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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We announce our Venerated Voices™ awards for articles published in the first quarter of 2016. Rankings were issued in three categories: The Top 25 Venerated Voices™ by Firm, The Top 25 Venerated Voices™ by Author and The Top 10 Venerated Voices™ by Commentary.

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

Exploring the costs and benefits of two alternative investment approaches.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016-04-01 00:00:00 A Different Take on Brexit by Team of Absolute Return Partners

With 2 1/2 months to go before the Brexit referendum it is anybody's guess what the outcome will be. In this month's Absolute Return Letter we take the rare opportunity to comment on a political event. Regardless of where you reside, the result is likely to be important for you. Like most things in life, the choices are not black and white. Enjoy the read.

2016-04-01 00:00:00 Bold, Confident and WRONG: Why You Should Ignore Expert Forecasts by Adam Butler of ReSolve Asset Management

If you read the paper, watch the news, and listen to investment experts you are doing it all wrong. There are no market wizards; the emperors have no clothes; most people are ‘swimming naked’. The following paragraphs offer abundant and incontrovertible evidence condemning expert judgment for the great sham it really is. We also offer some practical ways to cope with the terrifying reality that no one is in control.

2016-04-01 00:00:00 Driving in Neutral by Team of Neuberger Berman

So far, 2016 has been characterized by stomach churning swerves in market direction with little actual change in levels.

2016-04-01 00:00:00 Real and Alternative Assets Outlook Second Quarter 2016 by Team of Neuberger Berman

Despite challenges, we maintained a slightly overweight view on lower volatility and directional hedge funds; meanwhile certain areas within private debt appear attractive.

2016-04-01 00:00:00 Fixed Income Outlook Second Quarter 2016 by Team of Neuberger Berman

High yield, particularly short-duration issues and higher-rated credits, remains in favor given current prevailing yields and the outlook for credit quality.

2016-04-01 00:00:00 Equity Outlook Second Quarter 2016 by Team of Neuberger Berman

Global equities—particularly those in developed markets outside the U.S.—may provide more opportunities over the coming 12 months.

2016-03-31 00:00:00 The Rise of the Machines—Volatility’s Back by Bob Rice of Neuberger Berman

The markets had a great run until last August—years of rising prices across nearly every asset class. Unfortunately, long-term investing doesn’t stay that easy.

2016-03-31 00:00:00 High Yield Market Technicals by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

As we start to see the high yield market gain some footing, it is important to note the improved market technicals, mainly fund flows and primary market issuance. For the week ending March 16th, we saw high yield retail funds take in another $1.7 bil, making it the fifth consecutive week of inflows.

2016-03-31 00:00:00 Staying dynamic: Multi-asset investing in 2016 by Brian Meath of Russell Investments

According to Russell Investments’ strategists, volatility is here to stay in 2016. For investors looking to achieve long-term outcomes, taking a dynamic, multi-asset approach may be one of the keys to success.

2016-03-31 00:00:00 Arnott on All Asset March 2016 by Robert Arnott of PIMCO

Rob Arnott, head of Research Affiliates, shares his firm’s market insights and allocation strategies for PIMCO All Asset strategies.

2016-03-31 00:00:00 Moving Averages: March Month-End Update by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Valid until the market close on April 29, 2016

The S&P 500 closed March with a monthly gain of 6.60% after three months of losses. All three S&P 500 MAs are signaling "invested" and three of the five Ivy Portfolio ETF MAs are signaling "Invested". In the table, monthly closes that are within 2% of a signal are highlighted in yellow.

2016-03-30 00:00:00 Dividends’ True Contribution to Total Return May Surprise You by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

In recent years, dividends’ contribution to total return has been one of the most heavily-studied topics in the investment world. Several conclusions about the contribution that dividends make to total return have been claimed. However, these conclusions vary greatly. I have seen studies claiming that 90% of returns are attributed to dividends, several claiming 50% or more, and others arguing for a 30% contribution. Ironically, they all seem to be correct depending on the data-sets and/or timeframes being measured.

2016-03-30 00:00:00 Do You Believe in Central Bank Magic? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Markets have rallied from their lows in February, but do the conditions justify the rally? Russ discusses how central banks have cast a spell yet again, but can the magic continue?

2016-03-29 00:00:00 How Much Risk Are You Taking in Your Fixed-Income Portfolio? by David Klug of Wells Fargo Asset Management

Low interest rates have left many investors stretching for additional yield. That means they may have taken on more risks in their portfolio than they intended. Now is a good time to check in on fixed-income portfolio allocations to make sure the level of risk is what the investor expected and doesn’t conflict with or over-amplify other risks in the portfolio. One way to do so is to make sure core fixed-income investments aren’t carrying more high-yield exposure or bigger macro bets than the investor intended. We believe these types of exposure are better served by more targeted and intentional allocations, not as a key part of core portfolios.

2016-03-29 00:00:00 Looking for Value in High Yield? Avoid ETFs. by Gershon Distenfeld of AllianceBernstein

Are high-yield bonds cheap today? Relative to history, yes. But they’re not all alike. That’s why using a passive exchange-traded fund (ETF) to tap into the market can be costly.

2016-03-28 00:00:00 Global Outlook by (Article)

When diversifying your portfolio, fund correlation may be an important consideration, says John Cole Scott, CIO, CEF Advisors.

2016-03-28 00:00:00 Indian Government Sovereign Paper - the Search for Carry Ends Here by Ritesh Jain of Tata Asset Management

Investors need to look at the INR and Indian sovereign G-sec through a fresh pair of lens. Last year, in a major monetary policy overhaul, RBI adopted inflation targeting as a guide to its monetary policy for the first time. India is among the few EM countries in the world with inflation targeting as a monetary policy tool. Inflation targeting will mean that the INR’s depreciation will not be as severe as in the past which will leave more carry in the hands of the investors.

2016-03-28 00:00:00 Terrror, Debt And Valuation by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

The market took a rest last week. Some of it was pure exhaustion from the prior week’s data. Some of it was positioning, and trader absenteeism ahead of the Easter break in most countries. And some was shock at the horrific actions in Brussels. As of Thursday’s close, the market broke its fifth straight week of gains to close more or less flat. Still, that's up around 10% from February lows and other markets; for example, U.S. Small Cap and Emerging Markets, up by even more.

2016-03-27 00:00:00 25 Years of Investing in Asia by Robert Horrocks, Sharat Shroff of Matthews Asia

Matthews Asia has reached a milestone in its history—25 years of investing in Asia. What have been the biggest challenges? What lessons have been learned? This month’s Asia Insight features Robert Horrocks, PhD, and Sharat Shroff, CFA, who share their thoughts on the investing disciplines they have formed in the two decades since Asia has evolved from “interesting but obscure” to a frontline asset class.

2016-03-24 00:00:00 The Wild West of 2016 by Pacific Funds (Article)

At Pacific Funds, we believe diversification will be a cornerstone to a successful outcome in 2016. Read our asset allocation experts’ outlook on various asset classes and which investment themes demand our focus throughout the year.

2016-03-24 00:00:00 Monetary Madness: How Inflation Risk Changes the Game by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

Inflation risk is not well understood and once it is, it changes the “game” of investing.

2016-03-23 00:00:00 Calmer C's Ahead? by Joachim Fels, Andrew Balls of PIMCO

China, Commodities and Central Banks Dominate the Global Outlook. Read our global economic outlook for the near term and implications for asset classes.

2016-03-23 00:00:00 The Stock Market as Monetary Policy Junkie: Quantifying the Fed’s Impact on the S&P 500 by James Montier, Philip Pilkington of GMO

In a new white paper, James Montier and Philip Pilkington of GMO's asset allocation team examine one of the stated goals that the Fed has been pursuing since the Global Financial Crisis: raising asset prices. They note that it does not seem to be the lowering of rates that has caused any asset price increase, but rather the "influence that the FOMC announcements have on market sentiment or 'animal spirits'."

2016-03-22 00:00:00 Why Firms Pay for Services they Don’t Need by Matt Lynch (Article)

Nobody wants to get a bill for services they didn’t need or purchase. But that’s what’s happening – unwittingly – to advisors as the vendors that supply them expand their service offerings.

2016-03-21 00:00:00 Looking for Yield in All the Right Places: A Post-FOMC Playblook by Gene Tannuzzo of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

The Fed took out an insurance policy in order to stay on a rate hiking path. A shallower path of rate hikes should temporarily ease pressure on the U.S. dollar and help improve financial conditions. Bond investors should take cues from the TIPS and credit markets. The Fed wants to see tighter credit spreads and higher inflation expectations before raising rates much more. We view investment-grade corporate bonds and commercial mortgage-backed securities as attractive sources of income in this environment.

2016-03-21 00:00:00 7-Deadly Investing Sins by Lance Roberts of Real Investment Advice

If you were raised in a religious household, or were sent to a Catholic school, you have heard of the seven deadly sins. These transgressions — wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony — are human tendencies that, if not overcome, can lead to other sins and a path straight to the netherworld. In the investing world, these same seven deadly sins apply. These “behaviors,” just like in life, lead to poor investing outcomes. Therefore, to be a better investor, we must recognize these “moral transgressions” and learn how to overcome them.

2016-03-21 00:00:00 Growth Investing in Times of Market Volatility by Team of Value Line Funds

With the frequency of market corrections increasing throughout 2015 and 2016, many investors may be dismayed by the volatile nature of high-flying growth stocks. While, by definition, growth stocks have faster earnings growth and, therefore, higher valuations, certain growth companies can offer less price volatility and smoother returns over time, resulting in a more consistent pattern of growth. Historically, many of these steady growth stocks have outperformed peers over the long term.

2016-03-19 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Equities rose for a fifth week in a row. In many important ways, the current uptrend does not fit the profile of a bear market rally. That means that further gains lie ahead and a return to the February low is unlikely. On a shorter timeframe, there are several compelling reasons to expect a retracement of recent gains in the days ahead.

2016-03-19 00:00:00 The Economy and the Election by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The number one question I have been asked during the first quarter is: what will the American election mean for the economy?

2016-03-18 00:00:00 Active Share: The Truth About Core-Satellite Investing by Leola Ross of Russell Investments

In the last of our four-part series, two of Russell Investments’ experts continue a conversation on active share, this time looking at core-satellite investing.

2016-03-17 00:00:00 Five-Year Outlook: Make Headwinds Your Tailwinds by BMO Global Asset Management of BMO Global Asset Management

This outlook report informs BMO GAM’s longer-term strategic portfolio allocations and has been distilled into three possible scenarios expected to dominate the global economy over the next three to five years. The report helps drive BMO GAM’s investment strategies and often plays a role in guiding active global asset allocation opportunities across the firm’s global investment centers. The firm’s primary case calls for a broadening of U.S.-led global growth into key geographies, particularly Europe and Japan.

2016-03-15 00:00:00 A Strategy that has Successfully Hedged Equity Exposure by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Randy Swan is president and CEO of Swan Global Investments and its portfolio manager. Since its inception in 1997 through February 29, 2016, the return for his strategy has been 8.38%, versus 6.23% for the S&P 500, and 6.26% for a balanced index of 60% S&P 500 and 40% Barclays US Aggregate Bond.

2016-03-15 00:00:00 Newsletter - March 2016 by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz / Foldes Financial Wealth Management

Harold Evensky's quarterly letter to his readers.

2016-03-14 00:00:00 Senior Floating Rate Loans Provide Income and Value by Richard Gardiner, Ing-Chea Ang of Neuberger Berman

While equity volatility at the start of the year prompted handwringing among many investors, one of the most vexing issues in the current environment is in the fixed income market.

2016-03-14 00:00:00 It’s Time to Rethink Your Social Security Claiming Strategy by Robert Dietz of AllianceBernstein

Retirees in the US can control when they begin to receive Social Security benefits, but a recent rule change has narrowed the options for married couples. Now is the time to reevaluate your plan. You may be among the lucky few who can still claim benefits under the old rules, if you act before April 29.

2016-03-14 00:00:00 On My Radar: The Draghi Bazooka by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Last week’s mention of the great Art Cashin sent a number of emails my way. The one that touched me most was from Richard who worked for Paine Webber from 1974 to 1987. Back then every broker had a small speaker on his or her desk. We in the industry know it as the “squawk” box.

2016-03-11 00:00:00 Is Your Asset Allocation in Line with Your Goals? by Brian Jacobsen of Wells Fargo Asset Management

After 2016’s volatile start, investors may be asking: What do I do now? Dr. Brian Jacobsen, CFA walks through a four-step plan to get investors’ asset allocations back in line with their long-term financial goals. For planned expenditures, think cash. For life’s unexpected costs, think low volatility. For long-term goals and returning to proper allocation, consider this three-bucket strategy and approach to dollar cost averaging.

2016-03-10 00:00:00 High Yield Improvement Trend Appears Entrenched by Matthew Past of BTS Asset Management

The most important indicators for high-yield bond prices are the sector’s own price trends. At present, technical indicators strongly suggest a continuation of the high-yield bond strength that began in mid-February as the flight-to-quality urge faded. In addition to technical price trends, several backdrop indicators also suggest a favorable outlook for high-yield bonds, including GDP, oil, and the dollar.

2016-03-09 00:00:00 Investing When You’re Young and Time’s on Your Side by Anne Bucciarelli, Ashley Velategui of AllianceBernstein

You’ve made a commitment to sock away money for your retirement. But how should you allocate the funds? Here are some trade-offs to consider.

2016-03-08 00:00:00 When Helping Hurts: What More Can Monetary Policy Accomplish? by Joe Becker, Adam Schenck, Jeff Greco of Milliman Financial Risk Management

Global markets in February followed a path similar to the one they followed in January: selling off through mid-month, only to recover in the second half. Global rates continued their descent, reflecting increased skepticism over the prospects for global growth.

2016-03-07 00:00:00 Tuning Out the White Noise in High Yield by Gershon Distenfeld of AllianceBernstein

The sound and fury surrounding high yield these days can make it hard for investors to hear themselves think. It’s time to turn down the volume. Here are four things to keep in mind.

2016-03-06 00:00:00 Schwab Market Perspective: Neutral Does Not Mean Boring by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

There are two ways to get to a neutral color: 1) just pick the boring beige that we’re all familiar with, or 2) mix a bunch of wild colors together and end up with an altogether bland sort of color—vastly different inputs but relatively the same result. Recently, stocks have resembled the latter scenario as stock indexes have moved out of correction territory but have remained quite volatile, with triple-digit Dow moves more common than not.

2016-03-04 00:00:00 2015 Capital Gains: Low Returns Did Not Equal Low Taxes by Frank Pape of Russell Investments

Frank Pape discusses 2015 Capital Gains

2016-03-02 00:00:00 If Only We Could Blame China by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

“When you combine ignorance and leverage, you get some pretty interesting results.” Warren Buffett. One thing we are exceptionally good at in the West is to blame China for pretty much anything that goes haywire. If you believe various commentators, it is all China’s fault that global equity markets have caught a serious cold more recently and, before that, China was blamed for the extraordinary weakness in industrial commodity prices.

2016-03-01 00:00:00 Conviction in Volatile Markets: The Value of Loans Across the Credit Cycle by Scott Page, Craig Russ, Christopher Remington of Eaton Vance

The case for loans as a strategic fixed-income allocation has been proven across many credit cycles.

2016-03-01 00:00:00 India: 2016-17 Union Budget - A Budget for the Real Economy by Ritesh Jain, Abhishek Sonthalia of Tata Asset Management

India’s Finance Minister, Mr. Arun Jaitley presented the 2016-17 Union Budget yesterday where he chose macro stability over short term growth tactics, earning credibility on fiscal discipline and empowering the bottom of the pyramid. The budget clearly outlined the government’s thrust on the rural economy while taxing urban and the top of the pyramid consumption. This is a budget for the masses not the classes! It was about credibility and character, presented amidst heightened global volatility and economic upheaval.

2016-03-01 00:00:00 Does GMO Add Value for Investors? by Larry Swedroe (Article)

GMO is one of the most highly regarded fund families in the world, and investors have entrusted them with over $100 billion in assets. But is there any statistical evidence that the firm has been able to add significant value versus a passive index fund?

2016-02-29 00:00:00 On My Radar: Expect More Money Printing by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

“Time to put 25% to 30% of your wealth in cash.” – Mohammed El-Erian

2016-02-26 00:00:00 Breaking: Golden Cross for Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Today, gold experienced a “golden cross,” a technical indicator that occurs when an asset’s 50-day moving average crosses above its 200-day moving average. It’s the first such movement in nearly two years and is a sign that gold might have further to climb.

2016-02-26 00:00:00 Low Vol: A Little Goes a Long Way by Chris Bennett of S&P Dow Jones Indices

In this blog post, Chris Bennett discuss the low volatility anomaly and the large tracking error the S&P 500 Low Volatility Index has experienced relative to the S&P 500.

2016-02-26 00:00:00 Competition and Cooperation: Balancing Family and Firm Models in Family Businesses by Robert Holton of Cleary Gull

Families and business ownership can intersect in fascinatingly complex ways. How family and business leaders think about family dynamics and corporate objectives may influence decisions more than what they think about. In short, the mental model of this crucial intersection matters. Research around how successful families build successful companies recognizes the push and pull of these different interests. There is even an entire industry of consultants working with family owned businesses to overcome these challenges…

2016-02-25 00:00:00 Arnott on All Asset February 2016 by Rob Arnott, Christopher Brightman of PIMCO

Rob Arnott, head of Research Affiliates, and Christopher Brightman, Research Affiliates’ Chief Investment Officer, share their firm’s market insights and allocation strategies for PIMCO All Asset funds.

2016-02-25 00:00:00 U.S. Recession Talk is Premature by Multi-Asset Solutions Team of BMO Global Asset Management

The recent commentary from the Multi-Asset Solutions Team at BMO Global Asset Management discusses all the commotion surrounding a potential recession. Business confidence has suffered overall, given the strong dollar, declining export demand and outright collapse of many commodity prices.

2016-02-24 00:00:00 Constructing a Balanced Portfolio by Litman Gregory Research Team of Litman Gregory

We often write about how our tactical asset allocation investment process seeks to use shorter-term market price volatility to our long-term advantage. Of course, while it is easy enough to say volatility creates opportunity, the reality is that volatility can be stressful and painful when you are actually experiencing it in your portfolio.

2016-02-24 00:00:00 Why Are Stocks and Oil Prices Moving in Tandem? by Sonu Varghese of Convex Capital Management, LLC

Are stocks up or down this week? It seems that is dependent on whether oil prices are up or down.

2016-02-23 00:00:00 Monopoly Is Going Cashless. Could We Be Next? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Nearly everyone can recall playing Monopoly as a child, and for many, the game served as their first exposure to handling different denominations of cash. It was exhilarating to have someone land on your Park Place property, complete with hotel, and in turn receive a fistful of $50s and $100s.

2016-02-23 00:00:00 Have Currencies Around the World Overshot Fair Value? by Roger Edgley, Ajay Krishnan, Andrey Kutuzov, Scott Thomas, Matt Dreith of Wasatch Funds

We think there’s a case to be made that most emerging-market currencies, along with some developed-market currencies, have seriously overshot in their weakness against the U.S. dollar. A reversal of this trend would be very positive for emerging-market investors. Moreover, we believe such a reversal of the five-year trend may have already started or may be close at hand.

2016-02-23 00:00:00 On My Radar: Ray Dalio and Hussman’s Big “W” by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

“If zero or negative interest rates actually fixed what’s broken in the economy, we’d all be living in Paradise after seven years of zero interest rates.” – Charles Hugh Smith

2016-02-22 00:00:00 Are Markets Returning to 'Normal' Behavior? by Scott Wolle of Invesco Blog

The Invesco Global Asset Allocation team doesn’t consider double-digit declines in equity markets to be normal. However, we do see three “typical” characteristics that have returned to the markets over the last few months, characteristics that we believe bode well for a global asset allocation approach.

2016-02-22 00:00:00 The Pre-IPO Investment Opportunity in a Down Market by Alex Wang, Kaylock Yam of EquityZen

Investing in a down market is tricky – not necessarily because it is fundamentally more difficult than investing in an up market, but because, in many ways, making long investments after a correction goes against our human nature. Even novice investors know the mantra, “Buy low, sell high”, but where do you put your money without feeling the fear if the market goes down again the next day, week, or month? In this post, we discuss the opportunity presented by private company investments in a down market.

2016-02-22 00:00:00 A Conversation with Mohamed A. El-Erian by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)

In this interview, Mohamed El-Erian discusses the role of the Fed vis-à-vis fiscal policy and how advisors should construct portfolios under the present monetary-policy regime.

2016-02-20 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Equities followed through on last week's reversal, gaining 3-4%. Importantly, the rally came on unusually positive breadth: this has a strong propensity to push equity prices higher in the weeks ahead. Further upside also seems likely given extremes in investor pessimism, with fund manager cash levels rising to a 14 year high this month. Aside from the unpredictable path of oil, the biggest watch out is volatility.

2016-02-20 00:00:00 Monopoly Is Going Cashless. Could We Be Next? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Hasbro Gaming just released an “Ultimate Banking” version of the popular board game Monopoly that nixes the funny money in favor of play credit cards and an electronic scanner.

2016-02-19 00:00:00 Do a Grouch a Favor by Colin Moore of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

Investors should consider rebalancing their portfolios away from trying to maximize return in favor of maximizing consistency of the return. I would also strongly favor strategies that aim to directly manage the volatility of a portfolio rather than the return. While such strategies may result in lower projected returns, investors who employ them are more likely to achieve those returns because lower volatility goes hand in hand with staying invested.

2016-02-19 00:00:00 2016 Investment and Market Outlook by Vern Sumnicht of iSectors

In the famous words of Warren Buffet, “be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy when others are fearful,” I think it would be easy to argue that investors are fearful, and therefore, they should be greedy (or buying stocks, not selling them). Currently, it seems as though oil prices are linked at the hip to the stock market.

2016-02-19 00:00:00 How Can "Smart Beta" Go Horribly Wrong? by Rob Arnott, Noah Beck, Vitali Kalesnik, John West of Research Affiliates

If investors don’t wise up soon that rising valuations are responsible for most of the “alpha” produced by smart beta, the inevitable mean reversion to historical valuation norms threatens to unleash a smart beta crash.

2016-02-19 00:00:00 Schwab Market Perspective: Confidence is Key by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

There are many words that could be used to describe the first six weeks of 2016 with regard to stock performance but given that this is a family publication we’ll stick with frustrating. There have been rebounds, including the latest fierce recovery which has taken US stocks out of correction mode; but a lot of confidence has been shattered. These are the times that can make or break an investing plan. Our long-held mantra is that panic is not an investing strategy and that investing should always be a disciplined process over time; never about decisions at moments in time.

2016-02-18 00:00:00 Asia-Pacific: A Broader Investment Landscape in 2016 by Eric Mogelof of PIMCO

In the turbulent market environment, five longer-term investment trends stand out for 2016. It has been a turbulent year for Asia’s financial markets. In the following interview, Eric Mogelof, head of Asia-Pacific at PIMCO, puts events in perspective and discusses investment trends in the region for the year ahead.

2016-02-17 00:00:00 2016 Already Offering a Rocky Ride by Willie Delwiche of Robert W. Baird

After several years of muted volatility, the January roller coaster in the stock market caught many investors off guard. Coming into the year, we thought 2016 held the potential to see an uptick in volatility, but had expected the usually strong seasonal tailwinds to delay significant weakness until after the first quarter.

2016-02-16 00:00:00 Common Mistakes Most Investors Make by Lance Roberts of Real Investment Advice

Individuals are consistently promised that investing in the financial markets is the only way to financial success. After all, it’s so easy. Financial pundits across the country state the one simply buys a basket of mutual funds and they will make 8, 10 or 12% a year.

2016-02-16 00:00:00 2016 Outlook: A Slow and Gradual Fed is Nothing for Municipal Investors to Fear by David Hammer, Sean McCarthy of PIMCO

The combination of continued U.S. growth, muted global inflationary pressures and gradual Fed tightening bodes well.

2016-02-15 00:00:00 Eight Core Ideas to Guide Retirement Income Planning by Wade D. Pfau (Article)

Eight key messages and themes have underscored my writing and research. Those guidelines serve as a manifesto for my approach to retirement income planning.

2016-02-15 00:00:00 Thornburg Investment Management: Our Unique Investment Approach by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Thornburg Investment Management’s first equity fund, the Thornburg Value Fund, has returned 6.80% since its inception in 1995, versus 5.23% for the S&P 500. On February 8, I spoke with Bill Fries, who is in the process of transitioning to senior advisor this year, Connor Browne, the manager of the Value Fund and who was mentored by Bill when he managed that fund and Jason Brady, president, CEO and the head of global fixed income.

2016-02-12 00:00:00 Why It’s a Mistake To Be Raising Cash In This Market by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

It appears that I have become caught up in a spirited discussion regarding holding cash in investment portfolios. However, I believe that my position on this important subject is being misrepresented. Therefore, I felt compelled to offer this article for clarification of my true position and beliefs on the utilization of cash in portfolios.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016-01-11 00:00:00 Another Look at the Total Return Roller Coaster by Doug Short (Article)

Here's an interesting set of charts that will especially resonate with those of us who follow economic and market cycles. Imagine that five years ago you invested $10,000 in the S&P 500. How much would it be worth today, with dividends reinvested but adjusted for inflation? The purchasing power of your investment has increased to $17,357 for an annualized real return of 11.08%.

2016-01-11 00:00:00 Long-Term Thinking in the Midst of Short-Term Volatility by Joe Rodriguez of Invesco Blog

The past year witnessed a significant spike in volatility as the health of the global economy faced uncertainty. Global markets struggled with concerns over growth and stability in China, emerging market weakness and currency devaluation, recession in Japan and the continued need for inflation-targeting policy in Europe. And while the US economy appeared to be the relative picture of health, the equity markets continued to focus on decisions by the Federal Reserve Board (the Fed) and depressed commodity prices.

2016-01-08 00:00:00 China’s Conundrum by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

As we see it, there is no question that China should continue to have strong growth this year, but one might say China is facing a bit of a conundrum. On the one hand, the government wants stability, but on the other, it also is striving toward more openness.

2016-01-08 00:00:00 Will Equities See a Sweeter ’16 Ahead? by Ed Perks of Franklin Templeton Investments

Global financial markets still face numerous risks, but the drivers of corporate profitability appear to us to be sustainable in the current business and economic environment.

2016-01-08 00:00:00 CIO Newsletter – Jan 2016 by Ritesh Jain, Abhishek Sonthalia of Tata Asset Management

This newsletter has my views on the important developments in the investment world in 2015 and the outlook for 2016. Indeed we are in a very dynamic global environment and volatility is abound. One of the most important developments in 2015 was the depletion of global forex reserves held by central banks and asset sales by petro dollars funded sovereign wealth funds.

2016-01-08 00:00:00 Forecasting Returns: Simple Is Not Simplistic by Jim Masturzo of Research Affiliates

The value of a forecasting model is that it improves on the alternative models available and classifies the forecaster’s knowledge of asset classes into an economically intuitive framework for building portfolios. A yield-based model is simple, but it checks both boxes.

2016-01-07 00:00:00 It's a Xanax World by Bill Gross of Janus Capital Group

The Romans gave their Plebian citizens a day at the Coliseum, and the French royalty gave the Bourgeoisie a piece of figurative “cake”, so it may be true to form that in the still prosperous developed economies of 2016, we provide Fantasy Sports, cellphone game apps, sexting, and fast food to appease the masses. Keep them occupied and distracted at all costs before they recognize that half of the U.S. population doesn’t go to work in the morning and that their real wages after conservatively calculated inflation have barely budged since the mid 1980’s.

2016-01-07 00:00:00 Passive or Active Equities: Why Choose Just One? by Dianne Lob, Nelson Yu of AllianceBernstein

Passive investing is popular—but it isn’t risk free. By combining active and passive approaches in an equity allocation, we think investors can effectively reduce risk relative to a single manager and also enjoy better returns than those of the benchmark.

2016-01-05 00:00:00 The Biggest Stories of 2016? by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

Which stories are most likely to clear the front pages of the financial newspapers in 2016? In this month's Absolute Return Letter we take a closer look at that and arrive at the conclusion that three favourites stand out. We discuss all three, and we look at the implications for financial markets, should any of them unfold. Enjoy the read and happy New Year.

2016-01-04 00:00:00 Byron Wien Announces Predictions for Ten Surprises for 2016 by Byron Wien of Blackstone

Byron R. Wien, Vice Chairman of Multi-Asset Investing at Blackstone, today issued his list of Ten Surprises for 2016. This is the 31st year Byron has given his views on a number of economic, financial market and political surprises for the coming year. Byron defines a “surprise” as an event that the average investor would only assign a one out of three chance of taking place but which Byron believes is “probable,” having a better than 50% likelihood of happening.

2016-01-04 00:00:00 Back to Zero: Market’s Flat Return Masks Underlying Pressures by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

It was indeed a “running to stand still” market this year (a U2 song title I used for one of my reports last spring to describe the market). The S&P finished 2015 nearly flat at -0.7%, but only Rip Van Winkle would have thought it was a calm year. The return, or lack thereof, belied the angst investors were feeling for much of the year. There are precedents for flat years, and in this short update, we’ll look at what it meant in the past for the future.

2015-12-29 00:00:00 Rebalancing Revisited by Michael Kitces (Article)

Earlier this year, in a series of articles, Michael Edesess argued that rebalancing neither increases returns nor reduces risk, although in the latter case his conclusion was based on one’s definition of risk. However, it turns out that the debate on whether there is value in rebalancing – in terms of return enhancement and/or risk management benefits – actually depends on the similarity (or lack thereof) of the returns between the available investments in the first place.

2015-12-29 00:00:00 The 10 Most-Read Articles of 2015 by Various (Article)

As is our custom, we conclude the year by reflecting on the 10 most-read articles over the past 12 months. In decreasing order, based on the number of unique readers, those are…

2015-12-29 00:00:00 Can Sustainable Portfolios Offer Sufficient Diversification? by Peter Nielsen of Saturna Capital

Do sustainable oriented portfolios exhibit lower volatility? Sufficient diversification? The data say, "Yes!"

2015-12-28 00:00:00 7-Investment Lessons From Mom by Lance Roberts of Real Investment Advice

When I was growing up my mother had a saying, or an answer, for just about everything…as do most mothers. Every answer to the question “Why?” was immediately met with the most intellectual of answers; “…because I said so”. Seriously, my mother was a resource of knowledge that has served me well over the years and it wasn’t until late in life that I realized that she had taught me the basic principles to staying safe in the world of financial investments.

2015-12-24 00:00:00 Arnott on All Asset December 2015 by Robert Arnott, Jason Hsu of PIMCO

Rob Arnott, head of Research Affiliates, and Jason Hsu, Research Affiliates’ co-founder and vice chairman, share their firm’s market insights and allocation strategies for PIMCO All Asset funds.

2015-12-23 00:00:00 These Asian countries are gearing up to pay out by Jeff Middleswart of Ranger International

Japan and South Korea have long offered equity investors notoriously low yields. That may be about to change.

2015-12-23 00:00:00 There Is Nothing That Must Be Traded by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

A couple of weeks ago the Barron’s Striking Price column included the following related to the December FOMC meeting; "The rate hike is one of those events that has to be traded, no matter what. No portfolio manager wants to sit on the sideline and miss what could be a big move in the market." The context was probably not aimed at investment advisors but that is unclear and of course the many individual investors who also read Barron’s could be influenced by that sort of sentiment as well.

2015-12-22 00:00:00 The Case against Wall Street by Bob Veres (Article)

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we are here today to consider the case of a defendant who is familiar to everyone: the brokerage industry, or simply Wall Street. The defendant is charged with a number of crimes: employing deceptive business practices; operating a cartel; undermining consumer protections; engaging in anti-competitive behavior against the emergent financial advisory profession; exerting undue and improper influence on Congress and the regulators; raking in excess profits and thereby harming the American economy that it originally was created to benefit.

2015-12-22 00:00:00 Oil Prices—The Asset Allocation Perspective by Multi-Asset Solutions Team of BMO Global Asset Management

The commentary examines the impact of falling oil prices, specifically the possibility of a “risk-off” event created by an unexpected sharp decline in oil prices spilling over into equity and credit markets. Additionally, the recent closing of the Third Avenue credit fund should not trigger a “one size fits all” attitude regarding all high-yield funds. As asset allocators with a long-term time horizon, BMO sees lower energy prices as a net positive for riskier assets such as equities and high-yield bonds.

2015-12-18 00:00:00 Past vs. Prologue: Cutting Through the Noise of Investment Returns by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

While investors are fortunate to have good data on returns to guide them, the quality of translation of that information into investment advice varies considerably.

2015-12-18 00:00:00 What to Expect in 2016: 4 Investment Outlooks for the New Year by Neil Dwane, Ben Fischer, Doug Forsyth, Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

How will rising rates affect the US economy and markets? Which risks are most worth watching? Our CIOs discuss a range of challenges and opportunities for investors, and Kristina Hooper provides six timely tips on asset allocation.

2015-12-17 00:00:00 Did a Frozen Fund Lead Last Week's Outflows in High Yield? by Jennifer Ponce de Leon of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

The circumstances of two large leveraged debt funds do not mean that investors with exposure to traditional high-yield funds are subject to the same outcomes. While we believe risk premiums should be higher for illiquidity and other risks, any technically-driven sell-off due to large redemptions could present a buying opportunity. Last week’s events are further evidence that disciplined credit selection based on strong fundamental analysis will be a key driver of manager performance over the coming year.

2015-12-16 00:00:00 Follow the Dollar: It’s Heading for China by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein

The move to confer reserve status on China’s currency is part of a process that could lead to nearly US$3 trillion being injected into the country’s bond and equity markets. We’ve taken a close look at where the money could come from.

2015-12-16 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Is It Finally Time for the Santa Claus Rally? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

Last week’s stock results were poor for nearly all funds and sectors. Will this continue? Until Wednesday, we can expect a continuing focus on the Fed. After that announcement we may see a change in tone: Pundits will be asking: Is it finally time for the Santa Claus Rally?

2015-12-15 00:00:00 The Risk and Opportunity in Peer-to-Peer Investing by Michael Kitces (Article)

In today’s low-interest-rate environment, advisors must add value to fixed-income allocations. Unfortunately, some of the higher yielding segments of the fixed-income markets – such as peer-to-peer (P2P) investing – don’t fit into the typical financial advisor investment platforms. But that will soon change.

2015-12-15 00:00:00 Why Dividend-Paying Stocks are Riskier than You Think by Larry Swedroe (Article)

As advisors shift allocations from bonds to high-dividend stocks, they are exposing their clients to equity market risk. But they are also increasing interest-rate risk. Investors in two of the biggest dividend ETFs – SDY and VIG – are among the most exposed to the surging demand for dividend-paying stocks.

2015-12-15 00:00:00 Positioning Portfolios for the Next Tightening Cycle by Gordon Bowers of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

Credit is trading at much more attractive spread levels relative to past hiking cycles, reinforcing our view that credit risk can perform well following liftoff. Opportunities may present themselves to add duration risk further out the curve while the potential pullback in the dollar could create an opening to add currency risk. Performance of inflation risk is mixed, with underperformance accelerating throughout the tightening cycle as the Fed lowers market expectations of future inflation.

2015-12-15 00:00:00 Stock Market Control by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

We saw the chart below in a recent Marketwatch.com column from Mark Hulbert. It shows the likelihood of the stock market going up or down in the next year, based on how it did the prior year. This got us thinking about what you can and can't control in the U.S. stock market. After all, the reason that stocks outperform other liquid asset classes over long stretches of time is the uncertainty and variability of returns. Here is a short list of things which can't be controlled in the U.S. stock market.

2015-12-14 00:00:00 The Slippery Welcome Mat for Rising Rates, by Steven Malin, Ph.D of Allianz Global Investors

The commencement of a policy-rate-hike cycle by the US Federal Reserve has both symbolic and material significance for the US economy and financial system. Gradually unwinding unconventional, ultra-accommodative monetary policies sets in motion the repricing of assets and other long-delayed adjustments in economic, financial and currency markets. Comparing economic and financial outcomes with prior rate-hike cycles provides clues as to the possible outcomes this time around, but they have little predictive power.

2015-12-14 00:00:00 On My Radar: El-Erian’s 2016 Outlook & The T Junction by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

I spent a few days earlier in the week in Scottsdale, Arizona. I was invited to present on portfolio positioning and best execution at the 20th annual IMN Global Indexing and ETF Conference. One of the big highlights for me was El-Erian’s keynote presentation. Today, I share with you my notes from El-Erian’s speech. He is humble, balanced and brilliant. I have listened to my recording of his presentation several times. Stop-start-rewind-replay-rinse-repeat. Fun for me and well worth the effort. In short, he puts the odds for a good outcome at 50/50 saying he, “hates to say that."

2015-12-10 00:00:00 GMO Quarterly Letter by Ben Inker, Jeremy Grantham of GMO

In a new quarterly letter to GMO's institutional clients, co-head of asset allocation Ben Inker examines whether emerging-market equities might be a "value trap," and if U.S. equities are "deserving of trading at a premium P/E to the rest of the world" ("Just How Bad Is Emerging, and How Good Is the U.S.?"). In part two of the letter, chief investment strategist Jeremy Grantham provides "a list of propositions that are widely accepted by an educated business audience ... but totally wrong. ...

2015-12-08 00:00:00 Extending the Cycle by Erik Knutzen of Neuberger Berman

At our most recent (fourth-quarter) Asset Allocation Committee meeting, perhaps the single most important issue we considered was whether the then-fresh decline of risk assets indicated a needed bull market correction, or something far more serious. Our analysis suggested short-term weakness, but for a while, the noise around China’s devaluation, Federal Reserve policy and concern about emerging markets and commodity prices had many investors very worried.

2015-12-05 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Aside from the upcoming FOMC meeting, there do not appear to be many strong impediments to further gains by year-end for US equities. Three scenarios seem possible. One: a breakout higher now is likely to be a failed move, especially if it occurs prior to the December 16 FOMC meeting. Two: If seasonality drops the market ahead of the FOMC, there is likely to attractive upside into year-end. Three: The most frustrating scenario would be if stocks chop up and down both into and following the FOMC meeting; unfortunately, that has most often been the case at other times the Fed was initiating rat

2015-12-04 00:00:00 Filling the Void in QDIA Selection by Glenn Dial of Allianz Global Investors

With a growing chorus of voices asking the DOL to help fiduciaries pick better default options—plus a tough new report from a government watchdog group—Glenn Dial, Head of Retirement Strategy in the US with Allianz Global Investors, previews a new tool that can factor demographics into optimized glidepath selection.

2015-12-04 00:00:00 New Paths to More Consistent Equity Alpha by Dianne Lob, Nelson Yu of AllianceBernstein

Every investor approaches the equity market with a different goal—and faces a wide array of portfolios to choose from. Our research suggests that high-conviction equity strategies can be combined to achieve more consistent outcomes with better risk-adjusted returns.

2015-12-03 00:00:00 Japan’s Demographic Challenges Dampen Growth by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments

Demographics have played—and continue to play—a key role in holding back Japan’s growth performance. Japan’s population keeps aging at a rapid pace.

2015-12-03 00:00:00 Safety First: Model Portfolios for the Coming Volatile Year by Chuck Self of iSectors

2016 will likely be a “Jekyll and Hyde” market. As financial advisors meet with their clients at or around the beginning of the new year, they should be mindful of these economic and market trends.

2015-12-02 00:00:00 Historical Rates Impact Common Stocks by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Time and coincidence often cloud our own perception. Consider interest rates. Baby Boomers and Generation Xers became adults (25 or older) between 1965 and 2005. During that period, these adults witnessed an aberration in the history of interest rates. They saw moments of monumental highs (20%) and levels consistently above historical norms. The chart below shows that long and short-term Interest rates in the United States have spent most of the last 400 years in a range between 3% and 6%.

2015-12-01 00:00:00 Cutting Your Losses? With High-Yield ETFs, Maybe It’s Time by Gershon Distenfeld of AllianceBernstein

If you bought a high-yield exchange-traded fund (ETF) over the past two years and still own it, you’ve probably lost money. But don’t fret. This might be an ideal time to change course.

2015-12-01 00:00:00 Devil Inside, Redux: Another Look at the Variety of U.S. Market Valuation Metrics by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

I’ve written many times about equity market valuation being both in the eye of the beholder and a function of the chosen indicator. Even the most common valuation metric—the price/earnings (P/E) ratio—has many derivations. The table in this report is a summary of most of the common (and somewhat less common) valuation metrics, and a subjective assessment of whether they are sending an inexpensive or expensive message about the stock market presently.

2015-11-27 00:00:00 Why Argentina's New Leader Is Good for Latin America and Global Investors by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This week, Argentina said no, gracias to further leftist rule when it elected conservative businessman and two-term Buenos Aires mayor Mauricio Macri to succeed Cristina Fernández de Kirchner as president. It was an upset victory for the people of Argentina, who have seen their once-prosperous nation deteriorate under decades of Marxist policies. It was also a strong win for investors around the globe. Not since Narendra Modi's election last year has a leader's entry on the world stage inspired such bullishness.

2015-11-25 00:00:00 Surveying The Commodity Carnage by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

Commodities and commodity stocks have been a disaster in recent years, but fortunately one that our Group Selection (GS) Scores managed to avoid. Underperformance in both the Energy and Materials sectors during the last 12 months in particular (Chart 1) is so severe that any contrarian with a pulse probably can’t help but take a peek. We’ll admit the wreckage is beginning to look interesting, and—what with our cautious stance on the stock market—it would be fun to be bullish about something. But both our GS Scores and our intuition suggest it’s still too early.

2015-11-25 00:00:00 Technically Speaking: The Real Value Of Cash by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

With the "inmates running the asylum" during a holiday-shortened trading week, the upward bias to the market is set to continue.

2015-11-25 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: What are the Best Year-End Investments? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

There is a lot of data to be reported in only three full trading days, but it does not rate to signal important economic changes. I expect plenty of participants to take the week off and even more will leave after the first hour on Wednesday. The punditry still has pages and air time to fill, despite the lack of fresh news.

2015-11-25 00:00:00 How Should an Asset Allocator Think About The Royce Funds Today? by (Article)

Portfolio Manager Steve Lipper talks with Co-CIO Francis Gannon about why an important ingredient in any recipe for asset allocation is measured by one’s view of the economy. This is why in The Royce Funds, we not only emphasize consistency, discipline, and risk awareness in how we operate, but also offer distinctive strategies designed to perform differently in different market environments.

2015-11-24 00:00:00 The Investment Portfolio of the Future by Bob Veres (Article)

I envision a world where advisors are vetting a growing number of nontraditional investments for their clients.

2015-11-24 00:00:00 The Surprise Inside the Surprise Index by Michael Lebowitz (Article)

Appreciation for the multitude of messages provided by Citigroup’s Citi Surprise Index allows investors to stay a step ahead of the economic models that Wall Street, and -- by default -- most investors, rely heavily on to forecast market levels and securities prices.

2015-11-24 00:00:00 Why Advisors Should Use Deferred-Income Annuities by Michael Finke (Article)

I will show that an eminently effective way to fund retirement is through a deferred-income annuity, particularly if it is purchased through an IRA as a qualified longevity annuity contract (QLAC). The advantages of purchasing a QLAC include the ability to avoid RMDs.

2015-11-21 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

The trend is up: equities ended the week about 1% from their highs. Breadth is improving and outperformance from small caps will further bolster participation. Sentiment remains a tailwind, especially for US equities. There's no compelling short term edge, but further upside into year end remains the most likely outcome. Equities have a tendency to give a good entry on weakness during the next 6 weeks; that would likely provide attractive upside potential into year-end.

2015-11-20 00:00:00 If Factor Returns Are Predictable, Why Is There an Investor Return Gap? by Jason Hsu of Research Affiliates

In the latest piece from Research Affiliates, vice-chairman and co-founder Jason Hsu looks at how substantial evidence supports cyclicality in factor returns, making them predictable. Evidence also exists that indicates investors aren't fully benefiting from this insight due to behavioral biases. But contrarian investors practicing countercyclical timing can benefit.

2015-11-19 00:00:00 Gundlach – The Scariest Indicator in the World by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Those Federal Reserve governors who intend to vote for an increase in rates at their December meeting need to take a close look at some of the charts Jeffrey Gundlach presented on Tuesday. One chart – which Gundlach called his “scariest” – carried a particularly ominous signal for the global economy.

2015-11-18 00:00:00 The Enormous Long-Term Cost of Holding Cash by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Many Americans are placing a disproportionate amount of their savings in cash. Russ explains the perils of this excessive conservatism.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 Market Focus: Finding Value in the MLP Misfortune by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

The brutal selloff in the energy sector has produced a good deal of collateral damage, even among businesses that seemingly have little to do with the price of crude oil.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 How to Kill a Unicorn by Christian Thwaites of Brouwer & Janachowski

The market was strange last week. No real direction in credit or equities. The Fed turned from mildly dovish to decidedly hawkish with several Governors advocating the December rate rise. It's like watching a debate team convince themselves that they are absolutely right, so let’s do it right? All with me? There were also announcements of new Fed governors. Next year’s voters are more hawkish which means we’ll hear less about “one and done” and more about stepped increases through 2016.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: What is the Message from Falling Commodity Prices? by Jeffrey Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

Attention quickly shifted from the perceived strength in the monthly employment report to the stock market decline. While some blamed this on the expectation of higher interest rates, there was also plenty of focus on the commodity markets. I expect this interest to continue in the week ahead.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 Sustaining a Foundation, Stepping Up as Fiduciaries by Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

Establishing a foundation can be a great way to pursue charitable objectives, but it often brings a host of fiduciary responsibilities that donors may feel ill-equipped to handle. In this hypothetical case study, a couple of entrepreneurs sought our advice on asset allocation.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 Gasoline and Coffee Fuel Our Daily Lives. Can Commodities Also Fuel Our Investment Portfolios? by Bransby Whitton, Klaus Thuerbach, Kate Botting of PIMCO

Commodities are a tangible part of our daily lives. They are the food we eat, the energy that powers our cars and heats our homes, the metals that go into our electrical wiring and our jewelry. Yet investing in commodities can seem elusive.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 Why We Believe Emerging-Markets Stocks are Attractive by Rajat Jain of Litman Gregory

There is certainly no arguing that over the short term, investing in emerging-markets stocks can be a bumpy ride. This is especially true if you invested in the asset class during the crisis-prone years of the late 1990s and early 2000s. When asked why we believe in investing in the asset class, we point to our overarching belief that emerging markets' macroeconomic fundamentals are much better now than they were during those crisis-prone years. In this update, we provide further background on our analysis.

2015-11-16 00:00:00 How to Invest in a Slowing China World by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

The obvious question is then how one positions their portfolio in a world where China is on a structurally slowing growth trajectory. In an effort to not over-complicate things, let’s look at China from the 30,000 foot view. From this perspective we observe two things that will unfold over the next decade.

2015-11-16 00:00:00 Asset Matters: How Goals-Based Allocation Drives Portfolio Positioning by Matthew Rubin of Neuberger Berman

When we work with clients to design a customized portfolio, we need to understand their most fundamental goals.

2015-11-13 00:00:00 Gasoline and Coffee Fuel Our Daily Lives. Can Commodities Also Fuel Our Investment Portfolios? by Bransby Whitton, Klaus Thuerbach, Kate Botting of PIMCO

Commodities are a tangible part of our daily lives. They are the food we eat, the energy that powers our cars and heats our homes, the metals that go into our electrical wiring and our jewelry. Yet investing in commodities can seem elusive.

2015-11-13 00:00:00 Making the Most of a 401(k) Account by Anne Bucciarelli of AllianceBernstein

Taking advantage of your employer’s retirement savings plan is one of the most powerful and effective tools available to investors planning for retirement. But be wary of “setting and forgetting” the amount you contribute each year: It may not be enough to meet your goals.

2015-11-12 00:00:00 Taking Grounders In Spring Training by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

If there’s one thing that all of ‘the greats’ throughout history have in common, it’s a mastery of the fundamentals. Grammy award winning singers warm their voices up before every performance and Hall Of Fame baseball players take grounders every spring training. Unfortunately, investors continue to focus on noise instead of the basics of investing.

2015-11-10 00:00:00 Sticking with Your Asset Allocation by Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

An investment plan will work only if an investor has the emotional fortitude to stick with it. That’s easier said than done, particularly with a more aggressive portfolio, when market conditions are rough.

2015-11-10 00:00:00 Managing Fixed Income in a Changing Interest Rate Environment by Patty Quinn McAuley of Clark Capital Management Group

Tired of the constant chatter about where interest rates are headed and what will happen when they finally rise? We’ve compiled the following five ideas for positioning your clients’ bond portfolios to capture opportunities and navigate risks in fixed income — regardless of where rates go.

2015-11-09 00:00:00 The Most Critical Planning Assumption – and How to Choose it by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Compared to the popular approach of assuming a point estimate for the equity-risk premium, an approach that admits we don’t know what number is may seem counterintuitive. But what has been truly crazy is assuming we know a precise number when the evidence clearly indicates that we don’t.

2015-11-09 00:00:00 Resisting the Chase: Reimagining Liquidity and Diversification by Douglas A. Dachille and Mark G. Alexandridis (Article)

Mutual fund bond investors have reached an unwelcome crossroads. With interest rates at historic lows, they have spent much of their post-crisis existence cautiously ascending the risk ladder in search of yield. While the liquid alternative space has been touted as fertile ground for diversification and non-correlated returns, it has fallen short of delivering the kind of liquidity and diversification today’s retail investor really needs.

2015-11-07 00:00:00 The Markets’ Teddy Bear by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

The sharp market gains seen over the last month are unlikely to persist at the same pace, and investors should be prepared for more volatility. Uncertainty about interest rates will persist, but the US economy continues to chug along at a decent, although not robust, pace. Similarly, global growth seems to be perking up, and helping to stymie predictions of an impending global recession. There are still pressures on global growth, but we believe the upside surprise potential in Europe should benefit stocks in that region.

2015-11-06 00:00:00 What's in your wallet: The case for cash? by David Robertson, CFA of Arete Asset Management

Several factors have contributed to the lowly status of cash. An important one has been a core tenet of investment theory that indicates higher returns accrue from assets with higher levels of risk.

2015-11-06 00:00:00 Quarterly Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital

In 2008, most investors were driving a fast car down a country road at night with no headlights. They ignored widening credit spreads and kept their allocation to risk assets too high. Value investors bought financial securities because they seemed cheap relative to book value, and neglected to size the position with any consideration to the idea that these entities had so much financial leverage, a bad quarter could entirely wipe out equity value.

2015-11-04 00:00:00 We’ve Only Just Begun by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Common stock investors are looking at an economic recovery in the U.S., which has not been interrupted by recession since 2009, and a stock market advance with temporary declines only in 2010, 2011 and in the summer this year. Since the declines in price have been something less than 20%, market participants assume that both the economic expansion and the bull market in U.S. stocks are “long in the tooth.”

2015-11-03 00:00:00 Three Keys for Advisors When Implementing Alternatives by Sponsored Content from Invesco (Article)

• For almost 25 years, I’ve worked with financial advisors regarding the use of alternative investments. • I’ve found three common traits among advisors who have the greatest success, i.e., satisfied clients who understand their investments and their results.

2015-11-03 00:00:00 Making the Connection: Getting Workers into Target-Date Funds by Richard Davies of AllianceBernstein

“If you build it…” will they come? DC plan sponsors can take heart that automatically enrolling participants in QDIAs, like target-date funds, is a move that most workers will welcome.

2015-11-02 00:00:00 Should FIFAA Be Red-Carded? by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

No, I haven’t gone bonkers – the focus of the Absolute Return Letter has not all of a sudden switched to football. Nor have I lost the ability to spell correctly, although I am sure that there are one or two like-minded readers out there who would also like to see the rear side of Sepp Blatter one final time.

2015-11-02 00:00:00 How European Insurance Portfolios Can Benefit From Alternatives by Tom Collier, Matthieu Louanges, Jeroen Van Bezoouen of PIMCO

Adding alternatives may not only make economic sense, but it also has the potential to improve European insurers’ return on capital.

2015-11-02 00:00:00 Last Gasp Saloon by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Historically, when the stock market has deteriorated internally following a recent period of overvalued, overbought, overbullish conditions, we know that market outcomes have been negative on average. But what if the S&P 500 Index falls below its 200-day moving average, and then recovers above it again? Doesn’t that recovery signal a resumption of the bull market? The answer largely depends on market internals.

2015-11-02 00:00:00 Curve Ball - Is the Yield Curve Still a Dependable Signal? by Michael Lebowitz (Article)

Although traditional yield-curve analysis does not predict a recession, other equally persuasive indicators do.

2015-10-30 00:00:00 Apples and Oranges: A Random Portfolio Case Study by Adam Butler, Michael Philbrick, Rodrigo Gordillo of ReSolve Asset Management

This article was motivated by a provocative discussion with a thoughtful RIA. Let’s call him Harry. Harry expressed some disappointment with the performance of Global Tactical Asset Allocation (GTAA) strategies over the past few years relative to some popular tactical U.S. sector rotation funds.

2015-10-30 00:00:00 A Better Bond Blueprint? by John Taylor of Alliance Bernstein

Bond strategies based on benchmark indices have big limitations and could expose investors to an unattractive mix of investment risks. Is there a better blueprint for global bond investors?

2015-10-29 00:00:00 Back To Bodie And The 10/90 Portfolio? by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

I wanted to follow up on several different ideas including one from quite a few years ago but they all tie together. First up is replacement rates in terms of figuring out how much to plan on for retirement. The Wall Street Journal had an article that says research calls into question the “venerable 80% rule” and there was also a companion piece at ThinkAdvisor. So first I always thought the rule of thumb was actually 70% but either way.

2015-10-29 00:00:00 Multi-Asset Model Portfolio Investing: The Evolution Continues by Mark Eibel of Russell Investments

Mark Eibel takes a look at just how far has multi-asset model portfolio investing has come in the last 30 years.

2015-10-28 00:00:00 4Q 2015 Outlook: Key Issues Have Not Changed Much This Year by Michael Avery, Cynthia Prince-Fox, Chace Brundige of Ivy Investment Management Company

As the final quarter of 2015 begins, we are reminded of several topics of focus from the start of the year: concerns that global central bankers are stuck with their current monetary policies because the global economy now depends on them; market acceptance that higher U.S. interest rates are inevitable, even if they rise only slightly; and favorable prospects for U.S. consumers, who benefit from a stronger labor market and lower energy prices. If the topics sound familiar now, it is because little has changed in these areas while global risks have increased for several reasons.

2015-10-27 00:00:00 Conviction Adds Clarity in Complex Markets by Sharon Fay, Dianne Lob, Nelson Yu of AllianceBernstein

It’s never easy to know exactly how an active manager generates returns in complex equity markets. High-conviction strategies can provide greater transparency about the sources of returns—and help create more consistent equity outcomes.

2015-10-24 00:00:00 Someone Is Spending Your Pension Money by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

We are going to talk about the slow-motion train wreck now taking shape in pension funds that is going to put pressure on many people who think they have retirement covered. Please feel free to forward this to those who might be expecting their pension funds to cover them for the next 30 or 40 years. Cutting to the chase, US pension funds are seriously underfunded and may need an extra $10 trillion in 20 years. This is a somewhat controversial letter, but I like to think I’m being realistic. Or at least I’m trying.

2015-10-23 00:00:00 A Bond-Free Portfolio: Why Cash Should Replace Bonds to Reduce Risk and Improve Returns by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

In a recent interview, Howard Marks, the great investor and co-chairman of Oaktree Capital, quoted the original Dr. Doom, Henry Kaufman, who once said “There are two kinds of people who lose money: those who know nothing and those who know everything.” Those of us who are selling investment services, whether portfolio management or investment products, have a tremendous ability to locate or create research that rationalizes our approach to building and maintaining a portfolio.

2015-10-23 00:00:00 Follow the Leaders: Learning from ETFs, BCA and the New PM by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending an intensive daylong ETF conference in Austin, just up the road from our office in San Antonio. Hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, the conference was designed for institutional investors.

2015-10-22 00:00:00 Four Strategies for Navigating the Equity Environment Ahead by Andrew Pyne of PIMCO

Recent market turmoil suggests we could be at a turning point for equities. After several years of high returns and low volatility as the market rebounded off the lows of 2009, supported by unprecedented monetary policies, investors are faced with broadly full valuations, global growth that is still uneven and the prospect of rising rates in the U.S. In this environment we suggest four simple approaches that could enhance returns while potentially reducing risk.

2015-10-22 00:00:00 Black Ice: Low-Volatility Investing in Theory and Practice by Feifei Li, Engin Kose of Research Affiliates

Equity investors have endured two extreme market downturns since the turn of the century. The broad U.S. market, represented by the S&P 500 Index, fell by 44% in the aftermath of the dot-com bubble and 51% in the great recession. These devastating experiences reawakened institutional and individual investors to the downside of market volatility and, for a while, prompted great interest in low-volatility investing.

2015-10-21 00:00:00 On My Radar: Lucy, Charlie Brown and the Fed by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

All over the world, all eyes are zeroed in on the Fed. No pun intended.

2015-10-17 00:00:00 Charting the Market's Course by Burt White, Jeffrey Buchbinder of LPL Financial

This week we highlight seven key charts to watch that may determine the stock market’s near-term direction. The charts cover a wide range of topics including manufacturing sentiment, earnings, oil, and high-yield bonds. We believe these charts can help investors navigate the market’s course for the balance of 2015 and into 2016.

2015-10-17 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Equities have risen 8% off their lows. Price is now near the prior trading range from which the waterfall collapse began in August. It would be normal to see selling pressure increase, as trapped longs finally achieve breakeven. But fund managers are overweight cash; they’ll want to be more fully invested before year-end. Upward momentum is therefore likely to prevail in the months ahead.

2015-10-16 00:00:00 US Monetary Policy: It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again by Brooks Ritchey of Franklin Templeton Investments

Is maintaining a zero interest rate policy in the United Sates today a good idea, or is not raising rates doing more harm than its intended good? I suppose that depends on perspective and opinion.

2015-10-16 00:00:00 Hoisington Quarterly Review and Outlook – 3Q2015 by Van Hoisington, Lacy Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

Future business activity will reflect two economic realities: 1) the over-indebted state of the U.S. economy and the world; and 2) the inability of the Federal Reserve to initiate policies to promote growth in this environment.

2015-10-14 00:00:00 Is the Sky Really Falling? by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

While most investors remain hesitant to make a move, the recent market correction created a great entry for savvy investors. One must ask themselves if this is the beginning of the end or merely a bump in the road of a continued bull market.

2015-10-12 00:00:00 How to Create a Client-Experience Calendar by Rob Pascual (Article)

The most successful financial advisory firms have one thing in common: They offer an extraordinary client experience. That is a direct result of relentless attention to detail and design. It happens on a consistent basis when your firm has systematized almost every aspect of its operation.

2015-10-12 00:00:00 Smart Beta 2.0: A Disruptive Innovation by Steven Vannelli of GaveKal Capital

At the beginning of every major disruptive innovation, fear, uncertainty and doubt reign supreme. Consumers are fearful of the unknown, uncertain of the benefits and doubt the durability of the innovation. But, in the end, fear, uncertainty and doubt give way to confidence, understanding and acceptance. The fund management industry is on the cusp of a major disruptive innovation.

2015-10-12 00:00:00 Money Printing Lessons from the French Revolution by Michael Lebowitz (Article)

The events leading up the French Revolution are likely unfamiliar to most. Yet money printing and a debauched French currency played no small part in this history. The story is not a forecast for what may happen, but a powerful reminder of what has repeatedly happened in the past.

2015-10-12 00:00:00 Bob Zenouzi Discusses Delaware’s Dividend Income Fund by Robert Huebscher (Article)

In this interview, Bob Zenouzi, manager of the Delaware Dividend Income Fund (DDIAX), discusses how he strives to provide investors with a yield that is competitive with fixed income, while achieving a premium yield to equities with better downside protection.

2015-10-10 00:00:00 Fourth Quarter Comeback? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

A disappointing year to this point for the US stock market has a chance to end on a better note, with good seasonality and a still-growing economy as supports. Consumers are in good shape, the Fed remains accommodative, and the much-larger service side of the US economy is still healthy. But Fed uncertainty, Congressional budget battles, and Chinese growth concerns will remain as headwinds and will likely contribute to continued bouts of volatility. Across the pond, the European fight against deflation appears to be working, although more QE may be needed, to the potential benefit of Europe/

2015-10-09 00:00:00 Happily Ever After: Lifetime Income in DC Plans Shouldn’t Be a Fairy Tale by Daniel Loewy, Christopher Nikolich of AllianceBernstein

One of the big risks in retirement saving and spending is a problem most people would like to have: a long life. But funding an extended “happily ever after” isn’t easy.

2015-10-09 00:00:00 Q3 — a Stark Reminder Why Portfolio Resilience Matters by Jeffrey Knight of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

Now is a good time to review strategies for improving overall portfolio efficiency and reducing or truncating downside risk. There are several strategies that are particularly well-suited for truncating downside risk. The third quarter reminds us that thinking about stability and resilience can be just as important as thinking about opportunity and profit.

2015-10-09 00:00:00 Investing versus Flipping by Chris Brightman of Research Affiliates

Newport Beach may be known as home to PIMCO (and, of course, Research Affiliates). Locally, however, the business of Newport Beach is real estate finance. Many of my local friends have made a bundle in recent years flipping houses in Orange County (the OC). I have also purchased some houses over recent years, but as an investment rather than as a flip. In this article, I explain the difference between investing and speculating by sharing my personal experience investing in residential real estate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2015-09-08 00:00:00 Making Sense of Market Volatility by Sponsored Content from Invesco (Article)

• On Aug. 21, the Dow Jones Industrial Average entered a correction and reminded investors what volatility looks like. • Several Invesco senior investment leaders discuss their views of market volatility. • They share how it affects, or doesn’t affect, the opportunities they see.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 Does Morgan Stanley Add Value For Investors? by Larry Swedroe (Article)

In the latest 10-year period, only 38% of Morgan Stanley’s mutual funds outperformed their analyst-assigned benchmarks. Thus, while the fees these funds have generated are among the few consistent bright spots of growth on Wall Street, there is still a question for investors: Have these actively managed mutual funds been good investment choices?

2015-09-08 00:00:00 That Was Not a Crash by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

To call the recent market retreat a “crash” is an offense to informed discussion of the financial markets. It was merely an air-pocket of the sort that typically emerges once overvalued, overbought, overbullish conditions are joined with deterioration in market internals. It was probably just a start.

2015-09-08 00:00:00 Betting on Japan, Inc.’s Recovery by Vadim Zlotnikov of AllianceBernstein

Japanese stocks have outperformed the past few years, and we don’t think their run is over. Policies to improve profitability, capital use and productivity should provide a stronger foundation for further gains.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Is a China Economic Crisis on the Horizon? by Erik Ristuben of Russell Investments

Chief Investment Strategist Erik Ristuben looks at the factors at play in a possible China economic crisis.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Weight of the Evidence Argues for Caution by William Delwiche of Robert W. Baird & Co.

At this point, cycle lows for the popular averages may well be in place. This is not yet supported by the weight of the evidence, however. Simply put, risks remain elevated and it is too early to sound an all clear.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Look Out Below? by Jim McDonald of Northern Trust

Are we experiencing a healthy correction or something more? After a long-period of relative calm, risk assets sold off meaningfully in response to global growth concerns. Our Chief Investment Strategist analyzes the fundamental picture in the wake of the recent downturn and what investors should do now.

2015-09-03 00:00:00 Portfolio Strategy: China September 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

The current global market volatility has made some investors skittish and, presumably, many are contemplating curtailing the equity exposure in their portfolios. But before throwing in the towel, they will do well to ask themselves: Who is buying all the stocks amid this selloff?

2015-09-02 00:00:00 Market Reset, Not Recession by John Calamos of Calamos Investments

In our view: Neither the U.S. or global economy is headed for recession; instead, we are seeing a market reset that is not entirely unexpected. Markets are likely to be extremely choppy over these next months, and we may see additional corrections. Over the near term, energy and commodity prices will remain volatile, with global interest rates and currency turmoil adding to the headwinds. Market dislocations are providing us with select opportunities to establish and build positions in fundamentally strong companies, worldwide—including in emerging markets.

2015-09-01 00:00:00 Investors Should Not "Buy the Dip" Because Macro and Market Risks Remain Elevated by Don Schreiber, Jr. of WBI Shares

The global market meltdown is turning into a rout as investors who ignored the warning signs of overvaluation, weakening earnings/revenue trends, and deteriorating internal market dynamics may now be heading for the exits. As advisors and investors try to rationalize asset allocation and equity market exposure, they may deem it appropriate to stick with investments in countries with the strongest economies. Reasoning, stronger eco-markets should behave better than markets in countries with economies under pressure.

2015-09-01 00:00:00 Five Reasons Now is the Time to Hold Equities by Steven Vannelli of GaveKal Capital

After the recent correction, many investors are asking how to respond in their portfolios. I’m recommending clients hold on to equity exposure, even consider increasing it. Below, I run through my case.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 Making Sense of Market Volatility by Karen Dunn Kelley of Invesco Blog

On Aug. 21, the Dow Jones Industrial Average entered a correction, falling 10% from its most recent peak, and reminded investors what volatility looks like after almost four correction-free years. While volatility exposes weaknesses in the market, in my opinion it also reveals the strength of high conviction managers who are skillfully navigating the market. Active management and smart beta strategies seek to surpass the “market averages” offered by traditional benchmarks, providing the potential not only for higher returns, but also for a smoother ride.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 The Active-Passive Debate Revisited by Bob Veres (Article)

Asset flows to passively managed funds are surging. But, as often happens, advisors are embracing a trend just as debunking information is arriving in the marketplace. New research is showing that selecting above-average active funds may not be the impossible task that the academic research has suggested.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 Vinson Walden on the Thornburg Global Opportunities Fund by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Vinson Walden is the co-portfolio manager, along with Brian McMahon, of the Thornburg Global Opportunities Fund (THOAX). Within Morningstar’s World Stock category, THOAX ranked among the top-performing funds over the last one, three and five years. I spoke with Vin about how he constructs the fund and his outlook for the future.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 Doodles from an Eventful Summer by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

This month's Absolute Return Letter is a little different. It was a very eventful summer with many incidents impacting financial markets and we have compiled all these topics into one letter. China is, not surprisingly, a core subject. If the Chinese economy is slowing (and it is), we don't think China is in for a hard landing. If anyone is in the near term - and this may surprise you - we think the U.S. and the euro zone are far more likely candidates.

2015-08-28 00:00:00 Panic Is Not a Strategy—Nor Is Greed by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Admittedly, the development of a long-term strategic asset allocation plan isn't the hard part—it's sticking to it that often becomes the real challenge. Adding to underperforming asset classes and trimming outperforming asset classes goes against the emotions of fear and greed that often drive investment decision making. But if we learn from our mistakes, use our brains over our hearts and look to our portfolios as rebalancing guides, we can expect a more successful investing future and maybe even get a free lunch along the way.

2015-08-27 00:00:00 Solidifying a Case for Liquid Alternatives by David Saunders of Franklin Templeton Investments

Skeptics may be surprised to learn that the majority of hedge fund managers focus on providing capital appreciation with lower volatility than the broad markets.

2015-08-27 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: The Start of Something Big? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

The big market decline has the attention of everyone, even those who do not closely follow the markets. The week will start with the punditry will be asking: Is the market decline the start of something big?

2015-08-26 00:00:00 China Commentary by John Calamos: Market Reset, Not Recession by John Calamos Sr. of Calamos Investments

The global market selloff of these past days has tested the mettle of many investors—particularly as the turmoil has followed an unusual period earlier this year, where equities delivered healthy advances with very little volatility. While we’ve gone on record saying that we expected volatility to persist (including in our most recent Outlook), we have been surprised by how severe the downturn has been. However, experience teaches that there can be many opportunities in volatile markets.

2015-08-25 00:00:00 Get Real! Offsetting Inflation Risks in Your Glide Path by Daniel Loewy, Christopher Nikolich of AllianceBernstein

We’ve had a remarkable 30-year run of declining interest rates and modest inflation. As a result, few target-date glide paths were constructed with any inflation protection. We think it’s time to act.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 Equities: Enhancing Your Small Cap Allocation by Laura Schlockman, Steve Jones of PIMCO

Our New Neutral outlook is generally supportive of equities: Low discount rates, recovering but muted inflation and a drawn-out business cycle argue for positive equity performance. However, full valuations and uneven growth suggest returns may be significantly lower than long-term averages. This means that capturing equity alpha will be critical for investors to meet their return objectives.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 The Use and Abuse of Dividend Strategies by Robert J. Martorana (Article)

I will look at the underlying justification for a dividend-based strategy and at how the most popular funds have performed recently. I will then discuss the criteria that investors should use to construct the best dividend-oriented portfolio, and which mutual fund best meets those criteria.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 Recent Market Volatility by Lane Jones of Evensky & Katz / Foldes Financial Wealth Management

Given the recent volatility in world stock markets, you are no doubt concerned and wondering whether we're entering a period of extended declines. We don't know the answer to this question; no one does. We do know that making investment decisions based upon short-term news is rarely a winning strategy. In times like this it's important to remember your investments are designed to carry you through decades not days. It's important to stay focused on the long-term.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 A Different Perspective on Market Valuations by Michael Lebowitz (Article)

How fast must annual EPS grow over the next five years to normalize the current CAPE 10 with its historic average?

2015-08-22 00:00:00 Playing the Chinese Trump Card by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Donald Trump wants to “rein in” China. Exactly how will anybody rein in anything if we tumble into another global recession, when it will be every country for itself? Not even Donald Trump knows how to make trouble on that scale.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 Today's Market Action: S&P 500 and Dow more than down 3% by Jeremy Boynton of Laureate Wealth Management

What is causing the market to drop so significantly? The answer in one word: China.

2015-08-21 00:00:00 Schwab’s Perspective on Recent Market Volatility by Team of Charles Schwab

Global financial markets endured their worst week of the year this past week amid concerns over slowing economic growth and currency woes in China and other emerging markets, among other reasons. At times like these it is easy to start thinking short term, but keep in mind that the foundations of investing success are well established (have a plan, keep a close eye on expenses, stay diversified, and make sure your portfolio composition is lined up with your tolerance for risk and the timetable for when you’ll need to start drawing down the portfolio).

2015-08-20 00:00:00 Commodities: A Crude Awakening by Jim McDonald of Northern Trust

Commodities investors face numerous short-term challenges – falling demand, falling prices and a strong dollar – but this may present long-term opportunities for patient investors. Our Chief Investment Strategist, Jim McDonald, explains in his latest Investment Strategy Commentary: Commodities – A Crude Awakening.

2015-08-20 00:00:00 Chasing Yield: Is Sustainable Income a Better Way? by Brian Meath of Russell Investments

Looking at the dangers and opportunities of yield-seeking investing, Brian Meath explains an alternative approach: sustainable income.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Is the Chinese Yuan Undervalued or Overvalued? by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital

Almost all of the recent analysis surrounding China’s recent currency fluctuation takes for granted that China just joined the global currency war by engaging in competitive devaluation in an effort to spur exports and thus growth. We offer a different take, that the recent move that in effect loosens up control over the peg (slightly) is more a measure of ongoing reform than of competitive devaluation. Indeed, one of the hallmarks of a liberalized financial system is that prices are determined by market forces rather than a central bank or other government entity.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Crossover Bonds: Catching the Rising Stars by Hozef Arif, Michael Brownell of PIMCO

Many investors seeking yield in the current low interest rate environment are reluctant to take on high risk. Corporate crossover bonds, which straddle the line between the investment grade and high yield bond markets, may offer a solution.

2015-08-19 00:00:00 Technically Speaking: The Bull/Bear Conundrum by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

In March of this year, I wrote an article entitled "Think Like A Bear, Invest Like A Bull" in which I discussed the importance of not letting personal emotional biases derail your investment strategy and discipline.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 Long/Short Equity and Equity Market Neutral – Describing Liquid Alts by Michael Breitenbach of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

Equity long/short strategies construct portfolios consisting of both long and short positions in equity securities and equity-linked derivatives but maintain an overall long bias with significant positive correlation to the overall equity market.

2015-08-17 00:00:00 A Study of Real Real Returns Now in its Third Decade by Team of Thornburg Investment Management

If generals always fight the last war, investors all too often chase past performance and mistime the market. Despite the age-old admonition to buy low and sell high, few actually do, to the detriment of their portfolios and wealth. Why? No one wants to be the first to the party or the last to leave. Yet upswings in one asset class may not be all that apparent until well under way. By the time many market analysts and financial media notice, relative valuations may already have reached lofty levels. Loathe to miss out, investors pile in anyway, hoping there may be some steam left.

2015-08-17 00:00:00 Why High Yield Still Has a Role to Play by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ Koesterich and an investment strategist on his team, Terry Simpson, weigh in on the case for including high yield in a portfolio.

2015-08-14 00:00:00 The Tortoise Wins Again? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

The narrow trading range for US stocks continues, but there are some concerning signs such as seasonality and technical issues that make us a bit more cautious in the near term. We don’t think the bull market is in danger of ending, but there could certainly be a pullback and we don’t believe investors need to be in a great hurry to put money to work. In the immediate aftermath, China’s move on its currency rattled markets, but we don’t think it’s the start of a currency war, and hope that this is part of a herky-jerky path to freer markets.

2015-08-12 00:00:00 Watch the Retirement Risk Gap by Glenn Dial of Allianz Global Investors

Choosing the right glide path isn't just about getting the most return for a certain level of risk anymore, writes Glenn Dial, Head of US Retirement Strategy at Allianz Global Investors. There's a sizeable disparity between what retirement savers are willing to do and what's needed to hit their goals.

2015-08-11 00:00:00 Commodities Remain a Valuable Portfolio Allocation by Bransby Whittion, Klaus Thuerbach, Kate Botting of PIMCO

While the last few years of commodity returns are not an aberration, they are also not the norm.

