Playbook aspires to present investors with the robust quantitative signals, well-researched investment themes and actionable ETF recommendations required to dynamically allocate assets and front-run regime changes across global financial markets. The securities highlighted above represent our top ten investment recommendations based on our active macro themes, which themselves stem from our proprietary four-quadrant Growth/Inflation/Policy (GIP) framework.

2014-11-04 So What Happened Last Month? by Team of GaveKal Capital

October was certainly a rollercoaster ride in the equity markets but it was a ride that ended right where it started. The average stock in the MSCI World Index was up 13 basis points over the past month.

2014-11-04 Three Words for Brazil by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

As long-time investors in Brazil, the recent presidential election has been of keen interest to us. One can certainly say it’s been an interesting race! The market had been volatile based on the changing polls leading up to the election; there were hopes that new leadership would ignite a positive new direction for Brazil’s economy, which hasn’t experienced the type of economic boom many (including us) had hoped for—and believe is possible.

2014-11-04 Consumer Confidence Hit a 7-Year High in October... But by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The two most widely-followed indicators of consumer confidence jumped to the highest levels in seven years last week. The Conference Board reported Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index climbed to 94.5 in October, the strongest reading since October 2007 before the economy entered the Great Recession.

2014-11-04 Rhyme and Reason by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

We’ll revisit the phenomenon of October as a month of negative market surprises. It actually has its roots in the interplay between farming and banking.

2014-11-04 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary: September 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices corrected in September on concerns about weaker global growth even as the U.S. Federal Reserve is set to wind down its bond purchases. Signs of yet another downturn in the Euro-zone economy are likely to hurt the export outlook for the major emerging countries that had seen a modest improvement in exports in recent months.

2014-11-04 International Equity Commentary: September 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

International equity prices corrected in September as investors became concerned about slower global growth and the continued withdrawal of monetary stimulus by the U.S. Federal Reserve. Stronger than expected U.S. growth could support the global economy in the coming quarters, but has made investors anxious of early interest rate hikes. The Euro-zone economic recovery is faltering yet again as growth has slipped in most large countries.

2014-11-04 Americas: Regional Economic Review - Q3 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

The clear divergence in economic growth trends between the developed economies in North America and Latin America widened during the third quarter. The U.S. is now the fastest growing developed country in the world, and has lifted the outlook for Canada and Mexico, two of its major trading partners in the region.

2014-11-03 Financial Markets Update by (Article)

Bill McQuaker and Paul O'Connor, Co-Heads of Multi-Asset and Lead Portfolio Managers for the Henderson All Asset Fund, provide their thoughts on what is happening around the world and how recent developments have affected financial markets. They also share insights into the positioning of the Henderson All Asset Fund and how they have reacted to the recent sell-off in financial markets. Further, Bill and Paul highlight the most important developments and risks that they are watching out for into early 2015.

2014-11-03 Your Value Proposition: Become a Trusted Advisor by (Article)

You have a meeting with a HNW prospect and don’t have a lot of time to prepare. How do you expertly assess current risks that the prospect is facing and position yourself as a trusted advisor? Run the portfolio through series of stress tests and present them in a Portfolio Crash Test report. Let client determine their 'sleep-at-night' loss number and create a suitable portfolio that is based on client preferences. Do all of that interactively with stunning visualizations. Watch the client sign the transfer form.

2014-11-03 Worried About the Unknown? Focus on the Business Cycle Instead by John Greenwood of Invesco Blog

Lately, I’ve been fielding questions about the possible “unknowns” that could bring about the end of the current economic expansion. While I understand investors’ trepidation about the unknown, I believe this concern is misplaced. Business cycles do not generally end because of unforeseen accidents. They normally end because central banks, in an effort to bring down inflation, raise interest rates, which creates an inverted yield curve and slows money and credit growth. We are clearly a long way from this scenario at present.

2014-11-03 Celebrity Central Bankers by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

Major central banks’ growth and inflation forecasts in the years since the financial crisis have consistently overestimated both growth and inflation – and by wide margins. So why do the comments of major economies’ central bankers command outsize attention?

2014-11-03 Is the Stock Market Cheap? by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Here is a new update of a popular market valuation method using the most recent Standard & Poor's "as reported" earnings and earnings estimates and the index monthly average of daily closes for the past month, which is 1,937.27. The ratios in parentheses use the monthly close of 2,018.05. For the earnings, see the table below created from Standard & Poor's latest earnings spreadsheet.

2014-11-03 Losing Velocity: QE and the Massive Speculative Carry Trade by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

What central banks around the world seem to overlook is that by changing the mix of government liabilities that the public is forced to hold, away from bonds and toward currency and bank reserves, the only material outcome of QE is the distortion of financial markets, turning the global economy into one massive speculative carry trade. The monetary base, interest rates, and velocity are jointly determined, and absent some exogenous shock to velocity or interest rates, creating more base money simply results in that base money being turned over at a slower rate.

2014-11-03 Economy, Earnings and Policy Push Equities to New Heights by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

A combination of receding global growth fears, strong corporate earnings results and continued monetary policy support helped U.S. equities rise for a second week, with the S&P 500 Index climbing 2.7%.

2014-11-03 Digging Deep for Value in Volatility by Grace Hoefig of Franklin Templeton Investments

Selloffs like those seen recently in US equities have provided a respite from soaring share prices for deep value investors, and they have been out in force, scouring the markets for quality stocks at bargain prices. Grace Hoefig, research analyst and portfolio manager for Franklin Equity Group®’s US Value Equity team, says that recent stock market dips have presented value opportunities in some market sectors, but, as through all market conditions, a little patience and a lot of research and flexibility are required to uncover them.

2014-11-03 Clarifying Confusion: American Depository Receipts (ADRs) Have Currency Risk by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

It is a common misconception that, because an ADR is traded in U.S. dollars in the United States, there is no exchange-rate risk. But that’s not the case. Here’s why.

2014-11-03 The Trouble with Porosity and Prosperity by William Gross of Janus Capital Group

I am a philosophical nomad disguised in Western clothing, a wondering drifter, masquerading in a suit near a California beach. Sand forms the foundation of my being and its porosity is at once my greatest strength and deepest wound. I have become after 70 years, a man who believes that no belief is sacred. I have ideals and moral standards, but I believe them specific to me. Had I inherited your body and ego, “I” could just as clearly have assumed "yours." If so, I wonder, if values are relative, then what are mortals to make of them, and what would a judging God make of

2014-11-02 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

A number of studies show a poor risk/reward profile in the near term for US equities. That does not mean that equities will fall. This market has shown a strong propensity to defy precedents. This might well be another such situation. The question for us is always risk vs reward. We believe the odds of a 5% rally appear much smaller than those for a 5% retracement. Therefore, initiating new longs here is uninteresting.

2014-11-02 Weighing the Week Ahead: What the End of QE Means for the Individual Investor by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

Pulling this all together, Abnormal Returns explains what the individual investor should do – create a personal margin of safety. Tadas uses his broad knowledge and experience to pull together advice from several leading sources. If you had followed this approach over the last few years, you would have been able to stick with your program during the tough times. It will be of equal help in the future.

2014-11-01 The Single-Engine Global Economy by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

The global economy is like a jetliner that needs all of its engines operational to take off and steer clear of clouds and storms. Unfortunately, only one of its four engines is functioning properly, the pilots must navigate menacing storm clouds, and fights are breaking out among the passengers.

2014-11-01 Point and Go Figure by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

I will admit that “Point and Figure” (P&F) charting is not something I have spent years studying. I do know that according to Investopedia and other sources I have read recently, it is gaining followers. P&F charts tend to be longer-term in their view, and they project and name an actual price “target” for the stock or index you are tracking.

2014-11-01 Don’t Be Spooked by Market Volatility—Opportunity Is Still Knocking! by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

One of the greatest fears this October—possibly the most volatile month of the year—has been the correlation between the S&P 500 Index’s ascent in the first three quarters of the year and the possible ramifications of the end of quantitative easing (QE).

2014-10-31 Trick or Treat? Slow Global Growth Hits Cyclical Sectors Hardest by Francis Gannon of The Royce Funds

As of October 13, the small-cap Russell 2000 Index was down 12.9% from its 2014 high on July 3—a double-digit correction not seen in more than three years. With the U.S. economy slowly improving and Fed tapering winding down as scheduled, what is driving this pullback? Co-Chief Investment Officer Francis Gannon talks about economic growth beyond our borders and how it has been playing a role in shifting investor sentiment.

2014-10-31 Buyer Beware: A Notable Divergence by John Del Vecchio of AdvisorShares

As a short selling portfolio manager, we constantly monitor market relationships for positive or negative divergences in the broad equity market indexes. One of the most important relationships is that between price and volume. In a bullish scenario, one would want to see volume expand as price rises.

2014-10-31 Small Cap leverage by Jun Zhu of The Leuthold Group

Small Caps' balance sheets and debt servicing capacity are not in the healthiest state to weather higher interest rates (relative to Large Caps). This could be part of the big picture of weakening Small Cap performance. Small Cap investors should place an emphasis on companies with relatively stronger balance sheets, and higher earnings power in order to accommodate an environment of rising interest rates. With the Fed mulling over a rate increase, investors may have already started to avoid companies with excess leverage. Unfortunately, Small Caps, on average, are in this camp.

2014-10-31 Quick Hit on Q3 GDP: #QUAD4 Confirmed by Darius Dale of Hedgeye Risk Management

With this [soon-to-be-revised-down, pre-election Q3 GDP print], the U.S. economy is squarely in #Quad4 and should remain there throughout Q4

2014-10-31 A New Breed of Robotics by Kenichi Amaki of Matthews Asia

Are “collaborative robots”—industrial robots made to better work alongside humans—likely to be well-received in the market? How feasible is a car made from a 3D printer? This week Portfolio Manager Kenichi Amaki discusses his findings from the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago.

2014-10-31 Financial Markets Review Third Quarter 2014 by Team of AMG Funds

Similar to earlier this year, the third quarter featured further evidence of a multi-speed economic recovery across the globe. Central banks reacted in a less-than-coordinated fashion compared to years prior, with the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of Japan (BOJ) loosening monetary policy while the U.S. Federal Reserve (the Fed) retained more of its status quo as detailed further here.

2014-10-31 5 Things To Ponder: "Spooky" Things by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

I love this time of year, in particular it is the festivities surrounding one of the biggest commercial shopping days of the year - Halloween. According to Wikipedia:

2014-10-31 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

Stress testing is performed in a number of arenas. Tools and parts are stressed to ensure that they will stand up to extreme conditions. Medical patients are stressed to detect heart disease. Computer systems are stressed to ensure that they can operate stably at peak times.

2014-10-30 Recovery Reality by John Canally of LPL Financial

The U.S. economy is improving, and in many cases is back to normal, but it remains stubbornly weak in some areas. “Real world” indicators that point to the health of the economy include crane rental rates and customer traffic in restaurants. Economic uncertainty -- likely a drag on economic growth in 2011, 2012, and 2013 -- has faded as a concern in 2014, consistent with the Fed’s most recent Beige Book.

2014-10-30 Got Loans? by Mark R. Kiesel, Elizabeth (Beth) MacLean, Rudy Pimentel of PIMCO

?We believe select investors looking to reposition portfolios may benefit from a move to senior secured floating rate loans. CLOs have been an important source of demand in the market, and even with more strict risk retention rules just announced under Dodd Frank, we think demand will remain strong. While the Fed has criticized some banks for not following their leveraged lending guidelines, Fed members themselves, in our view, do not appear concerned about loans having a major impact on financial stability.

2014-10-30 Newsletter by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz

Harold Evensky presents his quarterly newsletter.

2014-10-30 Stay the Course in Small Caps by Jonathan Coleman of Janus Capital Group

Small-cap stocks sold off in the third quarter, but now is not the time to abandon the market cap segment. In this article, Jonathan Coleman, Co-Portfolio Manager of the Janus Venture Fund, gives his perspective on current small-cap valuations, and why an allocation to small caps is beneficial in an environment where the U.S. economy is on stronger footing than the rest of the world.

2014-10-30 How Exchange-Traded Futures Can Improve the Efficiency of Gold & Currency Linked ETFs by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

With a number of gold and currency linked ETFs now using exchange traded futures to gain their gold and currency exposure versus the alternative of holding physical gold/hard foreign currency, we discuss below some of the key features of these futures markets which, in our view, mitigate most if not all of the concerns investor may have about these futures based ETPs.

2014-10-30 The ETF Trader Interview Series: Kathryn Sweeney, Goldman Sachs by Anita Rausch of WisdomTree

In this edition, Anita Rausch, Director of Capital Markets, speaks with Kathryn Sweeney, the Global ETF Product Manager and Head of U.S. ETF Trading for Goldman Sachs.

2014-10-30 The Week That Was by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

In the June 26th edition of the Morning Tack, Jeff Saut wrote, “I do believe the VIX bottomed last Friday (6/20/14) with an undercut low, much like the undercut low of October 4, 2011 that we identified as the ‘valuation low,’ and recommended should be bought with the SPX trading back then at 1075.” Well that proved to be fitting timing, since from that 6/20 low to the high on Wednesday 10/15, all the VIX did was shoot up about 200%!

2014-10-30 Income Inequality and Fed Policy by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Income inequality has been an important topic this year, but it is one that is mired in politics. That means it is a potentially treacherous debate for the Federal Reserve chair to wade into. To be fair, Yellen said that the purpose of her recent talk on income inequality and opportunity was “not to provide answers to these contentious questions, but rather to provide a factual basis for further discussion.” She provided a mountain of evidence from the Fed’s triennial Survey of Consumer Finances, and then got out of the way, as appropriate.

2014-10-30 Europe Must Act Now by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Things in Europe are bad and policymakers appear already to have fallen behind the curve. The reality is the ECB will need to purchase at least another €1.5 trillion in assets, and even that may not be enough to avert a severe slowdown.

2014-10-30 How In-Depth Accounting Analysis Helps Find Good Investments by Charlie Dreifus and Dave Gruber (Article)

Principal Dave Gruber talks with Portfolio Manager Charlie Dreifus about his 40+ year investment process and the importance of Abe Briloff's tutelage on his discipline.

2014-10-30 ETF Industry Update by Shundrawn Thomas, Head of Funds and Managed Accounts, Northern Trust Asset Management (Article)

Shundrawn Thomas discusses key trends in the ETF industry, including investor adoption, new market entrants, and developments in actively managed ETFs.

2014-10-29 Corporate Calm by Burt White, Jeffrey Buchbinder of LPL Financial

We remain confident in corporate America’s ability to generate solid earnings growth in the current global economic environment despite the slowdown in Europe (and to a lesser extent, China). A number of U.S. companies have performed relatively well in Europe, with some not yet seeing signs of a slowdown in their business. The business environment overseas appears to be good enough for companies to largely maintain their outlooks for the rest of the year and into 2015.

2014-10-29 Americans Even More Pessimistic Ahead of Elections by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Republicans remain in a favorable position heading into the midterm elections. A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released on Sunday showed that the GOP now holds an 11-point lead among “likely voters.” That’s up from only a 5-point lead a week earlier. Some 52% of likely voters want a Republican-led Congress, while 41% favor Democratic control.

2014-10-29 Greenspan: Price of Gold Will Rise by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Any doubts about why I own gold as an investment were dispelled last Saturday when I met the maestro himself: former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan. It’s not because Greenspan said he thinks the price of gold will rise – I don’t need his investment advice; it’s that he shed light on how the Fed works in ways no other former Fed Chair has ever dared to articulate. All investors should pay attention to this. Let me explain.

2014-10-29 A Low in Positive European Earnings Revisions? by Team of GaveKal Capital

It's tough to find a great deal of optimism in or about European equities these days.

2014-10-29 As the Market Rebounds, Two Opportunities Bubble to Top by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Stocks staged a strong rebound last week. Russ discusses where he sees value in the market looking forward.

2014-10-29 Does Stock Picking Still Work in Emerging Markets? by Sammy Suzuki of AllianceBernstein

Many things have changed in emerging markets (EMs) over the last two decades. Markets are more efficient than they used to be. But we believe that developing countries still provide fertile ground for finding stocks poised to outperform.

2014-10-29 On Top of the Market by Team of AMG Funds

The third quarter’s seventh straight gain for the S&P 500 did not come easy. Investors wrestled with geopolitical turmoil in Ukraine and the Middle East, and the eventual end of the Federal Reserve’s (the Fed) bond buying program. U.S. small-cap stocks were volatile and fell into negative territory, year-to-date.

2014-10-28 How Moving Average Strategies Can Really Work by Jerry A. Miccolis, CFA®, CFP®, FCAS, CERA, Marina Goodman, CFA®, CFP® and Rohith Eggidi (Article)

In a previous article, Paul Allen explored the universe of moving average crossover (MAC) strategies. In his thorough and even-handed analysis, Allen concluded that MAC strategies can effectively decrease periodic drawdowns in portfolios but can materially underperform during bull markets. In this article, we propose how to improve MAC strategies so that they may perform better during bull markets and still provide protection during bear markets.

2014-10-28 A Framework for Superior Risk-Adjusted Returns: High Quality Stocks in Developed Markets by Baijnath Ramraika, CFA® and Prashant Trivedi, CFA® (Article)

A basket of high-quality stocks generates significantly superior investment returns compared to publicly traded benchmarks, and it does so with significantly lower risk.

2014-10-28 Why It's So Brutally Hard to Get Prospects to Move by Dan Richards (Article)

Two factors underlie the difficulty in getting prospects to make a change - the risk of pain is too great or the prospect of gain is insufficient. The good news is that there are some strategies that can overcome these obstacles.

2014-10-28 Third Quarter Review 2014 by Clark M. Blackman II (Article)

The following is a letter to clients that readers may adapt for their own use.

2014-10-28 Two Tips for Connecting Emotionally With Prospects by Daniel Solin (Article)

In my coaching practice, I often suggest that advisors drastically change the way they conduct meetings with prospects. Here are the two recommendations that I make most frequently.

2014-10-28 The Individual Investor's Edge by Patrick O'Shaughnessy (Article)

Even if the sophistication of professional managers makes it seem as though individual investors do not have an edge, they do. Without a job to worry about, individual investors can tolerate short-term underperformance on the path to long-term outperformance.

2014-10-28 Five Holiday Marketing Tips by Megan Elliott (Article)

The holiday season is an ideal time to reach out and remind people what you do in a more personal, less sales-focused way than you might at other times of the year.

2014-10-28 The Secret Words Clients Love to Hear by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We have many clients who are really wired. They know a lot of wealthy people and many sit on boards and are trustees. Given the level of service we offer, I would expect our clients to proactively introduce us to these folks. Instead, every meeting we ask them for a referral and nothing comes of it. Does this mean we don't have the great relationships we think we have?

2014-10-28 Why Consider Brazil Now? by David Nadel of The Royce Funds

We see Brazil as a country whose investment appeal appears evident based on enduring themes, including burgeoning middle-class consumption, a young and unlevered population, business acumen in fields as diverse as agriculture and manufacturing, and more.

2014-10-28 Under the Magnifying Glass by Brian Andrew of Cleary Gull

Recent market volatility has investors trying to sort through the little things to determine what is most important to the future of asset prices. Securities markets move up and down on a daily basis based on many different factors, some more relevant than others. The markets during October have proven that little things can lead to greater volatility as investors attempt to sort out the most relevant facts from those with less meaning. Our objective, and that of our investment managers, is to sift through these details to discern what has relevance and what is noise during the trading day.

2014-10-28 Will the Ebola Scare Haunt the Stock Market? by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Kristina Hooper prescribes four key takeaways from the Ebola epidemic and what it means for investors.

2014-10-28 U.S. Budget: How Is Spending Trending? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

With the pivotal 2014 midterm election around the corner, here is the first of a two-part look at both sides of the U.S. budget. First up: Examining where U.S. taxpayers’ money actually goes—and whether current spending trends are sustainable.

2014-10-28 Euro Banks: Stressed Out? by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

Are unhealthy European banks dragging the market down? Not according to behavioral evidence. European financial stocks have generated relative strength versus broad Europe since mid July, indicating that banking woes are not the root cause of the recent correction.

2014-10-28 Moderating the Alarm on Interest Rates by Daniel Satchkov of RiXtrema

2014-10-28 Last Chance for Japan? by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

Notwithstanding all of the fanfare surrounding “Abenomics,” Japan’s economy remains moribund. But if Japan pays greater attention to likely shifts in the Chinese and US economies, it could be one the greatest beneficiaries of their coming rebalancing.

2014-10-28 Rising Rate Strategies by Rick Harper, Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

While the ultimate evolution of the path of U.S. interest rates remains uncertain, we believe our new strategies for risk management give investors a powerful tool kit for refining their fixed income exposure.

2014-10-28 Specialization Featuring Michelle Smith by (Article)

Advisors pursuing competitive edge may benefit from specialization, says Michelle Smith of Source Financial Advisors, whose practice focuses on divorce financial analysis.

2014-10-28 The Echo of Wirtschaftswunder by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Economic problems in the Eurozone continue to periodically emerge. Complicating matters significantly is German opposition to fiscal and monetary stimulus measures. We believe the experience after WWII and the Wirtschaftswunder (economic miracle) that lasted into the early 1960s has played a large role in shaping current German policy. This week we discuss German history with a focus on how German leaders shaped the economy and rebuilt the nation after the war, paying particular attention to the economic model and how the Merkel government is trying to impose that model on the entire Eurozone.

2014-10-28 Do Activist Investors Let the Game Come to Them? by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

As a recovering amateur athlete—the pinnacle of my athletic career was four years of Division III college golf—one concept became obvious at almost every level of athletic endeavor: let the game come to you. Rather than trying to impose your will on the opposing team or opposing player very quickly, you instead seek to discover your opponent’s weaknesses and use the duration of the contest to establish your superiority.

2014-10-28 The Math Of Loss by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Business Insider recently published an article suggesting that if you missed the recent short covering rally then you made a classic mistake in investing.

2014-10-27 India: Seizing Opportunities in the New Era by Eswarie Subrahmanyam Balan of WisdomTree

Last week, the Institutional Investor Forum (IIF) held its two-day annual India Investment Forum. There was much hype going into the conference, as a slew of ministers and distinguished institutional investors were slated to speak.

2014-10-27 Fast, Furious, and Prone to Failure by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Though we remain open to the potential for market internals to improve convincingly enough to at least defer our immediate concerns about market risk, we should also be mindful of the sequence common to the 1929, 1972, 1987, 2000 and 2007 episodes.

2014-10-27 Realized Volatility is Picking Up, but Remains Far From Extremes by Team of GaveKal Capital

After an extended period of extremely muted volatility in virtually every major asset class, volatility is finally starting to pick up, as it was always likely to do. A number of our volatility measures such as our equity, FX, bond and commodity volatility have turned a corner recently and have moved up off of in some cases generational lows.

2014-10-27 Four Investor Takeaways from the Recent Volatility Spike by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Last week market volatility spiked to the highest level since 2011. To some degree, this should not come as a shock; we’ve been in an unusually quiet period that was due to end at some point and now has.

2014-10-27 Equities Recover Some Ground and Still May Have Room to Run by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

With global deflation and growth fears fading, U.S. equities snapped their four-week losing streak last week with the S&P 500 Index gaining 4.1%. This advance marked the largest weekly gain since January 2013. Following the correction from the mid-September to mid-October, the S&P 500 has now rallied 8%, leaving it only 3% from its all-time high.

2014-10-27 Why The Fed Will End QE On Wednesday by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

This week we will find out the answer to whether the Federal Reserve will end its current quantitative easing program or not. Today is the last open market operation of the current program, and my bet is that it will be the last, for now. Here are my three reasons why I believe this to be the case.

2014-10-27 Fall Quarterly Commentary by John Prichard, Miles Yourman of Knightsbridge Asset Management

Born in the city of Lemberg in the Austrian-Hungarian empire (present-day Ukraine) (future-day Russia?), Ludwig von Mises would be a familiar figure to those interested in the intellectual underpinnings of economic libertarianism. He was an important contributor to the Austrian school of economic thought, which, while ultimately losing mainstream support to the Keynesians and their followers, has still remained influential in certain circles as an alternative.

2014-10-27 Tobacco Bonds’ Appeal May Be Smoke and Mirrors by Tom Metzold, Cindy Clemson, Leanne Parziale of Eaton Vance

Despite attractive returns, tobacco bonds may be too risky for many investors. In this Insight, we compare these bonds with traditional municipal bonds and pinpoint what matters most now for investors in this sector.

2014-10-26 A Scary Story for Emerging Markets by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

The all-too-predictable effects of a rising dollar on emerging markets that have been propped up by hot inflows and the dollar carry trade will spread far beyond the emerging markets themselves. This is another key aspect of the not-so-coincidental consequences that we will be exploring in our series on what I feel is a sea change in the global economic environment.

2014-10-26 Plot Twist…or a Different Book? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

Volatility could continue but equity investors should keep the longer-term picture in mind, which we believe is positive. The U.S. economy is improving and monetary policy remains quite loose. The international picture is more concerning but diversification is important across asset classes. We currently favor emerging markets within a diversified international portfolio.

2014-10-26 Weekly Economic Commentary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

While equities have recently become volatile, the underlying fundamentals have not changed.

2014-10-25 As the Eurozone Stalls, China Cuts the Red Tape by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

France and Germany’s industrial production has turned down recently. Their purchasing managers’ index (PMI) numbers are below the 50-mark line, indicating contraction. This trend is especially worrisome because Europe is a bigger trading partner with China than the U.S. is. So what’s the solution? The EU would do well to look east, specifically to China.

2014-10-25 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Inflation is falling, but it won't go through the floor; Income inequality is affecting consumption categories; Do new mortgage lending rules strike the right balance?

2014-10-25 Swimming Naked by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

We have our swim trunks firmly tied around our waists, and the life preserver is tied to our hand. If nothing else, this is a time to remember that investing is a balancing act, regardless of what appears to be happening around us.

2014-10-24 What to Expect from U.S. Midterm Elections by Robert McConnaughey of Columbia Management

Next month’s midterm election battle for control of the U.S. Senate is going to be a dramatically close call. Republicans can gain control of the Senate if they win six new seats. Incumbent Democrats are defending 21 seats, and seven of those are in broadly red states won by Mitt Romney in 2012.

2014-10-24 Applying Value Investing Principles to Manager Selection by Jason Laurie of Altair Advisers

Using short-term underperformance as a value opportunity can work in selecting money managers. The qualitative portion of the manager due diligence process is still the key to success. All great managers experience periods of underperformance; patience with them is rewarded. There is little basis in manager performance data for persistence in manager returns. Manager performance cycles – either outperformance or underperformance – often last 3-5 years. Short-term periods of underperformance by top managers may present an opportunity to allocate to managers at attractive entry point

2014-10-24 Short-Term Optimism, Longer-Term Caution by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

U.S. stocks will likely move higher as pension fund managers go bargain hunting in an effort to put seasonal cash inflows to work.

2014-10-24 Risk Aversion on the Rise – Gold Back in Vogue by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

In this week’s commentary we present a simple methodology for measuring the amount of risk aversion in gold markets. This measure of risk aversion (which we define below) compares the variability of observed gold prices versus the variability that can be implied from gold option prices.

2014-10-24 Investing by Duration by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

It was hard to ignore the call in the fixed income space for “short duration” investing over the last couple years. Duration is a measure of interest rate sensitivity (the percentage change in the price of a bond for a 100 basis point move in rates), so the lower the duration the theoretically less sensitive those bonds are to interest rate movements.

2014-10-24 Inflating the Big Mac One Calorie At A Time by James Cornehlsen of Dunn Warren Investment Advisors

Continuing our research into using the Big Mac as a gauge of inflation, we build on past posts but use our own research to draw conclusions. In previous articles, we have relied solely on The Economist’s calculation of the Big Mac price.

2014-10-24 Steady as She Goes by John Osterweis, Matt Berler of Osterweis Capital Management

For some time now we have been making the case for a long-term bull market in U.S. equities. This has rested on the prediction of a gradual economic recovery devoid of inflationary pressures, played out against a very accommodative monetary backdrop. So far, this is exactly what has occurred. But as we all know, trees don’t grow to heaven and nothing lasts forever. Therefore the relevant questions we ask ourselves every day are: (1) what could go wrong and (2) when should we start to worry? We shall devote this quarter’s Outlook to the things we worry about.

2014-10-24 5 Things To Ponder: To QE Or Not To QE by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Over the last few weeks, the markets have seen wild vacillations as stocks plunged and then surged on a massive short-squeeze in the most beaten up sectors of energy and small-mid capitalization companies. While "Ebola" fears filled mainstream headlines the other driver behind the sell-off, and then marked recovery, was a variety of rhetoric surrounding the last vestiges of the current quantitative easing program by the Fed. As I have shown many times in the past, there is a high degree of correlation between the Fed's liquidity programs and the advance in the markets.

2014-10-24 Japanese Style Deflation Coming? Fed Falling Behind the Curve? by Mike "Mish" Shedlock of Sitka Pacific

There's some interesting discussion points in the UK-based Absolute Return Partners October 2014 Letter, by Niels C. Jensen, most of which I agree with, others not.

2014-10-24 The Positive Impact of Falling Oil Prices by Nick Kalivas of Invesco Blog

Crude oil prices have dropped sharply over the last few months thanks to abundant global production and signs of slowing global economic growth. Lower oil prices could inject spending power into the economy as consumers eventually pay less for gasoline and open their wallets in other areas. This would provide a positive shock and potentially bolster the performance of consumer discretionary shares.

2014-10-23 When Will Rates Potentially Rise? by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

When 2014 started, some Wall Street strategists predicted a continuing rise in interest rates as U.S. economic growth accelerated and the Federal Reserve (the “Fed”) reduced its monthly stimulus. Instead, it has been a one-way street in government bond markets as they continued to deliver low yields at higher prices. In August, the yield on the benchmark U.S. 10-year Note fell to 2.3%, back down to June 2013 levels.

2014-10-23 China: Decelerating but Still Healthy by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

GDP growth will be just above 7% this year, and slightly slower next year. Despite the negative media headlines, there are no signs of impending doom and Andy Rothman, Matthews Asia Investment Strategist, expects the property market to stabilize in the coming quarters. Strong growth in income and retail sales means China remains the world’s best consumption story.

2014-10-23 Quarterly Letter by Ron Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Company

Since mid-September, several items have changed—some economic, some market-related, some psychological.

2014-10-23 Is This the Beginning of a New Bear Market? Important Signs to Watch by Chris Puplava of PFS Group

How the markets behave in the coming weeks will go a long way to help determine if the September-October correction was the start of a new bear market or just a normal correction in a bull market. Chris Puplava provides a detailed outlook

2014-10-23 Quarterly Review and Outlook by Team of Hoisington Investment Management

The U.S. economy continues to lose momentum despite the Federal Reserve’s use of conventional techniques and numerous experimental measures to spur growth. In the first half of the year, real GDP grew at only a 1.2% annual rate while real per capita GDP increased by a minimal 0.3% annual rate. Such increases are insufficient to raise the standard of living, which, as measured by real median household income, stands at the same level as it did seventeen years ago

2014-10-23 How Consensus Thinking Works Against Investors by Bob Andres of Andres Capital Management

Over the past several years we have used this newsletter to voice our concerns regarding the macro-economic landscape, while attempting to provide practical solutions for investors. Since our venture into financial commentary, we have questioned the veracity of consensus opinion and how it tends to be wrong, especially in regards to interest rates.

2014-10-23 Everything Is Not As It Seems by Sean Hanlon of Hanlon Investment Management

As of September 25, 2014 the NASDAQ Composite index is up 6.95% year-to-date, despite the recent downturn in the market. The darling tech stocks continue to come up with new and innovative ideas for products and services to drive their bottom lines. The NASDAQ is only down -2.86% from the high it made on September 2, 2014. One could conclude that the NASDAQ is indeed solid and that this is just another passing correction before it pushes on to higher levels.

2014-10-23 No More Black Mondays by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

In a true demonstration of impeccable and apropos timing given the recent volatility we have experienced, yesterday marked the 27th anniversary of one of the stock market’s most infamous and chronicled events. Black” Monday, October 19, 1987 was one of those multiple standard deviation occurrences that statisticians will tell you are not supposed to ever really happen, but as is the case more frequently than most realize, it of course did happen, and its impact is still being felt today even as there are fewer and fewer investors around that actually had to suffer through it.

2014-10-23 Risk and Uncertainty, Confidence and Fear by Scott Brown of Raymond James

In recent weeks, the financial markets appear to have been reacting less to weaker expectations of global growth and more to the increased downside risks – that is, to the fear that things could get a lot worse. The downside risks to Europe are considerable, but America is much less dependent on exports than most other countries and the prospects for moderately strong growth into 2015 remain promising.

2014-10-23 Equities: Is the Bull Market Under a Threat? by Keith Wade of Schroders Investment Management

Equity markets have experienced a setback recently and this has led many strategists to question the longer term case for the asset class. However, we remain positive on shares and believe that equities can still generate an attractive premium for investors.

2014-10-23 3 Things Worth Thinking About: Inflation, the Current Rally and Faith in the Fed by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

What is quickly being realized on a global basis is that injecting the system with liquidity that flows into asset prices, does not create organic economic demand. Both Japan and the Eurozone's interventions have failed to spark inflationary pressures as the massive debt burden's carried by these countries continues to sap the ability to stimulate real growth.

2014-10-22 The Eighth Default of Argentina by Kaisa Stucke, Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Very few countries have seen as spectacular of a decline in its economic standing over the past 100 years as Argentina has. Argentina has been in the international headlines recently due to its sovereign debt default, the eighth default in the history of the country. This week we will look at Argentina, its long history of economic booms and busts, its political background, and its extensive chronicle of sovereign debt defaults. As always, we will conclude with market ramifications.

2014-10-22 Oil Hits the Skids by Burt White of LPL Financial

We believe the oil sell-off is overdone and expect the commodity to find a floor in the low $80s. We expect firming global growth to increase the market’s confidence in global oil demand despite weakness in Europe. Energy service stocks are particularly oversold and may be attractive as the services-intensive U.S. energy renaissance continues.

2014-10-22 Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride by Alan Hartley of Black Cypress Capital Management

Every time the stock market falls 3% or 4%, investors start to act like we’re staring at an oncoming locomotive. Though, each train has been the sort from Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride–not really a train at all, just bright lights and sounds meant to scare us.

2014-10-22 Retirement: How To Avoid Outliving Your Savings by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

With over 10,000 Baby Boomers retiring every day, a pattern that will continue for the next 20 years, retirement savings continues to be one of the most important issues of our day. With 76 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 – the “Baby Boom Generation” – saving enough for retirement is critically important.

2014-10-22 What’s Next for the Indian Rupee? by Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

Even before the election results were fully counted in May, Indian currency and equity markets were reacting. After touching all-time lows last year, the rupee surged on the optimism that the reform-minded Modi would push through an agenda to improve Indian economic competitiveness.

2014-10-22 The US Mortgage Application Market Finally Wakes Up by Team of GaveKal Capital

All summer long we talked about how mortgage applications were down and couldn't get off the mat. That looks to finally be changing, at least from a refinancing point of view over the past couple of weeks. In the last two weeks the mortgage application index has increased from the 350 to 413 and has broke out of the range it has been in all year.

2014-10-22 Despite Volatility, This Bull Is Likely to Charge Higher by John Calamos, Gary Black of Calamos Investments

As the fourth quarter begins, the market has found itself engulfed in anxiety. Volatility has surged in the equity markets while the 10-year Treasury yield has dropped to 2%-leading some to question whether this bull market is breathing its last breath. We believe: * Global GDP growth will likely be in the 2.0%-3.0% range. * The U.S. is in the 5th or 6th inning of recovery, with slow but improving growth. * Despite the surge in volatility, this bull market has more room to run. * A balance of secular and cyclical growth companies presents the most attractive portfolio for this mid-cycle phase.

2014-10-22 Stay Out of the Echo Chamber – Focusing on the Market Fundamentals by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

In the middle of the recent stock market correction, I read an article emblazoned on the front page of the New York Times reporting on the market volatility and “fear.” The introductory line read, “The party is over.” This was the classic contrarian sign that we were forming an interim bottom in the correction.

2014-10-21 The Price We Will Pay for Cheap Oil by Richard Vodra (Article)

Suddenly in June, oil prices started dropping, reaching levels unseen since 2010. What is going on? Why does the price of oil matter to financial advisors? What might these fluctuations mean to the price and supply of oil for the rest of the decade? Isn't oil just another commodity?

2014-10-21 How to Compete with Online Advice: The Historical Lessons by Dan Richards (Article)

Online start-ups offering low-cost investment advice have received lots of attention, not to mention over $200 million dollars in venture capital. What lessons does history offer on the likely impact of online advice? And based on what's happened in the past, how can advisors respond to this new threat?

2014-10-21 Shift Your Focus to Gain AUM by Daniel Solin (Article)

Based on merit alone, I would entrust my own portfolio to almost every RIA that I have met. But merit is not the governing factor in most decisions.

2014-10-21 Q3 Venerated Voices by Various (Article)

We have announced our Venerated Voices awards for commentaries published in the third quarter of 2014. 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.

2014-10-21 The Wrong Question to Ask About Marketing by Mandy Fisher (Article)

When confronted with a marketing decision, the first thing most advisors ask how much it will cost. But that's the wrong question.

2014-10-21 Getting Your Boss to Understand You by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

My boss does not understand me. Every time he asks me to do something, he criticizes my work. Everything I submit is "wrong" and needs to be redone. I'm pulling my hair out (and I didn't have much to start with). How do I get him to see what I am doing in a positive light?

2014-10-21 Help is on the Horizon to Ease Student Debt by Sponsored Content from Legg Mason (Article)

To preempt the college funding crisis that lies ahead, we must ensure that future generations avoid excessive debt. With the current path unsustainable, experts believe the partnership between 529s, colleges and government must evolve. Get a preview of tomorrow's college conversation and advisors' role in the holistic solution.

2014-10-21 Loomis Sayles Core Plus Bond Fund: Navigating Dynamic Markets with Tactical Flexibility by Sponsored Content from Loomis Sayles (Article)

The global economic cycle is a perpetual force influencing interest rates, credit availability and capital markets. For core plus managers who seek to generate total return by balancing liquidity and risk, these undulations pose a clear challenge.

2014-10-21 The Economy: October Viewpoint by Robert Cron of Bronfman E.L. Rothschild

The U.S. economy continues to move forward in its slow but steady recovery. Despite the Federal Reserve ending their bond buying program in October, demand for U.S. fixed income continues to be robust. The recent downward movement in the stock markets has some investors talking “correction” once again, and growth concerns overseas finally seem to affecting the performance of the domestic markets. We believe there is still more room for improvement for foreign economies, while the U.S. seems to be a more stable environment.

2014-10-21 The Skinny on Fatter Tails for Fed Policy by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Kristina Hooper comments on escalating fears that a slowdown in global growth could hamstring the US recovery and what that means for monetary-policy outcomes in the United States.

2014-10-21 Turkey's Position on ISIL Misunderstood by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

As territory in the Middle East falls under control of the brutal fanatics of ISIL, many Americans may be wondering how this could happen in the backyard of major U.S. allies. In particular, frustration with Turkey's reluctance to move against ISIL, even as it massacres civilians and creates instability on the Turkish border, is growing rapidly. Turkey's political calculation with respect to the crisis reveals just how complex and intractable the crisis may become.

2014-10-21 A Life-Cycle or Lifestyle Fund? A Critical Investment Decision by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Just because two people are the same age does not mean that they have the same investment needs or risk tolerances.

2014-10-21 Opportunities Amid Divergence by Michael Gomez of PIMCO

As in developed markets, the trends of increasing growth and policy dispersion will be borne out in emerging markets over the next 12 months. Brazil has some of the highest interest rates in the world, which presents an opportunity for investors, and we expect the next four years will be marked by a better mix of fiscal and monetary policy. Because our outlook for China has moderated somewhat, we are focusing attention on trade and financial linkages and how the ripple effects of a slower China might unfold.

2014-10-21 Can You “Panic” and Still be an “Investor”? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Quite a week we just had, regardless of asset class. By Wednesday the Dow had fallen 688 points by mid-day, thanks to a 480-point morning decline. The problem was a lack of liquidity—a buyer’s strike (no buyers in the market)—as we used to call it. In response, stocks fell, as did commodities (with the exception of gold) and yields plunged on bonds.

2014-10-21 October has Been a Tough Month for Stock Picking by Team of GaveKal Capital

The percent of stocks with positive performance for the month of October through last Friday stands at a paltry 15%. Granted, as of last Friday there were ten trading days left in the month, but 15% would the lowest reading since May of 2012 and September of 2011 before that.

2014-10-21 Blurring the Lines Between Emerging-, Frontier- and Developed-Market Stocks by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

There has been some convergence in terms of how one might classify emerging-, frontier- or developed-market companies—and how they might fit into investors’ portfolios. Recently, we have noted an increase in liquidity and transparency of many frontier-market stocks (the smaller and lesser-developed subset of emerging markets).

2014-10-21 Rising Rates Implementation Plan: “Core Plus” & Risk Management by Rick Harper, Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

While our view on rising rates has yet to meaningfully materialize this year, our underlying thesis has not changed. In our view, it may be time for investors to think about how a bond portfolio may perform as a result of changes in Federal Reserve (Fed) policy.

2014-10-21 The Flat Debt Society by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Since at least the beginning of 2006, the most asked question I get after a speech is “Do you think we will have inflation or deflation?” In an attempt at humor, my answer has been “Yes.”

2014-10-21 Attractive Stocks in a Bifurcated Market by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

As value stock picking managers, we assume we will be operating in a bifurcated equity environment. We think the bifurcation will be between sectors of the stock market which appear over-capitalized due to “rear-view mirror” success and those which look undervalued when considering the present value of their future income stream. The combination of numerous forces, both positive and negative, will most likely create this bifurcation.

2014-10-21 The Tool that Will Transform Firmwide Financial Planning by Bob Veres (Article)

Alex Murguia, founder and CEO of InStream Solutions, may be the most creative visionary in today's advisor software ecosystem. And like all people who think outside the box, sometimes he discovers that his best ideas have far better uses than he intended.

2014-10-21 Advising Clients about When to Retire by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Clients are often surprised to learn that delaying retirement can increase retirement income by a lot. Although each case will be different, I'll present an example to provide some general insights.

2014-10-20 Current Turnaround Candidates by Bill Hench and Dave Gruber (Article)

Portfolio Manager Bill Hench gives Principal Dave Gruber current examples of his portfolios' turnaround themes: emerging growth companies with interrupted earnings patterns, companies with unrecognized asset values, and undervalued growth companies.

2014-10-20 Is it time to overweight European stocks? by (Article)

45-year industry veteran, Thomas S. White, examines why we believe a convincing case can be made for Europe to outperform the S & P 500 over the next 18-months. (Please visit our website for more information about our International, Emerging Markets, and Global strategies.)

2014-10-20 On the Tendency of Large Market Losses to Occur in Succession by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

We may wish to believe that a 25-30% market plunge has zero probability since we know that the probability of a one-day loss of several percent is quite low, making a whole series of them seemingly impossible. But that view overlooks the tendency of large losses to occur in succession. It also overlooks the tendency for monetary easing to support stocks only when low- or zero-interest risk-free assets are considered inferior holdings in comparison to risky ones.

2014-10-20 Japan: Small Change Clouds Big Picture by Mark Jason of Invesco Blog

We continue to believe that achieving real economic growth in Japan requires changes that are hard to come by. On a recent trip to Japan, it became clear to me that this next stage of Abenomics — shorthand for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “three-arrow” economic revitalization program of monetary easing, targeted financial support and structural reforms — calls for corporate governance reform to take the spotlight as a core part of the important third arrow, particularly as regulatory reforms have made slow progress thus far.

2014-10-20 Equity Losses Continue, but This Correction May Be Ending by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Markets endured a sharp pullback and higher volatility, but technical factors suggest we may be nearing the end of the current correction. Long-term, we believe fundamentals remain sound, the U.S. economy should continue to grow and equities should be able to grind higher.

2014-10-20 Stock Valuations Remain Near Record High Including in Europe and EM by Team of GaveKal Capital

Even as stock prices have corrected in recent weeks with only 36% of stocks having positive performance over the last 200 days and the average stock 19% from its one year high, we are reminded that stock valuations are still stretched pretty much everywhere.

2014-10-20 A Treasury Market Disconnect by Roger Bayston of Franklin Templeton Investments

As the US economy continues to show signs of strength and the US Federal Reserve (Fed) continues to wind down its quantitative easing (QE) program, one would think the US Treasury markets would start reflecting a potential rise in inflation, and the eventuality of Fed monetary policy tightening. However, there has been a bit of disconnect in terms of behavior on the long end of the Treasury yield curve.

2014-10-20 Five Ways to Keep Out of the Bond Liquidity Trap by Douglas Peebles of AllianceBernstein

Bond investors are used to managing interest-rate risk and credit risk. But the financial crisis should have taught us that there are times when liquidity risk can be just as important to manage. Now is one of those times.

2014-10-20 Five Things You Should Know About U.S. Small-Caps by Francis Gannon of The Royce Funds

Co-Chief Investment Officer Francis Gannon offers five statistics we think every investor should know about U.S. small-caps in the current volatile investment environment.

2014-10-19 Where Are We? A Psychological View by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

When markets get temporarily unruly as they have recently, it tends to drive folks like us to go back and prove to ourselves once again that each and every part of our existing portfolios (the stocks and the hedge positions we own) is as valid to us as it was when we bought it. And, with many stocks on our watch list getting closer to being viable additions to the mix as their prices drop, we are essentially scouring our investable universe to see if we can either improve our upside potential, strengthen our defenses, or both. It is a rigorous process, always.

2014-10-19 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

The market’s correction has many scratching their heads. Russia’s economy is feeling a pinch but not real pain. Long-term remedies will be needed to secure U.S. budget health.

2014-10-19 What the Strong Dollar Does to Yellow and Black Gold and Why We're Seeing Green by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The United States is doing better than it has in years. Jobs growth is up, unemployment is down, our manufacturing sector carries the rest of the world on its shoulders like a wounded soldier and the World Economic Forum named the U.S. the third-most competitive nation, our highest ranking since before the recession.

2014-10-19 Weighing the Week Ahead: Is the Correction Over? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

Was that the bottom? Nearly everyone is trying to time the market, so the financial media will focus on remaining risk versus signals of a bottom.

2014-10-19 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

After 27 months, SPX experienced its first 10% correction this week. As we have detailed many times, this was an exceptionally long and uncorrected rise. Since its last 10% correction in mid 2012, SPX has risen an exceptional 59%.

2014-10-17 Disinflation Infatuation by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

Inflation expectations have fallen sharply in recent weeks, driven by European disinflation, lower energy prices, and overall growth concerns. The persistence of low inflation expectations may intensify the “lower for longer” theme via lower growth expectations and delays to potential Federal Reserve (Fed) interest rate hikes.

2014-10-17 A Moody Market by Doug MacKay, Bill Hoover of Broadleaf Partners

For those that may not have noticed, stock market volatility has been on the rise in October, with more up and down 1-2% days and powerful intraday moves than we've seen since the Great Recession. Weak overseas economies, fears over what rapid declines in energy prices could mean, and Ebola are just a few of the factors that have been used to explain the disappointing action.

2014-10-17 Being Intelligent About Smart Beta by Chris Richey of Neosho Capital

Given the history of miracle cures, magic potions, sure things, and can’t misses, you will forgive our skepticism as “Smart Beta” entered the financial lexicon over the past 3 years. Things promising to be “smart” often look very dumb in retrospect. But we were intrigued, if only because humility and competition demand an open mind.

2014-10-17 Seasonal Factors Ready to Turn Positive by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

After a volatile week in markets, U.S. equities are now oversold and investors should be alert for seasonal factors that should soon turn positive.

2014-10-17 The Inequality Trifecta by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

Perhaps the most striking disconnect at the annual IMF/World Bank meetings was the disparity between participants’ interest in discussions of inequality and the ongoing lack of a formal action plan for governments to address it. This represents a profound failure of policy imagination – one that must urgently be addressed.

2014-10-17 To Infinity and Beyond! by Colin Moore of Columbia Management

To infinity and beyond!” is the catchphrase of Buzz Lightyear, the popular character from Disney’s Toy Story franchise. The phrase is both whimsical and paradoxical. The character of Buzz was inspired by Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin; but the phrase may be a tribute to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, in which the concept of “Jupiter and beyond the infinite” was introduced.

2014-10-17 Pullback Perspective by Burt White of LPL Financial

We see the recent increase in volatility as normal within the context of an ongoing bull market. We do not believe the age of the bull market, at more than 5.5 years old, means it should end. We maintain our positive outlook for stocks for the remainder of 2014 and into 2015.

2014-10-17 5 Things To Ponder: "Buy" or "Run" by Lance Roberts of STA Wealth Management

This past week investors to a blow from a sharp selloff in the financial markets. I have spilled quite a bit of ink in recent months discussing the probabilities of such as corrective event as the Federal Reserve’s current liquidity operation came to a conclusion this month.

2014-10-17 Special Report: Volatility Update by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Volatility can destroy the best of financial plans. Simply doing nothing can be a fine strategy in the face of short-term volatility, but the tension associated with market downdrafts makes both institutional and individual investors’ feel that doing nothing is not an alternative. However, decisions made under duress are typically decisions that should not be made.

2014-10-17 Why High Yield, Why Now by Tim Gramatovich, Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

Here are some of the reasons we believe that the high yield bond market looks attractive at current levels.

2014-10-16 Global Worries (And Some Benefits) by Scott Brown of Raymond James

In the latest update of its World Economic Outlook, the IMF revised lower its expectations of global growth in 2014 and 2015. None of that should have surprised anyone. At this point, the IMF expects that European GDP will be relatively weak in 2014 (+0.8% 4Q14/4Q13) and should improve in 2015 (+1.6% 4Q15/4Q14). However, risks are weighted predominately to the downside. Weaker European growth and a stronger dollar will have a significant impact on many U.S. firms, but may have some benefits for the economy as a whole.

2014-10-16 The Right Question by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

In this business it has been said, “Sometimes knowing the right question is more important than actually knowing the answer.” Over the years I have found that old Wall Street axiom to serve me well. One example would be reading the footnotes in a company’s annual report.

2014-10-16 The Boutique Advantage by Team of Ridgeworth

A recent survey highlights advisors’ thoughts and concerns about these specialized investment managers.

2014-10-16 Europe: Draghi's Deflation Desperation by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The specter of falling prices in the eurozone is making the ECB chief’s job even harder.

2014-10-16 Governments Need Inflation, Economies Don't by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

In an article in the UK's Telegraph on October 10, veteran economic correspondent Ambrose Evans-Pritchard laid bare the essential truth of the nearly universal current embrace of inflation as an economic panacea. While politicians, CEOs and economists talk about demand stimulus and the avoidance of a deflationary trap, Evans-Pritchard reminds us that inflation is all, and always, about debt management.

2014-10-16 October is a Scary Month by Brian Andrew of Cleary Gull

The current environment for stock investors can be trying. Global cross currents regarding economic growth, employment, government policy, and corporate earnings have created the first test of investors’ mettle in almost two years. We have an opportunity to use current market events to review our investment plan and check our emotional temperature.

2014-10-16 Global Carry a.k.a. Risk Parity by Alexander Giryavets of Dynamika Capital L.L.C.

It is customary to think of “Risk Parity Asset Allocation” and “Carry Trading Strategy” as two different things. We explain that the Risk Parity after the Global Financial Crisis is nothing else but a hugely successful Global Carry Trade funded in Japanese Yen, Dollar and Euro. The performance of this trade is fantastic, the allocation is huge (100s of blns of $) and the risk of crash that will precipitate the next financial crisis is growing day by day. But for now the music is still playing.

2014-10-16 The Case for High Multiples by David Kleinberg of Universal Orbit

High P/E multiple companies, along with their near cousins N/A and NMF, display the characteristics of mid- to late-cycle reporting periods—increasing trends in cash flow, from negative to positive. The case for high multiples is initially supported by lofty valuations and low interest rates amid robust earnings in this perhaps peak cycle. Irrespective of the cycles and subcycles driving profitability, we look forward to more variable less certain comparables among changing industry-specific capital market dynamics.

2014-10-16 Optimizing a Portfolio Allocation to Gold by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

Gold continues to be an attractive asset class that many investors wish to hold in their portfolios primarily for its diversification benefits and defensive characteristics during periods of high risk aversion in global markets. And notably many investors gain their gold exposure via exchange traded products given the ease of access, liquidity and the transparency they offer, particularly to retail investors who historically faced numerous barriers to holding gold in their portfolios.

2014-10-16 Global Evolution a Game Changer for Real Estate by Patrick Brophy of Janus Capital Group

As investors consider rising rates and the impact on yield-based assets, it is time to address a couple of common misperceptions about real estate. Patrick Brophy, Portfolio Manager of the Janus Global Real Estate Fund, explains why rising rates are not directionally bad for real estate equities. He also explains why real estate can be more than just a source of income for portfolios.

2014-10-16 Measuring Up by Gary Stroik of WBI Investments

Are you a better than average driver? According to a number of survey results, a lot of drivers think they are. A Survey by PublicMind at Fairleigh Dickinson University found that 68% of the drivers polled considered themselves above average, 30% considered themselves average, and just 1% considered themselves to be below average. (1% were unsure or refused to answer.)

2014-10-16 Risk Aversion and Dollar Strength by Rick Harper of WisdomTree

Since the dollar is the primary reserve currency of the world, investors typically seek exposure to the dollar via short-term assets when market sentiment begins to shift. As we explain, the U.S. dollar can serve as an effective hedge to market uncertainty when volatility unexpectedly spikes.

2014-10-16 CEF Market Update Featuring Mike Taggart by (Article)

The availability of double-digit discounts and the potential for increased volatility may create opportunities for CEF investors, says Mike Taggart of Nuveen Investments.

2014-10-15 Fed “Management by the Dots” Signals New Tightening Cycle by Payson Swaffield of Eaton Vance

The Fed has been signaling a gradual tightening, and market reaction in the third quarter produced modest increases in the two- to seven-year maturities. We believe “management by the dots” is the Fed’s attempt to engineer a soft landing for the credit markets. The inevitable volatility of this process is likely to offer increased opportunities for investors.

2014-10-15 The Sell-Off Continues, But an Opportunity Appears by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

In recent weeks, investors have been contending with two trends: anxiety over a change in Fed policy and evidence of a slowdown in the global economy. While global growth is likely to remain below historic norms, it is not collapsing. This suggests that investors should be positioned for a slow growth environment, not another recession. This, in turn, implies taking some selective risk in asset classes that have become less expensive as a result of the sell-off. One example of an asset that warrants another look: U.S. high yield bonds.

2014-10-15 What Are We Doing to Our Young Investors? by Rob Arnott, Lillian Wu of Research Affiliates

In the latest piece from Research Affiliates, Rob Arnott, chairman and CEO, and Lillian Wu, researcher, look at the growing use of target date funds by young workers, and how their defined contribution (DC) portfolios are therefore increasingly concentrated in stocks. However, young workers are more likely to cash out their DC assets to meet living expenses during a recession or other hardship, and equity volatility could leave them in a bind. Arnott and Wu offer a potential solution: less risky starter portfolios.

2014-10-15 How Over-Regulation Hurts Us - Some Eye-Popping Numbers by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The study entitled “Federal Regulation and Aggregate Economic Growth” was published by the Journal of Economic Growth. Among other things, the Journal conducts research on how over-regulation hurts the economy. The Journal calculates that over-regulation has shaved at least 2% off of annual economic growth since 1949.

2014-10-15 Disruptive Innovation: The New Normal by Team of Manning & Napier

The current economic and market environment is not one in which a rising tide of economic growth will lift all ships; actually, it’s quite the opposite. As businesses compete, the winners will largely succeed at the expense of the losers. Consider recent examples such as Nokia and BlackBerry; both companies once widely recognized as dominating their respective markets, only to be disrupted by innovative competitors.

2014-10-15 Unlocking Alere’s Potential by Igor Golalic of Diamond Hill Capital Management, Inc.

Health care has historically been a good business, especially in the United States. Investors like to invest in good businesses and will usually pay a premium for those that generate stable, predictable, and excess returns or any combination thereof. There are certain characteristics that create an environment within which such businesses can prosper – higher barriers to entry, sticky customer base, secular growth prospects, low capital intensity, and lack of credible substitutes.

2014-10-15 Is “Smart Beta” Smart Enough? by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

As smart as smart beta might be, it is not smart enough to answer the most important question in beta management. The key to successful beta management, regardless of whether the beta is smart or dumb, depends primarily on the choice and timing of beta. A strategy that focuses on smart beta without consideration for full beta management seems very likely to underperform.

2014-10-15 Who Will Blink First? by Portfolio Management Team of SMC Fixed Income Management

While tax-exempt yields did follow Treasuries higher during September, the snap-back has been fast and significant; yields have recently established new twelve-month lows. Meanwhile, investors appear to be repositioning from equity and other asset classes into fixed income. The move to bonds includes municipal securities, as evidenced by strong flows into tax-exempt funds, which is forcing cash-laden portfolio managers to buy at the highest prices of the year.

2014-10-15 Dilma or No Dilma? by Bill O'Grady, Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

During the first round of Brazilian presidential elections on October 5, the incumbent Dilma Rousseff received 42% of the votes while Aecio Neves received 34%. Since neither candidate received more than 50% of the vote, the second round of runoff elections will be held on October 26. This week, we will look at the Brazilian presidential elections along with the country’s current political and economic environment. We will briefly describe the recent political history of the country and look at the specifics of Brazil’s economic development. As usual, we will conclude with market ra

2014-10-14 What Is Flexible Indexing? by Shundrawn Thomas (Article)

Shundrawn Thomas discusses how FlexShares' Flexible Indexing approach produces nontraditional indexes that target fundamental investor goals.

2014-10-14 Bill Sharpe on Retirement Planning by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Bill Sharpe discusses topics at the forefront of financial-planning research: The role of annuities in a retirement portfolio, the proper glidepath for target-date funds, if investors should anticipate mean reversion in market returns and whether ESG- and SRI-oriented portfolios make sense.

2014-10-14 High Quality Mid Caps Enjoy Performance Advantage by Sponsored Content from ClearBridge Investments (Article)

Since 1965, high-quality midcap stocks have outperformed their low-quality peers by a meaningful margin-a premium that has been most pronounced during periods of market transition. As we approach an inflection point in the current market and economy, investors should consider high-quality mid-cap stocks, which appear poised to thrive.

2014-10-14 The Ultimate Income Portfolio: 7.1% Yield with Low Risk by Geoff Considine (Article)

I analyze the performance of last year's Ultimate Income Portfolio and generate the one for 2014-15. The result is a portfolio that yields 7.1% with a risk level equivalent to a 70/30 stock/bond index fund. I also explore some of the lessons learned from four years of tracking and revising the portfolios.

2014-10-14 The Five Seconds When You Can Lose a Prospect by Dan Richards (Article)

When you meet with prospects, how long does it take for them to form the initial opinion of you that will shape their lasting perceptions? The scary answer: Five seconds or less. To maximize the chances of a positive outcome from an initial meeting, advisors need to get a number of things right.

2014-10-14 Dealing With a Really Difficult Prospect by Daniel Solin (Article)

We have all had experience trying to convert difficult (sometimes really difficult) prospects into clients. In a recent article, I discussed some of the issues I have confronted when dealing with narcissistic advisors. But clients, or prospective clients, can display narcissistic behavior too.

2014-10-14 How to Promote Your Case Studies by Elizabeth Snyder (Article)

If you don't promote your case studies effectively, they won't help you achieve your marketing goals.

2014-10-14 Where is an Advisor's Time Best Spent? by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Is it more important for an advisor who leads a firm to spend time with clients or with staff?

2014-10-14 Sea Change by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

The final chapter and conclusion pretty much end as you would expect: the demise of monetary policy’s ability to soothe the soul of the markets and the return of volatility. We hopefully get a full-fledged restructuring of the sovereign debt markets. The Fed and sister central banks will try the same tired tools they have been using. Except they have already been to the zero rate boundary and have wasted the opportunity they had to increase rates so that they could lower them later. Another round of quantitative easing?

2014-10-14 The Eurozone Plots Its Long Road to Recovery by David Zahn of Franklin Templeton Investments

Growth in much of Europe is slow - some observers even say the economy is moving sideways. Lately, the eurozone seems to have more in common with Japan, whose economy has been idling for years, than it does with the UK or the United States.

2014-10-14 Assessing the Economic Impact of Hong Kong’s Occupy Central Movement by Paul Chan of Invesco Blog

The Occupy Central (OC) movement was officially launched on Sept. 28, starting with members from the Occupy Central with Love and Peace (OCLP), the HK Federation of Students and Scholarism groups staging a sit-in in Central and Admiralty that blocked traffic in key commercial and business districts in Hong Kong.

2014-10-14 Finding Value in the Municipal Market Today by Bob Andres of Andres Capital Management

With the Fed’s recent remarks regarding their near term plan or lack thereof for short term rates, investors continue to be surrounded by uncertainty as to the timing and velocity of future interest rate movements. This uncertainty creates the question of how one can protect one’s capital base, while earning decent returns.

2014-10-14 Tracking the Market with Social Media by Blair Jensen of Downside Hedge

The Trade Followers Momentum indicators for the S&P 500 Index (SPX) continue to confirm lower prices with a series of lower highs. After trying to bounce, SPX broke through the 1955 support level that has been important on the Twitter stream for several weeks. It closed Friday near the next major support level of 1905 with 7 day momentum painting a small positive divergence with price.

2014-10-14 How’s the Market Feeling These Days? by Edward Perkin of Eaton Vance

Recent investor sentiment on the equity market – and what conclusions might be drawn. Recent investor sentiment readings suggest that lingering fear from the 2008 financial crisis has abated somewhat, and that sentiment has finally begun to catch up with market performance.

2014-10-14 Everything Is Not As It Seems by Sean Hanlon of Hanlon Investment Management

As of September 25, 2014 the NASDAQ Composite index is up 6.95% year-to-date, despite the recent downturn in the market. The darling tech stocks continue to come up with new and innovative ideas for products and services to drive their bottom lines. The NASDAQ is only down -2.86% from the high it made on September 2, 2014. One could conclude that the NASDAQ is indeed solid and that this is just another passing correction before it pushes on to higher levels.

2014-10-14 What If We “Crash”? by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

US equities are deeply oversold by many measures, and are likely to bottom here. But what if we “crash”? While market crashes are impossible to predict, it’s wise to be prepared for the occasional plunge from deeply oversold territory.

2014-10-14 You Ain't Seen Nothin Yet by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Someone recently asked a group of us which band we saw at our first rock concert. My answer was the Canadian band, The Guess Who, in 1975. With hits like “No Time,” “Undun” and “These Eyes,” The Guess Who hit the perfect balance between my 17-year old testosterone driven aggressiveness and my urge to romance the woman of my dreams. The key members of the band in the 1960’s and 1970’s were Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman.

2014-10-14 Can The Market Make A Comeback? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Although I’m a Detroit Lions’ fan and thoroughly enjoyed my team’s rare, 19-to-7 triumph over Green Bay’s football team last month, I’ve always respected the Packers. (Maybe because as a Lions’ season ticket holder since the 80s, I probably have seen the Lions lose to them more than anyone else.) They epitomize what football is all about.

2014-10-14 Rising Rate Strategy Performance in a Falling Rate Environment by Rick Harper of WisdomTree

In our view, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) can provide powerful tools for fixed income investors both big and small. Even some of the most sophisticated investment managers have used ETFs to gain broad-based exposure to certain subsets of the fixed income market.

2014-10-14 Forecasting the Market: A Thought Experiment Revisited by Colonel Chris Turner of PIEH, LLC

With Q3-14 reported earnings just beginning, here is the latest update of my ongoing "thought experiment" for forecasting the S&P 500 price based on earnings fundamentals. The chart below is based on the latest trailing twelve-month earnings (TTM) data published on the Standard & Poor's website as of October 9th, 2014. The numbers are from the spreadsheet maintained by senior analyst Howard Silverblatt. See dshort's monthly valuation update for instructions on downloading the spreadsheet.

2014-10-14 Finally, a Five Handle! by Brian Andrew of Cleary Gull

Last Friday’s jobs report was significant in that for the first time since July of 2008 the unemployment rate dipped below 6%. The September report indicated that the unemployment rate fell from 6.1% to 5.9%. While we have seen improvement in labor markets for some time now, the Fed still seems to want to take their time reducing stimulative policy.

2014-10-14 Oracle’s Present State Looks Great But Challenges Lie in Wait by Erik Kobayashi-Solomon of YCharts, Inc.

You may think of Oracle (ORCL) as a company that sells software. In fact, at its core, it is a company that sells software updates.

2014-10-13 Air-Pockets, Free-Falls, and Crashes by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Once overvalued, overbought, overbullish extremes are joined by deterioration in market internals and trend-uniformity, one finds a narrow set comprising less than 5% of history that contains little but abrupt air-pockets, free-falls, and crashes.

2014-10-13 New Depths of Shallowness by Michael Kayes of Willingdon Wealth Management

What happens in the corporate world often is a reflection of the values and trends in our society. Here are a couple of recent stories that, well, leave me scratching my head...

2014-10-13 The Age of Vulnerability by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

While many countries succeeded in moving people out of poverty, the welfare of a growing number is precarious. An economic system that fails to deliver gains for most of its citizens, and in which a rising share of the population faces increasing insecurity, is, in a fundamental sense, a failed economic system.

2014-10-13 Is the UK Getting Back to Business as Usual?? by Mike Amey of PIMCO

In light of the generally buoyant economy, we may start to see more normal conditions returning to the UK labour market and, importantly, upward movement in wage growth over the cyclical horizon. In turn, these developments are critical for the conduct and timing of monetary policy and the behaviour of the Bank of England's (BOE) Monetary Policy Committee. We believe investors may want to treat the BOE's interest rate cycle with caution in shorter-maturity bonds, while valuations offer more protection in intermediate bonds given PIMCO's New Neutral thesis of secularly low real interest rates.

2014-10-13 Five Ways to Keep Out of the Bond Liquidity Trap by Douglas J. Peebles of AllianceBernstein

The good news is that liquidity risk is manageable—and can even offer attractive opportunities, given the right time horizon. When liquidity dries up in one sector, it can be plentiful in another. If managed properly, it can be an additional source of returns. Here are five things investors can do to stay afloat.

2014-10-13 Europe: Draghi's Deflation Desperation by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The specter of falling prices in the eurozone is making the ECB chief’s job even harder.

2014-10-13 5% Corrections Have Been Normal in this Bull Market by Gary Black of Calamos Investments

We believe the 3Q earnings season, which moves into full swing next week, combined with greater unity by European officials on how to jump start economic growth, and additional soothing comments from our own Fed about keeping short-term rates low for a considerable time, should allow this correction to dissipate without incident, propelling the five-and-a-half year bull market to new highs.

2014-10-13 Venezuela’s Spectacular Underperformance by Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff of Project Syndicate

Venezuela is a major oil-exporting economy that is so badly mismanaged that real (inflation-adjusted) per capita GDP today is 2% lower than it was in 1970, despite a ten-fold increase in oil prices. Perhaps that is why its president is lashing out at academics who have the temerity to point that out.

2014-10-13 Inconceivable by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

The point is that there are many risks investors should not ignore. Making up losses is much harder than reinvesting stored capital once a clearer picture emerges. While the current belief that a correction of magnitude in the markets is "inconceivable," I am not sure that word means what they think it means.

2014-10-12 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

SPX has gone 686 days without touching its 200-dma. This is the longest stretch in history. On Friday, after a 3% fall during the week, SPX landed right on its 200-dma. It would be unusual if SPX dropped right through its 200-dma by more than ~2% without first bouncing higher. Unusual, but not impossible.

2014-10-12 Weighing the Week Ahead: Can Corporate Earnings Reports Reverse the Stock Market Decline? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

Last week featured a low signal to noise ratio – speech after speech, but little fresh information. This week heralds the start of earnings season. While we have a normal measure of government data, market participants will carefully parse the announcements and conference calls. This week will be all about earnings.

2014-10-11 Warning: Market Correction This Week? Did You See the Opportunity? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

While stocks fell around the world this week amid growing concerns over global economic growth, Europe’s slowdown can’t stop emerging market population growth that drives long-term commodity demand. If the short-term market volatility concerns you, a solution is short-term tax-free municipal bonds. Check out the 5 Reasons Why.

2014-10-11 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Hong Kong gets occupied; U.S. corporate taxes: Fact, fiction and framing; Has the U.S. Treasury blunted the Fed's QE program?

2014-10-11 Global Fears by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

Volatility could continue but equity investors should keep the longer-term picture in mind, which we believe is positive. The U.S. economy is improving and monetary policy remains quite loose. The international picture is more concerning but diversification is important across asset classes. We currently favor emerging markets within a diversified international portfolio.

2014-10-11 Five Things To Ponder: Through The Looking Glass by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Is this the beginning of a bigger correction, or just a respite before the next advance? This is the first correction, since the beginning of the Federal Reserve’s latest round of quantitative easing, where the market has broken decisively through its shorter term moving average as shown below.

2014-10-11 Investing is Like a Baseball Season (Not a Football Season) by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Rather than try to out-guess the market's trader element, we prefer to act consistent with what our objectives are for each strategy. Avoiding the big loss is a prime part of that. Tracking bounce days when market activity is getting increasingly concerning to us is not. Boring? Yes. Effective at keeping our clients retired? We think so.

2014-10-11 Setting Global Standards for Central Clearinghouses by William G. De Leon, Tracey Jordal, Libby Cantrill of PIMCO

While a possible central counterparty (CCP) failure is a very remote event, there is no one single solution that alone will prevent it. However, PIMCO believes that if several conditions are met, including 1) a CCP is capitalized correctly and sufficiently with its own skin in the game, 2) segregation of client assets are consistent across cleared derivatives, 3) CCPs have a way to access cash easily to manage liquidity and 4) stress tests are consistently performed and reviewed, a CCP will be much more likely to recover than to be forced into a resolution process.

2014-10-11 Protecting Whom? by Tiffany Hsiao of Matthews Asia

China has long been accused of protectionist policies that restrict access to many markets.Recently, this has garnered more press attention. But has China really become more confrontational with U.S. business? In today’s world, what exactly is protectionism, and who are these protections meant to benefit? This month Asia Insight explores.

2014-10-10 You Only Dance Twice by William Gross of Janus Capital Group

Dancing, or better yet as the beginning of my Investment Outlook suggests, being asked to dance, seems to have become an important part of my life over the past month or so. Having first been asked by my wonderful wife, Sue, and now by Dick Weil and Janus from a business standpoint, I write to you today from my desk in a new Janus office in Newport Beach, California.

2014-10-10 Bullish on Gold Priced in Euro – Gold Priced in Dollars, Not So Much by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

In this week’s discussion we revisit our earlier analysis looking at the relationship between the gold price and real interest rates. Over the last three months the gold price in dollar terms has fallen 9% moving briefly below $1,200 and naturally raising concerns amongst investors that this pull-back may extend as the dollar continues to strengthen against a broad basket of currencies.

2014-10-10 Practical Policy Prescriptions to Help Offset Geopolitical Uncertainties by Scott Mather, Greg Sharenow of PIMCO

We believe Europe should relax fiscal budget constraints to allow for fiscal stimulus to offset any economic drag, while maintaining extremely accommodative monetary policy. The U.S. and its relatively newfound energy renaissance can also play an important role in supporting Europe and the global economy by signaling its intention to compete for energy market share.

2014-10-10 Japan: Changes in Sentiment and Tokyo's Property Market by Dilip Badlani of The Royce Funds

In his second trip to Japan this year, Portfolio Manager Dilip Badlani observed a change in sentiment, though his bullishness on Japanese micro-caps remains unshaken.

2014-10-10 Are Hedge Funds the Great Diversifier? by Team of Milliman Financial Risk Management

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) announced on September 15th that it would divest its entire $4.5 billion hedge fund investment. With a market value of $298 billion, a move by Calpers may be a bellwether for the industry. The decision comes at a time when many pensions are reconsidering hedge fund investments as a risk management tool.

2014-10-10 That Was the Week That Was... by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

A week ago yesterday I arrived in New York City just in time to have dinner with some friends. Avra Estiatorio is arguably the best Greek seafood restaurant in the city and it is located 20 steps from my hotel of choice, the Hyatt 48 lex, which is aptly named since it sits on the corner of Lexington and 48th street.

2014-10-10 The September Employment Report by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The headline figures from the September jobs report were better than expected. However, the details were more consistent with moderate growth and a continued high degree of slack. Fed officials aren’t going to jump to any conclusions.

2014-10-10 Japan Strategist Roundtable: Jesper Koll—What Is Different This Time? by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

When I spoke with Jesper Koll from J.P. Morgan Securities, one particular theme appeared in our conversation: Prime minister Shinzo Abe is an important catalyst—but not necessarily the primary factor—for what is different this time in Japan.

2014-10-10 Divergent Returns by Jim Tillar, Steve Wenstrup of Tillar-Wenstrup

The theme for this newsletter is volatility. Not only are we seeing volatility in financial prices, but also in economic data and in some indicators we use to gauge the market's risk level.

2014-10-09 Global asset allocation outlook by Global Asset Allocation Team of Columbia Management

Recent market performance, particularly in September, has been negative across a widespread array of asset classes as we have seen the U.S. dollar exchange rate rise with increasing intensity in recent months. The worst returns, not coincidentally, were delivered by the very assets that have shown historically high sensitivity to dollar strength. This disruption to currency stability in general, and the particular importance of a rise in exchange value for the world’s reserve currency, represents an important change in capital market conditions.

2014-10-09 Warren Buffett on Buying Businesses by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

We’d like to ask a self serving and much nuanced question: is your active equity portfolio manager buying businesses for you or are they trying to guess what the stock market will do in the next month or few years? Much like Samuel L. Jackson asks, “What’s in your wallet?” in television commercials, we’d like to ask, “What’s in your portfolio”?

