More on Related Themes
2015-05-21 00:00:00 Factoring in Politics when Investing by Robert Harvey of Matthews Asia
Factoring in political backdrops typically makes investment decisions more complex. What should investors consider in trying to mitigate political risk?
2015-05-18 00:00:00 Investor Sentiment Around the World by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments
We certainly don’t want to jump to any conclusions about potential market performance based on investor sentiment (or any one indicator for that matter), but it reminds me of the late Sir John Templeton’s famous words: ‘Bull markets are born on pessimism, grow on skepticism and die on euphoria.
2015-05-15 00:00:00 “Wrestling with Something Else”: Why this Gold Bear Market Is Different by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Earlier this week, I had the pleasure to appear on Jim Puplava’s Financial Sense Newshour radio program and discuss the state of the gold market. Along with my peers John Doody of the Gold Stock Analyst and Ross Hansen of Northwest Territorial Mint, I shared my thoughts on how we arrived in the current bear market, what factors might help us get out of it and the role real interest rates play in prices.
2015-05-15 00:00:00 Diagnosing China's Debt Disease by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia
China suffers from a serious case of “debt disease,” but the treatment and side effects may not be as severe as some expect, and dramatic credit tightening is very unlikely. Debt is concentrated among state-owned firms, while the private firms that generate most of China’s new jobs and investment have already deleveraged. The biggest risk is the high level of debt among real estate developers.
2015-04-08 00:00:00 Policy Paranoia by Robert Stimpson of Oak Associates
The present version of policy paranoia encompasses concerns over impending interest rate hikes, the rapid appreciation of the US dollar, a bloated US government balance sheet, weak international economies and increased probability of a crisis in certain Latin American countries. While legitimate, we do not believe the current ghosts are any more imminently destructive today than over the past six years.
2015-04-08 00:00:00 Will a Weak Jobs Report and Poor Productivity Give the Fed Pause? by Jeremy Schwartz, of WisdomTree
Last Friday, Professor Jeremy Siegel and Jeremy Schwartz sat down with Sam Chandan, founder and chief economist at Chandan Economics, to discuss the unexpectedly weak jobs report, productivity, low interest rates and implications for the housing market.
2015-04-07 00:00:00 The New World Order: Part IV by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management
The final installment of our series examines how, in light of winning the Cold War, policymakers have been unable to settle on a set of key priorities and offers glimpses of a new policy emerging. The US never wanted to be a superpower; its founding story is one of wresting independence away from a colonial power. Now that the existential threat of communism is over, the political class has struggled to create a foreign policy that can simultaneously provide the required hegemonic global public goods and create a working economic policy and political coalition that will build domestic harmony.
2015-04-06 00:00:00 Brobdingnagian Top? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James
According to Wikipedia, “Brobdingnag is a fictional land in Jonathan Swift's satirical novel about Gulliver's Travels whose land is occupied by giants. Lemuel Gulliver visits the land after the ship he is travelling on is blown off course and he is separated from a party exploring the unknown land.” I thought of Brobdingnag as I stared at a chart of the D-J Transportation Average ($TRAN/8605.31) last week, which looks like it is making what a technical analyst would term a giant broadening top, or in my terms a “Brobdingnagian Top?”
2015-04-01 00:00:00 The Coming Chinese Crackup? by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia
Prominent China scholar David Shambaugh has turned bearish on the Middle Kingdom, which offers us the chance to review our own thinking about China’s prospects. As head of the China Policy Program at The George Washington University, Shambaugh is a respected analyst of Chinese Communist Party affairs, so his WSJ op-ed, “The Coming Chinese Crackup,” has received much attention. This issue of Sinology explores how Shambaugh’s view now is an about face from his prior analyses, and why his current arguments may be flawed.
2015-04-01 00:00:00 China to Take the Reins in Funding Regional Infrastructure Projects by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
This Tuesday marked the last day that countries could submit their applications to become founding members of the new China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). As of this writing, a little over 40 nations have either already been approved or have applied for membership, including strong U.S. allies such as Britain, Germany and Australia.
2015-04-01 00:00:00 Small Korean Companies Punch Above Their Weight by Liliana Castillo Dearth of AllianceBernstein
South Korea’s cultural exports are spreading around the globe. While the country’s corporate landscape is dominated by huge conglomerates, we think small-cap companies stand to benefit most from the world’s growing fascination with all things Korean. It might be time for investors to take a closer look.
2015-04-01 00:00:00 For Canadian Pension Funds, It’s Time to Go Global by Erin Bigley of AllianceBernstein
Pension funds in Canada have long relied on a simple fixed-income strategy: buy Canadian. And for a long time, this worked wonders. But times are changing, and our research suggests that swapping a Canada-only approach for a more globalized portfolio will provide better risk-adjusted returns in the future.
2015-03-31 00:00:00 U.S. Isolated in Opposition to Chinese Bank by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital
Over the past few decades while the economic power of the Chinese has grown exponentially, many observers have been surprised by the relative willingness of China to operate within the financial and economic framework established by the dominant Western order. But it should now be blatantly clear that Beijing prefers to act slowly, deliberately and quietly to advance its agenda.
2015-03-31 00:00:00 Exploring Four Myths by Byron Wien of Blackstone
In talking with investors, I find four concepts prevail among the consensus that I believe may be wrong. In the interest of full disclosure, it is fair to say that at various points in time I have subscribed to each of these ideas. They are: 1. American Exceptionalism is a thing of the past. 2. The price of oil is likely to stay low for a long time. 3. Europe’s economy is in a slow growth deflationary trap. 4. Abenomics is not working, and Japan is in danger of falling back into a recession. I decided to explore each of these
2015-03-31 00:00:00 Fit & Focused by Mark R. Kiesel of PIMCO
Many powerful forces are driving markets and asset prices; chief among them are global monetary policy, technicals and fundamentals. We use rigorous top-down and bottom-up analysis to identify the best sectors and companies around the world. We see opportunities in the U.S. (cyclical consumer and housing sectors), Europe (equities, bank capital securities, high yield bonds and corporate hybrids), China (property, technology and Macau) and Japan (cyclical industries, exporters and financials).
2015-03-30 00:00:00 Dividend Value Investing: No Time for Suspension of Disbelief, Part 2 by Meggan Walsh of Invesco Blog
While investors may be riveted by Hollywood’s surprise endings and cliffhangers, they generally aren’t fond of unexpected plot twists in the market. So here’s a spoiler alert. The operating results of companies in the current cycle have been quite strong, and many investors expect this to continue. But we’ve seen enough plot twists over time to know this can be a risky assumption.
2015-03-27 00:00:00 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary: February 2015 by Team of Thomas White International
Emerging Market Equities Emerging market equity prices advanced during the month of February on signs of improvement in global economic trends as well as expectations about quantitative easing in Europe and Japan. Encouraged by reduced inflation risks after the oil price decline, some of the emerging market central banks have also lowered interest rates in recent months.
2015-03-27 00:00:00 Enjoying the Shade by Patricia Huang and The Matthews Asia Investment Team of Matthews Asia
As commentator Cherian George has said: “The legacy passed down to today’s Singaporeans isn’t one of random opportunism…There is nothing accidental about it.” Singapore’s first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, took charge of the city-state, transformed and drove it forward in the span of just a few decades. This week Matthews Asia pays tribute to this “giant of history.”
2015-03-27 00:00:00 In a Challenging Environment, Policy Easing Sweeps Through Asia by Adam Bowe, Tomoya Masanao, Isaac Meng of PIMCO
The key change to our cyclical outlook for Asia: We have further downgraded our growth forecast for China to the low-6% range as real borrowing rates remain elevated. In Japan, we expect growth to recover from last year's technical recession, following the delay in the next value-added tax (VAT) hike and the increase in the Bank of Japan's easing program.
2015-03-27 00:00:00 REITs in a Rising Interest-Rate Environment by Wilson Magee of Franklin Templeton Investments
Wilson Magee, director of global real estate and infrastructure securities, Franklin Real Asset Advisors®, believes this environment is causing many investors to search for alternative investments that can add an income-oriented asset to their portfolio as well as gain exposure to global economic growth potential. He outlines why he thinks it’s an opportune time for many investors to consider diversifying into global real estate through an actively managed investment vehicle.
2015-03-27 00:00:00 Deglobalization Redraws the Investment Map by Hayden Briscoe and Vincent Tsui of AllianceBernstein
Divergence between economies and financial markets has been a key macroeconomic trend over the last few years, and reflects in part the deglobalization of the worldwide supply chain. We expect the big winners to be countries and regions with large internal markets; the losers will be smaller countries which have yet to move up the export value chain.
2015-03-26 00:00:00 Latin America Is Blowing Up Your EM ETF Performance by Team of GaveKal Capital
On an equal-weighted, USD basis, the MSCI Emerging Markets Index is up just 0.99% YTD compared to MSCI World Index which is up 5.65%. So is this just a simple continuation of the trend of emerging market underperformance that has been in place over the last 4 years ? Yes, but with a caveat.
2015-03-25 00:00:00 US Economy Badly Disappoints Analysts' Expectations by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management
Today we will talk about an economic indicator that I have not written about before, which is compiled and reported monthly by CitiGroup, the American multinational banking and financial services corporation headquartered in Manhattan.
2015-03-24 00:00:00 The New World Order: Part II by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management
In the second installment of our four-part series we focus on two themes. First, we examine the global public goods the superpower provides, and second, we analyze how the U.S. has done so. The global hegemon often faces tensions between the desires of domestic constituencies and its foreign obligations. Every superpower negotiates these pressures and each tends to have its own ways of meeting both objectives. However, no superpower can subjugate the goals and aspirations of its citizens indefinitely. If the cost of hegemony becomes too high, a nation may be unable to maintain the position.
2015-03-20 00:00:00 Northern Trust Perspective by Team of Northern Trust
The long-telegraphed launch of quantitative easing by the European Central Bank (ECB) has added some accelerant to financial market trends in place so far this year. European stocks, which had been strong performers in local currencies, have continued their strong performance while European bond yields have declined even further.
2015-03-20 00:00:00 Key Questions for China Investors in 2015—Part III by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia
In this final installment of a three-part Sinology series, Andy Rothman, Matthews Asia Investment Strategist, answers the question: is China’s property market heading for a crash? He also discusses what he believes are the biggest long-term risks to growth and stability—an absence of the rule of law and trusted institutions.
2015-03-18 00:00:00 Global Economic Perspective: March by Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group® of Franklin Templeton Investments
IN THIS ISSUE: United States Prepares for Interest-Rate Hikes; But Much of the World Is Still in Monetary Easing Mode; European Outlook
2015-03-17 00:00:00 Japan: Why Stagnation Is the "Abe Normal" by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett
Until the prime minister draws the "third arrow"—structural reform—from his quiver, Japan's economic and investment prospects will remain limited.
2015-03-13 00:00:00 Prospect of U.S. Fed Hike & its Effect on Asian Assets, Part I by Gerald Hwang of Matthews Asia
How close are we to a U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) rate hike? How would a hike affect Asian securities? These are the questions we explore in this two-part series of Asia Insight.
2015-03-13 00:00:00 Charting The Winners And Losers Of The Latest Surge In The USD by Team of GaveKal Capital
On March 4th we wrote in The Dollar Is Breaking Out Again And What It Means For Stocks that "for a variety of cyclical and structural reasons...stocks in North America tend to be the relative beneficiary of USD strength while stocks in other regions generally, but not always, tend to underperform. The negative correlation is especially strong for European stocks." Well, since then the USD has surged another 6% so we thought we'd review how things have played out.
2015-03-10 00:00:00 On My Radar: Rut Ro Rastro by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group
At the beginning of each month, I like to look at a series of valuation metrics: Median PE, Price to Sales and Price to Operating Earnings. Let’s look at them today. The logic, of course, is simple. When expensively priced, reduce exposure and reduce return expectations. When inexpensively priced, overweight exposure and increase return expectations. Let’s also take a look at what has been driving the market higher. Some argue that individual investors are still on the sidelines. I don’t think so and I show evidence that they are almost as fully invested as they were at the 2000 and
2015-03-10 00:00:00 The 6th Anniversary of 676 by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group
On March 9th, 2009, the S&P 500 made an intra-day and 20 year low at 676.53. Millions of Americans drew a straight line from the mid-September 2008 failure of Lehman Brothers through that March low and projected that the S&P 500 would be zero by June. Armed with that projection, average investors liquidated hundreds of billions of dollars in stock investments, never to return. Those investors will never be able to retire.