2015-08-11 00:00:00 The Idolatry of Interest Rates Part II: Financial Heresy by James Montier, Ben Inker of GMO

In many ways this is perhaps my most personal essay, not because I’m about to share some deep and dark personal revelation (I can almost hear the collective sigh of relief), but rather because this essay reflects my views and mine alone. Others at GMO should not be tarred with the brush of my beliefs, and I have no doubt that many will disavow any association with the views I express here. In fact, my colleague Ben Inker’s “rebuttal” follows this piece.

2015-08-10 00:00:00 Investing Lessons from Baseball’s Active Managers by James Tierney, Jr. of AllianceBernstein

As the popularity of passive investing continues to gain momentum, take pause to think about a lesson from baseball. The question is: what kind of equity lineup creates a winning team?

2015-08-05 00:00:00 How to Navigate Today’s Bond Markets by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Bond markets today present investors with multiple challenges, including lower yields and more risk than in the past. In this environment, these bond funds are worth considering, explains Russ.

2015-08-05 00:00:00 Market Review by Rick Vollaro of Pinnacle Advisory Group

The summer heat has finally arrived, and it’s naturally coincided with lower volume markets that are prone to the rumor mill and news flow. The second quarter of 2015 was choppy, but included some reversals in behavior across asset classes. Domestic equity markets bounced around in a flat range, while broad emerging equity markets declined slightly on the quarter.

2015-08-04 00:00:00 Why Bond Funds Don’t Belong in Retirement Portfolios by Wade Pfau (Article)

Income annuities provide payments precisely matched to a client’s longevity while stocks provide opportunities for greater investment growth. The question remains whether clients should hold bond funds in their retirement income portfolio.

2015-08-04 00:00:00 The Investment Opportunity from Share Buybacks by Michael Lebowitz (Article)

Clear-headed reason shows that unless one is an executive whose compensation is tied to metrics influenced by the effects of share buybacks, there are few instances that support this use of corporate resources. Indeed, shrewd investors can profit at the expense of companies that have aggressively bought back shares.

2015-08-04 00:00:00 China: Are You Missing The Opportunities In The Market Noise? by Team of Thomas White International

In March, spring was upon the Chinese equity markets — they soared with the promise of a summer of good cheer and bounty. But come June, the markets plunged, just as dramatically as they had surged less than two months back. And now, with the sell-off continuing, many investors are wondering if it is indeed the beginning of a long period of hibernation for Chinese stocks.

2015-08-04 00:00:00 It’s What You Learn After You Know It All That Counts by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Some of y’all know that I spent years working as the Director of Research and Director of Capital Markets for a Baltimore-based brokerage firm. Accordingly, I met a number of professional sports folks through the law firm Shapiro & Olander, which at the time were the attorneys of choice for a lot of professional athletes, as well as the firm I used for our investment banking department’s legal counsel. One of the folks I met was O’s manager Earl Weaver.

2015-08-03 00:00:00 Retired Investors Don’t Buy Bonds Until? by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

The primary attractions supporting investing in bonds or other fixed income instruments have traditionally been high income and safety. People invest their principal in bonds and receive a stated interest rate (coupon) over the life of the bond and are given the promise of having their principal returned at maturity. Under normal times, bonds would typically pay a higher rate of interest than the dividend rate on stocks. Consequently, bonds have acquired the reputation as low risk and high income instruments.

2015-08-03 00:00:00 The End of U.S. Sovereign Debt as a Near Perfect Protection Asset by Michael Winchell of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

For the past 30 years, the paradigm portfolio holding 60-percent stocks and 40-percent government debt seemed to exhibit a reasonable mix of both growth and protection, being a simple allocation the market beta of two very liquid asset classes with low (occasionally negative) correlation.

2015-08-02 00:00:00 When China Stopped Acting Chinese by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Much of the world is focused on what is happening in Greece and Europe. A lot of people are paying attention to the Middle East and geopolitics. These are significant concerns, for sure; but what has been happening in China the past few months has more far-reaching global investment implications than Europe or the Middle East do. Most people are aware of the amazing run-up in the Shanghai stock index and the recent “crash.” The government intervened and for a time has halted the rapid drop in the markets.

2015-07-31 00:00:00 The Danger in "Debalancing" by John West, Brandon Kunz, Amie Ko of Research Affiliates

Eat a balanced diet. Drilled into our brains since preschool, this advice falls squarely in the “duh, everybody knows that” camp. But it’s not just kids who need reminding. Parents and grandparents, as role models and dietary enforcers, do too. Common sense alone tells us this universally applicable dictum is the right way to eat. Different foods have different nutritional and caloric values. If we eat a wide variety of food groups, or as a five-year-old child is taught, “Eat a rainbow,” good nutrition is likely to take care of itself.

2015-07-31 00:00:00 3 Questions to Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself by Adam Butler, Michael Philbrick, Rodrigo Gordillo of BPG & Associates

A few simple questions one should ask oneself before making any decisions in public markets.

2015-07-30 00:00:00 Money Market Reform: Reflections on This Critical Inflection Point for Cash Liquidity Investing by Jerome Schneider of PIMCO

On July 23 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) formally approved additional reforms for money market funds. These changes will directly impact institutional investors and definitively alter the dynamics of liquidity markets.

2015-07-30 00:00:00 Greece and China: The New Not Ready For Primetime Players by Chris Richey of Neosho Capital

A paper on the present Greek and Chinese capital market crises, which have their roots in policies carefully crafted over the past two decades meant to bring about the integration of their respective economies into that of the wider world.

2015-07-29 00:00:00 Some Overseas Markets May Prove More Resilient by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Russ explains why he believes European and Japanese equities can continue to outperform U.S. stocks.

2015-07-29 00:00:00 Price-Insensitive Sellers by Ben Inker of GMO

In a new quarterly letter to GMO's institutional clients, co-head of asset allocation Ben Inker examines the impact on a range of global asset classes of "price-insensitive market participants" who may "buy assets for reasons other than the expected returns those assets may deliver."

2015-07-29 00:00:00 Embrace, Don’t Fear, Illiquid Asset ETFs by Richard Bernstein of Richards Bernstein Advisors

Our research suggests that while many are fearful of the unknown, investors should embrace, not fear, illiquid asset ETFs.

2015-07-29 00:00:00 Diversify and Conquer: Enhancing Equities in Your Glide Path by Daniel Loewy, Christopher Nikolich of AllianceBernstein

Equities take a lead role in any target-date glide path because they’re the most reliable engine for investment growth. But even that engine could use some help in the future.

2015-07-28 00:00:00 Are Managed-Payout Funds Better than Annuities? by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Managed-payout funds promise to meet retirees’ need for sustainable lifetime income without relying on annuities. To see whether this promise can be fulfilled, I’ll answer three questions: What’s the best design for such funds? How do they compare to annuities? Can retirees do even better by combining managed-payout funds and annuities?

2015-07-28 00:00:00 Active, Passive and Personal by Patty Quinn McAuley of Clark Capital Management Group

Jack Bogle telling investors to sit tight and buy low-cost index funds is a little bit like the FDA telling Americans to eat right and exercise to stay healthy. In theory it sounds right but in practice, well… some of us could use a more active approach.

2015-07-24 00:00:00 Market Timing Is Not Appropriate for Retired Investors by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Any discussion on the appropriateness of any “investment” strategy should start with a discussion on the important differences between investing versus speculating. Although these are radically different concepts, it is all too common in finance jargon to ubiquitously reference all financial activity as investing, even when speculating would be the more precise term. I believe it is vitally important for people to understand the distinctions between investing and speculating, and it’s even more important to be cognizant of which you are engaging in.

2015-07-23 00:00:00 Tocqueville Gold Strategy Investor Letter: Q2 2015 by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

What is required to restore investor interest in gold? In our opinion, a prolonged bout of financial-market adversity would suffice. After all, the cornerstone of coordinated central-bank policy since 2008 has been the levitation of financial assets via Zero Interest-Rate Policy (ZIRP) and Quantitative Easing (QE) by forcing investors into risky assets. We believe that nothing would serve better to undermine confidence in central bankers than a bear market in bonds and equities. The roof above the dollar gold price has been built brick by brick from confidence in central bankers.

2015-07-23 00:00:00 Mid-Year Market Outlook - July 2015 by Team of Thomas White International

At the end of 2014, “why international?” was the prevailing investor sentiment. After all, foreign stocks had lagged U.S. equities yet again, underperforming four out of the five years between 2010 and 2014. The consensus outlook was that U.S. markets would outperform their foreign peers in any case, and so, would it really serve any purpose to hold international equities in a portfolio? Many investors followed the crowd.

2015-07-22 00:00:00 Corporate Earnings Outlook: Why Are Expectations so Low? by Tom West of Columbia Threadneedle

Corporate reporting for the second calendar quarter started last week with a lead group of early reporters. Looking forward to the body of earnings season, I think results are likely to be, on average, a bit soft. And despite valuations that are on the high side relative to history, it just doesn’t seem that expectations are that high. In many industries, investors seem willing to accept that better results are shimmering out in the future, provided management teams can make a good case for what they are doing to position the company for that future.

2015-07-22 00:00:00 Are Stocks Overvalued? A Survey of Equity Valuation Models by Chris Brightman of Research Affiliates

In the latest piece from Research Affiliates, Chris Brightman, Chief Investment Officer, revisits the most commonly used equity valuation tools, comparing their respective strengths and weaknesses—and no metric is without its shortcomings. He explains Research Affiliates' approach to valuation, combining both absolute value and relative value. No matter the measurement, U.S. equity prices are high and long-term expected returns are low.

2015-07-21 00:00:00 The Opportunity in Municipal Closed-End Funds The Value in the 9th Inning of the Great Bond Rally by Michael Lebowitz (Article)

For the last five years, bond market experts have unfailingly and wrongly predicted a rise in interest rates. If the current rate-hike fears prove unfounded again, municipal-backed closed-end funds (M-CEFs) is an asset subclass likely to perform well. Here are eight such funds to consider.

2015-07-21 00:00:00 How to Use a Prospect’s Biases to Your Advantage by Daniel Solin (Article)

Jiu-jitsu is a gentle art. Instead of meeting force with greater force, skilled practitioners use their opponent’s force against them. Advisors can learn a lot from this principle.

2015-07-21 00:00:00 What is the Best Portfolio Size for Value Investing? by John Alberg and Michael Seckler (Article)

Many traditional value investors have concentrated portfolios of less than 50 names. Many index funds that tilt toward value factors have portfolios that consist of hundreds of names. This begs the question: What is the best portfolio size for value investing?

2015-07-21 00:00:00 Searching for Natural Hedges Against Interest-Rate Risk by Eric Takaha of Franklin Templeton Investments

We have found that historically over time, interest-rate moves don’t often play as large of a role in a broadly diversified fixed income portfolio as one might think.

2015-07-21 00:00:00 Secular Outlook: Implications for Asia-Pacific Investors? by Eric Mogelof, Alan Isenberg of PIMCO

We hope you have had the opportunity to review the summary from our secular forum in May: “The New Neutral Revisited,” written by PIMCO’s Group CIO Dan Ivascyn, Global Fixed Income CIO Andrew Balls an?d Global Strategic Advisor Rich Clarida. In this analysis, the authors identify the six key themes that emerged from our discussion, as well as six risks.

2015-07-17 00:00:00 How Much Bond Duration Could You Endure? by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

In my most recent article titled “Designing a Retirement Portfolio That’s Just Right for You” I opined that a retirement portfolio should be designed to meet the individual investor’s specific goals, objectives and risk tolerances. I also suggested that the highest total return is not always the best approach because if the investor needs income to live off of, a focus on a consistent rising income stream makes more sense.

2015-07-17 00:00:00 Tracking the Market with Social Media by Blair Jensen of Trade Followers

I’m starting to see signs that market participants on Twitter are turning from bullish to neutral. This is the first sign of longer term weakness from the Twitter stream that I’ve seen since mid to late 2012. Before the strong rally that started in late 2012 it was common for 7 day momentum to stay below zero for extended periods of time as traders were accustom to periodic corrections. The lack of a decline greater than 10% in since then has kept 7 day momentum mostly above zero with a few small dips that quickly reverse higher. It seems that we’ve all been conditioned to buy the dip.

2015-07-17 00:00:00 Northern Trust Perspective by Jim McDonald of Northern Trust

Last month we said that the odds favored some sort of “kick the can down the road” agreement between Greece and its creditors, and it looks like that may be coming to pass. While there’s still much work to be done, the tone of the current agreement seems focused on avoiding a euro exit and debt write-downs, while ignoring growth-oriented policies. With the hard decisions yet again put off for another day, this should be euro-weakening, all else equal.

2015-07-16 00:00:00 Navigating Market Signals in Multi-Asset Portfolios by Rob Balkema of Russell Investments

Russell Investments’ Rob Balkema provides insights on how a portfolio manager looking at Japan might use market signals to manage multi-asset class funds.

2015-07-16 00:00:00 Five Portfolio Moves for the Second Half by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

After a relatively calm few months, market volatility is back. In recent weeks, stocks have swung between ups and downs, as investors have attempted to digest the latest news out of Greece, the recent bear market in China and the growing likelihood that the Federal Reserve (Fed) will hold off on raising rates until after its September meeting.

2015-07-15 00:00:00 Tempering Turbulence Along the Glide Path by Daniel Loewy, Christopher Nikolich of AllianceBernstein

Target-date glide paths essentially operate on autopilot. But with greater volatility always popping up on the radar screen, even the best of glide paths can benefit from some tactical maneuvering.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 Gundlach v. Yellen: Will the Fed Raise Rates? by Robert Huebscher (Article)

On Friday, Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen said that the nine-year wait for an interest-rate increase would likely end this year. Three days earlier, though, Jeffrey Gundlach said that a rate increase this year is unlikely, given the mix of bad news and uncertainty in the world markets. Which view prevails will be the focus of bond market participants in the months ahead.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 Knowing When to Sell Real Estate Investments by Keith Jurow (Article)

For nearly five years, I have offered compelling analysis that the so-called real estate recovery is an illusion. While this evidence has been largely ignored by Wall Street and the pundits, those who heeded my advice in an earlier article to sell certain REITs (VNO, GGP, SPG) and the ETF IYR fared well.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 Innovation – Too Much, or Too Little of a Good Thing? by Michael Lebowitz (Article)

New innovations save us a lot of time and effort but, believe it or not, they do little to generate sustainable economic growth. Sustainable economic growth depends on productivity. Despite these new innovations, domestic productivity is flat lining.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Will Falling Earnings Sink the Stock Market? by Jeffrey Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

There is special interest in 2nd quarter earnings both as a read on the economy and trends in costs and margins. Ordinarily the focus would be Fed Chair Yellen’s House testimony on Wednesday and the reprise on Thursday. She has stated her viewpoint so frequently – rate hike possible, data dependent, expecting better growth – that a surprise is unlikely.

2015-07-09 00:00:00 CIO Newsletter by Ritesh Jain of Tata Asset Management

In this edition of my newsletter, I have tried to address one of the most common questions that investors have been asking me these days; what to make of the noise surrounding us and how India is placed to weather this volatility. Let me tell you, it's not going to be a smooth ride. In the last 6 months, there has been too much going on worldwide.

2015-07-08 00:00:00 How We View the Big Picture by Team of Litman Gregory

We are regularly asked for our take on the broad macroeconomic topics of the day. Two of the more noteworthy big-picture subjects we have been asked about recently are the Greek debt crisis and the timing of the U.S. Federal Reserve rate hike. In most cases, we don’t believe we have new insights to add beyond the reams of commentary these topics typically inspire, and given the dynamic nature of these two topics, it is quite possible that new information will unfold as we publish this or shortly thereafter.

2015-07-08 00:00:00 The Futility of Retirement Calculators by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

USA Today syndicated a post from Motley Fool that did a good job taking down the concept of retirement calculators. The two big points made were that these calculators make an assumption based on people needing a percentage of their pre-retirement income, which does not take into account the particulars of individual circumstances, and that the calculators often overlook other sources of income including, in some cases Social Security.

2015-07-07 00:00:00 Funds Gone Mild The Role of Cash in Value Managers’ Performance by John Coumarianos (Article)

While many well-known value funds have been poor performers lately, their long-term records remain excellent. Their cash positions have, in part, caused their recent underperformance, but cash has also fueled their longer-term outperformance.

2015-07-07 00:00:00 A First-Half Letter to Clients: Robert Shiller on the Valuation Quandary by Dan Richards (Article)

Since 2008, I have posted a template for a client letter each quarter as a starting point for advisors who want to send clients an overview of the period that just ended and some thoughts looking forward. This quarter’s letter addresses one of today’s most taxing questions for advisors and investors alike: How to deal with the quandary presented by today’s valuation levels on U.S. stocks.

2015-07-07 00:00:00 Update on Greece by Henderson Global Investors of Henderson Global Investors

What happens next in Greece? The immediate impact of the referendum will be to greatly intensify financial and economic pressures in Greece. Now without a bailout, Greece will struggle to find the cash to pay for pensions and public sector wages. The government’s only option may be to make these payments in some form of IOUs in the weeks ahead.

2015-07-07 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Will FedSpeak Interrupt the Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer? by Jeff Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

In one sense, the week ahead should be a quiet, dull semi-vacation. As Nat King Cole explained, the Lazy-Hazy-Crazy days of summer – pretzels, beer, and bikinis that never got wet. It is the lull before earnings and includes a light economic calendar. Will the A-Team need to return from the beach because of Greece? Or will it be a quiet week, disturbed only by an avalanche of FedSpeak and consequent punditry? One way or another, I think we will (finally) put the Greek drama behind us and resume the familiar debate about the Fed.

2015-07-07 00:00:00 A Greek Play by Dr. Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

The second quarter of 2015 experienced heightened bond market volatility in anticipation of the Fed’s first rate increase as well as international equity volatility involving Greek debt and Chinese equities. Despite whipsawed volatility, the major domestic and international equity indices ended close to where they started.

2015-07-02 00:00:00 The Business Cycle—Middle-Aged or Elderly? by Erik Knutzen of Neuberger Berman

When it comes to the duration of the business cycle, 50 is the new 40. Much the way that better diet, health care and exercise have helped double life expectancy over the past century, central banks have prolonged the current expansion using new elixirs such as zero interest rates and quantitative easing. At 72 months, the business cycle has well surpassed the 58.4-month average of the modern era and is now more than twice the length of the pre-WWII average.

2015-07-01 00:00:00 The Smartest Man is Wild about Innovation by Byron Wien of Blackstone

For the past fifteen years I have written annually about a person I have come to call “The Smartest Man in Europe.” For new readers, he is a finance person in his 80’s who has built his reputation by identifying important trend changes early and putting serious money behind his conclusions. Descended from a mercantile family that operated canteens selling food and weather protection along the Silk Route, he was educated in Europe, trained in New York and returned home to take advantage of the wealth-creating opportunities resulting from the post-war recovery.

2015-07-01 00:00:00 The Whole Story: Factors + Asset Classes by Jason Hsu of Research Affiliates

Every year we invite some of the investment industry’s most creative thinkers to speak about their work at the Research Affiliates’ Advisory Panel conference. Along with Nobel laureates Vernon Smith and Harry Markowitz, the speakers at our 14th annual meeting included Campbell Harvey, Richard Roll, Andrew Karolyi, Bradford Cornell, Andrew Ang, Charles Gave, Tim Jenkinson, and our very own Rob Arnott. The richness of the speakers’ presentations beggars any attempt to summarize them; I’ll limit myself to the points I found most intriguing and illuminating.

2015-07-01 00:00:00 A Return to Fundamentals? by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

June was a very eventful month, in particular here in Europe. Greece went from bad to worse, and the Greek people have now been asked to vote on their own destiny in a referendum scheduled for Sunday 5 July, which we expect to return in a 'Yes' vote. However, Greece is not the only subject in the July Absolute Return Letter. Financial markets have in many ways behaved oddly since the near meltdown in 2008. The objective of this month's letter is to look at whether we are finally beginning to see some sort of normalisation - as in a return to the conditions we had prior to 2008...

2015-06-30 00:00:00 Evaluating Investments versus Insurance in Retirement by Wade Pfau (Article)

In the past, I’ve described two fundamentally different philosophies for retirement-income planning: probability-based and safety-first. Those philosophies diverge on the critical issue of where an individual must place their trust: in the risk/reward tradeoffs of an equity portfolio, or on the contractual guarantee of insurance products. Here’s how to overcome that challenge and integrate the two approaches in a retirement plan.

2015-06-30 00:00:00 Three Responses When a Prospect Already has an Advisor by Dan Richards (Article)

Advisors often run into prospects who already have an advisor in place. Here are three hot buttons to engage those who already have an advisor.

2015-06-30 00:00:00 The Joy Of Portfolio Boredom by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Last week I stumbled across an article that favorably critiqued an alternative-strategy ETF for being boring which is its objective. “Boring” is not the stated objective in the prospectus but terms like market neutral, absolute return, low correlation to equities and some others really are about boredom. You can judge for yourself whether a given fund that is supposed to be boring is indeed boring as not every fund will deliver on its stated objective.

2015-06-29 00:00:00 Don’t be Surprised - Speech to CFA Society of Chicago by Stephen Romick of FPA Funds

I’m reminded of a gentleman who discovers a genie in a bottle. Granted one wish only – apparently even genies have pricing power – the man asks for peace in the Middle East. The genie backs away and says, “That’s way too difficult. Give me something easier.” The man ponders his options and asks the genie instead, to help him pick a good mutual fund. The genie quickly responds, “Let me get to work on the Middle East.”

2015-06-29 00:00:00 Sallie Krawcheck’s Solution to the Retirement Crisis by Justin Kermond (Article)

Sallie Krawcheck is a woman with a cause. She has a solution to the retirement crisis and a strategy for advisors to grow their female client bases.

2015-06-25 00:00:00 Gaining Greater Lift in Your Glide Path by Daniel Loewy, Christopher Nikolich of AllianceBernstein

Target-date funds have always promoted the mantra of diversification (“don’t put all your eggs in one basket”). Now it’s time to preach—and practice—an even wider diversification strategy.

2015-06-25 00:00:00 Outrunning the Bear: Pension Strategy in a Low Return World by Jared Gross of PIMCO

Pension investors often seek to meet two conflicting objectives: delivering high absolute returns and managing risk relative to liabilities. Unfortunately, this approach has not produced the desired result because the strong absolute performance of risk assets has been eclipsed by even-faster growth in liabilities. With the era of surging liability values most likely behind us, a realistic goal today may be a relative one: outperforming the value of liabilities, by a smaller margin perhaps, but with more diversification and less risk.

2015-06-25 00:00:00 Take Shareholder Yield With a Grain of Salt by Jeff Middleswart of Ranger International

A valuation measure called “shareholder yield” has gained credence among investors of late. While shareholder yield may be a one of many useful valuation measures, we caution against overemphasizing the metric. We are particularly concerned that the measure is indifferent to whether cash flow is spent on dividends or share buybacks, the latter being a questionable allocation of capital in our view.

2015-06-25 00:00:00 Global Investing is Changing by Richard Bernstein of Eaton Vance

International investing was easy for U.S.-based investors for many years because the U.S. dollar was either declining in value or was stable. U.S. dollar-based investors’ non-US equity and fixed-income returns were generally enhanced by the falling dollar so that U.S. investors actually tended to outperform the local currency benchmarks. Of course, investment managers took credit for the resulting “alpha” despite that out performance was more likely attributable to currency than to asset selection.

2015-06-25 00:00:00 Building for the Future: Infrastructure in Emerging Markets by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Emerging economies in general have experienced stronger economic growth trends than developed markets over the past decade, a trend that I expect to continue. That growth, combined with rising populations and a trend toward urbanization, requires more infrastructure.

2015-06-25 00:00:00 Inflation Outlook: Approaching Target by Mihir Worah of PIMCO

Over the next three to five years, PIMCO expects the global economy will continue along a New Neutral path in which major economies tend to drift along at modest growth rates. At our annual Secular Forum last month, our global investment professionals rigorously debated the longer-term, or secular, outlook for the global economy and markets, and the broad conclusions we reached are detailed in “The New Neutral Revisited.”

2015-06-24 00:00:00 Handicapping Bubbles and Shocks by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Kristina Hooper, US Investment Strategist for Allianz Global Investors, explains the results of the 2015 Allianz Global Investors RiskMonitor Survey, a global study of prevailing views on portfolio construction, asset allocation and risk among a cross-section of institutional investors.

2015-06-23 00:00:00 Richard Thaler’s “Misbehaving” and Implications for Investors and Advisors by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Richard Thaler is out with a new book, Misbehaving, tracing his career in behavioral economics. It offers an appealing combination of entertaining writing and serious discussion of the many areas he has researched. The book is a natural complement to Daniel Kahneman’s classic, Thinking, Fast and Slow. I’ll briefly compare these two books and then address what Thaler’s work says about two issues particularly important to financial advisors.

2015-06-23 00:00:00 Why VBINX is the Wrong Benchmark For Global Tactical Asset Allocation Strategies by Adam Butler, Michael Philbrick, Rodrigo Gordillo of BPG & Associates

We recently came across a couple of articles making the sensational claim that TAA is nothing more than a repackaged and dressed-up version of market timing. Both articles – and others, we’ve subsequently learned – point to a Morningstar study showing that TAA has underperformed the Vanguard U.S. 60/40 balanced fund over the past few years.

2015-06-23 00:00:00 Getting More from Low Market Volatility by Alex Barenboym of AllianceBernstein

Stocks still seem attractive, but it’s important to guard against a potential spike in market volatility. Today’s low-volatility environment happens to be a good time to shop for downside protection.

2015-06-22 00:00:00 Quantifying Risk by Bhavik Kothari of Diamond Hill Capital Management, Inc.

We view risk as the permanent loss of capital, and we manage risk to minimize the chances of a permanent loss of capital. In our view, risk generally falls into three broad categories – valuation risk (price that you pay), balance sheet risk (financial leverage) and business risk. While important, we believe that valuation and balance sheet risk can be mitigated through a disciplined investment process. Business risk, on the other hand, is more complex and covers many facets including competition, regulation, management execution, and capital allocation.

2015-06-20 00:00:00 Public Pensions: Live and Let Die by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

I am not sure if my heart was ever that much of an open book, but I like to think I’m still relatively young. Nevertheless, I must admit that sometimes I want to “give in and cry.” This is especially so when I look at our nation’s public pension funds.

2015-06-19 00:00:00 25 Things I Wish I Learned Before I Opened My First Brokerage Account by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Brett Arends had a great post about what he wished he’d learned before graduating high school. It was a great mix of financial nuggets, points about not wasting time or money and some other generally sound ideas. With a nod to Arends; things people should know about finance and investing before they start and should be reminded of every so often as they go along.

2015-06-19 00:00:00 Northern Trust Perspective by Jim McDonald of Northern Trust

While we expect U.S. growth to see some improvement from the slow start to the year, we think optimists are likely to be disappointed at the overall pace of growth. The U.S. economy has averaged 2.2% growth since the financial crisis, and we don't see a material acceleration during the near-to-intermediate term. The prospect of a pending increase in the Fed funds rate has contributed to a rise in interest rates and strengthening of the dollar, both of which serve as a constraint on growth. We also don't see much upside to the U.S. economy through materially better growth outside the U.S.

2015-06-18 00:00:00 Peter Lynch on Today by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Peter Lynch was one of the most successful stock pickers of all time. From 1977-1990, he managed the Fidelity Magellan fund and produced returns of 29.2% per year, besting the S&P 500 Index returns of 15.8%. The Magellan fund grew from $18 million to $19 billion in assets during that time period. What Lynch said about market timing and investor sentiment appears very useful to long-duration common stock owners like us.

2015-06-18 00:00:00 When Diversification Leads You To Higher Returns by Rajat Dhar of Cogent Advisory

It is the well-known fact that diversification reduces the portfolio risk. This article, however does not cover this topic, as it has been widely discussed and deliberated upon. This article presents a case where diversification within a single sector across different scrips actually lead to the phenomenal increase in the portfolio returns. This case becomes all the more important, when we have investors sitting on the ESOPs, whose vesting period is over; and hence so not uncover the actual potential of the of Portfolio Management.

2015-06-17 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: A Market Message for the Fed? by Jeffrey Miller of NewArc Investments, Inc.

While few expect a change in Fed policy at this week’s FOMC meeting, it will still be the center of attention. With last week’s interest rate jump, I expect the theme to be: Is the market sending the Fed a message?

2015-06-16 00:00:00 The Seven Dumbest Mistakes I Made as an Advisor by Robert J. Martorana (Article)

After 30 years in the advisory business, I’ve made plenty of mistakes. It is my hope that this article will help others avoid following in my errant footsteps.

2015-06-16 00:00:00 How the Wall Street Journal Can Help You Land Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

A financial advisor dramatically increased her closing rate after using a seven-question checklist from the Wall Street Journal to help prospects frame their decision making process to select an advisor.

2015-06-15 00:00:00 Bank Loans & High Yield: Conscious Uncoupling is Not Just for Celebrities by Cheryl Stober of Loomis Sayles

We have long believed that the bank loan market, as represented by the S&P/LSTA Leveraged Loan Index ("All Loans"), can be thought of as a true combination of high-quality loan risk and high yield bond risk.

2015-06-15 00:00:00 Don’t Follow The News? More Like Don’t Overreact To The News by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Tadas Viskanta has a great blog post up titled Make More By Doing (and listening) Less. The general tone of the article is the extent to which investors too frequently are influenced by stock market media enough that they make changes to their portfolio that end up being the wrong thing to have done.

2015-06-15 00:00:00 Credit Spreads Do Not Predict The Stock Market by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

We keep hearing that deteriorating credit spreads are heralding an important stock market top. The chart below, covering nearly a century of market data, does not support this view. While it’s true that credit spreads have widened in 2015, this condition has occurred frequently during healthy bull markets. There are too many false positives to justify a negative outlook based on this indicator.

2015-06-15 00:00:00 Is the European Insurance Sector in a State of Emergency? by Matthieu Louanges of PIMCO

Europe’s insurance industry has responded to profound challenges with a high degree of agility and innovation on both sides of their balance sheets.

2015-06-15 00:00:00 Bonds: Can’t Live With Them, but How Do You Live Without Them? by Joe Becker of Milliman Financial Risk Management

For generations of investors, conventional wisdom regarding managing portfolio risk relied on the cardinal rule of diversification. In its simplest form, this meant holding high quality bonds in an attempt to generate income, and offset volatility and drawdowns in the stock market.

2015-06-15 00:00:00 Muni CEFs by (Article)

For “tax-driven” investors, closed-end funds featuring municipal bonds may provide an attractive opportunity, says John Cole Scott of CEF Advisors.

2015-06-12 00:00:00 Alternative Investing: Two Ways to Mitigate Manager Risk by Walter Davis of Invesco Blog

Mitigating manager risk involves two things: 1. Conducting due diligence on the manager before investing. This helps increase an investor’s chances of selecting a successful manager. 2. Diversifying across multiple managers. This step helps reduce manager risk by diversifying across multiple managers.

2015-06-12 00:00:00 U.S. Economy Turns on the Afterburners-Is a Rate Hike Next? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

So when will rates be raised again? Next Wednesday the world will tune in to see if Fed Chair Janet Yellen can answer that question. Though it's anyone's guess what she'll say, there's no denying that many of the economic indicators the Fed is keeping an eye on have sharply improved lately.

2015-06-12 00:00:00 How Investors Are Positioned Heading Into Mid-Year by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

The latest data from the Federal Reserve and ICI, a company that measures equity money flows, show that US households have been aggressively adding to their equity exposure and reducing their cash. As the bull market has matured and investor confidence has increased, money has increasingly flowed to foreign equity markets, especially in 2015.

2015-06-12 00:00:00 Competitive Dynamics in the US Fund Management Industry by Steven Vannelli of GaveKal Capital

ETF Trends reported the other day that total ETF assets under management are expected to double by 2020, translating into roughly $740 billion per year of flows into ETFs (link to story here). If we look at just equity related ETFs, the growth dynamic is easy to see.

2015-06-11 00:00:00 Risky Business: Single-Manager Target-Date Funds by Daniel J. Loewy, Christopher Nikolich of AllianceBernstein

Target-date funds are the only big pool of assets overseen by fiduciaries that typically rely on single-manager solutions. Best practices—and our research—suggest a multi-manager approach is better.

2015-06-11 00:00:00 Global Investing is Changing by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

The global investing landscape is changing and your portfolio should as well. A strong US dollar can have significant consequences for US dollar-based investors' foreign exposure and now is the time to consider the impact currency can have in a global portfolio.

2015-06-11 00:00:00 When Following the Herd is Risky, Where is the Safety? by Zachary Karabell of Envestnet

Risk and safety. Safety and risk. In investing, as in life, balancing both is an ongoing challenge. We know intuitively that all of either one or the other rarely yields the results we want, but finding the right mix is easier said than done.

2015-06-09 00:00:00 The Surprising Reason You Lose Business by Daniel Solin (Article)

You have a meeting with an important prospect, and you believe you have demonstrated that you are ideally suited and should be retained. You leave the meeting confident that you have won over the prospect. Subsequently, the prospect contacts you with the disappointing news; she has decided to go in another direction. What happened?

2015-06-09 00:00:00 Precision in Your Retirement Short Game by Glenn Dial of Allianz Global Investors

Getting the asset allocation right as plan participants close in on retirement is critical, writes Glenn Dial, Head of US Retirement Strategy at Allianz Global Investors. And professional advice can help them find that pinpoint accuracy.

2015-06-08 00:00:00 Global Tactical Asset Allocation is More than Just Market Timing by Adam Butler, Michael Philbrick, Rodrigo Gordillo of BPG & Associates

In Part 1 of this series we explored why quality TAA strategies do not rely on ‘expert’ market calls, noting that the terms ‘discretionary’ and ‘tactical’ ought not to be viewed as two sides of the same coin. Rather, the best tactical managers increasingly use systematic approaches to harvest persistent risk premia from factors such as ‘value’ and ‘momentum.’ This article will show why investors should not equate TAA with market timing.

2015-06-08 00:00:00 Is the Air Getting Thin for Japanese Stocks? by Katsuaki Ogata, Masahide Ooka of AllianceBernstein

The rapid surge of Japanese equities in recent years has left many investors worried that they may have missed the bus. We believe big changes underway can support further profitability improvements and push the market higher.

2015-06-05 00:00:00 America Is Woefully Unprepared for Retirement by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Solutions are elusive. We cannot turn back the clock and increase our saving rates or invest with the benefit of hindsight. But from here forward, we need to take a hard look at the structure of public and private retirement systems and reinforce financial literacy among beneficiaries.

2015-06-04 00:00:00 Policy Myths: Reconnecting Investors with Useful Insights by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

There is a great deal of useful investment research that can help make investors better off. Too often, however, it is misinterpreted or misapplied in ways that prevent investors from realizing the benefits. The role of asset allocation in the investment process is one notable example.

2015-06-03 00:00:00 Global Tactical Asset Allocation: Just the Facts (Part 1) by Adam Butler, Michael Philbrick, Rodrigo Gordillo of BPG & Associates

We recently came across a couple of articles making the sensational claim that TAA is nothing more than a repackaged and dressed-up version of market timing. Both articles – and others, we’ve subsequently learned – point to a Morningstar study showing that TAA has underperformed the Vanguard U.S. 60/40 balanced fund over the past few years.

2015-06-02 00:00:00 Why Emotions and Bias Trump Facts by Daniel Solin (Article)

This interesting article on the role emotions play in making sales revealed some fascinating insights that savvy advisors can utilize.

2015-06-02 00:00:00 Working In Retirement Is A Hope? by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

In this scenario their nest egg increases significantly and their monthly expense goes down a fair bit and keep in mind Wheelhaus is very expensive in this realm. There is a resort in Wilson, WY that has a bunch of these from Wheelhaus, we’ve seen them first hand which is how I know about it at all and they are stunning so this sort of downsizing does not have to mean a double wide trailer at ground zero for some future tornado.

2015-06-02 00:00:00 Are Bond Investors Crying Wolf? by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

Since we last wrote to you there has been quite a dramatic increase in interest rates in most markets and in Germany in particular. In this letter we look into whether this is the beginning of something much bigger. For those of you with too little time on your hands we conclude that it is NOT. Economic growth will stay low for many years to come, and central banks have no intention of suddenly flooding the bond market with sell orders.

2015-05-29 00:00:00 Capital Sigma: The Sum of the Various Sources of Advisor-Created Value by Jianan Du, Yinsi Qi, Brandon Thomas, Janis Zvingelis of Envestnet

An ongoing debate among investment advisors and their clients centers on value: creating it, preserving it, and perpetuating it. Each faces a different challenge: Advisors are tasked with delivering worth to their clients, and clients need to understand what they can expect for the dollars they spend.

2015-05-28 00:00:00 How Much Should We Invest in Emerging Markets? by Dr. Burton Malkiel of WaveFront Capital Management

Investors today are significantly underexposed to emerging markets; fortunately, the opportunity to correct this flaw is the best in years.

2015-05-28 00:00:00 Is Now a Good Time to Add More Risk? by Alan Hartley of Black Cypress Capital Management

About this time in a market cycle, after several years of strong stock market returns, there is a tendency for investors to become more tolerant of risk. One may find his or herself questioning the reasoning behind their current asset allocation and strongly considering adding more stocks and other “risk” assets to their portfolio.

2015-05-28 00:00:00 Tantrum Potential at Home, Opportunity Overseas by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

U.S. equities continue to climb, but BlackRock Global Chief Investment Strategist, Russ Koesterich, discusses why the best opportunities may reside outside the United States, which, in fact, has been the case so far this year.

2015-05-28 00:00:00 Half Full or Half Empty by Herbert Abramson, Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

The ultimate question for investors. Is the glass half full, that is to say are economic backdrops improving to support attractive valuations, or to the contrary, half empty, deteriorating and threatening full valuations?

2015-05-27 00:00:00 Macro Is Not the Markets: The Global Economy and the Resulting Investment Environment by Jeremy DeGroot of Litman Gregory

In a recent client Q&A event, Litman Gregory chief investment officer Jeremy DeGroot shared his thoughts on the global economy. He pointed out that, historically, macroeconomic cycles and financial-market cycles have not coincided, which has implications for asset allocation. Investors need to analyze the stock market separately from the economy.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 For Bond Investors, The Timing of Liftoff Matters by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Kristina Hooper, US Investment Strategist for Allianz Global Investors, breaks down last week's FOMC minutes and public remarks from Fed Chair Janet Yellen. Find out why the path of rate hikes and the timing of tightening both matter.

2015-05-27 00:00:00 Do Record Stock Highs Signal a Top? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

With the U.S. stock market hitting a new record high every week, are we close to the bull market's top? Russ and an investment strategist on his team, Kurt Reiman, weigh in.

2015-05-26 00:00:00 Why 'Smart Beta' Is Really Dumb by Michael Edesess (Article)

What does smart beta mean? Does it deserve the attention it is getting from the market and academia?

2015-05-26 00:00:00 Disproving the Four Themes Behind Gold Bearishness by Trey Reik (Article)

The resurgent bear thesis for gold rests on four key assumptions. Because each of these assumptions is already in the process of being disproved, Western investment demand for gold will surge dramatically in coming years.

2015-05-23 00:00:00 Rate Hike Ahead? Here’s How to Get Your Portfolio Ready by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Many experts and analysts believe a June rate hike seems very unlikely, but today, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen hinted that one might happen as soon as the end of this year.

2015-05-23 00:00:00 The Affordable Care Act and Low Interest Rates: A One-Two Punch for Health Insurance Portfolios by Chitrang K. Purani and Georgi Popov of PIMCO

Two common themes emerged from a recent PIMCO survey of U.S. health insurers: Underwriting performance will be a larger factor in asset allocation, and there will be more emphasis on liquidity and income. For now, health insurers generally expect increased premium volumes and shifts in insured profiles as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Re-examining investment policies and tiering liquid assets can help investment portfolios maintain flexibility while potentially contributing more to the bottom line.

2015-05-23 00:00:00 Investor Opinions Have Become Extremely Uniform, And That's Not Good by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Investor opinions have become extremely uniform. By some measures, they are the most uniform in 25 years. In the past, this has corresponded to a period where equities have lacked significant upside momentum. That appears to be a quite likely outcome until investors become more varied in their market outlook than they are today.

2015-05-23 00:00:00 Northern Trust Perspective by Jim McDonald of Northern Trust

Our monthly Perspective newsletter keeps you apprised of current market and economic conditions across an array of topics including: US, European and Asian markets, global real estate and commodities.

2015-05-23 00:00:00 The Great Beta Hoax: Not an Accurate Measure of Risk After All by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Beta is a rearview mirror statistic that is based solely on an analysis of its price history. To the prudent fundamental oriented value investor, statistics can never substitute for serious analysis and due diligence. Comprehensive research based on fundamentals will serve investors far better in the long run.

2015-05-21 00:00:00 Is an Index Impassive? by Dianne Lob of AllianceBernstein

Passive investments continue to gain popularity, generate record flows and grab headlines. We understand the appeal. But investors must also consider some of the risks of tethering their fortunes to a benchmark.

2015-05-21 00:00:00 Slow Growth: A Tale of Two Theories by Shane Shepherd of Research Affiliates

Global demand is dragging. Savings far exceeds investment. The combination is a surefire recipe for long-term low to negative growth in the developed markets—and core U.S. asset returns of 1% or lower over the next decade.

2015-05-21 00:00:00 Time to Go Active by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

Earlier this week we saw one of the major financial publications feature an article about how active management has outperformed passive management so far in 2015. While their article and data focused on equity funds, we believe that the same sort of opportunity for active fixed income managers exists over the balance of 2015.

2015-05-21 00:00:00 The Great Beta Hoax: Not an Accurate Measure of Risk After All by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Every investor is concerned with risk at some level. Arguably investors in retirement are and should be concerned with risk the most. However, not every investor looks at or defines risk in the same way. In truth and fact, there is a wide gap between how various segments in the financial community define and view the complex subject risk.

2015-05-20 00:00:00 Economy is "Good Enough" for Stocks by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

With economic data remaining mixed, BlackRock Global Chief Investment Strategist, Russ Koesterich, discusses why investors should continue to favor stocks over bonds.

2015-05-20 00:00:00 Reducing Inflation Risk During Retirement: The Compelling Case for Stocks by Joe Becker of Milliman Financial Risk Management

In April 2005, (when interest rates were arguably more normal than they’ve been during the low-rate, post-crisis economy, steered by the Federal Reserve) an investor could have purchased a 10-year Treasury bond with a yield to maturity of 4.4%. That represented an attractive boost over the dividend yield of the S&P 500 Index, which at the time was 1.9%.

2015-05-19 00:00:00 Active Equities Don’t Have to Be Riskier by Kent Hargis, Chris Marx of AllianceBernstein

Many investors are throwing in the towel on active equity management in the name of evading risk. But being active doesn’t always mean accepting higher risk. Consider, for instance, the benefits of even-tempered stocks.

2015-05-18 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Will the Interest Rate Spike Threaten Stock Prices? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

This week’s economic calendar includes the most important housing data, but the market context will prove irresistible to the pundits. Stocks continue at the top of the trading range, and even broke through for a few minutes. Even more interesting is the bond market. Interest rates decisively broke their trading range and also showed a lot of volatility.

2015-05-16 00:00:00 Align the Design: Considering and Evaluating Target-Date Glide Paths by Stacy Schaus and Ying Gao of PIMCO

Few responsibilities are as important to defined contribution (DC) plan sponsors as selecting a default glide path that best maximizes a participant’s odds of retiring on time and with sufficient lifetime income. The goal, put simply, is to maximize asset returns while minimizing volatility relative to the retirement liability – precisely what Objective-Aligned Glide Paths aim to achieve.

2015-05-15 00:00:00 UK Election Result Fuels Vote for Smaller Stocks by Alan Connery, Liliana Castillo Dearth of AllianceBernstein

Britain’s Conservative party’s election win has buoyed smaller companies. The vote of confidence offers an opportunity to take a closer look at UK small- and mid-cap (SMID) stocks, which are highly profitable versus European peers.

2015-05-15 00:00:00 Taper Tantrum Redux by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

After a brief reprieve at the end of last week (May 4–8, 2015), the global bond sell-off resumed Monday, May 11, 2015, with 10- and 30-year Treasury yields rising to year-to-date highs of 2.28% and 3.04%, respectively. Treasury yields have now broken out of their recent ranges and have done so quickly.

2015-05-15 00:00:00 Close to Retirement and Under-Saved, What Should You Do? by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

A blog post from the Wall Street Journal back in February noted that “the typical working household with a 401(k) approaching retirement had only $111,000 in a 401(k) and IRA.” There are plenty of articles floating around in the last couple of years lamenting how low retirement balances are. If $111,000 is right, that would be one of the higher averages published (obviously it is all in how the data is collected and who is surveyed but that is not the point of this post).

2015-05-15 00:00:00 Beyond the Active vs. Passive Debate by Robert Cron of Bronfman E.L. Rothschild

The active versus passive debate is a hot topic in the financial media. That’s no surprise given recent performance and a dramatic shift in investors’ preferences. For several years, the average passively managed fund has outperformed the average actively managed fund.

2015-05-14 00:00:00 The Momentum Mob by Keith McCullough of Hedgeye Risk Management

In markets, the momentum mob constantly cares about one thing – #charts. Lots and lots and lots of charts. The linear moving average ones are the simplest to scare you with.

2015-05-14 00:00:00 Risk Parity: Reducing Our Bond Exposure by Scott Wolle of Invesco Blog

Every month, the portfolio management team for the Invesco Balanced-Risk Allocation strategy examines the market’s signals for stocks, bonds and commodities, and makes tactical adjustments in an effort to enhance returns. In recent weeks, our tactical signals for government bonds have led us to substantially reduce our exposure and adopt an underweight position.

2015-05-13 00:00:00 The Happening by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

“The Happening” . . . except in this case I am not referring to the 1967 movie, whose title song was sung by the Supremes, but last Thursday’s “Friends of Fermentation” (FOF) gathering at Bobby Van’s across from the NYSE.

2015-05-13 00:00:00 Stocks Look Expensive…and Still Attractive by Ilya Figelman of AllianceBernstein

Developed-market equity valuations seem a bit expensive today—but we still think they’re worth an overweight in multi-asset strategies. A wider view shows that stocks remain attractive globally.

2015-05-13 00:00:00 CEF Yield by (Article)

If you’re looking for yield, closed-end funds may interest you, says John Cole Scott of CEF Advisors. But remember, CEF distributions may change.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 The Best Approach to Adjustable Retirement Withdrawals by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

A great deal of recent research has focused on strategies that adjust withdrawals in retirement depending on investment experience. But such strategies disrupt retirement plans by causing withdrawals to vary a lot from year to year. I'll examine the prominent approaches for determining what will work best for clients.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 Louis-Vincent Gave: The World's Most Crowded Trade by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Investors are paid to adapt, not to forecast, according to Louis-Vincent Gave, and three changes are occurring globally that all portfolios must accommodate. One of them is a position that is missing from virtually every investor's allocation.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 The Future of Investing ESG Portfolios: Changing Beliefs, Perceptions and Goals by Sponsored Content by ClearBridge Investments (Article)

Investing consistent with environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles can no longer be dismissed as a short-term fad. Assets under management are growing steadily, accompanied by a rise in the number and type of investment options across asset classes. Clearbridge's research explores how institutions are investing with impact today.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 A Wild Ride for Global Bond Yields by Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

Bond yields in key markets around the world have been on something of a roller-coaster ride, moving up quickly in recent months. Ten-year Treasury rates closed at 2.28% on May 11, up from 1.65% at the end of January.

2015-05-11 00:00:00 Economic & Capital Market Summary – First Quarter 2015 by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

Our belief is that a market is simply a clearinghouse for the price of risk and the quantitative easing programs of the central banks of developed countries are distorting the price of risk in our capital markets. As a result, valuations in bonds, stocks, real estate and other assets are distorted.

2015-05-11 00:00:00 Strategic Allocaiton to High Yield Corporate Bonds – Why Now? by Matthew Kennedy of Rainier Investment Management

The demand for higher yielding fixed income investments has never been greater. In the current environment of low yields, from the virtually non-existent rate offered on savings accounts and CDs to the declining, and in some cases negative, yields on global government debt securities, investors are searching for attractive income¬ generating alternatives.

2015-05-11 00:00:00 Taming Longevity Risk by Patrick Drum of Saturna Capital

"In spite of the cost of living, it's still popular." - Kathleen Norris. These words offered by Kathleen Norris decades ago carry more weight than ever before, particularly within the realm of financial planning and saving for retirement.

2015-05-08 00:00:00 Follow the Smart Money: How the Pros Are Trading Right Now by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

No matter what profession you’re in, no matter what sport or hobby is important to you, chances are good you keep track of what the top professionals are up to. More often than not, they’re the smartest ones in the room. They’re the innovators, the thought leaders, and it pays to keep up with their decisions, behavior and opinions.

2015-05-08 00:00:00 The Shocking Truth About Share Buybacks by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

The value and benefits, or lack thereof, of share buybacks to the future fortunes of a company and their shareholders is one of the most hotly debated subjects on popular financial blogs such as Seeking Alpha. Unfortunately, at least based on my own personal experience, most of the arguments are predicated on opinions and beliefs in lieu of the facts.

2015-05-08 00:00:00 Americans Take 3-Trillion-Mile Road Trip, Dollar Corrects and Commodities Rebound by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The busy summer travel season is at our doorstep, starting this Mother’s Day weekend, and with that comes stronger fuel demand.

2015-05-08 00:00:00 Threats To Worry About, And Those To Ignore, In This Equity Market by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Understanding where headwinds lie is not academic. If macro or financials were the main headwinds, we would expect this bull market to be near an end. That it has more to do with sentiment and valuation implies that a reset in equity prices (lower) will likely set up the next leg higher in 2015 and 2016.

2015-05-06 00:00:00 Laddered Bond Portfolios: Built to Perform in Rising Rate Environments by Josh Yafa of Thornburg Investment Management

As the Federal Reserve prepares to embark on a path of interest rate policy normalization, fixed income investors are finally facing the beginning of a cycle they have feared for the better part of a decade. Yet with answers come more questions, and while investors can reasonably expect a series of Federal Funds rate increases (hereafter, “Fed Funds”), the pace, magnitude, and ripple effects on various segments of the broader fixed income market are open to interpretation.

2015-05-05 00:00:00 Spring Cleaning: Time to Throw Out Some Old Asset Allocation Advice by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

Many investors and advisors alike rest assured that the risk of stocks diminishes considerably as the holding period increases. This is only partly right as it overlooks a significant and extremely relevant risk.

2015-05-05 00:00:00 How to Dress for a Rainy Day by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

The answer is the Lollapalooza effect. The question you may recall from last month’s Absolute Return Letter - what’s the opposite of a perfect storm, or put another way, what do you call it when an unusual combination of constructive factors creates an outcome which is extraordinarily positive? A reader was kind enough to provide the answer, which was coined by Charles Munger years ago. As a non-American, the answer was at first complete gobbledygook to me, but a quick Google search convinced me that the answer is absolutely legitimate. Thank you.

2015-05-04 00:00:00 On My Radar: “The Rodney Dangerfield Expansion” by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

"Earnings don't move the overall market; it’s the Federal Reserve board. And whatever you do, focus on the central banks and focus on the movement of liquidity. Most people in the market are looking for earnings and conventional measures. It's liquidity that moves markets." - Stan Druckenmiller

2015-04-30 00:00:00 Analysts Love to Talk about China but Should Focus on South Korea by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

This week Professor Siegel and Jeremy Schwartz chatted with Jeff Weniger, Investment Strategist at BMO Global Asset Management. We spoke at length about the impact of the U.S. dollar on global markets. I found our conversation about the impact of easy monetary policy on economies such as China and South Korea particularly noteworthy.

2015-04-30 00:00:00 Finding Opportunities in Dividend Paying Equities by (Article)

Alex Crooke provides a portfolio and economic update for the Henderson Global Equity Income Fund (HFQAX). Alex notes that he is currently favoring defensive sectors on valuations as well as income and has been increasing the Fund’s allocation to Europe. Broadly speaking, Alex sees the world growing at a reasonable rate with unemployment is falling in many markets which should lead to better/greater consumer spending. He notes that though equity prices are higher than they have been, there is still good value and strong dividend growth in many sectors and regions.

2015-04-30 00:00:00 Breaking Out of Bondage by Ben Inker of GMO

In a new quarterly letter to GMO's institutional clients, co-head of asset allocation Ben Inker provides the basis for future bond returns: "For while it is unlikely that stock investors are going to achieve anything like as strong a return over the next 30 years as they did over the last, it is basically impossible for bond investors to duplicate their feat." ("Breaking Out of Bondage").

2015-04-28 00:00:00 Five Words that Shape Client Behavior by Dan Richards (Article)

Financial advisors know the difficulty of getting clients to do the right things. Clients often fail to diversify portfolios, rebalance out-of-whack allocations or discuss inheritance plans with adult children. These behaviors undermine long-term outcomes. But five words can put the right default behavior in place.

2015-04-28 00:00:00 Reasonable Expectations, Warren Buffett and Active Management by Michael Crook (Article)

According to the ongoing SPIVA analyses, most equity mutual fund managers have failed to keep up with their respective benchmarks recently. In fact, roughly 60% of domestic managers and 65-70% of international managers underperformed in 2014 - a phenomenon that most investors observed in their own portfolios. But that is not a reason to abandon active management, assuming you own active managers for the right reasons.

2015-04-25 00:00:00 Why International Diversification Matters Today by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

The tendency of U.S. investors to invest close to home is understandable, but it’s not optimal. Russ has three reasons why international diversification matters now more than ever for U.S. investors.

2015-04-24 00:00:00 China's First SOE Default: More to Come? by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

A power equipment maker just became China’s first state-owned company to default on domestic debt. Is this a strategic move by the central government to further liberalize its capital markets, and to reform its state-owned enterprises?

2015-04-22 00:00:00 How Organization Promotes Successful Outcomes by Patty Quinn McAuley of Clark Capital Management Group

By delivering a realistic road map to clients, illustrating their financial future, you can help them remain confident and on course toward successful outcomes.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 The Best Asset Allocation for Retirees by David Blanchett (Article)

In this article, I determine the optimal glide path for retirees using varying initial bond yields and stock market valuations.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 Closing the Retirement Gender Gap by Jeff Briskin (Article)

New research shows how a lack of "retirement readiness" puts many women at risk of financial hardship during their retirement years, especially since most will outlive their spouses.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 The Charge Of The Monetary Light Brigade - Neosho Capital On The European Central Bank And Negative by Chris Richey of Neosho Capital

A paper on European Monetary Easing, which we feel is a well-meaning, but misguided effort, to solve demographic, cultural, and political problems with massive monetary manipulations of exchange rates and securities markets.

2015-04-20 00:00:00 On My Radar: The Speech at Lost Tree Club by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

You and I are in a tough business. It is based on probabilities and involves imperfection. The mismatch between customer expectations and practical reality is challenging. Art Cashin said, That to survive 50 years in this business, you learn that the first thing you do when you enter a room is look for the exit sign. It is with this thinking that I also share a great piece on investing and risk from Ned Davis.

2015-04-20 00:00:00 Picking Stocks in the Tech Sector by Chaitanya Yaramada of Robert W. Baird & Co.

Technology is an important sector for growth portfolios - it carries a significant weight in major growth benchmarks, and more importantly, tends to be a ripe area for stock picking. The technology sector represents nearly 15% of the Russell Midcap Growth benchmark and 24% of the Russell 3000 Growth benchmark. The percentage is even higher when including Internet stocks that are categorized into the Consumer Discretionary sector.

2015-04-18 00:00:00 Today's NFP Miss Means Little For Equities and The Economy by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Failed sell offs lead to failed rallies. This has been the recurrent pattern for the past four months. There is unlikely to be a sustained move higher until there is a more complete sell off lower. Risk remains to the downside.

2015-04-15 00:00:00 Market Overview Q115 by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

One consequence of loose monetary policy and financial repression is that market participants stop “making judgments for themselves” which exacerbates procyclical behavior. At the same time, high levels of debt weaken the ability of the economic and financial systems to absorb shocks which creates a fragile situation. Although this environment is difficult for almost all investors, it will favor those who can think and act independently.

2015-04-15 00:00:00 Managing Risk by Jeffery Saut of Raymond James

Most people acknowledge that losses will happen regardless of the type of business venture. A light bulb manufacturer knows that two out of three hundred bulbs will break. A fruit dealer knows that two out of one hundred apples will rot. Losses per se don’t bother them; unexpected losses and losing on balance does. Acknowledging that losses are part of business is one thing; taking and accepting those losses in the markets is something else entirely. In the markets, people tend to have difficulty actively taking losses. This is because all losses are treated as failure; in every other area o

2015-04-14 00:00:00 New Research: Reverse Mortgages, SPIAs and Retirement Income by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Retirees need longevity protection and additional funds. Annuities and reverse mortgages can meet those needs. While annuities have been researched extensively, reverse mortgages haven't received as much attention. We need research on how to fit these two products together in overall retirement plans. I'll launch that effort here.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Not-So-Great Expectations: Why Real Interest Rates Won’t Soar by Shane Shepherd of Research Affiliates

In a recent piece from Research Affiliates, Shane Shepherd, Senior Vice President, Head of Macro Research, looks at the consensus on interest rates: they are set to fly. But if, as Research Affiliates expects, savings accelerate and real GDP grows slowly, then interest rates won’t rise very much anytime soon.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 The Case for Not Currency Hedging Foreign Equity Investments: A U.S. Investor’s Perspective by Catherine LeGraw of GMO

In a new white paper, Catherine LeGraw of GMO's asset allocation team explains GMO's approach to currency hedging, a topic which has gained relevance as the U.S. dollar has strengthened.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Second Quarter Market Commentary 2015 by The CCR Wealth Management Investment Committee of CCR Wealth Management

Over a year ago in our January 2014 Outlook commentary, we cited European markets as attractively priced relative to the US equity markets. Most market observers at the time were expecting a nascent recovery from the 2012 EU recession to get a boost from the European Central Bank (ECB). We even boosted our non-US developed market (and European-specific) allocation—though cautiously—in anticipation. Please note that we still think these markets are most attractively valued.

2015-04-13 00:00:00 Liquid Alternative Strategies as Mutual Funds by Michael Winchell of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

The recent growth of mutual funds offering a wide array of liquid alternative strategies has raised questions among many advisors about the possible drawbacks of attempting alternative strategies within a 1940 Act vehicle.

2015-04-12 00:00:00 Are We Doomed to Weaker Growth by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart

Any rally still faces strong headwinds. With a PE of 20.47, equities are already expensive. The strong dollar and weaker overseas economies are hampering general earnings growth while oil’s price drop is decimating the energy sector. And the percentage of NASDAQ and NYSE stocks about the 50 day EMA is approaching overbought levels. Without a meaningful change in either the earnings or valuation environment, any advance appears limited to at most 5%. That places a premium of stock picking and allocation.

2015-04-10 00:00:00 An Open Letter to the Eurozone by Harley Bassman of PIMCO

As it has once again become fashionable to send an open letter to foreign dignitaries, now is certainly a propitious moment to help focus attention upon dissolving a perplexing financial impediment. For while limiting nuclear proliferation and reducing armed conflict are headline grabbers, the more mundane topic of cleansing the channels of global finance is in fact a public policy good that can create a positive social impact in real time. As such, I now respectfully offer my thoughts on ways to enhance the effectiveness of the current policy path.

2015-04-10 00:00:00 China for Sale? by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

In recent years, some China watchers have been wondering where the “smart money” is going? How telling are the real estate transactions of the region’s tycoons? And do concerns still exist over the growth in loans to the corporate sector? Matthews Asia’s CIO Robert Horrocks, PhD, explores.

2015-04-10 00:00:00 Buybacks Are Not Just an Accounting Trick by Joseph Paul of AllianceBernstein

As if on cue, news of record buyback authorizations earlier this year unleashed a torrent of media coverage denouncing them as nothing more than an accounting sleight of hand. We think the reaction has been pretty extreme.

2015-04-09 00:00:00 It’s Time to Make Taxes Less Taxing by Michael Allison, Peter Crowley, Jim Evans, Tom Metzold, Rey Santodomingo of Eaton Vance

Can a strategy based on asset allocation, asset location and asset management increase the tax efficiency of your portfolio?

2015-04-08 00:00:00 The 'Perfect Storm' by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

This month's Absolute Return Letter is about the highly unusual set of circumstances which have underpinned the equity bull market of the last 35 years. Not one of the factors we identify did exceptionally well - they all did and, between them, they created the perfect breeding ground for exceptional equity performance. So far so good. Unfortunately a reality check is required as it is exceedingly unlikely that those circumstances will be repeated in our lifetime. We should prepare for more modest returns ahead.

2015-04-08 00:00:00 Dalbar: Why Investors Suck And Tips For Advisors by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Dalbar just recently released their 21st annual Quantitative Analysis Of Investor Behavior study which continues to show just how poorly investors perform relative to market benchmarks over time and the reasons for that underperformance.

2015-04-07 00:00:00 Behind Arnott's Strategy for PIMCO's All Asset Funds by John Coumarianos (Article)

If you thought a stretch of subpar performance would shake a fund manager's confidence, you'd be wrong in the case of Rob Arnott. Through Research Affiliates, his Newport Beach firm most famous for its fundamental indexing strategies, Arnott manages PIMCO's All Asset funds. These include PIMCO All Asset (PAAIX) and PIMCO All Asset All Authority (PAUIX).

2015-04-07 00:00:00 A Q1 Letter to Clients: Ben Bernanke on Interest Rates by Dan Richards (Article)

Every quarter since 2008, I have posted a template for a client letter. This letter can be used as a starting point to provide an overview of the period that just ended and thoughts looking forward. This quarter's letter addresses questions from clients about why interest rates are so low and when they are likely to rise.

2015-04-07 00:00:00 Bullseye: Abe and the Japanese Equity Market by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

Earlier this year, I articulated my thesis in this publication discussing how the developed markets would outperform the developing markets for the foreseeable future. I have grown to believe that Japan is in the nascent stage of a massive multiyear bull run – the likes we haven’t seen since the US market climbed from the painful declines of 2008-2009.

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 Weighing the Week Ahead: Correction Looming? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

After a week loaded with economic data there are plenty of fresh economic worries. In addition, the Fed seems ready to act in spite of some weak data. This means that good news is (finally) good news, and bad news will be bad. For economic and market skeptics, it signals a market shift that they see as long overdue.

2015-04-06 00:00:00 Stock-Flow Accounting and the Coming $10 Trillion Loss in Paper Wealth by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The failure to recognize that stock-flow consistency must hold in the economy and the financial markets is the basis for an enormous amount of misunderstanding in both fields. That omission of clear thinking about the link between economics and finance contributes to misguided policies that ignore the impact of financial distortions on the real economy, and invite speculation, malinvestment, and ultimately financial crisis.

2015-04-04 00:00:00 High-Yield Bonds: Equity-Like Returns Without Equity-Like Volatility by Michael Weilheimer, Steve Concannon, Will Reardon of Eaton Vance

Can an allocation to high-yield bonds help moderate the volatility in your portfolio without having to sacrifice return potential?

2015-04-02 00:00:00 Convertibles Address Multiple Investor Needs by John P. Calamos, Sr. of Calamos Investments

I began investing in convertible securities during the 1970s, and since then, I’ve seen an exciting evolution of the asset class—from little-known securities to a global asset class totaling approximately $342 billion USD today, including issues from household-name companies worldwide. Clearly, what began as an “alternative investment” has become much more mainstream.

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 The Final Say on Spending Rules by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)

After decades of focused research, why can't finance experts decide on a safe withdrawal rate for retirement? It is time to refocus this debate by asking a slightly different question: Is there a spending rule that retirees can use over a fixed time horizon? There is and I call it "the only spending rule you will ever need."

2015-03-31 00:00:00 The Not-So-Hidden Risks in REITs by Keith Jurow (Article)

With most investors confident that equity REITs are a sure bet to continue their upward momentum, now is an excellent time to carefully examine whether this ebullience is justified. Let's see what the conditions in the real-estate market mean for valuations in several of the largest REITs, as well as two of the ETFs that hold them - IYR and VNQ.

2015-03-31 00:00:00 Are You Building a Harley Davidson Practice? by Teresa Riccobuono (Article)

Harley Davidson is the only company I know of whose customers permanently tattoo its name on their body. What is it that makes Harley Davidson customers want to show their support in this way? Bad-boy image, reputation, quality products, exceptional service?

2015-03-31 00:00:00 Convertibles Address Multiple Investor Needs by John Calamos, Sr of Calamos Investments

I began investing in convertible securities during the 1970s, and since then, I’ve seen an exciting evolution of the asset class—from little-known securities to a global asset class totaling approximately $342 billion USD today, including issues from household-name companies worldwide. Clearly, what began as an “alternative investment” has become much more mainstream.

2015-03-31 00:00:00 Should Liquid Alts Be Part of the Core Allocation? by Michael Winchell of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

Many advisors may view alternative investments as diversifiers in portfolios: satellite investments added to a portfolio of stocks and bonds in an attempt to “hedge,” or counterbalance a specific risk the advisor believes is not completely addressed by the stock/bond core. For example, real assets such as gold and real estate are alternatives that may be added to portfolios for inflation protection because advisors expect real assets to rise in value with any overall increase in wages and prices.

2015-03-30 00:00:00 Should Liquid Alts Be Part of the Core Allocation? by Michael Winchell of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

Many advisors may view alternative investments as diversifiers in portfolios: satellite investments added to a portfolio of stocks and bonds in an attempt to “hedge,” or counterbalance a specific risk the advisor believes is not completely addressed by the stock/bond core. For example, real assets such as gold and real estate are alternatives that may be added to portfolios for inflation protection because advisors expect real assets to rise in value with any overall increase in wages and prices.

2015-03-27 00:00:00 Woe Betide the Value Investor by Jason Hsu, Vivek Viswanathan of Research Affiliates

The excess return earned by the average investor in value mutual funds was meaningfully negative over a 23-year period when the funds themselves outperformed the market. Why don’t all value investors benefit from the value premium?

2015-03-27 00:00:00 Global Asset Allocation Shifts by Alexander Giryavets of Dynamika Capital L.L.C.

A couple of days ago BIS (Bank of International Settlements) released a seminal research piece “Global Asset Allocation Shifts” in which authors explain that weekly institutional and retail portfolio reallocations (not just fund flows) of U.S. investors are 90% driven by two factors easily identified as Yen (Risk On/Off) and Dollar factors hence reaffirming our Global Macro Framework. They also explore systematic predictability of these factors in great details.

2015-03-27 00:00:00 A Deeper Look at Smart Beta in Fixed Income by Sara Shores of BlackRock

While most tend to think of smart beta as a tool for stock portfolios, there are ways to apply it to bonds. Sara Shores shares a smart beta approach to balancing interest rate and credit risk.

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 In US Small-Caps, Quality Is on Sale by James MacGregor of AllianceBernstein

Investors who wanted safety and certainty last year mostly shunned smaller-cap US stocks. As a result, many high-quality names are now on sale. With US growth likely to accelerate in 2015, we think these domestically oriented smaller-cap companies may turn out to be a real bargain.

2015-03-26 00:00:00 OFR: Assessing The Risk Of Overvalued Markets by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

A Review Of The Office Of Financial Research report on valuation risks and consequences.

2015-03-26 00:00:00 Rates and Bonds by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

So at long last we know whether the word “patient” stays or goes: it’s gone and Treasury yields have actually declined as a result. So far this year we have seen rates go from a 2015 low of 1.19% on the 5-year and 1.68% on the 10-year on February 2nd, and then spike a month later at 1.70% and 2.24%, respectively, on March 6th. So an over 50bps move in a month all over the worry about the word “patient” and whether rates will rise as early as June. Only for rates to fall after the statement was released and the key word removed.

2015-03-25 00:00:00 The Dollar Isn't the Peso Anymore (Part II) by Richard Bernstein of Eaton Vance

In May 2013, Richard wrote a report titled “The Dollar isn’t the Peso anymore.” He rebutted the argument that the U.S. dollar (USD) was weak. The data showed that the USD had actually troughed in the spring of 2008. For seven years now, the USD has been gaining strength and is today a standout among the world’s currencies.

2015-03-25 00:00:00 Signs of a Normalizing Market by Chris Clark of The Royce Funds

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the Fed's monetary stimulus programs had the unintended effect of suspending the historically typical functioning of capital markets in terms of the productive and destructive uses of capital. Today, the fiscal climate is beginning to change. President and Co-Chief Investment Officer Chris Clark takes a look at what's happening in the current market and talks about why our discipline could be rewarded in the foreseeable future.

2015-03-24 00:00:00 How do Deferred-Income Annuities Stack Up Against Rival Products? by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Deferred-income annuities (DIAs) have received a lot of attention with new Treasury Department regulations encouraging their use. Many tout them as providing the most cost-effective way to generate retirement income. But retirement products are not one-size-fits-all. I'll show where DIAs fit among the products and investment solutions available to advisors.

2015-03-24 00:00:00 Two Approaches to Landing New Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

What does it take to build a high-performance team? My analysis shows that the best advisors follow two distinct approaches.

2015-03-24 00:00:00 A New Playbook for Diversification by Chris Arthur of Eaton Vance

Is an active/passive/smart beta strategy the future of diversification? Chris Arthur, CFA, sees a growing need for a new approach and explains how this one works.

2015-03-24 00:00:00 The Active Passive Debate Evolves by Necessity by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Daily Alts took a stab at the topic of evolving asset allocation and the blurring of the line between active and passive citing work/theory done by Eaton Vance. As a starting point, and something we’ve been talking about here for several years, the basic 60/40 may be losing some of its effectiveness especially on the 40 side, the fixed income portion, because interest rates are so low and as we learned from the most recent Fed statement may stay lower for longer. The article also considered a blurring of the line between active and passive management.

2015-03-23 00:00:00 Monetary Policy and the Economy: The Case for Rules Versus Discretion by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Deviations in monetary policy from what one would have predicted (using past non-monetary variables alone) have zero correlation or ability to explain subsequent GDP growth (versus the levels that would have been predicted by past non-monetary variables alone). In other words, once we allow for the component of monetary policy captured by a fixed linear rule (the Taylor Rule comes close – and currently indicates an appropriate Fed funds rate of about 3% here), one can find no evidence in the historical record that additional activist monetary policy is useful.

2015-03-23 00:00:00 Dividend Value Investing: No Time for Suspension of Disbelief by Meggan Walsh of Invesco Blog

When Hollywood tells a story, the expectation is that viewers are willing to suspend disbelief to fully immerse themselves in the plot. But when the market tells a story, suspending disbelief may result in overly complacent investors who blithely ignore the potential downside risk of a profit cycle in its later stages, which we see today through the lens of our full-cycle perspective.

2015-03-23 00:00:00 How Should Advisors Evaluate Alternative Strategies? by Michael Winchell of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

Because modern portfolio theory emphasizes the value of holding instruments having low cross-correlations, we’ve heard many advisors describe the search for alternative investments as a search for assets with low correlations to either equities or bonds. This leads advisors too often to consider nontraditional assets over alternative strategies. We believe that perspective is too narrow and misses the larger point. It is our opinion that clients primarily desire reasonable returns with low volatility, and that there are many ways to achieve that goal.

2015-03-21 00:00:00 Beating the Emerging Benchmark Blues by Morgan Harting of AllianceBernstein

It’s been another tough start to the year for emerging-market equities, amid growing concern about political risk and economic growth. But we believe the seeds have been sown for a recovery that can best be captured through a selective investing approach to avoid the risks of a benchmark.

2015-03-21 00:00:00 Five Reasons to Hold High Yield in 2015 by K. Sean Clark of Clark Capital Management Group

We believe that the high yield market may reward investors who adopt a tactical approach. Here are five reasons we anticipate a reemergence of opportunities in the high yield space in 2015.

2015-03-21 00:00:00 The Fat Pitch Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

Strong price and breadth suggest the uptrend from the March low has further to go. A dip early in the week is a high probability buy set up. But gains from here are likely to be short lived; nibble traders may want to sell into strong gains on the expectation of weakness over the next month.

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.

2015-03-19 00:00:00 De-risking Goes Beyond Interest Rate Risk: The Case for Dynamic Asset Allocation in an LDI Solution by Catherine LeGraw of GMO

In this piece, we introduce a measure of valuation risk, and demonstrate how rotating growth assets into a valuation-aware dynamic strategy can help to reduce risk, improve long-term returns, and help improve funded status in the case of a reversion to the mean.

2015-03-19 00:00:00 Dollar Strength is a Symptom, Not a Cause by Burt White of LPL Financial

We do not think the strong U.S. dollar will derail the bull market. The dollar itself is not a key driver of market performance; it is a symptom.

2015-03-19 00:00:00 Could India “Run the Table” like China by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

Jeremy Schwartz had the opportunity to speak with Rob Lutts, CIO of Cabot Wealth Management, a client of WisdomTree, about a research trip to India he had just taken. India has been a standout among emerging market countries, and Lutts’ outlook is that India remains a very attractive place to allocate part of his growth portfolio capital.

2015-03-19 00:00:00 10 Investment Quotes To Live By by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

As markets hover near all-time highs, investors have become quite complacent that the current bull market trend will continue indefinitely. But why shouldn't they? After all, the Central Banks of the world have made it a primary mission to ensure that asset prices don't fall in order to keep extremely weak economies limping along.

2015-03-17 00:00:00 Gundlach - Don't Bet on Higher Rates by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Even if the Fed raises short-term interest rates as many expect it to, longer-term bond investors won't face a decline in prices, according to Jeffrey Gundlach. Indeed, the market may have already priced in the effect of rate hikes, he said.

2015-03-17 00:00:00 How Advisors Are Positioning Fixed-Income Portfolios by Bob Veres (Article)

I asked the readers of my Inside Information newsletter service to tell me how they're preparing for an impending Fed rate hike. To date, I've received 178 pages of responses from advisors all over the country and across the spectrum, from indexers to fervent believers in active management, representing large and small firms investing on behalf of wealthy or middle-income clients.

2015-03-17 00:00:00 Do Liquid Alts Justify Their Costs? by Robert J. Martorana, CFA (Article)

Liquid alts are complex and expensive, so it is natural for advisors to ask if they worth the time and trouble. In this article, I answer this question. I evaluate returns with special emphasis on 2014, when managed futures (notably the AQR Managed Futures Strategy Fund - AQMIX) soared and the largest global macro fund, MainStay Marketfield (MFLDX), stumbled.