2014-10-09 Tocqueville Gold Strategy Investor Letter by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

John Hathaway, manager of the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), states in his latest quarterly letter on gold that "On a near term basis, this looks and feels like a bottom to us. On a longer term view, we are more bullish than ever." He goes on to write that "Expanding earnings and valuations, the underpinnings of the four year bull market in financial assets, may be approaching an inflection point. A reversal of this cycle would in our opinion restore interest in gold."

2014-10-09 Can Anything Go Wrong for the Markets??? by Vineer Bhansali of PIMCO

?Risk management in proper portfolio construction consists of a combination of dynamic risk balancing, diversified beta sources, explicit options-based tail hedging and a minimum amount of liquidity. Faced with a long and expanding list of things that could go wrong, uncertainties about the likelihood of each shock and the lack of dependable precursory indicators, it seems that a structurally sound portfolio construction methodology that uses all these tools is essential.

2014-10-09 2014 Outlook Update: A Year of Validation Indeed by Andrew Pease of Russell Investments

Andrew Pease, Global Head of Investment Strategy, outlines the economic and markets predictions by the team of Russell strategists at the end of the third quarter and going into the fourth quarter, comparing these forecasts to the firm’s Annual Global Outlook from last December.

2014-10-09 The Fed's Invisible Hand, and Other Things to Think About by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

I have not been a huge advocate of the Federal Reserve's QE programs for the simple reason that outside of inflating asset prices, it has done nothing for the broad swath of the American economy.

2014-10-09 Why You Should Stick With Tech Stocks by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Recent stock market losses have engendered a good deal of investor angst about technology stocks, but Russ believes anxiety over the technology sector is premature. In fact, it remains one of his favorite sectors. Here’s why.

2014-10-09 How Alibaba Could Capitalize on the EBay-PayPal Split by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Ebay and Paypal Split - U.S. Global InvestorsInternet auctioneer and retailer eBay announced last week that it will be spinning off its online payment service PayPal into two listed companies. This decision, heralded by activist shareholder Carl Icahn, among other investors, will allegedly enable both companies to focus exclusively on what they do best.

2014-10-09 Rethinking Core Fixed Income in a Rising-Rate Environment by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments

Michael Hasenstab, chief investment officer, Global Bonds, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group®, says it is time for fixed income investors to think outside traditional boxes. He believes that with today’s market environment and the prospect of rising US interest rates on the horizon, investors need to rethink their core fixed income portfolio. He makes the case for an actively managed, global, unconstrained fixed income strategy.

2014-10-09 Putting the Pieces Together: An In Depth Chart Review of Global Financial Markets by Team of GaveKal Capital

One of our favorite grounding exercises is to peruse our chart library and review what has happened in the global financial markets so we can opine about what those prices and patterns are telling us about the world. We'll save the opining for another time, so we present the following charts with little commentary.

2014-10-09 Global Credit Market Update by Phil Apel (Article)

Phil Apel, Head of Fixed Income discusses the implications of higher interest rates in the US, currency positioning and the divergence of performance across markets both geographically and by asset class. Mr. Apel further notes that while recent volatility in credit markets, particularly in US high yield, has spooked many retail investors, portfolio managers and intuitional smart money are using the weakness to seek new opportunities at very reasonable prices.

2014-10-08 Is Style Box Investing Holding You Back? by Richard Bernstein, Kathleen Gaffney of Eaton Vance

In today’s market environment, tethering your portfolio to a style box or a benchmark could potentially lead to volatile investment returns when those asset classes or investment styles fall out of favor. Consider taking a flexible approach, which looks at the entire spectrum of equity and fixed income assets, to widen your opportunity set and further diversify your portfolio.

2014-10-08 The State of Small-Cap Valuations and Holding High-Confidence Names by Jay Kaplan of The Royce Funds

With the U.S. economy and employment rate slowly improving, small-cap valuations may not see a correction significant enough to offer attractively discounted share prices any time soon—at least at the levels that Royce typically seeks. Portfolio Manager and Principal Jay Kaplan discusses how he's been managing his portfolios in a market environment that's been largely unkind to value investors and talks about some names he likes going forward.

2014-10-08 Why Do Investors Really Underperform Over Time? by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

There have been numerous articles written as of late that have chastised individuals for "missing out on the bull market" which was only slightly worse than "not beating it." The reasons were chalked up to bad investment advice and paying "too much" in fees which caused the underperformance. While both of those reasons may be contributors to the problem, they are in reality on very small components of the problem when compared to the three single largest contributors to investor underperformance over time.

2014-10-08 Unemployment Dips Below 6%, But Incomes Stagnate by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Last Friday’s unemployment report came in better than expected. The headline unemployment rate fell more than anticipated, from 6.1% in August to 5.9% last month. The number of new jobs created last month was also better than expected at 248,000.

2014-10-08 Recession Probability Models - October 2014 by Ted Kavadas of StratX, LLC

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

2014-10-08 Nervous Investors, Choppy Markets by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

It was a choppy third quarter for global asset classes. Domestically, Large Cap equities rose slightly but Small Cap US stocks fell.

2014-10-08 Letter to a Chinese "Little Emperor": It’s Nice To Be the King, but Not Always Easy by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest piece, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, imagines writing to a privileged child of the "new" China, comparing such a child's coming-of-age with his own, in booming post-World War 2 France. He goes on to discuss "the curse of early money," and the pitfall it can cause for friendships and for personal development.

2014-10-08 A Japan Strategist Roundtable: What’s Next for Japan? by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

The start of 2014 was a challenging time for the Japanese equity markets. But recently things started to perk up. I recently spent time in Tokyo and want to share my observations from the trip.

2014-10-08 High Yield Market Technicals by Tim Gramatovich of AdvisorShares

It has been a long quiet period in credit but volatility has returned with a vengeance. I have had an opportunity to discuss this with a number of our institutional clients in recent days, but there are a few factors that are exacerbating the recent price declines in the high yield bond market.

2014-10-07 How We See Europe Panning Out by Stephen Peak (Article)

Stephen Peak, Director of International Equities, notes that overall, it's been an interesting year so far for European markets and economies. He adds that what started out as a reasonable start to the year, later began to look more doubtful as we hit mid-year. As to the markets themselves, Stephen believes good valuation opportunities exist in Europe - and notes that principally, he takes comfort in the attractiveness in multiples in Europe, specifically on a cyclically adjusted basis.

2014-10-07 What Clients Really Want by (Article)

Transamerica has been listening to hundreds of investors around the country. Hear from them about what they want.

2014-10-07 The Five Biggest Ways Your Practice Needs to Change by Bob Veres (Article)

Telling you to brace for change, over and over again, isn't exactly helping you make concrete plans. With the constant demands on your time, it would be helpful to know: What are the new realities to which you must adapt? Where are the transitions going to impact your practice? What old ways are you going to have to abandon, and what new ones will you have to adopt? Here's my list, including five that are either urgent or high-priority changes.

2014-10-07 A Q3 Letter to Clients: How to Navigate Rough Waters by Dan Richards (Article)

Each quarter I post a template for a client letter, as a starting point for advisors who want to send clients an overview of the three months that just ended and an outlook for the period ahead. Be sure to customize the letter to reflect your views, especially when it comes to recommendations for the period ahead.

2014-10-07 The Five Keys to Effective Marketing by Kristen Luke (Article)

To set yourself up for success in the coming year, put these five foundation items on the top of your list before developing your marketing plan.

2014-10-07 Motivating Advisors to Sell by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I am frustrated by one of our advisors. He brought a relatively small amount of business with him (around $25 million) when he joined the first last year and promoted himself as having a number of connections in the community. Since that time, he has not brought in one additional dollar of new assets. How do I motivate him to sell?

2014-10-07 How Risky are Stocks in the Long Run? by Michael Edesess (Article)

What is the risk that equity investments won’t turn out as well in the long run as we would like them to? This is obviously a very important question. We are often assured that stock investments will eventually pan out because of “mean-reversion.” However, mean-reversion in securities prices is ill-defined, oversimplified and little more than a physics metaphor.

2014-10-07 The Statistical Recovery Continues by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

This past Friday, investors awoke to news that, according to the U.S. Labor Department, employers added 248,000 jobs last month. In addition, job numbers for previous months were revised upward, and the jobless rate fell to 5.9% from August's 6.1%. These numbers had the mainstream media cheering that "economic victory" was nigh and stocks were propelled upward.

2014-10-07 Most Risk Assets Should Continue to Find Support by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Equity prices continued to slide in the face of uncertainty over global growth and pending changes to monetary policy. U.S. growth is continuing to improve, and shows further signs of divergence from the rest of the world. Markets may remain sloppy for a while, but fundamentals suggest most risk assets should continue to perform well.

2014-10-07 Dynamic Markets Call for Flexible Strategies by Richard Bernstein, Kathleen Gaffney of Eaton Vance

Historically low yields, recurring market volatility and other challenges have increasingly enhanced the appeal of investment strategies that take a more flexible approach to investing.

2014-10-07 A Case of ‘Conscious Uncoupling’ by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Kristina Hooper comments on the divergence of monetary policy among global central banks and why the Fed must tread lightly while acting decisively and swiftly.

2014-10-07 Welcome to the World, the Country of Catalonia? by Bill O'Grady, Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

On November 9, the Catalonia region of Spain is due to hold a referendum for independence. This week, we will look at the separatist movement in Catalonia. We will start by giving a brief overview of the region’s history and politics, then look at the roots of the independence movement. We will explore the probability of independence, the potential future relationship between the region and the central government, and the role of the EU and the Eurozone. As always, we will conclude with market ramifications.

2014-10-07 Is “Two for the Price of One” always better? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

I have to admit that I usually avoid shopping. Typical male behavior, I suppose, but even male shoppers stop and consider signs like “Two for the Price of One!” when they eventually choose to grace the shopping aisles.

2014-10-07 How M&A Resurgence May Unlock Value by Francis Gallagher, Peter Drippe of Visium Funds

Growth is a strong motivator for initiating mergers and acquisitions (M&A). For years, businesses created progressively more complex organizations, acquiring or expanding into unrelated business lines, consequently often suppressing overall company valuations. The complexity of melding disparate corporations appeared to make it exceedingly difficult for investors to evaluate companies’ true worth. In the present period of slow U.S. economic growth, a new trend in M&A has emerged, as many companies are reversing these moves, benefiting stock prices, investors and, potentially, the

2014-10-06 The Most Important Chart in the World by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

One of today’s most glaring inter-market divergences is the relative performance of US versus non-US equities. For dollar-based investors, non-US stocks have underperformed US stocks by an astounding 40% over the past five years.

2014-10-06 ISM Data Point to GDP Growth in Q3 Well Above Potential Growth by Robert Lamy of The Forecasting Advisor

At the start of each month, the U.S. Institute for Supply Management (ISM) released data on the state of the manufacturing and non-manufacturing industries of the U.S. economy. The data are closely followed by economists, stock market brokers, and the media as they provide the earliest reading on the current state of the economy.

2014-10-06 What’s Next from the Bank of Japan by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

I had the opportunity to meet with Takeshi Yamada of the Market Intelligence Group at the Bank of Japan (BOJ), and I attended a presentation at the Mizuho conference by Eiji Maeda, the director-general of the Research and Statistics Department.

2014-10-06 Dancing Without a Floor by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

As I did in 2000 and 2007, I feel obligated to state an expectation that only seems like a bizarre assertion because the financial memory is just as short as the popular understanding of valuation is superficial: I view the stock market as likely to lose more than half of its value from its recent high to its ultimate low in this market cycle. In my view, speculators are dancing without a floor.

2014-10-06 Bankruptcies in Denmark --> Decline in S&P 500? by Team of GaveKal Capital

Data released today revealed a jump in both bankruptcies and forced property sales in Denmark.

2014-10-06 Emerging from the Global Competitiveness Ranks by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently released its annual “Global Competitiveness Report,” which details the strengths and weakness of 144 countries in myriad factors including education, infrastructure, health and technology. There aren’t many huge surprises in the developed markets, as most countries’ overall rankings were fairly stable from the prior year. There were, however, a few interesting shifts in the ranks among emerging markets: some making leaps forward, and others, regressing.

2014-10-06 Nontraded REITs’ Dividends Come With Confusion, Controversy by Walter Stabell III of Invesco Blog

Interest rates have been low for quite some time, and investors are searching for ways to generate higher yields. An increasing number of them have turned to non-exchange-traded real estate investment trusts (nontraded REITs). However, nontraded REITs offer high levels of confusion and controversy along with their high yields, and regulators are concerned that these products may not be appropriate for many of the people who invest in them.

2014-10-06 Has an Unavoidable Decline in Home Prices Begun? by Keith Jurow (Article)

In late September, the former head of Goldman Sachs' housing research team sent a lengthy report to President Obama. In it, he predicted that home prices would fall by at least 15% in the next three years. He warned that this could push the country back into a recession. With this blunt warning in mind, let's look at the state of housing markets around the country.

2014-10-05 Weighing the Week Ahead: Will global weakness drag down the US economy? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

Last week was all about data. This week will be the opposite. The calendar already dished up the big news, and the major earnings reports are still a week away. Meanwhile, we have more conferences and speeches than I can remember seeing for many months. For those of us who think of data as the signal and politicians and pundits as noise, we must get ready for a low ratio! This week will emphasize commentary rather than data, with world leaders, Fed types, and pundits all joining in.

2014-10-04 The Wayback Machine Birthday Tour by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

I’ve been writing this letter for some 15 birthdays now, well over 10,000 pages of collected work. Every word is still at my website – a history, if you will, of what I was thinking at the time. I asked my longtime (and long-suffering) editor, Charley Sweet, to go back over this past decade and a half and give us a review of what I was saying my birthday week.

2014-10-04 600 Million Reasons to Keep Your Eyes on India by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In the wake of his rock star reception at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emphatically announced to our nation's top corporate and political leaders that India is now open for business. Between September 26 and 30, he met with not only President Barack Obama and other high-profile politicians but also the CEOs of some of our nation's largest and most successful companies.

2014-10-04 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

What is a good monthly U.S. payroll number?; The September U.S. job data were strong but may not move the Fed's needle; Falling inflation and inflation expectations will keep central banks from tightening

2014-10-04 Much Ado About 0.60% by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Since 1962, the Dow has had a daily change of at least 0.60% over 45% of the time! (Ycharts.com 2014) There are 251 U.S. market trading days a year. This means that on average, about 113 trading days a year result in the Dow changing by 100 points or more, in current terms. Enough said. So, let's focus on what is really news. When market volatility truly returns, it will be like U.S. Justice Potter Stewart famously said about pornography (paraphrasing): you'll know it when you see it.

2014-10-04 What PIMCO Management Changes Mean for Investors by Team of Charles Schwab

Bill Gross resigned from his role as PIMCO’s Chief Investment Officer to join Janus Capital. The PIMCO funds on the current edition of Schwab’s Mutual Fund OneSource Select ListTM are not managed by Gross. There are no PIMCO ETFs currently on Schwab’s ETF Select ListTM. A list of funds formerly managed or co-managed by Gross is available below.

2014-10-04 One Thing Leads to Another: From Dividends/Buybacks to Capex by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The final revision to second quarter real GDP showed a healthy contribution by capex. Tide may be turning away from returning cash to shareholders toward capex; pushed by activist investors.Capex's leading indicators point to further improvement.

2014-10-03 China’s Inscrutable Contraction by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

As China shifts to a more domestic-demand driven, services-oriented economy, a transition to slower trend growth is both inevitable and desirable. But the challenges are immense, and no one should take a soft landing for granted.

2014-10-03 Gold update by Adam Feik of Take Time For This

I don’t believe “rising interest rates” are – or will be – a reason for the dollar to continue to rally (or for gold prices to fall). Right now, investors seem convinced the dollar’s rally will continue for the foreseeable future. It may; but more likely, the dollar will continue to fluctuate when compared to foreign currencies, as well as when compared to gold. I, for one, will probably view any large declines in gold, silver, oil, gas, and the companies that produce those commodities as an opportunity to “buy low.” Note, I’m not ready to

2014-10-03 Financial Repression (and How to Defend Yourself From It) by Mike Shedlock of Doug Short

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Gordon Long last week. Gordon is publisher and editor of Gordon T Long Macro Analytics. The topic was "Financial Repression". What is financial repression? I defined it as "a set of fiscal and monetary policies for the expressed benefit of the ruling class: politicians, banks, and the already wealthy, at the expense of everyone else." In the video, I give numerous examples of repression, noting that central bank sponsored inflation is the epitome of financial repression. We also discuss what to do about financial repression.

2014-10-03 Our DNA by Douglas M. Hodge of PIMCO

Our investment process, which lies at the heart of the value we offer clients, is ingrained – it is stamped into our DNA. Our culture of rigorous and open debate will continue to animate quarterly forums of our global investment and executive leadership, as well as the daily meetings of the Investment Committee. We remain a team-oriented organization. Indeed, it could hardly be otherwise in a firm which over many years has grown to nearly 2,500 investment professionals and staff stationed in 13 global offices, with nearly $2 trillion in assets and a full suite of strategies, including co

2014-10-03 Banquo’s Grain and U.S. Interest Rates by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Early in Shakespeare’s "beth," Lord Banquo asks the prophetic three witches, "If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow, and which will not, speak then to me." Banquo’s turn of phrase reminds us that if a farmer planted the wrong grain he could yield a poor harvest, or worse, he might even starve. I thought about this recently when asked about the outlook for U.S. interest rates. Investors, like farmers, have a sense of the seasons that guides which grains, or investments, are more likely to yield favorable results. While I have

2014-10-03 Is the Stock Market Cheap? by Doug Short of Doug Short

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 averages of daily closes for the past month, which is 1993.23. The ratios in parentheses use the monthly close of 2003.37. For the earnings, see the table below created from Standard & Poor's latest earnings spreadsheet.

2014-10-03 Metastability? by Jeffrey Bronchick of Cove Street Capital

We remain cheerfully bearish on fixed income and slightly less so on equity markets. The combination of volatility and confusion produces opportunities and since we have had a lot less of the former, we have seen a lot fewer of the latter. Not much of this has changed this year...but things do change-sometimes for reasons we can "see" and sometimes due to factors we can't. We remain utterly convinced that Federal Reserve policy is our greatest known unknown and we remain extraordinarily skeptical that the Great Monetary Experiment will end with a purely beneficial outcome. This quart

2014-10-03 Sector Rotations by Alexander Giryavets of Dynamika Capital L.L.C.

This year sector rotations were quite dramatic with late/early, recession and growth/value baskets swinging back and forth all along. By and large these rotations explain essentially all US equities market prices action at the level of sectors. We are taking a closer look at this year rotations, at this week action and where it can end up next as well as how to take advantage of it.

2014-10-03 Vision 1994 by Mark Headley of Matthews Asia

Twenty years ago, Paul Matthews decided to launch two Asia ex-Japan mutual funds in the U.S. and create what is today the Matthews Asia Funds. One was a core Asia ex-Japan growth fund with a mid-capitalization bias. The other fund was a unique portfolio with a focus on Asian convertible bonds. Thus began the journey of the Matthews Pacific Tiger and the Matthews Asian Growth and Income Funds.

2014-10-03 5 Things To Ponder: Motley Cognizance by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

It has been an interesting week in the financial markets as the current correction process has continued. As shown in the chart below, the correction has primarily occurred in the mid, small and international equities as money has rotated into mega-large cap stocks for safety.

2014-10-02 Housing Hiatus? by John Canally of LPL Financial

We continue to expect housing may add to GDP growth in 2014 and for the next several years as the market normalizes following the severe housing bust of 2005-2010. Housing affordability and supply, and the supply and demand for home mortgages, will likely determine the pace at which housing increases GDP growth in the years ahead. The inventory of new and existing homes for sale as a percentage of total households has never been lower.

2014-10-02 Will Risk Parity Performance Persist? by Chris Maxey, Brian Payne of Fortigent

With risk parity portfolios on the whole having outperformed traditional 60/40 allocations since the trough of the financial crisis, one must be mindful of the risks that lie ahead when determining the efficacy of such an approach.

2014-10-02 Voya Fixed Income Perspectives – September 2014 by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms of Voya Investment Management

Change is in the air, and it’s evident beyond the riot of color overwhelming our natural landscape. Market dynamics, too, are shifting, with the yield on the U.S. two-year Treasury inching higher and the U.S. dollar appreciating. Both not only suggest markets are pricing in a stronger U.S. economy, they are also potential harbingers that the end of zero interest rate policy is near.

2014-10-02 3Q14 Market: Small-Caps at a Relative Disadvantage by Jack Fockler of The Royce Funds

We believe that equities continue to represent an attractive option, that fundamentals matter, especially on a long-term basis, and that stock pickers, i.e., active managers, are uniquely positioned to add value in the current market environment and beyond.

2014-10-02 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook for the Americas: Recovery Remains Intact, Yet Uneven by Ed Devlin, Mike Cudzil, Lupin Rahman of PIMCO

U.S. growth can potentially exceed expectations over the cyclical horizon, in part bolstered by a healing consumer and a very accommodative Federal Reserve. While real growth in Canada has been modest in recent years, it increased to 3.1% in the second quarter and we expect that positive momentum to continue this year. In Latin America, we expect growth will pick up for the region as a whole with outperformance by smaller economies like Colombia and Panama.

2014-10-02 Six Months of Nothing by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

Political problems have escalated over the past seven months. Russia has been aggressive and so have extremists in certain Muslim countries. Having said that, financial markets seem to care about nothing but QE. Despite a growing disconnect in some markets between equity valuations and economic fundamentals, we expect the low interest rate environment to carry the equity bull market for a little longer, but eventually it will end in tears.

2014-10-02 Correction Awakens Sleeping Bears, Plunging Oil and Dollar Spikes by Lance Roberts of STA Wealth Management

Since the end of 2012, the S&P 500 has been on an inexhaustible rise despite rising geopolitical tensions, extremely cold weather and weak economic data. The driver, of course, has been the massive liquidity inflows from the Federal Reserve that have catapulted the markets from their previous upward bullish trend into an accelerated push. This is shown in the chart below.

2014-10-02 Uncertainty in markets, economy puts focus on stock picking by Michael Avery, Cynthia Prince-Fox, Chace Brundige of Ivy Investment Management Company

The U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) has indicated it will stop buying U.S. Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities – the “taper” of its QE3 program – by the end of October. The Fed also has said it will keep interest rates at a very low level for a “considerable time.”

2014-10-01 John Templeton’s 22 Maxims for Investors and 6 Factors for Analysts by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

John Templeton was one of the greatest mutual fund managers of the 20th century. The Templeton Growth Fund was established in 1954. From then until Mr. Templeton sold the fund in 1992, a $10,000 investment with dividends and capital gains reinvested would have grown to $2 million.

2014-10-01 How High US Corporate Tax Rates Hurt the Economy by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The US corporate tax rate is the highest among developed nations at 35% at the federal level. Tack on state and local taxes, which can add 5-7%, and US corporations are looking at a 40%-42% income tax burden. But the US takes it even another step further, unlike any other country in the developed world.

2014-10-01 Markets’ Rational Complacency by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

A century ago, financial markets priced in a very low probability that a major conflict would occur, blissfully ignoring the risks that led to World War I until late in the summer of 1914. Back then, markets were poor at correctly pricing low-probability, high-impact tail risks; they still are.

2014-10-01 Chuck Royce on 3Q14: Is Volatility Ushering in a New Market Phase? by Chuck Royce of The Royce Funds

Volatility shook the markets in the last three months, halting the bullish—and placid—pace of returns in a market that has not seen a significant correction since 2011. Chief Executive Officer Chuck Royce talks about market events from the third quarter, the growing disparity between small-cap and large-cap performance, the continuing strength of the economy, the prospects for higher interest rates, the current case for small-cap quality, and more.

2014-10-01 Debeaking the Vultures by Joseph Stiglitz, et al. of Project Syndicate

In the midst of the ongoing dispute between Argentina and the “vulture funds” that hold its bonds, a broad consensus has emerged concerning the need for sovereign-debt restructuring mechanisms. Otherwise, US court rulings in the vultures' favor will give free rein to those who would sabotage future restructurings.

2014-10-01 Making Sense of the Bond Market by Phelps McIlvaine of Saturna Capital

A persistent reduction in the US inflation rate and well-anchored inflation expectations continue to contradict the common understanding that interest rates have reached a cyclical floor.

2014-10-01 Forget Active vs. Passive: It's All About Factors by Adam Butler, Mike Philbrick, Rodrigo Gordillo of Butler|Philbrick|Gordillo & Associates

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.

2014-10-01 UK Joins U.S. Bombing, Courting Danger by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

On September 26th, the English Parliament voted to join the U.S.-led bombing of ISIL, at least in Iraq. The news was received with relief by most in the Anglosphere world and throughout Europe. However, very little regard has been paid to the relative benefits and costs. The military actions that the UK has committed herself to conduct will have a low probability of achieving the stated objective of "degrading and destroying" ISIL. However, there is a much higher likelihood that air strikes from the UK will increase ISIL's stated objective of projecting fear and terrorism deeper into

2014-10-01 Looking Back, Looking Ahead by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Real GDP is now estimated to have risen at a 4.6% annual rate in 2Q14. However, the second quarter’s strength must be balanced against the first quarter’s weakness (a -2.1% pace). As the third quarter ends, we still don’t have a complete picture. However, figures are likely to suggest a moderately strong pace of growth and a gradual taking up of economic slack.

2014-10-01 Myths: Past, Present, and Future by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

“If you don’t change your indicators for the changing causal relationships you are doomed!”

2014-10-01 MLP Optimism featuring David Grumhaus by (Article)

There's reason for optimism about MLP investments even in a rising interest rate environment, says David Grumhaus of Duff & Phelps.

2014-09-30 Bullish on the U.S. Manufacturing Renaissance and Cyclical Businesses by Francis Gannon and Steven McBoyle (Article)

Portfolio Manager Steven McBoyle and Co-Chief Investment Officer Francis Gannon discuss current opportunities rooted in the accelerating growth of the U.S. economy and the search for companies that are investing strategically.

2014-09-30 Five Habits of Highly Annoying Leaders by Robert Huebscher (Article)

What is the role of a leader in creating a psychologically healthy and productive workplace? More specifically, what are the things a leader has to stop doing to help teams accomplish their goals?

2014-09-30 The Client Calls You Need to Make Today by Dan Richards (Article)

It's understandable that advisors get frustrated when clients panic after small declines in the market. Here some strategies to minimize the disruption and actually turn market downturns to your advantage.

2014-09-30 The Personality Trait That Puts You at a Competitive Disadvantage by Daniel Solin (Article)

The "Solin method" for converting prospects into clients works. And it's a radical departure from the norm. It involves, counterintuitively, less work by the advisor, no selling and very little presenting. That's where I have run into trouble with advisors who exhibit a particular personality trait.

2014-09-30 Why You Should Stop Blogging About Investing by Megan Elliott (Article)

Now that virtually every advisor is a blogger, it's harder to stand out. There's no shortage of people expounding on financial planning and investing online. Here's what to write about instead.

2014-09-30 A Laser-Focused Client Referral Process by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I am confused about something. I've heard you say we should not ask our clients for referrals, but we should identify clients to approach. Isn't this the same as asking them for help?

2014-09-30 Asset Allocation in a Time of Complacency by Dimitri Balatsos of Tesseract Partners

Complacency is a dangerous mindset, especially for investors. Having been generously rewarded beyond their expectations, investors were coddled in the arms of complacency as 2013 drew to a close.

2014-09-30 Microcap as an Alternative to Private Equity by Chris Meredith, Patrick O'Shaughnessy of O'Shaughnessey Asset management

Private equity has become a central component of many institutional and high-net-worth investment portfolios over the past decade. While private equity offers potential advantages, it also requires taking distinct risks. This paper highlights an alternative to private equity—microcap equities—which mitigates several of these particular risks.

2014-09-30 How Might Stocks Take a Hike? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Here's a look at what happened to equities during past periods when the Fed raised rates.

2014-09-30 Market Internals Continue To Weaken by Steve Rumsey of Optimus Advisory Group

The word "divergence" has crept back into the market vocabulary lately, so let's take a closer look to see what all the fuss is about. The chart below shows the percentage of stocks above their 200-day moving average peaked in the summer of 2013 and has been rolling over ever since.

2014-09-30 The Fed Trap by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

The US Federal Reserve is grappling with the disparity between its unconventional policy's success in preventing economic disaster and its failure to foster a robust recovery. Given that this disconnect has fueled financial-market excesses, the exit will be all the more problematic – especially for the market-fixated Fed.

2014-09-30 How Vulnerable Is Short-Duration Fixed Income to Fed Tightening? by Rick Harper, Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

In recent research released by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and echoed in statements by several Fed regional bank presidents, Fed officials have voiced concerns that the market is underestimating the probability and timing of a change in monetary policy.

2014-09-30 Why We Think Tapering Is Tightening by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

While Fed watchers continue to debate the timing of the first post-2008 hike in the Federal Funds rate (first or second quarter of 2015), we believe the first move toward tighter policy occurred in January when the Fed first reduced the rate of its monthly bond purchases by $10 billion to $75 billion. Our opinion isn’t based on any intricate knowledge of Fed liquidity flows, but simply on the subsequent action of two key stock market segments.

2014-09-30 Ebola by Bill O'Grady, Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

Last week marked six months since the Ebola outbreak was identified in Guinea. The current Ebola epidemic is the most severe and most complex outbreak of the disease in the history of the virus. This week, we will explore the Ebola outbreak, looking at the origin of the disease and how it has spread and developed into a serious epidemic. Although it is hard to find comparable epidemics due to its complexities, we will look at other disease outbreaks in order to gain a better understanding of the scale of the current Ebola epidemic. We will finish with geopolitical and market ramifications.

2014-09-30 Economic Atonement by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

This Friday is Yom Kippur, the day when Jews around the world ask forgiveness for their transgressions from the year past. Rabbis remind the penitent to dwell on their sins of omission, in which they did nothing when a more thoughtful and proactive action was needed, and sins of commission, in which they actively participated in an unjust action. And while not all economists are Jewish, Gene Epstein the economics editor at Barron's, offered his thoughts on how this applies to the group.

2014-09-30 MIT AgeLab by (Article)

The groundbreaking Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab is doing research, sponsored by Transamerica, that is reinventing the future of financial advice.

2014-09-29 Time for an Allocation by Tim Gramatovich of AdvisorShares

The size of the U.S. dollar high yield bond and loan market is over $3 trillion, representing nearly 30% of the corporate credit markets.

2014-09-29 Short Equity ETFs: An Imperfect Market Hedging Strategy by Bob Andres of Andres Capital Management

“So the Wizard unfastened his head and emptied out the straw. Then he entered the back room and took up a measure of bran, which he mixed with a great many pins and needles. Having shaken them together thoroughly, he filled the top of the Scarecrow's head with the mixture and stuffed the rest of the space with straw, to hold it in place.” – L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

2014-09-29 Slower Growth in China and Japan Pressures the Region by Scott Mather, Tomoya Masanao, Adam Bowe of PIMCO

Our forecast for the global economy is below consensus mainly because of our views for regions outside of the U.S., including Asia, the emerging markets and Europe, although higher growth in the U.S. should offset some of the slowdown we see coming from China. Japan made a kick start under so-called Abenomics with massive monetary and fiscal reflation policies, but the recent data suggest to us that the effectiveness of those cyclical policies are already challenged by secular and structural headwinds.

2014-09-29 Looking Past the Risks, Equities Still Appear Attractive by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Last week featured some positive economic news, but equity markets sank nonetheless, with the S&P 500 Index falling 1.3%. On the bright side, we saw some strong data from the housing market and an upward revision to second-quarter gross domestic product growth (GDP).

2014-09-29 A Way to Address Higher Taxes and Rising Rates by Craig Brandon, Adam Weigold of Eaton Vance

One of the top challenges for yield-starved, tax burdened investors today is finding attractive, tax-efficient short-term income opportunities while being mindful of higher taxes. For investors comfortable with the risks involved, municipal floating-rate notes (FRNs) may be a suitable choice to help address these needs — and more.

2014-09-29 The Ingredients of a Market Crash by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Market peaks often go through several months of top formation, so the near-term remains uncertain. Still, it has become urgent for investors to carefully examine all risk exposures. When extreme valuations on historically reliable measures, lopsided bullishness, and compressed risk premiums are joined by deteriorating market internals, widening credit spreads, and a breakdown in trend uniformity, it’s advisable to make certain that the long position you have is the long position you want over the remainder of the market cycle.

2014-09-28 The End of Monetary Policy by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Let’s explore the limits of monetary policy and think about the evolution and then the endgame of economic history. Not the end of monetary policy per se, but its emasculation.

2014-09-27 5 Reasons Why Short-Term Municipal Bonds Make Sense Now by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Although short-term bonds might not be as sexy as common stocks in fashionable brands like Apple and Tesla, they play an important role in any serious investor's portfolio. Below are five reasons why investing in municipal bonds makes sense now more than ever.

2014-09-27 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The Federal Reserve begins looking toward the door; China's policymakers should be clearer about their intentions; Dissents at central banks are rising

2014-09-27 The Elephant Leaves the Room by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

The news was greeted with shock by some, while others wondered what took so long. In perhaps the first of many shoes to drop on the hedge fund industry, the largest U.S. pension fund, Calpers announced it will sell all of its hedge fund investments within 12 months. Media stories on this announcement were quick to cite lagging performance of these funds over the past year, but it appears Calpers was more concerned with the level of fees and lack of “transparency”…that is, they did not know what the heck was going on inside of many of the funds.

2014-09-27 Clear Sailing…or Choppy Seas? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

We are at a tenuous point in the market seasonally speaking and a pullback is quite possible. We don’t recommend trying to time a potential correction, however, as that is virtually impossible and exposes investors to missed upside opportunities waiting on the sidelines. Elsewhere, the international picture looks a little shaky, but diversification is important and we do favor emerging markets within an international portfolio.

2014-09-26 Lessons From The Past by Brian Evans of AdvisorShares

Let me start by making two unremarkable statements. The first: Businesses are in business to make a profit. The second: Buying low and selling high is more effective than buying high and selling low.

2014-09-26 When it Comes to Interest Rates, Who Says What Comes Down Must Go Up? by Zachary Karabell of Envestnet

We are, at long last, nearing the end of one of the great central banking experiments: the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy of quantitative easing, which began in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008-2009. While the unwinding of the monthly purchases of billions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities and other bonds has been going on for many months, markets are now increasingly attuned to what comes next. And the primary question is quite simple: will interest rates rise and if so, by how much and when?

2014-09-26 Europe’s Austerity Zombies by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

“If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the theory,” goes the old adage. But too often it is easier to keep the theory and change the facts – or so German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other pro-austerity European leaders appear to believe.

2014-09-26 Reading Fed Tea Leaves by Christopher Molumphy of Franklin Templeton Investments

Monetary policy is of keen interest to fixed income investors, and the US Federal Reserve (Fed) has been known to be particularly obtuse when it comes to interest-rate talk. One thing is clear: The Fed is winding down its longstanding quantitative easing (QE) program. What’s not so clear: when the Fed will actually raise short-term interest rates.

2014-09-26 Why Large-Caps Looked Attractive to This Small-Cap Portfolio Manager by Charlie Dreifus and Dave Gruber (Article)

For Portfolio Manager and Principal Charlie Dreifus, combining a business-buyer's mentality with accounting cynicism can help reveal stock-price disparities.

2014-09-26 Many Investors Still Fear Stocks: Good News for Markets? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

The economy and the stock market are no longer depressed, yet the share of U.S. adults who own stocks remains at multi-year lows. Russ explains why investors haven’t yet fully embraced equities and what this could mean for longer-term stock market performance.

2014-09-26 After “Considerable Time,” Fed to Define “Highly Accommodative” by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

As the Federal Reserve maintains a “highly accommodative” monetary policy the central bank runs the risk of allowing the U.S. economy to overheat.

2014-09-26 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 134.9, down slightly from the previous week's 135.6. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at 2.0, down slightly from the previous week's 2.1. On Wednesday, September 10th, Lakshman Achuthan appeared on Wall Street Journal Live, where he stated that Japan is on track for another recession. He included comments about what that means for Europe and the United States.

2014-09-25 How Plan Sponsors Can Prepare for the Coming Changes to Mortality Tables by Thomas Egan of Columbia Management

The name may sound like something from Star Wars, but RP-2014 is actually the draft mortality tables released by the Society of Actuaries (SOA) earlier this year. These revised tables highlight longer life expectancies and faster increases in mortality improvements, affirming the well-established belief that individuals are living longer. The draft is currently under review by various stakeholders with the expectation that RP-2014 will be formalized this year.

2014-09-25 Playing Defense in Emerging Market Fixed Income by Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

When looking around the global fixed income landscape, investors searching for income potential have essentially two choices: non-investment grade debt or emerging markets (EM). While high yield flows continues to dominate the headlines, emerging markets have generally flown under the radar in recent months. In this discussion, we focus on how investors may be able to best position against a change in Federal Reserve (Fed) policy while maintaining income potential from investments in emerging markets.

2014-09-25 Awakening Japan Inc. by Yu Zhang of Matthews Asia

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's first two "arrows" of his expansionary fiscal policies have done well to curb deflation. Now, investors are concerned about Japan's so called "third arrow"—the country's growth strategy. Can credible structural reform be implemented to remove impediments to its growth?

2014-09-25 Don’t Fight the ECB? Part 2 by Burt White of LPL Financial

Last week we discussed why buying European stocks now, following the recent stimulus announced by the ECB, is very different from buying U.S. stocks during periods of Fed stimulus in recent years. This week we take a deeper dive into the investment opportunity in Europe and evaluate fundamentals, valuations, and technicals. We recommend that investors “fight the ECB.” We do not believe the additional stimulus is enough for us to recommend European equities over U.S. equities at this time.

2014-09-25 Europe’s Commercial Real Estate Deleveraging: ‘Not Too Fast, Not Too Slow’? by Tareck Safi, Tom Collier of PIMCO

As European bank deleveraging accelerates, we expect that commercial real estate (CRE) will continue to constitute a significant proportion of bank assets to be sold, albeit with a shifting geographical mix. We believe CRE opportunities remain in the form of single assets and complex structured transactions in particular; but a disciplined approach will be key given competition in specific types of assets and in certain jurisdictions. This will require flexible capital, local investment expertise and hands-on asset management, in addition to strategic sourcing capabilities.

2014-09-25 Gold and US Monetary Policy by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

In this week’s Gold Report we conduct a historical analysis of the impact of US monetary policy announcements on the price of gold in US dollars. Beginning with the Federal Reserve’s extra-ordinary 75 basis point Fed Funds rate cut in January 2008 and the most significant central bank policy announcements since, the analysis looks at the resulting reaction of the gold market and the US 10 year real yield over a three month period.

2014-09-25 The Largest Stocks Are Carrying The MSCI World Index by Team of GaveKal Capital

The 50 largest stocks in the MSCI World Index account for roughly 28% of the total market cap of the MSCI World Index. So for a market-cap weighted index such as the MSCI World, the movement of the largest 50 stocks (out of 1615 total stocks) can have an outsized effect on the performance of the index as a whole at certain times.

2014-09-25 Three Reasons to Consider EM Asia by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Though EM stocks have been struggling of late, Russ still believes investors should have emerging market exposure, particularly in emerging Asia. He provides three reasons why.

2014-09-25 China Defies Analysts’ Predictions with an Encouraging PMI by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

HSBC announced Tuesday that the preliminary purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for China rose to 50.5, a modest improvement from August’s 50.2. Analysts were expecting the index to decline to a neutral 50.0, based on softening factory employment, but this is a case when you’re relieved others were off the mark.

2014-09-25 Market Outlook featuring Ken Fincher by (Article)

Despite gains this year in the CEF market, it may be wise to prepare for a possible 4th quarter pullback, says Ken Fincher of First Trust Advisors.

2014-09-25 Global Equities Stay Thirsty for Liquidity by Rick Golod of Invesco Blog

Taking a step back from the usual economic and market insights, my September commentary is devoted to a topic that I’ve been long overdue in addressing. Financial advisors have frequently asked about my approach to asset allocation, and I’ve outlined my strategy for diversifying within the US equity space in my commentary, “Harnessing the Market’s Natural Rotation: An Asset Allocation Strategy.” Here, I’d like to provide a summary of my outlook, which remains unchanged from the previous month.

2014-09-24 Buffett’s Passive Can of Worms by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

A great deal of confusion exists today about the merits of passive investing as compared to well-researched active management. An added layer of confusion arose in March when Warren Buffett explained that 90% of his widow’s money would be invested in a low-cost S&P 500 index fund. If this summer was a football game, 15-yard personal foul penalties would be thrown everywhere as experts piled on top of that announcement.

2014-09-24 Open Sesame by Brian Andrew of Cleary Gull

Often times, investors are interested in pursuing investments in the hottest asset class. The hype surrounding the Alibaba IPO is an example of how a sector gets a boost from a hot new stock. The fact that the stock traded up almost 40% in the first day of trading is an indication that the sector is “hot.” It is difficult not to want to add more capital to that portion of your portfolio that is performing best while ignoring the portion that isn’t performing as well. Of course that is exactly what you are supposed to do and what rebalancing is all about.

2014-09-24 Equities: Finding the Path to Value? by Virginie Maisonneuve, Anne Gudefin of PIMCO

Going forward, earnings growth and stock selection - more than multiple expansion and beta - will likely play a bigger role in driving positive returns. Our research has uncovered numerous examples of stocks trading below our estimate of intrinsic value - notably in Europe and various special situations. Investors with the capacity for deep, fundamental research and a long-term unconstrained equity strategy may be positioned to capitalize on these opportunities.

2014-09-24 Fed Forecasts Sub-3% Economy for the Next Three Years by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The Fed’s policy committee announced last Wednesday that it will end its massive QE bond buying program at the end of next month, thus paving the way for the first Fed funds rate increase sometime next year. This was not a surprise. The Fed’s gargantuan balance sheet will peak near $4.5 trillion in Treasury and mortgage-backed bonds at the end of October.

2014-09-24 India: A Bright Spot in Emerging Markets by Christopher Gannatti of WisdomTree

In 2013, emerging markets were the laggards of the global equity markets. 2014 has seen some bright spots, but various uncertainties, most notably with respect to Russia, have tended to constrain equity rallies. However, there is one market that seems to have completely shrugged off 2013 concerns and emerge as an extremely strong performer thus far this year.

2014-09-24 U.S. Budget: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

A report from the Congressional Budget Office forecasts shrinking deficits through 2015. After that, fiscal strains begin to emerge.

2014-09-24 Bull Market Mirage by Team of GaveKal Capital

On an equal weighted basis, the MSCI World index is up 2.58% YTD, is down 3.39% QTD and down 3.01% MTD. The equal weight index gives us a better idea of our chances of picking stocks that outperform.

2014-09-23 Jeremy Siegel vs. Zvi Bodie: Does Equity Risk Decrease Over Time? by David Blanchett, Michael Finke and Wade Pfau (Article)

Stocks should be the asset class of choice for the long run, according to Wharton Professor Jeremy Siegel - and he has provided the data to prove it. But that paradigm has been challenged by Boston University Professor Zvi Bodie and others, who have shown that stocks become riskier the longer one owns them. Either view has profound implications for whether equity allocations should increase or decrease over time. Using Monte Carlo simulations, we provide guidance for the advisory profession.

2014-09-23 The Tax Harvesting Oasis - A Response to Michael Edesess by Daniel Egan and Boris Khentov (Article)

In a recent article, poetically titled "The Tax Harvesting Mirage," Michael Edesess referenced our firm's Betterment TLH+ service and the performance estimate we have published and attempted to estimate the value of TLH on his own. We would like to highlight where our assumptions differ from Edesess' and why we believe ours are appropriate.

2014-09-23 The Tax Harvesting Water Hole by Michael Edesess (Article)

Michael Edesess responds to Betterment's critique of his article on its tax-harvesting alpha.

2014-09-23 Why "Healthspan" Trumps "Lifespan" for Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

Advisors spend a great deal of their time with clients who ask, "Will I run out of money?" As a result, few issues get more attention than the sustainable withdrawal rate in today's environment. But new research shows that an equally pressing question is, "How can I enjoy life in my 60s, before health issues creep in?"

2014-09-23 What Makes a Powerful Website? by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We are redoing our website. Any tips on how to attract prospects?

2014-09-23 Weekly Market Update by Team of Castleton Partners

In a week defined by increased rate volatility, Treasury yields ended mixed, as the yield curve continued to flatten. Registering its first monthly decline in over a year, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) continued to support a benign inflationary environment, further supporting long-dated instruments. With global inflation subdued, central banks around the world remain more concerned about lapsing back into recession than about frothy risk markets and potential bubbles.

2014-09-23 Back to Iraq by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

President Obama has decided to build a coalition to dislodge the Islamic State (IS). The U.S. is leading the coalition, but American efforts will be limited to air power. In this report, we will offer a short synopsis of the war plan. This analysis will be followed by a broader discussion of U.S. Middle East strategy, including a history of American policy. We will move to discuss the most likely outcome from these efforts and conclude, as always, with market ramifications.

2014-09-23 The U.S. Dollar is Rising, Interest Rates Could Be Next by Rick Harper, Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

Since bottoming July 1, the U.S. dollar has mounted an impressive rally against virtually every major foreign currency. While many analysts have been predicting a secular appreciation in the U.S. dollar on account of stronger economic fundamentals, the current rally has caused even casual market participants to take notice.

2014-09-23 Keeping Up With Global Relative Performance Trends by Team of GaveKal Capital

The MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI) is a comprised of two basic pieces: the MSCI World (Developed) Index, which contains about 1,600 companies and the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which contains about 850 companies. The MSCI ACWI is a good global reference point for measuring relative performance trends.

2014-09-23 Stocks Rally Following Janet Yellen’s Conference and Scotland’s Historic Referendum by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Interest rates can’t stay zero forever, but for now it’s more of the same.

2014-09-23 Sisyphus Succeeds! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

I have been reminded of the Greek mythology character Sisyphus since mid-July as investors tried to “roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down.” In this case the “boulder” in question has been the D-J Industrial Average (INDU/ 17279.74), which since late July has tried seven times to better its all-time high of 17138.20 made on July 16th of this year.

2014-09-23 The Dots by Scott Brown of Raymond James

As was widely anticipated, Federal Reserve policymakers reduced the monthly pace of asset purchases by another $10 billion and kept the “considerable time” language. Fed policymakers revised slightly their forecasts of growth, unemployment, and inflation. However, the really interesting item in the Fed’s Summary of Economic Projections was the dot plot, the projections of the appropriate year-end level of the federal funds rate for each of the next few years. There is a huge range of uncertainty among Fed officials.

2014-09-23 She's the Decider by (Article)

Transamerica's New Age of Advice went to a Denver park and asked these couples who makes the financial decisions in their households. Guess what they had to say.

2014-09-23 Potential Benefits of Dividend-paying Equities by Alex Crooke (Article)

Alex Crooke, Head of Global Equity Income, discusses income paying shares and Henderson's equity income strategies (HFQAX, HDAVX). Alex believes that dividend paying shares provide the best long term total return for investors: relatively safe in volatile markets and yet investors are still participating in growth of company's profit and earnings through a dividend stream. Overall Morningstar Rating based on risk-adjusted returns for Class A and I shares among 314 Foreign Large Value funds as of 8/31/14. The information in this article does not qualify as an investment recommendation.

2014-09-23 Bullish on Japanese Small-Caps by Francis Gannon and David Nadel (Article)

While the macroeconomic picture in Japan is unsettling for many investors, we are finding what we think are inexpensive high-quality businesses across many industries. Royce International Smaller-Companies Fund Portfolio Manager and Director of International Research David Nadel talks about how he is positioning his portfolio and explains why he has confidence in FamilyMart, a Japanese convenience store chain.

2014-09-22 It Will Take More Than ECB Rate Cuts for the Eurozone to Fully Recover by John Greenwood of Invesco Blog

The European Central Bank’s (ECB) surprise rate cuts on Sept. 4 — reducing its main lending and deposit rates by 10 basis points — show that its policies so far have been inadequate to solve the euro-area’s economic malaise. Economic growth has stalled, and deflation remains a threat in the eurozone. The rate cuts may help to weaken the euro further in the currency markets, but nobody should be under any illusion that banks will start lending or expanding their deposits as a result of the rate cuts alone, or that these cuts will trigger a wider economic recovery.

2014-09-22 The Ponzi Economy by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

When the most persistent, most aggressive, and most sizeable actions of policymakers are those that discourage saving, promote debt-financed consumption, and encourage the diversion of scarce savings to yield-seeking speculation rather than productive investment, the backbone that supports a rising standard of living is broken.

2014-09-22 Fed Keeps “Considerable Time” … But Ups Rate Expectations Through 2017 by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The Fed kept its statement largely intact relative to July’s; opting to retain the much-ballyhooed “considerable time” phrase. It was confirmed that QE’s tapering would be concluded by the end of October; while the Fed’s rate expectations were increased. Yellen took great pains to explain that “considerable time” should not be considered calendar-based guidance.

2014-09-22 It’s Time for Your Portfolio to Break from Tradition by Kathleen Gaffney, Kevin Dachille of Eaton Vance

Given the current low-yield environment and with rising interest rates looming, now may be the right time to consider new strategies for generating favorable returns in your fixed-income portfolio.

2014-09-22 A Lack of Surprises Helps Equity Markets Make Gains by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Equity markets rose again last week, with the S&P 500 Index climbing 1.3% and reaching another record high. Bond yields and the U.S. dollar drifted higher, while emerging market equities and commodities struggled. Two major events that resulted in a continuation of the status quo helped market sentiment.

2014-09-22 Michael Aronstein on the Fed's Latest Mistake by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Since the Fed began its post-crisis monetary easing, a cult of second-guessers has emerged. The most extreme cry of "dollar debasement" or admonish that markets are doomed for hyperinflation. The more reasonable view, articulated by Michael Aronstein at a recent conference for financial advisors, is that near-zero interest rates and QE have distorted markets, but it is unclear when or how that will impact investors.

2014-09-22 Copper Breaking Through Important Support as USD Continues to Surge by Team of GaveKal Capital

Copper, after having been turned down by the falling trendline last week, is breaking down through the upward sloping support line today.

2014-09-22 A Simple Tool To Increase AUM by Daniel Solin (Article)

Telling someone how to become a better manager is easy. But motivating the advisors at your firm is surprisingly difficult. Doing so effectively is a simple way to increase your AUM.

2014-09-22 Two Themes Investors Should Focus on Now by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

With countries’ growth, monetary policy and market performance increasingly diverging, Russ shares two themes investors should focus on as year-end approaches.

2014-09-22 Alternative Approaches for Managing Emerging Market Equity Portfolios by Roger Edgley, Laura Geritz, Andrey Kutuzov, and Ajay Krishnan of Wasatch Funds

The shortcomings of indexing are especially evident in frontier markets, where some very small markets have significant weights. This paper discusses three approaches for targeting inefficiencies in emerging markets. These approaches are designed to fit together and complement each other within an investment portfolio. Overlap is generally minimal, so investors may reasonably employ all three.

2014-09-22 Destroying the Dollar a Penny at a Time by Editorial Team at Peter Schiff’s Gold Blog of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

Efforts are once again underway to discontinue the US penny due to the “rising cost of zinc.” But it is not zinc that is becoming more precious, but rather the dollar that is losing value relative to all commodities. A comparison of product prices over time shows that a dollar just isn’t what it used to be.

2014-09-22 Evaluating Break-Even Levels when Interest Rates Rise by Yung Lim of AdvisorShares

In the current low interest rate environment across the Treasury curve and investment grade credit space, low coupon rates provide less protection against market value loss resulting from rising interest rates. When interest rates were higher, fixed income investors enjoyed the benefit of earning higher recurring income to offset any market value declines.

2014-09-22 Certainty is Not the Same as Precision: What Feels Like Stability Often Is Only an Ephemeral Equilib by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest piece, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, looks at the seemingly stable state of the current bull market and examines research on how and when such "stability" erodes. Hint: very quickly and without discernible warning. He explores the "Black Swan" and "Fingers of Instability" research by Nassim Taleb and John Mauldin respectively, noting that: "…even experts who have analyzed how shocks to the system might strike have failed to offer precise warning systems."

2014-09-22 Yellen to the Markets: Come to Me by Bradley Harper of WisdomTree

By most accounts, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) statement released September 17 failed to break much new ground in terms of changes to policy or language. The Federal Reserve Board (Fed) met expectations with another measured step in its tapering process, by trimming $5 billion of Treasury and $5 billion of mortgage-backed securities purchases from its asset purchase program.

2014-09-21 Where’s the Growth? by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Call me a heretic, but I take a different view than the economists in charge. To my mind, the sluggish recovery is a sign that central banks, governments, and, quite frankly, the “textbook” economists (despite their best intentions) are part of the problem. As Detlev Schlichter commented in his latest blog post (“Keynes was a failure in Japan – No need to embrace him in Europe”), “To the true Keynesian, no interest rate is ever low enough, no ‘quantitative easing’ program ever ambitious enough, and no fiscal deficit ever large enough.” It&r

2014-09-20 Stocks Rally Following Janet Yellen's Conference and Scotland's Historic Referendum by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This news gives stocks reason to rally for a “considerable time,” or at least until the Fed gives us a more concrete timeframe for a rate hike.

2014-09-19 Finding Appropriate Investment Strategies for Client Portfolios by Chuck Self of iSectors

Financial advisors (FAs) utilizing outsourced investment management processes face a significant number of choices. Recently, there were 675 exchange-traded fund (ETF) investment strategists in Morningstar’s database. How does one narrow the list of choices for further investigation effectively?

2014-09-19 Panic in Bermuda: When Your Business Turns into an “Interesting New Asset Class” by Krishna Mohanraj of Diamond Hill Capital Management, Inc.

All else equal, we prefer to invest in strong franchises in stable industries. However, even within industries undergoing turmoil, understanding the differing prospects of individual firms can present us with attractive investment opportunities, both long and short.

2014-09-19 Why the Pennant Race Could Coincide with Market Volatility by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

While the U.S. economy is gaining momentum, investors should nevertheless brace for volatility in the next few weeks.

2014-09-19 Banking on the Growing Strength of the Financial System by Dave Ellison of Hennessy Funds

Thiscommentary explores the U. S. financial system’s profound changes. In 2007, the financial system began to unravel due to excessive leverage, credit risk and overall business complexity. As we look forward, we see a potentially more stable profit picture developing for these firms. And, a rising interest rates environment has historically translated to increased revenue for banks and financial institutions. Dave Ellison believes the financial sector is ripe with opportunity.

2014-09-19 Muni Issues featuring John Miller by (Article)

Interest rates and Fed policy are key investor concerns regarding municipal bonds, says John Miller of Nuveen Asset Management.

2014-09-19 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The choice for Europe: coming together or breaking apart; Scotland votes nay; The dollar has been the beneficiary of global uncertainty

2014-09-19 Bad Breadth by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Investors have heard about record highs in the stock market for months now. Headline indices like the S&P 500 and the Dow 30 broke their record highs this summer, and are still quite close to them. But what about the other indices? According to a recent Bloomberg article, “About 47% of stocks in the Nasdaq Composite Index are down at least 20% from their peak in the last 12 months while more than 40% have fallen that much in the Russell 2000 Index and the Bloomberg IPO Index.” Some will refer to this as a two-tiered market. We prefer to call it "bad breadth."

2014-09-19 Municipal HY Attractive Relative to Corporate HY by Andrew Clinton of Clinton Investment Management

Given the steady and significant compression of corporate high yield (HY) spreads/yields, I am forwarding the attached illustration depicting the ratio, or yield, of the Barclay’s Municipal HY Index relative to the Barclay’s Corporate HY Index.

2014-09-19 A Revolutionary Idea: Investing in Europe (even Russia) by Tucker Scott of Franklin Templeton Investments

The eurozone appeared to have emerged from a prolonged recession when conflict in Ukraine intensified earlier this year with Russia’s annexation of Crimea. The continued complexity of the crisis in Ukraine now threatens to derail Europe’s fragile economy, and European stocks have suffered. That said, more attractive valuations in Europe may lure investors back to European stocks, according to Tucker Scott, portfolio manager and executive vice president, Templeton Global Equity Group™. He sees opportunity through the fog of crisis and makes a case for finding value in Europe&m

2014-09-18 The Myth of Student Debt: Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics by Cole Smead of Smead Capital Management

As school season kicks off, we at Smead Capital Management have been perplexed by the logic and reasoning over the student debt debate in America. There is a consensus in the investment markets today believing that student debt is a major credit problem rivaling other credit problems that were disastrous over the last 30 years.

2014-09-18 A New Fed Playbook for the New Normal by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

While many economists and market watchers have failed to notice, we have entered a new chapter in the short and checkered history of central banking. This paradigm shift, as yet unaddressed in the textbooks, changes the basic policy tools that have traditionally defined the sphere of macroeconomic decision-making.

2014-09-18 Gold for the Long Run by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

We continue on the theme gold and the dollar but this week take a short look at their “long-term” relationship and relative movement over the last 40 years. In particular we focus on the period post the ending of the Bretton-Woods agreement by the Nixon administration in 1971 (the so-called “Nixon Shock”) which terminated dollar convertibility to gold and thus established the dollar as a fiat currency.

2014-09-18 Room to Run by Marie Schofield of Columbia Management

The U.S. economy passed a milestone of sorts in August, in that the current business cycle has now surpassed the last one in length. The prior business cycle started in 2001 and continued until the December 2007 peak, lasting 6.8 years. This is longer than the post-war average of 5.6 years, but shorter than the business cycles in the 1980s and 1990s which lasted 9 to 10 years.

2014-09-18 What the Scottish Referendum & Fed News Could Mean for Investors by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Last week’s stock losses were partly a reflection of investors looking ahead to the Scottish independence vote this Thursday and the Federal Reserve (Fed)’s statement on Wednesday. Russ weighs in on the investing implications of these two big news events.

2014-09-18 The Sand Demand: Finding Opportunities Beyond Direct Shale Plays by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Total U.S. crude oil production averaged an estimated 8.6 million barrels per day in August, the highest monthly production since July 1986, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). In our Special Energy Report: An American Energy Renaissance, we highlight that just a few years ago investors were contemplating the supply constraints facing the petroleum industry, but with the disruptive technology in shale oil and gas in the U.S., we could now be looking at decades of drilling ahead.

2014-09-18 “You’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat”: Alpha and Interest Rates by Brooks Ritchey of Franklin Templeton Investments

Caution has been the dominant sentiment among investors in recent times even as equities have continued to march along. But as the prospect of rising US interest rates becomes ever more real, Brooks Ritchey, senior managing director at K2 Advisors, Franklin Templeton Solutions, takes a look at how some individuals and institutions are changing their guarded approach. He says alternative investments could find increased interest among savvy investors as interest rates start to tick higher.

2014-09-18 More than Half of EM Stocks are Down At Least 10% From Their High by Team of GaveKal Capital

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is down about 4% from its recent high, but the average stock has fared much worse. By our count more than than 50% of EM stocks are down at least 10% from their 200-day high. The trend of more stocks being down at least 10% from their recent high can be seen in all regions, but is clearly most prevalent in Latin America, where the number has increased from 22% to 60% in a week.

2014-09-18 Mind Your Language! by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The Federal Open Market Committee is widely expected to take another trip to Taper Town on Wednesday, reducing the monthly pace of asset purchases by another $10 billion, one step closer to ending the program in late October. The more interesting issue is whether we’ll see any change in the Fed’s forward guidance on short-term interest rates – specifically, whether the FOMC will jettison the “considerable time” language.

2014-09-18 Then and Now by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Dallas-based Greenbrier Partners is captained by my friend Frederick E. Rowe, who is fondly referred to as Shad. Now anyone from Virginia is familiar with the fish known as a shad, and are probably familiar with the political event known as the Shad Planking.

2014-09-17 Don't Be Surprised by Surprises by Michael Kayes of Willingdon Wealth Management

We live in a complicated world of heightened anxiety. Read why this is good for stock prices.

2014-09-17 Fed Policy: From Tapering to Tightening by Rick Harper, Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

Over the past nine months, the Federal Reserve (Fed) has gradually reduced the pace of its asset purchases in conjunction with an improvement in the strength of the U.S. economy. With “tapering” expected to end October 29, we believe that investors should now look beyond 2014 and start to focus on when, not if, the Federal Reserve will raise the Federal Funds Rate.

2014-09-17 Fall FOMC Watch by John Canally of LPL Financial

We continue to expect the Fed to again cut its bond purchase program and remain on pace to exit QE by year end. However, odds have increased that the Fed could change “something” at this week’s FOMC meeting, including omitting its promise to keep rates low for a “considerable time” or providing the public with an update to its exit strategy. We are continuing to watch our Yellen indicators, including the unemployment rate, the job quit rate, and the output gap, to gain insight into whether the Fed will raise rates sooner than expected.

2014-09-17 Markets’ Rose-Tinted World by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

This has been an unusual year for the global economy, characterized by a series of unanticipated economic, geopolitical, and market shifts – and the final quarter is likely to be no different. So why are financial markets behaving as if they were in a world of their own?

2014-09-17 Abenomics 2.0 by Kenichi Amaki of Matthews Asia

The reversal of Japan's equity markets so far this year, have led investors to wonder, "Is Abenomics working?" There are hundreds of components that comprise this economic plan, and among the recent successes has been job creation. However, macroeconomic statistics point to some emerging near-term challenges, including still-muted wage growth. This month Kenichi Amaki takes a look at both current pressures and progress in Japan.

2014-09-17 America in the Driver’s Seat – Enjoy the Ride by Doug MacKay, Bill Hoover of Broadleaf Partners

Like clockwork, earnings season has drawn to a close, creating an information vacuum for the stock market, one in which the media spends more time "making" the news than perhaps reporting it. The marginal dollar at trade - or the price maker in a high frequency dominated trading world - is one more likely to be concerned about the Fed's words over the next two days than the stream of earnings produced by corporate America over the next few quarters.

2014-09-17 Are Government Bonds Really "Safe"? by Dickson Buchanan of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

One of the striking ironies of our modern economy is that government bonds are considered safe-haven investments, while gold is a “barbarous relic” to be avoided at all costs. Since the 2008 financial collapse, the bond market has been on a tear, thanks to the Federal Reserve’s endless interest rate suppression. This has only served to reinforce the traditional notion that government bonds are “safe.”

2014-09-17 Will the Scottish Vote on Independence Be the "Black Swan"to Financial Markets? by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Group Financial Services

I wonder if the issue of an independent Scotland would actually be something of a black swan for the U.S. and world financial markets? According to Reuters, the international news agency, investors this past month, August 2014, have pulled approximately $27 billion out of UK financial assets. This is the biggest capital outflow since the Lehman crisis in 2008.

2014-09-17 U.S. Household Incomes: A 46-Year Perspective by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Census Bureau has now released its annual report household income data for 2013. It is posted on the Census Bureau website. What I'm featuring in this update is an analysis of the quintile breakdown of data from 1967 through 2013.

2014-09-17 Median Household Incomes by Age Bracket: 1967-2013 by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Earlier today I updated my commentary on household income distribution to include the Census Bureau's release of the 2013 annual data. My 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.

2014-09-16 Advice in the Shadow of Dementia by (Article)

Hear straight from someone with dementia about what financial advisors can do better.

2014-09-16 Gundlach on Today's Surprising Driver of Bond Prices by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Inflationary pressures could ultimately trigger an uncontrollable spike in interest rates, according to Jeffrey Gundlach, but such predictions are likely at least five years too early. In the short run, he identified the key driver that will keep rates low - the strong performance of European bond markets.

2014-09-16 It's All About the Little Things: 10 Small Steps for Treating Clients Well by Sponsored Content from Transamerica (Article)

The secret to offering service that's so good that it's memorable is to pay attention to the details. Here are 10 small steps for treating clients well, starting with one that's so simple, yet sometimes easy to mess up.

2014-09-16 The Key Problem with Monte Carlo Software - The Need for Better Performance Metrics by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Popular financial-planning software packages have shortcomings in the metrics they use to evaluate the outputs from Monte Carlo simulations; other metrics provide more useful information. I will address how to measure the performance of financial plans when variable investment returns and longevity are introduced and demonstrate that the most-commonly used measures have weaknesses.

2014-09-16 Authoritarianism versus Democracy: The Key Challenge to Chinese Ascendancy by Michael Edesess and Kwok L. Tsui (Article)

An intense debate has been underway for more than a decade about whether the East - China in particular - is in the ascendancy. Some argue this is so and that the West is in decline. Others say China's flawed political institutions will limit its monumental growth and render it precarious. This an especially opportune time to address these questions.

2014-09-16 Why Account Minimums Threaten Your Business by Dan Richards (Article)

The disciplined implementation of ever-increasing account minimums has boosted productivity for many advisory practices. Yet those same account minimums threaten the future sustainability of advisor practices, if applied too rigidly. Here's why.

2014-09-16 A Powerful New Weapon to Gather AUM by Daniel Solin (Article)

Establishing a bond with a prospect through shared interests - such as hobbies - is a powerful way to improve your chances of them becoming a client. But what if those common interests don't exist?

2014-09-16 What are the 'Magic Words' to Re-engage Past Clients? by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

My partner and I left a firm where we worked with clients for years. It's very disheartening how few of our former clients have followed us to our new firm. In some cases, they won't even return a phone call. What magic words can we use to get them re-engaged with us?

2014-09-16 Now is the Time to Build Your 2015 Marketing Plan by Mandy Fisher (Article)

There are four building blocks that create a well-balanced marketing plan for financial advisors: infrastructure, awareness, lead generation and conversion. I will walk you through each block so that you have a clear understanding of what they are and how you can build your 2015 marketing plan.

2014-09-16 Weekly Market Update by Team of Castleton Partners

After a strong summer rally, the first two weeks of September have not been kind to US financial markets, with both stock and bond markets generating negative returns. In the month to date, ten year Treasury yields have risen twenty five basis points to 2.60%, the highest such level since the first week of July.

2014-09-16 Cycling Through History by Willie Delwiche of Robert W. Baird

Certain seasonal adages will doubtless sound familiar. "As goes January, so goes the year" seems to be repeated as a rule sometime in early February, while "Sell in May and go away" reflects not only the conditioned expectation of summer weakness, but also a preference for sayings that rhyme. Perhaps the proliferation of these sayings partially explains why the actual timing of cyclical shifts can catch some investors off guard.

2014-09-16 Stocks vs. High Yield Munis by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

The track record of the so-called "Fed Model" is dubious at best. The relationship compares the S&P 500's earnings yield to the yield of the 10-year Treasury note, and there are many other indicators that have a better track record than does the Fed Model when attempting to predict twelve-month forward returns. Despite that caveat, we nonetheless thought it interesting to examine the yield relationships between stocks and a broader array of fixed-income categories. Among those categories, high yield municipal bonds can be the only fixed-income that is attractive relative to stock

2014-09-16 Of Kilts, Ballots, Bankers and Dots by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Kristina Hooper breaks down the hairy mix of economic data, central bank policy and geopolitical events, including Scotland's potential exit from the UK, that markets are combing through right now.

2014-09-16 Stocks Slip on Quiet Data Week by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

A modest number of economic indicators were released last week, with the majority suggesting that the domestic economy remains on solid footing. Consumer sentiment and retail sales were the bright spots, after concerns about what impact the weak labor report would have on the consumer.

2014-09-16 The Case for Predictable Growth Stocks by Team of Value Line Funds

When investors think of growth companies, high-flying, large tech stocks, such as Facebook, Google and Apple, often come to mind. By definition, growth stocks have faster earnings growth and, therefore, higher valuations, but many also offer a more predictable pattern of growth with less price volatility and smoother returns over time. Furthermore, many of these steady growth stocks have historically outperformed peers over the long term.

2014-09-16 Indonesia by Kaisa Stucke, Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

The recent presidential election in Indonesia has attracted international interest as both candidates’ platforms included promises of import substitutions, export restrictions and retention of production processes in Indonesia. Although Indonesia holds substantial growth promise for foreign investors, the potential trade restrictions are making international companies nervous. This report discusses Indonesia, briefly describing its history, economy and political landscape. It delves into the election, promises made on the campaign trail and the implications of the results on foreign inve

2014-09-16 Economic Update by Team of Cambridge Advisors

After a rocky month in July, stocks resumed their march higher in August. The S&P 500 was up 4.0% for the month and is up 9.9% year-to-date. The small cap Russell 2000 index also performed well for the month, up 5.0%. Year-to-date, small cap stocks have lagged and are up only 1.75% as of the end of August. International stocks continued to struggle in August and year-to-date with performance of -0.4% and +2.93% respectively.

2014-09-16 Is Profiting in the Stock Market Based on Illusions? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

When I was a child, I was fascinated with magic and magicians. I read scores of books, learned loads of tricks, and put on magic shows (ten-cent admission) in our basement. My favorite part was the illusions (I once worked a part of a summer vacation mastering a very convincing floating wand).

2014-09-16 High Yield in a Rising Rate Environment: A Perspective on Historical Performance by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

Since 1980, Treasury yields have increased (i.e., interest rates rose), in 15 of those years. In every one of those years, high yield has outperformed the investment grade market. The long-term numbers show that over those 15 years since 1980 where we saw Treasury yield increases (i.e., interest rates rose), high yield had an average return of 13.7% (or 10.4% if you exclude the massive performance in 2009). This compares to only a 4.5% average return (or 3.6% excluding 2009) for investment grade bonds over the same period.

2014-09-15 CEF News Update featuring Maury Fertig by (Article)

Patient investing is advised with closed-end funds, says Maury Fertig, in a roundup of recent CEF news reports and commentary.

2014-09-15 Implications of European Central Bank actions by Phil Apel and James McAlevey (Article)

Phil Apel, Head of Fixed Income and James McAlevey, Head of Interest Rates examine the implications of the recent European Central Bank (ECB) monetary stimulus measures where policy rates were cut by 10bp while a program of asset-backed securities and covered bond purchases was announced. With the ECB taking up the QE baton, Europe is clearly decoupling from the US, intensifying the contrasting fortunes of the two markets. Phil and James share their views and explain how their portfolios are positioned in light of the recent market trends.

2014-09-15 Bulls Charge Despite Weak Data by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

As the U.S. Federal Reserve debates withdrawing accommodation the doves have the upper hand, but that does not mean they won’t make a concession to hawks and hike sooner than the market expects.

2014-09-15 A Wee Problem for the UK by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Last weekend several polls emerged that shockingly forecast Scottish independence from Great Britain is within the realm of political possibilities.

2014-09-15 General Electric’s Business Strategy by Erik Kobayashi-Solomon of YCharts, Inc.

Despite the many products and services provided by GE, its business strategy is actually startlingly simple. In short, GE is betting on the continued flourishing of the human race. The company is divesting consumer-facing assets and acquiring or boosting commercial-facing ones in what we term the PIT Strategy. An analysis of the company’s valuation drivers suggests an upside potential of the 40% range for GE.

2014-09-15 Emphasize Barriers to Entry? by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

We see many bottom-up investment opportunities in the global credit markets, particularly in industries with high barriers to entry. We view healthcare, lodging, Asian gaming, master limited partnerships/pipelines, energy, wireless telecom, cell towers, cable, satellite, media and U.S. banks as attractive industries. Companies’ unique patents, licenses, brands, content and intellectual property, among other advantages, can help support investment returns in both bull and bear markets.

2014-09-15 Understanding the Potential Risks and Rewards of Alternative Investments by Bob Andres of Andres Capital Management

Today, Investors are confronted with constructing or restructuring an asset allocation model in an environment where traditional equity and fixed income securities are fully valued. As a result, investors may be facing a period of nominal or negative returns from both of these traditional asset classes. In this environment, alternative investments may play a pivotal role in providing investors with broad diversification, lower correlations, and as a result, enhanced downside protection.

2014-09-15 The Economy: September Viewpoint by Bruce Laning of Bronfman E.L. Rothschild

The U.S. economy experienced a robust summer for economic expansion and job growth, however recent consumer data is casting doubt as to whether the current level of activity can be sustained. Our position is to maintain an emphasis on higher-quality bonds and be prepared for short-term rate increase(s) in the months to come. The road ahead for stocks continues to look positive, but it would be prudent to keep in mind the inevitable speed bumps that will likely present themselves down the road, as we have not had a meaningful pullback since 2011.

2014-09-15 The U.S. Is Diverging From Other Developed Markets by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities fell amid a relatively quiet week, with the S&P 500 Index dropping 1.1%. The upcoming Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting drew quite a bit of attention amid increased speculation that the Federal Reserve may start signaling its long-awaited move to increase rates.

2014-09-15 Why Development Trumps Acquisitions in Our Real Estate Portfolios by Paul Curbo of Invesco Blog

One of the trends affecting real estate markets this year is the increasing difficulty commercial real estate companies are facing as they seek to complete potential acquisitions. Strengthening commercial real estate fundamentals, coupled with the low cost of financing, have resulted in a large increase in the number of bidders for assets in the past several quarters.

2014-09-15 Bill Hench on Health Care and Energy by Bill Hench (Article)

Portfolio Manager Bill Hench talks to Principal Dave Gruber about value opportunities he saw in the Health Care and Energy sectors and events in those areas that benefited some of his stock picks.

2014-09-15 How Quality Can Lead in the Small-Cap Market by Chris Clark and Chuck Royce (Article)

While quantitative easing has allowed financially leveraged companies to improve their fiscal health over the past several years, Chuck Royce sees signs of small-cap leadership for quality moving forward.

2014-09-14 What’s on Your Radar Screen? by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

So let’s look at what’s on my radar screen today. First up (but probably not the most important in the long term), I would have to say, is Scotland. What has not been widely discussed is that the voting age was changed in Scotland just a few years ago. For this election, anyone in Scotland over 16 years old is eligible. Think about that for a second. Have you ever asked 16-year-olds whether they would like to be more free and independent and gotten a “no” answer? They don’t think with their economic brains, or at least most of them don’t.