2015-03-06 00:00:00 Opportunities in Global Financial Disintermediation by Dave Gallagher of Calamos Investments
Increasing financial disintermediation is a strong secular theme providing tailwinds in several financial industries, but a likely arduous and complicated process warrants the need for a disciplined focus on both risk and reward. The financial system essentially performs one basic function—the direct or indirect movement of funds from savers to borrowers or investors. Although financial disintermediation is formally defined as the shifting of funds from indirect to direct financing, the term is more commonly used to describe the increasing role of non-bank intermediaries.
2015-03-06 00:00:00 Malaysia: Too Indebted to Spend? by Satya Patel of Matthews Asia
Many Asian households are dependent on debt. Malaysia has been working to reshape its economy while addressing the risk of high household debt levels. Asia Weekly examines this issue.
2015-03-06 00:00:00 China’s Reforms: Will They Work? by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein
The internationalization of China’s currency is proceeding hand in hand with the liberalization of the country’s capital markets. If China can surmount its short-term challenges, the impact of these reforms on global economies and markets should be profound.
2015-03-05 00:00:00 The Dollar Is Breaking Out Again And What That Means For Stocks by Team of GaveKal Capital
The ICE US dollar index looks to have broken out of what has been a rather short-lived consolidation after the massive move since the middle of 2014. If this is in fact the start of another round of dollar strength, then stock investors should carefully consider where in the world to deploy cash into stocks. For a variety of cyclical and structural reasons, certain regions of the world tend to outperform in periods of USD strength and others lag. We'll try to shed some light on that with the below charts.
2015-03-05 00:00:00 India the Best-Performing Emerging Market by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
India had an incredible banner year. The world’s largest democracy, home to 1.25 billion people, was the best-performing emerging market in 2014, delivering over 29 percent. It was followed by the Philippines in second place and Indonesia in third.
2015-02-27 00:00:00 Could Apple Buy a Third of the World’s Gold? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
So what’s Apple’s next trick? How about moving the world’s gold market?
2015-02-27 00:00:00 China’s New Generation of Entrepreneurs II by Beini Zhou of Matthews Asia
China has long been perceived to be a breeding ground for business copycats, and has struggled with rampant intellectual piracy. Many businesses there have indeed been founded based on business models that originated in the U.S. or Europe. But what’s been overlooked in recent years is China’s rising “innovation machine.” More favorable government policies toward R&D have helped. This month, Asia Insight takes a look at developments in China’s grassroots-level entrepreneurship.
2015-02-27 00:00:00 Rhyming…but not Repeating. by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab
Stocks have recovered their January losses and have continued to move higher. While economic growth remains solid and we remain secular bulls, investors should be prepared for increased volatility and the potential for a near-term correction. Also, European stocks may be due for at least a pause and we suggest looking to add exposure to emerging market positions if needed. Staying well diversified and keeping an eye on rebalancing is the recommended strategy.
2015-02-26 00:00:00 Family-Owned Businesses: One More Reason Not to Neglect Emerging Markets by David Ruff of Forward Investing
At the end of a year in which the U.S. handily led the world’s equity markets, many dividend investors find it hard to rouse any interest in emerging markets at all. “Why even bother?” seems to be the prevailing sentiment.
2015-02-26 00:00:00 Investing in Volatility: Is Asian Volatility Poised to Rise? by David Jubb of Invesco Blog
Volatility is cheap these days. That may sound strange at first. But, the Invesco Multi Asset team views volatility as an investable asset type that can be included in our investment strategy. Why might this make sense? We believe volatility can provide additional diversification and return benefits when combined with our portfolio’s other asset exposures. For example, when volatility is low, markets may benefit. But when it rises, markets can come under pressure.
2015-02-25 00:00:00 China Levels the Global Playing Field by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein
It’s a powerful vision for the world’s future. The US and China: two growth powerhouses; two major currencies.
2015-02-24 00:00:00 Debt Be Not Proud by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics
Some things never change. Here is Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, one of the founding intellectuals of the Austrian school of economics, writing in January 1914, lambasting politicians for their complicity in the corruption of monetary policy.
2015-02-21 00:00:00 International Equity Commentary: January 2015 by Team of Thomas White International
International equity prices were mostly unchanged during January as gains in both developed and emerging Asian markets were offset by weakness in Canada and select markets in Europe. Investors turned more cautious after the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank lowered their global growth forecasts for the current year, contrary to expectations.
2015-02-21 00:00:00 Global Economic Overview: January 2015 by Team of Thomas White International
Concerns about the sharp fall in capital investments and earnings growth in select sectors resulting from lower oil prices continue to cloud the global economic outlook. While the decline in fuel prices is revitalizing consumer spending across all the major countries, the energy and mining sectors have already started curtailing their capital outlays.
2015-02-20 00:00:00 Developed Asia Pacific: Economy Trends Update January 2015 by Team of Thomas White International
Japan, the biggest of the developed economies in the region, stands to benefit from cheaper oil as it should boost domestic demand and help some of the country’s key industries reduce costs. Still, the bigger advantage for the country seems to be the re-election of Prime Minister Abe, which has ensured continuity of the fiscal and monetary policies pursued by the government for the last two years.
2015-02-13 00:00:00 Global Airline Stocks Soaring, and Not Just Because of Low Oil Prices by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
The airline industry is notoriously competitive. There’s even an old joke: If you want to make a million dollars in the airline business, you need to start with two million.
2015-02-13 00:00:00 One Cheer for India: Hip, Hip but no Hooray? by Sudarshan Murthy of Matthews Asia
There has been a sense of optimism lately over India’s place in the world, and its markets demonstrated some enthusiasm over the seemingly good chemistry between U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But should investors beware of chasing price momentum?
2015-02-11 00:00:00 Positive Economic Surprises in Europe, Negative in the U.S. by Team of GaveKal Capital
The Citi Economic Surprise index is a quick way to get a high-level look at the condition of economic data around the world. Calculated as a diffusion index, values generally range between 100 and -100 for the overall index, which is currently right in the middle of that range.
2015-02-11 00:00:00 China Just Crossed a Landmark Threshold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Back in July 2013, the think tank Heritage Foundation predicted that China’s outbound investment “could very well exceed $80 billion [by the end of the year] and is on course to breach $100 billion by about 2016.”
2015-02-07 00:00:00 The Power of Lower Oil Prices by Byron Wien of Blackstone
The Ten Surprises of 2015 have two prevailing themes. The more dominant is that the decline in the price of oil is generally a positive for the world. It puts money in the pockets of consumers everywhere and it is likely to force Iran and Russia to be more conciliatory in geopolitical negotiations because both countries are suffering not only from the drop in the oil price, but also from the sanctions imposed on them. The second theme is that in spite of notable economic problems in Europe, China and Japan, the United States equity market will have another good year.
2015-02-06 00:00:00 Key Questions for China Investors in 2015 by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia
China raises many questions for investors. Last year, for example, GDP growth slowed to 7.4% from 7.7%, but China still accounted for almost one-third of global growth. Is this a healthy economy or an impending disaster? In the first of a three-part Sinology series, Andy Rothman, Matthews Asia Investment Strategist, addresses some key investor concerns.
2015-02-06 00:00:00 China’s Millennials: Have Money, Will Travel by Sammy Suzuki of AllianceBernstein
China’s millennials are better educated and more affluent than their elders. They also have a serious case of travel fever. Their favored destinations, and shopping habits abroad, could have far-reaching implications for a wide range of global companies.
2015-02-03 00:00:00 Facing Reality by Questioning Some Common Beliefs by Ron Surz (Article)
I've decided to do something different in this quarterly commentary. I begin as usual with a review of first quarter market performance. Then I turn my attention to some commonly held beliefs that I regard as mistaken, as shown in the figure below.
2015-02-03 00:00:00 Deflation: Consternation Not Elation by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management
Deflation has been around ever since there was an excess supply of something or when demand had plummeted. The term “deflation” has now become mainstream in the general public’s lexicon, though the understanding of the declining economic growth that corresponds with it is often disregarded until it wreaks havoc on the consumer’s paycheck. When we see deflation permeating global economics, market movements and NFL games, the general public will become acutely aware of the other major impact from deflation, the increasing symbiotic nature of all the global economies.
2015-02-03 00:00:00 Retirement Realities and Contingencies by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares
Stites on Estates took an interesting look at retirement intentions versus retirement reality along with a reiteration of the dismal statistics about how little savings people who are working have accumulated as well as how few dollars people have put away when beginning their retirement.
2015-01-25 00:00:00 Equity Investment Outlook: More of the Same by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
We are of the view that the conditions for further gains in the bull market that began in early 2009 are still intact and that the conditions for a true bear market are not. The market could, of course, be subject to corrections ? it always is ? but we believe the trend is still upward.
2015-01-25 00:00:00 Connecting to China?s New Equity Plays by Stuart Rae and John Lin of AllianceBernstein
Despite a slow start following its launch in November, the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect share trading scheme has significantly increased foreign access to China equities and created new investment opportunities. Two subsectors are particularly noteworthy for global investors.
2015-01-17 00:00:00 Occupy Wall Street in Qing Dynasty, China by Gerald Hwang of Matthews Asia
What if a banker's family could be taken as slaves to repay losses arising from the banker's malfeasance? This may seem extreme now but it was part of a system that existed 200 years ago in a China's desolate Shanxi region near Mongolia. This week, Gerald Hwang, CFA, writes about this surprising birthplace for a banking system that served elite citizens and the treasury of the Qing dynasty.
2014-12-29 00:00:00 Adam Smith or Jerry Goodman by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James
I met Jerry Goodman, whose nom de plume was Adam Smith, late in my career. He was working at my friend Craig Drills money management firm along with another icon in this business, from an era gone by, namely Al Wojnilower. I have had many conversations with all three of these Wall Street legends around the conference table at Drill Capital Management. Jerry wrote The Money Game (1968), Powers of Mind (1975), Paper Money (1981), and The Roaring 80s (1988), but unfortunately we lost his wisdom on January 3rd of this year .
2014-12-27 00:00:00 Perspective on 2015: Maintain Yours by Zachary Karabell of Envestnet
In 2014, interest rates remained low, U.S. equities stayed strong, mid-year geopolitical events barely shook the markets, and a sudden, late-year drop in oil prices took many by surprise. What should investors expect in 2015?
2014-12-23 00:00:00 Growth Headwinds Continue to Blow Through Asia in 2015 by Adam Bowe, Tomoya Masanao, Robert Mead of PIMCO
This commentary discusses the conclusions from PIMCOs quarterly Cyclical Forum in December 2014 and how they influence our Asian outlook and investment strategy.
2014-12-08 00:00:00 Inflection Points by Guy Scott of Janus Capital Group
U.S. equities surged over the last six years as the economy regained its footing after the financial crisis, and companies underwent substantial cost cuts to improve profitability. Today, many international companies and regional economies are early in the process of making similar positive, transformative changes.
2014-12-06 00:00:00 Will Two Key Sectors Survive Chinas Long Landing? by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein
Based on insights from our teams recent trip to China, we noted that the country is likely headed for a long economic landing. What does that mean for its infrastructure and commodity sectors?
2014-12-06 00:00:00 Chinas Economy Gliding into Long Landing by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein
Chinas economy isnt headed for a hard or soft landinginstead, its more likely to be a long landing. Thats our perspective, based on our teams recent visit to China to get an up-close look at the economic landscape.
2014-12-01 00:00:00 The Return of Currency Wars by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate
The recent decision by the Bank of Japan to increase the scope of its quantitative easing is a signal that another round of currency wars may be under way. The cause of the latest currency turmoil is clear: In an environment of public and private deleveraging, monetary policy has become the only available tool to boost demand.
2014-11-22 00:00:00 Rolling AlongFor Now by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab
We remain optimistic that US stocks will likely continue to move higher, but warn against getting overly complacent as a pullback is always a possibility. The US economy is improving, the Fed is erring on the side of dovishness, and both corporate and consumer confidence are growing. The fall in oil should be a net positive for the US and global economy, and we are in a traditionally seasonally positive time of the year for equities. Global economies remain weak, but we are seeing a glimmer of hope from stepped up responses from foreign central banks.
2014-11-19 00:00:00 Indonesian Optimism by Tek Khoan Ong of Franklin Templeton Investments
Southeast Asia represents one of the fastest-growing regions in the world today, and is one that we are excited about as investors. The Templeton Emerging Markets Group held our semiannual analyst conference in Jakarta in September, and one of the key reasons for choosing that location was to observe and discuss the changes and challenges on the ground with the new regime of President Joko Widodo. Ive invited my colleague Tek Khoan Ong to pen some thoughts on the outlook and investment opportunities in Indonesia today.