2015-03-16 00:00:00 An Overview of Nontraditional Assets by Michael Winchell of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

We review a collection of nontraditional assets and acknowledge the growing attempts to offer more liquid instruments with market exposure to these assets. However, it is our opinion that these assets will ultimately represent a small portion of the overall allocation to alternative investments.

2015-03-13 00:00:00 Could the Search for Income Lead to Instability? by Daniel Loewy, Morgan Harting of AllianceBernstein

Years of quantitative easing has pushed yields on government bonds down to record lows, and income-starved investors are being pushed out the risk spectrum, forced to choose between more volatile assets to find income. Finding acceptable levels of income exposes portfolios to greater instability ahead—we believe a multi-asset approach can help.

2015-03-12 00:00:00 Great Advice from Bill Bernstein by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Investing/indexing legend Bill Bernstein was interviewed by ETF.com and had a couple of great nuggets that are useful for any type of investor and helpful for advisors’ communication with their clients.

2015-03-11 00:00:00 Optimal Diversification Portfolio for Upcoming Interest Rate Environment by Chuck Self of iSectors

Historical patterns in interest rates leading to the current trend; Macroeconomic activity supporting future rising interest rates; Recommendations for optimizing client portfolios in such an environment

2015-03-10 00:00:00 The Hidden Peril in Sequence of Returns Risk by Wade Pfau (Article)

Should retirees place greater faith in stocks' ability to outperform bonds over reasonable holding periods or in insurance companies and bond issuers' ability to meet their contractual guarantees? Your position on this fundamental question will determine how you choose to build retirement income strategies for your clients.

2015-03-10 00:00:00 'Cheating' for Alpha with Beta by Ryan J. Lehman (Article)

In a recent white paper, our colleagues at GMO very appropriately asked, "Is Skill Dead?" In this paper they examined the results of the large-cap blend peer group, and offered an optimistic outlook for active managers despite recent underperformance. In this article, I expand upon their work and our own by discussing how managers "cheat" for alpha by taking positions in out-of-benchmark risk premia and beta exposures, and how those bets have compromised recent results.

2015-03-10 00:00:00 Q&A with Jeff Knight: What’s in store for 2015? by Jeff Knight of Columbia Management

I believe we are still going through a process that is flattering to financial market returns. But after six years and a tripling of the stock market, recognize that we're getting late in the game. Does Europe hang together? Do events in the Ukraine or Greece disrupt the economic recovery in Europe? Is the Fed’s tightening appropriate, or does it represent a threat to financial markets? Will those who come out on the short end of oil’s dramatic repricing emerge as a threat to capital markets either through default and bankruptcies, or worse through geopolitical tensions?

2015-03-10 00:00:00 Why Holding Cash May Mean Losing Money by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

There are many reasons to hold cash in your portfolio, but sometimes it can be too much of a good thing. Russ Koesterich explains the risks of a large cash position and offers some alternatives.

2015-03-09 00:00:00 An Overview of Alternative Investments by Michael Winchell of Larkin Point Investment Advisors LLC

If you have been thinking about adding alternative investments to your clients’ portfolios, it’s important to step back and analyze the various types of investments available to you—which, despite being lumped together in the same category, have become increasingly varied.

2015-03-09 00:00:00 The Dollar isn’t the Peso anymore (Part II) by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

The US dollar rally is in its seventh year and we expect this trend to continue. Many observers, including the Fed, continue to worry about inflation. However, we think a strong USD and disinflation/deflation seem more likely than inflation so long as global overcapacity forces nations to fight for market share and depreciate their currencies.

2015-03-06 00:00:00 Taking a Multi-Asset Approach to Inflation by Duy Nguyen of Invesco Blog

With more than two decades of stable inflation in the US and forecasts calling for moderate inflation in the short term, many investors have become complacent about the risk of inflation to the real value of their portfolios. But inflation can change unexpectedly, and although we don’t believe that change is necessarily imminent, investors should remain vigilant about addressing this risk.

2015-03-05 00:00:00 Positioning U.S. Community Bank Investment Portfolios for 2015 by Chitrang Purani, Thomas Luciano of PIMCO

When market uncertainty is elevated and bank profitability is an ongoing concern, taking an extreme view toward investing cash or harvesting liquidity is not optimal. Currently, we do not see as much value in interest rate or duration risk for bank portfolios as yields imply a moderate path for future policy rates. We believe there are opportunities for banks to earn income without taking excess interest rate risk or limiting flexibility against the need to fund future opportunities.

2015-03-04 00:00:00 Tigers in Africa by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

This month's Absolute Return Letter is about unrealistic expectations which is something we are all guilty of from time to time. We look at why it is unrealistic to expect equity returns to be in the double digit range over the next several years, why central banks are not printing money like many believe, plus a few other topics.

2015-03-02 00:00:00 On My Radar: Equity Valuations, Recessions and Market Declines by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Today let’s take a look at the hard evidence signaling slowdown. My personal view is that slowdown would not be as much of a problem if valuation measures were low. They’re not: by just about every measure the market is overpriced, overbought and over believed. What can you do? I share a simple and disciplined rules based way for you to stay invested in the market’s primary trend.

2015-02-27 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The U.S. Housing Industry Continues to Struggle; The "Millennials" Hold the Key to Housing; Is Another Bubble Forming in U.S. Commercial Real Estate?

2015-02-26 00:00:00 Equity Valuations, Recessions and Stock Market Declines by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

When I initiated the dshort web page in late 2005, one of my routine topics was equity valuations, initially inspired by Nobel laureate Robert Shiller's book, Irrational Exuberance, the second edition of which was published earlier that year. I gradually expanded my focus from his cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratio (CAPE) to include Ed Easterling's Crestmont P/E, Nobel laureate James Tobin's Q Ratio and my own monthly regression analysis of the S&P 500.

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.

2015-02-26 00:00:00 Hedge Funds on the Comeback? by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

A few days ago I stumbled across a post from CIO titled Reports Of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated that chronicles the outflows from hedge funds last year and posits whether a comeback might be around the corner but with generally lower fees. The lower fee angle of the article seemed to focus on negotiating a lower fee with the manager. Of course lower fees are available through the various exchange traded products that one way or another replicate the exposure but doing so without the so called ‘2 and 20’ fee structure.

2015-02-24 00:00:00 On My Radar: A $9 Trillion Dollar Crisis by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Here is the main point of today’s OMR: According to the Bank of International Settlements, non-bank borrowers outside the U.S. have borrowed, in dollars, $9 trillion. This is an increase of $4.5 trillion since the financial crisis and it places that $9 trillion on the wrong side of the dollar bet. The dollar debt is an example of how the Fed’s tightening will impact the world economy. This is a pressure cooker and the pot is starting to boil.

2015-02-24 00:00:00 Municipal bonds in 2015: Time to get back to basics by Municipal Insight Committee of Eaton Vance

In this insight, our Municipal Insight Committee examines why munis remain compelling in 2015 after a year of robust performance.

2015-02-23 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Help for the Economy from Housing? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

The economic calendar includes much more housing data than we normally see in a single week. With Fed Chair Yellen’s Congressional testimony and the GDP revisions also on tap, I expect many observers to be linking these topics. They will ask:

2015-02-23 00:00:00 Why the Bond Market Is Yielding Negative and What Negative Yields Mean for You by Vineer Bhansali, Ben Emons of PIMCO

Negative yields on bonds are no longer unicorns. In Switzerland, Germany, Denmark and several other European countries, government bonds are trading at negative nominal yields. There are four potential reasons that can explain the negative yield conundrum and can also illustrate the trade-offs between different investment strategies.

2015-02-20 00:00:00 The Case for Global Investing by Team of Litman Gregory

As U.S. stocks have outperformed developed international and emerging-markets stocks in recent years, we’re starting to hear more people question the benefit of investing outside of the United States. This is an important question, and we acknowledge that owning foreign stocks has been an unsatisfying experience over the past couple of years. Moreover, given some of the current economic and geopolitical forces, it can appear likely to continue this way.

2015-02-20 00:00:00 Mardi Gras Market by Brian Andrew of Cleary Gull

Geo-political concerns in the Middle East and Ukraine don’t seem to be able to keep the market down, nor do the tepid economic growth numbers coming from Europe and China. Finally, corporate earnings expectations have been moderated significantly for 2015 and that doesn’t seem to matter to stock prices either. Perhaps the explanation is in the sentiment.

2015-02-18 00:00:00 On My Radar: Schumpeter’s Creative Destruction by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

This week let’s take a look at debt around the globe. I share a great piece from McKinsey & Company that shows just how much more debt, county by country, has been piled on since the 2007 debt induced financial crisis. Evidence is apparent in the commodity market and I also share a few ideas how you may risk manage those allocations.

2015-02-17 00:00:00 Gary Shilling - Why You Should Own Bonds by Robert Huebscher (Article)

If you followed Gary Shilling's advice for the last 30 years, you would be very wealthy. Since 1981, Shilling has consistently advocated owning long-dated Treasury securities. In a talk last week, he reiterated that advice as one piece of his three-part asset-allocation strategy for the coming year.

2015-02-17 00:00:00 Search for Strength: EM Downturn Puts Focus on Fundamentals by Sponsored Content by Invesco (Article)

  • Corporate earnings deterioration and a decline in return on capital have held back emerging market performance.
  • Reversing weak performance depends on a return to stronger corporate earnings.
  • Downside risks could lead to disappointing earnings growth, but positive fundamentals are unfolding.

2015-02-17 00:00:00 Robo-Advisors Are Not New But They Foretell the Future of Financial Advice by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

So-called robo-advisors have been heralded as the next generation of technology that will transform the financial advice industry. Underneath the considerable debate that has emerged over their potential impact, an obvious fact has been overlooked: Much of what they offer is distinctively "old school."

2015-02-17 00:00:00 Is Modern Portfolio Theory Dead? by Vern Sumnicht of iSectors

A response to an article titled, “Modern Portfolio Theory is Dead.” The point is to simply ask which of the principles of Modern Portfolio Theory are no longer true. I think it’s more than obvious that these sound principles of investing that have been with us for more than 50 years will be here 50 years from now.

2015-02-17 00:00:00 Wide Disparity in 2014 Stock Returns Shows the Importance of Diversification by Team of Bronfman E.L. Rothschild

With another calendar year in the books, investors can look back to 2014 and see the vast disparity between asset classes, with the U.S. markets leading the way for a second consecutive year. Why not just invest in the S&P 500 Index? The answer is that we don’t know which asset class will be the top performer from year to year. Looking back on the past 15 years, the U.S. has only led three times, with all three coming since 2011, hence the reason for the initial question.

2015-02-17 00:00:00 Keynesian Contrarianism: Where is the Minority Today? by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

To get a good feel for where the largest pools of money are invested around the world and to identify the minority, we draw from the NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments in North America. This year’s survey included $516 billion in investable assets. The results for the fiscal year ended June 30th of 2014 are listed below. Pay particular attention to the largest endowments, because we believe they represent the asset allocation of the largest worldwide institutions.

2015-02-15 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Will Energy Stocks Support the Market Breakout? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

I do not know whether we have reached a bottom in energy prices, but I have identified two important themes.

2015-02-15 00:00:00 Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Pension Fund Managers by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

We do not have to look to Greece to find massively underfunded obligations. Here in the US we can find hundreds of examples, willingly created by politicians and businessmen who proclaim they are working for the public good. We call them pension funds, but they’re just another form of unfunded debt. A sovereign bond is a promise to pay a certain amount of money over time.

2015-02-14 00:00:00 Bonding with Diversification by Rick Rieder of BlackRock

With the fixed income landscape poised for a makeover, Rick Rieder discusses the importance of diversification.

2015-02-13 00:00:00 DC Managed Accounts: Shining a Spotlight on Investment Advice by Steve Ferber, Michael Esselman of PIMCO

?Nearly one in three defined contribution (DC) plans offers managed account and automated advice services that attempt to enhance investment outcomes with personalized advice. As the Government Accountability Office has reported, however, plan sponsors often have had limited or insufficient information to evaluate and monitor automated advice engines, despite having fiduciary responsibility over advice provided to participants.

2015-02-12 00:00:00 On My Radar: Go Ahead Angela, Make My Day by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

I spend a great deal of time writing about valuations, probable future returns (near record lows today), portfolio construction and risk management. Reflecting on four days of non-stop sessions, media interviews and meetings at the Inside ETFs Annual Conference this past week, I thought I’d share several key takeaways with you.

2015-02-12 00:00:00 Scott Mather Discusses PIMCO’s Total Return Strategy by Scott Mather of PIMCO

Bonds have continued to rally so far this year, even as the Federal Reserve contemplates raising interest rates. In the following interview, Scott Mather, CIO U.S. Core Strategies, discusses recent developments in the bond markets, the outlook for the year ahead and the investment implications for PIMCO’s Total Return Strategy. Mather co-manages the strategy with Mark Kiesel, CIO Global Credit, and Mihir Worah, CIO Real Return and Asset Allocation.

2015-02-11 00:00:00 Repression Investing: Got Gold? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Gone are the ZIRP days – the ‘Zero Interest Rate Policy’ is being replaced by negative interest rates in various countries. ZIRP is a form of financial repression, where savers earn less than the inflation rate to discourage saving. Pundits suggest the U.S. has chosen a different course, as ‘liftoff’ may soon take U.S. rates higher. We’ll try to separate reality from fiction, discussing investment implications for the U.S. dollar and gold.

2015-02-10 00:00:00 Harold Evensky - Nine Key Communication Points by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Advisors should put their mouths where their money is, according to Harold Evensky. Educating and preparing clients for what advisors will ultimately deliver must be a core principle of every practice. In a recent presentation, Evensky described nine key ways that advisors should interact with clients, the media and their peers.

2015-02-10 00:00:00 Mohamed El-Erian: Beware the Bubble in Liquidity by Robert Huebscher (Article)

In 2000, it was technology stocks. In 2007, it was real-estate prices. Among today's overvalued asset classes, which one will crash most spectacularly when the bubble bursts? Mohamed El-Erian, the chief economic advisor at Allianz, thinks he knows the answer.

2015-02-10 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Time for “Risk On?” by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

With a modest schedule of data releases, we can expect more analysis of last week’s news. Trading in several markets changed course rather abruptly. With traders poised to spot any change in trend, the question will be whether this shift is for real.

2015-02-10 00:00:00 Riding An Aging Bull (Market) by Rick Vollaro of Pinnacle Advisory Group

The year has begun in roller coaster fashion, and our team has been busy reading and digesting the many 2015 outlooks that come across our desks. But reading is the easy part, and now it’s our turn to distill the many facets of our process into a workable thesis that allows us to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns in this maturing market cycle.

2015-02-09 00:00:00 Bonds or Jeter? by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

In baseball, batters choose to either swing for the fences in hopes of a home run or go for more consistent base hits. These same principles are highly relevant to the current market environment and long-term investment success. So, see if you really want home run hitters in your portfolio?

2015-02-09 00:00:00 All the Children Are Above Average by Harley Bassman of PIMCO

Many investment strategies are centered upon discovering a long-term (average) valuation framework to help in asset allocation and security selection. The term surface of various risk parameters often moves in such a manner that the discounted forward value will point toward this long-term average. If a secular shift has taken place - if all the children are above average, so to speak - then maybe the “average” has changed.

2015-02-06 00:00:00 Global Opportunities: The Next Leap Forward for Defined Contribution Investment Menus by Charles Roth of Thornburg Investment Management

Under ERISA, fiduciaries are obligated to ensure plan menus provide diverse investment options to help minimize the risk of long-term losses in account values. Global, non-traditional equity and fixed income options are sorely lacking in Defined Contribution (DC) plan menus. These op-tions can offer both lower correlation to U.S. markets and potentially strong returns, which par-ticipants increasingly need given the uncertainty surrounding Social Security’s future benefit levels.

2015-02-06 00:00:00 Quarterly Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

Over the past seven months the price of oil has plunged from a peak above $100/barrel to the mid-$40s today. This is just the most extreme version of the market volatility and divergence we began highlighting in our second quarter letter. A cautious investment stance remains the prudent choice.

2015-02-06 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Not everyone is happy about the dollar’s recent strength; Debt negotiations between Greece and its creditors are off to a rocky start; Wages may finally be reflecting the strong U.S. employment picture

2015-02-06 00:00:00 Outcome Investing: Blending Index and Active Strategies by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

There is a lot to consider when building a portfolio. First and foremost, what is the end goal? Beyond that, investors need to also consider how much risk to take and over what time horizon? Another question that frequently comes up and is the source of many contentious debates: Should I consider indexed or active products? The simple and important answer is: both.

2015-02-06 00:00:00 High-Yield ETFs: Don’t Get Fenced In by Gershon Distenfeld of AllianceBernstein

Few high-yield investors have weathered the recent plunge in energy prices without experiencing at least a few bumps and bruises. But those who relied on broad market exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to gain market exposure are nursing the most serious wounds. Coincidence? We don’t think so.

2015-02-06 00:00:00 After the Perfect Storm in US Smaller-Cap Stocks by Bruce Aronow of AllianceBernstein

Last year was a tough one for US small- and mid-cap stocks, but there’s reason to think 2015 may be different. For investors who trimmed their smaller-cap allocation last year, we think it may be time to consider taking it back to its long-term target.

2015-02-05 00:00:00 Your Alpha is My Beta by Adam Butler, Mike Philbrick and Rodrigo Gordillo of Butler|Philbrick|Gordillo & Associates

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of a short correspondence with Lars Kestner, a well known quant and derivatives trader, and creator of the thoughtful K-ratio as a measure of risk adjusted performance. We connected on the definition of alpha, and how the term has been so abused in media and marketing as to become almost meaningless.

2015-02-05 00:00:00 Why own bonds? by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

A soft start for the U.S. stock market in 2015 once again illustrates the diversification benefit of high-quality bonds even at very low yields. Even in a low-yield environment, bonds provide a cushion as price movements, not yields, are the primary buffer to equity movements. An allocation to core bonds, in addition to more attractively valued high-yield bonds, may make sense for investors.

2015-02-05 00:00:00 Ditch the Good, Buy the Bad and the Ugly by Ben Inker of GMO

In a new quarterly letter to GMO's institutional clients, co-head of asset allocation Ben Inker provides background on why, "as the New Year begins, we in Asset Allocation find ourselves slowly selling down even our beloved U.S. quality stocks in favor of the various problem children of the investing world" ("Ditch the Good, Buy the Bad and the Ugly").

2015-02-04 00:00:00 The Absolute Return Letter - January 2015 by Team of Absolute Return Partners

In large parts of the financial community there is a strongly held belief that the problems which caused the credit crisis back in 2008-09 have never been properly addressed, causing many to suspect that it is only a matter of time before the ‘end game’ is upon us – the credit crisis Mk. II so to speak. I will in the following pages look at various ways the end game might unfold but, before I do so, I shall return to one of the subjects I discussed in the January letter – the end of cheap oil – which caused a flurry of comments and questions.

2015-02-04 00:00:00 Is It Time for Our Industry To Embrace Mass Personalization? by Patty Quinn McAuley of Clark Capital Management Group

Nike. Coca-Cola. Oakley. They are all top brands in the global marketplace and they have all led the charge towards mass customization and personalization. You can build a custom pair of Nike Free Run sneakers online, incorporating your favorite designs and colors. You can put your name on a virtual Coke bottle and “share” it on social media. You can even custom-build your own shades on Oakley.com, creating your own unique pair of sunglasses.

2015-02-04 00:00:00 There's Diversity in Value by Brent Leadbetter and John West of Research Affiliates

A portfolio comprising long positions in individual fundamentally weighted country indices and short positions in cap-weighted country indices might prove to be the Boris Diaw of a diversified portfolio. Investors would be unlikely to meet their return targets by concentrating all their assets in such a strategy. However, given its high Sharpe ratio and low correlation with widely used asset classes, it seems a suitable addition to a robust asset mix.

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 How to Link Retirement Strategies to Sustainable-Spending Rates by Wade Pfau (Article)

Last week, my article introduced the Retirement Accumulation and Retirement Affordability indices, which help clients determine if they are retiring at a good time. In this article, I will present my new Retirement Dashboard. More specifically, I will explain how advisors can determine the appropriate sustainable-spending rate based on their client's desired spending pattern.

2015-02-03 00:00:00 PIMCO Introduces the PIMCO Multi-Strategy Alternative Strategy by of PIMCO

In a New Neutral environment that anticipates muted returns and heightened volatility, many investors have looked to liquid alternatives in an effort to boost returns and lower overall portfolio risks. Our approach seeks to efficiently combine a range of complementary liquid alternative strategies, offering the potential for diversification and higher return per unit of risk than a single strategy could achieve on its own. This strategy can play a central role in liquid alternatives allocations or be used as a stand-alone complement to traditional stock and bond allocations.

2015-02-02 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Will the data deluge signal economic weakness? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

This is a landslide week for economic data, and earnings season is in full swing. Last week’s Q4 GDP report and overall market tone has revived deflation concerns. I expect market participants to be watching each economic release closely, asking: Are there signs of incipient economic weakness?

2015-01-31 00:00:00 Encouraging Lifetime Income in US DC Plans by Daniel A. Notto of AllianceBernstein

With the continuing shift from defined benefit (DB) plans to defined contribution (DC) plans, fewer Americans have the ability to enjoy guaranteed income for life. Now, federal regulators are trying to change that.

2015-01-30 00:00:00 PIMCO Extends Its Dividend Suite With Two New Regional Strategies by Brad Kinkelaar, Adam Muller of PIMCO

As is the case with our other dividend strategies, we are unconstrained by benchmarks and focused on generating yield and capital appreciation by finding attractively valued companies that pay appealing dividends today and have an ability and willingness to grow dividends over time.

2015-01-30 00:00:00 The Great Complacency...Continued by Jeffrey Bronchick of Cove Street Capital

At this point last year, we were effusively cautious after a period of terrific performance. We suggested that while we considered a material number of portfolio stocks to represent "solid" values, their near-term appreciation was going to be limited after the big numbers of 2013.

2015-01-30 00:00:00 Is Dividend Investing Passe? by Yu Zhang of Matthews Asia

Dividends can be used as a lens through which we attempt to identify high-quality, financially healthy companies with prudent capital allocation policies.

2015-01-29 00:00:00 Advice for Investing in Today's Volatile Markets: 5 Points by John Calamos of Calamos Investments

In my view: (1) Volatility will likely continue at an elevated level. Falling commodity prices, global growth fears and political uncertainties in the euro zone are among the factors that will add to volatility in the markets over these next months. (2) The U.S. stock market can continue to advance for 2015. (3) Investors need to look through the short-term volatility and position their portfolios proactively and strategically. (4) Diversification is important?but bonds aren?t necessarily the right answer.

2015-01-29 00:00:00 Momentum X 2: Unleashing the True Power of Momentum by Gordon Nelson of Keystone Wealth Advisors

Momentum is one of the most researched market anomalies and has become widely accepted and used in a variety of ways for investment management. When used in practice is it most commonly referred to as relative strength or relative momentum. What happens if we combine the power of relative momentum with absolute momentum?

2015-01-29 00:00:00 Contrarian View: A More Balanced Approach to Rate Risk in 2015 by Scott Eldridge of Invesco Blog

The threat of higher interest rates is dominating many 2015 outlooks for investors and professional forecasters alike. Consensus expectations call for the Federal Reserve (Fed) to begin tightening in the second half of the year, with market rates to rise in concert and bond prices to fall. But the changing composition of voting members on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is a looming variable that I believe will likely impact the pace and severity of Fed action.

2015-01-28 00:00:00 The Benefits of Proper Risk Budgeting by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

William J. Bernstein had an interesting op-ed in the Wall Street Journal titled How To Tell If Your Retirement Nest Egg Is Big Enough. Anytime the term nest egg pops up in a post I feel compelled to make the Lost in America reference when Julie Hagerty loses the nest egg at the tables in Las Vegas almost immediately after they hit the road and Albert Brooks tells her to never use the words nest and egg in the same sentence ever again.

2015-01-28 00:00:00 Is There A Case For German Equities? by Team of GaveKal Capital

With the highest productivity in Europe, a sizeable current account surplus and rock bottom interest rates, is there a case to made for German equities? Germany's competitiveness, export performance and trade surplus should increase as the Euro weakens helping German exporters in markets outside of the Euro bloc.

2015-01-27 00:00:00 Looking Back at James Montier's "Perfect" Value Investors by Larry Swedroe (Article)

Is there such a thing as a "perfect" value investor? And if so, what does that investor's fund look like? James Montier thought he knew the answers when he penned his 2006 article "The Perfect Value Investor." Let's look back and see how that portfolio did.

2015-01-27 00:00:00 Key Issues for 2015: The View from Western Asset by Sponsored Content from Legg Mason Investor Services LLC (Article)

The U.S. represents a bright spot in a global recovery best characterized as "two steps forward, one step back." Sector and issue selection remain crucial in this environment, but so do macroeconomic strategies, which may help provide ballast when the pace of recovery slows.

2015-01-27 00:00:00 Introducing the Retirement Wealth and Affordability Indices by Wade Pfau (Article)

How can you help clients determine if they are retiring at a good time? I aim to answer that with my recently developed Retirement Accumulation Index and Retirement Affordability Index. Let me explain how those two indices work and how you should use them with clients.

2015-01-27 00:00:00 Time to Get Off the Merry-Go-Round ?? by Jerome Schneider of PIMCO

In 2014, many investors de-risked their portfolios by moving into shorter-duration passive approaches but the potential for capital preservation from these strategies may face challenges. Passive benchmarks and strategies with pre-specified, structural interest rate exposure may have little to no flexibility around their positioning and may push investors into the heart of the proverbial storm. Active strategies not constrained by benchmark limitations may be optimal for investors as they can seek to manage exposure to interest rates.

2015-01-27 00:00:00 No Deflating the U.S. Dollar by Burt White of LPL Financial

The latest leg up for the U.S. dollar has been driven by anticipation and arrival of QE by the ECB. The dollar has been strong for a number of reasons, all of them good things. Though not the end all and be all, currency is an important consideration when determining asset allocation.

2015-01-25 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Time to Focus on Europe? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

This week?s potential themes all defy prediction. I do not know what will happen in Greece. I question the preliminary analysis of the ECB moves. The earnings stories have been a bit better than market forecasts, but with little reaction.

2015-01-23 00:00:00 High Yield Bonds versus Equities by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

Investors are often led down the path that they must invest in equities in order to generate a decent return, and that the high yield market is too risky and speculative. However, reality and the data points suggest otherwise. Looking over the past couple decades and various periods in between, you can see that high yield has outperformed the equity market (as measured by the S&P 500 Index) on a risk adjusted basis (return/risk) over the past 5, 10, 15 and 25 years, and performed equivalently over the last 3 years.

2015-01-21 00:00:00 IBM: When a Company Veers Off the Roadmap by Nate Palmer of Diamond Hill Capital Management, Inc.

In 2010, International Business Machines? (IBM) then-CEO Sam Palmisano unveiled the company?s 2015 Roadmap in which management detailed its plans to grow (non-GAAP) operating earnings to ?at least $20? per share by 2015. This plan was the successor to a 2010 Roadmap, originally unveiled in 2007, in which management outlined its plan to deliver ?at least $10? in earnings per share by 2010. Since the company ultimately exceeded its 2010 Roadmap expectations and delivered $11.52 in 2010 earnings per share, the 2015 Roadmap was generally met with enthusiasm by

2015-01-20 00:00:00 Retiring in a Low-Return Environment by David Blanchett, Michael Finke and Wade Pfau (Article)

Low bond yields and high equity valuations suggest lower spending for retirees. Prior research forecasted the impact on safe-withdrawal rates (SWRs), but a more sophisticated model can improve the accuracy of those predictions. We show just how low the SWRs should be for today's retirees.

2015-01-20 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 2014.

2015-01-20 00:00:00 5 Things To Ponder: A View Of A Correction by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

It has been a rough start to a new year as all of the gains following the end of the Federal Reserve's flagship "QE-3" campaign have been erased.

2015-01-18 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: The Message from Fourth Quarter Earnings by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

I do not know how earnings season will play out this week. My list of things to watch is good, but the market seems to be demanding a parlay of positive indications: Beating the whisper number for earnings; Beating the revenue expectations; Business growth ?organic, not from mergers or purchases; Solid ?quality of earnings? with no gimmicks or accounting moves; A credible, positive outlook.

2015-01-16 00:00:00 QQE2: Japan?s Monetary Banzai Charge by Chris Richey of Neosho Capital

In this Age of Monetary Policy, it is impossible to ignore the macro. As much as we would like to focus only on individual enterprises, the mind-boggling scale of $5 trillion of monetary intervention in the U.S., Japan, and Europe renders such cloistered thinking imprudent. Not only must Benjamin Graham?s enterprising investor understand individual stocks, but they must also be keenly cognizant of the role the world?s largest central banks actively play in the value of currencies, bonds, stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and derivatives of all kinds.

2015-01-16 00:00:00 Yesterday?s Gone: Year-End Capital Markets Commentary and Expectations by Chris Brightman, Jim Masturzo of Research Affiliates

With updated return expectations, we estimate that the performance of U.S. stocks and bonds over the next 10 years will be significantly lower than long-term historical averages. Other asset classes may produce moderately better returns.

2015-01-16 00:00:00 Market Overview Q414: Using Knowledge as a Yardstick by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

Simply following the Fed?s lead of investing in risk markets may seem overly simplistic and ultimately ill-advised. Indeed by assessing the economy by the standard of knowledge, we can see the Fed?s policy of low rates is actually counter-productive.

2015-01-13 00:00:00 The Advantages of a Dynamic Retirement Income Strategy by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Retirees will adjust their spending depending on investment experience. But most research uses withdrawal strategies that are fixed at inception, such as the 4% rule. I'll show that when spending can adjust each year, retirement outcomes will improve. I'll also show the gains that can be achieved by adding annuities.

2015-01-13 00:00:00 Estimating the Impact of Oil Prices and Interest Rates on the S&P 500 by Eric Stubbs (Article)

Two important developments in 2014 will affect U.S. equity markets in 2015: the precipitous decline in oil prices and increasing expectations that the Fed will begin raising short-term rates sooner rather than later. But how specifically will these affect our stock market? I report on the results of an econometric model that I developed to address these questions.

2015-01-12 00:00:00 Equity Market Surprise in 2015? by (Article)

45-year industry veteran Thomas S. White, Jr. reveals what he feels will surprise investors in 2015.

2015-01-12 00:00:00 Making Sense of Unconstrained Bond Funds by (Article)

In the latest video in Envestnet | PMC's Spotlight series, Senior Investment Analyst Nathan Behan, CFA, CAIA examines non-traditional and unconstrained bond funds.

2015-01-11 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: A Message from the Bond Market? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

There are many reasons for some to own bonds, but the extremely low interest rates suggest something beyond that. I suggest a leveraged arbitrage with Europe and Japan. Please note: This is basically the opposite of the 1998 carry trade.

2015-01-10 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

After hitting new all-time highs in the days after Christmas, US equities have now fallen two weeks in a row, an auspicious way to start the new year.

2015-01-10 00:00:00 Bad News Is Good News: A Contrarian View of China Investing by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

I asked Xian Liang, portfolio manager of our China Region Fund (USCOX), to outline a few of the most compelling cases to remain bullish on the Asian giant.

2015-01-09 00:00:00 Recovery Gaining Momentum? by Ed Devlin, Mike Cudzil, Lupin Rahman of PIMCO

U.S. growth will remain robust over the cyclical horizon due to increasing consumption driven by the narrowing unemployment gap and increase in disposable incomes. The Canadian recovery should continue, though divergent forces ? including the U.S. recovery and oil price declines ? could have significant implications for the economy. Growth will be muted across Latin America, with some economies benefitting from U.S. growth, and others dragged down by the slowdown in the eurozone and China.

2015-01-09 00:00:00 Pie in the Sky? by Team of Absolute Return Partners

January each year brings with it a host of forecasts, many of which are 'pie in the sky' - silly predictions on equity markets, interest rates and currency movements. We are not in that game, but this is the first time we have written a letter in January. Why? Because we think investors should be focusing on longer term structural trends when analysing the future.

2015-01-09 00:00:00 Grease and Greece by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

With the energy sector and Eurozone concerns dominating the financial industry?s outlook on 2015, see what RBA believes to be the real issues facing both Greece and Grease.

2015-01-08 00:00:00 Consensus Macro Memes by Keith McCullough of Hedgeye Risk Management

Do Global Macro Themes propagate themselves into consensus narratives? You bet your Madoff they do. But timing them matters. You really get paid by front-running them by 3-6 months.

2015-01-08 00:00:00 Levitate: More Market Mood Swings in 2015? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Secular bull market is likely intact, but 2015 could bring more volatility associated with Fed policy and/or global events. Longer-term sentiment suggests the ?wall of worry? is intact; but shorter-term sentiment is more troubling. Falling oil and rising dollar have generated loads of questions from clients ? history tells a generally positive story.

2015-01-06 00:00:00 Oil, Currencies, and the Fed by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

Fourth quarter headlines included volatility spikes, dramatic declines in oil prices, and positive views of the economy by the Fed. Oil declined 41% this quarter and 46% for the year. The dollar continued to gain against some major developed global currencies. For the year, the dollar gained 13.6% against the euro and 13.8% against the yen while gold was down 2%.

2015-01-04 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Time for the January Effect? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

I am not a big fan of seasonal effects unless there is a logical underlying reason. The Presidential cycle logic rests upon taking unpopular actions early in the term while emphasizing economic stimulus later. That does not have much relevance in the current environment. The January tax loss effect is more persuasive, especially in years where there are some clear losers to sell. That was true in many sectors this year.

2015-01-03 00:00:00 Flying High in the Sky, Looking for Opportunities in 2015 by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Savvy investors know to be patient with their holdings and not easily give in to the prevailing culture of instant gratification. Ive run multiple marathons over the years and am intimately familiar with the personal rewards of going the distance. A similar investing strategy can come with the same rewards.

2015-01-02 00:00:00 Chuck Royce on 4Q14: Positioning for a Normalizing Economy by Chuck Royce of The Royce Funds

Chief Executive Officer and Portfolio Manager Chuck Royce discusses the spread between large- and small-cap returns in 2014, the current case for active management in the small-cap space, the valuation picture as we enter 2015, and the impact lower energy prices are likely to have on stocks.

2014-12-31 00:00:00 Structural Reforms in Asia by Sharat Shroff of Matthews Asia

The global investment community continues to deliberate about the impact of quantitative easing stemming from Europe, and more recently from Japan, as a means to revive domestic demand. Meanwhile, several Asian economies are embarking on a different kind of stimulus, aimed at boosting long-term productivity and investment spending, through structural changes to the underlying economies.

2014-12-31 00:00:00 2015 Global Market Outlook: Exploring the Growth Landscape by Simon Fennell, Olga Bitel of William Blair

For much of 2014, the financial press was filled with dire headlines warning of global stagnation and deflation. These demoralizing reports seemed to paralyze policy makers. The facts behind the headlines, however, suggested the reality was not nearly as gloomy or pessimistic as it seemed. This paper outlines a more optimistic outlook for 2015 where the world economy is expected to remain resilient and where the outlook for sustainable corporate returns remains strong.

2014-12-24 00:00:00 2015 Outlook: Watching Our Overweights by Team of Northern Trust

Asset class returns were much more differentiated this year than last, with yield-oriented assets and U.S. equities being the standout performers. We entered 2014 overweight risk tactically, but made several changes as the year progressed.

2014-12-23 00:00:00 Convertible Bonds: The Rodney Dangerfield of Liquid Alts by Robert Martorana (Article)

Historical returns have been outstanding for convertible-bond strategies. Moreover, low drawdowns during bear markets give these products an attractive risk-return profile, especially when compared to other liquid alternatives.

2014-12-23 00:00:00 Has Diversification Lost Its Luster? by Patty Quinn McAuley, CFP of Clark Capital Management Group

One of the most basic tenets of investing has been the importance of diversification. Individual investors can quickly understand the concept of not putting all your eggs in one basket. However, the recent market environment has been punishing the prudent, diversified investor.

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.

2014-12-22 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Time for the 2015 Pundit Forecasts! by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

With little fresh news during the holidays and many pros on vacation, I expect a time of reflection and prediction. Publications hungry for content and TV producers needing to fill slots will highlight forecasts of any and all flavors. This happens every year, but the mid-week holidays are pushing it a little earlier than usual,

2014-12-22 00:00:00 4 Sectors That May Be Worth Avoiding by Team of GaveKal Capital

Success in investing can many times come down to avoiding the major losers rather than always hitting home runs with one's winners. Correct sector allocation plays an important role in sidestepping potential landmines that out there in the market.

2014-12-22 00:00:00 Completing the Alternative Investments Puzzle: Putting the Pieces Together by Walter Davis of Invesco Blog

In my previous blog, I discussed why I believe advisors and investors should approach alternative investments much like a jigsaw puzzle and offered an organizing framework that can help. When putting together a puzzle, the first step is to sort and organize all the pieces. For alternatives, the first step is to organize and align the various alternative strategies with specific investment objectives. This step is critical because it helps investors decide whether alternatives can help them meet their needs, and, therefore, whether they should invest in them.

2014-12-21 00:00:00 Rising Insurance Premiums: A New Impetus for Voluntary Funding of Corporate Defined Benefit Plans by Markus Aakko, Rene Martel, Kate Tan of PIMCO

?The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation will hike variable-rate premiums on unfunded liabilities in corporate defined benefit plans in 2015 and 2016. The increases along with muted return potential on stocks and bonds and aging plan demographics could make borrowing to reduce or eliminate funding shortfalls less expensive than paying PBGC variable-rate premiums. For efficient execution, we believe it is important to consider appropriate investment strategies before any funding decisions are made.

2014-12-21 00:00:00 The Second Wind of Abenomics? by Sachin Gupta, Tomoya Masanao of PIMCO

Mr. Abe now has up to four more years in power. While investors are likely to be patient in the near term, unless Abenomics gains a second wind the way a tired athlete finds the will to pick up the pace and finish strong there is a risk that this post-election market euphoria could be short-lived. The time for him to act is now.

2014-12-19 00:00:00 Valuation estimate of SP500 2015 returns : 2,246 target by Dwaine Van Vuuren of RecessionALERT.com

The RecessionALERT Valuation Index (RAVI) is a multifactor valuation model that examines cyclically adjusted trailing SP-500 earnings (various multi-decade horizons), the SP-500 total-return index level, total stock market capitalization, Gross Domestic Product, non-financial corporate equities and liabilities, non-financial corporate business net-worth and percentage of investors allocation to stocks versus cash and bonds to determine 10, 5, 3, 2 and 1 year forecasts for the SP-500 Total Return Index (dividends re-invested).

2014-12-19 00:00:00 Will 2015 Remain a Central Bankers World? by Andrew Pease of Russell Investments

Central bankers have dominated the outlook for global markets for the past five years. Theyve lowered interest rates to zero and implemented unorthodox policies like quantitative easing and forward guidance.

2014-12-19 00:00:00 5 Things To Ponder: Variegated Contemplations by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Yes, it is that magical week leading up to Christmas and the subsequent low volume push into the new year. For individuals, it is "magic time" as hopes are high that "Santa Claus" will come to WallStreet.

2014-12-18 00:00:00 Why We Expect Japan to Regain Favor with Investors by Robert Sharpe of Heartland Advisors

Despite the consensus view that Japanese stocks are inexpensive, investors have generally avoided the space, perhaps because Japan has disappointed in the past. We think the tide is about to change, and Portfolio Manager of the Heartland International Value Fund Robert C. Sharpe explains why.?

2014-12-17 00:00:00 Where Did The New Middle Class Citizens Go? by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

The "well known fact" with regards to oil over the last decade read like this: because of huge GDP growth in emerging markets like China, there were going to be 400 million new middle class citizens born of uninterrupted prosperity; they were going to want all the autos, consumer goods, $10,000 watches and food that Americans have.

2014-12-17 00:00:00 Are Bonds Really Less Risky than Equities? by Patrick Rudden of AllianceBernstein

Its practically an investing axiom that government bonds are much less volatile than equities. But that depends on how you look at it. In fact, our research suggests that income streams from stocks are actually much less volatile than those of government bonds.

2014-12-16 00:00:00 Gundlach: Don't Fear Fed Tightening by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Throughout the post-crisis period, collective wisdom among market forecasters has held that interest rates would rise. But low rates have persisted, proving those prognosticators "dead wrong," in Jeffrey Gundlach's words. Gundlach, correctly contrarian in his interest-rate predictions, now believes the Fed will raise rates in 2015 but investors should not fear Fed tightening.

2014-12-16 00:00:00 How Much Risk Should Clients Take? by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Determining the degree of risk that is appropriate and tolerable in clients' financial plans is central to an advisor's role. I will show how advisors should deconstruct risk into six components and then integrate them using a framework to provide the best recommendations for clients.

2014-12-16 00:00:00 Why I'm Concerned about Stock Market Valuation Levels by Ron A. Rhoades, J.D., CFP® (Article)

Looking at a range of valuation metrics, long-term investors have good reason to worry about the U.S. equity market. They can take comfort, however, in the fact that certain asset sub-classes are less overvalued that others.

2014-12-16 00:00:00 Allocating to Alternative Investment Strategies by Nathan Rowader of Forward

Following the market declines in 2008 and 2009, many investors have shown interest in alternative investment strategies such as hedge funds and mutual funds that employ hedge fund-like strategies. These types of strategies have been around a long time, but until recently their use among individual investors has been somewhat limited.

2014-12-16 00:00:00 Busting the Myth About Size by Vitali Kalesnik, Noah Beck of Research Affiliates

Many market participants (including investors, product providers, and analysts alike) assume that, just as value stocks on average outperform growth, small-cap stocks on average outperform large-caps. Unlike value, however, and contrary to popular opinion, there is little solid evidence that stock size affects performance.

2014-12-15 00:00:00 How to Approach the Alternative Investments Puzzle: Putting the Pieces Together by Walter Davis of Invesco Blog

Every summer my family and I go on a vacation to the beach. While there, my wife buys a big jigsaw puzzle for us to work on. Every year, we feel overwhelmed immediately after she dumps out all 1,000 pieces.

2014-12-15 00:00:00 A Sensible Proposal and a New Adjective by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The FOMC is well-served by Richard Fishers proposal to consider terminating the current policy of reinvesting proceeds from Fed balance sheet holdings as those securities mature. That shift would not imply any rush to raise the federal funds rate or otherwise normalize policy rates.

2014-12-14 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Will Crashing Oil Prices Change the Feds Course? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

The investment conclusion is opportunity in non-energy cyclical stocks, including basic materials, technology, and consumer discretionary. There are also energy names that are part of the knee-jerk reaction, but which do not necessarily suffer from lower oil prices. These include refiners and some of the large integrated oil companies that need to replace reserves. (Barrons also suggests oil tanker stocks storage needed!)

2014-12-12 00:00:00 Measuring Tactical Alpha by Adam Butler of Dundee Goodman Private Wealth

We are big fans of active asset allocation, which is sometimes called tactical alpha. Our enthusiasm stems from the following observations from our own research, and from other published sources.

2014-12-12 00:00:00 Measuring Tactical Alpha Part II: Examples and Analysis by Adam Butler of Dundee Goodman Private Wealth

When we left off in Part 1, we promised to examine how select Global Tactical Asset Allocation products stack up against the Global Market Portfolio from the perspective of several performance measures particularly Sharpe ratio, alpha and information ratio. Without further adieu:

2014-12-10 00:00:00 2015 Year Ahead: Continuing to Deflate the Global Credit Bubble by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Stock market leadership virtually always changes when volatility significantly spikes, and the 2008 bear market was no exception. Credit-related asset classes led the markets for the decade prior to 2008 as the global credit bubble inflated. Since 2008?s bear market, however, leadership has significantly changed and credit-related asset classes have generally underperformed plain, old-fashioned stocks.

2014-12-10 00:00:00 Lessons Learned in 2014 by Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

In 2014, US stocks forged ahead, international developed and emerging-market stocks lagged, bonds did better than expected, and the IRS took a bigger bite. Here are some lessons for US investors to carry forward into 2015.

2014-12-09 00:00:00 Designing Balanced DC Menus: Considering Equity Investments by Stacy Schaus, Ying Gao of PIMCO

Defined contribution investment lineups typically provide numerous equity choices but still may lack adequate diversification and return potential. Participants may benefit by accessing high-growth markets such as emerging markets and tapping in to dividend-paying stocks. Retirement outcomes could improve further by including portfolios structured using fundamental measures rather than market capitalization.

2014-12-08 00:00:00 The All Everything Portfolio? No Such Thing by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Barry Ritholtz has had some good fun torching Tony Robbins All Weather Portfolio for having too much in bonds and commodities as well as being to backward looking and being put forth as a one size fits all. The latest was in his WaPo column dated December 5, 2014.

2014-12-08 00:00:00 Are You Prepared for Short-term Rates to Rise? by Craig Brandon of Eaton Vance

In this timely Q&A, Craig Brandon, portfolio manager of Eaton Vance Floating-Rate Municipal Income Fund, offers his thoughts on the asset class, how he manages the Fund and which investors may find the strategy attractive.

2014-12-08 00:00:00 Go for the Gold: Commodities and Inflation by Denis Chaves of Research Affiliates

Unexpected inflation would be especially damaging to portfolio returns when asset class yields are low, but a modest amount of inflation protection can substantially mitigate the risk. Commodities can be effective hedges against inflationary shocks.

2014-12-06 00:00:00 Five Things To Ponder: Unstoppable Force Paradox by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

As we enter the final month of the year, the markets advance got me thinking about something known as the "Unstoppable Force Paradox." While you may not be familiar with the name, you will certainly know the definition which questions "What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?"

2014-12-06 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Time for a Santa Claus Rally? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

The schedule for data releases is lighter than usual. The calendar year is about to end. The market continues to set records. The stage is set for the annual question: Will there be a Santa Claus rally in stocks?

2014-12-05 00:00:00 Getting More From Your Equity and Bond Benchmarks by Ryan Blute of PIMCO

Benchmarks have long served as a starting point, or anchor, for investors, representing the neutral point for an investment decision. They serve as the basic ingredients that combine to form an investors asset allocation and result in a desired risk/return profile.

2014-12-03 00:00:00 Digging Deeper for Market Valuations by Robert McConnaughey of Columbia Management

Nobody buys a house without looking inside. And nobody should make investment decisions without doing their due diligence on the underlying fundamentals. But that is exactly what happens in an investment world increasingly driven by high-level asset allocation and utilization of passive, index-based products or strategies. Pundits look at aggregate index data and declare one country cheap (or some other action-inducing characteristic) vs. another. Maybe they are right, but maybe they are missing something too.

2014-12-03 00:00:00 A Brave New World by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

In the the last two Absolute Return Letters I have argued why one should expect global GDP growth to be below average over the next decade or so, why interest rates should, as a consequence, remain low and why equity returns should also disappoint. Not as in negative returns but below the levels we have grown accustomed to over the past 30 years. If you have read those two letters, none of this should come as a surprise.

2014-12-02 00:00:00 The Tooth-Fairy Economics of Jeff Madrick by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)

Incentives don't matter, tradeoffs don't exist and there are no limits to what the government can give you. Those who believe this dogma are likely to still have faith in the tooth fairy. In Seven Bad Ideas, a critique of the neoclassical revival in economics that surrounded Milton Friedman and that affected policy and politics worldwide for more than a generation, Jeff Madrick emerges as tooth-fairy economics' chief exponent.

2014-12-02 00:00:00 The Worlds Dumbest Idea by James Montier of GMO

In a new white paper today, James Montier of GMO's asset allocation team "explor(es) the evidence that shareholder value maximization (SVM) has been an unmitigated failure and contributed to some very undesirable economic outcomes."

2014-12-01 00:00:00 Global Carry Gone Parabolic? by Alexander Giryavets of Dynamika Capital L.L.C.

Global Carry has gone parabolic. Last such move precipitated the Taper Tantrum, only this time the parabolic move is exaggerated by US dollar appreciation.

2014-12-01 00:00:00 Hard-Won Lessons and the Bird in the Hand by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The S&P 500 is more than double its historical valuation norms on reliable measures (with about 90% correlation with actual subsequent 10-year market returns), sentiment is lopsided, and we observe dispersion across market internals, along with widening credit spreads. These and similar considerations present a coherent pattern that has been informative in market cycles across a century of history including the period since 2009. None of those considerations inform us that the U.S. stock market currently presents a desirable opportunity to accept risk.

2014-11-26 00:00:00 Global Economic Perspective: November by Christopher Molumphy, Michael Materasso, Roger Bayston, Michael Hasenstab & John Beck of Franklin Templeton Investments

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

2014-11-25 00:00:00 The Dangers of Euphoria in Real Estate Investments by Keith Jurow (Article)

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

2014-11-25 00:00:00 Why Cant Investing Be as Simple as Going from Here to There? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

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

2014-11-24 00:00:00 Risk Parity: Comparing the Objections With Reality - Part 2 by Scott Wolle, Michael McHugh, David Gluch of Invesco Blog

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

2014-11-24 00:00:00 Time to Look at Long Credit? by Mohit Mittal of PIMCO

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

2014-11-24 00:00:00 You Thought QE Was Over? by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

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

2014-11-23 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Are Investors Too Complacent? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

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

2014-11-22 00:00:00 Solar Energy Powers Record Silver Demand by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Silver demand in the fabrication of solar panels is set to outpace photography, if it hasn?t already done so.

2014-11-21 00:00:00 The Right Fit: Global Bonds and DC Plans by Alison Martier of AllianceBernstein

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

2014-11-21 00:00:00 The Implications of Easing by Mark Mobius, Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments

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

2014-11-21 00:00:00 Is Your Portfolio Truly Diversified? by Eric Stein of Eaton Vance

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

2014-11-20 00:00:00 Hiring Good Managers Is Hard? Ha! Try Keeping Them by John West, Amie Ko of Research Affiliates

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

2014-11-20 00:00:00 Flows Potential: Fund Managers Remain Under-Weight Japan by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

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

2014-11-19 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.

2014-11-19 00:00:00 Investment Implications for UK DC Schemes in Light of Tax and Regulatory Changes by William Allport of PIMCO

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

2014-11-18 00:00:00 Tinkering with the Core Bond Recipe by Alison Martier of AllianceBernstein

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

2014-11-18 00:00:00 How AQR's New Fund Adds Value - An Alternative Approach to Alternatives: Investing with Style by Larry Swedroe (Article)

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

2014-11-18 00:00:00 Why the Risk-Reduction Benefits of Bond Ladders Have Been Overstated by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

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

2014-11-17 00:00:00 Capital Allocation and Risk Management by (Article)

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

2014-11-17 00:00:00 Navigating the Credit Markets by Bob Andres of Andres Capital Management

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

2014-11-17 00:00:00 Risk Parity: Comparing the Objections With Reality Part 1 by Scott Wolle, Michael McHugh, David Gluch of Invesco Blog

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

2014-11-16 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Time to Buy Commodities? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

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

2014-11-14 00:00:00 Investment Update October 2014 by James Klein of Meritage Portfolio Management

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

2014-11-14 00:00:00 Global Investing: Are Foreign Stocks Attractive? by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

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

2014-11-14 00:00:00 Tired of Being Scared Yet? by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

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

2014-11-14 00:00:00 Bad #Deflation by Keith McCullough of Hedgeye Risk Management

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

2014-11-12 00:00:00 Our Investment Beliefs by Chris Brightman, Jonathan Treussard, Jim Masturzo of Research Affiliates

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

2014-11-12 00:00:00 Is Levering Bonds a Losers Game Today? by Michael DePalma, Arnab Nilim of AllianceBernstein

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

2014-11-11 00:00:00 One year in: Im doubling down on investment discipline by Jeff Hussey of Russell Investments

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

2014-11-11 00:00:00 Factors: An Essential Part of Any Nutritious Portfolio by Adam Butler, Mike Philbrick, Rodrigo Gordillo of Dundee Goodman Private Wealth

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

2014-11-07 00:00:00 Knowing What You Can't Know, Knowing What You Don't Know, and Staying Disciplined in Your Investment by Team of Litman Gregory

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

2014-11-07 00:00:00 Japanese Equities Look Better and Better by Nick Niziolek of Calamos Investments

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

2014-11-07 00:00:00 Retirement Planning: Millennials vs. Boomers by Noah Beck of Research Affiliates

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

2014-11-07 00:00:00 Gold in Yen Calm in the Eye of a Storm by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

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

2014-11-07 00:00:00 The ETF Trader Interview Series: Aaron Kehoe, Cantor Fitzgerald by Anita Rausch of WisdomTree

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

2014-11-07 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

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

2014-11-07 00:00:00 The Investing Evolution: How We Got Here by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

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

2014-11-06 00:00:00 3 Things Worth Thinking About, Including the Odds of a Suckers Rally by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

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

2014-11-05 00:00:00 Japan's Kaput?! by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Japans economy is down but not yet out. The worlds third largest economy wont go quietly. Both these statements are merely my opinion, but if you believe theres a risk that Im right, you may want to pay attention to what the implications may be.

2014-11-04 00:00:00 The Critical Importance of Evidence-Based Persuasion by Daniel Solin (Article)

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

2014-11-04 00:00:00 Outrunning the Bear: An Active Managers Survival Guide by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Two long-time friends go up in the mountains on a hunting trip. At 4:30 A.M. of the second day, one of the men wakes up at one end of the tent to find his buddy dressing and putting on his running shoes at the other end. He asks him what he is doing. His friend says, There is a bear outside our tent. The other guy exclaims, You cant outrun a bear! His friend replies, I dont have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you.

2014-11-04 00:00:00 Snail Trail Vortex by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

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

2014-11-04 00:00:00 Double Dose of Stimulus Sending Japan Stocks Up, Yen Down by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

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

2014-11-03 00:00:00 Digging Deep for Value in Volatility by Grace Hoefig of Franklin Templeton Investments

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

2014-11-02 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: What the End of QE Means for the Individual Investor by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

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

2014-10-30 00:00:00 Got Loans? by Mark R. Kiesel, Elizabeth (Beth) MacLean, Rudy Pimentel of PIMCO

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

2014-10-30 00:00:00 Stay the Course in Small Caps by Jonathan Coleman of Janus Capital Group

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

2014-10-29 00:00:00 As the Market Rebounds, Two Opportunities Bubble to Top by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

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

2014-10-28 00:00:00 How Moving Average Strategies Can Really Work by Jerry A. Miccolis, CFA®, CFP®, FCAS, CERA, Marina Goodman, CFA®, CFP® and Rohith Eggidi (Article)

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

2014-10-28 00:00:00 Why Consider Brazil Now? by David Nadel of The Royce Funds

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

2014-10-28 00:00:00 Under the Magnifying Glass by Brian Andrew of Cleary Gull

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

2014-10-28 00:00:00 U.S. Budget: How Is Spending Trending? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

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

2014-10-28 00:00:00 Do Activist Investors Let the Game Come to Them? by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

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

2014-10-28 00:00:00 The Math Of Loss by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

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

2014-10-27 00:00:00 Four Investor Takeaways from the Recent Volatility Spike by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

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

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.

2014-10-23 00:00:00 Is This the Beginning of a New Bear Market? Important Signs to Watch by Chris Puplava of PFS Group

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

2014-10-21 00:00:00 Shift Your Focus to Gain AUM by Daniel Solin (Article)

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

2014-10-21 00:00:00 Help is on the Horizon to Ease Student Debt by Sponsored Content from Legg Mason (Article)

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

2014-10-21 00:00:00 Loomis Sayles Core Plus Bond Fund: Navigating Dynamic Markets with Tactical Flexibility by Sponsored Content from Loomis Sayles (Article)

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

2014-10-21 00:00:00 Can You Panic and Still be an Investor? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

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

2014-10-21 00:00:00 The Tool that Will Transform Firmwide Financial Planning by Bob Veres (Article)

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

2014-10-21 00:00:00 Advising Clients about When to Retire by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

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

2014-10-20 00:00:00 Five Ways to Keep Out of the Bond Liquidity Trap by Douglas Peebles of AllianceBernstein

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

2014-10-20 00:00:00 Five Things You Should Know About U.S. Small-Caps by Francis Gannon of The Royce Funds

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

2014-10-19 00:00:00 What the Strong Dollar Does to Yellow and Black Gold and Why We're Seeing Green by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

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

2014-10-19 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Is the Correction Over? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

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

2014-10-19 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

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

2014-10-17 00:00:00 Special Report: Volatility Update by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

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

2014-10-16 00:00:00 October is a Scary Month by Brian Andrew of Cleary Gull

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

2014-10-16 00:00:00 Global Carry a.k.a. Risk Parity by Alexander Giryavets of Dynamika Capital L.L.C.

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

2014-10-16 00:00:00 Optimizing a Portfolio Allocation to Gold by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

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

2014-10-15 00:00:00 What Are We Doing to Our Young Investors? by Rob Arnott, Lillian Wu of Research Affiliates

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

2014-10-15 00:00:00 Is Smart Beta Smart Enough? by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

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

2014-10-14 00:00:00 Bill Sharpe on Retirement Planning by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Bill Sharpe discusses topics at the forefront of financial-planning research: The role of annuities in a retirement portfolio, the proper glidepath for target-date funds, if investors should anticipate mean reversion in market returns and whether ESG- and SRI-oriented portfolios make sense.

2014-10-14 00:00:00 High Quality Mid Caps Enjoy Performance Advantage by Sponsored Content from ClearBridge Investments (Article)

Since 1965, high-quality midcap stocks have outperformed their low-quality peers by a meaningful margin-a premium that has been most pronounced during periods of market transition. As we approach an inflection point in the current market and economy, investors should consider high-quality mid-cap stocks, which appear poised to thrive.

2014-10-14 00:00:00 The Ultimate Income Portfolio: 7.1% Yield with Low Risk by Geoff Considine (Article)

I analyze the performance of last year's Ultimate Income Portfolio and generate the one for 2014-15. The result is a portfolio that yields 7.1% with a risk level equivalent to a 70/30 stock/bond index fund. I also explore some of the lessons learned from four years of tracking and revising the portfolios.

2014-10-14 00:00:00 You Ain't Seen Nothin Yet by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Someone recently asked a group of us which band we saw at our first rock concert. My answer was the Canadian band, The Guess Who, in 1975. With hits like No Time, Undun and These Eyes, The Guess Who hit the perfect balance between my 17-year old testosterone driven aggressiveness and my urge to romance the woman of my dreams. The key members of the band in the 1960s and 1970s were Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman.

2014-10-13 00:00:00 Air-Pockets, Free-Falls, and Crashes by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Once overvalued, overbought, overbullish extremes are joined by deterioration in market internals and trend-uniformity, one finds a narrow set comprising less than 5% of history that contains little but abrupt air-pockets, free-falls, and crashes.

2014-10-13 00:00:00 Five Ways to Keep Out of the Bond Liquidity Trap by Douglas J. Peebles of AllianceBernstein

The good news is that liquidity risk is manageableand can even offer attractive opportunities, given the right time horizon. When liquidity dries up in one sector, it can be plentiful in another. If managed properly, it can be an additional source of returns. Here are five things investors can do to stay afloat.

2014-10-12 00:00:00 Weekly Market Summary by Urban Carmel of The Fat Pitch

SPX has gone 686 days without touching its 200-dma. This is the longest stretch in history. On Friday, after a 3% fall during the week, SPX landed right on its 200-dma. It would be unusual if SPX dropped right through its 200-dma by more than ~2% without first bouncing higher. Unusual, but not impossible.

2014-10-12 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Can Corporate Earnings Reports Reverse the Stock Market Decline? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

Last week featured a low signal to noise ratio speech after speech, but little fresh information. This week heralds the start of earnings season. While we have a normal measure of government data, market participants will carefully parse the announcements and conference calls. This week will be all about earnings.

2014-10-11 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Hong Kong gets occupied; U.S. corporate taxes: Fact, fiction and framing; Has the U.S. Treasury blunted the Fed's QE program?

2014-10-10 00:00:00 You Only Dance Twice by William Gross of Janus Capital Group

Dancing, or better yet as the beginning of my Investment Outlook suggests, being asked to dance, seems to have become an important part of my life over the past month or so. Having first been asked by my wonderful wife, Sue, and now by Dick Weil and Janus from a business standpoint, I write to you today from my desk in a new Janus office in Newport Beach, California.

2014-10-10 00:00:00 Are Hedge Funds the Great Diversifier? by Team of Milliman Financial Risk Management

The California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) announced on September 15th that it would divest its entire $4.5 billion hedge fund investment. With a market value of $298 billion, a move by Calpers may be a bellwether for the industry. The decision comes at a time when many pensions are reconsidering hedge fund investments as a risk management tool.

2014-10-09 00:00:00 Global asset allocation outlook by Global Asset Allocation Team of Columbia Management

Recent market performance, particularly in September, has been negative across a widespread array of asset classes as we have seen the U.S. dollar exchange rate rise with increasing intensity in recent months. The worst returns, not coincidentally, were delivered by the very assets that have shown historically high sensitivity to dollar strength. This disruption to currency stability in general, and the particular importance of a rise in exchange value for the worlds reserve currency, represents an important change in capital market conditions.

2014-10-09 00:00:00 Warren Buffett on Buying Businesses by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Wed like to ask a self serving and much nuanced question: is your active equity portfolio manager buying businesses for you or are they trying to guess what the stock market will do in the next month or few years? Much like Samuel L. Jackson asks, Whats in your wallet? in television commercials, wed like to ask, Whats in your portfolio?

2014-10-09 00:00:00 Can Anything Go Wrong for the Markets??? by Vineer Bhansali of PIMCO

?Risk management in proper portfolio construction consists of a combination of dynamic risk balancing, diversified beta sources, explicit options-based tail hedging and a minimum amount of liquidity. Faced with a long and expanding list of things that could go wrong, uncertainties about the likelihood of each shock and the lack of dependable precursory indicators, it seems that a structurally sound portfolio construction methodology that uses all these tools is essential.

2014-10-09 00:00:00 2014 Outlook Update: A Year of Validation Indeed by Andrew Pease of Russell Investments

Andrew Pease, Global Head of Investment Strategy, outlines the economic and markets predictions by the team of Russell strategists at the end of the third quarter and going into the fourth quarter, comparing these forecasts to the firms Annual Global Outlook from last December.

2014-10-09 00:00:00 The Fed's Invisible Hand, and Other Things to Think About by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

I have not been a huge advocate of the Federal Reserve's QE programs for the simple reason that outside of inflating asset prices, it has done nothing for the broad swath of the American economy.

2014-10-09 00:00:00 Rethinking Core Fixed Income in a Rising-Rate Environment by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments

Michael Hasenstab, chief investment officer, Global Bonds, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group, says it is time for fixed income investors to think outside traditional boxes. He believes that with todays market environment and the prospect of rising US interest rates on the horizon, investors need to rethink their core fixed income portfolio. He makes the case for an actively managed, global, unconstrained fixed income strategy.

2014-10-08 00:00:00 Nervous Investors, Choppy Markets by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

It was a choppy third quarter for global asset classes. Domestically, Large Cap equities rose slightly but Small Cap US stocks fell.

2014-10-07 00:00:00 How Risky are Stocks in the Long Run? by Michael Edesess (Article)

What is the risk that equity investments wont turn out as well in the long run as we would like them to? This is obviously a very important question. We are often assured that stock investments will eventually pan out because of mean-reversion. However, mean-reversion in securities prices is ill-defined, oversimplified and little more than a physics metaphor.

2014-10-07 00:00:00 Is Two for the Price of One always better? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

I have to admit that I usually avoid shopping. Typical male behavior, I suppose, but even male shoppers stop and consider signs like Two for the Price of One! when they eventually choose to grace the shopping aisles.

2014-10-07 00:00:00 How M&A Resurgence May Unlock Value by Francis Gallagher, Peter Drippe of Visium Funds

Growth is a strong motivator for initiating mergers and acquisitions (M&A). For years, businesses created progressively more complex organizations, acquiring or expanding into unrelated business lines, consequently often suppressing overall company valuations. The complexity of melding disparate corporations appeared to make it exceedingly difficult for investors to evaluate companies true worth. In the present period of slow U.S. economic growth, a new trend in M&A has emerged, as many companies are reversing these moves, benefiting stock prices, investors and, potentially, the

2014-10-06 00:00:00 The Most Important Chart in the World by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

One of todays most glaring inter-market divergences is the relative performance of US versus non-US equities. For dollar-based investors, non-US stocks have underperformed US stocks by an astounding 40% over the past five years.

2014-10-05 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Will global weakness drag down the US economy? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

Last week was all about data. This week will be the opposite. The calendar already dished up the big news, and the major earnings reports are still a week away. Meanwhile, we have more conferences and speeches than I can remember seeing for many months. For those of us who think of data as the signal and politicians and pundits as noise, we must get ready for a low ratio! This week will emphasize commentary rather than data, with world leaders, Fed types, and pundits all joining in.

2014-10-04 00:00:00 What PIMCO Management Changes Mean for Investors by Team of Charles Schwab

Bill Gross resigned from his role as PIMCOs Chief Investment Officer to join Janus Capital. The PIMCO funds on the current edition of Schwabs Mutual Fund OneSource Select ListTM are not managed by Gross. There are no PIMCO ETFs currently on Schwabs ETF Select ListTM. A list of funds formerly managed or co-managed by Gross is available below.

2014-10-03 00:00:00 Our DNA by Douglas M. Hodge of PIMCO

Our investment process, which lies at the heart of the value we offer clients, is ingrained it is stamped into our DNA. Our culture of rigorous and open debate will continue to animate quarterly forums of our global investment and executive leadership, as well as the daily meetings of the Investment Committee. We remain a team-oriented organization. Indeed, it could hardly be otherwise in a firm which over many years has grown to nearly 2,500 investment professionals and staff stationed in 13 global offices, with nearly $2 trillion in assets and a full suite of strategies, including co

2014-10-03 00:00:00 Metastability? by Jeffrey Bronchick of Cove Street Capital

We remain cheerfully bearish on fixed income and slightly less so on equity markets. The combination of volatility and confusion produces opportunities and since we have had a lot less of the former, we have seen a lot fewer of the latter. Not much of this has changed this year...but things do change-sometimes for reasons we can "see" and sometimes due to factors we can't. We remain utterly convinced that Federal Reserve policy is our greatest known unknown and we remain extraordinarily skeptical that the Great Monetary Experiment will end with a purely beneficial outcome. This quart

2014-10-03 00:00:00 Vision 1994 by Mark Headley of Matthews Asia

Twenty years ago, Paul Matthews decided to launch two Asia ex-Japan mutual funds in the U.S. and create what is today the Matthews Asia Funds. One was a core Asia ex-Japan growth fund with a mid-capitalization bias. The other fund was a unique portfolio with a focus on Asian convertible bonds. Thus began the journey of the Matthews Pacific Tiger and the Matthews Asian Growth and Income Funds.

2014-10-02 00:00:00 Will Risk Parity Performance Persist? by Chris Maxey, Brian Payne of Fortigent

With risk parity portfolios on the whole having outperformed traditional 60/40 allocations since the trough of the financial crisis, one must be mindful of the risks that lie ahead when determining the efficacy of such an approach.

2014-10-02 00:00:00 Six Months of Nothing by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

Political problems have escalated over the past seven months. Russia has been aggressive and so have extremists in certain Muslim countries. Having said that, financial markets seem to care about nothing but QE. Despite a growing disconnect in some markets between equity valuations and economic fundamentals, we expect the low interest rate environment to carry the equity bull market for a little longer, but eventually it will end in tears.

2014-10-02 00:00:00 Uncertainty in markets, economy puts focus on stock picking by Michael Avery, Cynthia Prince-Fox, Chace Brundige of Ivy Investment Management Company

The U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) has indicated it will stop buying U.S. Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities the taper of its QE3 program by the end of October. The Fed also has said it will keep interest rates at a very low level for a considerable time.

2014-10-01 00:00:00 Forget Active vs. Passive: It's All About Factors by Adam Butler, Mike Philbrick, Rodrigo Gordillo of Butler|Philbrick|Gordillo & Associates

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

2014-09-30 00:00:00 Bullish on the U.S. Manufacturing Renaissance and Cyclical Businesses by Francis Gannon and Steven McBoyle (Article)

Portfolio Manager Steven McBoyle and Co-Chief Investment Officer Francis Gannon discuss current opportunities rooted in the accelerating growth of the U.S. economy and the search for companies that are investing strategically.

2014-09-30 00:00:00 Asset Allocation in a Time of Complacency by Dimitri Balatsos of Tesseract Partners

Complacency is a dangerous mindset, especially for investors. Having been generously rewarded beyond their expectations, investors were coddled in the arms of complacency as 2013 drew to a close.

2014-09-30 00:00:00 Microcap as an Alternative to Private Equity by Chris Meredith, Patrick O'Shaughnessy of O'Shaughnessey Asset management

Private equity has become a central component of many institutional and high-net-worth investment portfolios over the past decade. While private equity offers potential advantages, it also requires taking distinct risks. This paper highlights an alternative to private equitymicrocap equitieswhich mitigates several of these particular risks.

2014-09-30 00:00:00 How Might Stocks Take a Hike? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Here's a look at what happened to equities during past periods when the Fed raised rates.

2014-09-29 00:00:00 Time for an Allocation by Tim Gramatovich of AdvisorShares

The size of the U.S. dollar high yield bond and loan market is over $3 trillion, representing nearly 30% of the corporate credit markets.

2014-09-29 00:00:00 Short Equity ETFs: An Imperfect Market Hedging Strategy by Bob Andres of Andres Capital Management

So the Wizard unfastened his head and emptied out the straw. Then he entered the back room and took up a measure of bran, which he mixed with a great many pins and needles. Having shaken them together thoroughly, he filled the top of the Scarecrow's head with the mixture and stuffed the rest of the space with straw, to hold it in place. L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

2014-09-26 00:00:00 Many Investors Still Fear Stocks: Good News for Markets? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

The economy and the stock market are no longer depressed, yet the share of U.S. adults who own stocks remains at multi-year lows. Russ explains why investors havent yet fully embraced equities and what this could mean for longer-term stock market performance.

2014-09-25 00:00:00 How Plan Sponsors Can Prepare for the Coming Changes to Mortality Tables by Thomas Egan of Columbia Management

The name may sound like something from Star Wars, but RP-2014 is actually the draft mortality tables released by the Society of Actuaries (SOA) earlier this year. These revised tables highlight longer life expectancies and faster increases in mortality improvements, affirming the well-established belief that individuals are living longer. The draft is currently under review by various stakeholders with the expectation that RP-2014 will be formalized this year.

2014-09-25 00:00:00 Playing Defense in Emerging Market Fixed Income by Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

When looking around the global fixed income landscape, investors searching for income potential have essentially two choices: non-investment grade debt or emerging markets (EM). While high yield flows continues to dominate the headlines, emerging markets have generally flown under the radar in recent months. In this discussion, we focus on how investors may be able to best position against a change in Federal Reserve (Fed) policy while maintaining income potential from investments in emerging markets.

2014-09-25 00:00:00 Global Equities Stay Thirsty for Liquidity by Rick Golod of Invesco Blog

Taking a step back from the usual economic and market insights, my September commentary is devoted to a topic that Ive been long overdue in addressing. Financial advisors have frequently asked about my approach to asset allocation, and Ive outlined my strategy for diversifying within the US equity space in my commentary, Harnessing the Markets Natural Rotation: An Asset Allocation Strategy. Here, Id like to provide a summary of my outlook, which remains unchanged from the previous month.

2014-09-24 00:00:00 Open Sesame by Brian Andrew of Cleary Gull

Often times, investors are interested in pursuing investments in the hottest asset class. The hype surrounding the Alibaba IPO is an example of how a sector gets a boost from a hot new stock. The fact that the stock traded up almost 40% in the first day of trading is an indication that the sector is hot. It is difficult not to want to add more capital to that portion of your portfolio that is performing best while ignoring the portion that isnt performing as well. Of course that is exactly what you are supposed to do and what rebalancing is all about.

2014-09-23 00:00:00 Jeremy Siegel vs. Zvi Bodie: Does Equity Risk Decrease Over Time? by David Blanchett, Michael Finke and Wade Pfau (Article)

Stocks should be the asset class of choice for the long run, according to Wharton Professor Jeremy Siegel - and he has provided the data to prove it. But that paradigm has been challenged by Boston University Professor Zvi Bodie and others, who have shown that stocks become riskier the longer one owns them. Either view has profound implications for whether equity allocations should increase or decrease over time. Using Monte Carlo simulations, we provide guidance for the advisory profession.

2014-09-22 00:00:00 It’s Time for Your Portfolio to Break from Tradition by Kathleen Gaffney, Kevin Dachille of Eaton Vance

Given the current low-yield environment and with rising interest rates looming, now may be the right time to consider new strategies for generating favorable returns in your fixed-income portfolio.

2014-09-22 00:00:00 Alternative Approaches for Managing Emerging Market Equity Portfolios by Roger Edgley, Laura Geritz, Andrey Kutuzov, and Ajay Krishnan of Wasatch Funds

The shortcomings of indexing are especially evident in frontier markets, where some very small markets have significant weights. This paper discusses three approaches for targeting inefficiencies in emerging markets. These approaches are designed to fit together and complement each other within an investment portfolio. Overlap is generally minimal, so investors may reasonably employ all three.

2014-09-21 00:00:00 Wheres the Growth? by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Call me a heretic, but I take a different view than the economists in charge. To my mind, the sluggish recovery is a sign that central banks, governments, and, quite frankly, the textbook economists (despite their best intentions) are part of the problem. As Detlev Schlichter commented in his latest blog post (Keynes was a failure in Japan No need to embrace him in Europe), To the true Keynesian, no interest rate is ever low enough, no quantitative easing program ever ambitious enough, and no fiscal deficit ever large enough. It&r

2014-09-19 00:00:00 Finding Appropriate Investment Strategies for Client Portfolios by Chuck Self of iSectors

Financial advisors (FAs) utilizing outsourced investment management processes face a significant number of choices. Recently, there were 675 exchange-traded fund (ETF) investment strategists in Morningstars database. How does one narrow the list of choices for further investigation effectively?