2014-09-13 Patiently Waiting for Mean Reversion by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Because small caps tend to have higher beta than blue chips, you would expect them to outperform in a generally rising market—which we’re currently in. So it appears that a major rotation out of these riskier, more volatile stocks has inexplicably occurred, leading to the wide bifurcation between small and large companies. The good news is that, based on 20 years of historical data, stocks in the Russell 2000 tend to rally in the fourth quarter and continue steadily until around the end of the first quarter. Over this 20-year period ending in December 2013, the Russell has generat

2014-09-13 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The implications of Scottish independence; U.S. consumer spending outlook remains positive.

2014-09-13 Anarchy in the U.K. by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

This week’s blog borrows its title from one of the early anthems of the 1970s Punk Rock era. At a time when terrorism dominates the global newswire, another part of the world is erupting in what could become a market-moving chain of events. This is accompanied by an atmosphere that can appropriately be described as vicious (Baby Boomer alternative music buffs from their college days hopefully get the pun there).

2014-09-13 Will the Russia-Ukraine Crisis Chill Europe’s Recovery? by Philippe Brugere-Trelat of Franklin Templeton Investments

As the crisis in Ukraine and resulting geopolitical tensions between Russia and the West continues with no durable solution yet, many investors have responded by exiting European companies with exposure to the Russian economy. But even as evidence mounts that the Ukraine crisis is taking a toll on many European economies, it would be imprudent for long-term investors to give up on investing in Europe. Strong corporate earnings momentum, high dividend yields and the possibility of additional support from the European Central Bank (ECB) are just some of the reasons why he remains confident that,

2014-09-12 U.S. rates — The Draghi floor by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

In typical fashion, last week’s European Central Bank (ECB) announcements found a way to bury the lede. The deposit rate cut to -20 basis points from -10 basis points was characterized as a “technical adjustment,” and the asset purchase program, while important, lacked a specific quantitative target—forcing investors to infer a rough figure from Mario Draghi’s comments in the press conference.

2014-09-12 Distressed Corporate Credit: A Tale of Two Markets? by Sai S. Devabhaktuni of PIMCO

Middle market distressed credit may be an attractive source of higher returns in an overall low yield environment for investors able to access these opportunities. However, the higher return potential comes with greater risks. Imbalances in middle markets are building. ?Investors looking toward distressed credit markets should focus on companies that will likely be able to withstand periods of economic inertia, to undertake careful valuation practices and to strictly adhere to the absolute priority rule (in which senior creditors are paid in full before junior creditors).

2014-09-12 Conditions are right for the dollar to weigh on gold by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

In last week’s Gold Report we looked at the historical relationship between the gold price in dollars and the value of the dollar, as measured by the Intercontinental Exchange US dollar trade weighted index (USDX) and found a strong inverse relationship between the two – a strong dollar has historically tended to be associated with a weak gold price.

2014-09-12 Schwab Market Perspective: Diverging Paths…Growing Risks? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The U.S. stock market continues to reach new highs but sentiment is extended and we are entering a period that has historically seen weakness. We believe the ultimate trend is higher, but bumps could get more pronounced in the near future. The U.S. economy is improving, with data suggesting self-supporting expansion is taking hold. Whether this means accelerated Fed interest rate hikes is being closely watched, while midterm elections often inject some more uncertainty into the market. The European Central Bank (ECB) finally acted, but structural issues and lack of demand remain problems.

2014-09-11 Understanding China's Property Market by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

One of the biggest misconceptions about China’s property market is that most buyers are speculators. In fact, the residential market is driven by owner-occupiers, and even many poor Chinese are homeowners; China is a global leader in homeownership with urban ownership rates at 89%. The boom days may be over, but fundamental demand remains healthy. New home prices rose at an average annual pace of 9% over the last eight years, but nominal urban income rose 13% per year. Communist Party leaders do not appear too worried about property; they’ve taken only modest steps to support the m

2014-09-11 Doubling Down on Inflation by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Friday's release of disappointing August payroll numbers should have been a jarring wake-up call warning Wall Street that the economy has been treading on thin ice. Instead the alarm clock was stuffed under the pillow and Wall Street kept sleeping.

2014-09-11 Calm Down 2 by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

In last Friday’s Morning Tack I referenced some sage advice from the legendary Dow Theorist Richard Russell of Dow Theory Letters fame.

2014-09-11 As The World Turns ... by Scott Brown of Raymond James

U.S. economic data were mixed last week, but there was nothing in the August Employment Report to suggest that growth is slowing down. A surprise move from the European Central Bank pushed the euro lower, but there appears to be a lot more that the ECB can do.

2014-09-11 Diversifying With the Yen? Not if Japanese Equities Are Involved by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

The discussion of currency-hedged strategies has shaken some of the core beliefs of investors. Traditional investment vehicles that package equity risk plus a secondary currency risk on top of the equity risk have been referred to as the traditional “plain vanilla” exposure because they were the first to the market, and it is what investors have been using for so long.

2014-09-11 The Leapfrog: The Role of Technology in Accelerating Emerging Markets’ Growth by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

The potential for emerging and frontier markets to realize accelerated economic growth as a result of new technology transfer comes up regularly in our research findings. We have been increasingly excited about a new development—the capacity for new technology, particularly related to data over the Internet, to completely bypass swathes of older technology and business activity. We think this could lead to even more dramatic economic progress. In effect, the emerging markets are leapfrogging over the old technology and taking advantage of the newest technology today.

2014-09-11 Mind the Gap-- or Absence Thereof! by Team of GaveKal Capital

In spite of recent headlines and developments at the ECB, market action has remained fairly subdued, as evidenced by the number of stocks that jump (in a positive or negative direction) at the open of trading.

2014-09-11 ECB Measures Highlight Draghi’s Determination by David Zahn of Franklin Templeton Investments

The reduction in eurozone interest rates announced on September 4 by European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi came as a bit of a surprise to some market players. But David Zahn, Head of European Fixed Income and portfolio manager, believes that this move, along with the confirmation of the commencement of the bank’s asset-backed securities purchase program, is very much in line with its previous action and suggests a central bank president who is in control and determined to get the eurozone’s economy back on track.

2014-09-11 Why Growth Stocks Now? by John Calamos of Calamos Investments

After five years of a strong bull market, I believe there’s still room for stocks to advance. Growth stocks look especially attractive. At 1.23, the premium for growth over value remains lower than the historical average of 1.44. Even when we omit the tech bubble from the long-term average, the 1.23 premium for growth is lower than that 1.37 average.

2014-09-11 Parallels to 1937 by Robert Shiller of Project Syndicate

The depression that followed the 1929 stock-market crash took a turn for the worse eight years later, and recovery came only with the enormous economic stimulus provided by World War II, a conflict that cost more than 60 million lives. The global situation today is not nearly so dire, but there are parallels, particularly to 1937.

2014-09-10 Pray for Rain by John Heldman of Triad Investment Management

California, along with many other parts of the country, is experiencing a severe drought. The state's major reservoirs are at 60% of capacity. Agriculture, consumer of 80% of California water, is reeling.

2014-09-10 Labor Force Participation Lowest in 36 Years - Why? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Last Friday’s unemployment report for August was significantly weaker than expected. While the headline unemployment rate dipped back to 6.1% (same as it was for June), the number of new jobs created last month was substantially below expectations and marked the lowest number of the year.

2014-09-10 Scottish Independence Vote: Investor Implications by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Is your portfolio’s fate dependent on Scotland’s? Why is it that when a place known for haggis, kilts and bagpipes indicates it might want to be independent, the markets pay attention?

2014-09-10 Why Take Currency Risk if Diversification Benefit is Declining? by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

We have been exploring the case for layering in foreign currency (“FX”) on top of foreign equity returns. One of the most common arguments I have heard for taking on FX risk in international equity portfolios in an unhedged fashion is that FX can be a portfolio “diversifier.”

2014-09-10 High Yield Bonds and Interest Rates by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

Over the last month, we have seen the equity markets hit all-time highs, all the while bond investors seem to be indicating there are reasons to be concerned, sending the 10-year Treasury to the lowest yields seen over the past year.

2014-09-10 A Global Growth Slowdown? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

As 2014 is shaping up to be another year of below-trend economic growth, many investors are wondering: Is economic growth once again slowing? Russ explains why his answer is no.

2014-09-10 Strong U.S. Dollar Weakens Gold Prices this September by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Last week I wrote about the historic correlation between the month of September and the strength of gold. Now it appears that this September might be shaping up as one not to remember but forget.

2014-09-09 MLP View featuring Mike Taggart by (Article)

MLPs have been a hot area in the investment world, including the closed-end fund market, says Mike Taggart of Nuveen Investments.

2014-09-09 Family Web by (Article)

Meet the Baker family. This modern American family is the perfect example of how an individual client's finances often involve members of every generation.

2014-09-09 Current Opportunities in International Small-Caps by (Article)

International Smaller-Companies Portfolio Manager and Director of International Research David Nadel tells Co-Chief Investment Officer Francis Gannon where he is finding opportunities in the international small-cap market.

2014-09-09 What is "Fee-Only?" Is the CFP Board Taking the Right Approach to Defining it? by Bob Veres (Article)

Which is more important to your advisory practice - your CFP designation or your fee-only status? Before you answer, consider this: Your CFP mark says very little about whether you adhere to a fiduciary standard, and less about your mode of compensation. Those issues are at the forefront of an ongoing controversy pitting the CFP Board against a prominent advisor, and there is little sign that its outcome will resolve the ongoing debate about how to define a fee-only professional engagement. If anything, it raises more questions than answers.

2014-09-09 How Rare are Housing Bubbles? Understanding the Case-Shiller Index and its Counterparts by Cesar A. Orosco and Laurence B. Siegel (Article)

Do house prices experience periodic bull and bear markets like the stock market? Or are they stable in real (inflation-adjusted) terms most of the time, with big disruptions once or twice in a century? Two popular house price series tell these very different stories. Knowing which is better will lead to superior investment outcomes and improved policy decisions.

2014-09-09 The #1 Hot-Button Topic for Wealthy Families by Dan Richards (Article)

The financial and emotional cost when important topics go undiscussed is so great that in many cases, facilitating that conversation is the No. 1 way that advisors can make a positive impact in the lives of wealthy clients.

2014-09-09 Why Using Humor Will Increase Your AUM by Daniel Solin (Article)

We take ourselves too seriously. As investment advisors, it's appropriate that we view our responsibilities with a solemn sense of mission. After all, we are often accountable for the prudent management of our clients' life savings. But that doesn't mean our relationships with clients should be humorless.

2014-09-09 Why Multifamily Housing is Booming (and Single-Family Isn't) by David Schawel (Article)

The rebound in single-family housing has been tepid. Investors must understand the underlying structural changes, especially why demand has shifted toward multifamily housing and why this shift will persist in the years ahead.

2014-09-09 Why You Shouldn't Trust Client Surveys by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Our clients said in the survey that they recommend our firm to others, but our actual client referrals are relatively low.

2014-09-09 Growing Income and Wealth with High-Dividend Equities by C. Thomas Howard, PhD (Article)

High-dividend equities have significant advantages for growing income and wealth: getting sufficient yield, keeping up with inflation and outliving available funds. Such a portfolio produces higher income per dollar invested, growing income and principal over time, higher total returns, lower volatility and a reduced risk of outliving savings.

2014-09-09 Market Perspective by The CCR Wealth Management Investment Committee of CCR Wealth Management

In our office we frequently make sport of the countless headlines we encounter on a daily basis from various media outlets across the web. These headlines are often splashed across the “home” pages of market or financial sites—though often across mainstream “news” outlets, or the business sections of Sunday newspapers as well.

2014-09-09 Divergence by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

A widening gap in monetary policy in the United States and Europe reveals the disparity in economic growth that exists. Kristina Hooper explains the implications for investors and what history reveals about periods of Fed tightening.

2014-09-09 Hiring Flounders in August and Extreme Seasonal Distortions by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

With expectations high, the August labor report landed with a reasonably loud thud. Economists expected recent improvements in labor markets to continue aplenty, but that proved not to be the case during the oftentimes-volatile month of August. It is never wise to read too much into a singular month, and the details of this report support that notion.

2014-09-09 Xi’s Purge by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Since taking power, Chinese President Xi Jinping has implemented a strong program to punish corruption. A large number of the Communist Party of China (CPC) have been under investigation or punished for their failings. We believe these purges are being implemented for reasons beyond the simple exercise in political power. This report will discuss the purge in detail, introduce the concepts of environmental and social capital, and discuss China’s four stages of growth. We will conclude, as always, with market ramifications.

2014-09-09 Escape Fandango? by Paul McCulley of PIMCO

When I entered the Fed-watching business over three decades ago, a clichéd phrase of advice from graybeards was: “Watch what they do, not what they say.” Thinking back, there was not actually much Fed rhetoric to either watch or hear.

2014-09-09 Is it Time to Take the Euro Out of Europe? by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

On September 4, the European Central Bank (ECB) took further accommodation to support the economic growth environment in Europe. As a result, the euro collapsed about 1% immediately after the news, while European stocks rose on prospects for more monetary policy easing. This reaction mirrors what we saw in Japan in 2013, and it strengthens the case for taking the euro out of Europe.

2014-09-09 The Risk of Permanent Loss by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Since the stock market has done extremely well from its “abyss-like” low in March of 2009, many investors are worried about the risks associated with owning U.S. large-cap stocks. A cacophony of articles have been written which not only look for the stock market to correct, but also have an expectation of the kind of bear market decline which would set investors back for five years, like the declines in 2000-02 and 2007-09. Those declines each hit the S&P 500 Index for a loss of 40% or more.

2014-09-09 Back to School With the Three Rs: Revenues, Reinvestment, and Renaissance by Burt White, Jeffrey Buchbinder of LPL Financial

We believe the “three Rs” are keys to the outlook for the stock market: revenues (and profits), reinvestment, and the renaissance in manufacturing. We expect stocks to garner support from these three Rs in the form of continued growth in revenues and profits, more corporate reinvestment, and continued steady gains for the U.S. manufacturing sector.

2014-09-09 Staying Ahead of the Curve by Chris Diaz of Janus Capital Group

Investors could soon face an environment of rising U.S. interest rates and heightened rate volatility. Already, the Federal Reserve has begun setting the stage by tapering its quantitative easing program. Once rates start to rise, it’s difficult for a fixed income portfolio to make up lost ground if it’s not already positioned for higher rates. We think it’s crucial for investors to diversify their yield curve exposure by investing abroad.

2014-09-08 Correlation Convergence is Hurting Your Investment Performance by Vern Sumnicht of iSectors

Correlation is a statistical term that helps describe the relationship between two investments, enabling an investor to determine how similar two investments are to each other. By understanding the correlation between the investments in a portfolio, an investor can understand how likely it is, for example, for two or more of those investments to gain or lose money at the same time.

2014-09-08 Are Municipals Allergic to Basel? by Bob Andres of Andres Capital Management

One of the bogeys of the Basel Accords calls for dramatic improvements in bank liquidity. The most recent changes to the Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) test changed the numerator in the equation to ease the strictness of qualifying assets. The formula divides a banking institution’s stock of high quality liquid assets (HQLA)—the numerator—by estimated total net cash outflow over a 30-day period in a stressed environment. The calculation must be at least equal to or greater than 100 percent at all times.

2014-09-08 The Two Pillars of Full-Cycle Investing by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

History teaches clear lessons about the varying merits of accepting market risk.

2014-09-08 Searching for Value in Global Small-Cap Stocks by Virginia Au of Invesco Blog

While many global small-cap companies have gotten their balance sheets in good shape over the last few years, valuations are currently a concern. The MSCI World Index is up 184% since the market low on March 9, 2009, and we believe most equities are at or near full value. This makes it much harder to find high-quality companies at cheap prices. Against this backdrop, the challenge is to find the hidden gems within the vast universe of global small-cap companies.

2014-09-08 Only 37% of Companies Are Seeing Rising Sales Estimates by Team of GaveKal Capital

Yesterday we noted the fact that EPS estimates have fallen versus 3 months ago for most stocks in the developed world. In a similar vein, today we note that top line estimates are rising for only 37% of stocks in the MSCI developed world index, meaning they are falling for 63% of stocks. The only region in which more than half of stocks are seeing rising sales estimates is North America, where 62% of companies have seen top line estimates rise versus three months ago.

2014-09-08 A Choppy Path Stretches Ahead, but It Could Favor Equities by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities continued their winning ways, with the S&P 500 Index advancing 0.2% last week. Although the August employment data were somewhat disappointing, investors were cheered by strong manufacturing trends. Events outside of the U.S. also contributed to the positive tone.

2014-09-08 What Tax Strategies Make Sense for You? by Tara Thompson Popernik of AllianceBernstein

Many investors adopt tax-reducing strategies from year to year without taking a step back to look at the big picture. But how you save or spend money today can have a profound impact on your after-tax wealth over the long term and, ultimately, on your legacy.

2014-09-07 Europe Takes the QE Baton by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

This week we’ll look at what is happening across the pond in Europe, where the above-mentioned negative rates are only one ingredient in a big pot of Bizarro soup. And we’ll think about what it means for the US Federal Reserve to be so close to the end of its quantitative easing, even as the ECB takes the baton to add €1 trillion to the world’s liquidity. And meanwhile, Japan just keeps plugging away.

2014-09-06 The New Challenges of Price Discovery by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In the past few years, price discovery—or the act of finding the “right” price for a security—has become much more challenging because of falling stock volume and widening bid-ask spreads. These challenges are directly attributable to the infiltration of high-frequency traders into the market, not to mention the expansion of dark pools and non-exchange trading.

2014-09-06 Are US Stocks Reacting Rationally? by Grant Bowers of Franklin Templeton Investments

When major market indexes reach new heights, some investors may become wary. Given that the US stock market has enjoyed robust total returns over the past five years (2009–2013), it’s only natural to question the sustainability of rising stock prices.Grant Bowers, portfolio manager of Franklin Growth Opportunities Fund, believes many of the same drivers of stock market performance over the past few years remain in place, including low inflation, healthy corporate profits and accommodative monetary policy. However, he also cautions that volatility is likely to pick up, particularly

2014-09-06 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Can the eurozone avoid “Japanification?”; U.S. employment: Less rosy than expected; The U.S. capital spending outlook is promising

2014-09-06 Roll ‘Em if You’ve Got ‘Em by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Investors and their advisors have eased into the perceived comfort of evaluating investment results over standard, fixed time periods, such as year-to-date or the past 1-3-5 years. These are all valid time periods to review, but I don’t think they are enough.

2014-09-06 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 134.9, little changed from the previous week's 134.8. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) dropped to 1.8 from the previous week's 2.3. Last Friday, August 29th, ECRI treated the general public to a new commentary on its website focused on the Fed's seeming complacency about inflation becaused of stalled wage growth. ECRI sees a substantially higher inflation risk.

2014-09-06 Back in the Saddle Again: Time to Pull in the Reins? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Interest rates and seasonal tendencies are taking some attention away from the stronger economy and pose short-term risks for the stock market. Another pullback would be welcome from a sentiment perspective and would not dent our longer-term optimism that we are in a secular bull market that still has room to run. But just as fear has been the strongest emotion keeping many investors out of this bull market, greed is an emotion to rein in as well.

2014-09-05 Markets Climb as World Faces Crisis by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

On August 28th while the geographical area formerly known as Iraq descended further into chaos, President Obama announced to the world "We don't have a strategy, yet." A few days later, another brave American journalist was brutally beheaded by a slickly televised cockney-accented jihadist. Clearly things are not going well outside the bubbly confines of the S&P 500.

2014-09-05 True Grit: The Durable Low Volatility Effect by Feifei Li, Philip Lawton of Research Affiliates

There is no assurance that low-risk stocks will continue to produce superior long-term returns. Nonetheless, due to investors’ preferences and managers’ incentives, the outlook remains promising. And the market does not seem to learn from experience.

2014-09-05 Will Russia Derail the Eurozone Recovery? by Nicola Mai of PIMCO

Geopolitical tensions from Ukraine and the evolving trade war with Russia are threatening what is already a weak recovery in Europe, and could shave approximately 0.3%–0.4% off eurozone growth. Should the situation escalate, we could expect an even greater drag with potential to push the eurozone back into recession. Looking ahead, we see attractive opportunities in peripheral bonds and favour an underweight currency position in the euro.

2014-09-05 Gold in the Time of the US Dollar by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

Continuing on the theme of the impact that strength in the US dollar might have on the price of gold in dollars, in this week’s discussion we investigate the close historical relationship between the price of gold expressed in dollars and the value of the dollar.

2014-09-05 Cyclicals: Early or Late by Team of GaveKal Capital

For the first part of the year, early cyclicals (consummer discretionary sector) in North America underperformed late cyclicals (energy, material and industrial sectors), which made perfect sense given the appearance of a strengthening economy and the tapering of FRB asset purchases. Recently, however, early cyclicals have come back to lead late cyclicals. Since June 23, early cyclicals have outperformed late cyclicals by 7%. In the chart below, we compare an equal weighted basket of early cyclical companies in North America against late cyclicals.

2014-09-05 Remember, Remember, Gold in September by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In American poet W. S. Merwin’s poem “To the Light of September,” the speaker calls the ninth month “still summer,” yet with a “glint of bronze in the chill mornings.” I agree—to an extent. Here in San Antonio, Texas, home of U.S. Global Investors, we’re most definitely still in the summer season. But in the investing world, when we talk about September, there’s a glint not of bronze but another precious metal: gold.

2014-09-05 Voya Global Perspectives – Market Update by Douglas Coté of Voya Investment Management

A hawk in dove’s clothing, Yellen will likely be ahead of the curve when it comes to hiking rates. Driven by strength in manufacturing and a revitalized consumer, corporate America is thriving. The euro zone is an economic basket case, forcing Draghi to reach for another “bazooka” solution, to the likely benefit of risk assets. Broad, globally diversified portfolios can help protect investors against the volatility that policy normalization may bring.

2014-09-05 Tennis star Li Na exemplifies China's newfound entrepreneurial spirit. by Patricia Huang of Matthews Asia

After advancing to her first grand slam semifinals, Peng Shuai is China's newest late-career surprise at the U.S. Open. Her compatriot, tennis star Li Na, was the first Chinese player to claim a grand slam singles title, and her success has bolstered the sport's popularity back home in recent years. Both players were among the handful of pioneers to break from the country's state-sponsored teams to take greater control of their futures. This week Patricia Huang writes about China's newfound entrepreneurial spirit.

2014-09-05 A Letter to My Grandson About Entering the Working Life by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest piece, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, shares a letter he wrote to his 21-year-old grandson, who is entering his final year in college. "I then realized that some of this advice might also come in handy to several of my younger clients – those who belong to the third generation of the families whose fortunes I manage on three continents."

2014-09-04 Developed Europe: Regional Economic Review - Q2 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Europe’s ability to sustain its economic recovery is back in the spotlight. The latest second quarter estimates of statistics agency Eurostat, which were released in mid-August, show that compared to the first quarter, GDP merely inched up 0.2 percent in the 28-country European Union (EU) but failed to grow at all in the 18-member Euro-zone.

2014-09-04 International Equity Commentary: July, 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

International equity prices saw a modest correction in July as geopolitical tensions worsened in Ukraine and the Middle East. The risk of these conflicts spreading to wider areas and pulling in more countries unnerved the markets.

2014-09-04 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary: July, 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices continued to outperform the developed markets in July and ended the month with moderate gains. Markets in Asia significantly outperformed during the month, helped by signs of stabilizing economic growth in major markets such as China.

2014-09-04 Could a China Recession Cause $50/barrel Crude Oil? by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Globalization has created an interconnection between major world economies and commodity prices. China, as the world's most populous country, rearranged the commodity landscape by growing their economy at double-digit compounded rates from 2000-2010. By doubling their use of oil, copper and other major commodities, China created a golden era for commodity investors and everyone involved in oil exploration and production.

2014-09-04 Midterms May Mean More Gains for Stocks by Burt White, Jeffrey Buchbinder of LPL Financial

With the midterm elections now just two months away and campaigning starting to heat up, we thought we would share our current views on the political landscape and what it may mean for U.S equities. In our two Outlook 2014 publications for this year, we posited that the U.S. economy and corporate profits may drive the stock market higher and investors could turn their attention away from policymakers in Washington, who were such a distraction in 2013 and earlier in the current economic expansion.

2014-09-04 Central Banks Pump Up the Volume by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Aggressive central bank accommodation from Europe to Japan and a dovish Federal Reserve bode well for equities and bond prices.

2014-09-04 What's Next for the Dollar and Gold? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

One reason markets tend to get a little nervous in September is that it’s time for investors to ponder about their asset allocation for the remainder of the year and beyond. With the markets at or near record highs and the US dollar on a roll, what could possibly go wrong? Let’s look at what’s next for the dollar, gold, and currencies.

2014-09-04 Global: Recovery Continues, but Headwinds Persist by Keith Wade of Schroders Investment Management

Keith Wade, Chief Economist at Schroders, discusses why Schroders has trimmed global growth projections for 2014 and 2015.

2014-09-04 Congress Will Go Out With a Whimper, But the Next Could Come In With a Roar by Libby Cantrill of PIMCO

A government shutdown is highly unlikely this year, and most need-to-pass bills will likely pass either before the election or during the "lame duck" session of Congress. Should Republicans take the Senate, we should expect heightened policy uncertainty around issues such as the debt ceiling increase in 2015.

2014-09-04 U.S. Oil Industry, Economy Feel Effects of Shale Revolution by David Ginther of Ivy Investment Management Company

The term “Shale Revolution” reflects the booming oil production from shale basins in the U.S. The rapid pace of oil output from these fields is spurring growth across the energy industry, providing a wide range of benefits to the U.S. economy and generating potential opportunities for investors.

2014-09-04 Risk Revisited by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital

In April 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.

2014-09-03 Consumer Confidence Hits a Seven-Year High... But by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Last week, the Conference Board reported that its Consumer Confidence Index rose to a near seven-year high in mid-August. It was the fourth consecutive monthly rise in the Index and handily beat the pre-report consensus.

2014-09-03 Voya Fixed Income Perspectives – August 2014 by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms of Voya Investment Management

Like the buzz of the alarm clock on the first day of school, the July/early August market selloff awoke investors to the fact that the lazy, carefree days can’t last forever. Though a single catalyst for the latest shift in sentiment is tough to identify, there are a number of suspects: ample geopolitical uncertainty, the possibility that strong U.S. economic data may hasten fed funds rate normalization and Fed rhetoric about froth in certain markets.

2014-09-03 S&P Hits the 2,000 Mark by Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Equity markets moved modestly higher last week, with the S&P 500 closing above the 2,000 level for the first time. The S&P 500 added 80 bps on the week and now stands up 9.9% on the year following a 4% gain in August. Bonds also rallied last week, rising in tandem with European sovereigns. The rate on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.33% by week’s end.

2014-09-03 Despite Growing Risks it's Still Janet Yellen's Market by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

The current stock market is earning a deserved reputation as being coated in Teflon. Bad or disappointing news just doesn't appear to stick, and has done nothing to slow the market's upward trajectory. Bad news is good and good news is good news. But where does this all end? A minority of investors have begun to wonder whether negative geo-political risks, embodied in the steely-eyed stare of Vladimir Putin, are exerting more influence on the market than the sunny smiles of Janet Yellen.

2014-09-03 State and Local Governments Outpace the Feds by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The fiscal health of state and local governments appears robust when compared with that of the federal government.

2014-09-03 The Peritus Process Managing Risk by Tim Gramatovich of AdvisorShares

What is risk and how is it defined? To us, risk is about losing money and managing risk is what portfolio management is all about. Let’s begin with credit risk, which is something we take on and expect to get paid for. First of all, credit investing is a negative art. What you don’t buy is more important than what you do buy. Investors will not appreciate this until the cycle turns, which will inevitably happen at some point.

2014-09-03 For Wonks Only??? by William Gross of PIMCO

A credit-based financial economy (as opposed to pure cash) depends on an ever-expanding outstanding level of credit for its survival. Without additional credit, interest on previously issued liabilities cannot be paid absent the sale of existing assets, which in turn would lead to a vicious cycle of debt deflation, recession and ultimately depression.

2014-09-03 International Developed and Emerging Markets by Riad Younes of R Squared Capital Management

This commentary explores what the author believes to be the best opportunities in international investing along with challenges facing investors in developed and emerging markets.

2014-09-03 All Eyes on the ECB as Europe’s Recovery Remains Fragile by Matthew Dennis of Invesco Blog

While the European Central Bank (ECB) has successfully eased financial market stress over the past two-plus years, Europe’s long-awaited recovery still remains fragile and imbalanced.

2014-09-02 Why Individual Stock Selection Matters in Today's Environment by Bill Hench (Article)

No matter how expensive the market might be at any given time, there will always be stocks that look inexpensive to us on an absolute basis. Portfolio Manager Bill Hench discusses how he's been handling current valuations and what he's been seeing in the way of M&A activity with Principal Dave Gruber.

2014-09-02 Ranking the Top 10 "Differentiators" for Advisory Firms by Bob Veres (Article)

If we have a clear idea of what foregrounds one advisory firm ahead of others, then we can deliberately cultivate those characteristics. The problem is, nobody has ever compiled a comprehensive list of differentiators, much less ranked them according to importance. So, to fill that obvious void, I've ranked the top 10 differentiators that I've personally seen advisors use in their positioning and marketing.

2014-09-02 Can Retirees Still Use a 4% Withdrawal Rate? Practical Applications of Monte Carlo Analysis by Wade Pfau and David Blanchett (Article)

Some advisors remain critical of Monte Carlo simulations, instead preferring to use analysis based on rolling historical periods or specific pre-defined scenarios. We believe Monte Carlo is a superior tool for measuring the uncertainties in long-term financial planning. As an example, we use it to predict the likelihood of a successful 4% withdrawal rate under today's market conditions.

2014-09-02 How to Raise Sensitive Issues with Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

Important issues - so-called elephants in the room - threaten the financial futures of clients and their families. Clients and advisors normally recognize these issues, but because they are emotionally charged, they are difficult to discuss. Here are three steps to talk about these subjects.

2014-09-02 Use Your Fingerprints to Gather More AUM by Daniel Solin (Article)

A colleague of mine calls it "assumicide" - trying to convince a prospect to say yes by offering a careful and exhaustive presentation of a proposal's assumptions and merits. There's a more powerful route to yes, however: using heuristics to align yourself with your prospect.

2014-09-02 A Marketing Strategy to Reach Millennials by Melanie Cressman (Article)

Millennials are a hands-on generation in every aspect, including finances. How can financial advisors connect with them?

2014-09-02 Helping Clients Redefine Retirement by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Sometimes I fear my clients do not know what retirement will look like to them and so planning for it, financially or otherwise, is challenging. It's why I believe they need an advisor, but I want to be sure I am doing the best I can for them in these discussions.

2014-09-02 Your Clients Don't Care About You by Megan Elliott (Article)

Conversations with clients should be about them, not you.

2014-09-02 The Exaggerated Death of Inflation by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

Modern central banking has worked wonders to bring down inflation. Ultimately, however, a central bank’s anti-inflation policies can work only within the context of a macroeconomic and political framework that is consistent with price stability.

2014-09-02 Late, Not Lost: The Economic Drag From the Millennial Generation by Joshua Anderson, Emmanuel Sharef, Jason Mandinach of PIMCO

We believe concerns of a student debt "bubble" and perpetual financial weakness among Millennials are largely overstated. Understanding Millennials' financial trajectory is critical to our secular (3-5 year) outlook for home prices and the broader economy. We expect Millennials' financial position to improve, and pent-up demand could result in longer-term strength in housing and housing-related assets.

2014-09-02 US Home Prices Rise In July by Team of GaveKal Capital

CoreLogic released their home price index for July today and it showed another 1.25% month-over-month gain in June (including distressed sales). Their index is 7.4% higher than one year ago.

2014-09-02 Banking on BRICS by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

In July, leaders of the five emerging market countries known as the “BRICS” (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) met in the Brazilian city of Fortaleza and announced the creation of a New Development Bank (NDB).

2014-09-02 China’s Reforms Open New Path to Equities by Stuart Rae, John Lin of AllianceBernstein

For investors in China equities, there have traditionally been two ways of approaching the market: through expensive growth stocks, or risky contrarian plays. Now, thanks to China’s reforms, there’s a third way which may offer a better balance of risk and return.

2014-09-02 Stronger Growth Should Push Equities Higher by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

A rash of positive news propelled stock prices higher for the fourth consecutive week, marking the longest winning streak for equities since last November. The S&P 500 Index pushed above the 2,000 level for the first time as it gained 0.8% for the week.

2014-09-02 Is the Stock Market Cheap? by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Here is a new update of a popular market valuation method using the most recent Standard & Poor's "as reported" earnings and earnings estimates and the index monthly averages of daily closes for the past month, which is 1,961.53. The ratios in parentheses use the monthly close of 2003.37. For the earnings, see the table below created from Standard & Poor's latest earnings spreadsheet.

2014-09-01 Growth by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

This week I will respond to the second part of David Brin’s letter. Please note that David and I characterize our conversations as joyous deliberations, excited parry and thrust in the realm of ideas. I especially appreciate David because he forces me to think about many of my casual assumptions, although in a battle of wits with David I often feel as if I’m bringing a knife to a gunfight. (Every writer needs a few David Brins in his life. Sometimes I think I have more than my share.)

2014-09-01 Democracy in the Twenty-First Century by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

The economist Thomas Piketty’s forecast of still higher levels of inequality does not reflect the inexorable laws of economics. Indeed, the main question today is not really about capital in the twenty-first century; it is about democracy in the twenty-first century.

2014-08-31 Abenomics, European Style by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

Two years ago, Shinzo Abe’s election as Japan’s prime minister led to the advent of “Abenomics,” a three-part plan to rescue the economy from a treadmill of stagnation and deflation. It now appears that the European Central Bank has a similar plan in store for the eurozone.

2014-08-30 Anticipate Before You Participate: Patterns in Trading by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The primary unit of time measurement for high-frequency traders might be the microsecond, but for normal retail traders, it’s vital to know the best months, days and even half-hours of the day to make market transactions.

2014-08-30 Sound Familiar? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Stocks seem likely to continue their upward momentum although volatility could increase with Federal Reserve interest rate uncertainty combined with midterm elections and geopolitics. An improving economy, decent valuations and a still-accommodative Fed leave us confident that dips should be viewed as buying opportunities. Conversely, Europe is looking worse and we would be cautious in adding new cash at this time, concentrating additional international exposure instead on China and to a lesser degree Japan, always with a diversified portfolio in mind.

2014-08-29 Bond Yields Around a First Rate Hike by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

Historically, bond yields have begun to move more forcefully four to six months ahead of a first rate hike from the Fed. We believe the rise in interest rates may begin sooner this cycle due to lower yields and more expensive valuations. We favor capitalizing on year-to-date bond strength and recommend a defensive posture consisting of short to intermediate bonds.

2014-08-29 The Long-Term Value of Active Management in the Small-Cap Space by Chuck Royce of The Royce Funds

As the ongoing debate about the effectiveness of active management, especially since the proliferation of ETFs and index funds, continues unresolved, it is difficult for us not to be biased. Our focus, however, remains solely on long-term outperformance and the interests of our shareholders, and we believe the best way of accomplishing this is through careful stock selection and having an absolute standard.

2014-08-29 The Modern Day Widow Maker Trade is to Short Treasuries by Team of GaveKal Capital

As treasury yields plunge again today to new 1-year lows (the 10 and 30-year treasury bond yields are both down 3bps to 2.33% and 3.07%, respectively), we are reminded of a popular trade over the last decade to short Japanese government bonds, which has aptly been named the "widow maker" trade.

2014-08-29 Three Investing Lessons from the Napa Earthquake by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Last week’s Bay Area earthquake was a stark reminder that there are risks to living in California. It also was a violent, but good, metaphor for the dangers lurking in financial markets. Russ shares three investing lessons – and one busted movie myth – that he took away from the Napa earthquake.

2014-08-29 Lucara Diamond Stock Sparkles, Reports Another Strong Quarter by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Often it seems that gold gets all the fun when I write and speak about precious metals and minerals. But Vancouver-based Lucara Diamond has been turning heads here at U.S. Global Investors lately for a number of reasons, the most notable being that it continues to report stellar returns.

2014-08-29 Why 2K? by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

This week, the S&P 500 stock index crossed the 2,000 mark for the first time (this figure and other historical returns referred to in this article do not include dividends). Round numbers always get the media’s attention, so avid market-watchers already know this. But why? Why, just six years after the financial world seemed to be ending, are we celebrating a milestone that at that point seemed a generation away?

2014-08-29 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Flexible labor markets are key to recovering from recession; Wage trends present a challenge for the Fed; Bank settlements are sizeable, but the benefit to housing has been limited

2014-08-28 Data Dilemma: When Final Isn't Final by John Canally of LPL Financial

Revisions to GDP don’t often change the overall picture of the health, or lack thereof, of the economy. Despite cutbacks to congressional funding of data collection at the federal level in recent years, the GDP data are a lot more accurate than they used to be. About every five years, the BEA does a “comprehensive revision” to GDP, and at that point, GDP for any specific quarter is just about as final as it will get, as the BEA has 98% of the data it needs to calculate GDP.

2014-08-28 I Can’t Save Europe Alone – Mario Draghi at Jackson Hole by Bob Andres of Andres Capital Management

Janet Yellen began her prepared speech on monetary policy and the labor markets in Jackson Hole at 10:00am on Friday. Within minutes, analysts were offering insights into future interest rate policy. The equity markets dipped slightly only to recover quickly to pre-speech levels. The consensus view, which emerged after sifting through the release, was that Ms. Yellen’s view on interest rates may be a tad less dovish than previously expressed. With no video feeds emanating from the conference and with tepid market reaction, we asked ourselves, “Is she whispering or is she Yellen?&rd

2014-08-28 Frustrations of a Frugal Investor by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

The other day I was leaving the office and a gentlemen who has known me for quite some time asked about the model year of my truck. I told him it was a 2001 and that it should still be good for another 100,000 miles. Of course my truck is known to me and many of my friends as “Big Red,” and it has become a family member of sorts, capable of and willing to take on any job, rather than just “a truck that hauls things around.”

2014-08-28 Washington Recaptured by Simon Johnson of Project Syndicate

Two hundred years ago, Washington DC was captured by the British – who then set fire to official buildings, including the White House, Treasury Department, and Congress. Today, it is a domestic interest group – very large banks – that has captured Washington, and the costs are likely to be far higher than they were in 1814.

2014-08-28 The World is in Crisis…the Markets Are Not by Zachary Karabell of Envestnet

Markets have been gyrating for the past months in the face of a wave of geopolitical crises. But the chance of any of these crises dramatically altering the behavior of markets beyond the short-term is very, very slight.

2014-08-28 Brazil: A Ripe Market for Bottom-Up Stock Pickers by Jim Harvey, Dilip Badlani of The Royce Funds

Royce International Micro-Cap Fund Portfolio Managers Jim Harvey and Dilip Badlani talk about their recent trip to Brazil, the country's current challenges, the importance of careful stock selection, what insider ownership reveals, Brazil's real estate market, learning from experience, looking for competitive advantages and the importance of corporate governance, and where they've been finding opportunities.

2014-08-28 Market Internals—Breadth Weakness Troubling But Not Dire by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

Last month we argued "stock market participation is too broad for an imminent cyclical top to form," and we're not retreating from that statement. But interim market tops of varying degrees of importance can form with little or no warning. We've characterized stock market action alternately as uniform or in gear throughout most of 2014, but it's clear that market participation has not been nearly as "egalitarian" as it was throughout 2013. We've marveled at how well measures of market breadth were able to shrug off Small Caps' dramatic relative strength breakdown.

2014-08-27 EM Growth Provides Tailwind for Automation Companies by Nick Niziolek, Paul Ryndak of Calamos Investments

The pullback in Japanese equities earlier this year brought the valuations of select automation companies to attractive levels that do not fully reflect the long-term growth potential we see. The days of Henry Ford's assembly line are long gone, replaced by automated conveyor systems and robots that do much of the heavy lifting. Chinese labor costs are rising quickly, providing incentive for manufacturers to be more productive and contain costs. Also, the technical and quality requirements for manufacturing cars, phones and other electronics is increasing, requiring more precision.

2014-08-27 The Demise of Active Management is Greatly Exaggerated by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Financial advisors and registered investment advisors feel severe pressure to throw in the towel on manager selection methodologies and accept index returns. Yet, many of these stories forget one central concept: indexes are actually inexpensive actively-managed portfolios. Every actively managed fund is an index itself.

2014-08-27 From the Alps to the Tetons by Brian Andrew of Cleary Gull

Central bankers seem to be the focus once again. If the global economy were strong enough to stand on its own, we wouldn’t spend every waking moment worrying about what Fed Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and her European Central Bank counterpart Mario Draghi are going to do next. The fact that these bankers are front and center again in investors’ minds, is a function of both how sluggish the global economy is and how persistent the hangover from the mid-2000’s real estate party continues to be.

2014-08-27 The Price is Right - The S&P 500 Index Deconstructed by Edward Talisse of Chelsea Global Advisors

Is the widely followed S&P 500 equity index wildly overvalued at its current price of 2,000? Well, that depends upon your assumptions about earnings and dividend growth and your risk adjusted required rate of return.

2014-08-27 Fed's Getting Anxious About Interest Rate "Liftoff" by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

While I have been a Fed watcher for over 30 years, rarely have I seen as much media angst over the central bank’s next move as we are seeing today. We all know that the Fed is going to raise short-term interest rates at some point. We expect the Fed to “normalize” interest rates slowly in measured steps over the next few years. The main question is, when does this process begin?

2014-08-27 Gold: Keeping Calm And Carrying On by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

We continue from last weeks discussion on the role of interest rates in the gold market by looking at trends in the cost of carry of gold as priced in dollars, euro, yen and pounds. By way of a brief primer we define the cost of carry of gold in dollars as the London Bullion Markets Association 3 month Gold Forward Offered Rate (GOFO). GOFO is published every day by the LBMA and is calculated as US dollar Libor minus the gold lease rate.

2014-08-27 The Stall-Speed Syndrome by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

As tempting as it may be to attribute developed economies' latest growth slowdown to idiosyncratic factors, weakening performance in the US, Europe, and Japan is not so easily dismissed. In all of these cases, the post-recession rebound has not been nearly large enough to alter the sluggish underlying trend.

2014-08-27 Gold Jewelry Demand in India Improves by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Those who root for gold root for India. Despite a welcome June rally, it’s been a rocky second quarter for the world’s second-largest consumer of the metal, with demand down 18 percent compared to last year.

2014-08-26 BDCs featuring John Cole Scott by (Article)

Business Development Companies, a CEF "cousin," are gaining attention from yield-seeking investors, says John Cole Scott of CEF Advisors.

2014-08-26 2014's Market So Far by Chris Clark and Chuck Royce (Article)

During the March 4, 2014 interim high for small-caps into the middle of May, the Russell 2000 declined roughly 9.1%. Chief Executive Officer Chuck Royce talks with President Chris Clark about what he saw during this period and how this correction affected the performance of The Royce Funds.

2014-08-26 The Power and Limitations of Monte Carlo Simulations by David Blanchett and Wade Pfau (Article)

Explaining the past is much easier than predicting the future. This uncertainty raises a significant number of issues when creating a financial plan for a client. Monte Carlo simulations will illuminate the nature of that uncertainty, but only if advisors understand how it should be applied - and its limitations.

2014-08-26 Feedback That Motivates Your Team by Dan Richards (Article)

Last week's article outlined new research into how to motivate your team. One of the best strategies is giving consistent, quality feedback. Here are nine ways to provide feedback that motivates your team.

2014-08-26 The Ticking Time Bomb Stressing Your Success by Daniel Solin (Article)

Here's some insight on how stress reduces your ability to work effectively - and what to do about it.

2014-08-26 Why Germany's Economy is So Strong by Marianne Brunet (Article)

After spending more than a month this summer living in a rural part of Eastern Germany, I discovered that the source of Germany's economic strength extends far beyond the fields at the World Cup.

2014-08-26 Successful Succession Planning - Building Your Legacy and Keeping It by Alan Rosenfield (Article)

RIAs need a succession plan. But what does that mean, and how can you get one?

2014-08-26 Advisors Dealing with Illness in Their Family by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

My only brother is dying of cancer, my parents have both moved into nursing homes and we have a sick son who is in need of care. Given the number of advisors in my age category, I am maintaining my business but I can't focus on growth. Any suggestions on how to find resources to help me?

2014-08-26 These Four Mistakes Will Shipwreck Your Email Marketing Campaign by Alan Del Rosario (Article)

Here are four common mistakes that will shipwreck your email marketing campaign.

2014-08-26 Global Economic Overview: July 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Recent economic data from the developed world have shown divergent trends while growth in the emerging economies appears to be stabilizing. The U.S. economy expanded at a faster than expected pace during the second quarter, more than offsetting the first quarter decline, which revised estimates show was not as severe as thought earlier.

2014-08-26 Event Driven Managers Encounter a Short-Term Hiccup by Chris Maxey, Brian Payne of Fortigent

After a period of very strong deal activity during the first half of 2014, traders and investors were hit with “arbageddon” in early August. “Arbageddon” struck after a series of large deals fell apart, sparking concern that the pickup in activity from earlier in the year was coming to an abrupt halt. Activity since that time would suggest otherwise, and it appears that the M&A train is back on course.

2014-08-26 Markets Want a Date, Fed Wants More Data by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Instead of getting clarity about when rate hikes will happen, investors are finding an increasingly divided Fed doing careful analysis and making nuanced arguments, writes Kristina Hooper.

2014-08-26 A Nation of Shopkeepers by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

One of the great pleasures of writing this letter is the fascinating correspondence and the relationships that develop along the way. The internet has allowed me to meet a wide range of people all over the world – something that never happened to me pre-1999. Not only do I get to meet a wide variety of people, I also come into contact with an even wider range of knowledge and ideas, much of which comes my way from readers who send me work they think I’ll have an interest in. I have a bountiful, never-ending source of thoughtful material, thanks to you.

2014-08-26 How Do You Anticipate the Unexpected? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

It always seems to begin the same. A “News Flash” scrolls across the lower portion of our TV screens. Or the music trumpets a change is coming on the radio. (For those always plugged in on their phones or iPods, though, I have no idea how they learn about anything!)

2014-08-26 Yellen at Jackson Hole by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

I must have heard it on the radio recently, because Janet Yellen’s speech at this year’s Jackson Hole conference brought to mind lyrics from one of my favorite Beatles songs.

2014-08-26 Republic or Empire? An Update, Part 2 by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Over the past two years, how American society answers this question is becoming increasingly critical. There is a steady undercurrent in American politics that seeks to withdraw the U.S. from world affairs. Last week, we introduced this topic. This week, we will conclude our analysis, including market ramifications. This report will detail the costs to the U.S. for taking on the superpower role.

2014-08-26 International Opportunities - a look at the bigger picture by Stephen Peak (Article)

Stephen Peak takes a look at the bigger picture and provides commentary on the world as we see it. He discusses expectations of rising interest rates and notes that geopolitical tensions in Europe and the Middle East are causing uncertainty and hesitation among investors. Stephen believes we are in a process of change and that clients should consider their international allocations, and at the margin, increase them subject to the needs of individual clients.

2014-08-25 Equities Climb as Investors Focus on Fundamentals by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Equities have recovered all of the losses experienced in July through early August. The Fed appears to be slowly paving the way for interest rate increases, but we’re not expecting any immediate changes. The global economy is growing, but remains weak. In this environment, we believe investors should be more selective.

2014-08-25 Broken Links: Fed Policy and the Growing Gap Betweeen Wall Street and Main Street by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The issue is not whether the U.S. economy does or does not need “life support.” The issue is that QE is not life support in the first place. How can policy makers help to build the economy from the middle-out, and slow the both the unproductive diversion and the lopsided distribution of resources in our economic system? We should begin by stopping the harm.

2014-08-25 Consumer Spending & Economic Recoveries: What They Mean Going Forward by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

As a follow-up to the discussion on the rollover of the duration of the unemployed, the byproduct of an accelerating improvement in the undercurrents of the job market is consumer spending. The measure of consumption has a primary correlation to wages and income workers receive. As such, the benign improvement in wages has an obvious correlation to the benign improvement in consumption. There is a strong secondary driver which we will discuss shortly.

2014-08-25 Catching Up On Performance by Team of GaveKal Capital

It's time for our weekly ritual of looking back before we look too far forward. Where has it paid to be invested and where has it not? Let's start with the Developed Markets.

2014-08-25 Active or Passive? How to Blend Aspects of Both by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

While the official debate between active and passive investing strategies will never truly be settled, Russ advocates embracing a simple approach that blends aspects of both, and he provides five criteria to consider as you’re figuring out the right mix for you.

2014-08-25 New US Bank Rules a Boon for Bond Investors by Jeff Skoglund, Shrut Vakil of AllianceBernstein

US banks have come a long way since the financial crisis, and that’s good news for fixed-income investors. We think better fundamentals and stricter regulations are creating a good formula for banks’ preferred securities.

2014-08-25 Correcting a Common Misconception about Alternative Investments by Walter Davis of Invesco Blog

A common misconception about alternative investments is that these investments have failed anytime they underperform the stock market. Investors need to know that alternative investments … are designed to achieve returns that are more consistent and less volatile than those of the stock market on a long-term basis across multiple market cycles.

2014-08-23 Managing Expectations by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The third part of this series on managing expectations is devoted to fundamental resource stock evaluation. I’ll discuss some of the statistical tools we use to pick quality stocks during a treacherous bear market, such as what we’ve seen in gold stocks the last three years

2014-08-23 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The View from Jackson Hole; U.S. Auto Sales: Tailwinds Will Prevail; The Mystery of Long-Term Bond Yields

2014-08-23 An Unconstrained View of Corporate Credit Amid the Rate Debate by Eric Takaha of Franklin Templeton Investments

July 2014 brought a summer swoon to the US high-yield sector, as selling pressure hit despite what many analysts by and large dubbed a respectable second-quarter corporate earnings season. Whatever the reason, many investors became suddenly spooked. Eric Takaha, director of the Corporate & High Yield Group and senior vice president, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group®, is not terribly concerned by what he views as short-term market volatility. He sees the recent selloff as not necessarily unhealthy, and he still sees supportive long-term fundamentals for corporate credit. He takes a

2014-08-23 One-Handed Guidance for Investors by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Markets do not move in straight lines, so yields could retrace to 2.5 percent in the near term after breaking out as low as 2.35 in early August. Ultimately, as rates head back toward 2 percent investors should use the rally to reduce interest rate risk.

2014-08-23 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 134.3, unchanged from the previous week. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) dropped to 2.8 from the previous week's 3.5. On Monday of this week, ECRI broke its silence to the general public with a new commentary on its website focused on housing affordability and home price growth

2014-08-23 Quarterly Letter by Ron Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Company

Sometimes, I’m tempted to write “same as last time.” This is one of those times.

2014-08-22 What "Smart Beta" Means to Us by Rob Arnott, Engin Kose of Research Affiliates

The controversial term “smart beta” is used so broadly in the marketplace that it risks becoming meaningless. This article describes the characteristics of equity strategies that, in our view, merit the smart beta designation.

2014-08-22 Our Take on the Fed Minutes by Doug MacKay, Bill Hoover of Broadleaf Partners

Usually, I don't have anything intelligent to say more than once every month or so and since I'm not a journalist, I'm never forced to make stuff up just to sell papers. I do believe, however, that the release of the Fed Minutes was worth a few of my minutes and perhaps yours. Even if you're yawning right now, please know that putting my thoughts in writing helps me to better manage your investments. As a money manager, we pick your investments, not your money managers. The buck starts and stops with us.

2014-08-22 Assessing Corporate Credit Risk in Asia by Satya Patel of Matthews Asia

Investing in foreign markets requires a constant questioning of many long-held assumptions that underpin traditional security analysis. This issue of Asia Insight is the first in a series of commentaries to explore the fixed income themes of credit, currencies and interest rates. Given the complexities of Asia’s fixed income markets, we will examine the many considerations that investors need to take into account to fully appreciate the inherent risks of investing in this market.

2014-08-22 Stock Indexes Break to New Highs on Less Participation from Individual Stocks (Again) by Team of GaveKal Capital

Earlier this week we touched on the fact that new highs in individual stocks have not expanded much despite the continued new highs all year in the headline indices.

2014-08-22 What Your Parents Didn’t Tell You About Saving for Retirement by Anne Bucciarelli of AllianceBernstein

Chances are, your parents have told you to max out your 401(k) plan. That’s good advice, but the hard truth is that your 401(k) plan is highly likely to fall short. To live comfortably in retirement, our research shows, you will almost surely need more.

2014-08-22 Current Opportunities in Consumer Discretionary by Charlie Dreifus (Article)

Poor holiday sales in 2013 and harsh winter weather have taken their toll on many Consumer Discretionary names so far in 2014. Portfolio Manager Charlie Dreifus tells Principal Dave Gruber why he's still attracted to the retail industry.

2014-08-21 An Inefficient Asset Class by Tim Gramatovich of AdvisorShares

We believe that the best approach to credit investing is to be agnostic on the credit ratings. This ratings agnosticism is central to our investment philosophy and process. We believe that credit ratings have created inefficiencies in corporate credit and an opportunity for those willing to step down on the ratings spectrum.

2014-08-21 Fed Revises Down Potential GDP In More Hawkish Minutes by Team of GaveKal Capital

In our latest quarterly presentation in July, we noted how spare capacity in the economy may be much smaller than is generally perceived. We found out today the FOMC came to similar conclusions in their latest FOMC meeting.

2014-08-21 Touring the Investment Landscape in the Czech Republic by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

My team and I have been touring Central and Eastern Europe this summer, and our travels recently took us to the Czech Republic. It’s a country with an interesting history, and from our perspective, it also holds a variety of interesting potential investment opportunities, too.

2014-08-21 Lucid Dreaming! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Evidentially, the “lucid dreamers” on Wall Street practiced their skills two weeks ago as professional traders were sneaking large “buy orders” into the equity markets on the closing bell. Simultaneously, the Commitment of Traders’ Report showed those same traders were dramatically reducing their “short sale” bets.

2014-08-21 A Roadmap, Not a Timetable by Scott Brown of Raymond James

On Friday morning, Fed Chair Janet Yellen will deliver the keynote address at the Kansas City Fed’s annual monetary policy symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Those looking for clues on the timing of the first Fed rate hike are likely to be disappointed.

2014-08-21 Skittishness by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Stocks suffered some of their bigger daily and weekly declines of the year recently with geopolitical and Fed concerns the likely culprits. We don’t believe this was the start of a sustainable downtrend, although there could be further selling to come in the near-term. The U.S. economy appears to be strengthening, leaving us optimistic on the longer-term outlook for stocks. Likewise, worries over the Fed and the timing of the first rate hike have increased, but the initial stages of a tightening cycle tend to be positive for equities.

2014-08-21 The TCW Advantage: Constructing Proprietary RMBS Collateral Benchmarks by Harrison Choi, Brian Rosenlund of TCW Asset Management

This TCW Advantage installment highlights ways in which our analysis is integrated across RMBS metrics through benchmark analysis. We review how TCW develops and maintains custom collateral benchmarks that help our portfolio management team spot risk and value that may be overlooked by others in the marketplace.

2014-08-21 Inspiring Economic Dynamism within Japan by Christopher Gannatti of WisdomTree

WisdomTree has been excited about Abenomics since its genesis in November of 2012. We believe that markets have responded well to the progress made on the first two arrows—namely decisive monetary policy and increases in fiscal spending.

2014-08-21 Hospitals: No Longer in the ICU by Kyle Schneider of Diamond Hill Capital Management, Inc.

The hospital industry has traditionally been below average from an investment standpoint, given its high levels of regulation, capital intensity, and leverage. Pricing power with private insurers is dependent on local market share, while Medicaid and Medicare rates are non-negotiable.

2014-08-20 Americas: Regional Economic Review - Q2 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Economic trends from the region during the second quarter were in line with earlier periods, as the developed economies in North America are seeing healthier growth while most of the emerging economies in Latin America are facing a slowdown.

2014-08-20 What's Your Exit? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Are you prepared for an “Exit”? If the Fed pursues an “exit” from ultra low interest rate policy, are you be prepared for an exit from the stock market should things turn South? We discuss how investors prepare, noting the most common mistakes investors make along the way.

2014-08-20 Detroit bankruptcy — One year later by Ty Schoback of Columbia Management

In the summer of 2013, Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in history. One year on, how has the filing played out and what insights can be gleaned?

2014-08-20 Diversification and Discipline Are Key to Investing in Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Like training for a marathon, investing in gold isn’t for the apathetic or indifferent. It requires strong-willed discipline.

2014-08-20 5 Charts Showing The Taper Effect by Team of GaveKal Capital

We noted yesterday how treasury bond yields keep falling along with the reduction of fed purchases. This inspired us to dig deeper into our chart library to see how other asset classes or economic statistics have performed in relation to our taper model.

2014-08-20 A Peak at Yellen’s Labor Market Dashboard Highlights Fed Concerns by Rick Harper of WisdomTree

In this piece, we attempt to re-create the labor market dashboard and assess the progress the economy has made post-financial crisis. While many indicators suggest a full recovery (or at least substantial progress), a few indicators hint at little progress from crisis lows.

2014-08-20 Is a Big Equity Correction Imminent? Not Yet by Vadim Zlotnikov of AllianceBernstein

Many investors think US stocks are due for a correction: They feel that the market has run too far, that the Fed has been slow to act, that complacency has created pockets of excess. Do these gut feelings mean a major equity correction looms? Not yet, in our view.

2014-08-20 Clarity in Emerging Markets: Indonesian Election Outcome by Team of Manning & Napier

On July 9th, Indonesians turned out en mass for the country’s national election. The contest pitted the young governor of Jakarta, Joko Widodo (Jokowi), against a former general and businessman, Prabowo Subianto.

2014-08-19 “Bad News is Good” – A Hard Habit for Investors to Kick by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Last week’s market performance proved that investors are having a hard time kicking a certain habit: treating “bad news as good.” Russ explains, suggesting that investors continue to focus on relative value.

2014-08-19 European Bank Stocks: Time to Buy, or Bail? by Cindy Sweeting of Franklin Templeton Investments

In recent months, European banks have been under increased regulatory scrutiny, meeting the ire of regulators (in the United States in particular) for a range of alleged improprieties, resulting in sizable financial penalties. Throw in a bailout-inducing crisis at Portugal’s Espírito Santo bank, and it’s perhaps no surprise that share prices of many bank stocks in Europe have languished this year. These developments have provided investors with a stark reminder of the risks associated with investing in the banking sector.

2014-08-19 Macro backdrop in Europe by Stephen Peak (Article)

Stephen Peak discusses the macro backdrop in Europe noting that while we've seen some signs of recovery coming through, we're now in one of those more difficult transition phases. We've seen positive progress in the UK with expectations on GDP upwards of 3% from some commentators and unemployment in Spain is below 25% for the first time in years. Additionally, Stephen touches on currencies, geopolitical tensions and where he sees opportunity in the region. Stephen believes there is still money to be made between now and the end of the year.

2014-08-19 Muni Appeal featuring John Miller by (Article)

Municipal bonds may especially appeal to income-seeking investors in high tax brackets, says John Miller of Nuveen Asset Management.

2014-08-19 How to Choose the Right Fixed-Income Strategy by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

The fixed-income portion of retirement portfolios is just as important as the equity allocation, yet far less research has been devoted to it. Advisors must decide whether to pursue active or passive strategies and which types of bonds to recommend. I'll address those strategic choices and argue that the best approach is the simplest, lowest-cost one.

2014-08-19 7 Characteristics of the Client of the Future by Sponsored Content from Transamerica (Article)

American families are changing, along with what they're demanding from their financial advisors. At a Transamerica Coaching Forum event last spring, Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab director Joseph Coughlin, Ph.D., outlined some of the ways in which clients of retirement age have changed.

2014-08-19 Five Steps to a Passionate Team by Dan Richards (Article)

Few things are more important than keeping your team motivated and staying motivated yourself.

2014-08-19 Do Moving Average Strategies Really Work? by Paul Allen (Article)

Moving-average-crossover strategies have worked out very well in recent years. They prevented their followers from being invested in equities during the tech bubble and the financial crisis. Nevertheless, most of those strategies have underperformed the broad equity market since 2009. In this article, I will analyze all possible moving-average-crossover signals for the S&P 500 since 1928, to see if these strategies provide any value for investors.

2014-08-19 When Senior Managers Make Bad Decisions by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

What do you tell an insurance-based planning organization that owns a mutual fund company, a broker-dealer and an annuity company and has a 150-year track record as a mutual life-insurance company but does not require its recruits to be equities licensed at even the Series 6 level? These so-called advisors meet with clients but cannot provide the full suite of products and services that the parent company has available.

2014-08-19 Three Ideas for Changing Your Investment Perspective by Mariko Gordon (Article)

Drawing, as with most skills, is something that can be learned. I share how a simple drawing trick unleashed my inner artist and how tricks, similarly applied, can improve your investment skills as well.

2014-08-19 Strange Days Indeed by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

In the dog days of summer, investors are buying both US stocks and Treasuries. Why the pull toward two asset classes that normally diverge? It could be a simultaneous expression of bullishness and hedge against risk, writes Kristina Hooper.

2014-08-19 To Meet Or Not to Meet by Matthew Page of Guinness Atkinson Asset Management

We do not generally consider meeting management as a high priority, nor a prerequisite for investment, as some do. We much prefer to focus on the objective metrics of a company such as long-term profitability, balance sheet metrics, valuation etc. There are two main reasons for this. First, it is impossible to assess the impact of management or quantify the degree of success or failure that should be attributed to management in any objective way. Second, meeting management can put your objectivity at risk.

2014-08-19 Europe Taking a Negative Turn by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Among the highlights of a busy calendar of economic data last week was the flash estimate of second quarter Eurozone GDP. The region has come under greater scrutiny in recent months amid a disinflationary trend and slowing economic data. As we discussed a few weeks ago, the high profile failure of Portuguese bank Banco Espirito Santo has also inflamed worries that Europe’s financial system remains vulnerable to a systemic shock.

2014-08-19 Republic or Empire? An Update, Part 1 by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

This topic was last discussed in our report from 2012. We have expanded sections of it in this update and, due to length, will present it in two parts. Over the past two years, how American society answers this question is becoming increasingly critical. There is a steady undercurrent in American politics that seeks to withdraw the U.S. from world affairs. In this report, we will discuss how the American republic began, how it evolved into an empire and how America conducted this role. Next week, we will finish our analysis and discuss market ramifications.

2014-08-19 Share and Share Alike?? by Richard Clarida of PIMCO

Labor compensation as a share of national income fell sharply in 2009–2010 and has remained depressed: The share of national income at the end of 2013 was the smallest slice paid to labor in at least 60 years! During the last three U.S. business cycles, the rise in labor’s share that commenced during the expansion phase of the business cycle was not accompanied by a material rise in PCE inflation.

2014-08-19 Gold – Keeping it Real by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

One of our favorite measures to monitor in relation to the gold market has been the relationship between the gold price expressed in US dollars and the US 10 year real yield with the real yield being the nominal yield on a government bond adjusted for inflation expectations. Over the long term studies have shown that gold has a much stronger relationship with real interest rates versus nominal interest rates.

2014-08-19 Not A Single Developed Sector Is Trading Below 22x P/E by Team of GaveKal Capital

Markets rarely turn on valuation levels alone. Most of the time it takes a case of irrational greed or fear to mark a turning point in the stock market. However, it is always wise to keep one eye on valuations in order to calibrate just how much more greed or fear can be squeezed out of current earnings.

2014-08-18 Dimes on Black and Dynamite on Red by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

An informed view of market history easily admits the likelihood that the S&P 500 will lose half of its value over the completion of the present cycle.

2014-08-18 Dynamic and Durable Growth Part 4: The Coming Mobile Advertising Boom by Ido Cohen of Invesco Blog

This is the fourth in a four-part series examining dynamic and durable growth themes that affect the US economy and present opportunities for investors. The first post examined the biotech revolution, the second explored the enormous implications of shale energy, and the third looked at the impending mobile data tsunami.

2014-08-18 Why Gilead Is The Most Exciting Growth Opportunity In 2014 by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Earnings drive stock price in the long run and Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD) is entering a remarkable period of what could only be called astounding future earnings growth. This has not gone unnoticed by the market, as the stock price has been on a steady ascent for the past several months.

2014-08-18 Don’t Be Passive About Rising Rates by Chris Marx of AllianceBernstein

Though they’ve defied expectations this year, higher interest rates appear to be all but inevitable. Investors need to take measure of the rate sensitivity in their portfolios—and stay agile—to negotiate the rough market crosscurrents a rate reversal may bring.

2014-08-18 Global Economic Perspective: August by Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group® of Franklin Templeton Investments

The US economy seemed to move into a higher gear during the second quarter, when gross domestic product (GDP) growth reached an estimated annual rate of 4%, supported by personal consumption and inventory build-up. Its first-quarter downturn also was not quite as severe as previously thought, falling by an annual rate of 2.1% instead of the 2.9% initially reported by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

2014-08-18 A Different Take on an Advisor's Fees by Daniel Solin (Article)

Some traditional advisors feel pressure to lower their fees to compete with robo-advisors, even though the services they offer are more comprehensive. These advisors have succumbed to the basic premise used to justify robo-advisors' existence: Cheap is good. Expensive is bad. Do the data support this premise?

2014-08-18 Australia’s Terms of Trade: Implications For Credit Investors by Tracy Chin, Aaditya Thakur of PIMCO

Australia is contending with a multi-year decline in the terms of trade and a rebalancing toward the non-mining sectors of the economy. For companies, the macroeconomic consequences of a downswing in the terms of trade provide both challenges and benefits. For investors, it is important to find companies that have a clear, demonstrated understanding of the macro environment and can navigate the headwinds through operational efficiencies, cost control, market positioning and balance sheet management.

2014-08-18 Don’t Ignore Higher Taxes Until Tax Day by Eaton Vance Municipal Insight Committee of Eaton Vance

During the 2013 tax season, many investors in higher tax brackets were rudely awakened to the reality of paying 50% of their income in federal and state taxes. Given the new tax landscape, the federal tax-free income municipal bonds provide may look more appealing than ever.

2014-08-18 Tug of War Continues Between Fundamentals and Geopolitics by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Important progress in the global recovery, U.S. labor market and corporate earnings has been masked by geopolitical tensions. The conflict involving Russia could have a significant impact on the eurozone and global growth. Market volatility is likely to increase in the short term, causing headwinds for risk assets.

2014-08-16 The “Unfortunate” Truth About the Bond Market? by Bob Andres of Andres Capital Management

During the past four years, we investors have been inundated by financial commentators, strategists, economists and equity gurus prognosticating the coming collapse of the bond market. I can say with confidence that they have been woefully wrong during this period – I can also say with confidence that if they keep saying it, they will eventual get it right. These negative views on interest rates gained momentum in August of 2010 when Jeremy Siegel and Jeremy Schwartz authored, “The Bond Bubble and the Case for Equities.”

2014-08-16 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

I have to digest a great deal of written material to keep up with the global economy. When I have free time to read, I often choose to decompress by enjoying the cartoons in “The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes Treasury” or the food pictures in Bon Appétit. I know that sounds shallow, but it helps keep me sane.

2014-08-16 7 Phrases Investment Professionals Should Never Say by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Robert Isbitts posted: "As a big Robin Williams fan, this was a tough week. Ironically, before this comedic genius's shocking death on Monday, my team and I planned for this week's blog to be a parody of the work of another comedian taken from us too soon, George Carlin.

2014-08-16 Managing Expectations - Part III by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In the first of this three-part series on managing expectations, I discussed the role cycles play in the investment management process. At U.S. Global Investors, we actively monitor both short- and long-term cycles, from the annual seasonality of gold to four-year presidential elections, in order to manage expectations based on historical patterns.

2014-08-16 Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

You can almost feel it in the air. The froth and foam on markets of all shapes and sizes all over the world. It’s exhilarating, and the pundits who populate the media outlets are bubbling over. There’s nothing like a rising market to lift our moods. Unless of course, as Prof. Kindleberger famously cautioned (see below), we are not participating in that rising market. Then we feel like losers. But what if the rising market is … a bubble? Are we smart enough to ride it high and then bail out before it bursts? Research says we all think that we are, yet we rarely demonstrate th

2014-08-15 Quick Thoughts 2 by Doug MacKay of Broadleaf Partners

Our last piece, Quick Thoughts, generated one of the highest open rates of any Economic Update we've sent, so we'll take that as a clue and stick with the format.

2014-08-15 Neighborhood Bully - America Recklessly Throws its Weight Around by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

On June 30, U.S. authorities announced a stunning $9 billion fine on French bank BNP Paribas for violations of financial sanctions laws that the United States had imposed on Iran, Sudan and Cuba. In essence, BNP had surreptitiously conducted business with countries that the United States had sought to isolate diplomatically (sometimes unilaterally in the case of Cuba).

2014-08-15 The Fragmentation of Bretton Woods by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

In recent years, political support for economic multilateralism has eroded, undermining the effectiveness of the Bretton Woods institutions and disrupting the international monetary system. This is not only hampering the global economy’s ability to meet its potential; it is also contributing to geopolitical insecurity.

2014-08-15 What Middle East Tensions Mean for Oil Prices & Equity Portfolios by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

With turmoil in the Middle East dominating headlines, many investors are wondering what the recent and growing unrest in the region means for oil prices and for equity portfolios. Russ explains why oil prices are likely to remain elevated for the foreseeable future and why there’s a strong case for sticking with energy stocks even if oil prices don’t spike.

2014-08-15 Ready to Board the "Through Train?" by Henry Zhang of Matthews Asia

What is the significance of the soon-to-be rolled out Shanghai—Hong Kong Connect, also known as the "through train?" This pilot program is designed to provide mutual access for equity investors between the Shanghai and Hong Kong exchanges. What will be the impact? While incremental, this could be an important step toward opening China's capital account and aiding in the liberalization of China's currency.

2014-08-15 Small Cap Performance Suggests Another Leg Of Counter-Cyclical Leadership by Team of GaveKal Capital

Liquidity sensitive assets such as small cap stocks have had a difficult 2014. Over the last three months they have underperformed large caps by roughly 9%.

2014-08-15 Lifted by Germany and China by Alexander Giryavets of Dynamika Capital L.L.C.

We briefly review the interplay of the global and regional (Europe and Asia) business cycles and where we stand. It turns out that the global business cycle is muddling through, continuing deceleration of China is still trying to find bottom and Germany recently turned the corner and is back to deceleration. While this state of affairs is no news the interesting aspect of this regional interplay which we want to bring to your attention is that US is helped and lifted by deceleration of both neighbors. That said US itself is in a mixed state.

2014-08-14 How Much Slack Is There In the Job Market? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The amount of slack in the labor market will be a key driver of monetary policy in the months ahead. Fed officials differ in their perceptions of job market slack, leading some to want to tighten policy sooner rather than later. Labor market data can present somewhat different pictures, but on balance, there is still a large amount of slack remaining.

2014-08-14 A New York State of Mind by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

I met Arthur, as well as a host of other friends, last Thursday afternoon during my NYC sojourn to see institutional accounts and do media events. Over a scotch, he related the aforementioned story to me. The timing was propitious because another one of our friends had just telephoned to tell us the President was authorizing air strikes against ISIS. After a dinner at Mr. Chow’s, I went back to my hotel to find the preopening S&P 500 futures printing down roughly 11 points.

2014-08-14 Global Policy Divergence - Really?? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

If you own dollars, the euro or gold, you might want to pay attention to this one.

2014-08-14 A Change In Consumer Behavior? by Team of GaveKal Capital

Retail sales in the US were unchanged in July, which prompted us to dive into our chart library to figure out what may be going on underneath the surface of the economy. Job growth has been pretty solid this year, which when combined with increases in hours worked, has led to a an almost 4% year over year increase in personal income. So what gives?

2014-08-14 Winds of Change in Saudi Arabia’s Investment Climate by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

One of the most anticipated financial events in the Middle East region finally could come to pass in the near future — the opening of the Saudi Arabian stock market to foreign investors. From my point of view, the Saudi Capital Market Authority’s announcement is a game-changer for the region.

2014-08-13 Timing the Bond Market by Edward Talisse of Chelsea Global Advisors

Economic journalism has never inspired what historians refer to as “strict historical impartiality.” Financial Analysts are as likely as any editorial page writer to misinterpret or misrepresent, intentionally or not, the past to suit their current view.

2014-08-13 There’s No Place Like Home by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

The Comic-Con convention comes to Seattle every year. The city teams with 15 to 45-year-old folks who love to emulate their favorite comic and movie characters. We have joked lately that we should hire a young woman to dress up like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and come with us when we speak in public. We’d have her click her ruby red heals together and say, “There is no place like home!”

2014-08-13 Banking on Banks by Bradford Evans of Heartland Advisors

Banks have not fully participated in market advances, but we believe they stand to benefit from growth in loan demand, rising short rates, or both. Opportunity for earnings growth and multiple expansion offer something you can take to the bank. It's a compelling space with attractive valuations, especially at the regional level, and merits a closer look.

2014-08-13 How Are Tigers Like Bears? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

I left home for my niece Kendell’s birthday party at my brother Charlie’s, and my Tigers were ahead 5-0 over the Blue Jays at the end of the 5th inning. Our newly acquired ace, a Cy Young winner three seasons ago, was on the mound. There was nothing to worry about, right?

2014-08-13 Municipal Market Perspectives by Portfolio Team of SMC Fixed Income Management

Heightened international unrest and the likelihood of accelerating economic weakness in Europe will provide further support for fixed income securities. It is unlikely central banks will move from their current accommodative monetary positions anytime soon. Since we do not anticipate a meaningful upward move in Treasury rates, municipal bond prices should also benefit. Yields are likely to remain close to current levels and even possibly move lower. Strong market technical factors will also provide support.

2014-08-13 Toward the Sounds of Chaos by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Stock market volatility is always a scary thing. Investors nearing retirement fear their nest eggs will evaporate. Younger investors saving for a home or a child’s college education fear their families’ futures might be in doubt. However, history suggests that allowing volatility to overrule a good investment plan tends to lead to poor performance. It’s not volatility itself that generally leads to poor longer-term performance, but rather it appears to be investors’ emotional reactions to volatility that ultimately lead to poor performance.