2014-10-25 00:00:00 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.
2014-10-09 00:00:00 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."
2014-10-08 00:00:00 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.
2014-10-03 00:00:00 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.
2014-09-19 00:00:00 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."
2014-09-18 00:00:00 “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.
2014-09-13 00:00:00 Anarchy in the U.K. by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research
This weeks 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).
2014-09-06 00:00:00 Roll Em if Youve 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 dont think they are enough.
2014-09-04 00:00:00 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.
2014-08-28 00:00:00 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.
2014-08-15 00:00:00 Ready to Board the "Through Train?" by Henry Zhang of Matthews Asia
What is the significance of the soon-to-be rolled out ShanghaiHong 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.
2014-08-12 00:00:00 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, Asias largest economy, faced prospects of slowing trade.
2014-08-09 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 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.
2014-08-07 00:00:00 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.
2014-07-29 00:00:00 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 countrys 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 favorableas 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 00:00:00 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
2014-07-26 00:00:00 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 consumers financial condition is again fading into treacherous territory.
2014-07-13 00:00:00 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 isnt all hype.
2014-07-11 00:00:00 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 investmentshigh 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.
2014-07-07 00:00:00 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, its a case of adapt or perish.
2014-07-05 00:00:00 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?
2014-06-26 00:00:00 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.
2014-06-20 00:00:00 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.
2014-06-18 00:00:00 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. ?
2014-06-14 00:00:00 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.
2014-06-09 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 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?
2014-06-07 00:00:00 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.
2014-06-04 00:00:00 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.
2014-05-30 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust
Reflections from a fortnight abroad;Last weekend's European elections will make cooperation more difficult
2014-05-24 00:00:00 “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.
2014-05-23 00:00:00 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 Chinas 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.
2014-05-07 00:00:00 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.
2014-05-03 00:00:00 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
2014-04-25 00:00:00 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.
2014-04-21 00:00:00 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.
2014-04-05 00:00:00 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.
2014-03-19 00:00:00 Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are: A Look Back at the 1990s by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab
Human nature tells us to look back to help divine the future. Today's environment looks strikingly similar to the mid-1990s, which has pros and cons.
2014-03-18 00:00:00 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn
Stocks were buffeted last week on the outcome in Ukraine (well founded), growing concern that the world does not know what happened to that missing Malaysian airliner, and of course, the ever-present worries about the global economy - especially in light of renewed concern over China, both its economy and its banking system.
2014-03-07 00:00:00 Ukraine at Crossroads by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
In February, the winter Olympic Games brought athletes from around the world together in Russia, but in Ukraine, Russia's neighbor to the southwest, the story has been one of division. Violent clashes between pro-EU (European Union) protesters and government forces in the past few months have focused the eyes of the world on the former-Soviet state after (now former) President Yanukovych had refused to sign an Association Pact forging closer ties to the EU and decided instead to accept funding from Russia.
2014-03-06 00:00:00 Watch and Wait by David Wismer of Flexible Plan Investments
Vladimir Putin?s and Russia?s military action in the Crimea, formally a part of the Ukraine, made it hard to focus on much else Monday. Aside from the obvious and important humanitarian concerns, the military threat carries immense global risk and potentially significant economic consequences.
2014-02-20 00:00:00 Abenomics is Failing on Multiple Fronts by of GaveKal Capital
With each passing month it is becoming more clear that Abenomics is, at least so far, failing to meet one of its critical goals, which is to stimulate exports and bring the country back to a trade surplus. Indeed, the latest trade statistics revealed the largest single month trade deficit ever.
2014-02-20 00:00:00 The State of International Small-Cap by Francis Gannon of The Royce Funds
While some argue that domestic small-cap leadership in 2013 was a result of its heavy exposure to companies that tend to generate most of their income domestically, others contest that this greater focus on the U.S. may mean missing out on the benefits of faster-growing foreign economies. We, on the other hand, choose to focus our attentions on individual companies, particularly those in more cyclical areas of the market that are more closely tied to the global economy.
2014-02-04 00:00:00 Crisis in Ukraine by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management
Since November, Ukraine has experienced widespread civil unrest. In late November, Ukrainian President Yanukovych decided not to join an EU-sponsored trade pact. This led to protests from Ukrainians who desired closer relations with Europe. In this report, we will begin by discussing the geopolitics of the nations involved, examining how nations have adjusted their policies over time to changing conditions. We will analyze the risks to the region from current unrest, including a look at the impact on emerging markets. As always, we will conclude with potential market ramifications.
2014-02-01 00:00:00 Central Banker Throwdown by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
The Federal Reserve is signaling that it is going to end quantitative easing at some point in the future; therefore, investors are trying to find the exits before the end actually comes.
2014-01-18 00:00:00 Forecast 2014: 'Mark Twain!' by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
The surface of the market waters looks smooth, but the data above suggest caution as we proceed. Perhaps slowing the engine and taking more frequent soundings (or putting in closer stops!) might be in order. The cry should be "Mark twain!" Let’s steam ahead but take more frequent readings and know that a course correction may soon be necessary.
2014-01-17 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust
The U.S. budget deal reduces policy uncertainty. The fiscal state of the states is better, but challenges remain. Meeting the new cast at the Fed.
2014-01-13 00:00:00 Tocqueville Gold Strategy Investor Letter Year End 2013 by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management
John Hathaway, manager of the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), remarks in his latest quarterly letter that "Despite the painful decline in gold and gold shares that persisted throughout the entire year, we believe that the fundamental case for both remains strong." Hathaway writes that "the bullion market has been pressured all year by an artificial supply of paper gold with little or no connection to the underlying physical.
2014-01-09 00:00:00 The U.S. Begins an (Un)employment Experiment by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments
Extended unemployment benefits stopped for 1.3 million people at year-end. This doesnt change their employment status...they just stop getting unemployment compensation. Extended benefits (of up to 99 weeks) was part of the recession-fighting fiscal stimulus package. A question was: did this create a dis-incentive to find a job (aka "funemployment").
2014-01-06 00:00:00 Value Stocks Beckon in Emerging Markets by Henry D'uria, Morgan Harting of AllianceBernstein
Years of playing defense have left many emerging-market (EM) equity portfolios laden with pricey safe-haven stocks. We think they risk missing the big opportunity thats brewing in value stocks, especially as EM economies begin to stabilize.
2013-12-30 00:00:00 Predictions for the 2014 U.S. Financial Markets by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Group Financial Services
Ive had so many phenomenal and diverse guests on my syndicated radio show, Financial Myth Busting, this year: Steve Forbes, Mort Zuckerman, David Stockman, Michael Belkin, David Walker, Dr. Ben Carson, Marc Faber, and even Ted Nugent. This is a very eclectic group, but they all have certain opinions in common. They all share the same concerns that the U.S. economic growth remains anemic and the continued economic instability and political deadlock along with business communitys mistrust of the U.S. government will continue to destroy Americas bottom line in the future.
2013-12-27 00:00:00 Year of Turmoil for China's Health Care by Hardy Zhu of Matthews Asia
2013 has been an eventful year for Chinas health care industry. There were several investigations into allegations of corruption and bribe-taking by doctors.
2013-12-23 00:00:00 China's Consumer Stocks: Opportunities Despite Slower Growth by Richard Flax of PIMCO
A weaker macro environment and curbs on spending by government bureaucrats have hit a range of consumer businesses and, in some cases, forced a reassessment of expansion plans. While Chinese consumption may be challenged in the near term, we think the impact will be felt most in the retail sector where slowing demand is compounded by oversupply. We see opportunity in other sectors that benefit from secular demand growth and constrained supply or strong brands, notably casinos and luxury sectors.
2013-12-06 00:00:00 Vibrant Vietnam by Lydia So of Matthews Asia
I recently made my first visit to Vietnam and spent several days in Ho Chi Minh City. Considered by the investment community to be a frontier market, Vietnam has a low per capita income (approximately US$1,600), a relatively young population and less mature capital markets.
2013-11-24 00:00:00 Game of Thrones - European Style by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
The Eurozone crisis is not over, and it will not end quickly or soon. Even if it seems to unfold in slow motion - like the slow build-up in a Game of Thrones storyline to violent internecine clashes followed by more slow plot developments but never any resolution, the Eurozone debacle has never really gone away. The structural imbalances have still not been fixed; politicians and central bankers have still not agreed to solve major fiscal problems; the overall economy still disintegrates; unemployment is staggeringly high in some countries and still rising; and the people are growing restless.
2013-11-21 00:00:00 Some Small-Caps Are More Global Than Others by Francis Gannon of The Royce Funds
How much of a contribution have overseas revenues made to this years dynamic domestic small-cap rally? Part of the answer lies in where portfolios invest and where they do not. Portfolio Manager and Principal Francis Gannon notes the emerging strength shown by those more economically sensitive sectors that are closely tied to global economic activity.
2013-11-20 00:00:00 Yellen's Testimony Not Surprising: Fed Has More Work to Do by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments
Janet Yellens Senate testimony in last weeks confirmation hearings was very dovish and offered no real surprises. She did not signal or hint at any change in Fed policy (it was a confirmation hearing), but suggested that the best way to achieve an exit from unconventional policy is to deliver a stronger recovery . . . and the Fed has "more work to do" to support that recovery. The risk that she will not be confirmed is considered negligible.
2013-11-01 00:00:00 Korea Raises Voice for Shareholders by Soo Chang Lee of Matthews Asia
Corporate governance practices in South Koreas family-controlled conglomerates, known as chaebol, find their roots in a social contract that was implicit in the process of the countrys economic development under military dictatorship, which began in the early 1960s. Koreas previously autocratic government initiated economic plans and wielded power in the private sector by assigning different areas of development to each of several chosen corporate families.
2013-10-23 00:00:00 Singaporean Consumer Consumption and Confidence is Weak - Should Investors Worry? by Team of Manning & Napier
Singapore is the worlds 35th largest economy by nominal GDP, yet ranks 6th in the world by GDP per capita, signifying its position as an advanced and highly-productive economy. With an efficient regulatory framework, low tax rates, and a flexible labor market, Singapore has a reputation for being one of the most business-friendly countries in the world.
2013-10-22 00:00:00 Venerated Voices? by Various (Article)
Advisor Perspectives, a leading publisher serving financial advisors and the financial advisory community, has announced its Venerated Voices? awards for articles published in Q3 2013.
2013-10-22 00:00:00 Bond Legend Dan Fuss on Rising Rates by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Having just celebrated his 80th birthday, Dan Fuss can claim a unique achievement ? his tenure in the fixed income markets has spanned a full market cycle, from the great bear market that began in the early 1950s through the equally great bull market that commenced in 1981. Fuss said today’s environment most closely resembles what he confronted in the late 1950s, when long-term rates were 3% and beginning their march upwards.
2013-10-15 00:00:00 A Q3 client letter: Mike Tyson on Sticking to Your Plan 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 the outlook for the period ahead.
2013-10-15 00:00:00 The Science of Forensic Accounting by Sudarshan Murthy of Matthews Asia
The financial reporting of corporations in Asia is complex, and having a solid grasp of all the nuances involved in these accounting practices is critical when making investment decisions. This month Research Analyst Sudarshan Murthy, CFA, kicks off the first in a series of commentaries on the science of forensic accounting. This first issue focuses on the numbers, and examines what is considered in order to understand a companys accounting decisions and the implications they can have on financial reports.
2013-10-07 00:00:00 Shutdown, Debt Ceiling - Who Cares? by Gregg Bienstock of Lumesis
Driving home last week, the plight of furloughed Federal employees was on my mind. How could our elected officials in DC accept their pay for not doing their jobs while hurting folks that want to work but are told not to because the men and woman not doing their job (and still getting paid) shutdown part of the government? I was heartened to learn that Congress was going to take action but quickly realized that the fix paralleled the stupidity that got us into this mess. The legislation ensures that all furloughed employees will be paid for the furlough period.
2013-10-01 00:00:00 The Eight Principles of Value Investing by Scott Clemons and Michael Kim (Article)
In any environment, but especially one characterized by uncertainty, eight principles of investing are critical. These bedrock beliefs help guide our thinking at the levels of asset allocation, security selection and identification of the third-party managers we engage to help manage our clients’ assets.