2014-09-19 00:00:00 Panic in Bermuda: When Your Business Turns into an “Interesting New Asset Class” by Krishna Mohanraj of Diamond Hill Capital Management, Inc.

All else equal, we prefer to invest in strong franchises in stable industries. However, even within industries undergoing turmoil, understanding the differing prospects of individual firms can present us with attractive investment opportunities, both long and short.

2014-09-18 00:00:00 Room to Run by Marie Schofield of Columbia Management

The U.S. economy passed a milestone of sorts in August, in that the current business cycle has now surpassed the last one in length. The prior business cycle started in 2001 and continued until the December 2007 peak, lasting 6.8 years. This is longer than the post-war average of 5.6 years, but shorter than the business cycles in the 1980s and 1990s which lasted 9 to 10 years.

2014-09-17 00:00:00 America in the Driver’s Seat – Enjoy the Ride by Doug MacKay, Bill Hoover of Broadleaf Partners

Like clockwork, earnings season has drawn to a close, creating an information vacuum for the stock market, one in which the media spends more time "making" the news than perhaps reporting it. The marginal dollar at trade - or the price maker in a high frequency dominated trading world - is one more likely to be concerned about the Fed's words over the next two days than the stream of earnings produced by corporate America over the next few quarters.

2014-09-16 00:00:00 The Key Problem with Monte Carlo Software - The Need for Better Performance Metrics by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Popular financial-planning software packages have shortcomings in the metrics they use to evaluate the outputs from Monte Carlo simulations; other metrics provide more useful information. I will address how to measure the performance of financial plans when variable investment returns and longevity are introduced and demonstrate that the most-commonly used measures have weaknesses.

2014-09-16 00:00:00 Cycling Through History by Willie Delwiche of Robert W. Baird

Certain seasonal adages will doubtless sound familiar. "As goes January, so goes the year" seems to be repeated as a rule sometime in early February, while "Sell in May and go away" reflects not only the conditioned expectation of summer weakness, but also a preference for sayings that rhyme. Perhaps the proliferation of these sayings partially explains why the actual timing of cyclical shifts can catch some investors off guard.

2014-09-16 00:00:00 Stocks vs. High Yield Munis by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

The track record of the so-called "Fed Model" is dubious at best. The relationship compares the S&P 500's earnings yield to the yield of the 10-year Treasury note, and there are many other indicators that have a better track record than does the Fed Model when attempting to predict twelve-month forward returns. Despite that caveat, we nonetheless thought it interesting to examine the yield relationships between stocks and a broader array of fixed-income categories. Among those categories, high yield municipal bonds can be the only fixed-income that is attractive relative to stock

2014-09-16 00:00:00 The Case for Predictable Growth Stocks by Team of Value Line Funds

When investors think of growth companies, high-flying, large tech stocks, such as Facebook, Google and Apple, often come to mind. By definition, growth stocks have faster earnings growth and, therefore, higher valuations, but many also offer a more predictable pattern of growth with less price volatility and smoother returns over time. Furthermore, many of these steady growth stocks have historically outperformed peers over the long term.

2014-09-15 00:00:00 Understanding the Potential Risks and Rewards of Alternative Investments by Bob Andres of Andres Capital Management

Today, Investors are confronted with constructing or restructuring an asset allocation model in an environment where traditional equity and fixed income securities are fully valued. As a result, investors may be facing a period of nominal or negative returns from both of these traditional asset classes. In this environment, alternative investments may play a pivotal role in providing investors with broad diversification, lower correlations, and as a result, enhanced downside protection.

2014-09-13 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).

2014-09-12 00:00:00 Conditions are right for the dollar to weigh on gold by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

In last weeks Gold Report we looked at the historical relationship between the gold price in dollars and the value of the dollar, as measured by the Intercontinental Exchange US dollar trade weighted index (USDX) and found a strong inverse relationship between the two a strong dollar has historically tended to be associated with a weak gold price.

2014-09-12 00:00:00 Schwab Market Perspective: Diverging Paths…Growing Risks? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The U.S. stock market continues to reach new highs but sentiment is extended and we are entering a period that has historically seen weakness. We believe the ultimate trend is higher, but bumps could get more pronounced in the near future. The U.S. economy is improving, with data suggesting self-supporting expansion is taking hold. Whether this means accelerated Fed interest rate hikes is being closely watched, while midterm elections often inject some more uncertainty into the market. The European Central Bank (ECB) finally acted, but structural issues and lack of demand remain problems.

2014-09-10 00:00:00 High Yield Bonds and Interest Rates by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

Over the last month, we have seen the equity markets hit all-time highs, all the while bond investors seem to be indicating there are reasons to be concerned, sending the 10-year Treasury to the lowest yields seen over the past year.

2014-09-09 00:00:00 How Rare are Housing Bubbles? Understanding the Case-Shiller Index and its Counterparts by Cesar A. Orosco and Laurence B. Siegel (Article)

Do house prices experience periodic bull and bear markets like the stock market? Or are they stable in real (inflation-adjusted) terms most of the time, with big disruptions once or twice in a century? Two popular house price series tell these very different stories. Knowing which is better will lead to superior investment outcomes and improved policy decisions.

2014-09-09 00:00:00 Growing Income and Wealth with High-Dividend Equities by C. Thomas Howard, PhD (Article)

High-dividend equities have significant advantages for growing income and wealth: getting sufficient yield, keeping up with inflation and outliving available funds. Such a portfolio produces higher income per dollar invested, growing income and principal over time, higher total returns, lower volatility and a reduced risk of outliving savings.

2014-09-09 00:00:00 Market Perspective by The CCR Wealth Management Investment Committee of CCR Wealth Management

In our office we frequently make sport of the countless headlines we encounter on a daily basis from various media outlets across the web. These headlines are often splashed across the home pages of market or financial sitesthough often across mainstream news outlets, or the business sections of Sunday newspapers as well.

2014-09-09 00:00:00 Staying Ahead of the Curve by Chris Diaz of Janus Capital Group

Investors could soon face an environment of rising U.S. interest rates and heightened rate volatility. Already, the Federal Reserve has begun setting the stage by tapering its quantitative easing program. Once rates start to rise, its difficult for a fixed income portfolio to make up lost ground if its not already positioned for higher rates. We think its crucial for investors to diversify their yield curve exposure by investing abroad.

2014-09-08 00:00:00 Correlation Convergence is Hurting Your Investment Performance by Vern Sumnicht of iSectors

Correlation is a statistical term that helps describe the relationship between two investments, enabling an investor to determine how similar two investments are to each other. By understanding the correlation between the investments in a portfolio, an investor can understand how likely it is, for example, for two or more of those investments to gain or lose money at the same time.

2014-09-08 00:00:00 The Two Pillars of Full-Cycle Investing by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

History teaches clear lessons about the varying merits of accepting market risk.

2014-09-06 00:00:00 The New Challenges of Price Discovery by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In the past few years, price discoveryor the act of finding the right price for a securityhas become much more challenging because of falling stock volume and widening bid-ask spreads. These challenges are directly attributable to the infiltration of high-frequency traders into the market, not to mention the expansion of dark pools and non-exchange trading.

2014-09-06 00:00:00 Are US Stocks Reacting Rationally? by Grant Bowers of Franklin Templeton Investments

When major market indexes reach new heights, some investors may become wary. Given that the US stock market has enjoyed robust total returns over the past five years (20092013), its only natural to question the sustainability of rising stock prices.Grant Bowers, portfolio manager of Franklin Growth Opportunities Fund, believes many of the same drivers of stock market performance over the past few years remain in place, including low inflation, healthy corporate profits and accommodative monetary policy. However, he also cautions that volatility is likely to pick up, particularly

2014-09-06 00:00:00 Back in the Saddle Again: Time to Pull in the Reins? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Interest rates and seasonal tendencies are taking some attention away from the stronger economy and pose short-term risks for the stock market. Another pullback would be welcome from a sentiment perspective and would not dent our longer-term optimism that we are in a secular bull market that still has room to run. But just as fear has been the strongest emotion keeping many investors out of this bull market, greed is an emotion to rein in as well.

2014-09-05 00:00:00 Gold in the Time of the US Dollar by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

Continuing on the theme of the impact that strength in the US dollar might have on the price of gold in dollars, in this weeks discussion we investigate the close historical relationship between the price of gold expressed in dollars and the value of the dollar.

2014-09-04 00:00:00 What's Next for the Dollar and Gold? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

One reason markets tend to get a little nervous in September is that its time for investors to ponder about their asset allocation for the remainder of the year and beyond. With the markets at or near record highs and the US dollar on a roll, what could possibly go wrong? Lets look at whats next for the dollar, gold, and currencies.

2014-09-02 00:00:00 Can Retirees Still Use a 4% Withdrawal Rate? Practical Applications of Monte Carlo Analysis by Wade Pfau and David Blanchett (Article)

Some advisors remain critical of Monte Carlo simulations, instead preferring to use analysis based on rolling historical periods or specific pre-defined scenarios. We believe Monte Carlo is a superior tool for measuring the uncertainties in long-term financial planning. As an example, we use it to predict the likelihood of a successful 4% withdrawal rate under today's market conditions.

2014-09-02 00:00:00 Chinas Reforms Open New Path to Equities by Stuart Rae, John Lin of AllianceBernstein

For investors in China equities, there have traditionally been two ways of approaching the market: through expensive growth stocks, or risky contrarian plays. Now, thanks to Chinas reforms, theres a third way which may offer a better balance of risk and return.

2014-08-30 00:00:00 Anticipate Before You Participate: Patterns in Trading by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The primary unit of time measurement for high-frequency traders might be the microsecond, but for normal retail traders, it?s vital to know the best months, days and even half-hours of the day to make market transactions.

2014-08-30 00:00:00 Sound Familiar? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Stocks seem likely to continue their upward momentum although volatility could increase with Federal Reserve interest rate uncertainty combined with midterm elections and geopolitics. An improving economy, decent valuations and a still-accommodative Fed leave us confident that dips should be viewed as buying opportunities. Conversely, Europe is looking worse and we would be cautious in adding new cash at this time, concentrating additional international exposure instead on China and to a lesser degree Japan, always with a diversified portfolio in mind.

2014-08-29 00:00:00 Three Investing Lessons from the Napa Earthquake by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Last weeks Bay Area earthquake was a stark reminder that there are risks to living in California. It also was a violent, but good, metaphor for the dangers lurking in financial markets. Russ shares three investing lessons and one busted movie myth that he took away from the Napa earthquake.

2014-08-25 00:00:00 Broken Links: Fed Policy and the Growing Gap Betweeen Wall Street and Main Street by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The issue is not whether the U.S. economy does or does not need life support. The issue is that QE is not life support in the first place. How can policy makers help to build the economy from the middle-out, and slow the both the unproductive diversion and the lopsided distribution of resources in our economic system? We should begin by stopping the harm.

2014-08-25 00:00:00 Correcting a Common Misconception about Alternative Investments by Walter Davis of Invesco Blog

A common misconception about alternative investments is that these investments have failed anytime they underperform the stock market. Investors need to know that alternative investments are designed to achieve returns that are more consistent and less volatile than those of the stock market on a long-term basis across multiple market cycles.

2014-08-22 00:00:00 What "Smart Beta" Means to Us by Rob Arnott, Engin Kose of Research Affiliates

The controversial term smart beta is used so broadly in the marketplace that it risks becoming meaningless. This article describes the characteristics of equity strategies that, in our view, merit the smart beta designation.

2014-08-22 00:00:00 What Your Parents Didnt Tell You About Saving for Retirement by Anne Bucciarelli of AllianceBernstein

Chances are, your parents have told you to max out your 401(k) plan. Thats good advice, but the hard truth is that your 401(k) plan is highly likely to fall short. To live comfortably in retirement, our research shows, you will almost surely need more.

2014-08-21 00:00:00 Hospitals: No Longer in the ICU by Kyle Schneider of Diamond Hill Capital Management, Inc.

The hospital industry has traditionally been below average from an investment standpoint, given its high levels of regulation, capital intensity, and leverage. Pricing power with private insurers is dependent on local market share, while Medicaid and Medicare rates are non-negotiable.

2014-08-20 00:00:00 What's Your Exit? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Are you prepared for an Exit? If the Fed pursues an exit from ultra low interest rate policy, are you be prepared for an exit from the stock market should things turn South? We discuss how investors prepare, noting the most common mistakes investors make along the way.

2014-08-19 00:00:00 How to Choose the Right Fixed-Income Strategy by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

The fixed-income portion of retirement portfolios is just as important as the equity allocation, yet far less research has been devoted to it. Advisors must decide whether to pursue active or passive strategies and which types of bonds to recommend. I'll address those strategic choices and argue that the best approach is the simplest, lowest-cost one.

2014-08-19 00:00:00 Do Moving Average Strategies Really Work? by Paul Allen (Article)

Moving-average-crossover strategies have worked out very well in recent years. They prevented their followers from being invested in equities during the tech bubble and the financial crisis. Nevertheless, most of those strategies have underperformed the broad equity market since 2009. In this article, I will analyze all possible moving-average-crossover signals for the S&P 500 since 1928, to see if these strategies provide any value for investors.

2014-08-16 00:00:00 Managing Expectations - Part III by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In the first of this three-part series on managing expectations, I discussed the role cycles play in the investment management process. At U.S. Global Investors, we actively monitor both short- and long-term cycles, from the annual seasonality of gold to four-year presidential elections, in order to manage expectations based on historical patterns.

2014-08-15 00:00:00 Small Cap Performance Suggests Another Leg Of Counter-Cyclical Leadership by Team of GaveKal Capital

Liquidity sensitive assets such as small cap stocks have had a difficult 2014. Over the last three months they have underperformed large caps by roughly 9%.

2014-08-13 00:00:00 Theres No Place Like Home by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

The Comic-Con convention comes to Seattle every year. The city teams with 15 to 45-year-old folks who love to emulate their favorite comic and movie characters. We have joked lately that we should hire a young woman to dress up like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and come with us when we speak in public. Wed have her click her ruby red heals together and say, There is no place like home!

2014-08-13 00:00:00 Toward the Sounds of Chaos by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Stock market volatility is always a scary thing. Investors nearing retirement fear their nest eggs will evaporate. Younger investors saving for a home or a childs college education fear their families futures might be in doubt. However, history suggests that allowing volatility to overrule a good investment plan tends to lead to poor performance. Its not volatility itself that generally leads to poor longer-term performance, but rather it appears to be investors emotional reactions to volatility that ultimately lead to poor performance.

2014-08-12 00:00:00 The Tax Harvesting Mirage by Michael Edesess (Article)

Recently, some advisors have been competing to show that their tax loss harvesting strategies produce a substantial "tax alpha." While this source of alpha is not wholly mythical, its benefits are vastly overstated. Indeed, they may be negligible.

2014-08-12 00:00:00 The Right Data Will Increase Your AUM by Daniel Solin (Article)

I have often wondered what kind of data resonates most with prospects and moves them to choose an advisor. It turns out that it's not any of the investment-oriented subjects advisors typically spend so much time discussing.

2014-08-12 00:00:00 Long/Short Funds Go 'Unhedged' in Energy by Brian Payne of Fortigent

Over the course of 2014 investors have come to notice the increase in net exposures amongst long/short equity managers. Many investors have grown somewhat wary of this development. Given the markets relatively uninterrupted run-up since late 2012, it is rational to think that these types of strategies might naturally lower their overall net exposure.

2014-08-11 00:00:00 Low and Expanding Risk Premiums are the Root of Abrupt Market Losses by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Compressed risk premiums normalize in spikes. Day-to-day news stories are merely opportunities for depressed risk premiums to shift up toward more normal levels, but the normalization itself is inevitable, and the spike in risk premiums (decline in prices) need not be proportional or justifiable by the news at all.

2014-08-09 00:00:00 Managing Expectations by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Financial markets are influenced by relatively predictable cycles, a lesson we at U.S. Global Investors rely on to help us manage expectations and be effective stewards of your money. This is a theme I've frequently written about and discussed in investor presentations, one of which, Anticipate Before You Participate, is a classic that I often use to remind investors of these timeless principles.

2014-08-08 00:00:00 The Temptation of Market Timing by John Geissinger of Christian Brothers Investment Services

Highway drivers who shift lanes when traffic slows rarely get home faster. Likewise, investors who try to time market moves dont improve returns with any consistency. Rebalancing to thoughtful asset allocation targets is the best way to keep your portfolio in the fast lane.

2014-08-08 00:00:00 Yellenization by Cliff Draughn of Excelsia Investment Advisors

On Thursday, July 31st, the market had a one-day sell-off of 2%, the most negative day since June, 2012. You heard the market pundits and the talking heads of CNBC opine that the reason for the selloff was the convergence of geopolitical risks.

2014-08-06 00:00:00 Grey Owl Q2 Investment Commentary by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

Even after a second quarter rebound, gross domestic product (GDP) growth is barely positive for the first half of 2014. That has not stopped the S&P 500 from climbing to new highs. In fact, GDP growth has been weak for the entire recovery and, while improved, corporate sales and earnings also leave something to be desired. Stock market returns look better still, but only when compared to these weak results. Looking over a longer timeframe, the US equity market is approaching fifteen years of low single-digit returns.

2014-08-05 00:00:00 CEF Investing Tips featuring John Cole Scott by (Article)

Closed-end fund investors of varying levels of experience may benefit from tips for success from John Cole Scott of CEF Advisors.

2014-08-05 00:00:00 Are Small-Caps Overvalued? by Chris Clark and Chuck Royce (Article)

President Chris Clark and Chief Executive Officer Chuck Royce respond to Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen's comments on current small-cap valuations and overpriced sectors.

2014-08-05 00:00:00 The Alpha and the Beta of Investing by Adam Jared Apt (Article)

This article conveys two distinct practical lessons worth remembering and applying. One concerns the relationship between risk and return, and it will behoove you to keep this lesson in mind whenever you're inclined to throw caution to the wind in pursuit of better stock returns. The other concerns what counts as skill in selecting stocks.

2014-08-05 00:00:00 The Wealth-Builder Model by C. Thomas Howard, PhD (Article)

While the math of compounding is straightforward, building wealth is difficult. But if you use an approach based on the principles outlined in this article, the accumulation of real wealth is within reach.

2014-08-05 00:00:00 Avoiding the Unintended Migration from Investor to Speculator by Bob Andres of Andres Capital Management.

The identification of value/price in the allocation of capital is essential to successful investing. Assets purchased at levels above intrinsic value reflect an approach based on hope and momentum not sound risk/reward analysis and normally portend negative results.

2014-08-04 00:00:00 US Stocks Make 31 Record Highs in 2014, But Investors Panic During 3% Selloff by David Edwards of Heron Financial

US stocks as defined by the S&P 500 made 31 record highs in 2014, most recently on July24th. Through Friday afternoon, stocks declined 3.3%, which is to say less than the decline of 4.2% we saw in April of this year, and decline of 5.6% in January.

2014-08-01 00:00:00 Second Quarter 2014 Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory

Overall, our macro view and assessment of the risks and returns across the major asset classes has not changed meaningfully since last quarter. We continue to see the U.S. and global economies on a slow path of recovery from the 2008 financial crisis. ... Despite our more positive fundamental outlook, we also continue to view the markets as too dependent on central bank largesse, too short-term focused, and too complacent about the risks and imbalances that remain in the global economy in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

2014-07-30 00:00:00 Anything Built By the FED, Can Also Be Destroyed by Edward Talisse of Chelsea Global Advisors

Bond Investors have had a great run so far in 2014. It's time to take some profit. Inflation expectations are rising, should we be worried? Why has the Japanese Yen been strengthening against the USD?

2014-07-29 00:00:00 How Much Tilt? What Kind of Tilt? by William Bernstein (Article)

The first question is whether tilting towards small and value stocks still carries a premium.

2014-07-29 00:00:00 How to Blend In a Currency Hedge by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

Looking across developed markets today, a common thread is that central bank policies have pushed interest rates to very low levels to support their economies.

2014-07-28 00:00:00 Money Market Reform: Reflections on This Critical Inflection Point for Cash Liquidity Investing by Jerome Schneider of PIMCO

Under the SECs new regulations, institutional prime and institutional municipal money market funds will transition to a floating net asset value. All money market funds (except government-focused funds) are required to impose liquidity fees and may use redemption gates if liquid assets fall below certain levels. Investors, both institutions and individuals, should view this industry inflection point as an opportunity to revisit their approach to cash investing. Actively managed short duration strategies are a compelling solution.

2014-07-28 00:00:00 Second Quarter Economic & Capital Market Summary by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

It seems there is a growing disconnect between what the financial markets are discounting and the reality of what is transpiring in the domestic and global economies. While economic growth has the potential to increase during the second half of the year we are not expecting a dramatic acceleration since there are still structural problems in the economy. The result is slow private credit expansion, a lack of fixed investment and a slow rate of business formation.

2014-07-28 00:00:00 Indian Budget: Converting Promises into Policies by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

India has been a hot market in 2014, as investors anticipated the election of business-friendly prime minister Narendra Modi. If Election Day was the most important day of the year, perhaps the second most important day was the release of the annual budget on July 10.

2014-07-25 00:00:00 The 401(k) Event Horizon by Scott Klimo of Saturna Capital

Who would have guessed in 1973 that Roger Waters' meditation on life's fleeting passage would describe the dilemma faced by many today as they consider how best to save for retirement? The good news is that missing the starting gun doesn't prevent you from joining the race. We have all seen the calculations of how big our nest eggs could be if we started saving and investing at a young age, but those unable to do so still have an opportunity to build substantial savings.

2014-07-23 00:00:00 U.S. Equities Continue to Look Attractive: Equity Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

As we sit down to write this Outlook we are struck by two trends: the consistency of the economic recovery in the U.S. and the dramatic escalation of geopolitical turmoil. Whether these two trends will collide to derail the bull market is an open question, but usually geopolitical flare-ups have only short-term effects and do not overwhelm long-term economic trends. Thus, they tend to appear as hiccups in stock market progress.

2014-07-22 00:00:00 How to Choose the Best Retirement Income Strategy by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

In the competition among retirement-planning methodologies, systematic withdrawals have been winning the battle against the essential-discretionary approach. But given today's low interest rates, the essential-discretionary approach may work better for many clients, especially if SPIAs are used.

2014-07-22 00:00:00 Is Timing Everything? Practical Implementation of Tail Risk Hedging?? by Michael Connor, Markus Aakko of PIMCO

Just in time hedging is nearly impossible: By the time an investor decides to hedge, the market may already price in the significant risk of a tail event. Instead, hedges could be included as a permanent part of an asset allocation: what we might call just in case hedging. An optimal strategy may involve averaging into a hedging allocation. In addition, using a broader set of hedge instruments may help lower the costs. We believe that tail risk hedges have a place in any portfolio that has a substantial allocation to risk assets. ?

2014-07-21 00:00:00 A Farmland Investment Primer by Julie Koeninger of GMO

Farmland is a real asset that combines solid investment fundamentals with the potential for attractive cash yields, inflation hedging, and consistent returns from biological growth. Furthermore, farmland total returns tend to be uncorrelated with financial asset returns, offering genuine portfolio diversification for institutional investors.

2014-07-19 00:00:00 The Municipal Bond World, According to John Derrick by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

I sat down with Director of Research John Derrick, who also manages our Near-Term Tax Free Fund (NEARX), to get his thoughts on interest rates, the bond market and what investors should pay attention to as we move into the second quarter of 2014.

2014-07-18 00:00:00 Comparison of Rising Rates Strategies by Yung Lim of AdvisorShares

With the ultra low interest rate environment becoming more of a norm in many investors mind, complacency has driven portfolio managers to maintain the status quo and stick to traditional duration and asset allocation targets. Recent history of bond market behavior has also supported this view. On a forward looking basis, however, the important questions center around how risk/return profiles change under rising interest rate environments and what investors should consider in evaluating the risk of their current portfolio mix.

2014-07-18 00:00:00 High Yield versus Equities by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

Investors are often led down the path that they must invest in equities in order to generate a decent return, and that the high yield market is too risky and speculative. However, reality and the data points prove otherwise. Looking over the past couple decades and various periods in between, you can see that high yield has consistently outperformed the equity market (as measured by the S&P 500 Index) on a risk adjusted basis (return/risk).

2014-07-18 00:00:00 Lack of Corporate Hubris Means Elongated Cycle by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

When we started Richard Bernstein Advisors roughly five years ago, we thought the US was entering one of the biggest bull markets of our careers. Today, we are likely in the midst of this long bull market. Despite the general consensus that a bear market is on the horizon and investors ongoing interest in protecting potential downside risk, we do not think the Fed, investors, or corporations are yet sowing the seeds for the next recession.

2014-07-18 00:00:00 Why We Favor Owning Gold in Euro Terms by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

In this discussion piece we discuss the rationale for why investors looking to buy gold as a defensive asset during these uncertain times should consider buying gold in euro terms. When an investor buys gold in dollars they are expressing the view that they expect the price of gold to increase relative to the dollar. Similarly when an investor buys gold in euro, they express the view that they expect the value of gold to increase relative to the euro.

2014-07-18 00:00:00 Why Japan? Why Now? by James Calhoun of AdvisorShares

One of the most popular investment themes coming into 2014 was Hedged Japanese Equity (owning Japanese equities while simultaneously hedging out the risk of the Japanese Yen weakening against the US Dollar). At its core, this theme leaves investors long Japanese equities in US Dollar terms, not Japanese Yen terms. This investment turned in very poor performance for the first half of 2014. By the end of Q1 2014, Japanese equities had sold off rather sharply and the US Dollar had weakened 2.01% versus the Yen.

2014-07-18 00:00:00 Fixed Income Outlook: Moving From Zero by Christopher Molumphy, Roger Bayston of Franklin Templeton Investments

Some prior market prognostications of rising rates have proven slow to play out as global central banks, namely the Bank of Japan and European Central Bank (ECB), have continued to ramp up easing measures and the US Federal Reserve (the Fed) has only slowly begun to lay off the gas pedal recently.

2014-07-18 00:00:00 Free Lunches and the Food Truck Revolution by Ben Inker of GMO

Over the past year or so, there has been a welcome change to the culinary landscape of the Boston financial district. After two decades of wandering to largely the same old haunts for lunch, I am now faced with a whole new set of inexpensive and tasty choices literally outside our door, changing daily as the food trucks perform their mysterious nightly dance.

2014-07-18 00:00:00 Summer Essays by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

In a new quarterly letter to GMO's institutional clients, co-head of asset allocation Ben Inker uses the evolving Boston culinary landscape as a backdrop to examine the tendency of investors to pursue a "free lunch," when they should be looking for the "investing equivalent of an inexpensive and tasty food truck meal instead." In his section, chief investment strategist Jeremy Grantham looks back at investing mistakes made over his 47-year career, paying special attention to his formative investing years and the "painful lessons" learned therein.

2014-07-17 00:00:00 Constraints of Convention - Does a Portfolio Design Have to Be Static? by Jeff Knight of Columbia Management

There was a charming story from the world of youth sports featured in Malcolm Gladwells book "David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants."

2014-07-16 00:00:00 Road Kill by Edward Talisse of Chelsea Global Advisors

Ten years ago I started working in Japan as a fixed income sales-trader for an international investment bank. I was frequently called upon to travel to other parts of Asia such as Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore and Sydney. My mandate was to invite clients to explore the many money making opportunities available to them by trading the (G4) U.S., German, U.K. or Japanese yield curve. The touchstone recommendation always seemed to be some combination of going long or short U.S Treasuries and establishing an offsetting position in like maturity German Bunds.

2014-07-16 00:00:00 Analysis of Ayres and Curtis Critique of 401(k) Plans by Brian Donohue of October Three Consulting

In our previous article we reviewed [Professors Ayres and Curtis's paper Beyond Diversification: The Pervasive Problem of Excessive Fees and 'Dominated Funds' in 401(k) Plans] (John M. Olin Center for Studies in Law, Economics, and Public Policy Research Paper No. 493). Our purpose in that article was simply to describe what Professors Ayres and Curtis are saying. In this article we evaluate their findings and proposals, discussing the limits of and possible objections to their conclusions.

2014-07-15 00:00:00 How Operating Margins and Capital Allocation Affect Small-Caps by Chris Clark and Chuck Royce (Article)

Chuck Royce and Co-Chief Investment Officer Chris Clark talk about operating margins being at or near peak levels, increased M&A activity, and the absence of any real CAPEX activity.

2014-07-15 00:00:00 Q2 Venerated Voices™ by Various (Article)

Advisor Perspectives announces its Venerated Voices awards for articles published in the second quarter of 2014. Rankings were issued in three categories: The Top 25 Venerated Voices by Firm, The Top 25 Venerated Voices by Author and The Top 10 Venerated Voices by Commentary.

2014-07-15 00:00:00 2Q 2014 Newsletter: Avoiding Your Portfolios Enemies by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Investors should remember that excitement and expenses are their enemies. And if they insist on trying to time their participation in equities, they should try to be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful. We often hear the last part of this wonderful quote from Warren Buffett, but here at Smead Capital, we find the beginning just as instructive. We thought we would unpack the entirety of his thoughts and dissect it for our faithful investors.

2014-07-14 00:00:00 Strategies for Income-Seeking Investors by Ed Perks of Franklin Templeton Investments

Many income-seeking investors have traditionally centered their portfolios around government bonds, often failing to consider other asset classes. Ed Perks, executive vice president and director of portfolio management, Franklin Equity Group, believes equities can be a key part of an income-oriented portfolio, although individual stock selection is particularly important as valuations rise and interest rate dynamics may change.

2014-07-10 00:00:00 The End of Quantitative Easing by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

During the Financial Crisis, as the capital markets seized up and interbank lending froze, traditional tools of monetary policy proved ineffective. The Federal Reserve implemented a series of initiatives called Quantitative Easing that essentially used the central banks balance sheet to purchase bonds in the open market and directly manipulate interest rates lower. This tool proved extremely powerful and allowed the Fed to manipulate interest rates across the yield curve which, in turn, allowed for a wave of refinancing activity that helped to lower borrowing costs.

2014-07-09 00:00:00 Dealing With Red-Hot Markets by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

This summer the streets are sizzling… and so is the stock market. To the chagrin of value investors, US equities have not experienced a normal correction since May 2013. But what is “normal” and what is “hot”? This article discusses a behavioral measure of market extremity, the put/call ratio, and offers some basic advice for dealing with the current environment.

2014-07-09 00:00:00 New Analysis of 401(k) Plan Performance and Fees by Brian Donohue of October Three Consulting

In the paper Professors Ayres and Curtis conclude that 401(k) plan participants suffer significant losses from (1) sponsor-fiduciary fund menu construction decisions, (2) participant asset allocation mistakes and (3) high fees on plan investment options. To remedy this problem they make several innovative proposals for changes in the rules for 401(k) plan fund menu construction.

2014-07-09 00:00:00 U.S. & European Flows: Potential Opportunity in European Debt? by Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

In discussions with our clients, we often notice their interest in hearing where WisdomTree or the industry is seeing inflows in order to gain new ideas for investment. As the market for global exchange-traded products continues to evolve, we believe that investors will increasingly look to global ETP flows for investment ideas.

2014-07-08 00:00:00 GMO versus Blackrock: Divergent Views of Global Markets by Justin Kermond (Article)

GMO's Ben Inker says he wouldn't touch U.S. small-capitalization stocks "with a 10-foot pole" - and says he sees no asset class that is attractively priced. That isn't the way Blackrock, the world's largest asset manager, views things. Blackrock's Dennis Stattman likes Japanese equities and gold and isn't afraid of rising rates.

2014-07-08 00:00:00 Why Free Trade Hurts Economic Growth by Marianne Brunet (Article)

Free trade, deregulation and limiting the federal government's powers form what Columbia professors Joseph Stiglitz and Bruce Greenwald call the Washington Consensus - the core precepts that have dominated policymaking for the last 50 years. But those ideas are misguided, they contend. Tariffs and trade restrictions, for example, are fine, especially if they are part of a broad framework that stimulates learning throughout a society.

2014-07-08 00:00:00 Slow but Steady Growth by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

In the second quarter of 2014 major asset class performance was positive. The Dow was up 2.4%, the S&P up 4.7%, and the NASDAQ up 5%. International equities nearly kept pace with US equities; the MSCI ACWI ex US was up 3.8%.

2014-07-08 00:00:00 How Jay Kaplan Interprets Royce's Investment Process by Jay Kaplan and Francis Gannon (Article)

At the heart of our investment process is risk management, a hallmark of our work put into practice by Chuck Royce more than 40 years ago. To this day, mitigating, controlling, and thinking about risk continues to guide our seasoned staff of investment professionals and to inform our long-term portfolio decisions. Co-Chief Investment Officer Francis Gannon sits down with Portfolio Manager Jay Kaplan to talk about our process.

2014-07-07 00:00:00 The Tide is High by Edward Talisse of Chelsea Global Advisors

It took a while but I think I finally get it. The Federal Reserve has embarked on a Parallel Campaign - operating on two separate planes that seemingly never intersect, yet both having readily recognized similarities. My eureka moment finally came this past week when Ms. Yellen, in a rebuff to the Bank for International Settlements, said "because resilient financial system can (now) withstand unexpected developments, identification of bubbles is less critical."

2014-07-02 00:00:00 June 2014 Pension Finance Update by Brian Donohue of October Three Consulting

Explore a real-time comparison of assets and liabilities for both a traditional pension plan and cash balance plan based on current market conditions. Our monthly snapshot provides immediate feedback as well as a look ahead for Plan Sponsors.

2014-07-02 00:00:00 1Q GDP Plunges Nearly 3% - What Will The Fed Do Now? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today we take a closer look at last weeks very ugly 1Q GDP report and see if we can discern why it was so much worse than anyone expected (hint: it was more than the severe winter weather). Fortunately, it continues to look like 2Q growth will come in at +3.0% or better. But even if GDP for the rest of the year comes in strong, the devastating 1Q will ensure yet another slow growth year.

2014-07-01 00:00:00 New Research on How to Choose Portfolio Return Assumptions by Wade Pfau (Article)

Care must be taken with portfolio return assumptions, as small differences compound into dramatically different financial outcomes over a lifetime. My research shows just how big those differences are and how they vary in the pre- and post-retirement phases.

2014-06-30 00:00:00 Taking a Balanced View of Equities by Lisa Myers of Franklin Templeton Investments

With the US S&P 500 Index and Dow Jones Industrial Average advancing into record territory this year and some European equity benchmarks likewise nearing new highs, some investors may be wondering whether its still wise to be jumping into the market at this stage. Lisa Myers, executive vice president, Templeton Global Equity Group, thinks that a long-term investment horizon, supported by bottom-up analysis, can reveal hidden value.

2014-06-27 00:00:00 A Brief Note on Gold as a Defensive Asset by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

In previous notes we have written about the defensive nature of gold relative to the broad equity market. Much of the discussion has focused on the low correlation and beta of gold versus equity markets. In fact, the ten year monthly returns of gold (priced in US dollar terms) and the S&P 500 show a correlation of zero with the beta of monthly gold returns versus S&P 500 returns also being essentially zero (0.1).

2014-06-27 00:00:00 Timing Low Volatility Investments by Feifei Li of Research Affiliates

If a secular bear market is coming, a low-volatility strategy might serve well. The five-year return of a simulated low-vol portfolio beat cap-weighting 75% of the time when the market P/E exceeded 20.

2014-06-26 00:00:00 Benefits of Optimizing Portfolio Capture Ratios by Don Schreiber, Jr., Craig French of WBI Investments

The world of investing has changed dramatically. Over the past decade, many investors have discovered that conventional passive growth stock approaches failed to meet their goals. Following a buy-and-hold approach, investors suffered losses of as much as 51% during the 2000 through 2013 period. We believe conventional portfolio theory regarding the benefits of diversification has been broadly misinterpreted to mean that market returns will bail you out, and so investors should not worry about short-term losses.

2014-06-26 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.

2014-06-25 00:00:00 Self Sufficiency and Resourcefulness Over Complaining by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

There were several interesting and related articles from the last few days that could make for an interesting discussion.

2014-06-24 00:00:00 Hexavest Viewpoint: Neutral on Japan by Frederic Imbeault of Eaton Vance

Macroeconomy: With little traction from fiscal policy and structural reforms, the pro-growth policies of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe known as Abenomics will continue to rely on the Bank of Japans loose monetary policy to maintain economic momentum. Valuation: Rising profits and the 2014 correction have pushed down P/E ratios on Japanese equities into more attractive territory. Investor sentiment: As contrarians and as the crowd has become less bullish on Japanese stocks, we have become more constructive about investor sentiment.

2014-06-24 00:00:00 The Over-Capitalization Curse by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

At Smead Capital Management we are conscious of the few, but significant pitfalls which we believe exist for the long-duration common stock investor. One of the main pitfalls we want to avoid is the over-capitalization curse. This is a situation where investor enthusiasm gets very high, prices get historically high and investors drown the company, industry or sector with capital. In our experience, it pays to avoid the over-capitalized areas for as long as five to ten years as they work their way back to being hated and contentious.

2014-06-21 00:00:00 What Are Your Chances? by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Todays blog is an excerpt from our whitepaper, The Sungarden Study which addresses the retirement income crisis, standard solutions, and offers a recommended alternative to traditional approaches. To request a copy of the study, please use the Contact Us tab at www.sungardeninvestment.com .

2014-06-21 00:00:00 Ah, the Power of Mean Reversion. by Frank of U.S. Global Investors

The chatter this week has been gold. The precious metal flew up $45 an ounce on Thursday, surprising investors, the media and markets alike.

2014-06-20 00:00:00 A Brief Review of Year-to-Date Gold/Currency Performance by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

As a brief primer on how the performance numbers are calculated, we note firstly that all figures shown here are expressed in US dollar terms.

2014-06-20 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.

2014-06-19 00:00:00 Designing Balanced DC Menus: Considering Inflation-Hedging Strategies???? by Stacy Schaus, Ying Gao of PIMCO

Inflation-hedging strategies are fundamental to DC investment lineups and participants? need to build and preserve purchasing power in retirement. Plan sponsors should evaluate these assets separately and in combination before adding them to core lineups and target-date strategies. Selected assets or blends should be designed to deliver the primary benefits of inflation responsiveness, diversification relative to stocks, volatility reduction and downside risk mitigation.

2014-06-18 00:00:00 Outlook on the US Dollar, Currencies & Markets: Look Out Below! by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

The FIFA World Cup and market predictions have in common that we are tempted to create a world of make-believe when it comes to predicting outcomes. While others ponder about the meaning of a round ball, well focus on the implications of a make-believe world comprised of ever-higher asset prices. Our caution: look out below!

2014-06-18 00:00:00 Hedged High Yield by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

A strategy that we have seen emerge over the past year within the high yield market has been hedged high yield, most recently with iShares rolling out an product last month that uses their passive, index-based HYG fund as the high yield component. The gist of the hedged high yield strategy is to go long high yield bonds and short Treasuries (or Treasury futures). The basic premise is that the strategy will hedge interest rate risk, with any bond pricing decline due to rising rates being offset with the short in Treasuries.

2014-06-18 00:00:00 Euro-Sterling Credit: Yield and Spread Still Appeal by Ketish Pothalingam of PIMCO

Framed by ongoing renormalisation in Europe and stronger UK growth, euro-sterling investment grade credit markets are in a favourable part of their respective cycles as corporates continue to deleverage, default rates are expected to remain low ahead and market liquidity has improved across Europe. We believe the sterling credit market provides a more balanced credit market and offers investors the opportunity for better total carry versus euro and global investment grade credit markets.

2014-06-17 00:00:00 Retirement Income Strategies: How to Improve on the 4% Rule by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

In the past few years, the 4% rule has been challenged by those who claim its premise of 4% inflation-adjusted withdrawals is too optimistic under today's market conditions. Others assert that more sophisticated approaches will yield better-than-4% results. I'll evaluate two alternatives - economic utility maximization and required minimum distributions - and also discuss the practical implications for advisors.

2014-06-16 00:00:00 Weekly Market Update by Team of Castleton Partners

The grind toward higher Treasury yieldsand Junes bearish momentum in interest ratespersisted through most of last week, only to reverse on Thursday with an escalation in geopolitical concerns, especially Iraq. After reaching a high of 2.70%, 10 year Treasury notes recovered on the selloff in risk assets and closed the week up only 1 basis point, at 2.60%.

2014-06-16 00:00:00 Unconstrained Bond Investing in The New Neutral by Mohit Mittal, Saumil Parikh of PIMCO

At our recently concluded Secular Forum, PIMCO investment professionals from around the globe gathered in Newport Beach to discuss and debate the secular outlook for major world economies. With insight from guest speakers and new MBA/PhD hires, PIMCO coined the phrase The New Neutral to define its secular three- to five-year outlook for the world economies. In his most recent Investment Outlook, Bill Gross further elaborated on The New Neutral.

2014-06-14 00:00:00 Whos Afraid of Low, Low Rates? by James T. Tierney, Jr. of AllianceBernstein

Falling yields on Treasuries are often seen as a signal of a weakening economy that could undermine stocks. We think there are other explanations that dont threaten the outlook for equities.

2014-06-12 00:00:00 EM Debt Seems Risky by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

At RBA, we search for gaps between perception and reality, and this seems to be the case for emerging market debt. Investors have been lured to these securities by their higher yields, yet the underlying economic and currency fundamentals are deteriorating without commensurate widening of spreads.

2014-06-10 00:00:00 A Test for Small-Cap and Value Stock Investors by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Readers of this publication are well versed in the findings of the 1992 Fama-French paper, which documented the outperformance of small-capitalization and value stocks. But few are aware of these two sentences, which appeared in the conclusion of that paper

2014-06-10 00:00:00 Six Questions for the Future of the Planning Profession by Bob Veres (Article)

A few weeks ago, I asked for your help as we created the scenario learning session for the Insider's Forum conference in September. We're going to map out some possible futures that you can prepare for, using as raw material the crowdsourced thoughts and ideas that you provide to us. Here are six questions that have been raised and addressed about the future in the first round of our exercise.

2014-06-10 00:00:00 The Orphaned Bull Market by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Howard Gold is an inquisitive writer for Marketwatch.com and we think has done us all a great favor in his latest column titled, Not even a bull market can interest people in stocks. He points out via the chart below thatdespite a huge rebound the last five years in US common stocksequity holdings as a percentage of global investable assets just climbed to levels only seen at major stock market low points. Relative to the past 50 years, this stock market has been abandoned and orphaned even as it had made participants wealthy.

2014-06-09 00:00:00 Bright Signs for the Economy and Equity Markets by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

The macro backdrop last week was positive for the markets. As expected, the ECB cut interest rates, highlighting the favorable global monetary policy backdrop. Closer to home, solid vehicle sales and a good May labor market report gave investors additional reasons to bid up stock prices. The S&P 500 Index advanced 1.4%, marking a third straight week of gains above 1% the longest such streak since last September. Looking ahead, we believe the combination of an improving world economy, low levels of volatility and easy global monetary policy should continue to provide support for equ

2014-06-09 00:00:00 We Learn From History That We Do Not Learn From History by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Market conditions presently match those that have repeatedly preceded either market crashes or extended losses approaching 50% or more. Such losses have not always occurred immediately, but they have typically been significant enough to wipe out years of prior market gains. Our present views are not built on the forecast that stocks must decline immediately, or that we wont go through some additional discomfort if the market pushes to a higher peak. Still, a century of history strongly warns that whatever transitory gains the market achieves from present levels will be wiped out in spad

2014-06-09 00:00:00 Why are bond yields and volatility so low? by Carl Tannenbaum and Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

This years mid-point review would not be terribly kind to me or to other forecasters. None of us foresaw a big U.S. economic contraction during the first quarter of the year, although we should have better times ahead (as long as the Polar Vortex doesnt return). A more vexing surprise, however, has been the steep decline in U.S. Treasury yields and the persistently low market volatility during the years first half.

2014-06-07 00:00:00 Can a Tactical ETF Strategy be used as a Liquid Alternative? by David Garff of Accuvest Global Advisors

Can investors use a tactical allocator instead of an "alternative" strategy to benefit the balanced portfolio of a traditional investor?

2014-06-06 00:00:00 In T-Ball as in Life by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

I cant help but notice a great number of similarities between peoples approach to their investment portfolios and the way baseball games are played. This is true, even at the T-ball level with four and five year olds, not major leaguers, running around.

2014-06-05 00:00:00 Interpreting the bond rally from a multi-asset perspective by Jeffrey Knight of Columbia Management

If theres one thing investors agreed upon at the beginning of this year, it was that bond yields were heading higher. Over the past few weeks, I have read any number of research reports attempting to understand the reasons for this unexpected rally. Several plausible explanations have been offered, including the growing probability of a policy rate cut by the European Central Bank (ECB).

2014-06-03 00:00:00 The Pros and Cons of Target-Date Funds in the Accumulation Phase by Wade Pfau (Article)

Target-date funds are criticized for not being customized or tailored to individual situations. But this is unfair, as they are meant to serve as default investment options for individuals who are otherwise unwilling or unable to put in the effort to obtain a better result. Nonetheless, the debates around TDFs provide an opportunity for advisors to make clear how they can serve their clients.

2014-06-03 00:00:00 Why You Have Way Too Much Invested In U.S. Stocks by Meb Faber (Article)

For U.S. investors, how many of your stocks are in the domestic market? Once you account for the fact that the U.S. is one of the more expensive markets around the globe, it could be a good time to rethink your stock allocation.

2014-06-03 00:00:00 May 2014 Pension Finance Update by Brian Donohue of October Three Consulting

Pension sponsors treaded water in May, with both assets and liabilities edging up in tandem for both model plans we track . Our traditional Plan A remains down 5% during 2014, while the more conservative Plan B is down 2% on the year.

2014-06-03 00:00:00 The High Cost of Equal Weighting by Engin Kose and Max Moroz of Research Affiliates

Equal-weight indices have two clear advantages: They are easy to understand, and they generally outperform cap-weight indices over the long term. Their drawbacks are less apparent. They have higher turnover due to rebalancing than other smart beta strategies, and that turnover includes buying and selling lower-liquidity stocks. Our market impact model demonstrates that, as global assets under management increase, implementation costs tend to rise faster in equal-weight than in fundamentally weighted strategies.

2014-06-03 00:00:00 Creating a Learning Society by Joseph E. Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

For more than two centuries, innovation has been a critical driver of the global economy, with most of the productivity gains stemming not from major discoveries, but from small, incremental changes. This suggests that we should focus on how societies learn, and what can be done to promote learning including learning how to learn.

2014-06-02 00:00:00 Multi-Asset Investing: Is Now the Time for Emerging Market Equities? by Mihir Worah of PIMCO

Although emerging markets (EM) will continue to grow faster than developed markets (DM), we believe the difference may be lower than what has been seen over the last five years. Higher earnings yields in EM equities offer partial compensation for risks, but careful analysis is warranted to assess the true valuation differential. A modest allocation to EM equities may be warranted based on relative price-to-earnings multiples and our expectation that policy rates will stay lower for longer than markets expect, which makes higher-yielding EM assets more attractive.

2014-05-30 00:00:00 The Growing Importance of Natural Gas by Skip Aylesworth of Hennessy Funds

The natural gas industry is experiencing a revolution. Fueled by advances in drilling technology, natural gas has become an abundant energy source and is quickly becoming Americas domestic energy solution. In fact, it is believed that we now have a 100-year supply in the U.S. even with increasing demand.

2014-05-30 00:00:00 The High Cost of Equal Weighting by Max Moroz, Engin Kose of Research Affiliates

Equal-weight indices have two clear advantages: They are easy to understand, and they generally outperform cap-weight indices over the long term. Their drawbacks are less apparent. They have higher turnover due to rebalancing than other smart beta strategies, and that turnover includes buying and selling lower-liquidity stocks. This article summarizes what we have learned about the relative performance of equal-weight indices before and after implementation costs.

2014-05-30 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.

2014-05-28 00:00:00 A Deeper look at Corporate CapEx and Stock Buybacks by Team of GaveKal Capital

Yesterday we analyzed aggregate capital spending on tangibles for non-financial constituent companies in the MSCI World Index (90% of global investible market cap). We found that CapEx as a % of sales has been extremely steady over the last nine years, fluctuating in a 0.9% range. In 2013 CapEx as a % of sales, at 7.9%, registered the second highest reading over the 9 year period.

2014-05-27 00:00:00 Defensive Position Rotation: Achieving Financial Goals with Less Volatility by Dale W. Van Metre, Ph.D., CRPC®, APMASM (Article)

Defensive position rotation is an alternative to MPT. It is a portfolio-construction philosophy that adapts to changing market conditions and can increase risk-adjusted returns over time.

2014-05-27 00:00:00 Henderson High Yield Opportunities Fund Update by Kevin Loome (Article)

Kevin Loome, CFA, Head of US Credit reviews the High Yield Opportunities Fund's (HYOAX) first year of performance noting the success of both asset allocation and credit selection. Mr Loome notes that a focus on credit makes the Fund a unique mandate. In markets, many of the companies we have been following have shown an improvement in health as many have had easier access to the refinancing markets and refinanced at a better rate and shortened maturities which improves their liquidity.

2014-05-24 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.

2014-05-21 00:00:00 Everyday Brands in the Right Hands by Aaron Monroe of Diamond Hill Investments

An ownership mentality, long-term perspective, and disciplined capital allocation are characteristics we look for in all management teams but find in few. Through its commitment to these attributes, Jarden Corp. (JAH) has driven significant outperformance for long-term investors and compiled an attractive portfolio of niche brands that are leaders in their respective markets.

2014-05-20 00:00:00 Computer Tutor?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

My friend Jerry Goodman died recently. His nom de plume was Adam Smith, obviously taken from the legendary economist Adam Smith (1723 1790). In addition to the book The Money Game, Jerry wrote numerous other books. In his later years, he worked at another friends establishment, that being Craig Drill, eponymous captain of the insightful Drill Capital Management.

2014-05-20 00:00:00 Emerging Markets Masterclass by (Article)

In this two-part video, 45-year industry veteran Tom White offers an in-depth review of emerging markets, including those that are currently facing challenges, but also the developing markets that are now presenting attractive opportunities.

2014-05-19 00:00:00 Three Questions Investors Need to Ask About Alternatives by Donna Chapman Wilson of Invesco Blog

The world of alternative investments includes a range of hedge fund-like strategies that typically consist of publicly traded equity and fixed income investments, but are unconventionally managed using a variety of exposures (long, short, market neutral) and financial instruments. These strategies have gained acceptance in recent years, and have become more widely available to individual investors through vehicles such as mutual funds. However, questions still remain about the best ways to incorporate them into an asset allocation strategy.

2014-05-14 00:00:00 Worried about the Downside? by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

There have been numerous academic studies that suggest investors reactions to market risk are not symmetric. Investors consistently react more negatively to losses than positively to gains. At RBA, we incorporate this asymmetry in our sentiment work. Data clearly show that no group of investors is currently willing to take excessive US equity risk. Pension funds, endowments, foundations, hedge funds, individuals, Wall Street strategists, and even corporations themselves remain more fearful of downside risk than they are willing to accentuate upside potential.

2014-05-13 00:00:00 Bill Sharpe: "Smart beta makes me sick" by Robert Huebscher (Article)

If you rely on "smart beta" strategies to achieve returns that you hope will beat the broad market, then you also need a response to the criticisms posed by Bill Sharpe, the Nobel laureate and Stanford economist. Sharpe uses unassailable logic, in my opinion, to demonstrate why smart-beta strategies must eventually do no better than the market.

2014-05-13 00:00:00 John Hussman: Really Mean Reversion by Robert Huebscher (Article)

In his most recent commentary, GMOs Jeremy Grantham said value investors are destined to endure pain in a market bubble, especially in its latter stages, as clients scorn them for missed opportunities. John Hussman is surely one such investor - indeed, Granthams commentary drew extensively on Hussmans research. In a recent talk, Hussman explained why he, Grantham and other long-term value-driven investors should be worried, even if equity markets perform well in the short run.

2014-05-13 00:00:00 Why SPIAs are a Good Deal Despite Low Rates by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

SPIAs have been out of favor in the current low-interest-rate environment. But my new research indicates that they still offer especially attractive opportunities for retirees. One of the key reasons is that typical advisor clients will, on average, live longer than the overall population.

2014-05-13 00:00:00 Revisiting the Research on SPIAs in Retirement Portfolios by James Shambo, CPA/PFS (Article)

The conclusions drawn by Michael Kitces and Wade Pfau in their paper, The True Impact of Immediate Annuities on Retirement Sustainability, are flawed.

2014-05-13 00:00:00 Goldilocks and the Global Economy by Douglas Cote of Voya Investment Management

Macro conditions are lukewarm but positive and largely absent any systemic risk. Momentum stocks have fallen out of favor as the market rotates into names with more attractive valuations. Europe and especially the U.K. have been showing signs of strength despite geopolitical risk with its energy supplier, Russia. The safety of sidelined cash exposes investors to what we view as the greatest current risk in the market upside risk.

2014-05-12 00:00:00 Emerging Markets at Risk by George Bijak of GB Capital Pty Ltd

The massive post-GFC Quantitative Easing (QE) in the USA, EU, and now in Japan has repaired the global banking systems balance sheet. Debt of various qualities, worth trillions of dollars, was moved from struggling banks to the central banks at book value where it is likely to run out to maturity or rollover.

2014-05-09 00:00:00 Is 2014 the Year to "Buy in May and be Prepared to Stay"? by Kevin Mahn of Hennion & Walsh

One of the long standing adages on Wall Street is that investors would be wise to "Sell in May and Go Away" in most market environments. This adage contends that stock volatility historically is higher during the months of May - October so investors may want to consider exiting the stock market in May, perhaps repositioning to less correlated asset classes, and returning to the stock market in November.

2014-05-08 00:00:00 Gold and Portfolio Efficiency by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

In previous commentaries we have discussed the benefits of using a diversified financing currency approach for investing in gold by which we mean using two or more currencies (rather than just the US dollar) to make gold purchases. The example we have used to demonstrate the approach was to construct a time series of the price of gold purchased with an equal weighted basket of dollars, euro, yen and pound.

2014-05-07 00:00:00 Behavioral Finance and the Bond Market by Jerry Paul, Zach Jonson of ICON Advisers, Inc.

Over the last decade the concept of behavioral finance has received increased recognition in both the academic world and with investors. Modern Portfolio Theory makes three distinct assumptions: investors are rational, markets are efficient, and expected returns are purely a function of risk. In contrast, followers of behavioral finance generally believe investors are less than perfect and subject to many emotional biases. Said differently, behavioral finance differs from traditional finance in that it focuses on how investors actually behave, rather than theorizing how they should behave.

2014-05-07 00:00:00 Does a Perfect Policy Portfolio Exist? by Jeff Knight of Columbia Management

The idea of a policy portfolio, the core strategic asset class weightings for an investment portfolio, has evolved significantly during the course of my career as an asset allocation specialist. From the humble beginnings of standard balanced investing (the good old 60/40), investors have searched for the best neutral asset allocation to serve their goals over the long term.

2014-05-05 00:00:00 Economic Capital Market Summary by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

After the Financial Crisis and the resulting Dodd-Frank Act and Affordable Health Care Act, we knew there was no way we would go back to normal, whatever normal really was. Our world changed and we still continue to feel the uncomfortable mutations after the crisis. The management of Citigroup showed another disconnect with regulators as its 2014 capital plan was rejected. After several attempts to launch its healthcare website, the Obama administration announced that over 8 million people had signed up for health care insurance through the government exchange.

2014-05-02 00:00:00 April 2014 Pension Finance Update by Brian Donohue of October Three Consulting

April was another down month for pension sponsors, marked by declining interest rates and sluggish stock markets. Both ?model? plans we track lost ground last month, with our traditional ?Plan A? losing about 2% and the more conservative ?Plan B? dropping less than 1% during April. For the year, sponsors have now given back roughly one-fourth of 2013's ?bounty? ? Plan A is now down 5% during 2014, and Plan B is down more than 2%.

2014-05-02 00:00:00 Views of the Insane on Diversification by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

I recently read this quote from Craig L. Israelsen, a Financial Planning contributing writer in Springville, Utah. Granted, I have never met, nor have I had any conversations with Mr. Israelsen, but he seems to be a competent professional. According to his bio, he is an executive in residence in the personal financial planning program in the Woodbury School of Business at Utah Valley University. However, his statement still bothers me a bit, as he is saying that any other investment approach must be insane.

2014-04-30 00:00:00 De-Risking Pensions in a Time of Tapering by Rene Martel, Markus Aakko of PIMCO

Despite improved funding in corporate defined benefit pension plans, some sponsors concerned about rising rates may be tempted to delay glide path prescriptions to boost fixed income allocations. For these sponsors, a better approach might be to break de-risking into two steps, potentially allowing for significant risk-reduction benefits yet preserving tactical flexibility in timing purchases of long-duration bonds. Any reduction in equity and other return-seeking assets should be implemented in short order to lock in recent market gains. ?

2014-04-30 00:00:00 Achoo! by William Gross of PIMCO

There?s nothing like a good sneeze; maybe a hot shower or an ice cream sandwich, but no ? nothing else even comes close. A sneeze is, to be candid, sort of half erotic, a release of pressure that feels oh so good either before or just after the Achoo! The air, along with 100,000 germs, comes shooting out of your nose faster than a race car at the Indy 500.

2014-04-29 00:00:00 Where Do Small Caps Stand? by JB Taylor, Jeff Cardon of Wasatch Funds

QE?s effect on stocks has perhaps been most visible since June of 2012. The Russell 2000 is up over 50% since then, mostly driven by lower-quality stocks, which is quite unusual this late in a market cycle. At present, the mood of the market has definitely tilted back to risk-taking in lower-quality, more cyclical stocks. In addition, the valuations of higher-flying software and biotech stocks have been at nosebleed levels. Overall, the fundamentals of small-cap companies don?t really support what we?re seeing in the market.

2014-04-26 00:00:00 China Holds the Keys to the Gold Market by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

It?s important to follow the money, or in this case the gold, to see how people around the world react to this rare commodity. Looking forward, stay curious as an investor and you?ll see if China can keep the key to the gold market.

2014-04-25 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The link between money and inflation has clouded, but it hasn?t disappeared

2014-04-25 00:00:00 Slugging It Out in the Equity Arena by John West and Ryan Larson of Research Affiliates

Selling recent losers and buying recent winners is the antithesis of the systematic rebalancing discipline through which smart beta strategies earn long-term excess returns. Indeed, we contend that this procyclical behavior is what pays, over time, for the value added by fundamentally weighted index investing and other smart beta strategies.

2014-04-23 00:00:00 Positioning Your Portfolio for Rising Rates. by Team of Forward Management

Accelerating outflows from bond funds in 2013 highlight investor nervousness over the prospect of rising interest rates. Investors may want to carefully assess the role of fixed-income investments in their portfolios, particularly in light of other types of income-producing vehicles. Upon careful evaluation of their options, investors can make adjustments suitable to their objectives.

2014-04-22 00:00:00 Why Annuities HATE Ken Fisher. And you should too. by John H. Robinson (Article)

Before we commend Ken Fisher for his vitriolic antipathy toward variable annuities, there is one little problem we need to recognize. Fisher’s claims are at odds with a growing body of empirical research published in peer-reviewed academic and professional journals.

2014-04-22 00:00:00 Does Rebalancing Reduce Risk? by Michael Edesess (Article)

In a previous article I asked whether rebalancing increases return, as the term "rebalancing bonus" implies. I concluded that it does not. In this article I ask whether it is a tool for reducing risk. The answer depends on whether you believe that the standard deviation of long-term returns is the appropriate measure of risk. This article will show why it often is not.

2014-04-17 00:00:00 Designing Balanced DC Menus: Considering Diversified Fixed Income Choices by Stacy Schaus, Ying Gao of PIMCO

Sponsors of defined contribution plans face a dual challenge: They must present investment options appropriate for plan members and design menus that encourage selection of well-structured portfolios. We believe that actively managed strategies designed to potentially reduce risks, invest globally and enhance yield relative to the index may improve diversification and lower concentration risk in fixed income offerings. Plan sponsors may consider a range of return and risk measures as they evaluate current and prospective fixed income offerings.

2014-04-17 00:00:00 Two Major Players Graduate from MSCI FM 100 ? Is it Still Worth Tuning into? by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Major changes are coming to the MSCI Frontier Markets 100 Index. Russ K explains the significance and why it reinforces his view that investors should have an allocation to the frontier.

2014-04-17 00:00:00 What's Wrong with PIMCO? by James Bryan of South Texas Money Management

When Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke first talked about reducing or tapering the Federal Reserves asset purchase program back in May of 2013, the market response was dramatic. Investors started fleeing bonds, causing bond prices to drop and bond yields to rise. In a rising interest rate environment, the net asset value (NAV) of fixed income mutual funds falls as rates rise. This often leads to shareholder redemptions (they want out!), forcing these bond mutual fund portfolio managers to sell bonds in an unfavorable market.

2014-04-16 00:00:00 A Classic Barometer by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Investors seem a bit too eager to tout emerging market equities. Much as they did with technology stocks during the early-2000s, investors today are looking for the best re-entry point. Data clearly do not support anymore the notion that emerging markets are a superior growth story, yet investors seem to be ignoring the classic warnings signs for fear of missing out. One such classic warning sign is the slope of the yield curve. Historically, steeper yield curves have been reliable forecasters of stronger overall nominal economic growth and stronger profits growth.

2014-04-16 00:00:00 Every Portfolio Has Faith by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

At Smead Capital Management, we believe that everyone who invests has faith in someone or something. We also believe that who and what you put your faith into is greatly influenced by the time period involved. As we look out into the rest of 2014 and beyond, we would like to consider the kind of faith required by the largest pools of investment dollars in the US. This includes looking at who they are trusting, what they are trusting in, and what time frames they are operating under.

2014-04-15 00:00:00 Does Rebalancing Really Pay Off?? by Michael Edesess (Article)

No investment advice is more universally offered than the advice - originally posited by William Bernstein - to rebalance your portfolio. Yet, the evidence that this practice is beneficial is shockingly meager.

2014-04-15 00:00:00 Our Most Read Article from Last Week: Do Small Cap-Value Stocks add Value in Retirement Portfolios? by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Research going back to Fama and French in the early 1990s has shown that small-value stocks have produced superior returns. Subsequent debate has centered on whether this superior performance will continue and if investors should tilt portfolios to capture those returns. Ill examine the historical evidence, incorporate it in retirement examples and discuss the future prospects for small-cap value.

2014-04-15 00:00:00 Approaching a Pause? A Market Review by Rick Vollaro of Pinnacle Advisory Group

First quarter market performance was as whippy and volatile as the weather. Unusually cold temperatures in the U.S. not only froze much of the countrys population, but it also wreaked havoc on the quality of economic data, and kept markets on edge regarding how investors should be positioned. Geopolitical issues also rose from the ashes as various emerging markets had currency issues and Russia showed poor sportsmanship and invaded the Ukraine shortly after the conclusion of the Olympic Games.

2014-04-15 00:00:00 What's Next for Emerging Markets? by Nathan Rowader of Forward Management

Emerging markets (EM) have been an enduring growth story, but their recent stretch of underperformance and fears of a global economic slowdown are chilling investors enthusiasm. Pulled between opportunity and risk avoidance, many investors have been left uncertain as to what they should do next.

2014-04-11 00:00:00 Equities Appear Attractive in Years Leading Up to Fed Tightening by Kevin Mahn of Hennion & Walsh

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said her expectation for the first increase in the Federal Funds Rate would come approximately six months following the end of the asset purchase program.

2014-04-11 00:00:00 Gold - Managing the Downside by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

We get a lot of questions regarding the impact on portfolio risk of having an allocation to gold. In particular given the status of gold as a safe haven asset, focus has centered on its performance during periods of extreme market stress ? what is the downside to gold during periods of high risk aversion? The high level answer to this question is that the financing currency used to make the gold purchase matters and as is often the case when discussing portfolio construction, ?you ask a simple question, you get a complex answer?.

2014-04-10 00:00:00 The Russians Are Coming by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming is a 1966 American comedy film directed by Norman Jewison and based on Nathaniel Benchley?s book The Off-Islanders. The movie tells the Cold War story of the comedic chaos that happens when a Soviet submarine runs aground closely offshore a small island town near New England and the crew is forced to come ashore. Last Friday, however, rumors that the ?Russians are coming? swirled down the canyons of Wall Street, causing a late Friday Fade that left the S&P 500 (SPX/1865.09) down an eye-popping 24 points.

2014-04-10 00:00:00 Building Shareholder Value through M&A: Valeant Pharmaceuticals by Brian Fontanella of Diamond Hill Investments

There has been a notable increase in merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the specialty pharmaceutical industry over the past year. This has been driven by several factors including the relatively low cost of debt and the magnitude of cost savings that can be realized. But recently, tax savings have been an additional driver of deal activity.

2014-04-10 00:00:00 Assuage Your Fears of Rising Rates with Global Diversification by Julie Salsbery of PIMCO

?Although PIMCO believes interest rates are fairly anchored in the near term, we think investors can position their fixed income portfolios more defensively. Global diversification across developed and emerging markets can offer a defense against rising U.S. rates by reducing the concentration of risks within a portfolio, while also potentially lowering volatility and enhancing returns.

2014-04-10 00:00:00 March 2014 Pension Finance Update by Brian Donohue of October Three Consulting

Pension finances deteriorated slightly in March, and both ?model? plans we track ended the first quarter of 2014 in modestly negative territory. Traditional ?Plan A? lost about 1% last month and is now down almost 4% for the year, and ?Plan B? slid less than 1% during March, ending the quarter almost 2% in the red.

2014-04-09 00:00:00 Dare to be Great II by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital

In September 2006, I wrote a memo entitled Dare to Be Great, with suggestions on how institutional investors might approach the goal of achieving superior investment results. Ive had some additional thoughts on the matter since then, meaning its time to return to it. Since fewer people were reading my memos in those days, Im going to start off repeating a bit of its content and go on from there.

2014-04-08 00:00:00 Do Small Cap-Value Stocks add Value in Retirement Portfolios? by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Research going back to Fama and French in the early 1990s has shown that small-value stocks have produced superior returns. Subsequent debate has centered on whether this superior performance will continue and if investors should tilt portfolios to capture those returns. Ill examine the historical evidence, incorporate it in retirement examples and discuss the future prospects for small-cap value.

2014-04-08 00:00:00 Do Commodities Belong in Your Allocation? by Geoff Considine (Article)

For much of the last several years, poor performance from commodities has hurt investors’ portfolios, a result of depressed interest rates, low inflation and slow economic growth. Any diversification value they provided was masked by strong equity-market performance. My analysis shows that only a small allocation to commodities is justified, and advisors can obtain most of the same benefits with REITs or individual TIPS.

2014-04-08 00:00:00 Asset Allocation Implications of a Flattening Treasury Yield Curve by Martin Pring of Pring Turner Capital Group

The Treasury yield curve has started to flatten in recent weeks. Based on historical relationships, this process is likely to have important implications for investors because it signals that the business cycle has moved to a more self-reliant and less Fed dependent state.

2014-04-07 00:00:00 The Doubt of Appearances by Dimitri Balatsos of Tesseract Partners

Households have made significant progress mending their balance sheet in the post-crisis period. Assets have been boosted on the back of higher home values and stock prices, while liabilities have been trimmed, mostly mortgages, thanks in large part to widespread home foreclosures.

2014-04-05 00:00:00 Investing for Retirement: The Defined Contribution Challenge by Ben Inker and Martin Tarlie of GMO

Target date funds are rapidly becoming the workhorse for DC plans. These funds have grown substantially in recent years, partly as a result of automatic enrollment made possible by the Pension Protection Act of 2006. By and large, current target date funds resemble the old investment advisor adage that stock weight should be about 110 minus a persons age. While this satisfies the common-sense intuition that, all things being equal, weight in stocks should go down as a person ages, there are a number of problems with this approach. In this paper we focus on two in particular.

2014-04-03 00:00:00 Fiduciary vs. Suitability Standards-Your Need to Know the Difference by H. William Wolfson of American Financial Advisors

Beth Banker, a successful business woman, has been having ongoing neck and back issues. She decided to access web based information as to obtain self treatment options. Upon her reading, she realized that her condition, although appearing musculoskeletal in nature may be more involved with underlying pathologies. Although her intent was to heal herself, in reality she became more concerned and stressed as to the amount of research and data that existed?which she didn?t understand.

2014-04-03 00:00:00 Q2 fixed income outlook ? Hitting for the cycle by Gene Tannuzzo of Columbia Management

By the middle of this year, the economic expansion in the U.S. will officially turn five years old. By comparison, the average of all business cycle expansions tracked by the National Bureau of Economic Research dating back to the mid-1800s is about three and half years. But like many five year olds, this cycle hardly seems mature. In particular, we have taken notice of three key elements of the business cycle that have distinct implications for bond investing today.

2014-04-02 00:00:00 Reforming China?s State-Market Balance by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

Many of China?s problems today stem from too much market and too little government. Or, to put it another way, while the government is clearly doing some things that it should not, it is also not doing some things that it should.

2014-04-01 00:00:00 How to Avoid Hidden Costs in Your Bond Allocations by Bob Veres (Article)

The supposedly safe move to shorten bond maturities in anticipation of rate increases has been very costly over the last three years - and there’s no reason to expect the next three will be any different. Here’s a way to quantify those costs and position your portfolios in a way that makes money in a variety of interest-rate scenarios.

2014-04-01 00:00:00 The Alpha Strike Zone by Michael Finke (Article)

Investors have known about mutual-fund style boxes for a long time, but few understand their purpose. Should an advisor identify the best fund in each of the boxes? Should they attempt to capture equal exposure to all styles?

2014-04-01 00:00:00 Fundamental Tango by Scotty George of Alexander Capital

The economy and financial markets are forever sending out mixed, parallel, or confusing messages. Inflation or stagflation? Buy now, or take your profits? Proceed slowly, or go home? At this moment, the signals are hardly synchronized.

2014-03-31 00:00:00 Shifting Policy at the Fed: Good for Long-Term Growth, Bad for Cyclical Bubbles by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The Fed is wisely and palpably moving away from the idea that more QE is automatically better for the economy, and has started to correctly question the effectiveness of QE, as well as its potential to worsen economic risks rather than remove them.

2014-03-27 00:00:00 The Media?s Incomplete Coverage of the Active/Passive Debate by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Barron?s revisited the debate between active and passive portfolio management with it?s conclusion revealed in the article?s title; Go Active for Bonds, but Index Your Stocks. This is an important issue for market participants to explore and the revisit every so often.

2014-03-26 00:00:00 Hangman: The ETF Revolution by Cole Smead of Smead Capital Management

Financial innovation in the investment business is, in our opinion, sometimes just smoke and mirrors. The recent movie The Incredible Burt Wonderstone illuminates what this smoke and mirror faade can produce.

2014-03-26 00:00:00 Striking a Balance: Risks and Opportunities in Emerging Market Debt? by Francesc Balcells, Anton Dombrovsky of PIMCO

?We believe the risk of a full crisis in emerging markets is greatly diminished as the initial conditions of such economies nowadays are quite different. Although there are vulnerable credits out there, the mark-to-market volatility in the financially strong emerging market economies can present advantages as longer-term fundamentals reassert themselves. By monitoring key triggers and employing a differentiated investment approach, investors may be able to take advantage of attractive valuations in emerging market debt. ?

2014-03-26 00:00:00 Picture This by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Picture this: you?re an investor starting out in the 1940s after World War II came to an end. Your own experience in the contemporary history of the stock market would've taught you that bonds were the safer, and superior, asset allocation over the long-term.

2014-03-25 00:00:00 How to Confront the End of the Bond Bull Market by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)

What does the title of Simon Lacks latest book, Bonds Are Not Forever, mean? Its a question that Lack clarifies and then answers - by proposing a creative way to construct portfolios that have many of the beneficial characteristics of bonds but without much downside interest-rate exposure.

2014-03-25 00:00:00 Four Inevitable Changes that Threaten Your Business by Dan Richards (Article)

If you step back and look at the status quo in the advisory business and ask yourself what things simply don’t make sense and are unsustainable as a result, you will come up with a surprisingly long list. Today’s article focuses on inevitable changes in the investing environment.

2014-03-24 00:00:00 Market Outlook by Scotty George of Alexander Capital

For those of us that have been around for awhile, we have come to recognize that each Federal Reserve Board Chairman has had a unique way of speaking and a unique personality. Remember the "Volcker Rules"? How about "Greenspan-speak"? Well, last week we had a chance to take a measure of the person, and her language, who currently presides over monetary policy, Fed Chair Janet Yellen. And while a snapshot is not necessarily a truism of the embodiment of the whole, there were a few takeaways, not the least of which was the market's (once again) overreaction to what was being said.

2014-03-24 00:00:00 Fed-Induced Speculation Does Not Create Wealth by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Fed-induced speculation does not create wealth. It only changes the profile of returns over time. It redistributes wealth away from investors who are enticed to buy at rich valuations and hold the bag, and redistributes wealth toward the handful of investors both fortunate and wise enough to sell at rich valuations and wait for better opportunities.

2014-03-24 00:00:00 Market Had Its Way With Yellen?s Words by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Fed Chair Janet Yellen got a taste for how sensitive investors are to her public remarks last week, but the kneejerk response was probably an overreaction, writes Kristina Hooper.

2014-03-21 00:00:00 Emerging Markets: Four Reasons for Caution, Not Abstinence by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

In the space of three years, emerging markets have gone from a key strategic asset class to persona non grata. But while Russ shares investors? concerns on the near-term outlook for EM assets, he doesn?t agree that EM stocks should be completely shunned.

2014-03-19 00:00:00 Retire with Power?Purchasing Power by Richard Davies of AllianceBernstein

Retirement planning isn?t just long-term investing, it?s long-term spending, too. How can retirees help insulate the nest eggs they?ve accumulated from the corrosive long-term effects of inflation?

2014-03-19 00:00:00 What if Grantham is Right? by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

There were two articles recently both exploring the same possible outcome; that investor returns from capital markets could be much lower in the coming years. No matter what markets end up doing, advisory clients and do-it-yourselfers still have financial plans that likely require some amount of growth over time in order to have a chance of succeeding without something, such as desired lifestyle or working longer than hoped for, having to give.