2014-08-13 Time to Consider Korea Hedged Equities by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

The Korean won has been on a tear as one of best-performing emerging-market currencies in 2014. And this has the Korean government and central bank officials worried that the rising Korean won is eroding the competitiveness of Korea’s exports.

2014-08-13 August Economic Update and Trends by Bruce Laning of Bronfman E.L. Rothschild

Bronfman E.L. Rothschild President Bruce Laning provides commentary on the economy, the bond market and stocks for August 2014. His article includes an analysis of various indicators, their trends, and Bronfman E.L. Rothschild’s resulting outlook.

2014-08-13 The Border Crisis: Why Is It Happening & Why Now? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The recent surge of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children to the United States from Central America has sparked an intense and emotional debate over the crisis on the US-Mexico border. Unlike illegal immigrants from Mexico that can be deported within 48 hours, illegals from “non-contiguous” countries must be provided a deportment hearing in a court of law.

2014-08-12 CEF Market Update featuring Mike Taggart by (Article)

Higher risk fixed income-oriented CEFs and MLP CEFs have generally done well in the past few months, but investors remain cautious, says Mike Taggart of Nuveen Investments.

2014-08-12 Global Macro Update and Outlook by Bill McQuaker (Article)

Bill McQuaker, Co-Head of Multi-Asset reviews how Fed tapering was a significant change of direction for US monetary policy away from open end support to financial markets. The big picture story really was the end of a liquidity driven market and the beginnings of a phase where markets were more dependent on growth to drive performance. Bill notes that markets didn't behave as though liquidity was coming to an end during the first half of 2014 and returns in asset markets around the world have been very encouraging, and asks "Where do we go from here?"

2014-08-12 Current Economic Conditions May Push Valuations Higher by Charlie Dreifus (Article)

Portfolio Manager Charlie Dreifus talks with Principal Dave Gruber about the current economy and the possibility of higher equity valuations.

2014-08-12 The Tax Harvesting Mirage by Michael Edesess (Article)

Recently, some advisors have been competing to show that their tax loss harvesting strategies produce a substantial "tax alpha." While this source of alpha is not wholly mythical, its benefits are vastly overstated. Indeed, they may be negligible.

2014-08-12 Misunderstanding Buffett by John Alberg and Michael Seckler (Article)

In November 2013, Connecticut-based money management firm AQR published a paper considering how to construct a quantitative model emulating the way Warren Buffett has selected his investments and generated attractive long-term returns. As we believe AQR's conclusions do not represent how Buffett actually invests, we considered how we might build a "Buffett model" in a different way.

2014-08-12 Low-Pressure Ways to Follow Up With Prospects by Dan Richards (Article)

For many advisors, the part of the business they hate the most is following up with prospects. I was reminded of this in a recent conversation with a veteran advisor who has done a great job of building visibility and relationships among an affluent community of prospects, but is struggling to turn those relationships into clients. I made three suggestions to help him move forward with the people in his target community.

2014-08-12 The Right Data Will Increase Your AUM by Daniel Solin (Article)

I have often wondered what kind of data resonates most with prospects and moves them to choose an advisor. It turns out that it's not any of the investment-oriented subjects advisors typically spend so much time discussing.

2014-08-12 Lessons from Steve Jobs on Delivering a Brand Experience by Kevin Marsh (Article)

Apple has little in common with the advisory business. But financial advisors, whose clients depend on them for sound investment management and financial-planning advice, can learn lessons from the tech giant when it comes to delivering a unique brand experience.

2014-08-12 Passing on Passive by Randall Abramson (Article)

The benefits of indexing are obvious - low cost, low turnover (read: tax efficient), diversification and performance that mimics the averages. Unfortunately, over longer stretches, about two-thirds of active money managers underperform the indices. If it's "middle-of-the-road strategies" (John Bogle's description of index-based investing) you're after, then that's the route you ought to take. However, it'll be a sad day when we all decide to embrace mediocrity.

2014-08-12 Developing the Next Generation's Leaders by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

How do you teach younger advisors to sell effectively?

2014-08-12 Confronting the Tax Drag by Tom Metzold, Jim Evans, Lew Piantedosi, Peter Crowley of Eaton Vance

The 2014 tax season brought home the unwelcome reality of higher taxes, particularly for high-income earners who bore the brunt of the tax increases. While people immediately saw the impact on their income, the effects higher taxes can have on investment returns is not as well recognized. People may know about using retirement plans, such as IRAs and 401(k)s, to manage the taxes on their investment returns, but they are often not familiar with a variety of other approaches that could help reduce their tax burden.

2014-08-12 Weekly Market Update by Team of Castleton Partners

In a week devoid of meaningful economic data, financial markets were once again led by intensifying geopolitical events. With stock indices across the globe recording losses of 1%-3% on the week, US ten year yields declined to a low of 2.35% on Friday—a new low for 2014 and the lowest such point since June 2013. Since the onset of the Ukraine crisis in February, and later followed by the Iraq/ ISIS and the Israel/ Gaza conflicts, global sovereign yields have declined to levels unthinkable at the turn of the year.

2014-08-12 What a Credit-Shy Consumer Means for Growth by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Consumers have been cautious about running up credit-card debt since the financial crisis. But is that necessarily bad for the economy? Kristina Hooper breaks it down.

2014-08-12 Baseball, Hot Dogs, and Apple Pie by Michael Kayes of Willingdon Wealth Management

What really is, or perhaps isn't, economic patriotism? Read on to find out how this issue is impacting our economy and markets.

2014-08-12 Reflections on WWI: Geopolitics and Markets by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

WWI was a devastating conflict and the postwar effects were substantial. From a market perspective, measuring the impact of geopolitics is difficult. Some events are short-term; others are more substantial but mostly cyclical. There are also events that permanently change the investing landscape. This report gives a short recap of the onset of WWI, and examines the problem that comes from induction, the logical process of observing the world and predicting the future. From there, we discuss the “lessons learned” from the post-WWII and post-Cold War era with an analysis of what may

2014-08-12 Flexible Income Strategies - Avoiding Side Effects from the Fed’s Medicine by Dave King of Columbia Management

The U.S. economy went into recession in 2008, and it looked serious. As our fiscal deficit piled up, the political appetite for high government spending waned, leaving monetary policy as the primary available weapon to prevent recession from becoming depression. By mid-2011, Treasury bond yields had reached all-time lows. This strong monetary medicine now seems to be working. Many economic statistics have rebounded to peak levels, while some forward-looking ones, like major stock market indices, have hit new highs.

2014-08-12 Developed Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review - Q2 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

During the first half of 2014, developed Asia Pacific economies faced challenges arising from lukewarm consumption and meek trade growth. Most countries in the region tried boosting their economies with a mix of infrastructure spending and loose monetary policies. Countries that had their trade skewed to China, Asia’s largest economy, faced prospects of slowing trade.

2014-08-12 International Equity Commentary: June-2014 by Team of Thomas White International

International equity prices advanced further in June on expectations that the major developed economies are likely to see healthier trends during the second half of this year. Japan and Canada saw robust gains during the month while markets in Europe underperformed.

2014-08-12 Global Economic Overview: June 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Recent data from the major countries suggest that the global economy is emerging out of the slower growth period experienced at the beginning of this year. Though the Euro-zone economy continues to see softer trends, data from the U.S. has become more positive.

2014-08-12 Middle East/Africa: Regional Economic Review - Q3 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

With a geopolitical setback and a positive market development, the Middle East had a mixed second quarter. Amid the civil war in Syria, another conflict erupted in the region during the quarter as a militant group started systematically seizing territory from Iraqi security forces.

2014-08-12 Federal Reserve Tapering Part II: Emerging Market Local Debt Performance by Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

In part two of our discussion, we focus on the impact of recent changes in Federal Reserve (Fed) policy on locally-denominated fixed income across emerging markets (EM).

2014-08-12 Long/Short Funds Go 'Unhedged' in Energy by Brian Payne of Fortigent

Over the course of 2014 investors have come to notice the increase in net exposures amongst long/short equity managers. Many investors have grown somewhat wary of this development. Given the market’s relatively uninterrupted run-up since late 2012, it is rational to think that these types of strategies might naturally lower their overall net exposure.

2014-08-11 Transformation or Bust, Part 2 by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Envisioning a clear path through the issues from where we are today is not easy, though China certainly has more options than the world had with subprime by the middle of 2008, when there was so much toxic waste on the balance sheets of banks all over the world and there was no turning back. As we have emphasized in the past and will do today, China does have options. But each of the options has costs associated with it, and those costs are going up every day. Who pays and when is the simple question that most readers want to have answered, but therein lies the conundrum.

2014-08-11 Dynamic and Durable Growth Part 3: The Mobile Data Tsunami by Ido Cohen of Invesco Blog

This is the third in a four-part series examining dynamic and durable growth themes that affect the US economy and present opportunities for investors. The first post explored the biotech revolution, and the second looked at the enormous implications of shale energy. The final post will examine the coming mobile advertising boom.

2014-08-11 Market Perspectives: The Corporate Inversion Debate by Sandy Lincoln of BMO Global Asset Management

Merger and acquisition activity in the U.S. is on the rise this year with over 4,000 deals pending, and corporate inversions have played a significant role. High corporate and global tax rates are major reasons why so many U.S. companies have left their profits overseas, opting not to pay a big tax bill to bring them home. Many other countries not only have lower rates, but they also tax on a territorial basis only.

2014-08-11 What Countries are Hot? What Should a Momentum Investor be Looking at Now? by David Garff of Accuvest Global Advisors

In a previous whitepaper, we looked at using Momentum as a factor when investing across countries, and found it to be effective in generating outperformance vs. the benchmark.

2014-08-11 A Strengthening Case for European Bonds by David Zahn of Franklin Templeton Investments

The pace of the eurozone’s economic recovery has been so slow that many people are now asking whether quantitative easing (QE) is inevitable to support a recovery and prevent deflation. But David Zahn, portfolio manager for Franklin Global Government Bond Fund, thinks recent European Central Bank (ECB) interventions in the European financial markets already amount to QE. More importantly, he thinks the extensive set of measures that the ECB has announced not only may support Europe’s economic recovery, but bring a highly favorable backdrop for European fixed income investments gene

2014-08-11 Is the Improving Economy a Good Sign for Active Managers? by Chuck Royce, Chris Clark, Francis Gannon of The Royce Funds

There are still enough opportunities out there to keep returns in positive territory through the end of 2014. This could make the market's next act a very happy one for active small-cap managers.

2014-08-11 Low and Expanding Risk Premiums are the Root of Abrupt Market Losses by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Compressed risk premiums normalize in spikes. Day-to-day news stories are merely opportunities for depressed risk premiums to shift up toward more normal levels, but the normalization itself is inevitable, and the spike in risk premiums (decline in prices) need not be proportional or “justifiable” by the news at all.

2014-08-09 Managing Expectations by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Financial markets are influenced by relatively predictable cycles, a lesson we at U.S. Global Investors rely on to help us manage expectations and be effective stewards of your money. This is a theme I've frequently written about and discussed in investor presentations, one of which, “Anticipate Before You Participate,” is a classic that I often use to remind investors of these timeless principles.

2014-08-09 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Wage Growth May Not Be the Best Gauge of Labor Market Progress; The ECB's Summer Holiday May Not Be Very Relaxing; A Novel Proposal for Mortgage Lending

2014-08-09 What in the World?! (Sungarden’s Thoughts on Current News Headlines) by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Summer slowdown? No way! The news is full of compelling story lines. Some of them have investment implications, some do not. Here, we briefly sort them out.

2014-08-09 Important Reform Progress by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

Last week's announcement that the Communist Party will reform the hukou, or household registration system, is an important first step toward reducing the contradictions and conflicts in Chinese society. Migrant workers were primarily responsible for China's rapid economic growth, and today account for the majority of the manufacturing and construction workforce.

2014-08-09 Summer Void by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Although Wall Street and other corners of the business and political world may empty over the next few weeks, risks of a pullback in U.S. equities have gone up. Although we believe it would represent a buying opportunity and are optimistic longer term due to improving economic growth, nervous investors may want to consider a hedging strategy. China's stock market performance has improved and we remain positive, while European economic data has been more concerning, although the stocks still look attractively valued in our view.

2014-08-08 The Potential Impacts of Geopolitical Risks on Financial Markets by Team of Manning & Napier

As a global investment management firm, it is critically important that we monitor any and all varieties of risk that could threaten the performance of financial markets both domestically and abroad. Today, developments in a number of regions, particularly the Middle East and Eastern Europe, have brought geopolitical risk to the forefront of our minds. Below we describe some of the issues, why risks are rising, and how they may impact financial markets.

2014-08-08 Investor or Speculator? by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The recent selloff in U.S. stocks is healthy and could set markets up to reach new highs by year end. Long- term investors should not fall victim to panic and sell.

2014-08-08 Finding Smart Beta in the Factor Zoo by Jason Hsu, Vitali Kalesnik of Research Affiliates

In the latest piece from Research Affiliates, Jason Hsu, Co-Founder and Vice Chairman, and Vitali Kalesnik, head of equity research, look at how the "publish-or-perish" syndrome and the smart beta movement have motivated academics and practitioners to come up with a spate of new investment factors. How can investors determine which ones are legitimate and how to use them in their equity portfolios?

2014-08-08 How to Hold Gold Financed in Euro by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

We are often asked how US based investors can construct a long position in gold that is financed in a foreign. In the discussion below we show the components of trade that gives an investor long exposure to gold that is financed with European euro. A useful way to understand how the portfolio would be constructed is to look at the cash flows associated with a gold transaction. Looking first at a gold transaction that is funded in dollars we show a diagram of the associated cash flows.

2014-08-08 The Temptation of Market Timing by John Geissinger of Christian Brothers Investment Services

Highway drivers who shift lanes when traffic slows rarely get home faster. Likewise, investors who try to time market moves don’t improve returns with any consistency. Rebalancing to thoughtful asset allocation targets is the best way to keep your portfolio in the fast lane.

2014-08-08 Yellenization by Cliff Draughn of Excelsia Investment Advisors

On Thursday, July 31st, the market had a one-day sell-off of 2%, the most negative day since June, 2012. You heard the market pundits and the talking heads of CNBC opine that the reason for the selloff was the convergence of geopolitical risks.

2014-08-08 Argentina's Default: A Devastating Lesson in Unfunded Government Liabilities by Dickson Buchanan Jr. of Euro Pacific Capital

Last week, on July 30, the Republic of Argentina was declared to be in default for the third time in 30 years. Let's put that into perspective. If you were a bank officer who offered a 30-year mortgage to the Government of Argentina in the early '90s you would have spent nearly the entire life of the loan in a perpetual nightmare of refinancing. You would likely be not only fired from your job, but a pariah in the entire industry. This is what Argentina's international creditors and domestic citizens have faced in real life.

2014-08-08 The Big Picture: Who’s Afraid of Shiller’s CAPE? by Erik Kobayashi-Solomon of YCharts, Inc.

This Big Picture special report investigates the use of the Cyclically-Adjusted Price-to-Earnings Ratio (CAPE) for the S&P 500 to assess the relative over- or under-valuation of the U.S. Market at present.

2014-08-07 Banking on the Trends by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

As the Fed has continued to roll back (“taper”) its bond purchase program, which will end in October 2014, the question remains: when will the central bank hike rates and what will the impact of monetary tightening be on the broader markets? This uncertainty has contributed to some of the recent market volatility.

2014-08-07 Argentina’s Griesafault by Joseph Stiglitz, et al. of Project Syndicate

Argentina's recent default was the work of one man: US federal judge Thomas Griesa, who prohibited the country from repaying its creditors until it repaid in full the 7% who refused a restructuring deal. Ultimately, however, it may be America that pays the steepest price.

2014-08-07 Federal Reserve Tapering Part I: Emerging Market Currency Performance by Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

While many investors tend to focus on changes of currency spot rates, a primary reason we have long advocated that investors allocate to EM currencies is the income potential driven by the higher interest rates in many emerging market countries. In today’s yield-starved environment, EM currencies remain one of the most significant means of generating income in a portfolio while limiting interest rate risk.

2014-08-07 With US Volatility on the Upswing, Take a Look at Asia by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

While the U.S. economy appears to be gaining steam, lofty stock prices and rising geopolitical risks are finally taking a toll. Russ discusses one area that still represents an opportunity: Asia, both developed and emerging.

2014-08-07 Detailing The European Correction by Team of GaveKal Capital

Over the last 50 days European equity markets have taken a beating. The average stock in Europe is down 6%, and both Portugal and Austria are down more than 10%--putting them in correction territory. Down almost 9%, Germany isn't far behind.

2014-08-07 A Mid-Year Crossroads for US Equities? by Don Taylor of Franklin Templeton Investments

After a year when it seemed as if US equities could move only higher, vulnerabilities have begun to surface in 2014. Equities now seem to be at a mid-year crossroads, with many investors asking whether there is still potential upside to explore in the market—or at least, certain sectors. Don Taylor, chief investment officer, Franklin Equity Group®, US Value, and portfolio manager of Franklin Rising Dividends Fund, thinks there’s still value to be found in the US market over the long term. And, he’s using setbacks to add stocks to his dividend-minded portfolio.

2014-08-06 The Tocalino Index©: applying Demographics to a variation on Arthur Melvin Okun´s Misery by Sebastião Buck Tocalino of SBTCapital Clube de Investimento

The similarity between the trajectory of this new indicator (Tocalino Index©, or Indice Tocalino©) and the behavior of the stock market index corrected for inflation is clearly visible and a surprise. Even more importantly, it shows clearly the benefit and necessity of taking the demographic profile into consideration when analyzing data that concerns the economy of a country and any reflections of it on the behavior of stock markets.

2014-08-06 Grey Owl Q2 Investment Commentary by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

Even after a second quarter rebound, gross domestic product (GDP) growth is barely positive for the first half of 2014. That has not stopped the S&P 500 from climbing to new highs. In fact, GDP growth has been weak for the entire “recovery” and, while improved, corporate sales and earnings also leave something to be desired. Stock market returns look better still, but only when compared to these weak results. Looking over a longer timeframe, the US equity market is approaching fifteen years of low single-digit returns.

2014-08-06 Coming Down from a Rocky Mountain High? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

It was a little after 6 AM as the plane rose from the tarmac of Denver International Airport Saturday morning. Out the windows on the right the sun was just peeking above the horizon. The warm glow of the early morning light washed quickly across the prairie. The land was golden … and flat.

2014-08-06 Global Dividend Insights by Nathan Fischer, Louie Nguyen of Soledad Investment Management

For many foundations and individual investors, the usefulness of a portfolio lies in its ability to provide cash flow to support charitable activities or to cover living expenses. Like a wise orchard farmer, investors are looking to harvest apples from the branches without damaging the orchard. This article will explore how dividend is the key to managing wealth in terms of sustainable spending and how global dividend paying stocks, in particular, are a great equity investment for a sustainable spending strategy.

2014-08-06 Consumer Confidence Hits 7-Year High - Really? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today we’ll look at several key economic reports over the last week or so. Most have been better than expected. The Conference Board reported that its Consumer Confidence Index surged to the highest level in seven years in July. However, a couple of other reports we’ll look at below paint a very different picture.

2014-08-06 What Asset Class Rallied Last Week amid the Sell-Off? by Luciano Siracusano III of WisdomTree

Last Thursday’s sell-off in U.S. stocks (the Dow was down 317 points, the S&P 500 Index was down nearly 2%) marked the biggest stock market decline in nearly four months. The S&P 500 Index closed at 1,930 after it broke its 50-day moving average for the first time since April.

2014-08-06 Reconnected? by John Canally of LPL Financial

With the release of the GDP figures for the second quarter of 2014 (along with revisions to the data back to 1999), the disconnect appears to be fading. The data released so far for the third quarter suggest that the underlying economy had decent momentum as the third quarter began. The data continue to suggest that the U.S. economy is poised to post growth in the second half of 2014 above the long-term run rate of the economy. With plenty of slack still in the labor market, in our view, the Fed is not likely to begin raising rates until late 2015, or even early 2016.

2014-08-05 CEF Investing Tips featuring John Cole Scott by (Article)

Closed-end fund investors of varying levels of experience may benefit from tips for success from John Cole Scott of CEF Advisors.

2014-08-05 Are Small-Caps Overvalued? by Chris Clark and Chuck Royce (Article)

President Chris Clark and Chief Executive Officer Chuck Royce respond to Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen's comments on current small-cap valuations and overpriced sectors.

2014-08-05 Ten Reasons the Advisory Business is Unlike Any Other by Bob Veres (Article)

The business dynamics that an advisory firm faces are so fundamentally different that any small business owner, dropped into your executive chair, would feel like she had been transported to another planet. To see how exceptional your business climate really is, let's take a quick tour of some of the differences between an investment advisory firm and a typical member of the business landscape.

2014-08-05 The Toughest Conversation with Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

Good advisors are used to challenging conversations with clients about unrealistic expectations and sticking to plans in tough markets. But going forward, no conversation will be more difficult than the one about how much you charge - especially when we enter the next market downturn. You need to do three things to handle those conversations effectively.

2014-08-05 Use the Rule of Reciprocity to Gather AUM by Dan Solin (Article)

Advisors seeking to convert prospects into clients commonly overlook the rule of reciprocity. The rule states that a debt must be repaid. What's fascinating is how far people will go to pay what they perceive to be a "debt," even when they didn't incur that debt voluntarily.

2014-08-05 The Alpha and the Beta of Investing by Adam Jared Apt (Article)

This article conveys two distinct practical lessons worth remembering and applying. One concerns the relationship between risk and return, and it will behoove you to keep this lesson in mind whenever you're inclined to throw caution to the wind in pursuit of better stock returns. The other concerns what counts as skill in selecting stocks.

2014-08-05 The Wealth-Builder Model by C. Thomas Howard, PhD (Article)

While the math of compounding is straightforward, building wealth is difficult. But if you use an approach based on the principles outlined in this article, the accumulation of real wealth is within reach.

2014-08-05 Dealing with Your Less Experienced Team Members by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Are we the only place where the soon-to-retire advisors struggle to communicate with the newer staff members? We are not as tech-savvy or are marketing-savvy as they are, but they could learn a lot from our experience too. They seem too cocky to me, and I don't know how to get through.

2014-08-05 Mixed Signals by Brian Andrew of Cleary Gull

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to take in baseball tryouts. I know you are thinking it is August so what tryouts would be taking place in the middle of the season? These tryouts were for U-8 boys. For the uninitiated, this is when boys aged 7 and younger try out for next season’s teams. My son spent two days at a baseball camp and then finished yesterday with team tryouts. During tryouts there were six stations covering the fundamentals of the game.

2014-08-05 Banco Espirito Santo: Opportunity for the ECB? by Ryan Davis, Brian Payne of Fortigent

Over the weekend, it was announced that Portugal’s Banco Espirito Santo (BES) would be split into a ‘good bank’ and ‘bad bank.’ This came after the Bank of Portugal assured that BES could raise enough money from private investors to recover from the bank’s first-half loss of €3.58 billion.

2014-08-05 Getting a Grip on the Fed Tightening Tizzy by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Stocks have been immune to many of the threats to their prolonged march higher, but the prospect of the Fed raising rates sooner has many investors in a twist. Kristina Hooper explains why the eventual rate hike—and even a correction—won’t be so bad.

2014-08-05 Numbness to Numbers by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

I’ve often pondered the continuing headlines over the lack of progress in the area of mathematics in the United States relative to our peers and think the issue may lie in one area. The rest of the world has adopted the metric system, while we are only peripherally aware of it. As such, when standardized scores are compared, maybe translating from the metric system is needed and we may score higher.

2014-08-05 Drawing Parallels Between Company Quality and Economic Strength by Francis Gannon of The Royce Funds

First-half results were mildly bullish, and included a brief period where higher-quality companies reasserted themselves during the more volatile months of April and early May. Co-Chief Investment Officer Francis Gannon talks about how the market has responded to the Fed's monetary stimulus, the economically sensitive characteristics that populate most of our firm's portfolios, and where we have been finding opportunities.

2014-08-05 Avoiding the Unintended Migration from Investor to Speculator by Bob Andres of Andres Capital Management.

The identification of value/price in the allocation of capital is essential to successful investing. Assets purchased at levels above intrinsic value reflect an approach based on hope and momentum not sound risk/reward analysis and normally portend negative results.

2014-08-05 Would John Templeton See Light at the End of Aflac’s Tunnel? by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

As someone who came into the investment business in 1980, I was immediately enamored by the logic of Sir John Templeton. He was the founder and portfolio manager during the first 40 years of the Templeton Growth Fund. During his tenure the fund beat the S&P 500 Index by 2% per year, net of annual expenses. We believe his best concept as a contrarian investor was his idea of buying common stocks at “the point of maximum pessimism.”

2014-08-05 Stock Market Valuations Suggest That This Bull Market Still Has Teeth by Team of LPL Financial

Losing under 3% in a week seems a minor concern given historical market ups and downs; nevertheless, investors may begin to wonder if stock market valuations are signaling a decline. Since the end of the last significant sell-off for stocks, the market has been in a pretty consistent upward trend. Valuation is a poor market-timing indicator; while valuation should always be considered, it is a blunt tool that should be taken into broader context.

2014-08-05 So, What Did We Learn? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The busy week of economic news left investors uneasy. The 4.0% GDP growth figure contributed to concerns that the Fed may be forced to raise short-term interest rates sooner rather than later. However, while the economic data reports, and even the Fed policy statement, had something for everybody, the outlook for monetary policy should be essentially unchanged.

2014-08-05 Always Wrong?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

s the public always wrong? This is probably the most frequently asked question about the Theory of Contrary Opinion. For a correct answer we need to change the words in the question. Let me put it this way: Is the public wrong all the time? The answer is decidedly, “No.”

2014-08-04 Dynamic and Durable Growth Part 2: The Enormous Implications of Shale Energy by Erik Voss of Invesco Blog

This is the second in a four-part series examining dynamic and durable growth themes that affect the US economy and may present opportunities for investors. The first post explored the biotech revolution, and the third and fourth posts will discuss the massive changes in mobility.

2014-08-04 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The dynamics of the world energy market have changed dramatically since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries first restricted the supply of crude oil. Today, there are many more producers, many more consumers and many more alternatives than anyone could have imagined 40 years ago.

2014-08-04 US Stocks Make 31 Record Highs in 2014, But Investors Panic During 3% Selloff by David Edwards of Heron Financial

US stocks as defined by the S&P 500 made 31 record highs in 2014, most recently on July24th. Through Friday afternoon, stocks declined 3.3%, which is to say less than the decline of 4.2% we saw in April of this year, and decline of 5.6% in January.

2014-08-04 Inflation Trumps Growth by Jim Nelson of Euro Pacific Capital

With the first half of 2014 now in the books, many investors are happy with the performance thus far, especially given the economic headwinds that few saw coming. The 26% rally in U.S. stocks in 2013 gave way to a more modest 7% gain in the first half of 2014. Most see this as a positive development in a maturing market. But beneath the surface, important trends are emerging that should give investors reasons to re-evaluate their assumptions.

2014-08-04 Mounting Pressure Weighs on Equities by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities experienced a sharp pullback last week, with the S&P 500 Index falling 2.7%, its largest weekly decline in over two years. A number of factors contributed to the downturn, including rising geopolitical tensions, concerns over Federal Reserve policy, Argentina’s debt default, a slowdown in the housing recovery and a sense that the market rally has been getting tired. Not all of the news was negative, however, since we also saw some strong economic and earnings data and increasing merger and acquisition activity.

2014-08-04 Weekly Market Update by Team of Castleton Partners

After months of record low volatility and little directional bias in price, fixed income markets were finally awoken from their summer doldrums, driven by a string of robust economic data. Not to be outdone, equity markets sold off sharply on the data, with the DJIA recording a 317 point drop on Thursday, its largest such decline since March.

2014-08-04 A Hint of Advance Warning by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Historically-informed investors are being given a hint of advance warning here, in the form of a strenuously overvalued market that now demonstrates a clear breakdown in internals.

2014-08-02 5 Takeaways from the Vancouver Natural Resources Conference by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Last week I was happy to speak at the Vancouver Natural Resources Conference in beautiful British Columbia. I also had the pleasure of listening to a variety of presentations by some of the most influential names in the investment world, and met a few new faces along the way. Here is what I took away from this year’s visit to Vancouver:

2014-08-02 ‘Index funds beat active 90% of the time.’ Really? by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

My last article suggested six ways in which retired and retiring investors may be lulling themselves into a false sense of comfort. They do this by adhering to ideals that were originally postulated many years ago, and which today still have some merit. But they’ve become clichés to a point where their foundation is no longer questioned when it needs to be. They are myths which need to be busted

2014-08-02 Kicking the Habit in Korea by Michael Han of Matthews Asia

Walk the streets of Seoul’s central business district, and you will still likely see smokers congregating in a few designated areas—narrow alleys between buildings, sending up smoke like chimneys. But even that is seen less and less these days as government officials crack down on public smoking. The next phase of Korea’s anti-smoking crusade may involve further taxing its comparatively cheap tobacco products.

2014-08-02 Transformation or Bust by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

China continues to be front and center on my list of concerns, even moreso than the latest Federal Reserve press release or fluctuation in the Dow (although you should pay attention). I believe China is the single biggest risk to world economic equilibrium, even larger than Japan or Europe. This week my young associate Worth Wray provides us with a keenly insightful essay on what is currently happening in China. I will admit to not having written about China very much in the past five years, primarily because, prior to Worth’s coming to work with me I really had no secure understanding o

2014-08-01 A Tear for Argentina by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

Argentina’s latest default poses unsettling questions for policymakers. Though the country’s periodic debt crises are often the result of self-destructive macroeconomic policies, the default has been triggered this time by a significant shift in the international sovereign-debt regime.

2014-08-01 Second Quarter 2014 Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory

Overall, our macro view and assessment of the risks and returns across the major asset classes has not changed meaningfully since last quarter. We continue to see the U.S. and global economies on a slow path of recovery from the 2008 financial crisis. ... Despite our more positive fundamental outlook, we also continue to view the markets as too dependent on central bank largesse, too short-term focused, and too complacent about the risks and imbalances that remain in the global economy in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

2014-08-01 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

Earnings season got started on the right foot with Alcoa, the company that traditionally reports first, handily beating expectations and then company after company following. That is not to say that all companies beat expectations, but many surprised to the upside. Standard & Poor’s now expects earnings for the S&P 500 companies to come in at $29.12 for the second quarter which is a 10.4% improvement over the $26.36 during the same period last year. S&P is projecting total earnings for 2014 at $119.18 versus $107.30 for 2013, or an increase of 11%. The projection for 2015 is

2014-08-01 Russia’s Eurasian Vision by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

The escalating conflict in Ukraine between the Western-backed government and Russian-backed separatists has focused attention on the Kremlin’s long-term objectives. Though Russian President Vladimir Putin’s immediate goal may have been limited to retaining some influence in Ukrainian affairs, his longer-term ambition is much bolder.

2014-08-01 Getting Closer: Fed Continues its Tapering & Moving Toward Rate Hikes by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The Fed continues its taper; moving closer to rate hikes. Strong GDP report elevating chatter about possible earlier-than-expected rate hikes. Although volatility/pullbacks are possible, history shows initial rate hikes are NOT negative for stocks.

2014-08-01 Gold Bullion… Don’t Jump the Gun by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

The job of a trend follower is to identify long-term trends as early as possible and ride them as long as possible. After a 39% decline since September 2011, we suspect that gold has become undervalued versus stocks, bonds and cash. It’s long-term trend, however, remains unhealthy or neutral at best.

2014-07-31 Opportunities in Developed International Equities by Christopher Gannatti of WisdomTree

Each year, WisdomTree screens the universe of dividend payers in developed international markets so that we can refocus the weights of constituents back to relative value and away from simply holding increasing amounts of stocks that have performed well. The rebalance was recently completed, suggesting that this is an opportune time to review the positioning of our broad developed international Indexes.

2014-07-31 Which Denomination of Gold is Your Parachute? by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

We continue on the theme of gold as a defensive asset in this week’s discussion by examining the performance of gold priced in dollars (USD), European euro, British pound and Japanese yen through a number of different periods which were characterized by a sudden rise in investor risk aversion.

2014-07-31 The Sino-American Trust Deficit by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

The recently concluded Strategic and Economic Dialogue between the US and China was a major disappointment. Most significant, it failed to address an increasingly corrosive trust deficit that poses the most serious threat to Sino-American relations in 25 years.

2014-07-31 The Chinese Wall of Worry: Uncertainty Rhymes with Opportunity by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest piece, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, looks at the over-valued global market environment and points out that "While we wait for the day of reckoning…we should not be oblivious to potential opportunities, wherever they may exist. China may be a case in point." Digging deeper, Sicart looks at the negative media perception of China and believes "Many of the problems invoked in the headlines are real. But they are neither new nor, I believe on investigation, as catastrophic as implied."

2014-07-31 Normalize to What? by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Despite a disconcerting, growing consensus among investors, the likelihood of a sudden increase in U.S. interest rates is fairly remote for now.

2014-07-31 Principled Populism? by Paul McCulley of PIMCO

In the years before retiring from PIMCO in 2010, I often interviewed candidates for professional positions here, usually at the end of the process, after they had been thoroughly vetted through several rounds of interviews. My task was not so much to test candidates’ qualifications as to “take their measure” – and for them to take mine!

2014-07-31 Bond Investing in a Rising Rate Environment: How to Widen Your Options by Gareth Isaac of Schroder Investment Management

Bond valuations now look stretched in a number of areas of the market. However, the global economy now has far fewer headwinds to contend with. One way bond investors can reduce this risk - or even prosper from a rate rise - is via unconstrained bond funds.

2014-07-31 Are You Concerned about Small-Cap Valuations? by Tripp Zimmerman of WisdomTree

Stocks often move more than is justified by changes in their underlying fundamentals, and as a result, investors run the risk of paying too much for stocks that have become more expensive relative to their fundamentals.

2014-07-31 Calling the Fed’s Bluff by Anthon Valeri of LPL Financial

Futures continue to indicate the bond market believes the Fed does not have an ace up its sleeve and that ultimately they will not raise rates as high as they project. A host of top-tier economic data may influence bonds more this week given the absence of new forecasts and a press conference following this week’s Fed meeting.

2014-07-31 Expanding the Opportunity Set for Income Generation by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

High Yield investors should understand the difference between an index-based product and its yield generation characteristics and portfolio composition based on the underlying index, versus some of the expanded opportunities available to active managers. For instance in the high yield bond and bank loan space, we see index-based, passive products that are largely high yield bonds or largely floating rate bank loans, not a blend of each.

2014-07-30 The Bank of England’s Balancing Act by Team of Manning & Napier

The United Kingdom (U.K.) has recently been a subject of increased attention in the media and investment circles. An improving economy—particularly relative to its Eurozone neighbors—has provided a reason for optimism among economists and investors alike. However, rapidly rising home prices and accommodative monetary policy have also raised potential red flags.

2014-07-30 Anything Built By the FED, Can Also Be Destroyed by Edward Talisse of Chelsea Global Advisors

Bond Investors have had a great run so far in 2014. It's time to take some profit. Inflation expectations are rising, should we be worried? Why has the Japanese Yen been strengthening against the USD?

2014-07-30 The Outlook for MLPs and Midstream Energy Infrastructure Continues to Look Bright by David Chiaro of Eagle Global Advisors

The quarter saw a number of positive developments that underpin our long term positive outlook on MLPs. Firstly, the need for new midstream infrastructure remains significant, and a number of announcements of large new projects highlighted that this need is not abating. Also, a significant new development in the quarter was the emergence of new export markets for ethane and condensate which will entail associated infrastructure development and other possible profit opportunities for MLPs.

2014-07-30 Fed's Janet Yellen To Continue Punishing Savers by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

New revelations have suggested that our new Fed Chair, Janet Yellen, may be the most liberal person to ever hold the highest monetary office in the world. This news comes after a recent extended interview Ms. Yellen did with The New Yorker Magazine and her testimony before Congress earlier this month.

2014-07-30 High Stock Dividends: A Competitive Retirement Income Solution by C. Thomas Howard of AdvisorShares

Sufficient yield, keeping up with inflation, and outliving the funds available are three major concerns facing investors who are building a retirement portfolio. A high dividend yield equity portfolio can provide a competitive approach to addressing each of these concerns.

2014-07-30 Goodnight Vietnam? by William Gross of PIMCO

It was a matter of happenstance I suppose – certainly not serendipity. Our meeting may have been an inevitable coming together, but it was certainly not initially welcomed by me. Happenstance is the better word. Fateful happenstance.

2014-07-30 Treasury Bond Yields Still Catching Bid in Line with Slowing QE by Team of GaveKal Capital

Last week we wrote that the bond market is following perfectly the reduction of QE with new 1-year lows and with today's bond moves that trend is still firmly in place. In what may seem counter intuitive, treasury bond yields have had a high positive correlation with the rate of Federal Reserve asset purchases. When the rate of Fed asset purchases rises, bond yields rise, and vice versa. If one thinks of Fed asset purchases as stimulative to growth and inflation expectations (the two components that make up risk-free bond yields) then this positive relationship makes sense.

2014-07-30 Investor Fatigue Setting In? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Despite a generally positive tone to earnings season, investors may be finally showing signs of fatigue, as seen by aggressive selling of risky assets, namely high yield and U.S. equities. Russ K explains the implications.

2014-07-30 Should Be an Eventful Week by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The economic calendar is packed with important items this week. Oddly, Wednesday afternoon’s policy announcement from the Federal Open Market Committee may be the least interesting. One shouldn’t put too much weight on the advance GDP estimate, as the figures will be revised, but the initial estimate, along with annual benchmark revisions, should have important implications for the outlook for growth in the second half of the year.

2014-07-30 Trains and Boats and Planes? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

hose of you who know me know that I have had a love affair with boats ever since I was a kid. In my youth it was speedboats on various lakes in Michigan. In my teens, and into my forties, it was sailboats combined with an occasional trawler. In later life, however, it has been strictly powerboats.

2014-07-29 Thomas White's 2014 Mid-Year Market Outlook by Thomas White (Article)

45-year industry veteran Tom White offers a review of current global economic trends and the outlook for the second half of 2014, with insights on the investment opportunities that may arise in the near future. Listen to why he sees "interest rates continuing to fall" and why "we are positive about what is going on" in the global economy.

2014-07-29 Managed Futures Mutual Funds: A Story of Growth by (Article)

The Innovation Spotlight at the Managed Futures Pinnacle Awards, held on June 17th in Chicago, recognized PIMCO and Milliman for their innovative use of futures within funds to manage risk for those nearing or in retirement.

2014-07-29 Larry Summers' Sleepless Nights by Michael Edesess (Article)

Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers has said that a new book, House of Debt, is "likely to be the most important economics book of 2014." It's authors argued that the causes of the Great Recession have been misdiagnosed and, therefore, the solutions - many of which were designed by Summers - were inadequate.

2014-07-29 How Much Tilt? What Kind of Tilt? by William Bernstein (Article)

The first question is whether tilting towards small and value stocks still carries a premium.

2014-07-29 20 Predictions for 2039 by Dan Richards (Article)

The shifts in the next 25 years will be just as substantial as those in the previous 25 years, and the most successful advisors will be those who are able to anticipate and adapt to these changes. Here are 20 predictions for what the financial-advising business will look like in 2039.

2014-07-29 How to Solve the Referral Conundrum by Daniel Solin (Article)

There is a considerable amount of sound data on how to acquire referrals. But the initial issue you must address is whether you should ask for them at all.

2014-07-29 The Great War, the NYSE and a Legacy of Strength by Andrew D. Martin (Article)

A century ago this week the NYSE closed for four months. Most would dismiss this as a natural response to the beginning of World War I. But no war before or after has shuttered the exchange for more than 10 days in its 222-year history. I will discuss why it was necessary to close the exchange and what lessons we can draw from the events of 100 years ago.

2014-07-29 Ten Habits of Successful Advisors by Jennifer Geoghegan (Article)

What are the tactical habits you can introduce to make business development a larger part of your new routine? Here are 10 habits that I have seen some leading advisors adopt as behaviors that have helped them consistently grow their practices.

2014-07-29 What Makes a Compelling Marketing Hook? by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

How do we improve our image in the market? We are not well known for what we do, although we believe we do it better than the competitors. We talk about being fiduciaries and having an objective voice, but I don't know if our message is powerful enough. What else could we do?

2014-07-29 Protect Your Business with a Marketing Plan by Kristen Luke (Article)

Even if you don't have the capacity to take on any more clients until you add staff, here are the marketing strategies you should be following today.

2014-07-29 Strengthening the Euro’s Governance Structure? by Andrew Bosomworth of PIMCO

?Today’s relative tranquillity in eurozone financial markets owes largely to the ECB’s willingness to hold the single currency together. However, history suggests the eurozone’s citizens ultimately will have to choose between returning to a regime of flexible exchange rates or retaining the single currency and deepening political and fiscal integration.

2014-07-29 Weekly Market Update by Team of Castleton Partners

Increasing geopolitical tensions, mixed economic data, low volatility, and little directional bias in interest rates; sound familiar? Last week produced more of the same in fixed income, as prices across the entire maturity spectrum remain in a well-defined (and very narrow) trading range. With a yield of 2.48%, the ten year US Treasury note has been oscillating within a twenty basis point band since May 1st: 2.65%- 2.45%.

2014-07-29 The Philippine Growth Story Looks Set to Continue by Nick Niziolek of Calamos Investments

We are optimistic that the Philippine growth story has several long chapters ahead, a view supported by the country’s progress in infrastructure investments and reform initiatives. Following a slow recovery from the Asian Financial Crisis, the Philippine financial sector is in a much better economic position for sustainable growth than many other emerging markets. The overall economic backdrop in the Philippines remains favorable…as economic freedoms continue to increase so too will the flow of foreign capital, fuelling for the economic investments necessary to further develop thi

2014-07-29 Blowback: The Tragedy of Flight MH-17 by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

On July 17, a Malaysian Airlines passenger plane was shot down over Ukraine, killing all 298 persons aboard. Evidence suggests that Russian-backed rebels fired the rocket, inadvertently attacking the civilian aircraft. In this report, we will discuss the recent escalation of tensions in Ukraine that led to the mistaken attack. We will examine the use of proxies in warfare between nuclear powers, both the costs and benefits. In terms of cost, the problem of “blowback” will be analyzed, with a focus on how this situation affects President Putin. We will conclude with market ramificat

2014-07-29 Deconstructing the State of the Housing Recovery by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

The rebound in the US housing market has slowed in the first half of 2014 for a number of reasons. But local economies and their respective job markets tell the real story. Kristina Hooper breaks it down.

2014-07-29 Corporate Earnings Season Update by Ryan Davis, Brian Payne of Fortigent

As the so-called punchbowl provided by the Federal Reserve is slowly withdrawn, $10 billion at a time, investors are increasingly looking to corporate fundamentals to see what might drive equity markets higher in the quarters ahead. Now three weeks into second quarter earnings season, market participants have a better idea of just how the most recent cycle is shaping up.

2014-07-29 Land Is the Riskiest of Asset Classes by Sean Fergus of John Burns Real Estate Consulting

Investing in land carries significantly more volatility than nearly all other real estate asset classes. As a general rule, a 1% change in home values results in a 3% change in finished lot values because almost all of the change is attributable to a change in the value of the land rather than the structure. Investing in raw land carries an even greater level of volatility and price swings.

2014-07-29 Fed Exit a Blue Pill? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

While we are busy arguing whether the Fed’s exit will consist of rising rates, reverse repos or the trimming of its massive portfolio, the Fed may well be fooling all of us. Investors must have been swallowing lots of blue pills not to see the illusion hiding in plain sight.

2014-07-29 How to Blend In a Currency Hedge by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

Looking across developed markets today, a common thread is that central bank policies have pushed interest rates to very low levels to support their economies.

2014-07-29 Who’s “Mr. Excitement” and What’s He Got To Do With Stocks? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Born here in Detroit in 1934, he died just short of 50 years later after lying in a coma for nine years. In 1975 he had a heart attack on stage while singing his hit single “Lonely Teardrops,” reportedly as he mouthed the lyric “My heart is crying.” Much earlier a royalty dispute between his managers had led Barry Gordy to split and form Hitsville USA (Motown records). “Mr. Excitement,” as he was known, thrilled fans worldwide doing the splits and sip sliding across the stage while he sang R&B and soul throughout the fifties, sixties, and seventies.

2014-07-28 Money Market Reform: Reflections on This Critical Inflection Point for Cash Liquidity Investing by Jerome Schneider of PIMCO

Under the SEC’s new regulations, institutional prime and institutional municipal money market funds will transition to a floating net asset value. All money market funds (except government-focused funds) are required to impose liquidity fees and may use redemption gates if liquid assets fall below certain levels. Investors, both institutions and individuals, should view this industry inflection point as an opportunity to revisit their approach to cash investing. Actively managed short duration strategies are a compelling solution.

2014-07-28 Second Quarter Economic & Capital Market Summary by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

It seems there is a growing disconnect between what the financial markets are discounting and the reality of what is transpiring in the domestic and global economies. While economic growth has the potential to increase during the second half of the year we are not expecting a dramatic acceleration since there are still structural problems in the economy. The result is slow private credit expansion, a lack of fixed investment and a slow rate of business formation.

2014-07-28 Yes, This Is An Equity Bubble by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Make no mistake – this is an equity bubble, and a highly advanced one. On the most historically reliable measures, it is easily beyond 1972 and 1987, beyond 1929 and 2007, and is now within about 15% of the 2000 extreme.

2014-07-28 Are Interest Rates “Too Low?” by Scott Brown of Raymond James

In her monetary policy testimony to Congress, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen offered no new clues regarding when the central bank will begin raising short-term interest rates. The Fed has been criticized for being “behind the curve” on inflation and for fueling bubbles. Neither criticism is right.

2014-07-28 How High is High? (To Whom?) by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

I have a number of friends who succeeded as investors in the late 1960s, and they are succeeding now. The key to their success more than 20 years ago was that they managed to get out with most of their capital when the market turned down. Most investors were not so astute.

2014-07-28 Foreign Investors are Fancying Japanese Stocks Again by Team of GaveKal Capital

Whether front running more easing by the BOJ or taking bets on deep valued Japanese stocks, foreign investors are starting to accumulate Japanese equities once again.

2014-07-28 Desperately Seeking a Cheaper Kilowatt Hour by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Let’s imagine that an aluminum manufacturer is eyeing two locations to build a new factory. In location A, an industrial kilowatt hour (kWh) is priced at 4.21 cents, whereas in location B, it goes for 12.67 cents. The difference is upwards of 200 percent.

2014-07-28 Emerging Europe: Regional Economic Review - Q2 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

During the second quarter of the year, the Emerging Europe region appeared to be displaying divergent trends. The fallout of the Ukraine crisis was not as damaging to the Russian economy as feared, with the economy even expanding during the review period. However, as the IMF pointed out, the sanctions imposed by the West appear to have dented investor confidence.

2014-07-28 And That's The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

More favorable earnings; more decent economic releases; more devastating global turmoil. Stocks were little changed during the week (though the S&P did move into record territory) as many investors went on much-deserved summer vacation. Hope they are well-rested because next week brings a new month, a vast array of key data, financial word from Big Oil and others, and hopefully progress on peaceful resolutions to the never-ending geopolitical conflicts.

2014-07-28 Indian Budget: Converting Promises into Policies by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

India has been a hot market in 2014, as investors anticipated the election of business-friendly prime minister Narendra Modi. If Election Day was the most important day of the year, perhaps the second most important day was the release of the annual budget on July 10.

2014-07-28 Dynamic and Durable Growth - Part 1: A Biotech/Pharma Revolution by Janet Luby of Invesco Blog

This is the first in a four-part series examining dynamic and durable growth themes that affect the US economy and may present opportunities for investors. The remaining three blog posts will examine the enormous implications of shale energy and the massive changes in mobility.

2014-07-27 Time to Put a New Economic Tool in the Box by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

I don’t think GDP as it is measured today is a Keynesian plot. GDP is a valuable measurement tool, if you understand what is being measured and all those asterisks with caveats that attend any such measure. But as we will see in this week’s letter, there are other ways to measure GDP that would suggest additional policy dials for spurring economic growth.

2014-07-26 Second Quarter Earnings: Marching Toward a Strong Recovery by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

It’s earnings season once again, and though only a quarter of the Russell 1000 has reported so far, the news is just north of positive. All signs indicate that the market has dusted itself off and is back to its cheerful self after a ho-hum first quarter, which was negatively affected by harsh winter weather.

2014-07-26 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Re-regulation has diminished market liquidity. Updated U.S. budget projections are improved but not comforting. The EU searches for the right response to Russia.

2014-07-26 Mid-Year Outlook: Beware that Peaceful, Easy Feeling by Andrew Pease of Russell Investments

Has a sense of unfounded complacency settled in among investors as we move through the second half of 2014? In our Strategists’ 2014 Global Outlook – Third Quarter Update, we discuss the possibilities.

2014-07-26 “WIMPY” – Implications of Massive Government Stimulus by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

The question we have is “how are we going to pay for all of this borrowed money?” If you are the government and own the Mint, you can print more money. That pays your debts but devalues your currency, so you replace one problem with another. When you hear that the Fed is "pumping liquidity into the system" there is a good reason - they are the only ones left who can. The consumer’s financial condition is again fading into treacherous territory.

2014-07-26 Consumption and Services Deliver Healthy Growth by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

Three interesting economic trends, each relevant to investors, are clear from China’s first half macro data. First, economic growth has stabilized at a healthy pace despite a weak property sector. Second, driven by strong income growth, China remains the world’s best consumption story. Third, ‘rebalancing’ continues, with consumption accounting for a larger share of GDP growth than investment, and with the services sector bigger than manufacturing and construction.

2014-07-25 Looking for Attractive Income with Less Volatility than Equities? by Michael Weilheimer, Steve Concannon, Will Reardon of Eaton Vance

High-yield bonds offer investors the potential to earn total returns comparable with equities without the level of volatility stocks have. While many income investors are naturally concerned about the prospects of higher interest rates, high-yield bonds have a set of characteristics that may enable them to maintain their value even as rates rise.

2014-07-25 What Are Gold Option Markets Telling Us? by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

It is often a valuable exercise for investors to monitor the option market associated with the cash market as option markets may carry useful information about how the balance of supply and demand in the cash market is evolving over time. In this week’s note we review the history since January 2006 from when we have available data, of the market’s relative preference to own gold calls (seeking to profit from rising gold prices) versus owning gold puts (seeking to profit from falling gold prices) and how this has related to the price action in the gold cash market.

2014-07-25 The Outlook for Emerging Market Bonds by Shane Shepherd of Research Affiliates

Emerging market bonds exhibit high real yields and improving credit quality. In addition, emerging market currencies are likely to strengthen. This article explains why emerging market bonds issued in local currencies might be a solid addition to a diversified portfolio.

2014-07-25 The Hangover by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The Fed’s not taking the punch bowl from the party, but investors should be wary of the hangover.

2014-07-25 Maintaining A Constant Standard Of Living Is Very Difficult by Team of Optimus Advisory Group

Ever wonder why rises in the Consumer Price Index ("CPI") seem low compared to your own personal experiences? Or why social security annual cost of living increases seem to get smaller and smaller? Or why inflation-adjusted pensions can't seem to keep up with general price increases? Or why the American worker gets such meager annual raises (if at all) that they seem to fall further behind year after year?

2014-07-25 Yellen: Where No Man Has Gone Before by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Although Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen said nothing new in her carefully manicured semi-annual testimony to Congress last week, her performance there, taken within the context of a lengthy profile in the New Yorker (that came to press at around the same time), should confirm that she is very different from any of her predecessors in the job. Put simply, she is likely the most dovish and politically leftist Fed Chair in the Central Bank's history.

2014-07-25 Market Valuations and the Theory of Relativity by Zachary Karabell of Envestnet

Depending on what metric you use to assess the stock market, equities could be cheap, expensive, or anywhere in between. Try not to be swayed by simplistic arguments based on selective analysis of historical valuations, patterns or averages. Advisors and investors should keep in mind that with so few opportunities today to find yield and appreciation, if long-term gains are to be had, stocks are where such gains are likely to be found.

2014-07-25 The 401(k) Event Horizon by Scott Klimo of Saturna Capital

Who would have guessed in 1973 that Roger Waters' meditation on life's fleeting passage would describe the dilemma faced by many today as they consider how best to save for retirement? The good news is that missing the starting gun doesn't prevent you from joining the race. We have all seen the calculations of how big our nest eggs could be if we started saving and investing at a young age, but those unable to do so still have an opportunity to build substantial savings.

2014-07-25 Think Floating-Rate Loans Are Just a Rate Hedge? Think Again. by Scott Page, Craig Russ, Christopher Remington of Eaton Vance

The prospect of higher interest rates has many advisors and investors considering floating-rate loans. Because loans’ coupons regularly reset, these debt instruments can maintain their value even as rates rise. But the characteristics of loans, as well as their performance track record, suggest they may deserve a place in strategically allocated portfolios in any interest-rate climate.

2014-07-24 The Sub Par Recovery Continues: Fixed Income Investment Outlook by Carl Kaufman, Simon Lee, Bradley Kane of Osterweis Capital Management

There is a well-known trading adage, “Sell in May and go away,” which espouses selling your stocks to avoid a seasonal pre-summer decline in prices. Selling in May (or April or June) did not work this year as the markets continued their rise to new highs. Perhaps the reason for this is that the weather-induced economic weakness of the first quarter has been followed by increased optimism for growth in the second quarter and beyond. We have seen inflation, even in the core (ex- food and energy) rise, although this may be transitory.

2014-07-24 Mar Vista Investment Partners Second Quarter 2014 Review by Brian Massey of Mar Vista Investment Partners

Mar Vista Investment Partners second quarter commentary reviews the market and their large cap growth strategies during the most recent period and discusses the opportunities they see for their portfolios in the coming months.

2014-07-24 Instability is the New Normal? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Once upon a time, there were safe havens in this world, places where investors could hide when the going got rough. If you believe this fairy tale world will persist, pinch yourself. In our assessment, not only are there no safe havens left, but instability may be the new normal. Is your portfolio ready?

2014-07-24 Small Caps in Focus Following Fed Comments by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

In conjunction with Janet Yellen’s testimony before Congress on July 15, the Federal Reserve produced a “Monetary PolicyReport1” that provides an update on monetary policy, economic conditions and financial markets.

2014-07-24 Keep An Eye on Commercial Bank Liquidity Trends by Team of GaveKal Capital

An interesting development this year has been the increase in purchases of US Treasury bonds by commercial banks. In the chart below, we show the year over year increase in the holding of US Treasury bonds by US commercial banks set against the interest rate on 10-year UST. This goes some way in understanding the move lower in rates this year.

2014-07-24 Standing By Convictions in European Equities by Philippe Brugere-Trelat of Franklin Templeton Investments

European equities have garnered a fair share of attention lately as leading indicators suggest economies in the region are starting to recover from years of crisis and austerity-induced recessions. While some observers will point to recent equity market volatility as a sign that investors should remain defensive when selecting stocks in the region, Philippe Brugere-Trelat, executive vice president and portfolio manager, Franklin Mutual Series®, says he’s encouraged by recent developments.

2014-07-24 More Volatility Ahead? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Despite recent market swings, volatility is still very low by historic standards, suggesting that markets aren’t taking into account the prospect of bad news and that investors should prepare for more turbulence ahead.

2014-07-23 It’s Not Time to Pull the Portfolio Ripcord… Yet by Rick Vollaro of Pinnacle Advisory Group

The second quarter started in somewhat choppy fashion as small cap and other high flying momentum stocks continued to face pressure as investors decided to shed stocks with swollen valuation multiples. The major averages fared better than their risky counterparts, and after a brief dip stocks began their ascent towards record breaking highs on the back on improving economic data, decent earnings growth, and continuing liquidity support from global central banks.

2014-07-23 U.S. Stock Market on the “Edge of Tomorrow” by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Recently we heard a market prognosticator declare that we could have a 30 percent decline in stock prices in the next 12 months. Presumably because investors fear starting over again, like many did at the market bottom in 2009, the talking head had ample emotion on which to make such a grandiose assertion. This fear of starting over reminded me of the recent Tom Cruise movie, "Edge of Tomorrow," where Tom Cruise plays a soldier forced to live the same day again and again in efforts to develop answers on how to defeat a force which would end the world. Hence, living on the "Edge

2014-07-23 The German Spy Scandal by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Last year, Edward Snowden revealed documents indicating the NSA was actively gathering information on Americans and foreigners to the point where German Chancellor Merkel's cell phone was monitored. This revelation greatly unsettled relations between the U.S. and Germany. In this report, we will reiterate the "German Problem," the geopolitical situation that has shaped German behavior since its inception. We will delve into the recent spy scandal in more detail, discuss the underlying issues that are affecting American/German relations, and conclude with market ramifications.

2014-07-23 Economic Outlook Dimming, Yet Fed Plans Rate Hikes by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The mainstream media was largely successful in convincing the public that the dreadful 1Q GDP number (-2.9%) was the result of the bitter winter in January and February. The media spin was that the economy would snap back strongly in the 2Q with growth of 4%, 5% or even 6%. While there were some encouraging economic reports in April, May and early June, the economy now appears to be losing momentum again.

2014-07-23 U.S. Equities Continue to Look Attractive: Equity Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

As we sit down to write this Outlook we are struck by two trends: the consistency of the economic recovery in the U.S. and the dramatic escalation of geopolitical turmoil. Whether these two trends will collide to derail the bull market is an open question, but usually geopolitical flare-ups have only short-term effects and do not overwhelm long-term economic trends. Thus, they tend to appear as hiccups in stock market progress.

2014-07-23 Does Active Management Succeed in International Small-Caps? by Team of The Royce Funds

Divergent conclusions about the relative success of active management in the international small-cap universe prompted us to do our own examination, which stresses the importance of choosing the appropriate benchmark and evaluating the consistency of a fund's performance over long-term time periods.

2014-07-23 Long Commodities, Short Contango via Commodity Currencies by Rick Harper of WisdomTree

On the back of a resurgence in Chinese economic data and rising geopolitical risk in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, increases in global commodity prices have reinvigorated investor interest in allocating to commodity-based investment strategies.

2014-07-23 Should EMC Corp Break Itself Apart?: FAST FUNdamental Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

On Monday a Wall Street Journal article reported that the hedge fund Elliott Management Corp has taken a more than $1 billion stake in EMC Corp (EMC) and revealed that it intends to petition the company to break itself apart. Elliott believes that this would unlock shareholder value. Implicit in that thesis would be the idea that EMC Corp is not receiving full value from the market. This article is offered as an in-depth analysis of the fundamental value of EMC Corp in relation to how the market is evaluating its business.

2014-07-23 Truth and Consequences by Gary Stroik of WBI Investments

After last year's robust stock market performance, returns this year seem a bit meager by comparison. This is especially true of the kind of big, blue chip companies that make up the DJIA, which is up only 1.51% for the first half of the year. This may be one of the reasons behind the topic of conversation that seems to be popping up more frequently lately. Many investors – including many conservative investors – appear to be asking themselves if they're being too cautious now that some of the major stock indices are hitting all-time highs.

2014-07-23 CEFs: The Future Featuring Cecilia Gondor by (Article)

For success in the future, closed-end funds need to stress their potential structural advantages, says Cecilia Gondor of Thomas J. Herzfeld Advisors.

2014-07-23 Corporate Governance featuring Cara Esser by (Article)

Monitoring a closed-end fund's corporate governance may provide important insights for investors, says Cara Esser of Morningstar.

2014-07-23 Innovation Wanted Featuring Ken Fincher by (Article)

The closed-end fund market needs innovative ideas to generate more IPO activity and help it grow, says Ken Fincher of First Trust Advisors.

2014-07-22 Why Have We Been Focusing on Cyclical Growth? by Chris Clark and Chuck Royce (Article)

Chuck Royce and Co-Chief Investment Officer Chris Clark talk about our attraction to economically sensitive sectors and what we've been learning from our meetings with companies.

2014-07-22 How to Choose the Best Retirement Income Strategy by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

In the competition among retirement-planning methodologies, systematic withdrawals have been winning the battle against the essential-discretionary approach. But given today's low interest rates, the essential-discretionary approach may work better for many clients, especially if SPIAs are used.

2014-07-22 Why Market-Timers Go Nuts by Stephen Huxley, Brent Burns (Article)

How do you drive a market-timer nuts? Remind them of the evidence against them. That is, the evidence of shifting and even reversing correlations between stock and bond returns that make it improbable - if not impossible - to use market timing to make profitable investment decisions.

2014-07-22 Time to Rethink How You Deal with Top Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

Airlines like American, Delta and United are unlikely role models for customer service. Yet there is one area in which these airlines excel and from which advisors can learn: how they treat their very best customers.

2014-07-22 The Secret Weapon for Gathering AUM by Daniel Solin (Article)

Getting a prospect to agree to a meeting takes an enormous amount of time, effort and money. I estimate that at least half of those efforts fail. Research shows that a small change to the way you handle prospect and client meetings could greatly improve those results.

2014-07-22 APViewpoint Reaches Critical Milestones by Justin Kermond (Article)

Two months after its launch, our APViewpoint service has quickly expanded. The secure discussion forum now has 1,200 members and 80 online conversations on a wide range of topics of interest to the advisory profession.

2014-07-22 Jumping into the Fray with Divorcing Clients by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

When is it appropriate to recuse ourselves from a nasty divorce situation between existing clients? We are in a losing place if we take sides, and I do not prefer one member of the couple over the other. I enjoy both and what they are doing to each other - and to their investment portfolio - is atrocious.

2014-07-22 Re-Envisioning the Core with Tilted Strategies by Shundrawn Thomas (Article)

See how FlexShares trio of tilted index funds gives you the power of investing in the entire global stock market.

2014-07-22 Weekly Market Update by Team of Castleton Partners

The intensifying geopolitical backdrop of Ukraine/ Russia, Israel/ Gaza, and Iraq/ ISIS continued to influence market activity and investment flows last week. As a result, intermediate and longer-dated Treasury rates were able to revisit their low yields of the year, last touched in May. However, the one thematic constant that continued unabated last week was the persistent flattening of the yield curve—the one trend that we are unwilling to fade.

2014-07-22 Five Reasons to Buy and Hold Shares of Great Companies by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

The world is full of stock traders. They firmly believe that they can trade stocks and create unlimited wealth for themselves and their families. These traders could be your neighbor, your co-worker, your physician, your lawyer, and even your CPA. But traders can also include professionals entrusted to take care of other people’s money. They are mutual fund managers, managers of pension plan assets, managers of separate accounts, and hedge fund managers, many of whom you would think know better.

2014-07-22 The Opportunity in Unconventional Oil by Doug Holt, Tim Gramatovich of AdvisorShares

Be it energy geopolitics or pipeline politicking, oil markets are clouded by noise that push prices up and down. In order to make long-term investments in the space the trick is to boil it down to the bare bones of the issue. Recently an article was published espousing that oil was headed to $75. It was an interesting notion but not one we would put much stock in for a variety of reasons, the most basic of which being supply.

2014-07-22 Cause and Effect: Bank of Japan Becomes Government’s Largest by Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

Although central banks often use their holdings of government debt to affect monetary policy, the meteoric rise in the expansion of the BOJ’s balance sheet is unprecedented. With the BOJ continuing to signal its willingness to aggressively stimulate the economy, we highlight here what we believe are the most significant implications of these policies.

2014-07-22 Is Timing Everything? Practical Implementation of Tail Risk Hedging?? by Michael Connor, Markus Aakko of PIMCO

“Just in time” hedging is nearly impossible: By the time an investor decides to hedge, the market may already price in the significant risk of a tail event. Instead, hedges could be included as a permanent part of an asset allocation: what we might call “just in case” hedging. An optimal strategy may involve averaging into a hedging allocation. In addition, using a broader set of hedge instruments may help lower the costs. We believe that tail risk hedges have a place in any portfolio that has a substantial allocation to risk assets. ?

2014-07-22 Anatomy of a Moat by Kenneth Lowe of Matthews Asia

At Matthews, we often talk about investing in “quality” companies with “economic moats.” We believe that these are the entities best placed to succeed over the long term in Asia. As Warren Buffett has noted, investors should seek businesses with “economic castles protected by unbreachable moats.” It is these moats that enable a company to survive and thrive as decades pass, creating economic value along the way by generating returns on capital ahead of their cost of capital. But what exactly is an economic moat?

2014-07-22 2014 Another Ho Hum Year from Hedge Funds by Ryan Davis, Brian Payne of Fortigent

Through the first six months of the year, hedge funds have generated a positive, albeit somewhat modest return. According to data compiled by Hedge Fund Research, the Fund Weighted Composite of hedge funds in their universe had generated a 3.2% return, compared to the S&P 500’s 7.1% gain. While not terrible on a standalone basis, many investors had greater hopes for the asset class following five straight calendar years of underperformance versus the broad equity markets.

2014-07-21 A Farmland Investment Primer by Julie Koeninger of GMO

Farmland is a real asset that combines solid investment fundamentals with the potential for attractive cash yields, inflation hedging, and consistent returns from biological growth. Furthermore, farmland total returns tend to be uncorrelated with financial asset returns, offering genuine portfolio diversification for institutional investors.

2014-07-21 Smart Beta in Action: Taking Chips Off the Small-Cap European Table by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

European equity markets performed strongly throughout much of 2013 and into the first five months of 2014. While it is difficult to time market tops and bottoms for individual stocks on a consistent basis, we believe there are benefits to undertaking a disciplined practice to rebalance weight based on changes in relative valuation.

2014-07-21 Optimism vs. Arithmetic by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Current market conditions provide an ideal moment to highlight the distinction between investment and speculation.

2014-07-21 Mid-Year Review: Interest-Rate Sensitive Stocks May Correct With First Fed Rate Hike by Rick Golod of Invesco Blog

With the recent strength in the economy and decline in the unemployment rate, the probability that the Federal Reserve (Fed) increases rates in the first half of 2015 is rising, in my opinion. Given the volume of media noise about this, it’s understandable that many investors are still worried about the stock market’s potential for correction.

2014-07-21 German And French 10-2 Spread Flattest In The Last 5 Years by Team of GaveKal Capital

The front-end of the yield curve has flattened in many bond markets this year. The German and French bond markets closed last week with their 10-year bond yield minus 2-year bond yield spread at it's smallest level since January 2009. The German spread fell to 1.13% while the French spread dropped to 1.42%. The 10-2 spread for the United States has also narrowed this year to 2%. That's the lowest level in a little over a year.

2014-07-20 GDP: A Brief But Affectionate History by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

In this week’s letter we look at the construction of gross domestic product (GDP). As we will see, GDP is a relatively late-to-the-party statistic, thoroughly malleable in its construction and often quite contentious in its application. Yet the mainstream media regularly releases GDP numbers with the implicit assumption that they are in fact an accurate reflection of the general economy. We shall soon see that GDP is instead a fuzzy reflection of the economy, derived from a model that is continually readjusted in a well-intentioned effort to understand the scope of the economy.

2014-07-19 Bull Stumbles by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Any near-term correction would be healthy in the context of an ongoing secular bull market. Trying to time the market is always difficult, even though the market is in a potentially weak phase, both in terms of the annual and election cycles. And while sentiment is elevated in the United States, both Europe and China provide opportunities to invest where the mood is decidedly less enthusiastic.

2014-07-19 The Municipal Bond World, According to John Derrick by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

I sat down with Director of Research John Derrick, who also manages our Near-Term Tax Free Fund (NEARX), to get his thoughts on interest rates, the bond market and what investors should pay attention to as we move into the second quarter of 2014.

2014-07-19 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

From the Suez Canal, to Japanese bullet trains, to the American interstate highway system, to the Millennium Bridge to the Three Gorges Dam, the grandeur of infrastructure is on full display the world over. Awe-inspiring and beautiful to some, these fixtures also play a critical role in the functioning of the global economy. The choices nations make in the area of infrastructure can bear critically on prosperity.

2014-07-19 Red Shoots - Today's Top Investor Concerns (Also Known as the Investors "Dirty Dozen") by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

A while back, we published a list that we continually update at Sungarden. We call them Red Shoots. They are essentially the opposite of a set of conditions which gave investors hope that not all was lost, in the throes of the financial crisis of 2008. Those reasons for optimism were called “Green Shoots”, like a patch of short green grass about to show up on the dirt area you will one day call your lawn. Red Shoots are the opposite: they are the reasons for extreme caution when the market and many investors seem to be forgetting that security prices are not a one-way propositi

2014-07-19 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 135.2, down from the previous week's 136.2. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) slipped to 4.5 to 4.2.

2014-07-19 Perspectives from the Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group by Christopher Molumphy, Michael Materasso, Roger Bayston, Michael Hasenstab, and John Beck of Franklin Templeton Investments

In early July, there was a noticeable disconnect between the median forecast of Fed officials for interest rates by end-2015 and the markets’ forecast, as expressed in the federal funds futures rate. But if unemployment continues to decline and inflation to pick up in the coming months, the danger for bond market participants is that their predictions for interest rates may be too low and will have to be adjusted.

2014-07-19 Understanding Chinese Volatility by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

Sinology by Andy Rothman is a publication designed to provide investors with a framework for developing a deeper understanding of China and its economy. The focus will be on discussing the longer-term trends that are taking place in the country and their impact on the global economy. Rising volatility in China is a consequence of economic modernization and should not be feared by long-term investors.

2014-07-18 Comparison of Rising Rates Strategies by Yung Lim of AdvisorShares

With the ultra low interest rate environment becoming more of a norm in many investors’ mind, complacency has driven portfolio managers to maintain the status quo and stick to traditional duration and asset allocation targets. Recent history of bond market behavior has also supported this view. On a forward looking basis, however, the important questions center around how risk/return profiles change under rising interest rate environments and what investors should consider in evaluating the risk of their current portfolio mix.

2014-07-18 Reaching Escape Velocity? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The strong pace of growth in nonfarm payrolls suggests much more than a rebound from bad weather. While recent economic figures have been generally mixed, the job market is clearly improving, led by increased hiring at small and medium-sized firms. The hope is that good news will feed on itself, lifting the pace of growth in the second half of the year. However, there are a few concerns in the outlook.

2014-07-18 Fireside Chats by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

While I was in the Pacific Northwest and Canada most of last week, I did have the privilege of listening to J.P. Morgan’s (JPM/$55.80/Strong Buy) Chief Market Strategist last Monday. Dr. David Kelly has long been known for his keen insights on the equity markets, with JPM’s senior portfolio managers like George Gatz and Tom Luddy steering their mutual funds, on said strategic views, to outsized gains for many years.

2014-07-18 High Yield versus Equities by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

Investors are often led down the path that they must invest in equities in order to generate a decent return, and that the high yield market is too risky and speculative. However, reality and the data points prove otherwise. Looking over the past couple decades and various periods in between, you can see that high yield has consistently outperformed the equity market (as measured by the S&P 500 Index) on a risk adjusted basis (return/risk).

2014-07-18 Lack of Corporate Hubris Means Elongated Cycle by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

When we started Richard Bernstein Advisors roughly five years ago, we thought the US was entering one of the biggest bull markets of our careers. Today, we are likely in the midst of this long bull market. Despite the general consensus that a bear market is on the horizon and investors’ ongoing interest in protecting potential downside risk, we do not think the Fed, investors, or corporations are yet sowing the seeds for the next recession.

2014-07-18 Physics Envy by Matthew Page of Guinness Atkinson Asset Management

Economists have long sought to identify a deterministic "natural law" of markets in the same way that physicists have discovered natural laws such as gravity and electromagnetism. This is sometimes referred to as "physics envy". If economists could identify a deterministic natural law of markets then we would be able to make useful and accurate predictions. Sadly no such law exists. Human actions are not governed by simple predictable laws.

2014-07-18 And That's The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Gaza, Iraq, Ukraine...ongoing turmoil and global tensions have been topping the headlines far too frequently these days. At times, markets are affected; at times, business is disrupted. Even more sadly, lives are lost. Hopefully calmer heads can prevail, but history is not often on the side of common sense.

2014-07-18 Why We Favor Owning Gold in Euro Terms by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

In this discussion piece we discuss the rationale for why investors looking to buy gold as a defensive asset during these uncertain times should consider buying gold in euro terms. When an investor buys gold in dollars they are expressing the view that they expect the price of gold to increase relative to the dollar. Similarly when an investor buys gold in euro, they express the view that they expect the value of gold to increase relative to the euro.

2014-07-18 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

The June unemployment figure of 6.1% was the lowest in six years. A total of 288,000 new jobs were created and the government increased May’s number to 224,000 jobs created. While the summer can be very volatile, we expect solid gains for the rest of the year. Last week’s applications for unemployment fell to only 304,000, which was below expectations of 315,000. It will be hard for the numbers to keep falling as 300,000 is a very low number even in a healthy economy. The Fed expects job creation for the rest of the year to be steady as the economy continues to improve. It is possi

2014-07-18 Why Japan? Why Now? by James Calhoun of AdvisorShares

One of the most popular investment themes coming into 2014 was Hedged Japanese Equity (owning Japanese equities while simultaneously hedging out the risk of the Japanese Yen weakening against the US Dollar). At its core, this theme leaves investors long Japanese equities in US Dollar terms, not Japanese Yen terms. This investment turned in very poor performance for the first half of 2014. By the end of Q1 2014, Japanese equities had sold off rather sharply and the US Dollar had weakened 2.01% versus the Yen.

2014-07-18 Decomposing the S&P 500 PE Ratio by Market Cap: Most Stocks Look Expensive by Team of GaveKal Capital

Back in December we wrote a piece entitled, "Decomposing the S&P 500 PE Ratio: How Can the Market PE be "Low" and Stocks be Expensive at the Same Time?" in which we showed how the market capitalization of the S&P 500, and many other indexes for that matter, is dominated by a few mega-cap companies which distorts index level valuation statistics. It's been a few months so we thought we'd provide an update on that analysis.