2013-09-30 00:00:00 Government Shutdown Could Lead to a Buying Opportunity by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management
As we approach yet another self-induced the sky is falling and the other guy is to blame environment, recall that this situation is not uncommon. We have had 17 of these budget debt ceiling deadlines and yet we have unbelievably (said with extreme rolling of the eyes) been able to overcome our elected officials calls for the end of the world. The most recent time when the U.S. government shutdown was in November 1995 concluding in January 1996,when arguably the animosity and polarization was as pronounced as it is today.
2013-09-28 00:00:00 The Renminbi: Soon to Be a Reserve Currency? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
Contrary to the thinking of fretful dollar skeptics, my firm belief is that the US dollar is going to become even stronger and will at some point actually deserve to be the reserve currency of choice rather than merely the prettiest girl in the ugly contest the last currency standing, so to speak. But whether the Chinese RMB will become a reserve currency is an entirely different question.
2013-09-27 00:00:00 Don't Cry for Me, Ben Bernanke by Simon Johnson of Project Syndicate
The Federal Reserve will decide on monetary policy for the US based primarily on US conditions. Economic policymakers elsewhere who are pleading for a postponement of US monetary tightening should understand this hard reality and prepare accordingly.
2013-09-05 00:00:00 Dividends Matter by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments
Many people think of emerging market stocks as pure growth plays, and may not realize that there is a separate potential benefitdividendsthat can also be available to investors in these markets. A prolonged period of easy monetary policies in many developed nations (particularly the US) has left income-seeking investors searching for alternatives to traditional fixed income, including dividend-paying stocks. Many investors may not realize dividends arent just a developed-market phenomenon.
2013-09-03 00:00:00 Momentum in Europe by Janus Equity Investment Team of Janus Capital Group
We think now is a good time to be investing in Europe. European equity valuations are at the lowest level in more than 40 years, by some measures, and we are seeing green shoots in the regions downtrodden economy. Meanwhile, European companies in several industries have right-sized their cost structures or refocused their businesses, setting them up to be more competitive on a global scale.
2013-08-27 00:00:00 The Price Clients Pay for Worst-Case Forecasts by Bob Veres (Article)
Clients and the world at large give inordinate attention to downside scenarios, and nobody is calling our attention to the much larger upside of our business and investment landscape. The human brain amplifies this effect, because it is hardwired to notice threats much more than opportunities. I recently spoke with Dennis Stearns ? an advisor who happens to be an expert in scenario planning ? about the role planners need to play to counteract media-driven negativity.
2013-08-20 00:00:00 August Monthly Investment Bulletins by Team of Bedlam Asset Management
For the first seven months of the year the portfolio rose by 25.2% vs. 19.3% for the index. During the month, the 6.4% gain was 150 basis points ahead. Three trends continued: the gradual increase in fund flows into equity markets relative to other asset classes, slightly improving economic data across most developed countries, and a mild deterioration in many developing nations.
2013-08-09 00:00:00 Myanmar Rising by Team of Matthews Asia
After three decades under this military junta, Myanmar has thrown open its doors to change. Areas such as agriculture, mining, manufacturing and tourism all appear to be bursting with potential.
2013-08-06 00:00:00 We Shale Rise by Janus Equity Investment team of Janus Capital Group
The U.S. oil and gas boom largely underpinned the countrys economic recovery, but this is only the beginning. Dont underestimate what cheap oil and natural gas means for the U.S. economy, or how long this advantage could last.
2013-07-30 00:00:00 Pennies from Heaven, Irrationality, and “Dys-information” by Chris Richey of Neosho Capital
If QE4 holds to course, ending, not just tapering, sometime in mid-2014, the U.S. will have spent 4+ years out of the past 6 living on monetary stimulus, all the while continuing to pile up ever more claims against future prosperity.
2013-07-26 00:00:00 China Property: A Tough "Bubble" to Pop by Henry Zhang of Matthews Asia
Irecently came across an old newspaper article from February 1989 that described Beijings residential property "bubble," with average selling prices then of about US$430 to US$510 per square meter. The article went on to say that, given that the average college-educated worker typically saved less than approximately US$13 per month, at those prices, it would take a century or so to be able to buy a two-bedroom apartment. The writer concluded that a housing bubble was underway.
2013-07-23 00:00:00 Time to Kick the Ick Factor for Energy and Materials by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management
Basic materials have been the biggest loser of an asset class for 2012 as well as thus far in 2013. Everything tangible, from gold and copper to coal and steel, has acquired an ick factor that makes the asset class nearly uninvestable. Shares of companies in these categories are trading at values not seen since 2009 market lows. We are beginning to see some very important developments that might make the group more palatable. In fact, we believe that metals, mining and energy could again become Wall Street darlings.
2013-07-16 00:00:00 Herbert Huebscher (1926-2013) by Robert Huebscher (Article)
My dad passed away on July 8. My eulogy is below.
2013-07-12 00:00:00 Deregulating Korean Telecom by Soo Chang Lee of Matthews Asia
Renowned as the worlds most wired country, South Korea has been quick to adopt and distribute cutting edge communications technology when it comes to both wired and wireless Internet gadgets.
2013-07-09 00:00:00 U.S. Stocks Continue to Dominate ? What’s Next? by Ron Surz (Article)
U.S. stocks earned 2.5% in the second quarter, bringing the year-to-date return up to a lofty 14%. By contrast, the EAFE index lost 1% in the quarter, bringing its year-to-date return down to 4%. In fact, as shown in the following graph, no other asset class comes even close to the return on U.S. stocks so far this year.
2013-06-28 00:00:00 China's Near-Term Macro Outlook by Team of Nomura Asset Management
The key message from the recent Shibor volatility is that the Chinese government is now willing to tolerate slower near-term growth while carrying out reform to rebalance the economy for long term sustainable growth. The diminishing demographic dividend as a result of the aging population and One-Child Policy will result in slower potential growth for the economy.
2013-06-28 00:00:00 Short-Term Pain, Long-Term Gain by Richard Gao of Matthews Asia
Chinas economy has seen plenty of headwinds recentlyweak exports numbers, slower growth in both services and manufacturing and a weak recovery of corporate earnings despite rapid credit growth. Chinas equity markets have performed weakly too and have been extremely volatile. But much of the recent volatility has less to do with sagging growth and much more to do with a cash crunch and tight liquidity in Chinas banking system. What is going on?
2013-06-26 00:00:00 2 Ways to Play the US Energy Boom by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog
Russ offers two ideas one perhaps obvious and one perhaps not for investors looking to potentially benefit from the US energy renaissance.
2013-06-25 00:00:00 Despite More Downside Risk, Stick with Stocks by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog
Despite stocks recent declines and the rocky road ahead, Russ explains why he still prefers equities over bonds.
2013-06-21 00:00:00 End of Quantitative Easing Tapers Asian Returns? Part II by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia
While yields have come off their historical lows in the U.S. and Asia, there is substantially more room for rates to continue to rise. In terms of credit spreads, we have seen investment grade and high yield spreads widen. We believe that spreads will have some room to widen given a repricing of risk across the globe.
2013-06-17 00:00:00 Recent Volatility in the Foreign Exchange Market and the Strengthening Yen by Team of Nomura Asset Management
There are two issues underlying the increased currency market volatility; depreciation of the Yen may have resulted in worldwide competitive devaluation and concern about early tapering of quantitative easing (QE) in the U.S. appears to have triggered currency depreciation for countries that are running current account deficits.
2013-06-17 00:00:00 Submerging Markets: What the Emerging Market Selloff is Telling Us by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research
Investing at its most basic level is about one thing: the return you seek on your investment and the risk you take to get that return. I often emphasize that the biggest risk to investors is volatility, because its the occasional shakiness of markets or market segments that causes investors (whether they manage their money or have someone else do it for them) to react emotionally instead of logically. That plays out every day in markets around the world.
2013-06-11 00:00:00 How Asia's Growth Transitions and Policy Experiments Are Shaping the Global Outlook by Ramin Toloui, Tomoya Masanao, Robert Mead of PIMCO
Our view is that Chinese GDP growth will downshift, averaging 6%-7.5% for the next five years as net exports and investment are reaching their limits. In Asia, Japan is perhaps the economy closest to the T-junction described in PIMCOs global secular outlook: The destination of Japans journey looks increasingly uncertain, with multiple potential outcomes that could stabilize or destabilize the global economy and markets.
2013-06-08 00:00:00 Banzai! Banzai! Banzai! by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
In practice it may be harder for Japan to grow and generate inflation than it might be for other major nations. Today we’ll focus on Japanese demographics. While the letter is full of graphs and charts, it does not paint a pretty picture. The forces of deflation will not go gently into that good night.
2013-06-04 00:00:00 Vincent Reinhart on Debt and Growth in the U.S. and Japan by Robert Huebscher (Article)
High debt levels translate to slower growth, according to Vincent Reinhart. That conclusion will be disheartening to those who jumped on the errors several University of Massachusetts scholars found last month in Carmen Reinhart (Vincent’s wife) and Ken Rogoff’s research. But Vincent Reinhart is the author, along with his wife and Rogoff, of a study published in 2012 that documented the degree to which high debt-to-GDP levels correlate with slower economic growth in developed countries.
2013-05-29 00:00:00 Is This the End of the World As We Know It? by Massimo Tosato of Schroders Investment Management
After five turbulent years of decline and unrelenting economic doom there are signs that change could be afoot.
2013-05-25 00:00:00 The Mother of All Painted-In Corners by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
Japan has painted itself into the mother all corners. There will be no clean or easy exit. There is going to be massive economic pain as they the Japanese try and find a way out of their problems, and sadly, the pain will not be confined to Japan. This will be the true test of the theories of neo-Keynesianism writ large. Japan is going to print and monetize and spend more than almost any observer can currently imagine. You like what Paul Krugman prescribes? You think he makes sense? You (we all!) are going to be participants in a real-world experiment on how that works out.
2013-05-24 00:00:00 Remarkable Resilience by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab
We saw how the prospect of a sooner pullback in purchases in bonds by the Fed rattled the market both in the US and globally, but the picture, to us, has not changed to any great degree. A very gradual pullback, not even going to zero, in quantitative easing due to an improved economic situation doesnt spell disaster to us. We continue to urge investors to pay attention to both sides of the risk equation when making decisions and to keep the longer-term perspective in mind. Short-term swings are inevitable, but should not be the basis for sound decision making.
2013-05-20 00:00:00 Global Real Estate Is Hot Again, but Where Are the Best Opportunities? by Joe Rodriguez of Invesco
In this low interest rate environment, yield-hungry investors have been moving out of bonds, and many are opting for real estate investment opportunities. Combine that with a structural undersupply of institutional quality real estate in many key cities across the globe, and an attractive case for investment starts to emerge. Heres where we see the most attractive and promising opportunities by region this year.
2013-05-15 00:00:00 Yen Weakness: Buffett's "Shot Heard Round the World'" by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management
We returned recently from the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder Conference. The most exciting and profound comment to us was what Warren Buffett said about the unprecedented actions the last three years by the Federal Reserve Board. Buffett was asked about the risks of the Federal Reserves current plan to buy Treasuries to keep interest rates very low.
2013-05-13 00:00:00 Investment Bulletin: Global Equity Strategy by Team of Bedlam Asset Management
Equity markets remained strong and the portfolio continued to outperform well, with a monthly gain of 3.2% vs 0.6% for the index. After two decades of policy torpor, Japans government has rapidly adopted a trio of policies to kick start the economy: monetary and fiscal stimulus, plus a weak yen. This is shock and awe relative to GDP, being far greater than any experiment in any developed country since the Second World War.
2013-05-07 00:00:00 Niall Ferguson: Four Reasons Why the U.S. is Failing by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Niall Ferguson is the champion of anti-Keynesian economists. Last week, he explained why America’s pursuit of Keynesian policies is leading to disastrous consequences.
2013-04-30 00:00:00 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)
A number of readers responded to Robert Huebscher’s article, The New Challenges to Reinhart and Rogoff, which appeared last week.
2013-04-26 00:00:00 Asia's Reverse Innovation Trend by Beini Zhou of Matthews Asia
In recent years, the rate of acquisitions of local Asian firms by multinational companies has generally increased, particularly in China. This has happened across many industries such as industrials, medical devices and consumer staples. In many cases, if the multinational firms are not acquiring an entire company outright, they are taking a controlling stake, rather than a minority stake as a passive shareholder.