2014-03-18 00:00:00 Japan?s Rising Opportunity by Neil Hennessy, Masakazu Takeda of Hennessy Funds

After WWII, the Japanese economy began what is sometimes referred to as the ?Economic Miracle?, a three-decade long period of growth and prosperity. Japanese firms and their management teams were studied around the world as the model of efficiency and an example for all companies and leaders to strive for. In 1989, a bubble in real estate fueled by speculators burst, and the Japanese markets crashed. Since then, the Japanese economy has been in a virtual standstill with more than two decades of stagnant growth and a deflationary environment.

2014-03-17 00:00:00 Restoring the "Virtuous Cycle" of Economic Growth by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The so-called ?dual mandate? of the Federal Reserve does not ask the Fed to manage short-run or even cyclical fluctuations in the economy. Instead ? whether one believes that the goals of that mandate are achievable or not ? it asks the Fed to ?maintain long run growth of the monetary and credit aggregates commensurate with the economy's long run potential to increase production, so as to promote effectively the goals of maximum employment, stable prices and moderate long-term interest rates.?

2014-03-17 00:00:00 Market Outlook by Scotty George of Alexander Capital

What's another 200 point down day (Dow) when you're having fun? The violent and excessive overreactions of the week prior were added to by Asia and Europe on Thursday/Friday past, just for good measure.

2014-03-17 00:00:00 Frontier Markets: Weighing the Risks by Nathan Rowader of Forward Investing

Why would investors even think about investing in fledgling, so-called frontier economies half a world away? The quick answer is that some of the best-performing stock markets in the world can be found in places like Kenya, Bulgaria and Argentina. Annual equity returns topped 40% in all three countries in 2013 while a number of other frontier markets (FMs), including Romania, Serbia and Nigeria, experienced annual returns ranging from 25% to 35%. Although past performance is not a guarantee of future results, investors in search of portfolio growth and diversification are taking note.

2014-03-15 00:00:00 Like Houdini, the Markets Escape Again and Again by Stephen C. Sexauer of Allianz Global Investors

Like the great escape artist Harry Houdini, the markets have repeatedly escaped a series of potential catastrophes. Central banks around the world have coordinated policy making these escapes possible, but the end result is another trap from which we need to escape - seemingly permanent low interest rates for savers ("financial repression"), slow growth, and high asset prices. Financial repression is better than an outright debt deflation, but it causes its own problems. The outlook is for low returns.

2014-03-14 00:00:00 Dangerous Assumptions for Retirees by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

One of the main difficulties with MPT, is that by focusing on historical data to calculate asset allocation, it completely ignores extreme risk (2007-2008).

2014-03-13 00:00:00 Waiting for Winter?s End by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

Undoubtedly, the long cold winter season has many yearning for more pleasant weather. Despite a strengthening economy, the economic data over the past few months appears to have been weighed down by the snow and ice. Come springtime, I believe the data will reflect an economy that is in bloom.

2014-03-13 00:00:00 The New Face of Failure by Liam Molloy, Charlie Mas of Galway Investment Strategy

A strong year in the domestic stock market - like we saw in 2013 - can create overconfidence in investors, which, in turn, leads them to make a number of predictable errors in judgment.

2014-03-12 00:00:00 The Bull Market Turns Five by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

The post-2009 stock market upswing now qualifies as only the sixth cyclical bull market since 1900 to last five years or more. Life expectancies at such an advanced age are limited; only three of the previous five-year-old bulls lived to see a sixth birthday. Many media and market pundits seem to believe a rising age somehow leads to rising life expectancy. The consensus opinion that a new secular bull market has begun is much more confident today than at the bull?s first, second, third or fourth birthdays.

2014-03-12 00:00:00 The Importance of Beta Management by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Morningstar recently released ?Mind the Gap-2014? which demonstrated that investors are generally very poor beta managers. The Morningstar data showed that investors? performance lagged that of their funds by about 250 basis points per year for the past ten years because of poor beta management, i.e., investors tend to be very poor allocators of capital.

2014-03-10 00:00:00 Market Outlook by Scotty George of Alexander Capital

The irascible, and sometimes irrational, actions of the major indices this year should confirm for all observers that there's something at work in the financial markets that goes way beyond "traditional" fundamental analysis and good stock picking.

2014-03-10 00:00:00 It Is Informed Optimism To Wait For The Rain by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Regardless of very short-term market direction, it is urgent for investors to understand where the equity markets are positioned in the context of the full market cycle.

2014-03-06 00:00:00 Volatility Returns as Crisis in Ukraine Creates Uncertainty by Kevin Mahn of Hennion & Walsh

Most investors have most likely never even heard of Ukraine prior to the last two weeks. Now the future of Ukraine and potential repercussions on other countries in the region appear to be at the forefront of investor minds across the globe. Overall, Ukraine is a relatively small country in Eastern Europe with a population of about 46 million people that borders the likes of Russia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova.

2014-03-06 00:00:00 Emerging Markets: Distinguishing Opportunities by of Manning & Napier

The recent sell-off in emerging market currencies and equities is part of a broader move that has seen the asset class heavily underperform developed markets since mid-2012. Part of the underperformance can be attributed to disappointing economic performance, as actual growth in the emerging markets (EMs) has come in much lower than broader consensus expectations.

2014-03-06 00:00:00 Risk Parity ? No Free Lunch by Lisa Goldberg of Aperio Group

2013 was tough for risk parity. Many of the most popular funds such as Bridgewater, Salient and AQR were flat or down even as investors in the S&P 500 enjoyed a return of almost 30%. A brief look at what happened.

2014-03-05 00:00:00 Asset Allocation: The Conundrum of 2014 by Jeffrey Knight of Columbia Management

In 2013, both the S&P 500 Index and the yield on 10-year Treasury bonds finished the year at their highest levels of the calendar year. So ended a year when equity markets dominated the return landscape, while bonds and numerous other assets struggled. The environment apparently changed, though, with the turning of the calendar to 2014. In the New Year, bonds have performed quite well, with yields on 10-year Treasuries, as an example, falling from 3.03% to 2.67% so far this year. Stocks meanwhile, have been volatile, yet stand close to unchanged on a year to date basis.

2014-03-04 00:00:00 Does International Diversification Improve Safe Withdrawal Rates? by Wade Pfau (Article)

Safe withdrawal rate (SWR) studies have been based on a few asset classes and rarely incorporated international diversification. This is problematic, as an SWR depends on portfolio return and volatility, and broader diversification can extend the efficient frontier toward better retirement outcomes. To determine the benefits of international diversification, I looked at the relative performance of withdrawal rates in 20 developed-market countries.

2014-03-04 00:00:00 A Century of Policy Mistakes by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

A century ago Argentina ranked as one of the wealthiest countries in world. Today it is a shadow of its former self. A long string of policy errors explain the long slide from riches to rags. Europe, like Argentina 100 years ago, is facing enormous challenges - as well as potential pitfalls - and the management of those challenges will define the welfare path for many years to come. Unfortunately, the early signs are not good. Our political leaders, afraid to face public condemnation, have so far chosen to ignore them.

2014-03-03 00:00:00 Six Easy Pieces: Fundamentals of Asset Allocation Explained by Patrick Rudden of AllianceBernstein

Figuring out the best split for your assets often seems daunting. But it doesn?t have to be. This template can help you get started.

2014-03-03 00:00:00 I?m Confused by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

In one of last week?s Morning Tacks I used this email from one of our financial advisors: ?Hey Jeff, about a month ago I emailed you asking if the ~1750 low on the S&P 500 was a good buying opportunity. You emailed back saying ? ?No, not yet? ? and ever since in your remarks you claim not yet. So now that we are well above that level, clients are asking why didn?t we get in ... what?s your recommendation??

2014-03-03 00:00:00 Market Outlook by Scotty George of Alexander Capital

Whereas the "micro" details of ascribing corporate valuations are litigated every day through securities' trading on global bourses, there is very little "macro" disagreement that we are at a critical global inflection where recovery and purchasing power either expand or remain less than satisfactory. If it doesn't happen now, after all the intervention, debate, austerity and fiscal changes, it is not likely to take root at all.

2014-03-03 00:00:00 Stanford Wonk Argues In Favor Of Levered Equity Funds by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

A long-time reader sent a link to an article from Forbes titled Leverage Your Way To A Richer Retirement. The article considered research done by Jason Scott at Financial Engines which looked at completely revamping the 4% rule (the 4% rule pertains to the optimal withdrawal rate for a retiree take from their portfolio without exhausting their funds).

2014-02-26 00:00:00 What Columbus Missed: Royce Rediscovers India by David Nadel of The Royce Funds

In 1492, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus set sail to discover India. He missed his mark, however, landing in America instead. The rest, as they say, is history-with the exception that more than 500 years later India is still worthy of discovery for many Western investors.

2014-02-26 00:00:00 Market Perspective by CCR Wealth Management Investment Committee of CCR Wealth Management

It cost $0.32 to mail a letter, unemployment was 4.9%, O.J. Simpson was found liable in a civil suit, Hong Kong was returned to Chinese rule, Timothy McVeigh was sentenced to Death, Green Bay defeated the Patriots in the Super Bowl, Titanic came crashing into movie theatres, and Dolly, the first genetically engineered lamb was unveiled to the public; the year was 1997.

2014-02-26 00:00:00 A CAPE Crusader by James Montier of GMO

In a new white paper today, James Montier of GMO's asset allocation team reviews a range of valuation measures to assess current U.S. equity market valuations. He concludes: "We continue to believe that the weight of valuation evidence suggests the S&P 500 is significantly overvalued at its current levels."

2014-02-25 00:00:00 How to Profit from the Yellen Fed by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

Janet Yellen might have the most powerful job in the world, as the Federal Reserve (Fed) she now chairs controls what may be the world?s most powerful printing press. We take a closer look at what her reign might mean for investors? portfolios.

2014-02-24 00:00:00 Market Outlook by Scotty George of Alexander Capital

In the four and one-half year market recovery since the "Great Recession" there has been a remarkable transformation in the construction and analysis of corporate earnings. This is something that gives me pause for concern.

2014-02-24 00:00:00 Three Reasons Frontier & EM Equities Are Not Created Equal by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

With all the turmoil in emerging markets recently, some investors may be especially wary of investing in so-called frontier markets. Russ explains why frontier and emerging markets are separate asset classes, each deserving of a strategic allocation.

2014-02-24 00:00:00 Secular Bull Or Bear? by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

At the January highs, the S&P 500 had gained almost 175% in just 58 months, while secondary stocks and equal-weighted market measures have gained considerably more. If it?s already over (and we don?t think it is), this cyclical bull will go down as a memorable one. But is this move the first leg of a new secular bull market? ? We think the next cyclical bear market will drive the market to levels low enough that debate will rage over the true date of the secular bear market low: was it 2009, or 201X?

2014-02-22 00:00:00 Going for the Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Everyone wants the gold. Around the world, athletes train for years to compete for a gold medal. In Hong Kong and China, the Love Trade seeks gold coins, bars and jewelry.

2014-02-20 00:00:00 Preparing for the Unexpected with Commodity Futures ETFs by Ryan Issakainen of First Trust Advisors

Three straight years of negative returns for broad commodity benchmark indices, such as the Dow Jones-UBS Commodity Total Return Index, have led some investment advisors (and their clients) to begin questioning the rationale for including commodity futures ETFs1 in their asset allocation models. Relatively tame inflation expectations seem to support these doubts, as commodities are often thought of as a hedge against inflation.

2014-02-20 00:00:00 Bond Investors Need Not Feel Powerless by Jeff Hussey of Russell Investments

Jeff Hussey, global CIO, explains the strategies investors should be pursuing when considering fixed income investments in their portfolios and how additional yield cushion while opening a door to additional security selection returns from active management.

2014-02-20 00:00:00 Peer Group Analytics and Valuation, an Abstraction by David Kleinberg of Universal Orbit

Peer group analytics and valuation are essential components when assessing the optimal risk-return equation. As opposed to an efficient frontier populated with the regressed correlated expected future returns of conventional securities or asset classes perhaps one determined by business segment operations is more advantageous.

2014-02-19 00:00:00 The U.S. an Oasis in a Global Sea of Problems by Charlie Dreifus of The Royce Funds

Despite the ongoing political and economic uncertainty in the emerging markets and a slow start for stocks in 2014, Portfolio Manager and Principal Charlie Dreifus believes the U.S. economy is in good shape going forward.

2014-02-19 00:00:00 Investors at the Car Wash? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

It?s been a rough winter, but here in Detroit (and I suspect in your town, too, if it?s been hit by the near constant winter storms this year) you can be assured of one thing ? when the snow stops and the clouds part and sunshine floods the sparkling, newly fallen snow in the fields, while the streets, in contrast, get grayer, then black as soot as the traffic returns ? then, I will bet you, the lines will grow long at your neighborhood carwash.

2014-02-18 00:00:00 Understanding the Controversy over Dividend-Based Investing by Geoff Considine (Article)

Should investors favor dividend-paying stocks over non-payers? A long-held investment tenet contends that they should. But in a controversy that has pitted two highly respected investment firms - New York-based Tweedy Browne and Texas-based Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA) - against one another, advisors are being asked to reexamine this issue.

2014-02-18 00:00:00 The Questions to Ask about Unconstrained Bond Funds by Brian Koble (Article)

Unconstrained bond funds have sparked unbridled enthusiasm among investors, with more than $55 billion pouring into these funds in 2013. They are the second most popular type of mutual fund in America. Yet many of these funds are unproven. Investors should proceed cautiously with these funds.

2014-02-18 00:00:00 From Micro-Caps to Mid-Caps, a Comprehensive Approach to Smaller Companies by Team of The Royce Funds

As the small-cap asset class has grown in size, those companies just beyond the periphery of small-cap have become somewhat orphaned.

2014-02-18 00:00:00 Market Outlook by Scotty George of Alexander Capital

The new thinking amongst market analysts is that one must respond to every news flash, every short-term nuance, any variable that creates a daily ripple in prices or attitude, or risk having your portfolio drift in obscurity and underperformance. The new "keeping up with the Jones" demands that we stay tuned to business news programming 24/7 to see if were conforming to expectations.

2014-02-14 00:00:00 Weather Related? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

The recent slowdown in economic data appears to be largely weather related and we believe decent growth will reassert itself. Stocks have bounced after a weak start to the year, but the threat of a further pullback remains, although our longer-term optimism has not been dented. Likewise, we believe Europe offers some attractive investment opportunities but were in a wait-and-see mode with Japan. Finally, we dont see EM turmoil becoming overly contagious, but we are watching that situation closely.

2014-02-13 00:00:00 Admit it: You were wondering, why hold bonds? by Jeff Hussey of Russell Investments

Jeff Hussey, global CIO, highlights the importance of holding fixed income investments within portfolios, even at a time when we are seeing exceptionally low and likely rising interest rates.

2014-02-12 00:00:00 Harvard?s Endowment: Wise or Foolish? by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Warren Buffett says, "What the wise man does in the beginning, the fool does in the end." In a Barron's feature over the weekend, writer Andrew Bary dug into the portfolio of Harvard's Endowment through an interview with their CIO, Jane Mendillo. After all, who could possibly be wiser than what many would argue is the most respected undergraduate and graduate university in the world? Using a combination of Bary?s article and our perspective, this missive will seek to determine whether the Harvard Endowment is wise or foolish.

2014-02-12 00:00:00 Grey Owl Capital?s Third Quarter Letter by of Grey Owl Capital Management

2013 was a banner year for the US stock market. Despite equities? meager fourteen-year record of accomplishment, investors, broadly speaking, are limited to short-term memory. Last year?s performance was enough to generate significant enthusiasm for stocks. We continue to believe, the current environment warrants a more balanced approach.

2014-02-11 00:00:00 The 2013 Commentary Scorecard by Jill Mislinski (Article)

Let’s look at what prominent forecasters said in January 2013 about how the markets and economy would perform last year.

2014-02-11 00:00:00 Focus on Income: The Illiquidity Premium: Opportunities for Investing in Credit Today by Jack Rivkin of Altegris

At a time when many investors are seeking income for their portfolios, traditional sources of fixed income - principally government bonds and high-grade corporate bonds - look less than compelling. Yields are low and there is an increasing risk that interest rates will rise, which would cause the value of existing bonds to fall.

2014-02-10 00:00:00 What Would a Stronger Dollar Mean for Global Markets? by Borge Endresen, Brent Bates of Invesco

As the world watches the progress of the US Federal Reserves tapering program, and anticipates the strengthening of the US dollar, Were often asked how this affects our view of international markets and risk. The short answer is that it doesnt. Were long-term, bottom-up stock pickers , so we;re primarily concerned with currency impacts on a company-by-company basis. However, there are some broad trends that are worth noting.

2014-02-10 00:00:00 Two Reasons for Value to Outperform in 2014 by Will Nasgovitz of Heartland Advisors

Weve seen the longest period of growth outperformance since 1932, but the two catalysts could cause value to return to favor. First, tapering by the Fed should allow interest rates to normalize and thereby benefit the Financials sector. Second, theres potential for a correction in the Consumer Discretionary sector, which appears overvalued: The groups P/E is above the historical average and performance has tracked upward despite flat earnings revisions.

2014-02-10 00:00:00 What Would a Stronger Dollar Mean for Global Markets? by Borge Endresen, Brent Bates of Invesco

As the world watches the progress of the US Federal Reserves (Feds) tapering program, and anticipates the strengthening of the US dollar, were often asked how this affects our view of the international market and risk. The short answer is that it doesnt. Were long-term, bottom-up stock pickers, so were primarily concerned with currency impacts on a company-by-company basis. However, there are some broad trends that are worth noting.

2014-02-08 00:00:00 Why Majority of IFAs Struggle to Scale-Up Their Practice by Rajat Dhar of Cogent Advisory

With SEBI, the regulatory body coming up with wealth service guidelines for IFAs, it is evident that only those having larger scale of operations can adapt swiftly to the changing regulations and market conditions. But, large number of IFAs in India are finding it hard to scale up. This commentary outlines the generic reasons as to what stops IFAs to scale up their practices.

2014-02-07 00:00:00 2013 Year-End Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory

We find ourselves with a more sanguine big-picture view, at least over the nearer term, than we have had in some time. U.S. and global economic fundamentals gradually improved over the past year across a number of dimensions, and seem poised for continued improvement or at least stability in 2014. However, as we look ahead, the longer-term risks related to excessive global debt, subpar growth, and unprecedented government policy that we have worried about since the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis still remain largely unresolved.

2014-02-07 00:00:00 Emerging Europe: Regional Economic Review - 4Q 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

The club of emerging European economies expanded, as Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) moved Greece from developed to the status of an emerging economy. The majority of the countries covered in this review, including the new entrant, had something to look up to in the New Year.

2014-02-06 00:00:00 EM Misery and US Large-Cap Euphoria by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Many investors are wondering why emerging stock market misery currently equates to weakness in the US stock market as represented by the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 indexes (large-cap). Long time followers of our writing at Smead Capital Management are aware that we have been making the argument this would happen since 2010 and we are happy to review our thesis.

2014-02-06 00:00:00 Year-End Odds and Ends by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

In a new quarterly letter to GMOs institutional clients, chief investment strategist Jeremy Grantham offers "Year-End Odds and Ends": Fossil Fuels: Is Tesla a Tease or a Triumph?, Fracking and Yet More Technical Stuff on Fracking, Update on Metals, Fertilizers, and Food, Problems in Forecasting Short-term Prices for Resources, Another Look at U.S. GDP Growth, Investment Lessons Learned: Mistakes Made Over 47 Years

2014-02-06 00:00:00 Divesting When Discomfited by Ben Inker of GMO

Ben Inker explains why, "for our asset allocation portfolios we generally try to trade slowly." He notes, "The slightly odd fact is that moving slowly on value-driven decisions has simply made more money historically than moving immediately would have."

2014-02-05 00:00:00 2014 Market Outlook by Kevin Mahn of Hennion & Walsh

Some Bumps along the Road of Global Recovery

2014-02-05 00:00:00 The Importance of Taking a Long-Term Perspective by Jeffrey Knight of Columbia Management

For asset allocation decisions, we find great value in maintaining a long-term outlook for major asset classes. Twice a year, in fact, we conduct an extensive update of our five-year return forecasts for several asset classes. The purpose of this exercise is two-fold. First, taking a longer term perspective helps us to set strategic asset allocations and design portfolios for diverse investment goals.

2014-02-04 00:00:00 James Montier - What Worries Me Right Now by Robert Huebscher (Article)

GMO’s investment strategist James Montier discusses why corporate profits will revert to the mean, what investors should know about the controversy over CAPE valuations, and the one issue that is the "preeminent occupation" of his mind right now.

2014-02-04 00:00:00 Challenging the Consensus by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

Investors are overwhelmingly bearish on bonds going into 2014. In this months Absolute Return Letter we challenge that view and look at various reasons why the bond market may surprise most people and deliver a positive return this year.

2014-02-03 00:00:00 Market Outlook by Scotty George of Alexander Capital

Despite the inverted gyrations of the stock market during the past three weeks, my market overview continues to be moderately bullish, of course with specific reservations about investors unbridled carryover of unrealistic expectations borne out of last years performance.

2014-01-31 00:00:00 Not All Emerging Markets Are Created Equal by Robert McConnaughey of Columbia Management

Emerging markets (EM) is a term given to a universe of countries that is extremely diverse across a wide number of variables including geography, levels of industrialization and political systems. Despite this diversity, emerging markets are often discussed as if they are a homogenous block, particularly in the context of broad asset allocation decision making. We think thats a mistake. Instead, we see opportunity from applying a more bottom-up approach to country, industry and security selection amidst growing dispersion in outcomes across the emerging world.

2014-01-31 00:00:00 Do Portfolio Diversifiers Belong in Client Portfolios? by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

The big idea is that the stock market goes up more often than not but when it does go down it scares the hell out of clients. During these large declines some advisors will use tools like gold, hedge fund replicators, absolute return, market neutral, funds that sell short or any other products that tend to not look like the stock market to try to spare clients from the full effect of the decline.

2014-01-31 00:00:00 The New Watchword-Deflation? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Equity markets have been shaky to start the year but we dont believe its time to abandon ship. The fundamentals in the United States continue to look appealing and the recent pullback has helped to correct some sentiment and valuation concerns. We are watching the fight against deflation carefully in Europe and Japan, and believe both countries may need to do more via monetary policy stimulus. Meanwhile, some emerging economies are dealing with inflation, but we dont believe the recent problems will morph into a widespread crisis at this point.

2014-01-29 00:00:00 Fed Responsible for EM Crisis? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

From the bully pulpits in Sao Paulo to the blogosphere in cyberspace, the Fed is blamed for the turmoil in Emerging Markets (EM). Thats a bit like blaming McDonalds for obesity. Blaming others wont fix the problems in EM economies, it wont fix investors portfolios and it is an unlikely way to lose weight. Investors and policy makers need to wake up and realize that they are in charge of their own destiny. Let us explain.

2014-01-28 00:00:00 Harvard’s Post-Crisis Endowment Strategy by Justin Kermond (Article)

Jane Mendillo took the helm as CEO and president of Harvard Management Company (HMC) in 2008, after the endowment suffered a devastating $10 billion loss, which depleted its worth by more than 27%. Under her leadership, HMC has emerged from the crisis with innovative changes in its policies and processes regarding asset allocation and risk management of alternative assets.

2014-01-28 00:00:00 What Makes a Valid Benchmark? by Christophe Gauthron (Article)

Single-index benchmarks are widely used but seldom appropriate, because they dont reflect the investments nature and purpose. The advisor or his client who uses these benchmarks will incorrectly assess performance. As an alternative, blended benchmarks provide an appropriate reference for manager selection and performance attribution.

2014-01-28 00:00:00 2013 - A Strong Year for ETFs by Ryan Issakainen of First Trust Advisors

US-listed ETF1 net inflows totaled $185.5 billion in 2013, setting a new record. While the largest percentage of net inflows remained concentrated among a relatively small group of the 1521 US-listed ETFs, investors broadened their horizons more in 2013 than in previous years, as 312 ETFs had net inflows exceeding $100 million.

2014-01-28 00:00:00 Financial Resolutions for a New Year by Gary Stroik of WBI Investments

Its the start of a new year; the traditional time for self-examination, reflection, and a new list of resolutions intended to help us work on those aspects of our lives we feel could use some improvement.

2014-01-28 00:00:00 Demystifying Gold Prices by Nicholas Johnson of PIMCO

What is it about gold prices? Many people seem to believe they are impossible to predict, or even understand. At her Senate confirmation hearing in November, Janet Yellen said, "I dont think anybody has a very good model of what makes gold prices go up or down." Ben Bernanke also said last year that "nobody really understands gold prices, and I dont pretend to understand them either." While many factors influence the price of gold, PIMCO believes there is one that can explain the majority of changes in gold prices over the past several years: changes in real yields.

2014-01-27 00:00:00 Market Outlook by Scotty George of Alexander Capital

Despite projections that interest rates might enter a secular upswing if the economy continues to improve, the inescapable fact is that bonds, and other fixed-income securities, are not the place for investors to generate yield, stocks are. The way to improve upon dwindling dividend and interest investment objectives is to build a portfolio of high yield equities, and to protect against downside market volatility with select stop-loss support.

2014-01-27 00:00:00 Rummaging for Yield - The Case of the Insurance Investor by Eugene Dimitriou of PIMCO

Since the height of the global financial crisis in 2008, insurance companies have faced three key challenges: First, insurance companies urgently needed to address new critical risk management issues as banking sector and peripheral sovereign credit risks significantly increased in Europe. Second, the prospects of longer-term low yields forced insurers to identify alternative sources of meaningful yield. And third, insurance companies needed to prepare for pan-European insurance regulation Solvency II.

2014-01-24 00:00:00 How the Safe Havens Stack Up by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

For investors who are worried about a correction, Russ provides a look at which traditional safe-haven assets tend to perform best during times of uncertainty.

2014-01-24 00:00:00 The Week by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Arguably, the best magazine of recent times has been The Week, a publication that embraces magazine journalism in its most functional style. The Week is written in one-hundred synopses culled, for the most part, from other news organizations from around the world on all topics. If I had but one publication to read in order to stay informed on just about everything, it would be The Week. In this mornings missive, however, I am referring to "the week" I experienced last week in South Florida.

2014-01-23 00:00:00 What's Your 2014 Market View? by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

U.S. monetary policy seems likely to continue occupying center stage as people fret about interest rates. Last year was a somewhat instructive year for monetary policy theory in that it seemed to show that policies can be effective even when interest rates have no further room to be lowered. Can the nominal GDP in the U.S. grow at faster rates in 2014, and what would that mean for Asia? This month Matthews Asias Chief Investment Officer, Robert Horrocks, offers his insights into how reforms planned for China could be a key factor to change and what could lie ahead for the region overall

2014-01-23 00:00:00 EPV: Establishing Predictive Value (i.e., Demand Characteristics) by David Kleinberg of Universal Orbit

EPV: Establishing Predictive Value (i.e., Demand Characteristics) is designed as a complement to quantitative portfolio strategies and fundamental research. Continuing the thread from EPV:RO, tested is the premise of structural bias in performance benchmarks as determined by third party data vendors with implied effects on peer group analytics and valuation.

2014-01-22 00:00:00 Market Outlook by Scotty George of Alexander Capital

One of the most common themes we hear from political pundits and market observers these days is about either the demise or rise of the middle class, an amorphous, non-homogeneous group of people not quite rich but also not too poor. This class is often cited as the reason either to be for or against legislation, fiscal policy, social norms, or the price of a gallon of gasoline at the pump!

2014-01-22 00:00:00 What to Expect in 2014 (And Beyond) by Jack Rivkin of Altegris

Each year, I take Alfred Lord Tennysons advice and "ring out the old, ring in the new" by creating a list of expectations about the markets. My list involves events that the average investor thinks have only a one-in-three-chance of happening, but which I believe have more than a 50% chance of occurring. If this approach sounds familiar, it should. Its modeled after Byron Wiens annual list of "surprises." Like his, my expectations are designed to provoke thought and discussion.

2014-01-21 00:00:00 Venerated Voices by Various (Article)

Advisor Perspectives announced its Venerated Voices awards for articles published in 2013. Rankings were issued in three categories: The Top 25 Venerated Voices by Firm, The Top 25 Venerated Voices by Author and The Top 10 Venerated Voices by Commentary.

2014-01-21 00:00:00 Stocks 2014: Investing for Growth - The Power and Protection of High Compounding Earnings Growth by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

As I become more mature (translate: gotten older), my investment philosophy has slowly evolved into a more conservative posture. When I was a younger investor I felt I had time on my side, and therefore, was willing to take on greater risk as long as I believed that greater rewards could follow. In other words, if I made a mistake by investing in an aggressive and more risky growth stock that went badly, I felt I had adequate time to overcome or recover my losses. Consequently, as a younger investor I relished a good growth stock.

2014-01-21 00:00:00 Turning Asset Allocation Upside Down by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

After the second 50% drawdown of the US equity market in one decade, the investment industry began to reassess the idea of what asset allocation should look like. Unlike the 1980s and 1990s, financial professionals can no longer rely on an almost static 60/40 or 70/30, watch the equity portion triple in 15 or 20 years and then flip the whole thing to fixed income for a safe 6%.

2014-01-21 00:00:00 Kansas by Jerome Schneider of PIMCO

In the coming year, traditional money market strategies, long viewed as safe havens, will be challenged by new regulations, near 0% returns and a lack of investable assets. Short-term bond strategies could provide the right balance between risk-taking and liquidity management, and offer the potential for positive returns. Active managers have a distinct advantage because they can manage interest rate volatility and potentially source assets by identifying underappreciated sectors.

2014-01-17 00:00:00 Chutes and Bond Ladders by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

At most, a laddered bond approach should be a modest allocation within the total retirement strategy. In our opinion its value is in its emotional comfort to the investor as opposed to the merits of the strategy itself.

2014-01-17 00:00:00 Bonds and Rates by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

Right now the topic de jour in the fixed income space is interest rate risk. The traditional thought is that as interest rates rise, bond prices fall. But looking at history, the high yield market has defied this widely held notion. Lets examine the four main reasons why high yield bonds have historically performed well during times of rising interest rates.

2014-01-16 00:00:00 A Disappointing Jobs Report: 3 Investing Takeaways by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Last Fridays non-farm payroll report was a huge disappointment. Russ explains what this means for investors.

2014-01-16 00:00:00 EM Sovereign Debt 2014: Neither Phoenix nor Failure by Paul DeNoon of AllianceBernstein

Emerging-market (EM) sovereign bonds were burned badly in 2013. Will they rise from the ashes in 2014? We believe some will and some wont. The watchword for 2014 will be selectivity.

2014-01-14 00:00:00 Five Opportunities for Advisors to Add Value by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Advisors need to determine where they can add the most value in helping clients achieve their financial goals. Surmounting this challenge is central to a successful business strategy.

2014-01-14 00:00:00 Market Outlook by Scotty George of Alexander Capital

The stock markets valuation expansion has left a bittersweet taste in the mouths of some who believe that this historic sequence of "new highs" is simply smoke and mirrors and accelerated expectations. Indeed, while the wealth effect is improving the lot of many, it is also exacerbating the gap between "reality" and "perceived-reality".

2014-01-10 00:00:00 Continuing a Winning Formula for 2014 by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

We believe there?s a way that increases the odds of winning. It?s by combining a bottom-up approach with a top-down strategy: Find great, fast-growing and shareholder-focused companies and focus on the best stocks in the sectors experiencing positive momentum.

2014-01-08 00:00:00 I'm Back by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Well, Im back after roughly a two-week hiatus where I didnt do very many strategy calls, or strategy reports. I did, however, pen a letter regarding my forecast for 2014 dated 12/30/13. And for those who, like me, kicked back over the past two weeks to spend time with family and rejoice in the holidays, and did not read anything, I urge you to peruse my "2014" report.

2014-01-07 00:00:00 How to Use Bond Ladders in Retirement Portfolios by Wade Pfau (Article)

Should bonds be kept in mutual funds or purchased as individual securities and held to their maturity dates? The former option receives much far more attention, as managers compete in a performance-driven marketplace. But investing, especially for retirement, shouldnt be driven by maximizing risk-adjusted returns. Advisors must focus on securing a clients future spending needs. I will investigate the role of bond ladders in retirement and which ladder length is best for clients.

2014-01-07 00:00:00 Where are Margins Headed? by Mark Oelschlager of Oak Associates

The fourth quarter was another good one for stocks, with the S&P 500 returning 10.5%, and 32.4% for the year. This was the best calendar-year performance by the index since 1997. All four quarters of 2013 produced positive returns, with the first and fourth quarters, typically the strongest seasonally, both hitting double-digits. For the year Consumer Discretionary and Healthcare were the standout sectors, while Utilities and Telecom lagged. The laggards are not surprising, as they are income-oriented - an area of the market that was hurt by the backup in bond yields.

2014-01-07 00:00:00 A Healing Economy by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

The quarter continued the theme of the year, with U.S. equities continuing their dramatic performance. For the quarter, the Dow was up 9.6%, the S&P 9.9%, and the NASDAQ 10.7%. The years returns substantially exceeded last year"s "expert predictions" and much of this years punditry with the Dow up 26.5%, S&P up 29.6%, and NASDAQ up 38.3%.

2014-01-06 00:00:00 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

To say that 2013 was an interesting year would be a bit of an understatement. We learned a long time ago not to make predictions about the stock market because no matter what is predicted, it is likely to be wrong. Even if we get lucky one year, we are not likely to even get close the following year. We do try to give guidance, however. Last year we suggested that, given the late run in the market in 2012 and its 15% return, investors should be happy with a return of 8 to 10% in 2013. Obviously, investors enjoyed much better returns.

2014-01-03 00:00:00 Hedged-Dividend Investing: The Debate Starts by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Lively debate is common in our business and it existence promotes exactly what investors are looking for - flesh and blood people who can do the research for them, the planning with them and be willing to stand by their beliefs and act in their clients best interests.

2013-12-31 00:00:00 A Look Ahead at 2014 by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Last week, Russ shared his annual look back at his 2013 economic and investment calls. Now, its time for his annual look forward.

2013-12-31 00:00:00 2014? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Year-end letters are difficult to write because there is always a tendency to discuss the year gone by or, worse, attempt to forecast the coming year. Typically, when the media asks where the S&P 500 (SPX/1841.40) will be at the end of the new year, I tell them you might as well flip a lucky penny.

2013-12-27 00:00:00 The Risk Tolerance Paradox....And What You Can Do About It by Ken Mungan, Matt Kaufman of Milliman Financial Risk Management

The risk tolerance level many investors expect to achieve over the long-term rarely equals the same tolerance investors actually experience over shorter periods. This paper provides a brief introduction to this paradox, explores the main reason we think it exists, and introduces a risk management strategy that seeks to solve the problem.

2013-12-24 00:00:00 The Price America Pays for Global Leadership by Bob Veres (Article)

Americas political debates inevitably default to finding ways to contain our federal deficits, and our investment debates focus on whether were facing a secular bear or bull market - and how to maneuver within that environment. I had never imagined that these two debates could be related until I heard a presentation by Bill OGrady, of Confluence Investment Management in St. Louis, MO at the Insiders Forum conference in Dallas.

2013-12-24 00:00:00 Letter to the Editor by Various (Article)

A reader responds to Joe Tomlinsons article, Optimizing Asset Location: Is It Worth the Effort?, which appeared last week.

2013-12-23 00:00:00 Welcome, Taper by Dianne Lob of AllianceBernstein

The Federal Open Market Committees statement that it will begin to taper its bond purchases in January is a good sign that the US economy continues to heal, in our view.

2013-12-23 00:00:00 The Diva is Already Singing by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The bell has already rung. The diva is already singing. The only question is precisely how long they hold the note.

2013-12-20 00:00:00 The Challenges of Year-End Forecasting by Jason Hsu of Research Affiliates

Many investors piled on the equity bandwagon this year, pushing prices up to dizzying heights. With current yields for U.S. equities at record lows, is it time to get off the bandwagon?

2013-12-20 00:00:00 Five Resolutions for 2014 by David Kelly of J.P. Morgan Funds

Entering 2014, the global investment environment is as challenging as ever. After a super 2013 in returns, U.S. equities can no longer be considered inexpensive and yet still look attractive relative to the prospective returns on savings accounts and long-term bonds. Long-term bond yields are higher than a year ago but could still rise further as the Federal Reserve begins to reduce quantitative easing.

2013-12-20 00:00:00 A Surprising Way to Participate in Today's Tech Boom by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

China has become one of the best consumption stories out there, and looking over the next few years, local technology companies are almost certain to benefit. So while many U.S. investors are getting excited about the growing number of initial public offerings in the tech sector, they would be remiss if they didnt look beyond Silicon Valley.

2013-12-18 00:00:00 Three Investments that Could Return to Favor in 2014 by Jeffrey Knight of Columbia Management

When investors lose confidence in an asset class, especially one that had been popular enough to attract outsized allocations, subsequent rebalancing generally leads to prolonged periods of underperformance. Technology stocks after 1999, for example, underperformed the S&P 500 in eight of the next 10 years and by a cumulative total of more than 40 percentage points. Today, many believe that interest rate sensitive bonds might have just begun a similar era of waning investor confidence, portfolio reallocation and underperformance.

2013-12-17 00:00:00 Optimizing Asset Location: Is It Worth the Effort? by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Asset location - the choice of whether to hold stocks and bonds in taxable or sheltered accounts - is receiving increased attention as advisors seek more ways to add value. New research has challenged long-held beliefs. I’ll examine that research and answer a question that should concern every advisor and client: Does the value provided by asset-location advice justify the fees for the work involved?

2013-12-17 00:00:00 Five Strategies for a Rising-Rate Environment Revisited by Kane Cotton, CFA and Jonathan Scheid, CFA (Article)

In June 2010, we recommended five strategies for a rising-rate environment, acknowledging that we had no idea when or how abruptly rates would rise. Indeed, rates fell since we wrote that article. But they are on the rise again. After reviewing how our original five strategies performed, we’ll now present our revised recommendations for investing as rates increase.

2013-12-17 00:00:00 Gaining Perspective by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

This weekend we were honored to have Steve Finn, the owner of our largest custodian, Trust Company of America, and his lovely wife, Kelly, join us for our annual Holiday Party (see more about the party in the "Whats Happening" section). On Sunday, at a post-party brunch, Kelly (who studied art at the International Academy of Art in Nice, France, and at the Brera Art Academy in Milan, Italy and has many years of patient craftsmanship with oil paint and easel) was telling us about how she goes about creating her exquisite paintings.

2013-12-16 00:00:00 Absolute Return Letter: Squeaky Bum Time by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees, Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

QE has led to asset price inflation. That much we established in the November Absolute Return Letter. In this months letter we go one step further and look at whether we are now in bubble territory. Considering the strong bull-run we have experienced in 2012-13 it is perhaps surprising to learn that, in a historical context, it is not an outsized rally, nor are equity markets - with the possible exception of the United States - particularly expensive.

2013-12-15 00:00:00 Lessons Learned in 2013 by Seth Masters of Alliance Bernstein

In 2013, interest rates rose, bonds fell, equities soared, and US income-tax rates climbed higher. Before starting to place bets for 2014, investors would be wise to think about some important lessons from 2013.

2013-12-13 00:00:00 One of the Most Notable Stories of the Year: Energy Renaissance in the U.S.A. by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Only a few years ago, we were contemplating the supply constraints facing the petroleum industry, as many major oil fields around the world were facing a decline in production. Now, with the disruptive technology in shale oil and gas, we may be looking forward to decades of drilling.

2013-12-10 00:00:00 How Much Can Clients Spend in Retirement? A Test of the Two Most Prominent Approaches by Wade Pfau (Article)

In my last article, I described research-based innovations for variable withdrawal strategies from retirement portfolios. In this article, I put Guyton’s and Blanchett’s strategies to the test. My results provide planners with a better understanding about the potential spending paths generated by these different approaches.

2013-12-10 00:00:00 A Framework for Understanding Bond Portfolio Performance by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)

Investors are legitimately concerned that interest rates, after falling reliably for decades, are on their way up and that bond portfolio values are on their way down. Investors now seek interest-rate protection. I provide a framework for analyzing and, hopefully, predicting the returns on actively managed portfolios of bonds - a task different from analyzing the bond market itself.

2013-12-10 00:00:00 The Myth of the Most Efficient Market by Patrick O'Shaughnessy of O'Shaughnessy Asset Management

Perception of the U.S. large cap value market is that its the most efficient in the world, and therefore the hardest category for managers to outperform the benchmark. As a result, index funds and ETFs have been gaining dramatic market share. Our latest whitepaper debunks conventional thinking with empirically-proven factors that have significantly outperformed in the U.S. large cap space.

2013-12-05 00:00:00 Another Step Forward for US DC Plans: Managing Volatility by Daniel Loewy of AllianceBernstein

Were seeing more US defined contribution (DC) plan sponsors looking at a variety of ways to help their participants manage volatility-and the accompanying anxiety and doubts that can often push participants to abandon their long-term investing goals.

2013-12-05 00:00:00 No Silver Bullets in Investing by James Montier of GMO

In a new white paper today, James Montier of GMOs asset allocation team reviews recent "innovation in our industry." He argues, "one of the myths perpetuated by our industry is that there are lots of ways to generate good long-run real returns, but we believe there is really only one: buying cheap assets."

2013-12-04 00:00:00 Why Investing in High Quality Companies is More Important Today than Ever by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

One of the first rules a new financial advisor learns is that success in the business has nothing to do with how well your clients do in creating or maintaining wealth. Success is measured by how much wealth the advisor creates for him or herself. The same rule extends beyond the local advisor to the great halls of institutional management.

2013-12-03 00:00:00 Why Does the U.S. Have High-Cost Low-Quality Healthcare? by Michael Edesess and Kwok L. Tsui (Article)

The U.S. has worse mortality rates than virtually all other developed nations, and yet it spends twice as much per capita on health care. How on earth has the U.S. racked up such an appallingly bad health-care record, and what is the solution? A recent edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association identified many of the problems but was not persuasive in prescribing a cure.

2013-12-03 00:00:00 Is the Fed Increasingly Monetizing Government Debt? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Fed Chair Bernanke vehemently denies Fed "monetizes the debt," but our research shows the Fed may be increasingly doing so. We explain why and what the implications may be for the dollar, gold and currencies.

2013-12-02 00:00:00 China's Great Leap by Equity Investment Team of Janus Capital Group

Chinas government just announced it would take a big step back...and let its economy take a giant leap forward. We believe Chinas proposed economic reforms will transform the economy and should allay investors main concerns about Chinese markets. In Janus latest Equity Monthly, our equity team offers its perspective on Chinas Great Leap.

2013-11-29 00:00:00 From the Taj Mahal to Westminster Abbey: Notes from a Global Investor by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

I recently returned from India, a nation where an incredible 600 million people are under the age of 25. That?s nearly double the entire population of the U.S.

2013-11-28 00:00:00 Bringing the Chinese Consumer to Life by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

There is good reason to believe that Chinas recently completed Third Plenum will come to be regarded as a pivotal point in the countrys development. At long last, Chinas senior leadership has endorsed a raft of reforms that could impel the economys shift from reliance on exports to consumption-led growth.

2013-11-26 00:00:00 While You Were Sleeping: Asian Developments Loom for Financial Markets by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Amid all the Fed talk dominating airwaves and headlines, a few key developments occurred overseas last week that could shape financial markets significantly in the quarters ahead.

2013-11-25 00:00:00 Solving the Income Puzzle by Christopher Remington, Michael Cirami, Kathleen Gaffney, Scott Page of Eaton Vance

Income needs may be as high as they’ve ever been, while the yield potential from many traditional investment classes has dwindled to generational lows. Investors who remain in high-priced, low-yielding core bond strategies could experience loss of principal (and mounting retirement shortfalls) if interest rates revert toward their mean. We advocate creating an integrated, multi-pronged income plan that may offer yield potential that meets investor needs, while managing key risks found in the typical core fixed-income allocation.

2013-11-22 00:00:00 What is the Current Market Reality? by Giordano Lombardo of Pioneer Investments

At this years Global Investment Forum, the discussion among Pioneer investment professionals was generally positive. Of course, everyone was conscious of the current market reality: that the major force behind recent positive, though benign, market trends is the unprecedented creation of liquidity and extremely loose stance of monetary policies around the world. Monetary policy alone cannot be the only conduit to a new economic model of income growth and job creation.

2013-11-22 00:00:00 Dividend Season Scorecard by Don Taylor of Franklin Templeton

As consumers gear up for the upcoming holiday shopping season, many investors in individual equities are eagerly anticipating another season that, instead of draining their wallets, might actually fatten them-dividend season. Don Taylor, portfolio manager of Franklin Rising Dividends Fund, is on the lookout for companies which not only have a track record of paying regular dividends, but increasing them. Here are some of Taylors thoughts on the early dividend season scorecard.

2013-11-20 00:00:00 Valuing Quality by Bhavik Kothari of Diamond Hill Investments

As industry specialists, our analysts make key assumptions when we value a company, which are based on our in-depth research of a companys future prospects. One of the most important assumptions we make is the multiple applied to future earnings to derive the terminal value of a company at the end of our explicit forecast period. The terminal multiple is a critical assumption because it typically accounts for a significant portion of our overall value and it captures a host of assumptions about the quality of the firm such as return on capital and future growth prospects.

2013-11-20 00:00:00 Follow the Leaders: Gold Opinions from New Orleans by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Bring together some of the brightest, most engaging minds in investing and politics inside the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel along with hundreds of investors eager for market knowledge and insight, and you get the 39th Annual New Orleans Investment Conference.

2013-11-20 00:00:00 No Madness and No Crowds by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

Charles Mackays book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, chronicles some of historys greatest financial manias, including the South Sea bubble and the Dutch tulip mania, among many others. As the stock market continues to make new highs, discussion of a market bubble has been capturing many of the recent headlines. For those that suggest this is the case, they may need to refresh themselves with Mackays book, which highlights the mania phase a phase that we have yet to encounter.

2013-11-19 00:00:00 Asset Class Allocation and Portfolios: Critique and Complication by Adam Jared Apt (Article)

In Part 1 of this essay, I explained that for asset class allocation to become an investment practice, it required a foundation of theory. And Modern Portfolio Theory was that foundation. But today, most financial journalists and investment advisors who proffer advice centered on asset class allocation are?if I may judge from their writings?oblivious of this. And why shouldn’t they be? Theory is abstract and difficult to apprehend.

2013-11-19 00:00:00 New Research on How Much Clients can Spend in Retirement by Wade Pfau (Article)

A major problem remains unsolved in the discipline of financial planning: How should clients adjust their spending patterns in response to changes in the value of their retirement portfolios? The original research on this topic was based on a fixed percentage of assets, adjusted for inflation. Numerous refinements to that model have been proposed, and I will look at how the updated models can help clients maintain their desired standard of living without depleting their assets.

2013-11-19 00:00:00 Breaking News! U.S. Equity Market Overvalued! by Ben Inker of GMO

In GMOs quarterly letter to institutional clients today, co-head of asset allocation Ben Inker outlines the reasoning behind GMO implementing a new forecast methodology for the U.S. stock market. While the new methodology has slightly increased GMOs seven-year forecast for U.S. equity returns, Ben notes, "The basic point for us remains the same -- the U.S. stock market is trading at levels that do not seem capable of supporting the type of returns that investors have gotten used to receiving from equities."

2013-11-15 00:00:00 Are You Prepared for Economic Recovery? by Nanette Abuhoff Jacobson of Hartford Funds

Nanette Abuhoff Jacobson discusses how many portfolios are out of balance today and explains why investors should consider increasing their equity exposure.

2013-11-14 00:00:00 This May Sting Just a Bit: Global Diversification by Jeff Hussey of Russell Investments

Russell Investments global chief investment officer argues that times when global diversification falls out of favor might provide opportunities for investors.

2013-11-12 00:00:00 Beware of Financial Plannings Misguided Rules-of-Thumb by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Lacking better insights, financial planners cling to rules of thumb, such as allocating a percentage of assets to fixed income based on a clients age. More recently, those rules have been institutionalized through products like target-date funds, which maintain a fixed glide path for all investors. But new research has led to the development of software products that allow advisors to easily improve on the suboptimal outcomes to which clients were previously destined.

2013-11-12 00:00:00 The Bomb Shelter Portfolio: Maximum Income with the Least Risk by Geoff Considine (Article)

Conservative investors are faced with unappealing choices. They can reduce risk and accept low yields and high exposure to rising rates, or they can push the bounds of their risk tolerance to increase yield. My analysis shows a way out of this predicament: a “bomb shelter” portfolio of ETFs, which offers attractive yield with minimal volatility and exposure to rising rates.

2013-11-12 00:00:00 Let's Party Like it's 1978 by Bill OGrady, Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

A twice yearly meeting of the Chinese government officials, formally known as the third plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, started on Saturday and will end tomorrow. Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping has indicated that this session could be as consequential as the plenary session in 1978 which introduced policies that set in motion the Chinese growth engine. We are going to take a closer look at the changes from the plenary session 35 years ago, the circumstances leading up to the session and how China changed following the meeting.

2013-11-12 00:00:00 Dream to Outperform the Market by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

If you dream about investment market outcomes which are already popular in the marketplace, your dreams can turn into nightmares. The Everly Brothers 1958 hit song, All I have to do is Dream tells us a great deal about the long-term posture of investors in late 2013 and how dreams can turn to nightmares. On the other hand, if you dream about an outcome which most experts arent expecting, the rewards can be explosive.

2013-11-08 00:00:00 Manager Q&A: Tocqueville Gold Fund by John Hathaway, Doug Groh of Tocqueville Asset Management

In a new Q&A, John Hathaway and Doug Groh, the co-portfolio managers of the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), answer questions about the price of gold, the relationship between the price of the commodity and gold miner stock prices, and industry consolidation amongst gold miners.

2013-11-08 00:00:00 Asset Allocation: Pie in the Face? by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

The typical approach to spreading ones assets in order to diversify and conquer, is to have the client complete a risk tolerance questionnaire. That survey is important not only to establish guidelines for how the assets will be managed, but also because some form of it is required by securities regulators to make sure advisors know who their clients are. The magical conclusion usually includes a color pie chart, representing a variety of asset classes that are assumed to be a path toward asset growth and preservation of capital.

2013-11-07 00:00:00 Upgrading Non-U.S. Equities by Jeffrey Knight of Columbia Management

Two performance trends have stood out across world markets during 2013. The first is the strong outperformance by equities over bonds. The second is the strong returns of the U.S. stock market relative to other stock markets around the world. The Table breaks down year to date performance for the S&P 500, Eurostoxx 50, FTSE 100, Topix and MSCI Emerging Market indices. Notice that as of the end of July, equity returns in the Unites States were handily outpacing all other regions except Japan.

2013-11-07 00:00:00 Absolute Return Letter: Euthanasia of the economy? by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees, Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

QE has had two noticeable and positive effects. It has saved the world from a financial meltdown not once, but twice, and it has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on asset prices, so in that respect QE has been a success. However, there are growing signs that QE may be beginning to impair economic growth and it may even cause dis-inflation, precisely the opposite of what was widely expected. For these reasons we believe it is time to call it quits and begin to tackle the root problem a banking industry still suffocating from bad loans.

2013-11-06 00:00:00 The Underperformance Culprit by Tony Scherrer of Smead Capital Management

Each year we are reminded of the fact that active management systemically underperforms the benchmark. The scorecards come in, and the tally is drilled back into our consciousness. But has the now long-tenured debate of active versus passive offered us much in the way of new perspective over the last several decades?

2013-11-06 00:00:00 Permabull? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

A permabull is defined as somebody who is always upbeat about the future direction of the stock market and the economy. Recently I have been called a permabull by certain members of the media, which may be true since March of 2009, but certainly not true over the past 14 years.

2013-11-05 00:00:00 Three Trends That Will Change the Game for Advisors by Steve Lockshin (Article)

This article is excerpted from Steve Lockshins new book, Get Wise to Your Advisor. This book makes an impassioned argument as to why clients should choose independent advisors who adhere to a fiduciary standard.

2013-11-04 00:00:00 Steve Jobs Didn't Give a *!@% About the Debt Ceiling by Jeffrey Bronchick of Cove Street Capital

A quick nod to Bloomberg columnist Caroline Baum from whom we lifted our title. Anything else you might have been (or will be) subjected to on the subject of how the government operates pales in materiality to the headline. And as miserable as our predicament seems to anyone over the age of 13, it really and truly is old and increasingly dull news. To wit, I present the following, highly curated list of quotes-please note the timeline.

2013-11-01 00:00:00 Risk Management: An Ounce of Prevention by Seth Masters, Daniel Loewy, Martin Atkin of AllianceBernstein

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But if the sickness is excessive portfolio volatility, prevention can entail more than one step.

2013-10-31 00:00:00 Third Quarter Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital

Despite the recent shenanigans in Washington concerning funding the government and raising the debt ceiling, as well as the constant news coverage of the quantitative easing taper that the Federal Reserve may or may not begin, we are going to spare (at least for this quarter) both you and us another long discussion of these very real issues.

2013-10-30 00:00:00 The S&P 500 Has Not Been Particularly Difficult to Beat by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

I know this statement is in direct conflict with the teachings of modern finance. Modern finance provides us with multiple studies that, if taken at face value, offer a pretty convincing case that the ability to earn better than average returns is a fools game. Yet, our human nature cannot accept being average.

2013-10-26 00:00:00 Why U.S. Dollar Will Remain World's Reserve Currency, Despite Political Brinkmanship by Tatjana Michel of Charles Schwab

The U.S. dollar is not likely to lose its premier world reserve-currency status anytime soon. But continuing U.S. political brinkmanship could drive foreign countries into other currencies faster. With the market focus shifting to monetary policy and growth, we expect a Fed taper delay to give foreign currencies some time to recover.

2013-10-25 00:00:00 Quarterly Review and Outlook by Van Hoisington, Lacy Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

When an economy is excessively over-indebted and disinflationary factors have forced central banks to make overnight interest rates as close to zero as possible, central bank policy has repeatedly proved powerless to further move inflation or growth metrics. Four considerations suggest the Fed will continue to be unsuccessful in engineering stronger growth and higher inflation with their continuation of the current program of Large Scale Asset Purchases.

2013-10-24 00:00:00 The Pillars of Commodities Investing by Miguel Perez-Santalla of BullionVault

As an advisor your job is to know the most secure places to invest ones money. This difficult task only becomes more difficult when confronted with demands for an alternative investment.

2013-10-24 00:00:00 Putting Tax-Deferred Accounts to Best Use by Kathleen Fisher, Tara Thompson Popernik of AllianceBernstein

The common wisdom about retirement planning is to fund tax-deferred vehicles such as 401(k) plans and IRAs to the maxand we agree. But how to put these accounts to best use is more complicated.

2013-10-24 00:00:00 Going Defensive? 3 Things to Consider First by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

With the threat of a default merely pushed out a few months, many investors continue to allocate to so-called defensive investments. However, because going defensive is not a free lunch, Russ says its important for investors to consider three aspects of their potential defensive postures.

2013-10-24 00:00:00 Glory Days: Could They Come Back for US Equities? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

A "great rotation" may not be underway by individual investors; even amid record-breaking outflows from bond funds this summer. But fund flow data do show some shift in preferences and highlight the sensitivity of investors to any rise in longer-term interest rates. A more interesting place to look is at the fiduciary community; that has decidedly shifted its attention away from traditional equities (and fixed income) over the past decade.

2013-10-23 00:00:00 Economic & Capital Market Summary by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

It has been five years since the Financial Crisis wreaked havoc on the economy and capital markets. With equity markets trading near record highs and new issue corporate bonds coming to market regularly, the capital markets have largely recovered. However, we are concerned that the economic recovery is just an illusion that exists in spite of the efforts in Washington D.C. to kill it.

2013-10-18 00:00:00 Trying to Stop a Bull Market Has Risks by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

U.S. stocks have been on a tear. The S&P 500 Index has climbed a surprising 20 percent so far this year, as a global synchronized recovery takes shape and funds flow back to equities. As I often say, investors take risks when they try to stop a bull run, and plenty of data suggest you might regret taking that action this year.

2013-10-18 00:00:00 Is Your Portfolio a Five-Tool Player? by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

In baseball a 5-Tool Player is one who has high-level abilities in these areas: hitting for power, hitting for average, running, fielding and throwing. 5-Tool Players are a special breed, and teams covet them. I have identified 5 tools a premier investment approach should have in order to be successful in our arena, the achievement of client goals and growth of advisory practices.

2013-10-17 00:00:00 Investing in Retirement: Bonds Aren't Enough by Kathleen Fisher, Tara Thompson Popernik of AllianceBernstein

What should you invest in after the spigot of earned income is turned off? Its a vexing question, especially since we expect lower stock and bond returns going forward.

2013-10-17 00:00:00 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

October 17th looms large as a critical inflection point in our economic/political discourse. On that date the U.S. Congress is supposed to raise the debt limit, which simply means allocating the funds to cover debts already incurred by the Federal government. The date is being held hostage by both political parties in order to relegitimize the previous election (2012) and to dial-up the rhetoric of disparate political ideology.

2013-10-16 00:00:00 Pacific Basin Market Overview - September 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

North Asian markets ended higher during the quarter after comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke appeared to infer that the Feds asset purchase program would be extended for a while longer. On the other hand, India and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region underperformed along with weakening currencies and continued fund outflows. In China, Premier Li Keqiangs statement that China would meet its gross domestic product (GDP) growth target this year, coupled with better-than-expected economic data, brought some relief to the equity markets.

2013-10-15 00:00:00 Is Gold Overpriced? by Adam Jared Apt (Article)

New research, based on an econometric model of gold prices, has attempted to answer the question, “Is gold overpriced?”

2013-10-15 00:00:00 A Better Way to Measure Risk Tolerance by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

In building financial plans, asset-allocation recommendations must recognize the clients ability to absorb risk. To aid in this assessment, advisors often use risk-tolerance questionnaires, but these tools have shortcomings. The evolving field of brain science can help to design better questionnaires.

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 Why Customized Content Beats Canned Content by Neil Rhein (Article)

If you’re communicating syndicated (“canned”) content that is similar (or identical) to what every other advisor is saying, you’re just adding to the noise.

2013-10-15 00:00:00 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

Readers respond to Robert Huebscher’s article, The Futility of the Endowment Model, which appeared last week.

2013-10-09 00:00:00 Ashes to Ashes by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

The phrase ashes to ashes, dust to dust is derived from the Biblical text of Genesis 3:19 and was adapted to its present form at an old English burial service. Last week I repeated those words as I scattered my fathers ashes next to my mothers in the memorial garden of the church they loved so much in Richmond, Virginia. Indeed, my week was spent in Richmond, Washington D.C., and Baltimore seeing institutional accounts, consulting with political types, and speaking at various events for our financial advisors and their clients.

2013-10-08 00:00:00 The Futility of the Endowment Model by Robert Huebscher (Article)

In the past two decades, the so-called endowment model has been adopted by hundreds of endowments, foundations and advisors ? particularly those serving ultra-high-net-worth clients. By aggressively allocating to illiquid alternative asset classes, those investors hoped to duplicate the results of Yale and other top-tier institutions. New research exposes the futility of those efforts.

2013-10-08 00:00:00 Listen to the 10th Man by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Theres no shortage of short-term risks in todays market or conventional wisdom on how they will play out. But prepping for the unexpected could limit the number of surprises and better insulate investors portfolios, writes Kristina Hooper.

2013-10-08 00:00:00 Q3 Brings Plot Twists; Volatility to Continue in Q4 by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Russ reviews how the third quarter shaped up vs. his expectations, noting which calls he got right and which he got wrong, and he updates his outlook for this quarter.

2013-10-08 00:00:00 Absolute Return Letter: Heads or tails? by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees, Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

Demographics captivate me. There are around 7.1 billion of us occupying planet earth today, going to 10 billion by 2050. I often think about how good old mother earth will cope with the additional 3 billion people we are projected to produce between now and 2050. More people translate into increased pressure on already scarce resources, but that is only part of the story and a story well covered by now.

2013-10-04 00:00:00 The Economy, the Fed, and Politics by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

It was a good quarter to invest in equities, and despite a down second quarter, overall a good year as well. The Dow was up 1.5%, the S&P 4.7% and the NASDAQ 10.8%. Year-to-date returns were very positive with the Dow up 15.5%, S&P up 17.9%, and NASDAQ up 24.9%. International equities were also positive for the quarter and year with the MSCI ACWI ex US up 9.4% and up 7.5% year-to-date. While emerging market equity indices were up 5% for the quarter they remained negative -6.4% for the year.

2013-10-04 00:00:00 What Is The Correct Discount Rate To Use? Part 2B by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

One of the most widely-accepted and utilized methods of valuing a business in todays world of modern finance is discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis. Obviously, in order to calculate valuation, practitioners must rely on mathematical formulas. However, the challenge with utilizing mathematical formulas to determine the net present value (NPV) of a future stream of income is in determining the proper inputs. Consequently, the accuracy of our result is subject to the principle garbage in garbage out.

2013-10-02 00:00:00 The Math is Pretty Straightforward... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

Congress and the White House must be pretty fired up that D&D2 started filming last week. The new movie might be the only thing more stupid than our elected leaders failing to negotiate and reach a deal. Most everyone either wants to spend our tax dollars like drunken professional athletes or hold our economy and financial markets hostage via a government shutdown and failure to raise the debt ceiling.

2013-10-02 00:00:00 Quarterly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

Many of us bear emotional scars from the excesses of a debt-driven, casino-like mid-2000 decade. The last recession was punctuated by lost jobs, lowering wages, diminishing portfolio valuations, putrid returns on cash savings, and a total decimation of confidence in the so-called Titans who drove the Wall Street bus during that period.

2013-10-01 00:00:00 The Ultimate Income Portfolio Revisited by Geoff Considine (Article)

Rising interest rates will be unkind to income-generating assets and the investors who depend on them in retirement. My ultimate-income portfolio (UIP) provides a solution to this problem. It has reliably produced high income and low volatility with respect to the stock market, and its performance is likely to continue, even if rates rise further.

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 Fourth Quarter Outlook: A Turning Point? by Gene Goldman of Cetera Financial Group

It seems sometimes that the outlook for the global economy and the markets has been unchanged for years. Since the end of the recession, each year has commenced with forecasts that the United States economy would break out of its below-trend growth mode, only to see expectations dashed. Meanwhile, Europe has been mired in its own recession as it struggles with heavy post-crisis debt burdens. Growth has slowed in the emerging markets, ending the commodity boom of the first decade of this century.

2013-09-27 00:00:00 How to Strengthen Your Portfolio Core by David Fabian of Fabian Capital Management

In strength training and investing, your core is everything. Its the foundation or base from which you build upon to reach new levels of success. Without a solid core, you are doomed to underachieve because you dont have the right balance needed to attain your goals. By starting from the ground up using concrete core holdings, you can add additional tactical positions from which to enhance your returns. That way you will have a well-rounded portfolio strategy that is easy to understand.

2013-09-27 00:00:00 The Weekly Speculator by Michael Shaoul, Ranita Ragunathan, Timothy Brackett, Brendan Moynihan of Marketfield Asset Management

We wrote last week on the eve of the FOMC meeting which resulted in the surprising decision not to reduce the current program of treasury and mortgage security purchases. What was to our eyes equally surprising was the volume and strident tone of the commentary that was issued following this release, ranging from the arrogant to the outraged as if anything really meaningful had changed.

2013-09-26 00:00:00 One Trick Pony: Whipping the GDP Donkey into a Stallion by Cliff Draughn of Excelsia

The difficulty since 2012 has been that if you are not significantly overweight US equities, then your returns are less than stellar. Employing a diversified, risk-averse investment strategy in 2013 has in hindsight been the wrong thing to do, given that every other asset class is negative year-to-date, while US stocks are up double digits. The combination of the Feds Zero Interest Rate Policy and the artificial bubble in Treasury bonds has forced conservative investors into riskier positions in order to find risk-adjusted returns.

2013-09-25 00:00:00 After the Fed's Surprise: 4 Asset Allocation Implications by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

The Feds surprise no-taper announcement confirmed Russ expectation that the global recovery remains soft and that interest rates are likely to remain contained this year. What does this mean for investors? There are four implications for asset allocations, says Russ.

2013-09-25 00:00:00 More Than a Sugar High by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

The recent decision by the Fed to delay any tapering may be a preview of what to expect by a Yellen Fed. As the Fed appeared to remove virtually every yardstick or goal post that they have provided recently, one thing is certain, they seem determined to keep the accelerator nailed to the floor as they drive the economy at full speed. According to Cornerstone Macro, based on the Feds move, it appears increasingly likely that growth is more likely to reaccelerate.

2013-09-24 00:00:00 Why Retirees Should Choose DIAs over SPIAs by Wade Pfau (Article)

Retirement portfolios can be constructed from a mix of asset classes, including stocks, bonds and annuities. In the past, I’ve shown that retirees achieve some of the best outcomes by allocating a portion of those assets to SPIAs. In this column, I extend my analysis to show that DIAs work even better than SPIAs, by providing more liquidity and better longevity protection at a lower cost.

2013-09-23 00:00:00 Happy Anniversary? Perspectives on the Financial Crisis Five Years Later by Nanette Abuhoff Jacobson of Hartford Funds

Since 2008, theres been slow but steady improvement in the global economypolicy makers unconventional tools have helped stabilize ?nancial markets and bought time for economies to rebalance. Expectations are too low for developed-market growth and in?ation, in our view. As such, we think this environment will be positive for developed-equity marketsparticularly in Europe and Japan.

2013-09-20 00:00:00 U.S. Commercial Real Estate: Will the Good Times Last? by Devin Chen of PIMCO

The CRE market has experienced a gradual recovery in asset pricing since the 2008 financial crisis. Despite the duration of the recovery, there continues to be dislocation in the CRE market that astute investors can capitalize on. We believe certain properties in non-major markets look attractive for acquisition, and have been acquiring residential land on an opportunistic basis.

2013-09-16 00:00:00 From the Fed to Congress: 4 Washington Issues to Watch by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

After the Fed announcement next week, market attention is likely to shift toward Congress for the remainder of the fall. According to Russ, four key issues up for debate have the potential to add to near-term volatility.

2013-09-16 00:00:00 Investment Reality as Told Through the Most Interesting Man in Baseball by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

You probably havent heard of Greg Dobbs. If you have, you are either a big Major League baseball fan, a casual fan of the Miami Marlins baseball team, or you know Greg Dobbs personally. He is a solid Major League player, but will not be mentioned alongside Ruth, Mays and Ripken. He is a great team player, a great media interview and was briefly featured on a national TV program last year as the most interesting man in baseball, a moniker given to him by one of his teammates.

2013-09-13 00:00:00 What's Developing in Emerging Markets by Gene Goldman of Cetera Financial Group

Despite strong returns in United States equity markets, a different story has played out in the emerging markets. The MSCI Emerging Market Index, a proxy for emerging market equity returns, has fallen 9.94 percent year-to-date through Aug. 31, 2013. In contrast, the S&P 500, a proxy for U.S. equity markets, has risen 16.15 percent over that same span.

2013-09-13 00:00:00 What's Happening to Bonds and Why? by Mohamed El-Erian of PIMCO

To say that bonds are under pressure would be an understatement. Over the last few months, sentiment about fixed income has flipped dramatically: from a favored investment destination that is deemed to benefit from exceptional support from central banks, to an asset class experiencing large outflows, negative returns and reduced standing as an anchor of a well-diversified asset allocation.

2013-09-11 00:00:00 Absolute Return Letter: A Case of Broken BRICS? by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees, Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

EM currencies, stocks and bonds have struggled since the Fed signalled its intent to change course in late May. This has seemingly triggered an exodus of speculative capital from emerging markets but, as is always the case, there is more to the story than that. EM countries (ex. China) no longer run a current account surplus with the rest of the world, and this hurts global liquidity. It is not yet a re-run of the 1997-98 Asian crisis, but it has the potential to become one with all sorts of consequences for bond yields in developed markets, currency wars, etc.

2013-09-10 00:00:00 The Party's Over. Why Own Commodities? by Jon Ruff, Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

Commodity prices soared during the first decade of this century. But now the partys over: new sources of supply are coming on line just as demand from China is slowing, leading to expectations of price declines. So should investors shun commodity-related investments?

2013-09-10 00:00:00 Raising the Bar on Target Date Due Diligence by Manning & Napier/Strategic Insight of Manning & Napier

Deeming whether target date fund investments are appropriate for a specific participant population is an arduous and imperfect task, made more complicated by a lack of full transparency. Fiduciaries should question whether the underlying securities of target date funds are appropriate to meet the retirement saving needs of plan participants. However, the question itself raises concern about what it would take to examine the funds in such detail.

2013-09-10 00:00:00 Taper Vs. No Taper - Let's Meet Somewhere In The Middle by John Rothe of Riverbend Investment Management

Volatility in the US equity and bond markets has risen since Ben Bernanke and the rest of the Federal Reserve Board mentioned the possibility of tapering its bond purchase program - in other words, a potential end to the "free ride" the Fed has been giving investors. However, economic data is still weak and a reduction in economic stimulus by the Fed may harm the US economy.

2013-09-06 00:00:00 The Good, The Bad and The Ugly by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

Good economic news in developed markets has been overshadowed lately by the bad (burgeoning Asian currency crisis) and the ugly (Syria). Unwinding central bank support from the markets will be arduous; it is already contributing to destabilization of certain emerging market currencies. News out of Washington this autumn tapering, Fed leadership and the debt ceiling has the potential to add volatility and uncertainty. The U.S. equity market has been the place to be this year, but diversification remains key.

2013-09-06 00:00:00 Will Gold Follow Its Seasonal Pattern This Year? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

There are factors beyond Syria this week driving gold. Thats the Love Trade. This group gives gold as gifts for loved ones during important holidays and festivals. This is the time of the year that we are in the midst of right now. Historically, September has been golds best month of the year. Looking at more than four decades of monthly returns, the precious metal has seen its biggest increase this month, averaging 2.3 percent.

2013-09-04 00:00:00 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management

In August the US Stock Market had its worst month since May 2012 and there are a bunch of interesting issues going into September, including Syria, Problems in Emerging Markets,and Fed tapering.

2013-09-03 00:00:00 The Impact of Severe Drawdowns on Safe Withdrawal Rates by Lloyd Nirenberg, Ph.D. (Article)

A Google search for “safe withdrawal rates” produces 30 million results, but none answers a question that is critical to advisors and investors: How would a sudden market downturn ? a “return shock” ? impair a retiree’s forecast withdrawals?

2013-09-03 00:00:00 How a Menu of Services Generates Revenue by Teresa Riccobuono (Article)

Very few advisors do as good a job as possible articulating their value proposition and the ways they can be of service to their clients. If clients purchase products or services from competitors, it may be because they are unaware of the full range of your offerings.

2013-08-29 00:00:00 Monthly Investment Commentary by Litman Gregory Research Team of Litman Gregory

U.S. stocks resumed their positive streak in July (after a slightly negative June). Large-cap stocks rose in three out of the four weeks and were up 5% for the month. Smaller companies generally outperformed their larger-cap counterparts. After Federal Reserve comments regarding the timing of its stimulus withdrawal upset markets in May and June (particularly the bond market), investors seemed to take comfort in the Feds more recent comments. Among other points, Chairman Bernanke reiterated that a decision to taper bond purchases is different from raising the federal funds rate

2013-08-29 00:00:00 Don't Lose Your Balance by Jeffrey Knight of Columbia Management

Last year in a white paper called Engineering a better retirement portfolio1, we demonstrated the long term benefits of investing with a balanced risk profile. Exhibit 1 shows the trailing Sharpe ratios reported in that paper for the S&P 500, a traditional balanced domestic 60/40 portfolio, and a risk balanced strategy invested to equalize the risk contribution from stocks, bonds and commodities. The message from that chart is clear: Better balance leads to more efficient portfolio performance over time.

2013-08-28 00:00:00 Forrest Gump Stock Market by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

After watching "Forrest Gump" for about the thirtieth time recently, I realized that the US economy and US stock market share a great deal in common with Forrest. In this missive, we will be reminded of the journey of a true American folk hero and of the journey back from the abyss the US economy and stock market have made since early in 2009.

2013-08-28 00:00:00 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management

Yesterday was a pretty big down day for the market. The media blamed it on fear about a war in Syria. If the market sold off every time there was a war or fear of a war in the Middle East then the Dow would be at 100 by now. What you had was a market that was slightly overbought in the short term, a week when tons of people are on vacation, and an excuse to take profits. Moves like this are disconcerting but at the end of the day they are just noise. For Syria to cause a real market decline it would have to morph into a massive war that engulfs the entire Middle East.

2013-08-27 00:00:00 Why Bad Decisions Happen to Good People: An Introduction to Behavioral Finance by Scott Clemons (Article)

Cognitive biases frequently cause even skilled investors to make irrational decisions. Thankfully, irrationality is fairly predictable. Here are four behavioral biases that investors face and techniques for recognizing and overcoming them.

2013-08-26 00:00:00 Inflation Update by Team of North Peak Asset Management

As can be seen in the schematic above, most portfolios are effectively a bet on a low inflation environment due to their heavy reliance on mainstream equities and fixed income securities. In order to protect a portfolio from the damage that inflation can inflict, asset classes that are sensitive to increases in inflation need to be incorporated into the asset mix. These include Inflation Linked Bonds (TIPS), Precious Metals, Global Natural Resource equities and Commodities.

2013-08-23 00:00:00 Why it's Time to Reconsider European Equities by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Given recent signs that the eurozone economy is stabilizing, is it time to consider European equities again? Russ explains why his answer is a qualified yes.

2013-08-23 00:00:00 The Next Big Challenge to Investors: Duration by Mike Temple of Pioneer Investments

Many investors have been conditioned to accept that the economy will be in the rehabilitation ward for the foreseeable future, rates will remain low, and monetary stimulus unending. We believe this is an increasingly dangerous mindset and the next great risk for bond investors is coming into view: the return of higher interest rates. We look at the refuge subsectors those areas of the fixed income market that investors may believe provide safe haven from the gathering storm.

2013-08-21 00:00:00 The Danger of Duration: The Damage Potential of Rising Rates by Mike Temple of Pioneer Investments

The Federal Reserves initial goals from The Great Monetary Experiment are accomplished. Investors could now face the threat of rising bond yields.