2014-07-18 Fixed Income Outlook: Moving From Zero by Christopher Molumphy, Roger Bayston of Franklin Templeton Investments

Some prior market prognostications of rising rates have proven slow to play out as global central banks, namely the Bank of Japan and European Central Bank (ECB), have continued to ramp up easing measures and the US Federal Reserve (the Fed) has only slowly begun to lay off the gas pedal recently.

2014-07-18 Domestic and Indian Gold Rally Points to a Strong Second Half by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Earlier this week we reported that gold, defying expectations, is one of the best-performing commodities of the year so far.

2014-07-18 Is it Time to Prepare for Inflation? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Inflation has ticked up recently, leaving many investors fearing that it’s time to prepare portfolios for rising prices. According to Russ, while this fear isn’t irrational, it’s too early to restructure a portfolio around a big shift in the inflation outlook. Russ explains.

2014-07-18 Free Lunches and the Food Truck Revolution by Ben Inker of GMO

Over the past year or so, there has been a welcome change to the culinary landscape of the Boston financial district. After two decades of wandering to largely the same old haunts for lunch, I am now faced with a whole new set of inexpensive and tasty choices literally outside our door, changing daily as the food trucks perform their mysterious nightly dance.

2014-07-18 Summer Essays by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

In a new quarterly letter to GMO's institutional clients, co-head of asset allocation Ben Inker uses the evolving Boston culinary landscape as a backdrop to examine the tendency of investors to pursue a "free lunch," when they should be looking for the "investing equivalent of an inexpensive and tasty food truck meal instead." In his section, chief investment strategist Jeremy Grantham looks back at investing mistakes made over his 47-year career, paying special attention to his formative investing years and the "painful lessons" learned therein.

2014-07-17 Constraints of Convention - Does a Portfolio Design Have to Be Static? by Jeff Knight of Columbia Management

There was a charming story from the world of youth sports featured in Malcolm Gladwell’s book "David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants."

2014-07-17 Mind the Gap by Tod Schneider of Diamond Hill Investments

Every company’s earnings can be evaluated on a quantitative and qualitative basis. Strictly speaking quantitative analysis is straightforward—is the company growing sales, profits, free cash flow, etc.? Analyzing these metrics in the context of competitive factors, sources of revenue and profit growth, and broader secular trends is a more subjective exercise but a very important one to pair with quantitative analysis.

2014-07-17 Equities Remain Resilient in Current Environment by Charlie Dreifus of The Royce Funds

While there was a brief shift towards higher quality from April through mid-May, low quality reasserted itself in June to mark a fairly muted—and mixed—second-quarter performance for small-caps. Forty-plus-year industry veteran Charlie Dreifus discusses the market's behavior during this period, as well as the U.S. economy and stock market.

2014-07-17 Municipal Market Perspectives by Team of SMC Fixed Income Management

Financial market conditions were as good as could be expected during the first half of the year, as evidenced by positive investment performance across all asset classes.

2014-07-17 Trading Secrets: The Fed’s Maginot Line by Tad Rivelle of TCW Asset Management

It has been six years since the Fed zeroed out rates and still we wait for “assisted growth” to become “real growth.” Beginning with the “recovery summer” of 2010, the Fed has proclaimed that cheap money would rocket the economy to escape velocity, launching an organic, self-sustaining economic recovery. Instead, central bank policy has vaulted asset prices into the stratosphere even as wages wait their turn on the launch pad. Low rates have failed to deliver the goodies, but the Fed has its story and is sticking to it.

2014-07-17 The Tolling Bells of Complacency by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

A few years ago, facing a world in crisis, central banks aggressively employed monetary policy to avoid catastrophe in financial markets. Now, they must be equally aggressive in fighting complacency.

2014-07-17 How the Europe Small-Cap Portfolio Changed at the Rebalance by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

A key differentiator of the WisdomTree Index methodology is our annual rebalance to focus on changes in relative value. In this blog, we will zoom in on how this approach led to changes in exposure in the WisdomTree Europe SmallCap Dividend Index (WT Europe Small).

2014-07-17 Quick Thoughts by Doug MacKay of Broadleaf Partners

We made a final trip to Latvia to complete an adoption, had a graduation party for my high school senior, and attended orientation weekend at The Ohio State University. In between all that, we squeezed in no fewer than sixty baseball games for our three boys. I think I have a daughter too, but I’m not entirely sure if she lives with us or her girlfriends. As much as I love summer ball, the season ends this weekend and I’m hoping life will settle down to a more sustainable pace and not one reminiscent of a minor leaguer with four kids, a mortgage, and a full time business.

2014-07-17 Quarterly Review and Outlook, Second Quarter 2014 by Van Hoisington, Lacy Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

Hoisington and Hunt review the second quarter in their regular review.

2014-07-16 Danger of Increased Risk Taking as Markets Boom by Geoff Davey of FinaMetrica

While some investors (and their advisors) believe risk tolerance changes with major events such as a stock market correction, typically it is an investor’s perception of risk that changes, which results in a change in their behavior. At the moment, many investors are buying stocks with elevated P/E ratios. Prices are going up a lot faster than corporate earnings and the risks are getting bigger. Yet people are still buying stocks.

2014-07-16 Road Kill by Edward Talisse of Chelsea Global Advisors

Ten years ago I started working in Japan as a fixed income sales-trader for an international investment bank. I was frequently called upon to travel to other parts of Asia such as Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore and Sydney. My mandate was to invite clients to explore the many money making opportunities available to them by trading the (G4) U.S., German, U.K. or Japanese yield curve. The touchstone recommendation always seemed to be some combination of going long or short U.S Treasuries and establishing an offsetting position in like maturity German Bunds.

2014-07-16 U.S. Now World’s Largest Producer of Oil & Gas by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Recent reports have confirmed that the US is now the world’s largest producer of crude oil with output exceeding 11 million barrels per day in the 1Q of this year. This surpasses the daily oil production of Russia and Saudi Arabia.

2014-07-16 Analysis of Ayres and Curtis Critique of 401(k) Plans by Brian Donohue of October Three Consulting

In our previous article we reviewed [Professors Ayres and Curtis's paper Beyond Diversification: The Pervasive Problem of Excessive Fees and 'Dominated Funds' in 401(k) Plans] (John M. Olin Center for Studies in Law, Economics, and Public Policy Research Paper No. 493). Our purpose in that article was simply to describe what Professors Ayres and Curtis are saying. In this article we evaluate their findings and proposals, discussing the limits of and possible objections to their conclusions.

2014-07-16 Dissecting the Japan Hedged Equity Rebalance by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

We think it is important to be mindful of how an annual rebalance back to an underlying fundamental such as dividends can help manage valuation risks. With market capitalization-weighted indexes, when constituents increase in price compared to other stocks, they gain greater weight and increase their impact on the performance of the index.

2014-07-15 Fixed Income market review H1 2014 by Jenna Barnard (Article)

Jenna Barnard, CFA, Deputy Head of Retail Fixed Income and Co-Manager of the Strategic Income Fund, looks at the recent drivers of this market and explains how their portfolios have been able to take advantage of the conditions.

2014-07-15 How Operating Margins and Capital Allocation Affect Small-Caps by Chris Clark and Chuck Royce (Article)

Chuck Royce and Co-Chief Investment Officer Chris Clark talk about operating margins being at or near peak levels, increased M&A activity, and the absence of any real CAPEX activity.

2014-07-15 Two Top Experts Debate the Outlook for Growth by Laurence Siegel (Article)

Growth may slow, as Robert Gordon contends, at least when measured by GDP - if only because population growth is slowing. But that is not a foregone conclusion. And even if it were to happen, it doesn't mean that global standards of living would face a similar deceleration. Moreover, GDP doesn't fully capture the improvements in the standard of living that come with advanced technology.

2014-07-15 Retirement Planning with Annual Available Spend by John Craig (Article)

Sound financial planning requires neither the determination of safe withdrawal rates nor the use of Monte Carlo simulations. Relying on the past to predict the future is unnecessary. Instead, one must focus on how much can be spent each year, given expected returns and inflation, and then consider how negative and worst-case scenarios would affect retirement planning. That is the basis for the annual available spend methodology I describe here.

2014-07-15 The Tool to Get Clients to Make Tough Decisions by Dan Richards (Article)

Research on an approach called "pre-commitments" sets out a path to help you persuade clients to make a tough decision when the original rationale for making a purchase has changed.

2014-07-15 Information That Will Increase Your AUM by Daniel Solin (Article)

You most likely approach investing based on a defined set of sound academic principles. In contrast, many advisors approach meeting with prospects on an ad hoc basis. If this dichotomy describes the way you do business, you should consider making some changes.

2014-07-15 Q2 Venerated Voices™ by Various (Article)

Advisor Perspectives announces its Venerated Voices awards for articles published in the second quarter of 2014. 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.

2014-07-15 Survey Best Practices, Part 2: Question Intent and Types by Elizabeth Snyder (Article)

Here are some tips that will increase your chances of gathering meaningful survey results.

2014-07-15 How To Make Better Hires by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We just fired our fourth operations manager in six years. I find it tough to believe that filling a simple role like this can be so hard, but we've had no luck in keeping someone for the long haul. My partner thinks we need to hire an expensive recruiter. I don't agree. Can paying someone 30% of the salary plus bonus (the recruiter's fee) to identify the right person make a difference?

2014-07-15 How to Debunk 35 Years of High School Myths by Mariko Gordon (Article)

I highlight three key insights from "The Debunking Handbook," and explain how these can prevent misinformation from doing harm in the world.

2014-07-15 Time to Invest in Change by Dan Kozlowski of Janus Capital Group

After significant multiple expansion in 2013, some of the best remaining opportunities for equity investors may lie with stocks that are due for a change in market sentiment as the company enacts dramatic changes to its business.

2014-07-15 The High Tide in China by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

One axiom that has been used over the last couple decades is that high tide lifts all boats; meaning that a rise in economic or market conditions will lift every component of an economy or market to some degree. While true, we deal with relative measurements when discussing returns comparable to a benchmark. So, while the high tide does lift all boats, if the boat is tethered too tightly, you may be higher than being beached, but you also could still be underwater.

2014-07-15 The Fed Announces Its Intentions by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Minutes from the mid-June FOMC meeting were released last week, offering keen insight to the Federal Reserve’s current thinking on the economy. While the Fed suggests that the economic outlook is benign, the minutes offered guidance on the Fed’s exit path, which is expected to arrive by the end of the year.

2014-07-15 Weekly Market Update by Team of Castleton Partners

Geopolitical headlines, coupled with renewed stress in European markets, led to a strong rally in US Treasuries last week. Further supporting the decline in interest rates was the perceived dovish overtone to the minutes of the June Federal Open Market Committee meeting.

2014-07-15 Flip Floppers Drive Stocks Lower by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

In the course of one slow news week, stocks went from celebration to selloff. What changed? Not the strong economic data, says Kristina Hooper. It’s a classic flip-flop from investors who had time to mull over recent numbers and change their minds.

2014-07-15 The Dollar Weapon by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Over the past few years, various prosecutorial arms of U.S. government entities have brought charges against foreign banks that have violated U.S. sanctions that were placed on different countries. In this report, we will discuss the general nature of U.S. sanctions and how these banks violated American law. From there, we will reiterate the dollar’s reserve currency role from both a historic and theoretical perspective and show how this role makes the currency and the U.S. financial system pivotal in the global economy. We will conclude with market ramifications.

2014-07-15 Booming Until It Hurts? by Robert Shiller of Project Syndicate

In recent months, concern has intensified among the world’s financial experts and news media that overheated asset markets – real estate, equities, and long-term bonds – could lead to a major correction and another economic crisis. The general public seems unbothered, but the experts' concern is healthy.

2014-07-15 Is the Euro the New Yen? by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

Currency-hedged equity strategies broke onto the exchange-traded fund (EFT) investment scene in late 2012 following significant weakening of the yen, which led to a wide disparity in performance between unhedged and currency-hedged Japanese ETFs.

2014-07-15 Do You REALLY Know How to Tie Your Shoes? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

This morning, for the fourth time, I had to interrupt my workout to re-tie my shoe. My trainer, John Zilli, joked that I was simply stalling. But not wanting to trip on my shoe laces as I headed to the treadmill, I dropped to one knee, yet again, and tied my laces.

2014-07-15 The New Neutral: Investment Implications for Insurance Companies by David Braun of PIMCO

Low rates are unhelpful to an industry with legacy long-term liabilities containing rigid embedded credited rates; they exacerbate asset-liability mismatches and pressure earnings margins. Insurers may want to recalibrate their expectations of future interest rates, as well as broad bond and equity market returns. In The New Neutral, with beta from stocks and bonds likely to be relatively low, insurers should look to enhance buy-and-hold return potential via active management.

2014-07-15 2Q 2014 Newsletter: Avoiding Your Portfolio’s Enemies by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

“Investors should remember that excitement and expenses are their enemies. And if they insist on trying to time their participation in equities, they should try to be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” We often hear the last part of this wonderful quote from Warren Buffett, but here at Smead Capital, we find the beginning just as instructive. We thought we would unpack the entirety of his thoughts and dissect it for our faithful investors.

2014-07-15 High-Yield and Bank Loan Outlook by Team of Guggenheim Partners

Certain areas of leveraged credit are overvalued, particularly CCC-rated bonds and bank loans, but often some of the best profits come in the final phase of a cycle. Low yields on U.S. Treasury bonds and European sovereign debt have kept the global search-for-yield theme alive and have lured more capital into U.S. credit markets, helping the ongoing rally in high-yield bonds and bank loans, which gained 2.4 percent and 1.2 percent (as represented by the Credit Suisse High Yield Index and Credit Suisse Institutional Leveraged Loan Index) in the second quarter of 2014, respectively.

2014-07-14 Col. Jessup and Rufus T. Firefly by Michael Kayes of Willingdon Wealth Management

There is a tried and true methodology for dealing with disconcerting trends in the equity market. Read on to find out what it is.

2014-07-14 Rising Rates and the U.S. Dollar by Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

While interest rates in the U.S. have fallen so far year-to-date, we continue to believe that rates may be poised to rise in the second half of 2014. Over the last several weeks, we have seen increased interest from clients about how best to prepare their portfolios for an eventual rise in U.S. interest rates.

2014-07-14 Energy: Shale Generates Tectonic Changes by Stephen Toy of Invesco Blog

The shale revolution, only seven or eight years old, has been the catalyst for a tectonic change in US energy production and policy. It has also created a new paradigm in US manufacturing, launched a renaissance in the chemical industry, and is driving infrastructure spending. So how do we think about the shale revolution in terms of investing? It’s twofold.

2014-07-14 Ockham's Razor and the Market Cycle by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

“This time is different” requires a lot of counterfactual assumptions. Ockham’s razor would suggest a nice shave.

2014-07-14 Risk of European Counter-Cyclical Underperformance in 2H2014 by Team of GaveKal Capital

Last week, we noted the outperformance of European counter-cyclicals and the group's relationship to the German Bund (here). A quick look at sector performance in Europe so far this year shows the top three market leaders have indeed been the counter-cyclicals (with the exception of the Consumer Staples sector).

2014-07-14 Strategies for Income-Seeking Investors by Ed Perks of Franklin Templeton Investments

Many income-seeking investors have traditionally centered their portfolios around government bonds, often failing to consider other asset classes. Ed Perks, executive vice president and director of portfolio management, Franklin Equity Group, believes equities can be a key part of an income-oriented portfolio, although individual stock selection is particularly important as valuations rise and interest rate dynamics may change.

2014-07-14 Economic Signals Are Improving, Which Should Help Equity Prices by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities lost ground last week, with the S&P 500 Index dropping just under 1%, its largest weekly loss since early April.1 Cyclical sectors lagged, while defensive areas (chiefly utilities and telecommunications) led the way. A number of factors could be blamed for the decline, including signs of slowing European growth and lingering debt problems, as well as some downward revisions in corporate earnings guidance. In our view, however, the most reasonable explanation for the pullback may simply be fatigue and consolidation following the multi-week price advance.

2014-07-14 How to Debunk 35 Years of High School Myths by Mariko Gordon (Article)

I highlight three key insights from "The Debunking Handbook," and explain how these can prevent misinformation from doing harm in the world.

2014-07-13 Life has Changed in Burma by Patricia Higase of Link Road Capital Management

Changes come from within a country on a day to day basis and are happening far longer without being obvious. Life in Burma has changed drastically uncovering new opportunities. The changes are real and certainly isn’t all hype.

2014-07-12 2014 Commodities Halftime Report by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

What a difference six months can make. After a disappointing 2013, the commodities market came roaring back full throttle, outperforming the S&P 500 Index by more than 4 percentage points and 10-year Treasury bonds by more than 6.

2014-07-11 Housing Starts, Personal Consumption Expenditure and Durable Good Orders Show the Truth by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Group Financial Services

The U.S. GDP number doesn’t lie. Housing starts, Personal Consumption Expenditure and Durable Goods Orders show the truth.

2014-07-11 Forward P/E is Poor Valuation Tool by Stephen Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

I cringe when I hear someone on Wall Street say that the market is cheap based on forward P/E (price-earnings ratio). Unfortunately, profit margin cycles change (revert back to trend) and those lofty earnings estimates get revised lower, making forward P/E a poor valuation tool. I came across this chart this week. Note where forward P/E was in October 2007 (15.2) and where it is today (15.6).

2014-07-11 Why The Fed Needs You To Sell Your Bonds by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today I will attempt to explain why longer-term interest rates have fallen significantly this year when almost everyone expected rates to rise. This discussion focuses on the fact that there is a shortage of Treasury securities in the marketplace today, especially in maturities of 10 years or longer. The shortage is due to a combination of factors that I will discuss below

2014-07-11 Solving the Income Puzzle by Christopher Remington, Michael Cirami, Kathleen Gaffney, Scott Page of Eaton Vance

With interest rates at near historic lows, investors are starved for income. Government bonds and high-grade corporates have generally been the core of investors’ income portfolios, but yields on these bonds are minimal. Delivering a potential double whammy for investors, the prospect of rising interest rates could bring principal losses because the prices of bonds in these core sectors are highly sensitive to changes in interest rates. Diversifying into nontraditional income sectors may provide investors with greater income and lessen their exposure to interest-rate risk.

2014-07-11 Indonesia: Hope for Change by Siddharth Bhargava of Matthews Asia

On Wednesday, Indonesia went to the polls to elect its seventh president. Unofficial results predict Joko Widodo, or Jokowi, to be the winner in a very tight race with rival Prabowo Subianto. Widely considered a man of the people, Jokowi came from humble beginnings as a furniture salesman. Although still lacking in experience on the national stage, his leadership is expected to be a stark contrast from Prabowo’s likely authoritarian style.

2014-07-11 Hong Kong: A Rich Market for Long-Term Investors by Jim Harvey, Dilip Badlani of The Royce Funds

While largely out of favor, we are finding Hong Kong-listed Chinese companies that possess the characteristics we typically look for in our investments—high returns on invested capital, strong balance sheets, and attractive dividend yields. Portfolio Managers Jim Harvey and Dilip Badlani run through some names they currently like and talk about why the market is still appealing.

2014-07-10 Is Dow 17,000 Dangerously High? This Comprehensive Review May Surprise You! by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

The Dow Jones Industrial Average recently closed above 17,000, a historical record and milestone. Consequently, the question at the forefront of every investor’s mind has understandably been raised. Has the market now become dangerously high and therefore destined for a crash? The truthful answer to this important question is that nobody can know for sure what the stock market might do over the short run.

2014-07-10 Are Prices Too High in U.S. Commercial Real Estate?? by John Murray of PIMCO

The recovery in commercial real estate (CRE) has been driven more by low rates than improvements in fundamentals. However, fundamentals are improving and capitalization rates should remain low amid low New Neutral policy rates. We expect capital flows in both debt and equity to CRE to continue to increase, and we see opportunities for investors resulting from capital flows, demographics, loan maturities and regulatory reforms. ?

2014-07-10 Guarding Against Complacency by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Investors should expect a quiet summer with markets rolling along, but with valuations becoming frothy now is a time to consider greater exposure to assets with higher credit quality.

2014-07-10 Europe’s Dividend Growth Explained by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

An interesting aspect of the WisdomTree annual rebalance process is identifying trends in aggregate regional Dividend Stream of major markets. As we just rebalanced our developed world Indexes, including Europe, we wanted to provide some insight into how Europe’s dividends grew in the 12 months prior to the rebalance.

2014-07-10 S&P500 is the Most Extended Above its 4-Year Moving Average Since 2000 by Team of GaveKal Capital

Stock prices as measured by the S&P 500 have risen some 190% from the low in March of 2009. The spectacular thrust this bull market has seen has put stocks above their moving average price levels by a wide margin. Our most recent data indicate the current price level of the S&P 500 is about 33% above its four year moving average price, which is exactly one standard deviation from the mean going back to 1931.

2014-07-10 Perspectives on Puerto Rico Municipal Bonds by Sheila Amoroso, Rafael Costas of Franklin Templeton Investments

Rafael Costas and Sheila Amoroso, Co-Directors, Municipal Bond Department, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group® offer some fresh perspective on ongoing developments in Puerto Rico, including a new Act that was signed into law there.

2014-07-10 Two Portfolio Moves to Consider after Second Half’s Strong Start by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Economic data showing improving U.S. growth helped the market kick off a strong start to the second half of the year. Russ believes the economic strength is likely to continue, and he shares two moves investors may want to consider to position portfolios for such an environment.

2014-07-10 The Three-Track Middle East by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

Rather than achieving internal convergence, the Middle East is now following at least three distinct paths, and already-large differences will persist and grow for a number of years to come. The main question is what will become of countries like Egypt, which can end up following the path of Syria or of the UAE.

2014-07-10 The End of Quantitative Easing by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

During the Financial Crisis, as the capital markets seized up and interbank lending froze, traditional tools of monetary policy proved ineffective. The Federal Reserve implemented a series of initiatives called Quantitative Easing that essentially used the central bank’s balance sheet to purchase bonds in the open market and directly manipulate interest rates lower. This tool proved extremely powerful and allowed the Fed to manipulate interest rates across the yield curve which, in turn, allowed for a wave of refinancing activity that helped to lower borrowing costs.

2014-07-09 Dealing With Red-Hot Markets by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

This summer the streets are sizzling… and so is the stock market. To the chagrin of value investors, US equities have not experienced a normal correction since May 2013. But what is “normal” and what is “hot”? This article discusses a behavioral measure of market extremity, the put/call ratio, and offers some basic advice for dealing with the current environment.

2014-07-09 New Analysis of 401(k) Plan Performance and Fees by Brian Donohue of October Three Consulting

In the paper Professors Ayres and Curtis conclude that 401(k) plan participants suffer significant losses from (1) sponsor-fiduciary fund menu construction decisions, (2) participant asset allocation mistakes and (3) high fees on plan investment options. To remedy this problem they make several innovative proposals for changes in the rules for 401(k) plan fund menu construction.

2014-07-09 Choosing Winners in Asian Credit: Key Trends and Themes by Raja Mukherji, Ronie Ganguly of PIMCO

Key trends include Asian credit supply, which is on track for another record year in 2014, and China's priority to promote cleaner and more efficient energy. Our bottom-up research and careful risk assessments – informed by macroeconomic perspectives – have us favoring select investments in several sectors of Asian credit markets, including state-owned enterprises in China and Korea, investment grade new issues and Basel III Tier 2 bank capital bonds. ?

2014-07-09 Tocqueville Gold Strategy Investor Letter: Second Quarter 2014 by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

John Hathaway, manager of the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), remarks in his latest quarterly letter that it appears "the precious metals complex, both mining shares and bullion, appears to be in the process of completing a major bottom extending back to mid-2013." He goes on to add that he is "becoming more comfortable with the proposition that the downside potential has been fully exhausted after nearly three years of declining prices and that the stage has been set for a major advance in the years to come."

2014-07-09 And That's the Quarter That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

The dismal winter weather is finally in the rearview mirror and stocks continued their record-setting ways.

2014-07-09 American Delusions Down Under by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

For better or worse, economic-policy debates in the United States are often echoed elsewhere, regardless of whether they are relevant. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s recently elected government provides a case in point.

2014-07-09 U.S. & European Flows: Potential Opportunity in European Debt? by Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

In discussions with our clients, we often notice their interest in hearing where WisdomTree or the industry is seeing inflows in order to gain new ideas for investment. As the market for global exchange-traded products continues to evolve, we believe that investors will increasingly look to global ETP flows for investment ideas.

2014-07-09 Will Firming Fundamentals Lead to a Firmer Fed? by Team of Northern Trust

Real gross domestic product (GDP) of the U.S. economy declined at an annual rate of 2.9% in the first quarter. Bad weather and distortions from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) left overall growth significantly weaker than expected. Nominal GDP fell at an annual rate of 1.7% in the first quarter, the first such occurrence during an expansion in the entire post-war period.

2014-07-09 Gut Wrenching by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The greater-than-expected downward revision to first quarter GDP was a shocker (even more of a surprise than Spain, Italy, and Portugal not making it out of group play in the World Cup). However, investors were willing to dismiss the bad first quarter performance. An inventory correction and a wider trade deficit subtracted 3.2 percentage points from 1Q14 GDP growth.

2014-07-09 Making a Market Call by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

In last Monday’s strategy report I noted that the week before July 4th has an upward bias for the equity markets. On Tuesday I backed that up by writing, “From 1950 to 2013 the market has delivered positive returns 72% of the time during the last two days of June and the first five days of July.”

2014-07-08 GMO versus Blackrock: Divergent Views of Global Markets by Justin Kermond (Article)

GMO's Ben Inker says he wouldn't touch U.S. small-capitalization stocks "with a 10-foot pole" - and says he sees no asset class that is attractively priced. That isn't the way Blackrock, the world's largest asset manager, views things. Blackrock's Dennis Stattman likes Japanese equities and gold and isn't afraid of rising rates.

2014-07-08 Why Free Trade Hurts Economic Growth by Marianne Brunet (Article)

Free trade, deregulation and limiting the federal government's powers form what Columbia professors Joseph Stiglitz and Bruce Greenwald call the Washington Consensus - the core precepts that have dominated policymaking for the last 50 years. But those ideas are misguided, they contend. Tariffs and trade restrictions, for example, are fine, especially if they are part of a broad framework that stimulates learning throughout a society.

2014-07-08 The Importance of Likability by Daniel Solin (Article)

I am fascinated by the disconnect between what advisors say to persuade prospects to become clients and what data indicate would actually work. The truth is that most of us need to radically change our approach to prospect meetings.

2014-07-08 ETF Trading Tips by Ed Rosenberg (Article)

Ed Rosenberg of FlexShares ETFs shares his thoughts on trading tips at two critical moments in the trading day - the market open and the market close.

2014-07-08 The Power of Share Repurchases by Patrick O'Shaughnessy of O'Shaughnessey Asset management

One of the most effective stock selection strategies in the U.S. over the past several decades has been to buy stocks that are in the midst of repurchasing significant quantities of their shares—but just blindly following buybacks isn’t always the best strategy. While many companies that are repurchasing large quantities of their shares make for great investments, others are dangerous and should be avoided. There are several important factors that should be considered when evaluating a stock with impressive buybacks.

2014-07-08 Blowout Jobs Data Won’t Trigger Quicker Rate Hike by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

The markets are digesting a stellar jobs report, which may fuel debate over when the Fed will start raising rates. But it’s important for investors to understand the Fed’s holistic approach in order to avoid a kneejerk reaction, writes Kristina Hooper.

2014-07-08 Slow but Steady Growth by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

In the second quarter of 2014 major asset class performance was positive. The Dow was up 2.4%, the S&P up 4.7%, and the NASDAQ up 5%. International equities nearly kept pace with US equities; the MSCI ACWI ex US was up 3.8%.

2014-07-08 How Jay Kaplan Interprets Royce's Investment Process by Jay Kaplan and Francis Gannon (Article)

At the heart of our investment process is risk management, a hallmark of our work put into practice by Chuck Royce more than 40 years ago. To this day, mitigating, controlling, and thinking about risk continues to guide our seasoned staff of investment professionals and to inform our long-term portfolio decisions. Co-Chief Investment Officer Francis Gannon sits down with Portfolio Manager Jay Kaplan to talk about our process.

2014-07-08 Looking Closer at Morningstar Peer Groups for Fund Analysis by Gunjan Banati and Francis Gannon (Article)

Director of Risk Management Gunjan Banati sits down with Co-Chief Investment Officer Francis Gannon to discuss the results of her Morningstar peer group research whitepaper and suggests ways in which investors can compare funds within peer groups more effectively.

2014-07-08 Absolute Returns with Less Volatility: A Premise of Our Firm by Chris Clark and Chuck Royce (Article)

In stark contrast to last year's virtually correction-free bull market, 2014 has already seen two pullbacks large enough to give investors pause. Chuck Royce and Co-Chief Investment Officer Chris Clark discuss the current environment and how we as a firm have attempted to guard against the market's volatile behavior.

2014-07-08 Newsletter by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz

Hi! I hope you had a great 4th and you’re having a great summer. It’s been a busy one at E&K as you’ll see from my closing note and a fun one for Deena and me as we recently returned from a cruise to Reykjavik, Iceland, a most charming city but a bit off-putting with over 20 hours of sunlight.

2014-07-08 Volatility Takes a Sabbatical by Mark Oelschlager of Oak Associates

The theme of the second quarter was low volatility, as stocks continued to grind higher. As June ended, the S&P 500 had gone 51 consecutive trading sessions without moving 1% or more in either direction. Not since April 16 has the index moved at least 1% in a given day. This is a remarkable streak and quite a contrast with the volatility of recent years. Naturally, when something like this happens, the inclination is to try to figure out what it means for the market going forward.

2014-07-08 Will Latest Jobs Report Force the Fed to Act? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

After a reasonably bleak winter, labor markets are on the rebound, just in time for the Federal Reserve to decide when they should stop asset purchases. Recent figures suggest that labor markets are very near Fed targets, raising the possibility that interest rate hikes could begin sooner than expected.

2014-07-08 An Allocation to Currencies May Provide Income and Lower an Overall Portfolio’s Volatility by Michael Cirami, Eric Stein, John Baur, Matthew Murphy, Bradford Godfrey of Eaton Vance

Most investors understand the benefits of diversification and the risks of owning just one security. But many overlook the benefits of broadening their currency exposure and have all their investments concentrated in the U.S. dollar. Investing in a mix of foreign currencies may lower the risks of an overall portfolio, provide additional sources of income and can potentially enable investors to pursue a wider array of opportunities around the world.

2014-07-08 Managing Valuation Risk by Rebalancing by Tripp Zimmerman of WisdomTree

We think it is important to be mindful of how an annual rebalance back to an underlying fundamental such as dividends can help manage valuation risks—a key factor in why the non-cap-weighted indexes are included in the “smart beta” category of indexes.

2014-07-08 Four Characteristics of a Thunderstorm...and the Stock Market by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Summer storms in the stock market tend to conform to Mother Nature’s version.

2014-07-08 The Internet is Brutally Efficient and Totally Agnostic by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

On my way home from work recently my progress was impinged by a group of protesters headed up 4th Avenue in downtown Seattle to the headquarters of the Gates Foundation. Bill and Melinda Gates are spending millions trying to figure out how to make the U.S. education system more efficient and successful. Some of their recommendations are thought to damage efforts by the most powerful teachers’ unions to protect the interests of teachers. The Gates Foundation wants to bring efficiency and seems to understand that they need to be agnostic in their approach.

2014-07-07 Adapt or Perish: The Retirement Financial Decision by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Investors should pay very careful attention to how retirement investing has changed versus 10 or 20 years ago, get educated about it and then apply it to their specific situation. Financially-speaking, it’s a case of “adapt or perish.”

2014-07-07 TIPS Outperform in the 2014 Second Quarter and First Half by Stephen Percoco of Lark Research, Inc.

TIPS have been on a tear so far in 2014. While returns on straight Treasury securities have been strong, TIPS returns have been stronger. After scampering away from Treasurys last year out of fears about the winding down of Federal Reserve stimulus, bond investors seemed reassured, after the weak first quarter GDP report and statements by the Fed, that interest rates are not about to rise anytime soon.

2014-07-07 The Tide is High by Edward Talisse of Chelsea Global Advisors

It took a while but I think I finally get it. The Federal Reserve has embarked on a Parallel Campaign - operating on two separate planes that seemingly never intersect, yet both having readily recognized similarities. My eureka moment finally came this past week when Ms. Yellen, in a rebuff to the Bank for International Settlements, said "because resilient financial system can (now) withstand unexpected developments, identification of bubbles is less critical."

2014-07-07 Europe’s Debt Wish by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

It is difficult to see how Europe can revive economic growth without significant debt restructuring or rescheduling. But Europe’s politicians seem utterly unable to contemplate this scenario, thus placing a huge burden on the ECB.

2014-07-07 The Prudent Investor’s Approach to Retirement Income by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

Each day, ten thousand people reach the age where retirement is a possibility. For some the choice is optional, but for others it is mandatory. A lively debate is taking place among academics and professionals in the investment industry regarding what the proper approach is for meeting financial needs in retirement.

2014-07-07 Track Daily Progress to Move Your Business Forward by Dan Richards (Article)

Few of us will ever run the 26 miles of a marathon. But you can apply some lessons from new research on marathon runners to hit your own goals and help clients hit theirs.

2014-07-07 Five Tips for Being a Great Wall Street Journal Source by Joe Anthony (Article)

When you get the call to be interviewed by a journalist, be ready to maximize the rare (not to mention cost-free) chance for exposure and messaging on a mass scale. Here are five top tips to become a top interviewee.

2014-07-07 Dealing with Employees Who Are All Ideas but No Action by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I run a training group in a large company. One of my key employees frustrates me. He is an "idea guy" but not an implementer. I like his ideas and am supportive, but I need to see action to know they are working. How do I rein someone is who is a big thinker but not a big doer?

2014-07-07 Recovery in the Eurozone by Stephen Peak (Article)

Stephen Peak provides an update on the European economy and the Henderson European Focus Fund. He notes the EU is about to appoint a new president and it will be interesting to see if there are any changes with accountability. Stephen comments that more recently we've seen the ECB propose new measures to help promote and stimulate growth across the Eurozone. The issues remain in the south where we're seeing an 'anemic' recovery. Overall, his view is still constructive and sees opportunity within individual equities.

2014-07-07 Looking Back - Beta Drove Returns Last Week by Team of GaveKal Capital

As we tend to do at the beginning of a new week, we are going to look back briefly at the previous week to see what of our 30 factors had the highest explanatory value to the market. The "winner" last week was Beta which had a 0.90 r-square value to the market. TIPS yield had the second highest r-square at 0.87. Over the past year, the 3-month change in EPS estimates continues to have the greatest r-square value followed by P/E and P/B.

2014-07-07 Quotes on a Screen and Blotches of Ink by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The ratio of market capitalization to GDP, which Warren Buffett (correctly) observed in a 2001 Fortune interview is "probably the single best measure of where valuations stand at any given moment" is now about 150% (not just 50%) above its pre-bubble norm, and beyond every point in history except for the final quarter of 1999 and the first two quarters of 2000. Much of what investors view as "wealth" here is little but transitory quotes on a screen and blotches of ink on pieces of paper that have today’s date on them. Investors seem to have forgotten how that works.

2014-07-07 India and Indonesia: Change, Challenge and Opportunity by Jack Deino of Invesco Blog

In both India and Indonesia, leaders are facing intense pressure from markets and investors to initiate reforms that are real rather than merely cosmetic. Our outlook is somewhat more bullish for India, but we believe change can lead to opportunity in both countries.

2014-07-05 I'm Grateful to Live in America. Here's Why. by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

An important principle of our investment process at U.S. Global Investors is a belief that government policies are a precursor to change. As a result, we closely monitor the fiscal, monetary and other impactful governmental policies of the world’s largest countries, both in terms of economic stature and population. We’re always listening for the proverbial shot heard around the world. As we approach America’s Independence Day, this belief rings especially true.

2014-07-05 June Employment Situation: Fitting Gift for America’s Birthday by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Today’s U.S. employment report was a very good one. It was strong enough to suggest good economic momentum but not so strong as to alarm the Federal Reserve.

2014-07-05 Harnessing Solar in China by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

China has revised its solar energy targets several times in recent years. This year, it has set even more aggressive targets for solar deployment. But it still has a long way to go before large-scale adoption is possible. This week, Teresa Kong writes about her visit to a small town outside of Beijing to see a Greenpeace solar project that is encouraging households and enterprises to consider going green. What are the barriers to smooth implementation?

2014-07-05 2014 Mid-Year Outlook Update: “Living Actively” Forecast Continues by Stephen Wood of Russell Investments

Does 2014 at mid-year remain a “year of living actively” for investors as outlined in Russell’s 2014 Annual Global Outlook issued last December? In that report, my colleagues on the global team of investment strategists agreed on the macro-view that 2014 would be better represented as a year of validation than a year of appreciation. And now, as we examine the underlying fundamentals in the macro- data at mid-year, I don’t see a reason yet to alter our “year of validation” call.

2014-07-05 Central Bank Smackdown by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

And so it is that on a beautiful July 4 weekend we will amuse ourselves by contemplating the serious smackdown that central bankers are visiting upon each other. If the ramifications of their antics were not so serious, they would actually be quite amusing. This week’s shorter than usual letter will explore the implications of the contretemps among the world’s central bankers and take a little dive into yesterday’s generally positive employment report.

2014-07-03 Why Invest in International Now? by Team of AMG Funds

In light of the strong performance from U.S. stocks over the past five years, it’s reasonable for an investor to ask “Why international stocks now?”. We are convinced that the reasons for investing internationally are even more compelling today than they were twenty years ago. Permit us to illustrate the most significant reasons for investing internationally today.

2014-07-03 A Perspective on High Yield Spreads by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

There have been recent headlines about yields in the high-yield market hitting all-time lows. Yes, this is true, but let’s put this in some context. First, interest rates have been at or near all-time lows for years, pressuring yields in all fixed income securities as investors search for places to generate returns. Comparatively, we believe the high yield market still looks very attractive.

2014-07-03 Reality-Based Cost Of Living Index Tells The Real Reason Why So Many Americans Are Struggling by Steve Rumsey of Optimus Advisory Group

Ever wonder why rises in the Consumer Price Index ("CPI") seem low compared to your own personal experiences? Or why social security annual cost of living increases seem to get smaller and smaller? Or why inflation-adjusted pensions can't seem to keep up with general price increases? Or why the American worker gets such meager annual raises (if at all) that they seem to fall further behind year after year?

2014-07-03 One Big Idea?? by William Gross of PIMCO

?Investing and business success can often depend on one BIG idea and its timing. The peaking of short-term interest rates at 20% in the early 1980s and the bursting of the DotCom and NASDAQ bubble 20 years later were excellent examples of big ideas that made or broke investment portfolios.

2014-07-03 The Moneyball of Quality Investing by Vitali Kalesnik, Engin Kose of Research Affiliates

Factor investing has rightfully gained adherents among investors seeking superior risk-adjusted returns. Our research reveals that quality is not a factor that reliably commands a premium in its own right. Nonetheless, value investing conditioned upon certain indicators of company quality is a promising strategy.

2014-07-03 Mid-Year Emerging Markets Update: ‘Recovery Phase’ by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

As I’ve often said, investing in emerging markets requires patience, long-term perspective, and selective stock-picking. I think many investors focus too much on the short-term. As long-term investors, we view short-term bouts of volatility as an opportune time to find potential bargains for our portfolios, and we certainly experienced that in the first half of the year.

2014-07-03 The Consumption Drag: What it Means for Investors by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

The one segment of the U.S. economy that still appears to be lagging is also the biggest: household consumption. Russ explains why slower consumer spending is likely to continue dragging down U.S. economic growth, noting three implications for investors.

2014-07-03 Can Copper Prices Continue Climbing? by Team of GaveKal Capital

Copper prices continue to recover from weakness earlier in the year, but are approaching an area of resistance.

2014-07-03 The Outlook for Yields by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

As U.S. economic growth gathers pace, yields on 10-year U.S. Treasuries should shift higher over the next two to three years, eventually moving as high as 3.75-4 percent.

2014-07-02 Alternative Investments: The Right Expectations by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Every year around this time we hear about the fiscal year investment results for the various college endowments and typically there is much written about the endowments and 2014 is no exception but this year most of the attention seems to be on the extent to which various forms of alternative investments have been a drag on endowment results after years of their having provided outsized gains.

2014-07-02 Forget 2008 While Avoiding Popularity by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

We continue to be encouraged by the endless interest in doomsday writing about the next 2008 and the way asset allocators have positioned themselves to defend against its possibility. The most popular writers seem convinced dismal returns are in front of us, economic success in the US is impossible and that the next US stock market decline will punish fully-invested common stock owners. It is our belief the next ten years will include two bear markets of over 20%.

2014-07-02 June 2014 Pension Finance Update by Brian Donohue of October Three Consulting

Explore a real-time comparison of assets and liabilities for both a traditional pension plan and cash balance plan based on current market conditions. Our monthly snapshot provides immediate feedback as well as a look ahead for Plan Sponsors.

2014-07-02 1Q GDP Plunges Nearly 3% - What Will The Fed Do Now? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today we take a closer look at last week’s very ugly 1Q GDP report and see if we can discern why it was so much worse than anyone expected (hint: it was more than the severe winter weather). Fortunately, it continues to look like 2Q growth will come in at +3.0% or better. But even if GDP for the rest of the year comes in strong, the devastating 1Q will ensure yet another slow growth year.

2014-07-02 Gouging the Gauchos by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

Like individuals and private firms that rely on bankruptcy procedures to reduce an excessive debt burden, countries sometimes need orderly debt restructuring or reduction. But the ongoing legal saga of Argentina’s fight with holdout creditors shows that the international system for orderly sovereign-debt restructuring may be broken.

2014-07-02 On Top of the Market Chart Book - "Global Equities Inch Forward in the First Quater" by Team of AMG Funds

Now updated through 1Q. This compendium provides an historical perspective of economic data compared to today's results, and provides comments on any developing trends. We also include a synopsis of financial markets results. The OTOTM Chart Book is designed with easy-to-read graphics to tell a story and help you visualize the changes taking place in today's economy.

2014-07-01 What an Elite Group of Younger Advisors Has to Say by Bob Veres (Article)

I recently served as a facilitator for the annual NexGen conference, this year held on the campus of Augustana University in Moline, IL. I was able to gain insight into the very different way that the financial planning landscape looks through the eyes of younger advisors just starting their careers - and in many cases, from the bottom end of a planning firm's organizational chart.

2014-07-01 New Research on How to Choose Portfolio Return Assumptions by Wade Pfau (Article)

Care must be taken with portfolio return assumptions, as small differences compound into dramatically different financial outcomes over a lifetime. My research shows just how big those differences are and how they vary in the pre- and post-retirement phases.

2014-07-01 How to Make Happiness Happen by Daniel Solin (Article)

The strategies for becoming happier are not difficult to understand. However, changing entrenched patterns of behavior can be challenging. Here are some tips to help you achieve greater happiness in your life.

2014-07-01 Five Social-Media Timesavers by Sarah Scorgie (Article)

Save time on your social-media efforts by planning ahead and using online tools.

2014-07-01 Fielding Complaints About Fees by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We are telling clients who are closing in on retirement to keep a significant percentage in cash. One client asked us what he was paying us for if we recommend "the bank or the mattress." How do we respond to something like this?

2014-07-01 How $500 Can Propel Your Online Presence by Dan Richards (Article)

Summer is traditionally a slow time for many advisors. If your online skills aren’t up to snuff, the next eight weeks may be the best chance to ramp them up that you’ll see for another 12 months.

2014-07-01 Where are Municipals Headed in the Second Half by Roberto Roffo of Advisors Asset Management

With such strong performance in the first half of 2014 and interest rates at such low levels already, one would think that the municipal bond market has run its course and can’t possibly continue to produce positive returns.

2014-07-01 The 2014 Mid-Year Geopolitical Update by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

As is our custom, we take the middle of the year to reflect on the current geopolitical situation. This report is less a series of predictions as it is a list of potential geopolitical issues that we believe will dominate the international landscape for the rest of the year. It is not designed to be exhaustive; instead, it focuses on the “big picture” conditions that we believe will affect policy and markets going forward. They are listed in order of importance: America’s Strategic Drift, Chinese Maritime Expansion, The German Problem, and The Remaking of the Middle East.

2014-07-01 Fixed Income Markets Cruise - What's Next? by Chris Maxey, Brian Payne of Fortigent

For the better part of twelve months, fixed income markets have been in a rather benign state. After receiving a scare in early summer 2013 during the “taper tantrum,” volatility subsided, and normalcy returned to the world of fixed income. As money continues to pour into fixed income markets, there is growing concern that the investment opportunity is stretched and the time to rebalance is now.

2014-07-01 Housing Shows Fewer Cracks in Its Foundation by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Home sales are on the rise due to lower interest rates and increased demand following a difficult winter, but wage growth must follow in order to keep the housing recovery going, writes Kristina Hooper.

2014-07-01 Weekly Market Update by Team of Castleton Partners

Treasury yields fell across the maturity spectrum last week, with longer dated maturities recording the largest price gains relative to shorter dated bonds and notes. With geopolitical concerns continuing to weigh heavily on investors’ minds, interest rates were propelled lower on the surprising revision to the 1st quarter GDP and the resulting downward revisions to 2nd quarter GDP estimates.

2014-07-01 Reality Check by Robert Rodriguez of FPA Funds

Bob Rodriguez, Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer of FPA, delivered a speech titled "Reality Check" to shareholders of FPA funds on June 2, 2014, on Fed policy and federal fiscal excess.

2014-07-01 LPL Financial Research Mid-Year Outlook 2014: Investor’s Almanac Field Notes by Jeff Kleintop of LPL Financial

At this year’s halfway point, we are pleased to offer the LPL Financial Research Mid-Year Outlook 2014: Investor’s Almanac Field Notes containing key observations and updates to our outlook for 2014. Similar to a farming almanac, our Investor’s Almanac is a publication containing a guide to patterns, tendencies, and seasonal observations important to growing. The goal of farming is not merely to grow crops, but to sustain living things—investing shares the same goal.

2014-07-01 Chuck Royce on 2Q14: Fundamentals Reassert Their Importance by Chuck Royce of The Royce Funds

Since the May 2013 low for the 10-year Treasury, we have seen the market shift its focus to more fundamentally and financially stronger companies with attractive long-term prospects—qualities that we have always championed at Royce.

2014-07-01 Turmoil in Iraq — Implications for the Oil Markets by Jonathan Mogil of Columbia Management

Oil prices and energy security have once again come back into the spotlight as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the group known as ISIS, has taken control over parts of northern and western Iraq. To date, the impact on oil prices has been fairly muted, but any escalation of violence could pose a serious threat to the stability of global oil markets and has a wide range of implications for future OPEC crude supply growth.

2014-06-30 The New Normal of Healthcare Spending by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

A rather interesting shockwave came across the newsfeeds this week. I was actually doing a TV interview when the host announced that GDP was down 2.9% for the first quarter. There was not much else I could do but note that that was a really bad, ugly, terrible, not very good number.

2014-06-30 Revisiting Valuation Extremes - 2008 to Now by Team of GaveKal Capital

Last week we took a look at how much price to book multiples have expanded since 2008. Today, we are undergoing the same exercise but this time we are looking at price to cash flow multiples.

2014-06-30 Taking a Balanced View of Equities by Lisa Myers of Franklin Templeton Investments

With the US S&P 500 Index and Dow Jones Industrial Average advancing into record territory this year and some European equity benchmarks likewise nearing new highs, some investors may be wondering whether it’s still wise to be jumping into the market at this stage. Lisa Myers, executive vice president, Templeton Global Equity Group, thinks that a long-term investment horizon, supported by bottom-up analysis, can reveal hidden value.

2014-06-30 The Delusion of Perpetual Motion by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The Federal Reserve’s promise to hold safe interest rates at zero for a very long period of time has not created a perpetual motion machine for stocks. No – it has simply created an environment where investors have felt forced to speculate, to the point where stocks are now also priced to deliver zero total returns for a very long period of time. Put simply, we are already here. Investment decisions driven primarily by the question “What other choice do I have?” are likely to prove regrettable.

2014-06-28 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

The recovery which began in 2009 has been weak and uneven. Some have blamed scarring from the financial crisis: wounds to the balance sheets of households, banks, and governments are taking a long time to heal. Under this school of thought, returning to pre-crisis normalcy is simply a matter of time, with the mending promoted by accommodative monetary policy. If the strategy works, we’ll eventually return to the 3% real growth that we’ve averaged over the past generation.

2014-06-28 Health Care Sector Spurred by Population Growth and M&As by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Recently I spoke with John Derrick, director of research here at U.S. Global, to pick his brain about what he thought was the most interesting sector right now. You might expect him to have said energy, perhaps because of the intensifying violence in Kurdistan Iraq, a major oil producer. But instead, he said that he had his eyes on health care.

2014-06-28 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 135.4, down from the previous week's adjusted 135.3. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is unchanged at 4.3 (the previous week adjusted down from 4.4).

2014-06-27 F.A.S.T. Fundamentals On CSX Corp by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

CSX has performed exceptionally well over the past decade. The “usual suspect” metrics like P/E ratios, dividend yield and expected earnings growth indicate that the company might be a reasonable investment. This article takes a “behind the scenes” view of a variety of additional fundamental data.

2014-06-27 A Brief Note on Gold as a Defensive Asset by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

In previous notes we have written about the defensive nature of gold relative to the broad equity market. Much of the discussion has focused on the low correlation and beta of gold versus equity markets. In fact, the ten year monthly returns of gold (priced in US dollar terms) and the S&P 500 show a correlation of zero with the beta of monthly gold returns versus S&P 500 returns also being essentially zero (0.1).

2014-06-27 Rethinking the Sino-American Relationship by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

In early July, senior US and Chinese officials will gather in Beijing for the sixth Strategic and Economic Dialogue. With bilateral frictions mounting on a number of fronts, the summit offers an opportunity for a serious reconsideration of the relationship between the world’s two most powerful countries.

2014-06-27 Timing Low Volatility Investments by Feifei Li of Research Affiliates

If a secular bear market is coming, a low-volatility strategy might serve well. The five-year return of a simulated low-vol portfolio beat cap-weighting 75% of the time when the market P/E exceeded 20.

2014-06-27 Time To Do Less Not More by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

The current situation in Iraq is a modern tragedy. But in more practical terms it is a very stark illustration of the folly of central planning and the limits of state power in the face of entrenched traditions and proven history. Although the parallels aren't perfect, the rapid dissolution of the puppet Iraqi state can offer some stark lessons to those who are optimistic about our current experiment in central bank dominated economic planning.

2014-06-27 How Road Construction Can Help With Portfolio Construction by R. Scott Dennis of Invesco Blog

Investors have long looked to real estate to provide income potential, hedge against future inflation and provide diversification to traditional stock and bond portfolios. More recently, an increasing number of investors have been expanding their horizons and including real assets in their portfolio construction as well – such as infrastructure and master limited partnerships (MLPs). At Invesco Real Estate, we believe the US — and the world — is heading for a building boom that would bode well for real assets.

2014-06-27 Avoiding the Losers by Team of Hotchkis & Wiley

In Hotchkis & Wiley's 2014 High Yield 2Q Newsletter, Ray Kennedy, Mark Hudoff, and the rest of Hotchkis & Wiley's high yield team discuss the team's belief "that averting mistakes is the single most important quality in successful high yield investing," and that an "avoid the losers” mentality can be achieved by focusing on securities that are senior in the capital structure, emphasizing asset coverage, and looking closely at covenant packages, a third level of defense that the team believes is often overlooked by high yield investors.

2014-06-26 Benefits of Optimizing Portfolio Capture Ratios by Don Schreiber, Jr., Craig French of WBI Investments

The world of investing has changed dramatically. Over the past decade, many investors have discovered that conventional passive growth stock approaches failed to meet their goals. Following a buy-and-hold approach, investors suffered losses of as much as 51% during the 2000 through 2013 period. We believe conventional portfolio theory regarding the benefits of diversification has been broadly misinterpreted to mean that market returns will bail you out, and so investors should not worry about short-term losses.

2014-06-26 Stock Picking Matters in the Current Market Climate by Whitney George of The Royce Funds

Has the current market environment begun to favor less speculative companies and investment managers with a more active orientation? Director of Investments, Managing Director, and Portfolio Manager Whitney George talks about valuations, sectors and industries that he believes look promising, and some names in which he has high conviction.

2014-06-26 Iraq Crisis Impact on Oil? by Tim Guinness, Will Riley, Jonathan Waghorn of Guinness Atkinson Asset Management

The rise and rapid expansion of the Sunni enclave known by its new rulers under Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (or ISIS; al-Sham means greater Syria) comes as no great surprise. No-one can predict how far it can expand or how quickly it will be crushed (if ever).

2014-06-26 You Don’t Have to Love Soccer by Brian Andrew of Cleary Gull

The FIFA World Cup (for soccer aka football) is in full swing. There are 32 teams from around the world treating a world-wide audience of nearly 2 billion to a great show of sport. The teams are competing for $576 million in prize money. And while the U.S. will not likely make it to the final match, the tournament does offer some insight into diverse economies around the globe and why we should consider international investments as a pillar in any portfolio.

2014-06-26 Economic Update by Team of Northern Trust

U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) fell at an annual rate of 2.9% in the first quarter. However, forward economic momentum is intact.

2014-06-26 The Signal and the Noise by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers are dismissing as “noise” signs that inflation pressure is building, but perhaps they should be listening more closely.

2014-06-26 Behind the Curve? by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

Despite the Fed labeling the recent inflation increase as “noise,” longer-term bond yields rose, inflation expectations increased, and the yield curve steepened -- all signs of the bond market pricing in inflation risks. As the low inflation pillar of year-to-date bond strength fades, it may be one more reason to be cautious in the bond market.

2014-06-26 Could Events in Iraq Shock Your Portfolio? by Greg Sharenow of PIMCO

We expect a relatively small impact on oil prices for the rest of the year once the dust settles and sectarian lines are drawn. These events call into question Iraq’s ability to keep increasing oil production, which will likely support elevated prices in the years to come. We believe owning oil as a portfolio defense presents an interesting opportunity. ?

2014-06-26 U.S. Rates — Data Dependence by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

The June FOMC meeting contained a little bit for everyone and interest rates reacted only marginally after the announcements. But looking across asset markets—including nominal and inflation-linked bonds, equities, commodities and the dollar—it’s clear that investors interpreted the news as another dovish surprise from the Fed. We are not sure that is the correct interpretation, and the reason comes down to the issue of “data dependence”.

2014-06-25 Approaching a Tipping Point by Mike Boyle of Advisors Asset Management

On Thursday, June 19, the S&P 500 made it 66th new high of this bull market and unfortunately, based on almost any metric available, one could argue that the U.S. equity markets are due for at least a mild correction – or more.

2014-06-25 World Cup and World CPI Are Heating Up, Risking Mistakes by Key Players by Jeffrey Kleintop of LPL Financial

Just as the World Cup has been heating up, increasing the risk of player mistakes, the world consumer price index (CPI) has also been heating up, complicating the task for policymakers at the world’s central banks and increasing the risk of mistakes that could have market implications.

2014-06-25 Economy: 1Q Looks Even Worse, But 2Q Looks Good by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The government’s final estimate of 1Q GDP comes out tomorrow, and it is expected to be revised from -1.0% to near -2.0%. Based on recently released data, it is clear that healthcare spending by consumers was considerably lower in the 1Q than first estimated. We’ll look at some of the reasons why.

2014-06-25 The Fed’s Outlook: Optimistic? Or Just Hopeful? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

As expected, Federal Reserve policymakers left short-term interest rates unchanged, did not alter the forward guidance on the federal funds target rate, and trimmed the monthly pace of asset purchases by another $10 billion (to $35 billion beginning in July). In its policy statement, the FOMC was a bit more optimistic about a pickup in growth. Fed officials’ forecasts of 2014 GDP growth were revised lower, but implicitly, forecasts for the final three quarters of 2014 remained strong.

2014-06-25 Truth or Consequences? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

I am always trying to manage the “risks” inherent with investing (or trading), for as Benjamin Graham stated, “The essence of investment management is the management of risks, not the management of returns. Well-managed portfolios start with this precept.” And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I often “wait” on an investment until its share price is at a point where if I am wrong, I will be wrong quickly, and the incidence of “loss” will be small and manageable.

2014-06-25 Self Sufficiency and Resourcefulness Over Complaining by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

There were several interesting and related articles from the last few days that could make for an interesting discussion.

2014-06-25 Are You Managing Volatility? ... Or Is It Managing You? by Team of Eaton Vance

Market volatility has often led investors to make emotional decisions, resulting in portfolio performance that may have hindered their progress toward long-term investment goals. Eaton Vance believes that a sound investment strategy can and should provide long-term investors with the tools needed to effectively manage volatility — not only by defending against it, but perhaps by turning it to the investor’s advantage. We do not believe there is a single, “silver-bullet” solution to the challenge of succeeding through the market’s inevitable ups and downs.

2014-06-25 Just Because the Fed Is Doing the Right Thing Now Is No Guarantee It Will Continue to Do So by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

The Fed is continuing to slow the growth in the amount of credit it is creating. In December 2013, the year-over-year growth in the sum of Fed outright holdings of securities and its net repurchase agreements (repurchase agreements minus reverse repurchase agreements) was 41.1%. As of May, the year-over-year growth in this sum had slowed to 24.8%.

2014-06-25 French Business Climate: Un Petit Problème by Team of GaveKal Capital

French business sentiment followed in the footsteps of the disappointing German Ifo survey from yesterday.

2014-06-25 Mid-Year Muni Market Update by Rafael Costas of Franklin Templeton Investments

The municipal bond market faced a rather tough year in 2013, with news of troubles in Detroit, Puerto Rico and elsewhere scaring off some investors. This year hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for the muni market either, but the waters seem a bit calmer and many investors have returned to the sector. Rafael Costas, Co-Director, Municipal Bond Department, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group, could be called cautiously optimistic about the muni market. He provides an update on some key market developments, including progress in the aforementioned trouble spots.

2014-06-25 Can Tesla Motors Strengthen Its Brand by Giving Away Its Patents? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

“Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.” That’s according to Elon Musk, CEO of electric automaker Tesla Motors Inc., which we own in our All American Equity (GBTFX) and Holmes Macros Trends (MEGAX) Funds.

2014-06-25 Where the Equity Opportunities Are by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Given that U.S. stocks are no longer cheap and most stock market bargains are now found overseas, Russ believes that U.S. investors should look abroad for equity opportunities.

2014-06-25 Rethinking Revenue Sharing by Daniel Notto of AllianceBernstein

While revenue sharing may be a legitimate way to pay for the costs of operating a plan, both US courts and the Department of Labor (DOL) have made it clear that plan sponsors have a significant responsibility as fiduciaries to fully understand, evaluate and monitor their revenue-sharing arrangements and determine whether they are reasonable. Therefore, the most prudent response for plan sponsors may be to rethink the practice of revenue sharing altogether.

2014-06-24 Recent Events Affecting Global Fixed Income Markets by Phil Apel and James McAlevey (Article)

Phil Apel, Head of Fixed Income and James McAlevey, Head of Interest Rates review the three most significant developments in financial markets over the last month: the 50bp (0.50%) cut by the Bank of Mexico, the improvement of US economic data, particularly employment reports and finally, most importantly, the policy response form the European Central Bank (ECB) to take interest rates negative and raise liquidity in the Eurozone. These have all been very positive for fixed income assets in the short term.

2014-06-24 The Long-Term Role of Fixed Income in a Portfolio by Shundrawn Thomas (Article)

This video provides an overview of the fixed income space, including current trends and where they might lead. It also delivers insights on the role fixed income plays in a portfolio and how innovation allows fixed income ETFs to enter the mix.

2014-06-24 What Opportunities Do Active and Passive Strategies Provide in the Current Market? by Chris Clark and Chuck Royce (Article)

In the post financial-crisis period, there has been much debate over active versus passive strategies. Co-Chief Investment Officer Chris Clark and Chuck Royce discuss this topic, along with active management in the small-cap space, the characteristics of an actively managed portfolio versus those of an index-based portfolio, current small-cap opportunities, and the case for active management in today's environment.

2014-06-24 Is the Equity Premium Getting Smaller? by Michael Edesess (Article)

An estimate of the expected return on equities in excess of the risk-free rate seems to be anybody's guess. It would be nice to have a sound theory that tells us how to estimate it.

2014-06-24 How Morningstar Category Flux Impacts Peer Group Analysis by Sponsored Content by The Royce Funds (Article)

Morningstar's mutual fund categories are among the most frequently cited for peer group performance and investment approach comparisons. Our study, however, has found that membership in a Morningstar category can evolve considerably over time.

2014-06-24 Are Dividend Stocks Too Expensive? by Geoff Considine (Article)

Dividend strategies tend to have a strong value tilt and lower price-to-book (P/B) and price-to-earnings (P/E) ratios than the market as a whole. But those strategies can become overvalued. When this occurs - we are currently in such a period - building a high-dividend, low-risk portfolio requires extra care.

2014-06-24 How Proactive Advice Increases Client Loyalty by Dan Richards (Article)

You can certainly have clients walk away feeling good about staying the course, but you have to typically work harder to get clients to buy into that than to making shifts in their portfolios. Here are five proactive conversations you can have with clients.

2014-06-24 How to Make Happiness Happen by Daniel Solin (Article)

The strategies for becoming happier are not difficult to understand. However, changing entrenched patterns of behavior can be challenging. Here are some tips to help you achieve greater happiness in your life.

2014-06-24 Announcing a Merger? You Need a Game Plan by Kristen Luke (Article)

It wasn't until I announced my own firm's merger that I truly appreciated how complex this seemingly simple task really is. The following checklist can help you simplify the process and develop a game plan for making a successful announcement.

2014-06-24 Coping With an Erratic Boss by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We are all tired of the erratic behavior of the lead advisor in our firm. One day he is perfectly fine, then the next he is yelling in the hallways over some perceived infraction. I never know what is coming next. Can you suggest strategies that would better enable us to work with Doug?

2014-06-24 Red Sky in the Morn', Junk Bond Investors Be Warn'd. by Bryce Fegley of Saturna Capital

Investor appetite for income has pushed yields and spreads on high-yield bonds to very low levels, while corporate borrowers have fed that demand with record issuance of new debt. On top of low yields and heavy issuance, bond dealers have retreated from corporate bonds in response to new financial regulations. As a result of these factors, we believe now is a particularly risky time to invest in high-yield bonds. Here we offer some of our suggestions for seeking income and yield with less risk.

2014-06-24 Weekly Market Update by Team of Castleton Partners

With geopolitical risks abound, financial markets were resilient yet again last week, thanks to the mostly dovish tone struck by the Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve and its Chair, Janet Yellen. Despite recent economic indicators registering a pickup in growth and inflation, namely CPI, the FOMC reiterated its “lower for longer” theme in managing interest rate policy.

2014-06-24 Hexavest Viewpoint: Neutral on Japan by Frederic Imbeault of Eaton Vance

Macroeconomy: With little traction from fiscal policy and structural reforms, the pro-growth policies of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe known as “Abenomics” will continue to rely on the Bank of Japan’s loose monetary policy to maintain economic momentum. Valuation: Rising profits and the 2014 correction have pushed down P/E ratios on Japanese equities into more attractive territory. Investor sentiment: As contrarians and as the crowd has become less bullish on Japanese stocks, we have become more constructive about investor sentiment.

2014-06-24 Equities Rally on Surprise-Free Fed by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

The Federal Reserve held its regularly scheduled meeting last week, and equity markets raced to their strongest daily gain of the week after the announcement was released. There were few surprises, as the Fed chose to maintain its course, while painting a cautious economic picture.

2014-06-24 A Mosaic Approach to Raising the Fed Funds Rate by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

The Federal Reserve is using a wide swath of economic data and anecdotal evidence to determine when to raise its benchmark interest rate. While prudent, it may stir up anxiety and volatility for equity investors, writes Kristina Hooper.

2014-06-24 The ISIL Threat by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Recently, the insurgent group called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has made stunning inroads into Iraq. ISIL represents a new threat to the region. In this report, we offer a historical analysis of how the modern Middle East was constructed and why the construct is coming under pressure. One of the keys to understanding why ISIL is so potent is to differentiate it from al Qaeda; we will analyze the differences. We will offer the strongest reason why we believe ISIL has staying power, also noting ISIL’s greatest weakness and the possibility of a broader sectarian confli

2014-06-24 Is The Fed Underestimating Inflation? by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Following a week in which investors took pause and focused on the negatives, they reversed course last week and pushed equity prices higher. A number of factors seemed to contribute to the positive tone, not the least of which was an indication from the Federal Reserve (Fed) that there will be no near term change to its accommodative monetary policy.

2014-06-24 The True Opportunity in Today’s High Yield Market by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

There has been talk recently about the yield of the high yield market, as represented by the various indexes, and if there is return left to be had. While the high yield indexes are representative of the high yield “market,” we do not believe they are representative of the true opportunity in the high yield space.

2014-06-24 The Over-Capitalization Curse by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

At Smead Capital Management we are conscious of the few, but significant pitfalls which we believe exist for the long-duration common stock investor. One of the main pitfalls we want to avoid is the over-capitalization curse. This is a situation where investor enthusiasm gets very high, prices get historically high and investors drown the company, industry or sector with capital. In our experience, it pays to avoid the over-capitalized areas for as long as five to ten years as they work their way back to being hated and contentious.

2014-06-23 Italy: When Hope Is a Strategy by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

I came back from Italy this week, and one of my guilty pleasures was being able to sit down and watch the last three episodes, including the season finale, of Game of Thrones. For those readers who are not enthralled with the fantasy epic from HBO or have not read the first five books (will he ever finish?), author George R.R. Martin has written one of the most complex fantasy series ever, about a world where everyone is occupied with who will sit on the Iron Throne.

2014-06-23 What Exactly Is An Intangible Asset? by Team of GaveKal Capital

As another relatively quiet week in the market comes to a close, we thought we would step back from analyzing the market and briefly introduce to our readers a topic that we care greatly about and one that most of our readers are probably unfamiliar with. That topic is investments in intangible assets. The first question that probably comes to your mind after reading the previous sentence is...Why?

2014-06-23 Will Small-Cap Stocks Close the Gap with Large-Caps? by Vadim Zlotnikov of AllianceBernstein

Small-cap stocks have lagged large-cap stocks by a substantial margin over the past few months, but a close look at the causes makes us think they could be in for a reversal of fortune.

2014-06-23 This Time is Different, Yet with the Same Ending by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The Federal Reserve’s policy of quantitative easing has produced a historically prolonged period of speculative yield-seeking by investors starved for safe return. The problem with simply concluding that quantitative easing can do this forever is that even speculative assets have to compete with zero. When a safe zero return is above the medium or long-term return that one can estimate for a very risky asset, the rationale for continuing to hold the risky asset becomes purely dependent on expectations of immediate short-term price gains.

2014-06-23 The Bond Trap by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The American financial establishment has an incredible ability to celebrate the inconsequential while ignoring the vital. Last week, while the Wall Street Journal pondered how the Fed may set interest rates three to four years in the future (an exercise that David Stockman rightly compared to debating how many angels could dance on the head of a pin), the media almost completely ignored one of the most chilling pieces of financial news that I have ever seen.

2014-06-23 The Rise of E-Commerce in Asia by Jerry Shih, Winnie Chwang of Matthews Asia

It’s no surprise that Asia—home to two of the world’s most populous countries—holds great potential for e-commerce. Much of this growth has been driven by the fact that e-commerce, particularly in India and China, has helped serve as a bridge between what people want and what people can get offline. This is especially true for those who live outside major urban areas.

2014-06-21 What Are Your Chances? by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Today’s blog is an excerpt from our whitepaper, “The Sungarden Study” which addresses the retirement income crisis, standard solutions, and offers a recommended alternative to traditional approaches. To request a copy of the study, please use the “Contact Us” tab at www.sungardeninvestment.com .

2014-06-21 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

The Bank of England changes course; U.S. inflation is rising, but the Fed seems unconcerned; The situation in Iraq creates additional uncertainty around oil prices.

2014-06-21 Ah, the Power of Mean Reversion. by Frank of U.S. Global Investors

The chatter this week has been gold. The precious metal flew up $45 an ounce on Thursday, surprising investors, the media and markets alike.

2014-06-20 A Brief Review of Year-to-Date Gold/Currency Performance by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

As a brief primer on how the performance numbers are calculated, we note firstly that all figures shown here are expressed in US dollar terms.

2014-06-20 June Municipal Market Commentary by Team of SMC Fixed Income Management

In order to gauge the potential impact of an interest rate hike on a fixed income portfolio’s performance, not only does the amount of the rate move have to be ascertained, but the timing and duration must also be quantified. In summary, investors should not necessarily jump to the conclusion that rising interest rates automatically result in negative total returns.

2014-06-20 Volatility Continues To Grind Lower by Team of GaveKal Capital

Many investors, including ourselves, look at the CBOE VIX to measure market volatility. Over the past few days the VIX has made multi-year lows and is back at levels last seen in 2006-2007.

2014-06-20 Global Economic Perspective: June by Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group of Franklin Templeton Investments

With 10-year US Treasury yields dropping below 2.5% at one point during early June in spite of improving forward economic indicators, the US bond market has continued to send out confusing signals, in our view. Purchasing manager indexes have remained well over the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction for many months, consumer demand has remained relatively buoyant, and nonfarm payrolls show job creation running at over 200,000 per month for 13 of the 21 months to May 2014.

2014-06-20 Turkey Is the Big Winner Following the Crisis in Ukraine by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and the possibility of further action taken in Ukraine and other former Soviet Bloc nations have led many investors to wonder, understandably so, what impact the crisis has had on investment opportunities in Eastern Europe. To unravel these concerns and more, U.S. Global’s Director of Research John Derrick caught up with Gavin Graham of VoiceAmerica’s “Emerging and Frontier Markets Investing” program.

2014-06-20 Mexico’s Road to Reform by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Many investors had high hopes for Mexico’s market this year given an improving global economic outlook and a slate of planned domestic reforms, but some of the enthusiasm seems to have faded and economic growth has been subdued there year-to-date. I have faith in Mexico’s future, even though there are likely to be a few short-term bumps as Mexico’s reform efforts continue to be implemented—and some challenged.

2014-06-20 Japan: Time to Give the Land of Falling Stocks Another Look? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

So far, 2014 has been the year of the falling stocks in Japan. But according to Russ, Japan still stands out as one of the few potential bargains in the developed world. He explains.

2014-06-20 Attractions of a "Walled Garden" by Vivek Tanneeru of Matthews Asia

Developments in free trade and a nurturing of open policies with relatively few barriers have helped Asia prosper for several decades now. But a restrictive “walled garden” environment, with tightly regulated market access, has nurtured China’s Internet sector and helped its firms dominate in such areas as online search, games, news, e-commerce, social networking and videos. This week Vivek Tanneeru explores a study in contrasts between the Internet sectors of China and India, the world’s two most populous nations.

2014-06-20 A Contrarian’s View of Value: Pharmaceuticals by Kevin Holt of Invesco Blog

The pharmaceuticals industry is in the midst of a renaissance. Patent expiration concerns, pipeline disappointments and setbacks, and a highly uncertain regulatory backdrop have forced managements to rethink the way they have historically conducted business. In this environment, certain companies stand out to us as deep value opportunities — businesses whose stock prices don’t reflect our view of their long-term potential.

2014-06-19 Mexico’s Breakout Moment? by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

Mexico has a good chance to realize its impressive structural-reform agenda. Doing so would give the rest of the world an important example of how such programs can be designed, implemented, and, most important, sustained until a critical mass of revitalized sectors – and thus faster growth and greater prosperity – is achieved.

2014-06-19 Designing Balanced DC Menus: Considering Inflation-Hedging Strategies???? by Stacy Schaus, Ying Gao of PIMCO

Inflation-hedging strategies are fundamental to DC investment lineups and participants’ need to build and preserve purchasing power in retirement. Plan sponsors should evaluate these assets separately and in combination before adding them to core lineups and target-date strategies. Selected assets or blends should be designed to deliver the primary benefits of inflation responsiveness, diversification relative to stocks, volatility reduction and downside risk mitigation.

2014-06-19 The Fed Continues Tapering; Tightening Still Seems Far Off by Team of Northern Trust

At its June meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) extended its predictable string of asset purchase reductions. Most of the attention was trained on an updated set of forecasts from the Fed that offers some clues to the future path of American monetary policy.

2014-06-19 American Allure by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The American economy is looking stronger, and with Europe improving and China working through its problems, the outlook for U.S. stocks and bonds looks positive heading into summer.

2014-06-19 Draghi Hits Savers To Salvage Faux Recovery by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

On June 5th, Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank (ECB), announced a package of measures, including a policy of negative interest rates, aimed at encouraging or even forcing Eurozone banks to increase their lending to businesses.Although previously imposed by Swiss banks on their depositors, this will be the first time that a central bank has charged negative interest rates.

2014-06-19 The Euro Goes Negative by Dickson Buchanan Jr. of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

The European Central Bank's (ECB) decision to charge a negative interest on overnight deposits is not going to lead to a higher targeted inflation rate, despite ECB President Mario Draghi's insistence that it will. Like all cases of central planning, this decision will have unintended and costly consequences - some of which are already starting to play out. In this particular case, instead of stimulating business lending or higher prices, the decision will only stimulate the increased buying of insolvent government debt - leading us all one step closer to the economy's eventual unravelling.

2014-06-19 Why the Middle East Matters: Oil Prices and the U.S. Economy by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network

With rising turmoil in two major oil-producing states, Iraq and Iran, the world faces an increase in oil prices—and the consequent economic damage. Fortunately, the U.S. is much better positioned to ride out the storm than it has been in the past.

2014-06-19 Finding Opportunity in Chinese Reforms by Robert McConnaughey of Columbia Management

I spent last week in China, meeting with corporate management teams, government officials and investors in the Chinese markets. One of my motivations for making the trip was to get a better sense of the speed and scope of government reforms. It was a fascinating week, but I can’t say that I came away with sweeping, definitive clarity.