2013-04-24 00:00:00 Growth From the Ground up in Iskandar by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments
Our emerging markets team isnt too keen on following crowds. Part and parcel of Templetons contrarian approach is traveling to places others arent, and thinking about the long-term potential in specific industries and companies that may not be on others radar screens. One place weve had our eye on for several years now is Iskandar, Malaysia, which has recently been attracting more investor attention. I think it could be viewed as an example of the potential we see in Southeast Asia.
2013-04-23 00:00:00 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)
A reader responds to Michael Edesess’ article, Will Germany Lead the World’s Energy Revolution?, and a reader responds to Robert Huebscher’s article, Michael Pettis - Can China Save Itself?, both of which appeared last week.
2013-03-28 00:00:00 China Talks of Trimming the Fat by Winnie Chwang of Matthews Asia
Chinas new leaders are talking tough about fighting government corruption and imposing a culture of frugality among Communist Party cadres. Sensitive to growing criticism about government excess, incoming President Xi Jinping has promised to crack down on officials who abuse their power and engage in illicit behavior, regardless of their rank.
2013-03-25 00:00:00 Still Bullish by Richard Golod of Invesco
Global equities (as measured by the MSCI All Country World Index) fell modestly in February amid reignited fears about the euros future, signs of distress in Chinas economy and the looming sequester deadline in the US. Nevertheless, I believe the US, Japan and emerging markets may offer compelling opportunities, while Europe requires a more selective approach.
2013-03-20 00:00:00 Chinas Next Stop by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Would it surprise you to discover that China is planning to add 800 miles to its subway system over the next two years? Thats the distance equivalent to building a network from Dallas to Chicago in less time than the U.S. Congress can resolve a budget!
2013-03-18 00:00:00 Finding the Sweet Spot by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO
Where is the investment sweet spot in todays global financial markets? The uneven global growth outlook means there are opportunities and risks for both credit and equity investors.
2013-03-18 00:00:00 Outlook for the Yen by Team of Nomura Asset Management
For several quarters ahead, we estimate that the Yen will remain range bound near the level of PPP (purchasing power parity), which is estimated to be between 90 to 95 Yen/USD. Though currency movements will be affected by various factors, we think the monetary policies of both Japan and the U.S. are the most important.
2013-03-11 00:00:00 Spring is in the Air, Who's Buying Fixed Income and Exports by Gregg Bienstock of Lumesis
This week we start with a look at some bizarre coincidences that have us wondering if it is Spring that is the cause. We next look at who is buying so much debt and to contemplate the implications for the muni market. We conclude with a look at Exports and a reminder that the world really is a small place.
2013-03-08 00:00:00 The Hustle of Hong Kong by Colin Dishington of Matthews Asia
The strength of the retail environment in Hong Kong has been well documented, but the scale of shopping malls sprawling through large parts of the city is somewhat staggering. In the more central districts, product offerings tend to cater to the high-end crowd with luxury international brands apparent on every street corner.
2013-03-01 00:00:00 Is China's Health Care on the Mend? by Sherry Zhang of Matthews Asia
Despite the many challenges facing Chinas health care sector, I believe the recent initiatives and the markets continued growth could create many future investment opportunities in areas ranging from medical device manufacturing, insurance, pharmaceutical and a range of general and specialized care facilities.
2013-02-22 00:00:00 Finding What's Real in Real Estate by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments
The U.S. financial crisis in 2008-2009 left many investors with a reluctance to take investment risks, particularly those related to any of the world's wilted housing markets. However, as your local real estate agent would likely tell you, the market in one location can be vastly different than it is in another. Wilson Magee, co-manager of Franklin Global Real Estate Fund would agree that the adage "location, location, location" applies not only to individual home buyers and sellers, but to investors seeking opportunities in the commercial real estate sector, too.
2013-02-16 00:00:00 In the Year of the Snake, Where Will Copper Head? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
With an improving global economy and Chinas new leadership ramping up projects, will base metals, such as copper, head higher?
2013-02-15 00:00:00 China's New Year for Shopping by Sherwood Zhang of Matthews Asia
This week's Lunar New Year celebration, also known as the Spring Festival in China, is not only a time of tradition for families during which they reunite over a feast, it is also one of the busiest shopping seasons of the year. As with Christmas in the West, the Spring Festival is a time of gift giving for friends and relatives. Children receive money in red envelopes as part of the tradition and stores often hold large-scale holiday sales to attract shoppers.
2013-02-13 00:00:00 Concerned by Recent Economic Data? Look Closer by Marco Pirondini of Pioneer Investments
We've seen a lot of GDP data recently that, at first look, may seem a bit concerning. But if we take a moment for analysis, much of the news is actually good for the economy and the markets.
2013-02-08 00:00:00 A Different Playbook by Equity Investment Team of Janus Capital Group
Asia's handset market is developing quite differently than in Europe or the U.S., creating an entirely different playing field for Apple and other handset makers. Major brands are being challenged by the rise of cheap, but very capable generic smartphones. If major brands cannot innovate above and beyond the new offerings of these emerging cheap smartphones, they will not be able to command the high prices, and corresponding high profit margins, that have underpinned their success.
2013-02-05 00:00:00 Currency War or Something Altogether Different? by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees,Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners
"Who is afraid of currency wars?" asks Gavyn Davies in the FT. I have known Gavyn for 25 years and have to confess that he is way out of my league intellectually. He is one of the smartest people I have ever met and, thankfully, also one of the humblest. He rarely gets things wrong so, when I occasionally disagree with him, it always makes me slightly uneasy.
2013-01-31 00:00:00 Hasenstab: Little Value in U.S. Treasuries Right Now by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments
The financial markets may have let out a collective sigh of relief on January 1 when U.S. politicians managed to avoid falling off the fiscal cliff, but the fact is the fundamental issue plaguing the U.S. still hasn't been addressed mounting debt. As a result, Dr. Michael Hasenstab, co-director of the International Bond Department and portfolio manager for the Templeton Global Bond Fund, says he doesn't see much value in U.S. Treasuries right now. He does see it elsewhere in the world, though, including Ireland and select emerging markets where fiscal houses appear in much better order.
2013-01-15 00:00:00 Japan: Tip of the Spear by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management
On Sunday, December 16, 2012, Shinzo Abe, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), led his coalition to a decisive electoral victory in Japan. The LDP won 294 out of 480 seats and, with the additional 29 seats captured by its coalition partner, the New Komeito Party, will control the lower house in the Japanese Diet. Abe was named the new prime minister ten days later.
2013-01-11 00:00:00 Abe's Return May Prod Japan Forward by Kenichi Amaki of Matthews Asia
Japan's politics have entered 2013 with a mixed freshness. Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has clinched a rare second shot at the prime minister's post. His first term, which began in late 2006, lasted only about a year and ended with his sudden resignation. But following its landslide victory last month, his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has secured a two-thirds majority in the 480-seat Lower House, giving it the constitutional power to override Upper House opposition, where no single party holds a majority, on almost all issues.
2013-01-03 00:00:00 Thailand: M&A Boom a Sign of Economic Resurgence? by Team of Thomas White International
Chaleo Yoovidhya was born in northern Thailand where his immigrant family scraped a living raising ducks and selling fruits. Without any formal education or vocational skills, he had nothing to fall back upon in his youth. But that didn't stop him from founding his own pharmaceutical company and developing what has turned out to be arguably the world's most popular energy drink Red Bull. In March 2012, Yoovidhya died aged 89 the third richest Thai and a towering figure in Southeast Asia's business community.
2013-01-03 00:00:00 Korea's First Female President by Michael Han of Matthews Asia
South Korea's president-elect Park Geun Hye will become the country's first female leader when she takes office in late February for a single five-year term. The tight December race drew much attention as well as the highest voter turnout (over 70%) for Korea in over a decade. Park defeated Moon Jae In, a human rights lawyer who was once jailed for opposing the dictatorial regime of Park's father, Park Chung Hee.
2013-01-02 00:00:00 Brian McMahon on Thornburg?s Investment Income Builder Fund by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Brian McMahon is the chief executive officer and chief investment officer for Thornburg Investment Management, where he the co-portfolio manager for the $11.4 billion Thornburg Investment Income Builder Fund (TIBAX). The fund's goal is income production, and it has outperformed its benchmark, the Morningstar Moderate Target Risk, over the last ten years (10.87% versus 2.88%). In this interview, he offers his views on the economy and the markets, and how he has positioned his fund.
2012-12-18 00:00:00 Jeremy Siegel on 'Dow 15,000' by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Jeremy Siegel was one of very few individuals to have correctly predicted the strong performance of the equity markets over the last year. The Wharton professor and author of the renowned book, Stocks for the Long Run, forecasts continued strong performance for the year ahead.
2012-12-18 00:00:00 Pulling Back the Lens in Emerging Markets by Western Asset Management (Article)
Emerging markets remain resilient, according to Western Asset Portfolio Manager Rob Abad. But in the face of so much global uncertainty, investors would be wise to consider the latest trends and dynamics impacting this maturing asset class.
2012-12-11 00:00:00 Loomis Sayles' Matt Eagan on the Macro and Fixed Income Outlook by David Schawel, CFA (Article)
In this interview, Loomis Sayles' Matt Eagan discusses the fixed income universe, Fed policy and issues facing the global macro economy. Eagan is the co-manager, along with Dan Fuss, of the Loomis Sayles Bond Fund and he manages the Loomis Sayles Strategic Alpha Bond Fund.
2012-12-11 00:00:00 Fine Wine - Why it's for More than Just Drinking by Mark E. Ricardo, JD, LLM, AAMS (Article)
For many investors, an ideal asset class would combine superior long-term absolute and risk-adjusted returns with a hedge against inflation and stock market volatility. There's a way to get all of that, in an asset class you might never have thought of until now: fine wine. Investment-grade wine deserves careful consideration, particularly now that - unlike other collectibles, such as art and rare books - it can be traded on a regulated exchange.
2012-11-13 00:00:00 Emerging Markets: Maintaining Perspective by Robert O. Abad (Article)
In this Q&A, Western Asset Portfolio Manager Robert Abad discusses the latest dynamics and trends within emerging markets (EM). Although EM continue to demonstrate resiliency, Mr. Abad believes that given the amount of global uncertainty today, it is important that investors evaluate opportunities alongside a manager equipped to guide them through the risks and rewards of this evolving asset class.
2012-11-06 00:00:00 The Prize for the Fiduciary Standard: Global Market Leadership by Stephen Winks (Article)
Tough times in the brokerage business are about to get tougher. A difficult investment environment and damage to its reputation are threatening the industry, and now it faces regulatory challenges under Dodd-Frank as it evolves from its current sales-driven culture to a professional services culture focused on advice and the fiduciary standard. Bold leadership will be necessary to navigate this challenge; without it, the brokerage industry and their clients will suffer.
2012-10-30 00:00:00 The Yield Hunt by Michael Lewitt (Article)
The high-yield market is not in danger of imminent collapse as some have argued. As long as defaults remain relatively low, and interest rates remain invisible, investors will continue to chase yield. But a few things could cause a sharp sell-off in the near future.
2012-10-16 00:00:00 Stiglitz vs. Bremmer: What?s Next for the Global Economy? by Ben Huebscher (Article)
On October 3rd, the same night Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were clashing in their first debate, two equally polarized men met in New York City's Kaufmann Concert Hall to discuss the future of economics, both here and abroad.
2012-10-09 00:00:00 The Yin and Yang of 2012 Stock Markets Through September by Ron Surz (Article)
Despite investor concerns about the economy, stock markets delivered substantial returns in the year-to-date, with the S&P 500 returning more than 16% and Europe, Australasia, Far East (the EAFE index) delivering more than 10%. This growth has been in the face of investor withdrawals from equity mutual funds. So if mutual fund investors are selling, who is buying?
2012-09-25 00:00:00 Investing in a Resource-Constrained World by Richard Vodra, JD, CFP (Article)
The potential consequences of stagnant oil production and climate change for society are written about frequently, but here is a simpler question that is important to our community: How are these and related facts likely to affect investment returns going forward? How can we even frame such questions usefully?
2012-08-28 00:00:00 Who Benefits from High-Speed Trading? by Michael Edesess (Article)
Speed is a virtue in most competitive pursuits; the combination of speed and accuracy is almost always the ultimate advantage. No one knows this better than the purveyors of high-speed trading technology, who have profited mightily -not only by executing rapid-fire algorithmic trades, but also by exploiting the arcane rules that govern the stock exchanges. But at whose expense are they profiting, and how long is their advantage likely to persist?