2013-08-21 00:00:00 Trickle-Up Economics by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Major magazines have a history of putting a topic on their cover at the end of a long-term trend. For example, The Death of Equities was a Business Week cover in late 1979, near the end of a miserable stretch in the US stock market. Times recent cover story, The Childfree Life, got us wondering about the economics of childbearing in the US? Does Times cover mark the end of a trend? Can the US economy succeed without homegrown population increases? Will economic success driven by the current demographics in the US trickle down to unemployed blue collar

2013-08-20 00:00:00 Target-Date Funds: Why Higher Equity Allocations Work by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Following the 2008 financial crisis, target-date funds (TDFs) were criticized for exposing investors nearing retirement to excessive equity allocations. Were those criticisms justified? How well do TDFs stack up against the venerable strategy of matching one’s bond allocation to one’s age? My research has yielded surprising answers to those questions and to the proper role of single-premium immediate annuities (SPIAs) alongside TDFs.

2013-08-19 00:00:00 Preparing Equity Portfolios for Rising Rates by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

While Russ doesnt foresee a bond market meltdown, he does expect that rates will rise in coming years and he offers three suggestions for positioning equity portfolios in preparation.

2013-08-16 00:00:00 Pacific Basin Market Overview July 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Asian markets ended higher in July after comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke appeared to infer that the Feds asset purchase program would be extended for a while longer. In China, Premier Li Keqiang stated that China would meet its gross domestic product (GDP) growth target this year, which brought some cheer to the markets. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan gained 1.5% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index closed 2.0% higher during the quarter.

2013-08-16 00:00:00 Preparing for Rising Interest Rates: Bond Ladder vs. Bond Fund Ladder by BMO Tax-Free Fixed Income Team of BMO Funds

The last few years have seen interest rates hold steady or drift lower, causing investors to be concerned about how their fixed income portfolios will be affected when rates eventually rise. The question is, how can investors protect themselves from rising rates while still earning income while they wait?

2013-08-16 00:00:00 Using Equities to Hedge Inflation? Tread With Care by Bob Greer, Raji Manasseh of PIMCO

Historically, broad equity returns have not intrinsically provided a good hedge against inflation. Three key attributes may help companies withstand inflationary environments - pricing power, supply side advantages and a willingness and ability to sustain dividend hikes at a rate faster than inflation. To realize equities long-term potential as a key source of portfolio returns, investors should consider enlisting active managers who select stocks with a view on inflation and its effect on specific companies.

2013-08-16 00:00:00 The Case for Global Dividends: Valuations and the Impact of Rising Rates by Ehren Stanhope of O'Shaughnessy Asset Management

The S&P 500 Index has risen over 150 percent since March 9, 2009 in what could arguably be deemed the most hated equity rally of all time. The MSCI All Country World Index, one of the broadest global indices, has risen just 110 percent since its March 2009 nadir. Evidence indicates that United States (U.S.) investors have not participated in this rallya truly sad state of affairs. It is worthy of noting that over the last several years a number of well known market pundits have viscerally rejected the equity rally due to macroeconomic concerns.

2013-08-16 00:00:00 The Telecommunications Services Sector Untethered and Poised to Grow by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Suffice it to say that the Telecommunications Services sector of today is not your grandfathers Telecommunications Services sector. The explosion, and rapidly becoming ubiquitous implementation, of wireless technologies have been disruptive and game changing. As a result, the very nature of the established stalwarts within this industry have gone through an extraordinary metamorphosis.

2013-08-16 00:00:00 Attention Investors: Don't Fear Rising Rates; Fear Perpetually Low Rates by J.J. Abodeely of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

This months Insight will take a look at the performance of bonds during two previous inflationary periods, the 1940s and the 1970s, and illustrate two very different total return experiences. Through these examples, we will show that bond investors-- and by extension, any investor with a traditional balanced portfolio, should not fear rising rates as much as they should fear perpetually low rates.

2013-08-15 00:00:00 High Yield Market Overview July 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

The high yield market, as measured by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch High Yield Master II Constrained Index, was up 1.88% for the month of July. High yield recovered some of the sell-off experienced in May and June as Treasury yields stabilized and mutual fund and ETF (exchange traded fund) flows turned positive. The markets rally occurred as rate fears subsided, which resulted in retail flows returning to the asset class.

2013-08-15 00:00:00 Correlation and Portfolio Construction by Dean Curnutt of Macro Risk Advisors

We review recent periods of financial market stress, which bring about elevated levels of asset volatility and during which investors are vulnerable to incurring substantial loss of capital. We illustrate that risk is determined both by the volatility of individual investments in a portfolio and the degree to which they are correlated. Often overlooked, correlation is a critical factor. Because assets become more correlated at the same time they become more volatile, we argue that the benefits of diversification often are difficult to achieve when they are most needed.

2013-08-14 00:00:00 Focused Only on the US? Here's What You're Missing by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Many investors remain fixated on whats happening in the United States -- and particularly on what the Federal Reserve will do -- but Russ explains why they shouldnt lose sight of whats happening abroad.

2013-08-13 00:00:00 Envisioning the Planning Firm of the Future by Bob Veres (Article)

Virtually all advisors operate with a value proposition built on bettering their clients financial future through management of their assets. But trends in the workforce and capital markets will force advisors to rethink those assumptions and, if Richie Lee is right, the planning firm of the future will adapt a four-factor service model that places much greater emphasis on helping clients maximize their human capital.

2013-08-13 00:00:00 Spooks, Romans, Lumberjacks, Lend Me Your Filters by Mariko Gordon (Article)

As humans, we suffer from ’attentional blindness’ - a tendency to notice things which have meaning to us and ignore things which don’t. I will look at this type of mental filtering and offer three suggestions for managing its impact on our judgment.

2013-08-13 00:00:00 China's Government Can't Stop the Bust by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

On a recent trip to Europe we participated in a forum in Milan of five stock picking organizations. Two were from Brazil, one was from Malaysia and one was picking stocks inside China via the Shanghai Stock Exchange. We believe what they said was an enticement to investors for the purpose of getting them excited about stocks in their country. To us, this reveals a great deal about where prices in emerging stock markets and commodities are headed over the next five to seven years.

2013-08-08 00:00:00 Market Melt-Up Catches Defensive Investors by Surprise by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

Extraordinary returns in the fourth year of a bull market remind us that long-term defensiveness cant be rationalized. July saw remarkable returns across global equity and fixed income markets, with the exception of U.S. Treasuries. Investors would be well served to ignore media drama and fear mongering and simply follow the fundamentals. Five years spent worrying about Armageddon is too long, but theres still time to get back to a normal allocation.

2013-08-08 00:00:00 What is Risk? by Chris Engelman of Cedar Hill Associates

There are no rewards from investing without some measure of risk. Risk management, a process for recognizing, assessing and prioritizing a variety of risks, is an essential part of managing a portfolio successfully. Cedar Hill takes a holistic approach to risk management by identifying each clients objectives, preferences and constraints, then creating specific asset allocation and implementation strategies to minimize the effects of negative events.

2013-08-08 00:00:00 Quarterly Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

To begin, let us state that we are tired of writing about macroeconomic issues. We suspect you are tired of reading about them. We would like nothing more than to send out a quarterly letter full of updates on the companies we own and the rationale for individual buy and sell decisions. Nevertheless, we must address the market action following Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernankes May 22nd testimony before Congress, where he merely floated the idea of tapering the Feds quantitative easing efforts.

2013-08-08 00:00:00 Investment Advice Technology and How to Lose Money in the Coming Years by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

Adventures are good for my soul. They create wonderful memories, both of where I have been and all the effort it took to get there. All of us have memories, both good and not so good. I am a bit worried about the near term future.

2013-08-07 00:00:00 Weekly Market Commentary by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management

As I write this the S&P 500 futures are indicating a down open setting us up for possibly three down days in a row. If you watch the financial media someone will undoubtedly talk about how the sky is falling.

2013-08-06 00:00:00 Unlocking the Two Mysteries behind SPIAs by Wade Pfau (Article)

Two mysteries confound planners who purchase single-premium immediate annuities (SPIAs) for their clients: Why does the present value of a SPIA often exceed its cost, and why do equity allocations appear to increase when a SPIA is purchased? Unlocking those mysteries requires advisors to use a different framework ? based on the household balance sheet ? for the withdrawal phase of retirement.

2013-08-06 00:00:00 Human Capital in the Digital Economy by Alan Winger (Article)

Human capital is a key asset that planners manage as they strive to maximize consumption throughout clients’ lives. Human capital, or lifetime income, often peaks in value early in their careers. Moreover, today’s digital economy means human capital is more volatile and less predictable than in the past, and that carries important implications for financial planners.

2013-08-06 00:00:00 China's Slowdown by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Over the past three decades, China has seen its economy grow significantly.

2013-08-02 00:00:00 Avoiding Pricey Low Volatility Investing by Feifei Li of Research Affiliates

Low volatility investing reduces a portfolios exposure to the market factor in favor of other historically reliable sources of equity risk premium.But the alluring risk-adjusted performance characteristics of low volatility strategies have lately attracted serious investors, and many managers have developed products to meet the growing demand.Is it possible to preserve the benefits of low volatility investing when prices rise?Feifei Li, Head of Research, suggests implementation refinements that might make a difference.

2013-08-01 00:00:00 Weekly Market Commentary by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management

The trend in stocks is still up but the rally is still showing signs of being "tired". That should change this week as we have a lot of data coming out about jobs and inflation, the two things that the Fed cares most about and the two things that will impact Fed policy going forward. I would expect large moves one way or the other depending on how the market thinks the Fed will react to the data.

2013-08-01 00:00:00 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

Throughout the 1980s, we heard talk from the investment community to go global, invest worldwide, perhaps driven by true globalization of corporate exchange and balance sheets, and perhaps also by the need by firms to create new products for their consumers to devour. Mutual funds, brokerages, and private equity companies alike saturated the media with product offerings from every corner of the globe and every possible market sector, including telecom, basic materials, energy and industrial development.

2013-07-31 00:00:00 The Context of Price by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

While the stock market has enjoyed a recent rally, some investors are experiencing some weakness in the knees as they continue to ascend the climb. These new all-time highs in the market compound the problem for some investors as they suffer from the recency effect, or the not-too-distant memory of significant market losses.

2013-07-30 00:00:00 The Power of Diversification and Safe Withdrawal Rates by Geoff Considine (Article)

When Bill Bengen published his seminal research in 1994, a 4% safe withdrawal rate (SWR) was clearly attainable with a variety of asset allocations. But bond yields are lower now than they were then, and equity returns for the next 20 years are unlikely to exceed those of the prior two decades. Indeed, a new paper by three highly respected researchers showed that SWRs for stock-bond portfolios are well below 4%. But as I will demonstrate, a 4% SWR is still possible with a more diversified portfolio ? and without subjecting clients to additional risk.

2013-07-30 00:00:00 A Strategy for Reducing Volatility While Increasing Returns by Steven Farber (Article)

The product on every advisor’s wish list would have the low volatility of fixed income while providing equity-like returns. Although such a product does not exist, equity options, when used properly, will give you the ability to achieve pre-defined goals and objectives.

2013-07-30 00:00:00 Economic & Capital Market Summary by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

We are approaching the five year anniversary of the beginning of the Financial Crisis. By this time in 2008 we had already experienced the complete seizure of the Auction Rate Preferred securities market and the takeover of Bear Stearns by JP Morgan Chase. In August of 2008, we would see the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the government takeover of AIG. We stand here today, shoulders slumped, and heads bowed mourning the lack of real progress in addressing the structural problems that are impeding sustained economic growth and private credit expansion.

2013-07-30 00:00:00 The U.S. Energy Revolution by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In March 1971, the Texas Railroad Commission (TRC), which allocated oil production for the state of Texas, announced that producers in the state would be allowed a full allocation. This was the first time the TRC had allowed Texas producers to supply an unlimited amount of crude oil since WWII.

2013-07-29 00:00:00 What's Wrong With Indexes? by Brian Evans, Madrona of AdvisorShares

It has been more than 35 years since the first broad market index funds debuted. At the time, they were a cutting edge strategy for core equity allocation. Today, index funds are a major part of 401(k) and other retirement plans, particularly ones tracking the Standard & Poors 500. But they have deep flaws.

2013-07-26 00:00:00 Attention 3-D Shoppers by John West of Research Affiliates

Why do retail shoppers love a sale while capital markets flee from falling prices? Investors should consider starting to fill their shopping carts while inflation hedges are cheap....

2013-07-25 00:00:00 A Midyear Update: Getting Back to Normal by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

Though markets were whipsawed by the announcement, the Feds plan to step aside and allow normalization is a good thing. Today, the primary risk for investors to hedge is economic growth and the strong equity returns it tends to produce not financial Armageddon. While risks in Europe and China persist, U.S. fundamentals look relatively strong. Two consecutive quarters of S&P 500 earnings growth prompts a forecast update.

2013-07-25 00:00:00 The Damage Potential of Rising Rates by Michael Temple of Pioneer Investments

The initial goals of the Federal Reserves Great Monetary Experiment to keep rates low, create negative real yields, spur consumption and cushion the budgetary consequences of fiscal stimulus have largely been accomplished. Investors could now face the threat of rising bond yields. Various bull and bear scenarios might ensue. What are they and what could trigger them? What are the risks to portfolios?

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.

2013-07-23 00:00:00 Dear Bernanke - You Can't Have Your Cake And Eat It Too by John Rothe of Riverbend Investment Management

The U.S. stock market continues its euphoric rise into record territory despite continuing weakness in economic data. Recent comments from Federal Reserve Board Chair, Ben Bernanke, indicating that the Fed does not have a predetermined plan to stop its stimulus plan has investors increasing their allocations to equities.

2013-07-22 00:00:00 What the *&%! Just Happened? by Ben Inker of GMO

In a new quarterly letter to GMOs institutional clients, head of asset allocation Ben Inker highlights the period from May 22 to June 24 characterized by "the universality of the declines" across asset classes.

2013-07-22 00:00:00 The Purgatory of Low Returns by James Montier of GMO

This might just be the cruelest time to be an asset allocator. Normally we find ourselves in situations in which at least something is cheap; for instance when large swathes of risk assets have been expensive, safe haven assets have generally been cheap, or at least reasonable (and vice versa). This was typified by the opportunity set we witnessed in 2007.

2013-07-22 00:00:00 4 Reasons to Consider Investing in Frontier Markets by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

At a time when investors are worried about Chinese banks and Brazilian riots, investing in the riskiest areas of the emerging world seems counterintuitive. But according to Russ, there are four reasons why many investors should consider having a small allocation to frontier markets.

2013-07-19 00:00:00 7 Things Investors Should Know Now by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Can stocks move higher? What are the best opportunities now in stocks and fixed income? Russ answers these questions and others in an update to his mid-year outlook.

2013-07-19 00:00:00 Opportunity in Europe by Team of Neuberger Berman

A striking feature of this years global stock market rally is that international markets have significantly trailed U.S. stocks. Nevertheless, Neuberger Bermans Asset Allocation Committee (AAC) recently made the contrarian call of upgrading its view for international developed markets, particularly Europe. In this Strategic Spotlight, we provide an update on the European economy and lay out some reasons for optimism despite the dour growth outlook.

2013-07-18 00:00:00 Second Quarter 2013 Financial Market Commentary by Andrew Zimmerman of DT Investment Partners

To taper, or not to taper, that is the question that investors are currently grappling with.

2013-07-16 00:00:00 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

After having had a tremendous first half of the year, what direction might the market take into the next few quarters? On the one hand, trend analysis has indeed turned positive and would suggest that the throttle is in full go mode. However, we know from historical and economic analysis that markets cannot sustain linear acceleration indefinitely, and that even the most robust trend is susceptible either to linear reversion or cyclical unraveling.

2013-07-15 00:00:00 Investment Bulletin: Emerging Markets Equity by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

For the half year to end June the index was buffeted, falling 3.1%. In contrast, the portfolio managed a gain of 8.3%, more than 1,000 basis points better. During the month of June, the Emerging Market index was whacked by 6.4%; the portfolios value also fell, but by a lesser 6.2%. The relative year-to-date and longer term falls in some of the regional indices have been grim (Chart 1, p.4): for example, in the first six months of 2013, EM equities underperformed those in developed markets on a total return basis by 16%, and by 14% over the last 12 months.

2013-07-12 00:00:00 Welcome Back Greece to the High-Potential World of Emerging Markets by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

In June, major international equity index provider MSCI confirmed Greeces sojourn among the ranks of developed markets would end later this year as it will become the first-ever country to lose its developed market status in the MSCI universe. Interestingly, Greece was classified as emerging when I started with the Templeton Emerging Markets Group in 1987, and while the recent news might conjure up images of a significant turn for the worse for the countrys economic fortunes, MSCIs explanation for Greeces reclassification was actually mor

2013-07-12 00:00:00 Opportunity Knocks for Mortgage Investors by Matthew Bass of AllianceBernstein

We dont usually think of rising rates as being good for homeowners. That may be because were accustomed to thinking of financing (and refinancing) as the key to reviving sagging housing markets. And its true that financing availability remains tight, at least by historical standards, and isnt going to get looser with rising rates.

2013-07-12 00:00:00 Making Sense of the Bond Market by Phelps McIlvaine of Saturna Capital

The great challenge for investors and advisers today is to forecast where interest rates and bond prices will be once the influence of radical central bank intervention dissipates. Measures of inflation expectations are declining, and deflation remains the dominant influence on interest rates. In assessing whether to trim bond allocations, it is important to revisit the reasons for selecting a particular asset allocation before modifying or abandoning it.

2013-07-10 00:00:00 Rising Rate: Challenge and Opportunity by Gibson Smith, Lindsay Bernum of Janus Capital Group

While the prospect of rising interest rates generally strikes fear into the hearts of fixed income investors, its important to remember that periods of rising rates are normal and can create opportunities for active bond managers. Since 1970 there have been 21 periods in which interest rates rose significantly. While each has had its own unique characteristics, over the past 20 years equities have rallied during these periods, which has tended to support corporate credit markets.

2013-07-10 00:00:00 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management

The Bulls returned to stocks this week and bonds got crushed again. Comments out of the ECB, strong data out of Japan, and a good jobs number contributed to the rally, but at the end of the day the market had gotten a bit oversold. Bernanke is scheduled to speak today so if past history repeats itself things could get interesting again. Next week we will get a bunch of Q2 corporate earnings to that could also have quite an impact on the market either way.

2013-07-10 00:00:00 Remember Earnings? by Tom West of Columbia Management

With the ebbing of the quantitative easing taper debate, can we go back to our regularly scheduled programming of earnings driving the stocks? If so, where do we stand? There are certainly some areas where we think estimates are a little high and some where they are too low. But in order to get a better picture of earnings expectations and what is priced in, we need to look at both the earnings and the PE (price-to-earnings) ratio the market has placed on those earnings.

2013-07-09 00:00:00 The Five Best New Investment Ideas: New Age Paradigms for the Post-MPT World by Bob Veres (Article)

Over the past four years, Ive been collecting the most tangible, concrete post-Modern Portfolio Theory insights offered by professional investors.

2013-07-09 00:00:00 Retirement Portfolios: Fears over Rising Rates are Overblown by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

The second quarter saw increases in interest rates, losses in every category of bonds and investors abandoning fixed-income markets. The distress has been particularly acute among retirement investors who considered bond funds to be safe. But are fears of bond losses overblown? I will make the case that the rise in interest rates is actually good for retirement portfolios. To see this, one has to look beyond the quarterly statement losses and focus on overall retirement outcomes.

2013-07-09 00:00:00 A Mid-Year Letter to Clients: A Positive Outlook on America by Dan Richards (Article)

Each quarter Ive posted templates to serve as a starting point for advisors looking to send clients an overview of the three months that just ended and the outlook for the period ahead. This quarters letter focuses on why the U.S. is expected to be the leader among global economies.

2013-07-09 00:00:00 Is Now a Good Time to Buy Gold? by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

No, says Russ. While Russ still believes that gold should be a part of a diversified portfolio, he explains why he advocates trimming holdings of the precious metal.

2013-07-08 00:00:00 Absolute Return Letter: Much Ado about Nothing by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees,Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

A 300 bps rise in bond yields across the term structure would, according to their calculations, do substantial damage to financial institutions balance sheets. Holders of U.S. Treasuries alone would lose in excess of $1 trillion on such a move in rates, equal to 8% of U.S. GDP. Other countries would fare even worse. Losses on JGBs would equal 35% of the Japanese GDP, effectively wiping out its banking industry in the process. Holders of U.K. bonds wouldnt do much better, losing the equivalent of 25% of U.K. GDP.

2013-07-03 00:00:00 Getting Back to Normal by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

Though markets were whipsawed by the announcement, the Feds plan to step aside and allow normalization is a good thing. The primary risk to hedge is now economic growth and the strong equity returns it tends to produce not financial Armageddon. While risks in Europe and China persist, U.S. fundamentals look relatively strong. Its not too late for investors to move away from defensive positioning and back toward a standard allocation.

2013-07-03 00:00:00 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management

Last month was the first down month for the market this year. The next few weeks ought to be interesting, we have the monthly jobs number on July 5th when most people are probably on vacation and then corporate earnings start in two weeks. No telling at this point about whether the market will want good news or more of the Goldilocks, not to hot, not too cold, news that could keep Quantitative Easing going. Going forward investors will continue to analyze anything the Fed says for clues.

2013-07-02 00:00:00 Avoiding the Interest Rate Freight Train with Individual Bonds by Stephen J. Huxley, Jeremy Fletcher and Brent Burns (Article)

For bond funds, rising rates mean that total return has to fight losses on the underlying portfolio. As a fund’s net asset value (NAV) declines, coupon interest may not be enough to overcome the price loss. Making the same fixed-income allocation to high-quality individual bonds instead and holding them to maturity is a superior strategy when rates rise.

2013-07-02 00:00:00 Do Dividend-Paying Stocks Have Staying Power? by Nanette Abuhoff Jacobson of Hartford Funds

The role of dividend-paying stocks in a diversified portfolio and the environment in which they are likely to outperform the broader equity market are often topics of debate among investors. I believe there are a number of reasons why a strategic allocation to dividend-paying stocks makes sense.

2013-07-02 00:00:00 Stay the Course as Mixed Signals Move Markets by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Traders stampeded out of gold, emerging markets and bonds this month, setting record monthly outflows in June. Ever since the Federal Reserve hinted in May that signs of a stronger economy could allow for a slowdown of stimulus, markets have protested the news.

2013-07-02 00:00:00 Preparing for the Second Half of 2013 by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Its halftime halfway through the year. That means Russ is looking back at what he got right and wrong in the first half of the year, and updating his expectations for the remainder of 2013.

2013-07-01 00:00:00 All of the Above by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Market internals remain broken here. That may change, and it might even change soon. Until it does, we would be inclined to tread carefully, because this may be the highest level investors will see on the S&P 500 for quite some time. Choosing between potential catalysts - credit strains in China, the risk of disappointing earnings, or economic weakness, the incoming data is consistent with one conclusion: all of the above.

2013-06-28 00:00:00 Stay the Course As Mixed Signals Move Markets by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

We maintain that gold is in extremely oversold territory and mathematically due for a reversal toward the mean. Yet when gold prices plummet, fear takes over and some investors forget the fundamental reasons to own gold: Gold is a portfolio diversifier and a store of value. It is a finite resource with increasing global demand.

2013-06-28 00:00:00 Inflation Lags Monetary Expansion: Prepare to be Swindled by JJ Abodeely of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

In May 1977, the consumer price index (CPI), which measures a basket of consumer goods in the U.S. economy, had risen 6.7% from the year before. The indexes had doubled over the previous 15 years, and by 1977 investors were fully aware that the rate of change was increasingi.e. the inflation rate was spiraling higher. By then, this inflationary awareness had worked its way into every corner of the financial markets, as commodities, gold and interest rates rose, and the stock market remained in a deep funk.

2013-06-27 00:00:00 Welcome Back, Mr. Bond by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Weve been expecting you Mr. Bond. The phrase is itself a variant and joins the phrase Play it again Sam as a phrase attributed to a film or TV series. I have used said quip over the past few years, having been wrong-footedly expecting a backup in interest rates. While I did finally target the yield low of last July, the ensuing rate rise has been far slower than I would have thought, that is until the past few weeks.

2013-06-26 00:00:00 The Fed's Dirty Little Secret: QE Does Not Work by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today I hope to dispel the myth that the Fed?s massive quantitative easing (QE) policy has driven long-term interest rates lower. I will argue that the opposite is true and demonstrate that the yield on the 10-year Treasury note has actually risen during QE-1, QE-2 and QE-3. This flies in the face of most market commentators.

2013-06-26 00:00:00 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management

This has been a rough week for the markets. It started when Bernanke spoke (if this keeps up we will have to buy protection before he speaks the next time) and continued with bad economic news out of China. The selloff after Bernankes speech looked like a buy on the rumor, sell on the fact event. The selloff after weak China data came out was a good, old fashioned sell off.

2013-06-26 00:00:00 Trampled By the Crowd? Logic Briefly Abandoned Creates Opportunity by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management

The past two week slide in asset prices has caused a resurgence of doomsday pundits warning of impending calamity. The negative interpretation of Fed Chairman Bernankes comments regarding the U.S.economys future upgraded prospects is simply not logical. A careful review of what Bernanke said at his press conference was entirely consistent with what the Fed has said and done in the past.

2013-06-25 00:00:00 Strategies for the Retirement Red Zone by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

The retirement red zone is the critical years immediately before and after retirement, when financial plans are highly vulnerable to adverse market movements. In many previous articles, I have examined strategies to reduce risk after retirement, but here I will focus on the decade before retirement. Ill compare strategies that rely on traditional stock-bond portfolios with those using various types of annuity products.

2013-06-25 00:00:00 The Price Your Clients Pay for Using Safe Withdrawal Rates by David B. Loeper (Article)

Safe-withdrawal rates (SWRs) are perhaps the most extensively studied topic in financial planning literature. But applying a single SWR-driven methodology to all clients neglects their unique and individual needs. A better approach is for advisors to assist clients in defining their ideal and acceptable goals and the relative priorities among them. Then they can demonstrate through Monte Carlo simulation the likelihood of the recommended plan becoming over- or under-funded relative to those goals.

2013-06-25 00:00:00 How Not to Invest in Dividend Stocks: Seven Mistakes Investors Commonly Make by David Ruff of Forward Management

While investors may assume that dividend investing is relatively straightforward, they commonly make mistakes that may undercut the potential income and total return of their investments.

2013-06-25 00:00:00 Reframing Expectations by Aaron Reynolds of Baird Advisors

Even facing headwinds, bonds still serve important roles in a portfolio, including diversification and downside protection potential. As the heavy burden of total return falls on interest income, investors are being pulled toward higher-yield, higher-risk bond types. Investors can still benefit from the segmented bond market and the various strategies that are available. Expectations need to be reframed given the current environment of low yields and potential interest rate increases.

2013-06-25 00:00:00 Rates, Dividends and The Laws of Gravity by Don Taylor of Franklin Templeton Investments

The laws of gravity may dictate that what goes up must come down, but interest rates seem to have their own converse course of action what goes down eventually will go up. Although it seems like interest rates can stay stuck in low gear for years, (decades even, in the case of Japan) eventually they will creep higher, and talk is heating up about the timing and magnitude of such creep in the US. As the portfolio manager of Franklin Rising Dividends Fund, Don Taylor was quick to comment that higher interest rates dont mean all dividend-paying stocks are doomed.

2013-06-24 00:00:00 What is the dynamic allocation investment process? by Marc Pinto and Gibson Smith (Article)

Janus Balanced Fund Portfolio Manager Marc Pinto discusses how he and Co-Manager Gibson Smith alter the amount of equity and fixed income in the portfolio based on market conditions.

2013-06-21 00:00:00 The Fear Factor in US Equities by Grant Bowers of Franklin Templeton Investments

Fear is a powerful motivator. Whether its a saber-toothed tiger or investment risks, its hard to stay calm when confronted with a perceived threat. Fear of a 2008 2009 downturn repeat, even in spite of strong performance in the US equity market in the first half of the year, has kept many investors sidelined. Grant Bowers believes fear itself could be the biggest issue holding back many investors right now, noting that in his view, short-term volatility aside, the recent US market rally is based on supportive fundamentals which he thinks should have staying power.

2013-06-19 00:00:00 Efficient Pension Investing by Jared Gross of PIMCO

Adapting the Sharpe ratio to pension portfolios can help plan sponsors choose among a multitude of investment options designed to achieve the same goal. In our experience, the most significant efficiency gains have come from shifting from intermediate bonds to long-term bonds and introducing lower-volatility substitutes to equities.

2013-06-19 00:00:00 Changes in our Asset Allocation by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

We believe that valuations in publicly traded securities are stretched, and, although we have seen a move higher in interest rates and stocks have sold off from their high levels, investors are faced with choices that offer generally lower expected returns based on historic measures of return. Today, with the S&P 500 hitting 1650 and the yield on the 10 year US Treasury Note moving abruptly from 1.70% to 2.15%, there are generally two schools of thought on the minds of investors.

2013-06-18 00:00:00 GMO’s Montier on Why to Hold Cash by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Central bank policies have distorted markets to such a degree that investors are devoid of any buy-and-hold asset classes, according to James Montier. But according to Richard Bernstein, the flood of liquidity unleashed through quantitative easing (QE) now offers investors compelling opportunities.

2013-06-18 00:00:00 Help Clients Fill the Income Void by Sponsored Content from Legg Mason Global Income Survey (Article)

Affluent investors all over the world just arent getting what they want from their income investments, according to Legg Masons recently released Global Income Survey. Yet there is good news: most say they want to become more knowledgeable about income investing, and theyre eager for financial professionals to point out fresh opportunities.

2013-06-18 00:00:00 Newsletter June 2013 by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz

Do you remember hiding under the sheets listening to radio when your parents thought you were asleep? If so, I have an unbelievable collection of all the old-time radio shows we listened to when we were kids, if you have about six months? spare time. Find your favorite, click on it, and it lists literally hundreds of episodes you can re-live.

2013-06-18 00:00:00 Unconstrained Bond Funds Fail to Deliver by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

There have been an incessant number of articles in the past year addressing a Great Rotation by investors the seismic shift in asset allocation predicted to result from a transition to a rising rate environment. Individual investors spoiled by a 30-year secular decline in interest rates, it is thought, will run to new alternatives in the face of this structural headwind for a significant chunk of their portfolios.

2013-06-18 00:00:00 Predictions by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Last Tuesday night was a special night. I was having some out of state friends that I had not seen for over a year meet my wife and me for dinner. I picked out an outstanding restaurant with a wide deck perched on the tip of one of Michigans gorgeous fresh water lakes. I got the last table available for the 6:30 p.m. seating.

2013-06-14 00:00:00 The Evolution of Emerging Market Corporate Bonds for U.S. High-Grade Fixed-Income Investors by Todd Kurisu, Thomas Brennan of William Blair

Emerging market (EM) investment-grade corporate bonds are an important and growing segment of the core ?xed-income universe. These bonds have evolved to be more like U.S. investment-grade corporate bonds than high-yield or traditional emerging market debt (EMD) securities. This sector has demonstrated favorable risk, return, and diversi?cation bene?ts in the context of a broad market ?xed-income portfolio. Todays ?xed-income investors must have a framework for evaluating new opportunities subject to prudent risk management

2013-06-14 00:00:00 Going to a Digital Extreme in China by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In its shift toward a consumption-driven economy, China has been embracing digital technology at rates that dwarf those of many developed countries. The Chinese have been scooping up smartphones, accessing the internet and consuming goods from online retailers at an incredible pace. We believe the world needs to quickly adapt to China becoming a major player in the digital marketplace, as this trend is in the early stages of exciting growth.

2013-06-14 00:00:00 Looking for Growth? Go Small and Global by Liliana Castillo Dearth, Bruce Aronow of AllianceBernstein

In the hunt for growth in todays low-growth world, up-and-coming small- and mid-sized companies are a good place to start. But you need to look everywhere, from Indiana to Indonesia.

2013-06-14 00:00:00 Searching For Value And Finding It In Today's Market - Sector By Sector by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

I think the market is overvalued now, is a common refrain that Im hearing from most of the individual investors I have recently been coming in contact with. Consequently, many of these same investors are also currently eschewing investing in common stocks because of that fear. Although I do not agree that the market is currently overvalued, I believe I understand why so many people think it is. Individual investors currently believe the market is overvalued because of two common fallacies that at first blush appear to be logical.

2013-06-14 00:00:00 The Sustainability of Managed Futures Returns by Robert Keck of 6800 Capital

Many investors have begun to question the efficacy of an investment in managed futures given the most recent two years of negative performance for the industry as a whole at a time when U.S. equity prices have been achieving multi?year highs. The concern is not so much the magnitude of the losses incurred by the managed futures industry during this period; in many cases they are relatively small in comparison to the size of the drawdowns experienced by many other asset classes such as equities, real estate, fixed income, etc., during peak periods of market stress.

2013-06-14 00:00:00 Global Small Cap Investing: Unconstrained Opportunities by Blake Pontius of William Blair

Equity asset allocations have become more global in recent years as investors have sought to reduce the long standing home country bias in their portfolios. Further propelling this trend has been the growing aversion to traditional asset class structures and indeed, conventional asset class definitions, in the aftermath of the 2008-2009 global fi nancial crisis. Against this backdrop, global equity strategies have continued to garner asset fl ows in Europe and have slowly begun to gain traction in the U.S. after years of tepid demand.

2013-06-14 00:00:00 A Taste of Rising Rates by Team of Neuberger Berman

The mantra "sell in May and go away" has taken on a new twist this year. Equity markets saw mixed returns last month but bonds took a beating, with losses materializing in nearly every fixed income segment. The reason? Interest rates rose significantlyand rather unexpectedlyover the course of the month. What implications would rising rates have for the market? We consider whats ahead.

2013-06-13 00:00:00 Pacific Basin Market Overview May 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

After a positive start, many Pacific Basin Markets ended the month lower amid concerns that the Federal Reserve (Fed) will soon begin to gradually scale back its quantitative easing measures by reducing the pace of central bank asset purchases. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan decreased by 4.8% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index closed 4.3% lower in May. (All performance figures are based on MSCI indices in U.S. dollar terms with dividends included unless otherwise stated.)

2013-06-12 00:00:00 What the NHL Playoffs Can Teach Investors by Jeff Knight of Columbia Management

The National Hockey League playoffs are marvelous to watch. The leagues best teams play their best hockey with every game more meaningful than those played during the regular season. Playoff games feel much more strategic, and one key aspect of playoff strategy is the importance of playing with the lead. In fact, of the 53 playoff games this season that went to the third period with one team ahead, 43 of those, or 81%, finished in favor of the team that was winning after two periods*. NHL playoff teams know how to protect a lead once they have it.

2013-06-12 00:00:00 Bond Realities: The Changing Landscape for Fixed Income and the Death of the Agg' by Andrew Johnson of Neuberger Berman

Earlier this year Andrew A. Johnson, Neuberger Berman?s Chief Investment Officer for Investment Grade Fixed Income, led a series of discussions with institutional clients about the state of the fixed income market and key ideas in approaching opportunistic fixed income investing in the current environment. Here, Mr. Johnson has adapted, and elaborated on, the concepts described at those meetings.

2013-06-11 00:00:00 A Better Alternative to Cap-Weighted Bond Indices by Geoff Considine (Article)

Capitalization weighting is the prevailing choice for equity index investors, who can choose from low-cost index funds constructed with theoretically proven methodologies. But capitalization weighting in fixed-income markets enjoys no such theoretical foundation, leaving investors without a clear choice for a diversified core fixed-income holding. A portfolio of bond exchange-traded funds that optimizes the tradeoff between yield and risk gives investors a commendable way to own a broadly diversified core allocation.

2013-06-11 00:00:00 Risk Parity - New Thinking or New Packaging? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Ever since Harry Markowitz brought forth the notion of mean-variance optimization in 1952, academics and practitioners alike have sought ways to build more robust asset allocation methodologies. Recently, the most talked about approach in the institutional world is risk parity, which seeks to focus on risk as its primary input. Risk parity is intuitively appealing, but suffers many pitfalls that investors need to consider.

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.

2013-06-10 00:00:00 Emerging Market Opportunities by Patrick OShaughnessy, Ashvin Viswanathan of OShaughnessy Asset Management

Emerging market equities present both unique opportunities and also unique risks. Unlike more mature economies, emerging markets economies have the potential for impressive growth rates. But emerging markets also have the potential for damaging socio-economic and political instability. Equity returns in these countries are often impressive, but to earn these returns investors must deal with considerably higher volatility than in the developed equity markets.

2013-06-10 00:00:00 DC Solutions: Adding Global Bonds to Target-Date Funds by Alison Martier, Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

Within US defined contribution (DC) target-date funds (TDFs), whether were considering customized TDFs for larger plans or packaged solutions for smaller plans, our research shows that having a bond allocation that is not US-centric can lead to better outcomes and enhance the effectiveness of the glide path.

2013-06-07 00:00:00 Portfolio Comfort in Stock Splits by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

We have noticed that there has been a dearth of stock splits among the S&P 500 index companies in the last 5 years. Our observation is that the natural habitat for stock splits is normally a multiple-year market upswing and numerous stocks trading over $60 per share. What does the history of stock splits tell us about where we are in the long-term stock market cycle for the S&P 500 index? Who will the marginal buyer of common stocks be in the near term and what do stock splits teach us about who the marginal buyer is?

2013-06-07 00:00:00 3 Reasons Not to Turn Away from Emerging Markets by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Is it time to abandon underperforming emerging markets in favor of bets closer to home? Clearly no, says Russ and he explains why.

2013-06-07 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The change at the top of the Bank of England comes at a delicate time. The May U.S. employment report will not sway the Fed either way. Eurozone and China PMI reports - interpret with caution.

2013-06-07 00:00:00 As Economy Heats Up, Will Commodities? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Dont wait for the Fed to officially raise rates, as research shows that investors get the most benefit from materials and energy stocks by getting in now

2013-06-06 00:00:00 But We Want Goldilocks-Like Growth by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

While the equity markets would enjoy a bit of the great rotation out of the 20+ year outperformance in bonds and into equities, the move in May has been too much, too quick for even equity investors to stomach. So while the Long Treasury ETF (TLT) fell -6.8% in May, the size of the move even scared investors in REITs (IYR), Junk Bonds (JNK/HYG), and Utilities (XLU).

2013-06-06 00:00:00 The REAL Great Rotation by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

The phrase "Great Rotation" has come to mean a sizeable shift in asset allocation from bonds to stocks. We, too, believe that stocks are likely to secularly outperform bonds, but we dont think that is the "great rotation" about which investors should be concerned.

2013-06-06 00:00:00 The Risk of Government Policies and the Rationing of Retirement by Jason Hsu of Research Affiliates

In late April, a group of leading economists and investment practitioners assembled in La Jolla, California, for Research Affiliates 2013 Advisory Panel. Our theme this year touched on two topics that have been front-and-center in recent public debates: the risk of government intervention and the potential rationing of retirement.

2013-06-06 00:00:00 The Wisdom of Crowds by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees,Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

Are markets efficient? This is a debate that has been on-going for decades. In one corner you have the proponents of the Efficient Markets Hypothesis. In their world alpha does not exist, or at the very least it is not sustainable. In the other corner you have the supporters of behavioural finance who see investors as being mostly irrational and suffering from all sorts of behavioural biases which create alpha opportunities galore. Out of this long lasting stand-off a new paradigm is emerging called the Adaptive Markets Hypothesis which aims to reconcile the two.

2013-06-06 00:00:00 More Than a Feeling by Team of AdvisorShares

Tangible signs of fundamental weakness are appearing everywhere, yet financial market participants are simply choosing to ignore these signs. There remains a significant disconnect between the real economy and financial markets. Read this paper by Peritus Asset Management to learn how to navigate the weak fundamental picture in what they believe to be the beginning of a 15-20 year positive technical backdrop, which will put yield generating assets, such as high yield bonds, in the sweet spot.

2013-06-05 00:00:00 Harleys and Leather Jackets by Jeffrey Bronchick of Cove Street Capital

We are just about done with Proxy Season and with summer in full swing, there is nothing more that we would like to do than kick back and indulge in the 75 pages of shame, greed, ignorance, and political correctness-with only the occasional bright light of shareholder friendly corporate governance-that make up SEC Form 14A, aka the Proxy Statement. I would postulate that this document remains an underrated and under-read part of the investment puzzle as it is the factual record of managements incentives.

2013-06-04 00:00:00 The Role of Cash in Multi-Asset Portfolios by Ashish Tiwari, Andrew Spottiswoode of PIMCO

Determining the optimal allocation to cash is as challenging as ever in todays unusually uncertain markets. When allocating to cash, investors should consider a multi-dimensional framework to assess the liquidity of the underlying cash instruments. In our view, the most attractive risk-adjusted opportunities for cash investors lie just outside the traditional money market space.

2013-06-03 00:00:00 Treasury Bonds Are No Longer the Conservative Investor's Friend by Jeff Middleswart of Ranger International

For more than three decades, conservative investors have been able to count on Treasury bonds to deliver a consistent income stream, while providing a safe repository for principal. Further, Treasuries have anchored portfolios over their long bull run by limiting the damage when stocks declined.

2013-06-03 00:00:00 Following the Fed to 50% Flops by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

One of the most strongly held beliefs of investors here is the notion that it is inappropriate to Fight the Fed reflecting the view that Federal Reserve easing is sufficient to keep stocks not only elevated, but rising. Whats baffling about this is that the last two 50% market declines both the 2001-2002 plunge and the 2008-2009 plunge occurred in environments of aggressive, persistent Federal Reserve easing.

2013-06-03 00:00:00 Getting Better Returns from Dividend Stocks - Look for Growth by Steve Wenstrup of Tillar-Wenstrup

While some investors have begun to return to US Equity (funds) there is still a large amount of money on the sidelines. End of year 2012 data shows investors have trillions in money markets and savings accounts. While there is no guarantee all that money will make its way back into the market the matriculation has begun.

2013-06-03 00:00:00 Defense and Selective Offense by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

Given the markets newfound risk appetite for credit and less attractive valuations, we are taking advantage of global credit market liquidity in an effort to reduce our overall risk posture. In our selective offense approach, we continue to favor U.S. housing and housing-related areas, in addition to select investments in the energy, pipeline, specialty finance, gaming, hospitals, and airline and auto industries, given the more positive fundamental outlook for these sectors.

2013-05-31 00:00:00 In an Era of Uncertainty and Lower Returns, It's Time for Alternatives by Sabrina Callin, John Cavalieri of PIMCO

The initial economic and capital market conditions of the 1980s set the stage for a multi-decade bull market for stocks and bonds. Times have changed, however, and traditional investment portfolios are unlikely to deliver returns as healthy as those enjoyed for much of the last 30 years. Its time to think alternatively about asset allocation and index construction, sources of alpha and beta, and risk and return objectives to increase the probability of success in what we believe is a new era for investors and financial markets.

2013-05-30 00:00:00 Are We There Yet? by Vitaliy Katsenelson of Investment Management Associates

I started writing my first book, Active Value Investing: Making Money in Range-Bound Markets, in 2005; finished it in 2007; and published the second, an abridged version of the first (The Little Book of Sideways Markets), in 2010. In both books I made the case that there is a very high probability that we are in the midst of a secular sideways market a market that goes up and down, with a lot of cyclical volatility, but ends up going nowhere for a long time.

2013-05-30 00:00:00 Global DC Plans: Similar Destinations, Distinctly Different Paths by Stacy Schaus, William G. S. Allport, Justin Blesy of PIMCO

DC plans in in the U.S., Australia and the U.K. may benefit from better aligning asset allocation defaults to workers needed outcome: purchasing power in retirement. Focusing on needed outcomes would suggest a higher allocation to real assets, earlier de-risking and consideration of tail risk hedging.

2013-05-29 00:00:00 Weekly Market Commentary by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management

Last week we talked about the market being overbought in the short term, so the three day selloff (Wednesday-Friday) was to be expected. The media will blame the Fed but they didnt tell us anything we didnt already know. Bottom line, when the market gets extremely overbought traders will use anything and everything as an excuse to take profits. Interestingly, last week was the first streak of three down days this year. The S&P 500 seemed to find some support at 1640.

2013-05-28 00:00:00 Solving the Public Pension Plan Funding Crisis by John T. Hausladen (Article)

Current proposals to address public pension underfunding will not provide any significant relief because of the continued assumption of investment and longevity risk by plan sponsors. I propose a combination of liability-driven investing and a risk-transfer mechanism to gradually eliminate plan liabilities.

2013-05-28 00:00:00 Forward-Looking Broad-Market Investing by Team of AdvisorShares

The following is a research study that provides compelling data on a more efficient way to invest in broad markets. Many people have called the equity market of the last 10 years the lost decade due to its lack of net change. Madrona Funds research shows that it would have been possible to have profited by over 200% over the last decade by using their forward looking methodology, which is based on future expected earnings, not past performance.

2013-05-28 00:00:00 Rock, Paper, Scissors by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Theres a sort of rock-paper-scissors relationship to financial indicators. Trend following factors typically trump valuations alone, while overvalued, overbought, overbullish syndromes trump trend-following and monetary considerations. Monetary factors tend to be most effective as confirmation of other measures, particularly of trend-following factors, but only in the absence of overvalued, overbought, overbullish syndromes.

2013-05-24 00:00:00 4 Ideas for Today's Low Inflation Environment by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Theres certainly no shortage of things to worry about right now related to the US economy. But one thing were not too worried about right now: Inflation. Not only is inflation low, but the latest numbers show its actually falling. And as I write in my commentary this week, inflation is unlikely to become a problem in the United States for at least another 12 to 18 months. Why? There are a number of headwinds keeping US prices low in the near term.

2013-05-24 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The two Asian giants have a challenging year ahead. The Fed will be challenged to keep the bond market under control.

2013-05-22 00:00:00 The Tao of Investing by Liam Molloy, Bethany Carlson of Galway Investment Strategy

Risk-averse is often used as a description of a rational investor. However, aversion is not a logical desire to minimize. Aversion is fear and disgust. When we avert our eyes, we look away. The term risk-aversion, in fact, gets right to the heart of the behavioral side of finance. We are afraid of losing money and perhaps even more powerfully, we are afraid of the embarrassment that comes from being a loser.

2013-05-22 00:00:00 Is There Value in Today's Stock Market by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Due to the recent strength in the US stock market, we thought it would be helpful to followers of Smead Capital Management to understand the history of our core investment beliefs and where our portfolio is in relation to those core beliefs. A review of the ongoing tension between valuation mattering dearly and the enormous benefits of long-term business ownership is especially interesting after a significant upward move in the stock market. How do you keep turnover and trading expense low, while maintaining a meaningful margin of safety?

2013-05-22 00:00:00 Cyprus and the Eurozone...Still Stuck in the Middle by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

The debt crisis in the Eurozone turned another chapter as Cyprus finally reached the point of requiring a bailout from the European Union. The wisdom of Gerry Raffertys hit song Stuck in the Middle with You which was written in 1973, rings true today as we watch the EU and the European Central Bank navigate the mess in Europe. With each attempt at containment, there appears some plot twist, the proposed Cyprus bank bailout is no exception. While the bailout of Cyprus and its banks is not large in size, only 10 billion, relative to the Cyprus economy, it is significant.

2013-05-22 00:00:00 Waiting for the Great Rotation: Why Interest Rates Could Stay Low Even Longer by Nanette Abuhoff Jacobson of Hartford Funds

The number-one question I get from investors is, When will rates go up? While this concern has been top of mind for the last few years, investors anxiety and sense of risk has intensi?ed amid the threat of the Great Rotationthe anticipated en masse reallocation out of bonds into equities. But so far, rates have yet to rise, leaving many people to wonder where we stand now and what may happen next. To answer these questions, Id like to make three points.

2013-05-22 00:00:00 The Right Question by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management

As the market continues to make new highs the arguments about whether stocks can go higher or the rally will end become more interesting. As usual in any debate about the market, both sides can make a great case. There are a number of factors that I could point to that suggest stocks have room to run but there are also a number of troubling signs on the horizon that could stop the rally in its tracks. Investors almost always get drawn into this debate and most of the people I talk to are pessimistic that this rally can continue.

2013-05-22 00:00:00 What is the dynamic allocation investment process? by Marc Pinto and Gibson Smith (Article)

Janus Balanced Fund Portfolio Manager Marc Pinto discusses how he and Co-Manager Gibson Smith alter the amount of equity and fixed income in the portfolio based on market conditions.

2013-05-22 00:00:00 Is Japan's Economic Rebound For Real? by Daisuke Nomoto of Columbia Management

The two phrases Abenomics and the BOJs Shock and Awe Monetary Easing are all over the headlines about Japan. Prime Minister Abe unveiled his economic policy late last year calling for a 3% annual nominal gross domestic product (GDP) growth target and an aggressive monetary easing by the BOJ (The Bank of Japan) to achieve 2% inflation. The BOJ unleashed the worlds most intense burst of monetary stimulus last month promising to double the monetary base to 270 trillion yen ($2.7 trillion) by the end of 2014 to defeat deflation.

2013-05-21 00:00:00 A Cry for Help from Income Investors by Sponsored Content from Legg Mason Global Income Survey (Article)

Confronted with the stark realities of income investing now, affluent investors all over the world are rethinking their approach, notes Legg Mason’s just-released Global Income Survey. Yet the Survey also found income investors hungry for more knowledge and ideas -- creating opportunities for savvy financial advisors.

2013-05-21 00:00:00 Do Annuities Reduce Bequest Values? by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

The widely held view that annuities reduce bequest values is too narrow. Adjustments can be made in retirement portfolios to reduce retirement risk without sacrificing the value of ones bequest. Heres how retirees can purchase annuities, adjust allocations in remaining assets and achieve improved retirement outcomes.

2013-05-21 00:00:00 DC Plan Sponsors Should Look Further than Their Own Backyard by Alison Martier, Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

US defined contribution (DC) plan sponsors large and small are seeking ways to help plan participants achieve better outcomes. Over the last 30 years, compelling evidence has accumulated that suggests currency-hedged global bonds may be an important part of the solution.

2013-05-21 00:00:00 General Electric Looks Like It's Becoming The Shareholder-Friendly Company It Once Was by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

General Electric (GE) was once revered as one of the bluest of all blue-chip companies in the world. During its glory days, GE was respected as an industrial conglomerate that manufactured some of the worlds best jet engines, locomotives, appliances and even the highly regarded General Electric light bulb. However, as best I can determine, the roots of General Electrics ultimate demise were established in 1930 when the company, responding to the great depression, formed GE Finance in order to help their customers finance GE appliances over time.

2013-05-20 00:00:00 Alpha, Beta! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

I had a somewhat lengthy conversation with Rich Bernstein last Friday. I have been on TV with Rich over the years, but have never really had a one-on-one talk with him. Recall that Richard Bernstein was the Chief U.S. Strategist at Merrill Lynch for years before becoming the eponymous captain of Richard Bernstein Advisors (RBA). I was speaking with Rich because I have developed an interest in a few of the funds he manages for various entities. Rich began by stating he is extremely bullish, believing we are in one of the biggest bull markets ever.

2013-05-17 00:00:00 Making the Most of Equity Allocations by Andrew Pyne, Sabrina Callin of PIMCO

We believe slowing global growth and deleveraging are likely to result in lower long-term returns for equities. Traditional approaches to building equity portfolios may not be enough for investors to meet their return goals. We have found three complementary ways investors can enhance equity return potential: fundamental indexes, index-plus strategies and high active share stock selection approaches.

2013-05-17 00:00:00 4 Reasons to Still Hold High Yield by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

With high yield spreads historically tight and prices at all-time highs, some market watchers are wondering whether its time to jump off the high-yield bandwagon. Russ weighs in and explains why this asset class is still worth holding.

2013-05-17 00:00:00 Opportunistic Investing: Making the Most of Your Cash in Today's Market by Chris Engelman of Cedar Hill Associates

With the Standard and Poors 500 Index rising more than 20% since last June, some people are reluctant to invest now, fearful that stocks are poised to tumble again. By focusing on their long-term investment objectives rather than short-term market fluctuations, however, investors can plan for a sound financial future. Here, Cedar Hill Managing Director Chris Engelman offers strategies for building a portfolio that helps to limit market risks and increases the likelihood of achieving your long-term goals.

2013-05-16 00:00:00 Where Are the Bears? Evidence vs. Anecdotes in Assessing Market Sentiment Over a Full Market Cycle by JJ Abodeely of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

Imagine the stock market as a national park with just three kinds of animals: bulls, bears, and pigs. The saying bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered conveys the idea that one can be bullish or bearish and be successful depending on the market environment, whereas greedy pigs are almost always set up for catastrophe.

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.

2013-05-15 00:00:00 Pacific Basin Market Overview by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Pacific Basin equity markets continued to rally in April, led by Japan where the central bank announced that it intends to double the monetary base and inject liquidity into the markets. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan gained 4.9% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index closed 2.6% higher in April. (All performance figures are based on MSCI indices in U.S. dollar terms with dividends included unless otherwise stated.)

2013-05-15 00:00:00 The Great Capitulation by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

If you were to browse the virtual bookshelves of Amazon, some of the latest titles do not seem overly optimistic about the future. In Niall Fergusons The Great Degeneration, he examines why civil society is in complete free fall. Another recent pick me up entitled The Great Deformation, by former Reagan budget director David Stockman, discusses the negative impacts of Washingtons political dysfunction to our democracy.

2013-05-14 00:00:00 David Rosenberg ? My Love Affair with Bonds is Over by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The chorus of rate-spike-fearing inflationists has a new member. David Rosenberg, a stalwart advocate of fixed-income investing for the last quarter century, publicly declared on May 3 that his “love affair with the bond market has come to an end.” Prepare for a redux of 1970s stagflation, he said, and he advised investors how to construct portfolios to prepare for that scenario.

2013-05-14 00:00:00 Guide to Working with Monetary Napalm by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management

Napalm is a highly incendiary form of jellied fuel. It was used extensively in the Vietnam War to quickly ignite massive fires over large areas of land. In the world of financial incendiaries, the Feds overwhelming monetary stimulus has ignited asset prices in the United States with the force and effectiveness of napalm. Is the fire short lived? Are the gains in asset prices temporary or can they be believed? Are the housing and stock markets on fire just because of the Feds quantitative easing (QE) or could there be a much more fundamental reason?

2013-05-14 00:00:00 Inflation Update by Team of North Peak Asset Management

Basing investment decisions on inaccurate measurements of the inflation rate can result in investors unknowingly positioning their portfolios to lose purchasing power over time. This mis-measurement could be especially dangerous when yields are low. For example, evaluating a nominal 3% investment opportunity using an inaccurate 2% inflation rate indicates a marginally attractive 1% real return opportunity. However, if inflation is actually running at 5%, this becomes a deeply unattractive negative 2% real return investment.

2013-05-11 00:00:00 Three Reasons to Buy Gold Equities Today by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

A strong stomach and a tremendous amount of patience are required for gold stock investors these days, as miners have been exhibiting their typical volatility pattern. Thats why I often say to anticipate before you participate, because gold stocks are historically twice as volatile as U.S. stocks. As of March 31, 2013, using 10-year data, the NYSE Arca Gold BUGS Index (HUI) had a rolling one-year standard deviation of nearly 35 percent. The S&P 500s was just under 15 percent.

2013-05-10 00:00:00 A Tale of Two Markets: Equity Bulls and Bond Bears by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

Surging equity markets absent an accompanying rate rally is a red flag, as Treasury yields remain well below normal. While investors renewed enthusiasm for equities is warranted, they must be careful to avoid the folly of gaming diversification. Corporate earnings have impressed, though revenue has struggled due in part to a moribund Europe. Divergent markets mean investors should stay broadly diversified in equities and real bonds not near-cash and ever alert to the fundamentals.

2013-05-10 00:00:00 3 Reasons to Explore the Frontier by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Though frontier markets have outperformed developed and emerging markets so far this year, its not too late to explore the frontier. Russ offers three reasons to consider having a small strategic allocation to pre-emerging world equities.

2013-05-08 00:00:00 Deflation Is OverPlease Come Out by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

A blooper reel of 20th century history would likely include a feature on Japanese soldier Hiro Onoda. Posted to a small island in the Philippines during the waning days of World War II, when Onodas mission proved unsuccessful he was ultimately forced to flee into the woods, where he survived on a steady diet of coconuts and bananasfor almost 30 years after the end of the war.

2013-05-08 00:00:00 Monthly Letter to Our Clients and Friends by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

It has been years since we have seen new highs on the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500. Although the wait can be traumatizing, its nice to get proof that market prices ultimately recognize growth of business value.

2013-05-08 00:00:00 Absolute Return Letter: In the Long Run We Are All in Trouble by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees,Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

In the long run we are all dead, said Keynes. Maybe so, but we could be in trouble long before then. Investors appear preoccupied with central bank policy. We argue that investors are quite right in keeping their eye on the ball but, to us, it looks as if they are focusing on the wrong ball. The real worries for the long term are demographics and negative real interest rates and the effect these factors may have on equity returns.

2013-05-07 00:00:00 How to Construct a Low-Cost Conservative Portfolio by Geoff Considine (Article)

One of the greatest challenges for investors today is constructing low-risk portfolios that provide the best returns using low-cost funds or ETFs. Doing so requires advisors to define risk as the potential for retirees to fail to achieve their financial goals, instead of as volatility, as it is traditionally measured. I will show how to construct a low-cost portfolio that minimizes this definition of risk while generating a reasonable real return.

2013-05-07 00:00:00 Global Bonds: A Flexible Solution for an Uncertain Market by Olivia Albrecht, Michael Story of PIMCO

The recent rallies in both safe-haven and risk assets have left many investors in a quandary. We believe alpha, or above-market return, will have to play a greater role for investors seeking to meet return targets. In our view, the current environment affords many opportunities for generating alpha.

2013-05-07 00:00:00 Investing for Income and Capital Appreciation by Giorgio Caputo, Rob Hordon, Ed Meigs, Sean Slein of First Eagle Investment Management

A Q&A with First Eagle Investment Managements senior members and their market views and strategic insights.

2013-05-07 00:00:00 Quarterly Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

In his April 2013 commentary, PIMCOs Bill Gross wrote, PIMCOs epoch1, Berkshire Hathaways epoch, Peter Lynchs epoch, all occurred or have occurred within an epoch of credit expansion What if an epoch changes? What if perpetual credit expansion and its fertilization of asset prices and returns are substantially altered? What if a future epoch favors lower than index carry or continual bouts of 2008 Lehmanesque volatility ?

2013-05-06 00:00:00 Aligning Market Exposure With the Expected Return/Risk Profile by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Some risks and market conditions are more rewarding than others. My objectives for this weeks comment are very specific. First, to demonstrate using a very simple model that investment returns do indeed vary systematically with market conditions. Second, to demonstrate that overvalued, overbought, overbullish conditions have historically dominated trend-following measures when they have emerged. Third, to demonstrate the impact of accepting investment exposure in proportion to the return/risk profile that is associated with a given set of market conditions.

2013-05-03 00:00:00 Pring Turner Approach to Business Cycle Investing by Team of AdvisorShares

Like the seasons of the year, the environment for bonds, stocks, and commodities progress in a repeatable and sequential fashion. A gardener understands it is difficult to plant in the winter because nothing grows. The same is true for the financial seasons in the business cycle, where investors can use knowledge of the sequence to create a financial market roadmap. This paper from Pring Turner Capital Group, one of our valued sub-advisors, takes you through the six-stages of the business cycle.

2013-05-02 00:00:00 A Case for Owning Commodities When No One Else Is by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Sometimes following where money is being invested is a solid course of action to gain alpha; other times, a better opportunity lies in going the opposite direction, i.e., thinking contrarian.

2013-05-01 00:00:00 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management

he mixed economic numbers we have been seeing lately----higher than expected consumer confidence and home prices vs. lower than expected Chicago PMI---might be confusing to some. One number shows the economy improving while another shows the economy contracting. However, for investors this is actually good news as the data continues to confirm that we are in a Goldilocks economy, not too hot, not too cold.

2013-04-30 00:00:00 The Most Underappreciated Threat to the Advisory Business by Bob Veres (Article)

Financial advisors have often heard the warning that their investment management services are going to become commoditized ? so often, in fact, that you can forgive them for ceasing to pay attention. But if you dont believe that an online algorithm can replace the sophisticated advice offered by a flesh-and-blood advisor, then check out the Wealthfront USA website.

2013-04-30 00:00:00 The Best Solution for Protecting Retirement Portfolios: Put and Call Options versus GLWBs by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Retirees cannot be exposed to severe ? or even modest ? market losses. They need to protect their savings in a cost-effective manner. I will compare the projected outcomes for two types of strategies: options, which can reduce volatility, and products that guarantee lifetime income, such as variable annuities with guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefits.

2013-04-30 00:00:00 Implementing Behavioral Portfolio Management by C. Thomas Howard, PhD (Article)

Behavioral portfolio management is based on the notion that if the advisor can redirect his or her emotions and mitigate the impact of client emotions, it is possible to build superior portfolios by harnessing market emotions. This article describes how this can be done and presents evidence of the superiority of focusing on investor behavior when constructing and managing portfolios.

2013-04-30 00:00:00 Beware of the New Systemic Risk by Ashwin Alankar, Michael DePalma of AllianceBernstein

It felt like there was nowhere to hide from the market declines last Monday, April 15, when stocks, bonds and commodities fell in unison across the world, well before the Boston bombings that day. We believe that this failure of diversification was instigated by increasingly powerful multi-asset funds, many of which use leverage, which may have become a new source of systemic risk for investors.

2013-04-29 00:00:00 New Highs Bring New Worries by Richard Golod of Invesco

The sustainability of the rallies in US and Japanese equities this year so far is looking uncertain amid slowing year-over-year earnings growth and mixed global economic signals. European and emerging market shares have traded lower year to date and seem likely to continue lagging in the near term. However, on balance, I remain optimistic about global equities, seeking yield opportunities and investments with an actively managed, more selective approach.

2013-04-29 00:00:00 High Yield in a Rising Rate Environment by Team of AdvisorShares

We have all witnessed a major move in Treasury rates over the last couple months, causing concern for many that we may be in the early stages of a rising interest rate environment. The traditional thought is that as interest rates rise, bond prices fall. But looking at history, the high yield market has defied this widely held notion. This paper from Peritus Asset Management examines the main reasons why high yield bonds have historically performed well during times of rising interest rates.

2013-04-26 00:00:00 An Update on the Global Business Cycle by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

Understanding where we are in the an important aspect of investing, as the behavior of asset classes may vary throughout that cycle. Recent data indicate that the U.S. remains in its fourth year of expansion, but payroll and retail numbers have disappointed. Outside the U.S., Europe continues to be mired in recession while Chinas growth rebound recently has appeared to sputter. In this edition of Strategic Spotlight, we review what these developments mean for the global business cycle and how to position portfolios accordingly.

2013-04-26 00:00:00 A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Equilibrium by Ben Inker of GMO

The bedrock of GMOs investment philosophy is reversion to the mean. We believe that capitalism should cause the return on capital to be in line with the cost of capital, and that assets that embody similar risks should offer similar long-term returns. These beliefs, in turn, guide our assumptions that equities should trade at replacement cost, that the long-term return to equities should be approximately the same as their normalized earnings yield, and that assets without long return histories should have similar valuations and equilibrium returns as related assets with longer histories

2013-04-25 00:00:00 Safe Harbor Is Safe for Secure Lifetime Income Default Investments by Daniel Notto of AllianceBernstein

The new frontier in US defined contribution (DC) plans involves qualified default investment alternatives (QDIAs) with a secure lifetime income component. Will such vehicles retain their safe-harbor protections? Yes.

2013-04-25 00:00:00 Q1 2013 Market Commentary by John Prichard of Knightsbridge Asset Management

The country now in the news is tiny Cyprus, which received a bailout for its banks from the European Union (EU), but only after agreeing to steep losses for those banks large depositors. Hitting up bank deposits represents a new dimension to the European debt crisis and illustrates how in a crisis, leaders can and often will resort to whatever means are necessary. When the Cypriots first requested a bailout from the EU and were told their depositors had to suffer, they balked and said that was unacceptable...

2013-04-24 00:00:00 The 5% Problem: Double Jeopardy for Traditional Bond Investors by Nathan Rowader of Forward Management

Investors have suffered with low yields, but profited from rising bond values during the 30-year bull market for bonds. We believe the bond market is moving into a bearish phase, putting the value of existing bond holdings at risk. A variety of income-producing options are available for those who want to diversify bond portfolios and seek better yields. Historical analysis shows that a diversified portfolio would have outperformed traditional bonds during the last bear bond market and in periods of rising interest rates.

2013-04-24 00:00:00 Europe's Sovereign Debt Problem: A Call for a Clear Destination by Andrew Bosomworth, John Henning Fock of PIMCO

Without political commitment to a common fiscal destination, the long-term instability and market distortions within Europes capital markets are likely to intensify. To preserve the euro, the eurozone must develop federal fiscal policies that tackle significant economic, cultural and societal differences and define a credible roadmap to achieving structural reforms, a banking union, political union and fiscal union. Historical precedents in Europe may help guide the way.

2013-04-24 00:00:00 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management

Bulls and Bears continue to fight it out around the S&P 500 record high. There is a lot to worry about at this point----earnings and economic numbers have been somewhat disappointing, terrorism fears are back (Boston Marathon, Canada, fake Twitter posts, etc), and we continue to see a divergence between riskier areas of the market and less risky areas. On the plus side there is still nowhere else to go except for stocks. As we have said before, volatility around an all time high is normal and to be expected.

2013-04-24 00:00:00 What's Behind China's Economic Slowdown? by Weili Huang of Columbia Management

Chinas economy grew by 7.7% year over year (yoy) in the first quarter of 2013, against the market expectation of 8.0% yoy and a prior quarters 7.9% yoy. Gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 1.6% quarter on quarter (qoq), with an annualized growth rate of 6.6%, a step down from the 2.0% qoq and 8.2% annualized growth seen in 4Q 2012.

2013-04-23 00:00:00 Venerated Voices? Q1 2013 by Advisor Perspectives (Article)

Advisor Perspectives, a leading publisher serving financial advisors and the financial advisory community, has published its Venerated Voices awards for articles published in Q1 2013.

2013-04-19 00:00:00 The Pharaoh's Dream by Andrew Bosomworth of PIMCO

As yields on assets decline, central banks ultra-loose monetary policies are effectively forcing investors further out the concentric circles into lower quality, more illiquid sectors in search of positive yielding assets after deducting inflation. In order to achieve 6%-7% returns in the future, investors may be required to take on more risk. Allocating part of a portfolio away from middle circle asset classes into assets with higher return potential as well as assets offering liquidity is the right strategy in our opinion.

2013-04-19 00:00:00 India's Gas Sector Dilemma by Siddharth Bhargava of Matthews Asia

In India, the fertilizer sector has long depended on gas as a key input. Over the last decade, several power plants that run on gas have been set up as well. Demand has grown 10% each year since 2002 while supplies, largely managed by state-owned enterprises (SOEs), have failed to keep pace. Inefficient capital allocation, lack of incentives and populist policies aimed at maintaining low prices have led the country to import 25% of its gas needs. This has further exacerbated Indias current account deficit, which now stands at 6.7% of GDP.

2013-04-19 00:00:00 First Quarter Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory

Looking ahead, significant uncertainty surrounds fiscal and monetary policy in terms of what policies will be adopted and their ultimate economic and financial market impacts. More broadly, still-high global debt levels pose an economic headwind. Against this backdrop, our outlook for stocks has not improved. If anything, given the sharp run-up in stock prices, we are getting closer to reducing our U.S. equity exposure further than we are to increasing it.

2013-04-18 00:00:00 The Lure of Hedge Funds by John West of Research Affiliates

Investors often buy what they think is exciting, sophisticated, and complex with the embedded assumption that all of these attributes will lead to greater returns. We see this today where we witness the continued explosive growth of hedge funds. But, a careful examination of the data reveals that these fancy lures fail to hook as much in excess, after-fee returns as more time tested strategies.

2013-04-17 00:00:00 What's Driving Emerging Markets? by James McDonald, Daniel Phillips, Phillip Grant of Northern Trust

Emerging market (EM) equities have historically outperformed as the global economy gained momentum, as shown in Exhibit 1. After a great catch-up rally in the second half of 2012, the stocks finished the year as global outperformers only to lose that momentum in the first quarter of 2013. What is behind the recent underperformance, and what does it say about the outlook? Our research points to a number of contributors to the recent weakness.

2013-04-16 00:00:00 The Asian Economic Crisis and the IMF by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In May 1997, a speculative run against the Thai baht became the first clear signal that a problem was developing in Asia. Over the next three years, Asia and other emerging markets, including Russia and Brazil, were rocked by a historic financial crisis. These nations recovered strongly in the following eight years and generally made it through the 2007-09 global financial crisis in relatively good shape. However, the impact of the Asian economic crisis remains a major factor in the behavior of these emerging nations.

2013-04-16 00:00:00 What the Bull Giveth, the Bear Taketh Away by Adam Butler, Mike Philbrick, Rodrigo Gordillo of Butler|Philbrick|Gordillo & Associates

The question of whether to commit new funds to stocks here is nuanced and complex, not least because it isnt obvious that traditional alternatives - bonds or cash - offer any better value. We are very near all-time low interest rates across most developed government bond markets, credit spreads are near all-time tights, and rates are negative out to 5 or more years in real terms.

2013-04-16 00:00:00 All That Glitters by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Gold prices officially fell into bear market territory on Friday. With a 4% decline that day, the current drop in the price of gold from its August 22, 2011 top crossed the negative 20% mark. Today as I write this, the precious metal is down another 10% plus.

2013-04-15 00:00:00 Valuation Based Equity Market Forecasts - Q1 2013 Update by Doug Adam Butler, Mike Philbrick, Rodrigo Gordillo of Butler|Philbrick|Gordillo & Associates

Click to viewWe endorse the decisive evidence that markets and economies are complex, dynamic systems which are not reducible to normal cause-effect analysis. However, we are willing to acknowledge the likelihood that the future is likely to rhyme with the past. Thus, we believe there is substantial value in applying simple statistical models to discover average estimates of what the future may hold over meaningful investment horizons (10+ years), while acknowledging the wide range of possibilities that exist around these averages.

2013-04-15 00:00:00 The Counter-Inflation Playbook Part 1 by Jeffrey Jones of Cornice Capital

One of the most important lessons I learned during my days at UCLA came from my freshman philosophy professor. He told us that should you find yourself engaged in a debate, the surest way to defeat your opponent is to attack his base principles. If those base principles arent fundamentally sound, any case built on top of it, no matter how convincing, is at risk of crumbling all at once.

2013-04-10 00:00:00 Pacific Basin Market Overview by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Supportive U.S. economic data drove most markets higher during the first quarter of 2013. China underperformed the region amid concerns that the economic recovery may not be as robust as previously expected, while the National Peoples Congress in March failed to provide any incentives to the equity market given the absence of pro-growth policies. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan gained 5.5% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index closed 2.0% higher during the quarter.

2013-04-10 00:00:00 Don't Pay Too Much for That Bordeaux - Or That Bond by Jeff Helsing of PIMCO

The financial markets reliance on ratings agencies and benchmarks, along with regulations, can cause distortions in the value of some securities. These price distortions can create potential opportunities for some investors. Investors should consider aligning capital allocation with outcome-oriented objectives that arent influenced by credit ratings or benchmarks.

2013-04-10 00:00:00 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management

The market continues to experience volatility around the new record high. Again, this is to be expected as this is a very psychologically important level so we shouldnt expect the market to blow through this and never look back. There is still a lot of background "noise" in the markets. Last weeks jobs numbers were disappointing, we have had some weaker economic numbers, Cyprus, etc. None of this looks like it can change the fact that money has nowhere else to go but stocks at this point, but the economic numbers bear watching.

2013-04-09 00:00:00 MLPs: Winning Streak Broken, Growth Story Intact by Sponsored Content from Legg Mason ClearBridge
by Chris Eades, Portfolio Manager (Article)

After an off year clouded by investors concerns about future tax policy, ClearBridges outlook for MLPs is again brightening. Oil and natural gas production are both ahead of estimates and the resulting infrastructure build-out is continuing.

2013-04-09 00:00:00 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook for Asia: How Leadership Changes Are Shaping Asia's Outlook by Q&A with Ramin Toloui, Tomoya Masanao and Robert Mead of PIMCO

For Asia, slow but not slowing global growth will likely keep external demand neutral, and policy developments will therefore help shape the economic outlook. In Japan, we see a significant boost to aggregate demand coming from the concerted monetary and fiscal expansion of the new Abe government. In China, concerns about inflation, housing market excesses, and long-term financial stability are prompting policy restraint that should keep growth below 8% this year.

2013-04-05 00:00:00 China's Uncertainties Won't Stop Renminbi's Rise by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein

Recent data releases and the transition to new political leadership have created some uncertainty about Chinas short-term economic outlook. While positive growth surprises are unlikely in 2013, we still think nothing can stop the long-term appreciation of Chinas currency, the renminbi (RMB).

2013-04-04 00:00:00 Absolute Return Letter: The Need for Wholesale Change by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees,Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

The seeds of the next crisis have probably already been sown as a consequence of the lax monetary policy currently being pursued. Frustrated with the lack of direction from political leaders, most recently witnessed in the handling of the crisis in Cyprus which was a complete farce, central bankers from around the world are likely to demand change, but politicians will have to be pushed into a corner before they will respond to any such pressure. Hence nothing decisive will happen before the next major crisis erupts.

2013-04-03 00:00:00 Spring Economic Commentary by Larry Maddox of Horizon Advisors

The Fiscal Cliff We loudly went over the cliff and received a largely quiet and unexpected market reaction? Risk of rising interest rates After a 30 year period of declining interest rates, caution is in order. Our thoughts on portfolio fixed income positioning. The heightened awareness of uncertainty Despite lingering uncertainty investors should be committed to long term well diversified porftolios.

2013-04-03 00:00:00 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management

After hitting a record close last week the market is showing some warning signs, which is to be expected. You dont typically break through an important resistance point without testing it and re-testing it so some volatility around a record high is normal. We are also slightly concerned that small and mid cap stocks have drastically underperformed the S&P 500 over the past two days.