2014-06-18 Outlook on the US Dollar, Currencies & Markets: Look Out Below! by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

The FIFA World Cup and market predictions have in common that we are tempted to create a world of make-believe when it comes to predicting outcomes. While others ponder about the meaning of a round ball, we’ll focus on the implications of a make-believe world comprised of ever-higher asset prices. Our caution: look out below!

2014-06-18 Structure Matters Featuring Alison duPont by (Article)

Research shows more advisors recommend CEFs but see a need for more understanding of the CEF structure, says Alison duPont of Aberdeen Asset Management.

2014-06-18 Getting in Gear for The New Neutral – What Does It Mean for Investors? by William Benz of PIMCO

Smart beta is increasingly important when returns are likely to fall short of what most investors need and expect. Active managers can use multiple tools to help generate higher returns. With outcome-oriented strategies, investors can align their portfolios toward meeting specific risk and return objectives. Investors with more aggressive income or return needs may benefit from bespoke, multi-asset solutions. ?

2014-06-18 Hedged High Yield by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

A strategy that we have seen emerge over the past year within the high yield market has been “hedged high yield,” most recently with iShares rolling out an product last month that uses their passive, index-based HYG fund as the high yield component. The gist of the hedged high yield strategy is to go long high yield bonds and short Treasuries (or Treasury futures). The basic premise is that the strategy will hedge interest rate risk, with any bond pricing decline due to rising rates being offset with the short in Treasuries.

2014-06-18 Euro-Sterling Credit: Yield and Spread Still Appeal by Ketish Pothalingam of PIMCO

Framed by ongoing renormalisation in Europe and stronger UK growth, euro-sterling investment grade credit markets are in a favourable part of their respective cycles as corporates continue to deleverage, default rates are expected to remain low ahead and market liquidity has improved across Europe. We believe the sterling credit market provides a more balanced credit market and offers investors the opportunity for better total carry versus euro and global investment grade credit markets.

2014-06-18 United Technologies: Uniquely Positioned to Capitalize on the Future by Brad Stauffer of Diamond Hill Investments

While the financial performance of many industrial companies is at the mercy of the economic cycle, those with the ability to identify and exploit long-term opportunities are able to successfully navigate short-term cyclical volatility and reward shareholders over the course of multiple cycles. United Technologies Corp. (UTX) designs, builds, and supports complex and costly equipment with long life cycles, and its products (aircraft engines/components/systems, air conditioners, elevators, etc.) are critical components of large and expensive customer projects.

2014-06-18 Average Stock Is 8% Off 252-Day High and 31% Above 252-Day Low by Team of GaveKal Capital

While the MSCI World Index is just a smidge off it's all-time high, the average stock is about 8% below it's 252-day high. Recent history suggests that we will need a slight consolidation, either through price or time, in order to make way for further gains.

2014-06-18 On-the-Ground Perspective in Thailand by Dennis Lim of Franklin Templeton Investments

Thailand has been in the throes of political crisis over the past few months, leading to the imposition of martial law in May after months of protests and threats of violence between two opposing groups—the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), known as the “yellow shirts,” and the pro-government United Front for Democracy against Dictation (UDD), known as the “red shirts.”

2014-06-18 Conflict in Iraq: What Rising Oil Prices Mean for the Economy & Investors by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

For much of 2014, equities advanced despite disturbing world news headlines. However, that changed last week because there is a clear link between the events in Iraq and the global economy: energy prices. Russ explains, noting two investing implications of an energy price spike.

2014-06-18 Fed Outlook: Playing It Close to the Vest by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The Federal Open Market Committee will meet this week to set monetary policy. The FOMC is widely expected to further taper the monthly pace of asset purchases (not “on a preset path,” but continuing “in measured steps”). The bigger question is when the Fed will begin to raise short-term interest rates. The correct answer is “it depends.” Fed officials are currently debating the order of steps to be taken as they begin to normalize monetary policy.

2014-06-18 Bizarro World by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

I feel like I am living in Bizarro World. First named "Bizarro World" in DC Comic books, the term has come to mean a situation or setting that is weirdly inverted or opposite of expectations. I mean we’ve had the ATF’s Fast & Furious where we sold guns to Mexican smugglers. The NSA is spying on us. The IRS is using its power to target select groups and now the IRS claims it has lost 28 months of Lois Lerner’s emails. Benghazi. The Department of Justice going after the Associated Press and Rosengate.

2014-06-18 One Step Closer: Public Sector Taking Deleveraging Baton from Private Sector by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The budget deficit has plunged; but government debt remains extraordinarily high. Private sector deleveraging began alongside the financial crisis; and may be largely in its finale. Objective measures of household/consumer stress have come down markedly.

2014-06-17 I Love Technology, but I Love LaFawnduh More by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

The first time I saw the movie, Napoleon Dynamite, I walked out of the theater before the final wedding scene. This caused me to miss Napoleon’s brother Kip singing "Always and Forever" to his new bride, LaFawnduh. The key line in the song was, "I love technology, but not as much as you, you see!" Kip found LaFawnduh "in a chat room," which indebted him to technology.

2014-06-17 Housing Starts Stuck At 1 Million by Team of GaveKal Capital

US housing starts for May came in below consensus at 1,001K units vs expectations of 1,036K units. Housing starts are still about 9.5% higher than they were a year ago. Regionally, housing starts are strongest in the Midwest while in the Northeast, starts are actually 5% lower than they were a year ago. Building permits were also below expectations in May (991K vs 1,062K expected). Charts below.

2014-06-17 Long Term Parking by W. Ben Hunt of Salient Partners

Like the Soprano Family in 2002, the problem with the US economy in 2014 is not that there is too much private debt being created, but too little. The danger for US markets is not that there is some private debt bubble about to burst, but that markets have become disconnected from the natural cycle of debt and growth, a cycle which remains decidedly anemic.

2014-06-17 Unimaginable Human Tragedy On The Texas Border by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Thousands of illegal immigrants are flooding across the border into Texas and other border states every day, but two things distinguish this wave from earlier illegal immigration waves.

2014-06-17 Latin American Update by Nick Cowley (Article)

Nick Cowley, Investment Manager Global Emerging Markets Equities, recaps the rollercoaster ride that Latin American equities have been on year to date led by currency volatility and rotations in sentiment in Brazil and Mexico. Nick discusses the clear turn of sentiment that occurred in March when Brazilian shares rallied sharply driven by the "hope" that current leadership will change in Brazil during the October elections to a more pro-business friendly candidate similar to the changes made in India.

2014-06-17 Gundlach: A Big Moment for the Economy and the Markets by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The benchmark 10-year Treasury bond is an attractive investment, according to Jeffrey Gundlach, although its yield is likely to stay between 2.2% and 2.8% for the remainder of the year. Despite that narrow range, Gundlach foresees pivots in other parts of the investment landscape.

2014-06-17 Retirement Income Strategies: How to Improve on the 4% Rule by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

In the past few years, the 4% rule has been challenged by those who claim its premise of 4% inflation-adjusted withdrawals is too optimistic under today's market conditions. Others assert that more sophisticated approaches will yield better-than-4% results. I'll evaluate two alternatives - economic utility maximization and required minimum distributions - and also discuss the practical implications for advisors.

2014-06-17 A Simple Explanation for DALBAR's Misleading Results by Michael Edesess, Kwok L. Tsui, Carol Fabbri, and George Peacock (Article)

For a number of years, DALBAR has been publishing a report that purports to show that investors make bad decisions and, as a result, their investments underperform the market by several percentage points. It has captured headlines for years, perpetuating the myth that individual investors invest poorly, and therefore they do much worse than the market average. There's just one thing, the DALBAR result is wrong.

2014-06-17 Stiglitz: Europe's View on Inequality by Marianne Brunet (Article)

When you approach a crowd conversing over coffee at an economics conference, you don't normally expect to hear them giddily saying: "He's absolutely adorable! Adorable, and so sweet." But at a recent economics conference in Toulouse, France, participants were raving about Joseph Stiglitz like he was a movie star.

2014-06-17 Meditate Your Way to Happiness by Daniel Solin (Article)

Here is how I increased my level of happiness in my daily life.

2014-06-17 Seven Tips for Delivering Bad News by Megan Elliot (Article)

You can better communicate bad news to clients by keeping the following seven tips in mind.

2014-06-17 When Delegating Leads to More Stress by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I have been trying to delegate more of human-resources responsibilities to my operations manager. However, my operations manager has made two poor hires in the last six months. I can't delegate if I can't ensure that things are done well. I'm inclined to take back these responsibilities unless you tell me otherwise.

2014-06-17 The Four Bureaucratic Horsemen of GM's Apocalypse by Mariko Gordon (Article)

Bureaucracy is more than just an annoyance; in the case of auto manufacturing, too much of it can cost lives. Today's article takes a look at GM's recently revealed internal bungling and offers four suggestions for avoiding these same types of errors in the running of your business or team.

2014-06-17 Separating Risk from Reality by Zachary Karabell of Envestnet

Unless the global financial system implodes or panic engulfs the system, investments such as high-yield bonds and emerging market debt may be less risky than many believe.

2014-06-17 Oil Spikes on Iraqi Strife by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Of the many global macroeconomic concerns of the past few years, oil has curiously fallen down the list in terms of major areas of investor focus. After recovering in the wake of the financial crisis, the commodity has generally been range bound between $100 and $120 a barrel. Newfound supply of natural gas in the United States has also eased concern about the domestic economy’s reliance on oil imports from the Middle East.

2014-06-17 Scaling Market Peaks by David Wismer of Flexible Plan Investments

In honor of Father’s Day this past Sunday, I wanted to reminisce on an activity I enjoyed with my father.

2014-06-17 Boko Haram by Kaisa Stucke and Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

On April 14, the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from their school in the town of Chibok, Nigeria. Investor interest in African economies has been increasing over recent years, piquing an interest in the continent’s rising economic and demographic power, Nigeria. This week, we will take a look at the country of Nigeria, including its history and economy. We will then describe the evolution of the terrorist group Boko Haram and its strategic goals and leadership. We will conclude with items of importance when investing in Africa, in general, and Nigeria, specifical

2014-06-16 Some Gold Indicators to Watch by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

With recent sharp falls in the price volatility of a wide range of assets including gold and the markets’ apparent insensitivity to macroeconomic news, many gold investors have shifted focus to some of the more widely watched gold technical indicators to see if they provide insight into the future direction of the gold price. In this week’s short discussion piece we look at the Gold Forward Offered Rate (GOFO), the US inflation adjusted (real) interest rate and the Gold/S&P500 ratio.

2014-06-16 Will Higher Rates Threaten the UK Housing Market? by Team of GaveKal Capital

Following Mark Carney's warning on mortgage debt and rising interest rates in the UK earlier today, homebuilders and home improvement stocks have (not surprisingly) underperformed.

2014-06-16 Crosscurrents and Fatigue Cause a Slight Slump in Stocks by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Favorable monetary policy and improving economic growth have remained steady, but investors appeared to focus on some of the negatives last week. Sentiment seemed to sour due to the rising turmoil in Iraq (and subsequent rise in oil prices), as well as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary defeat, which served to highlight a more partisan environment before the November elections. For the week, the S&P 500 Index declined 0.6%.

2014-06-16 Are Your Clients Meetings Like Visits to the Dentist? by Dan Richards (Article)

In their desire to give prudent advice, sometimes advisors fail to deliver the positive messages that clients need to stay motivated and on track. Worse yet, some advisors' approaches leave clients feeling that their next visit will be a chore.

2014-06-16 The Fed’s Role Amid a History of Violence by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

The stock market has always been susceptible to sudden jolts spurred by unpredictable acts of violence. But the Fed’s been the shock absorber to cushion the blow and to repair fractured sentiment, says Kristina Hooper. Today’s crises are no different.

2014-06-16 Weekly Market Update by Team of Castleton Partners

The grind toward higher Treasury yields—and June’s bearish momentum in interest rates—persisted through most of last week, only to reverse on Thursday with an escalation in geopolitical concerns, especially Iraq. After reaching a high of 2.70%, 10 year Treasury notes recovered on the selloff in risk assets and closed the week up only 1 basis point, at 2.60%.

2014-06-16 Unconstrained Bond Investing in The New Neutral by Mohit Mittal, Saumil Parikh of PIMCO

At our recently concluded Secular Forum, PIMCO investment professionals from around the globe gathered in Newport Beach to discuss and debate the secular outlook for major world economies. With insight from guest speakers and new MBA/PhD hires, PIMCO coined the phrase The New Neutral to define its secular three- to five-year outlook for the world economies. In his most recent Investment Outlook, Bill Gross further elaborated on The New Neutral.

2014-06-16 China No Longer the Low Wage Capital of the World: Our Outlook for Chinese Growth is Below Consensus by Sponsored Content by Loomis Sayles (Article)

The labor dispute at the Yue Yuen factory in Guangdong Province illuminates broader labor issues in China. China is no longer the low-wage paradise it once was, and employees will continue to press for higher wages and better benefits. Rising wages should encourage consumer spending, but there is no quick fix for economic rebalancing. Our outlook for GDP growth is below consensus.

2014-06-16 Formula for Market Extremes by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Market extremes generally share a common formula. One part reality is blended with one part misguided perception (typically extrapolating recent trends as if they are driven by some reliable and permanent mechanism), and often one part pure delusion (typically in the form of a colorful hallucination with elves, gnomes and dancing mushrooms all singing in harmony that reliable valuation measures no longer matter).

2014-06-14 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The World Cup begins amid a series of financial controversies; Is the honeymoon over for Japan's Abenomics program?; The last word on Thomas Piketty

2014-06-14 Where's Voldo? by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

When volatile markets come around, it is not the actual VIX level that is most important. Understanding of the way the rules of engagement for risk management and return strategies change (and they can change a lot), is the key. The difference between fearing volatile markets and capitalizing on them is, in our opinion, a key element to the long-term success of any investment strategy.

2014-06-14 The Good News In All The Bad Data by Adam Taggart of PeakProsperity.com

We are at the rare moment in history, where probability is unusually high that a large move to the downside will happen in the financial markets in the relatively near future. This gives investors a degree of confidence in future price movement that they rarely enjoy. The importance of building dry powder and developing an actionable investment plan -- for before, during and after the coming price reset -- is of top priority:

2014-06-14 Stealthy, Silent…Sustainable? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

US stocks should continue to move generally higher although activity may remain sluggish through the summer and the possibility of a correction is elevated as per both seasonal/election cycle tendencies and elevated optimistic sentiment. The U.S. economy should help support the market as signs are increasing that we may be entering the long-waited for self-sustaining expansion. The ECB's actions weren't game changing but are helpful and European equities look attractive, while we believe the worries over a Chinese slowdown are overblown.

2014-06-14 Gold Investors: Let This Cycle Be Your Guide by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

U.S. Global Investors recently welcomed Doug Peta, an economist from BCA research, to our offices. He presented some interesting research regarding the Fed Funds Rate Cycle, and in turn, what that research could mean for gold. I wanted to share points from his presentation, as well as our own in-house research, to help you understand the positivity we see for the precious metal looking towards 2015.

2014-06-14 Is Opportunity Bubbling in Oil Pricing? by Vadim Zlotnikov of AllianceBernstein

Longer-dated oil futures contracts have been on the rise so far in 2014, and we think there’s a good case to be made that they’ve got further to go. The potential for an upside oil-price surprise may point to investment opportunity.

2014-06-14 ECB Leaves the Door Open for Further Action by David Zahn of Franklin Templeton Investments

he European Central Bank (ECB) delivered a robust package of monetary policy measures on June 5 and promised more to come if needed to help stave off deflation and support the eurozone’s fragile economic recovery. Among the moves announced were interest rate cuts, including a negative interest rate on excess deposits that banks hold with the ECB, and new facilities to support bank lending to small businesses. We asked David Zahn, portfolio manager for the Franklin Global Government Bond Fund, for his thoughts on what these latest measures could mean for investors.

2014-06-14 Who’s Afraid of Low, Low Rates? by James T. Tierney, Jr. of AllianceBernstein

Falling yields on Treasuries are often seen as a signal of a weakening economy that could undermine stocks. We think there are other explanations that don’t threaten the outlook for equities.

2014-06-14 The Age of Transformation by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Today I offer some musings on what I’ve come to think of as the Age of Transformation (which I have been thinking about a lot while in Tuscany). I believe there are multiple and rapidly accelerating changes happening simultaneously (if you can think of 10 years as simultaneously) that are going to transform our social structures, our investment portfolios, and our personal futures. We have had such transformations in the past. The rise of the nation state, the steam engine, electricity, the advent of the social safety net, the personal computer, the internet, and the collapse of communis

2014-06-13 Taking A “FUN” Look At Kimberly-Clark by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Kimberly-Clark is a storied company and often a reasonable investment opportunity based on ordinary metrics. Frequently investors view these few basic metrics and come to an investment decision. With this article we would like to highlight additional fundamental data on this specific company that that might be useful.

2014-06-13 Trading the Last Third of a Move by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

When bull markets mature, investors fear a coming crisis and today there are plenty of candidates from Europe to China to Thailand. Still, some of the best profits may lie ahead.

2014-06-13 New Faces at the Federal Reserve by Craig Elder of Robert W. Baird

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is the monetary policymaking body of the Federal Reserve System. This article provides a behind the scenes look at recent changes in the composition of FOMC voters, characterizing them as a dove, focused more on higher employment, or a hawk , concerned more with the central bank’s inflation targets. One of the implications from this analysis is that the Fed will be more reluctant to raise interest rates next year than most people think.

2014-06-13 Debt is No Salvation by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Thus far 2014 has been a fertile year for really stupid economic ideas. But of all the half-baked doozies that have come down the pike (the perils of "lowflation," Thomas Piketty's claims about capitalism creating poverty, and President Obama's "pay as you earn" solution to student debt), an idea hatched last week by CNBC's reliably ridiculous Steve Liesman may in fact take the cake.

2014-06-13 German Defense: Spending Spree? by Team of GaveKal Capital

A Bloomberg article today highlighted the potential need for Germany to invest more in its defenses, in light of recent geopolitical instability. As a percent of GDP, defense spending has been falling since the early 1990's. However, if we look at absolute spending levels, yearly totals have recently matched or even exceeded those reached more than 20 years ago.

2014-06-13 South Africa Strike Boosts Platinum Prices, Opens Opportunity for American Producer by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

All eyes are on South Africa, where a labor strike, now in its fifth month, has brought a halt to the production of platinum and palladium. As a result, platinum prices have inched up 8.25 percent this year to just under $1,500 an ounce, while palladium prices have surged 19.28 percent to over $850 an ounce, a three-year high.

2014-06-13 ECB Leaves the Door Open for Further Action by David Zahn of Franklin Templeton Investments

The European Central Bank (ECB) delivered a robust package of monetary policy measures on June 5 and promised more to come if needed to help stave off deflation and support the eurozone’s fragile economic recovery. Among the moves announced were interest rate cuts, including a negative interest rate on excess deposits that banks hold with the ECB, and new facilities to support bank lending to small businesses. We asked David Zahn, portfolio manager for the Franklin Global Government Bond Fund, for his thoughts on what these latest measures could mean for investors.

2014-06-13 A Closer Look at Innovative Opportunities by Zachary Shafran of Ivy Investment Management Company

Lately, concerns have been on the rise regarding technology stocks and their growth outlook. We’d like to provide our thoughts on the current market environment, our outlook, and as a result, how the Fund is positioned.

2014-06-13 A Contrarian’s View of Value: Energy by Kevin Holt of Invesco Blog

This is the second in a three-part series on sector opportunities as seen by a contrarian value investor — Senior Portfolio Manager Kevin Holt. The previous post discussed financials.

2014-06-13 When is it Time to Sell: A WWE Case Study by Jay Kaplan of The Royce Funds

As disciplined, contrarian investors, our take on a stock is often at odds with Wall Street's consensus. Portfolio Manager and Principal Jay Kaplan explains why we carefully assess the value of our holdings and why discipline and conviction are paramount to both buy and sell decisions.

2014-06-13 Is the European Economy Turning Japanese by PJ Grzywacz of CMG Capital Management Group

Turning Japanese in today’s macroeconomic environment means that your country is at risk of deflation which can turn into a 20 year battle, like in Japan.

2014-06-13 Is China Still Competitive? by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

Investment Strategist Andy Rothman recently moved to San Francisco from Shanghai, and has experienced a bit of sticker shock. This week he reflects upon China's ability to remain competitive. What does a visit to his favorite neighborhood noodle shop in China reveal about the country's macroeconomy?

2014-06-12 Central Banks Chart a Course for Overheating by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

When bull markets mature, investors fear a coming crisis. Today there are plenty of candidates from Europe to China to Thailand. But bull markets climb a wall of worry and there are reasons now not to expect a looming crisis.

2014-06-12 An Intriguing Six Point Three by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

The latest jobs report may look pretty bland on the surface, but I can assure you that it will generate plenty of intrigue among close observers of the Fed. After falling sharply in April, the unemployment rate held at 6.3%, in contrast to expectations that it would partially reverse course.

2014-06-12 Midterm Election Update by Andy Friedman of The Washington Update

With many of the state primaries now behind us, I’m writing to update my March white paper on the midterm elections.

2014-06-12 Many Moving Parts by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The U.S. economy contracted in the first quarter, but it appears very unlikely that we’ve entered a recession. Weather disruptions and the late Easter have made it difficult to gauge the underlying trends in the economic data, but a significant second quarter rebound appears to be baked in. Still, taking the first two quarters together, growth in the first half of the year is likely to be disappointing relative to earlier expectations.

2014-06-12 Everybody’s Unhappy?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

In Last Friday’s Morning Tack I had this to say, “While there are no current major negatives from my indicators, this does indeed feel like the end of a trading move and not the beginning of another huge leg to the upside.” What causes such inflection points is when the folks that have doubted the rally finally can’t stand it any more and they throw in the towel and buy stocks.

2014-06-12 EM Debt Seems Risky by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

At RBA, we search for gaps between perception and reality, and this seems to be the case for emerging market debt. Investors have been lured to these securities by their higher yields, yet the underlying economic and currency fundamentals are deteriorating without commensurate widening of spreads.

2014-06-12 A Quarter Century of Emerging-Markets Investing by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

At one time or another, every country could have been classified as “emerging.” Back in the 1800s, the Western part of the United States was called the “new frontier.” Investors purchasing farmland there were likely to consider it a highly speculative venture putting stakes in such a rugged and wild place.

2014-06-12 Digging Into Dividends - Who Actually Pays Dividends by Team of GaveKal Capital

Q: Which sector in the MSCI World Index has the highest percentage of companies paying a dividend? A: No, it's not your "bond proxy" sectors like Telecom or Utilities. No, it's also not coming from the financial sector. The answer,surprisingly, is the Consumer Staples sector.

2014-06-11 The US Economy – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

As is true more often than not, there are mixed signals in the economy. There are indeed some “green shoots” emerging that suggest the economy is finally gaining some momentum. Yet there are also continued troubling signs that, while not warning of an impending recession, suggest that we could be stuck in a structural period of continued below-trend growth.

2014-06-11 I'd Choose Emerging Markets, Wouldn't You? by Ryan Larson of Research Affiliates

There’s a lot of negativity about emerging market stocks—so it makes sense for long-term, value-oriented investors to rebalance into the asset class. Here’s why a systematically contrarian strategy like fundamentally weighted indexing might outperform.

2014-06-11 Is Low Volatility Signaling a Market Top? by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

We keep hearing that today’s near-record-low volatility is signaling an imminent market top. To test this proposition, we examined implied volatility back to 1986 using the VXO index. (VXO behaves similarly to VIX, with the advantage of a longer track record.)

2014-06-11 Technical Checkup Of MSCI World Regions by Team of GaveKal Capital

There are many ways to measure the intensity of moves in the equity market. One method we use is to measure the net percent of stocks up over a certain time period.

2014-06-11 Disturbing Headlines, Strong Equity Markets: Why the Disconnect? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

It’s hard not to see some disconnect between recent disturbing world news headlines and the market’s quiet advance. Russ examines why this disconnect is rational in the short term, but not necessarily in the long term, and gives three rules of thumb for how investors can potentially respond.

2014-06-11 Muni Investors Should Watch Both Ends of the Curve by Guy Davidson of AllianceBernstein

In early 2013, we urged investors to take a hard look at the interest-rate risk in their bond portfolios. If they didn’t do it then, they have a chance to do it now.

2014-06-11 Is Inequality Caused by Capitalism or Statism? by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

The French economist Thomas Piketty has achieved worldwide fame by promoting a thesis that capitalism is the cause of growing economic inequality. Unfortunately, he is partially right. However, the important distinction missed by Piketty and all of his supporters is that state capitalism, not free market capitalism, has reigned supreme in recent decades in the world's leading democracies.

2014-06-11 US Regional Banks’ Attractiveness Jumps in June by Erik Kobayashi-Solomon of YCharts, Inc.

Our Sector-level heat map looks much the same as it did last month, save for the fact that the shade of green has deepened for the Utilities and Financial Services sectors—indicating a larger number of companies screening undervalued according to YCharts Value Score.

2014-06-10 FlexShares GUNR ETF by Shundrawn Thomas (Article)

Advisors have adopted natural resources and commodities to help diversify client portfolios, but there are both short term and longer term trends at work that impact this decision. In this video, we explore how FlexShares Morningstar Global Upstream Natural Resources Index Fund (GUNR) can be used with client portfolios, and how a more balanced approach to this space through equities is resonating with financial advisors.

2014-06-10 A Test for Small-Cap and Value Stock Investors by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Readers of this publication are well versed in the findings of the 1992 Fama-French paper, which documented the outperformance of small-capitalization and value stocks. But few are aware of these two sentences, which appeared in the conclusion of that paper

2014-06-10 How Hedge Funds Destroy Value by Robert Huebscher (Article)

All you really need to know about hedge fund performance is evident from the fact that Simon Lack could not produce the pie chart below in 2012. The chart shows how hedge-fund returns have been divided among manager fees, fund-of-funds fees and investor profits.

2014-06-10 A Single Word that Improves Results by Dan Richards (Article)

Today's article focuses on just one word that can improve outcomes in conversations with existing and prospective clients, as well as team members and even family members.

2014-06-10 Six Questions for the Future of the Planning Profession by Bob Veres (Article)

A few weeks ago, I asked for your help as we created the scenario learning session for the Insider's Forum conference in September. We're going to map out some possible futures that you can prepare for, using as raw material the crowdsourced thoughts and ideas that you provide to us. Here are six questions that have been raised and addressed about the future in the first round of our exercise.

2014-06-10 How to Increase Your Happiness by Dan Solin (Article)

Many people are unhappy in both their personal lives and their work. If you are an investment advisor always striving for the elusive and ever-changing goal of acquiring more assets under management, I recommend instead focusing on how to increase your level of happiness.

2014-06-10 Survey Best Practices, Part 1: Designing Your Survey by Elizabeth Snyder (Article)

If you are not accustomed to regularly surveying your clients, here are some basic guidelines to consider when it comes to survey design, layout and structure.

2014-06-10 Is it Right to Bash a Previous Firm? by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

My partner and I left our previous firm to start an independent advisory practice. We had issues with its business approaches and even some ethical concerns. Part of me thinks we should let our clients know of the firm's nefarious ways, but part of me thinks that is behind us and we should look forward.

2014-06-10 Five Steps to Creating an Effective Community by Tony DiLeonardi (Article)

You can create intimacy by building purpose and community in your life and in your business, and that intimacy can help you retain lifelong and multigenerational clients. Start by going face-to-face with the most important people in your life.

2014-06-10 A taste of what's going on in Japan by Vincent Musumeci (Article)

Vincent Musumeci, Portfolio Manager of Japanese Equities, provides a taste of what's going on in Japan and comments that it is a very exciting environment. Vincent notes he remains unwaveringly bullish on Japan while companies are delivering very strong earnings - and he sees a notable pickup in buybacks and dividend payouts as companies become more aware of their cost of capital.

2014-06-10 What Should I Look for in Choosing a 529 Plan? by Donald Sorota of Altair Advisers

Enrolling in a 529 college savings plan is one of the shrewdest financial moves that parents or grandparents can make. These plans offer significant federal income tax breaks, some- times state tax benefits as well and a low-maintenance, largely self-controlled way to save for college.

2014-06-10 Center for American Progress (CAP) on Fee Disclosure by Brian Donohue of October Three Consulting

On April 11, 2014 the Center for American Progress (CAP) released a report "Fixing the Drain on Retirement Savings – How Retirement Fees Are Straining the Middle Class and What We Can Do about Them."

2014-06-10 Far Above Cayuga’s Waters by David Wismer of Flexible Plan Investments

Graduation season is in a bit of a hiatus, with most colleges now having completed their commencement ceremonies and high school commencements are in full swing.

2014-06-10 The Crossroad by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

As summer peeks around the corner, a machine with two wheels is silently calling me, telling me that a new adventure awaits. This machine stirs up memories of past adventures, which builds in me a desire to head out to places unknown. I know that before summer ends I will answer its call, but for now I will just have to relive a few moments from trips past.

2014-06-10 The Orphaned Bull Market by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Howard Gold is an inquisitive writer for Marketwatch.com and we think has done us all a great favor in his latest column titled, “Not even a bull market can interest people in stocks.” He points out via the chart below that—despite a huge rebound the last five years in US common stocks—equity holdings as a percentage of global investable assets just climbed to levels only seen at major stock market low points. Relative to the past 50 years, this stock market has been abandoned and orphaned even as it had made participants wealthy.

2014-06-10 The Central Bank Divide: 3 Implications for Investors by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Major central banks are no longer moving in lockstep. While the Fed is pulling back, other central banks are maintaining very easy monetary policy. Russ explains three implications this new dynamic has for investors.

2014-06-10 Long-Term Opportunity in Tech Sector Volatility by Matthew Moberg of Franklin Templeton Investments

The technology sector seems to have again demonstrated just how frustrating markets can be. An investor favorite last year, the sector has been volatile in the first part of 2014, leading some to believe a tech bubble could be brewing—or perhaps a slow leak has already begun. Matthew Moberg, portfolio manager for Franklin DynaTech Fund, says he doesn’t pay much attention to semantics or speculation.

2014-06-10 Stocks' Correlation to Real Interest Rates was the Most Significant Factor Driving Returns Last Week by Team of GaveKal Capital

Real interest rates as measured by TIPS yields proved to be the most significant factor driving stock prices last week while other macro factors such as stocks' correlation to the Japanese yen and euro were also important. It is also noteworthy that the beta factor is making its way back to the top of the list after having been insignificant over the last one and three months. Below we show the top ten factors driving returns for each region.

2014-06-10 The American Oil Weapon by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In this report, we will begin with a basic analysis of the oil markets. From there, we will examine Russia's economic dependence on energy and offer a historical analysis of Saudi Arabia's decisions in 1985 and 1997 to retake oil market share and the impact these choices had on the Soviet economy. Using this historical parallel, we will offer an example of how the U.S. could drive down oil prices in a bid to undermine Russia's economy.

2014-06-10 Capturing Value Worldwide with Thomas White International by (Article)

At Thomas White, our investing performance goal is straightforward: to outperform our benchmarks in the long-term and especially during market declines. We feel the surest path to accomplish these goals is to become an exceptional research organization. To meet these objectives, our professionals have come to understand corporations, investor behavior and portfolio design better than our peers, as we continue to expand our global research and product capabilities.

2014-06-09 Bright Signs for the Economy and Equity Markets by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

The macro backdrop last week was positive for the markets. As expected, the ECB cut interest rates, highlighting the favorable global monetary policy backdrop. Closer to home, solid vehicle sales and a good May labor market report gave investors additional reasons to bid up stock prices. The S&P 500 Index advanced 1.4%, marking a third straight week of gains above 1% — the longest such streak since last September. Looking ahead, we believe the combination of an improving world economy, low levels of volatility and easy global monetary policy should continue to provide support for equ

2014-06-09 We Learn From History That We Do Not Learn From History by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Market conditions presently match those that have repeatedly preceded either market crashes or extended losses approaching 50% or more. Such losses have not always occurred immediately, but they have typically been significant enough to wipe out years of prior market gains. Our present views are not built on the forecast that stocks must decline immediately, or that we won’t go through some additional discomfort if the market pushes to a higher peak. Still, a century of history strongly warns that whatever transitory gains the market achieves from present levels will be wiped out in spad

2014-06-09 Why are bond yields and volatility so low? by Carl Tannenbaum and Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

This year’s mid-point review would not be terribly kind to me or to other forecasters. None of us foresaw a big U.S. economic contraction during the first quarter of the year, although we should have better times ahead (as long as the Polar Vortex doesn’t return). A more vexing surprise, however, has been the steep decline in U.S. Treasury yields and the persistently low market volatility during the year’s first half.

2014-06-09 May Jobs Report: 4 Key Takeaways by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Allianz Global Investors US Investment Strategist Kristina Hooper analyzes the May employment report, including what it means for monetary policy, markets and investors.

2014-06-09 Weekly Market Update by Team of Castleton Partners

Treasury yields rose sharply last week, with intermediate and long date bonds registering the sharpest price declines, as US equities again reached new highs. Friday’s eagerly anticipated May employment report came in line with market expectations, continuing to signal gradual improvement in the labor market. With +217,000 jobs created last month, May marked the first 4-month string of payroll reports over +200,000 since 1999.

2014-06-09 And That's The Week That Was... by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Let the summer partying begin. With the ECB alerting its Fed counterparts (and investors everywhere) that its policymakers will take whatever measures necessary to aid its economy and combat deflation, stocks again moved to record levels on key indexes and even the small-cappers recovered from the perpetual April slide and turned "in the black" for the year. The manufacturing and labor sectors appears to have put the winter storms behind them and even the consumer has shown signs of thawing out in time for the summer. Vacation anyone?

2014-06-09 Everybody’s Unhappy?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

If the equity markets don’t experience a sell-off this week, we can probably assume the SPX is in its final upside “blow-off” stage on a trading basis. In such a stage the markets make it seem unbearable to be in too much cash, or worse, totally out of the market. Blow-offs usually end with a parabolic peak and often with a buying climax. If you want to see what a buying climax looks like, go look at the “selling climax” at the March 2009 lows and turn the chart upside down. Longer-term, I continue to hold the belief we are in a secular bull market, but in the sho

2014-06-09 Jobs return to pre-recession peak by Ryan Davis and Brian Payne of Fortigent

Global equity markets cheered the European Central Bank’s (ECB) decision to lower rates and provide further monetary stimulus last week, as the DJIA and S&P 500 gained 1.2% and 1.3%, respectively. As one might imagine, notable outperformance came from Europe’s peripheral countries with Italy (MSCI Italy) and Spain (MSCI Spain) gaining 3.4% and 2.6%, respectively.

2014-06-08 Can Central Planners Revive China’s Economic Miracle? by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

We are going to try gamely to finish with China today, having left at least three or four letters worth of copy on the editing floor. There is just so much information and misinformation to cover. I’m going to turn it over to Worth and then follow up with a few final thoughts of my own.

2014-06-07 China Leads the World in Green Energy, Gaming and Gambling Markets by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Last month, Xian Liang, co-portfolio manager of our China Region Fund (USCOX), attended the 19th CLSA China Forum in Beijing. There he and hundreds of other global attendees were given the opportunity to meet with representatives from Chinese corporations, some of which U.S. Global owns. Xian also managed to get a sense of how the nation’s recent changes in consumer behavior and governmental policy reforms might affect its investment outlook. Although China remains an emerging market, it has lately taken a number of considerable strides to position itself as one of the world’s most

2014-06-07 Long-Term Opportunity in Tech Sector Volatility by Matthew Moberg of Franklin Templeton Investments

The technology sector seems to have again demonstrated just how frustrating markets can be. An investor favorite last year, the sector has been volatile in the first part of 2014, leading some to believe a tech bubble could be brewing—or perhaps a slow leak has already begun. Matthew Moberg, portfolio manager for Franklin DynaTech Fund, says he doesn’t pay much attention to semantics or speculation. He’s busy looking for companies that he believes have staying power and growth potential beyond temporary trends. And, he says he’s using recent volatility as an opportunity

2014-06-07 Can a Tactical ETF Strategy be used as a Liquid Alternative? by David Garff of Accuvest Global Advisors

Can investors use a tactical allocator instead of an "alternative" strategy to benefit the balanced portfolio of a traditional investor?

2014-06-07 The Modern Portfolio Flat Earth Society by Vitaliy Katsenelson of Investment Management Associates

Math and physics are rooted in equations that spit out precise answers; vagueness there is dangerous — for the right reasons. That is why they are called exact sciences. Investing, despite being taught as an almost exact science, is far from it. It is a craft that falls somewhere between art and science.

2014-06-06 The 4% Non-Solution by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

The idea of permanently raising inflation targets to 4%, first proposed by IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard, has been endorsed by a number of other academics, including, most recently, Paul Krugman. Unfortunately, the problem of ensuring a smooth and convincing transition to a new target is perhaps insurmountable.

2014-06-06 Retail Apocalypse and Negative GDP Point to Unsustainable U.S. Stock Market by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Group Financial Services

Evidence continues to pile up that the next recession has already begun, and at the very least, Americans in the lower and middle income brackets are feeling it the most. The United States is running out of steam and is bogged down by trillions of dollars in debt, increased regulation, and fewer jobs. It’s like we are all trying to swim upstream in the middle of a biblical flood! The United States isn’t coming to an end but it is changing dramatically in front of our eyes.

2014-06-06 Emerging Markets: PR is on the Upswing by Nick Niziolek of Calamos Investments

Since March, the tide has turned, and there has been a strong reversal in both news flows from and equity flows into EMs. Headlines have transitioned from "Currency Crisis" to "Modi Wins," and Russian equities have moved above the levels seen since before the Ukraine crisis began. Moreover, we’ve identified several near-term catalysts that could further support the equity breakout that is underway. Only in EM investing could a military coup be viewed as a potentially beneficial catalyst….

2014-06-06 Ties that Bind by Patricia Huang of Matthews Asia

It's been almost three years since A-di first moved in with my relatives in Taiwan to work as a caretaker for my ailing grandmother. A college graduate from Indonesia with a reserved demeanor and an endearing smile, A-di, or Di Di as my family sometimes calls her, was found through an agency that places migrant workers in jobs abroad. Like her sister, a factory worker in Taiwan, she regularly sends a portion of her roughly US$550 monthly pay back home to her parents in West Java.

2014-06-06 The ECB finally acts and hopes for a good reaction by Carl Tannenbaum and Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

Many have criticized the European Central Bank (ECB) for preferring words over action in recent months. So credit must be given to ECB President Mario Draghi and his colleagues for enacting a series of measures aimed at shaking the eurozone from its malaise. The question is whether yesterday’s decision will result in more credit given to eurozone borrowers.

2014-06-06 Snow Job by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Economists, investment analysts, and politicians have spent much of 2014 bemoaning the terrible economic effects of the winter of 2014. The cold and snow have been continuously blamed for the lackluster job market, disappointing retail sales, tepid business investment and, most notably, much slower than expected GDP growth. Given how optimistic many of these forecasters had been in the waning months of 2013, when the stock market was surging into record territory and the Fed had finally declared that the economy had outgrown the need for continued Quantitative Easing, the weather was an absolu

2014-06-06 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 134.9, down from the previous week's adjusted 135.3. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) fell to 4.8 from 5.3. Last Friday (May 30th), ECRI posted a brief overview of post-recession GDP forecasts from the Fed's Open Market Committee and the less optimistic series from the Congressional Budget Office.

2014-06-06 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 134.9, down from the previous week's adjusted 135.3. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) fell to 4.8 from 5.3. Last Friday (May 30th), ECRI posted a brief overview of post-recession GDP forecasts from the Fed's Open Market Committee and the less optimistic series from the Congressional Budget Office.

2014-06-06 In T-Ball as in Life by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

I can’t help but notice a great number of similarities between people’s approach to their investment portfolios and the way baseball games are played. This is true, even at the T-ball level with four and five year olds, not major leaguers, running around.

2014-06-06 A Contrarian’s View of Value: Financials by Kevin Holt of Invesco Blog

In the wake of the Great Recession, and significant regulatory changes, investors are concerned that large banks may not be able to generate the type of profits that they have in the past. We don’t disagree with that assessment. However, we do disagree with the current equity valuations of the large banks — we believe the market has priced in a too-pessimistic view of profitability.

2014-06-05 The Investor Screwtape Letters by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

We at Smead Capital Management have been discussing some of the follies common to human nature and what we see as some pervasive trends in the investing world. These conversations got us imagining what C.S. Lewis’s, The Screwtape Letters, might sound like if they were applied to today’s investment environment. The satirical letters are written by an advice-giving bureaucrat in Hell named Screwtape, to his nephew Wormwood, a young demon who is learning how to lead humans astray. Taking some liberty with Lewis’s work, we present what we believe Screwtape might say if he were tr

2014-06-05 Q2 2014 Investment Letter by Sean Butson of DC Capital Management

• The S&P 500 is now more than 5 years into the bull market that started on March 9, 2009 • Historically, buying the S&P 500 at high valuations and low dividend yields has resulted in sub-par investment returns on average • The S&P 500 is currently overvalued based on 7 different metrics, implying that future long-term returns are likely to be disappointing • Overvaluation is not limited to the S&P 500, as a number of recent technology valuations are reminiscent of the late 1990s tech bubble • We believe a bear market within the next few years is likely

2014-06-05 Time (and Money) in a Cellphone by Bill Gross of PIMCO

Our modern age is becoming more virtual than physical, which I find increasingly depressing if only because I’ve failed to keep pace. I don’t even own a cellphone. Still, it doesn’t take a Boomer to observe that the reality outside as opposed to inside a computer or a cellphone should be the preferred experience. Scientists claim we are all just bits of information with billions of 1’s and 0’s, glued together to form a beating heart. Even so, I’m sticking with live chirping as opposed to Angry Birds for now. Virtual reality seems just a tad UNreal to me.

2014-06-05 Is Your Portfolio a House of Cards? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Politics and financial markets may both be resting on an increasingly unstable house of cards. The S&P 500 continues to hit new all time highs, while central banks try to enforce low volatility and financial stability and politicians demagogue in their quest for higher office. The one thing politicians throughout the world have in common is that they rarely ever blame themselves. They tend to diffuse responsibility or place blame on groups such as political opponents, the wealthy, or foreigners.

2014-06-05 Acta Non Verba by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Now is the time for strong actions rather than words from the European Central Bank, but their actions could send more capital to the United States and push interest rates lower over the summer.

2014-06-05 Interpreting the bond rally from a multi-asset perspective by Jeffrey Knight of Columbia Management

If there’s one thing investors agreed upon at the beginning of this year, it was that bond yields were heading higher. Over the past few weeks, I have read any number of research reports attempting to understand the reasons for this unexpected rally. Several plausible explanations have been offered, including the growing probability of a policy rate cut by the European Central Bank (ECB).

2014-06-05 The Platinum Supply Shock by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

Even investors who typically eschew precious metals have been hard-pressed to ignore the platinum industry this year. The longest strike in South African history paired with surging Asian demand is set to push the metal back into a physical deficit in 2014 - and could have repercussions for years to come. While gold remains the most conservative choice for saving, the "industrial precious metal" platinum is a compelling investment for those, like me, who are bullish on global net economic growth.

2014-06-05 Investor sentiment: Looking inside the market’s mood swings by Jeff Hussey of Russell Investments

Jeff Hussey, global CIO, highlights why Russell Investments currently sees investor sentiment in a state of cautious optimism and explains how sentiment plays into Russell’s investing recommendations.

2014-06-04 Why Food Prices Are Soaring, Likely To Continue by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

IN THIS ISSUE: 1. Consumer Food Prices Are Skyrocketing 2. 10 Fastest-Rising Food Prices at the Supermarket 3. California is in Big Trouble! So Are We All 4. Drought Monitor Chart For Continental US 5. Incurable Disease Threatens Florida Citrus Crop 6. Latin America Coffee Blight Sends Prices Skyward 7. “The Solution to High Prices is High Prices”

2014-06-04 Another kind of “Birdland?” by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

The market bulls have been maintaining their vigil. Stocks have soared over 100% since 2009, but now the bear looms above them.

2014-06-04 Schroders Multi-Asset Insights: What is the forward curve telling us about US Treasury yields? by Matthias Scheiber and Aymeric Forest of Schroder Investment Management

If central bank liquidity provision and the use of forward guidance has been dampening volatility, then its withdrawal over the coming 12 months could result in an increase in volatility. Arguably the recent flattening of the yield curve is a harbinger of this. Given the gradual path of the reduction in liquidity, this process of normalization could be extended. However, with the mean reverting nature of volatility, we believe it is currently cheap and will normalize upwards over the coming months towards its longer term average of 20. This is why we recommend adding actively managed volatilit

2014-06-04 Helping Clients Hedge Market Risk: Four Important Considerations by Roger Masi of Macro Risk Advisors

The S&P 500 was up 32% last year and recently reached a new all-time high. Since the March 2009 lows, the market is up 180%. Despite this impressive rally, both institutional and retail advisors must contemplate how to protect client portfolio wealth as many sources of uncertainty remain. The risk environment has changed over the past several years. Banks can create instability, government debt is no longer seen as risk free, the China growth miracle is in question, and Central Banks are actively influencing the prices of assets. This is not your father’s market.

2014-06-04 Obama Administration's new climate change rules by Andrew H. Friedman of The Washington Update

On Monday, the Obama Administration issued new proposed rules that would require states to reduce CO2 emissions from resident power plants. That evening, I joined CNBC’s Nightly Business report to discuss the likely impact of the regulations on climate change, jobs and the economy, and the upcoming elections.

2014-06-04 Weekly Market Update by James Welch of Castleton Partners

Treasury yields continued to decline to new lows over the last two weeks, with intermediate and long dated maturities reaching levels last seen in June 2013. With the ten year US Treasury note declining nearly twenty basis to 2.48%, all fixed income sectors produced strong monthly returns in May, adding further to impressive 2014 returns. On the economic front, the only release of note last week was the sharp—and surprisingly large—downward revision to first quarter GDP. The second estimate of 1Q GDP showed a decline of 1.0%, down from the previous figure of a 0.1% gain.

2014-06-04 Why should clients seek out investable benchmarks? by Jason M. Laurie of Altair Advisers

Benchmarks are fundamental measuring tools that gauge the relative performance of securities, investment managers and portfolios. They help answer the question, “How are my investments performing?” Yet despite their importance, they often have inherent shortcomings that can make them less than optimal for evaluating performance.

2014-06-04 European challenges and outlook by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

The constant debate of leading and lagging indicators is one that spills over to the political components as well. The timing of demographic shifting, recent economic events, geopolitical tectonic shifts taking place globally and neo-creative monetary policy have all been pointing to voter sentiment evolving. We have seen this represented in Europe for some time and the recent European Parliament election saw more than sublime results.

2014-06-03 What's Wrong with Extreme Inequality? by Michael Edesess (Article)

It is common practice to use a single figure - GDP - as the definitive measure of progress. But does it really measure progress or wellbeing? In a recent book, The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality, Princeton economist Angus Deaton measures wellbeing on a multidimensional scale. Deaton turns a sharp focus on health, wealth and inequality in the distribution of those amenities. Some wealth inequality is inevitable and helps growth, he contends, but at extreme levels - which the U.S. may be approaching - it becomes counterproductive.

2014-06-03 The Pros and Cons of Target-Date Funds in the Accumulation Phase by Wade Pfau (Article)

Target-date funds are criticized for not being customized or tailored to individual situations. But this is unfair, as they are meant to serve as default investment options for individuals who are otherwise unwilling or unable to put in the effort to obtain a better result. Nonetheless, the debates around TDFs provide an opportunity for advisors to make clear how they can serve their clients.

2014-06-03 The Question that Gets Prospects to Act by Dan Richards (Article)

Today, prospects talk to multiple advisors before making a choice. Here's a simple question that will set you apart from your peers and increase your odds of winning new clients.

2014-06-03 The Sad State of Happiness by Daniel Solin (Article)

I have never met anyone who did not want to be happy. Yet few of us take concrete steps toward that goal.

2014-06-03 Coaching Employees toward More Effective Behaviors by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

One of my advisors is brusque and cuts clients off in mid-sentence sometimes. She doesn't follow my protocols. I am not ready to fire her. What else can I do to get her to model my behavior?

2014-06-03 Why You Have Way Too Much Invested In U.S. Stocks by Meb Faber (Article)

For U.S. investors, how many of your stocks are in the domestic market? Once you account for the fact that the U.S. is one of the more expensive markets around the globe, it could be a good time to rethink your stock allocation.

2014-06-03 The Value of a Secondary Call to Action by Sarah Scorgie (Article)

In today's technological world, email has become the easiest way to connect with potential clients. With Web-based email marketing services, it's easier than ever to communicate with leads - but are your calls to action making the most of your campaigns?

2014-06-03 Slow Ride: Housing’s Recovery Taking a Breather by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Key Points Housing's recovery has stalled courtesy of several headwinds. But it's less a driver of economic growth; and some trends could begin reversing. Long-term bears may be ignoring the (eventual) force of demographics.

2014-06-03 The US Housing Market's Darkening Data by Brian Pretti of PeakProsperity.com

Unlike past housing price cycles, the current environment is being driven not by natural household formation, but by a central bank-fueled investment cycle where institutional and foreign capital are the largest influence on the marginal price. This is unknown territory for homebuyers and certainly unsustainable at today's price levels. Brian Pretti shows how price mean reversion is inevitable; and urges homeowners (both residents and investors) to take steps not be as vulnerable as they were in 2008.

2014-06-03 May 2014 Pension Finance Update by Brian Donohue of October Three Consulting

Pension sponsors treaded water in May, with both assets and liabilities edging up in tandem for both ‘model’ plans we track . Our traditional ‘Plan A’ remains down 5% during 2014, while the more conservative ‘Plan B’ is down 2% on the year.

2014-06-03 Beware of the Theme and a Dream by Brian Demain of Janus Capital Group

Mid-cap equities generally remain attractive, but momentum has driven up stocks tied to several hyper-growth industries. The bubble around these stocks began to pop in March, and we believe limiting exposure to those areas of the market will be critical to maximizing returns going forward.

2014-06-03 Address the triple threat of low yields, higher taxes and rising interest rates by Cynthia Clemson and Thomas Metzold of Eaton Vance

This year’s tax season was a rude awakening for many investors. For high earners especially, the tax rates on investment income have risen substantially. Increased taxes, combined with historically low yields and the prospect of higher interest rates eroding bond values, have a posed a triple threat for investors. But high-yield municipal bonds may offer a way to address these challenges.

2014-06-03 The High Cost of Equal Weighting by Engin Kose and Max Moroz of Research Affiliates

Equal-weight indices have two clear advantages: They are easy to understand, and they generally outperform cap-weight indices over the long term. Their drawbacks are less apparent. They have higher turnover due to rebalancing than other smart beta strategies, and that turnover includes buying and selling lower-liquidity stocks. Our market impact model demonstrates that, as global assets under management increase, implementation costs tend to rise faster in equal-weight than in fundamentally weighted strategies.

2014-06-03 Sticking With Stocks by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Both stocks and bonds have rallied and are looking expensive. BlackRock Global Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich suggests that investors need to look for relative value, which is why we still prefer stocks over bonds.

2014-06-03 Creating a Learning Society by Joseph E. Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

For more than two centuries, innovation has been a critical driver of the global economy, with most of the productivity gains stemming not from major discoveries, but from small, incremental changes. This suggests that we should focus on how societies learn, and what can be done to promote learning – including learning how to learn.

2014-06-03 Seek Secular Staying Power in Global Credit by Mark R. Kiesel of PIMCO

Secular Outlook Series: Mark Kiesel discusses long-term themes that underpin opportunities and risks in global credit markets.

2014-06-03 Emerging Markets: What countries are now attractive? by (Article)

While many emerging market countries are facing headwinds, many developing markets, such as South Korea, China, Taiwan, Poland and Mexico, are posing robust opportunities. See why Tom White feels that throwing these babies out with the bathwater may not be a wise idea.

2014-06-02 Market Peaks are a Process by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Market peaks are a process, not an event or an instant. Investors should be thinking very seriously about the extent of potential market losses over the completion of the present market cycle. It is the wrong question to ask “where else am I going to put my money with short-term interest rates near zero?” The problem with that question is that it carries the implicit assumption that the expected return on stocks is even positive or adequate given the prospective risks.

2014-06-02 June Swoon Ahead? Maybe, But Not Because of Valuations by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Given the recent extraordinary performance of most equity markets, many investors are wondering whether the bull market has run its course. Russ explains why valuation alone doesn't signal an imminent correction.

2014-06-02 What Factor Drove The Market In May? by Team of GaveKal Capital

Of the 30 factors that we track, Price to Earnings ratio had the highest correlation to the market in May followed closely correlation to the Euro and 1-month change in sales estimate. For the past year, Price to Book ratio has the highest correlation (0.94).

2014-06-02 Can Japanese Stocks Defy Sluggish Exports? by Katsuaki Ogata of AllianceBernstein

As Japanese equities struggle to make headway this year after an explosive 2013, new questions are being asked about the economy’s direction. From an investor’s perspective, we think the sluggish export trend may be masking a more positive environment for stocks.

2014-06-02 Multi-Asset Investing: Is Now the Time for Emerging Market Equities? by Mihir Worah of PIMCO

Although emerging markets (EM) will continue to grow faster than developed markets (DM), we believe the difference may be lower than what has been seen over the last five years. Higher earnings yields in EM equities offer partial compensation for risks, but careful analysis is warranted to assess the true valuation differential. A modest allocation to EM equities may be warranted based on relative price-to-earnings multiples and our expectation that policy rates will stay lower for longer than markets expect, which makes higher-yielding EM assets more attractive.

2014-06-02 Thai Coup: Business as Usual by Paul Chan, Jalil Rasheed of Invesco Blog

On May 22, Thailand’s military launched its 12th coup after a failed attempt to get the caretaker government and the opposition to resolve a seven-month political stalemate. While the military has seized temporary control, we believe the coup will have limited economic and investment impact.

2014-06-02 Equities and Bonds Diverge Amid Low Volatility by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Another week brought another record close for equities. The S&P 500 Index increased 1.2% for the week, notching a new high, but investor attention appeared to be focused elsewhere. Low levels of market volatility, a pickup in M&A activity, a difficult revenue environment for banks and improving housing data all gathered headlines, yet the bond market garnered the most focus.

2014-06-02 Corporate Activity Flourishes by Chris Maxey, Brian Payne of Fortigent

With the backdrop of low interest rates, and sluggish revenue growth, 2014 has been the year that M&A activity finally blossomed. Companies are growing more aggressive in their acquisition tactics, leading to many high profile mergers and numerous opportunities to improve profitability.

2014-05-31 From Constantinople to Istanbul, Turkey Has Never Been Better by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Every time he travels to Turkey, portfolio manager of our Emerging Europe Fund (EUROX), Tim Steinle, says the country continues to develop. Although technically classified as an emerging market, one wouldn’t think to label the country as such upon arrival. The population is young and growing, there are improvements to infrastructure everywhere you look, beautiful green parks are more prevalent, and the professional staffs that run many of the shops and businesses are both well organized and thriving.

2014-05-31 The Great Backlash by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

In the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, policymakers’ success in preventing the Great Recession from turning into Great Depression II held in check demands for protectionist measures. But now the backlash against globalization has arrived, and we know from bitter experience what could come next.

2014-05-31 Looking at the Middle Kingdom with Fresh Eyes by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

China has the potential to become a real problem. It seemed to me that almost everyone who addressed the topic was either seriously alarmed at the extent of China’s troubles or merely very worried. Perhaps it was the particular group of speakers we had, but no one was sanguine. If you recall, a few weeks back I introduced my young colleague and protégé Worth Wray to you; and his inaugural Thoughts from the Frontline focused on China, a topic on which he is well-versed, having lived and studied there. Our conversations often center on China and emerging markets (and we tend

2014-05-30 Small Cap Weakness Is Not A Market Death Knell by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

The celebration of the DJIA’s new record high on April 30th was notable for its absence. Small Cap stocks, in fact, commemorated the event by falling to an 11-month relative strength low, and many technicians point to this divergence as evidence that a dangerous period of “distribution” is now underway. We’re not so sure.

2014-05-30 The Growing Importance of Natural Gas by Skip Aylesworth of Hennessy Funds

The natural gas industry is experiencing a revolution. Fueled by advances in drilling technology, natural gas has become an abundant energy source and is quickly becoming America’s domestic energy solution. In fact, it is believed that we now have a 100-year supply in the U.S. – even with increasing demand.

2014-05-30 The High Cost of Equal Weighting by Max Moroz, Engin Kose of Research Affiliates

Equal-weight indices have two clear advantages: They are easy to understand, and they generally outperform cap-weight indices over the long term. Their drawbacks are less apparent. They have higher turnover due to rebalancing than other smart beta strategies, and that turnover includes buying and selling lower-liquidity stocks. This article summarizes what we have learned about the relative performance of equal-weight indices before and after implementation costs.

2014-05-30 Four Simple Charts To Explain The Move In Bonds This Year by Team of GaveKal Capital

As an old friend used to say, "Price changes create their own news flow." This is a good way to think about all the "stories" that have surfaced lately explaining the unexpected plunge in bond yields this year.

2014-05-30 Global Economic Perspective: May by Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group® of Franklin Templeton Investments

We believe a substantial improvement in US growth is underway, despite first-quarter 2014 gross domestic product (GDP) growth coming in at an annual rate of -1.0%, well below market expectations.

2014-05-30 Seoul Searching by Michael Han of Matthews Asia

South Korea's Sewol ferry disaster in April has not only been one of the country's most tragic events in recent memory, it is also one that is leaving an indelible mark on Korean society. The incident claimed hundreds of young lives, led to a public outpouring of anger, capital punishment charges and several key resignations, including that of the Prime Minister.

2014-05-30 How Not To Get Soaked When The Bond Bubble Bursts by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

As I wrote in my latest Forbes article and in my current weekly column On My Radar, most investors are unaware and ill-prepared for the impact that rising interest rates will have on their bond funds and ETF investments. There has been an unprecedented period of Fed participation (manipulation) with six years of near zero-percent interest rate policy and trillions of newly created currency.

2014-05-30 How Tax Savings from a College Savings Plan Could Pay for a Year of College by Tara Thompson Popernik of AllianceBernstein

The option to front-load funding makes a tax-deferred college savings plan is a great way to avoid taxes on the future growth of funds earmarked for higher-education expenses. We project that the taxes avoided over a 10-year savings horizon could pay for a full year of college.

2014-05-30 Taking Advantage of Pessimism by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The world is distracted with fears of the next great calamity, but heading into summer U.S. financial markets are enjoying a remarkably positive environment.

2014-05-30 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 135.4, down from the previous week's 135.1. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) rose to 5.3 from 5.0. That's the highest since June of last year.

2014-05-30 Real Median Household Income Fell 0.42% in April by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Sentier Research monthly median household income data series is now available for April. The nominal median household income was down $84 month-over-month and up only $1,420 year-over-year. Adjusted for inflation, it was down $222% MoM and only $409 YoY. The real numbers equate to a -0.42% MoM decline and a 0.78% YoY increase.

2014-05-30 Thoughts at Age 50 by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Today, I reach the half-century mark on this earth. I have spent over half of that time working in the investment management business. Over my more than 90,000 hours in the industry of managing money and caring for investors, I have met thousands of people, read a seemingly infinite amount of research and developed more than a few opinions about both investing (in bold) and life.

2014-05-30 Tax-Exempt Securities Confounding the Consensus in 2014 by Michael Smith, Bob Meyer of SMC Fixed Income Management

Rarely do the financial markets provide the double treat of simultaneously rising equity valuations and falling bond yields. Almost midway through the second quarter of 2014, key stock indices reached new all-time highs while global bond yields have retreated to levels not seen in over six months. Something has to give: either stock prices retreat or yields rise. Right? At least this is the popular assumption supported by classic economic rationale for a normal investment environment.

2014-05-30 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Reflections from a fortnight abroad;Last weekend's European elections will make cooperation more difficult

2014-05-29 Is There a UK Housing Bubble???? by Mike Amey of PIMCO

We see the UK experiencing a very traditional monetary cycle involving lower mortgage rates, higher house prices and then – hopefully – higher transactions. The Bank of England can address rising house prices either by raising financing costs via the banking system or by raising interest rates. Markets will watch BoE activity closely. Our expectation is for a gradual and modest interest rate cycle, with low rates in the UK economy for years to come. Housing may be an overvalued asset, but one that is secularly supported by low rates.

2014-05-29 A Stealth Recovery by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

In the fall of 2010, I had written that several indicators suggested the U.S. was entering “stealth economic recovery” mode. This “stealth” recovery coupled with low interest rates and changing demographics were going to usher us into “the age of the Dividend Darlings -- companies that pay sizeable, sustainable, and growing dividends.” Investors would not only replace their income exposure to lower yielding bonds, but also focus on growing income in the equity market.

2014-05-29 Piketty's Envy Problem by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

There can be little doubt that Thomas Piketty's new book Capital in the 21st Century has struck a nerve globally. In fact, the Piketty phenomenon (the economic equivalent to Beatlemania) has in some ways become a bigger story than the ideas themselves.

2014-05-29 Thailand’s Tensions, and Resilience by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Thailand’s imposition of martial law on May 20 came after months of protests and threats of violence between two opposing sides—the anti-government group called the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), known as the “yellow shirts,” and the pro-government group called the United Front for Democracy against Dictation (UDD), known as the “red shirts.” The PDRC demanded for the government to step down to pave the way for an appointed government.

2014-05-29 The Future’s Still Bright for College Grads by Christopher Thompson of AllianceBernstein

Is college worth it? It’s not an uncommon question these days, especially with soaring college costs, ballooning student debt levels and higher unemployment. But research shows that pursuing a college degree can result in far more than just a diploma.

2014-05-29 CEFs: The Present Featuring Cecilia Gondor by (Article)

The power of the Internet and the quest for income are driving the CEF industry today, says Cecilia Gondor of Thomas J. Herzfeld Advisors.

2014-05-29 China Sets America’s Mental Trap by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

It is often said that a crisis should never be wasted: Politicians, policymakers, and regulators should embrace the moment of deep distress and take on the heavy burden of structural repair. China seems to be doing that; America is not.

2014-05-29 Pending Home Sales Can't Blame The Weather For The Latest Miss by Team of GaveKal Capital

Pending home sales rose by only 0.4% in April vs estimates of a 1% month-over-month gain. Pending home sales are down over 9% year-over-year. If you are living in the West or the Northeast than that decline looks great compared to fall they are experiencing in those regions.

2014-05-28 Home Sales Gain: Now Where? by Chris Maxey, Brian Payne of Fortigent

This week is full of economic data with the Case-Shiller Home Price index coming out. Also coming out is data on durable goods orders and consumer confidence. On tap for later in the week is the second estimate of Q1 GDP, pending home sales, and personal income growth.

2014-05-28 Fed Official: We're Sitting On A "Ticking Time Bomb" by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

It is very rare for high-ranking Fed officials to issue dire warnings, but that’s exactly what Charles Plosser – the president of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank – did last Tuesday. Mr. Plosser is very concerned about the $2.5 trillion in “excess reserves” that banks have on deposit with the Fed.

2014-05-28 Where’s Molly? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

It was after midnight. While the sky was clear and the stars were sparkling, there was no moonlight as the moon was new. I walked briskly down the street, but after a long day of sales presentations and meetings, inside I was tired and dragging. On each side of me dark houses loomed. There were no street lights.

2014-05-28 A Deeper look at Corporate CapEx and Stock Buybacks by Team of GaveKal Capital

Yesterday we analyzed aggregate capital spending on tangibles for non-financial constituent companies in the MSCI World Index (90% of global investible market cap). We found that CapEx as a % of sales has been extremely steady over the last nine years, fluctuating in a 0.9% range. In 2013 CapEx as a % of sales, at 7.9%, registered the second highest reading over the 9 year period.

2014-05-28 Value Offers a Cushion: Why Last Year’s Winners Are Now Losers and Vice Versa by Russ of BlackRock

A trend in markets this year has been the poor performance of last year’s stock market winners, and the resilience of some of last year’s losers. Russ takes a look at what’s behind this trend, specifically with retailers and emerging markets.

2014-05-28 Europe’s Ukrainian Lifeline by George Soros of Project Syndicate

Europe’s voters recently expressed their dissatisfaction with the way the EU currently functions, while Ukraine’s people demonstrated their desire for association with the EU. European leaders and citizens should take this opportunity to consider what that means – and how helping Ukraine can also help Europe.

2014-05-27 Kyle Bass: The Looming Crises in Asia by Robert Huebscher (Article)

For the last several years, nobody has been more outspokenly bearish on Japan than Kyle Bass. In a recent talk, Bass reiterated his doubts about Japan's chances of averting a debt crisis. What's more, he also said China's economy will fall below expectations.

2014-05-27 Lacy Hunt: The Dark Side of Debt by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Lacy Hunt has used econometric research to persuasively demonstrate the statistical relationship between excessive debt and slow economic growth. Although Hunt and I disagree over whether this analysis can be applied to the U.S., our forecasts for growth in the U.S. economy and for the bond markets are remarkably similar.

2014-05-27 Structured Portfolios: Solving the Problems with Indexing by Larry Swedroe (Article)

An overwhelming body of evidence demonstrates that the majority of investors would be better off by adopting indexed investment strategies. A total-stock-market index is fine for many investors. But indexed investors who desire certain types of exposure face a number of problems - which are solved with what I call "structured portfolios."

2014-05-27 Five Steps to Get Out of a Rut by Dan Richards (Article)

Five simple strategies have proven successful in breaking the logjam caused by inertia - and making change happen.

2014-05-27 More AUM May Not Make You Happy by Daniel Solin (Article)

I know a lot of wealthy people. I also know many "successful" investment advisors. One day, while doing research for my Smartest Sales book, I had this epiphany: Most of these people aren't particularly happy. In fact, they are no happier (and perhaps even less so) than many others who have achieved far less financial success.

2014-05-27 Defensive Position Rotation: Achieving Financial Goals with Less Volatility by Dale W. Van Metre, Ph.D., CRPC®, APMASM (Article)

Defensive position rotation is an alternative to MPT. It is a portfolio-construction philosophy that adapts to changing market conditions and can increase risk-adjusted returns over time.

2014-05-27 Selling Tips for Un-Sales-y Advisors by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Can someone who isn't comfortable being sales-y learn how to be a salesperson?

2014-05-27 Integrating Social Media and Website Reviews into Your Practice by Bob Wilgus (Article)

In March, the SEC released a guidance update on the use of client testimonials and social media. The update provided new rules and clarifications regarding the use of third-party advisor review sites, community or fan pages and links directing clients to social-media pages. Here is the reality advisors must confront to take advantage of the new rules.

2014-05-27 Henderson High Yield Opportunities Fund Update by Kevin Loome (Article)

Kevin Loome, CFA, Head of US Credit reviews the High Yield Opportunities Fund's (HYOAX) first year of performance noting the success of both asset allocation and credit selection. Mr Loome notes that a focus on credit makes the Fund a unique mandate. In markets, many of the companies we have been following have shown an improvement in health as many have had easier access to the refinancing markets and refinanced at a better rate and shortened maturities which improves their liquidity.

2014-05-27 After India’s Election, Execution takes Center Stage for Debt Markets by Jack Deino of Invesco Blog

Financial markets in India have already rallied strongly in anticipation of the overwhelming majority win by incoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The country’s currency (the Indian rupee) rose 15% from its August peak, while five-year credit default swaps on the State Bank of India (SBI) tightened from a spread of 371 to 207 in the same period.

2014-05-27 Quality Dividend ETFs by Shundrawn Thomas (Article)

FlexShares Quality Dividend ETFs allow investors to seek to meet income needs with exposure to high-quality dividend-paying domestic or international stocks, across three levels of market risk.

2014-05-27 Four Market Risks to Focus on This Summer by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

What could lead to a more severe market correction? While there’s a long list of things that could go wrong in 2014, Russ lists four market risks to pay attention to this summer.

2014-05-27 Six Principles for Smart Tax Management by Tara Thompson Popernik of AllianceBernstein

It is well known that taxes began to take a bigger bite out of income for the well-off in 2013. Top marginal tax rates rose, and some exemptions and deductions were phased out. What is less well known is that investors spending from their portfolios—even those investors whose tax rates didn’t rise—may be facing higher tax bills, too.

2014-05-27 Economy Begins to Accelerate While Equities Push Higher by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished higher last week as the S&P 500 advanced 1.3%, snapping a two-week losing streak and ending at a new record high. Markets seemed to lack conviction, but the path of least resistance appeared skewed to the upside as momentum for the economic recovery was positive.

2014-05-27 Is Gold Signaling A Move Higher in TIPS? by Team of GaveKal Capital

For the last decade, TIPS yields and gold have had a negative 88% correlation. The logic is simple enough: since gold doesn't generate any income, falling TIPS rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding gold. We can see this play out in the charts below. In early 2008, the peak in gold was accompanied by a trough in TIPS yields, and then later in 2008, the trough in gold was accompanied by a rise in TIPS yields.

2014-05-27 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.

2014-05-27 Emerging Markets: The Fragile Five and Beyond by (Article)

Indonesia, India, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil, as well as Thailand and Russia are the focus topics, as the challenges facing some emerging market countries are discussed against the overall perspective of the natural ebb and flows of the global market.

2014-05-25 A Bubble in Complacency by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

The simple fact is that we are in what I call a Muddle Through Economy. Things aren’t terrible, but they are not great, either. We’ve come through a devastating Great Recession caused by a crisis in the financial sector. It is quite typical for the effects of such a crisis to linger for a decade or more. So compared to where we were at the bottom of the Great Recession, the glass is half-full. But compared to the expectations we have for economic recovery and the resumption of vibrant growth, half-full seems like an exaggeration. And for many people, the glass is simply empty, whil

2014-05-25 Mounting Momentum? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Although the stock market remains sluggish, with the potential for a correction elevated, the U.S. economy appears to be improving. There is probably no great rush to get into the stock market at this point, but maintaining a steady investing discipline in the face of what we think is a continuing secular bull market is key. Investors frustrated with the low yield environment should be careful about adding too much risk to a portfolio in search of higher yields.

2014-05-25 Exit Strategy by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Overly compressed risk premiums are now the largest ticking time bomb in the global financial environment.

2014-05-24 In a Flash, China Looks Strong by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

If you want to know where the world economy is headed, there is one number that I believe investors should focus on: the HSBC China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI). On Thursday, the preliminary flash PMI for May came in at 49.7, beating Bloomberg’s consensus of 48.3.

2014-05-24 “Chasing Tails” How to Play Defense Against a “Market Event” by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

This is about the time in a market cycle (up for stocks, for several years) that it is prudent to talk not about playing defense, but HOW it is being played. That is, proactively and not reactively.

2014-05-24 Trends in Gold Option Volatility by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

Liquidity in gold option trading has risen significantly over the last five years. Using the COMEX 100 ounce gold option contract as a proxy for the market, Year-to-Date Average Daily Volume has risen from approximately 30,000 contracts in May 2009 to 70,000 contracts (~ 217 metric tonnes) in May 2014. This period of growth in option use has coincided with the rapid rise in the gold price after the 2008 credit crisis and perhaps reflected a need from the growing number of gold investors for derivative contracts with which they could manage the risks inherent in their gold exposure.

2014-05-23 Online Upstarts Challenge Chinese Banks by Richard Gao of Matthews Asia

Chinese banks have long operated under a protective environment in which deposit and lending rates have been managed in a rather tight band by the central bank. One advantage of these controls for the banks has been fixed net interest rate margins. But China’s traditional state-owned banks have been pressured recently to try to keep depositors from seeking the higher yield products now offered by online Chinese financing firms.

2014-05-23 See No Evil by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

In this week's release of the minutes from its April 29-30 meeting, Federal Reserve policymakers made clear that they see little chance of inflation moving past their 2% target for years to come. In order to make such a bold statement, Fed economists not only had to ignore the current data, but discount the likelihood that their current stimulus will put further upward pressure on prices that are already rising.

2014-05-23 Freddie, Fannie, finis? by Team of Northern Trust

The destruction wrought by the 2008 financial crisis necessitated a good deal of repair. In some areas, that repair is complete; in others, it is well along. But in one spot, it hasn’t really begun. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the giant U.S. mortgage companies, remain in structural limbo more than five years after the American government rescued them. Just as plans to restructure these government-sponsored entities (GSEs) finally began making their way through the U.S. Congress, cross currents arose that greatly complicate the way forward. Some former shareholders are suing to recover so

2014-05-23 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 135.1, down from the previous week's 136.3. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) rose to 5.0 from 4.9. That's the highest since June of last year.

2014-05-22 Scarce Growth - Can the Tortoises Continue to Outpace the Hares? by Robert McConnaughey of Columbia Management

For some time we have suggested that in a world slowly recovering from the 2008 financial crisis, aggregate global growth would be sub-par and that investors would benefit from seeking scarce growth, so long as that growth did not become wildly overvalued. Recent market action has tested that stance severely.

2014-05-22 The Crimean Conflict Has Affected Commodities Markets, Just Not Where You’d Expect by Nicholas Johnson, Gillian Rutherford of PIMCO

Since the end of February, when the Crimean crisis started to escalate, grain prices have responded to nearly every up and down of the crisis. Wheat is up 21%, and corn is up 10%. We believe investors looking to take a view on the future price of wheat or corn should do so through the options market. In this case, we think being long puts on wheat is an attractive way to implement our short wheat view.

2014-05-22 Why We're Often Bullish When the Market Turns Bearish by Francis Gannon of The Royce Funds

While economic anxiety has hit the market prior to the often bearish summer months, we continue to concentrate on matters less publicized: a shift in equity market leadership in favor of quality driven by rising interest rates.

2014-05-22 China’s Property Problems by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Alarm bells are warning of a Chinese property bubble, but Beijing can avoid a crisis by allowing inflation to fix the problem.