2012-08-21 00:00:00 The Profession's Faulty Assumptions: A Top Ten List by Bob Veres (Article)
In the financial planning profession, we make a lot of assumptions about the world in order to run spreadsheet models, retirement projections and sufficiency analyses, and generally determine how much a client should save and invest for the future. But many of the industry-standard inputs into our models are (how can I say this delicately?) garbage. Here are my top ten garbage inputs, with an explanation of how we might possibly improve on them.
2012-07-17 00:00:00 Breaking Bad by Michael Lewitt (Article)
With our largest business and government institutions committing every conceivable act of legal or moral anomie, we have every right to ask who is going to protect the rest of us from those who have been entrusted with so much power and influence. The institutions that were supposed to be the lifeblood of our economy are the same institutions that inflicted the greatest harm on society. When the family has to be protected from the man who is supposed to protect the family, the family is in serious trouble.
2012-07-10 00:00:00 Insights into the First Half of 2012 by Ron Surz (Article)
U.S. stock markets at mid-year have earned a respectable 9.5% return. A euphoric first quarter 12.6% gain gave way to a 2.8% minor setback in the second quarter. Foreign markets have not fared as well, earning only 3.4% over the first half of the year. The graph below provides the details, and adds a look at gold's performance.
2012-06-26 00:00:00 Jeremy Grantham: US Stocks are Expensive and Bonds are Disgusting by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Jeremy Grantham, who has consistently identified overpricing in the US equity markets - he flagged both the Dot Com bubble and the irrational pricing that preceded the financial crisis, for instance - said last week that US stocks are 'a little expensive' and bonds are 'disgusting.' But his sternest warning to investors concerned the longer-term threat posed by global resource constraints.
2012-06-26 00:00:00 A Top Analyst: North America Heading to Energy Independence by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Ed Morse, a managing director of Citigroup Global Markets, said last week that by the end of this decade the US and Canada will have a surplus of oil, leaving it with 'no room for imports.' But the longer-term picture is far less certain, as extraction moves from conventional wells to newer sources, such as deepwater fields and shale-based oil.
2012-05-29 00:00:00 The Bargains in Europe's Great Oversell by Bob Veres (Article)
When was the last time we saw negative headlines drive valuations as low as they have in Europe? Evermore's David Marcus, who succeeded Michael Price as manager of the Mutual European Fund, says this period of obsession with Greek debt, bank restructuring and single-digit P/Es may be known as The Great Oversell.
2012-05-22 00:00:00 Niall Ferguson - The West's Six Killer Apps by Robert Huebscher (Article)
For five centuries, the West dominated Eastern economies. But, beginning with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the East has now caught up, according to Niall Ferguson. It did so by downloading six "killer apps."
2012-04-17 00:00:00 Muppet Capers by Michael Lewitt (Article)
Investors enjoyed strong stock market and credit market gains during the first quarter of the year, but storm clouds may be forming on the horizon. Corporate profits have likely peaked. Stocks may be the best house in a bad neighborhood, but houses in that neighborhood appear to be fully priced for now. There are also some troubling signs in the bond markets, particularly the long end.
2012-04-10 00:00:00 HBS Research: The Role of Business in Society by Michael Edesess (Article)
Many people believe that society needs to change for market capitalism to be sustainable - and it turns out a surprising number of business leaders are among them. That's the finding of a recent series of forums, organized by three Harvard Business School professors. Based on these discussions, the HBS professors advance a bold proposal - that business itself - not government, or even public-spirited nonprofits - should lead the charge to make the necessary changes to our capitalist system.
2012-03-27 00:00:00 Success: The Enemy of Creativity by Justin Locke (Article)
Creativity and imagination are universal human traits, yet it's a common idea that certain countries are more creative than others. Can this notion have any basis in fact?
2012-03-27 00:00:00 Our Current Perspective on the Global Economic Outlook by American Century Investments (Article)
As we proceed through the first quarter of 2012, the U.S. economy continues to drift? not in recession, but far from the level of growth and dynamism we would like to have. Meanwhile, global economic growth has slowed as the world anticipates a solution to the European sovereign debt crisis. In short, we are in a period of uncertainty, not only about how key events will unfold, but about the timing associated with their future progress and resolution.
2012-03-20 00:00:00 Bob Rodriguez on the Dangers in Today's Markets by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Bob Rodriguez is the managing partner and chief executive officer of Los Angeles-based First Pacific Advisors. In this interview, he discusses how the challenges faced by the US economy will impact the capital markets.
2012-03-13 00:00:00 Europe's ?Back-door QE?: Good News for Global Bond Investors by OppenheimerFunds, Inc. (Article)
By restoring confidence in the global financial system, the European Central Bank's Long Term Refinancing Operation has allowed global bond investors to participate in attractive opportunities around the world.
2012-03-13 00:00:00 Europe Needs a Good Crisis by Michael Edesess (Article)
When it comes to economies in general and financial crises in particular, it's remarkable how little we actually understand. While global financial actors struggle to restructure Greece's debt and to avoid contagion throughout Europe's periphery, we should recall the lessons of the Asian-Russian crisis 15 years ago. As the writings of Joseph Stiglitz and Martin Wolf remind us - and those events illustrate - crises are part of an evolutionary process, and the afflicted economies often emerge with surprising vigor.
2012-02-28 00:00:00 Woody Brock on Healthcare Reform and Trade Relations with China by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Dr. Horace 'Woody' Brock is the founder Strategic Economic Decisions, an economic research and consulting service. In the second part of this two-part interview, he discusses his recently published book, American Gridlock, and focuses on how to fix two of our nation's most pressing problems: the crisis in health care - made worse by ObamaCare - and our trade relations with China.
2012-02-28 00:00:00 Globalization: Its Saboteurs and Its Chicken Littles by Michael Edesess (Article)
The word 'globalization' provokes both excitement and fear. The excitement has sold millions of Tom Friedman books and turned a drab annual business conference, the World Economic Forum, into one of the hottest events of the year. It is front-and-center in recent tensions between the U.S. and China, and makes the European Union's economic crisis a concern for the whole world. Should we fear or embrace globalization?
2012-02-07 00:00:00 Neel Kashkari on PIMCO's Equity Strategy by John Heins (Article)
Bond titan PIMCO has been methodically building its equity-investing expertise. Here the architect of that effort, Neel Kashkari, and his first major hires describe their strategy and how they're uncovering value in today's market.
2012-01-31 00:00:00 Barry Eichengreen on the End of the Dollar by Dan Richards (Article)
Barry Eichengreen is a professor of economics and political science at the University of California, Berkeley and a former senior advisor to the International Monetary Fund. In this interview, he discusses the future of the dollar as the reserve currency and the role of the IMF in the Eurozone crisis. This is the transcript of the interview.
2012-01-24 00:00:00 Beyond Reinhart and Rogoff by Robert Huebscher (Article)
My article two weeks ago, The Misreading of Reinhart and Rogoff, elicited a number of challenges, both from those who argued that excessive debt imperils our economic growth and from those who claimed that my proposed solution was unworkable. Among those challengers was Lacy Hunt, who raised several valid concerns. I will explain why I disagree with Hunt and others, and why the dollar's position as the reserve currency increases our borrowing capacity. But our ability to borrow cannot be a license to spend unwisely, and I will conclude by expanding on the policy choices the US must pursue.
2012-01-17 00:00:00 Martin Wolf on the Eurozone and Beyond by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Martin Wolf is widely considered to be one of the world's most influential writers on economics. Since joining the Financial Times in 1987, where he is chief economics commentator, he has received numerous awards for excellence in financial journalism. In this interview, he discusses the Eurozone crisis and prospects for global economic growth.
2012-01-17 00:00:00 An Essential Client Conversation ?Will I be able to pay for my hip replacement at age 85?? by Dan Richards (Article)
Advisors face a big challenge in planning for boomers. Your assumptions about how long they'll live and the nature and cost of their lifestyle as they age will dramatically impact your planning decisions. Conversations with boomers about those topics and about the implications of funding health care are difficult but important.
2012-01-10 00:00:00 Gundlach on the Key Risk for Bond Investors by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Watch out if you own a bond fund that underperformed its benchmark by 2% or more last year, as most did. Rather than put their careers at risk by suffering a second year of poor performance, those fund managers will turn to indexation, according to DoubleLine?s Jeffrey Gundlach. And since the Barclay?s Aggregate Index holds nearly 35% of its assets in Treasury bonds with near-zero yields, its investors will endure poor returns.
2011-12-13 00:00:00 Harnessing the Power of Momentum by Michael Nairne (Article)
A market phenomena that we can harness on behalf of our clients is momentum - the propensity for price trends to persist in the short-term. I examine the origins of momentum, illustrate its return premium and consider how managers can leverage momentum on behalf of investors.
2011-11-29 00:00:00 The Investment Case for Israel by Jamia Jasper (Article)
What country went into the 2008-2009 recession in a stronger position and exited sooner than any western nation? Whose stock market has outperformed the MSCI EAFE over the past 10 years?
2011-11-29 00:00:00 Sometimes We Lose Perspective by Scott A. MacKillop (Article)
It's been a rough ride lately for investors. Looking back over the course of my lifetime, however, what has been particularly exceptional is not recent market swings - these come and go - but rather the return one would have earned if they had been continuously invested in the stock market over the past 60-plus years.
2011-11-15 00:00:00 Michael Aronstein on Today's Key Macro Trends by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Michael Aronstein is the president and chief executive officer of Marketfield Asset Management. Since its inception in 2008, his fund has returned 31% while the S&P has been down 15%. I spoke with him about the key macroeconomic and strategic issues facing investors today.
2011-11-08 00:00:00 Bill Gross' Revised Paradigm: The New Normal Minus by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Following the financial crisis of 2008, PIMCO articulated its 'new normal' forecast of slow growth and mediocre capital market returns. Appending the even drearier modifier 'minus' to that outlook, Bill Gross said that expectations now appear worse than even he previously feared. Gross was pessimistic in both the near and long terms, and he startled the audience with his premonition that 'capitalism is at risk.'
2011-10-18 00:00:00 Bob Doll: Why the US is Positioned Strongly by BlackRock (Article)
Investor unease has risen dramatically over the past quarter in the face of growing concerns about the world's economic and financial health. The focal point has been the intensifying debt crisis in Europe. The issues facing Europe are highly complex, but essentially are underscored by a single question: Is Europe facing a solvency crisis or a liquidity crisis?
2011-10-18 00:00:00 Dan Fuss on the Liquidity Problem in the Bond Market by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Each morning, the traders at Loomis Sayles' bond desk rate the degree of liquidity in the bond market, with a rating of one being the worst and 10 the best. Ratings of one or two ? as corporate bonds have been receiving of late ? are an ominous sign, according to Dan Fuss. 'Liquidity is the God of the markets,' Fuss said, adding that he expects to deal with illiquidity for a while.
2011-10-11 00:00:00 The Global ?Old Normal? by Michael Nairne (Article)
Amidst a torrent of dismal economic news and plunging stock prices, investment horizons have become increasingly short-sighted. The new normal of faltering growth and painful deleveraging appears to be only too true. However, investors capable of taking a long-term, global view will find forces at work that will likely drive resurgent world growth akin to that which occurred in the decades right after World War II.
2011-09-13 00:00:00 The Risks of Exchange-Traded Products by Dennis Gibb (Article)
Every major financial crisis has been foretold by timely but ultimately ignored warnings. At the end of mania, the rush to secure more fees, investment performance and status trumps common sense. In the last few months, the drumbeats of warnings from financial journals and regulators about exchange-traded funds have been sounding. Few seem to be listening.
2011-09-06 00:00:00 No Way Out by Michael Lewitt (Article)
There aren't enough Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerbergs to innovate our way out of the Everest of debt we have built for ourselves (and will continue to build for the foreseeable future). The good news (a purely relative evaluation) is that astute investors will find enormous opportunities in today's markets as they increasingly reflect unsustainable fiscal and monetary imbalances.
2011-08-23 00:00:00 A Fundamental Investment Strategy for Today's Environment by Robert Huebscher (Article)
We spoke with Tim Hartch and Michael Keller, who are co-managers of the Morningstar 5-star BBH Core Select Fund (BBTEX) from Brown Brothers Harriman. The fund's strategy is strictly bottom-up, with investments in established, cash-generative businesses that are leading providers of essential products and services with strong management teams and loyal customers.
2011-08-09 00:00:00 Does Government Intervention in Financial Markets Slow Economic Growth? by Michael Edesess (Article)
As we saw with the Dodd-Frank legislation and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the question underlying the debate over financial regulation is whether it stifles economic growth. Leo F. Goodstadt's book, Reluctant Regulators, provides useful insights from the experiences of Hong Kong and China. It also causes us to ponder whether our measurement of economic growth is fundamentally flawed.