2013-04-02 00:00:00 A Q1 Letter to Clients: Why Warren Buffett is Bullish on Stocks by Dan Richards (Article)

Since 2008, I have posted templates to serve as a starting point for advisors looking to send clients an overview of the year that just ended and the outlook for the period ahead. This quarter’s letter draws on Warren Buffett’s most recent letter to shareholders, and why he is bullish on the US equity market.

2013-04-02 00:00:00 Finally by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

With a headline like that, I could be talking about my Law School Alma Mater, the University of Michigan, making it back into the Final Four for the first time since 1993 by beating the University of Florida in the NCAA South Regional basketball Finals yesterday. Or it could be the exclamation of most Michiganders with the first sunshine-filled days this weekend since spring had sprung earlier in March (yes, the ice also finished melting on our lake this weekfinally).

2013-04-01 00:00:00 Again and Again. by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

My work has always been predicated upon using quantitative modifiers to enhance portfolio value through greater efficiency of information processing and the creation of momentum-driven asset allocation models. But because so many investors quizzically suffer from a herd mentality, they find it difficult to digest common sense solutions to diffuse problems. And yet, our methodology and its consistent point of view has enabled clients to benefit without compromising investment expectations.

2013-03-28 00:00:00 Emerging-Market Debt Offers More than One Kind of Diversification by Paul DeNoon of AllianceBernstein

The increases in the portfolios net asset value continue easily to beat the hardly exacting returns from the index. The fund has gained 10.4% gross for the year to date (to 22 March), vs. a 3.0% rise for the MSCI Emerging Index. This outperformance (replicated over rolling 1- and 3-year periods) has been achieved by choosing investments irrespective of index country or sector weightings or where they are listed, so long as they derive the majority of income and profits from developing countries.

2013-03-28 00:00:00 Today's Good News Isn't Bad for US Stocks by Daniel Loewy of AllianceBernstein

Believe it or not, recent US housing market gains, the slight reduction in jobless rates and other signs of a revival in US economic growth are making some investors bearish about US stocks. We think their fears are misplaced.

2013-03-27 00:00:00 Call Him Ishmael by Jeffrey Bronchick of Cove Street Capital

One of the hardest things to conquer as a value investor is the concept of "price." The industry remains mired in fascination with abstract prices like 100, 1,000, 14,000, previous highs, new lows, etc. The stock is up x% from x dollar price; it is down x% from x price. There is also much in print and general fretting in regard to "price action," with lots of attention paid to where the stock has "been" and how this move relates to other "moves," as in "the largest move since last December 12th."

2013-03-27 00:00:00 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management

The continuing mess in Cyprus and the S&P 500 nearing a record close dominated the news this week. As I said last week, Cyprus is insignificant, the only important aspects of what is going on is timing. If the crisis hit the news during a time when the market was oversold and due for a rally then it would have little, if any, impact. The fact that that market has rallied this year without much of a selloff gives traders an excuse to use something like this to take profits.

2013-03-27 00:00:00 Mark Hulbert: Our Kindred Spirit by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Mark Hulbert and I started in the investment business in 1980. He chose to create a business out of analyzing the results and psychological implications of investment newsletter writers. At Smead Capital Management, we formed a business to analyze publicly-traded US common stocks through the prism of our eight proprietary criteria. We enjoy his unbiased third-party opinions on current circumstances and his consistently good historical perspective.

2013-03-26 00:00:00 How to Invest Like Buffett by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Listen to Jim Cramer or his cohorts on CNBC and you’ll hear statements like, “Don’t settle for the mediocre returns of a market index!” and “It’s not that hard for investors to pick stocks that will beat the market!” Unless you possess the skills of Warren Buffett, that’s not true. But in the book Think, Act and Invest Like Warren Buffett, Larry Swedroe says you indeed can invest like Buffett ? just not by stock-picking.

2013-03-26 00:00:00 A Cry for Help from Income Investors by Legg Mason Global Income Survey (Article)

Confronted with the stark realities of income investing now, affluent investors all over the world are rethinking their approach, notes Legg Masons just-released Global Income Survey. Yet the Survey also found income investors hungry for more knowledge and ideas -- creating opportunities for savvy financial advisors.

2013-03-26 00:00:00 Adapting the Yale Model for Clients by C. Thomas Howard, PhD and Lambert Bunker (Article)

The Yale University endowment fund is one of the most successful in the country, with a 10-year return besting the endowment universe average return by 300 basis points and the Wilshire 5000 return by 400 basis points. David Swensen is the architect of this program, and his guiding principles are widely used to manage large endowments. They are equally useful for client portfolios.

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.

2013-03-22 00:00:00 ING Fixed Income Perspectives March 2013 by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

Developed sovereigns are still broadly unattractive, but global central banks appear poised to ease. We prefer EM currencies that will continue to benefit from positive global growth and tolerate further upward pressure on the U.S.

2013-03-22 00:00:00 US Stocks: Third Times the Charm by Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

At 1550, the S&P 500 has regained the peak it reached in March of 2000 (when the tech bubble burst) and again in October of 2007 (before the credit crunch hit). But we think the third times the charm: We think the stock market still has room to rise because equities are now more attractively valued and of higher quality than they were at previous peaks.

2013-03-20 00:00:00 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management

The banking crisis in Cyprus dominated the news this week as the market sold off 3 days in a row after being up 10 days in a row. The selloff was blamed on what was going on in Cyprus but that was not the real story. Globally Cyprus is pretty insignificant, most people probably dont even know where it is. The real story is that markets just dont go up for 10 straight days without needing a breather from time to time, Cyprus was just an excuse to take some profits.

2013-03-20 00:00:00 Investors Need to Pivot by William Benz of PIMCO

Fixed income investors need to think differently in the current environment. Investors may want to consider pivoting to strategies that are less focused on traditional benchmarks and more oriented to generating income and providing greater flexibility to hedge against rising rates, widening credit spreads or higher inflation.

2013-03-19 00:00:00 Putting GMO’s Ideas to Work: Protected Leveraged Investing by Geoff Considine (Article)

Fears of market overvaluation lead many advisors to seek to protect against downside movements while retaining as much upside potential as possible. Recent research from GMO illustrates a low-cost way to accomplish this: decreasing equity exposure and concentrating that allocation in high-beta securities.

2013-03-19 00:00:00 Understanding the Role of SPIAs in a Retirement Portfolio by David B. Loeper (Article)

Wade Pfau’s recent article, Breaking Free from the Safe Withdrawal Paradigm, was well researched. Its goal was to accurately calculate the benefits of using SPIAs based on certain assumptions. I fear, however, that many readers may have not fully grasped the impact of a few key assumptions that drive his results.

2013-03-19 00:00:00 The Outlook for Equities by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital Management

It doesnt take much to get me started on a memo. In this case one sentence was enough, in an article from the February 4 online edition of Pensions & Investments, as described by FierceFinance on February 28: The long-term equity risk premium is typically between 4.5% and 5%.

2013-03-19 00:00:00 Keeping Up With Changes In Emerging Market ETFs by Jun Zhu of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

In this report, we highlight benchmark changes in a major player, a potential substitute (with cheaper fees) for another major player, a new player with an innovative weighting scheme and provide an overview of the Emerging Market ETF space available to investors.

2013-03-15 00:00:00 Reducing the Risk from Adding Stock Exposure by Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

Adding other sources of diversification could significantly reduce the risk from increasing stock exposure, our research suggests.

2013-03-14 00:00:00 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management

The Dow continues to make new highs but the rate of climb has slowed considerably this week. This is normal as markets have to take a breather after large moves.

2013-03-14 00:00:00 DC Plan Sponsors: Now's the Time to Get More From Bonds by Stacy Schaus of PIMCO

Long on equities and light on bonds, todays DC plan lineups may expose participants to extreme market risks. Plan sponsors could potentially improve retirement outcomes by trimming choices for stocks and considering additional options for bonds. The inclusion of active fixed income strategies with global exposure or additional income opportunities could help participants reach their retirement goals.

2013-03-12 00:00:00 Gundlach: Investors are asking the Wrong Question by Robert Huebscher (Article)

If you're trying to assess the Federal Reserve's so-called exit strategy from quantitative easing, then you're asking the wrong question, according to Doubleline's Jeffrey Gundlach. Quantitative easing is a permanent policy tool, he said, and investors should be asking what that means for their investment strategy.

2013-03-12 00:00:00 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

Two readers respond to Joe Tomlinson's article, Can Advisors Add Value Through Fund Selection?, which appeared on February 26, and a reader responds to Wade Pfau's article, Breaking Free from the Safe Withdrawal Rate Paradigm: Extending the Efficient Frontier for Retirement Income, which appeared last week.

2013-03-12 00:00:00 The Retirement Income Problem by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

The most vital and pervasive issue investors will face in the next decade is how to wring out enough income from the savings they have amassed to maintain or enhance their lifestyle. To do so, they will need to be far more flexible in their investment approach. They also must adapt to an environment for "high quality bonds" (Treasuries, Municipals and Corporates) that does not at all resemble that which they are accustomed to.

2013-03-11 00:00:00 Forecasting Bond Returns in the New Normal by Saumil Parikh of PIMCO

PIMCO has a detailed framework for deriving a forecast for secular bond returns based on our most current expectations of policy rates and the inflation-adjusted (or real) bond risk premium. We start by defining the expected secular real policy rate as the expected average rate of the fed funds rate after adjusting for inflation over the next 10 years.

2013-03-08 00:00:00 Spasmodic Stupidity: The Wile E. Coyote Congress by Cliff Draughn of Excelsia Investment Advisors

I predict the Ides of March will find us in a continued sequestration, and Congress will use the time between now and the debt ceiling deadline on March 27th to debate the merits of true tax reform as opposed to governing by crisis. In the end, though, the reform conversation will revert to governance by crisis, with another stop-gap measure to avoid government shutdown during Holy Week and Easter, which will tide us over to the elections of 2014. Do you expect any different?

2013-03-07 00:00:00 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management

Yesterday saw a new record close on the Dow Jones Industrial Average and a renewal of the panic buying we saw earlier in the year. While it is great to see that the Dow has retraced all of the losses from the 2008 decline I am concerned about what message will be directed towards individual investors. The asset allocation/buy and hold crowd will use this milestone to "prove" that markets always come back so that their approach is still valid. This is true, but it ignores the fact that it took the market almost 6 years to come back and the lost opportunity cost associated with that.

2013-03-07 00:00:00 80's Bull Redux by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

We have thought for some time that the current bull market might be one of the strongest of our careers, and could potentially rival the 1980s bull market. Although this current cycles construction is quite different from the 1980s bull market, there are many aspects of this market that are curiously similar.

2013-03-07 00:00:00 Capex Revival by Francis Gannon of The Royce Funds

For some time now, we have been noting the defensive nature of the investment environment, one in which fear and uncertainty continue to be the major forces driving markets. Interestingly, this trend has held true for both investors and corporations alike of late. Even after a powerful move from the low of last November, for example, investors remain fearful about cyclical or economically sensitive sectors while at the same time embracing those very sectors that benefit from easy money, are defensive by nature, and are supposedly riskless.

2013-03-07 00:00:00 How Much Risk Does Adding Stocks Pose? by Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

Investors have good reasons for their recent net increase in stock fund purchasesand good reasons to remain anxious, in our view. While market volatility has returned to normal, memories of the wild market swings of the past five years loom large. Here's what we think about the risk of increasing stock exposure now.

2013-03-06 00:00:00 Smooth Returns by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Harry Markopolos was working for a hedge fund of funds and attempting to put a portfolio together that would "smooth" long-term returns. In the process of marketing what his company was doing, he ran into a client who already had a money manager doing that for him. The money manager the client used was Bernie Madoff. When Markopolous looked at the long-term track record of Madoff's client, he instantly knew that it was mathematically impossible to have a return that high with as little year-to-year variance in the return. We at Smead Capital Management would like to ask a few questions.

2013-03-06 00:00:00 Combining the Best of Passive and Active Investing by Patrick O'Shaughnessy of O'Shaughnessy Asset Management

Should investors pay higher fees to active managers in an attempt to beat the market? Or should they instead buy cheap passive index funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) thereby surrendering to the compelling long-term evidence that successful money managers are few and far between and very difficult to identify. It is an important and ongoing debate because the choice between the passive or active approach to investing can have a huge impact on long-term results.

2013-03-06 00:00:00 Liquidity Tiering for Higher Yields in the Tax-Free Market by Duane McAllister, John Bortizke of BMO Global Asset Management

In today's low-yield environment, investors need a fresh approach to managing their portfolios for higher income. Liquidity tiering provides a framework that can help you achieve both principal stability and yields sufficient to meet your goals.

2013-03-05 00:00:00 Breaking Free from the Safe Withdrawal Rate Paradigm: Extending the Efficient Frontier for Retiremen by Wade Pfau (Article)

The traditional safe withdrawal rate approach that relies on a portfolio of only stocks and bonds produces among the worst possible outcomes for meeting spending needs and preserving financial assets for other uses. My research demonstrates there is a better approach.

2013-03-05 00:00:00 Is Now the Time to Diversify? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

The use of global diversification in constructing client portfolios has come under fire in recent years due to the underperformance of many risk assets. Traditionalists who stuck to their familiar S&P 500 and BarCap Aggregate Bond index blends generally outperformed their diversified peers in 2011 and 2012, as historic risk premiums failed to materialize and various alternative investment strategies faced headwinds.

2013-03-05 00:00:00 Reflections on Sequester by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Over the past several weeks, the notion of sequester, a plan of across the board spending cuts, has been dominating the news. The sequester was a program designed to never go into effect. In the dark days of 2011, when the debt ceiling debate threatened to cause the U.S. to default on its debt, the administration and the House GOP made a deal. In return for a higher debt ceiling, one high enough to ensure that it would not be hit before the 2012 presidential elections, a commission was tasked to make significant cuts to fiscal spending.

2013-03-05 00:00:00 Absolute Return Letter: Expect the Unexpected by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees,Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

With real interest rates being negative in many countries we expect low returns on both equities and bonds going forward. Many investors have responded to that by allocating more and more of their assets to passive strategies such as ETFs. We believe it is the wrong approach for this type of environment.

2013-03-05 00:00:00 The Sequester: A Second Quarter Worry by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Now that March 1 has come and gone, what will the sequester mean for the US economy and markets? Maybe not much in the near term, but Russ explains why the second quarter will be a different story.

2013-03-05 00:00:00 The Magic of Compound Interest by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

When compound interest works in your favor, it is a blessing. When it works against you, it's a curse! That is a "Jeffreism" I learned the hard way back in the bear market of the early 1970s when I was working for a $100 per week in this business and consequently had my credit cards levered to the "max." The interest rate at the time was 18%.

2013-03-04 00:00:00 Living in the Past: Investors Finally Putting Away the Rear-View Mirror? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

With a very strong January in the books for stocks, and hefty inflows into stock mutual funds, are we finally seeing the investor class become believers?

2013-03-04 00:00:00 The Sequester Cuts Take Effect: Now What Happens? by Andy Friedman of The Washington Update

On March 1, the government spending cuts known as the "sequester" took effect without any action from Congress. Below I discuss what those cuts mean and what is likely to follow as Congress wrestles with additional deadlines. But before we get to the sequester, a number of you have asked for a understandable summary of the elements of the fiscal cliff compromise reached on New Year's Eve.

2013-03-04 00:00:00 Out On A Limb - An Investor's Guide to X-treme Monetary and Fiscal Conditions by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Massive policy responses, directed toward ineffective ends, are scarcely better than no policy response at all. A look at the current monetary and fiscal policy environment, as well as more effective policy initiatives, and why they make sense.

2013-03-04 00:00:00 Forecasting Bond Returns in the New Normal by Saumil Parikh of PIMCO

PIMCO has a detailed framework for deriving a forecast for secular bond returns based on our most current expectations of policy rates and the inflation-adjusted (or real) bond risk premium. We start by defining the expected secular real policy rate as the expected average rate of the fed funds rate after adjusting for inflation over the next 10 years.

2013-03-01 00:00:00 The Walk of Life: Stepping Away From Dire Straits and Toward Active Short-Term Mgmt Strategies by Jerome Schneider, Andrew Spottiswoode of PIMCO

Money market investors may find the benefits of recent regulatory and industry reforms bittersweet at best, as they are still tolerating borderline zero percent yields in a persistent low rate environment. Without creative strategies for liquidity management, many investors are finding themselves in the "dire straits" of actual negative real returns on their cash allocations even with modest current levels of inflation.

2013-03-01 00:00:00 Wait for Your Pitch in Today's Market by John West of Research Affiliates

Great hitting in baseball depends in part on waiting for the right pitch. In today's market, most asset classescoming off their impressive 2012 recordare "high and outside" the valuations necessary for future big league returns. Patience is the name of the game today.

2013-03-01 00:00:00 Is It Time to Get Back into Stocksor Too Late? by Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

After five years of fleeing stocks for the perceived safety of bonds, US mutual fund investors became net buyers of stock funds in January. While some see the return of the retail investor as a negative indicator for stocks, we say, "Better late than never."

2013-03-01 00:00:00 Greetings from Istanbul! by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

As I travel around Turkey, I am reminded how vital good government policies are to the health of a nation. Following a decade of fiscally responsible actions, Turkey is the picture of a growing prosperity. Perhaps Americas elected officials could take a tip from this vibrant country overseas.

2013-02-28 00:00:00 Jeremy Siegel on Why Stocks Are -- and Will Remain -- the Best Bet by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

Though stock market volatility continues to rattle investors' nerves, the future looks bright for equities in the U.S. and many emerging markets, according to Wharton finance professor Jeremy Siegel. That's not so for bonds, which could become money-losing investments as rising interest rates drive bond prices down. In an interview with Knowledge@Wharton, Siegel says that investors should think about reducing their bond holdings, buying more stocks and keeping just enough cash for a rainy day and other liquidity needs, since interest rates on cash are near zero.

2013-02-27 00:00:00 Is This Market "For the Birds"? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Last week, the stock market hit one of those gusts of headwind that seemed to stop the 2013 rally in its tracks and push it backward. When that happens, as it is again today, it is like watching the gull traverse just a few feet in front of us on the beach. What happens in the short run can be progress or retreat.

2013-02-27 00:00:00 The Great Migration by Herbert Abramson, Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

We are value investors dedicated to creating portfolios for clients, whether growth (equities), income or a balanced blend of both, of undervalued securities with meaningful upside potential and a margin of safety to guard against permanent loss. For us, the bottom-up factors are the most compelling, but we are also mindful that we need to take account of the top-down macro factors. We know how the Crash of ?08 and the accompanying recession created havoc for investors, including us, no matter how undervalued stocks were.

2013-02-27 00:00:00 Love, Money or Disappointment: What Will Asian Credit Investors Find in Their Red Envelopes? by Robert Mead, Raja Mukherji of PIMCO

Our cyclical economic outlook for Asia in 2013 is unusually dependent on breakthroughs in structural policies. Although we continue to favor select opportunities in key sectors, in general Asian credit spreads are trading historically tight. Bottom-up research is critical, along with careful top-down views on shifting economic conditions, and investors need adequate compensation for taking credit risk. Some sectors and companies can grow significantly faster than their respective economies.

2013-02-27 00:00:00 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management

For a while it was obvious that the market had become overbought and was due for a selloff, all traders needed was an excuse, this past week they got two of them. First, the Fed hinted that QE might end and then Italian elections sparked uncertainty in Europe. Add those things in with the looming sequester and you have all the ingredients for a profit taking selloff. At this point this is all part of normal market machinations. The market doesn't go up in a straight line and it doesn't go down in a straight line.

2013-02-26 00:00:00 Five Ways to Improve Your Investing Decision Making by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Successful investing requires a contrarian mindset; anything else is, at best, a recipe for mediocrity. This is especially true for an investment committee, the core of an advisory firm's decision-making process. Five prominent advisors ? Harold Evensky, John Hill, Steve Cassaday, Steve Kaye and Berk Nowak ? are embracing unconventional approaches to ensure that their investment committees operate in the most effective ways possible.

2013-02-26 00:00:00 A Permanent Investment by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

The Buying Power, and Selling Pressure, indicators continue to suggest no major top is in the works. Ditto the Advance/Decline line traded to a new high before the mid-week pullback, also confirming the upside. The major averages continue to reside above their respect 50-DMAs and 200-DMAs; and, those moving averages are rising, another bullish sign. Then there is Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A/$152,009/Not Covered), which is somewhat of a proxy for the stock market, as it traded to a new all-time last Friday.

2013-02-26 00:00:00 2013, Losing the Bid by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Many times in my 32-year career people ask me to comment on whether an established trend for a popular investment will stay intact. My answer is always the same. We don't know when the hot streak will end for the popular investment and we don't feel comfortable with popular securities. In our view, there is a dramatic difference in what you do with popular investments based on whether they areto use terms borrowed from Warren Buffett currency assets, unproductive assets, or productive assets. It has to do with the ability to sell and the liquidity you have when the popularity disappears.

2013-02-22 00:00:00 Muscle Memory or Muscle Training by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Interest rates have gone down on US Treasury bonds off and on for 31 years. This means that the coupon you are being paid has been joined by significant capital gains. Jim Grant argues that the only thing going for bonds is how well handlers of money have done on them; Warren Buffett calls it "rear-view mirror investing".

2013-02-22 00:00:00 January 2013 Market Commentary by Andrew Clinton of Clinton Investment Management

The municipal bond market continues to perform well in the face of significant political, financial and economic uncertainty, once again, demonstrating the importance of consistent, competitive tax-free cash flow. Municipal bonds proved to be one of the best performing asset classes during 2012.

2013-02-22 00:00:00 A Test of Strength for Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This week, we saw the gold bears growling louder and gaining strength, as the worlds largest gold-backed ETF, the SPDR Gold Trust, experienced its largest one-day outflows since August 2011. The Fear Trade fled the sector following the Federal Reserves meeting that revealed a growing dissension among some of its members over the central banks bond-buying program.

2013-02-20 00:00:00 Trying And Failing To Make The Math Work For Long-Term Bonds by Doug Ramsey, Eric Weigel of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

For the past 31 1/2 years, owners of 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds have earned "real" total returns of 6.7%on par with the long-term real return to equities. Long before government bonds matched real stock returns, they suffered a 55-year period that offered investors a real return of zero. The short-term implications of higher U.S. Treasury rates on asset allocation decisions.

2013-02-20 00:00:00 The 2030 Most Likely Best Case Scenario by Bill O'Grady Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

Two weeks ago we started looking at the 2030 alternative world development scenarios as laid out by the National Intelligence Council (NIC). The NIC forecasts the likely paths that are either currently underway or are forecast to occur in the future. In its most recent report, the NIC projects four possible global political and economic states based on these expected trends. Last time, we presented the most likely worst case scenario. This week, we will explore the most likely best case scenario.

2013-02-20 00:00:00 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management

Markets continued to move up this week in spite of looming Fiscal Cliff budget cuts. Everyone still expects a selloff but money continues to flow into the market as it has nowhere else to go.

2013-02-19 00:00:00 Kyle Bass on Inflation and How to Protect Against It by Mark Quam (Article)

Kyle Bass, the founder of Hayman Capital, foresaw the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage bond market in 2008 and the foreign sovereign debt crisis in Greece. Bass' latest warning is about looming Inflation ? and he advises how to protect against it.

2013-02-19 00:00:00 Asset Class Allocation and Portfolios by Adam Jared Apt (Article)

Asset class allocation has been so thoroughly absorbed into the culture of investing that today, most investment guidance is built around it, and you may even have heard that it is the foundation of an investment plan. And like nearly all respectable investment ideas, it is misunderstood and abused. One misconception is that asset class allocation and portfolio management are the same thing. I'll explain why they aren't later, but let's start by considering another misconception.

2013-02-19 00:00:00 Expanding the Toolkit for Monitoring Your Equity Managers by Markus Aakko, Andrew Pyne of PIMCO

Investors may want to consider active share when assessing whether and how their active equity managers add value beyond a passive benchmark. The methods for monitoring investment managers are well established. But given the importance of getting portfolio allocation right in a low-growth, low-return world, it's worth examining new ways to assess risk and value added. While tracking error has been held as a key measure for active risk, it may include elements that reflect market conditions rather than managers' actual decisions on risk.

2013-02-19 00:00:00 Too Great Expectations by Richard Golod of Invesco

Global investors entered the year with newfound enthusiasm. Across the board, global equities traded higher in January, and retail money flows into global equities were the best in 17 years. Media reports about a "Great Rotation" from fixed income into equities are raising expectations about the possibility of a new secular bull market. However, I believe a little perspective is in order.

2013-02-15 00:00:00 In Defense of Commodity Futures by Seth Masters, Jon Ruff of AllianceBernstein

Several prominent pension funds have slashed their commodity futures investments for delivering poor returns with higher volatility than usual, while failing to diversify equity exposures as expected, The Wall Street Journal recently reported. If inflation rises, they may regret it.

2013-02-15 00:00:00 Hyperinflations, Hysteria, and False Memories by James Montier of GMO

In the past, Ive admitted to macroeconomics being one of my dark, guilty pleasures. To some value investors this seems like heresy, as Marty Whitman1 once wrote, Graham and Dodd view macro factors...as crucial to the analysis of a corporate security. Value investors, however, believe that macro factors are irrelevant. I am clearly a Graham and Doddite on this measure (and most others as well).

2013-02-14 00:00:00 Pacific Basin Market Overview January 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Improving expectations for global economic growth underpinned a solid start to 2013 for the Asia Pacific equity markets. In Asia, interest focused on China, as economic data showed further signs of recovery. On the other hand, the depreciating Japanese yen drew concerns that Asia's main exporters, which include Korea and Taiwan, will become relatively less competitive. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan gained 3.0% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index closed 2.6% higher during the month.

2013-02-14 00:00:00 Understanding Derivative Overlays, in All Their Forms by Markus Aakko, Rene Martel of PIMCO

Passively managed overlays are typically based on a simple formula, while active approaches involve more complex algorithms or decision-making. Overlay examples include portable alpha, LDI, currency, completion, rebalancing, and tactical asset allocation overlays -- as well as tail-risk hedging and hedge fund replication. Potential benefits include the ability to effectively manage cash, reduce costs and risk exposure, simplify manager transitions and express tactical views.

2013-02-13 00:00:00 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management

After a decent selloff earlier in the month the market has continued to move up, but in very small increments. Most people seem convinced that we are due for another selloff, which seems to be tempering upside enthusiasm. On the other hand, there also doesn't seem to be any enthusiasm to sell.

2013-02-13 00:00:00 The Next Step to Increasing DC Plan Participation by Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

Defined contribution (DC) plans can deliver benefits only if workers choose to participate. Unfortunately, about one in every five eligible US employees chooses not to, according to research from Aon Hewitt. So it's encouraging that 77% of DC plan sponsors stress the importance of increasing participation in their plans, according to a recent survey we conducted. Automatic enrollment has helped lift participation in many DC plans. But how can plans take the next step toward 100% participation?

2013-02-13 00:00:00 It's Time To Take Advantage Of Rising Energy Prices by John Rothe of Riverbend Investment Management

Oil prices have been on the rise again as we enter a period of the year that is historically strong for the energy sector. While markets continue to be a bit overbought, investors should not yet panic at rising oil prices. Since last summer, oil prices and the market have been closely correlated. What had been viewed by consumers as a "tax" in the past, is now viewed as a sign of increasing demand for gas due to economic expansion.

2013-02-12 00:00:00 The Best Tool You?ve Never Heard Of by Bob Veres (Article)

What's the most useful tool for your advisory practice that you've probably never heard about? I nominate an online service that fills in the blanks in your client asset management system.

2013-02-12 00:00:00 Can a Salesperson Help ? or Hurt? by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I just hired a successful sales guy. He has been in the industry for 15 years and knows what to do. Our advisors will not allow him access to their clients; they prevent him from attending meetings and are generally usurping his role. How do I get him integrated into our practice?

2013-02-12 00:00:00 Currency Wars? What Currency Wars? by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

There's much talk of currency wars right now. We think they're way overblown. The source of the problem lies with Japan, which has made explicit a strategy to lower the yen, increase domestic demand and increase inflation. It needs to do all three. The twenty year old balance sheet recession and deflation in Japan has been a costly error in targeting inflation and not much else.

2013-02-11 00:00:00 Shall We Dance? by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

My impression is that the worst investment outcomes have typically followed appeals to the idea that "this time is different," and "you've got to dance as long as the music is playing."

2013-02-08 00:00:00 Overcoming 3 Bad Investing Behaviors by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Do you avoid the stock market? Shun diversification? Trade inefficiently? Russ and guest blogger Nelli Oster an investment strategist on Russ' team examine three common bad behaviors among investors and provide tips for potentially mitigating their impact.

2013-02-07 00:00:00 Investing in a Low-Growth World by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

This quarter I will review any new data that has come out on the topic of likely lower GDP growth. Then I will consider any investment implications that might come with lower GDP growth: counter intuitively, we find that investment returns are likely to be more or less unchanged a little lower only if lower growth brings with it less instability, hence less risk. Finally I will take a look at the reaction to last quarter's letter, specifically about my outlook for lower GDP growth.

2013-02-07 00:00:00 We Have Met the Enemy, and He Is Us by Ben Inker of GMO

If modern portfolio management has a single defining urge, it is almost certainly diversification. We look for diversifying assets, strategies, and managers. A thoughtful investor can argue against almost any asset class stocks, bonds, hedge funds, private equity, commodities, you name it but arguing against diversification is like arguing against indoor plumbing. I dont want to sound like I'm calling for a return to chamber pots and outhouses, so I'm not actually going to argue against diversification.

2013-02-05 00:00:00 Comparing Advisors to Jim Cramer: Measuring your Professional Alpha by Bob Veres (Article)

Jim Cramer, Suze Orman and other so-called investment pundits and gurus are constantly telling consumers that they can do a great job of managing their portfolios on their own. Let's look at what the research has to say about the various investment performance benefits that advisors should be able to give their clients during the accumulation phase of their lives ? excess returns above what do-it-yourself investors could obtain on their own. I call those excess returns 'professional alpha.'

2013-02-05 00:00:00 Dividend Growth Continues to Impress by Mike Boyle of Advisors Asset Management

The S&P 500 posted a very solid price appreciation of 5.14% (total return of 5.18%) for the month of January which marks its best January since logging a total return of 6.25% in January 1997 (16 years). However, it does pale in comparison to the best January of the last 50 years which saw the S&P 500 return 13.47% in January 1987. Perhaps equally noteworthy, but clearly not garnering as many headlines, is the continued impressive growth of dividends.

2013-02-05 00:00:00 The 2030 Outlook by Bill O'Grady, Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

Over the next several weeks we will look into the more distant future, to the year 2030. We will explore the long-term strategic alternative world development scenarios as laid out by the National Intelligence Council (NIC) and present our views regarding the developments. The NIC forecasts the likely paths that are either currently underway or are forecast to occur in the future. The NIC projects four possible global political and economic states based on these expected trends.

2013-02-05 00:00:00 Are We There Yet? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Last week we talked about the numerous commentators urging investors to buy the dips. We pointed out that many of them (unlike many of the Flexible Plan strategies) were under invested during the stock market rally that began last November and thus were simply trying to finally get on the market band wagon.

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.

2013-02-04 00:00:00 What's the Best Asset Allocation When the Business Cycle Moves to Stage IV? by Martin Pring of Pring Turner Capital Group

History shows that the business cycle, which has been with us since recorded economic history began, experiences a set series of chronological sequences. The calendar year progresses through seasons, one of which is literally ideally suited for making hay. The business cycle also has seasons or phases, where certain sectors of the economy fall in and out of favor. For investors, the key lies in the fact that the cyclical turning points of bonds, stocks and commodities are all part of the business cycle progression.

2013-02-01 00:00:00 Q412 Portfolio Commentary by Jay Compson of Absolute Investment Advisers

While much of the fundamental picture has played out as we expected over the past 18-24 months, the financial markets appear to be concerned solely with the existence or non-existence of macro headlines and events. There seems to be a disconnect between market movements and fundamentals which means doing real work based on intellectual honesty and logic puts you at a disadvantage. Chasing momentum and profiting from central bank market manipulation appear to be the current winning strategies.

2013-02-01 00:00:00 The Myth of the Nest Egg by Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

For decades we've focused on the nest-egg notion as the goal for retirement saving, benchmarking our progress in relation to that lump sum. But it has no context other than probably being the single biggest "paycheck" most of us will ever see. That lump sum may sound great to me, but what does it mean for my spending over 20 or even 30 years without a paycheck?

2013-02-01 00:00:00 Fiscal Cliff: Making Decisions in Crisis Part III by Brian Singer of William Blair

The December 31 fiscal cliff was averted, but by the narrowest of conceivable margins. The resolution is consistent with our November analysis, but the narrowness leaves much to be resolved and prolongs uncertainty through March.

2013-02-01 00:00:00 2013 Economic & Capital Market Outlook by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

It took our country 229 years to accumulate $8 trillion in federal debt. It only took the next eight years to double it to $16 trillion. History shows that when a country accumulates debt at this rapid pace, economic growth languishes. Not surprisingly, Congress is pursuing policies that attempt to inflate the economy. Five years after the Financial Crisis, we really havent fixed much. Instead, we've issued more debt in order to pay our bills and sustain a quality of life society cannot afford long term.

2013-02-01 00:00:00 Dow To 14,000 and Beyond? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

So will the Dow go beyond 14,000? Although you cant predict how hot the weather will be this summer, the clouds appear to be parting to reveal the sun today. Make sure your asset allocation positions your portfolio to shine.

2013-02-01 00:00:00 Look at the Bears! Look at the Bears! by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms and Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

Yes, the grumbling of bond bears is reverberating in Treasury yields, but that sound isnt the death knell of a grizzly; at this point, the closest ursine analogue is Boo-Boo Bear.

2013-01-31 00:00:00 Fiscal Cliff: Making Decisions in Crisis Part II by Brian Singer of William Blair

Having set a framework using strategic decision theory to interpret the choices of US politicians in response to their incentives around the "?scal cliff," we now similarly turn our attention to the incentives (or disincentives) around the choices facing investors. While the general rise of uncertainty around changes to the rules of a game slow down the decision making process of investors, we consider the implications of a shifting tax burden on longer run equity valuations.

2013-01-31 00:00:00 Making Sense of Low Volatility Investing by Feifei Li of Research Affiliates

Why do low volatility stocks outperform riskier ones over time? Dr. Feifei Li, our Head of Research and my long-time collaborator, has focused on understanding the theoretical foundation underpinning the low volatility anomaly and documenting the strategy's risk-return characteristics in developed and emerging markets. In this issue of Simply Stated, our newsletter focusing on investor education, she summarizes the literature on the low volatility effect as well as provides additional insights from her own research based on an expanded global data set.

2013-01-31 00:00:00 Q4 2012 Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

During the second half of 2012, central banks turned their massive and coordinated monetary intervention "up to eleven." This is the overwhelmingly dominant economic and market force today. Despite the long-term consequences (which are very real), we believe the central bankers commitment is steadfast. It has and will likely continue to mute both real economic and financial market volatility (at the expense of long-term growth). A deeper analysis of what has changed, our assessment of the impact, and our portfolio response follows.

2013-01-30 00:00:00 Fiscal Cliff: Making Decisions in Crisis Part I by Brian Singer of William Blair

Having lost touch with mainstream America, neither the Republican nor the Democratic Party enjoys much governing ability. Second, politicians struggle to function as leaders, regardless of competence, as a result of party disengagement. Third, left to their own devices, politicians will respond to their individual incentives. Bringing these observations together, neither party platform nor leadership vision will provide as much guiding force as the incentives of each politician, sometimes individually and other times in coalition.

2013-01-30 00:00:00 Weekly Market Commentary by Matthew Tuttle of Tuttle Tactical Management

The market continued to "melt up" this week. Everybody is expecting some sort of correction, but just like every time there is a consensus on something it never tends to happen. It is hard to envision the market having a massive continuation of this rally without some pullback, but we could easily continue to inch up for a while.

2013-01-30 00:00:00 Expanding Horizons: The Most Difficult Environment for Generating Income in 140 Years by Ehren Stanhope, Travis Fairchild of O'Shaughnessy Asset Management

In the most difficult environment for generating income in 140 years, we survey the landscape of income-generating options, review lessons from the previous bond Bear Market, and demonstrate why we believe global, dividend-paying equities deserve a prominent role in investor portfolios.

2013-01-29 00:00:00 Are Planners Worth the Fees they Charge? by Wade Pfau (Article)

Could financial advisors who offer comprehensive services be doing a better job? Two recent studies shed a positive light on the potential of the financial planning profession to do right by their clients.

2013-01-28 00:00:00 Is the Fed Doing the Right Thing? by Mark Oelschlager of Oak Associates Funds

After a strong 2012, the stock market is off to a good start in 2013, rising more than 5% so far in January and currently riding an eight-day winning streak (the longest since 2004). Encouraging economic data has a lot to do with this. Unemployment claims are at a 5-year low, home sales and prices are up, and consumer credit and retail sales are growing. Research firm ISI says that the current level of unemployment claims is consistent with 4% real GDP growth for the first quarter, which would be an acceleration from the sluggish growth of recent years.

2013-01-25 00:00:00 Feeding the Dragon: Why China's Credit System Looks Vulnerable by Edward Chancellor, Mike Monnelly of GMO

Edward Chancellor and Mike Monnelly, members of GMO's Asset Allocation team, write to institutional clients in a new white paper about China's credit boom and outlines some worrying recent developments in its financial system. In GMO's view, "China's credit system exhibits a large number of indicators associated with acute financial fragility," including China's debt and real estate bubbles, the belief that the government is underwriting financial risk, the shadow banking system, a proliferation in credit guarantees, among others.

2013-01-25 00:00:00 Pension Liabilities Time to Get Real by Christian Stracke of PIMCO

Creeping pension liabilities are an increasing concern for credit investors. Companies should provide more granular information on both sides of their pension balance sheets, as well as use more realistic assumptions. A few companies have improved their disclosures in recent years, but in general the information available to investors is still far from what we need.

2013-01-25 00:00:00 Resource Investors: Why You Can Expect Sunnier Days Ahead by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

During the current commodity supercycle, there have been occasionstoo many to countwhen investor psyche has been damaged by reports about slowing U.S. growth, a hard landing in China or a debt crisis in Europe. Yet just behind the gloom, significant and positive trends are taking hold, causing the storms to start dissipating.

2013-01-24 00:00:00 Quick Takes on the Investing Year Ahead by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

We covered a lot of market and investment topics at Pioneer's National Sales and Marketing Meeting last week. Here are some notes on a few that were popular: GDP Growth for the U.S.. Expectations for rates: Fed Funds Rate and the 10-year Treasury, EM equities favored over U.S. Equities?, Things that keep us up at night (outside of the debt ceiling, Europe, and Middle East tension.

2013-01-24 00:00:00 Tail Risk Hedging: It Pays to Be Countercyclical by Vineer Bhansali of PIMCO

The cost of hedging in absolute terms is back to pre-crisis lows. Quiet markets, low volatility and a lack of visible risks on the horizon can lead to complacence and increasingly dangerous, leveraged positions. Many credit markets have been direct beneficiaries of the belief in seemingly lower tail risks in equity markets, and could also end up suffering if there is a re-emergence of widespread fear of, and upward repricing of, these tails. Investors should consider taking this opportunity to reload their hedges as soon as they can.

2013-01-23 00:00:00 The Year of the American Consumer by Philip Tasho of TAMRO Capital

It was an above-average year for stock returns across the domestic market cap spectrum. Ultimately, unconventional and accommodative monetary policy trumped investor concerns over fiscal policy, the Presidential election and weakness overseas. The Federal Reserve (the Fed) entered uncharted waters when it announced open-ended quantitative easing through the ongoing purchasing of government securities. Importantly, other central banks globally waded in by mimicking the Fed in word if not deed and the global liquidity cycle continued apace.

2013-01-23 00:00:00 PIMCO's Secular Forum Preview by Mohamed El-Erian of PIMCO

It is almost time again for PIMCO's Secular Forum a critical part of the firm's investment process. This annual event, which takes place each May, brings together our investment professionals from around the world to debate and specify the key themes that we believe will affect the global economy and, consequently, our investment strategies over the next three to five years from asset allocation and relative value positioning to returns expectations and risk management.

2013-01-23 00:00:00 Gun Control & How To Play Upcoming Debt Battles by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Ever since the tragedy on December 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut occurred when Adam Lanza senselessly murdered 26 people (20 children and six staff) and then himself there has been a growing cry from millions of Americans for some kind of new gun controls. And the current occupant of the White House is all too happy to oblige. Last week, the president unveiled the most sweeping new gun control laws since the so-called Brady Bill was passed in 1993, requiring background checks on firearm purchasers in the US. Obama's proposals go much further as I will discuss.

2013-01-23 00:00:00 It's What You Learn After You Know It All That Counts. by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

January is the time of year when strategists, economists, gurus, etc. all join in on the annual nonsense of predicting "What's going to happen in the markets for 2013?" For many, this ritual is an ego trip, yet as Benjamin Graham inferred forecasting where the markets will be a year from now is nothing more than rank speculation. Or as I have noted, "You might as well flip a lucky penny."

2013-01-22 00:00:00 Ten for '13 by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

Last year, despite the noise surrounding the U.S. elections and the ongoing European debt crisis, the main drivers of asset prices arguably were the large-scale bond-buying programs put in place by global central banks to alleviate systemic pressures. In 2013, we anticipate fewer aggressive central bank actions as the pace of global growth gradually picks up. We believe the largest influential factors to our outlook are premature fiscal tightening in the U.S. and a potential resurgence of eurozone problems.

2013-01-22 00:00:00 Keep Your Eye On The Ball - 2012 Year End Letter by Team of Sloan Wealth Management

The members of the Portfolio Management Team at Sloan Wealth Management (SWM) coach two baseball teams, two soccer teams, one T-ball team and one basketball team for our collective young children. Thus, we find ourselves stressing the basics. Learning the fundamentals of how to catch a pop-up will eliminate some of the fear of getting hit in the face. In 2012, we found many parallels to the capital markets as our portfolios posted high double digit returns in the face of fear.

2013-01-22 00:00:00 Year-End Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory

Stocks shrugged off numerous worries to log a very good year in 2012, but can markets continue to climb? Certainly the worries remain. The most immediate has to do with the spending side of the fiscal cliff. The cliff deal made permanent the Bush tax cuts for all but high-income taxpayers but it did not address spending. So while the worst case of the cliff was avoided, the work is not nearly done. In this commentary we discuss our current assessment of the investment environment including a detailed look at what could go right, and tie it all back to our portfolio positioning.

2013-01-18 00:00:00 2013 International Outlook by Colin Moore of Columbia Management

We continue our outlook for 2013 with a review of select international economies and financial markets. Similar to the U.S. the road to recovery will be bumpy and we expect financial markets to continue being affected by macroeconomic uncertainties. While the overall environment remains uncertain, some of the significant headwinds in 2012, e.g. the Chinese leadership transition and a complete disintegration of the eurozone, are perhaps less concerning for markets than they were a year ago.

2013-01-18 00:00:00 Taking Stock of the Greek Issue by Giordano Lombardo of Pioneer Investment Management

Euro zone officials have shown a lot of flexibility in dealing with Greeces efforts. As the crisis extended to other countries, EMU politicians have put the integrity of the euro area above all and are unlikely to give up on their efforts should further difficulties arise. A Greek exit from the euro area does not seem to be an option any longer, but Greece must continue its efforts to return its public finances to a sustainable path.

2013-01-17 00:00:00 The Year Past, The Year Ahead by Michael Gomez of PIMCO

The multiyear run of performance by emerging market (EM) sovereign external debt has been remarkable but residual valuations look either just fair (investment grade) or expensive (high yield) versus other comparable credits. We still see abundant opportunities in EM local markets, while EM equities are poised to benefit from a relatively low starting point for both earnings and earnings expectations.

2013-01-16 00:00:00 Tax-Deferral Becomes More Urgent As Congress Seeks Fiscal Solutions by Mitchell Caplan of Jefferson National

Many Americans began the New Year relieved that the "fiscal cliff" had been averted, if only temporarily. But there is no escaping their biggest fearthat an increase in their federal tax bill is inevitable. Congress continues to hammer out the final details, but one thing is certain: anyone drawing a salary or receiving other income will be hit with more taxes. And the higher their income, the bigger the bite.

2013-01-15 00:00:00 Demographics and the Decline of Equity Mutual Funds by Paul Franchi (Article)

Until the last few years, mutual fund flows followed performance. Recently, however, money has flowed disproportionately into bond funds and out of US equity funds despite a strong rally in the equity markets. Changing demographics explain this shift, which has important implications for advisors and the mutual fund industry.

2013-01-15 00:00:00 It's Not What Happens That Matters by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Late in 2008 and in early 2009, a group of what we like to call "brilliant pessimists" hit the airwaves with their economic theories. The prognosticators' vision of the future was and is predicated on the history of similar situations and the mathematical realities of the huge debt overhang from the prior ten years of profligate economic behavior. They put very effective names on their visions like "new normal" and "seven lean years". They marketed their visions incredibly well to the point of shaming anyone who might disagree with their theories.

2013-01-15 00:00:00 The Year Past, The Year Ahead by Michael Gomez of PIMCO

While not immune to global economic headwinds, emerging market investments remain well positioned to outperform their developed world counterparts over time. The multiyear run of performance by emerging market (EM) sovereign external debt has been remarkable but residual valuations look either just fair (investment grade) or expensive (high yield) versus other comparable credits. We still see abundant opportunities in EM local markets, while EM equities are poised to benefit from a relatively low starting point for both earnings and earnings expectations.

2013-01-15 00:00:00 Declaring Victory at Halftime by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Present overvalued, overbought, overbullish, rising-yield conditions fall within a tiny percentage of market history that is associated with dismal market outcomes, on average. Its true that we've observed extreme conditions since about March 2012 with little resolution aside from short-term declines. But the S&P 500 remains only a few percent from its March 2012 high, and if history is any guide, the extension of these unfavorable conditions is not likely to reduce the depth of the market loss that can be expected to resolve them.

2013-01-14 00:00:00 The More Things Change... by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

One crisis averted...another one on the way? Of course, but we're still positive on the US economy and stock market.

2013-01-11 00:00:00 Fed Policy Update: Waiting for Clearer Criteria for Open-Ended Asset Purchases by Alan Levenson of T. Rowe Price

The FOMC's shift from dates to economic conditions as the basis for policy rate guidance clarified the criteria for beginning rate hikes. The criteria for ceasing open-ended asset purchases are not clear, and may reflect not only the evolution of the labor market recovery but also concerns about financial stability and the size of the Fed's balance sheet. We expect the Fed to try to clarify these criteria in the months ahead. Asset purchases will end a "considerable time" before policy rate hikes commence, and rate hikes will commence before asset sales.

2013-01-11 00:00:00 Gold Strategy Investor Letter, Q4 2012 by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

John Hathaway, manager of the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), examines in his latest quarterly letter the macro factors affecting the price of gold and gold mining stocks. While such stocks have traded at a discount relative to historic norms, Hathaway remains bullish on gold and gold related equities, believing both could see new highs in 2013.

2013-01-10 00:00:00 Market Perspectives Q4 2012: Politics vs. Economics by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

The major news of the quarter was that a fiscal cliff deal passed in the final hours of the 112th Congress and was signed by President Obama. The deal averts tax increases on most Americans and prevents large indiscriminate cuts in spending in many government programs. It also averted, by nearly universal consensus among macroeconomists, tipping the American economy into recession with attendant global implications.

2013-01-08 00:00:00 The Forecast for Risk in 2013 by Geoff Considine (Article)

With the new year upon us, pundits are issuing their forecasts of market returns for 2013 and beyond. But returns don't occur in a vacuum ? meeting clients' goals requires an asset allocation that appropriately balances return and risk. So what follows are my predictions for risk across major asset classes, based on a theoretically sound approach that has proven to be reliable in the past.

2013-01-08 00:00:00 Surging EM Corporate Bond Issuance: Cause for Concern? by Shamaila Khan of AllianceBernstein

New bond issuance by emerging-market companies boomed in 2012, leading to fears of a bubble. But we think this market growth is positive for investors, rather than a harbinger of soaring debt levels or deteriorating credit quality.

2013-01-07 00:00:00 Fixed Income Asset Allocation Post-Apocalypse by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

December 21, 2012 the day the Earth was prophesized to collide with a black hole of kaputness has come and gone in defiance of the Mayan calendar. The more upbeat interpretation of the 5,125-year Mayan cycle, however, is that the end date doesn't signify Armageddon but rather the beginning of a new time for positive change here on earth. So allow us to suggest an investment playbook to cash in on this silver lining. In short, the sweetness of the metaphorical fortune cookie in your hand will depend on how you allocate your fixed income assets in 2013.

2013-01-07 00:00:00 An Unconstrained Approach to Bond Market Investing by Sabrina Callin, Lisa Kim of PIMCO

Investors are increasingly focused on alternatives to traditional investment strategies. Unconstrained bond portfolio construction should be driven by an outcome-oriented goal, with strategies assessed on an individual risk/reward and correlation basis, and each investment in the portfolio evaluated rigorously for the expected risk and return as well as the potential impact of the correlation to other investments in the portfolio.

2013-01-04 00:00:00 Newsletter by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz

As always I hope you will enjoy this issue, as much as I have enjoyed putting it together. Most important though I wish one and all a very happy, prosperous and healthy new year!

2013-01-03 00:00:00 Grin and Bear It. by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

Without question, the financial markets yielded better in 2012 than what most had believed possible at the beginning of the calendar year. At that time, embroiled in a U.S. Presidential election and ongoing turmoil in the Middle East, many analysts would have been happy if we simply avoided catastrophe.

2013-01-03 00:00:00 2013 Forecast: Good Economy, Challenged Markets by Douglas Cote, Karyn Cavanaugh of ING Investment Management

We enter 2013 bombarded by conflicting signals. While fundamentals have been mixed of late, longer-term themes our "tectonic shifts" like the energy revolution are gaining momentum and promising to make positive contributions sooner rather than later. And while salutary measures taken by policymakers have eased global risks and lessened fears of Armageddon, there is considerable work yet to be done.

2013-01-03 00:00:00 5 Investment Ideas for a Post-Fiscal Cliff Deal World by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

As discussed in previous posts, Congress kicked off the New Year with a bare bones deal to avert (or at least delay) the fiscal cliff. Though markets responded positively to the news Wednesday morning, the euphoria isn't likely to last.

2013-01-02 00:00:00 Getting the Most from Your Investment Committee by Bob Veres (Article)

Investment committees are a little bit like fingerprints: they come in all shapes and sizes, and no two are exactly alike in form or function. So advisory firms that have investment committees ? or are considering creating one ? can learn a lot from one another. My research has identified some best practices for this flexible management tool, by comparing notes among advisors on how they are managing their IC teams.

2013-01-02 00:00:00 How Much Hedge Fund Exposure Makes Sense? by Daniel Eagan of AllianceBernstein

Our research suggests that a well-diversified allocation to hedge funds might improve portfolio returns, but their greatest benefit is the risk reduction that comes from their low correlation to stocks. Here's why.

2012-12-26 00:00:00 The Ten Key Benefits of Investment Committees by Bob Veres (Article)

In this first part of a two-part report, I'll identify ten core purposes that investment committees serve in different types of firms, ranking them in order of the number of responses I received. If your investment committee is serving all ten purposes, based on the survey, you're among a select minority - which means that many advisors may find new ways to use this versatile new tool in their RIA practices.

2012-12-26 00:00:00 Assessing ISG's "Ten for '12" by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

Earlier this year, we offered a forward-looking view of 10 macro themes that we anticipated for 2012. These ideas were meant not to be "surprises" but rather guideposts within the context of a longer-term strategic allocation. At year-end, we are pleased to note that seven of our 10 themes fully materialized. We provide a brief look below.

2012-12-20 00:00:00 Rolling Tail Hedges: The Dynamic Tradeoff between Cost and Potency by Vineer Bhansali of PIMCO

In our hypothetical illustration, rebalancing tail risk hedges more frequently than once a year offers some benefit under all volatility curves (ignoring transaction costs) but the benefits are greatest when the volatility curve is flat or steep. Some of the benefits of rebalancing can quickly disappear if the transactions costs are large. Two key points for investors to consider: Hedging has to be a systematic, repeated, asset allocation decision to obtain best long-term benefits, and the hedge program has to be active and consider pricing levels so efficient rebalancing can be implemented.

2012-12-20 00:00:00 2012 in Review by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

As we approach the New Year and contemplate the opportunities the investment landscape may offer in 2013, it helps to look back at the performance trends of 2012. Overall, the year-to-date period has seen impressive results from various risk assets, which is in line with the projections of our Asset Allocation Committee. However, ongoing concerns about volatility and Europe hampered the markets at times. Here, we provide a performance scorecard and consider potential developments in the year ahead.

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.

2012-12-15 00:00:00 The Cost of Viewing the US as a Safe Haven by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Since exiting the recession in mid-2009, US stocks have significantly outperformed international markets. But can the United States still be viewed as a safe port in a storm? Russ K explains why it might be time for investors to consider raising their allocation to international stocks.

2012-12-13 00:00:00 2012 in Review by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

As we approach the New Year and contemplate the opportunities the investment landscape may offer in 2013, it helps to look back at the performance trends of 2012. Overall, the year-to-date period has seen impressive results from various risk assets, which is in line with the projections of our Asset Allocation Committee. However, ongoing concerns about volatility and Europe hampered the markets at times. Here, we provide a performance scorecard and consider potential developments in the year ahead.

2012-12-11 00:00:00 The Next Generation of Income Guarantee Riders: Part 3 (The Income Phase) by Wade Pfau (Article)

In this third and final installment in my series on guarantee riders, I'll focus on the post-retirement income supported by income guarantee riders for variable annuities (VA/GLWBs), stand-alone living benefit riders (SALBs), and an unguaranteed portfolio of mutual funds. I'll highlight how differences among these products affect their end results, while also investigating what roles guarantees can most appropriately play in a retirement portfolio.

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.

2012-12-04 00:00:00 Surprising Choices in the Search for Safety Near-Certain Loss of Purchasing Power versus Short-Term by Jason Petitte, CFA (Article)

Risk, in its many guises, is unavoidable, and investors today are taking on significant amounts of credit risk, duration, and leverage to obtain high yields from many presumably safe bonds. But certain types of risk are often mispriced. By overweighting one's portfolio to those sectors that currently offer attractive risk-adjusted returns, investors will be better positioned to meet their long-term goals.

2012-12-04 00:00:00 In Search of the Holy Grail by Niels Clemen Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

This month's letter focuses on the short to medium term factors that drive our asset allocation and portfolio construction. All research suggests that financial markets are not driven by economic fundamentals in the short to medium term, so why should the investment process be?

2012-11-29 00:00:00 The 13th Labour of Hercules: Capital Preservation in the Age of Financial Repression by James Montier of GMO

James Montier, a member of GMO's asset allocation team, writes to institutional clients in a new white paper on the prospects for preserving and growing capital in a world of slowing growth. Defining financial repression loosely "as a policy that results in consistent negative real interest rates," Mr. Montier poses the question "how does a value investor respond to this? It certainly appears as if the assets one would normally associate with capital preservation are expensive. So can and/or should you substitute other assets such as equities into the role of safe-haven value store?"

2012-11-20 00:00:00 The Fallacies in Today?s Retirement Plan Assumptions: Putting the Hedonic Pleasure Index to Work by Bob Veres (Article)

Are you dramatically underestimating your clients' retirement lifestyle expenditures when you use Monte Carlo software? If you stop and look at a number of important assumptions hidden in the current models, you'll suddenly have a lot less confidence in the retirement plans you?re mapping out for your clients.

2012-11-13 00:00:00 How Well Does the Next Generation of Guarantee Riders Protect Your Income? Part 2 - Starting the Inc by Wade Pfau (Article)

Unlike traditional VA/GLWBs, the future payments from stand-alone income riders are tied to 10-year Treasury rates. That's bad news for retirees, who may find their future benefits compromised if interest rates remain at historically low levels - regardless of how the stock market performs.

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.

2012-11-13 00:00:00 Bank Loans: Looking Beyond Interest Rate Expectations by John Bell and Kevin Perry (Article)

Portfolio managers of Bank Loan Strategies, John Bell and Kevin Perry, outline the major advantages and risks of bank loan investing and the roles that a bank loan allocation can play in a fixed income portfolio.

2012-11-06 00:00:00 Asset Location: Nine Tips to Create ?Tax Alpha? by Glenn Frank (Article)

With campaign season finally over, taxes are going to dominate the debate in Washington in the months ahead ? however things shake out at the polls today. It's going to be confusing; it's going to be uncertain. But many of the most critical questions advisors will ask can be answered with an analytical approach to deciding where to 'house' assets ? in taxable or tax-sheltered accounts.

2012-11-06 00:00:00 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

A reader responds to Gary Halbert's commentary, What Really Happened in Benghazi on Sept. 11, which appeared on October 31, and a reader responds to David Schawel's article, Will Bonds Be 'Burnt to a Crisp?', which appeared on October 16.

2012-10-31 00:00:00 The Role of Risk in Asset Allocation by Jason Hsu of Research Affiliates

A traditional asset allocation framework allocates to various asset classes with the goal of matching important risk exposures. In reality, many asset classes share exposures to common risk factors and thus are highly correlated, particularly with equities. This article explains how investors can achieve more intuitive and perhaps more sensible portfolios with an approach based on risk factors.

2012-10-30 00:00:00 Building Portfolios that Beat their Benchmark: Measuring Nanometers with a Yardstick by Bob Veres (Article)

Using tools he co-developed with the Nobel-prize winning economist Bill Sharpe, one advisor has found that he can reliably outperform an appropriate benchmark. His work proves it is possible to build a portfolio knowledgably. You just need the right tools to get the job done.

2012-10-30 00:00:00 The Next Generation of Income Guarantee Riders: Part 1 - The Deferral Phase by Wade Pfau (Article)

Clients no longer need to move their assets to a variable annuity with a rider to guarantee lifetime withdrawal benefits, thanks to the RetireOne stand-alone living benefit (SALB) rider from Aria Retirement Solutions, which can be applied to a portfolio of mutual funds and ETFs. Despite this enticing promise, however, the SALB may not offer as much downside protection as advisors and clients expect.

2012-10-24 00:00:00 Voluntary Exile by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

We at Smead Capital Management (SCM) believe that institutional and individual investors have moved their asset allocation away from large cap US stocks. Institutions are in exile in private equity, hedge funds and all things commodity and BRIC-trade related.

2012-10-11 00:00:00 Inflation Regime Shifts: Implications for Asset Allocation by Nicholas Johnson, Sebastien Page of PIMCO

Investors who are concerned about inflation should focus on increasing their exposure to asset classes that provide a positive beta to changes in inflation. We believe that asset prices are much more sensitive to inflation surprises than actual inflation levels themselves. Given the current macro environment, investors face the possibility that low growth and high inflation may coexist. Commodities provide a levered response to inflation. Investors can hold a relatively small amount of commodities to hedge a much larger portfolio.

2012-10-09 00:00:00 Is Gluskin's David Rosenberg Right about Utilities? by Geoff Considine (Article)

They're not the sexiest property on the Monopoly board, but in today's market, there's plenty of evidence mounting that utilities are a great source of income. Indeed, Gluskin Sheff's David Rosenberg made the case for utilities in a recent commentary.

2012-10-09 00:00:00 Dividend Income: Music to Our Ears by ClearBridge Advisors (Article)

The hunger for income among investors is helping put dividends in the spotlight, say Hersh Cohen and Mike Clarfeld of ClearBridge.

2012-10-09 00:00:00 We Need a Bold Solution to Fix the Retirement System by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Our retirement system is broken. The average American isn't saving enough to comfortably retire, and the fault lies in our reliance on defined-contribution (DC) plans, such as 401(k)s. Tinkering with DC plans won't solve the problem, and the other extreme - a federally mandated guarantee - isn't likely to gain support. But a number of compromises that lie between those approaches offer a better way forward for future generations.

2012-10-09 00:00:00 Letter to the Editor by Various (Article)

A reader responds to Rob Arnott's commentary, The Glidepath Illusion, which was published on September 25.

2012-10-02 00:00:00 Woody Brock on Why to Own Stocks Now by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Dr. Horace 'Woody' Brock is the founder Strategic Economic Decisions and the author of American Gridlock. In a recent talk, he explained why investors should own stocks - particularly those with stable dividends - and why bonds are very risky in today's environment. This is the transcript; a video of this talk is also available.

2012-10-02 00:00:00 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

Two readers respond to Rob Arnott's commentary, The Glidepath Illusion, which was published on September 25. A reader responds to Adam Apt's article, How to Build a Portfolio, which appeared last week.

2012-09-28 00:00:00 The Permanent Portfolio Turns Japanese by Adam Butler, Mike Philbrick of Butler|Philbrick|Gordillo & Associates

Our last few articles dealt with the Permanent Portfolio, a widely embraced static asset allocation concept proposed by Harry Browne in 1982. To review, the simple Permanent Portfolio consists of equal weight allocations to cash (T-bills), Treasuries, stocks and gold to ward against the four major financial states of the world.

2012-09-25 00:00:00 How to Build a Portfolio by Adams Jared Apt (Article)

This is the first of a set of three articles intended for the educated layman, in which I will combine the core ideas presented in my preceding articles into a comprehensive description of how to put together a portfolio. In this one, I'll explain what is often called Modern Portfolio Theory.

2012-09-21 00:00:00 About That Swiss Neutrality by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Swiss stocks still merit a positive long-term outlook but on a short term basis, Russ is changing his allocation to underweight from neutral.

2012-09-19 00:00:00 Technology Dividends: Oxymoron No More by Ryan Issakainen of First Trust Advisors

In recent years, equity income ETFs have gained in popularity, as investors seeking growth and income have poured billions of dollars into these strategies. While each of these ETFs takes slightly different approach for selecting and weighting stocks, there is one common characteristic shared by all: an underweight position in the technology sector relative to broad equity benchmarks. While this allocation may seem intuitive to some, we believe it's time to include technology stocks in equity income strategies.

2012-09-18 00:00:00 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

Several readers respond to our article, Can Our Retirement System be Fixed?, which appeared last week. A reader responds to Bill Gross' commentary, The Lending Lindy, which appeared on September 5, and a reader responds to David Schawel's article, Three Bond Funds for Rising or Falling Rates, which appeared last week.

2012-09-11 00:00:00 Can Our Retirement System be Fixed? by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Google 'Teresa Ghilarducci' and you'll find countless references to her as the most dangerous woman in America. That dubious distinction stems from her 2008 book, When I'm Sixty-Four, in which she advocated replacing voluntary 401(k) plans with government-mandated savings accounts. Ghilarducci was attempting to address a problem that thus far has eluded solution, so it's important to consider her arguments, which have drawn praise from some quarters, too.

2012-09-11 00:00:00 Hedged Equity Value Goes Beyond Performance by Emmett Maguire III, CFA (Article)

Advisors often overlook the value a hedged equity manager can inject into a portfolio, as recent outperformance of long only indices (S&P 500) has overridden other considerations. The case for hedged strategies, however, goes beyond relative returns.

2012-09-11 00:00:00 US Stock Market Sentiment in a World of Wide Asset Allocation by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Our long-time readers are aware that we are stingy when it comes to trading and big believers of keeping trading costs low at Smead Capital Management. Despite these natural inclinations, we do try to keep the pulse of sentiment in the US stock market.

2012-09-04 00:00:00 The Ultimate Income Strategy - Higher Yield and Lower Volatility by Geoff Considine (Article)

Investors, especially those in the de-accumulation phase of their retirement, count on high income and low volatility. Achieving the best possible tradeoff between yield and risk is a major challenge for advisors. Over the last two years, I've shown how to construct a low-risk portfolio - the ultimate income portfolio (UIP) - that yields over 9.0%. Let's look back at how those portfolios performed and the components of this year's UIP.

2012-09-04 00:00:00 New Research - How to Help Clients Make Better Decisions by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Making decisions is not something human beings are very good at. We do a poor job of predicting what will make us happy in the future, we often misjudge our ability to handle risk, and our decisions are plagued by subtle biases that throw us unwittingly off course. Because the essence of financial planning is making decisions about the future, it's critical that clients and advisors understand how decision-making biases can be identified and overcome.

2012-08-28 00:00:00 The Key Obstacles to Succession Planning by Bob Veres (Article)

At every financial services conference, you hear complaints about all those clients who never managed to get around to implementing the fancy, creative, tax-saving estate plans that their advisor created for them. But are financial planners any better?

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.

2012-08-21 00:00:00 Permanent Portfolio Shakedown Part 1 by Adam Butler, Mike Philbrick of Butler|Philbrick|Gordillo & Associates

The Permanent Portfolio is an asset allocation concept first introduced by Harry Browne in 1982. The Permanent Portfolio Family of Funds website has this to say about the strategy, which they have been running in mutual fund format for about 20 years.

2012-08-09 00:00:00 Reconnaissance: Strategy Notes by Douglas Clark Johnson of Codexa Capital

India's massive power failure was a gift to both investment bankers and asset managers. There will likely be a surge in infrastructure-related financing and investment activity directed at South Asia. We also look at sovereign wealth fund transparency; the UAE funds rank comparatively well. Our allocation guidelines for North Africa focus on Morocco, where we believe we will see sustained gains for both portfolio and direct investors once the European situation stabilizes.

2012-08-07 00:00:00 Why Hedge Funds Destroy Investor Wealth by Michael Edesess (Article)

If all the money that's ever been invested in hedge funds had been put in Treasury bills instead, the results would have been twice as good. So claims Simon Lack - a former JPMorgan executive whose job was once to help steer billions into hedge funds - in his recent book, The Hedge Fund Mirage: The Illusion of Big Money and Why It's Too Good to Be True. You'd think hedge fund advocates would immediately pounce on this and refute it; but it's irrefutable.

2012-08-01 00:00:00 Welcome to Dystopia! by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

In a new quarterly letter to GMO's institutional clients today, chief investment strategist Jeremy Grantham warns: "We are five years into a severe global food crisis" that in the long term "will threaten global stability and global growth." An accompanying investment commentary by GMO head of asset allocation Ben Inker focuses on risks of eurozone equities, which he describes as "somewhere between fair value and mildly cheap" but not worthy yet of "a table-pounding endorsement."

2012-07-31 00:00:00 Beyond the Ultimate Death Cross by Georg Vrba, P.E. (Article)

Last week, I showed why the 'ultimate death cross' is not a bearish signal. But the methodology behind that signal - what's known as a 'golden-cross trigger' - can indeed offer a reliable guide to investors. And one can do even better with a simple improvement to the trigger that I have devised.

2012-07-24 00:00:00 High Yield and Low Risk: Finding the Best Closed-End Funds by Geoff Considine (Article)

Yield-starved investors have ventured into exotic - and often risky - assets, including hedge funds, non-traded REITs and private placements. But an asset class that has been around since 1893 offers a compelling combination of low risk and high income. A carefully selected portfolio of closed-end funds (CEFs) will yield 8% with less volatility than the S&P 500.

2012-07-24 00:00:00 Optimal Strategies for Secular Market Cycles by Michael Kitces (Article)

With alternative investments and active management strategies growing ever more popular, an advisor recently told me, 'It's just a fad and will end with heartache as all investment fads do. I've watched it play out over and over during my 30-year career.' But I am not persuaded. The secular market cycle today is different from the bear market 30 years ago, and not all market cycles favor the same investment strategies.

2012-07-24 00:00:00 The Upside of Low Interest Rates for Pension Plans: Issuing Debt to Fund Pension Liabilities by Jared Gross, Seth Ruthen of PIMCO

Issuing debt allows a sponsor to de-risk without waiting for market events or cash contributions to reach the level of funding that triggers a shift in asset allocation. There are a number of ways in which a sponsor may benefit from replacing inefficient debt (in the form of a pension deficit) with the tax and accounting advantages of marketable debt.

2012-07-17 00:00:00 Gundlach ? Avoid Riskier Assets by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Since early this year, Jeffrey Gundlach has warned investors to avoid exposure to riskier assets ? among them, equities, non-dollar-denominated securities and sovereign debt. Still reluctant to move to a more aggressive position, Gundlach said on Thursday that 'substantial opportunities await,' but they may be as much as a year away.

2012-07-16 00:00:00 Rethinking Asset Allocation by Curtis Mewbourne of PIMCO

As risk and return characteristics evolve, we believe investors need to adapt the way they think about using asset classes. Asset classes are likely to be affected by the situation in Europe and, more broadly, by high debt levels in developed countries. The related political debate about austerity vs. growth is also critical. Fixed income investors should note whether countries control their own currencies and can monetize their debts. Those that can may be greater inflation risks.

2012-07-10 00:00:00 Benchmarking Your Retirement Portfolio With a Risk-Free Strategy by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)

Making the savings from 35 or 40 years of work pay for a retirement of the same length is a real challenge. At a zero real rate of return, you would have to save half of your income to enjoy a retirement that long without taking a cut in your living standard. There is, of course, a better way - judicious use of TIPS and annuities. A riskless strategy using those asset classes can safeguard one's retirement assets and can serve as a benchmark against which riskier portfolios can be measured.

2012-07-10 00:00:00 A Mid-Year Client Letter: Wisdom from Three Wall Street Veterans by Dan Richards (Article)

Here is a template for a letter to serve as a starting point for advisors looking to send clients an overview of the past 90 days and the outlook for the period ahead.

2012-07-03 00:00:00 Bond Funds: You Get What You Don't Pay For by Michael Edesess (Article)

Innumerable studies have shown that it's well-nigh impossible to beat the averages consistently investing in equity funds. But what about bonds? Bonds, after all, have more structure - perhaps there are ways an expert fund manager could exploit that structure and gain an edge over other investors. Is it possible to predict how well a bond fund will perform relative to other funds?

2012-07-03 00:00:00 The Value of Planning by Bob Veres (Article)

How much do you charge for your services? When you look hard at the value you provide, the answer may be: 'not enough.'

2012-06-22 00:00:00 An Ending Made For Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Hold tight to your convictions, gold investors. Review your allocation to gold and gold stocks to make sure it remains around 5 to 10 percent of your portfolio. That way the precious metal can act as a shock absorber to help protect from any unexpected bumps in the financial system.

2012-06-19 00:00:00 Retirement Floors and Implications for Evensky's Cash-Reserve Strategy by Wade Pfau (Article)

Does sensible retirement planning call for funding basic needs with less volatile assets and investing more aggressively for aspirational goals? Or, with client goals clearly defined and prioritized, does sensible planning call for a total returns approach? Multiple schools of thought have emerged, but there is not yet any consensus about what constitutes a proper retirement income floor. These lingering unresolved disagreements reinforce the benefits of Harold Evensky?s and Deena Katz? popular strategy.

2012-06-18 00:00:00 Choosing the Right Asset Class in Emerging Markets: Why it Matters by Ignacio Sosa, Christopher Getter of PIMCO

Depending on individual risk tolerances during the past five years, it may have made more sense to overweight one or two EM asset classes and at times to avoid one or two EM asset classes altogether. In general, asset classes are better viewed as carriers of risks rather than each being considered a risk in its own right. This phenomenon is readily apparent in the emerging market space. We have advocated that asset allocation in EM should be dynamic with respect to both segment and country.

2012-06-12 00:00:00 Investing for Retirement: SPIAs, TIPS, Stocks and the 4% Rule by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Relying only on stocks and bonds to fund a decumulation strategy may no longer be feasible, given today's low interest rate environment and the prospect of muted returns from the equities market. Investors should instead consider using single-premium immediate annuities (SPIAs) to fund at least a portion of retirement needs.

2012-06-12 00:00:00 The Problems with Trying to Benchmark Unconstrained Portfolios by Ken Solow (Article)

Benchmarking unconstrained, 'go-anywhere' managers is difficult. Common methods to determine an appropriate benchmark - such as an ex-post regression of how the fund was invested - can obscure the actions of the manager. Is the only solution to simply select an arbitrary benchmark and proceed accordingly?

2012-06-05 00:00:00 Finding the Best Dividend Fund by Geoff Considine (Article)

Assets are flowing into dividend-stock funds. But many experts are warning that those investors are setting themselves up for significant losses. Using an objective methodology that assesses tradeoff between yield and risk, we can determine those funds that investors should prefer - and a few they should avoid.

2012-06-01 00:00:00 Asset Allocation: Does Macro Matter? Part II by Sebastien Page of PIMCO

We see the conventional, valuation-based approach to asset allocation as akin to looking in the rearview mirror, which may lead to suboptimal investment outcomes when important macroeconomic shifts take place. We believe an econometric framework to assess the impact of shocks to GDP growth and inflation provides the missing link between macroeconomic forecasts and portfolio performance. Investors should constantly complement, review and revise qualitative and quantitative macroeconomic analyses with judgment, experience and a view on current events.

2012-05-29 00:00:00 A Way to Save for College by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Funding your child's education is perhaps the most important investment you will make, but unfortunately, the investment industry offers few helpful options. Conventional 529 plans are saddled with high fees and force participants to take on an inappropriate degree of risk, as I've written in the past. But a good alternative is now available for funding a private college education.

2012-05-25 00:00:00 Loss Capacity Drives 401(k) Investment Default Evaluation by Stacy Schaus and Ying Gao of PIMCO

Based on our research, we believe retirement plan participants capacity for loss may be much lower than many investment default options accept as tolerable. Regardless of asset allocation structure, an investment default option should maximize the likelihood that each plan participant will meet his or her retirement income needs. One of the keys to meeting a set income replacement goal is to understand how much plan participants can afford to lose at every age as they approach retirement.

2012-05-18 00:00:00 U.S. Real Estate Securities Review & Outlook for April 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers

We have a generally favorable view of key office markets, including life sciences, technology and media, as well as NY offices broadly. We have decreased our allocation to apartments based on valuations and the prospects for more direct and indirect (housing rentals) competition. We continue to favor prime retail owners, while staying cautious toward health care properties, suburban offices and secondary retail.

2012-05-15 00:00:00 James Montier on the Failures of Modern Finance by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The seeds of the next crisis have already been sown, according to James Montier - and they are fundamental flaws buried deep within the current theory and practice of finance. Bad models were the root of the financial crisis, Montier said, and a slew of behavioral biases are reinforcing financial instability.