2014-05-22 The Percent of Individual Stocks Making New Highs Continues to Contract by Team of GaveKal Capital

It's no secret that we've been concerned about the lack of new highs in individual stocks since at least the beginning of the year. Indeed, we've made note of the divergence between headline stock indices and the number of stocks making new highs here, here, here and here and probably in a few other posts as well.

2014-05-22 Russian Interests by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Tensions between Russia and Ukraine remain high, and have spilled onto the international stage. The Western world seemed to be caught off guard by Russian President Putin’s reaction to civil unrest in Ukraine, leading to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and spreading into a broader question of regional sovereignty. The situation remains fluid, so it’s difficult to predict just exactly how it might play out. But given escalating conflict in Eastern Ukraine, we do not envision an easy or quick end to the conflict.

2014-05-21 Interest Rates Have To Go Up. The "Bond King" Says No by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The prevailing view on Wall Street and Main Street is that medium and long-term interest rates have to go higher in the months and years ahead. Interest rates have to get back to “normal” at some point, so we’re told. Yet in the last several months, yields on 10-year Treasury notes and 30-year Treasury bonds have fallen rather significantly. What’s up with that?

2014-05-21 Markets’ Federal Reserve Love Story by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

For many years market participants have been richly rewarded for falling in love – quickly and decisively – with policy measures adopted by the US Federal Reserve. More recently, however, some have become less comfortable, warning that the codependence is encouraging excessive risk-taking and, in some cases, bubbly valuations.

2014-05-21 Everyday Brands in the Right Hands by Aaron Monroe of Diamond Hill Investments

An ownership mentality, long-term perspective, and disciplined capital allocation are characteristics we look for in all management teams but find in few. Through its commitment to these attributes, Jarden Corp. (JAH) has driven significant outperformance for long-term investors and compiled an attractive portfolio of niche brands that are leaders in their respective markets.

2014-05-21 Are Corporate Balance Sheets Really That Liquid? Debunking the "Cash Mountain" Myth by Team of GaveKal Capital

We frequently read about the "cash mountain" that has piled up on corporate balance sheets since the global financial crisis. In many cases the level of cash is given as evidence that the the non-financial corporate sector is stronger now than ever before.

2014-05-21 Pacific Powers: Australia and Japan by Don Huber of Franklin Templeton Investments

Separated by nearly 4,000 miles of sea, the economies of Australia and Japan are often lumped together under the Asia Pacific (APAC) label. Both of these countries can be considered global powers and powerful GDP generators, but their economies, the challenges they face and their responses to those challenges have been very different. Don Huber, vice president, research analyst and portfolio manager, Franklin Equity Group, looks at how these APAC powers are navigating their unique issues and shares his market outlook for each.

2014-05-21 Despite the “Grand Reversal,” Stick With Stocks by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

In a reversal of 2013’s performance, stocks are struggling to hold onto gains while bond yields are plunging, leaving many investors asking: “How should I be positioning for the long term?” Russ explains why he still advocates sticking with stocks.

2014-05-21 Start Saving for College Now, or Pay Much More Later by Christopher Thompson of AllianceBernstein

The price tag for attending college 18 years from now is projected to be considerably higher than it is today—up to hundreds of thousands of dollars higher for a four-year degree. But using a tax-favored strategy to save for college can help make the costs of future educational expenses less daunting.

2014-05-21 And That's The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

What goes up must come down (and then go up again). Such was the fickle week in the stock market. After soaring to new highs on the major indexes, investors went into selling mode (profit-taking for the most part?), before jumping back in for the end-of-week bargain shopping.

2014-05-21 An Inefficient Asset Class by Tim Gramatovich of AdvisorShares

The high yield and floating rate loan market are often misunderstood asset classes. Just what is the formal definition of “high yield”? High yield, or its more polite acronym, non-investment grade, is based off of the ratings grids provided by the two major credit rating agencies, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. All bonds rated below Baa by Moody’s are considered high yield or non-investment grade.

2014-05-20 Gundlach: The Bad News for Housing by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Residential housing is in trouble, according to Jeffrey Gundlach. It's not heading for a repeat of the 2008 collapse, but it's equally unlikely that housing growth will provide the needed push for a strong U.S. economic recovery.

2014-05-20 Introducing APViewpoint by Robert Huebscher (Article)

This month marks the seventh anniversary of the founding of Advisor Perspectives - and the release of our new service, APViewpoint.

2014-05-20 Will Global Tensions Derail the US Recovery? by Robert Huebscher (Article)

It's not the Fed's monetary policy that investors should fear, but the "geopolitical tapering" undertaken by the Obama administration, contends Niall Ferguson, the Harvard historian. Ian Bremmer, the political scientist and chairman of the Eurasia Group, disagrees - despite some tactical missteps, he said, the current administration has achieved reasonable results.

2014-05-20 Are the Pictures on Your Website Costing You Clients? by Dan Richards (Article)

Why do most advisor websites look similar - often with stiff photos of team members smiling uncomfortably into the camera?

2014-05-20 Understanding the Investment Function in Greater Depth by Tom Brakke (Article)

In late 2010, I published a series of letters to someone who was about to enter the investment industry. In March of this year, they became the foundation for an ebook, Letters to a Young Analyst, which includes advice and resources for aspiring investment professionals. Despite the title, the book is not exclusively for a narrow slice of those professionals.

2014-05-20 Stop Talking and Start Listening! by Daniel Solin (Article)

There is a massive disconnect between our perception of ourselves as effective listeners and reality.

2014-05-20 Creating Error-Free Marketing Materials by Megan Elliot (Article)

Here's how to avoid marketing mistakes that will negatively affect your firm's credibility.

2014-05-20 Managing Meeting Mania by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

When I look at my calendar and try to figure out why I am so unproductive, I realize how much time I spend going from meeting to meeting. Sometimes they don't even have anything to do with my work! Is there a graceful way to say "Thanks, but no thanks" to a meeting invite?

2014-05-20 Inflation Becomes the Latest Topic du Jour by Chris Maxey, Brian Payne of Fortigent

Long discussed pricing pressure is beginning to show up in various domestic indices, leading some to believe the Fed will pull its foot off the brakes sooner than anticipated. While inflation is stabilizing, there are few signs that it is accelerating materially, leaving plenty of room for the Fed to maneuver. It will be important to keep an eye on prices going forward, though, as any acceleration could alter the investment and economic landscape quickly.

2014-05-20 Emerging Markets Update with Rennie McConnochie by (Article)

Despite recent challenges, the Emerging Markets sector poses a potentially attractive opportunity to long-term CEF investors, says Rennie McConnochie of Aberdeen.

2014-05-20 A Crash Course in Helicopter Investing by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Hovering over daily swings in your portfolio can keep your financial goals from taking flight, writes Kristina Hooper.

2014-05-20 Iran’s Iraq by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

The last American combat troops left Iraq in December 2011, marking the end of direct U.S. involvement in a nearly eight-year war. In this report, we will discuss recent developments in Iraq, including elections that were held on April 30. We will analyze Iran’s growing influence in the region and how the Iraq War furthered that influence. As part of this analysis, we will examine how Iran’s growing power and America’s apparent withdrawal is changing the behavior of other nations in the region. As always, we will conclude with market ramifications.

2014-05-20 Bonds Rally, But Stocks Still More Attractive Long Term by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Stocks have floundered, while bonds continue to rally. Markets are showing a sharp reversal from 2013, when stocks were up strongly while bonds struggled. We maintain our long-term preference for equities and suggest investors exercise caution before adding to positions in bonds.

2014-05-20 Which Resource Areas Show Signs of Strength? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Global synchronized growth, as measured by the Global Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), remained stable or positive for the past 12 months until Japan reversed the momentum in April with a precipitous drop in its PMI. China is contributing modest growth but, fortunately, the U.S. and Europe are rebounding. This lack of consistent global momentum has created a short-term, volatile, hot and cold, stop-and-go sentiment. Global real GDP growth peaked in 2010 at 5.2 percent then slowed for the next three years to 3 percent.

2014-05-20 The Persistent Weakness in Lumber Continues by Team of GaveKal Capital

We watch lumber prices because lumber, being a largely domestically produced and consumed resource, can give a good early indication of changes in domestic economic activity. Lumber prices are also closely correlated to stock prices (the S&P 500 in this case) and so we like to see the two price series following each other.

2014-05-20 A Revised Bond Market Outlook? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

A year ago, as Fed Chairman Bernanke spoke of the possibility of tapering the Fed’s Large-Scale Asset Purchase program (QE3), bond yields moved higher. They’ve been range-bound over the last year, but have more recently dipped to the lower end of that range. What’s driving the bond market?

2014-05-20 Computer Tutor?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

My friend Jerry Goodman died recently. His nom de plume was Adam Smith, obviously taken from the legendary economist Adam Smith (1723 – 1790). In addition to the book The Money Game, Jerry wrote numerous other books. In his later years, he worked at another friend’s establishment, that being Craig Drill, eponymous captain of the insightful Drill Capital Management.

2014-05-20 Throwing Babies Out With Bathwater by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Instead of behaving wisely, we think investors have been "throwing babies out with the bath water" this year. We believe speculators have fled out of the Biotech ETFs and have unwittingly sold Amgen (AMGN) between $129 and $109 per share because it is the largest holding of most of these targeted vehicles. From our vantage point, investors have tossed out EBAY (EBAY) in the internet space, Gannett (GCI) in media, Pfizer (PFE) in Pharma and Bank of America (BAC) and JP Morgan (JPM) in the banking sector.

2014-05-20 Emerging Markets Masterclass by (Article)

In this two-part video, 45-year industry veteran Tom White offers an in-depth review of emerging markets, including those that are currently facing challenges, but also the developing markets that are now presenting attractive opportunities.

2014-05-19 America The Youthful? Yes, On a Relative Basis by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

While the United States is aging at a much slower pace than much of the rest of the world, the U.S. population will almost certainly continue to age. As Russ explains, this has three implications for the U.S. economy.

2014-05-19 Sovereigns Look Seductive in Europe’s Periphery by Jorgen Kjaersgaard, John Taylor of AllianceBernstein

Investment-grade bonds issued by nonfinancial firms in Europe’s peripheral countries have had a great run but now look expensive. In our view, government bonds from the likes of Spain and Italy offer better value for investors who want peripheral exposure.

2014-05-19 The Journeys of Sisyphus by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Investors have again pushed the stone to the top of the mountain.

2014-05-19 Three Questions Investors Need to Ask About Alternatives by Donna Chapman Wilson of Invesco Blog

The world of alternative investments includes a range of hedge fund-like strategies that typically consist of publicly traded equity and fixed income investments, but are unconventionally managed using a variety of exposures (long, short, market neutral) and financial instruments. These strategies have gained acceptance in recent years, and have become more widely available to individual investors through vehicles such as mutual funds. However, questions still remain about the best ways to incorporate them into an asset allocation strategy.

2014-05-19 Forces Shaping the Global Health-Care Industry by Nanette Abuhoff Jacobson of Hartford Funds

The health-care industry is undergoing many changes, from government reforms to groundbreaking drug development. Because I am frequently asked about this industry, I am devoting this month’s commentary to the forces shaping health care today and what those changes mean for investors. In speaking with members of Wellington Management’s experienced Health Care Team, it is clear the three main drivers of this complex, dynamic industry are the aging population in the developed world, the growing middle class in emerging markets (EM), and scientific innovation.

2014-05-19 The Belgian Connection by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

One of the biggest questions at the end of 2013 was how the Treasury market would react to the reduction of bond buying that would result from the Federal Reserve’s tapering campaign. If the Fed were to hold course to its stated intentions, its $45 billion monthly purchases of Treasury bonds would be completely wound down by the 4th quarter of 2014.

2014-05-17 Which Resource Areas Show Signs of Strength? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Global synchronized growth, as measured by the Global Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), remained stable or positive for the past 12 months until Japan reversed the momentum in April with a precipitous drop in its PMI. China is contributing modest growth but, fortunately, the U.S. and Europe are rebounding. This lack of consistent global momentum has created a short-term, volatile, hot and cold, stop-and-go sentiment. Global real GDP growth peaked in 2010 at 5.2 percent then slowed for the next three years to 3 percent. Global growth in 2014 is likely to accelerate, for the first time in four y

2014-05-17 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

China: Two different stories, one conclusion. The jury is still out on long-term U.S. growth. Fond memories of Gary Becker.

2014-05-17 The Best of the Sungarden Blog - On Its First Birthday by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

This week marks the first anniversary of our blog, which you can find at www.sungardeninvestment.com. To celebrate, we chose from among the more than 50 blog posts of the past year eight which we believe were the most impactful, based on readership and feedback we have received. We invite you to see what you may have missed or take a fresh look at this tour of Sungarden’s views. The original post date is noted after each title, and you can simply click on a title to go to it.

2014-05-16 Concerned Optimism by Scott Brown of Raymond James

In her congressional testimony, Fed Chair Janet Yellen chose her words carefully. She indicated that if the economic outlook evolves as anticipated (growth picks up, the labor market tightens, and inflation moves toward the Fed’s 2% goal), then the Fed’s asset purchase program (QE3) will likely end in the fourth quarter. However, she refused to be pinned down on when the Fed would begin raising short-term interest rates. Global concerns and the housing sector “will bear close observation.”

2014-05-16 Old Turkey by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

I revisit the “Old Turkey” story this morning, which I first read in the classic book Reminiscences of a Stock Operator, about the escapades of Jesse “the boy plunger” Livermore, because of the reference I made to him last week that drew so many questions. The wisdom of “Old Turkey” is as good today as it was when first published in 1923. The problem with most investors today is that they have never experienced the 1923 – 1929, the 1946 – 1964, or the 1982 – 2000 secular “bull markets.”

2014-05-16 Breaking Good by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

After breaking out of their recent trading range, yields on U.S. Treasuries could now be heading significantly lower and the U.S. economy could enjoy fast economic growth in the coming months.

2014-05-16 Examining the Relationship between Gold and the Commodity Currencies by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

In this week’s commentary we examine the performance of the price of gold expressed in the currencies of the world’s largest gold producing countries. In a number of previous commentaries we have investigated the currency like nature of gold investing.

2014-05-16 Mixed Signals and the Road Less Traveled by Doug MacKay, Bill Hoover, Mike Czekaj of Broadleaf Partners

As the markets flirt with all-time highs and a potential shift in Fed policy, earnings season has not altered the fact that the level of investor uncertainty feels elevated. Throw in the case of a really bad winter, a geopolitical environment that rhymes with events just prior to World War I, and poor trading volumes, and it all suggests that heightened levels of unease remain.

2014-05-16 College Costs 101: What are 529 Plans? by Beyond Bulls and Bears of Franklin Templeton Investments

Tabulating the costs of a college education can be overwhelming for new parents, so overwhelming, in fact, that many choose not to think about it at all, assuming the situation will resolve itself in time. Many parents wind up turning to student loans as the solution to finance a college education, often resulting in a shiny new diploma accompanied by a mountain of debt.

2014-05-16 Can Smart Beta Think? by David Kleinberg of Universal Orbit

The concept of Smart Beta introduced by the principles of Fundamental Indexation (Arnott, Hsu and More 2005) provides for a state of Nirvana, greater performance with less risk. Given the historic price action of equities in the Value and Small Cap asset classes, the extent to which Fundamental indexes are skewed to risk and outperformance relative to its market capitalization weighted CAPM Beta master is mathematical. Similarly, the degree of associated short-term volatility is predictable.

2014-05-16 India: Counting Efficiently by Rahul Gupta of Matthews Asia

India’s massive election process—involving more than 1 million polling stations and 800 million eligible voters—has just drawn to a close. Despite being a poor country with annual GDP per capita on the lower end of Asian economies (at US$1,527), it is home to some of the world’s best IT and generic pharmaceutical companies. Electronic voting is one illustration of the dichotomies that are present in the rapidly changing nation. This week’s Asia Weekly explores the hurdles and the technology used to manage the world’s biggest democratic election exercise.

2014-05-16 Why Should Clients Seek Out Investable Benchmarks? by Jason Laurie of Altair Advisers

Investable benchmarks enable clients to see what their returns would have been had they invested in a passive alternative to any actively managed recommendations. They answer the question, “How are my investments performing?,” with far greater clarity, yet they are still a rarity in the investment world. We believe that is changing.

2014-05-16 And That's The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Strike up the band! The Dow is now in positive territory for the year AND even set a record close. Who would have thunk that after the dismal January and the pessimism that reigned from the winter? The recovery continued as earnings season offered more surprises and the economic numbers show a country moving beyond the thaw of winter. Now if only China (Europe and Russia) could follow suit.

2014-05-15 Never, Never by Andrew Redleaf of Whitebox Advisors

Imagine a few months from now Mark Zuckerberg calls a press conference to announce his goals for Facebook for the next few years. As the crowd waits with baited breath, he announces three: 1.To have Facebook recognized as the world’s coolest company. 2. To triple the number of Facebook employees, because there are so many cool things to do and because we all have to work together to fight unemployment. 3. To make Facebook employees on average the highest paid in the world, because income inequality is incompatible with FB’s values.

2014-05-15 Schroders Monthly Markets Review: Overview of Markets in April 2014 by Keith Wade, Azad Zangana, Craig Botham of Schroder Investment Management

Global equities edged higher in April. Some stronger macroeconomic data from developed economies helped to support returns but the ongoing crisis in Ukraine remained a headwind for equities. Developed markets outperformed emerging markets. In the US, a generally firmer tone to macroeconomic data and a broadly encouraging corporate earnings season supported sentiment. Investors were also reassured by comments from Federal Reserve (Fed) Chair Janet Yellen about maintaining low interest rates.

2014-05-15 Five Things Your Credit Manager Shouldn’t Be Doing (But Probably Is) by Christian Stracke of PIMCO

Questionable behavior among credit managers is back, but the good news is that we believe the credit markets still offer plenty of opportunities to potentially generate attractive returns. Smart, rational credit investing that avoids some managers’ naïve reach for yield, and sticks instead to a deep focus on the long-term sustainability of companies’ balance sheets, may still reap rewards.

2014-05-15 Washington Hates Carrots, Loves Sticks by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

A widely-held maxim tells us that money tends to flow from where it is treated badly to where it is treated well. This trend has taken center stage in the ongoing battle between U.S. states to attract and retain top employers. In that conflict, high tax states like California have been losing ground to relatively low tax states such as Texas and Florida.

2014-05-15 Fed's Zero Interest Rate Cost Savers A Trillion Dollars by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Get a group of adults together in a social setting and the conversation almost invariably gets around to a discussion about the paltry returns savers have been earning on their money in recent years. Three-month certificates of deposits are averaging only 0.23% nationally; one-year CDs are at only 1% if you can get it; and five-year CDs get you only about 2%. And rates have been at or near these depressed levels for the last four years.

2014-05-15 Inequality Disaster Prevention by Robert Shiller of Project Syndicate

Thomas Piketty’s impressive and much-discussed book Capital in the Twenty-First Century has brought considerable attention to the problem of rising economic inequality. But it is not strong on solutions.

2014-05-15 Microsoft: The Progression of a Maturing Business by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Everyone is keenly aware of the $300+ billion dollar company that is Microsoft (MSFT). From the classic Windows and Office products to the latest Xbox and Skype, the business doesn’t exactly need an introduction. In fact, it’s quite likely that you are using or near a Microsoft product now; we used a couple just to get this article to you. So instead of providing a generic opening, we thought it might be interesting to highlight the company with some numbers.

2014-05-15 Thoughts on Investing in Convertible Securities by Alan Muschott of Franklin Templeton Investments

Changes and potential changes in monetary policy across the globe, along with increased volatility in currency and equity markets, have thrown a spotlight on convertible securities, described by some as offering the “best of both worlds” in terms of stock and bond characteristics. But what are they, how do they work, and how can they play a part in a diversified investment portfolio in today’s market? Alan Muschott, portfolio manager for Franklin Convertible Securities Fund, who has been investing in convertible securities for more than a decade, provides his take.

2014-05-15 Mexico: A Country in Transition by Brad Jensen of AdvisorShares

We have been traveling regularly to and investing on and off in Mexico for over thirty years. We have seen the Peso strengthen and bust a couple of times; government-owned banks privatized and then bust; an ongoing roller-coaster ride in the Bolsa. Through it all, we have been big believers in the long-term prospects for the country, its economy, and financial markets. However, it is clear that a thoughtful process regarding entry and exit points is required.

2014-05-14 Worried about the Downside? by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

There have been numerous academic studies that suggest investors’ reactions to market risk are not symmetric. Investors consistently react more negatively to losses than positively to gains. At RBA, we incorporate this asymmetry in our sentiment work. Data clearly show that no group of investors is currently willing to take excessive US equity risk. Pension funds, endowments, foundations, hedge funds, individuals, Wall Street strategists, and even corporations themselves remain more fearful of downside risk than they are willing to accentuate upside potential.

2014-05-14 Has Dividend Investing Lost its Luster? by Paul Stocking and Dean Ramos of Columbia Management

With interest rates rising in 2013 and after a number of years of outperformance from high-yield dividend paying equities, investors want to know if dividend investing remains an attractive strategy. With corporate balance sheets looking healthy and dividend payout ratios remaining low by historical standards, we believe dividend growth will continue to be strong. In our view, high-yielding equities will continue to provide strong total returns especially relative to fixed income alternatives.

2014-05-14 New Mortality Table Recommended by Society of Actuaries by Brian Donohue of October Three Consulting

In February the Retirement Plans Experience Committee (RPEC) of the Society of Actuaries released its Exposure Draft RP-2014 Mortality Tables, recommending new mortality tables for the valuation of defined benefit plan liabilities. In this article we review the SOA RP-2014 report, focusing on its consequences for regulatory purposes. We begin with a discussion of the regulatory framework and then proceed to a discussion of the exposure draft and its implications.

2014-05-14 Our Efficient Market Theory by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

In this missive we will explain why we believe the patient benefit at the expense of the impatient and why those who over-think the stock market are incredibly inefficient and move their money to those with less complicated views on finance.

2014-05-14 Should We Worry More About The US Economy Or The International Economy? by Team of GaveKal Capital

The KBW Bank index is an index of 24 commercial banks in the US. It is considered a good proxy of the banking sector. Commercial banks tend to draw most of their profits from the local market, so the performance of the KBW Bank index is a decent proxy for profit expectations of the domestic sectors of the US.

2014-05-14 The Good, the Bad and the Opportunity by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The press is demanding the attention of investors more than ever. Whether it was the recent jobs report or last week’s testimony from Janet Yellen, sorting through the market noise is no easy task. Since the world is so interconnected from Facebook to WhatsApp, a spark of news can ignite unfounded fear in an instant. What’s truly significant when it comes to your investments?

2014-05-14 Great Rotation? No, The Reverse by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

According to many market watchers, 2014 was supposed to be the year of the so-called Great Rotation out of bonds and into stocks. However, as Russ writes, we’re actually seeing the reverse happen lately, though the case for stocks is still quite strong

2014-05-13 Managing the 'new world' of global markets by Paul O'Connor and Bill McQuaker (Article)

Paul O'Connor and Bill McQuaker, Co-Heads of Multi-Asset at Henderson, discuss the upcoming shift in market characteristics and note that with that change comes risks and opportunities. From an all-asset perspective, they believe this is a world in which they can still make good returns for clients and one where they expect asset performance and geographic performance to become widely dispersed.

2014-05-13 An Investor-Centric Approach by (Article)

Shundrawn Thomas, Global Head of ETFs, speaks with Marie Dzanis, Head of Sales & Servicing for FlexShares ETFs, to discuss FlexShares' investor-centric approach to ETF development, including an overview of the four key solution sets that are the foundation of the dynamic product line.

2014-05-13 Thomas White's 2014 Market Outlook by (Article)

Assessing the prospects in 2014, 45-year industry veteran Thomas S. White offers his view of the challenges and opportunities ahead in the global economic markets.

2014-05-13 Bill Sharpe: "Smart beta makes me sick" by Robert Huebscher (Article)

If you rely on "smart beta" strategies to achieve returns that you hope will beat the broad market, then you also need a response to the criticisms posed by Bill Sharpe, the Nobel laureate and Stanford economist. Sharpe uses unassailable logic, in my opinion, to demonstrate why smart-beta strategies must eventually do no better than the market.

2014-05-13 John Hussman: Really Mean Reversion by Robert Huebscher (Article)

In his most recent commentary, GMO’s Jeremy Grantham said value investors are destined to endure pain in a market bubble, especially in its latter stages, as clients scorn them for missed opportunities. John Hussman is surely one such investor - indeed, Grantham’s commentary drew extensively on Hussman’s research. In a recent talk, Hussman explained why he, Grantham and other long-term value-driven investors should be worried, even if equity markets perform well in the short run.

2014-05-13 Why SPIAs are a Good Deal Despite Low Rates by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

SPIAs have been out of favor in the current low-interest-rate environment. But my new research indicates that they still offer especially attractive opportunities for retirees. One of the key reasons is that typical advisor clients will, on average, live longer than the overall population.

2014-05-13 How One Advisor’s Website Lands a New Client a Week by Dan Richards (Article)

Last week an advisor responded to my recent article on building your reputation, The Surprising Number One Driver of New Clients, in which I outlined five strategies for building credibility. In that email and a subsequent conversation, this advisor described how last year his RIA attracted 58 new clients from its website.

2014-05-13 New Research on Making the Best First Impression by Dan Solin (Article)

How long do you think it takes others to form an impression of you?

2014-05-13 The Virtues of Rebalancing by Craig L. Israelsen, Ph.D. (Article)

Does rebalancing improve portfolio performance? Yes - but it takes time for the benefits of rebalancing to be fully manifested, at least in the case of a broadly diversified 12-asset portfolio.

2014-05-13 Venerated Voices Q1 2014 Rankings by Various (Article)

Advisor Perspectives, a leading publisher serving financial advisors and the financial advisory community, has announced its Venerated Voices awards for articles published in the first quarter of 2014. 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.

2014-05-13 When a Colleague Just Isn’t Listening by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

One of our more senior financial advisors struggles with communication. He knows what he wants to say, but he doesn’t convey his ideas in a clear and thoughtful way. He just doesn’t listen well and that’s why his responses are not strong and clear. Is it possible to teach listening skills?

2014-05-13 Revisiting the Research on SPIAs in Retirement Portfolios by James Shambo, CPA/PFS (Article)

The conclusions drawn by Michael Kitces and Wade Pfau in their paper, The True Impact of Immediate Annuities on Retirement Sustainability, are flawed.

2014-05-13 The Bull Market Isn’t Over. It’s Changing. by Sponsored Content by OppenheimerFunds (Article)

Markets, especially in the developed world, have hit new highs. However, a rising economic tide will no longer lift all boats to the extent it once did. Find out why Chief Economist Jerry Webman believes the winners are likely to be organic revenue generators, efficiency vendors and innovators.

2014-05-13 How to Tame an Aging Bull by Bill Hackney of Eaton Vance

Despite more than five years of strong stock market performance, the evidence suggests that the current bull market could continue for the foreseeable future. That being said, the “easy money” has likely already been made, so investors may want to increase their focus on equity risk management going forward. One way to mitigate the risks attendant with an aging bull market is to evaluate funds and managers based on three key portfolio metrics: active share, beta and downside capture ratio.

2014-05-13 Weekly Market Update by Team of Castleton Partners

With little escalation on the geopolitical front and no compelling data to shift broader economic expectations, interest rate markets were confined to narrow yield ranges in a rather tedious week. With intermediate and long dated Treasury rates failing to extend price gains from the prior week’s payrolls report, we suspect the path of least resistance this week for yields may be a gradual back up.

2014-05-13 Dollar Bulls Drop Their Heads in Frustration by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

For some time, strategists have been bullishly positioned on the U.S. Dollar, anticipating a rally that failed to materialize. The arguments were straightforward – the Federal Reserve is exiting its easing cycle, Europe is facing deflationary pressure and likely to ease further, and the economy in the U.S. is on improving footing. Those expectations, while true to some extent, are not translating into gains for the Dollar, leaving many frustrated. The Dollar is suffering from a bad case of dejection and could struggle to see a sustained breakout for some time.

2014-05-13 Is Rising Consumer Credit a Good Thing? by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

When gauging whether a rise in consumer credit is a sign of progress or cause for concern, investors should look beyond debt levels to assess who’s taking on more debt and why, as well as the pace of economic activity, writes Kristina Hooper.

2014-05-13 Goldilocks and the Global Economy by Douglas Cote of Voya Investment Management

Macro conditions are lukewarm but positive and largely absent any systemic risk. Momentum stocks have fallen out of favor as the market rotates into names with more attractive valuations. Europe and especially the U.K. have been showing signs of strength despite geopolitical risk with its energy supplier, Russia. The “safety” of sidelined cash exposes investors to what we view as the greatest current risk in the market — upside risk.

2014-05-13 El Niño by Kaisa Stucke, Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In our investing process, we look across the spectrum at a multitude of possible events, their probabilities, their effects on markets and weigh them against market prices. Sometimes these discrepancies come from unexpected places. This week we will explore the ramifications of a weather event, El Niño. The soft-commodity markets (grains, sugar, coffee, cocoa and other annual crops) seem to have priced in about a 20% likelihood of an El Niño occurrence this year, while last week the Climate Prediction Center issued a 65% probability for this summer.

2014-05-13 Market Perspective by The CCR Wealth Management Investment Committee of CCR Wealth Management

US equity markets have seen what we would describe as mild volatility over the last few weeks, mostly attributed to geopolitical tensions emanating from the Ukraine-Russia belligerence. For the first quarter, the S&P 500 rose 1.30%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the NASDAQ composite were both down slightly.

2014-05-13 Equity Markets Remain Mixed as Fundamentals Slowly Improve by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished mixed last week as the Dow Jones Industrial Average was the only major index to end in positive territory. The overall macro narrative appears favorable despite the lack of market direction. Scrutiny of beaten-down momentum stocks resurfaced, although broader market spillover remained muted.

2014-05-13 Break Away or Break Down? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

After multiple weeks of travel, my family threw a trip-postponed birthday party for me Friday night, but it was really just an excuse to have a family get-together. My 92-year-old mom, brother, sister, niece and nephew were there. My wife set up the party of mostly hamburgers, ice cream and cake, with plenty of birthday cards being given.

2014-05-12 "Can You Kick It?" ...and Other Irrelevant Questions by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

This was on my mind recently as CNBC turned 25 years old. That is a significant achievement no matter how you slice it. Since 1989 the biggest business news network around has transformed the way people participate in the markets. Their hosts have become icons, and they have turned some very bright but anonymous portfolio managers and economists into the business world equivalent of rockstars.

2014-05-12 Emerging Markets at Risk by George Bijak of GB Capital Pty Ltd

The massive post-GFC Quantitative Easing (QE) in the USA, EU, and now in Japan has repaired the global banking system’s balance sheet. Debt of various qualities, worth trillions of dollars, was moved from struggling banks to the central banks at book value where it is likely to run out to maturity or rollover.

2014-05-12 Floating-rate Loan Core Value Remains, Despite Headlines by Scott Page, Craig Russ, Christopher Remington of Eaton Vance

In February, we shared with you our perspective on “7 timely questions about today’s floating-rate loan market.” Our views have not changed substantially over the intervening two months and our principal belief remains the same, which we would like to underscore.

2014-05-12 Setting the Record Straight by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

If you think the market is not going to lose a large fraction of its value over the next few years, a century of history thinks you’re wrong.

2014-05-12 Now Is Probably Not The Time To Be Buying Telecom Stocks by Team of GaveKal Capital

Telecom valuations seem to be either in the penthouse (as they are now and as they were in 2005-2007) or in the outhouse (as they were from 2001-2003 and 2008-2010). The charts below show the percent of Telecom stocks that are trading within 25% of their 3-year, 5-year and 7-year max valuation. We look at P/E, P/CF, P/S and P/B on each chart.

2014-05-12 The New Logic of M&A by Joseph Paul of AllianceBernstein

There seems to be a new calculus at work in the recent rash of takeovers, as investors set aside their usual wariness of deals and dealmakers for the promise of growth these combinations may bring. We think it’s a good reason to stick with stocks.

2014-05-12 Extending Our Team to Bangalore India by (Article)

At Thomas White, our investing performance goal is straightforward: to outperform our benchmarks in the long-term and especially during market declines. We feel the surest path to accomplish these goals is to become an exceptional research organization. To meet these objectives, our professionals have come to understand corporations, investor behavior and portfolio design better than our peers, as we continue to expand our global research and product capabilities.

2014-05-12 Energy: An Overlooked Bull Market by Ron Sloan of Invesco Blog

Defensive stocks, such as health care and utilities, have led the market for most of 2014. But we’re starting to see a shift toward cyclical sectors that offer greater exposure to a strengthening economy. In my view, the most overlooked cyclical sector is energy, which has experienced a very strong start this year that’s been under the radar of many investors.

2014-05-11 Are Valuations Really Too High? by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

I have done quite a number of media interviews and question-and-answer sessions with audiences in the past few months, and one question keeps coming up: "Are valuations too high?" In this week’s letter we’re going to try to look at the various answers (orthodox and not) one could come up with to answer that basic question, and then we’ll look at market conditions in general.

2014-05-10 The Good, the Bad and the Opportunity by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Twice a day, in the morning and at lunch, our investment team sits down together to discuss what’s important and what’s immaterial. This past week, in my opinion, the good outweighed the bad. Much of the economic news was a direct result of government policies, both fiscal and monetary. Here are my findings, which I hope will help you filter through the noise.

2014-05-10 What's the Game Changer for Gold? by Douglas M. Hodge of PIMCO

In the coming days, PIMCO will publish its annual Secular Outlook. A cornerstone of our investment process, it sets the direction for how we will invest our clients’ assets over the coming three to five years. Of course, we revisit our outlook and investment conclusions each year to ensure their continued resonance and efficacy. Similarly, we have a regular strategic business planning process and conduct intermittent reviews. And, like our secular process, we often invite an outside expert or two to spark our thinking and challenge our priors.

2014-05-09 Overview of the Fixed Income Market by Tim Gramatovich of AdvisorShares

“Junk bonds” are often still considered an alternative asset class and remain tremendously confusing to much of the investing public. They are considered by many to be very risky and illiquid. The truth is that the high yield market is a relatively straightforward, well developed and liquid market.

2014-05-09 Sell in May and Go Away? by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

An old market adage says to “sell in May and go away.” While now actually may be a good time to trim positions and lower risk, this isn’t because of the calendar month. Russ explains.

2014-05-09 Weak Stock Market Closes Are On the Rise by Team of GaveKal Capital

We've taken note of an increasing number of weak-ish stock market closes and decided to build an indicator to measure the number of weak closes and compare it to stock prices.

2014-05-09 Thoughts on Investing in Convertible Securities by Alan Muschott of Franklin Templeton Investments

Changes and potential changes in monetary policy across the globe, along with increased volatility in currency and equity markets, have thrown a spotlight on convertible securities, described by some as offering the “best of both worlds” in terms of stock and bond characteristics. But what are they, how do they work, and how can they play a part in a diversified investment portfolio in today’s market? Alan Muschott, portfolio manager for Franklin Convertible Securities Fund, who has been investing in convertible securities for more than a decade, provides his take.

2014-05-09 New Dawn for Peripheral Europe? by Darren Williams, Dennis Shen of AllianceBernstein

When Mario Draghi pledged to do “whatever it takes” to save the euro in July 2012, nobody expected things to change so quickly. Peripheral bond markets have since turned around sharply, supporting the European economic recovery. But can the improvements be sustained after countries exit their bailouts?

2014-05-09 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The global recovery remains very uneven, deflation and debt: a very bad mix, a new look at Das Kapital, continued.

2014-05-09 The Job Market, GDP, and the Fed by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The U.S. economy added 1.15 million jobs in April – that’s prior to seasonal adjustment. We normally see large (unadjusted) job gains each spring. This year appears to be stronger than normal, partly reflecting a rebound from a bad winter. Strength in the seasonally adjusted payroll figure is certainly good news, but it may not necessarily be suggestive of a sharper underlying trend in job growth. There is still a very large amount of slack in the job market.

2014-05-09 You Gotta Have Heart by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Secretariat (3-30-70 – 10-4-89) is considered the greatest American racehorse of all time. In 1973 he became the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years, and in the process he set records in all three races that still stand today. In the Kentucky Derby his time was 1:59 2/5, in the Preakness it was 1:53, and in the Belmont Stakes 2:24.

2014-05-09 Fighting History? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

A lot of movement to go nowhere can characterize the major indexes to this point in the year. History suggests we're entering a potentially tough period for stocks, due to both seasonal and midterm election year tendencies.

2014-05-09 The Media's Reporting of the April Unemployment Rate -- A Little Knowledge Can Be Dangerous by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

Economists have “trained” the media to quickly check out what has happened to the labor force when the unemployment rate declines. If the unemployment rate drops and so, too, does the labor force, then the decline in the unemployment rate might not be a signal of a strengthening labor market. Rather, under these circumstances, the decline in the unemployment rate might reflect potential workers becoming discouraged over the lack of employment opportunities and, therefore, dropping out of the labor force.

2014-05-09 Is 2014 the Year to "Buy in May and be Prepared to Stay"? by Kevin Mahn of Hennion & Walsh

One of the long standing adages on Wall Street is that investors would be wise to "Sell in May and Go Away" in most market environments. This adage contends that stock volatility historically is higher during the months of May - October so investors may want to consider exiting the stock market in May, perhaps repositioning to less correlated asset classes, and returning to the stock market in November.

2014-05-08 A Light Unto Cities by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

Once notorious for its drug gangs, Medellín, Colombia, now has a well-deserved reputation as one of the most innovative cities in the world. The tale of the city’s transformation holds important lessons for urban areas everywhere.

2014-05-08 In the First 100 Days, Janet Yellen Puts Her Own Imprint on the Fed by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

Janet Yellen's initial tenure as chairwoman of the Federal Reserve has been fairly smooth, but long-term challenges loom as the Fed considers its ongoing response to a still-stagnant economy.

2014-05-08 Forward into Broad, Sunlit Uplands by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

It’s topsy turvy season as U.S. interest rates are falling when they should normally be rising and because 2014 might be the year to ignore the age-old advice to sell in May and go away.

2014-05-08 Where Is the Inequality Problem? by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

Though Thomas Piketty is right that returns to capital in rich countries have increased in the last few decades, he is too dismissive of the wide-ranging debate among economists concerning the causes. More important, when it comes to reducing inequality between rich and poor countries, capitalism has had an impressive three decades.

2014-05-08 Gold and Portfolio Efficiency by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

In previous commentaries we have discussed the benefits of using a diversified financing currency approach for investing in gold by which we mean using two or more currencies (rather than just the US dollar) to make gold purchases. The example we have used to demonstrate the approach was to construct a time series of the price of gold purchased with an equal weighted basket of dollars, euro, yen and pound.

2014-05-08 Europe, ‘Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold’ Sweet Spot for Credit Investors by Eve Tournier of PIMCO

European economies are improving, yet the region’s low growth and low inflation will keep the central bank engaged. As such, European duration should be safer versus other major developed economies. Given recent European Central Bank comments pointing to a further easing bias, we believe it makes European assets relatively attractive, especially in sectors with deleveraging fundamentals, positive technicals and attractive valuations.

2014-05-08 May 2014 Valuation Heatmaps: The Ongoing Saga of Overvalued Biotechs by Erik Kobayashi-Solomon of YCharts, Inc.

The key investment takeaways from this month’s report are: The sector-level picture in May looks very similar to April's—Utilities are screening as the most undervalued sector and Healthcare as the most overvalued one. Six out of 10 of the largest market capitalization stocks screening as VS10 (most undervalued) are in the Energy sector. However, there is one industry in the Energy sector screening as overvalued, offering the potential for a sector-neutral long-short strategy. The Ongoing Saga of Overvalued Biotech continues. Healthcare remains frothy.

2014-05-08 Middle East/Africa: Regional Economic Review - Q1 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

As the Middle East and Africa region stepped into the New Year, the three regional economies under our coverage did not see any material change in their political or economic situation. Labor problems remained the most immediate concern for South Africa while Egypt unveiled yet another stimulus program to mend an economy that has been struggling amid political uncertainty for three years now.

2014-05-08 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Another stable week for stock prices as deal making, solid earnings and dividend growth offset the conflicting signals on the economy as well as the uncertainties stemming from various global hot spots.

2014-05-08 And That's The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Yes, spring has officially sprung. After months of hearing that "poor winter weather" excuse, investors seem ready to turn the page (and the calendar) as the 1st quarter GDP is now in the books. With that said, the numbers are expected to be stronger in the coming days and the markets are already reacting accordingly as the Dow Jones even pushed into record territory. Manufacturing and labor have shown signs of thawing out, though housing still lags behind. Earnings season has been better than expected and must of the over-analyses focuses on the outlooks these days.

2014-05-07 Are "Currency Controls" Coming To America On July 1? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Some very controversial regulations passed way back in 2010 and finalized in 2012 are scheduled to go into effect on July 1 of this year, and most Americans know little or nothing about this new law. Yet the effect of these new regulations could send shockwaves through the financial system worldwide. Basically, the regulations that take effect July 1 will make it very difficult and costly for Americans to hold money or investments outside the US.

2014-05-07 Behavioral Finance and the Bond Market by Jerry Paul, Zach Jonson of ICON Advisers, Inc.

Over the last decade the concept of behavioral finance has received increased recognition in both the academic world and with investors. Modern Portfolio Theory makes three distinct assumptions: investors are rational, markets are efficient, and expected returns are purely a function of risk. In contrast, followers of behavioral finance generally believe investors are less than perfect and subject to many emotional biases. Said differently, behavioral finance differs from traditional finance in that it focuses on how investors actually behave, rather than theorizing how they should behave.

2014-05-07 Does a Perfect Policy Portfolio Exist? by Jeff Knight of Columbia Management

The idea of a policy portfolio, the core strategic asset class weightings for an investment portfolio, has evolved significantly during the course of my career as an asset allocation specialist. From the humble beginnings of standard balanced investing (the good old 60/40), investors have searched for the best neutral asset allocation to serve their goals over the long term.

2014-05-07 Financial Genius is…a Bull Market by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest piece, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, reviews the events that caused the “great recession” and cautions that although “we already have suffered a serious and global recession and financial crisis,” he still believes “the question is not, ‘Will there be pain?’ but rather, “When will there be pain, and how much of it?”

2014-05-07 First Quarter Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

The broad equity market displayed a fair amount of volatility during the quarter, but essentially went sideways. This pattern continued through April; 2013’s losers became 2014’s winners and vice versa. In the broadest sense, bonds narrowly beat stocks on the heels of 2013’s thorough drubbing.

2014-05-07 And the Band Played On by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

After three months of consistently disappointing jobs numbers, the markets were as keyed up for a good jobs report as a long suffering sailor awaiting shore leave in a tropical port. The just released April jobs report, which claimed that 288,000 jobs were created in the U.S. during the month, provided the apparent good news. But you don't have to go too far beneath the surface to find some troubling trends within the data. Even this minor excavation was too much for the media cheerleaders and Wall Street pitchmen to handle.

2014-05-07 Warning Sign: Number Of 1% Down Days Are Ticking Up And Tracking Taper by Team of GaveKal Capital

One of the many technical data points that we look at is the 6-month moving sum of days where either the index or an individual stock finishes down by 1% or more.

2014-05-07 The Top Five Government Policies I’m Watching This Week by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Every morning when I meet with the investment team, we review the news of the previous day, the movements of the markets around the world, and corporate actions that may affect our funds. This is how we keep our ears open in order to manage money that shareholders like you have entrusted us with. We meet again at lunchtime, daily, to share ideas, because something happening in China may affect the U.S. markets, or an energy company might have news that can benefit our domestic funds as well as our resources funds.

2014-05-06 Global Equity Income Update: 2014 Performance and Trends by Alex Crooke, Head of Global Equity Income (Article)

Alex Crooke, Head of Global Equity Income, provides a quarterly update for the Henderson Global Equity Income Fund while noting key attributes to performance and expectations for the second half of the year.

2014-05-06 Ten Ways the Next Generation of Financial Planners Will Change the Profession by Bob Veres (Article)

I have distilled ten key themes that illustrate how the next generation of advisors will change the profession when they take the reins.

2014-05-06 The Book that will Reshape the Study of Economics by Michael Edesess (Article)

It’s incredibly rare to see a work ascend to the status of a classic almost instantaneously following its publication. Such a work is Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. It is almost certain that its impact will last for decades. A century hence, it may be a cornerstone of economic and political debate and discussion, much as those of Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich Hayek are today.

2014-05-06 Can Investors Profit using Academic Research? by Adam Jared Apt (Article)

Two professors have been conducting a large-scale study to see if the advantages of stock-market anomalies are traded away once they are published in academic papers and therefore become widely known, and if so, how quickly.

2014-05-06 The Six Most Costly Words for Your Business by Dan Richards (Article)

Every advisor knows the most dangerous and expensive words when it comes to investing - "It’s different this time." An email in response to a recent article led me to conclude that there’s six words that are just as costly...

2014-05-06 A Simple Technique to Convert More Prospects into Clients by Dan Solin (Article)

To become great at converting prospects into clients, remember these two words

2014-05-06 Expert Intuition and Investing by John Alberg and Michael Seckler (Article)

There are great investors who are unmoved by unproductive biases and instead exhibit deep expertise, as evidenced by long track records of superior performance. Where does expertise come from? How does an understanding of expertise inform how one should evaluate investment opportunities?

2014-05-06 Networking with Centers-of-Influence by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I have worked with the same accountant on behalf of one of my clients for years, but the accountant and I have never had a non-client related conversation about our business. How should I approach the accountant to ask for additional business?

2014-05-06 Fighting Financial Advisor Anxiety: Part Two by Sarah Scorgie (Article)

Last month, I discussed how to calm clients’ nerves with educational marketing strategies. Now, I’ll discuss strategies for making your practice more relatable.

2014-05-06 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

Readers respond to several articles and commentaries that appeared within the last week.

2014-05-06 Weekly Market Update by Team of Castleton Partners

US Treasury yields declined across the entire maturity spectrum last week, as renewed geopolitical risk more than outweighed a strong employment report. With inflation remaining well below the Fed?s target rate of 2%, long dated Treasury yields continued to decline at a faster rate than shorter dated yields, further flattening the yield curve.

2014-05-06 Optimists and Pessimists Find Fuel in Jobs Data by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Last week?s batch of hot and cold jobs numbers pointed to a conflict that the Fed saw coming months ago, writes Kristina Hooper: The unemployment rate is a flawed metric for gauging the health of the economic recovery.

2014-05-06 The Risk Trilogy by W. Ben Hunt of Salient Partners

Gregg Greenberg at TheStreet.com was kind enough the other week to give me a few minutes (2:30 to be exact) in a video interview to enumerate the three biggest risks I saw facing markets today. At first I rolled my eyes at the request and the format. 150 seconds? Really? I mean, have you heard my Alabama drawl? It can take me 150 seconds just to order a cup of coffee.

2014-05-06 The U.S. Economy Reached a Turning Point in April by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished higher last week with the S&P 500 advancing nearly 1.0%. Positive sentiment has been supported by growing traction for the economic recovery, key economic data and corporate commentary. Although the upbeat dynamics were mentioned in the latest FOMC statement, policy normalization expectations have not changed. Another widely discussed tailwind was M&A headlines. Although tensions continue in Ukraine, geopolitical risks were mostly on the back burner.

2014-05-06 Managed Futures: Positive Trends Ahead?? by Vineer Bhansali, Matt Dorsten, Graham Rennison of PIMCO

Trend-following, the primary approach used in managed futures strategies, seeks positive returns by capturing momentum across major asset classes. Despite exceptional performance in the 2008 financial crisis, trend-following strategies were less successful in subsequent years, in part because massive central bank interventions increased market correlations, suppressed volatility and curtailed left-tail events.

2014-05-06 The Indian Elections by Kaisa Stuck, Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

We are currently in the midst of the largest democratic election process on earth. Almost 815 million Indian citizens are going to the polls to cast their vote in the general elections. This week we will take a look at the Indian political landscape, the current election cycle and how the political system has brought the country to its current condition. We will pay special attention to the expected winner, Modi, with regard to both his political platform and history of governance in his current post. We will conclude by looking at the possible ramifications of his win.

2014-05-06 An Improving Economy, But Lower Rates. Why the Disconnect? by Russ of iShares Blog

Despite economic data showing an improving economy, interest rates remain stuck in a low and narrow range. Russ explains why this is and what it means for investors.

2014-05-06 Albania?s Fertile Grounds for Oil Opportunities by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Texas is oil country. The state I now call home leads the nation in oil production and would be one of the top oil-producing nations if it were its own country. But that doesn?t stop us from exploring other promising oil opportunities further afield. I recently traveled to Albania to check out a drill site of Petromanas Energy, a Calgary-based international oil and gas company focused on exploration and production throughout Europe and Australia. We own the junior stock in our Global Resources Fund (PSPFX) and Emerging Europe Fund (EUROX).

2014-05-06 Taking Emotion Out of Taking Risk by Peter Langerman of Franklin Templeton Investments

The straight ?risk-on/risk-off? play where investors flee assets perceived as risky en masse in times of uncertainty seems to be becoming a bit more nuanced this year. As a bottom-up stockpicker, Peter Langerman, takes the short-term emotional response out of the equation as he looks for opportunities for his portfolios where other investors may have jumped ship. Langerman discusses where he?s finding value today, why he thinks the markets are probably ?right where they should be? and why some investors may need to take a few risks to meet their long-term financial goals.

2014-05-06 Labor Markets Bounce Back from Winter Hibernation by Chris Maxey, Brian Payne of Fortigent

In a less than surprising development, U.S. non-farm payrolls grew by 288,000 in April. While some are loathe admitting the positive nature of April’s report, there was plenty to be happy about in the latest release, suggesting the economy continues to move towards a more favorable footing. As always in the post-2008 world, caveats remain and the trend in the months ahead will provide a clearer picture into the pace of recovery.

2014-05-05 Retail, Infrastructure Are Issues to Watch in Colombia and Peru by Jason Trujillo of Invesco Blog

The Invesco Emerging Markets team spent a week traveling through Colombia and Peru, meeting with company management teams, consultants and government officials. During our trip, two themes were prevalent that could have broad implications for local companies and global investors: the relative under-penetration of modern-format retailing throughout Colombia and Peru, and the severe need for infrastructure improvement.

2014-05-05 Economic Capital Market Summary by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

After the Financial Crisis and the resulting Dodd-Frank Act and Affordable Health Care Act, we knew there was no way we would go back to normal, whatever normal really was. Our world changed and we still continue to feel the uncomfortable mutations after the crisis. The management of Citigroup showed another disconnect with regulators as its 2014 capital plan was rejected. After several attempts to launch its healthcare website, the Obama administration announced that over 8 million people had signed up for health care insurance through the government exchange.

2014-05-05 The Impact of Interest Rates on Real Estate Securities by Team of Forward Management

Interest rate risk is one of most pressing topics being discussed among advisors, consultants and investors. As of March 2014, we have been through five and a half years of extraordinarily aggressive monetary policy and outright intervention in the capital markets by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

2014-05-05 Big Pharma's Bitter Pills by Peter Nielsen of Saturna Capital

Price Pressure Becoming Pharmaceutical Industry's Bitter Pill as Breakthrough Drug Therapies Break the Bank

2014-05-05 Cahm Viss Me Eef You Vahn to Live by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Taking the broad stock market as a whole, and considering all stocks ? not simply the largest of the large caps ? investors are now making the broadest and most leveraged bet on overvalued equities in U.S. history. Conditions somehow do not feel so dangerous because profit margins are cyclically extreme, but I suspect that this only means that investors will be surprised by the depth of the markets losses, as they were in 2000-2002 and 2007-2009. The lessons on this really are freely available all the way back to the South Sea Bubble.

2014-05-05 Indian Investors Express Their Optimism by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Some 800 million voters in India are heading to the polls this month in an election process that will take several weeks to complete. India?s stock market has recently reflected the optimism investors feel in India. After a stretch of policy logjams and years of unmet potential in India, we?re also optimistic.

2014-05-05 We're Still Not Seeing New Highs in Individual Stocks Despite the World Stock Index at All-time High by Team of GaveKal Capital

The MSCI World Index made a new all-time high last week on yet again a fewer number of stocks making a new 200-day high. In fact, only 7% of stocks in the MSCI World Index made a new 200-day high last Friday.

2014-05-05 Asian Currencies to Stay Calm at Center of EM Storm by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein

Emerging markets have fallen from favor, but does that mean investors should avoid them entirely? We don?t think so.

2014-05-05 The 5 Commandments of Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Here you will find our review of the 2014 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder Meeting. As we consider these men pioneers of long-duration common stock investing, we wanted to share what we believe were the best nuggets of wisdom from the weekend.

2014-05-04 Albania's Fertile Grounds for Oil Opportunities by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Texas is oil country. The state I now call home leads the nation in oil production and would be one of the top oil-producing nations if it were its own country. But that doesn?t stop us from exploring other promising oil opportunities further afield. Last week I traveled to Albania to check out a drill site of Petromanas Energy, a Calgary-based international oil and gas company focused on exploration and production throughout Europe and Australia. We own the junior stock in our Global Resources Fund (PSPFX) and Emerging Europe Fund (EUROX).

2014-05-03 How to not get screwed by the bond bubble by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

To paraphrase an old Sean Connery/Roger Moore movie: bonds?high quality bonds. Bond funds, too. Bond funds, particularly those that invest in US Treasuries and other types of bonds at the low end of the risk spectrum, have been popular investments with individual investors for a long time. Since a lot of those bond buyers are generally risk-averse, many of them likely moved cash out of money market funds to buy the bond funds, so there is likely a strong element of ?reaching for yield? occurring there. That is, they were used to earning 6-7% on their Treasury Bonds not very long ago.

2014-05-03 Housing may be returning to a bad neighborhood by Team of Northern Trust

The head of financial stability at the Bank of England recently called rising property prices ?the very brightest [hazard] light on its dashboard.? But he may have a difficult time getting his colleagues who are charged with promoting full employment to agree with him. And if they do, it is far from clear what they might do about the issue. Some favor supervisory curbs; others prefer the more-traditional method of raising rates. The recovery in global real estate has been pronounced. While it beats the alternative, one wonders whether the hard lessons learned in recent corrections have been su

2014-05-03 A Yen for a Mortgage by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

For some time I have been saying that I was going to close the mortgage on my new apartment and then hedge it in yen. I promised to tell you the story, including what type of loan I got and how I am doing the hedge. This week I was finally able to pull the trigger. This topic will also let us re-examine why I think the Japanese yen is a screaming short. This is not a big think piece, but I think many of you will find it interesting. It outlines how I put my economic thinking into actual practice, and names names, if you will, of those who helped me do it.

2014-05-02 Looking for Bubbles Part One: A Statistical Approach by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

It is a sensible expectation that reasonable long-term value investors will endure pain in a bubble. It is almost a rule. The pain will be psychological and will come from looking like an old fuddy-duddy? looking as if you have lost your way in the new golden era where some important things, which you have obviously missed, are different this time. For professionals this psychological pain will also come from loss of client respect, which always hurts, and loss of peer group respect, which can be irritating.

2014-05-02 Yellen?s Three Big Questions (and a Few Others) by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Speaking to the Economic Club of New York, Fed Chair Janet Yellen presented an analysis of the monetary policy actions taken to address the Great Recession and offered guidance on what will drive policy decisions going forward. The centerpiece of her talk was about the three big questions that the Fed has to answer. However, there are a number of other debates going on in economics right now that have long-term consequences.

2014-05-02 Throw Deep?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Back in the late 1980s a newspaperman visiting the Raiders football training camp in California had just returned from the Jack London Historic Monument. He read a sample of London?s prose to the Raiders? colorful quarterback, Ken ?The Snake? Stabler:

2014-05-02 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Earnings have been supportive and merger activity has skyrocketed these past couple weeks. Stock markets have remained firm as a result despite money coming out of the previous hot sectors of social media (Amazon) & the biotech industry (despite great fundamentals).

2014-05-02 Emerging Markets Outlook - April 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equities as an asset class have been underperforming developed market equities for more than three years, though they continue to maintain the lead over 10-year returns. The divergence in returns between emerging and developed markets widened sharply in 2013, when the prospect of reduced capital inflows heightened investor concerns about slower economic growth in the emerging countries.

2014-05-02 Need for New Midstream Energy Infrastructure Remains Strong by David Chiaro of Eagle Global Advisors

Capital expenditures expected to surpass $640 billion by 2035, says David Chiaro, co-portfolio manager of the Eagle MLP Strategy Fund.

2014-05-02 April 2014 Pension Finance Update by Brian Donohue of October Three Consulting

April was another down month for pension sponsors, marked by declining interest rates and sluggish stock markets. Both ?model? plans we track lost ground last month, with our traditional ?Plan A? losing about 2% and the more conservative ?Plan B? dropping less than 1% during April. For the year, sponsors have now given back roughly one-fourth of 2013's ?bounty? ? Plan A is now down 5% during 2014, and Plan B is down more than 2%.

2014-05-02 Views of the Insane on Diversification by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

I recently read this quote from Craig L. Israelsen, a Financial Planning contributing writer in Springville, Utah. Granted, I have never met, nor have I had any conversations with Mr. Israelsen, but he seems to be a competent professional. According to his bio, he is an executive in residence in the personal financial planning program in the Woodbury School of Business at Utah Valley University. However, his statement still bothers me a bit, as he is saying that any other investment approach must be insane.

2014-05-02 Down Under: Commodities to Consumption by Tarik Jaleel of Matthews Asia

Ever since China's demand for commodities intensified around 1999, its increased reliance on imported energy and minerals has underpinned Australia's boom in the natural resources industry. Naturally, as China's import growth has recently slowed, materials and energy sector firms in both Australia and New Zealand have grown cautious about their business prospects.

2014-05-01 Attractiveness of Municipal Bonds Should Not Be Overlooked in 2014 by Municipal Insight Committee of Eaton Vance

After a challenging year for the municipal bond (muni) market in 2013, we believe the underlying strength of munis has improved, making the asset class an attractive proposition. In our view, challenges and headwinds will continue in 2014; however, more palatable yields and the relative attractiveness of munis versus other taxable alternatives may help investors limit the volatility and downside witnessed over the past year.

2014-05-01 Old Embers Never Die by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The situation in Ukraine could become worse than markets now anticipate as Putin?s best interests might not be what investors expect.

2014-05-01 Europe Part 2: The Smart Beta Portfolio by James Calhoun of AdvisorShares

In our last post we discussed the attractiveness of European equities in aggregate, and assessed the pros and cons of implementing this regional investment theme with a market capitalization weighted ETF (VGK ? Vanguard). It was our conclusion that the most effective way to gain exposure to the expected advance in European equities was through a multi-factor ?smart beta? portfolio.

2014-05-01 A Tepid Cyclical Lift by Tom West of Columbia Management

The S&P 500 Index should grow earnings by about 7% this year, while consensus estimates for the U.S. economy are for 2.5% real growth. One reason for the gap between the two numbers is that the constituent companies of the broad market have a more cyclical tilt than the economy itself, and could be expected to expand faster in a recovery. Fair enough. But are the cyclical drivers like investment and discretionary spending on track to deliver that cyclical boost to earnings? The answer is probably yes, but only if expectations are tempered.

2014-05-01 Small-Cap Valuations: Way Too High or Room to Run? by Adam Peck of Heartland Advisors

Small-cap stocks have been on a tear for several quarters. Conventional wisdom in this situation would be to shift assets away from small-caps, and reallocate them to other asset classes. The concept sounds reasonable, but is it well-grounded in fact? What is the state of small-cap valuations today? These questions merit a closer look.

2014-05-01 The ?Whites of Their Eyes?: The Fed?s Changing Reaction Function by Scott Mather, David Fisher of PIMCO

While the unemployment rate has historically been one of the Federal Reserve?s key measures of spare capacity, and thus inflation risk, those eagerly awaiting each month?s employment report for signals on the Fed?s likely response may be barking up the wrong tree. The central bank still attempts to estimate the natural rate of unemployment, but conflicting signals from the labor market have clearly made the Fed less willing to trust its models. The result: Inflation will be more important than employment in the Fed?s decision-making process.

2014-05-01 The Gold Price is Fixed: So What? by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

We can't ignore it anymore - the markets are rigged. The LIBOR scandal broke almost two years ago, and the banks found responsible for manipulating that key index are still dealing with lawsuits. Meanwhile, allegations of gold market manipulation have been simmering for over a decade and grew into an inferno after the spot price dropped dramatically last spring.

2014-04-30 The Debate Debate by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

While there is wide agreement that the cost of college education has risen far faster than the incomes of most Americans, there is some debate as to whether the quality of the product has kept pace with the price. Not surprisingly, almost all who argue that it has (college administrators, professors, and populist politicians) are deeply invested either ideologically or financially in the system itself. More objective observers see a bureaucratic, inefficient, and hopelessly out of touch ivory tower that is bleeding the country of its savings, and more tragically, its intellectual acuity.

2014-04-30 The Return of the Renminbi Rant by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

China?s currency, the renminbi, has been weakening in recent months, resurrecting familiar US charges of official manipulation and beggar-thy-neighbor mercantilism. But this timeworn charge ? politically inspired and grounded in bad economics ? diverts attention from far more important issues affecting the US-China economic relationship.

2014-04-30 The TCW Advantage: Analysis with Consumer Credit by Harrison Choi, Brian Rosenlund of TCW Asset Management

5 years removed from the depths of the crisis and behind the tailwinds of an incredibly accommodative Federal Reserve, asset prices and of course Non Agency RMBS prices have improved dramatically. When double-digit loss adjusted yields were available most participants in the market did very well if they were able to simply overcome the fear of buying an asset class that was seemingly in freefall. At current prices and significantly lower loss adjusted yields today, however, the margin for error is far lower and many managers without the expertise, infrastructure and experience will underperfor

2014-04-30 De-Risking Pensions in a Time of Tapering by Rene Martel, Markus Aakko of PIMCO

Despite improved funding in corporate defined benefit pension plans, some sponsors concerned about rising rates may be tempted to delay glide path prescriptions to boost fixed income allocations. For these sponsors, a better approach might be to break de-risking into two steps, potentially allowing for significant risk-reduction benefits yet preserving tactical flexibility in timing purchases of long-duration bonds. Any reduction in equity and other return-seeking assets should be implemented in short order to lock in recent market gains. ?

2014-04-30 Dependence On Government Has Become Epidemic by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Did you know that the number of Americans getting benefits from the federal government each month greatly exceeds the number of full-time workers in the economy by a longshot? Sadly, it?s true. Based on the latest Census Bureau data available, there were over 148 million non-veteran Americans who were on some kind of monthly means-tested government benefit programs in 2012, by far the highest number ever. Today, that number is around 167 million by some more recent estimates.

2014-04-30 Achoo! by William Gross of PIMCO

There?s nothing like a good sneeze; maybe a hot shower or an ice cream sandwich, but no ? nothing else even comes close. A sneeze is, to be candid, sort of half erotic, a release of pressure that feels oh so good either before or just after the Achoo! The air, along with 100,000 germs, comes shooting out of your nose faster than a race car at the Indy 500.

2014-04-30 Does Negative GOFO Signal Higher Prices for Gold Financed in Currencies? by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

In recent weeks a number of gold commentators have once again highlighted the strong inverse relationship over the last year between the price of gold in dollar terms and the London Bullion Market Association Gold Forward Offered Rate "GOFO". Since the first week of July 2013 when the price of gold bounced decisively, the GOFO rate has fairly reliably predicted the future direction of the gold price.

2014-04-30 Global Ground Zero in Asia by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

The most pressing geopolitical issue of our time is not the prospect of conflict between Israel and Iran over nuclear proliferation or rising tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine. It is the challenge of managing China's rise and ensuring that peace and prosperity prevail in Asia.

2014-04-30 Valuing Legends by Michael Kayes of Willingdon Wealth Management

Some time ago a sportswriter asked legendary quarterback Johnny Unitas what he thought he was worth relative to the enormous salaries being paid to today's best quarterbacks. Unitas said, "Maybe about $750,000." The sportswriter was incredulous and said, " Mr. Unitas, the top quarterbacks today make several million dollars a year." To which Unitas replied, "Well, you have to understand, I'm 75 years old." I love that story. It tells you so much about one of the greatest players in NFL history, but it also serves as a reminder that the process of valuation is far from an exact science.

2014-04-30 Strong Insider Ownership: Do as I Do, Not as I Say by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

At Smead Capital Management, we often get asked if we visit the top management of the companies we research. While we read everything we can and do get exposed to the management of our companies over time, we believe it extends credulity to think that a 15 to 30 minute meeting with a senior executive of one of our firms is going to produce alpha for our clients. And, even if the meetings were useful, is there a single senior manager in the US who would tell us that they have big problems around the bend or that their common stock is immensely over-valued?

2014-04-30 Gaming The System = Lower Rates by Team of GaveKal Capital

Many are shocked to learn that the Fed's payment of 25bps of interest on excess reserves (a clear banking subsidy) is available to foreign banks, and they have parked substantial sums with the Fed. In the chart below we show the total assets of foreign banks with branches in the US, their cash assets and the percent of assets represented by cash assets. Currently, foreign banks represent 51% of the excess reserves on deposit with the Fed.

2014-04-29 Tempest in a Teapot: Michael Lewis’ Flash Boys Solves a Problem that is Barely There by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)

Michael Lewis is the finest writer in a generation to turn his attention to the practice of finance, but in Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt - his account of high-frequency trading and of a likeable trader who found a way to beat it - he is a few steps off base.

2014-04-29 How High Expectations Can Hurt Your Business by Dan Richards (Article)

It’s conventional wisdom that ambitious goals and high expectations go along with success. But a recent conversation with a top-performing advisor and some groundbreaking research show that having expectations that are too high will actually damage your business.

2014-04-29 Why PowerPoint Is a Sales Killer by Dan Solin (Article)

You can find thousands of books and articles about improving your PowerPoint presentations. Ignore all of them and adopt this rule instead: Never use PowerPoint in a one-on-one presentation or a small group setting. Here’s why.

2014-04-29 How to Help Business Clients Unlock Wealth by Bob Veres (Article)

Is there a way to help your business clients diversify their holdings, take some risk off the table and create a side investment portfolio that will sustain them if their business runs into trouble? Is there a way you can help your clients find capital when they need it most?

2014-04-29 Three Strategies for Working with Older Clients - And Preserving the Relationship by David Solie (Article)

Recent statistics confirm the magnitude of the loss: 70% of widows change financial advisors within six months of their husbands’ deaths. Is this an unavoidable reality of being a financial advisor, or are there steps that can be taken to preserve these accounts? In my opinion, many of these losses can be avoided if advisors follow three preservation strategies with their older clients.

2014-04-29 How to Rethink Your Market Niche by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I work with 30-year-old entrepreneurs, 60-year-old dentists, divorced women and others. If I limit myself, I will leave opportunities on the table all the time. Am I wrong to be diverse in what I do?

2014-04-29 Content Marketing: The Long and Short of It by Meghan Elliot (Article)

While capsulated content - tweets, Facebook posts, 30-second videos and snappy emails - has an important place in your marketing strategy, you have to make room for longer content that educates and informs on more complex issues.

2014-04-29 Six Tricks for Creating Killer Content by Bradd DelMuto (Article)

Most advisors are sharing market data and information, creating presentations, sending emails and solving client issues every day. Don’t let this collection of content wither away. It can be reworked into "content gold" elsewhere.

2014-04-29 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

Readers respond to Gary Halbert’s commentary, The Real Obamacare Nightmare is Just Beginning, which was published on April 23.

2014-04-29 Americas: Regional Economic Review - Q1 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

The developed economies in North America continue to see relatively healthier growth prospects this year, while the outlook for the emerging economies in Latin America remains subdued. Trends from both the U.S. and Canada indicate that these economies are recovering from the slowdown at the beginning of the year, caused by adverse weather.

2014-04-29 Weekly Market Update by Team of Castleton Partners

With the crisis in Ukraine escalating, US Treasury yields were able to grind marginally lower last week, despite improving economic data pointing to gradually improving fundamentals. At a yield of 2.67%, 10 year Treasury rates have been confined to a 25 basis point trading range over the last 12 weeks (2.57%- 2.82%), which according to Bloomberg, is the narrowest such range in the last two decades.

2014-04-29 What the Housing Doldrums Mean for Fed Policy by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Economic conditions are gradually improving, but the housing market has lagged. Kristina Hooper highlights what it will take to get housing back on track.

2014-04-29 Where Do Small Caps Stand? by JB Taylor, Jeff Cardon of Wasatch Funds

QE?s effect on stocks has perhaps been most visible since June of 2012. The Russell 2000 is up over 50% since then, mostly driven by lower-quality stocks, which is quite unusual this late in a market cycle. At present, the mood of the market has definitely tilted back to risk-taking in lower-quality, more cyclical stocks. In addition, the valuations of higher-flying software and biotech stocks have been at nosebleed levels. Overall, the fundamentals of small-cap companies don?t really support what we?re seeing in the market.

2014-04-29 The Race for Speed by Dan Royal, Daniel Scherman of Janus Capital Group

Much attention has been given recently to the complexities of U.S. equity market structure, and the potential for predatory high-frequency traders to work within that complex structure in a way that negatively impacts other market participants. There is no question the market structure faces challenges, but there are a number of tools and best practices that asset managers can utilize to mitigate the negative impact of high-frequency trading.

2014-04-29 Will a Rise in Rates See a More Lasting Shift to Quality? by Charlie Dreifus of The Royce Funds

Late March saw signs of a re-emergence and shift back to the kind of quality names that we like. Portfolio Manager and Principal Charlie Dreifus discusses the recent Fed policies and their effects on the market, his outlook on the U.S. and global economy, current valuations, small-cap quality, and more.

2014-04-29 Why Are Hedge Funds Struggling in 2014? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

2014 has been a year marked by shaky equity markets and relatively higher volatility than observed in 2013. With falling equity market correlations and increased stock dispersion, it was presumably a more favorable environment for hedge funds. Unfortunately, that has not been the case as most alternative investment approaches are posting less than stellar results so far this year.

2014-04-29 Putin's Ideologist by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

For the past few months, Western leaders have been baffled by Russia?s behavior toward Ukraine and, to a lesser extent, Eastern Europe. To better understand Russia?s actions, we will examine the ideology of Aleksandr Dugin, the man who created the ideology that appears to be behind Putin?s behavior. We will offer a short biography of Dugin, focusing on his intellectual roots and the creation of the Eurasian Concept. Using Dugin?s framework, we will examine Putin?s recent behavior. As usual, we will conclude with market ramifications.

2014-04-29 First Quarter Commentary by John Prichard of Knightsbridge Asset Management

In investing, certain things are viewed as worth paying a lot for, if you "know" you're going to get them. Akin to Socrates, we speculate that it may be wiser to admit that you do not know the future and therefore are unwilling to pay for these positive outcomes, than to falsely believe you can know the future with certainty and are justified in paying a high price...

2014-04-29 Europe: Market Capitalization vs. Smart Beta by James Calhoun of AdvisorShares

A bullish investor consensus for European equities appears to be building. More and more, we are hearing and reading that European equities are attractive and undervalued. It may be the right time for greater exposure to developed international equities, and Europe might be the right place for investors to focus. However, why stop there? Why stop at the regional level?

2014-04-29 Has the Dollar Lost its Safe Haven Status? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

The greenback isn?t what it used to be. At least for now, when there?s a ?flight? to U.S. Treasuries; historically a sign of ?safe haven? demand; the U.S. dollar has not only not benefited but has increasingly been on the losing end. Is this a temporary sign of special circumstances or has the dollar lost its safe haven appeal? There may be profound implications for investor?s portfolios seeking downside protection.

2014-04-28 Henny Pennies by Tony Crescenzi, Mike Amey, Tadashi Kakuchi, Ben Emons of PIMCO

While the Fed?s qualitative guidance may have increased uncertainties over monetary policy, volatility will likely remain contained by powerful short- and long-run forces related to the economic outlook. In the UK, we should at least respect the risk of a hike late in the first quarter of 2015, earlier than what is currently priced in. In Japan, we believe the BOJ will remain full throttle on its current monetary easing for some time.

2014-04-28 The Devolution of Diversification by Chris Richey of Neosho Capital

We are only some 40 years removed from an era when the typical investment account had 12 or fewer individu-al holdings, and less than 20 years removed from a time when respected stock funds might hold 20-30 stocks and be considered ?fully diversified?. Now we find that the typical active equity portfolio or fund holds between 50-100 individuals stocks and that there are generally three or more such active equity managers for each institutional or high net worth account, all adding up to hundreds of underlying holdings.

2014-04-28 IMF Meetings: China and Ukraine Concern Emerging Market Investors by Banu Asik Elizondo of Invesco Blog

Three recurring themes pertaining to emerging markets became apparent during the recent spring International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings in Washington, D.C.

2014-04-28 Fed?s Inflation Target Misguided? Good vs. Bad Disinflation by Ken Taubes of Pioneer Investment Management

For more than a year the Federal Reserve Board has cited inflation below its targeted 2% level as one justification for maintaining its extraordinarily accommodative monetary stance. As of February, the core inflation rate was 1.1%, based on the Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) inflation series, the Fed?s preferred measure of inflation. But there is good reason to question whether the 2% target justifies current policy.

2014-04-28 Resisting the Sirens by Mark Oelschlager of Oak Associates

There has been an interesting shift in the market over the past several weeks, as high-growth stocks (an area to which we have limited exposure, given our preference for more fairly-valued growth opportunities) have suffered a significant correction after being the darlings of the market since June of last year.

2014-04-28 Equities Awaiting Stronger Growth Before Next Move by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished modestly lower last week with the S&P 500 nearly unchanged. Most of the damage occurred on Friday when escalating tensions surrounding Ukraine weighed on sentiment. Positive dynamics included an improvement in first quarter earnings metrics, a notable pickup in M&A activity and deal speculation. A broader macro narrative reflects better traction for the recovery and gradual policy normalization. With momentum plays under renewed scrutiny, several internet, software and biotech companies sold off despite an expected cushion from solid first quarter results.