2011-07-05 00:00:00 Essential Summer Reading - Desperate Households and More by Michael Shamosh (Article)
Summer reruns don't have to be boring and predictable. If we use a little imagination, televised repeats can depict the problems facing our economy and markets, and the storylines can become tantalizingly uncertain.
2011-06-14 00:00:00 What Fama and French?s Latest Research Doesn?t Tell Us by Michael Edesess (Article)
With the high name recognition and respect that the team of Eugene Fama and Kenneth French enjoys in the world of finance, anything they publish warrants attention. Their latest offering, Size, Value, and Momentum in International Stock Returns, offers some interesting data on global equity performance. But they fail to offer any insights that explain the reasons behind their findings.
2011-06-14 00:00:00 The Consequences of Policy Failure by Michael Lewitt (Article)
Investment performance for the rest of the year will be determined by the macro-economic views of investment managers. While microeconomic factors are always extremely important in charting investment strategies, they are particularly important today as the U.S. and global economies continue to fight their way through the detritus of the global debt crisis. A compelling case can be made for weaker 2Q112 growth based on a combination of factors.
2011-06-07 00:00:00 New Challenges for the Endowment Model by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The multi-billion dollar endowments of elite institutions like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton are supposed to never be strapped for cash, but that's not how things played out during the financial crisis, when all those schools and many others were forced to raise liquidity under adverse market conditions. The endowment model, despite those failures, is still basically sound, according to Luis Viceira, but it needs several key improvements before institutions and individuals can rely on it.
2011-06-07 00:00:00 Why Jim Rogers is Bullish on Gold by Dan Richards (Article)
The veteran investor Jim Rogers explains why he is bullish on gold and the US dollar, and offers his thoughts on Asian economies why he chose to move his family to Singapore. This is the transcript of the interview.
2011-06-07 00:00:00 Why Jim Rogers is Bullish on Gold (Video) by Dan Richards (Article)
The veteran investor Jim Rogers explains why he is bullish on gold and the US dollar, and offers his thoughts on Asian economies why he chose to move his family to Singapore. This is the video of the interview.
2011-05-17 00:00:00 Pippa Malmgren on Inflation and its Geopolitical Impact by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The Cold War may have been over for a quarter century, but the inflation-driven challenges that characterized that historical era are heating back up. Today, global volatility is back, according to Pippa Malmgren, who says that commodity-driven inflation will lead to political instability in emerging markets.
2011-05-17 00:00:00 The Smooth Illusion by Michael Lewitt (Article)
In retrospect, the Federal Reserve's interminable zero-interest policy and its quantitative easing programs are likely to be seen not only as ineffective but damaging to the prospects for sustainable long-term economic growth. A number of asset classes are beginning to exhibit bubble-like behavior, something that would be far less likely to occur were interest rates normalized.
2011-04-26 00:00:00 Why Demographics will Drive Global Growth by Sam Parl (Article)
When economic pundits trade heated predictions about the massive economic shifts we see internationally, it is easy to forget the subtleties that shade their forecasts. One such shadow overhanging any intelligent debate about our global economic future is global age demographics, according to Harvard Professor Richard Cooper.
2011-04-12 00:00:00 Ten Trends that will Reshape the Fund Industry by Robert Huebscher (Article)
For advisors scouring among thousands of mutual funds, bargains and inefficiencies will be harder to find in coming years. Intense competition among funds for shelf space will not translate to lower fees, and the new class of broad asset allocation funds is unlikely to live up to its marketing promises. Those were among the surprising forecasts from Geoff Bobroff, with whom I met last week.
2011-04-12 00:00:00 Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me by Michael Lewitt (Article)
"The budget crisis is a crisis of leadership," writes Michael Lewitt in the latest issue of the HCM Market letter. "There is no intellectual mystery involved in cutting the budget - entitlement spending must be reduced through the adoption of tighter eligibility standards... The markets will also have to evaluate whether Congress and the Obama administration can make any meaningful progress on budget reform, which will mean tackling the entitlement issue. The failure to rein in federal deficits remains a profound threat to the dollar and interest rates."
2011-03-15 00:00:00 Margin Shrinkage - It Can Happen to You by Vitaliy Katsenelson (Article)
Profit margins are a tick away from all-time highs and are creating the impression of cheap equity valuations. But that impression is a mirage, because today's generous margins are destined to shrink.
2011-03-08 00:00:00 Ed Hyman: The Key Threat to Economy Recovery by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Ed Hyman is not worried about China, quantitative easing or fiscal deficits. Equity market performance this year will be strong, he predicts, and the US economic recovery will proceed. But there is a caveat in his outlook ? and it is an immense one.
2011-03-08 00:00:00 The Sweet Spot by Michael Nairne (Article)
Today?s low interest rates and lackluster stock valuations suggest portfolio returns going forward will be modest. Investors in search of higher return opportunities need to consider small-company value stocks. We explore how this asset class can improve portfolio performance for long-term, patient investors and deal with its risks and limitations.
2011-02-22 00:00:00 Bruce Berkowitz on the Exceptional Value in the Financial Sector by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Fairholme's Bruce Berkowtiz, US stock-fund manager of the decade, discusses his large position in the financial sector and why he believes the big bets he is making do not amount to Russian roulette. He also comments on his recent nomination of former Florida Governor Charlie Crist to the board of St. Joes.
2011-02-15 00:00:00 Journey to the Center of the Average by Mariko Gordon (Article)
Averages, while comforting in their simplicity, often do more to hide the truth than reveal it. This article is inspired by a recent conversation with author and statistician extraordinaire, Kaiser Fung, who shares my suspicion of this often-abused mathematical construct.
2011-01-18 00:00:00 Richard Bernstein: The Antidote to Pessimism by Robert Huebscher (Article)
For an antidote to the bearish sentiment coming from David Rosenberg, look at Richard Bernstein. In contrast to Rosenberg's vision of Japan's lost decade, Bernstein expects the S&P to outperform emerging markets, at least in the near term.
2010-12-21 00:00:00 Debunking Ken Fisher by Robert Huebscher (Article)
In his latest book, Debunkery, Ken Fisher achieves his goal of dispelling many common investment myths and, in doing so, offers his philosophy on how individuals should manage their money. While most of the advice he offers is unequivocally correct, he also makes egregious errors on some serious matters.
2010-12-14 00:00:00 The End of the Asian Bull Market by Robert Huebscher (Article)
A broadly diversified emerging market investor would have earned nearly 12% annually over the last five years, far outpacing investors in the US and other developed markets. Over the next five or even ten years, investors relying on emerging economies will not be as fortunate, however, according to Louis-Vincent Gave, CEO of the Hong Kong-based research and investment management firm GaveKal.
2010-12-14 00:00:00 Looking Back at a Year of Policy Mistakes by Michael Lewitt (Article)
As we approach the end of 2010, the global economy remains captive to a boom-and-bust cycle resulting from years of pro-cyclical monetary, fiscal and regulatory policies. With very limited exceptions, the same policies that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis remain in place. The only difference is that government balance sheets are far more leveraged than they were heading into that crisis.
2010-12-14 00:00:00 Year-end Letter to Clients: Investment Advice from Winston Churchill by Dan Richards (Article)
For the past 18 months, my draft letters have been designed to balance some of the extreme pessimism among many investors with an objective, positive outlook - the draft year-end letter for 2010 continues with that goal. In it, I borrow from Winston Churchill's insight into the difference between optimists and pessimists.
2010-11-30 00:00:00 Black Gold, Texas Tea by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The flow of money into gold-related funds is, at least in part, driven by good intentions - hedging against dollar debasement, inflation, and systemic risk. As investors drive the price of gold to record levels, though, they are overlooking an equally compelling commodity hedge, one that the Beverly Hillbillies once dubbed 'black gold, Texas tea' - oil, that is.
2010-11-23 00:00:00 Ned Davis - Still Positive on Stocks by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Just over a year ago, Ned Davis correctly forecast a continuation of the cyclical bull market in stocks. In February of 2008, he foresaw that year's market upheaval, and a year later he predicted the rally that began in March of 2009. Today, Davis is moderately bullish on stocks, as long as the Fed maintains its policy of quantitative easing.
2010-11-09 00:00:00 How Modern Is Your Portfolio Theory? by Direxion Funds (Article)
After 58 Years, is there Another Way to Conquer the Efficient Frontier? In the past, active or "tactical" investment management referred to jumping in and out of stocks and bonds - market timing. With the introduction of sophisticated funds that help the masses harness the power of institutional managers and alternative asset classes and strategies, today, tactical management may help to renovate your portfolios - and help you retain and attract assets.
2010-11-09 00:00:00 Waiting for Superman: The Fate of Teachers? Unions by Charlie Curnow (Article)
In 'Waiting for Superman,' the new documentary film about the shortcomings of American public education, director Davis Guggenheim argues that, in order to compete with rival school systems in Asia and Europe, the U.S. must rein in its teachers unions and embrace the free market principles of private schools and privately managed charter schools. Is this a fair assessment?
2010-10-29 00:00:00 Four Critical Investment Themes for the Next Decade by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Four investment themes will dominate market behavior over the next decade, according to Martin Murenbeeld, the chief economist at DundeeWealth Economics, a Canadian investment manager and financial advisor. Investors, he said, would be wise to overweight gold and other commodities.
2010-10-26 00:00:00 Having Skin in the Game on Kill Haole Day by Mariko Gordon (Article)
The often-cited 'skin in the game,' as an indication of a money manager's personal commitment, doesn't measure what it claims. Daruma's Mariko Gordon offers three reasons why.
2010-10-19 00:00:00 Developed Markets and Capitalism in Crisis by Robert Huebscher (Article)
We are not in a globalized world today, according to Ian Bremmer. "The state is back," said the 40-year old president and founder of Eurasia Group, a political consulting firm. Both in the U.S. and throughout the world, governments are exerting their influence through regulation, trade restriction, subsidies, and bailouts, and are threatening the nature of free markets.
2010-10-19 00:00:00 Harvard Experts: Economy is Like a Bus Winding Down a Mountain Road by Charlie Curnow (Article)
Five Harvard economists, including Ken Rogoff and John Campbell, emphasized the need for U.S. policymakers and households to cut down on borrowing and increase savings during a panel discussion on Tuesday, October 13 at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
2010-10-05 00:00:00 A September to Remember by Ron Surz (Article)
In his quarterly market analysis, Ron Surz notes that September has historically been the worst performing month for US stock markets, losing 1% on average over the past 85 years, while the average return in the other 11 months was a positive 1.3%. Not so this September. Surz reviews global market performance and provides his thoughts on peer group analysis and target date funds.
2010-09-28 00:00:00 The Future of Oil by Robert Huebscher (Article)
No commodity impacts the global economy more than oil. When geopolitical threats loom, two questions often dominate discussion: Will the price of oil rise? And what will be the economic consequences? We review the key drivers of recent, current, and forecast oil prices, including a template for the necessary eventual alignment of supply and demand.
2010-07-27 00:00:00 Active Managers Add More Value in Bull than Bear Markets by Jane Li, CFA, CAIA (Article)
In this guest contribution, Jane Li of FundQuest argues that both active and passive investing have their strengths and weaknesses; it depends on the market segment in question and on the economic climate. Active managers tend to add value in bull markets, but their value is shakier in bear markets.
2010-06-22 00:00:00 Niall Ferguson on Japan, China, and the US by Dan Richards (Article)
Harvard's Niall Ferguson is arguably today's leading economic historian. In part two of this interview, Ferguson explains why he fears the future is bleak for Japan, why China may someday be the leading global superpower, and what all this means for the US. We provide a video and a transcript.
2010-06-01 00:00:00 Europe: Value or Value Trap? by Dan Trosch, CFA (Article)
European equities seem much cheaper than in the US, says Dan Trosch of Fortigent in this guest contribution. Europe trades at a 26% Price to Book discount and a 20% Price to Cash Earnings discount to the US. Some European industries and stocks are deservedly cheap and value traps; other industries and stocks are attractive and will benefit from global growth in exports and other macro trends.
2010-05-25 00:00:00 Ken Rogoff Expects Slow Growth and Sovereign Defaults by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Among the crush of analysis devoted to the financial crisis, perhaps none has been as influential as that of Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart, co-authors of the book This Time is Different. Looking back at 800 years of data on emerging and developed economies, they showed that financial crises - and the recoveries from those crises - follow a highly predictable pattern, and the title of their book was a jab at those who suggest otherwise. Rogoff also spoke at the CFA conference.