2012-05-15 00:00:00 Inflation Fighters by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Whether you agree with Russ that inflation isnt a short-term concern, or you fear the worst in the near future, preparing a portfolio for inflation is on many investors minds. Russ weighs in on how different asset classes measure up against inflation. TIPS provide an effective inflation hedge and having a benchmark allocation to this asset class is prudent, the many investors clamoring into TIPS are currently contributing to, and accepting, an average negative real yield across the entire TIPS curve. In addition, TIPS will not perform well if real yields rise along with rising interest rates.

2012-05-14 00:00:00 Adaptive Asset Allocation: A True Revolution in Portfolio Management by Adam Butler and Mike Philbrick of Butler, Philbrick, Gordillo & Associates

Modern Portfolio Theory has been derided by practitioners, academics, and the media over the past ten years because the dominant application of the theory, Strategic Asset Allocation, has delivered poor performance and high volatility since the millennial technology crash. Strategic Asset Allocation probably deserves the negative press it receives, but the mathematical identity described by Markowitz in his 1967 paper is axiomatic in the same way Pythagoras' equations describe the properties of right triangles, or Schrodinger's equations describe the positional probabilities of electrons.

2012-05-08 00:00:00 Richard Bernstein: US Assets will Outperform over the Next Decade by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Prior to founding the firm that now bears his name, Richard Bernstein was the chief investment strategist at Merrill Lynch & Co. In this interview, he discusses why he expects US assets - both equities and fixed income - to be the outperformers among global markets over the next decade.

2012-05-08 00:00:00 Annuities versus Systematic Withdrawals: Understanding Tax Effects by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Given the complexity of most annuities, analysis of them typically only considers pre-tax results. But taxes matter. As we will see, tax impacts vary by the specific type of annuity you're considering, and will make the difference between annuities being cost effective or a drain on cash flow.

2012-05-01 00:00:00 Making the Right Wager on Client Longevity by Manish Malhotra (Article)

Using annuities to fund retirement is anathema to most advisors, who view the loss of control over one's capital and impossibility of a bequest as nonstarters for their clients. But as clients reach the later stages of their retirement, those arguments no longer apply. A single-premium immediate annuity is superior to a TIPS ladder or a systematic-withdrawal portfolio for funding the last phase of retirement.

2012-05-01 00:00:00 Why MLPs Belong in Your Portfolio by Geoff Considine (Article)

One would think that an asset class yielding 7% and carrying less volatility than do equities would be popular with investors. Yet, despite those attributes, master limited partnerships (MLPs) remain unknown or ignored by large numbers of investors. The case for MLPs is compelling, so it's time for a deep examination of the special properties of this asset class.

2012-04-24 00:00:00 65+5+Dividends: The case for quality dividend stocks in the first five years of retirement by Legg Mason ClearBridge Advisors (Article)

Retirees are living longer than ever before, and for many, outliving their money is a real concern. A good reason to consider quality large-cap dividend stocks in the early years of retirement - which have historically offered higher returns than fixed income with lower volatility than equities overall.

2012-04-24 00:00:00 Why a 60/40 Portfolio isn?t Diversified by Alex Shahidi (Article)

Maintaining a balanced portfolio is critical, especially when predictions of growth and inflation vary as widely as they do today. Investors are always better off spreading risk than aggressively betting on one economic outcome, and that's especially true when the range of possible economic outcomes is so wide.

2012-04-24 00:00:00 Real Career Risk by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Real career risk is too many people doing what you do for a living. Granthams problem is that every day three million brilliant people get up and spend most of their waking hours trying to practice wide asset allocation. Most of those three million brilliant people have strong backgrounds in economics and lean on their ability to make macroeconomic predictions. Too many people are doing the same thing at the same time for a living. Therefore, they need to either move to another town or wait patiently for most of the other bright people to take up another profession.

2012-04-20 00:00:00 Emerging Markets Real Estate Securities Investment Review & Outlook First Quarter 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers

A general moderation in inflation pressures is giving emerging market authorities more liberty to pursue policy stimulus, auguring well for domestic growth. We believe this will create opportunities for residential developers in various markets and we have increased our allocation to these companies.

2012-04-20 00:00:00 U.S. Real Estate Securities Review and Outlook, First Quarter 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers

We have a very favorable view of specific office markets, including life sciences, technology and media, as well as New York offices broadly. We also continue to like prime retail and self storage owners, which are seeing very strong fundamentals. In contrast, we remain cautious toward health care properties and secondary retail. We have also reduced our allocation to apartment REITs on the margin following their strong run in 2011.

2012-04-17 00:00:00 Rethinking Safe Withdrawal Rates: The Meaning of Failure by Wade Pfau (Article)

Merely knowing the probability that an investor's wealth will be depleted at some point is not enough to build a retirement strategy. That is the traditional measure of failure in safe withdrawal studies, and it's time to move beyond it.

2012-04-13 00:00:00 Pacific Basin Market Overview - March 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Our outlook for global economic growth remains reasonably optimistic. The U.S. in particular has exhibited some surprisingly buoyant conditions driven by improvements in the job market and stronger consumption. Europe for now appears to have disproved the more pessimistic forecasts, whilst Japan will benefit from reconstruction activity. Our sector allocation strategy remains biased towards growth. We hold overweight positions in the Industrials, Consumer Cyclical, and to a lesser extent, Technology, while we remain underweight in the Telecommunications and Utilities sectors.

2012-04-10 00:00:00 Allocating to Real Assets: Why Diversification Matters by Cohen & Steers (Article)

One way to extend the long-term purchasing power of a traditional stock and bond portfolio is through an allocation to real assets. But individually, categories like commodities, natural resource equities and REITs can be volatile. Cohen & Steers meets the challenge with a focus on broad asset-class diversification.

2012-04-03 00:00:00 Fewer, Richer, Greener: Why Jeremy Grantham is (Partly) Wrong by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)

Is the human experience getting better or worse? This is a big question investors are rarely asked to confront, yet its answer has profound consequences for market returns.

2012-04-03 00:00:00 Senior Loans Attractively Priced Relative to High Yield 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.

2012-04-03 00:00:00 Gassed Up but No Place to Go by Geoff Considine, PhD (Article)

When a great investor points to a vastly underpriced asset, a natural first reaction is to devise the best strategy for buying it. Sometimes, however, the impediments to that strategy prove too great, something anyone will soon discover who listens to Jeremy Grantham's assertion that 'everyone who has a brain should be thinking of how to make money' long-term on natural gas.

2012-04-03 00:00:00 A Q1 Letter to Clients: Bernanke, Buffett and Siegel on the Prospects Ahead by Dan Richards (Article)

Here is a template for a letter to serve as a starting point for advisors looking to send clients a summary of what's happened in the past 90 days and the outlook for the period ahead.

2012-03-29 00:00:00 Asset Allocation Committee Outlook by Team of Neuberger Berman

The resurgence of risk appetite witnessed in late 2011 has continued, with most major equity indices up in double digits for the year-to-date. In contrast, fixed income indices have posted very modest and, in some cases, negative returns in the first quarter. Much has been accomplished in the U.S. and globally that has contributed to the now six-month-old equity rally. However, concerns remain. Given this picture, the Asset Allocation Committee's core view remains steadyunderweight bonds, overweight equities.

2012-03-27 00:00:00 GMO: Two Questions We Can't Answer by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Its reputation was built on stellar returns achieved with long-term bets on undervalued asset classes. Current market conditions, however, pose two unanswerable questions for GMO ? leaving the firm with an uncertain strategy for its equities and fixed-income allocations.

2012-03-21 00:00:00 The Scarcity of Income: A Hobsons Choice by Alan Dorsey, Juliana Hadas and Leah Modigliani of Neuberger Berman

The post-global financial crisis environment has resulted in rock-bottom yields for U.S. Treasuries and other sovereign debt deemed to be either liquid or low risk. This situation leaves income seekers in some markets with a negative real yield (inflation adjusted), which could become more manifest during periods of rising interest rates in eventually recovering global economies. Alternatively, these investors may want to consider migrating a portion of their asset allocation to less senior income-producing securities.

2012-03-21 00:00:00 Why Convertible Bonds Should Be Part of Your Asset Allocation by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Im going to let you hear from Greg Miller about convertible bonds. Not only will Greg tell you how they work, but also why they can be an important diversification technique in your portfolio even now when other types of bonds are falling out of favor. I believe that many of you will want to have convertible bonds in your portfolio before long. The interest rate increases weve seen over the last couple of weeks may be a sign that the long bull market in traditional bonds is rolling over to the downside. Convertible bonds offer opportunity even during periods of rising interest rates!

2012-03-16 00:00:00 The Real Debate: Preservation of Capital vs. Preservation of Purchasing Power by Chris Clark of The Royce Funds

Investments in high-quality companies that have embedded pricing power and high returns on their invested capital look to us to be some of the best investments to protect and grow purchasing power, and we believe they need much broader representation in investors' asset allocation. We think that the period of exclusively focusing on the preservation of capital has passed and that now is the time to be focused on the preservation of future purchasing power.

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 Letter to the Editor - Tactical Asset Allocation v. Behavioral Finance by Various (Article)

Ken Solow, Michael Kitces and Sauro Locatelli respond to Christopher Sidoni's article, The Conflict between Tactical Asset Allocation and Behavioral Finance, which appeared on February 21.

2012-03-06 00:00:00 New Tools to Manage Longevity Risk by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

If you could guarantee yourself an inflation-protected stream of income for the rest of your life, would you take it? For many retirees, the answer is yes, and that is rightfully sparking new interest in deferred-income annuities (DIAs). By combining a DIA with a TIPS ladder or more aggressive equity-centric investments, retirees can obtain inflation-protected lifetime income. But they will face important tradeoffs, as I will explain.

2012-02-28 00:00:00 The Problem with Target-Date Fund Glide Paths by James A. Colon, CFA (Article)

The attack on target-date funds (TDFs) continues to gain steam, and for good reason. Virtually all TDFs offer a mechanical approach to glide-path management, unnecessarily exposing investors to risk - most noticeably when they are on the verge of retirement. A superior approach would keep the long- and short-term volatility of an investor's portfolio within appropriate ranges by actively managing the glide path.

2012-02-28 00:00:00 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

Readers respond to Christopher Sidoni's article, The Conflict between Tactical Asset Allocation and Behavioral Finance, which appeared last week, and to Simon Johnson's commentary, Too Big to Jail, which appeared on February 21.

2012-02-28 00:00:00 The Big Picture Through a Small-Cap Lens by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Things are looking up for investors as a recovery in the job market and a rosier consumer outlook have helped fuel optimism. But spiking oil prices could spoil the party in the short run. A look at small-cap stocks may offer perspective. The rally, Oct. 4 - Feb. 23, has seen the Russell 2000 jump 37%, well ahead of both the Russell Mid-Cap and the Russell 1000 indices. The small-cap rally may be headed for a hiccup, however, one foreshadowed by last weeks slight decline in the Russell 2000. Still many portfolios can benefit from a long-term allocation to small-cap and even micro-cap stocks.

2012-02-28 00:00:00 Dividends: Proposed New Tax Rates by Robert McConnaughey of Columbia Management

We are in a very attractive period for dividend paying equities. With yields from higher credit quality bonds at historical lows, an investing public hungry for income has to consider an increased allocation to equity income. The backdrop is positive for them to do so with healthy cash flows and historically low payout ratios creating a solid foundation for reliable and growing dividend yields. Given the strong outperformance of the highest current yielders in 2011, we continue to advocate seeking out companies with the ability to grow their dividends sustainably in the future.

2012-02-21 00:00:00 The Conflict between Tactical Asset Allocation and Behavioral Finance by Christopher J. Sidoni, CFA, CFP (Article)

How?s this for irony? Certain investor behavior creates the conditions for a tactical asset allocation strategy to succeed ? but the same behavior simultaneously Increases the likelihood that clients will not follow the strategy. Recent research by Ken Solow, Michael Kitces and Sauro Locatelli identified a promising approach to tactical portfolio strategy, but our firm?s experience indicates clients will be reluctant to follow this approach ?particularly when the expected payoff is highest.

2012-02-14 00:00:00 ?The Greatest Anomaly in Finance' by Geoff Considine (Article)

If I told you that there is an easy-to-exploit market anomaly that has enabled investors to consistently and substantially outperform the market with less risk for more than four decades, your first instinct might be to roll your eyes. After all, the unending quest to improve returns while lowering risk has yielded countless methods with initial promise that subsequently collapse under further scrutiny.

2012-02-14 00:00:00 The Safety-first, Goals-based Approach to Financial Planning by Wade Pfau (Article)

Little of what is taught in traditional investment textbooks is of value in personal financial planning. Risk is not standard deviation; it is the probability and consequences of not meeting one's goals. That real-world perspective animates a new book by Zvi Bodie and Rachelle Taqqu that implores advisors and their clients to lock in the funding of their essential expenses before worrying about their discretionary goals.

2012-02-14 00:00:00 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

A reader responds to Larry Siegel's article, Jeremy Siegel, Rob Arnott and Other Experts Forecast Equity Returns, and another reader responds to Joe Tomlinson's article, An Innovative Solution to Retirement Income, both of which appeared last week.

2012-02-07 00:00:00 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

Readers respond to past articles, including Robert Huebscher's article, The Misreading of Reinhart and Rogoff, our interview with Lacy Hunt, and Wade Pfau's article, Safe Withdrawal Rates: A Do-It-Yourself Approach.

2012-02-07 00:00:00 Jeremy Siegel, Rob Arnott and Other Experts Forecast Equity Returns by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)

A forecast of the equity risk premium (ERP) tells you how much to save, how to allocate assets between equities and fixed income, and how much you can consume. Given its great importance, the CFA Institute recently convened a group of top-level academics and practitioners to forecast future ERPs - and to reflect on similar predictions they had made a decade ago.

2012-01-31 00:00:00 Bob Doll Believes the Recent Equities Rally Could Continue by BlackRock (Article)

Conditions have improved compared to last quarter, with the US economy showing signs of acceleration and European policymakers moving further along the path of progress. With the bearish tone receding, investors should consider moving into "risk" assets and out of "safe" assets, especially on pullbacks.

2012-01-31 00:00:00 Why Target-Date Funds Fail by Robert Huebscher (Article)

New research explains why target-date funds have failed to meet investors' objectives. While most of the criticism has been directed to overly aggressive glide paths, that is merely a symptom of the underlying problem - the misalignment of incentives between investors and fund companies.

2012-01-26 00:00:00 Is There Value in U.S. Equities? by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors

The importance of asset allocation and timing was again evident last year. After rallying earlier in the year, stocks took investors on a gut-wrenching ride over the summer before rallying again in the fall. And for all of the twists and turns, in the end the S&P 500 essentially ended the year where it began. But that's history. What do we expect looking ahead? As we examine today's investment landscape, we believe opportunities can be found in U.S. stocks, particularly large-cap stocks. There are several trends in place that support our view.

2012-01-24 00:00:00 Michael Lewis on the True Depth of the Crisis in Europe by Larry Siegel (Article)

Michael Lewis is a financial writer and author, most recently of Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World, in which he reported on the European debt crisis from several of the affected countries. In this interview, he discusses a range of topics, including the future of Wall Street and the challenges of great financial writing.

2012-01-24 00:00:00 New Tools to Help Clients with Retirement Decisions by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Our clients face a range of financial planning issues, and the arrival of retirement typically involves making numerous decisions. Here is a set of tools that provide useful information to professionals who work with clients on the verge of retirement - especially financial advisors, accountants and lawyers.

2012-01-17 00:00:00 GMO: Something's Fishy in China by Robert Huebscher (Article)

A wide gulf separates the two most prominent views regarding China's future. Faced with slowing economic growth, one side says its leaders will deftly navigate a soft landing, while the other claims it will face an implosion similar to those that befell Japan 20 years ago and the US in 2008. Count GMO, a firm that has built its reputation on its ability to identify a bubble about to pop, in the latter camp.

2012-01-10 00:00:00 The Misreading of Reinhart and Rogoff by Robert Huebscher (Article)

If the cry for deficit reduction rests on an intellectual framework, it would be the work of Reinhart and Rogoff, whose book, This Time is Different, has been hailed for its historical study of financial crises. A key finding - that growth slows once the ratio of debt-to-GDP exceeds 90% - has been widely cited by those calling for decreased government spending. But those calling for deficit reduction have largely ignored a number of caveats that Reinhart and Rogoff gave with respect to their 90% threshold, and as a result many warn that the US faces a Greek-like sovereign-debt crisis.

2012-01-10 00:00:00 Safe Withdrawal Rates: A Do-It-Yourself Approach by Wade Pfau (Article)

Reconciling the assumptions that underpin safe withdrawal rate studies with one's own capital market expectations and constraints is a daunting task, since those studies rarely reflect the practical realities of an advisory practice. But new research now provides a generalized framework for determining a safe withdrawal rate for a given retirement duration, acceptable failure probability, asset allocation and capital market expectations. Advisors no longer must be constrained by the assumptions and choices of others.

2012-01-10 00:00:00 Using the ECRI WLI to Flag Recessions by Dwaine van Vuuren (Article)

In September 2011, the ECRI proclaimed a new U.S recession would begin sometime in the coming year. It based its prediction on a host of its own internal long-leading indexes, together with its widely followed weekly leading index (WLI). I want to focus on the proper use of the WLI and examine its accuracy in recession dating, in order to put this current recession call into context.

2012-01-10 00:00:00 2011: The Famine That Followed the Feast That Followed the Fiasco by Ron Surz (Article)

Ron Surz provides his award-winning commentary on the US and global markets.

2012-01-06 00:00:00 Doing Nothing Nothing Done by Cliff W. Draughn of Excelsia Investment Advisors

Somehow, this is about the only time of year when most people reflect on the past, ponder the present, and plan/predict the future. There are several themes we have identified that will affect our asset-allocation discipline for 2012. As I commented in November, the market risks are geopolitical and the sentiment is driven by government policies. Our themes for 2012: Germanys Euro, Inflation versus Deflation, Election Year and It Isnt All Bad . For the year 2011, stocks basically broke even, although the 37 days where the Dow was plus or minus 200 points certainly made for a wild ride.

2011-12-27 00:00:00 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

Readers respond to three recent articles and commentaries: Wade Pfau's article, GLWBs: Retiree Protection or Money Illusion?, which appeared on December 13; PIMCO's commentary, Hot Potato, which appeared on December 21; and Kay Conheady's commentary, Does the Trend Matter?, which appeared on December 20.

2011-12-20 00:00:00 Do-It-Yourself Equity-Indexed Annuities by Geoff Considine, Ph.D. (Article)

Equity indexed annuities offer retirees a compelling combination of guaranteed income and participation in the market?s upside. But EIAs are exceedingly complex and have been the subject of numerous regulatory challenges. For those who seek a simpler alternative with a comparable return profile, a combination of fixed-income securities and options is viable choice.

2011-12-20 00:00:00 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

Readers respond to several articles: GLWBs: Retiree Protection or Money Illusion?, Did Congress Cash In on Insider Stock Trading?, and Can this be Serious?, all which appeared last week, and to John Mauldin's commentary, The Center Cannot Hold, which appeared on Saturday.

2011-12-20 00:00:00 NewsLetter - December 2011 by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz

No question the markets have been scary and whenever that happens youll read about the value of diversification. The good news is, it works. It may not work day-to-day but over economic cycles, it works. Still, most investors do not really understand what a real diversified portfolio looks like so I did a quick and dirty evaluation of E&Ks typical investment portfolio and found: Stock positions in well over 12k different companies. The largest single position was Exxon at about 0.8% in an all equity allocation. Companies based in over 40 different countries.

2011-12-20 00:00:00 Does the Trend Matter? by Kay Conheady of Apropos Financial Planning

More research into making asset allocation decisions based on the trend of the P/E10 ratio might prove worthwhile. Such future research might include statistical significance testing, calculating up and down trend Sortino ratios, measuring the Sharpe and Sortino ratios for tactically allocated stock+bond portfolios and studying how trend-sensitive asset allocation strategies would have fared in the past. Finally, Kitces recent JFP article also suggests that studying the P/E5 ratio may also have some value.

2011-12-19 00:00:00 The Three Rs of Investing by Marc Seidner of PIMCO

The inability to achieve sustainable levels of economic growth raises the risk of recession in many developed world economies. Under financial repression, market interest rates are kept very low for a very long time period with the hope of stimulating investment, but repression also starves savers to the benefit of borrowers. Increasing risk with an uncertain distribution of possible outcomes should lead to caution regarding traditional models and asset allocation practices.

2011-12-13 00:00:00 Asset Allocation and Risk Management in a Bimodal World by Vineer Bhansali of PIMCO

Fat tails and negative skewness in the distribution curve can arise from the mere possibility of multiple equilibriaeven if both individually appear normal. Once markets arrive at a resting place among different equilibria, they tend to become trapped due to a variety of restraining forces. For all these reasons, we believe that the core building blocks of asset allocation and option pricing in the current macroeconomic environment should allow for the possibility of multimodality. This significantly changes the conceptual approach towards portfolio construction and risk management.

2011-12-13 00:00:00 GLWBs: Retiree Protection or Money Illusion? by Wade Pfau (Article)

One of the most popular variable annuity riders is the guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit (GLWB), which offers downside protection through lifetime income, upside potential with step-ups based on market performance, and minimal surrender penalties. But, examining historical data, I have found that those riders carry a cost that will not be readily apparent to retirees: their cash flows rapidly decrease on an inflation-adjusted basis.

2011-12-13 00:00:00 Has Financial Planning Made Itself Appealing Only To Risk Takers? by Michael Kitces (Article)

Financial planning advice may be so equity-centric, that people who don't want equity-style investment risk forgo the use of a financial planner altogether, as a recent Journal of Personal Finance article revealed.

2011-12-12 00:00:00 Rethinking Asset Allocation: PIMCOs Strategy for a Changing World by Mohamed A. El-Erian, Vineer Bhansali and Curtis Mewbourne of PIMCO

Alpha generation is a distinct component of the strategy because it is critical to actively seek opportunities in all global markets in this challenging environment. Explicit tail risk hedging is essential to prepare for more frequent significant downturns, both to mitigate their effects and to potentially benefit from them. The strategy is positioned to navigate a world of muted growth in the Western economies, significant market volatility, recurring balance sheet issues and continued income and wealth convergence of the emerging world with the developed world.

2011-12-06 00:00:00 Why Shiller and Soros May Be Wrong about Farmland Investing by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Earlier this year, Yale's Robert Shiller identified farmland as an asset class in the early stage of bubble formation. George Soros, Jim Grant and Jim Rogers have espoused similarly bullish views. But advisors - even those managing the assets of very wealthy clients - shouldn't bet the farm on these expert forecasts just yet.

2011-11-29 00:00:00 Jeremy Siegel on Why Stocks are 'Extremely Attractive' by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Jeremy Siegel is the Russell E. Palmer Professor of Finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His book, Stocks for the Long Run, now in its fourth edition, is widely recognized as one of the best books on investing. We spoke to him last week about equity valuations and the prospects for the economy.

2011-11-28 00:00:00 The Global High Yield Opportunity by Matt Eagan, Kathleen Gaffney and Elaine Stokes of Loomis Sayles

The shifting characteristics of US, European, Asian and emerging markets high yield assets have contributed to an expanding opportunity set. This has prompted many institutional investors to broaden their high yield investment guidelines, often giving portfolio managers the ?exibility to include exposures to these markets within one portfolio. The days of silo investing, in which non-US investors sought exposure to US high yield and emerging market debt through separate mandates, may be giving way to an era of sector allocation driven by investors.

2011-11-22 00:00:00 Investment Trends in the Financial Advisory Profession by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Advisors are optimistic about the returns Treasury bonds will provide over the next decade, but they are less sanguine about the projected performance of US equities. Their inflation expectations are consistent with the historical data. These findings and many others arise from our study, Investment Trends in the Financial Advisory Space: Key Implications for the Investment Management Industry, a research report now available from Advisor Perspectives.

2011-11-22 00:00:00 Common Sense is Uncommon: Our Hidden Economic Resilience by Pamela Rosenau of Hightower Advisors

If one thing has become clear these days, macro factors increasingly determine the valuations at the micro level. Although the valuation of individual stocks used to determine the value of the market as a whole, stock selection is now subordinate to asset allocation. Even Bill Miller, the ultimate bottom-up investor, is going to lose his job after thirty years at the helm of Legg Mason Value Trust. Investors need to begin to focus on the positive signals that the market is sending us - better economic data will be a boon for the U.S. stock market.

2011-11-18 00:00:00 Getting Granular with Emerging Markets by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Given todays volatile world, it may be time for investors to adopt a more nuanced approach to investing in emerging markets. Rather than using the traditional frameworks such as emerging markets versus developed markets Im advocating that investors consider creating their international allocation on a country or regional basis. Here are two reasons why.

2011-11-15 00:00:00 A Strategy with a 25-year Record of 25% Returns by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Indiana-based SBAuer Funds launched its inaugural mutual fund in December of 2007, after having established a successful track record with a separately managed account business. I spoke with Bob Auer, who has employed the same stock selection system used by the fund for the last 25 years, over which time returns have averaged 25% annually.

2011-11-09 00:00:00 Is Now the Right Time to Hedge Tail Risk? by Vineer Bhansali, Tina Adatia and Jeroen van Bezooijen of PIMCO

Not all hedges have equally increased in value, giving investors the option to reduce the cost of their hedges by considering both direct and indirect hedges. Tail risk hedging may allow certain investors to maintain an allocation to risk assets where they might otherwise deem the position to be too risky and it can also help stabilize portfolios on a mark-to-market basis. Investors may decide to either start implementing hedges now, phase the tail risk strategy in over a period of time, or put the infrastructure in place now and defer implementation until market conditions change.

2011-11-08 00:00:00 Is One Better than Three? by Dave Loeper, CIMA, CIMC (Article)

One way to 'juice' a portfolio is by increasing allocations to small- and mid-caps, as one recently published paper contends. But a careful analysis - properly adjusting for risk - shows how that seemingly appealing approach can destroy client wealth.

2011-11-07 00:00:00 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

A violent shakeout in global equity bourses is reverberating to U.S. shores, and exacerbating the fear that a second global credit/equity crisis is likely. In response, the domestic equity markets shook significantly last week, despite intraday bargain-hunting and attempts to forget altogether an unresponsive fundamental framework. In hindsight, my call towards a more conservative asset allocation model this past summer was fortuitous. The financial markets dont trust the underlying fundamental statistics, and the public doesnt trust the financial markets.

2011-11-01 00:00:00 The Danger in European Stocks by Geoff Considine, Ph.D. (Article)

European equity prices, depressed by fears of a sovereign debt crisis, are cheap to such a degree that William Bernstein, author of The Intelligent Asset Allocator, called them a true bargain. Income-oriented investors, in particular, may be tempted by 4.2% dividend yields and a market-wide P/E ratio of approximately 11. My analysis, however, contradicts Bernstein's and shows the underlying risk those investments carry.

2011-10-25 00:00:00 The Questions You Should Ask about PIMCO?s Total Return Fund by Martin Weil (Article)

When a manager's performance slips, the inevitable question is why. Was this a simple misjudgment on the direction of the markets or an incorrect selection of securities in the portfolio? On the other hand, is the slip indicative of a more serious process failure? When the manager in question is Bill Gross, the answers to these questions become crucial to money managers and investors across the country.

2011-10-25 00:00:00 On Market Timing and Whiskey by J.J. Abodeely (Article)

Noah S. 'Soggy' Sweat, Jr. a Mississippi legislator, gave a famous speech addressing the controversial subject of prohibition. The consummate politician, Soggy tried to appeal to advocates on both sides of the issue, illustrating a lesson that advisors today will surely appreciate: In order to get at the substance of a contentious issue, sometimes you have reframe the question.

2011-10-25 00:00:00 Miccolis, Bengen and Evensky on the New Challenges in Portfolio Construction by Michael Skocpol (Article)

Conventional wisdom about the best way to construct a portfolio has been discredited, according to three industry thought leaders ? Jerry Miccolis, Bill Bengen and Harold Evensky. Each has distinct visions of the ways in which advisors should build portfolios in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, but all three agree that traditional methods must be scrutinized.

2011-10-21 00:00:00 Closed-End Funds by Doug Bond of Cohen & Steers

In a volatile quarter for global capital markets, U.S. closed-end funds tumbled as investors factored in meaningfully lower expectations for global economic growth. We are expectating a challenging economic environment over the near term, including an increased likelihood that Europeand possibly even the U.S.may slip into recession. As such, we have moderated our allocation to equity funds, while increasing our investments in fixed income and gold. We believe we are well-positioned, with the flexibility to take advantage of price breaks that emerge across asset classes.

2011-10-21 00:00:00 3rd Quarter Commentary by Chuck Akre of Akre Capital Management

For almost two years now we have commented on the ideas of slower growth, the constrained consumer, high unemployment, and federal government deficit issues as reasons to remain cautious with our allocation of capital. During this time we have held higher than average amounts of cash and made opportunistic purchases along the way. As we look back to a December 2009 interview with Maria Bartiromo on CNBC, we suggested that the market was on a sugar high and that we were in a period in which it was prudent to be cautious. It seems the sugar high has subsided and reality has set in.

2011-10-17 00:00:00 Connecting the Dots by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

The efficient frontier provides the optimal expected return for a portfolio for a given level of risk, or the lowest level of risk needed to achieve the optimal expected return. Over the years, investors have come to perceive that certain asset classes with higher risk premiums are more risky than others. We believe what many view as traditional asset allocation may be vulnerable going forward. In short, it is dynamic, not static. In todays negative real interest rate environment, investors will be well served by investing in certain asset classes perceived to be more risky.

2011-10-12 00:00:00 Gold During Times of Market Turmoil by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Jason Toussaint from the WGC provided an interesting perspective during our recent webcast. The WGC looked back at six incidences of market turmoil over the past few decades. In five out of the six periods during market turmoil, an allocation to gold preserved wealth by reducing the hit taken by the portfolio. On average, the portfolios with an allocation to gold were about 7 percent more buoyant. Only during the Dot-com Bubble did gold in a portfolio hurt its performance. These dramatic events happen infrequently. However, Its best to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

2011-10-11 00:00:00 Market See-Saw Brings Us Back to April 2010 Double-Digit Third Quarter Losses Erase Previous Gains by Ron Surz (Article)

Stock markets around the world plummeted in the third quarter, with the US market losing 16% and foreign markets faring somewhat worse with 17% losses. This quarter's loss reverses the gains of the first quarter and brings year-to-date returns below water, with domestic markets losing 11% and foreign markets losing 13%.

2011-10-10 00:00:00 Talking Points for the "Occupy Wall Street" Protesters by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

The proper way to address the present economic imbalances is pursue policies that encourage the restructuring of bad debt, the allocation of public funds and private savings to productive investment and new research, the accumulation of education and labor skills ("human capital") to allow workers to capture a greater share of their own productivity, and the continuation of social safety nets to ease the economic adjustments that are necessary in a deleveraging economy. In my view this requires a number of steps which not everyone will like.

2011-09-27 00:00:00 Reexamining Bill Gross' Decision to Sell Treasury Bonds by Geoff Considine (Article)

Bill Gross made headlines in February by asserting that Treasury bonds were not providing enough yield to make them worth the risk and reducing his allocation to zero in the PIMCO Total Return Fund. The subsequent rally forced him to admit his mistake in August, but by then his fund was trailing 90% of its peers and having its worst year since 1995. I will examine Gross' decision in retrospect, to illustrate its tactical and strategic costs and benefits for his shareholders.

2011-09-27 00:00:00 Do Low Correlations Favor Active Managers? by FundQuest Investment Management & Research Group (Article)

There has been much debate regarding the challenges for active managers in market environments with persistently high correlations. Some argue that high correlations hinder active managers seeking to generate alpha through security selection. Indeed, in a recent study, we found that active managers were more likely to succeed in low-correlation environments.

2011-09-16 00:00:00 The Trend is Our Friend by Gene Peroni of Advisors Asset Management

I am bullish about the outlook for growth stocks because the trend is our friend. A comparison of the Russell 3000 Growth Total Return Index versus the Russell 3000 Value Total Return Index performances from October 15, 2008 to August 31, 2011 finds the RAG up 61.16% versus the RAV up 33.65%. These are both respectable showings, but the growth index is winning by a considerable margin of 27.51%. While this is not a call to abandon equity value strategies, it is a powerful argument for including growth as part of an overall equity allocation.

2011-09-15 00:00:00 Chinese Banks are Imitating Washington Mutual by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Washington Mutual is only in existence in the world of litigation. For those of you out there who like to avoid these kinds of risks, we at Smead Capital Management recommend you avoid China, avoid the commodities which are used most heavily in construction, avoid the makers of construction and mining equipment, avoid the countries which have benefitted the most from Chinas uninterrupted growth, and avoid the vehicles used for financing all of this growth. The inevitable economic recession in China which we expect to follow will turn the asset allocation world upside down.

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.

2011-09-12 00:00:00 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

September has been a wild ride for global markets, and October is expected to bring more of the same. On the horizon is a key inflection point at which portfolio allocation might either protect or bury any portfolios. As global economic recovery sputters there is a new urgency about either continuing on a portfolio path of growth, or reverting altogether to a default cash position. Within each scenario, however, is a psychological uneasiness that borders on shock and awe. It is much more difficult to manage clients downside risk appropriately, than to pick winners when all stocks are rising.

2011-09-09 00:00:00 Merk sells Euro to buy Australian Dollar by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

Given that many know Merk Investments as "euro bulls", arguing that the euro can thrive despite all the turmoil in the Eurozone, we wanted to share with our investors and the public that in our hard currency strategy, currently with over $700 million in assets, we sold over U.S. $90 million worth of euros late Thursday to re-allocate to the Australian dollar. This re-allocation was an acceleration of a recent trend to deploy euro holdings elsewhere. The strategy is now underweight in euros. Our move was motivated by recent European Central Bank (ECB) and U.S. Federal Reserve communication.

2011-09-06 00:00:00 Five Strategies for a Sideways Market by Kane Cotton, CFA and Jonathan Scheid, CFA (Article)

If this slow growth environment coupled with asset price volatility continues for (to steal a quote from Fed Chairman Bernanke) 'an extended period,' what additional portfolio strategies might aid the overall risk/return profile of investor portfolios? More specifically, how do you manage investments in a sideways market?

2011-08-30 00:00:00 Why High-Yield Bonds Make Sense Today by Geoff Considine, Ph.D. (Article)

None other than Gluskin Sheff's Dave Rosenberg, the widely followed analyst who was been consistently bearish in the current market cycle, said last week that high-yield bonds are 'a good place to be right now.' Recent price declines have made them attractive in the short term, and their risk-adjusted returns make them attractive to longer-term strategic investors.

2011-08-23 00:00:00 Strategies for a Rising Rate Environment by Jayant Kumar of Fisher Francis Trees & Watts (Article)

Shortening the duration of a fixed-income portfolio is often considered the default option, but it is not the only way to hedge against a potential rise in interest rates. This article provides investors with a framework to analyze and implement a range of fixed-income strategies, and highlights various investment considerations that should carefully be taken into account.

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.

2011-08-22 00:00:00 Libertarian-Style Investing Would Overweight Canada by David John Marotta of Marotta Wealth Management

Libertarians and economists both recognize that countries with more economic freedom experience higher GDP growth. That growth translates into higher stock returns for investors savvy enough to look for governmental fiscal restraint rather than government stimulus. The Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom uses a systematic measurement of economic freedom to evaluate countries worldwide. Their conclusions clearly show that economic freedom and higher rates of long-term economic growth go together. Investors can use the study to select countries for their foreign stock allocation.

2011-08-16 00:00:00 Gundlach - 'The Cusp of a Global Banking Panic' by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Don't interpret last week's volatility as merely a reaction to S&P's downgrade of US Treasury debt, according to Doubleline founder and chief investment officer Jeffrey Gundlach. Investors are actually fearful of a global banking crisis, he said, because many countries face a perilous choice - defaulting on their sovereign debt or inflating their way out of trouble.

2011-08-15 00:00:00 Panic Is Not a Strategy - Nor Is Greed by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Originally published in 2008, it's time for a refresher about the perils of panic. Asset allocation, diversification and rebalancing are as close to a "free lunch" as you can get as an investor. ThIn world where time horizons have shrunk precipitously, think longer-term.

2011-08-09 00:00:00 New Insights on the Role of Alternative Investments in High-Net-Worth Portfolios by Scott Welch, CIMA (Article)

Trends and developments over the past five years allow greater access to alternative strategies and dictate a different conversation with investors about the purpose and trade-offs of such strategies, as well as appropriate ways to incorporate them into well-diversified portfolios.

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.

2011-08-05 00:00:00 Denominators Matter! What the Price of Gold Tells Us About the Value of Other Assets by JJ Abodeely of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

In an environment where holding either U.S. dollar cash or a broad market portfolio may be detrimental to real wealth preservation, more active asset allocation is required. Portfolio managers who have a broad toolbox of assets to choose from, nimbleness and flexibility, and an eye on the denominators that show us real value, will be in an enviable position to capitalize on the next great bull market in stocks.

2011-08-02 00:00:00 Improving on the Ultimate Income Portfolio by Geoff Considine (Article)

The Ultimate Income Portfolio, which was published in this newsletter July 6 of last year, has delivered the risk-adjusted returns that I projected. Here's a detailed look at how last year's portfolio performed and several ways it can be improved in today's environment.

2011-08-02 00:00:00 Does Citigroup's Panic/Euphoria Model Work? by Georg Vrba, P.E. (Article)

Citigroup's Panic/Euphoria model fell into panic territory at the end of June 2011. According to the model's originator, strategist Tobias Levkovitch, this indicates a roughly 90% probability that equity prices will be higher in six months and a 97% chance of gains in 12 months. How reliable is this model?

2011-08-02 00:00:00 Hitting a Moving Target: Matching Portfolio Risk to Client Expectations by Scott Smith (Article)

Much of the angst faced by investors and advisors over the last several years was caused by mismatched perceptions regarding investors' appetite for portfolio risk. Advisors overestimated the amount of risk investors were comfortable being exposed to within portfolios.

2011-07-27 00:00:00 From Asset Allocation Nirvana to Asset Allocation Nightmare by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

We believe the next 10 years will be about money moving back into non-cyclical US large cap stocks and domestic companies which enjoy lower commodity prices and the repatriation of money from highly risky asset classes with poor odds. Being widely asset allocated today prepares folks for an under-performance nightmare In our opinion, bonds are expensive, commodities are outlandish, small caps trade at a huge premium and as Chinas economic contraction occurs, the crowd will flee emerging markets.

2011-07-26 00:00:00 Comfort is Rarely Rewarded; Maverick Risk and False Benchmarks by J.J. Abodeely, CFA, CAIA (Article)

Conventional investment strategies, while affording the investor at least a temporary degree of comfort, are destined to produce mediocre results. Only by distancing themselves from the ordinary approach ? as Jeremy Grantham and Seth Klarman have ? can asset managers achieve superior performance and truly fulfill their fiduciary duties by acting as proper stewards of their clients? capital.

2011-07-26 00:00:00 Investing with a View of Significant Inflation by Bob Kargenian (Article)

Almost all the analysis we read has concluded that, with the Fed seemingly printing money out of nowhere, the inevitable consequence must be significantly higher inflation. We're not convinced, but we have identified which strategies are likely to best protect clients if inflation accelerates.

2011-07-26 00:00:00 Income Opportunities in Municipal Bonds and Stocks by Robert Huebscher (Article)

In this interview, Brian McMahon and Chris Ryon of Thornburg Investment Management assess the opportunities for income-oriented investors, particularly in the municipal bond market. They answer questions such as when a separate account is better than a fund, and why a barbell is inferior to a laddered portfolio.

2011-07-26 00:00:00 Equity Allocations: Thinking outside of the Box by Ryan Larson of Research Affiliates

In this issue we will look at a different way of constructing the equity portfolio. We will use the concept of active sharea measure of how much active equity portfolios actually deviate from their benchmark indexesas well as what active share tells us about the standard equity structure alternatives. The success of an investors overall portfolio is highly dependent on how well the equity component performs; stocks are the largest allocation in most portfolios, on average half of assets or more. Therefore, paying special attention to the equity strategy decision is very important.

2011-07-20 00:00:00 Secular Outlook: Implications for Investors by Bill Benz of PIMCO

As the economy undergoes important realignments, investors will need to rethink their traditional approaches to managing their portfolios. As the lines between interest rate and credit risk become blurred, finding sources of safe spread becomes even more critical. More, not less, discretion is warranted when navigating volatile global markets, avoid sectors affected by financial repression and hedge against inflation and/or adverse tail events. We believe investors need to look at risk factors rather than traditional asset classes when making asset allocation decisions.

2011-07-19 00:00:00 Retirement Planning and Worst-Case Scenarios by Wade Pfau (Article)

New research suggests that skepticism in a 4% safe withdrawal rate (SWR) is well justified. It is perhaps due to good luck that American retirees have not yet experienced a withdrawal rate below 4%. But a better approach than worrying about SWRs is to focus on the savings rate needed to meet your retirement spending goals, not on what the safe withdrawal rate is.

2011-07-12 00:00:00 Harold Evensky on the New Rules for Wealth Management by Robert Huebscher (Article)

If you don't have a copy of The New Wealth Management on your bookshelf, you should. From gauging the risk tolerance of your clients to measuring the performance of their portfolios, this book provides comprehensive guidance for virtually every aspect of a financial advisory practice. Harold Evensky, the lead author, spoke with me last week and highlighted some key themes in the newly released second edition.

2011-07-12 00:00:00 Second Quarter Preserves First Quarter Market Gains: We're Still Above Water and Treading by Ron Surz (Article)

In his award-winning commentary, Ron Surz looks at how the US market performed and then how foreign markets fared. He concludes on a lighter note with a couple of videos that address key topics in the investment arena.

2011-07-05 00:00:00 Momentum Investing Can Achieve Market-Beating Returns by Matthew Tuttle, CFP (Article)

In 2002 and 2008 the investment tide went out. And as Warren Buffett famously predicted, we learned who was swimming naked. Both times, it was the practitioners of Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT).

2011-06-28 00:00:00 An Important Challenge to ?Stocks for the Long Run? by Geoff Considine (Article)

Jeremy Siegel's dictum - to invest in stocks for the long run - faces a new challenge. A recent paper by Robert Stambaugh, a Wharton colleague, and Lubos Pastor of the University of Chicago says that once you take into account the uncertainty of estimating future returns, stocks are not nearly as attractive to retirement-oriented investors as Siegel has claimed.

2011-06-28 00:00:00 Reducing Risk through Value-Oriented Tactical Strategies by Mark E. Ricardo, JD, LLM, AAMS (Article)

Conventional wisdom was that the best way to reduce portfolio risk is to adopt a diversified long-term strategic asset allocation. That paradigm was challenged - deservedly so - following the 2008 financial crisis. Fortunately, an improved paradigm has emerged: Investors should combine long-term strategic allocations with a value-oriented tactical rebalancing strategy.

2011-06-28 00:00:00 The Diversified Portfolio Index by Charles Fahy, Sr. (Article)

Investment rates of return that are average but consistent are the products of exceptional performance. Over longer time horizons, these returns become increasingly difficult to outperform. One such example is the Diversified Portfolio Index - a buy-and-hold strategy deployed across all major asset classes.

2011-06-21 00:00:00 Investing Based on Jeremy Grantham's Forecast for Diminishing Resources by Robert Huebscher (Article)

In his most recent commentary, Jeremy Grantham became one of the first mainstream investment professionals to publicly forecast a world economy threatened by diminishing natural resources. A survey of our readers showed that an overwhelming majority agree with Grantham's views. But constructing a portfolio positioned to capitalize on those themes is exceedingly difficult.

2011-06-16 00:00:00 On the Uses and Abuses of Discount Rates by Andrew Foster of Seafarer Capital

When investors search the world for opportunity, do they value a dollar of profit from Indonesia six times more than a dollar from South Korea? I doubt they do. Yet large and misleading discrepancies can arise when investors rely heavily on discount rates in valuation models to determine the relative attractiveness of foreign assets. Discount rates are useful when determining the intrinsic value of a single asset, but in my opinion, they should not be a primary determinant in the allocation between multiple assets.

2011-06-14 00:00:00 Bruce Berkowitz - Ignoring the Crowd on Financials by Sam Parl (Article)

Bruce Berkowitz has said that his deep value and contrarian investing style will not guarantee short-term results, but he promises his shareholders will be rewarded for their patience over the long term. Last week, he explained why some of his positions - especially those in the financial services sector - are among the best opportunities in the market.

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 Improving on Buy and Hold: When is the Best Time to Sell by Georg Vrba, P.E. (Article)

My model, Improving on Buy and Hold: Asset Allocation using Economic Indicators, has been updated. A Sell-A type signal will be generated by the model in the second week of August and I advise reducing one's stock market investments then.

2011-06-07 00:00:00 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

?Which way is the market going?? That?s one unanswerable question. What we do know, empirically, is that the global credit markets are poor; pricing in most stocks is inefficient and governed by short term trading and speculation; sustainable economic growth is non-existent; and inflation is rampant in consumer goods and raw materials. Even if we?re correct with our asset allocation, we are playing defense and hoping to minimize any downside damage. If hindsight and backtesting are any indication, I would posit that the current equity market continuum is poised for more downside potential.

2011-06-07 00:00:00 Modern Portfolio Theory IS Harming Your Portfolio by JJ Abodeely of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

In a recent paper, Scott Vincent argues that the flawed foundation of MPT has allowed its advocates to control the language of the debate and set the stage for the obvious conclusion that passive index-based investing is inherently superior. And don?t think for a second that this debate is simply theoretical, academic, or unimportant? the basic tenets of MPT shape the decisions of nearly all investors in profound and often disturbing ways. YOUR money is almost certainly being managed with these ideas at the core. The traditional approach to asset allocation is built on false axioms.

2011-06-01 00:00:00 The Danger of Emerging Market Inflation by Mohamed A. El-Erian of PIMCO

If left unchecked, high and accelerating inflation in emerging markets will have growing adverse economic, social and political effects. In addition to undermining overall growth and resource allocation, emerging market inflation imposes a very heavy burden on the poor and erodes political unity. Emerging economies will tap multiple policy brakes as they seek to counter mounting inflationary pressures. And they will continue to grow, but not enough to pull up decisively the sluggish advanced countries.

2011-05-31 00:00:00 Bookstaber on the Limits of Capitalism by Sam Parl (Article)

What can we do so that we?re not fighting yesterday?s war? That was the question posed by Richard Bookstaber when he spoke at the sixth annual MIT Sloan Investment Management Conference on April 29. Bookstaber, a Senior Policy advisor to the SEC and to the Financial Security Oversight Council, offered an elucidating perspective on the origins of economic crises and the proper role of regulation.

2011-05-26 00:00:00 The Case for Equities by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

With global equity markets up over 100% from their 2009 lows, many investors are questioning whether it is time to lower their strategic allocation to stocks. While there are no shortages of risks facing global equity markets, overall we find that most markets are fairly valued and arguably already reflecting some of the risks ? particularly higher inflation and interest rates ? that are likely to challenge the global economy. We believe that over the long term, equities are still likely to produce higher nominal (inflation-adjusted) and real returns than other financial assets.

2011-05-25 00:00:00 Bull Case Nobody Makes by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

We feel compelled to make a US stock market bullish case which feels as good to this writer as avoiding tech stocks did in late 1999. It is so lonely that it is divine. Andy Grove, former Intel CEO, college prof John Maynard Keynes said, ?When everyone knows that something is so, it means that nobody knows nothin?.? We believe the majority has put their assets into investments that will provide defeat, insecurity and failure. Out of this comes a very optimistic bull case which is available to those who have courage to look foolish in the short run and avoid today?s popular asset allocation.

2011-05-24 00:00:00 How to Build a Low-Risk High-Income Portfolio by Geoff Considine (Article)

Prominent investors, including Bill Gross and Warren Buffett, now say that the yields on long-term government debt do not justify the risks. But is this perception correct? I offer a way to answer that question - and to construct a low-risk high-income portfolio - using the prices of put options to derive the true risk levels of various asset classes.

2011-05-17 00:00:00 Improving on Buy and Hold: An Initial Sell Signal by Georg Vrba, P.E. (Article)

I have updated the model described in my article, Improving on Buy and Hold: Asset Allocation using Economic Indicators. The ECRI U.S. Weekly Leading Index and its annualized growth rate published on May 13, 2011, together with the most recent values of the other indicators, have been incorporated in my model. A basic sell signal was generated last week.

2011-04-29 00:00:00 We Are Not Perma-Bears, But We Are Cautious Now by Team of Litman Gregory

To understand the potential upside for stocks it's important to evaluate the factors that drive returns and how they might behave over our investment horizon. The three key variables are dividends, earnings growth, and changes in the price/earnings ratio. Our analysis focuses on assessing these key factors under several broad economic scenarios. This allows us to estimate return ranges for stocks, and to weigh these potential returns against the risks we see to make informed portfolio allocation decisions.

2011-04-26 00:00:00 Why Mid-Cap? by RidgeWorth Investments (Article)

RidgeWorth Investments has published research detailing six distinct reasons why investors should consider a specific allocation to mid-caps. Specifically, it explores historical performance, evaluates current conditions that favor mid-caps as well as examines how mid-caps have performed during different points in market and economic cycles. Finally, the research looks at the incremental benefit of adding an allocation of up to 40% of mid-cap stocks to a portfolio of solely large and small cap stocks. We thank RidgeWorth Investments for their sponsorship.

2011-04-26 00:00:00 Cerulli Survey Results: Advisor Use of Tactical Allocation by Tyler Cloherty (Article)

Advisors have increasingly turned to tactical allocation to manage client risk. While there has been abundant discussion on how this approach should be executed in theory, our survey results show what advisors are doing today in their practices.

2011-04-19 00:00:00 Managing Exposure to Extreme Markets by Geoff Considine (Article)

Volatility in the equity markets has subsided, courtesy of a strong bull market and fading memories of the 2008 financial crisis. Risks remain, however, ranging from the turmoil in northern Africa to sovereign debt instability in Europe. Investors can take advantage of the complacency in the equity markets by purchasing inexpensive insurance against adverse events.

2011-04-18 00:00:00 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

Acknowledging that all market activity is cyclical, not linear, I am often amused at the reaction by investors to each day?s trading results and the media commentary that follows. I am often asked by the media to characterize a market?s daily events, as if one might create a justification for volatility out of context. I view this day-after commentary as specious, at best. It takes days/weeks/years for real trends to evolve. In my methodology and study of the market it is most often these secular, or generational, themes that most resonate upon asset allocation and equity selection.

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 A Top Value Manager Looks Outside the US by Robert Huebscher (Article)

David Winters, manager of the Wintergreen Fund, began his career working for Max Heine, where Seth Klarman and Michael Price also worked. In this interview, Winter discusses the why he believes many of today's best opportunities are outside the US and how he is hedging against the threat of inflation.

2011-04-12 00:00:00 Letter to the Editor by Various (Article)

A reader responds to Erik McCurdy's article, A Trading System that Disproves Efficient Markets, which appeared last week.

2011-04-05 00:00:00 Two Critical Lessons from Japan An End-of-Quarter Letter to Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

Given recent events in Japan and North Africa, many clients are looking to their advisors for direction on what they should do. This template for an end-of-quarter letter is intended to be a starting point for your letter to clients.

2011-04-05 00:00:00 The Future of Investment Manager Due Diligence (and a Look Back at Q1 Performance) by Ron Surz (Article)

Despite the continuing global financial crisis, the uprisings in the Middle East and the Japanese disaster, global stock markets delivered positive results in the first quarter of 2011, as described in this capital market review. In the second part of the article, you'll discover what due diligence procedures need to change and why.

2011-04-05 00:00:00 Letters to the Editor: GMWBs and the Permanent Portfolio by Various (Article)

A reader responds to our article, Understanding Variable Annuities with GMWBs, which appeared on March 1 and another reader responds to Geoff Considine's article, What Investors Should Fear in the Permanent Portfolio, which appeared on March 22.

2011-03-29 00:00:00 GMO's Market Outlook: 'Disappointingly Overvalued' by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Opportunities across US and foreign assets classes are unattractive, according to Ben Inker, the head of asset allocation at the Boston-based global money manager Grantham, Mayo, van Otterloo & Co. (GMO). Neither the equity nor fixed income markets hold the potential for investors to earn acceptable inflation-adjusted returns, Inker said.

2011-03-29 00:00:00 Is There More Room for Growth in US Equities? by BlackRock (Article)

There are risks to not being invested in today's improving environment. Given that equity valuations are fully supported by strong earnings, BlackRock believes that fundamentals argue strongly for an allocation to growth stocks. Read more to learn why.

2011-03-29 00:00:00 Tilting Toward Energy by Brad Sorensen of Charles Schwab

Despite dramatic current events impacting markets, tactical shifts to your energy-sector allocation could add a small performance boost over the next several months. Volatility will likely remain elevated as events unfold in the Middle East and recovery continues from the devastating disaster in Japan. For investors looking to make shorter-term, tactical adjustments to a portfolio.

2011-03-22 00:00:00 What Investors Should Fear in the Permanent Portfolio by Geoff Considine, Ph.D. (Article)

Over the last decade, the assets of the fund PRPFX have swelled from $50 million to more than $10 billion. The concept underlying that fund, Harry Browne's Permanent Portfolio (PP), has rewarded PRPFX investors with attractive risk-adjusted returns. Those investors, however, may want to rethink their exposure - especially if PRPFX is the core of a retirement-oriented strategy.

2011-03-11 00:00:00 The Seven Immutable Laws of Investing by James Montier of GMO

This dearth of assets offering a margin of safety raises a conundrum for the asset allocation professional: what does one do when nothing is cheap? Personally, I?d seek to raise cash. This is obvious not for its uninspiring near-zero yield, but because it acts as dry powder ? a store of value to deploy when the opportunity set offered by Mr. Market becomes more appealing. And this is likely, as long as the emotional pendulum of investors oscillates between the depths of despair and irrational exuberance as it always has done. Of course, the timing of these swings remains as nebulous as ever.

2011-03-01 00:00:00 Understanding Variable Annuities with GMWBs by Robert Huebscher (Article)

It's very tempting: a variable annuity with minimum lifetime payout that can increase - but never decrease - based on market performance. That temptation comes in the form of an increasingly popular variable annuity rider known as a guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit. We explain the flaws in a widely publicized study by Morningstar/Ibbotson, and provide our own analysis of the product.

2011-03-01 00:00:00 The Real Flaws ? A response to 'Understanding Variable Annuities with GMWBs' by Peng Chen (Article)

Peng Chen challenges our analysis of variable annuities with guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefits.

2011-02-23 00:00:00 Asian Emerging Markets Will Grow on You by Peter Nielsen and Bryce Fegley of Saturna Capital

A year has passed since Saturna put staff on the ground in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at the offices of our subsidiary, Saturna Sdn. Bhd. As expected, we have gained valuable insight into the emerging markets of Asia. We find the key to unlocking the opportunities these markets have to offer is an understanding of the intersection of market structure, demographics, economic growth, and asset allocation. Our analysis of trends in these four areas reveals an economic environment with favorable prospects for long-term growth.

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.

2011-02-22 00:00:00 Toward an Understanding of Risk - Part 2 by Robert Huebscher (Article)

How should clients think about risk in their portfolios? Advisor Perspectives put that question to a cross-section of prominent advisors and academics. Their answers encompassed diverse opinions and underscored how crucial that question is to the investment process. In part one of this series, which appeared last week, we heard from seven practitioners in the financial planning community. This week, we hear from seven well-known academics, including two Nobel Prize winners.

2011-02-15 00:00:00 Toward an Understanding of Risk by Robert Huebscher (Article)

How should clients think about risk in their portfolios? Advisor Perspectives put that question to a cross-section of prominent advisors and academics. Their answers encompassed diverse opinions and underscored how crucial that question is to the investment process.

2011-02-15 00:00:00 Assessing New Tools to Protect Against Tail-Risk Events by Jerry Miccolis (Article)

Protecting against sudden, severe market drops is as crucial as it is difficult. A plethora of approaches to this problem have been brought to market in last few years, and to evaluate them my firm developed a set of rigorous criteria. These criteria led us to a solution that works for us and for our clients.

2011-02-15 00:00:00 The Stuxnet Paradigm by Michael Lewitt (Article)

Michael Lewitt discusses the situation in Egypt, the economy, rising risk appetites in the market, sovereign debt and municipal bonds. 'It might be very easy,' he writes, 'to be impressed by the 'two years and thousands of man hours' that Ms. Whitney spent researching the fiscal condition of the 15 largest states. What in the world required so much time and effort? It shouldn't have taken nearly so long to determine that these states are in severe financial trouble and that their options for dealing with it are limited.

2011-02-15 00:00:00 David Laibson on the Hidden Challenges of Aging Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

In this interview, Harvard economist David Laibson discusses his research into the challenges of helping elderly clients with their financial planning. He also discusses how to overcome the procrastination and laziness that often result in inferior investment decisions. This is a transcript of the interview.

2011-02-10 00:00:00 Capital Allocation and Its Ramifications by John Burns of John Burns Real Estate

?Which markets are going to stabilize first?? I want to talk about the ramifications of the answer to that question. The answer to this question is very important to home builders and land developers, both big and small, for reasons that are far more than just the answer to ?where can I make the most money?? When a consensus view develops, such as the current consensus that Washington D.C. will stabilize first, there are a number of ramifications. Here are a few: oversupply of capital, blindsided local builders, stock price envy.

2011-02-08 00:00:00 Optimizing Your Fixed Income Allocation by Geoff Considine, Ph.D. (Article)

Here's a little-known fact: The traditional 60/40 portfolio, when using the aggregate-bond index for its fixed-income allocation, has a 99% correlation to the returns of the S&P 500. One way to overcome the limited diversification value offered by the aggregate index is to use a risk-parity approach. In this article, I explore the concept of risk parity in asset allocation and how it provides value for portfolio management.

2011-02-08 00:00:00 The Downside to Venture Investing (like Facebook?) by Dan Richards (Article)

In this interview, Harvard Business School professor Josh Lerner discusses the dangers of venture capital investing and the basis behind Facebook's valuation. This is a transcript of the interview.

2011-01-31 00:00:00 Egypt: Standing in the Middle of Nowhere and Everywhere by Douglas Clark Johnson of Codexa Capital

We?ll likely recommend Egyptian equities once the current uncertainty diminishes. However skittish the political backdrop, Egypt should be a mainstay of a well structured emerging-market allocation. We see little prospect of regressive economic-policy implementation down the road. Our view might be different if current protests shift to an Islamist-led revolt, but so far that does not seem to be happening. We?re seeing grassroots discontent expressed by young Egyptians.

2011-01-25 00:00:00 Should Advisors Care about Short-Term Volatility? by James Colon, John Gambla and Rob Guttschow (Article)

How can advisors construct portfolios that meet their clients' risk preferences across economic environments? You may be surprised to learn that tactical asset allocation has an important role to play.

2011-01-25 00:00:00 Fourth Quarter 2010 Market Review & Outlook by Steven Roge of R.W. Roge

Our outlook for 2011 remains cautious, as we were last year. We will continue with most of our 2010 strategies for 2011, with the exception of bonds and municipal bonds which may present some difficulty going forward. We have already lowered our allocation to bonds in the third quarter, lowered our bond duration, and are currently lowering these variables even further, especially in the municipal bond area.

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.

2011-01-18 00:00:00 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

A number of readers respond to Nancy Opiela's article, Tactical Asset Allocation and Market Timing: What's the Difference?, and one reader responds to Michael Lewitt's article, The Wages of Growth. Both articles appeared last week.

2011-01-15 00:00:00 Further Fuel? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Stocks may be vulnerable to a near-term pullback thanks to elevated sentiment, and earnings season could provide an impetus for some profit taking. The economy appears to be strengthening and we remain optimistic. Despite signs of growth, the Fed seems insistent on letting QE2 play out, pointing to continued high unemployment and housing. The new congress also has to deal with these issues, while attempting to pare deficit spending. International exposure is important, but we recommend taking some profits and rebalancing if your emerging-market exposure gets above your target allocation.

2011-01-11 00:00:00 Tactical Asset Allocation and Market Timing: What's the Difference? by Nancy Opiela (Article)

Why is it that the industry dismisses significant changes to portfolio allocations as "market timing" transactions but embraces the subtler "tactical shifts" many advisors are making in the current, transitional market? As advisors debate the nuances of that question, the more relevant question may be: How would you respond if a client asked you to explain the difference between market timing and tactical asset allocation?

2011-01-11 00:00:00 The Key to Scaling Your Practice by Bob Oros (Article)

Independent advisors who are ill-equipped to handle a large influx of business from retiring baby boomers will struggle to harness the swelling demand. To capitalize on this new wave of assets, advisors need an edge. Many forward-thinking advisors have already discovered such an advantage in model portfolios.

2011-01-11 00:00:00 2010: A Truth Odyssey by Ron Surz (Article)

I review some of the lessons learned in the last two years. I review the last year, discuss 2008's lessons, and conclude with my traditional review of the longer-term history of U.S. markets over the past 85 years.

2011-01-04 00:00:00 Building a Better Income Portfolio by Geoff Considine, PhD (Article)

One of the greatest concerns for income-oriented investors is the possibility that dividends will be cut. The financial crisis showed that traditional metrics, such as a stock's dividend history and its payout ratio, failed to warn investors of impending dividend cuts. By evaluating stocks based on volatility, however, investors can select securities that are more likely to maintain or improve their dividend rates.

2011-01-04 00:00:00 Improving on Buy and Hold: Update December 31, 2010 by George Vrba, P.E. (Article)

I have updated the model described in my article Improving on Buy and Hold: Asset Allocation using Economic Indicators. The ECRI U.S. Weekly Leading Index and its annualized growth rate, published on December 31, 2010, together with the most recent values of the other indicators used, have been incorporated in the model.

2010-12-31 00:00:00 The Enigma Decoder by Ronald W. Roge of R.W. Roge

Our outlook for 2011 remains cautious, as we were last year. We will continue with most of our 2010 strategies for 2011, with the exception of bonds and municipal bonds which may present problems. We have already lowered our allocation to bonds in the third quarter, lowered our bond duration, and may lower it further, especially in the municipal bond area. We are still formulating our strategy as we gather more information.

2010-12-28 00:00:00 The Ten Most-Read Articles in 2010 by Robert Huebscher (Article)

As is our custom, we conclude the year by reflecting on the 10 most-read articles over the past 12 months. In decreasing order, based on the number of unique readers, those are...

2010-12-23 00:00:00 A Smoother Ride for Target-date Funds by Rob Arnott of Research Affiliates

Asset allocation is a critical step in the asset management process. No matter how diversified the portfolio, risk and reward aren?t linear. But target-date funds tacitly assume they are! Just because you are willing to take more risk doesn?t preordain higher returns, even over decades-long stretches. Rather, managing risk should be done either explicitly with active asset allocation of the glide path or implicitly through the natural contra-trading embedded in the Fundamental Index approach.

2010-12-22 00:00:00 Understanding Risk Parity by Brian Hurst, Bryan W. Johnson, and Yao Hua Ooi of AQR Capital Management

The outperformance of Risk Parity strategies during the recent credit crisis has confirmed the benefits of a truly diversified portfolio. Traditional diversification focuses on dollar allocation; but because equities have disproportionate risk, a traditional portfolio?s overall risk is often dominated by its equity portion. Risk Parity diversification focuses on risk allocation. We find that by making significant investments in non-equity asset classes, investors can achieve true diversification ? and expect more consistent performance across the spectrum of potential economic environments.

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.

2010-12-21 00:00:00 How Much Smid-Cap Exposure is Best? by Jon Quigley, CFA and John Bright, CFA (Article)

Small- to mid-cap stocks have outperformed since 1999 and have attracted considerable attention. We offer a few things to consider in determining how much exposure to smid-cap stocks you should maintain.

2010-12-17 00:00:00 Whole Foods vs. Twinkies: 2011 Outlook by Jeffrey Bronchick of Reed, Conner & Birdwell

Our ?Outlook? usually falls back on a ?normalized? sense of equity returns in the mid- to high-single digits for the long run, from which we add to or subtract from factoring in current valuations in the portfolio and the market as a whole. We think between reasonable economic activity, operational competence and generally solid capital allocation strategies, we can expect the value of our holdings to appreciate at least in line with a normalized ?forecast,? and then we get our boost from purchasing this value and/or growth at 20% to 50% of our estimate of intrinsic value.

2010-12-14 00:00:00 Five 2010 Tax Tips for a Time of Uncertainty by Glenn Frank (Article)

While the posturing and political grandstanding continues in Washington over the fate of the Bush tax cuts, tax season is fast approaching. With the time for long-term planning long gone, here are five questions to ask clients that could prompt some smart tax moves in the closing weeks of 2010.

2010-12-06 00:00:00 The Dangers of Rebalancing by Michael Edesess (Article)

Every portfolio should be rebalanced to its targeted asset allocation, we are taught. Indeed, there may be no other precept as routinely and studiously practiced among financial advisors. But does rebalancing either increase expected return or reduce risk? If so, why? The answers to those questions reveal that it may be prudent to rebalance, but not for the reasons you think.

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 Stop Front-Running the Fed by Keith C. Goddard, CFA (Article)

A change of mindset is in order for bond investors, who must recognize that it is no longer wise to 'front-run' monetary policy by purchasing the same bonds the Federal Reserve is targeting with its latest round 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.

2010-11-08 00:00:00 The Hail Mary Pass by David Baccile of Sextant Investment Advisors

With the announcement of $600 bn in new QE this week, Fed quarterback Bernanke has dropped back deep into the pocket and launched a last ditch Hail Mary pass with the hopes of stimulating growth to bring down persistently high unemployment. There is one major problem this view. The magnitude of the debt overhang is far greater now than at any other time in history, making the relatively trivial QE1, QE2, QE3, etc. ultimately doomed to failure. For those with a long-term approach to asset allocation, chasing a hot asset class or reacting to a 'clueless' Fed policy is not an option.

2010-11-02 00:00:00 Flaws in Vanguard?s Withdrawal Strategy: Income versus Total-Return Portfolios by Geoff Considine, Ph.D. (Article)

Vanguard advertises that its mission is to simplify investors' retirement decisions. In a recently published study, however, it oversimplified the critical choices investors and their advisors face in constructing a portfolio for the withdrawal phase of retirement.

2010-11-02 00:00:00 Letter to the Editor by Various (Article)

In a letter to the Editor, a reader highlights a few generalizations in a recent article on that, he says, unfortunately cast the entire universe of 529 plans in a uniformly unpleasant light.

2010-10-29 00:00:00 Asset Allocation in an Uncertain Economy by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Advisors should not bet on whether the recession will be L-, V-, or W-shaped. Instead, Ron Albahary said they should use strategic asset allocation and overweight or underweight those asset classes that have historically done well at certain points in the economic cycle. Albahary is the CIO of Convergent Wealth Advisors, a Washington, DC-based wealth manager.

2010-10-29 00:00:00 Asset Allocation: Fall 2010 by Tony and Rob Boeckh of Boeckh Investment Letter

Excess liquidity will continue to act as a tailwind for equities, commodities and non-dollar currencies well into 2011. Deflation will dominate in the short term; the inflationary threat is probably further away than most investors expect. Gold is expensive relative to the inflationary outlook. Fixed income markets are heavily influenced by government intervention. While it is likely that continued intervention will succeed in depressing bond yields below market levels, even a modest increase in inflationary expectations would undermine these actions. We recommend shortening duration.

2010-10-26 00:00:00 An Exceptional Resource for Asset Allocation by Michael Edesess (Article)

Roger C. Gibson's fine and exemplary book, Asset Allocation: Balancing Financial Risk, Fourth Edition, shows that character and conscience-based counseling still exist, even in the financial profession. It is still possible for advisors to look out for their clients' long-term interests.

2010-10-26 00:00:00 Improving on Buy and Hold: Buy by Georg Vrba, P.E. (Article)

Georg Vrba updated the model described in his article, Improving on Buy and Hold: Asset Allocation using Economic Indicators. The ECRI U.S. Weekly Leading Index and its annualized growth rate published on October 22, 2010, together with the most recent values of the other indicators used, have been incorporated and generated a buy signal.

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 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

In our letters to the Editor, two readers respond to our recent article, The Misguided Promise of 529 Plans, citing the advantages of those plans.

2010-10-12 00:00:00 Gold Continues to Glitter by BlackRock (Article)

Gold recently reached all-time highs in several currencies as investors flocked to the asset class as a safe-haven investment. This is despite volatile financial markets and continued investor concerns regarding the impact of the US government's massive fiscal and monetary stimulus on inflation/deflation. Learn why BlackRock believes gold will continue to remain attractive to investors.

2010-10-12 00:00:00 Why Warren Buffett is Optimistic: A Quarterly Letter to Send Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

Dan Richard's quarterly letter is designed to balance some of the extreme pessimism among many investors. Negative sentiment is understandable given the real challenges facing the U.S. and European economies, but is also a function of the overwhelmingly negative media coverage to which clients are exposed. To balance today's disproportionately negative views, you need hard facts.

2010-10-05 00:00:00 Thinking Bond Market Bubble? Consider Short-Term Bonds by RidgeWorth Investments (Article)

The current market environment - characterized by historically low interest rates and money market reform - has created an opportune time to invest in short-term bonds. RidgeWorth believes investors with excess cash reserves earning near zero percent, as well as those invested in long-term bonds who may be most impacted by a rise in rates, will be well served to consider an allocation to short-term bonds. We thank RidgeWorth for their sponsorship.

2010-10-05 00:00:00 The Misguided Promise of 529 Plans by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Along with the overall market, 529 plans suffered disastrous returns in 2008, leaving many families with insufficient funds to pay their tuition costs. The real problem, though, is not with the past performance of 529s. A misguided promise underlies the vast majority of 529 plans - that their heavy allocation to equities will provide acceptable risk-adjusted returns for the time horizons over which most parents invest.

2010-10-05 00:00:00 Improving on Buy and Hold: Don?t Buy Yet by Georg Vrba, P.E. (Article)

According to Georg Vrba, all conditions for a type A buy signal have not as yet been satisfied. Exactly the same conditions exist now as those of 5/6/08. The past is not an indicator of the future, but it would not have been a good decision to enter the market in May 2008.

2010-09-28 00:00:00 Unraveling the 12b-1 Debate by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The SEC has proposed sweeping changes to the way commission-based advisors will be compensated for the services they provide. Those changes will rename and modify the 12b-1 fees that many mutual funds now charge. To understand their impact, we spoke with Avi Nachmany of NY-based Strategic Insight, whose clients include the largest mutual funds.

2010-09-28 00:00:00 Improving on Buy and Hold: The Updated Signals by Georg Vrba, P.E. (Article)

At the request of many readers, Georg Vrba updated the model described in his article Improving on Buy and Hold: Asset Allocation using Economic Indicators. The Economic Cycle Research Institute's (ECRI) U.S. Weekly Leading Index (WLI) and the index's annualized growth rate published on September 24, 2010, together with the most recent values of the other indicators he used, have been incorporated in the model.

2010-09-15 00:00:00 Using Convertibles for Prudent Stock Market Exposure by Douglas G. Forsyth of Allianz Global Investors

For investors still wary of stepping fully back into U.S. stocks, convertible securities - which possess both equity and bond features - may be a prudent way to participate in potential stock upside while also defending against market volatility. With economic growth and corporate profitability slowly but steadily picking up steam, the prospects for convertibles may be particularly attractive now. At the same time, their diversification and total return benefits make them an appropriate allocation in a long-term portfolio as well.

2010-09-14 00:00:00 A Better Way to Invest in Gold by Geoff Considine, Ph.D. (Article)

In the year since Geoff Considine last wrote about gold, underlying prices have risen 24%, leading to several important questions - including whether his advice of a year ago still holds today. We look closely at how a direct investment in GLD performed as compared to a bond-plus-call-option strategy, and which conditions favor each strategy.

2010-09-07 00:00:00 Jeffrey Gundlach on Bonds, Stocks and Gold by Robert Huebscher (Article)

DoubeLine's Jeffrey Gundlach recently reduced his position from "overweight" to "small underweight" in Treasury bonds, and cited "divergent behavior across the yield curve." In this interview, he discusses that behavior and the rationale behind his move, as well as his thoughts on other asset classes, including equities and gold.

2010-09-07 00:00:00 The Free Lunch Illustrated by Michael Nairne (Article)

One of the most remarkable discoveries in modern finance is the ability to improve the expected return of a portfolio while simultaneously reducing its risk. In this guest contribution, which advisors can share with clients, Michael Nairne explains that the proverbial "free lunch" does exist, its exploitation requires a focus not only on the returns and volatility of the assets in the portfolio but on the degree of covariance between those assets.

2010-08-31 00:00:00 The Riskiest Pension Assets (and the Implications for Muni Bonds) by Robert Huebscher (Article)

State finances are in trouble, in large part due to unfunded pension liabilities. To assess the depth of those problems, one can look at what is likely the riskiest component of states' pension assets - their exposure to alternative investments and, in particular, to private equity. We assess those risks and look at the larger question of whether unfunded liabilities can trigger municipal defaults.

2010-08-31 00:00:00 Why Mid-Cap? by RidgeWorth Investments (Article)

RidgeWorth Investments has published research detailing six distinct reasons why investors should consider a specific allocation to mid-caps. Specifically, it explores historical performance, evaluates current conditions that favor mid-caps as well as examines how mid-caps have performed during different points in market and economic cycles. Finally, the research looks at the incremental benefit of adding an allocation of up to 40% of mid-cap stocks to a portfolio of solely large and small cap stocks. We thank RidgeWorth Investments for their sponsorship.

2010-08-31 00:00:00 Double ?Bubble,? Toil and Trouble by Sam Bass (Article)

The latest economic prophecy, which has gripped investors' fears for the past three years and counting, is that a 'bubble' in US Treasury bonds is about to burst. Hyperinflation is just around the corner, the prediction goes, and US Treasury bonds, driven up in price to record levels by unprecedented policy measures, are about to crash. In this guest contribution, Sam Bass writes tha