2014-04-28 The Search for Yield: How Long Could It Last? by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

How long will low rates ? and the accompanying search for yield ? continue? Russ weighs in.

2014-04-28 The Future is Now by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The Federal Reserve has stomped on the gas pedal for years, inadvertently taking price/earnings ratios at face value, while attending to ?equity risk premium? models that have a demonstrably poor relationship with subsequent market returns. As a result, the Fed has produced what is now the most generalized equity valuation bubble that investors are likely to observe in their lifetimes.

2014-04-27 The Cost of Code Red by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

There is reason to believe that there have been major policy mistakes made by central banks - and will be more of them - that will lead to dislocations in the markets - all types of markets. And it’s not just the usual anti-central bank curmudgeon types (among whose number I have been counted, quite justifiably) who are worried. Sources within the central bank community are worried, too, which should give thoughtful observers of the market cause for concern.

2014-04-26 China Holds the Keys to the Gold Market by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

It’s important to follow the money, or in this case the gold, to see how people around the world react to this rare commodity. Looking forward, stay curious as an investor and you’ll see if China can keep the key to the gold market.

2014-04-25 A Creative Approach to Revitalize South Korea?s Economy by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

South Korea has been an exciting country to follow since Templeton started investing in emerging markets in 1987. The country represents one of the great success stories of the modern age, rising from extreme poverty at the end of the Korean War to become an affluent, democratic and highly technologically advanced country. However, we believe recent years have seen signs that the methods and structures that gave rise to the years of dramatic economic progress have started to lose their effectiveness.

2014-04-25 The Rate at Which Foreigners are Dumping Japanese Stocks is Slowing by Team of GaveKal Capital

Foreigners have been net sellers of Japanese stocks in 2014 but that trend may have seen its climax. Data released today showed that foreigners were actually net buyers of stocks for the week ending April 18th, which marks the second week of net buying out of the last three.

2014-04-25 ?Cautious? Investors: Saying One Thing, Doing Another by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Five years into an equity bull market, investors say they?re still cautious. However, Americans hold as much risk in their financial portfolios as they did during the tech bubble in 2000. Russ explains what?s behind this trend and what it means for investors.

2014-04-25 Rhyme or Reason? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Stocks have seen wide swings recently, but year-to-date major indexes are roughly flat. Volatility may persist, but we suggest investors look past the near term and focus on the underlying fundamentals.

2014-04-25 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 134.9, up from last week?s 133.6 (revised from 133.5). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) rose to 3.3 from last week?s 3.0. Here are some notable developments since ECRI?s public recession call on September 30, 2011: 1) The S&P 500 is up 61.0% at yesterday?s close, although off its record close on April 2nd. 2) the unemployment rate has dropped to 6.7%, and 3) Q4 GDP was revised upward to 2.6%.

2014-04-25 "The 10 Plagues" of Retirement Investing by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Last Tuesday marked the end of the Passover holiday, in which Jews around the world celebrate the exodus from Egypt in biblical times (see the classic movie ?The Ten Commandments? for a visual version of the story). One highlight of the ?Seder? dinner conducted on the first two nights of the holiday is for all gathered to recount a part of the story known as ?The 10 Plagues.? Biblical references aside, it got me thinking about 10 plagues that today?s retired and retiring investors must grapple with. Here they are, sans the Matzoh Ball soup.

2014-04-25 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The link between money and inflation has clouded, but it hasn?t disappeared

2014-04-25 Developed Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review ? Q1 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Developed Asia Pacific economies showed increased resilience as loose monetary policies of the past two years helped create demand, boost employment, and increase output.

2014-04-25 A Strong Balance Sheet by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

In his book, Great by Choice, Jim Collins points out that companies he defines as great have good luck and bad luck just like all the other companies do. The great companies handle difficult circumstances better than good companies and take the most advantage of the breaks they get in business.

2014-04-25 Income Market Insight by Payson Swaffield of Eaton Vance

Fans of NASCAR racing, and most other motorsports, know what it means when the yellow flag is being waved: proceed with caution. For investors in today?s credit markets, we believe that is an appropriate image to keep in mind. After five years of generationally low rates, investors are ?stretching? for yield ? that is, they are scooping up deals at yields that, in our opinion, barely compensate them for the risk.

2014-04-25 Slugging It Out in the Equity Arena by John West and Ryan Larson of Research Affiliates

Selling recent losers and buying recent winners is the antithesis of the systematic rebalancing discipline through which smart beta strategies earn long-term excess returns. Indeed, we contend that this procyclical behavior is what pays, over time, for the value added by fundamentally weighted index investing and other smart beta strategies.

2014-04-24 Quarterly Letter by Ron Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Company

Most of the economic and market trends we've been discussing for the past few years remain in place. Russia's action in the Ukraine/Crimea may have long-term implications, particularly for Europe, but the near-term economic implications are modest. It remains to be seen whether this gets added to our long-term worry list or not.

2014-04-24 Global Economic Outlook by Team of Northern Trust

Advanced economies should dominate the growth picture in 2014, but the jobless rate is likely to show only a small improvement

2014-04-24 Resistance is Futile, for Now by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The U.S. ?risk-on? trade is still in place, even as some leveraged credit is showing signs of overheating.

2014-04-24 Sell-Off in Health Care Sector Overlooks Strong Fundamentals by Andy Acker, Ethan Lovell of Janus Capital Group

After a strong run over the last two years, stocks for biotechnology, pharmaceutical and specialty pharmaceutical companies have fallen significantly in recent weeks. While a couple of near-term headwinds surfaced recently, in our opinion much of the sell-off was driven by momentum investors who had indiscriminately bid up stocks for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

2014-04-24 Emerging Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review - Q1 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

The byword for economic prospects in emerging Asia Pacific economies during the first quarter of 2014 was "optimism". The countries in the region, despite undergoing a torrent of political activity and struggle, pinned their hopes on a revival in global trade. With other avenues of growth such as investment and consumption showing little promise, the emphasis on global trade took on even greater importance.

2014-04-24 How bad is your Tax Day hangover? by Eaton Vance Municipal Insight Committee of Eaton Vance

This tax season many investors in higher tax brackets were rudely awakened to the reality of paying 50% of their income in federal and state taxes. Given the new tax landscape, income municipal bonds may look more appealing than ever.

2014-04-24 Convincing Illusions & Invisible Realities by Gary Stroik of WBI Investments

"Past performance is not indicative of future results." Investors have seen that warning countless times, but do they believe it?

2014-04-24 Apple: Can't Buy My Love by Team of GaveKal Capital

Yesterday Apple announced a whopping $90 billion stock buyback, to be completed by the end of 2015. This means they will be buying roughly $45 billion in stock this year and next. By way of comparison, this is $5-7 billion more than earnings that are expected this year or next. So, Apple will be using over 100% of its earnings to finance stock repurchases

2014-04-24 And That's The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

After a week of panic, investors focused on the positives and went bargain hunting throughout. Thus far, earnings are not as bad as expected; China’s woes could mean new stimulus; labor and manufacturing seem to be in full fledge thaw. Hope the holiday season brings more good news.

2014-04-24 The Flaws and Potential of Asia's SOEs by Sherwood Zhang of Matthews Asia

Asian governments own a large amount of productive assets in the form of state-owned enterprises (SOEs). These firms are typically in strategic industries of national interest, but among the broader investor community they are often viewed negatively, marked by reputations for inefficiency and potential conflicts of interest. This month Asia Insight explores the challenges that face SOEs and possible models that could be positive for business.

2014-04-23 Trading Secrets: Understanding the Boom and the Bust by Tad Rivelle of TCW Asset Management

It isn?t what you earn ? it is what you keep that matters in investing. While systematically underwriting too little risk may mean that you do not earn all that you might, underwriting too much towards the end of a business cycle can be disastrous. With this in mind, it becomes obvious that timing an investment strategy may be the most important single decision an investor needs to get right. But how is one to know where you are in the cycle?

2014-04-23 The Real Obamacare Nightmare is Just Beginning by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Last Thursday, the Obama administration said that a total of eight million Americans had signed up for Obamacare. In a hastily called press event, President Obama spiked the football, took a victory lap around the White House and declared the healthcare law a smashing success ? although they still haven?t told us how many enrollees have actually paid a premium, or how many were simply replacing their policies that were canceled due to Obamacare.

2014-04-23 Gold as a Defensive Asset by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

In our previous commentary ?Gold and the US dollar ? a love hate relationship? we used a normalized time series of the price of gold expressed in US dollars and an index representative of the value of the US dollar on currency markets to show the inherent relationship between the price of gold and the financing currency. As the financing currency strengthens on currency markets, one would expect the price of gold expressed in that currency to fall.

2014-04-23 Positioning Your Portfolio for Rising Rates. by Team of Forward Management

Accelerating outflows from bond funds in 2013 highlight investor nervousness over the prospect of rising interest rates. Investors may want to carefully assess the role of fixed-income investments in their portfolios, particularly in light of other types of income-producing vehicles. Upon careful evaluation of their options, investors can make adjustments suitable to their objectives.

2014-04-23 New Home Sales Plunge In March by Team of GaveKal Capital

New home sales dropped by 14.5% in March and are now down over 13% year-over-year. All four regions are now negative on a year-over-year basis. Meanwhile, median price rose over 11% to a all-time new high of $290K as months' supply spiked to its highest level since October 2011.

2014-04-23 Hasenstab: Separating the Wheat from the Chaff by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments

Fixed income investors have dealt with a number of headwinds in early 2014, including unrest in Eastern Europe, the prospect of rising interest rates in the United States and fears about slowing growth in China. Michael Hasenstab, executive vice president and CIO, Global Bonds, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group®, has been on a global tour to assess conditions in select countries first-hand, looking beyond what the media headlines portray.

2014-04-23 Yellen?s Three Big Questions (and a Few Others) by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Speaking to the Economic Club of New York, Fed Chair Janet Yellen presented an analysis of the monetary policy actions taken to address the Great Recession and offered guidance on what will drive policy decisions going forward. The centerpiece of her talk was about the three big questions that the Fed has to answer. However, there are a number of other debates going on in economics right now that have long-term consequences.

2014-04-23 Poker Mentality?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

have often stated that the rarest trait on Wall Street is ?patience.? I have also repeatedly reprised Charles Dow?s quote that, ?The successful investor/speculator needs to ignore two out of every three potential money making opportunities.?

2014-04-22 Why Annuities HATE Ken Fisher. And you should too. by John H. Robinson (Article)

Before we commend Ken Fisher for his vitriolic antipathy toward variable annuities, there is one little problem we need to recognize. Fisher’s claims are at odds with a growing body of empirical research published in peer-reviewed academic and professional journals.

2014-04-22 The Surprising Number One Driver of New Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

Among sophisticated clients, referrals aren’t the most important determinant in deciding on an advisor. Here’s what is.

2014-04-22 What SEC Social Media Guidance Means for You by Kristen Luke (Article)

Recently, the SEC published new testimonial and social media guidelines that cleared the way for advisors to use social media review sites like Yelp and Angie’s List. Such sites were previously restricted because they provided content that was generally seen as testimonials. While the new guidance may seem like a big leap forward for financial advisors who use social media, there are still many restrictions, so it is important to understand what you can and cannot do.

2014-04-22 The State of the CFP Board Registered Financial Planning Programs? by Caleb Brown (Article)

Each year I spend several days visiting various Certified Financial Planner Board-registered programs throughout the country to ensure that as an industry, we are continuing to source, screen and integrate the best available talent for the financial planning firms we represent. On the plus side, I found many students are ready and eager to enter the financial-planning world. But there were also ominous signs for the future of our profession.

2014-04-22 The Power of Storytelling by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I’ve read in the past that you encourage telling stories about clients. There are lots of compliance reasons that deter us from getting too specific when telling a client-based story. In addition, I don’t see how stories are of importance. Can you clarify?

2014-04-22 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

Readers respond to three recently published articles, and the authors of those articles respond to those letters.

2014-04-22 Does Rebalancing Reduce Risk? by Michael Edesess (Article)

In a previous article I asked whether rebalancing increases return, as the term "rebalancing bonus" implies. I concluded that it does not. In this article I ask whether it is a tool for reducing risk. The answer depends on whether you believe that the standard deviation of long-term returns is the appropriate measure of risk. This article will show why it often is not.

2014-04-22 Unloved Emerging Markets May Hold Value for Opportunistic Bond Investors by Kathleen Gaffney of Eaton Vance

· Emerging markets have come under pressure over the past year due to the Federal Reserve tapering its asset purchases and increased expectations of higher interest rates in the U.S. · We think investors should consider emerging markets to find opportunities that may provide a yield advantage and diversification away from U.S. interest-rate risk. · A multisector approach that uses bottom-up, fundamental credit analysis may be helpful in finding opportunities in emerging markets.

2014-04-22 Taxes are the Pits, But Not for Everyone It Seems by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

A number of Americans breathed a joyful sigh of relief last week after closing the books on their 2013 income taxes. The annual rite of passage rarely elicits excitement when addressed in conversation, and this year was unlikely to be any different. But, the latest tax data suggests the economy is gaining speed, news bound to make even the most hardened filers crack a smile.

2014-04-22 Israel ? Under the Radar by Brad Jensen of AdvisorShares

In recent travels and presentations, I was asked frequently about Israel. How is it that the Israeli market is #2 in our country ranking methodology? It seems as though the country is off the radar screen of most investors, so a quick overview of the market and why it ranks high currently seems to be in order.

2014-04-22 The Democratic Disruption of Finance by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

There seems to be no limit to the exciting possibilities that come from combining technical innovations, the Internet, and social media. What is less appreciated is the extent to which the same phenomenon is starting to play out in finance, via a democratization process that could transform the institutional landscape.

2014-04-22 2016 (Part 3, The Election Situation) by Bill O?Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In this final report, we will analyze why we think 2016 may be a pivotal election and examine the potential that it could bring about a coalition change similar to the 1932 and 1980 elections. We will discuss the various methods of addressing the current high level of private sector debt and offer what we believe to be the three highest probability scenarios of how the current problems can be addressed and their impact on the domestic political scene and on America?s superpower role. Unlike our last two reports, we will conclude with market ramifications.

2014-04-22 Hope Is Not A Strategy by Steven Rubenstein of Arrow Partners

With almost 20 years in the third party marketing (3PM) business, we thought we had seen and experienced it all.

2014-04-22 First Stock Market Crash on NYSE Reminds Us What Can Happen At A 25x CAPE by Team of GaveKal Capital

The panic of 1901 was the first crash on the New York Stock Exchange, brought on by a battle for control of the Northern Pacific Railway. June 1901 marked the peak in valuations for 27 years, only to be eclipsed in the months preceding the September 1929 peak in stock prices. Between June 1901 and December 1920, the 10 year real P/E (Shiller CAPE) fell from 25x to 5x.

2014-04-22 Emerging Europe: Regional Economic Review - Q1 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

The International Monetary Fund’s latest assessment of the global economy pointed out that robust economic recovery in developed countries has significantly reduced the risk of a downturn this year. The Washington-based lender said it sees growth in emerging and developing Europe as a whole at 2.4 percent in 2014, which is expected to accelerate to 2.9 percent next year.

2014-04-22 Float Factor with Steve O'Neill by (Article)

Closed-end funds with floating rate senior loans may be attractive to those concerned about a spike in interest rates, says Steve O?Neill of RiverNorth.

2014-04-21 The Economic Cost of Brazil?s Spending Spree by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Brazil has been on a spending spree during the past few years, which, unfortunately, has failed to generate meaningful growth and has led to negative economic consequences. In addition to the lavish spending in preparation for the FIFA World Cup? this summer and the Olympic Games in 2016, Brazil?s national oil company has been spending billions of dollars on expensive offshore oil exploration, production and energy development.

2014-04-21 Spring Checkup: Five Investment Ideas for Your Portfolio by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

As the second quarter of 2014 gets underway, many investors are wondering how they should adjust their portfolios given the events of the first three months of the year. Russ shares five investing opportunities that he and his BlackRock colleagues think are worth considering this spring.

2014-04-21 Cast a Wider Net for Asian Income Stocks by Stuart Rae, Katsuhiko Mano of AllianceBernstein

Equity income has been a hot theme for Asian investors. But safer sectors that typically provide higher dividend yields are expensive. By casting a wider net, we think attractively priced income stocks can still be found in unexpected parts of the markets.

2014-04-21 The Federal Reserve's Two-Legged Stool by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

In viewing the Fed?s mandate as a tradeoff only between inflation and unemployment, Chair Yellen seems to overlook the feature of economic dynamics that has been most punishing for the U.S. economy over the past decade. That feature is repeated malinvestment, yield-seeking speculation, and ultimately financial instability, largely enabled by the Federal Reserve?s own actions.

2014-04-21 North American Energy Sector Fuels Stock Indexes Higher by Team of GaveKal Capital

In North American, the energy sector is the best performing sector so far this quarter. Energy stocks, on average, have outperformed the MSCI World index by almost 5% this month.

2014-04-21 Rising Food Prices May Whet Investors' Appetite for Agriculture by Nick Kalivas of Invesco Blog

Food prices are affected by a wide range of factors - from weather to geopolitics. Today, these factors seem to be pointing toward rising food inflation, and investors want to know where potential opportunities may lie.

2014-04-18 Quarterly Review and Outlook by Van Hoisington, Lacy Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

After examining much of the latest scholarly research, and conducting in house research on the link between household wealth and spending, we found the wealth effect to be much weaker than the FOMC presumes. In fact, it is difficult to document any consistent impact with most of the research pointing to a spending increase of only one cent per one dollar rise in wealth at best. Some studies even indicate that the wealth effect is only an interesting theory and cannot be observed in practice.

2014-04-18 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

In a currency war, everyone loses. Should monetary policy be coordinated across countries? The International Monetary Fund is at a crossroads.

2014-04-18 Financial Television: Five Things You Need to Know by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Whether you are new to the retirement investing mindset, you go back to the days of Rukeyser and Kangas, or are somewhere in between, here is my list of things you will often see when watching financial TV ... and how to separate the reality from the hype and sales pitch.

2014-04-17 A Bend in the Road is Not the End of the Road by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Turmoil in Ukraine, growth concerns in Japan, and weakness in U.S. equity markets are giving U.S. investors a short-term case of heartburn but none of this should undermine the overall case for optimism.

2014-04-17 Designing Balanced DC Menus: Considering Diversified Fixed Income Choices by Stacy Schaus, Ying Gao of PIMCO

Sponsors of defined contribution plans face a dual challenge: They must present investment options appropriate for plan members and design menus that encourage selection of well-structured portfolios. We believe that actively managed strategies designed to potentially reduce risks, invest globally and enhance yield relative to the index may improve diversification and lower concentration risk in fixed income offerings. Plan sponsors may consider a range of return and risk measures as they evaluate current and prospective fixed income offerings.

2014-04-17 What to Make of the Rebound in Emerging Market Equities by Dara White of Columbia Management

A month ago, much of the news from the emerging markets (EM) was negative. We saw headlines highlighting the liquidity headwinds created by U.S. QE tapering, Russia?s aggressive opportunism in the Ukraine, and China?s imminent hard landing.

2014-04-17 Investors Ignore Frightful Geopolitics by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

When the former Soviet Union collapsed almost 25 years ago, most global strategic forecasters assumed that the U.S. would adapt pragmatically to her new status of sole world superpower. Instead she has pursued a variety of misguided nation-building adventures and has largely shrunk from her primary responsibility of neutralizing the ambitions of petty dictators around the world. From this perspective, America's multi-generational expenditures on military personnel and equipment has become more of a stealth economic stimulus program rather than an insurance policy for global stability.

2014-04-17 Two Major Players Graduate from MSCI FM 100 ? Is it Still Worth Tuning into? by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Major changes are coming to the MSCI Frontier Markets 100 Index. Russ K explains the significance and why it reinforces his view that investors should have an allocation to the frontier.

2014-04-17 US Econ Roundup - Initial Claims Improve To 6 1/2 Year Lows and Philly Fed Accelerates by Team of GaveKal Capital

While initial jobless claims were just a bit higher this week than last (304K vs 302K), the widely watched 4-week moving average slid down to 312K which is its lowest level since October 2007. Continuing claims fell to 6-year low as well. Finally, the less looked non-seasonally adjusted initial claims series remains firmly negative on a year-over-year basis. This is important because increases in this series tend to signal higher future levels in the seasonally adjusted series.

2014-04-17 Tick, Tock, Tax Time by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In 2014, Americans will pay $3 trillion in federal taxes and $1.5 trillion in state taxes. Believe it or not, according to the Tax Foundation, that means more of your income is being spent on taxes than on food, clothing and housing combined!

2014-04-17 Hasenstab in Ukraine, on Ukraine by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton

Ukraine is a country both rich with potential and strategically well positioned. While recent events have been very difficult for many, the people of Ukraine have shown their strength. It?s also been heartening to see the proactive support from the international community. Michael Hasenstab, chief investment officer, Global Bonds, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group®, shares his view on the long-term potential of this unique country after a recent visit to Kiev.

2014-04-17 Fixed Income Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

Given that the Fed is likely to complete its asset purchases this year and may raise rates in early 2015, we still feel that Treasuries and investment grade bonds are unattractive. Although yields in the high yield universe are low by historical standards, they still give us a decent cushion against rising rates, especially at the shorter end of the maturity spectrum. Maintaining a shorter duration exposure in high yield and some convertible bonds, as well as a cash reserve, continues to make sense.

2014-04-17 Equity Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

Short term, we would not be surprised if the market took a breather after its strong gains last year. Additionally we may see volatility related to news coming out of the Middle East and Russia. But longer term, we remain very optimistic on the outlook for U.S. equities. In addition to the reasons we discussed above we believe U.S. equities are very attractive relative to the alternatives. The great bull market in bonds appears to be over. The great decades of emerging market growth appear to be behind us.

2014-04-17 Why Energy is Catching the Market's Eye by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Over the last month the energy sector has outperformed the market, and as you can see in the chart below, has done so by 6.5 percent. Year-to-date the sector is beating the S&P 500 Index by over 3 percent. In a spectacularly performing market during 2013, energy lacked some of the incredible performance seen throughout the other sectors, but recently it has turned up, catching the attention of the market yet again.

2014-04-17 U.S. Financials: Investment Theme Update by James Calhoun of AdvisorShares

We reaffirm our recommendation for U.S. Banking and Financial Services as a satellite equity investment. The Federal Reserve’s "Stress Test" reinforces a constructive outlook and conservative risk profile for U.S. Banks. The positive results confirm that U.S. banks have enhanced their ability to withstand macroeconomic challenges by reducing problem assets during the past few years. Equally important, the financial sector appears to be more exposed to a key driver of the broader equity market advance over the last few years: share buyback programs and increasing dividends.

2014-04-17 What's Wrong with PIMCO? by James Bryan of South Texas Money Management

When Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke first talked about reducing or tapering the Federal Reserve’s asset purchase program back in May of 2013, the market response was dramatic. Investors started fleeing bonds, causing bond prices to drop and bond yields to rise. In a rising interest rate environment, the net asset value (NAV) of fixed income mutual funds falls as rates rise. This often leads to shareholder redemptions (they want out!), forcing these bond mutual fund portfolio managers to sell bonds in an unfavorable market.

2014-04-17 Ukrainian Crisis: Should Investors Avoid the Russian Stock Market? by Philip Lawton and Noah Beck of Research Affiliates

This is neither to treat the profoundly worrisome crisis in Eastern Europe cavalierly nor to advocate profiting, however indirectly, from the distress of Ukraine, a sovereign nation whose people have suffered horribly over the last three-quarters of a century. It is merely to caution international investors that, from a strictly financial perspective, withdrawing assets from Russia might not be the right move.

2014-04-17 High Frequency Trading: Under the Spotlight by Team of Manning & Napier

The growing popularity of HFT is troubling; investors, media outlets, and academics alike are expressing concerns. We applaud any and all efforts that help to shine a light on HFT and its potential threat to the fair and orderly functioning of financial markets. While it remains to be seen if action will be taken against HFT, it is encouraging that ongoing research and dialogue on the subject is catching the broader attention of regulatory bodies that are tasked with preserving the levels of transparency and fairness that all market participants benefit from.

2014-04-17 Pinning Hopes on the 'Chosen One' by Sharat Shroff of Matthews Asia

, I would caution against expectations of a quick fix or a fixation over the short term. As in much of the rest of Asia, India and Indonesia are attempting to tackle their issues and this makes us optimistic for the future. We look forward to an environment of better governance that is critical for both social and economic progress.

2014-04-17 Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust by Sam Stewart of Wasatch Funds

Former Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes was well-known for his conservative offense-often quoted as saying, "There are only three things that can happen when you pass, and two of them are bad." The two bad outcomes are either an incompletion or an interception. Instead, Hayes favored a methodical, grind-it-out approach, running the ball directly into the line: "three yards and a cloud of dust." What Hayes’ style of play may have lacked in pizazz, it more than made up for in results. The U.S. economy today is following a similar offensive playbook, but with less satisfying results.

2014-04-16 A Classic Barometer by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Investors seem a bit too eager to tout emerging market equities. Much as they did with technology stocks during the early-2000s, investors today are looking for the best re-entry point. Data clearly do not support anymore the notion that emerging markets are a superior growth story, yet investors seem to be ignoring the classic warnings signs for fear of missing out. One such classic warning sign is the slope of the yield curve. Historically, steeper yield curves have been reliable forecasters of stronger overall nominal economic growth and stronger profits growth.

2014-04-16 Echo-Mania at The Fed by Cliff Draughn of Excelsia Investment Advisors

Greetings from a thawed out Savannah! Q1 of 2014 will be remembered for a number of things, but the most prominent were the erratic weather patterns and arctic-blast temperatures that most of the country experienced. I missed writing my Q1 letter for the first time in ten years due to a nasty bout with pneumonia in mid-January. For those of you who have never had pneumonia, I do not recommend it!

2014-04-16 And That's The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

And what a bad week it was. After flirting (and setting) new record highs on both the S&P and Dow, equity investors worried about the upcoming earnings reports and freaked out over the some disturbing news from China. Stocks plunged late in the week with the Nasdaq particularly hard hit, though the other indexes followed suit and gave up all of their prior gains for the year. For the most part, domestic developments remain strong but news on the global front have prompted investors to seek out the safe-haven of treasuries. Over-reaction or new trend?

2014-04-16 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks fell last week upset by the growth sectors of biotechnology and social media stocks. Energy issues and related infrastructure were largely unaffected. It is clear that hedge funds and others have become forced sellers as their macro bets on being long growth areas, but being short the bond market have blown up in their faces. Until this settles down the overall market is likely to continue its correction.

2014-04-16 Gold Strategy Investor Letter, Q1 2014 by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

John Hathaway, manager of the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), remarks in his latest quarterly letter that it appears "the precious metals complex has bottomed and is attempting to gain footing following the grueling two-plus year correction that started in August of 2011." Giving credence to gold's utility as an equity hedge, he notes that "the positive returns generated by equity markets over the past two years have represented a substantial barrier for capital to reenter precious metals.

2014-04-16 Put/Call Study: Equity Correction Ahead? by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

Equity put/call ratios provide an interesting lens on greed and fear. The chart below presents the S&P 500 since January 2000, flagging 5-day put/call ratios in excess of one standard deviation versus the long-term average of 63%. Readings below 53% have occurred during powerful rallies and near interim tops. Readings above 73% have occurred during fearful sell-offs and near interim bottoms. Fearful readings have occurred at least once annually since 2001 with the latest example in April 2013.

2014-04-16 Uncle Sam Seizes Children's Tax Refunds To Pay Parents' Debts by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

This is one of those special weeks when I get to bring you key information that you probably haven?t seen elsewhere. As a speed-reader, I look at a large volume of information every week before deciding what topics to publish on Tuesdays. It was early Saturday evening when I ran across today?s topic which is getting scant coverage in the media, but everyone reading this needs to understand this latest (and possibly illegal) money-grab by our government.

2014-04-16 Every Portfolio Has Faith by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

At Smead Capital Management, we believe that everyone who invests has faith in someone or something. We also believe that who and what you put your faith into is greatly influenced by the time period involved. As we look out into the rest of 2014 and beyond, we would like to consider the kind of faith required by the largest pools of investment dollars in the US. This includes looking at who they are trusting, what they are trusting in, and what time frames they are operating under.

2014-04-16 The Wile E. Coyote Stock Market? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Last Wednesday, when the D-J Industrials were up some 180 points, I could not shake the feeling that this was the ?Wile E. Coyote stock market.? The visual is when Wile runs off a cliff, but his feet keep moving, until he looks down and realizes there is nothing underneath him. The resulting fall was similar to what happened late last week to the equity markets. Indeed, I really did not understand, or trust, last Wednesday?s Dow Wow for the reasons mentioned in these missives.

2014-04-16 An Uncomfortable Discussion by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Income inequality is a touchy subject. It?s hard to have a polite conversation, but like it or not, we are going to have a discussion this year. I will not take a position here (this is largely a political question). Rather, I will try to illustrate what the data say and to present the different points of view.

2014-04-15 Does Rebalancing Really Pay Off?? by Michael Edesess (Article)

No investment advice is more universally offered than the advice - originally posited by William Bernstein - to rebalance your portfolio. Yet, the evidence that this practice is beneficial is shockingly meager.

2014-04-15 A Conversation with DFA’s David Booth by Robert Huebscher (Article)

It’s possible for an airplane company to manufacture excellent jets that reliably and safely reach their destination, even if some of its engineers design questionable components. Indeed, its products may be among the best ever designed. That’s my impression DFA, which was reinforced after meeting with its co-founder and co-CEO, David Booth.

2014-04-15 The Quality that Defines Star Performers by Dan Richards (Article)

Why do so many advisors work incredibly hard to build their practices, reach a solid level of success - and then plateau? In the last 30 years, I’ve worked with hundreds of those stuck advisors and with a few who reached increasingly higher levels of success. I’ve identified one trait that separates the two groups.

2014-04-15 Beyond Moneyball - Setting the record straight by Justin Kermond (Article)

In The Sabermetric Revolution: Assessing the Growth of Analytics in Baseball, Benjamin Baumer and Andrew Zimbalist attempt to set the record straight. Baumer and Zimbalist contest parts of Michael Lewis’ Moneyball story and broadly address how sophisticated analysis has been used in other sports and why it’s exceedingly difficult for even the most creative and sophisticated approaches to maintain a competitive edge.

2014-04-15 Make Your Website An Asset-Gathering Powerhouse by Dan Solin (Article)

Although e-commerce does not involve personal meetings, the need to establish an emotional connection with your prospective clients remains the same. Achieving this goal requires a change in strategy. Here are some tips.

2014-04-15 A Women’s Viewpoint of Bullying by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I was once asked by a major periodical to comment on research that showed an inordinate percentage of women who get to senior-level positions in investment firms end up voluntarily leaving to start their own business or to enter new industries. The "brain drain" of women from investment advising has been significant. I thought about this brain drain when I received another letter on the issue of bullying, this time from a woman.

2014-04-15 Global markets: 2nd quarter expectations by Bill McQuaker (Article)

Bill McQuaker, Co-Head of Multi-Asset, takes a look back at first quarter global market developments and notes his expectations on how markets and economies will unfold, with some potential issue resolution, in the second quarter.

2014-04-15 Our Most Read Article from Last Week: Do Small Cap-Value Stocks add Value in Retirement Portfolios? by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Research going back to Fama and French in the early 1990s has shown that small-value stocks have produced superior returns. Subsequent debate has centered on whether this superior performance will continue and if investors should tilt portfolios to capture those returns. I’ll examine the historical evidence, incorporate it in retirement examples and discuss the future prospects for small-cap value.

2014-04-15 Equity Market Insight by Thomas Faust, Jr. of Eaton Vance

After a powerful rally in 2013, the first quarter of 2014 saw the bull market demonstrate a measure of resilience in the face of several headwinds. In the latter half of January, stocks fell sharply on emerging-market concerns, with volatility spiking to more "normal" post-financial crisis levels. The market bounced back strongly in February and went on to record a new all-time closing high on March 7. Performance was choppy in the final few weeks of the quarter, as investors digested mixed economic reports, geopolitical issues and the latest U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) meeting.

2014-04-15 Credit Availability Underpins Recovery in Commercial Real Estate Prices, But Also Poses Risks to CMB by Bryan Tsu of PIMCO

Credit availability, low interest rates, limited new construction and improving economic conditions have contributed to the recovery in commercial real estate (CRE) prices. We expect a strong 2014 in the commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) market, which has been a primary source of CRE credit expansion. Increasingly aggressive loan underwriting is a concern. CMBS investors need to speak with their wallets and push back on either valuations or underwriting standards if recent trends continue.

2014-04-15 Weekly Market Update by Team of Castleton Partners

US Treasury yields registered their largest weekly drop since early February, driven by dovish minutes from the March Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting and equity market weakness. With the technology stocks at the epicenter of the equity storm, major indices fell nearly 3% last week. As Q1 earning season begins in earnest this week, equity performance is very much expected to remain in the headlines. Reaching yields last seen in early March, five year notes were the best performer across the Treasury curve, falling 12 basis points on the week to yield 1.58%.

2014-04-15 Approaching a Pause? A Market Review by Rick Vollaro of Pinnacle Advisory Group

First quarter market performance was as whippy and volatile as the weather. Unusually cold temperatures in the U.S. not only froze much of the country’s population, but it also wreaked havoc on the quality of economic data, and kept markets on edge regarding how investors should be positioned. Geopolitical issues also rose from the ashes as various emerging markets had currency issues and Russia showed poor sportsmanship and invaded the Ukraine shortly after the conclusion of the Olympic Games.

2014-04-15 Complacency Makes Volatility Markets a Dangerous Place by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

With a dissipation of economic stress in Europe, and a general strengthening of economic conditions in the U.S., equity market volatility has plunged to new lows. Some would argue that market intervention by central banks is acting as an unnatural dampener to market volatility, raising the question as to whether a gradual removal of those policies will cause volatility to resurface. So far, the answer is up for debate, but current positioning suggests many investors are becoming complacent and will be caught off sides if such a scenario emerges.

2014-04-15 Beta Earthquake by Ben Hunt of Salient Partners

One of the things I like to keep my eye on when I’m puzzling out what’s going on in the market are the specific company factors that loosely define concepts like Momentum and Value. I do this because any sort of big market move, like we’ve seen over the past week, is inherently over-determined and over-explained. That is, there are dozens of "reasons" trotted out by the financial media and various experts, ALL of which are probably right to a certain degree.

2014-04-15 What's Next for Emerging Markets? by Nathan Rowader of Forward Management

Emerging markets (EM) have been an enduring growth story, but their recent stretch of underperformance and fears of a global economic slowdown are chilling investors’ enthusiasm. Pulled between opportunity and risk avoidance, many investors have been left uncertain as to what they should do next.

2014-04-15 5 Things You Need to Know About the Selloff by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Kristina Hooper puts the sharp pullback in the stock market in perspective for investors who may be wondering about a correction.

2014-04-15 2016 (Part 2, The Political Situation) by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

As we survey the political landscape for 2016, the next presidential election could be historic. In this report, we will examine the domestic political situation using four different archetypes to describe the U.S. political landscape. We will then offer a history of the interaction between these groups and address the likelihood of various policy outcomes based on the relative strengths and weaknesses of the four political groups. Unlike our usual reports, we will not conclude with market ramifications but instead discuss the transition to Part 3 of this analysis.

2014-04-15 Running Backwards to Catch Up by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Did you ever try to run backwards? I find walking backwards difficult enough. Running in reverse can send you tumbling.

2014-04-14 The Default Outlook by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

On April 1st, TXU/Energy Future Holdings skipped their interest payment due that day, immediately triggering a default by some reporting mechanisms. While the company has a 30 day grace period to pay the coupon payment, most expect them to use the grace period to work further on a restructuring and ultimately file for bankruptcy at some point over the next 30 days.

2014-04-14 US Stock Markets Surprisingly Steady - First Quarter Review by David Edwards of Heron Financial

Surprisingly steady! How can we say that? Because compared to the price swings of the last six years, the recent 3.9% decline in US Stocks (from a record set April 2) barely registers relative to the powerful uptrend since mid 2011.

2014-04-14 We?re Shuffling the Cards on Our European Play by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Did you know that over the last year the Greek stock market is up roughly 45 percent? The country that many believed would never recover from a six-year recession is now making astounding strides, recently being added to the MSCI Emerging Markets Index at the end of 2013.

2014-04-14 Uncovering Opportunities in Emerging Markets by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

Emerging markets have underperformed expectations, but the longer-term secular outlook remains constructive for many regions. Highly negative investor sentiment and outflows have sharply reduced prices, significantly improving relative value in emerging markets. We see opportunities in emerging markets in interest rates, sovereign credit and select companies for investors with a longer-term investment horizon. ?

2014-04-14 Economic Insight: Fed Policy Goes Back to the Future by Thomas Luster of Eaton Vance

We fully expected the strength the economy showed in late 2013 to carry over into 2014; however, that simply was not the case. Instead, we saw weaker-than-expected economic data across a wide range of economic indicators. Not surprisingly, interest rates fell modestly during the quarter rather than continuing their trend higher from last year, while U.S. stocks (as measured by the S&P 500) reacted similarly ? barely advancing after a 32% gain in 2013.

2014-04-14 Margins, Multiples, and the Iron Law of Valuation by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The Iron Law of Valuation is that every security is a claim on an expected stream of future cash flows, and given that expected stream of future cash flows, the current price of the security moves opposite to the expected future return on that security. A corollary to the Iron Law of Valuation is that one can only reliably use a ?price/X? multiple to value stocks if ?X? is a sufficient statistic for the very long-term stream of cash flows that stocks are likely to deliver into the hands of investors for decades to come.

2014-04-14 Why Today?s Environment Favors Active High Yield Strategies by Darren Hughes, Scott Roberts of Invesco Blog

Fixed income investors are looking for ways to prepare their portfolios for rising interest rates. While bond prices generally fall when rates rise, history shows that high yield bonds have typically held up well in rising rate environments.

2014-04-12 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The Federal Reserve’s search for stability. The patterns of world trade are undergoing important changes. Greece issued debt this week: good news or bad news?

2014-04-12 In the End, Time is Everything by Doug MacKay of Broadleaf Partners

While some will claim that valuations are to blame for the large selloff in growth stocks, high growth stocks almost always have premium valuations. In some sectors of the market, we’ve found that it makes more financial sense to pay up for a company of the future than to pay down for one in the past. As Warren Buffet has said, "Price is what you pay, but value is what you get."

2014-04-12 Risk Tolerance: Defining a Misunderstood Term by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

First, let’s be clear: "Risk" is the possibility that you will need money but don’t have it, either because your portfolio’s value plunged, because your investments don’t have near-term liquidity, or both. What freaks investors out in the here-and-now, is VOLATILITY. Yet many traditional approaches to building a portfolio don’t really take this into account, other than a token survey question or two when the client is first starting to invest.

2014-04-12 Proper Perspective by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Getting caught up in the weeds is easy in this 24-hour news cycle where everyone is looking to make a splash, but successful investing requires staying above the fray. The U.S. economy is growing and equities appear fairly valued, Europe has issues to deal with but has come a long way from the depths, Japan may be working against itself but improvement has been seen, and the threat of a Chinese debacle at this point seems minimal.

2014-04-12 Every Central Bank for Itself by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Whether the FOMC can actually turn the taper into a true exit strategy ultimately depends on how much longer households and businesses must deleverage and how sharply our old-age dependency ratio rises, but markets seem to believe this is the beginning of the end. For now, that’s what matters most. Under Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s leadership, the Fed continues to send a clear message to the rest of the world: Now it really is every central bank for itself.

2014-04-11 Equities Appear Attractive in Years Leading Up to Fed Tightening by Kevin Mahn of Hennion & Walsh

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said her expectation for the first increase in the Federal Funds Rate would come approximately six months following the end of the asset purchase program.

2014-04-11 Chinese Checkers with Gold Prices by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

For decades many of us in the hard money world have speculated that cloak and dagger activity by large financial interests has played a large role in determining performance in the gold market. The focus of this alleged manipulation is believed to be in the London market, and has been widely referred to as "The London Fix." However those who have blown the whistle have been dismissed as alarmists, gold bugs, conspiracy theorists or worse. But recent revelations should bring us closer to the truth.

2014-04-11 Can You Have Your Cake and Eat It Too? by David Braun, David Holdreith of PIMCO

Many insurers would like to optimize both total return and book yield income, which may be seen as competing and divergent goals. In fact many insurers fall somewhere on the spectrum between these goals or shift their objective based on business and market conditions. While it has long been an accepted practice to track manager performance with regard to total return, tracking book income has been more elusive: PIMCO has an innovative and unique solution to help manager?s track alpha generated by active managers.

2014-04-11 Quarterly Letter by Ron Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Co.

Most of the economic and market trends we?ve been discussing for the past few years remain in place. Russia?s action in the Ukraine / Crimea may have long-term implications, particularly for Europe, but the near-term economic implications are modest. It remains to be seen whether this gets added to our long-term worry list or not.

2014-04-11 Gold - Managing the Downside by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

We get a lot of questions regarding the impact on portfolio risk of having an allocation to gold. In particular given the status of gold as a safe haven asset, focus has centered on its performance during periods of extreme market stress ? what is the downside to gold during periods of high risk aversion? The high level answer to this question is that the financing currency used to make the gold purchase matters and as is often the case when discussing portfolio construction, ?you ask a simple question, you get a complex answer?.

2014-04-11 Tax Management - Optimized for Investors by Scott Bartone of O'Shaughnessey Asset management

Academic studies of portfolio management often neglect real world considerations. Turnover is often used to gauge tax management capabilities, but used in isolation turnover can be misleading. Tax lot accounting is integral to maximizing after-tax returns. Tax management must be an integral part of a manager’s buy/sell discipline, and should be applied throughout the year. OSAM’s after-tax results in 2013 are indicative of an effective, integrated tax management process.

2014-04-11 Bubble Bursting? Only for Biotech & Internet Stocks by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

The recent sluggish performance of U.S. stocks is leading some market watchers to question whether we?re witnessing the bursting of an equity bubble. Russ explains that while U.S. equities overall are not in a bubble, valuations have started to become an issue, particularly for certain segments of the market.

2014-04-11 Why China's A-Shares Matter Now by Winnie Chwang of Matthews Asia

Although we often receive questions on mainland China?s A-share equities, which trade on the Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges, we currently invest in Chinese equities primarily via Hong Kong-listed companies and also by way of U.S.-listed Chinese firms. China?s domestic A-share market remains largely closed to foreign institutional investors. The only way for foreigners to participate in this market is to enroll in China?s Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) program or invest via a manager who has a quota in this program.

2014-04-11 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 134.9, up from last week's 133.6 (revised from 133.5). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) rose to 3.3 from last week's 3.0.

2014-04-10 The March Employment Report by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Last week began with a speech by Janet Yellen. The Fed Chair was not expected to say much of consequence, but instead, she continued to emphasize the large amount of slack in the labor market and the Fed?s strong commitment to reduce it. The clear implication is that short-term interest rates are not going up anytime soon. This message may have been meant to counter misconceptions taken away from her recent press conference.

2014-04-10 The Russians Are Coming by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming is a 1966 American comedy film directed by Norman Jewison and based on Nathaniel Benchley?s book The Off-Islanders. The movie tells the Cold War story of the comedic chaos that happens when a Soviet submarine runs aground closely offshore a small island town near New England and the crew is forced to come ashore. Last Friday, however, rumors that the ?Russians are coming? swirled down the canyons of Wall Street, causing a late Friday Fade that left the S&P 500 (SPX/1865.09) down an eye-popping 24 points.

2014-04-10 Financial Market Warning Signs by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Group Financial Services

For those that are actually loving the rise in this U.S. financial market this past week, Warren Buffett has so me pretty cheeky advice to share in his annual letter to the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders.

2014-04-10 India: Poised for Change? by Team of Manning & Napier

In the current slow growth environment, India?s economy will likely continue to feel the downward pressure being exerted by high interest rates and a more challenging global liquidity environment that has negatively impacted foreign capital flows into the country. Despite the challenging short-to-intermediate-term outlook, there are a number of internal dynamics, such as favorable demographics, improving labor productivity, and the potential for tremendous growth in domestic consumption, which provide the opportunity for more robust growth in the future.

2014-04-10 Looking at Current Long-Term Growth Plays by Chip Skinner of The Royce Funds

Portfolio Manager and Principal Chip Skinner talks about the market's more volatile behavior in the first quarter, potential growth areas that he finds interesting, ideas in which he has high confidence, and one stock that has recently done well for him.

2014-04-10 Wanting Work Makes a Difference by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

As the Fed considers the precise timing of tightening monetary policy, a key consideration will be how many Americans want to get back to work. Monetary doves found an olive twig amid the floodwaters last week when the labor force participation rate increased slightly.

2014-04-10 Building Shareholder Value through M&A: Valeant Pharmaceuticals by Brian Fontanella of Diamond Hill Investments

There has been a notable increase in merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the specialty pharmaceutical industry over the past year. This has been driven by several factors including the relatively low cost of debt and the magnitude of cost savings that can be realized. But recently, tax savings have been an additional driver of deal activity.

2014-04-10 "I Will Gladly Pay You Tuesday for a Hamburger Today" by Robert Mark of Castle Investment Management

In October of 2013, Robert Shiller won the Nobel Prize in economics for his research on spotting market bubbles. Shiller, an economist and professor at Yale University who accurately predicted the housing bubble, is a pioneer of behavioral finance, or the understanding of how psychology causes us to act irrationally with our money.

2014-04-10 Shale Reserves Are No Shell Game by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

Since the times of Ancient Greece, ?The Shell Game? has been a confidence trick used to convince bystanders into believing they have a legitimate shot at guessing correctly and doubling their bet. We are currently in one of the more transformational periods of energy consumption, distribution and discovery seen in some time. The technology of extracting once undiscovered pools of energy is reverberating throughout economies and potentially causing tectonic shifting of political structures.

2014-04-10 Investment Success Often Depends On Choosing the Right Investment Horizon by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest piece, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, reminds investors of the dangers of extrapolation, terming it "one of the worst biases of investing." Complicating matters is Sicart's contention that "possibly the second worst investment bias is our need to believe a good story."

2014-04-10 Assuage Your Fears of Rising Rates with Global Diversification by Julie Salsbery of PIMCO

?Although PIMCO believes interest rates are fairly anchored in the near term, we think investors can position their fixed income portfolios more defensively. Global diversification across developed and emerging markets can offer a defense against rising U.S. rates by reducing the concentration of risks within a portfolio, while also potentially lowering volatility and enhancing returns.

2014-04-10 Why the U.S. Should Export Crude Oil by Tim Guinness, Will Riley, Jonathan Waghorn of Guinness Atkinson Asset Management

The Ukraine-Russia crisis, as well as Russia’s position as a major energy provider, has renewed the discussion on whether the US should export crude oil. A forty year old decree bans U.S. producers from exporting crude oil, and it needs to be repealed. It represents misguided protectionism and is a hangover from the days before the US embraced free trade. We think that exporting crude oil would be an economic benefit to the US, as it incentivises the full development of the US shale resource.

2014-04-10 And That's The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

One quarter down; three to go. After a rough January, stocks rebounded to complete a solid quarter with the Dow Jones the lone main index still "in the red." The new week found decent numbers from manufacturing and labor and investors moved past the "bad weather" excuse, though still took profits from high-flying bio-techs and internet stocks. The late-week selling hindered the overall equity performance.

2014-04-10 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

The Fed gave a push to stocks early in the week, but news about Washington DC investigating the so-called High Frequency Traders drove down the momentum stocks which were still suffering from the previous week’s hangover.

2014-04-10 Muni Land with Steven Pikelny by (Article)

Municipal bond closed-end funds currently may present a cost-effective tax-free opportunity, says analyst Steven Pikelny of Morningstar.

2014-04-10 March 2014 Pension Finance Update by Brian Donohue of October Three Consulting

Pension finances deteriorated slightly in March, and both ?model? plans we track ended the first quarter of 2014 in modestly negative territory. Traditional ?Plan A? lost about 1% last month and is now down almost 4% for the year, and ?Plan B? slid less than 1% during March, ending the quarter almost 2% in the red.

2014-04-09 Whatever It Takes 2.0? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

If you are convincingly irrational the market may expect extreme measures and front run your bluff. It?s in this spirit that ECB President Draghi is threatening the market with another bazooka. We discuss implications for investors.

2014-04-09 Russia and the Baltics by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

The Ukrainian crisis and the Crimean annexation have been closely watched by the Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania). For many, the recent developments are bringing recollections of the start of the Soviet Union. In this week?s report, we will explore the geopolitical atmosphere in the Baltic states after the Russian annexation of the Crimea, focusing on Estonia. We will start with a brief history of the relations between Russia and its Baltic neighbors. We will then take a look at what the local press is reporting, the reports coming out of Russia and the word on the street.

2014-04-09 Management?s History of Shareholder Friendliness by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Many years ago, United Airlines had the slogan, "Fly the Friendly Skies." At Smead Capital Management, we like to own companies for a long time which are "friendly" to their public shareholders. In this missive, we will define what it means in our eyes to be shareholder friendly and give a company specific example of this friendliness.

2014-04-09 How High-Frequency Trading Benefits Most Investors by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

A controversial new book came out in late March that lambastes so-called ?high-frequency trading? on the major stock exchanges and claims that such computerized trading robs retail investors of good executions and profits on their stock orders. The book, ?Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt,? was written by former bond salesman turned author, Michael Lewis, who appeared on CBS? 60 Minutes on March 30. Since then, his book has stirred up quite the controversy among stock market investors.

2014-04-09 Reasons To Remain Optimistic In 2014 by Sandra Martin of Martin Investment Management

The equity markets have taken a respite in 2014 after returning more than 32% in 2013. Margin expansion has been the largest influence on profit growth and should continue with present low inflation expectations. We believe that mergers and share buybacks may continue to increase shareholder value for large capitalization stocks.

2014-04-09 Take an Active Approach to Selecting Your Active Manager by Robert McConnaughey of Columbia Management

For some time, we have written about the challenges active equity managers face from a market with unusually high cross-correlations. We have also stated our belief that the correlation pendulum would swing back to more normal levels (at least) as the aftershocks of the 2008 financial crisis abated, with a corresponding benefit to active managers. That swing is well under way and a growing number of commentators have begun to echo our observation.

2014-04-09 Master Limited Partnerships by Greg Reid and the Salient MLP Team of Salient Partners

Master Limited Partnerships (?MLPs?) are a unique asset class in the investment landscape. Historically, MLPs have been primarily owned by high net worth and retail investors due in part to the tax complexities. However, MLPs have started gaining traction over the past few years among institutional investors as they seek alternative sources of yield in our present low-yield world.

2014-04-09 Dare to be Great II by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital

In September 2006, I wrote a memo entitled Dare to Be Great, with suggestions on how institutional investors might approach the goal of achieving superior investment results. I’ve had some additional thoughts on the matter since then, meaning it’s time to return to it. Since fewer people were reading my memos in those days, I’m going to start off repeating a bit of its content and go on from there.

2014-04-08 Fixed Income Perspectives: Implications of a Hawkish Fed by Phil Apel and James McAlevey (Article)

Phil Apel and James McAlevey, portfolio managers of the Henderson Unconstrained Bond Fund, explaining that interest rates are poised to move higher and credit appears likely to outperform government securities in 2014.

2014-04-08 Do Small Cap-Value Stocks add Value in Retirement Portfolios? by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Research going back to Fama and French in the early 1990s has shown that small-value stocks have produced superior returns. Subsequent debate has centered on whether this superior performance will continue and if investors should tilt portfolios to capture those returns. I’ll examine the historical evidence, incorporate it in retirement examples and discuss the future prospects for small-cap value.

2014-04-08 Do Commodities Belong in Your Allocation? by Geoff Considine (Article)

For much of the last several years, poor performance from commodities has hurt investors’ portfolios, a result of depressed interest rates, low inflation and slow economic growth. Any diversification value they provided was masked by strong equity-market performance. My analysis shows that only a small allocation to commodities is justified, and advisors can obtain most of the same benefits with REITs or individual TIPS.

2014-04-08 How to Avoid the Coming Crunch on Advisor Compensation by Dan Richards (Article)

Here are the two key ways that life will look very different for financial advisors in 10 years: a change in the structure of advisor practices and downward pressure on compensation.

2014-04-08 The Secret to Selling to Women by Dan Solin (Article)

If you want to achieve success as a financial advisor, master the art of selling to women.

2014-04-08 Why I Sold - Part 6: Ensuring a Successful Transition by Jim Whiddon (Article)

Whether you are moving forward with a merger or are still debating whether to do so, you must consider what will happen after you blend with another firm. Here are the three most important elements to keep in mind.

2014-04-08 Greatness is Overrated by Justin Locke (Article)

I have no objection to greatness per se, but let’s think about the practical uses - and potential negative effects - of this word.

2014-04-08 How to Get Chatty Clients off the Phone by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

My clients are very happy - I know because they call me with every little question and I respond. Some just call to talk about Obamacare or the market trends. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the conversations, but it gets very difficult to plan my day with this much chatting.

2014-04-08 Adding Direct Mail Advertising to Your Marketing Mix by Elizabeth Snyder (Article)

Advisors rarely generate the positive activity necessary to make direct mail worthwhile and cost effective. But they have an opportunity to capitalize on direct mail as a marketing strategy, especially since it offers advantages over electronic marketing (such as email): Direct mail reaches people directly in their homes and provides physical documents that recipients can save and refer to later.

2014-04-08 Obamacare by Andy Friedman of The Washington Update

Last Monday marked the deadline for new sign-ups under Obamacare. On Tuesday, I appeared on CNBC to discuss the future of Obamacare and the effect it is likely have on the mid-term elections.

2014-04-08 Overcoming Fear and Loathing in Lost Wages by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Personal income, not job growth, may have drawn the ire of investors as stocks sold off on Friday. But look for the market to rebound on continued economic progress and soothing remarks from the Fed, writes Kristina Hooper.

2014-04-08 Labor Markets Looking for a Spring Blossom by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

With an unusually harsh winter finally ending, economists were excited to see if labor markets would rebound in March. By many accounts, they were left wanting for more, but the underlying theme in the March report was consistent, steady job growth.

2014-04-08 On Cruise Control by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

The first quarter was a relatively calm start to the year. The Dow was down 0.7%, the S&P up 1.3%, and the NASDAQ up 0.5%. International equities were nearly flat as well with the MSCI ACWI ex US down 0.1%. European equities were up 1.5% and Pacific equities were moderately negative, with the MSCI Pacific down 3.3% for the quarter. Emerging market equity indices were down 0.8% for the quarter, with China down 6.7%.

2014-04-08 Asset Allocation Implications of a Flattening Treasury Yield Curve by Martin Pring of Pring Turner Capital Group

The Treasury yield curve has started to flatten in recent weeks. Based on historical relationships, this process is likely to have important implications for investors because it signals that the business cycle has moved to a more self-reliant and less Fed dependent state.

2014-04-08 Avoiding Losers Is as Important as Picking Winners in High Yield Markets Today by Andrew Jessop, Hozef Arif of PIMCO

Although high yield bonds span a broad range of sectors, industries and individual credits, their yields today tend to fall within an increasingly narrow range. Narrow dispersion means portfolio decisions that target outperformance should now be guided by avoiding deteriorating credits as much as by selecting the most attractive rising stars. Strategies for picking the rising stars can extend to CCC rated credits where agency ratings lag the improvement in the underlying credit profile.

2014-04-08 Moving Forward With the Normalization of Yields by Scott Mather, Michael Story of PIMCO

One response to yield normalization is to consider retaining core bonds and diversifying the specific risk factor of concern, in this case duration. In the past, global bonds have captured most of the upside but avoided a significant amount of the downside relative to domestic-only bonds. Generating capital gains from bonds in a rising yield environment requires defining concretely what yield normalization means ? where yields are going and when they will get there ? and setting these expectations against forward market pricing, country by country.

2014-04-08 A Surplus of Controversy by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

When the US Treasury recently added its voice to critics of Germany?s chronic trade surplus, it underscored the deep disagreement over what, if anything, should be done about it. It is a highly contentious debate, often informed more by ideology than facts.

2014-04-08 Cementing Europe?s Recovery by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

Europe?s renewed sense of hope and confidence, however encouraging, is not yet sufficient to produce appreciable gains for current and future generations. A few things need to happen over the next several weeks and months if Europe is to minimize the risk of another prolonged period of under-performance and financial risk.

2014-04-08 Predatory Trading ? Just How Big an Issue is High-Speed Trading? by Matt Waldner of Columbia Management

High-frequency trading (HFT) is a topic institutional investors and traders have been battling for years. A new book titled Flash Boys by author Michael Lewis of Moneyball fame, investigations out of U.S. regulators and a 60 Minutes spot on a recently developed exchange, IEX, brought this topic from Wall Street to Main Street. In this article, we?ll take a walk around the issue, educate our investors, and hopefully, quell any concerns.

2014-04-08 Our Five Year Forecast Beginning February 20, 2014 by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

Late last month I took on the role of judge, not in a court of law, but in a university competition, the CFA Institute Research Challenge Southern Classic. My task was to choose one of fourteen teams from South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama universities to go on to represent their region in the Americas Regional bracket of the CFA Institute Research Challenge. The challenge gives university students from around the globe an opportunity to gain real-world experience as they assume the role of a research analyst

2014-04-08 Is This an Andy Hardy Kind of Market? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

With Mickey Rooney?s death over the weekend (at age 93, after accumulating show business credits spanning 10 decades), I got to thinking about the Andy Hardy movie series that propelled Mickey at the ripe old age of 16 into stardom. In the 50?s the TV screen was awash with black and white classics of the 30?s and 40?s. Like the Great Depression generation, many of the baby boomers binged on Andy Hardy movies long before Walking Dead, Breaking Bad or House of Cards.

2014-04-07 First Quarter of 2014 Brings Many Reversals, Regressions to the Mean by Ron Surz of PPCA

Unlike 2013, diversification worked in the first quarter of 2014. As revealed in our 2013 market commentary, U.S. stocks dominated with a 33% return while diversifying assets like commodities lost 10%. As shown in the graph on the right, diversification into real estate and commodities was handsomely rewarded in the first quarter.

2014-04-07 The Other Side of the Mountain by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Having witnessed the glorious advancing portion of the uncompleted market cycle since 2009, investors might, perhaps, want to consider how this cycle might end. After long diagonal advances to overvalued speculative peaks, the other side of the mountain is typically not a permanently high plateau.

2014-04-07 The Doubt of Appearances by Dimitri Balatsos of Tesseract Partners

Households have made significant progress mending their balance sheet in the post-crisis period. Assets have been boosted on the back of higher home values and stock prices, while liabilities have been trimmed, mostly mortgages, thanks in large part to widespread home foreclosures.

2014-04-07 Examining Companies Through the Lens of ESG by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

No matter where we invest, there?s always some sort of risk. This includes not only geopolitical or macroeconomic factors in a given country, but also issues that are unique to a specific sector or individual security. As bottom-up stock pickers, my team and I must assess the potential risks and returns related to each and every company we invest in. One area that warrants closer examination is environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities, which can play a big role in our stock selection and valuation process.

2014-04-07 Back-to-Back 1% Down Days? by Team of GaveKal Capital

Beginning the year, there had only been five 1% down days over the previous six months. With Friday's decline, the total has edged up to nine 1% down days over the previous six months. If the SP500 were to closes at its current level (1846), this would be the tenth 1% down day in the last six months.

2014-04-05 Investing for Retirement: The Defined Contribution Challenge by Ben Inker and Martin Tarlie of GMO

Target date funds are rapidly becoming the workhorse for DC plans. These funds have grown substantially in recent years, partly as a result of automatic enrollment made possible by the Pension Protection Act of 2006. By and large, current target date funds resemble the old investment advisor adage that stock weight should be about 110 minus a person’s age. While this satisfies the common-sense intuition that, all things being equal, weight in stocks should go down as a person ages, there are a number of problems with this approach. In this paper we focus on two in particular.

2014-04-05 The Lions in the Grass, Revisited by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Today we explore a few things we can see and then try to foresee a few things that are not quite so obvious. The simple premise is that it is not the lions we can see lounging in plain view that are the most insidious threat, but rather that in trying to avoid those we may stumble upon lions hidden in the grass.

2014-04-04 Bob by Bill Gross of PIMCO

PIMCO recommends overweighting credit and to a lesser extent volatility and curve. Underweight duration. Although credit spreads are tight, they are not as compressed as interest rates, which are now in the process of normalization. While PIMCO agrees with Janet Yellen that such normalization will be a long time coming (the 12th of Never?), probabilities suggest that as the Fed completes its Taper, the 5?30 year bonds that it has been buying will have to be sold at higher yields to entice the private sector back in.

2014-04-04 Putin and the Naughty Chair by Robert Stimpson of Oak Associates

On the surface, the first quarter of 2014 appears to be decent. The S&P 500 eked out a gain of 1.8% in the first three months of the year, despite heightened geopolitical tensions, a changing of the guard at the Federal Reserve, and frigid weather hampering economic growth. Accounts managed by Oak Associates have topped the S&P 500 year-to-date. That being said, signs of internal weakness are present in US equities.

2014-04-04 Meet "Lowflation": Deflation's Scary Pal by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

In recent years a good part of the monetary debate has become a simple war of words, with much of the conflict focused on the definition for the word "inflation." The latest front in this campaign came this week when Bloomberg News unveiled a brand new word: "lowflation" which it defines as a situation where prices are rising, but not fast enough to offer the economic benefits that are apparently delivered by higher inflation. Although the article was printed on April Fool's Day, sadly I do not believe it was meant as a joke.

2014-04-04 Warning Signs in Leveraged Credit? by Elizabeth (Beth) MacLean of PIMCO

· Though leveraged credit markets are less levered than they were pre-crisis, signs of more lenient, issuer-friendly terms are prompting regulators (including the Fed) and investors to voice concerns. · Regulators have tightened lending guidelines, but strong demand versus supply means the market is able to find ways around such guidance. · Detailed bottom-up credit analysis with an emphasis on long-term fundamentals and loss avoidance remains crucial to investing in leveraged credit today.

2014-04-04 Pakistan?Reputation and Reality by Taizo Ishida of Matthews Asia

I have been spending an increasing amount of time in ?frontier? Asian countries, exploring such fascinating locales as Mongolia and Myanmar. But only recently did I make my first trip to Pakistan. It is a country that has long piqued my interest and was a last, unexplored frontier for me. Through the years, we have debated the issues of safety and law and order there. For many in the West, the mention of Pakistan instills some fears, and many governments continue to warn their citizens to defer all non-essential travel to the country.

2014-04-04 Why Chinese Stocks May Still Make Sense Over the Long Run by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Many investors have been concerned about the Chinese market lately and are asking Russ whether they should abandon Chinese stocks. Russ explains why his answer is still no, at least for the long term.

2014-04-04 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 133.6, unchanged last week (which was revised from 133.5). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) rose to 3.0 from last week?s 2.9. Here are some notable developments since ECRI?s public recession call on September 30, 2011: 1) The S&P 500 is up 61.9% at yesterday?s close, fractionally off its record close on April 2nd. 2) the unemployment rate has dropped to 6.7%, and 3) Q4 GDP was revised upward to 2.6%.

2014-04-04 Do You Think You Can Be Effective in Market Forecasting? by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

It is important to understand that no one can predict the future with certainty. Investors should take so-called expert forecasts with a grain of salt. Effective portfolio management is not about forecasting the future and then clinging to that forecast. It?s about continuously evaluating information and market conditions and then making adjustments when necessary to pursue the ultimate goal. To paraphrase long time market watcher Steve Leuthold, ?Predictions are for show, our decisions within the portfolio are for dough.?

2014-04-04 What's Abuzz About Gold? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

If we continue to see these large movements of the physical metal, especially from the West to the East, it would appear to be only a matter of time until these supply-and-demand factors lift the gold price.

2014-04-04 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

For the European Central Bank, actions will speak louder than words. US hiring is back on track. The debate over unemployment and wage pressure.

2014-04-04 Avoiding Complacency by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

Active managers don’t have a mandate to hold any certain securities, thus they can pick and choose as to what they feel offers the best return level for a given risk profile. The high yield bond market still offers plenty of what we view as very attractive opportunities in credits that we see as solid companies at yields about 300 basis points or more above the yield level on this bond.

2014-04-04 A New Machine: Is a Capital Spending Cycle Imminent? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Activist investors have helped highlight companies’ bias toward stock buybacks/dividends vs. longer-term capital investments. Preconditions for a pickup in capital spending appear to be lining up. The technology and industrial sectors are likely the biggest beneficiaries.

2014-04-04 Income Is Always a Good Idea by Jack Tierney of Invesco Blog

Most of the 2014 forecasts were positive on stocks, albeit at a lower return after such a strong year in 2013, and negative on bonds. However, January was a down month for stocks and a very strong month for bonds, February saw stocks rebound and bonds range-bound, and March thus far has stocks down more than up and bonds still range-bound. With apologies for altering the famous quote attributed to Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina, "Paris is always a good idea," I would say that "income is always a good idea."

2014-04-03 Chuck Royce on 1Q14: Despite Minor Pullback, Market Still Shows Strength by Chuck Royce of The Royce Funds

Despite the market's subdued first-quarter performance, annualized total returns for the major indexes remained in double-digit territory for the one-, three-, and five-year periods ended March 31, 2014. President, Director of Investments, and Portfolio Manager Chuck Royce offers his thoughts on the market's behavior during the first quarter and why he thinks investors can expect a major correction within the next twelve months.

2014-04-03 Foolish Investment Ideas by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

With April Fools? Day behind us, it?s time to get serious about investing. Don?t be fooled by this week?s non-farm payroll report; nor by the assertion that the U.S. may have the cleanest of the dirty shirts. And certainly don?t be fooled into thinking the market has your interests in mind?

2014-04-03 Fiduciary vs. Suitability Standards-Your Need to Know the Difference by H. William Wolfson of American Financial Advisors

Beth Banker, a successful business woman, has been having ongoing neck and back issues. She decided to access web based information as to obtain self treatment options. Upon her reading, she realized that her condition, although appearing musculoskeletal in nature may be more involved with underlying pathologies. Although her intent was to heal herself, in reality she became more concerned and stressed as to the amount of research and data that existed?which she didn?t understand.

2014-04-03 The Stealth Rally: Gold Under the Radar by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

So far, 2014 has been a paradoxical year for gold. Many investors aren't even aware that it has rallied almost 8%. On the rare occasion that the financial media mentions the yellow metal, it is only in the context of comparing the recent rise to last year's decline.

2014-04-03 Plans are Nothing; Planning is Everything by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

U.S. investors are largely convinced that the Fed will raise interest rates in the middle of 2015 but sluggish inflation could push that eventuality back into 2016.

2014-04-03 Q2 fixed income outlook ? Hitting for the cycle by Gene Tannuzzo of Columbia Management

By the middle of this year, the economic expansion in the U.S. will officially turn five years old. By comparison, the average of all business cycle expansions tracked by the National Bureau of Economic Research dating back to the mid-1800s is about three and half years. But like many five year olds, this cycle hardly seems mature. In particular, we have taken notice of three key elements of the business cycle that have distinct implications for bond investing today.

2014-04-03 VIX Exchange Traded Products...Growth and Risk Impact by Daniel Kirsch of Macro Risk Advisors

The growth of ETFs has been nothing short of tremendous. What started as a product designed to provide investors with broad equity or sector exposure in the US, the ETF landscape now includes a myriad of geographies (Europe, Asia) and asset classes (FX, rates, credit, commodities). Research consultancy firm EFTGI estimates that there are almost 5,000 ETFs globally with total AUM in excess of $2 trillion.

2014-04-03 Yellen?s Labor Market Dashboard by Scott Brown of Raymond James

In her years as a Federal Reserve official (governor, district bank president, and vice chair), Janet Yellen expressed a greater concern about job conditions than her peers. As expected, that emphasis has continued into her tenure as Fed chair.

2014-04-03 Being There by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Spring has sprung, yet many market pundits are worried about the softening economic reports, causing me to remember the book ?Being There? by author Jerzy Kosinski.

2014-04-03 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Last week saw a correction in many of the high-flying groups, but overall another quiet week with investors unsure of the economic outlook.

2014-04-03 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group

During the Great Recession, America laid off two million factory workers and factory output fell 20 percent. Before the Great Recession, of course, manufacturing jobs were headed overseas. As we have slowly emerged from the Great Recession, it’s a little surprising to some that manufacturing has led the way, outpacing overall GDP growth. This year it looks like manufacturing could add 3.5 percent in growth. Is this just a replacement of jobs that were lost during the Great Recession?

2014-04-03 And That's The Quarter That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

After a nightmare than was January, the quarter actually turned out pretty well (except in the Ukraine).

2014-04-02 Gain International Exposure with Small-Caps by David Nadel of The Royce Funds

Portfolio Manager and Director of International Research David Nadel discusses our attraction to international small-caps, how our investment approach translates into the international small-cap universe, how we try to avoid value traps, the effect monetary policy has had on our approach and performance, and more.

2014-04-02 Available at a Low Price in Relation to Intrinsic Value by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

At Smead Capital Management, valuation matters dearly. We believe all the academic studies from Fama-French, Bauman-Conover-Miller and Francis Nicholson, show that cheap stocks as measured by price-to-book value (P/B), price-to-earnings (P/E) or price-to-dividends outperform more expensive stocks. We especially love Nicholson?s 25-year study because it shows that the 100 cheapest stocks that make up the lowest P/E quintile see their outperformance expand the longer you hold them. Cheapness is the gift that keeps on giving.

2014-04-02 Consumer Confidence Up, But Concerns Remain by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The Conference Board reported last week that its Consumer Confidence Index jumped to 82.3 in March (up from 78.3), the highest reading since January 2008, just as the recession was beginning. But the two underlying components of the Index provided two different perspectives, as we will discuss today.

2014-04-02 The Treasury Yield Curve Starts its Tightening Process by Martin Pring of AdvisorShares

Martin is the Investment Strategist to the AdvisorShares Pring Turner Business Cycle ETF (DBIZ)?and since 1984, he has published the ?Intermarket Review,? a monthly global market report revered among analysts and market technicians. Here, Martin shares his latest technical analysis.

2014-04-02 Reforming China?s State-Market Balance by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

Many of China?s problems today stem from too much market and too little government. Or, to put it another way, while the government is clearly doing some things that it should not, it is also not doing some things that it should.

2014-04-02 Foolish Investment Ideas by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

With April Fools? Day behind us, it?s time to get serious about investing. Don?t be fooled by this week?s non-farm payroll report; nor by the assertion that the U.S. may have the cleanest of the dirty shirts. And certainly don?t be fooled into thinking the market has your interests in mind?

2014-04-02 A Fixer-Upper? by Team of GaveKal Capital

As noted yesterday, March was not an exceptionally positive month for European equities.

2014-04-02 4 Areas Revved Up for a Resources Boom by Brian Hicks of U.S. Global Investors

Commodity returns vary wildly, as experienced resource investors can attest and our popular periodic table illustrates. This inherent volatility can spell opportunity for the nimble investor who can look past the mainstream headlines to identify hot spots. Our global resources expert, Brian Hicks, CFA, identified four we believe are revved up for a resources boom.

2014-04-02 Tax Reform: Camp Fires Up the Debate by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Chances for passage of the congressman's overhaul of the U.S. tax code are slim, but provisions of the bill could point the way to future reform.

2014-04-02 A Year of Reversals Amid a Search for Value by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Stocks have traded in a relatively narrow range for the past two weeks, but beneath the surface, some of last year?s winners are shaping up to be this year?s losers. Russ explains the shifts he?s seeing and what they mean for investors.

2014-04-01 Evolving Infrastructure Investing - Broader, Deeper, Global by (Article)

Infrastructure offers an attractive combination of potential inflation hedging, income generation and long-term capital growth. In this video, Northern Trust's Shundrawn Thomas, Global Head of ETFs, outlines the distinctive approach that FlexShares' NFRA ETF takes by starting from the bottom up in identifying companies with infrastructure ownership across traditional and new infrastructure sectors.

2014-04-01 First Quarter Review: Choppy Global Markets by Paul O'Connor (Article)

Paul O'Connor, Co-Head of Multi-Asset, comments on the recent global market behavior and notes that so far it has been quite choppy. Paul and his team believe the rest of the year and most notably Q2 will behave similarly with fairly modest returns and higher volatility than in the past few years. However, Paul notes that from a multi-asset perspective, this type of environment also presents opportunities.

2014-04-01 Milliman Managed Risk Strategy-A Closer Look by (Article)

The Milliman Managed Risk Strategy is an intelligent institutional quality risk management strategy that seeks to stabilize volatility around a target level, capture growth in up markets and defend against losses during major market declines. The strategy has been in place since 1998, and is used in a variety of funds and investment products in an attempt to help investors weather market turbulence and improve the overall likelihood of meeting retirement income goals.

2014-04-01 The FlexShares Approach: Flexible Indexing by (Article)

Shundrawn Thomas, Global Head of ETFs, discusses the ideas behind FlexShares' flexible indexing approach, including how it starts not with a benchmark, but with an investment strategy and how this can benefit investors.

2014-04-01 How to Avoid Hidden Costs in Your Bond Allocations by Bob Veres (Article)

The supposedly safe move to shorten bond maturities in anticipation of rate increases has been very costly over the last three years - and there’s no reason to expect the next three will be any different. Here’s a way to quantify those costs and position your portfolios in a way that makes money in a variety of interest-rate scenarios.

2014-04-01 The Alpha Strike Zone by Michael Finke (Article)

Investors have known about mutual-fund style boxes for a long time, but few understand their purpose. Should an advisor identify the best fund in each of the boxes? Should they attempt to capture equal exposure to all styles?

2014-04-01 How to Tell What Your Prospect Is Thinking by Dan Solin (Article)

I am fascinated by the sophisticated technology used in political debates. Consultants pay focus groups to instantaneously record their reactions as the candidates discuss different issues. How valuable would it be if I such an insight