2010-05-11 00:00:00 Predicting Financial Crises by Charlie Curnow (Article)
MIT Sloan School senior finance lecturer Mark Kritzman thinks he has found a warning signal to predict the onset of financial crises in a new statistical model called the absorption ratio. The absorption ratio predicts systemic risk by measuring how tightly markets are coupled, and thus how vulnerable they are to the spread of negative shocks.
2010-05-04 00:00:00 Iran, Iraq and Embracing the Devil by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Just as imbalances arise in economics, so they do in geopolitics. Its power weakened, the US now faces a difficult choice in the Mideast, where its best option is now to strike a deal with the regional player it most demonizes, Iran, according to George Friedman, founder and CEO of the geopolitical consulting firm STRATFOR.
2010-05-04 00:00:00 Four Words of Advice from a Top Advisor by Dan Richards (Article)
Last summer, Dan Richards talked to a thirty-year veteran of the business who's consistently ranked as a top advisor. The week before, he'd talked to a group of rookies just entering the business. In the question and answer period, he was been asked about the single most important thing he learned over the course of his career.
2010-04-27 00:00:00 China: House of Cards or Emerging Superpower? by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Few topics are as contentious as the fate of the Chinese economy. The bulls argue that its growth will propel the global economic recovery and that China will ultimately supplant the United States as the leading world superpower. According to the bears, the Chinese economy has been fueled by unsustainable fiscal stimuliand is a prototypical bubble poised to burst. Five panelists at the Strategic Investment Conference debated this question.
2010-04-01 00:00:00 Postcard from Korea by Michael Han of Matthews Asia
Korea avoided serious trouble related to the global economic crisis of 2008, and some senior government officials project GDP growth as high as 5 percent this year. The country's economic progress may be partly due to its import substitution strategy. Under government leadership, Korean firms created industries by copying or reverse engineering products that were first created by more advanced countries decades ago. Korean companies are also leveraging relationships with China and other emerging Asian markets.
2010-03-19 00:00:00 Postcard from China - Labor Shortfall by Richard Gao of Matthews Asia
Most companies in China have seen rapid growth this year relative to 2009. Most banks are more cautious about lending this year, however, and contrary to last year, when the government initiated a massive stimulus program to boost the economy, the challenge for China in 2010 is to maintain economic growth while avoiding overheating. Abundant job opportunities are creating a labor shortage at many factories as inland workers stay closer to home or young people pass up manufacturing for other careers. Rising wages will eventually lead to growing domestic consumption.
2010-03-05 00:00:00 A Lengthening Shadow by Andrew Foster of Matthews Asia
The Reserve Bank of Australia announced February 2 that it would leave its key policy rate unchanged following an announcement by Chinese authorities that they would reduce stimulus to their economy. Analysts expected a rate increase based on domestic conditions. The RBA?s announcement suggests that the countries of the Asia Pacific region are moving tacitly toward harmonized currencies and interest rate cycles, dictated by the business cycles of the largest economies of the region.
2010-02-23 00:00:00 Jason Zweig on Protecting your Wealth by David Raileanu (Article)
Jason Zweig is a senior writer and columnist for Money magazine and frequently writes for the Wall Street Journal. In this interview, he discusses strategies for protecting client wealth, proper asset allocation, and the role of advisors in a fiduciary relationship.
2010-02-16 00:00:00 Boom and Bust by Michael Lewitt (Article)
The US and global economies are "trapped in a cycle of boom and bust as a result of fiscal and monetary policies from which there is no easy escape," says Michael Lewitt of Harch Capital Management. Lewitt believes the S&P will rally to 1,200-1,250, but says the long-term prognosis is "somewhere between grave and terminal." We are privileged to provide this excerpt from Lewitt's monthly newsletter and encourage our readers to subscribe to it directly.
2010-02-09 00:00:00 Near-term Gains for the US Dollar?/Prospects for Japanese Recovery by Asha Bangalore and James Pressler of Northern Trust
In Northern Trust's daily global commentary, Asha Bangalore says speculation against the euro could result in a near term gain for the dollar. The dollar appreciated 5.6 percent against the euro in the four weeks ending February 5. James Pressler looks ahead to Japan's release of fourth quarter GDP data next week. He predicts a growth figure of 0.6 percent, despite the consensus estimate of 0.9 percent.
2010-02-02 00:00:00 Chuck Akre on the Akre Focus Fund by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Chuck Akre is the Managing Member and Chief Executive Officer of Akre Capital Management, which he founded in 1989. He has a track record of above-average performance over the last 20-plus years managing mutual funds, separately managed accounts and partnerships, and he discusses the strategy he employs in his new Akre Focus Fund.
2010-01-22 00:00:00 Economic Overheating With Chinese Characteristics by James Pressler of Northern Trust
In the two weeks leading to this morning's Q4 GDP announcement, a variety of signals have been emanating from Beijing's policy centers, all suggesting the economy was running a little warmer tha
2010-01-19 00:00:00 Steve Leuthold: The Market will Rally This Year by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Steve Leuthold is chairman of the $4.5 billion Leuthold Group and one of the most widely-followed market analysts. In his keynote presentation at last week's Fortigent conference, he offered an upbeat forecast for the first half of 2010.
2010-01-18 00:00:00 Breakfast with Dave by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
2010-01-05 00:00:00 Paul Krugman on Deficits, Taxes, Inflation, and Recovery by Dan Richards (Article)
Dan Richards' interview with Paul Krugman, the 2008 Nobel prize winner in Economics, covers his views on the size of the next stimulus package, how high marginal tax rates should go, and lessons from the Japanese experience. Whether or not you agree with him, Krugman is highly influential and his views may presage future policy decisions.
2009-12-01 00:00:00 Allen Sinai: Jobless Recovery and the Failure of Current Economic Policies by Robert Huebscher (Article)
As the Democratic leadership in Congress has looked for ways to simultaneously create jobs and reduce the deficit, a key person they have turned to and continue to rely on is Allen Sinai. Sinai now fears the US is in the "mother of all jobless recoveries" and that the economic policies of the Obama administration are not working.
2009-11-17 00:00:00 Disheartened by Michael Lewitt (Article)
We are again privileged to publish an excerpt from Michael Lewitt's HCM Market Letter. In this issue, titled "Disheartened," Lewitt argues that the powers-that-be are making limited progress addressing the structural problems in the economy, and that the greatest challenge is to achieve budgetary discipline.
2009-11-10 00:00:00 Bruce Greenwald on Structural Problems in the Economy and Unemployment by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Bruce Greenwald is a professor of finance at Columbia University, the Director of Research at First Eagle Funds, and perhaps the foremost expert on value investing. In part one of our two-part interview, he discusses the structural problems facing the economy, the parallels to the Great Depression, and the implications for the unemployment rate.
2009-11-10 00:00:00 Roubini: Fed Policies are Destabilizing the Financial System by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Nouriel Roubini, the once-obscure economist who gained celebrity and the title "Dr. Doom" after correctly forecasting the financial crisis, believes that current Fed policies are destabilizing the markets and pushing the economy toward another collapse.
2009-10-06 00:00:00 A Quarter-End Letter to Send Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Last fall, Dan Richards began posting quarter-end letters that advisors could adapt for their own use. Many advisors have told him that they have received an outstanding response to the letters they sent as a result, and Dan provides a template for a third-quarter letter.
2009-10-06 00:00:00 Retailers Face the New Frugality by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Whether they sell high-end designer clothing or tractors and pet food, retailers across the country are girding for leaner times. Consumer spending has dropped to 10% below its historical trend line, creating a landscape with far too many stores and far too much merchandise for consumers' thinning wallets to support. Along with the CEOs of Fortune 500 retailers, we attended a conference in New York last week looking at trends in consumer behavior, and we file our report.
2009-08-25 00:00:00 The Case for Optimism by Dan Richards (Article)
Only a few months ago, economist's doomsday scenarios caused widespread concerns that we were about to revisit the Great Depression. That consensus view on the economy has shifted remarkably quickly, with a much more positive outlook for the immediate period ahead. Dan Richards cites two recent articles making a persuasive case for optimism.
2009-08-11 00:00:00 At the Risk of Repeating Ourselves by Michael Lewitt (Article)
We have said before that Michael Lewitt's newsletter is a must-read, and this edition is no exception. Lewitt questions whether we are witnessing a summer calm before the storm, comments on the secured and unsecured debt asset classes, and opines on the abuses of unregulated dark pools of capital. We encourage you to subscribe to this valuable publication through the link we provide.
2009-08-04 00:00:00 How to Think about Return and Risk at the Same Time by Adam Jared Apt (Article)
In this guest contribution targeted to the educated layman, Adam Apt discusses the relationship between return and risk. Only when you can keep in mind at one and the same time these two concepts can you properly understand how to invest. And you will also understand why you should invest. Without the marriage of the concepts, you will be playing the market-or shunning it-as if it were a casino.
2009-07-21 00:00:00 Q2 2009 Performance among the Most Popular Mutual Funds in the Advisor Perspectives Universe by Robert Huebscher and Mary Pitek (Article)
Each quarter we analyze changes in the Advisor Perspectives database - a $50+ billion universe of high- and ultra-high net worth assets managed by Registered Investment Advisors. Our analysis has three parts. We look at changes in asset allocation, the performance of the most popular mutual funds, and the mutual funds that showed significant gains or losses in popularity during the quarter.
2009-07-14 00:00:00 Some Signs of Life and Hope for a New Recovery by John P. Calamos and Nick P. Calamos (Article)
Calamos Investments' co-CIOs John P. Calamos, Sr. and Nick P. Calamos discuss the current market climate, implications of Fed and government actions, and investment opportunities in the shorter- and longer-term. Global governmental policies have restored a degree of confidence in the financial markets and many key financial metrics are back to pre-Lehman levels. Many investment opportunities will be available in the future. We thank them for their sponsorship.
2009-07-07 00:00:00 Marty Whitman: The Outlook for Distressed Securities by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Marty Whitman is the founder, Co-Chief Investment Officer, and Portfolio Manager of the Third Avenue Value Fund and a veteran value investor with a long, distinguished history as a control investor. In our interview, he discusses the opportunities in distressed securities created by the financial crisis.
2009-07-07 00:00:00 Riding the Stock Market Wave in the First Half of 2009 by Ron Surz (Article)
Ron Surz provides his award-winning market commentary, reviewing the first half stock market performance around the world. He looks at the past decade, to set expectations accordingly. Have markets become cheap enough yet? He concludes with a realistic and sobering look at our current debt problems - a cause for concern for both young and old.
2009-06-30 00:00:00 Letters to the Editor: The Road to Zimbabwe by Various (Article)
In the second set of our letters to the Editor, we publish responses to to our article, The Road to Zimbabwe.
2009-06-09 00:00:00 Let?s Talk Stocks: Berkowitz, Marsico and Weitz by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Three of the industry's most accomplished value investors - Bruce Berkowitz of the Fairholme Fund, Tom Marsico of Marsico Capital Management and Wally Weitz of Weitz Funds - spoke at a panel discussion at the Morningstar Investor Conference on May 28. We present some excerpts of their thoughts on key questions raised during the panel.
2009-06-09 00:00:00 Q1 2009 Performance among the Most Popular Mutual Funds in the Advisor Perspectives Universe by Robert Huebscher and Mary Pitek (Article)
Each quarter we review changes in the Advisor Perspectives (AP) Universe, which represents $50 billion in high-net worth assets managed by RIAs. Our analysis looks at changes in asset allocation, the mutual funds and ETFs that gained or lost market share, and the performance of the most popular actively managed mutual funds. This analysis focuses on performance across the most popular mutual funds.
2009-05-19 00:00:00 Here Come the Brides by Mariko Gordon (Article)
When it comes to selecting a money manager, many clients today are casualties of the same opaqueness the Japanese face in arranged marriages. Hiring a money manager does not include the same solemn, lifelong commitment as choosing a spouse, according to fund manager Mariko Gordon. But, in this guest contribution, she argues that the hiring process, if not handled well, can also lead to disappointment.
2009-04-28 00:00:00 Forecasting 100 Years Ahead by Robert Huebscher (Article)
George Friedman is CEO of the private intelligence and forecasting firm STRATFOR and advises clients on the important trends in geopolitics and their impact on world economies. Friedman spoke at the recent Altegris Strategic Investment Conference about the important trends for investors over the next 100 years.